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Ep.120: Interview with Dr. Angela Sturm


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Interview with Dr. Angela Sturm

Welcome to “Beauty and the Biz”, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery.

I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of “Your aesthetic practice – What your patients are saying”, and consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and profits.

Welcome to “Beauty and the Biz”, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery.

I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of “Your aesthetic practice – What your patients are saying”, and consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and profits.

Today’s guest is Dr. Angela Sturm.

She’s a facial plastic surgeon in private practice in Bellaire, Texas, right outside of Houston.

During her medical training, Dr. Sturm received numerous awards for surgical excellence, including the top medical student research prize from the National Academy of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Sturm has co-authored and published numerous medical journal articles on head and neck surgical techniques, as well as facial plastic surgical techniques and is active in the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons.

She has also been involved with Harris County Medical Society, TransForward, Leadership Houston, D-tag Tattoo Removal Program and the Fittest Doctor Challenge.

She supports Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse and provides free care through the Face Foundation.

Topics Covered:

Business:

Did you come from a family of surgeons or how did you choose to be a FPS?

Your journey to solo practice.

Why Houston? So competitive.

Pros and Cons of going solo?

Surgical suite or surgical center?

Hiring Staff tips and issues.

Business tips.

Marketing:

Surgical vs. Non-surgical.

Facetite to facelift? – Morpheus micro frequency with PRP – Eyebrow transplant.

Exosomes (xosomes) – hydra needle – Hollywood peel.

How do you differentiate yourself? “Value Add”.

Effective marketing channels? What’s working/What’s not?

Social media efforts

Mindset/Personal:

How do you stay positive about the future?

Surgeon, mom, pandemic, baby, medical society, active in community – how do you do it?

Words of wisdom for other practices?

Everyone that wraps it up for this session. Please subscribe to Beauty and the Biz, so you don’t miss any other episodes. And if you’ve got any questions or feedback for me, you can certainly leave them on my website at www.CatherineMaley.com, or you can always DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.

Thanks so much and we’ll talk again soon.

Visit Dr. Sturm’s website

Transcript:

Interview with Dr. Angela Sturm

By Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley, MBA

Hello, and welcome to “Beauty and the Biz” where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley author of “Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients are saying” as well as consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. Now I have a very special guest today.

Her name is Angela Sturm, Dr. Angela Sturm. She’s a facial plastic surgeon in private practice in Bellaire, Texas, which is right outside of Houston. Now during her medical training, Dr. Sturm received numerous awards for surgical excellence, including the top medical student research prize from the national academy of otolaryngology.

Now, Dr. Sturm has coauthored and published numerous medical journal articles. On heading next surgical techniques, as well as facial plastic surgical techniques and is active in the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons, which has a conference coming up that we’ll talk about. Now, she’s also been involved with the, her community as in the Harris County Medical Society.

Transforward Leadership Houston. “D-Tag” tattoo removal program and the fittest doctor challenge. Well, that’s interesting. And she supports “Aid to victims of domestic abuse” and provides free care through “The base foundation”. Welcome to “Beauty in the Biz”, Dr. Sturm… It’s a pleasure to have you.

Dr. Angela Sturm

Thank you so much for having me I’m excited to be here.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Absolutely. So, the first thing I want to ask is how in the world do you become a facial plastic surgeon? Because that’s so specific, like, did you grow up with surgeons or how does a little girl end up saying, I want to be official plastics.

Dr. Angela Sturm

No, it’s kind of funny because I grew up in a small town in west Texas and my dad was a farmer and my mom didn’t work until I was in high school and she sells Aflac.

And so, it’s very different from everything I grew up with. And I went for the longest time. My family knew what I did, but maybe not exactly which was okay. Um, but I. I knew growing up there that I wanted to be in medicine because it was a small town, it was rural the medicine. There was okay. But probably not as good as it could have been, you know?

And my grandmother was always sick and she was a diabetic, but never took care of herself. So, we were in and out of the hospital. So just kind of seeing that side of it. And it’s still this story. Hopefully funny. Um, whenever I went to the doctor is a high schooler. I had allergies and my, you know, congestion and all that kind of stuff.

And so, I’m telling the doctor, oh, and my usual Louis swollen. Cause I looked it up and I’m old enough that it was in an encyclopedia because I didn’t Google. And the guy looked at me like I had three heads and I was like, man, this guy can do it, do this, you know,

I can do this. Like I could be a doctor now, as I decided that that’s what I kind of wanted to do and looked at doing research in medicine. And then on a Saturday afternoon in a lab in college, decided, you know what? I just really want to go into medicine. I like people, I like being around people and, you know, and talking to them and, uh, hanging out with rats in the lab.

Wasn’t. My thing. Uh, so, um, when at the med school thinking I was gonna do, ER, because that was what was big at the time in other shows so popular and it seemed exciting. And I volunteered in ER, and then got in there and decided maybe that wasn’t quite the right fit until I watched some surgery and was like, okay, That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

You know, either you fall in love with it or you don’t. I think, and I was like, that’s it. I want to do surgery and was thinking maybe OB-GYN just because I really liked the women empowerment part of it and, you know, affecting the lifestyle and being able to talk to them a lot different. Parts of their lives.

