Dr. Dada is a shining example of someone who has truly leaned into possibility to make her life and career a dream. Like most physicians, entrepreneurship was something she didn’t think was in her wheelhouse, and she spent a long time thinking of herself as a placeholder in her business until the “right” person came along. But that all changed when she joined EntreMD Business School and shifted her perspective.
Join us this week as I quiz Dr. Dada on her entrepreneurship journey and the wins and successes she’s created for herself along the way. The transformations she’s experienced in just six months are awe-inspiring, and I know you’re going to want to drink up every single word she’s here to share with us.
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.
Dr. Una: Well, hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The EntreMD Podcast. I have an amazing guest for us today. Her name is Dr. Dada. She is a rheumatologist out of Seattle and we’re going to have a really great conversation that’s going to take you behind the scenes of the journey of an entrepreneur.
And for those of you who are thinking about it, it’ll make you go like, “You know what, I’m going to go ahead and do it.” And if you’re already in it but maybe where you’re doing cruise control and you know you should be scaling; you know that it’s time for you to reach for more, this is going to be that thing that pushes you to go ahead and reach for more.
So this is going to be a really good episode, so I want you to lean in, get everything you can get out of it. I’m going to ask Dr. Dada all the questions in the world so I can get all the yumminess out of her. So welcome to the show, Dr. Dada.
Dr. Dada: Dr. Una, I am so excited. Thank you so much for having me. I just love you. And I think you know that. I just love you. I can’t say enough good things about you. Thank you so much for having me though.
Dr. Una: You’re going to make me try to cry like right from the get-go? I love you right back. I love it. Alright, so I want you to introduce yourself to the audience so they know who you are.
Dr. Dada: So my name is Dr. Arinola Dada, and I am double boarded in rheumatology and clinical densitometry. I am also an entrepreneur. I have worked in the Bellevue and Greater Seattle area for the past 18 years. I am the managing partner of my rheumatology practice, I’m director at Eastside TMS Wellness Center in Seattle.
I’m the mother of two beautiful, amazing, talented girls. I’m a teacher, a mentor, a speaker, and in my past, I was clinical faculty at the University of Washington. I’m also a student at EntreMD Business School. In my rheumatology practice, I help people with autoimmune diseases preserve their immune function so they can live an active life.
My rheumatology practice at this time is expanding to create a center for excellence in autoimmune disorders in the Greater Seattle area. And at my TMS and Wellness Center, I help people with depression and chronic fatigue who have had trouble responding to the typical antidepressants get their lives back using TMS, which is transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy. And essentially, it’s using electromagnetic fields to stimulate areas of the brain associated with chronic mood disorders and fatigue.
Dr. Una: Wow. That is impressive. That’s a lot of stuff that you do. Okay, so guys, you see why I asked her to introduce herself by herself. I couldn’t have done that better. Alright, so when we met, you were already a successful entrepreneur, right? You had these businesses going and all of that. So tell us about your businesses at the time.
Dr. Dada: Okay. So I’m going to back it up a little bit. So my story starts in Nigeria. I attended the prestigious University of Lagos, which really formed the core of my resilience. Medical school was a battle for me, but it molded me into the survivor that I am today. I left medical school with an understanding of myself and that I can do hard things.
I moved to the United States, started residency at University of Pittsburgh Mercy Hospital with a six-month-old baby, and subsequently fellowship by University of Washington. I had the best experiences during my time at my fellowship program. It was a very welcoming and nurturing environment, despite the fact that all the attendants were so highly accomplished. In my time at the rheumatologist fellowship program, I was pushed outside my comfort zone. I had to work with mice. I do not like rodents.
Dr. Una: I love the way you said like, listen, I don’t like rodents.
Dr. Dada: Because somebody else might think it’s not a big deal to work with mice. I don’t like it. So my first day in the lab, I had to pick up this mouse. I picked him up, he squelched, I screamed, I threw him in the air, and I headed in one direction, he headed in the other, they had to shut down the lab for three hours while everybody was looking for the mouse that Dada threw into the lab.
So over the next 34 weeks in mouse research, I went from novice to basic science researcher with publications that I presented on a live stage. So again, I was able to reaffirm that I can do hard things. So after fellowship, I was offered several positions but I selected a small practice that was close to my home so I could pick up the kids and kind of focus on family.
Blessed with an amazing boss, I still love him today, who after two years offered my partnership. And I had another blessing, I had another baby. So although I was partner, I really wasn’t primally responsible for the business operations of the practice.
My partner managed the core of the practice. And I would take on small tasks, I’ll do a little bit of a project here, project there, employee improvement there, quoting classes, giving advice on just how to manage the – practice management when required.
So I worked about four days a week, I was chilling. I would volunteer at the University of Washington about half a day, of course my amazing kids, I had fun, I loved my patients, I enjoyed the opportunity of teaching medical students and residents and fellows. And life was good.
Or so I thought. And then my life changed. I was facing multiple crises at once. I had to go through a divorce and then my business partner let me know that yes, he’s going to be retiring by his next birthday. So get it together, girl.
