Don't Give Up
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Don't Give Up
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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don't give up no matter how hard it gets and how many lows you have just get back up ignore everyone else and keep going do not give up ever no matter what don't give up hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast uh it's doctor or i should have asked a name before or nor nor ally is that right yep yep that's right all right as good as i'm gonna get so um but uh nor nor is that right yes yep i keep seeing the two o's and it keeps throwing me off and so i want to say door but then i'm like well at doors anyway so all right so dr dr noor dr ali um grew up in uh new york graduated from high school and went straight into medical school so when i didn't know that was possible and she'll get into it a little bit more as to how that or how that occurred didn't have to go to undergraduate school i did six years of medical uh school and training and then came back to the u.s and took some examinations um there was a bit of a difference in experience between bangladesh where she got there got some the medical experience and the us experience and didn't necessarily match up so after uh looking around looking at the examinations doing a few things over a couple years the past examinations decided to go into health insurance and kind of marry the medical background with the health insurance background and that leads her leads her to a bit of where she's at today so but that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast thank you thank you so much dev and i'm excited to be here and have this conversation with you today absolutely so i just gave the quick run through and hopefully it was mostly accurate but i never knew you can correct me right wrong but i gave kind of a quick run through of you know your journey but now take us back a little bit and growing up in new york and then how you went from high school right to medical school yeah yeah looking back now growing up in new york is probably one of the like you know the most defining part of you know my personality and the way i am the way i talk the way i walk the way i dress so loved that part of my life and then once i graduated high school and from bronx high school of science i'm not some crazy genius woman who you know got an opportunity to skip undergrad anyone can do it actually if you choose to go to medical school and in the eastern part of the world and you meet certain pre-requirements and i did go to a high school where i did you can apply for the entrance exams and go straight into medical school so anyone can do it if you decide to go to high school medical school abroad oh cool so now you said and so did you i assume if if that was your decision you know you just you knew going out of high school that you were going to go into you wanted to be a doctor or you wanted to go into medical school is that right yeah yeah medicine was something i've always always wanted i feel like when i was like 10 years old it was kind of like this is who i am and what i want to do my grandfather was a big role model in my life and he was a anesthesiologist so i just wanted to grow up and be just like him so always having that goal in mind helped me to to just really pave my career trajectory so so now you get you so you graduate from high school you go into medical school and you do that i think for six years is that right yeah yeah yeah it was a six-year accelerated program so you do it for six years and then now talk to us a little bit so you you you finished the program you're graduating was the intent toys to come back to the us and to be a doctor in the u.s or did you want to stay in the in you know in the east and do practice there kind of what was the that part of the journey or how did you decide what to do after you got to medical school yeah well before i started the plan was always like well how soon can i finish so i can come back to new york and you know resume my life you know because i grew up in new york but as i was you know going through the journey i really just fell in love with uh really back to my roots my nationality is bangladesh as well and i found i gained so much from the culture from the education it's given me like you know so much uh but i did uh end up i got married like towards the end of my medical career and my husband lived in berkeley well i guess in manhattan at the time so i did come back to the states just to continue my my conjugal life so now you come back to the states and i if i remember right when we talked a little bit before you when after you you see you train medic or get go through medical school abroad and then you have to come back and still take your licensing examinations and do that in order to be able to practice in the u.s is that right that's right yeah so the education is accredited you know once you go through some you know accreditation processes you know you don't have to go through med school again but you do have to pass the licensing exams uh in order to practice medicine and i have a dual degree in medicine and surgery basically if i were to be a surgeon i need to pass the licensing exams that's the process so now so you come back to the us you start to i assume start to set your study for the exam and then if i remember you kind of you know either i can't remember you didn't pass exams decided not to take the exams or kind of fill us in yes once you get back to the states and trying to look at uh or utilizing your medical degree where did your journey go from there right so i did um start studying full-time studying i didn't work i just really devoted myself to studying for the licensing exams and i did that for about two years and it was quite difficult uh to go from being a practicing physician and surgeon to really going back to square one because the licensing exams you know it's it goes back to basic sciences things that we learned you know in in first second year of medical school which for me was seven years ago at that time so there was a big disconnect with you know practicing medicine and surgery and then trying to recall enzymes from the krebs cycle and whatever minutia is is involved in the basic sciences licensing exam so i did struggle and i ended up not passing by practically one question it was three points um so that really just made it was a turning point in my life in my career that decided well how