Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how Carlos Mata, MD has garnered over a half-million Instagram followers.
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, today’s episode is called “Over a half-million Instagram followers – with Carlos Mata, MD”.
When you’re surrounded by 160 competitors in your area, what do you do to stand out?
The simple answer is you do the reverse of what everyone else is doing, but there’s nothing easy about that.
It takes a massive shift in your mindset, beliefs, and what you’re willing to do to compete.
In only 5 years, Dr. Mata was able to grow his Instagram to 580K followers, do surgery every day, employ 28 staff + 1 associate, book out for 9 months and build out a 17K square foot facility to accommodate his massive growth.
This video is a must watch interview I did with Dr. Mata who explains his mindset, his military background and how that helped catapult him and his marketing plan that keeps the patients coming in droves.
👁 DON’T MISS THESE INTERVIEWS 👁
Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello And welcome to Beauty and the Biz, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how to get booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. 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 profits. And I have a very special guest today.
Catherine Maley, MBA: It’s Dr. Carlos Mata. He’s a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in private practice in Scottsdale Arizona. Now he’s performed over 20,000 surgical procedures and he specializes in facial rejuvenation, breast and body procedures, as well as hair transplants, and male enhancement.
Now, Dr. Mata is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, and he received his training at the university of Texas medical branch St. Joseph medical center and MD Anderson cancer center in Houston. Texas as well as Harvard’s Bringham and women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Now, while performing thousands of procedures at these institutions, Dr. Mata also trained in Miami, Florida, focusing on aesthetic surgery with the world’s leading experts.
Now Dr. Mata’s a member of many medical associations, and he’s received numerous awards for his research and published works. Dr. Mata also believes very much in giving back. So, every year he goes on medical mission trips in third-world countries to help those in need. Dr. Mata, I want to welcome you to Beauty and the Biz.
It’s a pleasure to have you. I know you are extremely busy, so thanks for your time.
Carlos Mata, MD: No happy to be here.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Thanks. So do me a favor just quickly. Give us a, a quick journey of how you got from, let’s say fellowship to private practice and how you’re booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. Did you stop along the way into other practices or just go out on your own? Or, what was the story?
Carlos Mata, MD: I wish it was that short on how I get booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers It was kind of challenging because I had actually graduated and I went straight into the military as a US Army plastics and reconstructive surgeon. That was in 2011. So literally I graduated and I think a week later I was at boot camp learning how to be a soldier.
Catherine Maley, MBA: That explains how you got to thousands of surgical procedures so quickly, because you look too young to have that many and that, that explains it. I’m sure you got incredible experience of the military that helps you stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers, right?
Carlos Mata, MD: I did. I mean serving in the military for the years that I did and just basically I was the only plastic surgeon.
I covered Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. So, within a month of me starting, when I was done with my… Basic, you know, training as a soldier, I was booked out for nine months, but it took more time to get to over a half-million Instagram followers. So, you know, it, it was, it was very humbling experience. Let alone eye opening to have all of this volume of patience to take care of.
So yeah, I mean, it, it was good. I mean, after that, I was like, gosh, I feel like I’m way older than I am from the perspective of seeing all kinds of stuff after that, then I move lighted in Miami, Florida. Doing aesthetics, you know, when I took some days off from the military. And then I ended up going to join somebody in Chandler, Arizona.
So basically, the Phoenix Metro area, they were a cosmetic surgeon from that standpoint. So, our Ideas of certain aspects, didn’t always mesh. So, I ended up going out on my own and I’ve had my office now for five years and three months solo practice.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh. Yeah, I actually have family in Chandler, Arizona. I know the area.
Well. So, you’re on, you’re in solo practice. I don’t know how you’ve done it to get booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers, but you are extremely busy. How, how booked out are you?
Carlos Mata, MD: I operate five days a week, sometimes six occasional Saturdays. My first opening is February of next year.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay, good job. So of course, I’m, I’m dying to hear the secrets of how you did it so quickly, and especially how you get booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers.
So, we like to talk about the business side of plastic surgery first. So, are you doing this all on your own or did you, like, how did you set up your practice? Are there other extenders in there? What’s that, what’s the board with you?
Carlos Mata, MD: So, when I first started my office in February of 2017 my daughter had just been born a one-month-old.
I didn’t have a job and were like, all right, I guess I got to do it like everyone else and figure it out on my own. I had a PCC; I had an office manager and had a medical assistant and that was it. And the office manager helped function as, you know, a receptionist slash ma slash whatever the circumstances were.
I was very fortunate because it’s not just one thing. That I think helped bring about how busy I am from that perspective. It was just a culmination of a lot of things done being at the right time at the right place. I started social media in 2015 when I first got here in the Chandler area, going by Dr.
Scottsdale, just as a hashtag, not realizing the power of what it was. And it wasn’t until like 20 16, 20 17 that I was like, Hey, I’m going to do this social media thing. I conferred with Dr. Miami. And then I just kept doing social media. And for me, the crazy part is when I got nobody was really doing social media.