So all that pressure from the prospect of helming this practice by myself, I started interviewing a new physician to eventually become my partner, and the truth of the matter is that I was just looking for someone to manage this practice. Just take this trouble off my hands. So eventually I found someone and he was expensive.
I was like, okay, well, I can’t afford him, but I will. I’ll stop this volunteering at the University of Washington, I’ll start working five days a week, I’ll extend my hours, maybe think about weekends, I’ll bring the kids to the office. But he turned me down.
And so for a year and a half I was just running this practice alone. I was running it scared. I thought of myself as just a placeholder until some real businessperson comes along. All the while, I was cross training my staff, I discovered multiple issues within the practice that I corrected, and then I implemented some drastic changes.
So finally, my knight in shining armor arrived. I got an offer. Someone wanted to buy the practice and have me join this specialty group. You don’t have to worry about running the business. We’ll take care of everything. So I asked, what’s going to happen to my staff? And they told me, oh yeah, those ones, they’ll be let go.
I was like okay now, so that was the last straw. That was when I stopped looking for an out. I realized that I’d been running this practice for over a year by myself and apparently, I was running it well enough that someone wanted to buy it, right?
So I did think about it for a time but what was limiting me was really not my ability but just this belief I had that I could not successfully run a business and that I was a physician. I wasn’t an entrepreneur. I wasn’t a businessperson. And so I finally needed to shift that mindset that I am and I’ll continue to be a successful business owner with employees that are flourishing under my leadership.
Dr. Una: Yes. This is so good. Okay, I just had to let that out. Keep going.
Dr. Dada: So at that time I was focused on my two kids as a single mom. But having a private practice really allowed me a lot of flexibility with my kids’ schedules and that’s something I will always be grateful for. So Dr. Una, by the time I started listening to your podcast, I was running a successful practice, but I was cruising. I wasn’t focused on growth. I was just thinking like most rheumatologists do.
It’s not a stressful specialty. Rheumatologists don’t burnout. We can work forever. In fact, this is something I said frequently in the rheumatology community, that we have a long shelf life. We can just keep working.
Dr. Una: Wow. Okay, so our first contact was the podcast. How did you find the podcast?
Dr. Dada: I don’t remember. I was just wasting my life on Facebook and then found something useful.
Dr. Una: Wasting my life on Facebook.
Dr. Dada: That’s probably how I found you.
Dr. Una: Oh my goodness, okay. I’m going to write that somewhere. Now, you said so many good things. I had to take notes. And I’m going to refer to a few of them because I want to make sure nobody missed them. You said I just wanted someone to take the headache of running this place away from me, right?
And a lot of times, as doctors, when we find ourselves in private practice and things like that, we’ve been conditioned to say I’m just going to see the patients. Somebody else is going to take care of all the stuff, right? And then you went on to say I thought of myself as a placeholder until the real entrepreneur comes.
And now you can look back and think like, so how did that make me show up? Because you don’t throw yourself at growth. You don’t throw yourself at making the business work when you’re a placeholder. You just stop it from dying. It’s a completely different paradigm. And I found this so interesting that you would say that.
And you said my belief was limiting me, I’m a physician, not an entrepreneur. And that is huge because doctors either say that a lot or they act that way a lot. Like I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m a physician. And this is the whole reason why EntreMD exists because we can thrive as entrepreneurs. We can figure this stuff out. And like you said, we can do hard things. So no mice for you.
Dr. Dada: No. We’re done.
Dr. Una: No mice for you. So what triggered your desire to scale? Because like you said, you’re in a specialty where it’s like, we have a long shelf life, it’s easy, we don’t burnout, so I’m just going to do my nine to five in my private practice until I retire.
Dr. Dada: Yeah. That was my mindset then. So I think my circumstances changed. I wish I could just say I woke up one day and snap, I came to my senses, but not. My circumstances changed. So my kids were more independent. So prior to that, I really spent a lot of my energy focused on getting them academically excellent.
I’m a mom of two girls and I needed to make sure that they would be financially independent in life. At least they’ll have the basics to set them up for success because there certainly wasn’t going to be any inheritance. So my older daughter got into her dream school and now she’s heading to law school.
My younger daughter is very independent. She loves robots, she doesn’t want me micromanaging her. In fact, she wants a helicopter mom off her back. And I also met the man of my dreams and I have this sense of calm. So I decided okay, it’s time to focus your attention girl, on your own development. Because nobody around me was really interested in being the target of my focus.
And I think another thing that happened is I went to Nigeria December 2019. I met a number of my friends and colleagues and these guys are hitting it out of the park. They are running multiple businesses like nothing. So when I got back, I’ll tell you, I sat up a little straighter.
And then finally, your podcast, Dr. Una. Your podcast. So by the time I joined EntreMD, I hadn’t decided what to do with my rheumatology practice. I thought I should do something, but I had a number of things going on then.
One is that I was struggling with growing this second practice, this TMS and Wellness Center. I formed this with a dear friend of mine and my contribution was to be the business mastermind. And after a year and a half of struggling, I was beginning to think that maybe this girl has made a mistake. Maybe she needs to find a real business mastermind somewhere.
