Updated: Mar 28
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Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Dr. Brent Lacey is a gastroenterologist who is passionate about helping physicians succeed with business and personal finances. As a physician, he understands how overwhelming it can be to step out of clinical training and into a career and he has seen firsthand a lack of education on how to run a practice and manage finances. He has coached hundreds of families to succeed in eliminating debt and has spoken to physician groups around the country on topics related to business and personal finance. That's why he founded the Scope of Practice website, which is www.the scope of practice.com. His goal is to help physicians learn how to manage their businesses successfully and master their personal finances. So without much ado, we welcome Dr. Brent Lacey to the show. Welcome!
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Hey Chris, Thanks for having me. I'm pumped about this man. So you were on my show? Like, what, three months ago? Four months ago? Yeah, it was. It was awesome. It was awesome. It's fantastic conversation. So I'm looking forward to hopefully returning the favor here for you.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, it was. I'm really excited because we're now in the network of the doctors Podcast Network. And here we're doing collaborations and it's just great to be with fellow podcasters and thought influencers so that we can help shape the culture and the future direction of medicine.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: 100% I mean, I always say the best way to change the culture is to participate in it.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Exactly. So tell us about your background, your story. I'm always interested in how Superman came to be who he is. And tell us about how you started the Scope of Practice.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Yeah, so I am a full time gastroenterologist. And I think that's probably one of the big things that distinguishes me from a lot of the physicians and bloggers and podcasters out there. I feel like the space is pretty well dominated by anesthesiology and ER and radiology and DERM. And folks that have kind of did have either stepped away from clinical medicine or kind of gone part time, but I still run a full time gi practice and I love it. Oh my gosh, I can't imagine giving it up.
So attending unfortunately comes with some major time demands. So it definitely changes things. But I I did all my postgraduate medical training in the military. So I was in the Navy for 11 year,active, after med school and did my internal medicine and GI training in San Diego at the Naval Medical Center. A couple tours with the Navy and with the Marines.
And then about six months ago, I decided to get out, got a job offer that I couldn't pass up back in my hometown of Dallas and joined the private practice out here. And so it's been quite the transition from military to civilian. But it has been awesome. It's been a wild ride the whole way.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome. Yeah. I have family living in Dallas, and it's a very burgeoning area. And so you transitioned from military and now on to civilian. And how is it? tell us about the journey, the differences, the adjustments that you had to make and all of that in terms. I know you do a lot of coaching and speaking about personal finances and leadership. Tell us more.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Yeah, so I started the Scope of Practice, about a year and a half ago, I had been doing personal finance coaching for about five or six years. If you guys are familiar with the Dave Ramsey five, Financial Peace University class, I taught that at my church for several years, and then built a full fledged financial discipleship ministry around that teaching doing one on one financial coaching and budget classes, and working with divorced folks and single moms and things like that to some really awesome, awesome ministry work.
And then started getting asked to do the same thing at my hospital and coach and the residents and the students. And it was kind of funny actually, how it happened. I think it was just one day, I'd done my third or fourth lecture for the month. And I was getting the same questions all the time. And I thought to myself, it'd be so good if I had a blog or something online somewhere, where people could just go and download an article about it that I could write because I just get asked the same question. Be cool if I had a blog or something, then I thought to myself, why don't I just have a blog or something? So I just thought, what was involved in that? And I just started doing some research and putting it together and before I knew it, I had 30 articles up on the website, and thought, this is sort of fun. Okay, this is good. And then I was like, Yeah, I don't get to talk to people. I wonder what, what it takes to start a podcast and just just kind of just kind of kept launching, it's been, it's been a wild ride, it's been a lot of fun.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, that's awesome. I love the format of the podcasting. Because it's on the go, whenever you want, and it's audio format. And the vibe of a podcast really appeals to me. And I like how you did it from a blog, and then you transition to a podcast.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Well, the long form conversations are really nice, because you can really, really dig deep into a topic, it's a lot better, in my opinion than a three minute YouTube video, which is about the max that you're going to get people to pay attention to on a YouTube video, most of the time, I think the average I've seen is about two minutes, if you're lucky, if you're lucky, you might get five. But it's just harder. But like a podcast, I mean, someone puts their earbuds and hops on a treadmill, or just just starts driving to work. And then you're in there for 45 minutes. And it's pretty normal. And you can really have these great, in depth discussions with people who really are serious thinkers about these kinds of topics. And it's just, it's just very, very fun.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, that's awesome. And so it transitioned. I know you delve into different topics such as personal finances and leadership. And I know you’ve spoken at White Coat Investors and a lot of thought influencer conferences. So what have been some of the challenges in terms of personal finances, and some of the things that you learned and developing side income streams, and then now you're going to help people with these concepts?
