In 2012, Monique had to make the decision that many of us face – asking herself, “how do I maintain a career, be the best parent I can be and balance it all while staying sane and enjoying each day and the challenges it brings?” It was during this decision process that she decided to move out of the finance industry and start exploring other career options. She made a move to Florida, and began working with Paquin Healthcare (now iRemedy) as a healthcare consultant, focusing on the retail and consumer healthcare industries.
In 2015, Paquin changed its healthcare focus, became iRemedy Supply and Monique was given the opportunity to help divest the consulting business, at which time she saw the opportunity to take ownership of the business. Since then, the company has grown from one that mostly focused on hospital retail to one that also provides outpatient and specialty pharmacy advisory services, consumer and digital healthcare consulting and most recently, provides support services for patients and hospitals within the oncology and radiology space.
Monique has had to tap into much of her knowledge base, both in healthcare, finance and business management, to make the business a success. Her background in healthcare has spanned over 20 years. It began as a Quantitative Analyst for an investment bank in Sydney, then as an analyst covering the Emerging Markets at Wellington Management in Boston, MA and continued through to Wasatch Advisors in Salt Lake City, UT. In these roles, she analyzed healthcare service providers, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals from an investment perspective. She also spent time working within the investment banking healthcare team at Goldman Sachs and within the M&A division of a large Australian industrial company.
Monique is founder and CEO of Q Consulting Services, providing consulting and support services that saves hospitals and healthcare providers time, money and lives. She has worked with over 400 hospitals, across the United States and Canada, with clients ranging from critical-access hospitals to the country’s largest healthcare systems.
Monique hails from Sydney, Australia. She holds a Bachelor’s in Communications from Bond University (Australia), an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and has also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Where did the idea for Q Consulting Services come from?
I was working with a company called Paquin Healthcare (now iRemedy) as a healthcare consultant focusing on retail and consumer healthcare industries. In 2015, Paquin changed its healthcare focus, became iRemedy Supply, and I was asked to help divest the consulting business, at which time I saw an opportunity for me to take ownership of the business. When I moved outside of Paquin, I was able to start using my healthcare background to look for places where hospitals could both grow and realize new profits, but also directly impact patient care. Since then, the company has grown from one that mostly focused on hospital retail and gift shops to one that also provides outpatient and specialty pharmacy advisory services, consumer and digital healthcare consulting and most recently, provides financial support services for patients and hospitals within the oncology, specialty pharmacy and infusion space.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
5 am – 6am: wakeup, maybe do some work or household chores, drop daughter to bus at 6:40 am and son at 7:20 am.
7:30-9 am: workout
9 am-3:30 pm: work, work, work. Lots of client phone calls, check in on staff, walk the dog
3:40 pm: Pickup son and get dinner prepped
4:30 pm: Pickup daughter and take both kids to swim practice
5:30-7 pm: Maybe some more work, maybe a yoga class, maybe catch up with a friend
7:30 pm: Pickup kids from swim, get them home, maybe get daughter to violin practice
8 pm – dinner, violin pickup, watch a 30-minute tv show with the kids
9 pm – Kids in bed, watch a show, do some reading
10 pm – I’m in bed and usually asleep within 10 minutes!
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have an idea, I usually start by thinking about its relevance – who can it help? Would they want to pay for it? What problem does it solve? What are my competitors doing? How can I do it differently?
When I have done that type of strategy work or planning, I then test it out by discussing with contacts that I have in the space and people who work in the healthcare industry. I then start formulating a ‘process’.
What is needed from a sales and marketing perspective?
Do I have the inhouse skills to get this up and running, and if not, how should I proceed?
I have often used industry experts that are happy to earn some money moonlighting by working at nights, part-time or taking an hour or so out of their day to work with me and clients. This has worked really well as I now have an in-house expert and in the early days of a new idea, they are only paid if I use their skills, which allows me to grow slowly and smartly. I don’t have a big payroll to manage and if the idea doesn’t work, I am not risking someone’s livelihood by having to let them go.
