Keys to a Successful Acupuncture Business, Getting Through Tough Times, & The Future of TCM

Fully Unabridged audio mp3 version
Interview with Jason Stein

This is a great interview with an amazing guy! I love Jason – his character is just nice to be around, and his knowledge is something to be sought after. He has much experience and wisdom to share with his fellow acupuncturists, and he does it so openly and genuinely. An experienced acupuncturist and business coach, Jason delivers pearls of wisdom to help anyone move forward in both life and practice. I am so grateful for his contribution to the Golden Cabinet! Please take the time to check him and his services out at  ~ Spence Pentland



Professional Profile
1993 BS Psychology Arizona State University
1998 M.AOM International Institute of Chinese Medicine
2003 Professional Certified Coach Centre for Coach Training
1999-Present 2002-Present 1998-2001
Diplomate in Acupuncture, NCCAOM, #010791
State of Oregon, Licensed Acupuncturist, License #553
State of New Mexico, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, License #582 (inactive)

Professional Achievements
Koenig, B., Stein, J. (2015) Untold: 12 Stories of Successful American Acupuncturists in the New Millennium, Charolotte, NC: Lilac Point Press.
Sloan S, Reeves J, Sledd M., Stein, J. The Changing Demographic of Acupuncturists. The American Acupuncturist. 2012;61: 12-18
Stein, J. (2004) Meditation in the Workplace CD, Oregon, CDBaby.

Professional Experience
2007 -2017 Chair of Professional Development, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
2007 – 2015 Heart of Business, Inc Associate
2017 FB Live for Acupuncturists, Freedom and Prosperity Telesummit
2016 Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Remembered, AOMS TeleSummit
2016 Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Remembered, WeWork Portland
2016-2017 Strategic Partner,, Portland, OR
2009 Research Practicum, Study of Websites Effectiveness for Acupuncturists
2008 Research Scholars Program, NIH Grant, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine

Show Credits
*Video & Podcast editing – Retireno Cabilla
*Administration & Social Media – Regine Cabilla
*Trascription – Marina Andjelkovic
Jason Stein Interview

Dr. Pentland: Hello, everybody. Welcome to The Golden Cabinet. We’re here with Jason Stein, our first Golden Cabinet podcast. I’m so excited to chat with you again. I really enjoyed connecting with you last time we talked, and I just think you’re such a great guy. You can tell that by your smile. You know that Malcolm Gladwell blink is there, and after you hear more from Jason, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Jason’s been an acupuncturist, he’s gone through all sorts of training, everything from business coaching to teaching integrative practice management. I’m going to turn it over to Jason a little bit too to give a bit of his background and do it more justice than I can. So, Jason, welcome!

Dr. Stein: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate being on your show, and I appreciate this is the kickoff, the first one, so, congratulations. What you and I both know is that the acupuncture community definitely needs more business education so that they can survive out there, and so, just a couple bars on my background. I started in psychology and like most of the viewers, listeners, it’s like I took a left-hand turn, like Bugs Bunny literally in Albuquerque. I was on my way to get a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology when I got the opportunity to practice Chinese medicine. What happened for me was that I had my own series of — it’s a little embarrassing but I had a nonspecific urinary tract infection for years that didn’t go away, and after antibiotic and pretty invasive diagnostics, I went to a Chinese medicine practitioner and within two weeks of moxa, acupuncture and herbs, that was completely gone. So, it turned me on to the medicine. I was still skeptical because I have a bit of a skeptic in me, and after the decision to apply to school, to get into school, I decided I’d just go for one quarter. And at that end of the quarter in the internship, I saw my story again and again and again of people just put through the wringer and medicine, and Chinese medicine is what helped, East Asian medicine. From there, right out of school, I became a doctor of Oriental Medicine. The state of New Mexico is a very worth state in the United States, where you get primary care status. I was given a rare opportunity to be right in the hospital, and I was back in 1998, a long time ago. What I found is that most of the people coming into the hospital were getting sick from that place they spent most their time, which is the workplace. I’m a third generation entrepreneur, my grandfather, my father, myself have always learned and studied business and so pretty quickly I wanted to help other acupuncturists. For the last decade, I’ve been at one of the top acupuncture schools in the United States, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, as the Chair Professional Development. I just left last year because I’m ready for consulting full-time and it’s something I’ve been doing part-time very effectively. Not just acupuncturists, but healers, these healers we have to learn about money and business, and how to be sustainable really. It’s kind of a long intro, but I’m here today to just share this conversation about the medicines needed it’s a big solution to the problems we’re facing in the medical field. You can do it, you definitely can build a sustainable practice.

Dr. Pentland: What a great message. I think last time we were talking we both were just so romanticized by it, by the acupuncture world, and by acupuncturist in general. Stereotypically, it’s such a great group of folk, and they are really truly rooted in integrity and deep values that are so patient-centric, and I love that. And very passionate about their medicine which is the philosophy behind it, and everything it’s something that I understand, we all want the world to know about. But the business side is important, to get that word out there, and that I think is where a lot of acupuncturists maybe struggle some. It might be rooted in their relationship with money and maybe we’ll get to that, but you’ve got with your private consulting that you do with acupuncturist you’ve got — and I know we got into it some last time, but you’re a Holy Trinity, you call it. I would love you to kind of lay that out for people so just right off the start, people kind of have an idea of your philosophy.

