I was trained to be an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician, but the life of an entrepreneur chose me.
My employee mindset changed as a result of an interview during residency. The interview was with a private practice physician, who I had known during my training. He had first-hand knowledge of my assets as a physician: surgical skill, sound judgment, physician-patient rapport and superb communication skills. Despite my positive attributes, his job offer for my annual salary was significantly less than the price of the Porsche 911 he was driving and much less than the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) standard for physician compensation. MGMA is the resource leader for healthcare salary compensation.
This experience left me baffled and humiliated but I realized something very important… I didn’t have the employee mindset that most physicians do. I wanted the freedom to create and design my own practice and there was no reason I couldn’t do that. I thrived on risk to experience a greater reward. I despise rules, structure and predictability. I wanted to change the world, not just have a job. Failures in my mind were setbacks and an opportunity to learn. Despite all the challenges I have faced over the years, starting my own practice was the best decision of my life. I was able to build a team and office culture of stellar employees. I was able to tailor my practice to the aspects of ENT that I enjoyed most – minimally invasive procedures to treat chronic sinusitis and improve nasal obstruction. My patients are so thankful to be offered minimally invasive solutions to avoid the downtime, healing, and expense of more aggressive surgical alternatives.
Once my ENT practice was successful, my next venture was adding a Medical Spa to my practice. So many patients would not consider cosmetic rejuvenation procedures because of artificial and unnatural looking results. My goal was to achieve a well- rested youthful appearance without the obvious tell-tale signs that a procedure was performed. This difference in approach allowed me to attract patients that were looking for intervention that appeared natural, not artificial.
Things were going so well for me until I was diagnosed and treated for Thyroid cancer at the age of 34. I had surgery to remove my entire thyroid gland and I had radioactive iodine treatment. Because the exact cause of thyroid cancer is unknown, I suspected that my diet and choice of personal care products I used could be a contributing factor. I decided to detox my life by eating better quality food and avoiding pesticides. I reviewed my personal care products that I was using; like shampoos, lotions, deodorants; and eliminated chemicals as much as possible.
I reviewed the ingredients in the skin care products I was recommending to my Medical Spa clients and I was appalled that some products didn’t clearly list their ingredients and all of them contained chemicals that I didn’t approve of. I was appalled when I found out that there is no federal regulation of ingredients to protect the consumer from dangerous chemicals.
From my frustration with the cosmetic industry, my next entrepreneurial venture was born.
I set out to create a skincare line that addressed common anti-aging issues such as dark spots, loss of elasticity, blemishes and more. The ingredients would be plant and mineral based, contain no harsh ingredients or chemical preservatives. The ingredients needed to work synergistically to provide superior results. KalVera Skincare was created to provide consumers with healthy skin care and to support my mission to educate consumers about hazardous ingredients found in personal care products and empower them to make safer choices.
My journey as an Entrepreneur has been euphoric but it is not the lifestyle for everyone. Entrepreneurship is often a lonely, risky, anxiety-provoking and ever humbling expedition. It can also be addictive. Although KalVera Skincare is my most recent creation, I doubt it will be my last entrepreneurial endeavor.