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Ep.99: Dr. Gary Linkov


Beauty and the Biz with Dr. Gary Linkov of Manhattan:

• Pioneered the Elelyft™ Lip Lift
• Dual-Ive League Educated Surgeon
• Advanced Training in Sculpting, Painting and Sketching
• Has appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show”
• Teaching rhinoplasty procedures to the NYU head and neck surgery residents

Visit Dr. Linkov’s Website

📖 Get a Copy of Catherine’s FREE Book

📲 Schedule a FREE 30-Minute Strategy Call with Catherine

Transcript

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Hello everyone 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. My guest today is Dr. Gary Linkov. He’s a facial plastic and hair surgeon in private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Madison Avenue, no less for the past three years. He’s a native New Yorker, graduated from Cornell University with a focus on psychology, which is brilliant. It’s very necessary in today’s world. He pursued advanced art training in painting, sketching and sculpture in Florence, Italy. He then received his medical degree at Columbia University. He conducted advanced head and neck cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Kettering Cancer Center, and he’s devoted time to Smile Train to help children with cleft lips and palates. He specializes in all types of facial plastic, as well as hair restoration surgery, and all the non surgical for both men and women. Welcome to Beauty and the Biz Dr. Linkov.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Thanks, Catherine. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Yeah, the big question is, how in the world did you graduate? How did you end up in New York? And how did you decide, oh, why don’t I open up a practice right in the middle of the jungle, the mecca of plastic surgery? How do you do that, because that’s a big deal.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
What happened was this, I thought about it this way, as a resident and fellow, we don’t make that much money. And instead of being lowered by this big potential, salary working for private practice, or even for a hospital or an academic type of place, I was, like, let me try this on my own. And if I can make at least what I was making, as a resident or fellow, like, I’ll consider that a success and on one hand, I didn’t know fully what I was getting myself into, I think if you completely understand in advance, you probably wouldn’t do it, because the barrier to entry is quite high. I didn’t know how much money it was going to take to like compete on the marketing front and that’s where your expertise come in, but I had to learn all that from scratch. I didn’t have much money, I didn’t take out honestly any loans. I mean, we had some in the savings, I put that in. One of the big things that had going for me is that my uncle was a chiropractor decided to open up like a wellness space in the city. Not for me, but he was planning on that along the way for years and then the timing worked out as a weird fortune that came my way.

And like at least I had some space where I could work out the finances with him, it was a little bit easier because I remember before he finally decided to do it, and rent a nice space, renovate it. Then I was in charge of building our operating rooms we have a credit or that I had to get accredited from scratch. I mean, we had an advisor but still I didn’t know what I was doing, what equipment to buy, usually I’d walk into an old car and they give you everything you asked for. Here, I was trying to do that from scratch as I was building my practice and trying to have a part time job to pay the bills, is an interesting beginnings. Not easy but before he finally decided to do it. I met with some other plastic surgeons in the area to try to rent space from them and the costs were insane, what they were, and they didn’t care that I was starting out. No one cared and it was like, this is the price Take it or leave it. I got insane quotes up to $10,000 for one room for two days a week, a month. I was like I don’t know how I would afford that without a massive loan or something like that. Luckily, that part of it was a easier for me compared to say someone else at a training looking to build in Manhattan, it’s not a terrible time because rentals are down and you can get into a space for cheaper with the pandemic but three years ago that wasn’t the case.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Let it be clear, did you open up a practice with your uncle chiropractic?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
No, he built out this wellness imagine like we work in a way but most of it is for his wellness practice with a partner of his who does anti aging and the nurse practitioner, IV therapies and he continues doing his chiropractic stuff. He has a big practice in Brooklyn and this was his boutique cash based, focused practice in the city but the point was a physical space with many different rooms, and they were planning on renting out the rooms to other providers, it wasn’t for them. For me, I like nestled in there, got my one exam room that I continue to use and then I was in charge of the operating room. I’m still its medical director, we have other surgeons who come and use the O.R but I had to figure that part out also from ground up, which was very hard. I remember going through that accreditation process, but before that buying up even the smallest things, I mean, I did all of it, they didn’t have an hour manager, I did everything, in the beginning. And then, we hired someone to do inventory and all of that but it was the fact that there was this physical space, where I could go in, not pay, as much as some other places were quoting plus have the option of using like ours, and not relying on someone else’s for availability. All those things were huge help, it’s something I don’t talk about too often because no one asks, I have nothing to hide. It was definitely a nice boost for me but that helped and that gave me some courage and confidence to keep going, I wasn’t like eating through the funds, paying for space.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
You share this space, because the pictures on your website are gorgeous, but the office is gorgeous.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
That’s a space, that’s…

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Oh, it’s gorgeous.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
But it’s not for me, it’s a shared thing

