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The EntreMD Podcast

Ep #179: How to Create Something Out of Nothing

The EntreMD Podcast with Dr. Una | How to Create Something Out of NothingYesterday, I was working on an amazing project with the EntreMD Business School. We’re creating a collaborative book, with contributions from all the members, and I finally got everything in order and it’s really taking shape. When I looked at it all put together, I almost cried because two months ago, this was just an idea, and now, we’ve created something out of nothing.

It’s amazing what we can do when we apply ourselves. As entrepreneurs and visionaries, that’s what we do: create something out of nothing. So, today, I’m using how we built this book to explain the process of building on your own ideas, and challenging you to find your own mission in this story.

Tune in this week to discover how to create something out of nothing. I’m sharing why the commitment you have is so much more important than the how, and the magic that happens when you decide to just own it. This process is never comfortable but when you can embrace the discomfort, you can create anything!

If you need help either discovering your zone of genius or figuring out how to present it to the world, you need to join the EntreMD Business School. The waitlist is now open for the June 2022 cohort!

If you loved this episode of The EntreMD Podcast, I invite you to join my signature subscription program EntreMD On Demand, giving you access to a library of business courses designed to help you thrive as a physician entrepreneur! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why our work as entrepreneurs and mission-driven docs is building something out of nothing.
  • How I decided I wanted to create this collaboration book with the students in the Business School.
  • Why the first step is always looking at all the reasons you could say no, and instead saying yes.
  • What I see entrepreneurs often missing when it comes to setting their intentions and goals.
  • The importance of embracing discomfort when you’re creating something out of nothing.
  • How to get to grips with executing the work and handling the difficulties of creating something completely new.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

Hi docs, welcome to The EntreMD Podcast, where it’s all about helping amazing physicians just like you embrace entrepreneurship so you can have the freedom to live life and practice medicine on your terms. I’m your host, Dr. Una.

Well, hello, hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode of The EntreMD Podcast. And as always, I’m super pumped that you’re here and you’re listening. And today is going to be so worth the listen. And this is going to be an episode you’re going to want to share everywhere. And if you haven’t written us a review, you’re going to want to write us a review. Okay?

So yesterday I was sitting working on a project that I’ve been doing with the EntreMD Business School. And that project is a collaboration book. So we’re working on the school is publishing a book, the students are the authors. And I finally had all the chapters put together in a Google document, and there was a table of contents, and all the pages were numbered, and there was like a mock cover and all of that.

And when I looked at it, I almost cried. And I almost cried because I was like, “My goodness, a month ago, two months ago, this was an idea. It was not a thing, it didn’t exist.” I was like, “This is creating something out of nothing.” So months from now we’re going to have a published book in hand. A really great book, published book in hand and it came out of nothing. It literally came out of an idea. It came out of nowhere.

And so I was thinking about what to talk about on the podcast. I was like how about that? How to create something out of nothing? That’s what we do as entrepreneurs. That’s what we do as visionaries. That’s what we do as mission-based individuals. And I’m going to be using the process for the book to explain it. But I want to challenge you to find your business in it. I want you to find your mission in it.

And so you can apply this because I want you to start creating a lot of things out of nothing. So where this whole book thing came from, in the EntreMD Business School I’m constantly thinking about how I can get people results faster, better. I’m constantly thinking about what can I do to help my people elevate their self-concept? What can I do to help them make paradigm shifts? There are certain shifts you make, you just don’t go back to the way you were before. It just changes something.

And so in thinking about that I was like, “Oh yeah, I know what I’m going to do. We’re going to do a collaboration book. They’re going to share their stories, we’re going to get bestseller status.” They’re going to be bestselling authors and all this stuff. I’m like, “Oh my goodness, this is going to be so amazing.” And it was so crazy too, though, just so you know.

Because at the time I’m thinking about this, I’m in the middle of writing my own book, right? I’m in the middle of writing The EntreMD Method and it’s not like I have all the time in the world. But I’m like, but this will be such a game changer for them, that I’m going to do it.

So that was the thought, that’s where all this came from. And so let me walk you through what I decided to do. Okay, how did this happen? How did we create something out of nothing?

So the first thing is, the idea came and I said, yes. And you might go like, “Of course you did, that’s why you have a book.” No, the idea came and I said, yes. I could have said no. I could have said no, because… Right? Because I have a book going on. Because this is December, it’s in the middle of the holidays. Because I’m homeschooling my older two kids. Because I have a practice to run. I have the EntreMD Business School.