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Well, so I think the thing that was interesting for me was, at least initially, when you're, because I imagine you've had, you'll have lots and lots of coaches on your show in the months and years to come. But I think the thing that's interesting about coaching is that in order to be a successful coach, you've got to be good enough at the topics that you're talking about to be able to explain it to folks in ways that they don't understand. You don't, you don't have to be the best person at a thing. You have to be really good at explaining it, and getting other people to do it.
So the analogy I like to think of is, well, I was gonna say the Duke basketball team, but they were pretty awful this year. I mean, it's not the best example this year. But but but in a normal year, you think about the Duke basketball team, if Coach K was actually to get out on the floor and play three on three with the guys. He gets smoked, right? He's, he's, he's terrible, but he's really good at pulling out the best in his players. And I think that's the thing that's interesting about being a coach is you really have to be good at explaining things so that it helps other people bring out the best in themselves. And that's been an interesting journey to try to learn. Because that's a very different thing than mastering a skill, you kind of have to master the skill of helping someone else master a skill.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I love this. It's very analogous to the See One, Do One, Teach One. And we've seen some of the best athletes don't necessarily make the best coaches. And so coaching is a skill in and in and of itself.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Yeah, and it's also I think, really not true that the old, the old adage, you sometimes hear those who can't teach, and I think that's really wrong. Because I think the best teachers are the ones who also can do the ones who understand it, who have done it themselves who have been through it. I really think those are the people who are the best teachers. I mean, I've heard you speak on a number of different platforms. I mean, my own show, for example, and you've lived this stuff, right? I mean, your personal journey, taking you all the way through with med school and starting all your companies and all your real estate investing everything, you actually lived through that you had to learn it, you had to you had to figure it all out. And so now you're in a really good position to show other people. It's like you fall in a hole, like someone falls in a hole, and you throw it you throw yourself down there. And they're like, Well, now, what do you do that for? We're both down here. You said, Yeah, but I've been down here before I know the way out.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I love that analogy. So now you've, it's always like you're transitioning from you have to learn it. And then once you learn it, then you can develop the skill of teaching it. And that's why I love podcasting. It's a wonderful platform, because now we can take our collective intelligence and share it, and we can leverage that and grow so
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: And it's great that it's such a low barrier to entry now. So it doesn't cost very much the equipment and the technology. And the techniques are widely available now. I mean, 10 years ago was the Wild West, it was very, very difficult. And now I mean, golly, my grandmother could start a podcast if she wanted to. She actually could, she's actually really tech savvy. [laughs]
But the thing that's great about all these different side hustles is that people want to get into passive real estate investing, or people want to get into various side gigs and side hustles, the opportunities are just boundless. They're just all out there. There's all kinds of people out there willing to give away information on how to do it for free. It's a low barrier to entry in terms of time, in terms of costs, in terms of skill acquisition. It's just a great time for this kind of stuff. The gig economy is booming.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, yeah. The Information Age has really democratized access to information and now we can build upon it. So if someone really wanted to start a podcast, what would be some of the easiest ways to just bare bones minimum, just get their content out there?
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: So there's very few things you actually need in order to start a podcast. So on the technical side, you need a microphone, and you can get a decent microphone for 100 bucks, 120 bucks, something like that. So don't drink your Starbucks for a month, and then save up the $120 and go buy you a good microphone on Amazon. And mine's, the one I have. It's not super, super high end, but it's, it's fine. It's good quality. So get yourself a microphone, you need a laptop or a desktop computer with either a webcam or not, if you're going to do video, and then you just need to start talking.
And I think what's most important about starting a podcast is not actually even the technical piece of it, because the technical piece is easy. You record your voice into the microphone, you post it on a hosting platform, like Buzzsprout or Libsyn, or something like that. And then you upload it to Apple podcasts. And that's actually a fairly simple process. What's more important than the technical stuff, though, is the content. And I think where that really starts is, answering the question, what do you want to talk about? What's important? Because that's one of the things that's great about being a physician is that your opportunities are fairly expensive. So I've got to know lots of physicians that do podcasts on medicine, and in particular, their own specialty, and they're more patient facing or more patient centered. And then there's a lot of podcasters that are more physician centered, physician facing, they're trying to coach other physicians how to do certain things.