And then I did an anti-rotation and watched them make an ear out of a rib and was like, that’s it I’m. So, um, you know, you come home and say, how was your day? Oh, I’m making an ear, you know, no big deal. Like you obviously have the cute, but you know, the coolest job. So. Kind of got to more interested in it.

Um, and decided I really, you know, it was kind of all the things that I wanted. I don’t want it to be able to talk to people about who they are, how they see themselves, how the world sees them, you know, and, and what all those things mean, you know, as a. So personal about your ethnicity and your gender and, and how people see you and what you want to convey to people.

You know, if you want to feel useful or look you fall. And you’re like, I, I feel this way and I look in the mirror and it’s a different way and, and be able to be along that journey with them. So, it’s kind of all the pieces came together, but yeah, this is it. This is kind of what I want to do. And honestly, this sounds crazy, but.

I didn’t know anybody that looked like me or was like me that did this. And it was almost that challenge of like, okay, I know I can do X, Y, and Z, and then this, maybe I want to do it, but I’m not a hundred percent sure I can, but I like the challenge of bliss. Let’s do it. And then if that doesn’t work out, I know I have a lot of good backups, so it’ll be fine and maybe a different perspective, but it’s like, let’s do it.

Why not? You know,

Catherine Maley, MBA

Good for you now, the next question. You and next, this happens a lot. I think you go through rotation and you realize, wait a second. I love this part of surgery. You know, first I love surgery, then I love this part of surgery. But so, you go through that, then you go through residency. Then you go through fellowship.

How in the world that now, what was the journey for you? Did you then, how do you enter this marketplace? Do, do you go out on your own? Did you go through university first? Did you join a big practice? How did you get to the private solo practice?

So, my,

Dr. Angela Sturm

my path is probably a little bit different than a lot of people is.

I joined my fellowship director right after finishing my fellowship and I kind of looked around at different jobs and I didn’t idea of what I wanted to do, even when I was interviewing for fellowship. I knew I wanted to still have a foot in academics and then be in private practice, which is sort of a hard thing to do and negotiate.

And, you know, I knew I wanted to be involved sort of politically, but be able to have my practice. And it was, it seemed like the best fit at the time, you know? Cause he had a lot of that going on and it was my mentor. So, it was a very comfortable place to be, you know? And so that’s where I was for a while.

Trying to figure out what my practice was and where it was going to look like. Um, and then in the end, It ended up the best move for me to just go out on my own and have my own practice. And, you know, when sometimes you make those opportunities, so I’m working on different ways to be in academics. I still am.

I still have my toes in academics and still have my practice. And, and now I’m able to make a lot of the decision I need to make and do the things I want to do and be able to, you know, change and pivot and everything I need to do at the moment. The. Has worked out really well, so, so far.

Catherine Maley, MBA

And if you didn’t have enough courage, you also decide to open private practice in Houston of all places, which has to be almost the most competitive place on the planet, you know, next to Miami.

New York and Beverly Hills and all that. But how did you wind up? I know you said you came from Texas, but it sounds like a small town in Texas with the fellowship also in Texas.

Dr. Angela Sturm

Yeah. The fellowship was in Houston. So that’s what made sense at the time to stay. And then. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like, you know, a little bit, but not enough to be a scared sprayable you should be

Catherine Maley, MBA

a lot to do with this.

So, you wouldn’t do it. If you knew as much as, you know

Dr. Angela Sturm

how scary it really was. Like, you’d probably overthink it a bit now, but that was at that point, I had done med school, residency fellowship here. And so, this was kind of my home to start with. And then. Seem like, you know, being in the community and, and getting to know people, you know, there was, there was still a lot of work for everybody, you know, there’s, there are, there’s a plastic surgeon on every corner.

I mean, it really is, you know, but there’s also a lot of people that are having work done. I mean, this was the birthplace of breast augmentation, right? So, this is, you know, people have it done. And I, I liked that it sorts of fit with my aesthetic, that a lot of my patients, we want to get work done. We, we don’t want everybody to know, you know, I want it to be supernatural.

We want it to be, you know, if anything on the conservative side and you can always continue to tweak things, but I like that the patients sort of fit my personality and I felt comfortable, you know, with them and with, and with the community, I kind of fell in love with the community.

Catherine Maley, MBA

For sure. So, regarding the business side, um, setting up a practice, there’s so many, um, bumps along the way, things you learn on the fly, uh, lost a lot of wasted money, usually some mistakes make.

Um, can you just think of some, uh, a couple of things that you did that you wish you had done differently? Or not at all. Um,

Dr. Angela Sturm

I think I should have been more confident in my knowledge of my practice and what I wanted it to look like and what I wanted it to be like, you know? Cause I think whenever you start out, you have that fear of, oh, there’s all these decisions to make and there’s all this to do.

