For this episode on Finance For Physicians, Pablo Gonzalez returns to dive deeper into Daniel’s journey to financial freedom as a successful professional.
In case you’re new to the show, here’s a background on our (now) recurring guest, Pablo:
Pablo Gonzalez is the founder and CEO of BeTheStage. His company’s thesis is that community is the future of business development and the best tool to remain relevant in a world run by near-monopolistic tech companies.
Pablo met our co-host Daniel at college, and they quickly hit it off. They’ve remained in contact ever since and even worked together to make the Finance For Physicians show the most interesting one in the niche!
In this episode, you’re going to learn:
– How Daniel ventured into his career path
– The origin story of the Finance For Physicians Podcast.
– The cognitive dissonance regarding profit-driven and mission-driven companies.
– And much more. Enjoy!
Full Episode Transcript:
Pablo: So Daniel, we recently shot an episode where you expressed this point of view of how you think doctors may be feeling and this idea that there’s a better way and you’re basically, what you shared with me, which I thought was really interesting, is the fact that physicians are in this world where they’re incentivized against what they’re actually trying to do.
They’re generally people that really, really care. Patient health, patient outcomes, keeping people healthy. And yet there’s this healthcare system that is really built on production and mass and treatments, and it’s not really about keeping people healthy as much as keeping the machine churning. And then there’s all these people in the middle, like the insurance systems and the healthcare systems that are all tied to this machine that is not in the best interest of the patient, not in the best interest of the physician, not really in the best interest of our economy.
And you think that there’s a better way, right? This idea that entrepreneurship for physicians is a better way? Because if you can cut out the system and you can be in charge of your future and really not feel trapped by something, then the work is much more fulfilling. And within all that, it’s the closest to cutting out the system wins.
So we’ve talked about this idea that the direct care doctor the sys, the. Business model where the patient pays directly for service and physician keeps patient healthy without all this other stuff in the system, are the people that are the most happy in your book of business, that won’t stop talking about their practices and are super fulfilled.
And even though they might work as hard or harder, they still have more energy and they really love what they’re doing. And as we discussed all this, it started to really ring true to you of how your practice has developed, right? Like you went from somebody that was, felt like you were maligned with your values to having a, an idea of a better way and really rebelling against the system and trying to change it until ultimately you started your own thing.
And that essentially turned out to be direct care finance. Instead of charging for products and things like that. You charge a fee and you keep your clients’ financial futures healthy. And that’s why I wanted to just go through your journey. and draw some parallels, draw some advice out of there for physicians that may be feeling this way and can see you as a resource for, or maybe even an inspiration for guiding them on how to align with their values, how to build the practices that they want, how to have these fulfilling careers instead of feeling burdened by the medical system and feeling like they need side hustles or to quit medicine.
So I’m pumped to do this.
(start of podcast)
Daniel: Pablo, what’s up, man? You ready to get rocking and talk about some business and entrepreneurship and, and some of these challenges we work through today? Oh,
Pablo: I am. I am ready. Mr. Ren,
Daniel: I think I know you’re always ready.
Pablo: Yeah. Yeah. Man, since we did that p o v episode about this thing that you came up with of entrepreneurship being the way out for doctors that are misaligned by this system and being the answer for burnout, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and I know you haven’t either, right?
Because you sent me, you sent me this email basically saying, as I think about it more, this reminds me a lot of my own journey. So I thought it’d be a really, really good idea to just uncork that journey. Cause we both get the feeling that you know, what you were struggling with and then what you decided to go through is gonna feel a lot like what some of the physicians that we, that you get to talk to may be struggling with right now.
What some of them may be thinking, what some of them have gone through that have made this leap. I’m really excited to get into it. Why don’t you, why don’t we start with you. Talk to me about when you were at your job before you started Rent Financial.
Daniel: Yeah. So like how did you feel we’ll take it back to I guess maybe like 20 12, 20 13, that, that sort of timeframe.
Yeah. I was working at like a giant, I’m not gonna name names, you can go look stuff up about me and figure out where I work, but giant financial services company and I was you know, financial advisor and air quotes. And the way I would describe it to you, like Pablo, if you were like, What is most important to you about your work?
I would answer that. I would say, well, my clients taking care of them is for sure, number one. So that’s how I would describe it in that, in that point in, in my professional career. And I was making, just had, just started making like really good money my, you know, family was going well.
I had just started, I guess I had had my first child that year and had bought a house and, you know, by all, well, most measures of like, success, I’m doing air quotes that today, success most people would be like, oh yeah, he’s, he’s doing pretty good. But there were some big issues brewing kind of inside this little head of mine or whatever.
And and I think that’s where we started to kind of 2013 was about where, you know, I had a big kind of fork in the road. All right.
Pablo: Talk to me about that moment, man. You have outward success. You’ve reached a level of stability, right? Like, I know that in the financial advisory profession, you gotta grind for a while to build up your book of business, to then have this like, recurring income stuff that you have based on that, and you finally get there.
, what was, what were the things that were really bothering you about once you got there? How you felt?
Daniel: Yeah. I think when I was at that point, I was like, I felt pretty good on the surface. like, I would talk like things were going great. But I think where it started to get to me is when I I kind of started to dig into this really, I guess it was two parts.
It was like I grew in my faith and my like, Appreciation of like values and what’s most important. And then on top of that, I started to kinda follow some like industry influencers outside of like my bubble And so by kind of getting outside of my bubble and, you know, looking externally at my faith and, you know, growing I guess as a person, but also kind of getting some influences outside of my bubble I started to ultimately come to this realization that basically I was chasing money and that, so I said earlier, I was like, if you asked me, I would say my clients are number one and taking care of them.
