Branding Chiropractic

EP2 – Dr. Ronnie Bolar | Creating a diverse patient base.

In this episode, we chat with Dr. Ronnie Bolar of Vital Life Chiropractic in Lithia Springs, GA. Dr. Ronnie describes his unique community, and how it’s helped him create a truly unique patient base. He explains the importance of educating your community, keeping the fire alive, and remembering huge patient wins.  80% of his practice members know nothing about chiropractic before they reach him.  He actually has a large truck-driver population, and even one who drives through three states (from Louisiana to Georgia) to see him!  You can learn more about Dr. Ronnie at Vital Life Chiropractic.

Would you rather read than watch? Check out the transcript below.

Jesse Lavender:

Welcome to Branding Chiropractic. We talk with chiropractors who are growing practices and changing lives every day. Our mission is to brand the future of chiropractic through engaging content that educates communities on the power of chiropractic care. Join us today at brandchiro.com.

Jesse Lavender:

All right. Hey, everyone. Jesse, founder of Brand Chiro here. I’m with Dr. Ronnie Bolar. He is with Vital Life Chiropractic in Lithia Springs.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes, sir.

Jesse Lavender:

He’s been in practice for about two and a half years, and we helped them with their website and videos, some other marketing stuff. So I’ve known him for a while, seeing you come from school all the way to here, changing lives, which has been really amazing. So I thought everyone should meet him, get to know him a little bit, because I think what he does in practice is really inspiring. He was just telling me stories of people coming in, not being able to walk, and then they could walk, which is amazing. And so I know for you that stuff like that was life changing.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Absolutely.

Jesse Lavender:

Tell me a little bit about coming out of school, right? You’re at Life University. I know you were super involved there in a lot of clubs. Usually when I meet students who have been involved in the school a lot and a lot of people know them, I know they’re going to be pretty successful, just because once you get that going in school, I’ve just seen it where that just kind of takes over into practice. So for you going from school into the practice, how was that journey? Not really a timeline necessarily, but in terms of emotional, and then hard work, how was that journey, getting out of school and opening up your practice?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

Well, school itself was already difficult. It was very challenging. It was very time consuming. And when you’re in school, you feel like you have literally no time to do anything else. So, I remember finding myself thinking like, “I don’t have time to do this. I don’t have the time to study. I don’t have time to see my family.” A lot of sacrifices are made in school.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

However, I quickly found that upon graduation that there was another level of work that was going to be required to open a practice. So I thought I was busy in school until I got out and started preparing to open this practice, and I realized this is even more work than school. It’s a different type of work, but it’s even more work because now you’re literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you’re now a business owner. If you’re going into private practice, you’re now a business owner, so you are now responsible for all of the inner and outer workings of your practice.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

Because you’re fully responsible, you are the only … you’re the one that makes the decisions. You’re the one that has to decide, what colors your office is going to be, where is it going to be located, what type of people you want to serve, how to hire staff. All these different things that you never had to consider when you were in school, because in school, everything is just given to you. You just have to learn it. Now you have to take everything that they gave you and put it out into the community, and that’s a tall task.

Jesse Lavender:
Yeah. Right. Well, you’ve done a good job with it so far.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Thank you, thank you.

Jesse Lavender:
And so you’re right here near an interstate-

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes.

Jesse Lavender:

… which brings a lot of interesting people. And you were telling me, the cities that you are near, depending on which side your people are coming from, it’s all different types of people groups.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes.

Jesse Lavender:
So you have a large trucker population-

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Absolutely.

Jesse Lavender:
… which I thought was interesting.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes.

Jesse Lavender:

So we’ll come back to that, but the first thing in terms of the diversity of the area and your practice, for those just listening on the audio version, they can’t actually see that you are a black male chiropractor.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

Yes.

Jesse Lavender:

And Brand Chiro, we really believe in diversity in chiropractic, right? It’s one of our missions to put out as many stories of age, ethnicity, gender, all types of chiropractors out there because every community needs it. And you said that last time we talked that you knew that people wanted to know that they can relate to their chiropractor. They can envision themselves coming to that practice and feeling comfortable and confident. And you said that the population you have here in your practice, about 80% of them don’t even know about chiropractic before they come here.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: That’s true. That’s true.