And um, and you, you can work with different people and get their input and that’s. Really helpful. But I think in the beginning I may be leaned on people a little too much. Cause I would, like you said, I would set things up and, you know, set up the supplies with this company, knowing that maybe I wanted to go with a different one, but I’m going to give it a go.

And then it ended up not working out and I have to change. You know, and we all do you make decisions and change all the time. So, I think it’s taking that input and then knowing exactly what you want to do. Cause I, I knew, but then I, I probably should have just trusted my gut a little bit more. You know?

Catherine Maley, MBA

Isn’t that the truth? Just trust your gut.

Do what want to do because it’s your practice, your personality, and that’s, who’s going to be attracted to you. If you get a designer in there, I’ve seen this so often you get a designer in there and it’s their vision of you. It doesn’t depict your personality. And then things are just wonky.

You know, the patients can feel that too, when things are not congruent, you know, your personality is not congruent with the aesthetics of your practice. I’ve seen that over and over. Um, so, so you’re in Houston and you have to start praying. Was there no non-compete clause? You didn’t have to sign anything.

Dr. Angela Sturm

I was very lucky that, um, location-wise, I couldn’t be in the same building with, she was very generous about that. Cause I, everyone else, I know it was a more difficult situation, so I could be anywhere, you know, and then just start on my own and obviously not take anything from that practice, which is totally understandable and absolutely, you know, The way to do it.

You know what? I was really lucky.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Okay. When it came to buying equipment, because you’re a facial plastic surgeon and you’re young, and I would think you’d have to build up the surgical practice and it would be easier to build probably the non-surgical I’m guessing. So, you, did you bring on a bunch of lasers or how did you buy equipment?

How did you decide what you needed?

Dr. Angela Sturm

It’s so funny because I always say, well, I’m not going to have a bunch of lasers.

I did get them, but it was all things that I needed to fit into to my practice say, okay, well, I have this surgical option. I have this, you know, I had, you know, these people in this demographic that I don’t have a surgical option for. I need a non-surgical option. I need something for brown spots. I need something for redness.

I need, you know, To the questions that my patients are asking me, you know, to be able to take care of these. And so, I found companies that I really like, and I believe in, and I like working with them. Um, and the products that that are delivering, you know, and it’s, it’s always hard in the beginning to find the things that work for you.

And. You know, and know what you’re buying, because it is a big investment, you know, but I think the company piece of it has been a lot for me because they’ve been able to support me and be able to get me, you know, the clinical information that I need and be able to make the treatments even better. And the way.

I want them to be in, to be able to deliver for my patients, you know, and feel comfortable with the purchase and knowing that I will be able to pay those off and that it will be profitable and all the things that you need that equipment rather than just sitting in a room somewhere.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Well, I hope those companies are offering marketing support.

I know most of them do nowadays and they just have to, if you’re going to make that huge investment, they need to back you on that. Um, I love to buy, well, I haven’t bought anything, but I love to buy things that they have already put a ton of consumer education into it, because that shouldn’t be on your dime.

You know, you shouldn’t have to educate the patients on that. You should educate the patients on your part. Like, you know, you have a problem. I have a solution for your pain, but they need to be doing the consumer awareness. That’s. Anyway. Um, so yeah, so now I’m back to business. Now you most likely have never managed people before.

So, any very big challenge for surgeons because surgeons want to be surgeons and they want to hide in the, or, and that’s where they’re comfortable. And then all of a sudden you are now. The leader and you have to hire people, motivate them, train them, onboard them, um, get them drinking your Kool-Aid. You know, how, how big of a deal was that for you?

Was it an innate skill you had; did you have to learn it? Are you still learning it? How’d that go with you and staff?

Dr. Angela Sturm

I think it’s something we all continue to learn, you know? Cause it’s dealing with people and personalities and you know, definitely not anything I learned in med school or residency or, you know, cause you sort of manage people in residency, but it is not the same, you know, it’s, it does not necessarily, you know, translate the same.

So, um, it was something that I read a lot on. I would get books about. I would, you know, attend leadership. Seminars. And, you know, I look at different ways of looking at leadership and things that I can use to, like you said, motivate staff and make sure everybody is as looking at this as like a team project and that we’re in this together.

And, um, Looking at how other people do things. And then also, you know, I joined some like women, entrepreneur groups and women in business and, and things that everyone else does, everything else like nobody else has in medicine. And so, I can learn from them, things that they do, that maybe they’ve been doing this for a long time.

And so, take those tips into what we’re doing. Marketing wise, HR wise, dealing with people, managing people, and always trying to learn from the people around me, like what’s working and not working.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Have you had success hiring people? Are you good at that? Or have you had a few hiccups in nightmares?

Dr. Angela Sturm

Well, we so far so good.

I opened this practice in the beginning of 2020 and everybody’s doing great. And, um, I’m very happy with everybody. We have, I think we have a great team. Um, I. Yeah, like I said, it’s the beginning of 2020. So, so far, it’s been good and that’s been the way that I looked at it as, okay, we’re starting, you know, this is where we’re at.