I had so many reasons to say no. I was like how am I going to get a group of people to publish a book? How am I going to get it all together? How am I going to organize that? How am I going to lead that? It’s like I can’t do that, right? But I said yes. I said yes.

And because I said yes without thinking through the how, because see, this phase is the wrong time to think about the how. Because when you’re trying to own a goal, how will stop you every single time. You might say, “No, I want to be realistic.”

No you don’t. I mean, okay, for instance I’m reading a lot of these chapters, I’m talking to physicians and all that. I hear really interesting statements all the time, like at the age of four I decided I was going to be a doctor. Okay, that is a ridiculous goal for a four year old. It’s a ridiculous goal for an 11 year old.

Especially some people who they’re the first people in their family to go to college. First people to graduate high school. I mean what? We have dreamt up impossible things before, we can dream up impossible things again, right?

And so this is not the how era. This is not where you think about how. You think about the what, and you say yes to the what. Because I’m thinking well, maybe 30 people will say yes. I mean, that will be great, out of the business school.

I was like if 30 say yes that will be amazing. But I’m not an editor, but I have to be responsible for putting all these things together. I’m not a professional storyteller, like pull people’s stories out and all of that stuff. I don’t even know what the title of this thing is going to be. But I said, yes.

Now, in your business you might say I’m saying yes, but I want to put this out there. A lot of times when I look at goals of entrepreneurs, they leave out certain things. Especially numbers, they’re like, “No, I just want to really serve people and the money will follow.”

And if you really look at it, we don’t skip writing the number part because that’s greed. We skip it because then I have to do it. Then I have to put my weight behind it. Then I have to change my self-concept. Then I have to change the actions that I’m taking. Then it’s like that’s like calling you out. And you’re like, “I’m not going to call myself out.”

And so for you as an entrepreneur, if you’re someone who hasn’t owned revenue goals, or haven’t owned a start gate, or haven’t owned the number of patients or clients you’re going to have, if you haven’t owned that, that’s where you need to say yes. That’s one of the most critical things you can say as far as your goals go.

So say yes. And my yes, let me tell you something funny that I did. I have a publishing editing company that I’m using, and for them to support our project it costs about $15,000. Okay. And the reason why I did that, I don’t want them to have an apologetic collaboration book. I want them to have a really good book. Like five years from now they’re still so proud of the book that they wrote.

So I want it really professionally done. Before people had even paid to be a part of the project, I already had a consultation with them and paid them in full. Okay. What is that? That is a yes. That is the evidence that I said yes.

It’s so funny, I even posted in the group, I was like, “Listen, this is how committed I am to it. Maybe I’m even more committed than you.” I don’t know, maybe I didn’t say that part. But that’s commitment, okay.

So commit to dates, commit to a dollar amount. Make a commitment. Those commitments that are scary, own something. Own something, okay? So that was the first thing.

The second thing, and before I even go to the second thing let me even say that even with the EntreMD Business School that I run, it’s the same thing. EntreMD Business School, I can tell you I was thinking, “This is so crazy. Harvard has a business school, Emory has a business school. And then EntreMD has a business school. What is that? What are you even saying? That is so crazy. That is so whatever.”

It’s up to me to say yes and then figure out how we’re going to do this stuff. And does that work? Yes, of course. After saying yes, look at the amazing things that are happening in the lives of the doctors who are part of the EntreMD Business School. You know what I mean? What if I didn’t say yes? What if I didn’t own that? What if I chose to dabble? Because dabbling doesn’t produce much, right?

But anyway, say yes. And truthfully, say yes. You can even PM me, DM me, email me, whatever. Dr. Una at, that’s D-R-U-N-A, and say, “This is the goal that I owned. I’ve thought about this for two years, but I never bought myself to own it. I never brought myself to write it down anywhere. I never bought myself to actually say, okay, we’re going to do this.” Own it. It’s magical what happens when you own it.

Okay, number two. The second thing I did was I embraced the discomfort. Let me tell you, one of the things I strive to do is I strive to always be doing something that makes me uncomfortable because that’s my evidence that I’m growing. Okay, that’s just the way I run my life.

And so when I said yes to this, I started getting irritated in my mind. So I get irritated because I’m like, “Man, then I have to read through,” because guess what, I was hoping for 30. No, no, 50 people said yes, 50, five zero. Five zero. Which, I mean, is so fantastic. Because when I read their stories, I mean, they’re so mind blowing, they’re so good. But 50 people.

