We're closing in on 2021 here with a couple more “Where are they now?” episodes. Today we're chatting with Tarun, a dentist who was with us in episode 1035. Back then, I helped him through his hangups about creating his own recorded content after his in-person dental work over at 3D-Dentists.com had been affected by the pandemic.
This is a fun episode, and I think you'll be surprised and impressed to hear what Tarun's been up to since then. Although his work-life balance has been a bit of a challenge, he's moved on to some really exciting new stuff. He's up to something especially cool when it comes to live events—something that gets my own wheels turning about a similar idea I have. You'll hear toward the end just how excited I am about what he's up to.
I need to stop getting new ideas because I have all these other things I've already said yes to. But this one's just so intriguing. What am I talking about? You'll have to listen to find out…
AP 1201: Where Are They Now? Tarun Agarwal
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to episode 1,201 of AskPat 2.0. We are closing in on the year 2021 here, and we still have a few more Where Are They Now episodes. And today we're chatting with Tarun who is a dentist who was with us in episode 1,035. This was a while back, right? And his work over at 3d-dentists.com had been affected by the pandemic. You'll be very surprised to see what happened. And then we have this amazing conversation at the end of this talk here where we go into some new stuff that really gets my gears going. And you can tell just from my reactions and interactions, just wow, how excited I am about what he's up to.
Pat Flynn: Look forward to sharing this with you. If you want to go back and listen to that episode, that's episode 1,035. But this is Tarun today, December 2021. We'll see what he's been up to, how work life balance is, what he's been doing in his business that he had been wanting to do for the longest time. But now because of the pandemic, he was able to make it happen. Here we go. Tarun, welcome back to AskPat. How are you?
Tarun: I've been great, man. I mean, well, great is all a relative term. I've been doing pretty good. Struggling with some things still, but all in all doing much better.
Pat Flynn: That's awesome. The last time we chatted, we chatted about a lot of things as you were making decisions in your business. You were working chairside most of the time. You wanted to go online. You were starting to create more content. What have been the big things that have happened that we can get excited about since the last time we chatted?
Tarun: Well, after our call, I still struggled with many things. I still struggle with being chairside all the time. I still haven't let go of that mentally. And frankly, I still think it's important for me to be chairside to maintain some level of relevancy within my profession, especially as an educator. But I think for me, the biggest thing was that we had a big disruption in early 2020. And that disruption really forced me to make some moves online, probably moves that I've been wanting to do for years. But until that disruption came about, I didn't really make those moves. And so lots of good things have happened since that. And that's really what I want to talk about with everybody. I want to share with other people that it's okay to struggle sometimes, but that sometimes it takes disruption and you just got to keep moving forward.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean, amen to that. I mean, I was, you know the story. I was working 9:00 to 5:00, and I had a disruption happen in 2008. And that allowed me to open up to all these other opportunities that were there. Tell us a little bit about your disruption. Obviously we all know the pandemic happened, but how did that specifically affect you?
Tarun: Yeah, so with the pandemic, basically we were no longer able to do in-person workshops. It started off "two weeks to flatten the curve." And then I think it quickly became pretty evident that it was going to be much longer than two weeks. And more importantly, what became apparent to me was that every different market or different geography within the U.S. was going to have a different timetable. Some timetables were going to be a few months. Some timetables were going to be for a longer time, even up to this point. And that timetable and people's perception and how people individually handle it was going to affect how we did in-person workshops. And in-person live events accounted for 90%, 95% of our educational revenue. Luckily since education is not my primary source of income, my practice shut down for two months, so that was there.
Tarun: But I was capitalized and well prepared, having been a dentist for 20 years and having lived through 2008. It really showed me that I need to save for a rainy day, but I also wanted to continue the momentum. And I used it as a great opportunity to get online. And what we had talked about before that was a lot of overthinking on my part. And so what we decided to do was we decided just to do a live stream of one of our seminars for two full days, to record it. And then we chopped that up and turned that into our online class. And that turned out to be a lot easier for me. So there wasn't this whole ... It's like going live versus doing recorded video. When you do recorded video, you stumble, you stop, you restart, you do all of those things.
