JOYCE KAHNG DDS
Did you ever think that you were going to own your own business as a dentist? How did you envision your path in dentistry when you graduated from school?
It surprises people to know that I went into dentistry without ever wanting to own a practice. My mom was a dentist with her own practice and I watched her become so consumed by her efforts I actually decided it was not for me. After residency, I started to search for the perfect associate position. While I had many great jobs with employers I respect, I never found a place that was ‘perfect’ for me.
I find this to be quite common in dentistry. Every dentist has a different style and a different environment they like to work in. We like to control what materials we use and how we structure our schedules. One dentist may cut overhead in a place where you wouldn’t, and it becomes a hard call whether you want to put your name on dentistry that you aren’t 100% proud of. I once asked a mentor of mine how she knew she wanted to own a practice. She responded, “How sick are you of working for someone else?”.
What have been the biggest challenges and rewards from starting your business as a Virtual Smile Expert?
The biggest challenge of being a Virtual Smile Expert is just spreading the word that it exists. Telemedicine and virtual platforms are still not quite understood by patients or dentists. Many dentists see it as a waste of time to record free consultations for people who may or may not ever commit, however, I see it as a great way to differentiate myself and add value to a potential patient’s life.
This is very much in line with my social media philosophy: Sharing, not selling, and always give first. The more you give, the more you receive. The more you share, the more you build relationships. It is a new way of thinking and one that has benefited patients who end up embracing Virtual Smile Consultations. Many are shocked how easy it is and it touches me so much when they thank me for putting myself out there in a different way.
What message do you wish to impart on those that want to follow in your footsteps that have big dreams but have a great deal of fear?
I want future dentists to realize that fear is a normal part of the journey. Working through the fear and growing confidence will come when they put in the work. I truly believe that confidence comes to people who put in work. What do I mean by work? It means working on your craft and being driven by your passion to help others through dentistry.
It means never being complacent, but it also means working on bettering yourself and realizing you get out what you put in. Building confidence is something I work on EVERY DAY, as I wasn’t born a confident individual. I had a cultural upbringing that prevented me from really embracing myself, so I totally get how hard it can be, but something that has promoted a lot of growth for me is that when I am afraid I dive into my fear rather than running from it. It has taken me years and years of work to come to this point, but I am proud of my progress and I think people should know they can do it too.
GEORGINA VILLARREAL MSN RN
What compelled you to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors throughout your nursing career?
I grew up with young parents who owned a successful auto body and accessory shop in Miami, Florida and other entrepreneur endeavors after. My parents worked really hard and I always admired them for their ability to execute ideas into action. Although they were not able to attend college, they made it very clear that I needed to because it would provide more professional opportunities. It took almost 8 years to acquire my Masters in Nursing and oddly enough, as soon as I received my license, I found myself exploring entrepreneurial efforts. I created a nurse Instagram account, built an incredible community, started an e-commerce shop, and brought social media campaigns to life. The rest is history.
What have been your biggest challenges in playing an executive role for HOLLIBLU, an exclusive app for nurses?
The biggest decision I made was to leave bedside nursing to work full-time for a nurse start-up. It’s been a huge challenge, but one I was ready for. I left a secure job with great benefits to play an executive role in foreign territory. I went from a Medical – Surgical Oncology Nurse to the Director of Partnership Marketing for a nurse founded start-up. Being an RN could not have prepared me better. Like nursing, I wear many hats and am learning new skills every day. I have to practice resourcefulness daily and keep a ‘figure it out’ mentality because our team is small but mighty. I seriously LOVE my team and our mission! We are on a mission to see nurses thrive and I believe wholeheartedly that we will be major change agents in transforming the healthcare industry, specifically to support nurses and reduce burnout and high turn-over.
What message do you want to impart on those working in healthcare and have an entrepreneurial spirit, but don’t know where to start?
There is an entrepreneur in all of us. Find something you are passionate about and it won’t feel like work. Healthcare professions can be so demanding and take a physical and emotional toll on our bodies. Social media campaigns, e-commerce, and networking events became my outlet turned side hustle. My dad was a great mentor in the beginning, but I researched and learned most of my business from trial and error. Don’t wait to start your passion project. You have the internet and mentors at your disposal. You just have to be proactive. Reach out to someone who is doing what you want to do, spend some time doing the research, and GO FOR IT!