And I’m going like, “I have to read 50 chapters, I have to give feedback on 50 chapters.” I’m the go between them and the company that I’m using. I mean, how many times do I have to read these chapters? I’m going to read to give feedback. I’m going to read for their final drafts after I give them edits.

It’s going to go to the company, they’re going to do a concept editing, like content editing, and say, “Okay, rearrange these things this way.” And then they’re going to do a line by line edit. And yours truly is going to have to read through the manuscript every single time. And I’m going to have to have meetings, I’m going to have to train.

I had to go for a three day workshop to work out table of contents, the outline, the position of the book, all this stuff. And oh my goodness, I had to then turn around and try to explain it like for the part of what they had to do. And I found myself refusing the discomfort, not accepting the discomfort.

Let me tell you what that does, it just produces pain. Okay, this is mental pain, but it produces pain because I was in resistance. I was like, “I shouldn’t have to do all this work.” All the time telling myself this is self-induced, nobody asked you to do this stuff. You know what I mean? Like you did this to yourself. But I didn’t realize, it was so subtle.

But I was at the workshop. I’m like, so why am I irritated? What is going on? And then it dawned on me, I was like, “I don’t want to have to read the manuscript that number of times. I don’t want to have to give feedback.” I’m phlegmatic at my core, hashtag my natural bend is to avoid conflict.

So me telling you go rewrite this chapter or go rewrite this section, I don’t want to do that. But if I don’t do that it’s such a big disservice because my people end up with a book they didn’t want. It will not be the best that they can have.

And so I was just in so much resistance, like I don’t want to have to do all this stuff. So all these actions I would have to do, I’d have to elevate my leadership capacity to get everybody together and pull this off and coach them through it and all of that. I would have to change, my actions would have to change. And I didn’t want to do that.

And then so I had to talk to myself. I’m like, “Self, come on, cut it out. At the end of the day, you’re going to be so much better. Because one, is you’re going to create a really good book. And the book is going to be a win win, right? Because the audience, they will read it.”

Let me tell you one of the reasons why I really wanted this book. When I started off as an entrepreneur I would Google, I would open up Google and search physician entrepreneur. Because yes, there are books on business, but there weren’t books by doctors on business. And I’m like, “I want to know what my people are saying. I want to know what their challenges are. I want to know how they’re overcoming it”. But I couldn’t really find anything.

Now, we’re talking 2009, 2010. So at that point Facebook groups, coaching, and podcasts, all this stuff, they were not really things at that point. I mean it was just not there. And now I’m like, wow, you can open up one book and read over 40 stories, over 40 stories of doctors who are willing to tell you the trials and the triumph, the challenges and the wins, the good, the bad, the ugly.

Take you behind the scenes to see what they overcame and where they are now, because that tells you whatever you’re going through, whatever challenge you’re facing, is normal. This is what entrepreneurs go through. And these wins that they get, those are normal too, they’re within your reach. Mind blowing, right?

So I’m like, “Embrace the pain. This is what you’re going to create for the listener.” I’m like, embrace the pain, your people are going to be bestselling authors. Embrace the pain, the business school will be the better for it. Embrace the pain, you would have grown your capacity to lead. Embrace the pain, who knows you come up with a system to do this faster and better. Right? Embrace the pain, it’s all good. It hurts but it’s all good.

And so at the end of the day, what did I do? I embraced the discomfort of it all. And guess what went away? The pain. The pain is just from resisting either what is or resisting what you need to do, so let it go.

So with your own goals, maybe the reason why you haven’t said my business is going to make $100,000, is going to make $200,000, this is the year we hit half a mil, or we hit a mil, is because you realize that you have to change and your actions have to change. And you don’t want to do it.

Maybe you’re saying if I’m going to hit $100,000, that means I have to put myself out there. I’ve been running away from showing up anywhere like podcasts, Facebook lives, speaking events, all of that. I don’t want to network. I don’t want to ask anybody for referrals. I don’t want to ask anybody for reviews.

And so the reason why you didn’t write the $100,000 down is because you’re like, “In order for me to get that I have to do this. And I’m not willing to embrace the discomfort of it.” Do you see what I’m saying?

So that’s kind of the way it works. Maybe you’re like, “Wow, we’ve been doing half a mil for all this time. Why don’t we make the journey to a mil?” But you know that you have to increase your team and you don’t want to deal with people. You know that you’ve gotten away with not really having a lot of systems and policies and processes in place. And you know you can’t get away with it if you’re going to hit a mil, you have to do it.