So I also then met colleagues at EntreMD. And I was inspired by people just doing amazing things. From physicians just starting out as running coaches, experts helping women in academics with negotiations and getting their voices heard, to docs like, empowering women with skincare and nutrition, to specialist dry eyes, to neurologists empowering minorities in their field.
And I was like, okay girl, what are we doing with this tiny little practice? So this really helped me welcome the idea of expanding my practice to better serve my community and becoming financially independent. Giving me just more flexibility with my time and increasing the number of goals that I could strive for. And not just narrowing myself to just being this rheumatologist in this nine to five, yes, I love my staff, and that’s the end of my story. I felt after coming to EntreMD, I felt there was much more out there, and it really helped me to be able to articulate those things.
Dr. Una: Wow, okay. So by the time you joined the business school, you didn’t even necessarily have the plan of scaling.
Dr. Dada: No, I did not.
Dr. Una: You were just like, I need to be here, I need to do more, I’m not sure what more is but we are doing more. That is so good. So good. Now, so you joined the business school in June of 2020, right in the middle of a pandemic. This is why I call entrepreneurs crazy people. So how did you change and what did you start doing differently in your business?
Dr. Dada: So I changed, Dr. Una, and you probably won’t know this, we didn’t talk about this exact thing but when you dig deep on some of the things you taught in class, one of them was delegation and examining areas in your life that you can delegate.
So Dr. Una, I got a scribe. And this has dramatically changed my life. After work, I’d be at work, I’d end up bringing work home for three hours a day and then into the weekend. And then people, my kids and my significant other would ask, “So you’re working again.” And I started getting a little annoyed. Of course I’m working.
Dr. Una: Of course. I’m a doctor. This is what we do.
Dr. Dada: Dr. Una, with this scribe, my documentation time has been cut by 70%.
Dr. Una: Wow. 70.
Dr. Dada: 70. I trained her for like a month and then boom, we started. So actually it’s been the last one – I’m so excited. But in the last one week, I was done. My last patient left at five, at 5:25 I look at the time, I was like, my notes are done.
Dr. Una: I love it. Okay, now you said something that’s liquid gold so let me just pull that out real quick. You said I trained her for a month. So we’re not talking about delegation per se today, but people listen, if you – a lot of times what frustrates us about delegation is we find a person, we delegate, we don’t train, they can’t do what we didn’t train them to do.
And then we’re like, why can’t they do it? Why can’t they read my mind? Why can’t they just do what I want? But you did the right thing of onboarding the person properly and then now you have 70% less work. That is so good. Okay, go ahead. I just wanted to make sure people didn’t miss that.
Dr. Dada: So and then my communication skills have improved. Even when talking to patients. So in class, we kind of talked about this I help statement, which is what do you do and how do you make sure your client understands what it is that you’re offering. So this allowed me to be more in tune with what my patients’ pain point is and adjust my delivery of information in a fashion that really resonates with the patient.
Dr. Una: Yes.
Dr. Dada: So it gives the patient the opportunity to buy into the process and so it improves compliance, so everybody’s a win-win. And so rather than what I was used to, which was kind of this top-down approach, I know what’s best for you approach. So now we’re kind of more of a partner and in the final analysis, I want them to feel like they are part of the process.
And I think that communication skill, tweaking with that I help statement really helped me to achieve that. And then I started these videos on Facebook and I’ll tell you that it gets better and easier. But you have a framework and I refer to it each time. And it makes it easier, rather than just getting on there and really not knowing how you should deliver the statement.
So I think the framework makes a big difference. And I’ll tell you this one fact. So I had this patient of mine with osteoporosis and operating in her home, she had to have Facebook just streaming in the background. And then suddenly she heard my voice and she’s like, “Oh my god, Dr. Dada is here.”
Dr. Una: Dr. Dada came to my house.
Dr. Dada: She said I’ve got to do my x-rays and take my calcium supplements. And so she told me and I had a big laugh and she told me, she’s like, yeah, the video was actually so helpful with all her friends. So I thought, okay, I’m everywhere.
So with my assistant now, we’re also – I didn’t mention that. Yes, so I have the – I’m becoming a delegation queen. So I have the scribe and I have a virtual assistant. So my virtual assistant has started repurposing my videos and she’s turning them into blogs for my practice’s website. So that’s a huge difference for us.
Dr. Una: Yeah, doing a lot more by doing a lot less. That’s exactly what you’re doing. I love it.
Dr. Dada: And then finally, meeting a tribe of just like-minded and supportive physicians who care about each other and are constantly just celebrating each other’s wins. So one of the things that happened to me, or for me in EntreMD is I met another physician who had a TMS clinic. Remember how this second clinic I’m struggling with.
And so you’d broken us up into these mastermind groups and this allowed us to kind of get to know each other in a small space. So this doctor had some advice for me on the clinic. So he called me on a Saturday and just walked me through the process. And this has just been a game-changer for the clinic. So it has allowed us to cut out overhead by about 70%. So I do have to just give a shout-out to Dr. Ifosa.
Dr. Una: 70?
Dr. Dada: 70.
Dr. Una: What? Okay, I’m giving a shout-out to Dr. Ifosa as well. That is amazing.
Dr. Dada: Yes.
