Michael Chung Kay Lam was born in Hong Kong. When he was a year old, his family moved from Hong Kong to the United States, where he would spend much of his formative years between Brooklyn and the Bronx in New York City. Upon graduating from Herbert H. Lehman High School, he enrolled in Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he earned a BA before heading to medical school in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating, he completed a residency in diagnostic radiology at the Nassau County Medical Center in New York, and later another residency in internal medicine at Easton Hospital in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Upon entering the professional world, Michael joined private practice with two other doctors in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He learned a tremendous amount from that experience, and after some time, he desired to open his own practice. When the time finally came, Michael Lam chose to focus on aesthetic medicine, as he does to this day. He specializes in botox fillers, skin tightening, intense pulsed light treatments (IPL), platelet rich plasma treatments (PRP), Polydioxanone thread lifts (PDO), and laser treatments, bodytite and facetite.
Along the way, Michael also became a medical consultant for a company which builds assisted living facilities, and served as the Medical Director of The Palisade Urgent Care Center in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. While staying busy helping others with their businesses, Michael Lam continued to work on his own practice, Ageless Skin and Laser Center in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Recently, he has added several new services for clients, including Accutite, fat sculpting, facial rejuvenation, and PRP hair loss treatment. In January of 2022, Michael became the medical director of Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center in Totowa, New Jersey, and has assisted in setting up all of the facility’s new services and treatment rooms.
When away from work, Michael Lam enjoys traveling, having visited most of the 50 states for either business or pleasure. He also dabbles in the arts, enjoying working on his painting, sculpting, and drawing skills. He exercises consistently, usually in the form of hiking, weightlifting, aerobics, or bicycling. Michael also enjoys keeping tropical fish in an aquarium, a hobby which he has enjoyed since he was young.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
The idea came from talking to a patient while I was still a medical doctor. She just mentioned in passing wanting botox and that she would gladly come to me to have the procedure done if I ever got into it. That interaction started me thinking about pursuing a new phase in my career as an aesthetic physician. I trained, starting out with simple botox and filler procedures, and then talked to another patient who told me about some trade conventions centered around aesthetics. That opened up a whole new world of study for me. Being interested in aesthetics and wanting to find out more information, I’ve attended many conventions since then. When I made the decision to change my specialization, one of the aspects about working in aesthetics that I found really attractive was that I could schedule clients when it worked best for me. There is no such thing as an aesthetic emergency. Another bonus was that I would no longer deal with the insurance industry, as these are elective services. That makes the administrative work of running the practice much easier.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Much of my day is spent seeing patients and providing a scheduled service. To this end, I rely heavily on the person who schedules my appointments. They must know which services might take longer and which are quick. Scheduling is like an art form, and it can make or break my day if not done efficiently. The nice part of this business is I can have days where I don’t see patients at all and get other things accomplished. You can’t tell a sick patient that you’ve chosen to take a day off in the medical field, as it could be a matter of life or death. The other part of my day consists of keeping my staff happy, and making sure they’re recognized and rewarded for their hard work. I give them incentives, have parties to celebrate their service, and regularly give them time off. The environment we work in is very relaxed, and I purposefully strive to make it that way. It greatly benefits me, my staff, and the clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas tend to come to me when I’m out in nature riding my bike or exercising. Doing those things gives me time to think; to review what went well with a procedure, or what I could change about something to make it better or different. There are times that ideas come to me during meditation, as well. It’s during the relaxing times that I reflect and think. From there, once the idea has come to life in my mind, I carefully make adjustments where they are needed. Sometimes an idea is something I can bring to reality quickly, other times it takes more research and application testing.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend really exciting me these days is that more and more clients are opting for non-invasive treatments instead of surgery. People want to enhance the way they look, but gradually, and in a more conservative and natural way.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am extremely detail-oriented. I always require all of the information about a given subject in front of me in order to make an informed decision. A great mentor once told me that the devil is in the details. So, I need to know what those details are. Another habit of mine is becoming friendly with people more knowledgeable than myself—especially on topics that aren’t my strengths. Obviously, no one can know everything, so if you have people around you who are more knowledgeable in areas that you are not, you can collaborate with them. That always helps in the long run.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My advice would be to work hard, but don’t get down on yourself if things don’t come out the way you envisioned. If you don’t have any failures while on your journey, you will never have success. Finally, the last piece of advice I would give my younger self would be to enjoy life to its fullest. Life can’t be all about work; there must be some fun, building relationships with friends, sharing common interests, and enjoying whatever it is you love to do.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m not as bright as people think. It takes a lot for me to learn something, and I have to work hard to achieve my goals. It comes easy to some, but I have to read things repeatedly for it to sink in, as well as taking copious notes. In the past, I’ve told people: “You could be of average intelligence, but you can achieve whatever you want if you work hard and don’t give up.” If you want to pursue something, go after it with everything you have, and eventually it will happen.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, you must do the research. You have to look at who has accomplished the things you want to accomplish before you and figure out how they went about it. Above all else, you have to know what you are getting into and honestly ask yourself if it’s feasible. This includes conducting an assessment of finances, as well as an honest analysis of your own personality, and a genuine reflection about your passion for the project.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Growing my business has taken time. First and foremost, you have to have compassion, empathy, and an understanding of your client’s concerns. Networking is a huge part of many businesses, including in my own field, and obtaining clients interested in something you are offering is crucial. You can spend thousands on advertising, but it doesn’t necessarily work—especially with something so personal as aesthetic treatment. A good reputation, positive word of mouth, and referrals from others is the best way to increase your clientele list and grow your business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As I said earlier, if you don’t have failures, you will never succeed, and I have had several. One of the biggest was when I entered into a joint venture in a business. I put in a substantial amount of money in hopes of succeeding, but when the project failed, I lost that money. I learned a lot from that failure. Good or bad, there is always something you can learn from failure. I was fortunate that the money I lost was not crucial for me to live on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One day, an interesting idea I came up with was a mobile aesthetics center built in a recreational vehicle. I would be able to travel to different areas and enable people’s access to aesthetic services at their convenience.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My nephew is autistic, so I donated $100 to his long-term care facility for children with autism.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The same software used by medi-spas has worked really well for us and made our business much more efficient. Of course, depending on what kind of services are offered, what works best for my business may not work well for someone else’s.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m going back to my high school years, but it is The Autobiography of Malcolm X. One day when I was a teenager, I was in the library and saw it sitting on the table, and I thought someone just didn’t put it back. I was curious, so I picked it up and started reading it. At first, I was not impressed, but I continued reading and realized that he was able to look at the world differently because of his experiences. He simply wanted justice and freedom for his people.
What is your favorite quote?
I have two. The first is, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,” and the second is, ”Never give up.” You will fail at things, but the most important thing about failure is to get up, brush yourself off, and keep trying to succeed. There is always a way to overcome adversity, but in many ways, the struggle or journey itself is the most important thing.
- Work hard and don’t give up.
- Have compassion, empathy, and an understanding of your client’s concerns.
- If you don’t have failures, you will never succeed.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.