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Exclusive: How a Date Inspired Dr Lauretta Justin to Become an Optometrist

Dr. Lauretta Justin is famous for her mission to Empower, connect, and promote women Optometrists' success. She uses her unique practical and down-to-earth approach to communicate the importance of having the right mindset to get the right results.

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She is the founder and CEO of Millennium Eye Center. She’s the creator of the CEO of You® business consulting program, featured in Women in Optometry Magazine. She is the founder and CEO of Optometry Divas®, the country’s premier professional organization for women Optometrists. She is also a 2020 graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business (10KSB) Program at Babson College.

We asked her questions about her Inspiring Journey. Her humble beginnings will inspire you. What motivated you to start Millennium Eye Center? How did the idea come about?

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When I was in college, I started dating this young man. When he went to get his driver’s license, he didn’t pass the vision test. After many doctor visits and much testing, he was diagnosed with a congenital condition that would cause him to be legally blind for the rest of his life.

His situation was very intriguing to me as I had perfect vision. At that time, I didn’t know that there was a whole group of people in the legal blindness category. They aren’t totally blind, but glasses or contacts couldn’t help them. This got me interested in eye care and Optometry.

Long story short, I’ve now been married for over 23 years to that same young man. Having a husband who is legally blind gives me a dual perspective. I know what’s it’s like when someone can’t see, and I know the privilege of having a great vision. As a result, I can emphasize better with my patient.

I did a video on this. Watch it Here:

What was your mission at the beginning of starting your business?

From the beginning, we’ve always had just one mission – to mentor, empower and care for our patients so they can maintain a 20/20 vision for life.

What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?

I attribute the success of my practice to the following three key concept:

1. Having a winning mindset because your mindset determines your feelings, which determines your actions and, ultimately your results. Having a winning mindset is essential and is the very 1st step to success. This is the part that most of us don’t like to do, but it’s the foundation for everything.

2. The second step is having a winning strategy. Only with the right strategy can you get the right results. Everybody in business has a strategy, even if they’re not aware of it. However, unless you create a sound strategy, your success will be limited. It took me many years to find a strategy that worked. Had I had a mentor, coach, or consultant initially, it would’ve saved me a lot of time and money.

3. The third step is having a winning team. Even with the most positive mindset and best strategy, your success will be limited to the weakest link on your team. I learned that lesson the hard and expensive way. So be very strategic about who you select to be part of your team. Your success depends on it.

When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.

When time gets tough, I go back to my why. Then I confide in my team, and we come up with a plan together.

Employees are one of the most important players to succeed in business. What do you look for in an employee?

When looking for an employee, my first step is to look for an expert in their field—someone who can do the job better than me. The next step is to select the expert who fits my company culture from the candidates. Skill first, heart second. After many stressful, expensive years of doing the opposite, I finally realized it’s best to find skilled candidates first, then select the best fit from that list.

What is unique about your business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?

We take a holistic approach to eye care by offering services like Myopia Control and homeopathic therapy to our patients.

Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?

The way we handle disappointed patients is to acknowledge any fault of our own, then ask the patient to work with us and come up with a fair solution to their situation.

Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for Millennium Eye Center? If so, how did you stumble upon it?

Established patient refers 24% of new patients. Word of mouth is still our best marketing funnel.

Is there any resource or resources that helped you on your journeyJourney to becoming a business owner?

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program took my business to a whole other level!

What are the best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?

Identify the following five things in your plan 1st before you do anything. These steps are essential to help you begin with the right mindset:

i, Your core beliefs and limiting beliefs

ii. Your core values

iii. Your mission

iv. Your vision

v. Your purpose

It will take some time to identify these core mindset pillars. You must be willing to go into your heart and be uncomfortably honest with yourself. But if you choose to do this, you would’ve done 80% of the work towards success!