We were lucky to catch up with Angela Tran recently and have shared our conversation below.
Angela, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. If you had a defining moment that you feel really changed the trajectory of your career, we’d love to hear the story and details.
I started my medical practice back in 2012. On March 16, 2020, we got the news that businesses had to be on lockdown due to COVID. I still remember it clearly today going into the office, telling my team that we were required to close and that I had no idea what was going to happen next. Nobody knew. So we got the team together, we all got zoom accounts, internet phone lines, and figured out what we needed to do to keep this business going online. In a matter of 2 days, my team and I ‘virtually’ pivoted our entire practice to being 100% online.
Much like every other business, we did everything we could to keep the business open. I was able to keep my employees on staff, we got a PPP loan, and we were fortunate to keep things running the best we could during the pandemic shutdown. After we survived April and May, we realized that our patients were still losing weight, they were still hitting their goals, and they enjoyed the benefit of not commuting to the office anymore for their services. One of our first virtual patients hit her 50 lb mark in September, and that was enough to prove our new online model was working and we decided to shut down our brick and mortar office completely and remain as an online medical practice.
I feel so grateful to still be here because I know so many businesses either had to close completely or are still going through challenges. I learned so many valuable lessons. No matter the situation, there are always resources to help. Sometimes you just need to figure out the “who” and the “how” will figure itself out. Even though we were forced to change, it was a blessing in disguise. Once I committed to going online, I knew this was the right direction for us and solutions started to show up once I got that clarity. Most importantly, while it was the scariest time as a business owner, instead of looking at it as a setback, I looked for opportunity and how I could turn this into something favorable for us. This blessing in disguise essentially allowed us to expand our reach to the entire state of Colorado, and now we are making even bigger impact than ever before.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Ever since I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor just like my father. After years and years of training, I finally achieved my dream only to find out that it was not what I expected it to be. Instead of ‘saving’ lives, I was writing prescription after prescription, answering emails and phone calls, and giving my patients more bad news than good news. I was devastated knowing that I spent over half my life to get here and all I wanted was out. I was another physician burn out statistic.
I admit that I asked the Universe for a sign, and soon after, I was introduced to someone who did medical weight loss. We hopped on a call and the rest is history. I envisioned having a medical team with medical providers, registered dietitians, fitness, trainers, and health coaches all working together to finally teach our patients how to be healthy and prevent disease, and I said to my husband, I want to make our patients “medically fit” and hence, Med-Fit Medical Weight Loss was born.
So I did the unthinkable. I quit my doctor job and started my own practice in 2012. The mission of Med-Fit is that we help patients solve health problems through weight loss by helping them take ownership of their health and wellness, improve energy with diet and exercise, and increase their self-confidence and well-being with the support and counseling from a physician. patients solve their health problems.
I had a medical team and built a state of the art medical facility with a gym training center where my patients could see their dietitian, health coach, work out with a fitness trainer, and be medically monitored all under one roof. Our average weight loss was 50 lbs lost in 6 months or less and I was taking our patients off their blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, treating their cholesterol naturally, and I was finally making the impact I truly wanted as a doctor. Patients were seeking our services because they were tired of yo-yo dieting, they recognized that one’s metabolism is far more complex than just a diet and exercise plan, and having an entire medical team for support was what they were looking for when it came to long-term success.
Now that I am Double Board Certified in Obesity Medicine and Internal Medicine, I have the advantage of understanding our patient’s metabolism and body chemistry at any age. Many of our patients often deal with blood sugar problems, high blood pressure, hormones, and aging, and therefore, the path to weight loss becomes much more complex when these medical barriers are involved. I always tell my patients that you have understand the playing field and it is different at every age. However, once you know how to play the game, then it becomes much easier, and my medical team and I provide all the knowledge and tools for all of our patients to finally know how to manage their health on their own.
I am most proud that my team and I have helped patients lose thousands and thousands of pounds each and every year. It’s not just about the pounds however, It is a transformation when we are changing our patients’ mindsets, rebuilding a positive relationship around food, teaching them to learn how to love themselves again, and finally understand what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
It brings me true joy when I get to tell patients that they no longer have diabetes, or that we took them off their meds, or that they signed up for their first 5k and participating in activities with their kids. I intended to create Med-Fit as our patients’ second home so that they know that we are always there for support year after year.
