Dr. Christina Meakim and How to Grow an Upper Cervical Practice with Personal Touch
Dr. Christina Meakim
A majority of chiropractors and upper cervical chiropractors are men. But of the women that are practicing upper cervical few have a larger or more successful practice than Dr. Christina Meakim in San Francisco California. We spoke with Dr. Meakim about her practice success, her ability to network and why so few successful upper cervical practices are woman-owned.
Dr. Davis: All right. So let’s get started. I like to always hear, what inspired you to become an upper cervical chiropractor?
Dr. Meakim: When I was in Chiropractic College I got adjusted wrong in the student clinic and developed severe low back pain and tingling down my right leg. I had already had a car accident and that’s why I was becoming a chiropractor. I was an older student I was 33. After I got, muscle tested and toggled, without X-rays, I developed severe low back pain.
All these smart people just kept saying NUCCA, NUCCA, NUCCA and it didn’t make any sense to me. But I found a NUCCA doctor that was in the town. I had her do a NUCCA correction on me and I stood up straight for the first time in my whole life.
Actually I had a really complicated misalignment. They kept sending my films to people to try to get an idea of how to adjust me because I could tell that it was working very differently and more powerfully than regular chiropractic for me. But it wasn’t quite clearing me.
Then I went to visit Dr. Robert Brooks, I’m sure you know him. He is from Oklahoma and he saved my life. He is the one who first corrected my spine really, and one of my dear friends since then. I precepted in his office and he’s still the person I call when something’s tricky.
Dr. Davis: Awesome.
Dr. Meakim: But that’s how I got there.
Dr. Davis: Yes, Dr. Robert Brooks obviously has been an inspiring influence on so many of us. I know many of his patients have gone on to become upper cervical chiropractors specifically NUCCA doctors.
So tell us more about the process of getting started in practice and the transition from school.
Dr. Meakim: I found the NUCCA work so potent and yet I still resisted becoming a NUCCA doctor. I was into the super intuitive touchy feely stuff and I resisted the rigidity of the NUCCA procedure but every time I got adjusted, I could not believe the relief and ease I felt. I I was going to school for applied kinesiology and NET, That’s what I went to school to do. NUCCA happened while I was there. It was the biggest miracle in my life.
So when I was first practicing, I actually precepted with Dr. Bob Brooks in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Then I came out to San Francisco and I worked in someone else’s office for a little while. He wasn’t super excited about being a chiropractor anymore. I came from that happy office that was Bob’s office and it was just like I really want to create my own happy office, so I did.
Growing Your Upper Cervical Practice with a Personal Touch
Dr. Davis: So you started your own practice. So, yes tell us more about that. I’d like to hear about what your vision was when it came to starting your practice.
Dr. Meakim: I have to say my vision was I was going to work in someone else’s office and just have the fun in working and helping people and never the part of managing or any of that. I never saw myself doing that. So it’s a funny thing. I think that’s why I hired a coach because I certainly didn’t learn a lot about that. I just liked helping people feel better.
So I went to work in someone else’s office. I then I worked a little bit at Dr. Zabelin’s office adjusting people. He was super generous in letting me work there to try to establish my practice when the other thing fell through in San Francisco. But there wasn’t enough space for what I was looking for.
At that time I found another person. She was a student when I was in the chiropractic college teaching NUCCA for students in the classroom and the clinic. I found another woman and she wanted to start a practice so we started one together. We found a space, wrote a business plan, borrowed some money and started the practice. We borrowed $90,000 together. And then we started our practice.
Dr. Davis: That was in the San Francisco area, right?
Dr. Meakim: Right, it’s found near Fisherman’s Wharf although I might be moving it this year.
Dr. Davis: Okay. So you got started in San Francisco originally with a partner and so tell me about the growth of the practice. What sort of things you did to help build your initial patient base from a marketing perspective.
Dr. Meakim: Primarily at that point we did networking. I joined three networking groups and I became on the leadership team on all three of them and just started meeting people. I’m kind of a connector person anyway.
As years went by, I’m going to say it was really challenging the first few years before I hired my business coach, he’s a chiropractor too. It was very challenging because we would want to be at work, instead of going out to meetings and making relationships to bring patients in.
I’m not from San Francisco. I moved here to be a chiropractor. So every person I met was a new person.
So then we started doing events and screenings and we’d stand at gyms and do things like that. I’ve done a lot of different things but I found that personal contact with each person was always the best. the referrals.
Dr. Davis: Sure the referrals. You said when you were first starting that you were doing a lot of networking. Tell us more about the success of networking or did that help you to establish that patient base first?
Dr. Meakim: I joined the BNI group and then I was doing that for a little while and then I joined a thing called the Chamber of Commerce business online which is also a leads group and was in that for probably about three years. I also joined probably my favorite one the Professional Women’s Network. I found some of my best friends through that.
I met a lot of amazing people through this because entrepreneurs have a special kind of spirit. You have it. You have to have a different kind make up in your DNA to thank that you have what it takes to create a business from scratch. That youIcan create something the world needs and that it will work.
Dr. Davis: Right. Absolutely, so you got connected with some people that have that entrepreneurial spirit.
Dr. Meakim: Yes, lots of them.
Dr. Davis: Yes and that helped you to start to make some good connections in the community?
Dr. Meakim: Absolutely and then I get a lot of referrals from other doctors who do NUCCA. Obviously direct referrals are always the best from other chiropractors especially but any other health care practitioner or family or friends, co-worker are always the best. And the second best is trying to do things like what you do with trying to have more people find you on the internet or wherever they are looking for help.
Dr. Davis: Absolutely, you’re preaching to choir there. I want to talk more about your experience with business coaching. You mentioned that a couple of times. Talk about some of those things that you found to be the most valuable and the most important that you’ve learned through coaching.