But in reality, like my actions, like what I was doing, like my day-to-day would say that money was most important. And so I was working in all these like huge conflicts of interests and I was justifying it. By saying like, oh yeah, I’m a good guy. Like I can take care of my clients. I can navigate all this mess of conflicts and it’s not getting in the way of me doing the best work for my clients.
I had this like, flawed philosophy, I would say, and everybody working there has it, like it’s still to this day, like when I talk to people there, they say the same sort of thing. I used to say, you know, we have this kind of flawed philosophy, at least that’s how I view it these days that I would, you know, was able to still do great work for clients.
But there was all these problems. So when I came to this realization, I’m like, okay. Growing in my faith, growing as a person, external influences started to kind of open to my eyes to the fact that I was actually. You know, in major conflict with who I wanted to actually be or who I said I wanted to be.
Like, if I say I want to take the best care of my clients and I’m actually like chasing money that’s a problem. It’s like cognitive dissonance. Like that’s the definite, you’re not living out what you say you’re gonna live out. And so kind of through all that journey, I realized, like, so going back to like the faith part, you know, I kind of recognized that I’m a flawed person.
Like I have you know, I’m not perfect and I can’t navigate these conflicts like money influences you no matter who you are. And our sys the system I was operating in had this culture of like, you. Money and production is number one, which had a negative influence on me. And it was conflicting with my values.
And this sy really was what it came down to is like the system was the issue. I mean, the people inside of it were great. I mean, they were starting to, I mean, the system pulls you in a, you know, kind of a dark direction, but the people for the most part were good people. It was just this system that was really pulling at me.
Pablo: Got it. So I, as you’re telling me this, right? Like I’m trying to think of how this relates to the life of a physician based on that what you’ve told me about your clients. Right. And I’m thinking that it’s your pledge of wanting to take care of your clients.
It’s kind of like the Hippocratic Oath or, or whatever physicians pledge to, you know, keep people healthy Yeah. And do what’s best for their health. You were doing, you had, you wanted to do what’s best for your client’s financial health. For sure. And what I’m hearing from you is that based on the way that the system was created, right?
We talked a lot about incentives and those types of things. In that first episode, the way that you were incentivized in order to succeed professionally was not incentivized in a way that you started to really believe that. Was allowing your clients to succeed financially.
Daniel: I mean, it’s like we get in a, group of, you know, like at the old firm, like you get a big group of people and we’re like, yes, we wanna take the best care clients possible.
And then later on you see us at like this production event where we’re like celebrating the biggest producer of all of us that like sold the most products and like made the most money. And it’s like the, all the awards were like production more, you know, more is always better. But then you, we would talk amongst ourselves, we’d be like, we always want to take care of clients.
So it was just this weird you know, conflict. It didn’t make any sense when you started to look at it. Object.
Pablo: Yeah. Yeah. And then the other big thing that I’m hearing, I think is more core to your practice and everything that you do, which is you are, you very much believe in this idea of aligning with your values and as your Yeah.
You know, your, if your values, whether it’s what you’re saving up for or the person that you’re trying to be, don’t match your everyday actions, then that’s, you’re never gonna be able to like, live up to that piece. And I could see how that relates to physicians, but I would love more context on Yeah.
In the micro, what does it look like to, for a financial advisor in like a system that wasn’t serving your values? Yeah, I mean it’s, you obviously, you obviously don’t have to say like the company name, right? But like, as far as when you’re selling a product and or you know, producing more, how is that not actually helping your client?
Or can you gimme more like a, like an instance of like
Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. I can give all kinds of examples. I mean, the classic example is like, we, I made 90% of my income from selling products and the, I had control over how much commissions were in them and I had a direct in. And the more commissions that are in them, the worse it is for the clients cuz they pay the commissions indirectly, but they can’t see the commissions.
So like I was in this position of like, salesperson that could control their commissions and was directly incentivized to sell the higher, the highest possible commissions. But the worst part about it all is I was telling him I was like an advisor. I was like positioning myself as the trusted advisor.
So the clients, especially if they were less financially obliterate, were like, oh, this is a trusted advisor. I can trust them. And then you kind of sneak in it was such a sneaky spot to be in cuz you were like able to control the stuff behind the scenes that, in that directly negatively affected the client.
It was like, the more I made, the less they the worse off they were essentially is what it came down to. And on top of that, there was all, this incentive to always have more, like more clients was always better. It was like, we want you to have 2000 families you work with. I mean that, you know, they would u have huge numbers and so it became, I mean, you basically couldn’t do anything but the products.
It was like, work with as many people as you possibly can and in the minimal amount of time you have with them per, you know, household sell as much. Possible as you can or generate as much commissions at the end of the day as you can in that small slice of time. And then all the while act like you’re the trusted advisor so that they continue to trust you and buy the products.
Pablo: How does that relate to the way that physicians feel right now if they’re in that
Daniel: position? Yeah, I mean it’s, there’s a lot of similarities and I’ll kind of go through those. So, I think the problem similar is that the system is the issue here.
It’s like the system has created this incentive on like production based, like RVU billing codes. Like there’s these specific things that they, you know, have been decided to like be drivers of the healthcare system and also getting paid. And so it’s not technically commissions, but like there is a lot of like, Incentives built in around like specific things that may or may not tie to like taking the best care of your patients.
. So there, you know, that’s, and then the billing is a mess in itself too. It’s like very, it’s not transparent at all. So like what I was describing too is like our way of getting paid as a financial person was completely opaque. And so similar things in the healthcare world, like, you don’t know what you’re paying, like how do you f nobody can figure out where the money’s going.