Dr. Una: Oh my goodness, okay, go ahead. I’m sorry.
Dr. Dada: So I just love the fact that we care about each other, we celebrate, we encourage, and we’re inspired by each other.
Dr. Una: That is so good. You know, I’m glad you bring this up because one of the more common objections when we talk about the business school is people are like, well, I need one-on-one, my case is different, I don’t want a group. And I keep telling people, I’m like, you have no idea how good the group is.
There’s the benefit to what I do, but there’s an enormous benefit to what you get from the group. Being in a group of physicians who’ve made the decision like, I’m going to build my business and I’m going to do that in community. That is so – I mean, 70%, and it had nothing to do with me. I wasn’t part of the conversation. You see what I’m saying? I was not. So that is so good.
Dr. Dada: I will tell you, remember that when we talked about class, I also wanted one – I am special, I am special problem.
Dr. Una: That’s true. I forgot about that.
Dr. Dada: I wanted one-on-one. My issues are special, unique.
Dr. Una: So what do you think now?
Dr. Dada: I am so glad because honestly, I think we would have still been struggling with that second practice, definitely. Without his advice and his mentorship, we would not be where – maybe I would be here maybe five years from now but not now.
Dr. Una: I love it. I love it. That’s the power of a group. That’s so good. Now, so you’ve been in the business school for maybe six months and two weeks. You know what I mean? Like, it hasn’t been that long. And these are all the changes you’ve made. Isn’t that wild?
Dr. Dada: It’s crazy.
Dr. Una: So if you did that in 2020, let’s talk wins. So your practice before the business school and where you ended up at the end of 2020. Tell me about that.
Dr. Dada: Well you know, 2020 started off with a blast. I had my New Year’s resolutions, they were set. I had scheduled, I was giving live talks to the community for this second practice because I was determined that you know what, 2020, it is going to thrive.
So I had dates on my calendar for more talks and dinner programs for marketing and then the pandemic hit. The gym closed. I changed my schedule to start work at 9:30 in the morning. I was sleeping in late. And then Dr. Una, you may not remember this podcast of yours but you were like, you are not on vacation.
Dr. Una: I remember it.
Dr. Dada: I was going for my leisurely stroll. Usually I’m on the StairMaster at 5am. But now the pandemic hit, it’s nine o clock in the morning, I’m like, leisurely me and these 70-year-olds are going for leisurely strolls. You are not on vacation, every single point you hit on that podcast, it was me.
Are you sleeping in? I was like, yes. So I decided okay, it’s time to get back into action. So the wins I had for 2020 is starting with my staff, so my amazing medical assistant passed her nursing exams and we’re going to support her to become a nurse practitioner. And I have another MA who also worked her way up and has been taking over a number of responsibilities to become the real practice manager. And that means less of me working in the practice and now having more time to work on the practice.
So my rheumatology practice has grown during the pandemic to the point that we’re offering some services on Saturdays. I’ve also started with my – this may sound familiar, Dr. Una – big hairy audacious goal of creating a center of excellence for patients with autoimmune diseases.
I’m purchasing a new building for the practice and we’re doubling the space. There is a need for excellent care for a growing number of patients with autoimmune diseases. And we have an attached infusion center that will provide the much-needed service for the community. I’ve increased my presence in the public stage as an authority figure on autoimmune diseases by being on podcasts and video creation.
Dr. Una: This is so good. So good.
Dr. Dada: It’s been a good 2020. Despite this terrible pandemic, I think at least professionally.
Dr. Una: Wow. Because I don’t know if you know this, but your growth professionally is like, on every side. So one is that you have a better team because you up-leveled your staff. And then two is that your volumes as far as patients and counters increased. Three is that you now have a new vision.
So when you came into the business school, it was just I want more. And then after a while in the business school, you’re like, I want to scale. And then now you’re like, I want to create a center of excellence. That is growing a vision and we’re talking six months here. We’re talking six months.
Dr. Dada: I remember the day I thought about center. I was in my kitchen. And this thing just popped into my head. Now I’d been carrying this same head for quite a while and this idea never popped into this head.
Dr. Una: I’ve been carrying this same head for quite a while.
Dr. Dada: And it just popped into my head and I said, you know what, yes, we are going to create a center of excellent of rheumatology in the Greater Seattle area.
Dr. Una: That is so good. That is giving me chills. That is so good. And the beautiful thing about it is this; that’s the beauty of taking action, right? So the reason why you’re thinking these thoughts is because you took action on some other things and you’re like, okay, so I’ve conquered this, I’m conquering this, and then it opens a whole new level of possibility.
And that’s why in the business school I throw challenge after challenge at you guys because I’m like, if you will do this, you will get results that one, make you rewire the way you think, like wait a minute, I can do hard things, I can be great on video. Because it took you a while to do your first video, right? If I remember correctly.
Dr. Dada: Because I’m a perfectionist and everything has to be just so.
Dr. Una: So here you go taking those steps, doing that. And then now you come to the point where you’re like, I’m going to build a center for excellence. I’m almost going like, oh my gosh, what is she going to think about next? And the beautiful thing about that is it takes your business out of the realm of being only transactional – and I’m not saying transactional like you don’t help people, but you understand what I mean.
