Podcast Episode 61 – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Running a Successful Private Practice – Dr. Sogol Pahlavan

Dr. Sogol Pahlavan

Episode 61 – My guest on the podcast today is Dr. Sogol Pahlavan.  She’s a private practice pediatrician in Houston, TX.  She has been in private practice for over a decade, growing the business steadily from 2 physicians to 8 physicians, dozens of staff, and over 10,000 patients.  And, she did this all by bootstrapping it.  She had no formal training in business, no MBA, but she did it anyway.  As she’ll tell you, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  There were some serious challenges along the way.  She’s going to tell us all about it in this week’s episode.  This is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Private Practice, and it doesn’t get more real than this. 

So, I just have to ask.  If Dr. Pahlavan can build a thriving private practice in a big city dominated by a giant healthcare organization, and do it all with no formal training, why can’t you do it?  I’m telling you, it is still possible to start and grow a private practice today.  I hear stories about it from physicians all the time.  There are hundreds of physicians starting, growing, or rehabilitating their practices all the time.  As Dr. Pahlavan says, it is not only possible, it’s IMPERATIVE that we all as physicians take control of our businesses and our clinical practices to make them the best they can be.  If we don’t, we’re in danger of losing the opportunity to a big corporation that’ll come along and take over and leave us out of the loop.

Sign up for the Webinar: Click here!

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Register for Residency-Proof Your Marriage!

I’m excited to tell you about a new online course I’m launching called “Residency-Proof Your Marriage.”  I’ve seen way too many couples get divorced or see their relationships go sour during their medical career.  Medical training is an inherently divisive time, so you have to work to combat that! 

This online video course will coach you through setting expectations, communicating effectively, getting on the same page with finances, and keeping your relationship thriving during a difficult time.  Whether you’re in medical school, residency, or out in clinical practice, Residency-Proof Your Marriage is going to help you build a thriving medical marriage.  

I’m looking for 15 couples to sign up for the beta version of the course.  You’ll get full access to the course at the lowest price it’ll ever be offered.  We’ll also ask you for feedback periodically throughout the course to help us make the course even better. 

The price is $69 for students and trainees, and only $99 for practicing physicians.  This is a very inexpensive investment in your marriage.  A weekend marriage retreat will cost upwards of $1000 between food, registration, lodging, and vacation time. 

For this course, you’ll get all the great content in the course for a fraction of the price and you complete it on your own time as your schedule allows.  Click the link in the podcast description or go to www.thescopeofpractice.com/marriagecourse to sign up today.  We’re limiting the signups initially to 15 couples, so sign up today.  Again, just click the link in the podcast description or go to www.thescopeofpractice.com/marriagecourse to sign up today.   

Free Resource: 5 Critical Tools for Physician Leaders

Click to download for free!

If growing your business or growing as a leader is an important goal for you, then I have an amazing free resource to give you.  It’s called, “5 Critical Tools for Physician Leaders.”  This guide has five incredible resources included to help you find ways to celebrate your team members, build a mission statement that actually makes an impact, create a one-liner that will help you market your business more effectively, have a set of leadership books that will help you grown even more, and a 10 day challenge to improve your clinic’s efficiency and customer experience.  It’s totally free to download. 

Just click here to get it. 


Check out the additional free resources available at The Scope of Practice!

Meet Dr. Sogol Pahlavan

Dr. Sogol Pahlavan

Dr. Sogol Pahlavan is a board certified pediatrician founder and managing partner of ABC Pediatric Clinic established in 2008. She along with her sister Dr. Silen have grown their 2 physician private independent pediatric clinic into a mid size 8 provider clinic serving 10,000 patients in east Houston which is an underserved hispanic community. After struggling with burned out and “ chronic fatigue” Dr. Sogol embarked on a journey of mindfulness living and became certified as a mindfulness coach working with female minority physicians. She utilizes mindfulness tools along with meditation, yoga, and breathwork to connect to the present moment to find self fulfillment and JOY. She teaches physicians to fully take back responsibility for their life by reclaiming their power and committing to being their most authentic self.

Connect with Dr. Sogol Pahlavan

Join the Business and Personal Finance for Physicians and Dentists Facebook Group!