And that’s cuz it’s just such a, you know, complicated kind of by design system and, it’s very opaque as well. And so there’s all these, you know, systems in place like that have been around for forever, like the insurance companies involved and they don’t really want to change things in same sort of thing in the financial services world.
Like the company that I work for was like the product. Manufacturer, like they were the ones that created and distributed the product. And so it’s kinda like when you get this monster hospital and insurance, a lot of ’em own insurance companies too. Like, they’re never gonna say like, don’t see more patients, don’t sell more, you know, don’t do more vus.
Like, there’s always gonna be incentive to do more. And actually the more, the better. and so I was incentivized to have as many possible clients as I, you know, 2000 is an example was fantastic, but like in reality you can’t work with that many people. It’s not possible. Like, you can’t go provide good advice and service to that many people.
Same sort of thing in healthcare, especially in primary care. It’s like, and really all of healthcare, it’s like, It’s getting, when you get to be to the level of full that they say you’re full, it’s like you get 15 minutes or less with each person and there’s no way to provide the best possible care when you have that limited quantity of time.
And in the time that you do have, you kind of just squeak out some things that, you know, check the boxes and then move on. So it’s, there’s a lot in summary. It’s kinda like there’s a lot of these incentives and conflicts of interests and the system is not really aligned with the patient’s interests.
And that’s gonna cause problems because people are, you know, they’re naturally or flawed and are naturally gonna be like, you know, good hard workers that work hard to kind of make the system do its thing. And we all kind of become like cogs in the wheel. And that’s just the natural. I mean, I was in the whole same sort of system and I was the cog in the wheel and I was, you know, and I was making a good living.
And it’s like, who’s gonna ruffle those feathers? Yeah.
Pablo: Yeah. It makes sense. Makes sense. So it’s like, now that you paint it that way, I see it one-to-one, right? Like, it’s just like the physician that’s like forced to see 50 patients a day and, and doesn’t really get to take time to really understand what is, what’s set the root cause here.
And then on top of that, they’re forced to do procedures, right? Kind of like, instead of prescribe, you know, like giving people good recommendations of ways to heal themselves and keep themselves healthy. You’re sitting there thinking, I’m not spending enough time figuring out what these people’s goals are, what their life, you know, what they really, really wanna do.
Instead, I’m, instead, I’m just sitting there trying to like, sell them more life insurance or sell them more, you know, products that this financial institution created. once you realized that, what, you know, did you immediately go into poo-pooing the system? Or were you looking for a different job?
What was your, you know, kind of, kind of like, what were your first kind of like, as you started seeking a better way
Daniel: what was that like? Yeah, so it was kind of interesting thinking back. This was like kind of a dumb thing to do, but my first thought was like, I’m gonna give the company or the system a chance.
So I went to the highest up person I could find at that particular company, which a actually happened to be like the head exec executive in financial planning at the company, like the home office. And I had a meeting with him and I went to him and I said, okay, here’s my idea. Like I wanna just cut out a lot of this conflict and I just wanna work directly with the client and.
Why don’t they just pay for my services and I provide those services? And so I pitched the idea of basically my new business to this financial planning chief of a huge financial services company. And he was like, yeah, yeah, I like that. That’s great. But like, you know what? Our model is great because the best thing about it is you don’t have to give up all the products.
Like you can still keep doing that. It’s, you can charge the fees you’re talking about and continue to sell the products. And I’m like, he totally just missed what I was saying. And I’m like, can, well, can I not do the products? And he’s like, well, no, we can’t really do that. Like, you have to actually meet these production standards to be able to even get into this.
You know, like, we’re not gonna let you basically charge the client in. So in other words, he was basically like, no, no chance. Your idea does not work in our system. So I kind of saw the writing on the wall after having the conversation. I’m like, well, that was dumb. I would just went to the product manufacturer and was like, Hey, can I work for you guys and not sell your products?
And of course they’re gonna be like, no. at that point I was like, well, I guess I’m out .
Pablo: Okay. Okay. So
Daniel: At that point, you, it was literally after that meeting I was out. Okay.
Pablo: And what does that mean? Did you quit day one? Did you, what’d you start doing?
Daniel: I put together, I knew I had to start my own business because I knew there was no other you know, at that point, like, there’s not any other models that are unique enough, so it was like, I guess I gotta create something from scratch that’s gonna like, do it the right way.
So I knew I had to start my own business, and so I put together like a giant, you know, list of things I needed to do to get it done. And it was like a three month process. And, you know, one month into it, I think is when I went to my company. I was like, I’m out. And then that, I remember that conversation to this day.
I went to the person who I respect and, you know, respect him as a person. He’s a good guy, but he, I don’t know that he realized he was saying this, but he said I am, happy for you and when it doesn’t work, you’re, please feel free to reach out to me. But he said the word win, or maybe I created this in my head, but I was, he, I, he said the word win, it doesn’t work out.
And I’m mic. No, that’s, I can’t believe you just said back .
Pablo: That sounds scary, man. Like, that’s, you know, the idea of inventing something from scratch when you’re comfortable and then telling, you know, the person that you really admire, that you’re out and you got this like, beautiful dream planned. and them just assuming that you’re gonna fail.
How did you know tell me about that man. Like, were you just so sure of this thing that you’re gonna go for it? Or were there fears there? Were you, was there trepidation? Were like, was your wife telling you you’re crazy?
Daniel: Yeah. Most people were telling me I was crazy. Maybe I wanted to clarify one thing too before I get into that, because I think it’s a good comparison.
Like with the healthcare system. Yeah, imagine. So. I think the, they’re not the exact same challenges I had, but like imagine going to your hospital and being like, Hey I got this idea. How about I just like, Work directly with the patient. Like how about they just like pay for my services and I provide them and it’s just open-ended.