Jesse Lavender:

That’s amazing. So, tell me a little bit about why it’s important for you in your specific community, why chiropractic is important and why that education is important?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

Absolutely. So in my community, so like you said, I am a black male chiropractor, so when I go to events, when I go to health fairs, when people see me, a lot of times they’ll ask, “Oh, are you the doctor?” And I’m like, “Yes, I am.” And they’re like, “Really?”

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

I guess they’re surprised because a lot of them have not met many black chiropractors at all. So then they become more interested. They’re saying, “Hey, what is it that you do?” So the education is going to be very important because in the black community and the Hispanic community, a lot of times we are not taught these things. We did not grow up knowing about chiropractic. We didn’t grow up with our parents or friends or families going to chiropractors. And even if they did, it may have been only for, let’s say, an auto accident. The educational portion and the part about natural health and vitalism is usually never explained to us.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

So, most of the people that come to my office, especially African American people, Hispanic people, when they come, we do a thorough education process to help them understand what is going on with them. Those also tend to be the communities that have different health disparities. Now, what do I mean by that? Higher cases of high blood pressure, more stress, less access to healthy foods. So, with that being the case, education is very important, so of course we talk to them about chiropractic, but then also have to talk to them about eating better and drinking more water and all these other things that will make their entire health better. And it’s actually very fun because most people are very open to learn these things because they’ve never heard them before, so it’s very important to me and we really enjoy it.

Jesse Lavender:
You’ve seen people really open up to those ideas?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s funny because when people start coming here, I noticed they start doing other healthy things. Next thing I know, they’re like, “Hey, guess what? I got a personal trainer.” “Hey, guess what? I’m drinking more water.” “Hey, I just noticed I’m losing weight.” That’s a big one. They start losing weight. They’re sleeping better. They’re doing all these different things because they start to realize over time that coming to the chiropractor can not be the only healthy thing they do in their life. So that’s exciting too, because I see them literally transform as people in front of me.

Jesse Lavender:
Yeah. And even groups, like we said before, truck drivers-

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes, yes.

Jesse Lavender:

… coming in off the interstate and I asked … and you said you never even really thought about it. You didn’t really realize that that probably would happen here, but you actually have a truck driver patient base.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes.

Jesse Lavender:

What was that experience like in educating that group, because that’s a oddly diverse group all on their own. It takes a special kind of person to drive a truck thousands of miles, so how has that experience been?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

It’s been interesting. It’s been interesting because truckers have very specific personalities. They tend to be loners. They tend to want to do things their own way at their own time. So educating them is not more challenging, but it’s more involved. It’s more involved because they don’t necessarily equate what they do for work as causing their issues and causing their problems, so a lot of the truckers don’t equate what they’re doing as far as sitting with their other health issues. When we explain to them what’s going on and they start really thinking about it, not only do they come, but they start telling their friends, they start telling their coworkers. And next thing you know, we have this community of truckers starting to come in and they’re all getting better and their health is getting better because they understand that their health is directly tied to their career and directly tied to them being able to work for a long time.

Jesse Lavender:

Yeah. And how does it work? So if they’re traveling, obviously truckers have a home base, but a lot of times they’re gone for a while. Are the ones telling each other, do you ever have people that are here every once in a while? I know obviously you do wellness corrective care and then wellness care, so the plan is to stay regimented with chiropractic. Do you have people that are kind of outside of that area?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

Absolutely. So with them, what we have to do is kind of be more customized and more flexible with their schedules. We had a trucker that didn’t even live in this state, but he said, “Hey, I come through Atlanta once a week,” so we just see him when he comes through Atlanta once a week. He lives in Louisiana, but he’s always driving through the southeast and he comes through Atlanta. He said, “I literally drive right past your office on the interstate. I can pull off. I can come in here. I can get adjusted, and then I’ll head on out and I’ll see you next time.”

Jesse Lavender: Wow.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

So we just work around their schedule because it doesn’t always fit what it is that we’re doing. However, the great thing about chiropractic is it works so well that regardless of what their schedule is, they always see results.

