It’s difficult to be a successful entrepreneur. Most people will never manage to add that to their list of achievements. But it’s even more difficult to be a successful entrepreneur in the face of disaster.
Still, that’s the record of Dr. Mark McKenna. Whenever he has been faced with potential failure – whenever disaster has stood in his way – he has managed to pick himself up. Not only that, but he has excelled. It’s something that most of us could stand to learn from.
Medical school woes
It all start when Dr. Mark McKenna was attending medical school. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a successful doctor with his own practice. He had seen that the medical profession was both lucrative and fulfilling. Not only that, but so long as you were able to get your medical degree, it was easy to make your way in the industry.
Or, so he thought.
The problem was that, even while Dr. Mark McKenna was attending Tulane University’s medical school, he began to realize that something about the industry had changed. It was no longer easy to make a go of things as a doctor. It was certainly no longer easy to make the right kinds of money. In fact, he was even struggling to make ends meet as he pushed through his training.
In order to fix at least one part of those problems, he decided to do a little investing on the side. He started a real estate development company called McKenna Venture Investments. It wasn’t easy even to do that – he had to moonlight at a local prison doing check-ups on prisoners in order to save up the money for his first investment.
The investments started to pay off. Little by little, the real estate business began to grow, even around other changes in Dr. Mark McKenna’s life. He graduated medical school as a fully-fledged doctor and began working at his father’s practice. It had been a long-held dream, but it was no longer enough. Not only was it not paying as well as he had expected, but it wasn’t even as challenging and exciting as the real estate business.
Finally, after five years of working as a doctor, he threw in the towel. Dr. McKenna made the decision to start running his real estate business full-time, giving it the chance to grow to its full potential. His New Orleans-based company did indeed grow, hitting success after success. It looked as though he had found his niche for life.
Of course, the path was not going to be that smooth.
Hurricane Katrina strikes
By this time, it was 2005. Anyone familiar with world news of any kind will recall that this was the year of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, which tore into New Orleans with such force that the damage is still not fully repaired today. While this was a national disaster, it also had personal ramifications for Dr. Mark McKenna.
His portfolio, once a strong collection of properties, now collapsed. His business had been worth $5 million, with half a million a year in earnings. Now, though, the hurricane had wiped out a large percentage of those properties, and the whole city was in disrepair. House prices plunged. No one wanted to move to a city that was underwater.
With millions of dollars gone in a matter of days, most people would have thrown their hands up in the air and given up. Or at least, they might have walked away to go and try something else. But Dr. Mark McKenna was not one to be beaten so easily. Where others saw only disaster, he saw an opportunity – not just to get his business back on its feet, but also to do some good.
He began buying and flipping low-income properties, carrying out the necessary repairs and getting them back on the market so that some displaced residents could find the chance to own their own homes again. He worked alongside the community to rebuild homes that were flooded or destroyed, taking advantage of government subsidies to make up for the loss of capital that the hurricane had caused.
He continued working to rebuild his home city for a few years, never once giving up. But the destruction of his portfolio had taught him a valuable lesson: housing is not as steady an investment as it may seem. While it can always be relied upon in normal circumstances, it became clear to him that circumstances aren’t always normal.
Return to medicine
At this point, Dr. McKenna decided that he needed to go back to his roots and his original passion. He wanted to do good, and help people – so why not combine his natural entrepreneurship with his medical degree?
He left the housing market, sold off his investments, and prepared to launch a new business. At this time, he made the kind of lucky escape that most people didn’t get. The fact that people on low incomes were able to finance some of the larger properties he was involved in didn’t sit right, and this was just one of the signs that made him leave at the right time. Shortly afterwards, the housing bubble burst, and Dr. McKenna avoided disaster for a third time.
It wasn’t pure luck that allowed him to make this lucky break, but rather the result of careful planning and observance of the industry. His move into ShapeMed, an aesthetic-based venture, proved to be the right choice in more ways than one.
After several highly successful years, which saw ShapeMed grow from a single clinic into a network which was purchased by Life Time Fitness Inc, Dr. Mark McKenna moved on to his latest venture: OVME. This new medical and aesthetics business will allow customers to order their Botox injections just like they would an Uber – through the OVME app.
This cutting-edge, innovative service connects only the best medical practitioners with customers, offering the most convenience on both sides.
We wouldn’t want to be the next disaster that hits Dr. McKenna. From what we’ve seen, the disaster wouldn’t survive.