Like for example, in Beverly Hills or LA or Chicago, Miami, every social media had already kind of exploded there where it hadn’t in this, you know, top six Metro area that I was kind of the first, so to speak, to, to kind of grow with it. And I. Try to do things the right way. And I try to find niches where, you know, there’s over 160 board certified plastic surgeons.
And I don’t worry about what specials they have or what they’re doing because 40 to 50% of my patients literally come from out of state. So, I, my market is not competing with the Phoenix Metro area. All over the place and that culmination.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Are you, are you in Scottsdale or Phoenix where you’re booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: No, I’m in Scottsdale, but I keep talking about the Phoenix Metro area.
Because that included, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, you know, everything. Okay. All right.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And half of them are coming from out of state. I find that very interesting. It must be coming from social media since you have over a half-million Instagram followers and booked out 9 months because you’re, if you’re Scottsdale give you Scottsdale, are you? I that’s you’re right.
Carlos Mata, MD: Yes and no. And I think part of it is, you know, you’re talking about like geotargeting or geolocations when you. Do PPC, right? You’re putting it on, on your website and you’re like, Hey, I’m I want an ad to show for a facelift or for light or for a brush dog.
And of course, Google’s job is to get people locally to see you because. That’s how it works. I mean, could you sit here and say, Hey, I want to market to New York that I want to do breast dogs from patients in New York. Sure. You could do that, but it would cost you an exorbitant amount of money because those patients Google’s trying to get them to be local.
So that it’s a useful information, not marketing somebody who’s halfway across the us. To say, Hey, do you want this person? Because they’re, they’re advertising with us. You would have to pay a premium dollar because your bounce rate would be so high. Because somebody’s like, I’m looking for New York breast dogs and you’re in Scottsdale.
They’d be like, no, that’s not right. And you would bounce. So, you’re. Your cost per click would be exorbitant. And to answer your question, how do we do it? It’s the website. It’s the social media. It’s you know that we talk about cost before the patient ever walks in the door. I mean, all these factors, I would say, if you were to examine my office compared to other peoples, you’re like it’s.
How fast backwards. I don’t even know if I could say that, but it’s a total reverse of what most people do. I give them the price before they even walk in the door. There is no stick.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I was going to say from, from a patient’s perspective everyone should go to his website. It has, of course the sexy girl, you know, laying on the floor, which I’ve never understood, but it’s, it’s very visually stimulating and must help you stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers.
And the first thing it says. Get your quote or something like that. And I thought, wow. So, because sometimes I worry about that, because then it’s all about the money. But in your case, what, what is your psychology there? Why would you start with the money conversation first?
Carlos Mata, MD: Again, this, this might sound harsh, but.
Lamborghini doesn’t advertise on TV. Why? Because their clientele is not watching TV for me from the standpoint, I never considered myself a Walmart, even though when I started, I always say, this is funny. I would charge 4,000 for a breast dog. Nobody wanted them. I would see a patient and be like, oh, I’ll think about it.
Now I charge between eight, 9,000 for a brush dog, and they’re paying money in advance of actually having a consultation with me, or even seeing me to secure a date now versus before, when it was $4,000, nobody was interested. The psychology is really simple in the sense that you know, what you’re walking into.
I don’t have the availability to sit here and to do 20 consultations in a day too, for somebody to decide, Hey, I want you to do my surgery. Probably half of the patients, if not more like 60, 70% of the patients have already decided that I’m the surgeon before even having a conversation with me. So, this is different than most surgeons where, Hey, come on in, let’s meet me.
Let’s talk to you. If you like me, then we’ll do surgery. For me, it doesn’t work that way. And that’s why I say my practice is kind of reversed and it goes to the price because I don’t want to talk to somebody when you’re like, oh my gosh, the army makeover could be 20 to $60,000. And they’re like, yeah, that’s out of my price range.
And for me to sit here and to have an hour-long consultation, or even 30 minutes would be not beneficial to the patient or to myself. So, we have full price transparency. It’s the ballpark. Is it exact? No, but you have an idea. If you’re walking in to buy a Lamborghini, you know, it’s not going to be $50,000, you know, it’s going to be upwards of six figures plus.
So, you know, when you walk in.
Catherine Maley, MBA: But how the bigger question is, how did you position yourself to be the Lamborghini? You’ve done something you didn’t just do it on your website and say, here’s a big price and everyone went, oh, he must be excellent. He must be the best. If he’s charging this. There’s typically more to it than that.
So, what else are you doing to brand yourself at that high ticket item and who are you catering to? I mean, what are your demographics to keep you booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers? Cause you are all over the place. You have services for everybody. And that’s interesting as well, because you’re doing all of the male services, the female services, hair transplant all the lasers.
I mean, you have. Big boat of technology there and services. So how are you segmenting all that out?
Carlos Mata, MD: Part? Part of the logistics is I get bored. I couldn’t do the same thing every day. So, some people are like, oh, I’m guy or I’m body guy, or I do breast and body and other like, oh, I just do bored. I like to do a little bit of everything, you know?
And again, they say Jack of all trades master of none am. Great at one particular thing, I’d probably say I do a good job. Almost everything that I do. There’re certain things where I’m like, probably not the best doctor for you for this, but I, I like the diversity. So how do you position yourself? Well, as I mentioned, I started with, you know, three or four employees and now we’re at 28.