This is the growth mindset that we have and make sure everybody has that same, you know, and this is where we’re going, and this is what I want. This is your piece of it, you know? And so. We kind of, we make sure everything is everyone’s involved. And so, every big decision, as far as, okay, we’re going to do this with the practice, like everybody’s in that discussion and they get their input into it.

And so, it doesn’t feel like something is just kind of put on you of, oh, we’re doing this down. And I’m like, well, I do. No that, you know, and so we do try to make everyone, so everyone has a vote and has a voice. And, um, and it that’s helpful for me too, because maybe there’s something that I haven’t thought about or thought about it.

And that way that they’re able to bring to the table and especially, you know, with like the laser specialist and the institution, it is something that they’re going to be doing. I want their input, you know, Before we implement anything because it’s hard to sell something if you don’t really, you know, if someone’s like here.

So, this one, like I don’t okay. I don’t know what that is, you know, rather than, oh, I really believe in this. This is great. I love this product, this machine, or, you know, that’s, that’s so much more of a natural. A natural thing for them.

Catherine Maley, MBA

I think it’s so important to turn this into a team. It’s not you against them.

It’s us, it’s us. And we, you know, because they have to execute all of this. And I love when the surgeon can be the visionary and, and give the, the team okay. Team. Here’s what. Here’s where I’m seeing this practice going and I need your help building it. So please, I love brainstorming. I just, I think I know everything until I brainstorm with others and think, oh my God, you went.

That’s a great idea. That’s a great idea. And you never expected to come from the receptionist. Who thought of that? Like, um, they have, everybody has really good ideas when they’re involved. You know, you say it gets easier. Boy. If you involve them early on there, you’re going to get a lot more participation down the road. For sure.

Dr. Angela Sturm

Yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA

So, let’s talk about non, alright. Last thing about business. Just give me one, one piece of advice that you would have. Done differently had you, if you could do it over again, what would you have done differently?

Dr. Angela Sturm

I would probably gone up on my own sooner. Oh, okay. I tried to make a deal work that didn’t work, you know, and we’ve all been there.

It’s business. It’s the way that it is, you know, and you really want it to work. And I think, you know, I, I put everything I had into that and then it was longer down the line until I can do my own thing. So, I probably would have.

Done my own thing a little bit earlier,

Catherine Maley, MBA

you know, so many surgeons call me and say, I’m in the university.

I hate it. Um, our I’m in a big practice. I hate it. And I just, I just can’t jump. And I know they’re calling me for motivation and there’s no, there’s no easy way to do that. Your ha well, here’s what I think ends up happening when you’re in enough pain. You finally jumped, you have to wait to get to that pain point, or is there anything people can do to get there faster?

So, they don’t waste a year dreading, you know, dreading going to the office that they don’t want to go to new tips.

Dr. Angela Sturm

I think it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems, you know, like we have this idea of, okay, you have to go out and you have to have your own office and your own staff and you have to start from the beginning and you have to have all this stuff.

And it’s so scary. And you know, and in the months between, when I left that other practice to, when I opened up here, I subleased a space from another doctor. I had one employee. I had minimal overhead, you know, and cause we opened in January and in March, the pandemic hit and. We had to close down. And so even if something like that happened, we were okay.

You know, I knew that we were going to be okay because my overhead was not that high. You know what I have to meet to make sure I’m okay is a low bar. And if I can start with that and then, you know, build from there, once you get comfortable and you get more patients, you know, you don’t have. The stress of, okay, well, I have to support my staff and I have to get this and I have to make the, this lease at this giant office and this, you know, it doesn’t have to be that from the beginning, you know, you can, you can make it what you want.

You know, and I, I would sublease, I think it’s at least two clinic days. And then one day I could just be there and call patients. And the other days I would work on the other aspects of the business, which was actually really nice to be able to work on the business. In the beginning, you know, and not in it.

And then you’re not doing all the things you need to do to get it set up, to get the groundwork laid, you know? And, um, and then it’s not as scary, you know, say, okay, well, this is my overhead. And I, I know I can make that, you know, I know I’m going to be okay. And then, and then build up to whatever you want it to be.

Catherine Maley, MBA

So, when you got started now, everyone keeps in mind. She just did this less than what, two years ago. Um, how in the world do you start from scratch? Where are these patients coming from? And I’m going to assume you’ve done some, I assume ENT work plus cosmetic. Are you, are you juggling those two to pay the bills?

Dr. Angela Sturm

So, I’m very lucky that I have always been in the place that I could do facial plastics from the beginning. So. That’s not everybody’s situation. You know, people do it all the time where they do ENT and facial classics. But I said just lucky, the plant that I took, that I’ve been able to do that. Um, and the, the con about that is that it takes longer to build, you know, and in that time where.

Um, where you have days where maybe you’re not seeing as many patients, then, then I would go out and do things in the community. And that’s especially pre pandemic. That’s a lot of how I built my practice because even being in another practice, I had to do the hustle. I had to go out there and meet people and shake the hands I had to, you know, go to meetings, go to breakfast, you know, do all the things, get the social media started, do the website.

