Dr Deepa Panch is an aesthetic doctor, trainer for a leading medical aesthetic training company and medical director at a prestigious clinic chain in London, as well as owning her own clinic in Berkshire. Her ethos is very much focused on embracing the ageing process with natural and subtle tweaks to help her clients to feel the most confident version of themselves.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I started my business whilst I was working full time in the NHS. There were elements of my hospital job that I absolutely loved- operating, the practical nature of my work, being able to physically make a difference to a persons life and the amazing team work. But there were lots of elements I didn’t like- the constant pressures of an overwhelmed system, the long hours with very little reward and the subsequent impact this had on my life outside of work. I am someone that wants to embrace as many of lifes pleasures as possible and I have lots of passions but I found I had very little time to pursue any of those as hospital life can be all consuming. I wanted to have more control over my career so with a little encouragement from one of my bosses (who had long tired of the pressures of working in the NHS), I started thinking outside the box as to how I could utilise my surgical skills for a lifestyle that would suit me. This is what led to me setting up my own aesthetic clinic in 2018. I love the feeling of being able to help people go through the ageing process feeling the best version of themselves. Ageing is a fact of life and is a privilege and rather than pushing an “anti-ageing” narrative, my ethos is very much about embracing ageing whilst being able to help people maintain their sense of self and confidence and I love being able to do that.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
I absolutely loved working as a general surgeon and using my hands to create a difference. I wanted to be able to carry on doing that but have a work-life balance to go with it. Aesthetic Medicine allows me to utilise my practical skills and my knowledge of anatomy and science whilst giving me the work-life balance I want. In 2017 I went on a course that served as my introduction into the world of Aesthetic Medicine. It wasn’t until the following year that I decided to take the plunge and start the clinic. I did this whilst working full time in the NHS so there were weeks where I would be working every day for 3 weeks in a row just to get it going.
How did you achieve awareness?
Initially my business growth was all down to word of mouth- which they say is the best form of advertising. However as time has gone on I’ve invested in a digital marketing company as more and more people turn online and I have found this to be a very worthwhile investment.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
I was able to cover my start-up costs through years of hard work and saving up every penny to reinvest in myself and the business so I would describe myself as self-funded. To try and save as much as possible I even created and designed my own website which took me far longer (and gave me more white hairs) than if I had just given it to a professional- which I have done now!
What are the key successes?
When I first set up the clinic I had no idea whether it would take off and whether the patients would come in. There is a lot of competition out there but I think my clients choose me because of the natural and subtle approach I take to treatments which is very reflective of my ethos. It’s been so wonderful to see my list grow and embrace all the opportunities that have come my way since. I am now a trainer for the leading teaching academy for medical aesthetics and Medical Director at a prestigious clinic in London. I have left my NHS role and now work full time as an Aesthetic Doctor and I couldn’t be happier with the life I have created for myself- and this for me is the biggest success.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Navigating the pandemic was pretty tricky- government guidelines would change frequently and all in all, aesthetic clinics were closed for around 6-7 months which affected income. I used the downtime to focus on bettering myself for my patients- I invested in new courses to upskill, brought new products and machinery into the clinic and introduced virtual consultations into my practice to connect with those who I may not have reached before. All of these decisions required investing financially at a time where I was receiving no income which felt very daunting. Thankfully these decisions have paid off but it was a very stressful time, as it was for a lot of businesses.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We are about to undergo a rebranding and refurb so that will be an exciting new chapter for the clinic and with this I am looking forward to being able to offer more to my patients. I have also just finished a masters in Aesthetic Medicine and focused my thesis on body dysmorphia which is something I am so passionate about so would love to explore this further.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Have the courage to take that first step. Every journey starts with a single step. It took me a few years to let go of my safety net and take that step but it’s the best decision I ever made.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Value yourself and your time. It’s tempting to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way but it’s also very important to know when to say no. Chances are something better is around the corner. Surround yourself with people that support and motivate you- you will need this for those moments where you hit stumbling blocks and feel like you want to give up. It is those people who will encourage you to keep going. Finally, invest in yourself- whether that’s educating yourself, going on courses, reading books, listening to podcasts. You will always learn something new from someone who has done it before you.
What is you favourite inspirational /motivational quote?
From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
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