Take time for yourself. To be a successful healthcare provider and business owner, you must first care for yourself.

Asa part of our interview series with prominent medical professionals called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Highly Successful Private Practice” I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua Gonzalez, M.D.

Joshua Gonzalez, M.D. is a board-certified urologist and expert in men’s sexual medicine. He is co-founder of Popstar Labs, a sexual wellness brand focused on promoting the importance of sexual and reproductive health for all. Throughout his career, Dr. Gonzalez has focused on providing improved healthcare to the LGBTQ+ community, a group often left behind in conversations about sexual and reproductive health.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you ended up where you are?

Myroad to becoming a urologist and sexual health expert has been a long one. No one in my family had ever graduated college, let alone gone to medical school. So, throughout my life, I’ve had to forge my way on my own a lot of the time. That left me open to any and all possibilities and pushed me to follow my gut when it came to picking a career in urology and sexual health. I ultimately chose this field because I see it as a great opportunity to make a huge impact on the quality of life of my patients.

I’m a huge fan of mentorship throughout one’s career. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Who has been your biggest mentor? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?

I’ve been very fortunate to have a few mentors throughout my career. One of the biggest is my partner in Popstar, Dr. Brian Steixner. Brian and I are both men’s health specialists and he is someone I’ve relied on from the moment I started my practice. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from Brian is to not be scared of pursuing the unknown or uncertain. Popstar started as a simple idea: how can we create a solution to help men enhance their sexual experience by optimizing their ejaculatory health. When he and I started on this journey together, never in a million years did I think we would build a whole sexual health and wellness brand. I have Brian to thank for that, for being my partner on this crazy adventure. Without him I do not think I would have had the courage.

What made you want to start your own practice? Can you tell us the story of how you started it?

I wanted to start my own practice because I wanted the freedom and autonomy to create an environment that felt safe for people to open up about their sexual health issues. I wanted to build a place where my expertise could be used to help people find real solutions. Rather than try to find that within a space that already existed, I chose to build it from the ground up.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The most interesting thing that has happened in my career so far is starting Popstar. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I never dreamed of being a founder of a company focused on sexual health and wellness. It was always a dream of mine, but I never imagined that dream would eventually be realized.

Because it is a “helping profession”, some healthcare providers struggle with the idea of “monetization.” How do you address the business aspect of running a medical practice? Can you share a story or example?

I do not see being a business owner in conflict with being a healthcare provider. The truth is as my business grows and excels, I gain the resources to offer more comprehensive care and the latest state-of-the-art treatments to my patients.

Managing being a provider and a business owner is a constant balancing act. How do you manage both roles?

It’s not easy. Sometimes it feels like there’s never enough hours in the day. Lately, I’ve tried to carve out specific time for the business. I take a few hours per week away from patient care and use that time to figure out ways to grow and run a more efficient practice.

From completing your degree to opening a practice and becoming a business owner, your path was most likely challenging. Can you share a story about one of your greatest struggles? Can you share what you did to overcome it?

The biggest struggle I’ve faced is making the decision to start my own practice in the first place. For my first couple years in practice, I worked under another urologist. I was incredibly successful in those first two years and became very comfortable. But I knew that I would not be satisfied if that was where my career ended up. After a lot of thought and soul searching, I made the decision to go out on my own. Those first couple of months were rough. The practice was new and took a while to get off the ground. But I kept with it because I knew having my own practice is what I wanted most for myself. By believing in myself and my skills, I knew it was only a matter of time before everything would fall into place.

Ok, thank you. Here is the main question of our interview. What are the 5 things you need to know to create a thriving practice, and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Courage — I think taking risks is so important to creating a thriving practice. If I had listened to people who told me private practice was a dying business, then I would not be where I’m at today. Having the courage to take risks is what has allowed my practice and business to thrive.

2. Patience — Success does not happen overnight. I’ve been building my practice for a decade now and I’m nowhere close to being done. Success is a journey, not a destination so it is important to be patient and trust the process.

3. Mistakes — You’re going to make them. I’m not perfect and I haven’t always made the right choices. But learning to embrace that and understand that I can learn from those mistakes helps me become a better healthcare provider and business owner.

4. Surround yourself with good people. This is true in life and in business. I have not made it this far without help. I rely on my employees, colleagues, and loved ones to support me.

5. Take time for yourself. To be a successful healthcare provider and business owner, you must first care for yourself.

As a business owner, you spend most of your time working IN your practice, seeing patients. When and how do you shift to working ON your practice? (Marketing, upgrading systems, growing your practice, etc.) How much time do you spend on the business elements?

To a certain extent I always feel like I’m working on my practice. As a solo practitioner, I’m constantly thinking of new ways to grow my business. Whether that be brainstorming content ideas for social media or how to strategically market to patients who might benefit from my services, I’m always ON.

I understand that the healthcare industry has unique stresses and hazards that other industries don’t have. What specific practices would you recommend to other healthcare leaders to improve their physical or mental wellness? Can you share a story or example?

Exercise is my biggest outlet. It’s something I love to and need to do to unplug and take a minute for myself. If I’m not taking time to keep myself physically and mentally fit, then I can’t be there for my patients. I would advise any healthcare practitioners to figure out what works best for them to recharge. Maybe it’s exercise or maybe it’s meditation or cooking or creating. Whatever brings you joy is what you should make sure to prioritize outside of work. Trust me, it will make you the best healthcare provider you can be.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant in your own life?

“Everything is temporary.”

Whenever I’m feeling down, frustrated, stuck, or in a not-so-great circumstance, I remind myself that everything is temporary. It helps me to get up and keep going during challenging times because it will get better.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The best way to follow my work is on social media. I use Instagram and TikTok, @joshuagonzalezmd, to try to educate the public on the importance of sexual health and do my best to do so in an educational, fun, and disarming way. My website, www.joshuagonzalezmd.com, is also full of great resources and information on various sexual health topics.

Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success and good health!

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