My journey started at a very young age in Warrenton, Virginia. My father passed away from lung cancer when I was 15, so I had exposure to doctors appointments, surgeries and the medical field very early on. This experience intrigued me, and I wanted to understand what and why that happened to my father. Once my father passed, things became very tough financially on my family. This motivated me to do well in school and build something of my own. I craved stability and it motivated me on this path to become a doctor. Additionally, I loved science, and I always loved building things and using my hands. I put myself through under grad, and medical school, and after years of student loans, late night study sessions and two master's degrees, I matched for residency in Plastic Surgery at USC, one of the top programs in the nation! I was heading to California in a U-Haul with a dream of living on the beach in the sunshine, but the reality ended up being 80-hour work weeks with no sleep and a salary where one could barely afford dinner. The plastic surgery training is one of the toughest known to the medical field. We cover every part of the body on all ages -- Everything from gun shot wounds to cleft palat's on infants, and even burn victims with head to toe third-degree burns. During that time, relationships failed and holidays were spent on call, which was emotionally and physically draining. I'm so thankful, however, to have made it through that tough time in the most desirable city to practice in. I've had the opportunity to have world's top surgeons as my mentors, and I get to apply science and work with my hands on a daily basis. I get to change peoples lives and restore confidence. Would I do it all again? Probably not, but I'm thankful for the journey. If you don't see bad you don't know good.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
Starting my own business in one of the most competitive markets was one of the biggest yet rewarding decisions I've ever made. Its extremely challenging being a doctor and growing a successful business. I always knew I wanted to have control over my schedule and set my own pricing. I knew I wanted to give patients a unique experience and a high level of customer service and care. I knew it was up to me to create the environment I wanted for myself and my patients.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Making a name in one of the most saturated markets takes time. I started with one employee and a computer, a small office space and only two patients per week. Building the business means also building your reputation and clientele. These things take time. My wife and I would literally go door-to-door handing out flyers with new patient specials. We charged rock bottom prices just to get people in the door. We gave them excellent service and results and encouraged them to bring their friends. Many of these same early patients are still seeing us today years later, and they now can't believe they have to wait four weeks for a Botox appointment!
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I've definitely been called crazy every step of the way. However, I have luckily been supported by my friends and family during my journey. They know how hard I've worked and they have believed in me, in addition to supporting my goals and dreams.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
The most influential factor(s) in the success of my business are my patients and my incredible team. Everyone part of Barrett Plastic Surgery is dedicated to the patients, to the team and to the success of the practice. I'm very thankful for that.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I wish that I had known how quickly the business would grow!
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
The advice that I would give to an upcoming entrepreneur, young or old, is to follow your dreams and push yourself to achieve your goals. Focus on the little things; they really are the big things. Never cut corners. Never cheapen your brand or your work. Risks are okay.