This also allows me to test the commercialization of an idea before making huge financial investments.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Remote patient monitoring and being able to keep patients in good health by proactively monitoring things like glucose (so they don’t go from pre-diabetic to diabetic), blood pressure, etc.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Daily exercise – it is my therapy and keeps my mind focused, yet relaxed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take a breath and think before instantly reacting, take some time to draft an email, particularly if there is potential for conflict, take some time to think and even come back to a conversation without being reactionary, particularly if a conversation is difficult.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is a lot of financial support available for patients with high out-of-pocket medical costs – you just need to know where to look and how to manage the administrative requirements of the programs.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
This is particularly true for females – never be financially dependent on someone else. You never know what might happen, and as long as you have something that you can fall back on or a base from which you can earn an income, then you will be able to ensure that you and your family will be able to get by.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Don’t be afraid to try something new and share in the pain with your clients. If a project or business that we have helped set up isn’t working out as planned, then I try to make sure that we work alongside our clients at minimal or no cost so that it gets fixed. One example I can think of is when the client put the wrong staff in a role and things just weren’t getting done like they should. They weren’t meeting the budget and there was a lot of stress around performance, so we offered our services at no cost to step in, in the interim, until things could stabilize. This helped us build a lot of trust, and really ingrained the client with us; they now regularly refer us to other clients, act as a reference and look for opportunities where they can use us in other areas.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had a great first year; earned enough to support the business and make a moderate profit. I had a very automated sales process that worked for super hot leads, but I really felt there was a lot more opportunity to tap into, so I hired someone. I had worked with the person in the past, but never really focused on what he did or if he was successful, but he was a nice person and the company he was working at was being acquired and letting him go, so I hired him. He told me what he believed he could add to the business in terms of sales (and I believed him), so I hired him at the salary he requested plus commission. He also asked for health insurance, so I paid for that as well. After 3 months, he hadn’t been able to close a single client, and all he was doing was the exact same process that I had been doing before he came onboard. I had him onboard for 8 months, and any time I asked him to think outside the box about ideas to market and sell to our potential leads, he just didn’t do it. Because he was such a nice person, and because I worked with him in the past, I kept trying to keep him on, but in the end, his salary meant that I had to go into debt to pay him.
After 8 months, I talked with him again, and he was still convinced he could close a certain dollar level of business, so I suggested to him that we change his compensation structure to a smaller base and bigger commission. I proposed a value to him that would mean if he closed the amount he said, then he would make more money than his current level, but if he didn’t close anything, he would be at about half his salary.
He ended up resigning the next day. I think he knew that he couldn’t close the level of business he was telling me about, but was enjoying his high salary. What was great is that I didn’t miss a beat after that. I invested in HubSpot software that allowed me to automate emails, so the email writing after webinars was something that occurred instantly; pulled in all of my webinar registrants and once they were setup, they were a great time saver and I could see who opened what email and clicked on it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think I should be able to see something on a TV show, or a Netflix or other streaming show, that I should be able to point my remote at the image (or some kind of pointer) or touch it, and then click “buy.” For example, if I am watching a movie and there is someone wearing something that I really like, I would love to be able to point at it, hit “buy now” and then have either that exact dress show up, or something that is super similar to it. From there, I can choose my size and hit “buy.” I LOVE that idea as a busy mom, consumer, and someone who doesn’t have a ton of spare time to shop.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I started using an app called Nutrisense. It comes with a dietician and continuous glucose monitor. The overall fee for a whole month is over $100, but you can purchase the CGM for $75, so I am including that here. I am fascinated by health, fitness, and nutrition and have recently been wanting to track the impact that different foods have on my body, and this app allows me to do that. I am followed by a dietician who also makes suggestions, asks me questions and gives me pointers about why different food choices will have different impacts on my glucose level.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I really like HubSpot and the ability to see who reads my emails or clicks on them. This gives me good insight into what is of most interest to people and who is reading what I send them to gather potential client insight.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most.” I wish I had read this book years ago. It would have saved me so much stress and worry about how to have a conversation and it also would have allowed my communication to be a lot more effective and probably would have reduced the tension in many difficult conversations. I have learned so much from this book that can relate to how I speak with my kids, my staff, and my friends.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” This was in a book by Eckhart Tolle, and every time I start to worry, I try to read this. I actually have it on my kitchen counter as a reminder.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.