Like I was doing all of that anyway, within. And so, it finally clicked. Like let’s

Catherine Maley, MBA

stay on that for a minute because um, most people in today’s world have lost that hustle and grind aspect of things. This isn’t just going to be handed to you on a silver platter. You have to go out into the community and let them know you’re there.

So could you just specifically say. What does that look like? Like how many days a week, or, or who did you visit or what worked the best? Because everyone has to know this. There’s no magic to this. There it’s hard work and networking, you know?

Dr. Angela Sturm

Right. And it doesn’t matter to your point. Like it doesn’t matter.

And from what I’ve seen, you know, if you’re in a group in a. Uh, practice with another person or whatever. Like you have to get out there and you have to do it. You just have to hustle because people come and see a plastic surgeon. They usually don’t go to see a practice. And then I have it for certain things.

But for facial plastics, it was definitely like they went to see a surgeon. So, I would spend time, like I joined a couple of breakfasts. That we’re networking for different entrepreneurs. You know, one that was associated with my college, one that was female entrepreneurs, you know, just different ones that you can just seek out and join.

And that was really the best thing is I found the more you can personally get to know people, they get to know you and they trust you, and then they’ll be more willing to come in. You know, you can go speak at one of those and that’s fine. And maybe you get a couple of patients out of that, but if they really get to know.

Then be like, oh yeah, they’ll refer their friends. And you know, and so that has been a really good thing for me is to be able to get involved in, you know, in these networking groups and then get involved in things like leadership, Houston, where I get to know people that are doing all kinds of exciting things, you know, people with all kinds of aspirations.

To be on city council and have these non-profits. And so, I’m involved in what they’re doing, you know, with supporting them with their fundraising and supporting them with their, you know, their nonprofits and, and being able to meet more people that way. And so. Kind of putting yourself out there and meeting them.

And, and yet at the beginning it was, it was a lot, you know, and you can choose how much you do, but I, I was going to go get it, you know, and it was four or five days a week. I was doing something. But if you know, my practice wasn’t as busy at that time. So, I had the time to do it. No, also didn’t have two kids, so

Catherine Maley, MBA

we’re going to get to them too. I don’t know how you’re doing all that, but I just hope everyone’s hearing that. You need to figure out, you know, there’s a saying, um, your net worth is your network and it’s so, it’s so true. Um, life is about relationships, especially in today’s world, um, where you can’t count on a lot of the marketing things that’s changing.

So darn fast. Um, and you don’t own that audience. So, you’ve got to come up with some concrete, other ways to, um, to grow your practice. And one of them is related to. Get to know people who know other people who need to know you, if you can figure that out a million years ago, when I got into this, like 21 years ago, I used to be like, uh, a fractional marketing consultant to surgeons.

And one surgeon is in a very affluent area here in Northern California. And I used to go to the chamber of commerce for him. And as a joke, I say, I have to wear a pin with your name on it, or your photo on it. I’m just the, the, you know, your advocate, like I was like your PR agent, but frankly we would have sold so much more.

And I got quite a few facelifts out of that, but I would have sold so much more. Had he been there, you know, like, um, you really, it, because it takes you to build that relationship. Um, so, uh, kudos to you for doing that, but. Thank you. Um, is there a particular audience, so what’s your marketing strategy? Is there a particular audience you’re going after a particular procedure, a particular target market or area?

Like, do you have a marketing strategy? How you’re going about this? Because the world is your oyster. However, you’ll run out of the time, money and effort trying to get to everybody. So, you’re so much better off. The focus. Do you have any of that going on? Like who’s your target market and where are they?

Dr. Angela Sturm

It seems, I kind of made my target argue target market who was drawn to me. Like you’re saying, you know, like who I connect with on a personal basis. I connect with them online as well. You know, it’s people that are like me, they’re young professionals, maybe they’re young moms. Maybe they’re not, maybe they’re dog moms, you know, it’s people that are looking at okay, I’m starting to see the signs of aging.

What do I do? You know? I’ve never tried Botox. I’ve never done anything to my skin. What is something that’s, you know, really gentle and not scary to do, you know? So, you can start with things like the Hollywood facial or like the, uh, really light lasers like that, and then build that relationship. And then that turns into something else surgical or, you know, referring their friends it’s like that.

So, if I have the people that I know that whenever I meet them in person, you know, we’ll have a. Relationship. It it’s much easier. Like those are my people. Whenever I see them there, you know, we, we can have a great conversation about whatever it is, you know, and that sort of the vibe that I like in the office and what I try to make, you know, online and social media, as well as like, This is a place to kind of come to and relax and be like, yeah, this is I’m in the right spot.

You know? And so, everything about the office we designed is just to be very relaxing and like, okay, this is, this is it. Um, I’m glad I’m here and I can be myself. I can tell you whatever, you know, um, I’m a pretty open book. And so, I have all kinds of conversations with my patients and they know a lot about me and I know a lot about them.