Jesse Lavender:

Man. How about that? I mean, I’ve heard of patients driving 30 minutes, an hour to places, but somebody driving across three states, that’s pretty impressive.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Absolutely.

Jesse Lavender:

Probably the longest haul a patient, pun intended, that I’ve heard of so far. Had to do it, had to do it. So, we’ll wrap it up. The main thing I want to ask, I want to ask two different questions, kind of the same thing, but what would you tell the student who’s in whatever quarter, 12th, 13th quarter, kind of drudging along. They see the finish line, maybe not there yet. What’s some of the best advice? Not really about school, but casting the vision for their future. What would be a good piece of advice you would give them?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

The best advice I would tell them about casting a vision for their future is to get out into a community, it can even be around the school, and go visit other chiropractors and go into their offices and just spend time in there. I want them to get used to what the day to day looks like for them being a chiropractor, because when you’re in 12th, 13th quarter, you’re literally three to six months out of school. And you have to get comfortable with people and you have to get comfortable with serving people. So, I’ll tell them to get out of their comfort zone and go out into an office as the shadow, as the help. Find something you can do in order to get your feet wet before you have to start seeing your own patients. So, I’d tell them to go out, shadow someone, learn as much as they can before they get out of school, because once you’re out of school, you’re on your own. So, they should always do as much as they can and they should start as early as possible.

Jesse Lavender:

Awesome. And then for the doc who’s been open for a while, and it could be a few months, few years, 10 years, I think you’re really good at seeing the community for what it is and its various aspects. No

matter what ethnicity or age, race, gender they are, even seeing some diverse group like a trucker, and how do we fit them into a customized plan, what advice do you have for docs out there when it comes to looking into their community and seeing the different people groups, and how to work with everyone, basically?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

I would say to those docs that have been in practice for a long time, your community needs you. It’s really that simple, your community needs you, and if you reach out, you’ll be very surprised how much they will embrace you. We did not know how much this community would be happy about having us be here. And every time we get a compliment … We get compliments from people that we’ve never even met, so we literally just had someone tell us today that she went to a auto dealership up the street and the person said, “Oh, you’re going to Vital Life? Oh, he’s the best chiropractor in the country.” I don’t even know who this person is.

Jesse Lavender: That’s amazing.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

I mean, those are the kinds of things that keep your fire ignited. I would say also for the docs that have been in practice for a long time, go to seminars, go to things that reignite your fire about chiropractic, because if you’ve been doing it that long, you’ve changed literally thousands of lives. And sometimes you just need to go back and read your testimonials, watch your old testimonial videos, read the things that have happened in your practice and just remember what you’re doing and why it’s so important.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar:

You know, health is very important. Healthcare is never going to be something that goes out of style. Matter of fact, right now people are looking for natural solutions. People are looking for natural solutions, so just be the solution to their problem that people are having in their health.

Jesse Lavender:

Yeah. During this time, one of the biggest things I’ve heard about everyone who has spent years pouring into their patients and getting them into that mindset of preventative versus reactive care, true health, holistic care of your body, they said their patients kept coming. Because they really got it, and realized, hey, this is the time where I don’t go anywhere else, but I go to my chiropractor.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Absolutely.

Jesse Lavender:

I know you’ve seen that too, which is amazing. So, for you guys out there watching, check out Dr. Ron, livingvitallife.com?

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes, sir.

Jesse Lavender:

Is the website. We made it, but he’s got some great videos on there. Patients, reach out to him. If you’re at Life University, I know he’d probably love to help you out, tour you around.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Yes.

Jesse Lavender:

So no matter where you’re watching this, if you’re a Life West, Sherman, Palmer, just get out in the community, like you said. Meet people, actual people, and then meet chiropractors, both. Hear both sides of the stories and just learn from everyone. But Dr. Ron, I appreciate it very much.

Dr. Ronnie Bolar: Thank you so much.

Jesse Lavender:

Whether you’re opening a new practice or have been around for years, we’d love to be your online marketing team. We create a true holistic marketing system that includes websites, videos, SEO, and online advertising to grow your practice. Let our team grow yours. Join us today at brandchiro.com.