Transactional to where it becomes a mission. And the money is a good side effect but it’s a mission. Like I want to provide this for Seattle. I want to – it’s so different. I’m so happy to hear that. So when I talk about helping 80,000 doctors build profitable businesses, it’s a mission. And it gives you the drive to do whatever needs to be done to get it done and you love every minute of it because it’s purpose. This is so good. So good.
Dr. Dada: It just changes everything.
Dr. Una: Yeah. And now you have, in addition to all that, then you delve into real estate because you’re purchasing a bigger property, which is two different businesses. And you said the way you’re positioned. So you’re not just this doc who’s a rheumatologist seeing patients in the Greater Seattle area. You are the doc.
Dr. Dada: Yes, yes, yes.
Dr. Una: This is so good. So, so, so good. So what has all of this then made possible for you? Because for me, I believe in balance, meaning that all aspects of our lives are working together. I don’t believe in building businesses at the expense of our families. I don’t believe in any of that. I’m like, we should have it all.
We may not have it all at the exact same time, but we should have it all. So business is a means to an end. So in your life, what has this made possible for you? All these things that you’ve accomplished in your business.
Dr. Dada: You know, I think there are two things. One is that we discussed during class is to have this framework for your life, which is looking at the big picture of things and thinking what’s important to you. So we went through things, legacy, health, professional development, your friends, your family, quality relationships, spirituality, fun, finances, business.
I think the other way I like to look at this is a long time ago, one older mentor told me probably when I was having a lot of drama in my life that you want to have many legs to your table of happiness. So I think of this table…
Dr. Una: I like it.
Dr. Dada: With 14 legs. And so one of those legs is my legacy, one is my health, one is my kids, one is my significant other, one is my friends, my professional friends, my personal friends, my relationships, my mom. So all those things make my table of happiness.
And so I think what this has done for me also is allowed me to think beyond just being reactive. And so I started to think about things like legacy. And so I was going to talk about this later, some other ideas that I was thinking about, but I think the other thing is all this and I think even the EntreMD Business School has just allowed me to have this mindset change.
Because now I’m not afraid of success. If I’m successful at something, I don’t think oh, that’s enough, I’m scared. I start thinking about how can this process be improved? While this is good, hey, we did x, and we did it successfully, can we improve it? Is there any way we can tweak it? Can we make it more efficient?
So I’m not longer ashamed or afraid of marketing my business. It’s something that I rarely did. I would always have to drum up the enthusiasm. I remember one time this orthopedic group in my area, there were like, 12 of them, and they had this open house. And I really had to do a lot of mental work to drum it up, to go there.
And when I did, I tell you, I met them one time. This is years ago. And it was just a gift that kept giving. They all would refer their patients to me, and they met me this one time. It was after work. I went to work, I came home, tucked in the kids, went back, and had that meeting. And that one meeting was just a gift that kept giving.
So I think what I’ve done now is just do more of that. So I created this WhatsApp group called Fabulous Eastside Female Physicians and we have Zoom meetings and the idea is to network and post-pandemic to socialize and become a referral base for its members.
Dr. Una: What? Wow. That is – okay, was networking something you liked back in the day?
Dr. Dada: No. I don’t like it. No.
Dr. Una: So you didn’t like that because you said it’s the Fabulous Physicians of Eastside?
Dr. Dada: Yes. So Fabulous Eastside Female Physicians group.
Dr. Una: So not only have you embraced networking, you’ve created a female physician network that you’re championing, which is a win-win because all these other people have an environment to come in and you have an endless stream of referrals because everybody knows you. This is genius.
Dr. Dada: I always said that the boys play golf and we and the girls are running home because we have to take care of kids, cook dinner, and all this, but the guys are out there playing golf and networking. And so as women, we need to find other ways which work for us.
Dr. Una: I love it. I love it. I mean, someone says the difference a year can make, but with you I’m like, the difference six months can make. And it’s not that you weren’t successful before. This is embracing possibility. And one of my beliefs is – I think it’s Jim Rohn that says it a lot is the goal is not the goal. The main goal is what you become because you try to accomplish the goal.
So look how different you are. You’re an upgraded version of yourself. It’s you 2.0. Just because you decided to take on these tasks. Look at all these ideas, look at all this stuff you’re doing. It is – I’m like, goosebumpy here.
Dr. Dada: I’m having the time of my life. I’m so happy
Dr. Una: I’m happy you’re having the time of your life. I didn’t know the half of this. This is so good. And you’re just starting. That’s the “scary” part is that this is about to snowball. You haven’t even snowballed yet.
Dr. Dada: Amen to that. Amen to that.
Dr. Una: Oh my goodness. Okay, so what would you say to the doctor who’s thinking of starting or scaling a business but they’re holding back? Maybe they’re afraid, all the what ifs and stuff like that, or this is not a great time to grow, like I should just be grateful that I’m successful at all. What would you say to someone thinking of starting or scaling?
Dr. Dada: I think you need to do a little bit of just kind of understanding yourself. And so for me, one of the things that – work that we did in class that kind of helped me to figure this out was when I identified what I wanted my legacy to be and kind of linked it to my passion.