It ends up being a, you know, a great personal relationship, which I enjoy very much. And then the patients feel comfortable telling whatever it is that they’re thinking about doing, or maybe this or that, or do you have a referral? And I get calls all the time for referrals for stuff. That’s definitely not what I do, but you know, like, oh, I do have somebody that you can go to, you know?

And so, it’s nice having that kind of personal relationship that they feel comfortable asking. Kind of embarrassing questions or so if I can make, and I guess I’m. Branding nerd without having that background, that I like everything to be the same, you know, like that is my message. This, you can be yourself.

We can, we will take care of you. You’re, you know, you’re in good hands. And so, everything winds up with that, we’re when your social media that this is, this is just what it is like. Open-book and the website. And whenever you come here, I try to make everything have that same field.

Catherine Maley, MBA

For sure. How important has social media then to you in order to grow your practice and educate patients on your procedure?

Do you have some really fun procedures and I’m like Hollywood peel, um, you know, fun names for things that patients will remember? And I love that you give them a choice. You have a non-surgical choice or a surgical. In today’s world. I mean, take it from somebody who knows I’ve had surgical and nonsurgical and I will continue to rotate between them.

So, if you can give me those choices, meet me where I’m at, and that’s what happens. A lot of the surgeons don’t meet people where they’re at. They only meet them when they’re ready for surgery. And I’m not sure that’s the right attitude in today’s world. They’ll. They need to know you and not right that second.

Can you do know you before they decide to have surgery,

Dr. Angela Sturm

right? Yeah. And like I said, give those options because so many people are looking for non-surgical options and they’re saying, you know, maybe surgery down the line, but that’s not really what I’m thinking right now, or what do you have that can get me resolved so I can see and, you know, Maybe part of that hesitation is getting to know all these devices and you know, what works for you and not, and doing all of that because it is a lot to, to look into everything.

But I think it is important to have that for your patients because it gives them that whole package of, yeah, you can have, you know, you can have a facelift, but you’ve got to take care of your skin and you gotta, you know, and then there’s the maintenance and. No, nobody because there are people, but lots of people, you know, they don’t want to just do that and then be done.

They want to always continue to look good. And that’s the whole idea is you want to continue to look good. And so, if you can have options and be able to talk to them about, I don’t know, I like to talk to them about what I have and then also what I don’t have, you know, if there’s something that might be better and I have, you know, a friend dermatologist and say, let me give you, her card.

And you know, and then I can build that relationship with that patient as well as, you know, The other doctors are, you know, being able to get them the best results, no matter what it is. And then I found in it, it makes a better relationship with them. Then they’ll come back for other stuff later, you know, rather than, oh, you know, the hammer and the nail, you know, this is what I want to do.

Catherine Maley, MBA

You might not know this, but if you looked at the pie, what percentage. Do you maybe anecdotally or, or you actually know come from social media versus word-of-mouth referral versus a print ad. Uh, are you doing any of the old school marketing or is it all social media and word of mouth?

Dr. Angela Sturm

I have done the print, but it doesn’t have great ROI for me.

You know, I have. I’ve done it whenever I’ve known the publisher. And it was more of like a relationship with that person in the community, you know, to kind of support them rather than the ROI, knowing it wasn’t going to be that great moving forward or to use it for, um, other things. Cause I like to take one thing and then, you know, make a social media posts and social media story about it and tell the story about what that is and why we were involved in, you know, and what they’re supporting and because a lot of the.

I’m sure everywhere, like the publishers will also support things in their community and so that I can support them. And then that, you know, and make the story out of it more for social media than actually expecting something out of the publication, if that makes any sense. Um, but I would say at least 60% of my patients are word of mouth because that’s just the way the practice is, which is great.

And I, I love it, but then, you know, maybe 20. Probably 25% is, is social media, you know, and then other Google search and all the other little things. But the majority is word of mouth because I don’t know, I just it’s the best. Yeah, but the social media has been a great way for me to, um, meet new patients.

And then also keep in touch with the patients that I have. And like you said, introduce the new treatments that we have introduced new ways of doing things, and it keeps them interested in what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. And it may be something that drives people crazy about me, but I always like to be doing something new and different and let’s try this and let’s do that.

And let’s change now and let’s pivot and let’s do this and, you know, The patients love it. They’ll come in and say, okay, well, I saw that you did this. What can I benefit from that? And, well, what about this? And can we do that? And, you know, and so it’s been a bit of like internal marketing just to kind of keep them abreast, which is a much easier way.

Like we send out emails and they liked that and they liked the education of it. But I think, um, I get a lot more response from the social media that they’re seeing kind of what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis.

Catherine Maley, MBA

And I see you’re doing most of your own social media. Is it how bad of a time commitment is?

Dr. Angela Sturm

So actually, do you have someone that helps me with the social media? I will. Me or one of the staff members will take the videos, we’ll interview the patients. We’ll, you know, we do a lot of that and, and she does some of the videos as well, but then she does the editing and we’ll help, you know, post it.