Most physicians and dentists come out of training programs with a huge amount of personal debt and little to no idea of how to actually run a clinical practice.  This Facebook community is for anyone who wants to learn more about how to manage their business more successfully and master their personal finances.


Check out the Doctor Podcast Network!

Doctor Podcast Network

The Doctor Podcast Network is a group of physician and physician family podcasters with incredible messages to share with physicians.  I’m incredibly excited to be a founding member of the organization.  We are a large and growing network with incredible outreach.

We podcast about any and all topics that are important to physicians and their families including:

  • Financial wellness
  • Business mastery and leadership
  • Marriage and family support
  • Real estate
  • and much more!

Click here and come check out the great podcasts that are a part of the network.  If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, we’d love to have you join us!  Help us reach out to physicians all over the world!

One-on-one personal finance and business coaching

If you need a little more individualized help figuring out:

  • How to build and implement a successful long-term finance strategy
  • How to budget effectively without going crazy
  • What to do in order to get you and your spouse on the same page with your finances
  • Writing a resume
  • How to find the right practice to join
  • Or anything else related to business or personal finance


I’d love to help you so you can have the successful career and financial freedom you deserve.  Just click here and email me to set up a free consultation to determine if one-on-one coaching is right for you. 

I’ve coached hundreds of families to eliminate millions of dollars in debt and get their finances on track, and I’d love to help you do the same so you feel safe knowing your career and personal finances are as strong as you want them to be.

Click here and email me to set up a free consultation today!

Show times

  • 00:00 – Introduction to the episode
  • 01:15 – Subscribe to the podcast, and please share it with someone!   
  • 01:30 – Register for the webinar: Smart Strategies for Building a Successful Clinical Practice.
  • 01:57 – Sign up for the beta launch of Residency-Proof Your Marriage!
  • 03:42 – This week’s sponsor is Panacea Financial.
  • 04:32 – Introduction to Dr Sogol Pahlavan.
  • 05:18 – Let’s meet Dr. Sogol Pahlavan.
  • 06:55 – What got Dr. Sogol Pahlavan into pediatrics?
  • 09:20 – After age 40, Dr. Sogol Pahlavan says she “hit a wall.”  She felt like she was running 100mph and was being “chased by a train.”  That led to a new focus on mindfulness and self-care.
  • 12:30 – After 10 years in practice, she had been running full speed for a long time.  She had expanded her practice from 2 physicians to 8 physicians and build a practice of over 10,000 patients.
  • 16:30 – How did Dr. Pahlavan decide to get into private practice?  Is that something that she’s just “wired for”?
  • 19:50 – Don’t try to mimic everyone else’s model.  Be yourself, and be who you are!  Then let the people gravitate to you.  
  • 23:30 – The direct primary care model offers a lot of opportunities for learning about entrepreneurship.
  • 24:25 – What were some of the biggest struggle points for Dr. Sogol Pahlavan about starting and growing a private practice?
  • 28:28 – Talking less and listening more was critical to Dr. Pahlavan growing as a leader and an entrepreneur.
  • 29:52 – What’s the difference between being stubborn and being driven?
  • 30:49 – Delegation was key to Dr. Pahlavan growing as a leader and entrepreneur.
  • 32:03 – If you allow team members to work in their strengths, you multiply the talents of your entire team.  Otherwise, you can only move at the speed of your personal brilliance.
  • 34:42 – Is it still possible in 2021 to start and grow a successful private practice from scratch?  Dr. Sogol Pahlavan says that it’s not only possible, it’s imperative!
  • 39:07 – You do NOT have financial security as a physician!  You are one economic crisis away from losing your job.
  • 40:30 – If you own your job, you have more autonomy.
  • 41:50 – The key to financial success as a private practice physician is to run a lean operation.  The lower your expenses, the better your profit margin.
  • 44:55 – Dr. Pahlavan talks about how critical it is to train your team members to do their jobs well.
  • 48:02 – Dr. Pahlavan shares her parting advice.
  • 51:17 – Connect to Dr. Sogol Pahlavan.
  • 52:59 – Summary of the episode
  • 53:40 – This week’s free resource is a guide called “5 Critical Tools For Physician Leaders.”
  • 54:33 – Signing off!

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