Or maybe they're not doing any of that there's a there's a gal I'm interviewing on the podcast on my podcast coming up soon, that she was a physician and stepped away from clinical medicine and now she's a full time musician, like a full time professional musician doing compositions and, and the whole nine yards. That's really, really impressive. So she could do a podcast on music theory, right? It's great. So that's the thing I think you got to do versus what do you want to talk about? And what's something that you think there are people out there that really want to hear? So decide that then decide, is it going to be a podcast where you just talk about stuff, or it's going to be a podcast like this, where you're interviewing people? and then just start. Honestly, that's the thing that was that was, I think the most helpful for me, is when I decided, okay, you know what I'm going to do, I'm going to just, I got to figure out if this is even a viable idea.
So about a year ago, I started getting ideas for this bug in my head, I think I want to do a podcast, but I don't know if I'm ready for it. I don't know if it's something that will be fun. I said, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna take the month of April, this is April of last year. So I'm gonna take the month of April, I'm just going to record like 15 or 20 podcast episodes. And we'll just see what happens. And if I put together 15 episodes, and I edit them, and I upload them, and they're all terrible, and I just don't like how they sounded. Hey, you know what it was 15 hours, I had 15 great conversations with really amazing people. And that's, that's not a bad way to spend a month, and I'm not really out too much.
And if it ends up being something that I really enjoy, and I really like, great, I got 15 episodes in the bank, and let's do this thing. And so, man, it's just, it's just a matter of starting.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, that's so inspiring, it's because it's like, you just do it, and then you do it for the pure joy of it. And then you can actually create something, and actually monetize it later on. And even if it doesn't monetize you still have a brand and a platform to share your story, and so it's so wonderful that podcasting is like that. And now they have Clubhouse as well.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: So, yeah, I think if people are planning on starting a podcast, I think they need to plan on not being able to make a lot of money with it, very few podcasts actually making significant money. And that's, that's just simply the reality. So here's the thing that's really great about this. Podcasting is still very much in its early days. Okay, so there are 500 million blogs out there, I think the current numbers are around 500-20 million. There are, there is something like a million, a million minutes of video being uploaded to YouTube every hour. And there are just barely a million and a half podcasts, but of those, there are only 200 that are actively producing episodes all the time and have been producing episodes within the previous three months.
So I mean, you're talking 500 million blogs, a couple hundred thousand active podcasts, and that's spread across the world, all the different languages, all the different niches. So, no kidding, it is possible to have a podcast that is listened to by a lot of people and honestly, this is a great time to get into it. So people are interested in doing this. Just start watching some podcasting tutorials on YouTube or take an online course from any of, golly, 150 different people that have created podcasting courses, and just learn a little something about it, and then just get started. And maybe your first 10 episodes are terrible. And that's okay. So don't worry about it, just get started doing something.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I love that. The other thing is, one question we get from a lot of viewers is, which platform? Should they upload it to? Is it Apple or Spotify? And what are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: I think you need to be on all of them. Apple Podcasts is probably the most important mainly because it has the lion's share of the market. So I think something like two thirds to three quarters of my listeners, listen to the podcast on Apple podcasts. Spotify is making a big jump, Stitcher just got bought, I forget who it was, I don't remember if it was Spotify, or if it was somebody else. But Stitcher just got bought out. And so some of these, some of these companies are starting to consolidate. But I think you need to be on all of them.
Because there'll be if you just say, Well, I'm only gonna be on Apple podcasts, like I said, only two thirds or three quarters of mine are on Apple podcasts. So you risk cutting your audience by a quarter to a third if you're not on Spotify, and all the others. And so the good thing is that most of the hosting platforms these days really make it easy to do that. So for example, I use Buzzsprout as my platform, and they have made it super easy. I mean, you just go to this one section of the website and say, Apple podcasts. It's like okay, in order to upload your feed to Apple podcast, do the following four things. Great. Done. Okay. Then Spotify, okay, in order to do the Spotify upload, do these three things. Okay, great, done. And so within about three weeks, I had all the podcast platforms activated.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, so yeah, yeah, I think that that will really help the viewers and if they're interested in starting a podcast and how to do that.
So what else do you do? I know you do coaching. Do you have any things like digital courses or any programs that you actively promote and participate in?
