451: Dr. April Lee | Flash Dentspa

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Guest: April Lee

Practice Name: Flash Dentspa

Check out April's Media:

Website: https://www.flashdentspa.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flashdentspa/

Email: info@flashdentspa.com

Other Mentions and Links:

University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine

SBA Loan

Jim Carrey

Excite Real Estate

Bank of America


Wells Fargo

Open Dental



Dr. Kareem Osman


Energize Marketing

Morpheus 8


Profit First

Host: Michael Arias

Website: The Dental Marketer

Join my newsletter: https://thedentalmarketer.lpages.co/newsletter/

Join this podcast's Facebook Group: The Dental Marketer Society

My Key Takeaways:

  • Spending limits on bank loans can sometimes be a good thing. This may help you keep on track and not overspend in some areas!
  • Offering incentives to other local businesses and the customers they send your way is a great way to bring in new patients!
  • Having staff that LOVE being there is when you know your team culture is on track.
  • Always show support and relatability to your staff and associates. They are people too, so they appreciate the personability!
  • Make sure to read into contract terms, especially regarding termination, so you don't get stuck with a contractor you'd rather not work with!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: April. How's it going? Hi.

April: Good. How are you doing? Thanks for having me.

Michael: No, thank you for being on. We were talking a little bit before those balloons in your background have been holding up for how long? Like a month and a half?

Yeah. How much did those cost?

April: Uh, I bartered.

Michael: Break it down at me. What'd you do in order to get that?

April: I gave free whitening and I asked the balloon girl to do that for me.

Michael: Did you know her beforehand or no?

April: No, but she told me she did balloons and I was like, Hey, I'm having a grand opening. I don't have money, but I can do this for you.

Michael: Yeah, normally. Okay, so. You went in there, asked her, or how did that work out? Like did you just ground mark it? What'd you do? Oh,

April: she was a patient, um, she just scheduled a cleaning with me and, uh, she was like, I got charged $3,000 for a cleaning. And I was like, you're like, Young, like, you don't need this.

Maybe like you have a little gingivitis. And I was like, yeah, we'll just do this simple cleaning. And then, she said, oh, do you know anybody who needs balloons? And I was like, oh, like what do you do? And she was like, oh, my side gig. I do like balloon for events and I'm, it's hard to give up cuz it's really good money.

And I was like, Great, then. Yes. Me.

Michael: Yeah. Cause they're nice and they're still holding up, you know what I mean? So you just had your opening a month ago, month and a half ago. A month and a half ago. All right. So we'll dive into that in a little bit. But before that, tell us about your past, your present.

How'd you get to where you are today?

April: Uh, I've been through a lot of interesting routes. So I graduated in 2017. And then I worked for a corporation. I went to Houston. So I graduated from Pittsburgh. I went to Houston, worked for a corporation. It was a chaos. And then a week after I moved, hurricane Harvey hit Houston.

Yeah. So, uh, I walked into an office where there was no office manager. Uh, I had two assistants who were interns and then front desk, she quit that day. Treatment corner quit that day. because we had 40 patients. I'm a new grad and I had a molar root canal, and they put me with two interns and no manager.

So I was like, I, this is horrible. Like I can't do this. And Hurricane Harvey, I took a break for like a week, um, trapped in the house. And just crying every day for a little while and I was like, yeah, this is not something that I signed up for. I don't think anybody goes to dental school to be like, I wanna war for corporation.

Sounds awesome. But it's really honestly the only place they'll actually hire new grads. So I went in, dove in and decided that I. Have to be independent. So that's when I started looking at turnkey. I started asking around to see if there's anybody selling the office. And I was, um, I'm a big like. Believer in God and I was praying and fasting.

Um, I think Ramadan's going on today, but um, I am a Christian and I still fast and pray, uh, just because part of being able to stay focused on God and I had a picture of my business partner. And so I reached her out on Facebook. I said, Hey, like, I don't really know you, but you were in my picture. So, can you meet?

Uh, I know you graduated a year before me. We happened to go to same dental school. So she's like, sure. And then we met, and then I said, do you wanna open up an office? And she's like, no, not really for, like, maybe I'll wait two years. I'm not ready for it. And I was like, well, what if I tell you that I'm, I know how to do like the beginning stuff right now, and if we get an office, maybe we can get it together.

