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How the Practice Whisperer Became a Top 1% Owner – Episode 253


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You learned great skills in dental school; unfortunately you probably didn’t learn how to run a small business. 

On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show, Ryan interviews Dr. Travis Campbell, practicing dentist, coach/consultant/speaker, on-line influencer, and author of The Practice Whisperer. In dental school you were told the pinnacle of a dentist’s career is running a practice. Chances are you weren’t taught how to do it. 

From his experience building a top 1% practice from scratch, Dr. Campbell offers advice on how to stay focused on clinical skills while avoiding typical practice pitfalls that can derail you from achieving success.

 


 

Podcast Transcript

Ryan Isaac:
Hey, Dentist Money Show listeners. Welcome to another episode. Today. I’ve got Travis Campbell, AKA the practice whisperwe. How cool is that? We’re talking about insurance, early mistakes in early career, working for a DSO, lots of questions that dentists have, whether you are a clinical focused person, entrepreneurial person, a manager type person, we got lots of content here for you today. If you have any questions for us, go to dentistadvisors.com, click on the book free consultation link, schedule a chat with one of our very friendly advisors at your own convenience. We’d love to chat with you. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for listening to another episode and enjoy the show.

Announcer:
Consultant an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by dentist advisors, a registered investment advisor. This is Dentist Money. Now, here’s your host Ryan Isaac.

Ryan Isaac:
Welcome to the Dentist Money Show where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host today, Ryan Isaac. Sitting here with a new friend of the show, Dr. Travis Campbell, also known as the practice whisperer. Travis, thanks for joining us here on the show. How are you doing today, man?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Doing well. Thanks for having me on Ryan.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. That’s, thanks for being here. So, we were just joking about this. I said that I don’t like reading people’s bios back to them, to their faces as an introduction. So, I’m just getting to know you a little bit here too. So, how about introduce yourself and kind of the path that you started out in dentistry and where you’re at now and what’s led to this point up to now?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Well, we were just having this conversation. Introducing yourself as a little odd too, but [crosstalk 00:01:38].

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, and I put you on the spot then. Now you have to brag about yourself, but in a comfortable way.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Okay. Well, let’s see, I graduated from dental school back in 2009. Did a start up practice from scratch. Had a lot of mistakes through that and learned a lot along the way. And so, I started doing kind of speaking and coaching a few years ago now. I wrote a book a couple of years ago, The Practice Whisperer on practice management and I’m in the middle of writing another book on insurance training.

Ryan Isaac:
That’s great, man. And you’re saying because of 2020 and all the downtime you’ve had, you’re working on… So, it’d be book number three that you’re working on now?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
No, it’s book number two.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, Okay. Oh, you said there was… Okay. So, book number one and then book number two. You want to give us a sneak preview? What’s it about?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
So, it’s an insurance training guide for the team. The closest thing I can think of is there’s a few manuals out there, but they’re usually written more at a high, I guess, a level outside of the office. So, from either dental consultants or from the dental industry, dental insurance industry itself. This one’s being written in the perspective of the dental team. So, what you need to do to file a claim, what need to do to understand it, how to fight the claims, things like that.

Ryan Isaac:
Just the general process of working with insurance in the dental office. Yeah. Let’s go back. I’m really curious. So, ’09 is when you came out, started your first practice. What was the process for you along the way? Obviously you clearly have a passion for teaching and educating and wanting to help other dentists become successful. I’m curious, at what point did you know that was going to be a pretty big pursuit in your life to switch to coaching and consulting?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
That’d be recent. I never thought I would go into any of that. I… [crosstalk 00:03:39].

Ryan Isaac:
Like 2020 recent? The whole thing happened and you’re like, “All right… [crosstalk 00:03:41]

Dr. Travis Campbell:
No. No. No. [crosstalk 00:03:42] Not that recent. If you’d ask me 10 years ago, if I’d ever get on stage and speak, I would have told you, “Heck no.” [crosstalk 00:03:50]. Public speaking is not my friend, [crosstalk 00:03:53] from that point of view.

