MF 104 : How Deborah Gilboa, MD Moved Forward as a Media Entrepreneur to Become “Dr. G”
Updated: Jun 17
Dr. Deborah Gilboa (“Doctor G”) is an actress turned family physician, speaker, author and media entrepreneur. Today, Dr. G details how her extraordinary career came to fruition and shares an incredible tip for moving forward with greater media exposure. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Successes at a glance:
Worked at Second City Theater Company.
Trained in American Sign Language.
Frequent guest contributor to The Today Show.
Setback failure or time when things fell apart:
As Dr. G was building her business, a family emergency occurred. Dr. G’s mom had a bad fall which broke her pelvis. Being an only child, Dr. G was the only one who could attend to her needs during recovery. Over the next 6-8 weeks, Dr. G traveled 500 miles between Pittsburgh and Chicago; juggling the responsibilities of being a mom to her own kids and a daughter to her mom. It was during this time that Dr. G discovered the “Achilles heel” to her business – she is the brand and the product (her writing, speaking, and interviews). Therefore, if she is not focusing on the business, the business is not growing. In other words, Dr. G had no systems in place to account for an unexpected life emergency that required her to take weeks off. On top of the 6-8 weeks of travel, Dr. G had to take another 4 weeks to mourn the devastating loss of her mom when she passed away shortly afterward. When she returned, Dr. G realized that the time away had set her business back by a year.
The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:
As Dr. G was building her practice, she found herself giving keynotes and speeches. Since she had started as an actress, public speaking came naturally to her and given that many in her field hated the idea of giving talks, Dr. G was usually the go-to person for speeches and presentations. Since her practice focused on family medicine, one of the topics that Dr. G spoke frequently on was parenting. A parent herself, Dr. G had a particular interest in childhood and parenting issues, ranging from good dietary habits to how much screen time kids should have. Throughout this journey, Dr. G discovered her passion: understanding how to raise kids to be at their best potential while also instilling in them the all-important resilience piece to handle life’s curveballs. Interestingly, as Dr. G gave more and more talks, audience members would start asking for her book, which at the time she didn’t have. From there, Dr. G learned that to publish a book, you need a website – an established platform. One of Dr. G’s best business skills is that she is great at finding the right talent to help fill gaps. Knowing little about websites at the time, Dr. G went back to her undergraduate alma mater and for “pizza money” was able to find college students who could help her build a basic website and blog which became the starting point for a platform. Initially, Dr. G didn’t get much of a response from publishers so she focused on pro bono speaking gigs on parenting to beef up that section of her website. Although this grew her platform, it only did so much until Dr. G came to a realization: the platform was not the means to getting the book published. Rather, the book was the means to building the audience on her platform. In addition, Dr. G realized that the platform was not just for one book but a bigger message. This was the “aha” moment that allowed her to create the media brand, Dr. G; one that encompasses books, speaking engagements, media appearances and more. Moving Forward listeners, what Dr. G’s story illustrates is a tying together of seemingly disparate careers. Today, Dr. G continues to practice medicine and teaches med students as part of what she calls her “retail work” while her brand as a media entrepreneur is her “wholesale work.” What drives Dr. G is an entrepreneur’s heart: no matter where she is or what she is doing, she is constantly thinking about how to change the system and spread a positive message of resilience and how kids can do the most for themselves. This is how we find a passion, a message to build a brand on and that’s moving forward in a big way!
Following the time of her mother’s passing, Dr. G realized she needed to put some systems in place. Dr. G has tweaked two aspects of her business: 1) she hired a virtual assistant, who Dr. G surmises is “worth her weight in gold,” to help keep parts of the business running, and 2) she is now focusing on building passive revenue streams (aka “while you’re sleeping money”).
Increase your media exposure:
HARO (Help a Reporter Out): a free database and network where you can pitch yourself as an authority or sources for news and media.
Dr. G’s tip for HARO: sign up HARO’s free newsletter and 3-times a day you will receive an email w/ opportunities to be quoted as a source by a journalist.
Use the subject line to tease your content so yours will stand out.
Favorite app / website / resource or productivity hack:
Google Keep: digital to do lists that work on multiple platforms.
Dr. G’s hack for Google Keep:
Make each list a day list rather than a to do list.
If you don’t get to an action item on your day list, cut and paste to the next day.
How Dr. G recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
Get to the stuff that’s urgent first (the stuff that will cause you to have a sleepless night!).
Take time off even if not expected or planned. For example, if you find you are not being productive (for example writing an article), Dr. G recommends two hacks:
Break it up into smaller chunks.
If you find you’re really not being productive, take a recess: 30 min to an hour to eat something, read a book, listen to a podcast, Netflix a show and then go back to it!
Support the Podcast:
The Corporate Cliches Adult Coloring Book: makes the perfect stocking stuffer or white elephant gift.
Try out Audible (affiliate link).
Try out Amazon Prime (affiliate link).
Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:
Pay attention to what is under your control and what isn’t. Recognize you need a balance between some projects that are entirely under your control (e.g. doing an e-course or a podcast) and others that depend on someone else who may want to hire you (e.g. paid speaking gig or media appearance). Finally, don’t chase an audience. Build an audience from the message or platform that is your driver.
Parting wisdom (in a few words):
“Careful with your yes!”
Connect with Dr. G:
Books by Dr. G: