Unleashing Your Potential: Self-Promotion Strategies for Dentists


Podcast Summary

In this captivating and enlightening interview, Dr. Emily Letran, a visionary dentist, speaker, and coach, takes us on an inspiring journey of entrepreneurship and personal growth. Born as a Vietnamese refugee, Dr. Letran’s early life was marked by struggles and challenges, but it was this very backdrop that fueled her determination to succeed and make a meaningful impact in the world. 

The interview begins with Dr. Letran recounting her humble beginnings and the arduous journey her family undertook to reach America as refugees. This formative experience instilled in her a deep sense of gratitude, resilience, and the belief that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Armed with these values, Dr. Letran pursued her dreams of becoming a dentist, making her mark in the dental industry with her innovative approach and commitment to excellence. 

Throughout the conversation, Dr. Letran emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision and purpose in one’s entrepreneurial endeavors. She eloquently explains that a well-defined vision acts as a guiding star, propelling individuals forward in their quest for success. Furthermore, she encourages the listeners to embrace self-promotion, not as empty words, but as a means to demonstrate their expertise and credibility. Dr. Letran’s own journey is a testament to the power of self-promotion, as she used it to establish herself as an authority in the dental industry and beyond. 

As she shares her experiences, Dr. Letran candidly discusses the challenges she faced while growing her dental practices. From learning the art of marketing to mastering the art of delegation, she admits that every step was a learning experience that ultimately contributed to her success. Dr. Letran emphasizes the significance of taking risks and stepping outside one’s comfort zone, as she herself did when venturing into coaching and public speaking. These bold moves enriched her life and allowed her to grow both personally and professionally. 

As the interview unfolds, Dr. Letran reveals her long-term vision of becoming a world-famous philanthropist. She envisions a life where she can impact lives beyond borders, building schools and empowering children with education across the globe. This noble aspiration reflects her deep commitment to giving back to society and leaving a lasting legacy of positivity. 

In closing, Dr. Letran extends a warm invitation to the listeners to learn more about her coaching services and events through her website. Her upcoming events in October promise to be enlightening, featuring inspirational speakers and valuable insights for entrepreneurs and dreamers alike. 

In summary, Dr. Emily Letran’s story is a tale of resilience, passion, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams. From her humble beginnings as a refugee to becoming a successful dentist, speaker, and coach, she serves as a shining example of what can be achieved with purpose, hard work, and a commitment to self-improvement. Dr. Letran’s journey reminds us all that life’s challenges can be stepping stones to greatness, and that, with a clear vision and unwavering determination, one can truly make a difference in the world. 

Connect with Dr. Emily Letran: 

Email: emily@exceptionalleverage.com
Website: www.AmericanDreamCoach.com
LI: www.linkedin.com/in/coachemilyletran
Text START to 55678
Book 30 Minutes Focus Call: www.calendly.com/coachemilyletran


Podcast Transcript

Emily 00:00 

You either pick up the idea you learn, or you don’t like the idea and you go back and do the same thing. And you get the same result. 


Shawn Zajas  00:08 

The future of dentistry belongs to the innovators. Welcome to innovation in dentistry. I’m your host, Shawn Zajas. And I believe that the future of dentistry is going to be unbelievably great over the next decade in two decades. But the question isn’t that the question is, are you going to be part of what makes dentistry great? I am beyond excited today to have the honor of getting to interview Dr. Emily Le Tran. So Dr. Emily, before I set you up, kind of for the show. Let me just welcome you and say thank you so much for joining me today. 


Emily 00:53 

Well, thank you so much for having me. It’s always a pleasure to run into you at the events, since we both attend events and always seeing that we both busy trying to grow our project, it’s great to do know and hang out with you people would like minded. 


Shawn Zajas  01:14 

Well, Dr. Emily, I guess that’s even a good setup. You know, when I think about innovation, yes, there are clinical innovations out there. There’s even technological innovations. But I’m fascinated in for this podcast, about the mindset that even allow someone to innovate. Why is it that someone goes, hey, why not me? Why? Why can’t I be that change? That I want to see? And I don’t even think I know all the things that you’re doing right now. And I think it’s appropriate, you know, to introduce to the audience, like your one of your main events I know about is called action to win. Is that correct? Yes. So even the fact that it’s called action, like I love, you are a woman of action, you are someone that makes things happen, you are a published author, you’re a speaker, you’re also a clinician. I don’t know anything about how you’ve actually arrived, where you’re at today in dentistry? Could you just give me a little brief kind of story of how your journey has led you here today? 