So one of my passions is education, is educating children, and empowering women. And I just feel like the obvious thing is when you educate children, you change just their whole trajectory. So an example of this is so in 2020, I started sponsoring two kids in Nigeria because I went to Nigeria, I met some families and I kind of made some connections.
I hired somebody who helps me scout out families and so I found a girl, she’s beautiful, she’s going to have to have some eye surgery but she’s a beautiful girl. She’s 10 years old. And so I was going to sponsor her because her mom was taking her out of school to go become a seamstress.
So I sponsored her. When I found out that she has a brother, so I said, well, that doesn’t make any sense just sponsoring one of them. So I’ll sponsor two of them. So their mom wrote me a letter and in that letter she said thank you so much, and she went on to say that when the school bus came to pick up my children, the people who had not greeted me or said hi to me for years thinking that I was a “useless” woman said hello to me when my kids were picked up by the school bus.
So every time I remember her letter, I just have a little more pep to my step. I know why I’m doing this. I want to make a positive change in the lives of children. So this year I’m planning to sponsor another four kids. So I think it’s important to know why you want to do it. And I think then on days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, on days where you’re like, you know what, there’s enough money in the bank to retire, why are we doing this? Why am I doing this?
You think about the reason. And I think when that reason resonates with you, then I think you are unstoppable. I could give you ideas of things you can Google. How to scale your business. I think it’s really – because we’re smart, we can do this. So it’s really just having that inner conviction that this is what I want to do and then I think nothing’s going to stop you.
Dr. Una: That is so profound and it’s so true. And everybody’s going to have a different why, but the more you connect to that, the more unstoppable and limitless you become. And that is really, really, really so good. I mean for me personally, I think I have a number of why’s.
One of the biggest ones is I truly want to die empty. I have no idea who I can become. I don’t have the full picture, but I know there’s so much more to me than what I’ve experienced, there’s so much more I can do. And so it’s like, the race against myself. A race against who I can be. And I’m like, I just want to be that person. It’s exciting to see what will happen if I just keep saying yes, if I just keep embracing challenge after challenge. You know what I mean?
Dr. Dada: Yeah, I do.
Dr. Una: And that’s the drive because I get out of bed, it’s not because I don’t have money in the bank, it’s not because I can’t say I have a successful business. It’s not because of any of that. It’s like, I want to do this. I want to help people. I want to grow in my capacity to help other people. So what you said is so profound because it’s exactly what I do. That is so good.
Dr. Dada: It is. I think one of the things I also think about, which hopefully resonates with somebody is if we want to scale, then you should actually just do it. Because you don’t want to be 90 years old and be like, well would have, should have, you know? So I think it’s the exact same idea of you want to make sure when you go to that grave, there’s nothing left.
Dr. Una: There’s nothing. I did it all, here’s just the body, you can have it, I’m out, peace. I love it. And you know, I went to Washington DC in September and we were driving through and looking at all the monuments and all these things and I’m like, I wonder if they live life on purpose like I wanted to be this person, or if it’s something that just happened because they kept saying yes.
But I’m like, this is available to everybody. Everybody can live a life worth having a monument to. And I’m not looking for a monument in Washington DC. That’s not what I’m looking for. But I’m saying we can live full lives. We can live lives of impact and I believe that business is one of the best ways to get to do that.
Because it creates the financial freedom for you to have the time to do it, it creates the money that you need to pull it off. Because you’re not sending paper to these people to sponsor the kids, right? You’re sending real money.
Dr. Dada: Ideas and wishes are a dime a dozen, right?
Dr. Una: Exactly. You have to be able to fund it.
Dr. Dada: I would love to help you. But I’m sorry I can’t. And they’re like, okay, well, cry me a river.
Dr. Una: So you need to be able to fund it and you need to grow into the person who has the capacity to dream up big things to do. You know what I’m saying? And that takes growth. And where do you grow non-stop? It’s in entrepreneurship. And now the same way you’re dreaming a center of excellence, you keep at this, who knows what you’re going to dream? I know you’re already dreaming it. I know.
Dr. Dada: I already have a plan.
Dr. Una: I know, I know. I’m just saying.
Dr. Dada: I’m like, waiting for my little rascal to go to college.
Dr. Una: And then you start implementing phase two. I love it.
Dr. Dada: We’re going to make a bigger impact. I heard one of the docs – I haven’t spoken to her about it yet, but when she talked – we talked about kind of our legacies, what was important to us and she said education and empowering women in Africa.
Dr. Una: And you’re like, what?
Dr. Dada: I’m like, we are getting together girl.
Dr. Una: See, and that’s it. Entrepreneurs change the world. And this is why I advocate for physicians for being entrepreneurs, whether they work for themselves or they’re building businesses from the ground up. Because most of us went into medicine to help people in our own way to change the world. And this gives you the vehicle to do that.
Because we were thinking the healthcare system would give us a vehicle or somebody would give us a vehicle. They’re not giving us a vehicle. This is the vehicle to do this. I’m so – you know I love celebrating success and wins and all of that. This has made my day. I’m like someone that drank five cans of Red Bull here.