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Is shared as in, is there any way your patients crossover to thiers or theirs to yours?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
There’s crossover that was the logic behind and the funny thing is, I have a good friend in town who has a laser company, and he’s looking to build out something like what we have, but also renting out his machines, because that’s what he has but the concept would be the same. He recently met with my uncle to talk about the experience because we don’t have surgeons in our space, we have like a neurologist, we have like a GI specialist but generally people are more cash based. Sometimes patients will crossover but that’s not common. It was the vision initially but people come to me for specific surgeries and unless they mentioned, Oh, I’m looking for someone to fix my shoulder or something like that. I’m not going to advertise everyone in our space. Sometimes they’ll say, Oh, there’s this person here, because they’ll see it, their name on the sign or whatever it is. But there’s some crossover, but not as much as I think they were hoping for.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Who was your first hire?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
My first hire, I had a lot of part time help for a long time and then it was right after COVID that I need someone who’s like my person, because my volume was increasing. I have an amazing assistant and I have one employee right everyone else is because it’s been Hatton. Like tech work it’s easy to find people. That’s not a problem and I have the same four or five people who assist me for cases and when I’m in the operating room, we’ve got the same four or five nurses that come through and do those cases with me. At this point, I don’t feel like I need to have any more full time people, though, I’m moving in the direction of getting another part time person for some social media and some weekend coverage. I used to work the weekends, at least Sundays, but I don’t do weekends too often but we still get a good number of inquiries. I want someone fielding them, don’t get all dumped on Monday and patients can get their replies sooner. Also, I want to have someone who’s able to jump in if my main person can’t make it in, she had like a dental appointment recently. I need some backup help.

Someone who’s cross train, that’s what I’m working on, identifying that person we found now, we thought we found someone but it wasn’t a good fit. We have another person coming in for some training next week. That’s that person and then I am talking to one of my hair tech nurses. She’s a nurse who is also in my hair techs. I don’t want to lose her to another practice and she’s starting to want something a little bit more regular. She was part of the practice and then with COVID got laid off. I’m talking to her at least giving her some part time but regular part time work. Yeah, slowly building but staying lean. I think the biggest thing when you’re counting your money and not being all over the place and having such a big loan that you don’t count your dollars as closely as you should, I think you need to be lean. There’s no reason to bring on people who are going to sit around, perform and help you build. That’s been my strategy?

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Well, I’ll tell you what, if you wanted my two cents, though, of course, you need the help with marketing but also with leads gen and general, somebody has to have their name on that. When the leads come in, either by Chabot, by call, by email, by DM, somebody has to be on top of that, pronto. Do you have that cover because social media is one thing? It’s but lead gen is the other and the process of how are you going to get that to convert all the way through to the end where they have surgery? Do you have that person on board?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
That’s my front desk. I mean, is that person, she does all of that. She’s good. I got lucky in that sense. We’re on those, we have an advanced patient tracking system. We don’t let anything slip by in terms of inquiries and we’re fast. I mean, we reply, fast. I’m on top of emails myself, I don’t like send them the emails initially but if I notice something, I’ll make sure she replies. That’s why I need that weekend coverage because even though on the online, we’re closed on Saturday and Sunday. People don’t care, they call, they send inquiries, they want to know the price, whatever, they want to schedule their consult . I don’t like that delay from like, Friday, I like 6pm, 7pm, when we stop picking up the phone, unless it’s my own post OP patient, but I usually have my cell phone. They rarely, but again, I’ll keep my eye out, if there’s any real medical thing, but in terms of like new inquiries, they usually will have to wait until Monday, when my person Bianca can respond to them.

Sometimes I don’t think honestly for the type of patient that I’m looking for because I’m as picky as patients are in finding me. I’m picky in the patients that I pick for surgery, especially injectables, with the psych background, I have my antenna up for BDD all the time. I don’t want to take people on into the practice who I don’t feel like I can make them happier. If they’re miserable people, I don’t want them. That sounds harsh, and I don’t tell them that. But it’s the truth because it’s not good for the practice. It’s not good for them. It’s not right all around. I think it’s okay, like most of those patients aren’t going to go shop, it’s not like a haircut, they’re not going to go somewhere else, and be like, Oh, this person gave me a good price quicker than you did. That’s what I’m going to go with. I don’t think we’ve lost anybody with that weekend delay but I do think that it’s helpful to have someone who’s a little bit more there on the weekend to respond, remotely, plus, I do come in on the weekend sometimes to operate and I want a person who will come in with me and not be alone with surgical help, I want someone at the front desk. again, having that person be cross trained to jump in whenever someone’s needed, I think is going to be critical for

Catherine Maley, MBA:
I don’t even know what the answer is anymore because you sound rational and like you have rational patients or prospective patients, but you’re still dealing with the public and they’re emotional. They want what they want. They want it when they want it. New Yorkers are tough group anyway but you go outward, all over the world, probably. What I would suggest, though, if you’re because your competitors are answering the phones, I mean, a lot of them have a practice cell phone, and it’s gone home with the staff but then you have to figure that out, how are you going to monitor it? How you’re going to pay them to be on call like that, that’s their issue?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
During the week, we’re fine and when we’re answering all the time if it’s after hours, there are patients who call in at midnight, with like a basic question about a procedure that they’re interested in that’s not being answered. I think that’s a little bit a strange behavior. You got to understand who he who if you’re in the patient’s shoes. I mean, who do you think you’re going to talk to at midnight? When you have this elective basic general question, it doesn’t make sense. You’re not going to get someone a value because they’re sleeping. I don’t feel like desperate for patients. Luckily, even when I was starting, I started with the same mentality. I think I’m a little bit more discriminating because I can be but even in the beginning, I let surgeries go, I let different things go in and I stood my ground with patients who I felt were being reasonable and honest. I wouldn’t say it backfired, I gave some money back here and there for people who are out there.