Like I provide them just really quality healthcare and how about we do that and we just cut out all this, you know, system stuff. Yeah.
Pablo: And they’re gonna be like, and it’s like, I’m not, I’m not gonna operate on them. I’m gonna, I’m gonna prescribe them teas at home remedies and I’m gonna try to keep him out of the
Daniel: Right. Like, I’m gonna try to provide, you know, quality preventative care instead of just like, sick care and all the, they’re gonna be like, have you lost your mind? Like, what are you talking about ? Totally. That makes sense. that’s how they work. And you know, of course it’s fear. There’s all kinds of fear and everybody looked at, they give you like the sideways there, They’re like kind of curious, but like, also like as he lost his mind because I was giving up money, like basically forfeiting benefits and you know, they had these vest, you know, vesting schedules that were crazy long and golden handcuffs kind of stuff.
And I had to like, give up a lot of stuff. And financially it was stupid, you know, in the short term for sure. To go take a big risk. That was like, but by that point in time I had decided it was completely not about the money, you know? So that was like the, all that stuff, the scary, fearful, like, you know, you’re an idiot financially, like all that stuff, like was a non-issue because I realized I was not on line with my, what was, what I would say was most important.
So then I was like laser focused on that. Got it. Once I got to that
Pablo: point. Yeah. So instead of it being about the money, it became about, Living your values and really, truly helping your
Daniel: clients. that was like mission work. So I’m like, let’s rock, you know, let’s and it became easy. So then when people, throughout all these things that people normally say like, about money and risk and scary, I’m like, ah, you know,
Pablo: I mean, sure.
It’s like, yeah, how, you know, but like, how were you planning on paying your mortgage? Right? Like, what were you , you know, how were you mitigating the downside
Daniel: at that point? Yeah. I mean, yeah that is important to clarify. Like, I didn’t just jump. I mean, I did kind of jump, but I had Come up with like a business plan.
And I had, you know, a co a year’s worth of cash that I had kind of like saved. Plus I got another year’s worth of cash from a loan from my father-in-law . Nice. So that was also a key point in the whole plan. I’m like, I had a conversation with him cuz he’s a very successful business guy and I’m like, I told him my business idea and I’m like, what’s he gonna say?
You know? and I’m like, it’d also be great if you gimme a loan . but he was like, What the part about like the values conflict. Like you’re not doing the right thing and you have an idea where you can, he’s like, leave, you gotta leave immediately. Like, this is fantastic. So he was all over it.
that was a nice boost. So your
Pablo: father-in-law as a savvy businessman was into the idea that if you are not emotionally aligned and values aligned, you shouldn’t be there without even, you know, before even getting to the point of it’s a good business idea. Oh
Daniel: yeah. He was like, life is short.
Like, you gotta interesting, you gotta make the jump. Because my wife was the one that was freaked out. Like, of all the people in our little bubble of people, the number one person that got fearful at first was my wife. She’s like, what? Cuz we had just bought a, you know, a little too much house given this change and had, we were ha we were expecting our second kid and it was like the worst timing possible with all that.
She was like, what are we gonna do? How are we gonna pay our bills? And then my father-in-law was like, you gotta do it. You gotta do it now. . So I got all the. Financial part. Like I basically planned to not make any money for two years just to kind of play it safe. Cuz that’s what number one reason new businesses fail is cuz they don’t have enough cash.
. And so I, you know, got a little bootstrapped and you know, knocked it out and it was, it was a little scary in the moment, but like, it wasn’t so scary once I realized that I was, cuz when you’re not living in line with your values, you feel kind of fake. And when you realize, you kind of have the aha moment that like, I can make a change that aligns better with my values.
You get like a ton of energy and you’re like it doesn’t matter. Like this is a no-brainer. I gotta do this immediately.
Pablo: That makes sense, man. So a couple of things, a couple of things that stand out to me from this part of it is, number one, the idea that. This thing of getting energy from being in charge of your own future.
I think is something that all entrepreneurs in intuitively understand. And when you are, when you’re working for the man, when you’re working for a machine, you kind of have this like, ah, I gotta get up and go to work. the energy boost of like, nah, man, I’m gonna go out and create is a real thing that I think we all experience that I think people underestimate when they take this jump.
Right? Like you do end up working longer, most likely than you were doing the, when you first started. Because you enjoy it. Because you enjoy it. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Typically, yeah, you enjoy it. And then the other thing that, the other thing that sticks out to me is as long as you have. As long as you have the financial buffer, right?
Like you plan accordingly. You stack away your acorns and maybe you get a loan. And I think I, I would like to talk about that next, as soon as we’re done with this piece. Cuz I think there’s something interesting for physicians in this scenario particularly. But once you, once you stack those chips and you’re accounting for like a year or two of revenue or living expenses, it’s not like if you’re gonna go do something completely different, you were starting a new business model, but your day-to-day activities of like.
talking to clients, finding out the things that were good for them, putting them in the best investment vehicles is the thing that you were already proven to be good at. And I would imagine that as a physician of somebody that’s, you know, trying to keep people healthy, it’s what you’ve been thinking about.
It’s what you’ve been doing anyways. Yeah. So you, you’re really your day-to-day work. It’s not like if you’ve gotta go acquire a whole new skillset in order to make your clients happy, you just gotta build the infrastructure around it. And
Daniel: that’s what takes the two years. Yeah. It wasn’t like I was creating a real estate business or being like, I’m.
Create a widget that’s a good invention and I’m gonna make that my business. It was like, yeah, I’d had ki I had spent, I was kind of like, already, I guess I was seven or eight years into my career of honing a skill of working with families one-on-one and doing the thing. And so I had that down. I was confident in it already.