So what would you say to the doctor who’s thinking about starting EntreMD Business School and they’re thinking, well, I don’t know if I have the time, I’ve tried something like this before and it didn’t work, I don’t know if a group is for me, I don’t even really have a business idea, I don’t even really know what I want, or it’s expensive. I hope nobody thinks that. But what would you say to that doctor?
Dr. Dada: Let me hit the this is expensive part. So I would say that one of the things we talk about is what would you pay for your pain to go away? And six months ago if anybody asked me what my pain points are, I’d be like, life is fine, it’s great, everything’s fine, I have no issues, I don’t have any pain, go elsewhere.
But I did have a pain. One of the pains that I had was just the amount of time that I was spending documenting. And although I already knew that scribes exist. In fact, I remember going to a rheumatology meeting where I met a rheumatologist who had a scribe. But I didn’t take action because I thought, well, my notes have to be a reflection of me, and nobody can write for me and everything I have to say is so important that how could anybody even transcribe that? No.
And I always said this. I said when I write my notes is when I think about the patient. So that was another excuse for me not to change anything because a lot of thinking is going on when I’m doing my assessment and plan, so there’s just no way I could use a scribe.
So I think that the ability to make that pain go away, I would have paid anything. Dr. Una, if you had said, Arinola, join EntreMD and I’m going to cut your documentation time by 70%, I would actually just give you a check and just write what you want. Honestly. Because it changed my life.
Dr. Una: I get a blank check.
Dr. Dada: Yes. It has just changed my life. And so Dr. Una, you didn’t come in saying hey Arinola, get a scribe. No. You opened up my mind to thinking about what my issues were and armed me with tools that I could then use to address them. Because I already knew scribes existed.
So I would say for the doctor thinking about EntreMD, I think an example is that I have this Facebook, wonderful, I have this private practice rheumatology group and there was a post from a member a few weeks ago and she was contemplating starting private practice.
And most of the responses were really kind of pessimistic. Well, if you do it, don’t expect to make any money in six to 12 months, you’re going to need to work as a hospitalist on the side, don’t give up, see if you can continue working for your current boss and maybe starting a clinic on Saturdays. That kind of advice.
And I started to type and I started to say well, you can do this. Get in front of your audience. The biggest problem your business will have is obscurity. Your clients need to know you exist. Don’t be the world’s best kept secret. Take action. Your clients are there, they are waiting for you. There’s a shortage of rheumatologists. Start speaking. What would your revenue-generating activity be?
Dr. Una: Oh my goodness, #entremd. What?
Dr. Dada: Thank you. So I realized that wait a minute, Arinola, in this one post, there is no way you can convince or really successfully help this person. So, I deleted my paragraph of encouragement and I said, “Join EntreMD Business School.”
Dr. Una: One step…
Dr. Dada: And then in fact, one of my classmates, an allergist, has a waiting list of over 100 people because she’s opened the doors…
Dr. Una: 300. Her practiced opened today. 300 on her waiting list, over 300.
Dr. Dada: She had about 16 patients on day one. So, I was like, Dr. Una is amazing, better go find her. But I couldn’t put my accent in there.
Dr. Una: I love this.
Dr. Dada: But I just ignore all these pessimists. Because people are telling you all this stuff, like not enough hours in the day. I don’t have that skillset. That’s Dr. Una’s space. And I said, you know, that is what you should do, join EntreMD Business School and you’d be surprised at how my life has changed. I didn’t expect it to. I was really just hoping I would get a few hints about this second practice of mine and keep it moving. But my life has changed.
Dr. Una: This is liquid gold. This is so, so good. So good. Now, I can imagine a doctor going like, “Wow, that’s great, so EntreMD Business School is great for private practice, but I’m a coach or I developed a product,” or something like that, what would you tell that person? Tell them, “Go away, this is for the private practice folks?”
Dr. Dada: Actually, the private practice folks make a smaller percentage of the EntreMD Business School. Actually, when I get there, I kind of feel like I’m boring, to be honest, because people are thinking out of the box. Like I said earlier, there is someone who is a physician who is a running coach. There is someone there who is doing a direct fee for service. There’s somebody on there who has a cosmetic skincare brand. And there’s someone on there who is a coach. There’s someone else who mentors academics. That one just blows my mind. She mentors academic women and gives them a voice so they can negotiate themselves better contracts, because the boys get paid more than the girls still. So actually, private practice is a small percentage of the people in EntreMD Business School.
So, I think actually, if you have other ideas that are now just mainstream medicine, I think you actually probably even get more out of it than people that have just the bread and butter. But I think every single person that joins EntreMD Business School will tell you that they’re thriving.
Dr. Una: I love it. And Dr. Dada, you’re going to have a really hard time convincing people that you’re boring because they can hear you. If this was a blog, maybe you would get away with it. But no, there is no way. You walk in and light up the room. So, I’m sorry, boring is not your thing. It’s not your thing at all.
I knew we were going to have a good conversation. I didn’t know it was going to be this good. I am so happy for the personal transformation you’ve experienced. I’m so happy for the wins in your business. And I’m so happy that you’re embracing legacy and all that. This is a full, full package. And thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes, the good, the bad, the ugly. And you have a lot of good that makes up for any bad or ugly.