Employees part of how do you position yourself is I started small and every year I grew the practice. And by that, I mean, like, yes, I took the bare minimum of what I needed to survive for me and my family and the rest got thrown back into the business either, you know, trying mail ads or PPC or, or whatever it was to, to get clients in the door.
And every time I had a patient. It was me. It wasn’t, Hey, you’re going to see my nurse for a follow up. It’s still that way today. If you’re paying a premium for a Lamborghini, you expect the customer service to be second to none. And that’s what it was at the beginning. And that’s what it is now for follow ups.
It’s not like, Hey, I operate maybe ICU once. And that’s it. When I operate on somebody, they have a follow up with me for the rest of their lives. You know, that’s something I learned from you from that standpoint, because I bought that book behind you probably 12 years ago or 10 years ago, whenever it came out at one of the meetings and I read it and the, you know, the lifetime value of a cosmetic patient, you can only get a patient one of two ways, either it brand new or you stole from somebody else.
That’s it, those are the only two ways to acquire a patient. Right. And so, for me, it was just trying to do the right thing and do good work. And, you know, it sounds so cliche, but a happy patient will talk to someone else and be like, Hey, who did your work? And then word of mouth helped. And then. For me when I feel the explosion kind of happened was probably a year after I started doing social media.
And I grew little by little by little, and that’s not just Instagram, that’s Snapchat. That’s TikTok. Now that was a little bit of Facebook. I really don’t do Facebook. It was YouTube. All these little pieces just kept adding, you know, fuel to the. Until all of a sudden, you’re like, Hey, wow, there’s a fire.
And I don’t have to work as hard, the key. And I guess the secret sauce that everybody wants to know, like, how do you do this? It’s called your effort. Meaning I don’t have a company that runs my social media. I don’t, yes. I have staff that help me, but it’s me. Meaning, I am the person on my phone answering DMS or answering responses.
It’s me. It’s not a company it’s and most doctors don’t want to do that. And unless you’re willing to put the time and effort into it yourself, it doesn’t matter who you hire. Like I have a full-time employee that does that all the time. It’s not you. And I’ve been very fortunate to hire very good staff that it helped me grow and it kind of became part of their baby.
This, this, this growth that we’ve had. So, the secret sauce is the.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I want to put this in perspective. He’s not kidding about doing his own social media since he’s booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. You need to go check out. I’m sure. It’s probably called Dr. Scottsdale, right? Yeah. Dr. Scottsdale. He’s doing his own social. You can tell because he’s in it, he’s involved.
He he’s in the videos and. He has more followers than any other surgeon. I know. And I know surgeons all over the world, he’s got 580,000 followers. That should tell you something. Now just be, be Frank. How much of your time is spent doing this? Because I don’t know how the heck, you’re doing this and seeing all the patients personally, because you’re absolutely right.
You could have the happiest patient until you dis them at the posts, and then they’re going to hate you because you ignored them and your fellow or your nurse. So, but how much time spent on social?
Carlos Mata, MD: Again, at the beginning, it was a lot, I would probably say three to four hours a day when I first started. And again, I wasn’t as busy, so I had more time. The busier I’ve become now we have three, maybe four staff members that are just dedicated to the social media aspect of, of what we do in the office.
Whether it’s filming, whether it’s putting our stories together, whether it’s posting to YouTube, whether it’s updating our website. The two things I tell my staff all the time that I’m a stickler for are pictures. Meaning we take good before and after pictures. Cause I like things to be standardized.
I’m not the, the social media person that sits here and puts, you know, a patient in a certain position for them to look a certain way. If we take a before picture that way, we take an after picture that way. So, it’s actually comparable instead of like, here, let’s wear this swimsuit, do we put pictures like that up?
Yes, but I, I also have their before and after, so it’s standardized and it’s not optical illusions or lighting or this or that. And now I probably spend maybe 30 minutes to an hour a day, maybe.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay, good for you with being booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers.
Carlos Mata, MD: So, so it’s not a lot. Yeah, but it was a lot at the beginning.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Mm-hmm regarding the photos to help get you booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers, too many surgeons are still saying, oh, my patients are so private.
They would never share on social. Just. I, I want to keep dispelling that because it’s not true. How are you getting photos? Because you can’t say your patients won’t, but somebody else’s patients will. So how are you doing it?
Carlos Mata, MD: Part of this is I, I don’t necessarily disagree with the surgeons that patients are private, but that’s the client tell you’re if you’re attracting a very private patient, because you’re not really on social media.
Well, don’t expect that private patient. To go on social media. If my patients are coming from social media, they’re, that’s how they found me. So, I always have an honest discussion and I’m like, my job is to educate, you know, and I know I I’m promoting the office and myself, but the job is to educate is 40%, 50% of my off my office in terms of what I do surgically is revision surgery, meaning they’ve had surgery somewhere else.
And they’re unhappy whether it’s been six months, five years, whatever it is. And revision surgery, a lot of surgeons don’t do. And I mentioned earlier that I tried to find a niche where other people there’s maybe three people in town, four people that did revisions other than their own. They were like, oh, you have surgery.