There was no way to reason in any logical way but I don’t know, patients find you who are like the, because I have enough material out there and my YouTube stuff is growing, and people who reach out and who are willing to, I think the key is to charge for consultation. I mean, that’s been my experience because when I didn’t charge, the quality of the patient, and the willingness, and the dutifulness, to show up for your consultation was not there. And I don’t work that way, I mean, I show up, and I expect the patient to show up, when we started to charge, they all show up, maybe 2% of the time, they don’t. I think like you attract the type of person who likes your style. Back in the day, when there wasn’t as much like being out there, like online with the videos everywhere and all this stuff, you get referred to someone word of mouth, and then you show up, and you figure out their personality, and you liked them, you didn’t, but you find that out later on.

Nowadays, it’s a little different, like, a lot of us are out there, I mean, I’m the same person, when people reach out and want a consultation, and they know what they’re getting. That’s what I like someone who isn’t willing to wait 12 hours for us to call him back are reached out on the weekend I agree with you, and that it’s good to pick up and answer them and be available. But I also think there’s something to be said for, running things your way. And, expecting patients to adapt a little bit to some you want to.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Well, I say it all the time you teach people how to treat you. I think Phil McGraw said that or something, but the public will run you ragged if you let them. I love that you have boundaries around that. I’m saying when you’re new, and you’re still feeling it out and you have competitors in the jungle there who are willing to do it. It’s such a trade off. Everything is such a trade off, is it worth it? Is it not worth it? you’re tracking like crazy. I think your numbers well, and your numbers will tell you everything. If your numbers are hurting, it’s time to cater more. If not do it your way

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, we aren’t like missing anyone there might be a little bit more of a delay on returning those weekend calls but we’re never missing anyone because nowadays everything’s also I mean, I use Vonage, it’s all through the phone. I get it, my assistant gets it. It’s all like if someone leaves a voicemail, it all comes through our email. There’s many ways to go back and say, Okay, did we miss any calls that we know? We have bird eye. A lot of people love to text these days, they’re texting us through bird eye, everything is recorded, documented. I think gone are the days where you missed the call and you can easily go back and check who it was and it’s no caller ID. We I don’t know, we don’t experience that.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Yeah, one recommendation, I would set up some contingency plans such as autoresponders. where, we’ll be getting back to you on Monday. In the meantime, go to my YouTube channel, go to my podcast…

Dr. Gary Linkov:
That on the bird eye there’s an auto thing for the text with the text and the calls. I don’t have to check what the voicemail says recently. I don’t we had something like that, hopefully hasn’t. I haven’t looked into that in a little while but I think that’s a great point. We’re doing okay, in that department, at least, and the conversion rate from doing the consultation or to booking surgery from consultation to booking surgery is also much higher in my experience from when I started to charge for consultations compared to other serious.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
You have to charge in today’s world, it’s not even worth it any more trying to cater to anybody who wants to come see you I think you need to put up some boundaries. I think anyway…

Dr. Gary Linkov:
I have a friend in town to play devil’s advocate because that’s how I feel personally and I think for my style where I like to spend time with patients like my video consult’s nowadays. I’ve gotten them down to 30 minutes but they were like one hour for a long time and part of that was me and part of it was how we structured things but I have a buddy not to put out any names but he does have like 600, 700 Rhinoplasties a year. He’s very active on a certain website online and gets a ton of patients from all over the place. He’s about six years. My senior but he does not talk for cons rotations, he does eight minute consultation.

Honestly, he’ll do consults on a Saturday, he puts like 35 or 40, consultations on free eight minutes is all the time you get with him, and then take it or leave it and they send the price of the surgery to the patients in advance, to force them to review it to be like, Okay, this is too expensive for you then don’t do the consult . This is a new COVID thing but he likes this method much that he said that he’s going to probably offer this or you pay him $500 for an in person visit that does not go to towards your surgery. A lot of people who choose but eight minute con, I can’t do the eight minutes. I’m like saying hello, like seeing where they’re located. I don’t think you can fully understand a person’s true goals and aspirations. And then give them your thoughts, talk about the procedure in eight minutes. That’s how I feel, but he’s able to do it.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Well, we’ll see, because that’s exhausting, what he’s doing and we’ll see it where it comes out in the reviews and the referrals. And the, people returning referring all of that. I don’t know that but eight minutes. Wow, I don’t know how he does.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Once your machine is big. It seems like it’s hard to fail. From what I’ve seen even if you get all these terrible reviews, and whatever but if you’re out there and people talk about you consider you lay on top person. That’s the notion I get and I think it’s unfortunate, because every case is important. Every person that you treat, you got to not see it as your last but see it as your most important. I don’t put any more, I don’t care if it’s an influencer or the person who would, I don’t care. Every single person who I treat, gets my most attention, concentration and focus. That’s how I run my practice but some people they play it like a volume game like, no, and that same person who I mentioned, he’s fine giving money back. He’s more than happy to do that. If it means getting rid of the person and whatever different ways to do things