And she's like, well, I'm not ready for it. But I, I'm open and finally found an office, someone that I work for called, like it was a connection through a connection. And then she called from Boston and um, she said, oh yeah, I'm like selling an office. I'm visiting Boston, but I actually live in Seattle and this office has been open for a year.

And um, I said, Hey to my partner, Hey, do you wanna come, um, check out this office? Cause they're selling, it's only been a year open. And then we went visited, we met the doctor who owns it. she had to move because family issues. And when we bought it, we bought it in like we did the SBA loan. Cause you can't do a startup loan with them.

So the only way that you could do is SBA loan. We did that and purchased a practice, started nine months out of dental school and did a partnership practice acquisition. And, um, first three months, obviously it's just like new learning stuff. Uh, we didn't have any staff we hired the first day. They all, what happened was the doctor who was in there as an associate beforehand, he was trying to buy it, but his credit wasn't good enough to get approved.

So when he realized that he wasn't good enough to get approved to purchase a practice, he told the entire staff, I'm leaving. You guys need to quit because this is getting sold. And the doctor freaked out because they all quit the next day with the patients on the schedule and she had to do a red eye flight in.

And we came in to just like be an assistant for her and. You know, just help her out. She had to put indeed like, can you somebody help me today? And we were hiring that day, same day the doctor was working, we're all working. And that's how it started with the first day in our new office. And, um, is hard because You really have to trust that other person. And we really had an amazing partnership of that trust. I worked two days, she worked two days, and then we both, um, worked at different places just to make our income so that we're not losing money in our office. we paid ourselves like a normal salary, like daily guarantee that other doctors would, and.

After a while, I've always had a heart to grow the office, but when you're not on the same page, after about three years, me constantly pushing to say, Hey, can we grow to another office? And the other partner is not ready, then like, then I have to branch out. Mm-hmm. So when I decided that I'm going to probably be closer to my family.

My family's in Florida, and then. Sell that office and start something new or keep the office, but it ended up being that I had to sell the office and move here last minute because of the whole purchasing this office and signing the lease and everything, and I couldn't do it remote anymore. Hmm. Yep. So I had a dream back in 2020 and it was like a really crazy dream.

all you dreamers out there like dreams mean so many different things and some dreams you cannot forget. And this dream was, I was eating, it's just so funny. Um, I was hanging out and I saw Jim Carey and I was like, Jim Carey, like, what are you doing by yourself? You're like, really famous. Like, you're h here eating by yourself.

And um, he was like, oh, no one wants to come and eat with me. And I was like, well, I'll come hang out with you. Like you're my, one of my favorite comedians. And, um, I'm just sitting there chit chatting with him in the dream. And he said, uh, yeah. Here if you have any questions, here's my phone number. And he gave me his phone number.

This was May 15th, 20, right at the brink of Covid. And I woke up and I was like, what is this phone number? I was like, what is this area code? Oh, I remember the area code is 7 27. And then I look it up, I was like, 7 27 area code. And it was St. Pete. And I was like, where's that? And um, I was like, oh, it's kind of close to Tampa.

It's like in Florida. What, how convenient, are the odds? And, um, I said, oh, well, Jim Carey, Florida. I just looked it up. And then boom, like May 16th, 17th was the first day he had an opening for his gallery at Ocean Gallery down SAP Beach right here. and I was like, oh, that's weird. Like, well, that's just weird, right?

Mm-hmm. And, And then, so I was just like going on roaming out through the day, just kind of shocked by that dream and just walking around the park to, uh, quarantine myself from everybody else. And, I already told you, I'm a big believer in God. that 7 27, it was like written in red, which is like Jesus wrote and read in the Bible.

And like when he spoke, it was always in red. And then Jim Carey initials same as Jesus Christ initials. And also he had a YouTube video that told a story about him being an artist. And he also drew a face of Jesus in the video. And I'm just like shocked by every little moment and my little crazy self still trying to like suppress it because I wasn't ready to sell my office.

Then a broker called me out of nowhere from Orlando and she said, Hey, are you looking to find an office? And I was like, no, not over there. And um, I was like, how did you even get my information? And he said, oh, uh, I don't know. It's in our directories. So I realized that they're also a branch of Texas, uh, brokers and they did our first branch in.

Orlando, and I've actually never reached out to them, but they happen to have my phone number and they said, um, yeah, uh, where do you wanna look? And I said, Tampa, I'm open to it. It's like a city. And then two months in, they said, Hey, are you open to going to St. Pete? Because it's really hard to find a location in Tampa.

