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If you have a nose, you should check out this episode.

Dr. Hana Solomon, MD shares her journey from hippie to single-mother to med school to entrepreneur. She's the founder of BeWell Health and inventor of Nasopure, the most comfortable nose wash in the world.

She shares her wisdom to avoid "stupid business mistakes" such as acquiring the right type of patent for your product (e.g., design vs. utility patent)  and being financially braver to go bigger sooner.

Dr. Hana talks about little things, each of us can do to improve our health. Also at the end, she kindly offers a coupon code to get a discount on her nose wash product.

Guest bio:
Dr. Hana Solomon, MD graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine in 1986 and completed the university's pediatric residency program in 1989. For 20 years Dr. Hana has practiced pediatrics at the Solomon Family Medical Clinic in Columbia, Missouri.

Her articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Medscape's webmd.com, About.com, Natural Apathy Digest and other health-related publications. Dr. Hana started BeWell Health in January, 2001. The company's flagship product, Dr. Hana's Nasopure nasal wash systems have helped millions to maintain nasal and sinus health naturally.

Links:
Nasopure Amazon Store
www.nasopure.com
https://www.facebook.com/nasopure.nicer.neti

Music:
keldez

Transcript

Robert Fenton: [00:00:22] Dr. Hana or Solomon MD is the founder of BeWell Health and inventor of Nasopure, the most comfortable nose wash in the world. She graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine in 1986 and completed the university's pediatric residency program in 1989. For 20 years Dr. Hana has practiced pediatrics at the Solomon Family Medical Clinic in Columbia, Missouri.

Her articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Medscape's webmd.com, About.com, Natural Apathy Digest and other health-related publications. Dr. Hana started BeWell Health in January, 2001. The company's flagship product, Dr. Hana's Nasopure nasal wash systems have helped millions to maintain nasal and sinus health naturally.

If you have a nose, you should check out this episode as Dr. Hana talks about little things, each of us can do to improve our health. Also at the end, she kindly offers a coupon code to get a discount on her nose wash product.

Dr. Hana really excited to have the chance to chat with you today. I appreciate you taking time out to speak and tell us more about what you're working on. It means a lot. Thank you.

Dr. Hana: [00:01:31] Thank you for having me, Robert. I appreciate your time.

Robert Fenton: [00:01:34] I know we don't have an enormous amount of time today and I can ask you questions, I think for a couple of hours, but maybe just to kick off for the, for the audience here could you tell us a bit about what you're working on at BeWell Health.

Dr. Hana: [00:01:46] Sure. I'm a trained pediatric doctor and, early in my career, I realized that most little kids were coming into the doctor with a snotty nose.

Of course the complaint was maybe an ear pain or sinus or a cough, but it always started with a snotty nose and being an old hippie before I went to med school I knew about the Neti. But I couldn't use the Neti. And for those who don't know what the Neti is, it's an ancient device that Buddhist monks have used for thousands of years.

It's like a teapot and they put water in the tea pot and they bend and twist and poor. And it's a great idea, but I couldn't do it. And I have a rule don't ask a two year old patient to do something that I myself cannot do. And I am in a wa water wimp. So I went ahead. And, long story short, I found a system that was comfortable enough for me and comfortable enough for my two year old patients.

And then I went to work and, had the bottle manufactured in Missouri and had the kits assembled by adults with disabilities. And now the nose wash is available.

Robert Fenton: [00:03:05] That's fascinating. I have used the aforementioned product. You said that's difficult to use or I should say I have attempted to use, so I appreciate any, any improvements. Before digging into the product, I have a lot of I've a lot of questions there. You said you were a hippie and then decided to go to med school if I ever heard you correctly. I mean, what drove that decision.

Dr. Hana: [00:03:25] Well as an immigrant. Who was raised in the ghetto of Brooklyn by a single mom who didn't speak English. In the late sixties, I was working at the World Trade Center it was still being built, but I was on the 60th floor and there was a little bomb scare and they evacuated us.

And in that moment of being crushed in, on Wall Street with millions of people in the streets, I looked up to the sky and thought, what is my purpose in life? This is not it. I don't want to be a little rat. Who am I? So, I did what every parent would, pray that their child not do. And I hitched around the country and then I eventually joined the largest spiritual commune called The Farm.

And, I was part of that commune for about four years. I worked really, really, really hard. I'm a hard worker. And after four years, it was very clear to me that I could not change the world by fishing for everybody. There will be some people who will never want to go fishing for themselves, and that I needed to empower myself so that I could move, so I could have more effect in making a positive change. So I left the farm and decided I should go to med school, but there was a small problem. Two kids, single mom, no money, no house, no car, no job. And my only clothes were tied dyes and I had long braids, but, I was a motivated woman and within three years of that day, I completed four years of college and I started med school. And pediatrician, I didn't lose my heart and soul about, I became a doctor to first do no harm and it was imperative to me to not just make it easy. And here you want an antibiotic? Here's an antibiotic. Here's a... No.

My practice was much more: can I educate you? Let's talk about what you're eating, what you're exposed to, what your stresses are, how can we keep you well until the next year? Not here's a band-aid, here's a band-aid, here's a bandaid. So that's what got me started in this mission.

Robert Fenton: [00:05:48] Do you think that, so going along that path, you've had a, I won't say unique, but you had an unusual path right into medicine and something that I often notice is that people have had these unusual paths to where they are. It can often help people kind of create new associations or be a little bit more willing to do something a bit different. You know, like starting a business, like coming up with a product and saying this existing product kind of sucks, or, you know, we can do better. Are there any, again, looking back to starting this company are there, are there any moments where you saw that in your experience?

Dr. Hana: [00:06:22] Is the question. How did I get from being a hippie to a doctor, to an entrepreneur?

Robert Fenton: [00:06:29] Yes. I think it's an entrepreneurial question. Like, do you think your background being unusual helps you see the world differently in a way that you were okay, I'm just going to do this. I'm going to, I'm going to create something better.

Dr. Hana: [00:06:40] I've always listened to my own heart and soul and music. So, I've never been shy and I've always been an outgoing kind of person. I, I love selling. I love educating. What I mean by selling is I love selling an idea, an informational thing, so that folks could be more empowered. So it was sort of fun. I, you know, I just took a chance.

I must say, I must say when I first started, my colleagues thought I'd lost my mind. There were local articles about the hit, the, the, from one title was from commune to cash something. I don't know. It was, you know, sort of a degrading remark about this doctor who's opening a company.

Robert Fenton: [00:07:35] Yeah. Did that give you more fire or the was that like an in negative experience for you?

Dr. Hana: [00:07:40] Not negative. What trained me to sort of push back against that "no, no, no" was my experiences as a resident and a med student, as an older person and, you know, some of my seniors were younger than I, but they'd never done their own laundry. And they'd never suffered in their life. Therefore, they weren't really equipped to be the teacher.

Robert Fenton: [00:08:07] Yeah. Yeah. That also means that I guess you'd already put in the long hours that it takes to start a business. You'd already done that before. So you weren't going to be surprised. What was the first thing you did when you decided to go down that path? Like people often ask me and other people I know when you start a business, like how did you go from zero to here here's a product. Here's something looks like it might work.

Dr. Hana: [00:08:32] Okay so one Christmas, when my clinic was closed for a week, I bought generic bottles typed up my instructions that I had been telling patients for a long time. And I bought these tiny little Ziploc bags and I bought this high quality salt mix and I measured and I had maybe a hundred ziploc bags with my homemade kits. And so for the next, whatever, how many I had for the next few patients that came in, I said, here's my instructions that I've been giving. Or you can buy this from me for a dollar. I was testing the convenience because I'd given them all the information on a piece of paper. But only some were going through the hassle of getting all the parts. When I was able to sell all of those, a hundred percent of those folks used it, I started gathering data. I came up with questions and gathering the data, retrospective data, and I saw that it felt right. It felt revolutionary. It felt different than where the trend was going.

Back then there was a beginning discussion about antibiotic over abuse and, bacterial resistance. So it felt like I was on the forefront. It was actually sort of fun.

Robert Fenton: [00:10:02] I think there's something word, just pausing up for a moment there and it's people look at broader health care and, you know, I can cost anywhere from not a lot to billions of dollars to create a healthcare product.

And most people's first instinct typical used to, well, I got to do tons of research, but it's amazing I think just to anchor on the fact you run a small experiment that cost you some of your time and not a lot of dollars. I think that's just something really important to, to anchor cause that's that's where it all happens.

Right? The research is useful, but it's through doing that, you really learn, do people care? And I think in healthcare and in medicine and in practice going back because I was a pharmacist for a period before Qualio was a thing and when you give people instructions on how to do something that on its own is not enough often, it's how you package it together.

You're also trying to solve for is all of the failure points. Like in the, in the doctor's office, you might give them some advice. But an hour later it's gone. So I think that's

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Dr. Hana: [00:11:02] Well, what you're saying, I agree and it's been proven. Compliance is greatly increased if you're able to give the patient all the information at that time.

Robert Fenton: [00:11:13] Yeah. Outside of that, running the experiment, any other big lessons learned over the past a number of years as you've been working on this, anything you want to share it to people who were maybe like you were working in healthcare, seeing problems and they're trying to figure out, well, I think this might be, this might be something?

Dr. Hana: [00:11:31] I think, I'd like to share that I personally believe that I've earned about three PhDs in stupid business mistakes. I tended to trust as a honest person, basically and as a physician, the way I live my life is I show you my deck of cards. You show me your deck of cards and together, we figure out the best hand moving forward based on your principles. And in business, you really have to have a poker face. And I don't really, and because in business, I thought I was still sharing all my cards and, I made many mistakes in that regard, but I've learned a lot and it's been a fun experience even though they've been expensive, but what's the nice thing about every mistake I made was that I slept well at night.