And the most important accomplishment of all was our ability to survive the pandemic and pivot our business to being a medical practice 100% online. If I can navigate an entire team and business online in a matter of days, then helping patients lose weight is easy. Thanks to the pandemic, we are now on a mission to disrupt healthcare and redefine what it means to treat and resolve disease.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
As the pandemic continued into 2021, we can all agree that all of us who own a business endured some of the toughest challenges. I share my experience this past year to let other business owners know that they are not alone and even in a pandemic, while we embraced the fears of closing our business, we finished 2021 as the best year we’ve ever had in growth and revenue.
Since transitioning to a completely 100% online business, we were fortunate that we did not have to deal with the mask mandate policies that would have disrupted our day to day operations. However, after being in a brick and mortar business since 2012, we made so many changes in our business that these changes were overwhelming for both our patients and our team. We let go almost half of the services that we were doing in the office, and rearranged how we were going to continue to produce the same outcomes as we were before. Some handled the change well and some didn’t, but we had to be ok with that knowing that we are the type of company that is future forward, and even if it meant turning our business model upside down, it was worth the risk knowing how we are going to be moving forward.
We also faced the challenges of the “Great Resignation” and as a small business, we had to compete with the bigger companies that could offer more pay and more benefits. With the rising costs of even running a business, we could only offer so much financially. We were fortunate to have the staff for the time that we did, and we knew that while we lost some good people, there were plenty of other good people out there looking for us. We just had to focus on the benefits that we could offer and know that there are candidates who see the value of working for a small business over a corporation. It was quite a roller coaster ride, but we got very good at onboarding and training and essentially mastered the hiring process.
And the biggest key difference we made this year that led to our success in a difficult year was my own personal growth and development. I needed to grow myself in order to grow my business. That meant realigning who I was, redefining my vision, and learning who I needed to become as a leader as I showed up to face all the challenges that came our way. My team needed me to step up, show up, and I had to make difficult decision after decision, ultimately it was faith over fear that led us to where we are today.
I am grateful to still be here, I have plenty left to learn as a business owner and leader, and I hope my story provides words of encouragement to those who are battling it out there and I encourage them to keep believing in themselves, and they will always win no matter what.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
One of the most important reasons for the success of a business is the ability to take risks, learn from all mistakes, and not allow limitations hold them back from moving the business forward. The biggest lesson that I had to ‘unlearn’ this past year was not trusting myself and asking for direction from too many people.
While it is very important to create a collaborative environment, it can be detrimental to a business to have too many cooks in the kitchen. Ultimately as the business owner, I take full responsibility with all the decisions I make for the business. But I admit that when I hesitate or start to question myself, it is clear when things can easily fall apart.
While it took a pandemic to force us to change the way we do business, I originally envisioned creating an online business even a few years before the pandemic hit. The weight loss industry is an ever changing field and with technology advancing so quickly, I knew even back then that the “traditional medical office” needed to be reinvented. I had consulted so many people from business coaches to team members to family and friends. All of them chimed in and had given many reasons why it wasn’t going to work. My business coach was the only one that shared my vision but because I feared going against everyone else, I hesitated.
In fact, I did the exact opposite and started looking for an even larger office space because we already outgrew our current one. I was on the brink of signing a 10 year lease term with a fairly high rent. As soon as I was getting ready to sign the contract, my gut was telling me otherwise. I admit that it was a very emotional day because I went through a lot of steps only to back out of this contract. A few months later, COVID hit and already knew that I was so lucky to have backed out; otherwise, we would have been in significant trouble had I moved forward with it.
Now looking back, I now understand that your gut feeling is usually always right and that it really just means trusting yourself and following your heart is still one of the best skills to have.
- Website: www.denverweightlossclinic.com
- Instagram: denvermedfit
- Facebook: facebook.com/medfitdrtran
- Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/drtrangela
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MedFitMedicalWeightLossDenver
The first photo of an empty office illustrates the day we closed down the office and moved out. I talked about how I pivoted into an online virtual medical practice and just wanted to show the last day I saw the office I was in since 2012.