You know that your business can no longer longer be, I don’t want to say unprofessional, that’s not the word. But it can’t be Mom and Pop-ish. You have to introduce a certain level of professionalism. And because you don’t want to do that you’re like, “I’m not writing the million.” Do you see why I’m saying you have to say yes? Because it calls you out. It calls you out on all the stuff you don’t want to be or do. That’s why.

Listen, let me tell you something, the least reward you get from building a successful business is the revenue. The bigger reward is who you become in the process. I heard a mentor of mine talking about, one day he just burst out he was like, “I love the way I think.” This was so many years ago so I could barely understand what he was talking about. “I love the way I think, I love the person I’ve become.” I’m like, “Okay, cool, whatever.”

Now I’m like, “I love the way I think. I love the person I’m becoming.” That’s the biggest reward. And that’s why you want to embrace goals that call you out on the things you don’t want to do and the places you don’t want to change.

So the second thing in how to create something out of nothing, is you have to embrace the discomfort. Okay? Embrace the price you’ll have to pay. Embrace the discomfort.

Number three, you’re going to have to execute. You’re going to have to execute, you’re going to have to do the work. You’re going to have to do the work. Let me tell you, if I can be totally honest, I want to say– Let me even go all the way back. I want to say the first time I did a launch, oh my goodness, that was so funny.

The first time I did a launch, I mean, I knew what to do, but I wasn’t going to do it. Like do a Facebook Live, I was not going to do that. Reach out to my email list and say what I’m doing, I was not going to do that.

Go out and let people know this is what you get if you use it and this was amazing, you should get it. I wasn’t going to do that either. I was just not going to do it and I didn’t do it. And in that first launch, oh my goodness, I made $0. Okay, go figure, $0.

You have to execute, I can say I want them to have a really professional, well done book and all that stuff, I have to do the work. I have to do the work.

Now, I wanted to get a feel, I was like how many hours have I put in this book from the time everybody signed up? So I didn’t include what I did to set it up and all that stuff. But from the time people signed up to when I was in a position to send the final draft to the editors to start their work.

And I checked it, and it was 50 hours. 50, five zero. Because I had to pull up all the training materials and let them know this is what you need to do. I had to go through the training materials and stream it down where I’m like, “Listen, if you do this the way I’m showing you, in 10 hours, 10 hours, you would have a wonderful chapter done.”

Did that and they send their initial draft and I reviewed it. And based on that I did another training. And they sent me their real draft, the first one we called the vomit draft, you know, like vomit. And they sent me their real first draft. And then I had to sit with my sister who is a red pen, which just means she is a great editor.

And we sat together for two days, for seven and a half hours each day, for two days to go through all the chapters. And we did a concept edit. And we did a line by line edits and sent feedback to everybody, like this is what to change, this is what to tweak, all that kind of stuff. And then when they sent their stuff back, had to read through all of them again to say, perfect. Then had to format and all this other stuff. But 50 hours, five zero, five zero.

You have to execute, if you’re going to create something out of nothing, especially if you want to create something great out of nothing, you are going to have to execute. It’s the same thing with launches, right?

And first of all, maybe I should just put it here. One of the commonest questions I get, well, maybe not commonest but a very common question I get is how can I grow my business without marketing and sales? I don’t like marketing and sales. It cannot be done, okay? It cannot be done.

Just that’s you, going back to number two, that’s you refusing to embrace discomfort. Marketing and selling, that is what people do to build wildly successful businesses. Now, let’s say you’re launching a program, you’re launching a practice, you’re doing any of that stuff, there is execution required for you to pull it off and for it to be successful.

A lot of times we know what they are, but we’re just not willing to do it. Or we get there and we let the mind drama stop us. Let me tell you a little bit about mind drama. When I know I’m going to do something I haven’t done before, I know I’m going to be nervous. I know my inner critic, Vicky, is going to start doing a lot of talking.

If you’re going to do a launch, you know that your inner critic is going to show up. If you’re going to go speak on a stage you’ve never been on before, like maybe the magnitude, the number of people in the audience, your inner critic is going to show up. If you’re going to launch a practice, you know your inner critic is going to show up. So I prepare for it.

I anticipate it. I know this is going to happen, I’ve been alive for 42 years, I know this is coming. And so I prepare for it. And in the business school we call it like a mindset manifesto. I create a manifesto. What are the thoughts I want to believe about this launch? What are the thoughts I want to believe about this project? And I spend the weeks leading up to it, working on believing those.