Emily 02:25 

Yes, of course, you know, first, let me just talk about actions. So the word action, you can see it as action is actually is an acronym for a whole system that I use. And it stands for appreciation, communication, trust, investment, open mindedness, and never give up. And I realized that at some point, those are the things that have helped me become successful. And get to where I want to be. Because I think success, as you know, is defined by its very relative success to you may not be success to me. Success to me is being able to do what I want to do, the way I want to do it, and having peace, right? Because when you have peace, you have happiness, you you will enjoy your life rather than you worrying, you’re frustrating and all the other emotions. So I actually came to this country as a refugee back in 1981. So I was one of those boat people. Well, they’re all the people who know what that is. And so I came when I was 13, they came with my aunt left my dad behind, my mom had passed away because back then you you buy your way to escape on a boat, been on the ocean for seven days, and then end up at a refugee camp. So when I came to the United States, I spoke very little English. And everything was about gets better, right? speak better and learn English more. Try to find a job back then, according to my aunt, find a job that is, you know, get into a profession that is easy for you to find a job. So she narrowed it down for me to healthcare. And then, you know, by really process of elimination, I ended up in dentistry. And I tell people it’s not an inspiring story, because it’s really by chance. But once I got out of dental school and and start working my my fascination is always how do you make this work? Right? I understand the dentistry part. But how do you get people to come in? How do you run it as a business? And I was very blessed to find a lot of our now we’ll call them gurus right like Dr. Howard Ferrante. Linda miles Dr. Woody oaks, up to the late Dr. Joe Stevens. A lot of these people who are so out of the box And then they out of the box because they’re doing things that they take concepts from outside dentistry, into dentistry, and they, and they apply those. And actually see, by chance I was, I got this cup of coffee, right and they say planted them kids. And so Dan Kennedy was one of them mentor. So in fact that I didn’t know. But I do know that these these newsletters that I’m reading is not as different from your regular than a magazine. And it catches my attention and some of the things that they recommend. So I started that journey back then. And once I got to three dental offices, three kids, and you know, office with multi specialty, got staff, reddening, the office, got specialists come in, I realized that I have gone through that journey. And this continuous learning, no taking ideas, again, you talk about innovation, you know, you take an idea from another business, and you think, how can you apply this to my business? And of course, you can’t just take it and just apply? You got to change certain things. And what what’s required is the mindset, first of all, to say, I think this can be applied to my field. And then secondly, how do you apply it, where you can convince other people to follow you? You know, that, of course, I start with your staff. So in 2015, was, I remember, I was sitting with several friends, and we were we are the out of the box people because we go to all these business conferences, we’ve never met each other the dental conference, right? And we think that we say, you know, it’s, we think we should be sharing some of these knowledge with our colleagues. And that’s when I decided that I, I wanted to do consulting coaching. And just like the typical dentists, right? Well, I don’t have any credential. So I went and got certified as a high performance coach with Brendon Burchard, the business part, I didn’t need to be certified because I’ve been doing business for 20 some years, and I’ve been reading all these newsletters, you know, so I’ve been studying on that. But I needed, I just needed a certification. So that’s when I got certified. And once I’ve done that, and I put myself out there, and I realized that there are a lot of us, dental professionals in general and business owners who need help. And the part that we need help on is not the clinical is, is the mindset. And I know people use that word very loosely, right? You know, everything is Oh, my heavy with the mindset with me. That’s the gap between what you’re thinking and what you actually do. Wait. There’s so many of us having great ideas, and going to seminars, and then we go back, we don’t do anything. Or maybe we want our staff to do certain things, and they resist it. So how do you get them to actually do what you want them to do? And that’s how I got to where I am today. Like you said, action, I’m always about leveraging is the same knowledge, how do I put it out there multiple ways. So that would be the speaking, that would be the book. That would be you know, going on podcasts like this, going on different shows going on other people’s stages, with the same message really, it may be tweaked for that particular audience. There may be new examples that come out, you know, that come out through my business journey. I think if you have a message, or if you have something that you really want to share, and you know, we’re so people, it is it is your job to be out there and letting everybody know. 


Shawn Zajas  08:57 

Okay, so you just dropped so many gold nuggets there. Dr. Emily, I really feel like you could teach a master class on innovation in dentistry. Maybe that’s actually something we could do in the future. But circling back to what you’re saying right now, I love what you just said about mindset, being the gap between what you know, and what you’re actually doing. And I find that fascinating because I’ve stored up knowledge before by preparing by reading by going to courses. But if you looked at the knowledge that I had stored up, and then you looked at what I’m actually doing with it, there was a massive variance. And I remember feeling like what’s the point of me learning what’s the point of me accumulating all this information. If I’m not actually doing something with it, because maybe, I don’t know maybe I’m afraid maybe I’m looking for some guarantee that doesn’t exist, you know? I’m trying to set myself up so that I don’t look like a fool if I try something. And that’s when I started realizing, wow, I didn’t really learn anything. I just had the opportunity to learn because true learning comes when you do take an action, launch something into the marketplace, and then you get feedback. Did it work? Did the market care? Did they take notice? And then you’re in the game? And that’s where true learning takes off. Now, it seems like you’ve always had this passion and curiosity to learn this crazy drive to just grow. Like, was that just in you, as a as a young girl, as a young woman? You know, even when you chose your profession, were you just like, hey, I know, I’m going to bring my perspective, my entrepreneurial vision into dentistry, or did that light not illuminate till a little bit later on? 