Catherine Maley, MBA:
I’ve seen every which way you can do this and what the answer is, do what feels right to you. Because you’re the one who’s going to lose sleep over it. If you don’t do what you’re..Do your own thing. There is no one way to do this because you are working with consumers. There are consumers for everybody. Some of them could care less, they want a good deal. Someone who didn’t handhold them, you don’t know. You’ll attract who you are.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
That’s exactly what I was getting. Yeah, perfect. Yeah, you said it best that. I agree I’m not the right person for everyone, even personality wise, because some people like to be told, like, this is what you need. That’s what we’re doing. Don’t worry about the risks. There’s no risk is going to you’re going to come out looking beautiful. I don’t I don’t I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I think people deserve to know what could go wrong. They deserve to know alternatives and I think it is a conversation. That’s it’s not a one way street. I don’t know, my approaches may be different than some. But like you said I feel good at night, I can sleep and I know I’m treating people the way I’d want my family to be treated and myself, that’s all I can do.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
For sure and that might change as you grow because you’re three years in, maybe 13 years in you feel differently or you move with your moods?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
You’re right who knows, I don’t know what will happen in 10 years.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Give me one business mistake that you made that would help others not make? Or they probably made them to, like what’s something that you wish you hadn’t even bothered with?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
I’ve been careful with how I’ve spent my money that I pull the trigger on bigger things when I felt the time was right it’s hard to think of any, it’s always small things like you put a little money into PR with this one company and that didn’t work out. Honestly, I probably would say that I wish I found my SEO company because most of my business even though there’s like the social stuff but most of it is coming through organic Google and I do think people cross reference multiple things and whatever but still we have good positions on organic Google, and that’s huge. I think I should have probably gone with the more expensive companies sooner. But it’s easier said in hindsight, I didn’t have the capital, but that is one thing, I’m trying to think of something else. Of course, there’s always little things you purchase, like instruments that I’m not going to use that, oh, I purchased chemical peels initially, through PCA, it was like 1500 bucks. But at that time, it was a big expense.

And it was a big decision, which appeals I get, I use that one time and then I gave it away to a colleague who’s an aesthetician, it wasn’t where my expertise was. Thinking that you would start to do this and people will be coming to me for their skincare. It was silly in Manhattan to try to do it all, I mean, it’s a little different but in competitive markets, you have to go for like a niche thing.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
If I were consulting you, I would have said, Don’t bother, because that’s not stay in your own lane. You could care less about peels.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
It’s true I have no passion for that was like a business mistake.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
I mean, if you try making the bigger ones like to do binary lasers, and you’re doing hair restoration.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
No, I didn’t fall into that trap. I have purchased the laser but when I felt like I could afford it. And through a friend of mine who deals with a lot of refurbished lasers, I got a good laser that he found he was going to sell to someone else but then since we were working together and on this jet peel stuff that I do, he basically gave it to me for costs of a good CO2. And he talked that they’re looking into marketing, like a radio frequency micro needling device. I might work with them on that because I’d get it for free but I wouldn’t purchase that. I send people out for that and I always wanted to have my own CO2, I couldn’t afford a nice one. I didn’t want to spend on some junky one. I have a nice CO2, I don’t use it that much but I use it from time to time for scars, for some resurfacing with surgery and I’m very happy with it. It’s a compact thing, it fits into my small room in the city. It’s accurate polls from luminous and it’s fantastic.

It’s got everything I wanted but I worked up to that, I didn’t start my practice and say, Oh, I need the CO2 and go and take out a loan or pay the company big bucks for a brand new one. That was my strategy and never had any major purchases or huge expenses. It’s been very calculated. I spent on PR, when people were telling me not to do PR, and they didn’t do a whole lot for me with like magazine stuff. I got some mentions but with their help, I had another connection which they helped a lot I got on the Dr. Oz show. That continued to reap rewards. I mean, that’s not a one time thing that’s like a big deal. I mean, two years into my practice, that helped a lot and even though I don’t work with that company anymore, I do feel it was worth it even though it was $30,000 and it’s one televise thing and a company.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
is able to keep the B roll. I didn’t see it on your website, because that’s the thing about Dr. Oz if I’m not mistaken. They will not let you put that video on your own website.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Oh, no, we purchased it through their company…