And so, it’s not a, not a big-time commitment for me. We’ve kind of worked out between me and the digital marketer, what, what I can do and what I want her to do. It makes sense. You know, time-wise,

Catherine Maley, MBA

that’s a smart way to do it because, um, you like, you’re doing a very good job of educating. So, when you get involved, you know, it’s going to, you’re going to be talking about a treatment typically, and then you can see all the other work that I’m so glad you’re delegating that because I can’t imagine some of these surgeons are spending hours a day on this, and I just can’t imagine that being a great use of your time.

Some of that makes sense. Most of it doesn’t you should I personally, I think you should be delegating like 80% of it, but you do what you do, you know, like, I like that saying, do what only you can do, you know, delegate the rest for sure.

And the reason you need to delegate Hulu is because you mentioned two children.

You have a pandemic child. Yes. Can you, what, what happened? What, what was going on?

Dr. Angela Sturm

It all happened at the same time I decided, okay. I am going to start my own practice. And then I found out, okay, I am pregnant. That was not planned, but okay. Fantastic timing. All right. Let’s okay. And then right after we started, then we there’s the pandemic hit.

Um, yeah, I had her in the middle of that, the surge that was in the end of June. So it was at the peak numbers, you know, just stressful as far as that goes. Um, but it is what it is. It was one of those things my mom kept saying, well, you seem like you should be stressing out more. And I’m like, but what am I going to do?

You know, what am I going to do? Uh, There’s nothing I can do about it. You just get a roll with it and you know, it everybody’s in the same boat. It’s not like anyone’s not dealing with this pandemic. We’re all, we’re all here together. And. Oh, I, I luckily have a great staff that totally understands where I was like, I actually have just hired my institution.

I was like, you can start Monday. I’ll be having a baby until I come back.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Who, who managed your practice while you were away?

Dr. Angela Sturm

So it was at that point, it was just Crystal, which has been with me from the beginning and who is amazing. And we just talked on a regular basis and she’s able to kind of manage things. Um, so that’s been the role that she’s actually grown into.

And then, you know, I, I can do a little bit from home, but it was nice to have her and somebody that I’ve known for a long time to be able to trust and be like, okay, This is what we’re going to do. If you can, like you said, this is the direction we need to go. These are the things that need to happen. If you can make sure that happens, I wouldn’t be great.

And, and they were able to do it and they’re, they’re wonderful. I really have a great staff. So, I think we’ve been really, really lucky to find good people and, and be able to. And work with them through this to make sure everyone feels valued. And you know, the things that they’re having to deal with, if they have a sick family member or whatever, you know, be able to support them in all of everything that’s gone on.

Um, you know, to, to be able to make sure that things happen the way that they need to happen. Because as you know, as a surgeon, I have to be like captain of the ship. Here’s where we’re going. I’m going to be in surgery all day. You guys got, yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA

That’s another good point for having other revenue generators in the practice for you.

It was a baby for somebody else. It was. Are running, like they blew out their ankle or something. I mean, there’s so many reasons to think about that. You know, when you’re, what happens when you can’t be there. Does anything happen? Does the whole place stop? Um, you know, it’s things to think about for sure.

Uh, so just to wrap this up, where did you get your motivation from? Or do you read a lot? I know that you said you were a, you joined clubs and I think that’s super helpful. They always say surround yourself with people that you want to be like, you know? And, um, how do you keep your mindset? So, and how are you so well, mild mannered?

I would be flipping out if I had. A new practice and a baby. I can add another one. You already had a toddler. So now you have,

Dr. Angela Sturm

it’s a circus, it’s a circus of my house. That’s why I call space. Um, you know, I do like to read and I read as much as I can and now, I’ve figured out how to like, read on my phone. So, the kids don’t know that’s what I’m doing. That’s a kind of keep up with, you know, different. I said, I like to read about. Things like my thing now is yes, I read a lot about surgery and techniques and what’s coming out, but we read a lot of like leadership and, you know, money management.

And what to your point though, like other business, you know, other income streams and how can we diversify it? How can I diversify as a person, as a surgeon, as a practice, you know, too? Whenever I’m older and maybe my back hurts and you know, that the practice is going along just fine. And I don’t have to be the one, you know, with everything on my back and, and getting things in it.

And that’s my plan of like, That’s what I’m reading at this point. It’s like, how do we scale things? So, when the kids are bigger and they have soccer practice or a soccer game, I can go and the practice keeps going and it’s not a big deal, you know? And so, I have some flexibility though. I actually enjoy all of that.

Like I enjoy the business part of it. And like I said, it’s always the challenge thing, you know, onto the next challenge and the next challenge. And so, I actually, I enjoyed that part.

Well,

Catherine Maley, MBA

good for you. So, to wrap this up, do you have one piece of advice for anybody who’s either starting out or even who’s been around a long time, then they’re kind of not clear what’s happening in the world.

Any advice.

