I am excited to introduce Quincy Hawley, DVM. As you can guess from the name of his business, Get MotiVETed (https://getmotiveted.com), he is a dynamic personality who works to inspire the veterinary community. We do not have a financial relationship. Here is his story:
1. Please introduce yourself!
My name is Dr. Quincy Hawley, and I’m originally from Oxford, NC. I’m married to a beautiful veterinarian who graduated from the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. I have an amazing 3-year-old daughter, and we are expecting our second little girl in early November. We have 6 dogs and a blue crowned conure. I’m a tennis player and I’m fascinated by the stock market, as well as the art and science of selling!
2.Give us a little of your background and how you got started in veterinary medicine.
I grew up in the country, and I was born into a family which had 20+ beagles. My dad and brother were big rabbit hunters, and living out in the country, I was constantly exposed to all types of wild animals. I believe that’s where my love for animals comes from. Upon graduating from high school, I studied animal science at NC A&T State University in Greensboro, NC. I hadn’t thought of being a veterinarian until the second semester of my undergraduate career, but after gaining some veterinary experiences, I was sold on becoming a veterinary doctor. I initially enjoyed food animal medicine and regulatory medicine with the USDA. I even had a cool summer internship working as a sales rep for Elanco Animal Health in their Dairy Business Unit. I applied to veterinary school in 2008 and was blessed to get in on my first try, and in 2009 I started veterinary school at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. I graduated from veterinary school in 2013.
3. Did you feel as though your veterinary education prepared you well for entrepreneurship? Why or why not?
We had a business selective (2-week course) that every student is required to take (Editor’s note: Dr. Hawley clarified that the term “selectives” at NC State is very similar to the term “electives” at other schools). The course is more focused on practice ownership, as opposed to the true nature of entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur is a mindset and a lifestyle and not so much a business venture. Aside from that selective, there isn’t much encouraging mastery of capitalism and entrepreneurship. We had a Veterinary Business Management Association club (as do most veterinary schools), but that is something that was optional.
Indirectly, I guess you could say that it did. The work ethic required to make it through veterinary school can be extrapolated and applied to making it through starting a business. I used to burn midnight oil as a veterinary student, and I burn midnight oil frequently as an entrepreneur!
4. Did you graduate with student loan debt and/or any other debt? Has this impacted your decision to become an entrepreneur?
I sure did! And since my wife is also a veterinarian, we graduated with 2x the student loan debt. Upon graduation, we came out with a whopping $375k in student loan debt! I do believe that this played a role in our decision to become entrepreneurs! However, we both have the entrepreneurial spirit in our souls, so we would have taken this leap regardless. We’ve decided to focus our energy on the creation of wealth, as opposed to wasting energy worrying about debt. (Editor’s note: Ah yes….worrying about debt does take up a lot of energy!)
5. What kind of jobs did you have in veterinary medicine prior to your current business?
I worked for Banfield Pet Hospital for the first 5 years after graduating. I also had a volunteer position as the President of the NC Association of Minority Veterinarians. I also serve on the NC State CVM admissions committee (also a volunteer position).
Describe the events and/or the moment you realized you wanted to start your own business.
I have a very personal story as to why I wanted to start my own business as a motivational speaker and personal development coach. For the first three years after graduating from veterinary school, I got off track and started several unhealthy behaviors. I found myself as one of the poor wellbeing statistics in the veterinary profession. One of the major resources that helped me out of my slump was listening to motivational speakers like Earl Nightingale, Les Brown, and Jim Rohn. One of my favorite quotes is comes from Jim Rohn, “Success isn’t something that you pursue, it’s something that you attract. So instead of chasing after it, you work on yourself – personal development.” These guys were absolutely amazing! Their messages were so powerful that I felt that I had to turn my life around – and I did! I went from abusing alcohol to living my dreams in a very short time frame. I strategically planned to leave my job within the next year, and I was able to do that. I’m now living my dream as a motivational speaker for the veterinary profession, and I get to speak to pre-veterinary students, veterinary faculty and students, and hospital teams all across the nation! Woohoo!
6. What were the resources that you used to start and build your business?
Tons, and tons, and tons, and tons, and tons of self-study! Books, audio books, YouTube videos, and podcasts. Did I mention books? I read over 50 books in 1 year. Multiple of those books I read multiple times. I read the Science of Getting Rich over 20 times, and The Science of Being Great over 50 times! The books were on subjects such as, prosperity, investing (fundamental analysis and technical analysis), pursuing your dreams, the Law of Attraction, health, relationships, marriage, public speaking, biographies of the wealthy, coaching, business, spirituality, and productivity. I was waking up at 3am and 4am every morning – 5am on sleep in mornings. Every second of every day was either utilized in building my business or my dream life.
7. Were there any other people that you credit with helping your reach your goal?
My wife for sure. She is all about me being happy, so she definitely supported me and eventually took the leap herself. I was lucky enough to run into an African-American business legend who is a multi-millionaire. He has mentored my wife and I, and I have learned some truly invaluable information from him. Through him, I was introduced to one of the 15 black billionaires on the planet. Being around individuals like that helps you see clearly the right path to take. More than businessmen, they are the nicest, most generous, and wisest people I have met in my entire life. I also have many veterinary mentors who have always believed in me, and as a result, when I used to doubt myself, I could always lean on the fact that other successful people believe in me. Most importantly, my parents support me being happy instead of me collecting a guaranteed check. That really means a lot to me. I have amazing parents. Lastly, I have a great support system of people who are also pursuing their dreams.