Catherine Maley, MBA:
…have to quit paying? They don’t ley you do it? Is it an ongoing payment?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
No, it was a one time thing, it wasn’t a lot of money. It was like 100 bucks or there’s like an official clip of it and there’s no issue with putting it on the website. We have a thing on with my new website went up recently, a month ago, totally redesigned, mainly for speed, but also for aesthetics. If you scroll down the homepage you’ll see there’s me and Oz and then you have to click on it to see a video pop up.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
That’s what the problem is. I did look at your website and it had PR but it didn’t give me the photos until I clicked on it then I saw the visuals. I would say get the visuals, I know you’re probably doing that for site speed but it’s much easier to click on a visual than a words that say I’m going to go get a visual.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, there’s in the middle of my own ‘On Page’, there’s the visual and there’s a circular play button. You click it but for speed, Google is coming out with an update in early May and speed is going to be ranked very high for how they do their algorithm. We felt that it was prudent to redesign that, which took a lot of time, three months. We have like a custom WordPress, where we got rid of all these plugins that were slowing us down. And one way to do that is to consolidate a lot of stuff on the homepage and not have videos that have to load slowly. There’s a lot of strategy, because at the end of the day, those Google SEO positions are much more important than having the prettiest website in the world. I mean, because you have to get people there.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
But then you have to get in there, and then they have to get to know you. I mean, before and after photos and video, testimonials and videos, like meat, the doctor videos, like, educational videos from you. We thought we’d love all that stuff. We put it somewhere else, but then have all arrows point to your website?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, I mean, our websites, has about 200 pages of stuff, and we’ve got lots of stuff on there.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Alright, let’s talk about marketing. I noticed you are what’s the word? I don’t know if you have copy written but like these procedures, you’re doing, like ‘I lift jet’.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
It’s a new trademarks lips. Yeah, we’ll lift this trademarked already. ‘Jet lift’ is in the process it’s under review. I saw some other people doing it. And I figured I’ll do it too. I mean, that’s the truth. It’s all little psyllium and I’ve developed my own. I published the lipless paper on my technique. There’s nothing secretive about it. I want other surgeons to have access to know what it is and my version of doing it. It’s not like the right way, but it’s a way that is effective. But, put a name on it. I won’t say who but I saw a lot of people do this stuff. I don’t know but I saw…

Catherine Maley, MBA:
it’s your signature trophy

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, because what happens is, in a way, it’s fooling patients to some degree, but then when they asked me about it, I tell him the truth. I’m like, that’s the name I gave it. It’s my technique. Other people have good techniques it’s my technique but people they hear about it, they see a picture, and then you write what your technique is, then they’re searching. They’re like, Oh, I want to learn more about this technique but then, you’re the one doing it. Then all the arrows point to right, that’s helpful. That’s why I did it, I guess and it’s good. Marketing is not hard,

Catherine Maley, MBA:
But if you can say and he trains other surgeons to do this signature treatment, it’s all good branding. It is, and you’re educating the patients, they see what they’re getting, it doesn’t matter what the name is, but it matters to them that you created it, and you train others. I would use that.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Totally, thanks.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Here’s the thing about marketing, I struggle when you have two different segments. You have the old like let’s say, the more mature patient who likes facial rejuvenation, but then you have the hair restoration practice that’s completely a different demographic. It’s old, they’re diverse, that you have to have marketing plans that are completely different for that group versus that group. How are you handling that?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
It’s interesting, like some people, they’ll make a whole new website, even for the search engine stuff. That is it, it is hard to grow a site that is complicated and has lots of different facets. We’re managing to do it pretty well. I mean, our overall flow to the website in general, when compared to similar websites to mine is good for certain things. We’re definitely not ranking where I want us to rank but we’re climbing and all of the important procedures, that I care about, which is great. For certain ones, we’re first page and that type of thing.

I mean, mainly the SEO company then aside from that, when you look at it as, Well what if people ask me, Well, what do you do and you’re doing more hair? I try to show them that it’s not all that different. Yes, the technicians are different people I work with, you have course they need to have special skill sets. I took a deep dive into hair for me, it’s not like I bought a NEO graft and I’m like, let me get technicians and then, do this stuff on the side to make some more money like I joined Jeff Epstein’s practice but I was his remote New York arm I trained with him. I was like living in his guest house.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
…part of the tour.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah. Okay, I had a part time job. I had the O.R that I was bringing up from the beginning I had my practice that I was trying to build, I had the part time gig with Jeff Epstein where I was trying to figure out hair and how to do it, and how to do it right and grow that. It was a lot going on. A few years ago, things are again, starting to come together a little more streamlined. I’ve since parted ways with Jeff and we’re good friends, but it’s for the, for my practice, I needed to take it under, and he wasn’t planning on coming to New York anymore. It didn’t make a lot of sense. I had to do that but that gave me what I needed to get things off the ground.

I do a lot of things with hair, than lots of other people, not in New York, but elsewhere. Don’t do like beard hair transplants, body hair, transplants, eyebrow, pubic hair, using some of the fine devices that take a lot of experience, like I can do it myself, I I have technicians to assist me but they’re assisting, they’re not doing it an that in and of itself allows me to stand out as a hair transplant surgeons compared to someone who’s offering hair transplants who doesn’t know a thing about it, and takes in technicians who do the whole thing. They took a weekend course, Jeff’s course, it’s not the same as when you’ve spent, a long time at someone training, being there watching them doing cases with them, supervising, getting your hands dirty, with cases like seeing things go wrong, seeing lots of different scenarios. And that’s how I’m approaching hair.