Tarun: Whereas when you go live, you just put it out there and you're forced with whatever happens. And I found that for me, that was really the best way to produce my online content. And then it was just a matter of chopping it up into bite size components. And it was so successful for us that we went ahead and did that with six other programs that we do after that one. And it has now turned into, still not as much of our revenue as I would like, but probably close to 30% of our revenue, 25 to 30% of our revenue is now online revenue. And it's a great resource for people that come to our programs to have something to go back with when they're done. For me, the disruption was being locked up essentially, and then using that as a way to do live streaming events and then turning that live stream into our online program.
Pat Flynn: That's so lovely. I love the fact that you just did what you were already doing, but just happened to turn on the recording button. Right? Because you had done live workshops before.
Tarun: Oh yeah. For 15 years.
Pat Flynn: What if you'd recorded all those?
Pat Flynn: I love how the pandemic got you going, right? What was the trigger that made you go, "we got to do this"? Was there something specific? Was it the revenue and the potential loss of revenue that finally got you going?
Tarun: I think the first thing was I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to do online programs. I wanted to get online. Okay. So that was always a goal and sure, there's a revenue concern here, but economically that hasn't been that big of a driver for me. It was more that I needed something to do. I couldn't keep sitting around. I couldn't keep just doing nothing, and I wanted to stay in the game. I wanted to stay practiced. I wanted to stay somewhat fresh. It just made sense. And honestly, it was just a matter of picking a date and committing to it, and then letting the pieces fall in place. I mean, honestly I overthought the whole picking a date part and when we were going to do it, how we were going to do it, what service were we going to use. And as soon as we picked the date and just had a few people buy it, then we're like, okay, we got to do it. And then everything fell into place.
Pat Flynn: How did you promote that first one? Was there any worry about, well, this is, we've never done online before. How are people going to be receiving it? How did you get people to fill in those virtual seats?
Tarun: Yeah, we just did our social media. Probably like everybody else within our profession, everybody was pretty active within social media, consoling each other, letting everybody know we're here for each other. And one of the challenges that we did face was so many things were no charge online for the longest time. After about three months or so, we finally made that decision that it was okay to go online or live streaming with a charge to do not just a 45 minute or one hour program, but to do a two day program. And for us, the real selling point was a dentist and the team members were back together. They were back in the office. Their practices weren't nearly as busy, but to us it was the ability for everybody to train at one time. For a lower cost, the whole entire team could train, and they had access to the recordings for six months after that.
Tarun: That's how we put it together. And the response was great. We did over six figures our first livestream event, which is much more than we expected. And frankly speaking, I was just happy to do the event just to get the recordings done, much less everything else.
Pat Flynn: The live event itself had made you six figures. Plus now you have these recordings that you can do some stuff with, use as bonuses or even sell them. That's fantastic. How much easier was the second one compared to the first one that you did?
Tarun: Much easier. The hard part of all live streaming or all Zoom events or whatever platform people are using is that you're talking to yourself. That is the hardest part. You're talking, and to maintain that energy. One of the things I did was I invited some of my team members in. I tried to keep it as normal as possible for me. And then I tried to encourage interaction, but it's hard. It's hard to speak to yourself. I mean, most of us don't like our voices anyway, so it's really hard to speak to ourself. I tried to keep it normal. I tried to keep the normal pace. I tried to take breaks. I tried to take 30 minute breaks like we would normally do. I tried to do lunch, and then we would eat lunch together. I would sit there and eat lunch on camera, but no teaching going on. We just tried to keep it as normal as possible for us.
Pat Flynn: I like that. It sounds like your other live events which is, people are watching from their homes. That's really cool.