Dr.Stein: Sure. Just unpacking it a little bit. There are thousands of business consultants ,and there’s tons of SEO specialists, and everybody, when you start your practice, will kind of share how you should work with them. I mean that works, and that happens all the time. What I’ve realized after 20 years of helping business owners is it boils down into a trifecta. It really profits, you have to have profits, because most acupuncturists give away their services. They often are charging market value, and there’s just money lineage stuff that they have to work out, so profitability. The second is relationships. When you have solid relationships, you have solid referrals. Nielsen ratings will say that word of mouth is about 90%, but it’s not just hoping and wishing people would refer to you. You have to put some systems in place for that to happen.
And the last is impact. Impact to me is, like, you got into the medicine because you really wanted to make a difference, and this is your way of making a difference in the world. For those that are struggling, if you’re listening, it’s like Chinese medicine that’s been around 3,000 plus years, and it’s been around past world wars, plagues, epidemics, it’s not going anywhere. It’s going to be here, it’s going to survive any lobbying, legislation, trying to keep it out. It’s going to survive the PT Dry Needling stuff going on – it’s here to stay. What you as the listener need to learn is how to engage in the business side of acupuncture in ways that don’t hurt your heart, in ways that actually can be fun and playful and in ways that are going to give you more time. Because any successful acupuncturist that I’ve talked to, they always have systems in place, and those systems can be the key to really having you do it in a way that works for you, rather than in a way that at the end of the week you’re, like, should I do this anymore, should I go back to what I was doing before.

Dr. Pentland: Right. You touched on a lot there, and I’ll try and remember some, but I want to jump off from your second piece relationship. What we talked about, just mentioned earlier, is that stumbling block. I understand it., because it’s where I’ve come from. Maybe you’ve got stories to share about your relationships with money. I believe that Generation X, at least who you and I are, was brought up probably without a lot of communication between our fathers and ourselves, about proper management of money and the relationship with money, and in their defense, it was passed on from their fathers to them, that silent generation. I feel like the relationship with money is that psychology is such a big piece of what you’re telling the universe, what you’re inviting into your practice, and it’s a struggle with me as well, but I have systems in place for other people at my practice taking the money for me. That’s one solution I have, but if there’s abundance in my life, I can give back. I’m not struggling, I’m not living in a worry and fear. Do you have anything to speak to about people and their relationship with money or stories that kind of shaped you?

Dr. Stein: Sure. I mean, we all have stories around money and a lot of us have this lineage issue where sometimes we’re holding patterns that our parents and our grandparents held, and really when you study money, you study the history and the origin. It really started as just transaction and it grew out of greed. We can look back at the British trading company that had a militia right and started to go for world empire and then really got pushed back. We have to think there’s this balance that money, just like acupuncture has Chi, and either that Chi is good Chi or it gets stagnant. We take a look at this when I was teaching, and people often kind of point at the schools and they need better business curriculum, and I as a teacher in one of the top schools, I can say that’s true, we have to continue to evolve. One of the things though I think we did well is we had a class just on money lineage, like, really talking about what’s the energetic with money, and what I did is I did an exercise. If you’re listening, this will take two minutes, but just close your eyes for a second and imagine a sum of money in front of your heart. It could be gold coins, it could be paper dollars, but as you imagine that, just notice how your heart engages with that. If you played with us just open your eyes, it can be really quick. The first time I did this, I saw treasure chest in my heart, like, I just wanted to grab the money and run as fast as I could. What I found from working with hundreds of students is that most people have some sort of energetic entanglement around money, and when the money pieces aren’t clean, it can be really hard to either hire someone Spence like you, because you got to pay money to hire someone to take the money or to take the money ourselves, and it’s an internal game to start with. If we don’t work out the internal game, I don’t care what systems you put in place, it’ll just be hard. I mean, that’s what I’ve noticed.

Dr. Pentland: Right. I thought you had probably had this parallel made in your life last time we chatted, but it sounded like I was the only person ever. The Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. You must have had not just the normal psychological barriers that so many of us especially in the acupuncture world would have with money, but you literally had two heavy influences, one academic and one more.

Dr. Stein: My biological father — it’s funny because you’re the first person that named that, the Robert Kiyosaki analogy, and it makes a lot of sense, because I’ve read his work. But it still didn’t click that I have that rhythm as well. I have two fathers that raised me, one was my biological father that really came from academia and came from, relatively by all means, wealthy upbringing. But my grandfather came through Ellis Island, and he was a self-made man, and so money always had attachment on that side of the family. It was always about from my biological father security and really avoiding money, like really resisting money, because it actually meant pain. And then for my stepfather, he was also a self-made man and started on the floors of Pontiac in Detroit and was really raised in extreme poverty, and then got into real estate and other businesses. What he taught me was, you can’t sit idly by because you can get laid off and things can change. I remember just balancing these two, like, you want as much security as possible but you also have to create your own destiny and where does that happen. I’ve had to do my own money work, and my backstory, Spence, is that I had a business partner and we were doing relatively well and they embezzled over 10,000$ out of the business and that they had charged up over 50,000$. Some people know that, some people don’t, but I’ve experienced bankruptcy. I have to take acknowledgement that the reason it happened is that I had my head in the sand and I never looked at the numbers. So, if you’re building a business beyond you, even though you know the people, I’ve had two clients in the last two years that also had people embezzled, and you just have to be aware of what’s coming in and going out. The only way you can do that is when you have a healthy relationship with money, and you have to ask yourself this question to start with. If money was a friend or an enemy, what kind of friend it would be, what’s that relationship that you currently have with it. Once you start there, you can evolve it, grow it, and make it healthier.