long am i going to continue doing this you know i know i'm worth more but i wasn't getting accepted for any jobs anywhere because on paper i'm not a licensed physician in the united states so it was a very dark moment for me mentally personally to come to terms with the fact that i just spent so much of my life you know in a foreign land for me because i had grown up in the states um learning all of these skills and now i can't utilize them because i'm like in a in a professional deadlock so now one question just kind of as a side or i guess it's a side note or not a side note but you know so you take the exam you study for two years and then you also done medical school for six years at this point so you're eight years into that yeah how did you make the decision you know maybe it's an easy i would assume it's a hard one i could take the exam again i could study for i don't know how often they offer the exam but you know you could study for a bit more if you're that close one question away type of a thing hopefully you study a bit more you get a bit more prepared and then you pass if you can go be a doctor what made you decide you know how did you weigh whether or not you retake the exam again or whether you go and try to do something else i think it was just just born out of frustration like i just couldn't take it anymore you know not you know making any money because i wasn't working everyone just like rejection after rejection like it was really really tough and both situations were tough i didn't want to go back to studying for two years and go through that mental hell and depression again and i also didn't want to keep like badgering myself and reducing my self-worth applying to these companies where no one wanted to hire me so it was just a decision that was born out of frustration like i need to do something else that's not what i've been going through so so now you so you kind of come to the realization okay giving it my best goal so to speak i'm not you know my my expectations aren't matching up with them you know i'm not getting the opportunities i think that you know i was hoping for and so you know kind of come to that conclusion okay i'm going to go in a different direction now how did you kind of with that realization then figure out where are you going to go or what are you going to do next yeah and and health insurance isn't really something that people seek out so it wasn't like i knew exactly what i'm gonna do and where i'm gonna just kind of like not now looking back it looks like the universe kind of just placed these you know you know invisible stepping stones in front of me like go here do this and this connection is gonna lead to this opportunity so i suppose that's how it worked out you know i was in a time of my life where we're thinking about starting a family and all that so we decided to move down to florida and i was exploring career options and it's something that i just fell into health insurance and and the more i looked into it the more i was doing it i was like wow this is really working well because i i'm working now specializing in medically underwritten policies which allows me to tie my my clinical skills my medical background into entrepreneurship and starting this business and health insurance consulting where i really i can define my own self-worth and you know i don't i don't i can't blame anyone or point any fingers well you're not paying me what i'm worth or anything like that so it really became it just you know a natural decision so now you get into you know health insurance and say okay i've got you know the medical background it matches up well i can utilize you know all that i learned in school so it's not a washer it's not a waste so to speak and also have the job opportunity so you get into that now was it a great experience and you thought the health care or health insurance was just perfect and there was nothing to change and it was just a match made in heaven or kind of you know once you make that pivot you make that adjustment how did that you know that phase of the journey go as you get into the healthcare health insurance business yeah it was an entirely new learning curve it was learning an entire industry so in my country where i went to medical school and training in bangladesh there is no health insurance it's all paid for service so the insurance itself was foreign to me so i did have to learn an entirely new industry from scratch so that was a challenge in itself but hey it was easier than med schools i'll take it so it wasn't as bad as that so anything i mean after you've gone through mexico in a third world country with with no internet and no electricity and no running water everything is a cinch so the challenge was a mild one i got over it within like i don't know a couple a couple of months um and the more i learned the industry the more you know i was able to really offer a really unique perspective into this industry because i come from practicing medicine in the eastern hemisphere where we don't have insurance into a country now where everything is about insurance and we have you know a capitalistic economy and key private companies who have everything to do with how care is delivered and the health outcomes that come from it so it was a challenge but i really enjoyed bringing what i know to the table and offering a unique perspective so and so now you offer that unique perspective and you say okay you know you come up to speed you offer the new perspective then how did you kind of get into where you're at now which is also you run you know dr nora or noor health.com and kind of what what spur you know spawn that or kind of how did you get into that aspect of things yeah so now my brand and what i do now is i work with a lot of entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals anyone who really has to figure out health insurance on their own and i really just let them know what their best option is after assessing factors like income staging their business their brief a health evaluation a health survey um so so that's what i do now and that's what my brand is all about is working with founders and helping them figure out what is their best choice for health insurance where they're going to be least out of pocket and of course offer the best health outcomes and really also kind of playing the system like once you understand systems you can really learn to take leverage of of the situation that you're at to make that system work for you so now you've