Tarun: Yeah. We followed the formula we already knew, which was we literally kept to the exact same schedule, the exact same program, the exact same breaks, everything selfishly to make us comfortable to do it so that we didn't feel out of our element in getting online. So that was super important for us. Then once we did the first one, it was much easier to do the other ones. And then some of our other instructors wanted to come out and say, "Hey, can we do it as well?" It really propelled things moving forward. And now it's given us some capital to able to invest in doing a more professional job even though I'll argue it's pretty professional to begin with, to try different things. And it gives us more confidence really is what it boils down to.
Pat Flynn: How often are you running these now?
Tarun: Well, so now our goal is we try to offer some livestream version of many of our programs. But what we're starting to see is the livestream option is not as popular as the recorded option. I think there's a certain level of fatigue with livestream programs, certainly multiple day livestream programs where people are sitting in front of their computer for six, eight hours a day. I feel that myself. But having that option is just one more ... It reduces one level of friction for people, and it keeps you in front of them. It allows you to serve a different market. It allows you to just keep yourself in front of people and that's ... and giving a lot of options for those that maybe can't economically justify making a trip, or maybe they're not ready to make a trip. One of the other things we're seeing is a lot of times we'll see the dentists come to the program. They'll do the livestream for their team back home. That's an option as well.
Pat Flynn: That's really neat. What software and tools are you using to make this happen?
Tarun: We're currently using vMix on a Windows based system. Luckily I have a pretty nice video studio in my basement at my house. We have a three camera set up with PTZ cameras, nice wireless microphones. We've got all the infrastructure in place to do it. So we use vMix to record and bring everything live to edit. And then we external that out to, we were using Zoom when we do these as our platform.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Nice. Very cool. I love it. A blessing in disguise.
Tarun: It was much easier than I anticipated.
Pat Flynn: It usually is. Isn't it? We usually over complicate things. And that was a big theme the last time we chatted, was just the over complication of everything. Before we head out, I do want to ask you where can people learn more in case maybe they are dentists or know them? Where can they go to find these things?
Tarun: The easiest way to get in touch with me is social media at T-Bone Speaks. Website is 3d-dentists plural dot com. While my market is dentists, what I want to encourage everybody is just do it. Set a date, get on there. I got lucky and it did well. Even if it didn't do well, I got my purpose out of it. My purpose was really to record it. And it's given me a lot of confidence and another avenue of serving more people. And that's what's been important for me. The revenue certainly is important, but for me, everything's about making progress, and this really allowed me to make a lot of progress.
Pat Flynn: That's awesome. How is the work life balance at home? I know you have I think three kids the last time we chatted. How are things going there?
Tarun: I have a 15-year-old, 13-year-old, 11-year-old. It's a tough age. You'll experience that soon enough.
Pat Flynn: I'm experiencing it right now with my 11-year-old. Yeah.
Tarun: Yeah. My 11-year-old and I get along. My 15-year-old and I, we have our challenges. The pandemic was great for my work life balance because it became all life balance at that point in time. But what we have seen is that things are really returning back to being out of balance. And having experienced what balance looked like gives you greater appreciation for striving to get back to that balance. Otherwise, I didn't know what balance looked like or felt like, and I'll argue it wasn't balance. It was all one. It seems to always be one way or the other, but that's been going good. There's always things that can be better. But it's been a good transition for us.
Pat Flynn: Good. What's next for the business? Tell me about your plans and the future.
Tarun: Yeah. We bought a 10-acre retreat earlier this year, and now all of our live events are held at our 10-acre retreat. We have a live event education room there that can seat 40 people with all the AV. And then we have a luxury home that can sleep 12 to 15 people there. So now when we do our live events, we have a VIP option where people can stay on site, stay with us, interact with each other, interact with other like minded people. I cook breakfast. I cook dinner. It's really my opportunity to really connect with people. That's been great. That was-
Pat Flynn: That sounds amazing.
Tarun: I got to give a lot of credit to my wife on that. We needed to do a 1031 exchange on some real estate property. She found it and she said, "This would be perfect for what you want to do." And I said, "I don't think so." All the fears came in. I'm going to fail with it. I don't want to do it.
Pat Flynn: Overthinking it again.