Dr. Pentland: To make that succinct for our listeners here today, can you frame any sort of piece of advice or some wise pearls that you would find in your Golden Cabinets that you would tell your 20-year-old self, or is there anything that jumps out of you?

Dr. Stein: I was like most of the viewers, and I’ve just really got turned on to the medicine. In the beginning, I just wanted to take another seminar and another seminar and another seminar and all those seminars were clinical. I would say to my 20-year-old self, like, really start to learn about investing and playing. Right now, the new thing is cyber currency and are you looking at that or are you just waiting for it to all happen. To my 20-year-old self, I would say, you definitely have some pain and some wounding from your family on both sides, and how is it that you’re going to start to engage with that so that you really no matter how much is in the bank account that you have a healthy relationship with money right now.

Dr. Pentland: That’s great. I mean, being raw and authentic with yourself is just so key in that 20-year-old, that is far-reaching. I’ve heard someone put it one way or this way, once when you’re 20, your internal dialogue is what are they going to think of me. When you’re 40, your internal dialogue is, no, I don’t care so much what people think about me, and when you’re 65, your internal dialogue is, no one’s thinking about me anyway.

Dr. Stein: That’s great. I look forward to 65.

Dr. Pentland: Yes, totally. That’s your 20-year-old self. Fast forward to not too far in your distant past. I know you’ve got three beautiful little ones, a brand-new one very recently, American Dream. You mentioned how instrumental Rachel, your wife, was or has been in your success. I know for me, what my boys brought me a peace of mind that I had no idea would come in life, because I now wake up every morning knowing I have to be an example, a shining example. What has in recent years, and having family done for your motivation, for your fire, for your passion, how does that change things?

Dr. Stein: There’s a couple of things. One is once you have children, like, I have a 14-year old, a 10-year old, and 1-year old, and it’s really interesting because you’ll see the patterns come. The holidays are coming up, and in my 30s, it was ,like, let’s spend a lot of money, let’s get a lot of gifts, but it really wasn’t the essence of the spiritual nature of Christmas, and what it really is about at a kindness level or at a charity level or being generous without just more material goods. So, I think a couple things have shown up for me. One is when my son turned one in September, we had just a small dinner and we gave him one probably three-dollar toy, and he was excited and everyone enjoyed it. I think that around the world, many acupuncturists try to live a life outside their means. I don’t know if you experienced this, but as I was teaching, I always found it interesting that these students were taking out just tremendous amount of student loans, which I can respect investing in your education, but then they would go to eat and they would go out and the grocery bill was more than mine when we were comparing budgets. I think that there’s a balance once you have family of what’s most important. One of the reasons that I left OCOM is that I wanted to be remote. I’m a 100% remote now, and my wife and family are going to London for five weeks. We’re going to work on the road, and this summer, we’re thinking about what would it be like to work on the road to go coast-to-coast. You get to play in that way when you understand where your money is, how much you have and what you can do with it.

Dr. Pentland. I know this is why I got into to acupuncture or Chinese medicine. I believed that it was some sort of — and it has been turning out to be that — but it was a rude awakening to figure out that it actually wasn’t right off the bat. It was a path to me being in charge of my own life in doing what I loved. I did the same thing, I was really quite successful right off the start. I had had a lot of money, had a lot of debt, and because I didn’t have that relationship with money or good teaching, I had you know financial struggles like yourself. I think that’s probably one of the best places to learn, unfortunately. But moving forward now, it’s with family now, you’re right. Maybe that’s advice to your 20-year-old self. You’re going to reprioritize like this, so, yeah, I guess now’s a good time to play, but it’s also a good time to think about your future. Thank you for that. I just love family stories, because my practice is based in reproductive medicine or fertility, and I think nothing is more important than family. All of my motivation is for freedom to spend more time with them, and I know that you too. I think that’s why we probably resonate so much. Hanging out with my little dudes, my wife is just so fun and I love every second.