But let’s say I’m doing eyebrow hair transplant, to do a bluff on that upper bluff on that same patient, it’s like, it’s all right there. Or if a girl I have a patient who comes to find like they have a facelift somewhere else, they have scarring, and they’re not happy with it and they want hair, they’re like I understand that scar. I understand, sometimes what a scar revision can accomplish, or it’s a hair transplant, if someone’s got scar on their face, a guy let’s say if it’s an a beard, a hair bearing region, I can put hair there, it’s not like let’s cut out the scar and research it if it’s too big that’s not a possibility. I see it as an advantage as like a sub huge supplement to a facial plastic surgeons armamentarium. I don’t see it as this whole separate thing like I agree when I do pubic hair transplant, it’s a little bit weird and different. But again, I’m using those hair skills and putting it in a place where someone for whatever reason wants more. I’ve done underarm like armpit transfer for people.

People have different reasons or different situations that come up and I think hair in the more standard sense when we’re transferring it to the face or to the scalp. Because I do hairline lowering surgery, also, thanks to Jeff and teaching me that. And that’s like a whole incision under the scalp pulling the scalp down. You can combine that with a brow lift. I mean, it’s very integrated, it’s not separate. I guess what I try to do is to show people that it’s one impacting the other.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Well, I guess you would do the P&L on that and decide, because you also have to account in the marketing costs of finding those patients versus the other patient. I do struggle with that sometimes because the cosmetic world, it’s still realistically, it’s still 85% women, and they’re easier women talk to each other, they’ll grow your practice for you organically much quicker than a man will. I tried to go with the show the path of least resistance, but it’s working for you on but let’s talk about hair…

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Sorry, I did set her up. I have women who have come to me for different types of facial plastics work and they’ve referred their sons, their brothers, their husbands when they realize that I do hear. That’s great. it’s fine. It’s very rare that someone pushes me and is like, Oh, well, how can you do this and this? Well, there are people who do this but I try to tell them the truth, my background, and if they want someone who does hair 100% of the time, that’s fine, but I think I bring something extra to the table compared to those people, that’s what it is and I enjoy it. My split is probably like 60/40 facial plastics to the hair, but I hope to try to maintain a 50/50 and most of the hair patients are men, but I do get plenty of women who come for PRP, they’re not always coming for transplants.

They’re coming to talk about the hair loss, do some non surgical stuff, SMP, which is the pigmentation stuff, I do PRP with the injections. It’s sometimes you get bloodwork because that was part of Jeff’s women’s hair restoration center, did more than transplants. It’s a good mix, as much as I understand some people’s hesitation, because it’s like, oh, I want to go to the guy who’s doing facelifts all day long. I get that but I’m different in that. I like to juggle somewhat related things, but that have, their own merit?

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Can we talk about your own hero’s journey?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
I mean, it’s straightforward. What happened was, I had a great head of hair. As you saw some of my photos, not that long ago, like no hair loss, with zero signs of recession, good genes. But I had a Riada for 10 years on my legs, and little patches would come and go since med school years, and never bothered me, because who cares? It’s on your legs. Then three years ago, right before I started with Jeff, that summer after fellowship, I developed a spot right out here. And it was quarter sized and he injected it with steroids. We watch it over nine months it filled in and I was great. Like, this is awesome and then last, I think it was January, I had what I think to be COVID. No one knew at that time, but it was the January before everything went crazy.

And I recovered after a week or two. High fevers, shortness of breath, all that standard stuff and then I developed Bell’s palsy, right side of my face, and I put that up on Instagram at that time my uncle was treating me with an acupuncture but laser light stimulated, needle things to try to encourage whatever the nerve to start working again. Took about three weeks, and then the face started working again and then on the tail end of that, I started to get extreme shedding. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like that. Clumps on my whole body and lost all the hair my body over the course of one or two months. And it was insane. I mean, there was the emotional toll, there was the this young hair transplant surgeon without hair, how does that make sense? People are going to come to me, there was all these, doubts, I couldn’t even, I mean, I’m a little more used to it. It’s been a while and a year, but it was like, I look at myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself, no eyebrows. Nothing, it was like weird.

I got these glasses. I don’t have vision problems. It’s mask, the aesthetic a little bit. I’m not going to go from micron blading, I don’t think it looks great, I said, and then you don’t have eyelashes and people are still going to ask questions. That was interesting and I’m like, let me talk about my experience and try to educate people about the condition. I reached out to a high school friend, he was an acquaintance in high school, all throughout elementary, middle school, high school, and he always wore a hat. I remember seeing him a couple of times and he was bald, and we were like, why is Brad bald but no one knew. It all made sense to me. I reached out to him on Facebook, and I was like, dude, I get it. I get what you’ve been going through this whole time and we shared some nice stories and laughs and he’s doing great.

He’s got a family and Adalyn Island and that was interesting and tough buy the story gets sad or in a way, I would say happy ish ending, even though there’s no ending. But what happened was, about six months ago, my wife got diagnosed with CML type of leukemia. Out of the blue, we were pregnant with our, like, we have a kid, it was pregnant again. And nine weeks, she goes to get her routine blood work, comes back with a white count of 150. And they’re like, this must have been a lab bear. They invite her back to the lab, they redo it, same thing. She was short of breath. And we were like, oh, cuz you’re pregnant or whatever. But yeah, the problem was, she had leukemia, that was crazy. And we were at Cornell for a week, they did all these tests, bone marrow biopsy, DNC got to get rid of the kid because like how you’re going to get treatment? It was like terrible. I mean, it was the most difficult thing.