And I was like, well, Honestly, if it weren't for that dream, I probably would've said no. But because of that dream, like, fine, you can start walking. And when, um, they started looking and, uh, found a location, it was all the signs matched up. So I decided to sign and then bill this office.

Michael: And now you're in the office?

Yep. Okay. We'll, we'll jump into the bailout process, but let's rewind a little bit. You were in Houston and you worked as an associateship in Houston or an associate at Houston?

April: So I was a partner of the business that I owned in Houston.

Michael: Yes. Oh, what part of Houston or where? So, um,

April: we were in Cypress, Texas.

Okay. And, uh, so my bi, my business partner and I bought it together and then decided to form a partnership. we created an LLC together with our both separate LLCs. It just makes it a lot easier to keep things together so that the assets. When something happens, it doesn't hit our personal assets like that.

It has to go through a company corporation that owns office. Then the other LLC that hits our DMD corporation. Then it can get our assets. So we just wanted the, that safety there. Mm-hmm. So we decided to do that and then had it for four and a half, five years.

Michael: Oh, wow. Why, if you can give us some points of why it didn't work out.

I mean, uh, there's, the trust is still there. I'm assuming you guys are

April: still friends, right? Oh, yeah, definitely. I love her so much. Um, kind of because I signed this office and then I knew I had to go to Florida and last minute I told her, I was like, this buildup process has been so crazy that I was like, I gotta go.

And then she's like, what? And then I was like, yeah, uh, I kinda literally have to go and like, Two weeks. So I handed her over and I said can you take care of it? And she was like, it was really sad cause she was crying. I was crying because she's like, it feels like we're getting through a divorce. And I was like, I know.

It really is. It really, it really is because like works through such hard times together. The way that she took me on board with Oh gosh. Like she has such a big heart. Like what actually happened was I was a new grad, right? And she's already practiced a year ahead of me. When you do an S B A loan, they require you to have certain months of statement that you have enough money in your bank account to give you that loan.

And my bank account was super fresh with money coming in because I was a new grad. And, um, these, this money that's sitting in there has to be proven like four months of it not changing the status. Like you're not getting money randomly gifted to you or anything like that. And I didn't have that status because I would just graduated and that made, the bank, made it so hard that I can't be on to buy this practice.

But she and her husband, he had stocks that he owned. and stocks can be liquidated really quickly. And they had money cuz she's been graduated for like over a year and then, um, and it's like crude in there, it's not really been, hasn't been moving. And last minute I showed her, I was like, Hey, I only have like $32,000 in my bank account right now.

They need $30,000 down for me to start. It was like a 10% of what the practice was gonna cost for us to buy. And bank was like, we're not taking that money cuz it's too fresh. Like we don't have records of like, Four months of it being stable in there and hasn't changed. And so what she and her husband ended up doing was, well, we got a wire this last minute.

Like we have two days to do this and I'm trying to get gifts from my parents to get like the money or something. Cuz that's the only way that they'll allow me to have the money. Mm-hmm. If, if a gift and then you don't return it back. So she ended up just putting all that money, they liquidated it gifted to me, and then we put $60,000 down to start and they had that much trust to like the husband sold his stocks to do that for me.

Mm-hmm. And like that's a whole nother level of like trusting somebody who just randomly Facebook messaged you. and then, I mean, they knew, I was like, I have this money. I just like, They're not taking it. So obviously I wire them back to them afterwards. Um, and that's how we got started.

Michael: Okay. That's good.

So then, I know you said you wanted to grow, but she wasn't ready.

April: She said it was too much of a headache.

Michael: Talk to talk to me about that. Why, why did you want to grow? Was there a. Does she want to just, um, I guess hyper focus on the current practice that she had and then build it, maybe drop insurance, all that stuff?

Or was it more like you were just like, all right, we're, let's just keep going. Let's go do another one. Another one. And is that like your future too with this one? Yep.

April: Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah. This, um, I finally think I've kind of solidified some of the reasons why I'm doing it. Um, I did wanna grow. I was like, Hey, can we grow to like 10 offices?

And she's like, one's a lot. And she, she is like, I'm a little bit older than you. She's like four years older than me. She's like, it's a lot. she's more of an introverted personality, extrovert, but at the same time, didn't have like the A D H D, like hyper personality like I do. So like I have a lot of energy roaming around all day long.