No, we don’t do that. And now I was like, well, I’m starting. I don’t, I’m not that busy. So, you know, I was in the military. I’ve taken care of. God knows what? So, I was like, it can’t be harder than what I did before. So, I was like, I can make it better. Is it going to be perfect? No, but then as I started doing social media and, and the occasional patient that would let me post, they were like, okay, great.
At the beginning I offered a discount like, Hey, you know, we can offset some cost of whatever, or we add a service. If you let us film and post you and you know, everybody, you know, there’s a give and take so to speak. You know, and now I, I haven’t done that in probably four years of social media people ask like, oh, my friend got a discount, you know, to post.
And he’s like, we haven’t done that in a while. And again, I don’t force anyone ever to, to sit here and to get on social media and allow me to film them or to post them. But most people do, most people want to see their surgery or want to see their results. Because again, after surgery you’re going to be swollen.
You’re going to be. But if they look at themselves and they’re like, oh my God, that’s me. I look this good. So, I know when I’m all healed, this is what I’m going to look like. So, it’s advantageous for you to have the ability to film and show them like, Hey, this is really what you’re going to look like when you’re done.
Look, this is, this is on. So just wait for that recovery. And you here.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you ask them yourself or do you have the staff ask them? Does it help you stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: I don’t ask them anymore. I used to at the beginning now. It’s kind of our system. And I would probably say maybe one to 5% of patients that I operate on, say, no, I don’t want to be on social media.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Right. That’s about right. And so, and, but the 1% that do, or the one out of four, who do give you a very nice Instagram presence. You know, I mean, you don’t need everybody, you just need a good, a good group that absolutely loves you. And you have such good user generated content. Your, your patients are very interactive with you.
Whatever you’re doing, some kind of persona you have, they like to interact with you. And that’s a gift. I don’t know. I don’t know. How did you all, were you always like this? Cause you, when I met you, you’re the quietest guy I think I’ve met. And I met you at a conference and you were so quiet and I thought, how has he become this Instagram genius able to stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
You know? So maybe do you have a, another persona?
Carlos Mata, MD: Is that the point? No, not at all. You know, when I go to meetings, I’m very conservative, very reserved, meaning because it’s business. I mean, there’s, there’s nothing. It’s work, you know, but how I am on social media is how I am to my staff, to everybody that I know if I don’t know you, I’m like, Hey, how’s it going?
I’m nice to meet you. I don’t say, Hey, I’m Dr. Scottsdale, how’s it going? Hey, you want to be on my social media? Like, no, the personas exactly the same, how I am on social media is how I am in person. But part of that is, you know, You get busier you’re I guess you’re you call it your self-confidence just grows as you grow, you know, as a surgeon, you do your first case.
You’re nervous. You do your thousands case, you don’t even think about it anymore. And you know, my wife always makes fun of me. Like, as I started doing social media, because it was different to literally get on your phone and record yourself that you’re like, I, I go back and I look at it and I kind of laugh because yeah.
Was like timid. Sure. And then at some point I’m like, The people that are going to watch are the people that are going to watch, whether you’re a goofball or whether you’re, whatever it is, you still got to be you at the end of the day, it’s not about, and I know some people will have a different persona on social media than they are in person.
I think that’s too hard for me from that standpoint that I don’t know how to turn it on and turn it off that I just said, I’m just going to be me, whatever that is. And eventually as I did it enough, that was me. And that’s what it.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Has it been helpful? Like I’m looking at the demographics of Arizona, but then you said you have a lot of how helpful is it for you to be bilingual in Arizona and does that help you stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
And, and what demographic are you going after or who seems to be attracted to you?
Carlos Mata, MD: I think the demographics is probably like 30% Caucasian, 30% Hispanic. And. Maybe 10, 15% African American and then a hodgepodge of whatever’s left from that standpoint. I don’t sit here and market to specific demographics.
I know like would like, you know, little marrying if they see a Hispanic doctor, but that’s the thing. I don’t really talk Spanish on my social media. I’m not sitting here having conversations. Do I occasionally talk to some of my Spanish patients in Spanish when I’m doing social media? Yes. And the patients will be like, oh my God, I didn’t even know you spoke Spanish.
So, it’s not like they’re coming to me because I speak Spanish. They’re like, holy moly. That’s an addition to them deciding that they want to see me anyways, that they’re like, oh,
you know, better that he speaks Spanish. So, the demographics is all over. And I know it’s, it seems so hard, but I really don’t spend that much money per se, on, on marketing. Because again, it’s the fuel till the fire’s already been there and it’s just light burning and it just keeps burning from that standpoint.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So, are you working with any other marketing channels other than social to stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: We do a little bit of TV. I mean, I did bring on another surgeon, which is crazy to think that in year four of my practice, I was like, I need help. Yeah. So, I brought on a, a, a junior, you know, associate that’s, you know, it’s more of a tier structure where maybe he’s a BMW and I’m the Lambo in terms of expenses.
