Dr. Philip Mongelluzzo Jr. is a physician, author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker based in Waterbury, Connecticut. A versatile and dedicated professional with over two decades of experience, Mongelluzzo has been recognized for his unique combination of medical expertise and entrepreneurial spirit.
Mongelluzzo attended Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska for his medical degree, during which time he was the three-time recipient of the Aesculapian Student Humanitarian Award. He went on to spend two years of his residency work at Atlanta Medical Center before finishing out his final year at Yale University.
Seeking innovative ways to apply his clinical knowledge to create and manage healthcare-related ventures, Mongelluzzo has founded several companies with a focus on enhancing the overall healthcare ecosystem. These include Pulse4Pulse, a pioneer in proactive diagnostic cardiovascular wellness testing; Care Beyond Medicine, a holistic healthcare company; and Next Level Care, his most recent venture focusing on concierge internal medicine.
Furthermore, Mongelluzzo has had a successful career as a public speaker and educator. He created the website “ThirtySecondsToSuccess.com,” an engaging training seminar for the pharmaceutical industry aiming to enhance communication skills between sectors, and became a published author with his book “Achieving Health and Happiness with 30 Daily Doables.”
Mongelluzzo also contributes his expertise to other endeavors he is passionate about. He has held the commissioner position on the Waterbury Health Department’s Board of Public Health, addressing the Connecticut city’s challenges and developing its procedures related to public health. Additionally, he has been the director of alternative health care at the Yale-affiliated St. Mary’s Hospital where he led the incorporation of alternative therapies such reflexology, chiropractic care, and reiki with conventional medicine.
How did you get started in this business?
Overall, I am inspired by the idea of making comprehensive and preventative healthcare possible. Every move I have made in my professional life has been in pursuit of this belief. I have never been one to believe in the status quo – I am always pushing back against the idea that just because something has been done a certain way in the past it should continue to be the case for eternity.
Next Level Care, my latest passion project, was more specifically inspired by the greater shift in the medical field toward concierge services. In general, I think that practitioners have become too beholden to filling out forms and ticking boxes rather than connecting with the person in front of them. I personally want to practice in a place where I can provide personalized care and proactive health management. Forming a concierge practice has allowed me to do so.
How do you make money?
You could say that I like to diversify my income streams, but really I follow my gut and do the work to help the most people I can. In addition to my work as a physician, I have also written a book, served on boards, developed educational tools for a number of different areas of healthcare, and will do public speaking engagements.
The concierge model is novel – many people are not used to paying a membership fee in order to receive care. However, I believe it is a long-overdue shift in the way we approach healthcare services. Patients can get appointments quicker while also enjoying reduced wait times and lengthier consultations. You don’t even need to live in my city to be a member. The annual membership charge directly incentivizes physicians to provide next-level care and allows us to focus on wellness programs and other forms of preemptive health management.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I have started many businesses and each one had a highly individualized path to profitability. My concierge medical practice just got off the ground in February, so it is certainly still in its early stages. However, the through line to my success in every one of my business ventures has been a strong vision and well-documented business plan. When I started my first practice 23 years ago, I was able to sell my vision to the bank and borrowed $150,000 to build what I believed could become a strong business. Profitability is an inevitability so long as you begin with a solid value proposition and execute for results.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
When it comes to entrepreneurship you can’t ever let doubt penetrate your psyche. You have to believe whole-heartedly in your vision – trust that your instincts and finger on the pulse are what led you down this path in the first place and won’t fail you now. Certainly there were instances, such as when I was signing the paperwork for my first business loan, where I felt the gravity of what I was doing (and I’ll admit it made me a little lightheaded) but that sort of feeling is natural. When you take any step outside of your comfort zone you are going against everything evolution has taught us: stay safe, don’t take risks, and you’ll survive. But the modern human isn’t in fight/flight mode anymore, and we want to do more than survive, we want to thrive. In order to do so, you have to push yourself through fear and doubt.
How did you get your first patient?
My first patients were those that followed me from where I was practicing prior to starting out on my own. In the medical field, and particularly for private practice, referrals are your bread and butter. It has been the connections and relationships I have formed throughout my medical career that has led me to pursuing each business opportunity. Often when I recognized a hole in the market, I already knew of someone I could partner with to turn that vision into a reality. In my opinion, gaining customers is relatively easy. There are time-tested and proven ways you can market, advertise and promote your business that will draw people in. The real trick is building a customer base, developing loyalty and keeping them coming back.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
As I just explored previously, word of mouth and organic growth in our local market are typically how medical practices operate, but I believe there is a lesson in my lack of knowledge in terms of marketing. I’ll be the first to admit I am not well-versed on social media platforms and really advertising in general, and so I will usually hire an agency to handle that aspect of my business. Entrepreneurs often believe they need to be experts in every single aspect of business, but that only leads to burnout and disappointment. Having an accurate perception of your strengths and weaknesses can help you figure out when you need to bring in expertise from the outside.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
As a physician and entrepreneur, often my most difficult decisions are those that come at the intersection of patient care and business outcomes. I went into medicine because I wanted to help people, and I do not take the responsibility of my patients’ trust lightly. That being said, running a business, and staying in business, means making the difficult decisions that inevitably result in not being able to cater to every single person perfectly.
Setting up my concierge medical practice this year, I had to amongst many other decisions determine the pricing model (potentially leaving some people out who could not afford the services); identify our initial patient load (not being able to take on every single person who wanted our level of medical care); and decide whether to accept insurance plans in addition to concierge fees or to go entirely out-of-network (again, impacting accessibility). I know ultimately though that the right decision for the business is the right decision for our patients as well.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
For me, success isn’t something that you attain, it is a bar that is constantly being raised, and every person’s version will be different. Beyond mere financial achievement, it is important to look inward and define a more profound reason for your pursuits. I want to positively impact the lives of the people I interact with, and it fulfills me on both an intellectual and emotional level to do so. Companies are ultimately in the business of creating value, and I have found that once I detach myself financially from the outcome, the outcome flourishes.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Starting my first private practice, I was able to enjoy for the first time the feeling of being beholden to nobody but myself. I was in the driver’s seat. Hearing a patient tell me that our proactive diagnostic testing had helped them understand their heart and make changes to their lifestyle before they had a cardiac event made me feel like I was truly making a difference in people’s lives. Introducing holistic healthcare to traditionally Western medicine let me scratch an itch for bucking the idea of “this is how it’s always been.” Find what feels good and follow it relentlessly.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We will continue to ramp up our concierge model, adapting as we learn more about the industry and continuing to implement cutting-edge wellness management. I am excited to eventually bring more physicians into the fold, allowing more great doctors to practice in a way that allows them greater autonomy, a reduced administrative burden, and better doctor-patient relationships. That being said, I can’t help but have many irons in the fire. I am constantly in a state of brainstorming, forever exploring new possibilities and pondering how to improve others’ lives
What business books have inspired you?
“The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino. It uses the story of a poor camel boy who comes to obtain abundance in his life to create a philosophy that is applicable both in business and in life. These are the “Ten Scrolls of Life,” and the one that resonates most with me is Scroll II: “I will greet this day with love in my heart.” This book is a reminder that we should move through business the way we move through life: with integrity and self-awareness.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have a clear vision, and maintain resilience. People will continually test you, some offering constructive challenges, while others may not be as supportive. The key is staying faithful to your beliefs and tuning out the distractions. Don’t let yourself be discouraged. Entrepreneurs must have unwavering trust – in their vision and in themselves.