So she was like, I can't, like, This one office is enough. Mm-hmm. So, and I'm over here going like, I want like 20. So that just kind of didn't really settle with, um, that's when I, I had to, we had to realize, I was like, Hey, eventually I'll probably end up branching out or like giving, letting you take care of this entire office by yourself.

Michael: Gotcha. So do you still own, uh, part or are you still a partner with the other practice or? No, it's a hu hundred percent hers. That's hers now. Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. So then you decided, uh, let me ask you a question real quick. You said you spoke with the branch of brokers in Texas. Who are they? Uh, ex excite.

Ex excite. Okay. They have a branch now in Florida.

April: Orlando Uhhuh? Mm-hmm.

Michael: Okay. Okay. How is it working with him? Um,

April: well, the guy that I work with, he got fired, but he ended up finding my awesome space. And I was like, so that transition after he found it was like perfect. But then like that transition after was like an issue and I was like, there was a lot, what was the issue?

Um, they didn't get the address right. So permitting was a little bit, I got a different address after I finished permitting. Ah, gotcha.

Michael: Okay. So let, let's dive into that a little bit. Let's dive into your business like, You went with who? For a loan?

April: I did Bank of America.

Michael: Okay. What were the terms of that loan?

April: Um, I got approved I think like $550,000. And um, I, it's like, cuz during the approval, like I still had my other office, so like they couldn't approve me for a lot because of my. guarantor part of the other office. So that's what I got so I got that loan May, 2021 and I, uh, maybe right before, but now I opened this December, 2022.

Like that's how long of this buildout was, like the whole journey of itself. Um, So they told me that I just have to do like two years of just letting them see every monthly and then try to make sure I'm not failing. Mm-hmm. And also, Wells Fargo was another one that, um, I was just thinking about. Chase doesn't do startup loans, but Wells Fargo does startup loans and right when I was going between Bank of America and Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo got a lawsuit.

For fraud. So I was like, well, I guess I'll go with Bank of America cuz I don't wanna really go with a bank that got, uh, lawsuit. So I just black and white. I'm a very black and white person, so I just chose Blink of America. my interest rate was pretty low. It was during Covid, so it was very low at that time, just like houses were really low.

except. The whole construction part took like extremely long time. So, but I love Bank of America. Um, my guy was really great and the reason, my biggest thing I love about Bank of America was they didn't let me spend money on some of these areas that I was wanting to spend money. And it was like the biggest blessing that you can think of.

Sounds weird, but they wanna make sure that they protect you from just being, sorry. Like women, we shop more than I think men. stereotypical thing, I think, don't quote me on it, but I do see a lot of women shopping a lot more and men are sitting outside, um, waiting until they're done. Um, that's how my dad did.

But then when you're on a kick to spend and you're like, yeah, I bought this, bought this, and I do it myself, right? I'm like on a kick to buy Christmas presents and all of a sudden I'm spending without filtering. I, I act like I have all the money in the world, and then I spend, and then no one stopped me.

Mm-hmm. But when you're on a kick to keep spending, then like Bank of America is like that. Husband's like, stop, like. No, no, like that's not a good spending, right? They're like, why are you spending this? They ask me these questions and some people have a personality of like, oh, don't ask me why I'm doing this.

I'm independent. I'm on my own, like, Um, they know what they're doing. They've done this many times and they know probably why dentists, most of 'em don't go to business school and most of them like to spend and, um, we see shiny pretty things and we like it and we wanna spend it. So they put that stop on me and.

They still allowed me to spend it in ways that I really needed things. So they'll just like shift the money around saying like, this is how much you can spend here. We can allocate this here and, and that will be actually good for, me able to just not overspend and then spend all my loans. Then I have to spend it out of my cash.

Michael: Gotcha. So you like that, you like it when they were there telling did you go on and you're, you're kind of right. Like even I'm guilty of that. Like I'll be good at like saving and then when for some reason if I'm on a kick, I can, anybody can just, Michael, you got it. Right. What is up with that? So, uh, let me ask you, your build out, how much was that?

April: My buildout was start, it started at three 10 and then it ended at. Probably, I wanna say like three 50. Okay.

Michael: Talk to me about your buildout process. How, how did that go?

April: Oh, it was hell.

Michael: Why

April: contractors don't have this thing called, Calendar. So they move it at their own free space on, I was just like, wow, like we're always on a time and dentist or like, let's get this done out, done out.

we're very efficient people. Cause that's how in the clinic we are. But uh, like. I'm sure who, everybody who's renovated a house or part of whatever construction you've ever went through, know that contractors don't have a calendar. So that's the same in a dental space or a commercial space. So I kind of went through quite a bit of hell with, um, three of the contractors dropped me when I first started, so I was doing this in.