Because again, a lot of people don’t want to wait 6, 7, 8 months for a surgeon. You know, but my patients do. And, and I think that’s part of the difference. And I think people need to understand. Everyone’s like no patient is going to wait for a brand. People wait, whatever it is that they’re willing to wait for a brand they’re not willing to wait for a common situation.
Like if you want a hamburger, you’re not going to wait to buy a hamburger. But if it’s special kind of hamburger, you’ll sit here and put a reservation and wait two, three weeks to get that special Hamburg. Apple. If you’re waiting for a phone, you’re going to wait for that phone to come out before you’re going to get it because you’re waiting for the apple brand.
You’re not waiting for a phone when you create a brand that allows you to not mess with the other stuff, not worry about the cost or the time or this or that. So that’s what I would say is.
Catherine Maley, MBA: What’s smarter about that is you actually have a tiered pricing system, which may be a reason why you’re booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. So, they wanted the Lamborghini until they found out how much it was.
And now here’s plan B. At least you’re not leaving empty handed and, and neither are they because they were so deflated thinking, oh no, but if I can get somebody close to that for a fairer price in their minds that’s how to do it. You don’t let anyone go away. You just give them what they want. Put in a different.
So, congratulations. All right. So, you have an associate is the plan to make him a partner or cause that can get a little complicated. What, what is your plan to grow this thing even more? I mean, do you have plans to expand?
Carlos Mata, MD: Absolutely. Right now, we are in like 7,000 square foot office. Hopefully in the next 12 to 24 months, I will have a 17,000 square foot facility on Scottsdale road.
That we’ve. Working on, but with COVID and you know, city permits and this and that, it’s just taking longer than anticipated. But no, I mean, the plan is absolutely to grow. And I think part of logistics when you’re talking about partners, for example, is great. Somebody wants to be a partner. Okay. That’s awesome.
It’s not that I’m opposed, but I’m like, okay, so you want to get apple stock? Now, but you’re not going to pay for it until five years from now. You think Apple’s going to devalue or appreciate more? So, let’s say it. How do you start paying for that now for the future? And what’s that value going to be worth? Is it a multiplier of gross?
Is it including some of the Goodwill, the brands, so to speak? Or are you just talking dollar numbers? Let’s say the office brings in a million dollars. Okay. So great. I’m 43. Let’s say I practiced another 20 years. So, let’s say I made a million that’s 20 million that this practice in 20 years, what’s that worth.
And somebody wants to be a partner. How do they pay for it now versus somebody coming in, usually doesn’t have that kind of capital? So, it’s kind of a, an interesting situation, you know?
Catherine Maley, MBA: That there’s a lot more, one of your visions is one of your visions to bring on partners or have a huge, or where you’re giving, you’re allowing others in it.
Like what’s, what’s the plan? Cause that’s 17,000 feet is big operation there and how does this relate to keeping booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: It is, it is, you know I think logistic, it’s only going to have two ORs. You know, I operate five days a week. I can literally take an or by myself every single day, pretty much all day. I think for me, the plan is to actually slow down, to operate less, to bring other people that want to operate more from that stand.
And I think part of the logistics of having a partner or partners is now you have a lot of decision making that needs to take place between certain individuals. And obviously I would say I’ve created a, a sizeable business entity that functions very well. For someone else to come in here. No, no, no. I think we need to do it this way.
And I’m like, how do you. You know, from that standpoint, I guess I could say I’ve been very lucky to make good decisions for the most part, even though I’m sure I had my fair share of mistakes along the way as any business owner does that, I’m just about bringing somebody on who wants to make a very good living without having to kill themselves.
I haven’t taken call or worked the weekend officially, you know, for insurance, since I left the military. Mm, you know, and most surgeons are like, well, you can’t just start an aesthetic practice. And I would agree. It’s really hard to start an aesthetic practice. Mm-hmm again, there’s no such thing as a starving plastic surgeon, but are you as busy as, as some others?
No, but again, for me, it’s about whoever comes on being able to generate as much income as I do, even though they’re not an owner. So, mm-hmm.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So how important is the med spa in order to stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers? The non-surgical due to all the advancements in technology. I am, is your goal to be like a, an umbrella, you know, a one stop shop kind of place and keep that patient not only coming in different doors, but then leaving in other doors.
Like, are you trying to keep them for a lifetime? Do you have a philosophy on that?
Carlos Mata, MD: I, I, I do, because like I, I said, you know, the patient has a follow up with me forever. And, and part of the like dynamics, which is interesting is that my surgical practice was feeding the spot when we started a spot, so to speak, you know, do we have pretty much every toy under the sun?
Yes. Do we have laser hair removal? Do we have CO2 skin resurfacing micro needling with radio C? You know, laser hair removal. We have all the toys. We have cul Neo. We have true sculpt ID. I mean, you name. We have it. And part of my philosophy was at the end of the year, I’m like, well, uncle Sam’s going to take half.
I’d rather invest the money into my own company than sit here and, and give them half. So, I always bought little devices here and there, little by little and every year it’s like, oh great. This, this seems like, in my opinion, it’s going to generate income for my patients, whether it’s post-surgery or, Hey, great.