so now just including people in just a bit so if i were to go to dr nor held and that's nora with two o's um but you go to dr noor help um you know kind of what services are they looking for or what assistance would be the what would what would be the motivation for them to go check it out is it to get a better understanding of the health care system to get more specialized you know guidance and and thought or is it you know hate something else or kind of what would be the motivation if they're to say hey sounds like an interesting podcast episode i'd like to learn a bit more what would they what would they go and go there to find out yeah you can when you go to check out the website you'll learn a little bit more about me and the main service that i offer there is really going to be free consultations for for picking the best health insurance plan um i don't charge anything at all for my service even my medical services paid your free yeah sorry yeah um and really i just whatever health insurance plan you have i would love to be the one to do an evaluation and say hey you what you've got is amazing go ahead and keep it or i can kind of evaluate all your options for you and say you know what we can do better here given your income and situation this is going to be a more lucrative or a better health outcome health insurance plan for you and i do that for free and if i can help you get on a better plan you just you know pay for the benefits you sign up for that's it so now so they come to you and i think that's a great because i mean first of all health insurance is always complicated there's a lot of moving parts you know you know it seems like there's only a it feels like there's a one size fits all when there really is really not a one-size-fits-all and so it definitely there's a you know a place in the marketplace to help people understand what are their best options what should they be considering what should they not be considering and how to navigate things so now as you kind of so you've gotten into the medical industry you've also you know you got your the website they can come get they can get some guidance they can get some advice they can get some direction so where do you kind of see things going in the next six to 12 months for you as you continue to evolve yeah so right now i'm definitely working on growing and scaling i've got a wonderful team that takes care of my brand so i'd really just love to increase my reach and you know talk to more people across the country i'm living in florida right now but i'm licensed to consult for health insurance in over 34 states so my goal is really just to to reach as many uh female founders small business owners and entrepreneurs as much as i can to let them know that hey you know you're probably in the wrong plan or you know you're in the best spot possible but let me help you kind of guide you through that your options for health insurance no it definitely makes sense so so that kind of brings us up to a little bit of you know where you where you so to speak came from you know where or how you or how you got to at this point you're journeying a little bit where you're looking in the future so with that we'll kind of transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each podcast so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it uh worst business decision i ever made was not delegating soon enough um i think as entrepreneurs we find that you know a great sense of pride in going from an idea and concept to actually a profit-making venture and it's really difficult to let go of of control over every little process that goes into uh you know keeping that venture running and all the train on the wheels and cogs moving smoothly but i did not want to relinquish my control over every little cog because i created it from scratch but as soon as i really just let go of that control and i like and allowed a team to and gave them some responsibility over my brand that's when i felt my that i could really project out into a longer term vision and things started to really pick up and i started to grow faster no and i think there's you know i think that's the dilemma that every entrepreneur especially as you just dive into things and get going is is i want to you know it takes almost a certain type a personality you know i have to get you know i have to get a lot of things done i didn't need it done right i want i think you know i think every entrepreneur right or wrong thinks that they can do the best otherwise they wouldn't be going into being an entrepreneur and so to then say take a step back and say okay now i have to relinquish that control i have to trust somebody else and i don't know if they're going to do it as well or they're going to get it done right or anything else this is a scary moment so i definitely understand you know kind of saying hey it's a lot of times you tend to hold on to that you know control so to speak longer than you probably should because you want to make sure it gets done right yet it can sometimes hold back the business because you're not you're you're doing all the things that other people could be doing rather than focusing on the areas that really you're you're the most expertise or can have the most value exactly yeah you're absolutely right and it's hard it's really hard um but i find i i'm sure everybody will agree like those who have done it they'll find that that's really where you can spread your wings and and fly because you've got a big weight taken off your shoulders now so you can do what you do best absolutely so so now we're going to dive to dive into the second question which is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what be the one piece of advice you give them don't give up no matter how hard it gets and how many lows you have just get back up ignore everyone else and keep going do not give up ever no matter what don't give up and i think that's good it's simple advice and yet often times is it's the most difficult to do and because you know you get into it every uh i think every startup or every small business you're going to get to a point where it gets hard and it's going to be you know you want to give up it's going to be does this really worth it do i really need to push through i've invested time money or effort and all this does it make sense or should i just go do something that's quote unquote easier and so but i think it's the difference between whether you're running a successful business or whether or not you don't often times is whether you give up doesn't mean you keep doing this so the same thing you're doing you may have to adjust and pivot and do different things but it's that idea of not giving up and continuing to or forge for or forge ahead that makes that big difference so well as a as we wrap up and as a reminder to the audience we are going to do the bonus question we'll talk a little bit about intellectual property so if you are interested in that definitely stay tuned to hear us chat a little bit about intellectual property and uh nor's uh our number one question but uh otherwise if you're not interested definitely understand sometimes intellectual property is interesting other times it's not um but if you as we wrap up the normal episode uh first thanks for again for coming on nora has been this fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey telling you'd like to be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show two more things is listener one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so everybody else can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with your patents trademarks or anything else feel free to go grab some time with us to chat and go to strategymeeting.com so now with that we've wrapped up the normal episode this is always kind of a fun time for me because you know during the normal episode i'm always asking the questions but i never get a you know impart any of the things that i'm passionate about and i don't want to take over any of the things that you guys are passionate about but it's always kind of a switching places a bit and getting to talk a little bit about intellectual property which is what i love to talk about so with that i'll turn it over to you nor to ask your number one intellectual property question yeah and i'm actually going to be asking this question on behalf of my husband um and his friends he had this question before so it was i honestly can't even remember where we got this thing devin but it was a soy sauce that was in these little packets that look like fish and the concept was you know when we we tear a packet of soy sauce it drips all over the place and it's it's quite runny so that thing was in a little it comes out one drop at a time it's a tiny little shape of a fish with a red cap i don't know if anyone knows what i'm talking about you take off the cap and you it's it's a drop it drop releases a drop at a time and you can put the cap back on so wherever we we found that or got that my question is it doesn't exist in the united states from what we've seen if that's something you know we'd like to start up here and source what's the first thing or what's the next step like this is not something that we want to do any work for just introduce this product into the united states yeah and that's one that it comes up every so often you say okay i see something that's a great idea that's outside of the us i think it's a great opportunity i love to kind of bring in the u.s expose it to a new market or new to a new culture and so you do that and you know i break it down into two questions one is is a good business opportunity and i i don't know enough to give you enough of an answer in the sense that i know what the market is i don't know how many people will buy it i don't know what the price point is and all those so i'd leave that as a separate question as to whether or not it's a good business opportunity but i'm diving into the intellectual property aspect so the biggest problem you'll get into is whenever you file a patent there's kind of two requirements one is called novelty one is called obviousness novelty is basically anybody else previously invented this and obviousness is just an obvious combination of two or more things already out there and so the first the biggest problem you'd have on the patent side is if you're importing it in other words you're taking an idea that's in another culture already being done and just bringing to the u.s it's been invented before in other words you didn't invent it so you're not able to get a patent around it so that would be kind of the first thing you say okay probably doesn't have a path forward now if you modify it if you make it better you improve it you adjust it you say i like the concept the idea of it here are the three things that it doesn't do well you or solve those solutions then you can go after a patent but it will make for at least a con assumption in this conversation that no it's going to be hey we're going to import it exactly how it is and start selling it then you probably can't get a patent or the protection around it the only avenue you'd probably have is more with a trademark than if you're going to build a brand around it in other words you probably can't get a proprietary somebody else could do the same thing they could also import it in or into the usu so now what is going to be the differentiator well the same thing as a differentiator between pepsi and coke and the knockoffs not a lot of times they don't taste very similar the same but one has a much bigger better brand they know that hey this is going to have the right quality it's going to be the standards it's going to work well it's going to have the right taste i want it's going to be consistent and all of those are represented in the brand and so probably if you're going to start as far as the avenue of protection would be more building a brand and a reputation around it as you bring it into the u.s so you can protect that aspect of it and then or hit the market as quick as you can as hard as you can such that as you build that brand and that reputation that others trying to come along you've already dominated the market or already consumed a large portion such that it makes it harder to for other people to compete cool wow yeah that's super helpful took a lot of notes there there's a there's your intellectual property overview in a nutshell and it's always a lot more to discuss than we always have time to answer in one question but if you or any of the viewers have any other questions about intellectual property as i've already mentioned before feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time to chat we can dive in deeper and make sure to get you taken care of so thank you again noor for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next layer journey even better than the last thank you so much devon thank you for your time this evening i really enjoy talking to you [Music] absolutely