Houston and I had a designer, um, their, my designer was awesome and he was getting, like, I had three contractors who I was negotiating with, and then two of 'em were non-dental and they're like, yeah, we can do it. And um, later on, one of 'em dropped me and then the other one, she was like, yeah, we can do it.

And then the other guy was a dental contractor. Uh, he quoted me a lot higher, so I was a little bit hesitant. But then also he, one, he said he was gonna do the engineering and architect with his team cuz he has a whole team. Um, he doesn't have to hire an independent contractor. And then he said he was gonna do it two weeks later.

my designer's like, Hey, have you heard back that if you got your engineering back? And I was like, no, not yet. I'll just give it a little bit more time. And then two weeks after, he's like, Hey, we should have heard this by now. And so I reached out to him and he's like, oh, well, because I know that you were negotiating with other contractors.

I quit that process. And he tell me, and he's like, I only wanna do this if you're gonna work with me. and my designer got really mad. He was like, what the heck? He wasted a month of your time and didn't tell you. And he's like, go look for a different contractor and work with him.

Found out that one of 'em that I was working with, uh, the guy who I was mainly working with got fired and she got fired and then they quoted me three times higher. At the end when they did the engineering, they hired an independent contractor for, uh, engineering. And then they were like, yeah, this is gonna be like three times more than what we initially quoted you.

So that's when I was like, I've wasted so much of my time, my lease and loan. I mean lease is like the free lease is almost done, and then I have to get up and I have, I told my partner, I was like, Hey, I actually think I have to be there in person and get this going because it's been like four or five months that I've just been sitting here and not been able to do anything.

So, I have to go. So that's how we had to part ways. And I had to look for a job within two weeks. Um, and I got a job last minute. Some like they needed, um, a corporation. It's a pretty good corporation actually. It's like more, it's a doctor owned and they took me on and then, I moved, I got an apartment.

And this all like happened flip Floop in two weeks. Mm-hmm. I got here and started looking for like people who are dentists and said, how did you build yours out? Who's your contractor? I found a contractor, Florida's really old school, and so there's not a lot of like little like. Details to like a contract.

So when I showed that to my designer, he was like, yeah, this is like not safe. Okay. So we, I hired a consultant, like a, he's also a contractor in Houston who built one of my friend's office. He consulted with my contractor and read, did the, redid the contract. Mm-hmm. Then, um, that took a while because they were not, Communicating efficiently.

Cuz my Florida contractor's pretty old school. So he's like, yeah, it's just over here. And then nothing in detail really. So he's like, this is not great. So then they ended up, you know, making it a more detailed and he's a good guy. So I had known that, I would probably jump with him from the beginning.

But you just met that person you don't know, you know? Mm-hmm. So I wanted to protect myself and be safe through everything. Got, I signed a contract with a contractor and then the permitting took five months. It took four. Wow. Yeah. So all this time my free lease is going and um, and now I have to pay rent and I had to talk to the landlord saying, Hey, like, I literally haven't even broke ground in this place yet.

So, you know, they still, it's business, right? They still need money. So I decided to take it out of my TI money for the loan. Mm-hmm. Because I am very anti taking out my own money to run a business. That's not what my undergrad business classes has taught me. They said, use other people's money to run the business and don't take off your arm and a leg to run it.

so that's why I try to stay within the amount Bank of America gave me and not have to cash out my own money. in the end I'm the one taking the toll and losing that. so. I took it out of my TI money. Obviously had to learn how to budget really well at that point. So I equipped five op ops, like all ready to go.

And usually I think startups, they start at like two and then build more out. Mm-hmm. But I also had a hard time from my start, um, my first acquisition. That we were equipped for three, and every time we tried to equip for four, it was like a big block that we couldn't get past because it was like, it would have to stop our working day and we would have people coming in doing construction, and it was too much of a headache and I didn't want any of those blocks and then if I was gonna grow, so I decided to just equip all five and then try to budget it and make it work.

Michael: So there's a lot going on. You mentioned, um, you hired a consultant, what was his name? Tim Nelson. Tim Nelson. And he's a contractor?