Tarun: I'm very comfortable with where I'm at now. What I have now doesn't cost me any money. This certainly does cost money, but the reception to it has been phenomenal. The level of engagement that I've had has been great. I call it my happy place. When I go there and I get to coach with people and sit down with people and just talk, shoot the breeze. It's really been phenomenal. That was new this year. And then in the next month, we're going to open a nonprofit dental clinic. That's coming up. We're moving in that ... I'm young. I'm 45. But we're moving into that stage where I really want to focus on the things that make me happy and the things that I think leave a legacy for me. That's been my focus. I always believe if you just focus on what makes you happy, the economics, all of that other stuff fall into place. At least it has for me so far, and hopefully it'll continue to be that way.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Wonderful and well done. And I believe the exact same thing. I do have a couple follow-up questions about this 10-acre property.
Tarun: Sure. Absolutely.
Pat Flynn: That sounds amazing. It is a property, and there's a large house on it. And you invite your, some of your live attendees who maybe pay a little bit more to come in and stay there. What's the ticket price to stay for an event like that?
Tarun: The event is actually held at the retreat. There's two buildings there. There's what used to be a 15 car garage. The person that had it before me had a race car shop of some sort. So we converted that 15 car garage into our 40 to 50 seat training area.
Pat Flynn: With a stage there and and everything?
Tarun: We don't have a stage, but in what we do, we do a lot of hands on work and computer exercises. It's like a computer lab, but it's super nice. It's well done. That's in the second building. And then the main building is the home. And we have up to 12 to 15 people. We have events with up to 40 people or so for our live events. And up to 12 to 15 of those can choose to stay onsite with the VIP package, what we call the VIP package. It's about $1,000 more than the normal attendance package. It's all inclusive. You just show up, everything's taken care of. You walk down to the training center. We cook breakfast. Lunch is obviously taken care of with the seminar. We cook dinner. We have a full bar and drinks for those that want to do that. We have a pool. We have a hot tub. We have a nice outdoor area. We have a golf cart.
Pat Flynn: That's so cool.
Tarun: It's unique within our industry. And I'll probably argue that it's unique within most educational type of outfits. Your word is correct. It's an experience. It's an immersive experience for people that want to be around other people. Most dentists, we live in our own little bubble. We practice alone. Maybe we practice with one person. We don't really affiliate or talk to a lot of other high level individuals within our community, because unfortunately we view each other as competition, or there's not as many of high level thinking people around us. It's like summer camp is what I try to describe it as people. It's like summer camp for dental nerds. And we nerd out and we talk about practice. We talk about life, and it's been fun. We actually have a group in two weeks coming, literally just coming to all stay together. But not with any real educational program. We have one for a few hours a day, but it's really just about 15 people coming together and really getting to enjoy each other's company. It's been pretty amazing.
Pat Flynn: That sounds epic. My gears are turning for potential opportunities to do something similar because those experiences matter.
Tarun: Come on out. We'd love to host you guys.
Pat Flynn: Oh sure. That'd be great. You could teach me about taking better care of my teeth maybe too. That is epic. I absolutely love that. Maybe I will reach out to you and get more info. On the economics of that, the attendees pay for the property essentially.
Tarun: Yeah. Pretty much.
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Tarun: Yeah. Economically crosstalk it has been better than we anticipated. Look, we have to pay rent for our other training center anyway. Or for people that are doing it, we had to pay rent at a hotel. All of those things. The nice thing about this is I don't want to use the word gouge because hotels run a business too. I mean, I'm a hotel owner, so I understand that part of it. But where they really get you at a lot of these events is the food and beverage cost, the AV cost. All of those things are quite expensive, right?
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Tarun: When we have our own venue, we control all of that. We buy food. We try to support ... Almost 90% of all our stuff comes local, small businesses, local restaurants. I'm real big on trying to support local businesses. We are able to cater everything in house and all of that. So really the economics are that, I mean, it pays for itself in that sense, because what we would've spent for a hotel room, for catering, all of those things, it pretty much pays for itself. The attendee fees certainly help with that.