Ryan Isaac:
Your cup of tea. That’s fair.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
I wouldn’t say naturally. But when you find a topic that you really like, it’s a lot easier to talk about.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
And so, for me, I don’t know, I’m weird. I like talking about dentures and insurance, the things that most of us hate talking about. And the business side, just over the years, since I didn’t really have a lot of help at the beginning. We made a lot of mistakes, and so that was an interesting process. It would have been really nice to have a mentor or someone along the way. And so, that’s what I’ve tried to give back to people is to be the resource I didn’t have. I’d say it probably all started about four or five years ago. I started doing small, local CE courses and it just grew from there. So, I’ve really enjoyed getting outside the office and being able to talk about some things outside of clinical.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. I’m sure that’s rewarding to do. I mean, I can relate to that. It’s fun to do the job, in your case clinical dentistry, but then teach the job too. Some people just really like to teach and try to help other people, so I can relate to that. That’s really awesome. How about, let’s start with, what’s the overarching maybe message or philosophy or principles that are important to the dental whisperer and the things that your teaching practices? Let’s begin there with what are some of the foundational things you’re trying to help people implement or learn or change? And I’d be really curious to know how those relate to things that you experienced early on when you got started.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Okay. So, the Practice Whisperer book is pretty much a story of this. It’s how I made all mistakes, what I learned from it and what to not do basically is what the whole book is written for. So, when I first started, I mean, the one biggest thing I did well was I just started hitting marketing from the get-go. And it’s amazing how much that can make a difference for an office. Because with coaching, I’ve talked to so many dentists that they just, they either do much marketing or they don’t know what they’re doing with marketing. So, they’ll throw us some money here and some money there and think it’s good. Having a solid marketing plan that fuses together multiple different parts, is actually so much more effective, and that’s how we grew back in the recession 10 years ago.

Ryan Isaac:
Do you want to give… I’m curious if you wouldn’t mind pausing there. And I think a lot of people hear the word marketing, or you started with marketing. It is, like you’re saying, a very broad subject. Do you want to give some, maybe some details on what exactly you delve into, what you focused on? Because like you’re saying, there’s so many areas that you can just chuck money at and randomly do for a while and then think it doesn’t work.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yeah. So, some quick, I guess, hints on this is SEO everybody talks about. SEO is basically how you show up on search engines when you’re not paying for them. The challenge though is SEO is like a marathon. You’re not going to get results in a month or three months or six months or sometimes nine months. It’s a marathon race. And so, you’re fighting against every other office in your area for whatever key terms that you’re trying to reach. When you’re doing SEO, it’s something that you’re not going to see a result on for quite a while. And because of that, it’s a lot of times for dentists, we’ll either put in money and forget about it and they’ll lose, they may have a company that’s not necessarily doing a lot for them or they’ll put money into it and then quit. And then they basically wasted all that money.

Ryan Isaac:
Right? Yeah.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
So, the one thing I talked to people about with new offices or startups, is they’re much better places to put marketing dollars at the beginning when you have a low budget. SEO is not going to help you for quite a while. So, it’s better to funnel that money into something that’s more direct results. So, direct results would be something like Facebook ads or Google ads. They’re going to get you results in the next two to three months, as opposed to a year down the road. Putting out flyers or mailers or anything that gets in front of a person when they’re not searching for a dentist is what’s going to get that more immediate result. So, it’s just, it’s looking at each individual marketing aspect and trying to put together a whole picture, prioritizing what you want. And that ends up with, like I said, new offices, SEO ends up typically at the bottom.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Another one that I’ve had marketing companies try to use and just wasn’t very effective for startup practice was on-hold messaging. Well, if you don’t have 100 patients calling your office every week and being put on hold, on-hold messaging is a waste of money. At the beginning, you’re going to be, you’re probably almost never going to have somebody on hold. So, that’s the thing is you’ve got to look at the bigger picture. And I wish I could just give you more details, but I could probably spend two hours talking about the intricacies of marketing. [crosstalk 00:09:01].