Dr. Stein: To me, it’s a good conversation we’re having, because I have a blended family, so, I co-parent the older ones, week on week off, and then the little ones with me all the time. I think you just have to start to explore how to do it differently, because not just in the U.S. not just in Canada, we are living in really pretty sick times and there are a lot of ‘shoulds’, like, you should have a house, you should do it this way, you should do it that way. I invite everyone out there to think outside the box because there’s lots of ways you can do it. One of the things we do is we have to turn off our cell phones at dinnertime. It’s like we don’t want to be the family that’s around the screen and the screen is always there. We want to be the family that takes a different hike every Sunday. It’s not that being around screens is bad, it’s just like what gives you juice, and find that out. I also believe if you have had a marriage or you’re in a relationship that’s not working, I’ve been there too, I have hope for you. Like you really can have love in your life and surround yourself with environments that are not only safe. Because I noticed that the acupuncture students that I’ve met, they need some safety. There needs to be a container of a place where they can explore but other people have their back. And bringing that full circle, Spence, into my family, we have a saying, and it’s like ‘we have your back’, so my older has the middle and the younger one’s back, and it’s like you have to have people to have your back. If you don’t have that, get a coach, get a peer mentor, get an advisor, get someone in your corner, because doing it alone sucks and it generally doesn’t work out.

Dr. Pentland: What a great, great segue and great topic to touch on. One of my first teachers in Chinese medicine schools name was Dr. Leo Foong, such a character. I love him to death, he’s still around and is great. He said, you know you need to do these things together, you need to learn from people, you can’t do this alone. He’s, like, too many TCM people are TCM monk, don’t be a TCM monk, get out there. That’s pretty. You jump out, you get a practice, you find a little shell somewhere, and you, hopefully, cultivate a great life and practice. But that is for fulfillment, at least for me. I can only speak for myself. I resonate with what that teacher said. Contributing to your community in your world around you is super important, and TCM is so much to do there. In that light, and hiring people like yourself or there’s a generation like you or me or even one generation before us in the West that has really brought TCM to the West. It doesn’t have to be just TCM, but who are your mentors, coaches, who have been key people along your way. I know you touched on your dads and your family, which no brainer to me, but who helped you out.

Dr. SteinL: That’s a great question. When I was first coaching, I was coaching alone and I did okay. But I was really kind of stalled and I was really needing a team. The first one that really helped me out was Mark Silver, and Mark owns a company called Heart of Business. As we’re experiencing a lot of Islamophobia here in the U.S., Mark was raised Jewish, but he became Muslim. He took the Sufi trainings, which are the mystical branch of Islam, and he overlaid them with business training. Sufism is all about love, and the tagline is ‘every act of business can be an act of love’. Mark was a great mentor to me, and I ended up working with Heart of Business for seven years, learning their system, and just really getting how the ultimate spiritual path is the place you spend most your time, and that’s in your work really. The more you can engage in it, like, it’s really interesting, because, Spence, most of my clients have some sort of spiritual practice. It’s like yoga, meditating, getting in nature, and all of them have a business, but when I asked, very few of them do this, where they’re taking this spiritual practice and they’re combining it with their business. I think that’s really important. I would name Mark Silver my mastermind buddy. I do recommend each person, think about a mastermind buddy, which is just up here that you meet with on a regular basis, and his name is Paul Zelizer. Paul created a community on Facebook that went to 20,000, called Wisdompreneurs, so it’s wisdom based business owners. Then it shifted, and now it’s Awarepreneurs. Really, its primary drive is how can we get in conversation about people of color being engaged in the world. It’s really interesting when I started thinking about when I went to Chinese medicine school, and then I taught it for 10 years. There were some Asians, there were a couple of Native Americans, and I can remember of a one African-American. It’s just interesting to start to notice the diversity, and I think that what Paul continues to teach me and he was years ahead. Like four years ago, there’s a new report coming out of Apple saying that Apple really isn’t a diverse company, and so planning those uncomfortable conversations and then being able to navigate them, because you and I are both what would be classified as white male and privileged. And, so, how do we take ownership for that and how do we walk with it in ways that help others and also to notice our own blind spots, because we still have them, right. So, Paul Zelizer, and then let me just scan. I won’t name them, but I have a whisky club and many of them are practitioners and I meet with them every three months, and it’s a way for me to drink high-end Scotch and really hanging out. Sometimes, I think at these conferences we go to and these places that we visit, the hangout time is the most important. Those gentlemen in that club are also mentors to me. 30

Dr. Pentland: I thank you for sharing. I love that. It’s not my saying, but I use it, and I don’t know who planted it, but for conferences and seminars, the real learning happens in the hallway. There’s a lot of truth to that, and these little break offs. So, the masterminds are just the drinks after, or it’s like, so, how are you doing, like, what’s going on. It’s like, yeah, I get to use Yogway one, when there’s a kidney Yang deficiency. Like, how are you feeling. I have a question, and we’re going to use it as a segue, like, what is your spiritual practice? I mean we’re regarded as quite a spiritual medicine. It’s like what do you do when you wake up in the morning, what’s your morning routines or how do you connect with something larger in life. I’ll maybe just hand that over to you.