Dr. Angela Sturm

It’s always okay. To make a change, you know, even if you’re in a comfortable place and you’re thinking, oh, maybe I should, or maybe this, you know, it’s okay to make a change because like, like they always say, you know, either that’s my ideas either I’m going to succeed or I’m going to learn. And then the next time I’m going to, you know, know how to do it better, or you get on a different path, you know, you may not know exactly what that path is going to be, but it’s going to.

You know, you’ll get on a path that takes you somewhere. That’s better than you thought it would be. So, it’s, you know, it’s okay to make a change and it’s okay to, to question things. And I think right now everyone is questioning a lot, you know, which is not a bad thing. If okay, where am I? Where am I going?

You know, the pandemics made us look at life a little bit differently and. You know, what do I want and what do I want out of life and my practice and how those go together and, you know, and be able to make the decision that works for you because I’ve talked to so many young physicians lately, they’re like, well, I’m in this employee, just like you said, and this Floyd situation and.

You know, they always say they’re really nice people and I hate to leave and I hate to, you know, like it’s this business, uh, you know, it’s business. It is what it is. You can still be friends, you know, but you do need to make the best decision for you and really be able to look at, you know, like objectively what do I want and be okay with making that change because everybody’s going to be okay.

You know,

Catherine Maley, MBA

one thing I got out of the pandemic. Um, because we all had to stop, you know, we had to just stop. We couldn’t keep going, going, going. They wouldn’t, we weren’t allowed to, we had to stop and think. And, um, the best part about that, I think is you really started to ask questions. What do I really want to do?

You know, like I, I personally simplified I was doing so many things that were not fun for me or not interesting, or not going anywhere. I was just trying to be everything all the time. And I thought, why am I doing that? I’m like, and I say, What do you like to do? Um, like really fixing procedures you really like, and let’s just focus there.

You know, I think everything, everybody, when I anyway, so a lot came out of that. So, there’s always something good coming out of bad, but, oh boy, I can’t wait till this darn thing is over. I’m still in California. It’s ridiculous. Um, and as if you were busy enough, you’re also on the planning committee of the American academy of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

And actually I’m, I will see you there. I’m going to be on the podium. Thank you so much. Um, so tell me about that. Because I want others to attend.

Dr. Angela Sturm

Yeah, absolutely. We’re super excited. Were really excited to hopefully be in person well every day is, and you know, you take it day by day, so we’ll see what happens, but that’s the plan so far, we do have options for virtual if that’s what we need to do.

Um, but we’re, it’s really exciting. Like some of the, the planners we have really put together like an amazing program. And I love that we have really taken time to be a. Intentional about who’s speaking and what they’re speaking about and making sure their voices that are heard, that haven’t necessarily been heard before, you know, and having a diversity of people that are on the podium, you know, and having topics that are critical to where we’re at right now, you know?

And I, I made sure in my part to make sure. There’s something for everybody, you know? And are you at the beginning of your career and you’re trying to figure out which job are you in the middle and you’re looking at, okay, how do I either scale or scale back or even end? And how do you figure out how to retire or sell your practice or do people sell practices or how do you, you know, how do you do that and what do you do with that?

And so, and there’s so really exciting rhinoplasty and facial rejuvenation talks and, um, I think it’s going to be really good. I, I love whenever we get together and we talk about, you know, everything that’s planned out because it is a little bit different than how it’s been before and there are new and exciting talks.

And so, I hope everybody could go, um, register.

I know it’s on the AFPRS website and you can get to it from there. Okay.

Catherine Maley, MBA

So, is a AAFPRS.com? Yeah, I can’t remember.org, maybe. I’m sorry. I don’t remember, but if you just Google, um, facial plastic surgeons, I’m sure it’ll pop up. Facial Plastic Surgeon Conference probably you know, anyway, I’ll see you there. I’m going there in public. I can, or going there for real, I am not doing virtual conferences anymore.

We can’t, I need to get back and meet everybody and see everybody and talk to you and, you know, and, and network again, and like just share ideas. It’s. More difficult to do that virtually than it is when you’re together in the hallway. I love hallway huddles at these conferences. You just get so much out of them.

So, yeah.

Dr. Angela Sturm

Yeah. There’s so much. And just being able to talk to someone after their talk about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and why and what the details. You’re just not going to get that from, you know, from a virtual talk. Um, yeah, I’m excited about it.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Good. All right. I will see you there. I believe it is.

Um, October, September, end of September in Las Vegas at the Palm hotel, correct? Or, um, what’s called,

Dr. Angela Sturm

oh, I think it’s in The Paris.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Paris, that’s it, Paris. I knew it started with a P The Paris Hotel. All right. So, I’ll see you there. Thank you so much for being on my podcast. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Angela Sturm

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. This was wonderful.

Catherine Maley, MBA

Everyone that wraps it up for this session. Please subscribe to Beauty and the Biz, so you don’t miss any other episodes. And if you’ve got any questions or feedback for me, you can certainly leave them on my website at www.CatherineMaley.com, or you can always DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.

Thanks so much and we’ll talk again soon.

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Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.

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