I quickly forgot about my issues and I was like, Alright, this is not bad. I mean, this is not threatening my wife dealing with something much worse . Whatever, she’s doing great. She’s on a pill, that’s like lowering her mutation levels in our blood. And we may even be able to have another kid one day if she continues to do awesome. But through IVF, but Well, that’s a whole other story. But yeah, our baby is not even three yet and I’ve been like watching her grow and from my eyes. I had some time off during COVID, which was great and been such a blessing to have my wife be healthy again. I mean, it’s like, honestly, who cares about my hair, I feel the biggest thing. Catherine my nails were getting brittle and that freaked me out because it’s the same condition, it can make the nails change.

That’s what made me want to do something systemic as far as therapy. But I didn’t want to do JAK inhibitors, which is like a pretty powerful immunosuppressive, especially with COVID around, I was like, I’m not doing that, I don’t want to increase my risk of infections and all this junk I didn’t do that. But I did enlist the help of a family friend who’s an immunologist and I was always allergic to a lot of things, but never too symptomatic. I read some articles and thought it would make sense even though it hasn’t been thoroughly studied but we initiated allergy shots with immunotherapy for environmental allergens. But that has helped my nails. This has been about eight or nine months ago. And every week I go and they give me shots, and they increase the dose. My nails are amazing back to normal, the hair, there’s some stuff there.

t’s better. I mean, I had nothing for a while. And honestly, I care about the nails if they stay strong, and I can keep working. I don’t care, the hair has become like an interesting story. My hair patients love it. They’re like, this is cool. And my YouTube videos, I’ll do them without my cap and you always get the people who are like, and if it’s a hair video, they’re like, Yo, who is this guy talking about hair, he should fix his own hair. And but it’s fine. I remind them to watch my other videos to get educated. And I’m going to continue to educate the public about it. It’s been interesting.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Gosh, that’s a lot going on, holy cow…

Dr. Gary Linkov:
That’s a lot of stuff. People’s rounds are complex.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Holy cow. Well, then let’s talk about, I guess what’s driving you that’s why there’s always been this Melo because you definitely, whatever’s happening is happening. And you’ve always been like that.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, I mean, I get worked up, in the or if something’s not going right, I also managed to stay pretty calm, but sometimes, you feel that anxiety and like offset, if someone’s not helping me properly in the or, if they’re trying, I work with them. But if I feel like and I don’t work with those people anymore, but when you’re starting out and you’re trying to figure out who you want to work with, I don’t tolerate any of that. Because to me, the patient is number one and everyone’s got to be working in that same way. And that I’ll lash out at someone for that. But in general if I feel like someone’s being super unfair to me, or to a family member or another human being, I’ll get angry. And I think that’s the best way to do things and make decisions.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
And are you like, do you live in the attitude of gratitude because I’m darn hyper and everything’s life threatening for me, like, I’m over reactive and I’ve been working on that for decades. But then again, I’m also enthusiastic. It’s like, the pros and cons. My enthusiasm is not always wanted tolerated. You’re always trying to regulate, are you like, you’re…

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Always but I try to stay as even keel as possible. There’s certain things that happened during the every day is a roller coaster. I’ll get an email like, oh, they want to included you in like a GQ article and I’m like, Oh, that’s fantastic. I’m glad and next thing, I have a patient emailing me, unhappy with their scar. Then the next thing is, my daughter has a rash on her face like there’s constant up and down. I guess from my well being, that’s always been that way. I mean, it’s like things are amplified because they are good everything like, having your own practice and having a kid and living in this crazy city. But even back in the day and being in school, you get one that you love another one that isn’t as great. And you, there’s always stuff in our lives and I guess it comes natural, but I’ve managed to always say don’t get excited or sad or annoyed or anxious or whatever, but I try to regulate that. And pretty even,

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Are you reading anything or meditating or how do you keep your drive up with all the ups and downs of life?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
I truly don’t like, I mean, I’d love to do more reading, I read our journals, to stay updated on the latest for hair and facial plastics. And I do writing, of course, both, scientific articles, but also like, I do writing for the PR people. And then I spend a lot of my time, free time doing YouTube and filming for YouTube and all of that. There’s not that sorry, my daughter is getting changed here. And there’s not a lot of time, in addition to that to like, I will pick up a novel. Maybe that’s also not where my, interests are, and I keep focused on building the practice and spending time with family when I’m not working. And then meditation, I never was that interested in. I feel I have a pretty good sense of calmness, like, internally naturally.