Not a lot of people have this device. And I, and again, I only try to pick devices that I feel. Are going to give a result most of the time. Cause there’s no such thing as a perfect device. Cause if there was, then that would be the device in everybody’s office, for example. Cool. Sculpting didn’t work. Yes. But now the market’s so saturated that it’s like taking sand to the beach.
You’re like, great. Well, what makes you different? With your school, cool sculpting device and anyone else other than cost it’s become so commoditized.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, if you have four of them, if you have four of them, that’s, that’s what makes you different in how it relates to keeping booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: Correct. And now you can do dual sculpting twice. You can do your RAs and abdomen at the same time.
Great. But I think that time has come and gone. If you wanted to get into cool sculpting, it’ probably the first 2, 3, 4, 5 years, but now a. You know, 11 or twelve’s a much harder sell and yeah, the technology is a little different, but at the end of the day, it is what it’s and yeah, nonsurgical body contouring is the number one most requested item or surge for.
And so, you have to have it, I think, as a plastic surgeon, if you don’t have that, you’re going to lose that patient to somebody else and them being there, they’re going to be exposed to whatever surgical practice is attached to them. That all of a sudden you lost that patient. And so, I’d rather not do that than I have always been of the mentality that if they paid a premium penny for me to operate on them, they shouldn’t have to pay a premium penny to be in the spot that, Hey, if you’re my surgery patient, you’re going to get better pricing than.
If you’re just a regular spot patient coming off the door, you know, we do have a, a monthly, you know, plan for, for, for the spa where you pay a monthly fee and then we have a different tier. So that allows the patients to have services or to accumulate dollar amounts when they come in, that they can group all that and get certain services that maybe cost a little bit more.
So, we try to make it affordable and the tier structure to make sure that we’re encompass. Everybody who we can help because obviously we know nonsurgical is the number one thing in, in plastic surgery, you know, and obviously we’ve given that away to med spas or Ts or dermatologists or cosmetics people that I think it behooves all plastic surgeons to at least have a small component of a spa.
From that perspective.
Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. So, let’s just talk about staff that is helping you stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers, because we jumped over that you have 28 staff that I, I would say, would you say that’s your biggest challenge running a business or, or is it something else?
Carlos Mata, MD: It depends on the day. You know, and I think the, the hard part about having a lot of staff is you have to have good support staff.
I E you know, having my, my, you know, practice administrator versus it’s very different having a practice administrator versus a practice manager versus an office manager. And everyone’s like, oh, it’s my office manager. And I’m like, yes. You know, but again, I go back to, to the secret sauce. Being involved. I E you know, I have conversations on like, Hey, how’s our gross for the month.
What are our expenses? What’s our P and L look like what’s our cash balance. You know, all these things that are still playing on in the back of my mind that once eight to five is done, Hey, now it’s my time to put my hat on and be like, Hey, you’re a business owner. How are we doing? You know? And that’s part of the evolution that most surgeons worry.
The surgical side, the medical side, and then they leave somebody else do that. And that’s where sometimes embezzlement happens or this or that, or they’re not paying attention to their checking accounts or writing checks. Someone else is signing, you know, or where the money is going. I think to be successful; you have to have your hands in the cookie jar at all times.
You need to know what’s coming in and out and, and being aware of that stuff. But again, most people don’t want to do that. And so, it’s, it is going to be harder because you have to put a lot of trust into other individuals. And so, I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had good staff that our turnover isn’t like, you know, 50% that I know some offices have on a yearly basis, that it’s more like.
10% or less. And that’s usually because people get a job offered that’s over and above, like two times what we’re paying. So again, you know, I, I think that I compensate my staff in the top, rather who’s to say.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And do you know how you have set up a culture? You must have a great culture that allows you to be booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. If you have low staff turnover. And a lot of times that has to do with the clarity the staff has. They’re, they’re real clear about what their role is. You’ve given them the tools that hold them accountable. You actually hold them accountable, or you have that right hand person who has such a good handle on.
Them doing what they’re supposed to be doing and everyone on their game did, how did you set up the culture? It didn’t just happen.
Carlos Mata, MD: No, and I mean, it was very much an evolution, you know, I think for the first couple years I struggled because the people that I would bring on is, you know, you’re quick to hire, slow to fire.
And it just wasn’t the right fit. And by fit, I mean, People that get the idea of work is work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at work, but that doesn’t mean that all you should be having is fun and not working. And, and, and part of the culture is it starts at the top, meaning the surgeon or meaning the practice owner or whoever that is.
That’s, you know, that’s watching the podcast. It has to come from the top. And if you’re a grouch and you don’t want to talk to people like everybody, every one of the staff members has myself. Like, if there’s a problem, they know they can always reach out to me. My office door is always open if I’m in here and you can ask me a question versus some people are like, Nope.
And yeah, you know, I do have a right hand. That is amazing. You know, she’s been great. I’ve known her a long time and I know, you know, her she’s amazing. You know and again, you know, she she’s, she was from the military, you know, she ran an army base. I mean that, those are attributes that you’re not going to find or few and far in between.