It really is so good. And for those of you who are doctors – and maybe this is the first time you’ve actually thought of a business or you have been thinking about one and you haven’t started, or you wanted to scale, the EntreMD Business School is a place – there’s not a community like it. It is a place where physicians can come and grow together and work hard together and embrace uncomfortable things together, do hard things together, and thrive. She’s talking about thriving.
These things happened in 2020. 2020 has arguably been the worst year in most people’s history. We haven’t seen a pandemic before. We haven’t had shutdowns before. Like, we had none of that. But still. And the mental health part of it, because even though there’s all this going on, you have a safe place to come where it’s normal to be an entrepreneur. It’s normal to dream. It’s normal to want big things. It’s normal to do these things. And it’s a place for you. So, you should check it out. You should come join us.
If you’re a doc that’s like, “I’m ready. I don’t have all the details, but I’m ready and I’m ready to do the work, I’m ready to embrace it, I’m ready to do it messy,” then this is the place for you. You should really check it out. It’s entremd.com/business. And I mean, it’s amazing, it really is.
Dr. Dada: You know, I think the big thing also is just kind of – you may think they’re going to be a bunch of high-powered docs and physicians, so how do I fit in there? It is really a safe place. There is no silly question. Even people – there is someone in class who is just actually forming that idea of her business. And I just look at her in admiration and she’s like, “Website up today. Spoke to the vendors today…” And I’m like, you go, girl. Because it’s actually hard to start something too.
She’s like, “I’m just starting…” And we’re all so supportive and encouraging and every time she has a win, I just want to, like, “Hey, good girl, you go,” you know. So it’s really just a safe place. That may be a limiting thought for people. And I think Dr. Una, even though she gives us these projects to do, she arms us with the tools, like the framework, like the Facebook videos so that we’re successful. Because you want us to be successful. When we thrive, then it’s a happier call.
Dr. Una: Yeah, and that’s my legacy, you know what I mean, being able to help. Because I understand the handicap of it all. Like, here I am, this very smart person. I spent all my time developing these skills and finally a clinician. But it’s almost like I had one leg that grew and one didn’t, you know what I mean? Because to make this work and for me to practice medicine the way I want, I have to be in charge. I have to have a seat at the table. I have to own the table.
So, to be in a position where I can’t negotiate, I can’t monetize my dreams and convert them into something, that’s a disadvantage. And to realize that it’s a set of business skills that we can learn, we learn the Krebs cycle. We can learn this. We can learn it.
Dr. Dada: I hate the Krebs cycle, by the way, but yes.
Dr. Una: But we learned. If you can’t pass go, you can’t collect $200 without the Krebs cycle.
Dr. Dada: You embrace it.
Dr. Una: Exactly. So, we can do these things. And so, for me, it’s almost like watching something go from X to 10X. Like I’m a physician and all that, but there’s just this missing thing. And once you add that, it’s boom. Because that’s what’s going on with you, you know what I mean? It’s amazing. It’s so good to watch.
Okay, apparently we can go on and on about this, but if people are like, “This is so intriguing, I want to find out more about this fabulous Dr. Arinola Dada,” where do they find you?
Dr. Dada: So, my clinic website, which is overlakearthritis.com, and then LinkedIn, Dr. Arinola Dada. And then Instagram @dr.arinola_dada.
Dr. Una: Awesome. And I’m going to put all of these links in the show notes. So, if you guys have people in the Seattle area that have any kind of autoimmune, anything, arthritis, the whole nine yards, there is a center of excellence in the…
Dr. Dada: There is a center of excellence…
Dr. Una: So, send them to her, okay. Dr. Arinola, thank you so much for coming on here and sharing all of this. This was really so good. So, so, so good.
Dr. Dada: It’s my pleasure and I’m so happy. And I’m also happy to have this one-on-one time with you too.
Dr. Una: So, in the EntreMD Business School, there is one on one time. There you go.
Dr. Dada: There is, but you’ll be asking me while I do laugh…
Dr. Una: Of course, this always happens.
Dr. Dada: Of course.
Dr. Una: This is so good. So, everybody listening, I hope you got as much out of this as I did. I mean, I took copious notes here. It is just really so good and so inspiring. And this is just evidence of what is possible. And there is so much possible for us as physicians. I know we’ve been devalued. I know we were kicked out of the table. I know that, you know, we’re not trained as entrepreneurs. I can understand that feeling, like, “I’m just a clinician. I’m want someone else to take the headache of this away.” But this is to show you that you can do this. You can. And my hope is that you embrace all of this and that you go check out the business school and come join us. We will be excited to have you. I mean, you get classmates like Dr. Arinola, if for nothing else, okay.
Dr. Dada: Come join us, for sure.
Dr. Una: Alrighty, so I will see you guys on the very next episode of The EntreMD Podcast. If you loved this, I want you to go share it with another doctor, okay. Pay it forward. Don’t let it stop with you. I’ll see you on the next episode.
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 entremd.com/ondemand and I’d love to have you join us. See you on the inside.