Dr. Stein: I’ll be real for a second. My spiritual practice comes after I usually get up and first thing in the morning, I use the restroom. I find that I don’t want to be on this all day, and I find that Facebook and Internet and phones is the new addiction that most people don’t talk about. It’s totally acceptable to be addicted to social media. Normally I’ll spend just a couple of minutes scrolling and posting and commenting because it’s a good time to do that. From there, I meditate for 10 minutes. We still co-sleep, so, sometimes I do it in the bed with my wife and baby next to me, and sometimes I’ll go in the other room, but I love the Headspace app. I pay for the paid version because I find it so easy and relevant. That’s the first thing I do. And then the second thing I do is when I meet with clients, I always have an insight timer on for the first minute, so, what we do is we close our eyes, we hear gong we breathe and then we hear another gong and then we start. I find that that’s a way where they can let go of all the things that they’ve come to the meeting, and I can let go of everything that’s happened before and it’s just a good way to start. I actually do that in treatment space too. I took a locum practice on I think it’s been a couple months now just to see, like, it’s really good to be in the practitioner seat and be like what are the real issues and what are the challenges. Just take a moment, even if it’s five seconds to connect with the patient before just jumping in and going and going and going, going. I call those power pauses. 10 minutes in the morning power pauses, and the last one is every night we have dinner at the table and we do high, low highs. So, what was the high of the day, what was the low of the day, what was the high of the day and I said that’s the last one, but there’s always one more when it’s me. I often drink a little bit of coffee and I got a large today, so, I can feel that kind of coming through. But the last one is my wife and I play games. Last month in October, we did Facebook live in business, 31 days. Every day, we took a turn truth or dare. This month, we write each other an electronic or a physical card every day, and it’s just our way to cultivate gratitude for playfulness. I’m a big believer right now that the world is way too significant, and people aren’t playing enough and you got to play, you have to play.

Dr. Pentland: That’s beautiful, that’s great. You wrote a book about 12 stories of successful full acupuncturists in the U.S.

Dr. Stein: Yes, co-wrote it with Bonnie Koenig.

Dr. Pentland: Can you give the exact title?

Dr. Stein: The Untold Stories: 12 Stories of Successful American Acupuncturists in the New Millennium.

D. Pentland: Did you dive into practice like that? Was there a spiritual element to most of those people’s practices as well? I mean, this is just a major pearl. In our busy life, sometimes, I think even acupunctures who come primarily often from a spiritual place and then into the practice, it’s so easy to set that kind of stuff aside. I think you and I both know how that’s probably one of the most important business tips you could give. You need to be rooted.

Dr. Stein: I don’t think we dived as deeply into that as we could have, to be honest with you. I think that the premise of the book was I just got sick and tired of hearing 50% of ‘acupuncturists don’t practice anymore’, without anyone pulling the hard data, and I really wanted to focus on the successful acupuncturists. I started to think about who really was being successful in different worlds like the world of herbology or supplements, the world of buying or selling your practice, the world of research. I just found 12 individuals that were killing it, and Bonnie and I got together and interviewed them and created this book, and I think it’s a pretty good book. I really enjoyed it.

Dr. Pentland: I will put links to that in the show notes so everyone can get at that. You also have developed something called Meditation in the Workplace.

Dr. Stein: Man, you are a show host that does his research!

Dr. Pentland: Well, you’re doing a good stuff, so, I want people to know about it.

Dr. Stein: You are going back in the day. That was in 2004. I’m a natural networker and collaborator ,so, I’ll tell just a brief story that this year, what I did is I pulled all of my current clients and my past clients and I put them in a Facebook forum together. And what I realized was, wow, this is amazing, because what you’re saying about going to the conference and being in the hallway and being real, what I’m noticing is how much people can support each other when there’s a container. And so there’s conversations like a recent post about a woman just noticing things with their ovulation, and there’s another client of mine that’s like an ovulation specialist, it’s what she does. All of a sudden, this dialog happens, and as opposed to me knowing all things at all time, which doesn’t happen, I can be the facilitator. So, Meditation in the Workplace, I realized that everybody was doing meditation stuff but no one was doing it in the working environment, so, I collaborated with some of the top people that I really enjoyed, and I had them do one meditation for a workplace experience. I put it together, back then in 2004, we’re talking about CDs. I think you can get it on CD Baby and iTunes. We’ll find the link, we’ll put that too.

Dr. Pentland: That’s awesome. It’s funny you bring up the CDs. Working together with people, maybe we resonate it for some different reasons as well. This a good topic a little bit as well, there’s so many of those systems for profiling people. I’ve done it with my staff and team and different people and myself from actually disc profiling. I really did one, not that recently, but about a year ago, I did one call. I think it’s Kolbe Index. It identified me as a person that is very well suited for being able to communicate between the layperson and the researcher, or just to be able to interpret. And I am wondering if that’s you as well, because it sounds that way.

Dr. Stein: It’s interesting, the only surveys I take these days are like Facebook, like, what 80’s pop star are you and the reason being is that my mom has her master’s in psychology and was a clinical tester. And so at age 10, I did like MMPI and 12 Rorschach and 14 Myers-Briggs, and so I’ve been assessed. My biological father is a sociologist, so, together I’ve had enough analysis. I think that those tests can be incredibly helpful when you know how to use them. With Myers-Briggs, we really are different and we have different wiring, and so when we can figure out how to use that wiring to our advantage. If you’re an introvert, there are certain ways you can market your business that can totally work for you. Using it as kind of a map for what we can do.