Just like a lot of you guys listening, like you’ve done the, you know, you’ve done the patient thing and you, you really know, you definitely know the academic side and you’ve, a lot of, you have learned like the people part of it, which is a whole separate thing. And so once you get to that point it’s not, that eliminates a lot of the risk as well.
And I, the other thing I realize is like quickly in starting it is like people want that, like the patience or your clientele, like they want they want, they know you have experience and they want someone to be able to give them the attention they need to like get to the place they want to go.
And so, People get frustrated and they also know like that the system is kind of messed up and they’re like, I’d be nice if you could get away from the system, cuz I hate going to the waiting room and doing the, you know, insureds paperwork. And they’re like, it kind of sucks. And like everybody knows it sucks.
And so they’re not like totally ignorant. Some of ’em are, but most of them are pretty smart about it. And they’re like, I can’t believe you’re starting this thing and getting away. I’m glad cuz it’s about time. Like some of you know that was the conversation. Have, you know, I had with a lot of the people I was interacting with, they’re like, this makes so much sense.
It’s like what you should have been doing all along. And I’m like, I agree. It’s kind of like simple. It’s like, You know, common sense. And so the right people really attract, are attracted to that model. And they come and there’s plenty of ’em. And it tends to go really well. And I’ve noticed that with, you know, our, the families we’ve worked with that have kind of had a similar track in, in, you know, working for the healthcare system type setup.
And they’re typically pre pleasantly surprised at how receptive people are.
Pablo: I would assume that to your point, right, like the people that really loved working with you, because you could take care of them cuz you cared about them, were very in, into staying with you and they sensed that something was wrong with your original system anyways.
And the people that you worked with that just wanted a product and not really cared about working with you Yeah. They were out. You know, so it’s, so, it’s way better to, you know, right when you leave, you leave with your best people. Not, not right. You know, like you kind of. More is not better. Right. It’s kind of like what you were saying from
Daniel: the beginning.
Same with healthcare. There’s all these people that don’t appreciate like what you do. They’re like freeloader kind, and they’re like, eh, yeah, yeah. I don’t listen, I’m not gonna listen to your advice. Like, just gimme the meds, like, and let’s move on. And they don’t pay for any, I mean, you know, maybe they pay for it, but a lot of times, you know, maybe they’re not paying for anything.
Like literally like no checks are being exchanged between patient and provider directly. And there’s zero, there’s very little appreciation for what you’re doing and appreciation for the advice or the help that you’re providing and vested interest in the patient. And the patient has very little vested interest in the relationship.
And that’s a prob like, that not, is not a healthy relationship, I think for being like the trusted advisor, whether it’s like health advice or, you know. Yeah. Helping people with their healthcare or money. Yeah.
Pablo: that makes way worse. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but. for sure.
Right? Like the person that’s just like, well, if insurance doesn’t cover it, I don’t even want to talk about it, even though it’s in their own best interest. Has to feel pretty empty to the doctor that’s giving the best advice possible and trying to help ’em out. Right. Yeah. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
That makes a lot of sense. Let’s go back to, all right, so, and the other thing that I have to say is like, , I would, I can’t imagine, you know, like I’ve worked with financial advisors from your past company before as well, and like as an uneducated investor. You know, it is less glaringly obvious that there’s a problem with the system than there is as a patient of a doctor that doesn’t have enough time to see me.
And I feel like a number, and I don’t know why all this stuff is happening. Right. Like, yeah. I feel like the, that plight, that conversation that you had with people of just like, Hey, I’m gonna start this off and do it differently, I would assume that a doctor doing that would get way more like, oh, it’s about time responses than,
Than the financial advisor. Yeah. I mean, I would be like that. I mean, I’m not a fan of the current health healthcare system, like the typical doctor’s office setup. I know it’s not the physicians either, like, they’re not fans of it either, generally speaking. Like it’s something’s going on here.
It’s like, it’s the system. I mean, like the system is jacked up.
Pablo: Yeah. And so, so to me, another big lesson. Or a thing that I like to pull out here is the debt side of it, right? Like the, like the taking a loan side for a financial advisor leaving a brand to go start their own practice in a completely different model you’re probably pretty fortunate to get this loan from your father-in-law, for a physician that is out there that is looking to start one of these direct care practices, I feel like there’s a ton of money sniffing around just waiting to lend to you to do something
Daniel: like this.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I was, it was hard for, like, I went to a few banks and they’re like who are you and what, like, what are you starting? That doesn’t even, that doesn’t even. Like, just go, keep doing what you’re doing. I, they didn’t, they hadn’t made zero interest in loaning me money at that time. Yeah. And maybe one of ’em was like, oh, I’ll give you one loan, I’ll give you $50,000 for 15% interest or something, but nothing good.
Banks were not interested. But physicians, yeah. They’re very lenders generally look at physicians very low risk. And then, you know, physicians practices, like it’s, you know, there’s a lot of hap, you know, very generous lending options available for physicians to get loans to start practices because, you know, there’s just a lot of, I mean, especially if you’re already.
Experience in it. It’s like, it’s just something that, is a pretty low risk, I guess is what I’m trying to say. So it’s not Yeah, that’s what the banks wanna know is they’re like, is this a high risk for me?
Pablo: Yeah. Banks wanna know. I have to assume that like maybe, you know, venture capital or even private money is, would be very, very willing to go in with a, to go in with a physician that is doing something better for the,
Daniel: for the healthcare system, mean private equity.
And those kinds of people would be like, you would catch their ears if you’re like, Hey, I wanna build a operation. Like if I say your idea was like, you know, the healthcare system’s messed up. I have a new idea where I can do like, you know, directly work with patients like direct care and I want to build like a multi-specialty practice and I want it to be like regional or national and like we’re gonna like scale this thing.