I don’t feel like I need that. I feel like surgeries, for me are meditative. Sometimes you’re too worried about something or whatever but most of the time when I’m working, it’s like, you’re zoned in that like, that to me is meditation, I don’t worry about the marketing, I don’t worry about the business. In those moments I don’t even always worry about the pit, I worry about the patient’s outcome, but I’m focused on the steps of the surgery, and that is meditative. I used to paint and draw and all these things, I don’t at least at this point, find time for them, I’m sure I will pick it back up. When we move into house, I can build out a little area, but we aren’t looking at one bedroom. It’s not conducive.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
That’s a good differentiator, if you can, I know surgeons who show off their artistic side, on their websites, on YouTube, on all of that, I think it’s helpful because it shows that you have more of an artistic guide and somebody who doesn’t have that skill. I use everything you have, if you’ve got

Dr. Gary Linkov:
It’s true. I mean like, yeah, I mean, my folk my true focus. especially this is probably the most pertinent thing, because I know I’ve gone on tangents here. But as far as business is concerned, and what other surgeons can take from this, I’m putting a lot of my time into YouTube. My thinking is, when everyone’s doing x, I want to be doing y, I want to be doing some of x, but I want to be doing a lot more of y. Because if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re not going to differentiate, it’s hard to do the same thing they’re doing but on a higher level, because it’s going to be a lot more costly usually. Yeah, Instagram is great and I have a team of managers because I was disinterested in posting and taking time away from family, and I don’t love the platform, honestly.

Because I’m more into education and that thing. I’m not into like, let me make a stupid dance and tell you about a 15% off discount that we have. It’s not me. I like to educate, and I couldn’t I was like, why don’t I like Instagram, everyone else likes him. And I’m like, it’s not a great platform for educating. It’s like, you’re as good as your last post, things aren’t as searchable as they should be. It’s quick, flashy things for that reason. YouTube has a lot of potential for marketing, huge reach, I mean, bigger than Instagram. It isn’t where as many people are at looking for plastic surgery. But there are plenty of people on there. And more and more people finding my videos and calling us for that reason. We ask them, How’d you find us? A lot of them are coming from YouTube. There are more when you look at the demographics of people who follow me on Instagram versus YouTube. YouTube has, I’ve forgotten percentage wise, but then many more men like me, 75% men and Instagram has like 75% women.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
That makes sense.

Yeah, I’m getting more of my hair inquiries from YouTube. And I think that’s probably why there’s plenty of like, women are common things, especially when it’s lipless videos, they love it. It’s educational, they’re learning and I put out like real things like real complications of surgeries that I do, things that could happen, how often do they happen? I talk about a pretty specific technique details. I bought a special camera for recording surgery. It’s from Spain and I’m excited to incorporate that. One thing I was thinking from a business standpoint, is creating a course more for doctors to learn hair, learn other stuff that I do for face and putting it out as a course that you pay for, like QMP, if you’re familiar with. But I pay I mean, I have people I like, I love certain surgeon, at least for certain surgeries they do and I’ll pay to watch them operate. I rewind and I look again and I’m like oh, I do that learning for myself but I don’t need QMP to invite me in, to do a video with them, like compare plenty. I bought my own recording device with a specialized thing that attaches to headlights and loops. And

Catherine Maley, MBA:
I think that’s brilliant. That’s like that go camera that used to be…

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, I bought the GoPro zoomed out thing it’s not like for focusing in for surgery. I didn’t realize Honestly, I bought it. I’m like, let me try it out. I used it to film a vlog, like a day in the life thing one time, and I’m sure I’ll film other stuff with it. But yeah, it sits there for. But for surgery, you need something more good, especially for more specific smaller high Def areas. I don’t know, people do BBLS or whatever they do, like where you’re capturing like a big area then a GoPro could work. But if you’re working on these little tight areas on face or the scalp, but you need like a different type of camera.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Okay, well, thank you so much. This has been very interesting. And I had no idea. You have quite a story there. And I wish you luck and health and success and happiness. And you have your daughter and what else can you watch?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
We’re happy and I still work at the VA part time. I’ve balanced things between the VA and my practice and I teach at NYU through the VA system part time and then I’m at the Brooklyn VA doing like reconstructive cases some bread and butter and tea still when I’m there. But I love the balance. I mean like helping different demographics of people who otherwise wouldn’t come to like a cash based practice, for stuff but I’m doing their Rhinoplasty and if they want something cosmetic, we do it. And I love it. Things are good as much as I wanted my practice to grow it’s like if it grows too fast I’ll have to give up the VA and I don’t want to do that yet. It’s going at a good pace.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Good luck to you and if people want to find out more about you can they go to your website is www.cityfacialplastics.com?

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Yeah, www.cityfacialplastics.com or main email if they want to send an email [email protected] or send me a DM on Instagram, if you have any specific questions. I’m always happy to help. Nowadays it’s become a little challenging with having people come in to observe and in the office, but that’s why I’m going to be filming people can watch things and, I’ll be posting clips and stuff, but for full length stuff, I’ll probably create like an account somewhere where we can have a nice layout of different procedures if people want to learn,

Catherine Maley, MBA:
And they’ll have a front row view. I think that’s brilliant. Good for you. Okay, that’s going to wrap us up for Beauty and the Biz for this week.

Dr. Gary Linkov:
Thank you much for having me.

Catherine Maley, MBA:
Appreciate it and everybody if you would be kind as to subscribe to Beauty and the Biz and give us a good review if you feel like it. And if you want to reach out to me it’s at www.CatherineMaley.com or you can DM me on Instagram at CatherineMaleyMBA, thanks much, we’ll talk again.

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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