Dr. Pentlad: That’s nice to highlight your strengths or nourish deficiencies, that’s Chinese medicine. When I read it I was like, oh, it just kind of made me kind of realize it’s like, yeah, that is what I can do, and I feel, like, well, that’s great, now I can identify that strength. As far as strengths and weaknesses are concerned, what in general then have you seen over the years as being the strengths in our industry, in people in our industry and the weaknesses correspondingly?

Dr. Stein: I would say the biggest strength is leaning into the medicine rather than our egos. Like the medicine is so powerful and it works so well, and so just leaning into the lineage of the medicine is a huge strength. The weakness, just money and the poverty consciousness that a lot of our community struggles with and doing it alone. What I find is that if you need a contract or if you want, like, I found a HIPAA way to do testimonials, all that stuff’s already done. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. People really want to help you, they want to help you succeed.

Dr. Pentland: Well, that’s good to hear. Sometimes it’s easy to get down on the other side, and that is another great question. I mean, when times are tougher and we’ve all had them, we have them probably on a daily basis, challenges, difficult times, the clinic schedule is spotty. Whatever it might be, you’re trying to run a business in the clinic, and maybe a relationship is having a tough time, what have you found that’s gotten you through tougher times in life? Like is there anything you can touch on there?

Dr. Stein: It’s always been community. It’s always been my community. I know that there’s been books written. Check yourself out of who you surround yourself with the most, and are they raising you up or are they putting you down. For me, I’ve always had lifelong friends. I’ve always been able to travel the world and meet new people and develop relationships relatively quickly, and so, that’s part of it. The other part of it is the spiritual practice. When I went through my own upheaval with divorce and bankruptcy, at the same time, I had Pema Chödrön on repeat on in at night. I fell asleep listening to Don’t Bite The Hook, like, again and again and again, because it’s so easy to get plugged in when things aren’t working. So easy to think that it will always be that way, and one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned in the last 10 years is most entrepreneurs, if you’re like me, you are anxious and you get anxiety sometimes. And for me, what I learned is that there’s a beginning to anxiety and then end to it, and we have to remember that when we go into it, because it’s easy to think ‘it’s always going to look like this, it’s always going to be that way’. So, just remembering that there’s beginning and an end, and it all changes.

Dr. Pentland: I have a lot of younger practitioners at our clinics. I end up being and my wife as well, because she’s been really heavily involved, Chantal. She’s been the mama bear of the clinic, and you have to be talking to the younger girls about relationship, all kinds of things. Same on the other side with myself. I find myself as I get older. Maybe wisdom slowly sets in, but I’ve come to a conclusion at least at this juncture in my life that wisdom must have something to do with as it you’re imparted with it, you’re granted or gifted with this ability to rise above situations, look down on them and go, oh, that’s going to end. And get perspective maybe is a simpler way of putting that. I loved what you touched on because you mentioned that you had been to a UPW. Anyone who hasn’t, just has to go to Tony Robbins event. It’s just epic and crazy, but you’ll be sore and tired. A number of years back, I went to a week-long business mastery of his and it was phenomenal. Loved it. Zappos was there, are all kinds of great people. Probably one of the things he repeated more and more, or more than anything else at least was, he called it the power of proximity. I called it my support group, and you called it your community. He boiled it down to the five people, we will exclude our children, but the five people you spend the most time within life is who you’ll become. That’s largely anyway. It’s important, especially in those tough times, it would be to have that community that’s going to lift you up versus drag you down like you said.

Dr. Stein: Well, I would say combined it with paid and unpaid support. My wife is such an amazing supporter of me and me of her, and my mastermind buddy also, but we don’t pay each other anything, it’s just support. But I also have a coach, and I pay that coach. I find that we all have the mental blocks, we all have past that we’re trying to work out, and if you don’t do those pieces, it doesn’t matter what your next program is that you buy or your DIY solution. It’s just you got to work out the internal pieces. It’s the Yin and Yang of business. The Yang is the external, like, what’s your marketing plan, what’s your operation plan, what’s your sales plan, that kind of stuff, but the internal is really how do you get past those patterns that you’ve always had and have breakthroughs and really overcome the barriers. I’ve always thought that business is really about 15% nuts and bolts and about 85% emotion and so how do you cultivate and manage those emotions.

Dr. Pentland: Business life, business for sure is 80% psychology, 20% skill resources tools. I couldn’t agree more with that. If there’s one takeaway from today, I would love that to be that. The mastermind fellow you talk about, I would call that an accountability partner because it’s the same idea. Something holds you accountable, and largely what we might do for patients. Everybody, they come in, and they either are, like, I didn’t eat so good or I kicked ass, but it’s so important to have people that you can look up to. I feel like ever since I become an adult male, and I’ve enjoyed thoroughly studying successful people. I feel like if that can be a passion, that’s one of mine. It doesn’t matter what industry or field, it’s like what makes them rock There isn’t a single person that is rocking it in their industry, that does not have a coach, does not have people that help them land away, and are paid, most of them. The return on investment on getting advice on how to catapult yourself forward is you can’t even calculate it. I mean, I guarantee I’ve spent twice what I spent on Chinese medicine school, on personal judgment and complementary.