So when the drama starts to come in, I’ve already loaded up a lot in my mind that we have a fighting chance here, right? But my execution, I decide. If I’m going to do a launch I can decide there’s going to be an email that’s going to go out every day, three emails on the day that it closes. There’s going to be social media twice a day, I’m going to do Facebook Lives three times. I’m going to do one VIP Q&A, all this stuff. I map it all out.

This is what I do to take the emotion out of it, I map it all out. Some of them I can even pre-do. Like my emails, I can pre-write them and schedule them so they’re going and all that. But I map everything out and I make a commitment, no matter what it looks like, no matter what people are saying, no matter what, I am going to execute what I plan to execute.

I’m not letting any drama, even if I have drama in my mind, I’m not going to let it stop me from executing. You have to execute. So if you’re going to create something out of nothing, there’s going to be a lot of drama around there because it’s something out of nothing, but you can make the decision to execute.

So final draft is going to the editors today, which is so exciting. I’m so excited about it. Yeah, I’m so happy I executed. Those 50 hours were really well spent.

Okay, so number four. Number four is handle difficulties like a boss. Okay, handle difficulties like a boss. I was in resistance when I went to the workshop because I was like, “This is going to be a lot of work.” This was me at the beginning of the workshop. By the end of the workshop I was in a different kind of resistance because I was like, “This is going to be more work than the work that I thought it was going to be that I didn’t want to do.”

And when I actually started doing the trainings and getting back the chapters, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is even more work than I thought.” And so you can consider that a difficulty. And I could have quit, and quit doesn’t mean I would say no, we’re not doing the book anymore. But I could have lowered the standard. I could have said well that’s okay if it’s a crappy book, whatever, at least everybody gets a book. It doesn’t take much to become an Amazon bestseller. We’ll just throw it out there.

I could have lowered that. That is also quitting. And so I embraced and hugged on the difficulties and got it done. I handled it like a boss. I told you that at my core I’m phlegmatic, I don’t want to do conflict and all that stuff. So me telling people like, “Rewrite your chapter,” “Rewrite this paragraph” “Go do a line by line edit” and all this stuff. It was so– I mean, think about it, it was a lot of chapters. And I had to do it for every chapter.

That was difficult for me because of my personality. I’m agreeable, okay. We don’t have to fight, I’m agreeable. So that was a little much for me. But I did it, why? I wanted to create something out of nothing. And so you embrace something, you’re going to have deadlines that are going to be moved. You’re going to have people who gave you their word and their word won’t count. And people will disappoint you, haters will come for you, all kinds of stuff.

But if you’re going to create something out of nothing, you’re going to have to handle difficulties like a boss. Okay? And so this is not easy, but the rewards are so good. We haven’t even published the book yet but, I mean, some chapters, I’m reading them and getting chills. So amazing, right?

And so what do I want you to do? Well, today what I want you to do is say yes. That thing you’re supposed to create out of nothing, I want you to say yes to it today. And then you can follow the rest of the steps. You can embrace the discomfort, you can execute, you can handle difficulties like a boss. But it all starts from saying yes. It doesn’t start from but how, it starts from yes.

Own it. If it’s a number in your business, own it. If it’s the number of clients or patients served, own it. If it’s some project you’ve been running away from, you know you’ve been wanting to do it for the last two years, do it. You’ve always wanted to start a podcast and you’ve been putting off, do it. Some launch you’re supposed to do, set the date. Say yes and let’s do this.

I want you to imagine all of us, hundreds of thousands of us, physicians. And I love physicians and the reason why I love physicians is because we went into this to help people. I mean, what better entrepreneur is there to help people? Now imagine if all of us who want to help people, we go about creating amazing things out of nothing. Amazing things.

Amazing things, we can do that. And so I would invite you to say yes. Feel free to share your goal with me, I’ll be happy to cheer you on. You can send me a DM, PM, it’s @drunachukwu. Or you can go to the website, you’ll find everything there, And let’s go do this together, let’s change the world together. And not as a fancy statement, this is a truth.

I was talking to a doctor today, I was interviewing her on our other podcast, The Doctors Changing Medicine Podcast. And I said I’m writing a book. And in the beginning of the book, this is what I say, “The Calvary is not coming. The Calvary is here. The Calvary is us.” We’re it. So let’s go create a lot of something’s out of nothing and change the world together. And I’ll see you, my friend, on the next episode of The EntreMD Podcast.

Hey, if you love listening to The EntreMD Podcast I want to invite you to join EntreMD On Demand. It is my signature subscription program that gives you access to a library of business courses designed to help you do one thing as a physician entrepreneur, and that is to thrive. Just head out to and I’d love to have you join us. See you on the inside.

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