That’s when you get the venture capital private equity people like, Ooh, yeah, we’ll give you some seed money to kind of like boost this thing, make it grow fast.
Pablo: Yeah. Yeah. So that money’s out there, basically, right? Oh yeah. Like if you want to go big or small, that money’s probably out there. Talk to me about when you decided to do it, you build the business plan, you got the money, you went off and operated.
I have to assume that as a craft, you knew what financial planning was all about. You knew how to get clients, you knew how to service them and stuff like that. What about as far as like a business operator? What was that journey like? Like what would it, what is there to learn as as far as like going from being a, you know, an operator in your business to being a business owner that you can share in your journey.
Daniel: Yeah, I think that is, that’s one thing that’s a little different that I had a advantage of a leg up on in regards to, or comparing it to physicians on average is that a lot of it, c you know, having general financial literacy I think is huge. If you want to eventually start a business. And so, I know I don’t think this show will come out before this one does, but I’m inter, I have a show coming up someone in direct specialty care and he talks about how important it was for him to have the confidence to make the.
In just having financial literacy. So like, once he got a foundation of financial literacy, he was way, he was able to, he was basically gave him the confidence to make the jump. I had that going in, like I was very confident with the financial literacy. Now there was some stuff you gotta learn, like entrepreneurship type stuff, like how do you hire and pay people and bookkeeping and all these other things, but they tie, they, they overlap a lot with financial literacy, because a lot of ’em tie to the dealing with the money and there are some non-financial things like dealing with people, like life skills. But those I love, but personally I have loved like developing that skillset because it’s so much more applicable to like real. As opposed to just like, you know, stuff you don’t use very often, like learning to, for example, communicate effectively and lead people is super important in entrepreneurship, but it’s also super important.
I’m like parenting my children, you know? Yeah. So, and being a good husband, and being a good husband. Yes. So those are, but you know, at the other thing about physicians on average I think financial literacy is important and you gotta learn that if you don’t have it already. One of the advantages you do have is like, you guys are like amazing academic, you know, superstar can soak stuff up in seconds.
Yeah. Whereas it takes me hours. It’s like, you could listen to like 15 podcasts on personal finance basics in like a couple days and have like the average the financial literacy of like, you know, far above average person. Yeah. You know, just quickly. So highly skilled learners. Highly skilled learners.
That is a very, so you can learn really whatever you want. You just have to kind of start soaking it up.
Pablo: Do you help your, I, I mean, I know that this isn’t like what this podcast is about, but do you, do you like help your clients with this stuff? Like does the average financial planner help a doctor that is in there, that is in their book of business, how to kind of like, are you able to help with that type of stuff?
If they wanted to start their own business?
Daniel: Yeah, I mean, we’re talking about their values and I’m gonna point out like, so for example, you know, I would try to help them to identify like I had early on in the day, like if there was a values conflict, like if my work is. Squeezing me and pushing me in a direction of, or turning me into the person.
I, I don’t actually want to become, like, I would try to, cuz we’re gonna talk about their values and if that comes up, I’m gonna be like, you know, trying to encourage them to think about other alternatives. And then you, once they, if they do decide to change direction, yeah. I mean that’s something we’re, you know, helping more from like a quarterback, like high level standpoint.
We’re like gonna encourage them to make a business plan. I’m not gonna make a business plan for them. Especially when it gets into like creating your own thing. Because part of the whole benefit of doing it is doing your own business plan. Like going through that exercise is really valuable, I think yourself because it prompts you to think about all this important stuff, but I’m gonna encourage them to do. The business plan and, you know, help them to make sure financing is in order and give them like the assurance that like, yeah, we got two years of cash reserves, for example. So that even if this thing takes a couple years to go, you’re still gonna be fine.
Like, it’s all gonna be good. Yeah. So it’s
Pablo: not like put their business plan together, but maybe double check it a little bit and give you some guiding advice. And where would somebody get started with a business plan ma’am?
Daniel: I think, I mean, I can provide like templates and that kind of thing.
So, you know, it really could be as simple as just Googling as, you know, basic business plan . Yeah. So, and then just do it. And if you, and if it’s like 50 pages, like skip it, like we want like a few pages, like let’s get a simplified business plan cuz it doesn’t need to be super intense and then just do it.
Pablo: Yeah. Okay. What else man, from your journey. So I guess if we’re following along chronically, chronologically, not chronically , you’ve put together a business plan. You got started, you started basically like getting into the, you know, you overcame some, some doubts with your wife.
Well, any advice on handling that conversation? Or maybe it’s not a wife, maybe it’s just somebody else that really, really loves you, that’s afraid of this, like, risk. Any advice on kind of like handling that, that you learned from going through it?
Daniel: I think having, like, it’s the same thing you would say, I would say to do in general, like having honest conversations and sharing the plan with them and Yeah.
Making sure they’re on board. Once my wife was on board, it was like the last kind of chip to fall. I was like, all right, we’re golden , because she was like, okay, you, let’s do this. then we’re game on. So getting She got to a point where she said, yeah, let’s do this. And so getting to that point, some people just kind of are like, well, I’m just gonna do it anyway.
Or they don’t exactly get that buy-in, but like getting your buy-in is huge, I think. Yeah. Yeah.
Pablo: Having a plan, sharing the plan, iterating for it to make that person comfortable with it, right. Yeah. Like so they’re on board
Daniel: and then getting feedback. I, I was talking to my buddy that’s kind of going through something similar right now in a little bit of a different field.
