My first client – that is a great question! I was leaving the academic institution where I was on faculty and really starting fresh. I had purchased the practice of another dermatologist, but she had really been winding it up because she was moving out of the state and she probably had a very slim patient list.
I literally was having one and two patients a day. We didn’t have a lot of the Internet and social media then (this is in 2000), so what I would do is I would do a really good job with that one patient and then that patient would send another patient. I literally kind of build the practice by word of mouth.
I would go to the hospital and give talks and I would also visit my neighbors – who were internal medicine and oncologists. [I] sat down and let them know what I did and what my interests [were] and they started referring patients. So really [I did] a lot of groundwork and [then it was] just [communication from] one person to person to person.
I really had no budget for advertising and demand for [my] practice just grew. Patients told their friends and it just went on and on. So 20,000 patients later, you can do it.