April: Yeah. He builds offices in Houston, Texas. And he is, Seriously like a dad and he cares so much about me. Obviously it costs, but it's worth it, especially when I'm having a meltdown and not know my contractor terms or what should be done.

Right. Because I didn't go to school for that. Mm-hmm.

Michael: Can I ask how much it costs?

April: Uh, it was like 5,000.

Michael: Oh, okay. In total, or like per month or something?

April: No, he, he just did a contract negotiation for me. He just was a consultant who contracted, who talked to my contractor to make sure everything was like all the t's across, all the dots are placed. Yeah,

Michael: that's pretty helpful. That's really helpful actually. Right. Especially.

April: Right. And I didn't know this town, like I was like, I don't know anybody here. Yeah. Like whatsoever. So he's at least making sure these contractors are following the rules and doing the proper things instead of, um, saying shady stuff because I don't know, and then I'm screwed over.

Michael: Yeah, no, definitely, definitely. How much is your rent?

April: It is about 5,000. Okay. So with the internet included? With internet included in n n N.

Michael: Oh, okay. Gotcha, gotcha. Uhhuh. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So when did rent start for you, and then when did you have to, when did you officially open

April: rent? Started for me in November, of 2021. I opened December, 2022.

Michael: Oh my gosh. So you've been paying rent that whole time, like with nothing, not seeing one patient.

April: Yeah. But remember the guy I told you who was fired? Mm-hmm. From the brokerage? He, um, his name is Wale. He was just like the humblest guy and he got the best negotiation you can to get.

Ti money. I can't remember how much t money was, but he tried to get the best space, location, everything. I really wish he finished through with me because afterwards it just got pretty bad. A little bit. Yeah. And, but he held my hand through the entire thing cuz he cared so much about me as a person.

And he's like the type of person who. Cares about all his people and if you're his homie, he's like, got your back.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. So then now that you're open, what have you learned? What are you doing for marketing and advertising? What's your best roi? What systems do you utilize? Things like that. Uh,

April: Startup is so hard.

Like acquisition is take compared to startups. So all those people who started startups, like props to you. Um, I would say it's about 20 times harder than an acquisition. So no lie. Mm-hmm. Like acquisition, there's a reason why people try to do acquisition so they don't have to do the dirt work, but.

Startup, you have to know everything. Like literally everything, nothing's set in place. Um, I'm using open dental. That's what I'm used to using in Texas. It's like a big Texas thing. Apparently it's not a Florida thing, really. Um, that's my E M R system. I use a communication system called Casper. I really like them.

And, uh, I used yappy before, but Casper, um, Dr. Osman and he, I think that's Oser. Mm-hmm. Kareem the one. Yeah. He's the one who, um, got me on board. Really personable also, like, because I played around with Ypi before, they ended up having a lot of things that I needed. Um, there's just one thing I think they're working on that would make it pretty solid.

and I think it was like the treatment planning part that. Other like services might have driven planning, but every other communication thing about them has been great. And then what else

Michael: do I use? Are you talking about YPI right now or Casper, when every other communication. Okay. So, so I

April: used the YPI before in Texas.

Gotcha, gotcha. Got you. Got you. But Casper's a little bit more. Mm-hmm. Like upkept with everything.

Michael: Okay, gotcha. Except for their treatment planning you said? Or you, or you like it. So they don't have it. Oh, they don't have it yet. Or

April: they're supposed to bring it on this after this first quarter. So we're, we're getting there and I'm hoping that it'll be, eventually we'll get that portion.


Michael: Okay. Okay. So you're using, what are you doing for marketing and advertising?

April: Oh, I have so many marketing things right now. marketing's one of those things that it's not like you got it and you're done type of deal. I feel like you have to try every little thing based on the demographic and the region you're in to see which one works best.

So initially I started, I used patient pop. To do. I used it in Texas and they were fine, but here they're really not doing anything. they're supposed to do your seo, but I haven't seen anything done. and they bind you to a contract for a year that you cannot get out of, like you cannot get out, like rent the contract a million times, cannot get out of it.

So, After one year. Um, I'm done using them. And then I've also took on energized. Cause I was really desperate after being open first month for, to bring patients in cuz nobody knew we existed. Mm-hmm. And then, um, it was good for the first month. And then I was having issues for the second month and I actually contacted them saying like, Hey, this is not worth my money.

so I What issues were you having? Like, nobody was showing up. Like they, they said like 50 50 was show, like 50 show, 50 no show. They're like Facebook funneling and like, um, social media funneling, but it was like 10% show maybe. And then like 90% just would, we never see them. So, but I think like after my conversation, they're working on it and I'm really hoping they're working on it.