And I’m very grateful for that, you know, but we still have. Eye to eye conversations about like, Hey, I think we need to hire more people or, Hey, what do you think about bringing on this device? And so, we always have candid conversations about the logistics of the staff, because again, there are good days and bad days.
And when you have 27, 28 employees, of course, there’s going to maybe little. Hiccups along the way, because everybody has their own little groups or clicks or the front office staff back-office staff, or part-time staff, you know, it’s, it’s always an evolution. But I think part of it is you have to grow and, you know, we don’t just, yeah.
And I would probably say 80% of my employees are millennials, which is interesting from that. You know, and you know, I. I have nurses that are in their forties. And I have nurses that are like 23 years old. So again, it, it, it is a spectrum, but part of that is you’re right. They, they have to get along.
They have to be willing to mesh. And if that’s not evidence in an interview, do a working interview. And if it still doesn’t feel right, then no matter how bad you need somebody, it’s not worth headaches.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I’m just surprised that you give them access to you because I do as a consultant, suggest that you keep that buffer between you and the staff, because you’ll have, especially the group that, that the 80% they don’t have it, the same boundaries.
It seems I’m just generalizing as some of the older folks, but they’ll go right in there. They’ll text you all night saying, oh, what about this? Do you find that that happens or everyone is good with the boundaries and do you think that is a factor in you being booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: Never. And, and that’s the crazy part, because again, part of that is, like you said, you’re, you’re giving a generalization, but within every, I guess whether it’s, you know, baby boomers or millennials or gen X or Y or Z, there’s always going to be a spectrum of people that fall within the norm and people.
That maybe relate to a different class. Part of that. Everybody knows that. And again, I go back to the starts at the top. If there’s trash on the floor, I don’t sit here and tell somebody, Hey, go pick up the trash. I will it up. But when we have a staff meeting, I’ll be like, guys, why is there trash on the floor?
You know, if we need help flipping a room and I’m not doing anything, I will go help flip the room. Versus some surgeons will feel, Hey, that’s below me. I have staff to do that. But if I see everybody’s working and I’m doing nothing, then I do my best. Do I do that once in a blue mood? Absolutely. I don’t do it every day, but whatever the circumstances are like, Hey, the bathroom needs toilet paper.
I will go get toilet paper. I don’t tell somebody, Hey, get toilet paper in the bathroom. It’s all these little things that people understand that I’m willing to work. So should everyone else, but they understand. I am the boss. So yes. Can I have a conversation and kid around with them, but when I say, Hey, we need to do this.
They’re like, okay, I’m going to go do it. So, I, I think you can, you can kind of blur the lines a little bit, but I, I totally get what you’re saying from the perspective of having that delineation and understanding the hierarchy of how, how things work in a run. But I think if, if you kind of set the tone at the beginning, I think it’s.
And that’s why I tell you. I said, my office is run very differently than what you could describe as most successful. 20 plus employee practices that you’re like, gosh, he’s saying all the wrong things that I’m like, nobody should listen to what I’m saying. You know?
Catherine Maley, MBA: Ah, it works for you. I, I know I personally have invested so much to learn the marketing and business side of plastic surgery.
And for you. How helpful was it for you to have all those incredible mentors or do you invest in courses or masterminds or how did you learn all of this so quickly that the business and marketing side mentors and how does this effect you being booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers?
Carlos Mata, MD: None. I don’t have somebody that I call and like, Hey, what did you do here? Did I have mentors, you know, in plastic surgery?
Like, how do you do this procedure? Sure. You know, and it’s funny because it’s not the first time someone’s asked me that question. Like how you been so fortunate to have all these, you know, things kind of fall on your lap. It’s not so much, they fall on your lap. It’s just like, you’re running and you’re looking for them.
And you’re like, Hey. It’s a good opportunity. And again, is it a whim? Sure. But if it makes sense, it does, you know, I, I was fortunate when I first got here that I did get my MBA, but that was just more on the fundamentals, I think just cause you have an MBA doesn’t mean you’re like, oh my God, you’re going to be successful in business.
Cause you understood the fundamentals of, of corporate structure or management or marketing that helps. But I did that because I didn’t have anything else to do. You know, I wasn’t used. Not working 60, 70 hours a week that, you know, I had an aesthetics job and I worked 35 to 40 hours a week. So, I was like, well, I might as well, you know, have my GI bill, I’ll go to school, I’ll get my master in business administration.
I think it helped a little bit, but at the end of the day, you know, it’s, it’s trial and error, you know, and where did I get this information? Just going to meetings and investing in, in like the stuff that you do, for example, you know I always know I’m not the smartest person in the room, but I need to find the people that are smart at what they do and learn from them.
So yeah, I go to meetings and go like, gosh, how do you get your conversion rates? 80%? And I’m like, God, that sounds really helpful. So, when I go to a meeting, I go to that instead of like, how do upper eyelid it’s taken for granted that as a surgeon, you’re like, I’m going to go learn how to do a better uplift.
You should know how to do an uplift surgery by the time you’re a surgeon. What do you need to learn that you haven’t learned yet the business side and there’s all these meetings and now it’s, it’s I think almost in every meeting, there’s something to do with marketing or business or anything that’s going to help the practice?