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Yeah, so I do a few different things. So coaching is where I've previously focused the majority of my time. But with now moving from the military to the private practice model, the demands on my time at work are substantially higher than they were, which I didn't think was possible because I was a solo practitioner in GI for five years, which by the way, I don't recommend.
It's a lot of work and being on call every single day, not my favorite. But I just see a lot more patients now than I used to. And so, the coaching thing isn't going to be able to scale very well, with the minimal amount of time that I have available. So I'm actually starting to work on a series of online courses, kind of a digital Academy. I guess, if you will, for physicians, that we're going to start rolling out in the next probably six months or so. So I've got some really great stuff.
So I've got a comprehensive personal finance curriculum that's gonna come out, we've got a great, we got a great thing and we're gonna launch that I'm super passionate about, it's going to be basically how to residency proof your marriage. So how to have a thriving marriage despite being in medicine, which is inherently very, very difficult. As anyone out there who's married. And so that's coming soon, we've got a course on leadership that will probably launch next year. Just really great stuff coming out. So trying to try a few different avenues and see what is most valuable for people out there. That's so awesome.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Well, Brent, we really enjoyed having you on the show. And for the viewers, all the links and show notes at the end as well as Dr. Lacey's programs.Brent, any last minute words of advice, any tips or words of wisdom before we say farewell?
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: I think the main thing I would say to people is don't, don't get caught up thinking that you have to have exactly the right thing. exactly the right idea, exactly the perfect approach to things. If you wait until you've got the perfect approach to things, if you wait until you have the perfect idea, you’ve waited too late. Okay, it's much more important to get started than it is to get started perfectly. It's very, very easy to just continue working. And working and perfecting and trying to make everything just the right way to do things. And then you never actually end up actually getting started.
So whatever you're thinking about doing, just start exploring. You think you want to write a blog, write 20 articles, if you can't write 20 articles in two months without tearing your hair out, then you're not meant to do a blog. Okay? If you're thinking about starting a podcast, just go just go spend five hours looking at YouTube tutorials on how to start a podcast, you can figure it out very, very quickly. And just go record yourself doing three episodes and record five interviews with other people and maybe 15 minute episodes, make them short, make them easy. And if you get through that you're like, Man, this is a lot more work than I thought. I don't think I want to do this after all. Hey, we just saved ourselves a lot of time and money, didn't we? But if you're like, oh my gosh, this is so much fun. I can't wait to do more awesome things. Then you found your thing. If you're thinking about coaching, start, find someone to coach, go to your go to your local Lions Club, go to your local Rotary Club, go to your church go to your residency program and just start asking, Hey, listen, I'm thinking about getting into life coaching, thinking about getting into health and wellness coaching. I'd love to work with some people for free and people are great. I would love to have some free coaching.
Right? So so so yeah, so just just whatever you're doing, just just get started. And so actually put something together for your audience. If you like that I think we'll I hope will be helpful. One of the things that I think is most valuable for folks is spending some time reading and growing. So if you want your business to grow 20% this year, if you want your side hustle to grow 20% this year, then you need to grow 20% This year, and the most important thing that I think you can do is listen to great podcasts like Chris' or read some great books like Chris' or from other people but find someone who's done what you want to do and that has done it well and learn from that.
And so and so I put together a reading list for folks that I want to give to your audience for free. I think it'd be helpful for him. It's 35 books that I've curated business for personal finance for leadership. And it's called the Scope of Practice reading list. People can download that for free if they want. It's the ScopeofPractice.com/readinglist. It's really easy. And so it's free.
And if you read, pick one book out of each of the seven categories on there, and read those over the next six months, it's like having an MBA, right? And so and in whatever topics you're interested in.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: That's awesome. I will include those in the show notes. And lastly, how can people get in touch with your email address, website?
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Yeah, the best way is through the website. So my contact is there. But it's www.theScopeofPractice.com. And you can access the blog and all the content archives and the podcast through that. Feel free to contact me anytime. If you want some one on one coaching. You just want to learn more. If you want recommendations, read Chris' book. Then, then just get in touch with me. I'm happy to help any way I can.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Brent, that was an awesome interview. And for all the viewers, Dr. Brent Lacey has a really awesome podcast. So check out the Scope of Practice, and subscribe, download his episodes. He's got a lot of great shows. So thank you very much, and we'll see you in the next episodes.
Dr. Brent Lacey, MD: Thanks, Chris.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at ChristopherLooMDPhD@gmail.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.