Tarun: So far it's been good. The question with all of those things is, can you sustain it for the length of the mortgage? Right? It's good if it pays for itself for the first six months, a year. But can you sustain it for seven years, eight years, nine years? And the other benefit is we're living in a time where real estate has an appreciation as well. Hopefully there's some appreciation with it, and it's a magnificent property. My wife proved me wrong again, that it was a great decision for us.
Pat Flynn: They usually do that to us. Don't they?
Tarun: They do. They do.
Pat Flynn: That is so cool. How far away is that from your home?
Tarun: It's about 10 minutes north of my home, and my dental office is 10 minutes south of my home. So it's a 20 minute drive.
Pat Flynn: Dude.
Tarun: It's no big deal.
Pat Flynn: That's epic.
Tarun: What's funny is I used to live two miles down the road from this place. I'll send you some pictures. If you see it, you'd think you're in the middle of nowhere, and then you two miles from a Target.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Sounds perfect actually. Sounds perfect. Well, well done crosstalk.
Tarun: There's a hotel down the street. Those that don't stay on site or those that aren't comfortable ... In the beginning, we had people that weren't comfortable staying with other people in the home. We're past that now.
Pat Flynn: Right, right.
Tarun: But some people want their own room. They want privacy. They're a little bit more secluded or whatever they are. There's a hotel literally two miles down the road that they can stay at, and then they can come in. It's fun. It's made that whole part of it. It's fun. I mean, it's a little bit more work. It affects work life balance again because I end up being there a lot. I start at 7:00 in the morning and some nights I'm not done till 11:00, 12:00 at night. But I'm doing something I love, interacting with people. I like that part.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean you're changing their lives.
Tarun: I hope. That's our intention.
Pat Flynn: I've been to events with a similar immersive experience, and it's truly life changing memories that you'll never forget. And it's incredible what you're doing. Very inspired by that. Tarun, thank you so much for coming back on-
Tarun: Thank you, Pat.
Pat Flynn: ... and for the update. 3d-dentists.com. We'll have to check in with you again and we'll talk. Maybe we'll get together at some point.
Tarun: Anything you want. I love what you're doing, and thank you for your support and inspiration to others. And hopefully we can do the same, and let's all keep up some great work.
Pat Flynn: I appreciate it, man. Take care. Happy holidays to you and your family.
Tarun: You too.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Tarun. Again, you can find his business at 3d-dentists.com. Wow. Like I said, you could see how excited I got at the end there about this idea. And it's because I had an idea that's very similar to do in the entrepreneurial space. I've actually been to some events like I was saying where I've been invited to really nice places to hang out and be with and be educated by and surround myself with some amazing people and to be able to facilitate such things. I mean, I've done this on the micro level at the SPI Accelerator retreats and stuff. But we've had to rent out Airbnbs for that, but if we had our own place, wow, that would be incredible.
Pat Flynn: Anyway, I need to stop getting new ideas because I have all these other things I've already said yes to. But hey, who knows? Maybe you might hear about something similar in the future, and I might reach out to Tarun. But anyway, Tarun, thank you so much. And thank you. And I want to wish you and your family an amazing holiday and happy new year. Here's to an amazing 2022. Thank you all so much for the support here. And please subscribe if you haven't already.
Pat Flynn: We got a couple more of these episodes coming out for you, and then some fun stuff happening in 2022 for you as well. Yeah, it's going to be awesome. And by the way, we are going to be soon bringing in a new enrollment group for SPI Pro. If ou haven't checked out SPI Pro yet, and you are an entrepreneur and you want to get by some amazingly supportive people and have Team SPI holds you accountable to your stuff and be challenged every single month and grow your business, head on over to smartpassiveincome.com/pro. We'd love to invite you to become a part of SPI Pro. You'll just find the application there. We'll make sure it's a fit for both of us, and then we'll go from there. Looking forward to seeing you in there, smartpassiveincome.com/pro. Here's to you and your success. Cheers. Thanks so much. And as always, Team Flynn for the win.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to AskPat at askpat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.