But most surgeons like, oh no, I’ll have staff. But part of that is if you don’t know what your staff is going to, how do you know that they’re doing the right things?
Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. I as I you know, I’ve been at this for 22 years and when I first started the practice management rooms were either nonexistent or I would be, I would give the only 15-minute talk on marketing and now the rooms have gotten bigger, but not big enough.
They’re still, the surgeons are still focused on the surgery and they’re missing the part about you are not going to make it in this Uber competitive world. If. Don’t either invest in or learn yourself. How do you do this? How it’s not about the surgery, it’s about the marketing and the business side of surgery.
That’s going to make all the difference in your profits, in your processes and your ability to stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. How you set this up to exit profitably. I just think I’ll I, I’m just going to suggest to everybody, please learn more about business and marketing or, or hire somebody who knows it, because I don’t think you can wing it anymore.
Carlos Mata, MD: I totally agree with you. And I think from that standpoint, you know, ever since I was able to go to meetings when I was a resident or a fellow, I would go to the business side. I’m like, I can read, I can watch videos on how to do surgery. I can’t watch videos on how to run a business. Right.
You just have to do it and make your mistakes. Or like you said, find somebody who can help you do all this from that standpoint, you know? And I think the earlier you do it, the better off you’re going to be. Cause you’re. And, you know, I’m, I’m seeing this and I’m, I don’t know if your practices are, but obviously, you know, things have slowed down a little bit from that standpoint.
Not for me personally, but I know other colleagues are like, gosh, yeah, our volumes dropped 20 to 30% from post COVID, you know? And, and I sit here and I’m like, I’m busier now than I was post COVID, you know? But I, I know when I look at, you know, how many people visit our website or things like that, the numbers are less than they used to be.
Let’s say a year ago. But I think, you know, the recession’s kind of a little scary thing, you know, because again, we always worry, I was scared to death when happened, that was like, oh, my taking insurance or move somewhere. We don’t know what’s going to happen. And it was a total reverse. I mean, I got busier after that as did every other plastic surgeon, even the not so good.
Nobody saw that coming. Yeah, exactly.
Catherine Maley, MBA: That I was very surprised by that. I, I didn’t see that coming in regards to staying booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. And then we have to wrap it up because I know you have to get back to surgery, but just last question, tell us something we don’t know about you.
Carlos Mata, MD: I never wanted to be a plastic surgeon. I never wanted to do aesthetic surgery ever. Not, not for one I IOT did I ever think I’d be doing, having a 99.9, nine, 9% cosmetic practice? Never in my walk. What did you, I went in, I wanted to be a cranial facial surgeon, meaning I wanted to do clef lip and clef palate surgery and work at hospital?
And that’s it. And not worry about billing or any of that stuff at all. Never wanting to do that ever. So, when you know, Going back to the very beginning, like how, you know, how I got to private practice? Well, when I was finishing my fellowship or, you know, plastic surgery training I got accepted to do a cranial fellow cranial facial fellowship in Paris, France, and the military said, great, you can go.
And then once I told them like, Hey, here’s my acceptance letter. I’m going to go. They’re like no, you can’t go. We changed our minds. So, all of a sudden at that point in time, they said, you can’t go, you have to come into active. And so right there, the course of my life went from I, this is my plan and it went this way.
Wow. And so isn’t that right here. I, you know, and again, it’s, it’s funny when I have conversations like this, because it still seems surreal to me that here I am, you know, 43 years old in a hundred percent aesthetic practice with a junior associate. You know, booked out six, seven months that I’m like it still doesn’t register.
And everyone’s like, you’re successful. And I still don’t see myself as successful. So still putting in the work.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, I will tell you, after knowing surgeons for 22 years, you have taken the shortcut. Somehow you have outsmarted outspent and able to stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. I don’t know what you did, but you are on the fast track and good for you.
Do what you’re doing and just keep doing it and ebb and flow, it will always happen. But I think you’ve got that your head on, right. You know, you’re going with the times and you’re, although I don’t think you can move because you’re Dr. Scottsdale. So, I think you’re kind of stuck there. Think you’re in good shape.
Anyway, Dr. Mata. How would they get ahold of you if they wanted to?
Carlos Mata, MD: You can just find me on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat @drscottsdale. You can always Reach out to our office via email [email protected]. www.naturalresultsaz.com or www.naturalresultsaz.com.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah, check out his website and you’ll see the pricing thing.
He has a very cool pricing tool that he uses. And just so you know, he has more leads in one day than most do in, I don’t know, six months. So, what, what he’s somebody you should probably emulate and hopefully, you too can stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. I will let you go. Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I will see you again in a meeting hopefully soon somewhere.
Carlos Mata, MD: Of course. Pleasure. Take care.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. Thanks everybody. We are going to wrap it up now for Beauty and the Biz and how Dr. Mata is able to stay booked out 9 months with over a half-million Instagram followers. Please do me a favor and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz.
And if you have any questions or feedback for me, you can go ahead and leave them at my website at www.CatherineMaley.com, or you can certainly DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.
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-End transcript for the “Over a Half-Million Instagram Followers – with Carlos Mata, MD?” videocast.
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