Ryan Isaac:
We’ll hit that later. That’s great. Okay. So I didn’t want to sidetrack you too much, but thanks for that. I think that was really helpful. So, back to what you were saying, you were kind of talking about these mistakes early on, but also a few things that you did right that kind of launched everything. And you mentioned marketing, so I’ll let you pick up where you left off there.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
So, the, I’ll start next with the things I did wrong. And probably the best book I’ve ever read on this kind of highlights it really well, it’s called The E-Myth Dentist. And within it, he talks about the differences in the three things you have to do to run a dental office or any business. You’ve got to be a technician, which is the dentist. That’s what most of us are great at. The challenge is most of us will spend almost 100% of our time on that and ignore the other two parts. The other two parts, are office management and the entrepreneurial side. So, if you’re not taking care of the business and if you’re not taking care of the team, you’re not going to have the opportunity to do as much technical.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
And that’s where a lot of us tend to have challenges. And I did at the beginning, is we aren’t taught how to run a business. We’re not taught how to manage people, when it comes to employees. We’re not taught how to do all the nonclinical stuff. And so, that was the biggest challenge I had. And that’s kind of where over the years I’ve had to go out and search for information and learn quite a bit more. But it is the thing that I’ve taken CE courses on clinical, I’ve taken CE courses on business, communications and definitely the business of communication courses helped far more. And just the ability to get patients to see what I want them to do and be able to communicate with them well on helping them figure out what their plan is, and then they move forward with it. If you don’t communicate so well, you can throw out a million treatment plans. And if you’re not going to get a lot of patients that actually want to schedule with you and pay money, then you’re going to end up going nowhere.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. So, do you think that’s… I love that. I never read the one specific to dentistry, but I love the E-Myth book and it’s probably pretty personality specific. So, maybe someone comes in and ignores clinical, but just wants to grow the enterprise as an entrepreneur. What, where did you tend to, what was your default, where did you tend to spend all your time? Was it the clinical side? And then how did you overcome the other two, if those were areas that you weren’t spending enough time in, or maybe that just wasn’t your natural tendency?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Oh, absolutely. I’m definitely a technician more than anything else on that side. But most of it was just because I didn’t know what I was doing on the business side. And most of the times when we have a weakness, we don’t tend to focus as much on it and we try to delegate it to other people. The challenge is, most of the time when we hire people in an office, we’re going to hire people like us because that’s what we cook with. Well, if they’re like us, they’re probably not going to be so great at the business either. So, the office manager side, I’m great with coming up with plans, I am not so great with the figuring out the back story of why problems happen, in terms of the emotional side of things. Because there’s so much interplay with our team members. We’ve got an office of about 10 people and a lot of the challenges aren’t the job itself. It’s the interactions between the people in the office.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Well, that’s not necessarily a skill of mine. I’m not a diplomat in that end. So, I hired a really good office manager that handles that. So, that was one big thing. The business side, it was just having to learn it. I enjoy it now that I know what I’m doing with it. But, running QuickBooks and dealing with at least some part of the accounting and payroll and how to manage insurance and how to manage finances. I mean, none of that was talked to us at the beginning or I knew it at the beginning. So, along the way I’ve read a lot of, I’ve hired a lot of consultants, learned a ton and it’s made a big difference.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, that’s great, man. Can you look back at any of that time in history and was there ever a time when it kind of clicked for you as you started implementing? Or was it maybe just a little bit slower, kind of just fell into place over long period periods of time?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
It’s definitely over a long period of time. I didn’t have any specific like, “Oh my gosh,” Light bulb moment. Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
One day in 2013, you’re like, “I remember that Tuesday, that was the one.”

Dr. Travis Campbell:
No. No. Just I was hit in the back of the head by the universe telling me something. No. It was all along the way. So, I’ve spent a fortune on consultants. I’m kind of a consultant and CE addict. So, I like learning new things. So, that has been a positive on the business side, since I’ve had to learn a ton. But every book I read, well almost every book I read, I pull something out of it. It’s just, some books are better than others. Like we talked about, the E-Myth was a really big eye-opener on why I was like, “I’m an intelligent person. I got through dental school. I can do dentistry and I can teach anything within this realm. And yet the business side seems to be such a problem.” And that book highlighted why for me, and I think most dentists, we have challenges. And it’s just because it’s a different skillset completely than running a business or the dentistry itself. So, I mean, that was eye opening, but there’s been all sorts of books out there on, again, mostly the communications and the team management that’s helped along the way.

Ryan Isaac:
So, and at some point you now run two locations? Do I have that right?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yes. [crosstalk 00:14:49]. We’ve got two offices now.

Ryan Isaac:
Locations of business. So, I mean, from starting at a point where maybe you’re a little entrepreneurial adverse, or not knowing how are we supposed to grow this stuff, where do we go from here to any other point where things are running well and they seem pretty balanced in multiple locations. How did you make the jump there? Was there anything that kind of helped you get to that point? Or what made you decide to go from one location to two?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
So, that’s another one, like you asked earlier, would I have ever thought of running multiple offices? And the question, the answer would have been, “No,” years ago.

Ryan Isaac:
Like no way.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
No. Two offices double the problems, actually probably tripled the problems. No. And it was an office that I had originally been connected with to help with coaching. And so, I came in and kind of gave him a run through and gave him a list of, “Here’s the things that you can do to help. And if you want my help, then we can talk about it.” But he came back pretty quickly afterwards and said, “I’m just, I’m not there. I just…” He had lost the desire to run the business. He was a great dentist. Patients loved him. He did great work. He just didn’t want to run the business. And at that point, his next message to me was, “Do you want to buy the office?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I hadn’t ever contemplated [crosstalk 00:16:13] that before.”

Ryan Isaac:
You didn’t wake up today thinking that question.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yeah. Because it was a failing office. I mean, he had made almost nomoney. He wasn’t collecting a lot. He was taking home almost nothing. And there was some reasons for it, most of the business reasons. And so, looking through it, he had a great front team member and we looked into it and decided to find apartment dentists to work it clinically. And we bought it last year. So, it was going decently well until COVID hit. And that one kind of hit it decently hard, but this year we’re still pulling out more, we’re almost doing double per month this year now than we were doing, or than the office was doing last year before we bought it.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. That’s awesome, man. That’s what we call in public market, investing a value stock. [crosstalk 00:17:06]. Bit of a fixer upper, but it worked out in the end.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
That’s the big thing. When you talk about fixer uppers, I get asked this question all the time of, “What office to buy?” Well, it’s like buying a house. You can either buy a fixer-upper, if you know how to fix it, that is the best financial gain you’re ever going to get.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. So much potential.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Exactly. But, as we talked about most dentists aren’t great at business, or don’t know how to turn things around, so that might not be the best thing for a lot of us to purchase. Well, the next one is to purchase something that’s at the top of its game. You talk about maybe a million, a million and a half dollar office for a single dentist. You’d purchase it. Just take it over and just let it run and repeat what the previous persons do. [crosstalk 00:17:48]. Yeah. Like buying a house that just upgraded.

Ryan Isaac:
[crosstalk 00:17:52]. I don’t even want to change a light bulb, I’m like, “Could you change all the light bulbs?” I’ll buy that one, I’ll pay top dollar.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Well see, I still have to change light bulbs because I’m like a foot and a half taller than everybody else in my office, so I’m the only one that can reach them. Yeah. But, and then the third one is you buy an office that’s just average that you’re going to fix up later, but little bits. Well, the challenge is… Oh, and you can start up. So, if you start up, you get everything you want because you customize everything, but you’re going to end up spending quite a bit of time and money to do the startup. If you buy the nice office, you’re going to spend top dollar because a nice office is worth what it’s worth and the owner usually knows it. And so, you’re going to pay the most amount, but it takes the least amount of work. So, it’s just like everything else in life, it’s a balance of time verus money, and knowledge sprinkled in there between.

Ryan Isaac:
I want to kind of go back to something you mentioned about your own experience in purchasing your second office. Do you think there’s more dentists out there who are owners that should just be W2 employee associates of a practice and not have the ownership piece?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Simple answer. Yes. Complex answer is it depends on the dentist. In from what I’ve seen over the years, corporate is pulling into dentistry quite a bit more every year. Well, the biggest reason I think that is, is because most dentists run lousy businesses. Their great dentists, they can do amazing work, they just don’t know how to run a business, they don’t have a market, they don’t know how to compete on that level. And so, corporate can come in and hire dentists that are changing every year that have no consistency, patients don’t love it, but they run a good business. And so, they can out-compete dentists’ on the business side, even though the private practice owners can out-compete them on the relationship side.

Ryan Isaac:
Right. And the quality of work.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Exactly. And so, I think for a lot of dentists, even though we’re kind of taught in dental school that the pinnacle of our career is owning an office.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, for sure.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
But for a lot of us, I don’t think we have the mental desire to do that. And like a lot of things, if you don’t have the desire to do something, you’re not going to be so great at doing it.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. There’s no sustainability in that.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Exactly. And so, I do think a lot of us would probably be better off finding someone, it doesn’t have to be corporate, just finding someone else to run the business if we don’t just have the desire to do that and be a great dentist and focus just on that. And I think it’s getting more and more important every year because 10, 20 years ago you could run a lousy dental office and still do great. But as competition increases, as more corporate gets in, the ability to do that goes down and the need for us to become better business owners goes up.

Ryan Isaac:
As you’ve listened to our podcast, maybe there’s a question about your finances you’ve wanted to ask. It’s easy to get an answer. All you do is just pick up that phone, give us a call at 833-DDS-plan to set up a consultation. Or if you don’t want to call us, you can just go to the website at dentistadvisors.com, click the book free consultation button and set it up. It’s free. Do it today.

Ryan Isaac:
I would imagine a lot of people out there listening, thinking, “Yeah, this could be me, but I don’t want to just go work for somebody.” What are some of the in-between things that someone can do if they kind of just want to offload a little bit of their management and entrepreneurial responsibilities?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Well, absolutely. I mean, one thing is if you can figure out what your strengths are and by nature, your weaknesses, you just hire somebody to handle the weaknesses. So, if you’ve got an office large enough and you’re not good at marketing, hire a marketing director.

Ryan Isaac:
Right.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Pay them based on results. So, based on the number of people that come in, give them a budget and let them go do their thing, and you’ll probably get a better result with a lot less effort and a lot less stress. Same thing with an office manager or running insurance or having anything that you don’t just love to do, offload to someone else. The best thing example I have is, I don’t mow my lawn. Could I mow my lawn? Sure? Do I have the desire to do it? Absolutely not. [crosstalk 00:22:30]. Would it save me much money at all to do it myself? Not really. Because I looked at buying a lawnmower and how long it would last and what the maintenance on it was and having somebody come up my lawn. Well, not only is it not that much savings to do it myself, but the time aspect is huge.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
I mean, I have… There’s much better uses for my time than trying to replace somebody who makes $10 an hour. And the same thing goes with almost everything we do. I mean, there are so many things I used to do down the road or in the past where I can’t even imagine myself doing them now, just because there’s people that are better suited to it, for one, that have more of a desire to do it well. And for two, I’ve got things that no one else can do, especially in a dental office. I mean, dentists, there’s a lot of things only we can do. That’s what we need to focus on is the stuff that only we can do.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. I like that. I think some of the best businesses I’ve seen are, they’re led by people who aren’t afraid to acknowledge or keep exploring weaknesses and get better people in those positions. But it can be scary and it’s expensive, at times, and you do have to experiment and waste money. Like, “Oh, that didn’t work out. Glad I paid for that for a year.”

Dr. Travis Campbell:
I mean, another option is just partner with a group.

Ryan Isaac:
Right. Okay. Yeah.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
A DSO for instance. And I don’t mean corporate. DSO is such a wide ranging term. I mean, pretty much everybody you work with in a dental office is a DSO. Your supplier is technically a DSO. It’s just a service organization that helps a dental office. But there are DSOs that, like corporate, will take ownership of everything and give you no feedback or ability to say anything whatsoever. But on the flip side, there’s a lot of DSOs now that they really just want to come in and help you with what you don’t do well so they can, again, bring up the value of the office, like buying a fixer-upper. They can fix up what they’re good at and keep the good clinical dentist running. And the worst part about owning a dental office as a non-dentist owner is a dentist changing. And so, for a DSO, they want someone that’s happy there. They want someone that’s going to stay consistently for years.

Ryan Isaac:
Highly incentivized to do that.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yeah. And so a lot of people do, whether it’s called partial sales or fractional sales or whatever, they sell part of it to the DSO and they maintain some ownership and then the DSO handles what they’re good at and the dentist handles what he’s good at or she’s good at.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, I think that’s great, man. You do a fair amount of speaking and consulting. It’s been a weird year for that as we were talking about earlier. A lot of events pushed back and some of virtual things, but I’m curious if you could list maybe what are the top two or three main topics that you’re speaking about these days or over the last year or so that really seem to resonate with dental audiences right now?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
So, the biggest one for me is insurance. And it’s probably the biggest headache dental offices tend to have, teams, dentist, clinical, whatever, when you ever get denied for a claim, you’re like, “How can you deny this? Look at the tooth. It needed X, Y, and Z.” And often it’s just a misunderstanding of the insurance company and what they’re looking for. And so ,over the years, I’ve done a ton of research on that. And there was not a lot of resources out there to look into this. And so, it’s been really interesting to do. And somehow I’ve got the weird brain that I can understand kind of how it works. So, that’s a lot of what I talk about since I guess that’s my number one [crosstalk 00:26:15] skill set.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. That’s kind of where your mind’s at. Now, when you are digging into this with audiences or with maybe more private consulting groups or clients, is there a consent, are most people trying to get away from it? Are they just trying to become more profitable with it? Or is it kind of a mix and it just depends on the office?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
It depends on the office. So, the challenge is, you hear this myth all the time that dentists are like, “We should band and all drop insurance at once.” [crosstalk 00:26:46]. Well that would have been a great idea like 20 years ago. The challenge now is there’s so many corporate offices that guaranteed will never drop insurance. That the insurance company is like, “Okay, all of you dentists could drop and we still would not care.” So, in most areas of the country, that’s not going to have any effect whatsoever on insurance. And even if you drop insurance, because I’ve talked to a lot of out of network offices, you still have to deal with their stuff. And if you don’t understand where the insurance company is coming from, you’re still going to have all these issues that are going to pop up.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
The only way to really completely be away from insurance is fee for service. Meaning you get, patient pays you all upfront. But most of the time nowadays, patients don’t want to do that, especially if they have insurance, you’re going to drive them to other offices. And so, it depends on your location. It depends on the mix of the office, the patients you have, kind of what services you offer on, which one of those are better. I say most dentists still have to deal with being in network. And that’s just the mentality of the patients. And I think something like 65% of the population has dental insurance. And I would say majority of that, it’s going to be very difficult to convince them to not use their insurance.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. Just drop it.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Most people aren’t like me. I did that, but it’s because I’m kind of a nerd and I do lots of pointless math on weekends to see if I should keep paying for things and then I don’t carry it anymore. So, yeah. Most people don’t don’t do that. Let’s wrap with one more question that is important to a lot of people that can, it can be lost in the shuffle when you’re trying to work on long-term vision and long-term goals and achieve success. And especially when you’re just grinding and working really hard, but that’s balance. And you’ve got a couple locations, you’ve been going for quite a long while now and you speak and you’ve got family and you have kids and I assume hobbies that include not reading about insurance on weekends. Other things besides that. [Crosstalk 00:28:49]. Maybe that’s all you got, maybe that’s your favorite hobby. But I see there… [Crosstalk 00:28:52].

Dr. Travis Campbell:
No. I read a lot about insurance. I don’t, I definitely have no hobbies outside of that.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. I’m sure there’s more. So, what advice would you give to maybe your younger self back in ’09, starting that practice? Probably starting a family or young family to not only achieve the goals that you’re wanting to achieve and make all this effort, dental school and all the debt worth it, but how do you have balance along the way and be present and not miss, some of the important things in life and the pursuit of business success?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
That’s a great question. And I wish I had answered this for myself years ago, [crosstalk 00:29:33] is I’d say it’s a two part question. So, the first thing is understanding priorities in life. And to start with business, for one. There are a million things we can do in a dental office. There’s a million ways that we can be pulled. Some of those ways are more important than others. And so, it’s greatly important, and this is one of the things I do with any coaching client is I help them figure out what their challenges are, what they need to change, but the most important step from there is putting them in order. What’s going to make the biggest change for me? And not trying to do it all at once. If you try to change everything at once, you’re going to burn yourself out, you’re going to probably frustrate the hell out of your team. And you’re probably going to have people quit.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Humans don’t like change, naturally. And so, when you’re making changes, you got to make sure that you make them slow enough to not overwhelm the mind and to make sure that once you’ve made the change, it stays longterm. And there’s been a dozen things we’ve changed over the years, that six months later, we’re back to where we were before, because we tried to do it too quickly and we tried to do too many things at once. I mean, I got into two huge projects about six years ago, TMJ training and Ken Kane. And I did them almost, it was like three months apart. That was the worst decision I could have ever made. I don’t do either of them anymore, by the way. It just, it drove my team nuts. It drove me nuts. It didn’t work out well, I couldn’t focus on what was needed. And so it just, it didn’t work out, and that was a lot of money wasted. So, that’s the biggest thing, is prioritize, set a schedule and stick to it and only try to do one or two new things a month.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
The next one is the family balance. I mean, when we first started, when I first opened, it was just me and my wife or my wife and I. And so, if I spent a lot of extra time at home with the office stuff, it wasn’t necessarily a big deal, although you probably get a different answer from her. So, it was about, again, around the same timing, probably about a year later. So, about five years ago. The biggest thing that made a difference for our personal life was I stopped taking work home, period. My office stays at the office. I leave the door and I’m done. If somebody wants to talk to me or email me or whatever, oftentimes I actually pulled the plug on being able to see my office schedule from home.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Because I used to come home, I would do clinical notes, I’d take care of some business, but then it’d be, 8 or 9 o’clock at night by the time I’m done. And it just, it wasn’t working out well. I could never take a break, basically. [crosstalk 00:32:32]. Well, when I started saying, “Okay, I’m done when I leave the office.” Well, things still magically still got done. Even though I spent a lot less time doing it.