Emily 11:00 

Well, you know, Curiosity can really get you into trouble, right? And I think as a kid, I was, I was always curious, not, you know, not to the level Edison or anything like that. But curious here, meaning you’re questioning things. You want to know, why is, why is that happening? Why somebody’s doing certain things? Right. So you asked, you asked a lot of questions, which would be very typical in a kid. But once I, I got into, you know, I once I graduated from dental school, I think that really comes in because I’m easily bored. I’m reading the dental journals, I go to let’s just say the CDA conventions, and I see the same speakers. Some of the same speakers are still teaching the same things and giving the same example. As you know, that’s one case in point. And for me, it’s always what is new out there. And I understand, when you talk about the human mindset, there isn’t a whole lot new, right? Because we don’t really change. So how can we make the action be different is the thinking is a lot time is very, you know, is the same if you’re, if you’re a laid back person, I can make you into a really dream driven person. However, I can inspire you to do 20%, more 30% more than what you normally do. Because maybe the way I talk because I challenge you to do some things. I’ll give you an example. A lot of my clients, a lot of them are healthcare professionals. And everybody’s happy with let’s just say, the way business run or maybe the the level of income. And when I work with them, it’s about what more can you do? Right? You you net a certain amount, you do a certain amount, you’ve been doing this for 15 years, 20 years, whatever it is, what is your legacy? You know, can you do something beyond, beyond the four walls of your office, because we are just so perfectly positioned to be an advisor to be a leader in the community. So sometimes questions like that, and whether or not they’re curious, as good as some of them, they want to do more. That’s why people get complacent, they got to a certain level, and everything is comfortable. And that’s good. And then next thing is they go and they do something, something weird, like invest in crypto. You know, and I think it’s better when it’s directed your energy, and your mindset is directed to something that will be impactful. Right. And I when I sometimes I get criticized, you know, Emily, always talking about net income and production and all that. And I said yes, because that’s going to make the difference. Now, if you increase your net income, I don’t know what you do with your money. All I’m talking about increasing your net income. And you know, you could be taking that money and go build a school. Right? In a third world country, you could be taking that money and go give it to the church down the street, you could be taking that money and pay for, you know, a quieter team in your kids school. I remember so many years ago, one of the moms she came in and she was telling us the kid was doing ortho and she said Can I can I defer my monthly payment to next month? Because my kid is going to DC and I’m in California with his quality. Right so I’m saving money to pay for I think the plane ticket and I overheard this and I wrote her a check for $1,000 And I know that was more than the plane ticket while you know maybe it grew by two kids the plane ticket I don’t know how much a plane ticket was. And she was she wasn’t in shocked right? Of course she cry and and after that I got this A nice black of the whole choir. No, I think it was the band was a very big group. And it goes into my, you know, it goes on my office wall. So but I think a lot of us are really positioned to do that, you know, it could be your patient right there who come in and have a difficult time. And, and you help them in whatever way you want beyond your dentistry, but you’re already in that position to help. And so I think when you say the word innovation, something, sometimes people think about technology and you know, something brand new. Sometimes it’s it’s that emotion, how do you get that emotion? How do you get that drive out of you? Because it’s already in you, right? And you can just light the fire yourself. But but you have to think of it that way. Like if you think what can I do to impact my patient beyond the dentistry? I mean, let’s just say answer that question. And then you can think of different ways that then you’re probably going to pay attention a little bit more to the patient as to what they’re doing, or maybe what their kids are doing. And and you ask those questions, you know, the more in that sense, and you become more impactful. And people and people remember you for doing that. Sometimes it’s not what you do for them, is you is what you do for the people they love. 


Shawn Zajas  16:16 

Okay, so I really I’m hanging on every word you’re saying. And thankfully, I don’t need to take notes because this is recorded. But I’m, I love what you just said Dr. Emily about. Oftentimes, it’s okay. Like it’s normal that dentists, they do a good job, they’re working on clinical, and then they they end up maybe settling a bed or just getting complacent. And that’s that’s a better word. And it’s like the future in dentistry that I see is that dentistry is going to be great because everybody steps up into that place that only they can fill. And maybe it is just doing something with their patient, or in their community. I agree with you innovation doesn’t have to be starting some disruptive company that changes the landscape of dentistry. It could be but it could just be the community that’s around you. And my whole thing is this right now, like you said, you and me we we have this kind of like mindedness, like the fact that you arrived at Dan Kennedy and Brendan Bouchard, who are two of my role models and heroes, of all the different marketing voices of all the different high performance voices, the fact that you arrived at those two people just show there is there’s definitely a likeness. But when I look to the left, and to the right of me, I see so many amazing people that I know, that are advancing dentistry, but I also see vacancies. I see places where someone maybe hasn’t occupied that space because they think it’s humility, maybe to play it small. Or maybe they still are wrestling with the hole. Am I Am I ready? It is right now the time what what if I step up or step out? And and what you know what I mean? Like this worst case scenario, this this fear that I’m not defining. And that’s what I love about what you’re saying to dentists. It’s like, right now, step up, like, try something, find out like whatever they’re hearing between the lines of what we’re saying they know, right now that thought that comes to them. Of Yeah, that’s kind of been a dream of mine. But maybe I’ve been a little too scared to do something about it. Was there ever a dream of yours? That was really scary. And you’re just, you know, you kind of look to yourself in the mirror some mornings and you’re like, Dr. Emily, why do you feel crazy enough to believe this? Like, was there ever? One of the things that you did that you were just like, wow, this this could fail or this could end bad, but you just kept doing it anyway. 


Emily 18:53 

Yes. And thank you for asking that. And I think I’m, I’ve been very blessed. And what I mean by that is by meeting the right people, obviously sometimes you go to a certain place because you know certain people are going to be there and and you hope to meet them but I’ve been very blessed in meeting the right people. My one of my very first mentor is Sharon Lechter. She is the co author of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. And it took about two years for me to get out of my agent shelf, right? I am not used to talking about myself. It’s just she pushed me to Kenya, you got to be a speaker. You got to be out there. Right. And I when I started working with it, I really finished my first book and I was very resistant to talk about it because it’s even though I want people to know about it, but I wasn’t trained on how to go out there and talk about your book and tell your story. And, and it’s it took two years for me to actually feel more comfortable to talk about myself. From, you know, from the story to some of the things I do by this time, I have already done a dental mission. And you know, I already done some of the things that I share with you, but it will just never Why am I sharing that? Especially when when you share it, and it’s in the mindset of other people is, and actually it’s still there. Now. You look on Facebook, I hear something and somebody would say that she goes, promotion self promotion again. Right? And it’s okay. At the beginning, it bugged me. After that, I’m thinking, you know, that message is gonna be there for the right people to hear. Because for me, when I share something, it got two things. Number one, is I’m just sharing is possible. And number two, for the right people, it’s, it’s a little bit. Challenge it a little bit ambition. Hey, if Emily can do that, can I do that? Right, like a lot of the things that I do for my dental office, when people asked me, I said, Yeah, I have a mixed practice. I have HMO, PPO that allow cash, I don’t have a fee for service office. And then they looking at me, well, how come she taking her staff to Hawaii? For doing a million dollar? And this was back in 2006? Right? Why? Why? Why? Why is her staff attending? TBSA? Which is the best seminar ever? For at least a decade? Right? Why? Why are they having so much fun? Why is she doing this? So that like I would just told you, you know, why does she give a patient $1,000, right. So if you know how to run the business, and you know what to focus on the right thing. whatever business you’re doing, it could be profitable. Right? If I had a fee for service offers, I’d probably be five times profitable. But sometimes it’s where you are, and where you decide to be. And again, if that’s something that you okay with, the office is five miles away from home, and not going to go find a different area to open the fee for service officers. Because every day I go pick up three kids from school. So part of it is also to be okay with who you are. And that’s a big part. Because when we when you actually have the conversation, you find out that people are not happy about this. They’re happy about that. And these are some of the things that are in their control. It’s, you know, their mindset, their thoughts. And so because I was so blessed to have the training, and learning from the right people, like you say with with Brendan, right, Brendan is about high performance coaching. So it’s always about to make sure that you deliver 100%. But first, you got to really get to that 100%. Like, one of the thing I liked the most about him is he if you say when you’re good. And you have our stuff. Nobody knows. You’re pretty good. So you sort of faking it. Right? But you know, so how long are you going to do that? Right? So today, if I go to work, and I’m jet lagging, I can still see my 12, 15 patients. But I know I’m jet lagged. I know I’m not 100% there. But how can it be that I want to make sure that when I show up, whether it’s the first patient of the day, or the last patient of the day, I’m giving them 100%. Right? And then learning from from Dan Kennedy, it’s about just be different. If everybody’s going west, you better go east. And And that, again, is the mindset that if everybody’s doing that, I need to do the same thing. And from day one, I never want to do the same thing. Not that I want to be different. But again, going back to the very first point we talk curious, right? Everybody’s doing what was it back? When the coupon Groupon right? Everybody’s talking about Groupon? why don’t why not do? Why don’t I send an email to all my patients, and maybe I’m offering something similar, but I’m only talking to my patients. Right? So I’ll take that idea. But I want to apply to the way, you know, to my business the way I want to apply to my business. And so those are some of the some of the things that I think that has helped me accelerate and be able to achieve what I want to achieve. And I think that it really took the mentors and the coaches because as as Emily coming to the US, as a refugee, I did not know all of those great ideas. 


Shawn Zajas  24:35 

You know, when you speak there’s just such a strength in what you’re saying. It’s almost like you’re not releasing ideas that you’re not certain about, they really are something that you’ve completely bought into and you live it out. And because of that there’s a difference. I don’t know I’m just as I’m hearing you. I’m getting inspired because Do what you just said about almost like being misunderstood by people about just even being okay with sharing your strength or your gifting or the value that you have. That is something that I feel like has kept me back for so long. And I don’t know why, because who wins if we play it small? Like, if you decided to play it small a decade ago, I probably wouldn’t be interviewing you right now. And yet, every time I’ve had the opportunity to meet you, or be around you, again, you are just so encouraging. Just knowing you are in the fight, you continue to advance ground, you continue to say yes, when it’s hard, you continue to take risks, that encourages me massively. Dr. Emily, and I’m just thinking like, so here’s that person that’s on the sideline, that’s like, Oh, here she goes, again, self promotion. It’s like, okay, so what what should you do not say what you’re doing not talk about the value that you really are bringing to dentists. It’s transformative, and it has the opportunity to be transformative. And if we just stay on the sideline, and abdicate and not saying anything, nobody wins. 


Emily 26:18 

You know, you know, and it’s very funny, because it’s all in our mind, right? There are people showing full mouth rehab cases, beautiful cases, which we look at it, and we know it’s a $40,000 cases, right? And they show, well, we’re just gonna use that word, they show it off, right? For me, it’s they sharing their success. I know, there’s 20 cases of failure, that maybe they’re not sharing. But at this moment, they decided to share this. And nobody criticized that. And I’m over here saying something like, I was featured on Forbes. Right. Now, if you have clicked the link and read the article, it was something I say about staff, it was they asked a question, and all of these four coaches were answering. And usually what they do is they asked a question, and you submit your answer. And if you have a good answer, they’ll pick you. And they feature you on Forbes. So it wasn’t a self promotion article. But you the person probably had did not even read it. Okay? And it’s not my fault that it was featured three times, like I have, I got picked three different times who within the year, again, it’s, it’s the mindset that, okay, instead, if you had clicked it, read the article, maybe you would agree with me disagree with me. But there are also nine other people who were sharing their viewpoints about that particular subject, whether I think one of it was about staff, whatever it was about having a difficult conversation, right, I gave the example of, if you need to sit the staff down, and before you fire them, what do you do? Right? So these are very practical things. And for me, if you say something like that, you just don’t understand you don’t understand that. Whether you you, you agree or like him or not somebody like Donald Trump, right? We marketers look at him as a great marketer. Right? That’s like the number one thing, I had a meeting with Dan Kennedy, and he kept talking about Donald Trump, as a marketer, we’re not talking about his political view, or whatever he does, but that’s why he’s known. You look at some of the musicians, right? They usually are well known because they different. So the same idea of you want to be different, you got to do something to promote yourself to put yourself out there. And and at the same time, in some of the groups, you will keep asking, How do I stand out? How do I get patients to come to me, and then I’m thinking, self promotion. But you can do things like answering questions on a forum, right? Or do a free dentistry date, these are things that you should be able, you should be comfortable saying. And then as you do that, enough, people know you and people recommend you and people recognize you. My third public talk was a test, a TED Talk, a local TED Talk. And it was because one of my friends who know me at different networking events, she recommended me to apply. I wasn’t even looking for it. So things like that start happening if you put yourself out there, and you put yourself out there and in whatever way you want. But the whole back is people say well, I’m not supposed to put myself out there. I’m supposed to be you know, I’m the professional. I’m not supposed to talk about myself. If you read any of my posts, you will never see that I’m the best dentists and the best coach. Well, I have the best mom in the world. That one we we got to claim but that even that one is relative. Every mom is gonna say she’s the best mom in the world, I’m just putting it out there as a marketing phrase. And the people who know me they understand that’s why I’m doing that. And if they know the backstory, they, they appreciate that. Yeah, she might be the best mom. But in general, I think because me, you and I, we operate from that marketing standpoint. So we put out phrases, we do things that are different. And if people don’t understand the marketing part, that’s when they start, you know, thinking about it, they kick us out Facebook group, which is okay. Because I said, If I don’t, if I don’t self promote today, down the line, I’m probably going to self promote, again, whatever I do, that I’m sharing. And that’s how people are, you either pick up the idea and you learn, or you don’t like the idea, and you go back and do the same thing. And you get the same result. 


Shawn Zajas  30:48 

So I’m curious about the TED talk. You get the invitation. What do you think about right when you get it? Do you think about this could be wildly successful and amazing. I’m going to crush it, even though I don’t know how much training you’ve had as a public speaker. I know you speak publicly, but I’m just saying, You’re not first and foremost, a public speaker. Like that’s not your your livelihood. You’re a dentist, you’re a clinician, you do lead, you do market, you know, but I’m just saying right away, was there any sort of self doubt? Or were you just like, Yep, this is an open door. I’m going to check it out. Like what what was your inner game? when this opportunity came to you? 


Emily 31:33 

Oh, there was plenty of self doubt. There was, like I said, that was my third time doing public speaking. So I definitely I was not ready. But I’m one of those people that I’d like to check a box, right. Like, I want to be on TED talk. Okay. You know, TED talk once good. Yeah, right. I want to be featured in a magazine bit on fourth. What, okay, good. Check out. That kind of thing. Okay, I’ve done it. And then and then I’m good. So when that opportunity came, I know the story should be shared. So So this, the the title of my talk, was, I believe it was, what if? What if you weren’t scared? What would you do? What if today is the last day of your life? What would you do? Right? So it was, that’s kind of how I lead my talk. And then I talk about, you know, my story, I came to this country, etc. But but when I got the invitation, I said, Okay, I need to do this, because I need to share the story, this is an opportunity for me to share story as a Vietnamese refugee. And of course, I got the best help, which was, I was I was the mentee of Sharon Lechter. At that time, so I wrote my little speech. And then I, and then Sharon offered to, to take a look at it for me, and the speech came back read, I mean, every other word is read. And, and just like that gracious mom, she said, All I did was moving your words around. So just move the words around. And, and then of course, it’s memorizing the speech, because the good thing with a TED talk is, you’re standing in one spot. So that didn’t require me to command the stage or anything, I just, I just stood there. And I just, and I just talked about it. And, you know, I think it is our job, when the, when that opportunity comes, do you take that opportunity, so we need to be prepared. And, and that is if you believe in yourself, you can talk to a lot of doctors or you chat with them. And they said something like, I want to write a book. Right? Or they say, I want to teach people this. I was talking to somebody over the weekend. And she said, Yeah, Dr. So and So wants to teach about opioids, right? Because he’s an oral surgeon. And, you know, he, he knows a lot of kids, after they take out the wisdom teeth, they on the medication, and then they become, you know, they they take the mat and they go sell it, you know, and you know, your typical drug story, but that’s what he wants to teach and he’s an oral surgeon, right? So he doesn’t really need to go and teach that. But that’s to me, that’s the calling right? The dentistry is the passion, but the coaching and the speaking is the calling the speaking is sort of required for the coaching. So that way I can get my message out there more, I will be more visible than somebody who just sent out you know, email marketing, right. So I will be on multiple platform. So for me what happened with that was the drive that I want to be known for that Vietnamese story is not so much my me it was the story of that generation. Right. And then the other thing I was, you know, this is the opportunity to, I guess, practice my speaking skill, you might, you might as well just challenge it to the max. And, and I’m one of those people who likes to take up on challenges, which sometimes is not a good thing, because sometimes you’re not ready. But if you take on a challenge, and you don’t quite be successful, that will still be better than if you just take baby steps all the time. And it’s sort of it’s sort of my, how I approach thing, if somebody say, That’s what 


Shawn Zajas  35:36 

I was gonna say. Was there a time though, Dr. Emily, that you did take a challenge. And it didn’t turn out like you thought it would? 


Emily 35:48 

Sometimes I take on the challenge, and obviously, though, either fail or didn’t do very well. And I remember when I first started, I was watching VHS tape, because that’s what you do. Back then you buy the VHS tape, you buy the newsletter, and I was watching Dr. Woody oaks, who started the profitable dentists. And he was talking about that one of the fastest way to grow is to have more than one office. So what did I do, I went out, bought the second office about the third office, and I was still trying to grow the first one. And at one point, it was that growing pains, right, where you have too many, too many people, I didn’t even have that many people, I have four in each office, that we weren’t going, you know, 2 million, no more than a million and only on specialty day that I have an extra assistant, and everybody was working to the max. And, and, and I was you know, going between three offices and I got Associates, and I didn’t know how to train them. And but it was, it was when and I didn’t learn that took Growing Pains until later. Somebody said that. And I go wait a minute. I think that’s that was what’s happening. And then I was buying building the building that houses the office, right? So let’s borrow the money to buy this building. And then let’s borrow the money to buy that building. And then we have to do move to a bigger suite. So within five or six years, I was buying practices and buying buildings. And looking back. That wasn’t very smart. Right? That was unnecessary stress that was taking on a lot of debt. All of that could have been avoided if I knew better. But that wasn’t the beginning of my journey. Right? I didn’t know now. I don’t regret it at all. So I’m one of those people that I’m very blessed that I don’t tend to live in regrets. I would say, Yep, that was a dumb thing that you did, Emily, you know, what did you learn? And let’s just move on. So I think that helps. And I know for some people, they need somebody to help them overcome certain things. But for me, it’s it’s I’m very good in compartmentalize things. All you need to do, I think a lot of time is to have a coach or mentor, and they will give you that perspective. And so that way you can get over it. I remember the first time somebody quit in my coaching program. I was so upset. It was your, you know, I’m not good enough. Right? I’m not delivering enough. All of the self doubt question. And I actually call and talk to all three of my coaches. And whatever I’m saying, well, she already prepaid. So why would you worry? And I said, That’s not the point. Why did she quit? I’m gonna give her back part of her money. But why did she quit? That was my thing. And then I think one or two days, it dawned on me that I have so many patients who would leave my practice. And I don’t go through this, you know, self doubt and all that. Because demonstrates are so much part of the, you know, my life, but this coaching thing is new. And once I get that perspective, it was like, Oh, this is just like a patient who didn’t like you leave your practice of why am I you know, getting so frustrated about this. But it did take talking two or three mentors, to just get me to calm down. It’s okay. But once I realized this is just another patient, leaving your practice, and yeah, you’re gonna take a look. And I said, I, and I think one of the reasons she left was because I would challenging her too much. Obviously, at that point, I didn’t quite realize it, because I would suggest certain ways to grow the practice and then the next call, she hasn’t done it. So after about a month, I asked her what pays the bill. And that is a line that I learned from Sharon Lechter. What pays the bill? And she said, What do you mean what pays the bill? And I said Am I recommending all these things for you to do? And you haven’t done them? But obviously, you’re still doing okay. But you said you want to grow the dental practice to what pays the bill. And she said real estate. And, and I told her, you know, if you’re not going to be focusing on your dental office, which is what you asked me to help you with, then I don’t really see the point. Right? So what why would you want to do and then after that she quit. Right? So learning to ask the right question, to get the answer you want is a skill. And as dentists, we have that skill, that those are the questions we ask our patients. And then I take that skill, and I go to the coaching and consulting and some time, it’s I’m still learning, do do understand all that. 