It's not the one that was immoral or misleading. Yeah. So that feels good.

Robert Fenton: [00:12:34] Must do so maybe looking back to that, was there any one thing you could point to that was something wish you'd done differently? That if you were starting again right now, you would approach a different way?

Dr. Hana: [00:12:45] I think I've always had the premise in my personal life, not to borrow money.

I only buy what I could afford and in the business. Being a pediatrician, most folks know pediatricians make about as much as a nurse, or less. And at least when I was practicing and, so I didn't, I don't have tons of money naturally. I didn't inherit it. I started late. I wasn't willing to borrow a lot of money from the bank and so I paid for my mold for $30,000. And then when I accumulated some more cash than I paid for my first batch of salt, which was several, several, you know, so I did it piecemeal. In retrospect, I wish I would have been a bit financially braver and taken a loan. And did it bigger sooner.

Robert Fenton: [00:13:48] I, I can see that. Well, a lot of people probably fall on the other side. So I think if, if in doubt it's best to be a bit more conservative, particularly at the earlier ages, but that's an interesting, example for people.

Did you come up against any regulatory hurdles or like, or is this something that as a product offering, you're just able to sell straight as a consumer product because that can add a lot of cost to complexity to, if you get earmarked like a medical device

Dr. Hana: [00:14:13] So, we are ISO certified, that takes an enormous amount of money and paperwork. We, this is a medical device. This Nasopure bottle is a medical device, recorded with the FDA. That's not something they approve or it's just recorded there.

When I first got started and I went to some of lawyers to protect the intellectual property, the largest mistake I made was my first lawyer, suggested that I apply for a design patent instead of a utility patent. And by the time I learned that that was a grave error, it was too late. And the other thing is that he never told me when you patent a bottle or a patent, something you have 12 months to apply for international patents at the same time.

And if you miss that deadline, too bad, so sad. Yeah. What I was lucky to do, I have trademarks and I've written a book and, what I was lucky enough to do was after the design patent, I added some actual images to the bottle that make gives you water lines. And I was able to get a utility patent for that.

Robert Fenton: [00:15:42] Interesting. Can we see it a bit closer? It's a super interesting design. So you created the mold for that all yourself.

Dr. Hana: [00:15:50] And though I was lines are where your water needs to be so that you're flushing along the nasal floor. We breathe 10,000 liters of there every day. We make a pint to a court of mucus per day.

Like you are swallowing some right now I can see, I can tell you're swallowing some mucus. So, when you're washing with a nasal pure you're washing along the nasal floor. It doesn't feel like you're drowning or choking or your head is filled with water and you're actually cleaning the sinus opening, vacuuming the sinus makes a U turn in the garbage, comes out the other side.

So it, it, it's a different delivery system.

Robert Fenton: [00:16:36] Yeah. what's the top indication that people should know about if they're interested in and trying it out?

Dr. Hana: [00:16:41] if you have a nose in you're over two years old. If you have any nasal issues, just like if you had a cut on your knee, what would you do first? You'd wash it. And most likely you wouldn't need to do anything else.

I suggest if you have any nasal issues begin by washing it. If you want me to go down the list, a nasal pure hypertonic buffer removes 80% of the allergens. So if you have the allergies wash your nose, you use less. Snoring. A hypertonic buffor has been shown to make an environment in uninhabitable for bacteria and virus to live.

How common sense is that? It's your nose. You're washing the germs out. Hello? It shrinks the swollen membranes. It thins, the thick, sticky, snot, it augments healing.

Robert Fenton: [00:17:35] Where can people find that the Nasopure right now. It's on Amazon. Is that one of the best places or your website?

Dr. Hana: [00:17:43] That works. I understand we have a special it's QNasopure for 10% off.

Robert Fenton: [00:17:49] Exactly. And that works to an Amazon, right? So it's like capital Q capital N Nasopure. I think we'll add that to the show notes as well. Yeah, that, that's epic. thank you for sharing that. I think I might be one of the first on the list to try one out.

Dr. Hana: [00:18:03] Here's what I ask. Please read my instructions. And then I ask you, please follow my instructions.

Yeah. And if there's any questions, call me, I'll FaceTime with anybody. While they're in the bathroom. I've never met someone who cannot wash their nose.

Robert Fenton: [00:18:20] As a former pharmacist, the concept of reading instructions of use on healthcare products and medications is a, it's a big one. Can you please everybody do that?

If there's one takeaway you take from this entire episode, follow the instructions, please, and call professional if you feel like deviating. Dr. Hana, I think we might be coming up to the end of our time here. I will share that coupon and note in the show notes on the podcast. I've really enjoyed our conversation today.

Thank you so much again for taking the time. I'm excited to keep following your story.

Dr. Hana: [00:18:49] Thank you so much. Good luck. And let's do it again sometime.

Robert Fenton: [00:18:53] Absolutely.

Dr. Hana: [00:18:54] Take care. Bye bye.

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Published by Robert Fenton December 16, 2020
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