Dr. Stein: I would say that everyone, if you’ve been in therapy for a while, try coaching. Give it a try, and I think that what I like about what I do is I find it really rewarding to work with people to where they end up making more money and what they love to do. I agree with you. It has to have a return on the investment, like, you can’t just show up invest and not get anything back. If you’re interested in coaching, I would invite you to interview a few people and find the right fit for you.

Dr. Pentland. I was talking to Michelle Grasek, and I know she is awesome. I will get her on the show here too soon. I know she’s in Thailand, living there, or Indonesia? She’s great, and I know she’s worked with you and she sings the praise, and I know you could help so many. But we’ve spoken about it’s nice, there’s a collaborative.

Dr. Stein: (There’s a knock at the door from the postal guy. I wasn’t expecting this, but I think he’s got not going away. I apologize.)

Dr. Pentland: Looks like we’re going to get him back quicker than I have to pretend to be a comedian, which I am NOT. What else can we speak to today? Just so I don’t lose track of what’s there to speak about. I’m going to also try and get everything that we’ve chatted about here today with Jason into show notes. This whole interview will be transcribed.

Dr. Stein: I’m so sorry.

Dr. Pentland: It’s okay, I tried to entertain, I tried to joke. I’m like how much time do I have, then you ran by. Anyway, where were we?

Dr. Stein: You were talking about mentors and you were talking about mastermind buddies and then that led to somewhere.

Dr. Pentland: Yes, that led to somewhere…damn, everyone listening.

Dr. Stein: We’re going to have to call this ‘the two old guys’ show’.

Dr. Pentland: Yes, like the Muppet show. Yes, Michelle. There seems to be a bit of momentum. Jeffrey Grossman’s been instrumental in that some. I will get him on some time too. This hive mentality that I hope is catching, and I know you have it, Michelle, myself, that what you just said it’s like interview some. It is so important that you work with people that — this was important to me that I worked with people that were living the life that I kind of wanted, because that to me meant that they had figured out what I need to figure out and I want to learn from them. There’s so many great coaches and consultants, whatever, popping up in our industry now, and they’re also so far that I know so passionate just about helping people succeed and get the gift of acupuncture out into the world.
I’m excited that people like you and Michelle exist.

Dr. Stein: There’s lots of people that are up and coming. I would say let’s all do this together. It’s not about competition. It doesn’t matter how many acupuncturists there are in your city, there’s enough for everyone. Where I am, I think Michelle is amazing, what she brings, and so check it out. Like, what’s your next, I would just say a 2018 budget, some money for support. And then as opposed to go to the next Tong seminar, whatever the next seminar is, get some business support.

Dr. Pentland: Just so there are some more simple pearls, there’s been so many, but simple pearls, like, that would be my number one, maybe your number one. It’s like if you came to the golden podcast to get practice growth pearls of wisdom, that to me would be number one, and/or things that you think acupuncturists are doing that they should stop doing that will help them grow their practice, just some practical titbits, if you’ve got any.

Dr. Stein: Sure. Oh, man, I can be judgmental sometimes. I’m trying to figure out like what would be valuable, and that’s just my own, like, we have to start to confront our own dark side, and so what I would say is stop doing, stop judging other acupuncturists. It’s just what I find in this field is everyone’s so opinionated about how everyone is doing it, where there’s so many ways to do it, and so if you do working class or community acupuncture, fantastic! If you do really high-end, fantastic. If you’re charging people $300 a month or a session and your patients are happy, fantastic! How can we start celebrating each other more than blaming each other and saying that the way that the schools are doing it is wrong, the way that people are doing it is wrong like, so, that would be my number one.

Dr. Pentland: Okay, awesome. That’s great advice. What’s your take on social media. I mean, in my opinion, I think people are putting a little too much weight on it, but it’s return on investment.

Dr. Stein: Total return on investment, and so, when I teach about social media it can be used for forces of good or forces of evil. It will either bring you patients or it’ll suck your time, and the answer comes down to your strategy. If you’re using it without strategy, you’re going to find that you don’t like it and you really wish you didn’t have to do it. The last thing that I’ll say is that most people are going towards Facebook, so just think outside the box, like, there aren’t a lot of acupuncturists on Instagram, there aren’t a lot of acupuncturists on LinkedIn. And what I mean ‘aren’t on it’, they’re not using it as a strategy, so, think about going where there’s less people, because I think that can be a valuable tool. I definitely think more acupuncturists would really benefit from going to LinkedIn and doing regular articles there, especially, for working environments. Like, why people in the workplace would want to consider acupuncture?

Dr. Pentland: Right. By now, in your career too, you’ve seen people acupuncturists in different environments, say, a big city Portland, smaller town, and marketing is hugely different from one place to the next. In a big city, you’re a little bit more faceless, you can dump money in the Google ads, but, in a small town — these are my thoughts — in a smaller town, you need to contribute, you need to be a part of the community education based-marketing as maybe more the avenue that should be leaned toward there. Would you agree?

Dr. Stein: I agree and I disagree. I think that the small town and the big city are different environments, so, the main thing in your marketing, and you have to know your tribe, you have to know your people, what they want and what they do and how you can turn them on basically. Because once they experience the medicine, most of them are going to have really positive experiences. Now, what I disagree with is that in small towns what works really well is being a part of that community. And I think that’s true in big cities, where if you just think about your zip code and you become the best acupuncturist in that zip code, no matter what zip code it is, I think that you are going to have really a lot of clients.

Dr. Pentland: I totally agree with you. What I meant more was that that education based marketing or being a part of the community is absolutely essential in a smaller community, but in a bigger city there’s more options for your marketing. I’ve run zip code searches for our clinic in Vancouver, and if I ask my practitioners, there’s, like, we have people coming from Squamish and Kelowna and Hope and all these places around. But if I run the actual data, it’s our zip code. You said it exactly. We call it a postal code here in Canada, but, yeah, that’s great. I can appreciate that a lot. I’m going to let you go here pretty soon, but I’m going to ask you if there’s anything else that you want to add. when you’re working with someone, or maybe we could even back it up and look more to the big picture, what do you think — and this is kind of my little segue into specialization and finding your tribe I think that’s important there, I am advocate for specialization in our field — but what do you think the future kind of holds if there’s any macro trends that we should be looking out for? Like, should we be accepting bitcoin, should we be trying to delve into how technology could help our industry more, what kind of disruptors or trends might there be?

Dr. Stein: That’s great. I do consider myself an early adopter, and what that means to me is that you have to look where is it headed six months a year from now. Because if you’re ahead of the curve, it’s just easier. There’s a couple of trends I do invite you to look at, and one would be taking a look at video. So, Facebook live, a really economical way for you to get out public education to your community that doesn’t cost anything, or if you’re boosting a post cost very little, that can have an extreme return on the value. Trends are showing that just like email, people are opening less and less and more people are looking at text. We’re now seeing video gets used way more often than reading a blog post. That would be the first one. I apologize I had a cold this week. I got two more.

Dr. Pentland: You’ve got to get your kombucha and that’s good, drink it back.

Dr. Stein: The second one, I agree with you, bitcoin or cyber currency, that you are going to see cyber currency come into play in the next probably one to three years, and if you’re the first one that takes it, it’s an interesting thing. Because if we’re talking about bitcoin, we watched it go from very little amount to, like, it peaked at 3,000$ per bitcoin. You can always have a portion of that. If you live in a city like Vancouver, which you do, taking cyber currency, there are people already in that realm, so it’s a complete new market for you just to experiment with. The last thing that I would say is you want to start to go old-school marketing to. As everyone is going online and spending more online dollars, think about strategic alliances, because that personal relationship is never going away. I could almost guarantee without looking at your books and looking at your practice that you have certain referral sources that just keep showing up, and it’s because the relationship has already been built.
So, my third thing is strategic alliances have and always will work, and so, spend some time investing and finding the right ones for you.

Dr. Pentland: That’s awesome. I couldn’t agree more. I showed my course. This isn’t shameless self-promotion, but she emailed me, I was just, like, what do you think. She’s like, I’m going through your strategic alliance course and it’s great. I’ve started the spreadsheet that you talked about, she says, it’s great and it’s true. I mean, anyway, I couldn’t agree more, old-school way.

Dr. Stein: I can plug it, because I’m not you, and I can say that I’ve gotten to the back end of the Golden Cabinet, and that what people need more are the templates in the systems, and you’ve done a good job of just laying out the curriculum of it. So, it’s not just conversation or this is a good idea, but the worksheets and the drilling it down to have people do the work, that’s really valuable. I don’t know when that launches, but once it’s available, I do recommend that people check it out.

Dr. Pentland: It’s live now, and this will be the first podcast. I’m going to wait to promote it till my check out is sending login information. That’s happening behind the scenes right now hopefully, but anyway, thank you for that. I appreciate that feedback. Honestly, like you, I just want to deliver what I’ve seen and done, otherwise, I’m just regurgitating marketing information I’ve learned from someone else and that’s not at all my intention. I want to give pearls that I’ve got from mentors. And even just talking to you today, I’ve learned so much, and it’s brought up different things for me to think about and things I want to incorporate moving forward and I love that. Even something as simple as the video, I know that the Facebook home feed is full, so, they’re giving priority to video. There’s things that you just kind of got to stay on top of, and people like Jason Stein have that information for you, so look him up, Utilize his services, you can see already he’s such a great guy. He would be absolute pleasure to work with, and if you’ve got any questions – how can people contact you, Jason?

Dr. Stein: You know, just Jason and is email. I love questions, I do use Facebook, so, you can find me on there as well, and we’ll put some links below for those of you that want to check things out. I just want to leave people with ‘you can do this’. And so, please, with me or someone else, invest in the business side of it and you will be fine.

Dr. Pentland: Awesome. That is a great message to end with. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Dr. Stein: Thank you for having me.

Dr. Pentland: Give Rachel, Sierra, Jack, Coco, and Cooper all my best, and I hope to see you at a conference sometime soon. We’ll see you again, Jason, take care.

Dr. Stein: Bye for now.

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