But I've had that, and I have another local guy who does Facebook funneling. He's pretty good at what he does with other clients except dental. I found out that it's the most expensive per click. Um, he's like, I don't understand why your ads are so expensive. Because he's like, I've been doing this like for all my clients, but every dental one is like per click.

It's very expensive. So he's running that for me. Um, I purchased, a machine called Morpheus eight, which, so this office is not a family dentist office. It's like dental office, cosmetic driven, and it's a spa. Hmm. So I have an aesthetician. And trained her to, um, be able to do Morpheus, um, it's like a microneedling with radio frequency.

And when I got the machine, they also automatically came with four months of marketing for the aesthetic part, and I'm doing Google ads. Mm-hmm.

Michael: Okay. Is that working pretty well

April: or. Google. So that's why I'm trying to stay out of. Facebook has a certain population and for maybe for a general practice it would be fine, but with an aesthetic practice, cosmetic driven practice, the clients are hi, like a really big hit or miss.

Or they don't show. Um, most of them just don't show. And then, um, cuz they're like all price shopping and they want like, everything done for free. So I just, I think Google Ads, I'm gonna allocate that to spend on it. Uh, once my contract, um, is done with some of these companies. Got,

Michael: so your contract's already done with patient pop?

No. Oh no. So you're, you're still paying patient pop. Energize and a Facebook funnel guy. Yep. Oh man. How much is all that?

How much is patient pop? Patient

April: pop is like a thousand

Michael: a month. Yeah. Okay. And then energize five a thousand a month. Uhhuh. And then the Facebook funnel guy,

April: uh, he's like two grand a month. Okay, so now we are breaking it down. So it's like 8,000 maybe on marketing. Yeah,

Michael: 8,000 on marketing. Okay. So then once the year's over, where do you see yourself spending saving?

What are you gonna start doing more kind of thing. So

April: I really start to see the value in community and getting people who are influencers in the market to come in. So we kind of. I help them out a little bit here and there and then in like, trade in with, um, their post or being able to promote us.

I try to go to these events to connect because word mouth is huge and, um, especially in a small town like this, uh, like people call this a huge city, but I feel like St. Pete's pretty small. like I'm coming from Houston. Mm-hmm. So, It's also helpful coming from such a big city coming in here because in a really big city it's hard, like marketing's really hard.

in a smaller city, I think it's more doable. Um, A lot of people here are like local and they're pretty like hippy. And as long as you show face and then you actually show that you're a real person, they trust and want to come. And then word of mouth. My biggest thing right now is also like I'm trying to figure out different ways to, avenues to market regarding, um, some of the people are finding us through Google.

A lot of, some people are finding us through Instagram. When they would see their friend post repost, I would have events so. Not, I would have, I think I had the grand opening, so I'm having another event, uh, next month. And then just to get every other local vendors coming in to do their local thing, they got their own connections, like these business owners, and then provide the facility here, space for them to do that.

At the same time, like it's just brand marketing right now at this point. And then, um, branding myself, Another thing I'm doing, which I, I'm on a kick to do it this coming week. I've had, my staff and me we're going over to salons and because salons very, they work with patients all day, people all day long touch their hair all day long.

They talk about little stuff. So getting, giving incentive to those, um, People who barbers and people who cut hair to trade in for one of my service. But the service that I trade in, in for them is their lip service to their client. So I will get them in for free Botox, like, I'll be like, Hey, I'm gonna do a free Botox for you first time.

Have you ever done it? Okay, we did great. If so, whoever you send over and they come here, you get like $50 off your Botox treatment. So then you send like a certain amount of people by the time you send them over and they get treatment done, then you end up having, all these covered.

Then you're gonna get free Botox again. Yeah. But it's also just like bringing in traffic.

Michael: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. No, a hundred percent it's scrum marketing, like, so you. The best thing to do is when you go to these places is like make it make it like tangible. So like leave a signup sheet there with them, right?

Sure. So you're like, Hey, what's up man? Like, well, can I have some of your information? And then they're like, yeah, sure. Here's some of my business cards. Right? Then you're like, okay, can I give you some of our information too? And at the same time, this is what I wanted to do just for you. Right? And then you let them know.