Ryan Isaac:
It’s amazing how that works. It’s so true. Yeah.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
It just forced me to be more efficient at the office. [crosstalk 00:32:47]. And I was happier at home and because I got a break and a stress relief at home, I could go back to the office and be more alert and capable. [crosstalk 00:32:59]. So, not taking work home is probably the biggest thing that changed my personal life. My wife would definitely agree with that one.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s great, man. Thanks for sharing those. What a crazy year. It’s been a crazy year, but it’s good to see most people back up and running and a lot of people are having big summers and some question marks coming into fall and winter. But thanks for spending time talking about your own experience and giving us some resources, some things to think about. How can people find you, how can they find the books, The Practice Whisperer, and kind of keep in touch with the things that you’re teaching and consulting about?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
So, I am on most of the Dental Facebook groups. I’d say that’s probably how majority of people contact me. But I’ve also got a website which is practicewhisperer.com. I’ve got a book there, I’ve got some online CE courses, I’ve got a lot of free forums to use in the office. And I usually do blog at least once a month. So, that’s been received well by a lot of people and that’s probably the easiest way to get ahold of me. But, email me through that, email me directly. I’m usually happy to answer any questions for people because we usually see the same thing happen over and over again, whether it’s an insurance question or practice management question. [crosstalk 00:34:23]. Most of them are fairly common.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
And as I tell most dentists, I’m never going to tell you that you’re doing something wrong that I didn’t probably already screw up myself even worse. And that’s the nice part is, it’s not that I’m smarter than anybody else, it’s that I’ve just taken the time [crosstalk 00:34:40] and effort to learn it the hard way, and usually with being beat over the head three or four times. So, my job is to try to get people to see it without having to go through the heartache side too.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. For sure, man. What about… One last thing. What’s the next event, again, kind of a weird year for events, but what’s the next event that you’ll be at or speaking or presenting at virtual or in-person?

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Well, I just finished last week, Nifty Thrifty, so, and I think that’s recorded.

Ryan Isaac:
Cool.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
I’ve got… Let’s see… DC Dental has me talking about insurance here next month and then Smiles at Sea is in April. So, I’m going to be on that cruise and that’s the first in-person thing I think I have scheduled for next year.

Ryan Isaac:
And on a cruise no less. You’re like let’s dive back in head first. [crosstalk 00:35:31]. Skip 2020 and go into it.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
I mean, they had asked me, I mean I went last year and it was awesome. And when they has first asked me, I’m like, “You mean you want me to go on a cruise to the Caribbean area and you’re going to pay me to do it. Hmm. Let me think about that.”

Ryan Isaac:
I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yeah, no. It was a great cruise. I mean, Elijah puts together an amazing group there, so… And it’s been [crosstalk 00:35:55] I’ve met some really great people there too.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. It’s like an all-star cast of speakers and consultants and it’s on a boat and I’m sure it’s tons of fun and lots of Hawaiian shirts. So…

Dr. Travis Campbell:
Yeah. Well it’s split. It’s like one day you’re off the boat and one day you’re on the boat. So, it’s not even CE the whole time. It’s just, it’s fun to get away.

Ryan Isaac:
I’m sure it’s a blast. Well, thanks for taking time, man. Good luck to everything you have going on and thanks for spending time with us and catch you later.

Dr. Travis Campbell:
All right. Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan Isaac:
All right, everybody. Thanks for joining us today on the Dentist Money Show. My thanks to Travis Campbell, the practice whisperer, himself for spending some time to talk to us about all the issues that dentists face in their practices and their business and their lives. A lot of helpful information. If you have any questions for us, go to dentistadvisors.com, click on the book free consultation line and schedule a chat with some of our very friendly… And schedule a chat with one of our very friendly, very competent, very niche, dental, financial advisors today. We’d love to talk to you. Thanks for the support. Thanks for listening. We’ll catch you next time.

 

Practice Management

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