But we were talking about like a feedback circle and how valuable that is, like in the early days. So especially before you start the business I did in that three month time leading up to it, I kind of got like a circle of, you know, people that I would consider, like either really great examples of the type of people I would wanna work with, or like super trusted people, like super experienced in business or whatever.
And I just like started getting like feedback and asking them questions and kind of like soaking up as much as I could in the time leading up to it, like prior to starting. So for example, if like you’re trying to start a, you know, your own practice or whatever, like an easy thing is to find like people that have, are already doing it and you know, get. Set, have an hour conversation with them would, even if it costs money, you know? But like ideally you have like connections where you can kind of talk to people and ask about their, what they learned and what the you know, challenges were. And, and they’re probably gonna want to talk about it.
Like, you know, most people that have done well with it are happy to like, share. And they love to see that other people are doing it. So getting that like circle of people is huge
Pablo: circle of people that have done it. Before. You kind of mentioned this idea of did, did I hear you correctly that there’s also a certain level of like, feedback circle of people that you would wanna actually be doing business with?
Like of like clients or, or people that were, if you were a physician, like somebody that’s your patient that you trust and you have a respons
Daniel: issue with? Yeah, I remember I got, I sat down with like, probably like 20 different physicians and I was like, that I would consider like, you know, emotionally intelligent I guess, or like solid.
And I asked them like, how do you feel about financial advisors? Like, how do you feel about the way we get paid? Like how do you feel about the conflicts of interest? How do you feel about or what if I was to do it this way? Like what if it was like a thing where you just paid us and we just give advice?
And I got all kinds of feedback that was like completely confirming my business idea. It was like all in on like, yes, that’s way better than the other thing. And I spent some time like preparing for that. Like, the questions are really important, but you can get all ki before you start. Once you start, it feels like you’re selling kind of, but like before starting, you can do all this awesome, like home, you know, feedback information gathering that will help you a ton.
Pablo: Interesting. Okay. So that’s a very similar, that’s similar to kind of like, How people advise startups to start a business, right? Like you just kind of start interacting with getting market feedback, things of that sort, using your, best clients to get their feedback and just basically asking them what their problems are and how can they can best be served in an open-ended way that allows them to tell you how they feel without necessarily being like, what do you think if I do this?
Just like, Hey, you know, do you have a problem with this kind of thing? And that kind of thing. And you know, it, would it be worth it for you for someone to come up with a better solution, right? Like validating these things without necessarily leading them, that feels like, if I was a doctor listening to this right now, that would feel like a perfect next step.
Like if I was like, man, I’m really echoing with this. I’m thinking that I might wanna follow this thing. Maybe next time you, you look at your, your appointments for the day and you have, you have some patients coming in, your favorite ones kind of like, as you’re wrapping up, just be like, Hey, how do you feel about, you know, this type of experience versus another type of experience?
And is that something that you’ve heard of or anything like that? Is that kind of what you’re saying?
Daniel: Yeah, that’s such a good exercise and I think it, it kind of depends on what setup you’re in, but like, assuming you have like, ongoing, some of you I know have like transactional patients, so that’s kind of a little bit of a different thing.
But like assuming you have like, kind of like an ongoing panel of patients that’s perfect because you’ve started to develop relationship and I have a feeling, even if it’s negative feedback, so I was in a doctor’s appointment. A couple of weeks ago, and if he had asked me that question, I kind of wish he would’ve, but if he had asked me that question, I would’ve been like, I think it’s a great idea because I don’t even know you.
Like I, we just had this two second awkward conversation that was you trying to get to know me, but it was not near enough time and it was just awkward. And then you had to move on cuz you were rushed. And so I would, I think that’s a fantastic business idea. I don’t know if I would go with you cuz I don’t even know you , you know, like, I don’t know if I would be ti resonating with you doing that, but like, yeah, I think it’s great because I don’t even know you, you know, and this will allow you to kind of, get to know people better, which is really important in relationship and ultimately providing better care.
Pablo: That feels like a golden nugget right there, man. Like I feel like that’s a like a beautiful next step. Right? Way less daunting than Let’s go start a business plan . Yeah. Right? Like go, go pick people’s brains about
Daniel: what they think about the, the question is like, who are you serving? You know?
Yeah. Like who in your business, like who your professional life, like who are you ultimately serving? Is it the patient? Is it yourself? Is it the hospital system? Is it the insurance company? Like, I think that’s a good question to ask. And I think for the, for me, the answer, and I think the answer for most of you guys is like the patient or the client.
Pablo: Yeah. Totally. Totally. I feel like we’ve been in advice mode for a little while. I want to go back a little bit to your story. One second, man. When did you figure out it was working? Like at what point did you go from like, oh God, I’m really doing this to like, ah,
Daniel: I’m doing this. Yeah. I think. Really early on, I th I, I knew it was gonna work when I got people to say yes, like they signed the contract, actually. I’m like, oh, they actually signed the contract. And that was like in the first couple months, like when the first batch of people like actually signed a contract and said like, I’m in.
I was like, whew, okay. I think it’s gonna work. But that, that didn’t like, completely remove all the pressure. Like the next hurdle was when I was able to like, pay myself something and then that was like, okay, maybe I’m gonna be okay. Like, financially speaking, I know it’s can work, but like maybe I can be okay.
And then I got to the point where I could like, feed the family. Okay. And I’m like, and that was probably like at that, you know, two years-ish mark, where I’m like, I call it like feed the family. It’s like baseline lifestyle level where I can pay myself. And then it really took like probably six years to get to the level where I was at before.
Which for some people they’re like, that’s a long time. But like, I didn’t even care about that. That didn’t move the needle for me much like getting to that point. I was like, eh, whatever. Interesting. Interesting. But the first one was the most important, like the amount of pressure and the relief around each point was lesser as I went on.