What you wanna do, your incentive and then say, here, I'll leave a signup sheet. I can come back next week for people who wrote their name and number down, I'll give them a call. Right. But it's actually like something there on their mirror where p patients are like, what? What is? And then they're like front of mind, right?

They're like, oh, they're giving, you wanna sign up for this? You know, maybe give the patients an incentive too. Like, hey, everybody who comes in is like a percentage off or, I don't know, right. Something. Right. Um, makes it easier for them to refer and then makes it easier for the patient to come on into. If you wanna do that many incentives, it's

April: up to you.

Oh no, I, we don't have that going for our patients too right now. Mm-hmm. Like, hey, every person that you refer, you get like $50 off for your own treatment

Michael: or whatever. I think that would be a fantastic, like if you guys targeted salons all next week, that'd be beautiful. Yeah, you do really good. So then one last questions I wanna ask you, April, is throughout this process from the moment, I guess you decided to leave till today.

What's been some of your biggest pitfalls or fails?

April: Uh, I signed a lease before I found a contractor. I. I think that was my biggest pitfall because if I have a contractor, first of all they can't gimme the price anyway because I don't have the lease signed. But it's still someone that you can have to be able to build your space cuz that wasted so much of my time and I think it took like wasted seven months of my time.

Mm-hmm. And then I was able to do permitting. My other biggest pitfall. That I am coming out of is staffing. I think from the start I have a lot of expectations, not a lot. These people don't know me, who work for me, um, who sign up in on Indeed, um, to work. But people just don't wanna work anymore. And if I'm not gonna be personable with them, then they're like, I'm out.

So I, at the beginning when I first opened, I had really, really, really difficult time with staff, situation. Uh, the front desk girl didn't show up for the first day open. And then my assistant, she came in saying she wants to be an esthetician, except she was doing nothing for about two weeks and I couldn't figure out what she was doing.

And then I finally brought in an office manager and then office manager. When I brought her on that day, that assistant said, You know, I know you need her, but I don't work when there's a manager in the house, so I'm out. So I was just like, what kind? Like, but it's also like, I guess I was naive cuz I never had issues with staff before in my old office.

But coming here, they also don't know me and they're working for me and I have to take care of my staff, and I really probably came off pretty strong and couldn't take care of them the way that they would if it was an established office and they don't have a 5 million things to do. So I finally have a staff.

Who's sticking through the thicken thin. They also love being here. and that's huge. They like, They're like, it's so awesome being here. They love it. And they're like, it's fun. And I was like, oh my gosh. I'm like really thankful that you guys see me as family. And I was very transparent to them and be like, Hey, I have to make these goals.

I actually don't take any money home right now. I am hustling on the side, um, going at a emergency clinic and working their, um, night shift or going on a Sunday just because I also have to pay my own bills and I don't wanna take it away from the office of starting off. That cannot provide me. Otherwise we'll be scraping pennies every day.

So, um, they know that I'm also hustling. They know that I care a lot about them and just being really straightforward with them. Like, Hey, if we can't meet these goals, this is literally daily goal that I have to meet, uh, to just break even. And if not, then I can't provide you guys jobs and I would have to shut down and figure out stuff first, and then I'm hustling.

And, um, that transparency with, um, I am an employer, but I don't pretend to boss him around because nobody deserves to be treated that way. Mm-hmm. Um, they just all have mutual respect for one another. And also like, understand, so training is hard at first. We all expect everybody to be trained perfectly, but that training, um, they're people who appreciate it and they're willing to learn and they get really good at it.

And if they're not really good at what they do, then you shift them to a different spot in the office and do that. I wanna give jobs to people. I don't really wanna fire anybody. also if you know, not people, not everybody's good people, I also have to be really, and being able to pick up that too.

But I also focus on trying to. Be in their life and be their mentor through different journeys in life, not just in the office space. So that's really built that loyalty for my staff and, um, they're willing to do everything with me. That's

Michael: nice. That's really, really good. Awesome. April, thank you so much for being with us.

It's been a pleasure. But before we say goodbye, can you tell our listeners where they can find you?

April: Oh yeah, they can find us on Flashden Spa, F l a s h d e n t s p a, and you can email us on info flashden spa.com. And I've been actually helping quite a bit of startup people, uh, individually. So if you have questions, you can reach us out.

Michael: Awesome. So guys, that's gonna be in the show notes below, like always in April. Thank you so much for being with us. It's been a pleasure, and we'll hear from you soon.

April: Thank you.