8. What has been the best part of being an entrepreneur in veterinary medicine?
You will never work as hard for someone else as you will work for yourself. I work really hard! As I’m typing this, it is 1:46am, and I’m not going to sleep tonight. I value my sleep a lot. But sometimes, you just get in the mood to work because you love it so much! I will never work for anyone else ever again! My wife and I get to spend so much time together, and we get to do what we love every day. We also get to spend more time with our daughter. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it has helped us to reconnect with the things that truly have meaning in life. It’s not the secure lifestyle we used to have when we were both full-time employees, but I assure you that we are probably happier than most in this field. As a speaker, coach, and writer I have had so many people tell me that I have inspired them and helped them to live a happier life. There is no feeling better than that! I had an 80-year old veterinarian listen to the very first speech I gave in 2017 tell me that he wishes he had heard my message 50 years ago. That’s when I knew that I had found my true calling. Just three days ago, I spoke to the entire Purdue Veterinary School student population. Hopefully, when they turn 80, they won’t have to make a comment like that guy did. Unfortunately, he passed away a few months after that speech.
9. What has been the worst part?
The worst parts are the uncertainty and the setback in income. However, if you study any of the really successful self-made millionaires you know it’s just a part of the process. It’s not a ‘get rich quick’ game. It’s a long game. There are no magic pills, and there are no shortcuts. It’s a sacrifice that must be made. My wife and I were recently offered $260k to go to down south and work for two hospitals. We turned it down even though the money was very tempting. You can choose the money, or you can choose what you love. Though the decrease in income and the uncertainty are less than ideal, this is the worst it can ever be, and we are happy! We are going against the grain. A lot of people would probably question our strategy, but they certainly can’t question our happiness!
10. Are there any changes you hope to make within the veterinary profession?
Through Get MotiVETed, which is a company that I have co-founded, we aim to make poor veterinary wellbeing a thing of the past. Through increasing awareness of simple tools like mindfulness and personal development, we know that we can put a huge dent in the poor wellbeing challenge. It’s funny, in every talk that I give, less than one percent of the audience members have heard of people like Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Napoleon Hill, etc. Even fewer have heard of books such as the Alchemist, The Secret, The Seat of the Soul, etc. The messages from these individuals and from these books are literally life-changing. It is no wonder that the profession has been having these challenges with compassion fatigue, burnout, depression, and suicidal ideation. Veterinarians have tunnel vision! Too much veterinary medicine and not enough study on how to be a happy and mentally healthy human. I find maintaining my wellbeing to be VERY easy, and everyone I share these “secrets” with find life much easier, as well. The secrets to wellbeing are simple and inexpensive, there is no reason for the poor wellbeing we have, and through Get MotiVETed and many collaborations, we will make terms such as burnout and compassion fatigue terms of the past!
11. Where do you see the future of veterinary medicine?
The future of veterinary medicine is brighter than you could ever imagine! Advances that the founders of the profession only dreamed of are ahead of us! How do I know this? I’ll put it like this: the veterinary profession is very much in its infancy! I mean that in the most positive way possible. The profession has deficiencies in 4 areas that are the core of any industry. It’s no secret that the veterinary economic summit, the veterinary leadership conference, the diversity symposiums/conferences, and the veterinary wellbeing summits have the lowest attendances out of all of the veterinary conferences. Yet, these are the very conferences that we need more people to attend! We need improvements in leadership, diversity, financial literacy, and wellbeing! If the people aren’t well… if there is a lack of diversity… if there is a lack of leadership… and if there is a poor understanding of capitalism/economics (and we’ve all heard it said before that ‘veterinarians are the worst business people’) … then it goes without saying that the profession can only be in its infancy. It’s in its ‘egg’ phase. But soon enough (and the change will be rapid) the egg will hatch into a worm, and the worm will morph into a fly. There is more opportunity in the veterinary profession than there ever has been before. It’s exciting, and I look forward to playing a role in the forward movement of the profession!
What a great way to end the interview! Too often, we hear how the future of veterinary medicine is not as rosy as we’d like. I’m glad to hear a more optimistic outlook, and I personally agree that as long as the profession is willing to be creative and innovative, we have a healthy future ahead of us.
Despite turning down a comfortable salary and admitting to financial worries, Dr. Hawley rates his happiness level higher than most other veterinarians. He specifically refers to his entrepreneurial spirit, the support of his wife and family, the increased time he gets to spend with his family, the mentorship of business leaders, and the satisfaction of inspiring those around him.
How many of us would have turned down the chance to make $260k in a safe job? I can only speak for myself and say that I would have taken the safe job, and I would bet that many of you would have made the same decision.
But he has that entrepreneurial spirit, a vision that cannot be realized in a private practice setting. He has done his research, and he understands the commitment that is required to follow through with his dream. It is a great reminder that our mindset alone has a huge impact on our overall well-being. In addition, feeling supported by a community further cements your drive to reach whatever goals you set for yourself.
Thank you, Dr. Hawley, for taking part in this interview. Your story is truly inspiring. I wish you the best of luck as you continue to speak and motivate others in our veterinary community!
Are you interested in submitting your own Vet Success Story? I’m currently accepting submissions for student loan debt payoff, FIRE, and Entrepreneurs. Contact me at email@example.com.