Shawn Zajas  40:46 

I’m just again, so fascinated, Dr. Emily, by the way, that you think like you think, like a mature visionary entrepreneur, as if that is what you primarily do. And that’s primarily I guess, who you are, you can’t deny that. And that’s why I just see so much. So much success, almost everything you put your hand to and I’m sure that’s not the case, like I’m sure like you said, you’ve you’ve been, you know, you’ve done things that didn’t work, but in the doing them, you learned and you pivoted and that’s what I’m always trying to communicate to our listeners. It’s that that’s actually when you learn. And you can pivot. Most people I interview, they say where I’m at today is not where I thought I would be, like, I didn’t have this really clear picture. And I got there exactly. But I started without having perfect clarity without having a perfect plan. And it just morphs as you’re in movement as you’re, as you’re actually in motion. Instead of I’m waiting there. And I’m at the harbor. And I’m, I still have the anchor down. And I’m dreaming of what it’s like, on the open seas. Like you can only understand so much about what it would be like trying to conjecture trying to imagine, it’s really just when you lift the anchor and start positioning the sails and actually just go, that you’ve learned how to navigate the open seas. And I feel like that’s a lot of what businesses and I love that you said, dentistry might be a passion, but when people speak or coach, you’re talking more about calling. When did you realize that your calling was your you know, I guess was being manifested through your events through your coaching? Like did you instantly just feel fulfillment? The first time you had an event or the first time that you you stepped into that role as a consultant? 


Emily 42:48 

Well, that was in 2015. And, and I would credit that to one of my coach, his name is Matt Browning is an NLP coach. And when I signed up with him, I want to be in his mastermind. So I remember he was doing a three days event. And at the end of day one, I walk up to him and I say I want to join your mastermind. And he said, you can’t. It’s about NLP training the masterminds the extra part. And I said, but I only want to join the mastermind. How much is that? He said, I can’t tell you that you have to sit through the three days, right? So I actually did. And I actually joined the mastermind. Course I had to learn the NLP along the line, because that’s a requirement. But one of the thing he does is events. And one of the thing he taught was once you have your event, you have your own stage, then you can trace stages. And that was how I started it. So I didn’t start with the dentistry community. I started outside that. So I started doing events. And I started asking people and I used to do a radio show. So it would be like, Hey, you get on my radio show. I get on your whatever podcast show. You get on my stage, I get on your stage. And I grew pretty fast. I would say more people know me outside of dentistry like in the speaker, coaches consultant world than inside dentistry because I started there first. And it was that simple, right? Just do your own event have your own stage Rayyan book so you can talk about that’s, that’s when you want to go on a podcast or when you want to go on a show that goes first right here’s my book so so they can see that you you’re more than a coach because you’re also an author. Oh and you also speak Oh and you have your own event. Now all of a sudden, you’re positioning yourself different. Are you self promotion? Yes, the self promotion see when I always laugh about it when people say it they make it sound like it just empty words. The self promotion means nothing unless you have done the work. Now there are plenty of people out there do a very good self promotion. And when you look, well, they haven’t done the work, right. And if you’re sharp enough, you do your own due diligence, you have to look at it and say, oh, this person is teaching me how to grow the dental business, while this person has never worked a day in the dental business, or help grow somebody else’s dental business, or maybe they have three doctors. And, you know, here I am 30 years plus into the business, I’m not doing as good promotion of myself as he does, or she does whoever it is, right? So but that’s the marketing game. But as a as a person, you would need to look a little bit deeper, and make sure that that’s the right person that that person actually has substance behind them. So now, like I told you, if he was, you know, he or she goes, self promotion again, now I just ignore those. Because to me, it’s, you know, it doesn’t really matter what this person say, I think, who was it? I can’t remember. It could be Dan Kennedy, his he say, you know, you only listen to the people who make more money than you, or the people who actually pay you. And it sounds very, very harsh, but it is true. Right? The people who make more money than you, if you want to use that as, as a measurement, obviously, they’re more successful than you in some way. So yeah, if you were to look at that, at least, rather than just listening to whoever’s out there talking all the time, and then the people who pay you, those are your patients, right? Those are your customers, it just means to listen to the feedback from your customer. So I should listen to the feedback from my patients, rather than whatever criticism from the dentists down the street. Because that dentists is not paying me. The patients are paying me so I should listen to my patient. 


Shawn Zajas  46:49 

I love that. Okay, so if I’m a listener right now, and I’m getting super encouraged and inspired, and I realized that I need to have you as a coach or consultant, or I want to be part of what you’re doing. Where do you want listeners to go to learn more? 


Emily 47:04 

Yes, so they can go to my website is Dr.EmilyLetran.com. So it’s d r, e, i, L Y, l e, t r a n.com. Or they can text to the word FAST to 55678. And what they’re gonna get is a link to download a framework. And this is is called the acceleration Business Acceleration framework. It’s called Action Business Acceleration framework. And it’s a nine steps of what I’ve been doing to grow my business. When you download that, you can you can see what I’ve done, I give little examples. And then you can also schedule a call for a complimentary call, I call it the work less, make more call. And because it’s all it’s all about results, if you’re after results, I might be the right person for you to check with. 


Shawn Zajas  48:19 

100% Okay, so there’s two questions and close. I don’t know if you’re ready for them. course you’re ready. So number one, if your your life was a book, and the next chapter of this book was going to be for the next 10 years of your life, what would the name of that chapter be called? 


Emily 48:45 

That’s a good question. I think the, it could be something that is called impact or love one of those words, beyond borders. When people asked me, What’s your ultimate goal, right? I always tell them to be a world famous philanthropist. 


Emily 49:15 

And one person go, Well, why do you need to be more famous? And I said, because if I’m more famous, and I go as Shawn for money to donate to my cause Shawn’s gonna say yes. If I know we’re famous, why would you give me money? Good, they think I’m talking about world famous as a very selfish thing. But to me, you could claim that you’re influential or whatever. But when I say more famous that mean a lot of people know you. And, and for me, it’s always about giving back and it’s giving back beyond where we are, right. That’s why I, I like beyond borders. And for me, it’s a lot of time it’s about education. I always want to go back home and and build school. But you know what if I can go all the way to Vietnam and you want to go to school in Mexico, I’ll be there too. Right? Because again, it’s about building school, giving kids a better future. My, my, both of my parents were teachers. And the first time I went back to Vietnam, which was 70 years after I left, and I went back to my old school, and they look the same. Right, there was nothing new. Everything was the same. And that’s when I, I felt like Yeah, well, you know, so many years ago, I’m sitting at these old desks. And it’s, it’s a, it’s like a six foot table and four pockets with on that, right? The average size of the class was 50, at least 50 kids. I came to the US and the average size of the class is for kindergarten for my kids is 20 kids. And when they’re 22, all the teachers are complaining. It’s all about perspective. So yeah. Love beyond borders, or impact beyond borders. 


Shawn Zajas  51:05 

Okay, I love that. I love that. Okay, so here’s the final one. You’re walking down the street. And often the distance you see 18 year old version of Dr. Emily Letran. And you know, you only have a brief moment to communicate one sentiment to her. What do you share with her? 


Emily 51:28 

Well, I would tell the 18 year old to slow down and slow down and enjoy life. I’m very proud of what I’ve done. And I told you I I don’t have regrets. But I remember the first time it’s quite a few years ago, my undergrad friends got together. And they were showing a slideshow. And there’s all these you know, pictures. And until then I go, how come I’m only and maybe two. I think it was a camping, playing volleyball at the lake. But all of the other ones is, wait a minute, how come I’m not in these pictures. And they told me because you were not showing up to parties. And these are pictures of parties. And that’s why you’re not in them. And so I think looking back, I would probably slow down and go to some parties. Even though I’m not a party person kind of thing. But do enjoy life a little bit more. I, I finished undergrad in three years because I started taking classes when I was in high school. And when I went through dental school, I also did a master’s in Oral Biology in the same four years. So a lot of time is you know, when people say okay, teaching productivity, I know how to do that, right. But I was very driven. So if you have a purpose to drive you, then you can be very productive because you want to get to that purpose or that accomplishment. But I would say yeah, yeah, I would tell the 18 year old just slow down, go to some party. And actually enjoy life. Because as you know, at any particular age, you enjoy life a little differently. My son just went to Chicago for a seven week internship. And before he goes here, he was booking all the concerts that he wanted to go to that kid knows how to enjoy life, because that he was there to do the internship to work. But he was already booking all the weekend, what he’s going to do for fun, and I have great respect for that. That’s a different, that’s a whole different perspective, right. And I would encourage anybody at any age, but especially the young one, to look at it that way to learn as much as you can, but at the same time, make sure that you have that time where you you go to go to party and you enjoy life. 


Shawn Zajas  54:02 

I absolutely love that. Dr. Emily, Allah Tran like thank you so much. It has been just my pleasure getting to interview you. It’s an easy to honor you as an innovator, like thank you so much for saying yes, every single time, things got difficult, like thank you so much for not listening to any of the critics that might have told you to slow down or might have told you to stop self promoting. Because maybe your light wouldn’t be as bright as it is right now. And I’m so thankful for the impact you’re making. So once again, thank you for letting me interview you today. 


Emily 54:38 

Well, thank you so much, Shawn. It’s been a pleasure. It’s great to see you grow. You just remind me of of a of a company that I started working and it’s it’s a little bit similar model where you have the the membership kind of thing where they get the brush head and it was also an Electric Toothbrush by the way, but it went in conjunction with whitening. And I implement that back in 1997. That was a weirdest thing. Because as part of that, they did a video. And that was a video that was our promotion video in the office like in the waiting room and had nothing to do with that district. I remember I said, Okay, I don’t want to show back then Casey has just come out. And I said, but I don’t want I have Casey, I don’t want that I want my stuff. So the video had my kids, my staff and pictures in the back office. And so you watch that video. And you you met us. And this is before people were teaching, put a video in the in the waiting room and talk about yourself. Wow, it’s always about the education. Right? Show them whatever special promotion you have. Our was our kids picture party Christmas party with the patient. Yes. And we we use that for a very, very, very long time. And that was that was the very first marketing thing I did. I think 


Shawn Zajas  56:09 

that’s amazing. We are sorry, Dr. Letran. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. So again, thank you for joining me. Did you mention anything about any events you have coming up? 


Emily 56:21 

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for having me. I have a couple of events coming up in October. And yeah, so maybe you can just share it in the show notes. I have. One that is one of these non dental it just for entrepreneurs in Denver is October 21 22nd. And there’s one in Orange County, California that I would just inspire hanging out with some of these Vietnamese friends. And so I’m going to have one that is called Asian business growth. And heading the keynote for that event is Naveen Jain, who is working with Dr. Edward Zuckerberg for a while, and I will probably have another one in October in Chicago. So details to come. But thank you so much. That’s great. Yeah, thank you so much for doing this for having the platform so we can share our story and do self promotion. 


Shawn Zajas  57:20 

Thank you. Thanks for listening, and be sure to follow so you never miss an episode. To learn more about what’s going on in dentistry. Check out innovation in dentistry.com

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