Like the most important one was that first one when somebody said, yes.
Pablo: Yeah, that makes sense. Anything, what am I missing from getting to that point? If somebody said, yes, that sounds like you probably had to put together a different kind of contract. You have to go find somebody to write you a contract that reflects this business model.
That’s probably similar to a doctor going from, we’re gonna take, you know, insurance to, Hey, I’m gonna sign you up for a different type of service. I would assume that doctors. Are less used to finding their own patients and more like, than maybe you were right? Like you were probably doing more prospecting than the average physician
Yeah. I mean, I was doing all the marketing stuff a ton, but but like there’s also, I think we have a ton of competition and as physicians, it’s like a lot of physicians I know are like, I don’t really want any more patients. . Like, it’s very common with physicians I know to be like I’m already full.
Like I’m way over full. That’s the most common. That’s probably the majority of people I talk to are like, I got too many. Yeah. And so you never hear somebody in financial services say that. Like they never say that in the average setup. So there’s just a lot more, it’s like aggressive competition in financial services.
. So I think. In medicine, I think there’s gonna be a little bit, it’s gonna be a little bit of a less competitive environment, which would translate to a little bit easier marketing efforts. I’ve heard a lot of people I know that have started their own practices, even if it’s like direct pay practice, have been able to just like, get it rocking just from their prior patient population.
That’s cool. And then they’re, you know, rocking and rolling, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can, and then marketing efforts tend to generate lots of new business because you’re like the only one in town doing it. Yeah. And people are looking
Pablo: for it. And, if something became very clear to me from the last episode that we talked about this, is that all the people that you know that are doing this stuff are also feeling like they can’t take on any more patients.
So they probably have a spillover list and maybe there is some kind of opportunity if you are in a geographic area where there’s another direct care physician of just calling them up and saying, Hey, you know, is there some kind of partnership we can create here where I got your spillover or, or whatever to get started,
Yeah. Especially regionally for sure, because a lot of physicians have just state registration kind of thing. So, you know, if there’s patients that are not in their area, there’s always referral opportunities. And now you’re not gonna get referrals from the hospital system. Like they don’t refer anything, you know, they’re very slow to refer outside their system.
But it’s gonna look different than that setup. It’s more like word of mouth and traditional advertising I think is how people tend to generate business. But that’s the kind of thing, going back to like fi, financial literacy and educating yourself. Like you can learn how to do the basics of marketing and advertising, at least to the level you need to, to start a small business pretty quickly.
Yeah. Or hire good people or both hire, you know, hire help slash learn the basics and you’ll be rocking. The hard part is the guy that
Pablo: started a marketing business without ever having been in marketing. I absolutely agree with that. Right. ,
Daniel: the harder part is having the expertise that people want and that’s what you all already have.
Like, that’s the big, huge advantage. You have this thing that like, it’s very difficult to achieve and very not a ton of people have it, and there’s actually a high demand for it, and people want it, and sometimes they need it desperately. Like you, you can’t, I mean that, that’s unique. .
Pablo: That’s true. That’s true.
That is something that you kind of kill for in the world of business . Yeah. Like, and physicians did that, right? Like they killed themselves for 10 years studying in order to be able to acquire that skillset, so Right, right, right. Should have that advantage. anything that I haven’t asked you about, Daniel, that you thought we would talk about before we started this conversation?
Man, I think this has been awesome so far.
Daniel: I think we hit the high points. I think the big takeaway action item in, in my head is like exploring the idea is I think really educating yourself about, you know, well, first of all, financial literacy. If you’re, if you’re listening to this you’re doing the financial literacy thing already, so that’s fantastic.
So keep doing that. But in terms of like this whole entrepreneurship or you. trying to get away from this system. If you don’t feel great about the system and you’re trying to get away, like starting to kind of delve into that world is huge and like education, educating yourself on that or you know, ideally, maybe even talking to somebody that’s already doing it, that’s a great first step.
Or maybe talking to a patient to give you that reassurance. They’re probably gonna be like, you know, we love you. We’d love to get more of you. Like, that sounds great. And so kind of putting the feelers out, you don’t have to, like, we’re not trying to say like, everybody jump ship from the system. I just have seen these challenges everybody’s having over and over again with the system and it’s like weighing on you.
So that’s, you know, really why we want to keep talking about this is like, this is a really good solution. I think people should at least be ex exploring.
Pablo: Agreed. I would add there something you missed is clearly we’ve talked in this episode how you’ve gone through this, right? So like, if you’re listening to this, whether you’re Daniel’s client or not, I’m sure that you welcome this conversation of like, Hey man, I’m thinking about going out on my own.
Go pick Ben. Ben Daniels here. He’s definitely doing at a higher level than I’m doing it, that’s for sure. Yeah.
Daniel: Yeah. Feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help
Pablo: that. That’s cool, man. All right, man. I thought this was great. I love this idea of there is very low friction to your next step, right?
Like the idea of next time you’re with your favorite patient, ask him if you know, what would they think of a model like, Seems like a very small kind of like thing to consider that might give you that little validation point that makes you then have the courage to reach out to a direct care physician and ask ’em how it’s going in their business talk to the next patient or anything like that. I thought that that was really cool and the idea that there’s a lot of funding out there for this type of thing and Yeah. Feels very real, man.
Daniel: I think definitely, definitely keep listening to our next few shows. We’re gonna have like several different direct care physicians on and one that started a direct specialty care network.
And so we will, we’ll be having a few to kind of like share examples of how people are doing it and you know, their journeys. So definitely check those out too. All right, Pablo. It’s been fun.
Pablo: Yeah, man. I love doing this with you, dude. I appreciate you having me.