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Not going to lie, when I started Speech Chick Therapy 8 years old, I had NO CLUE what I was doing. I was armed with a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from TWU. No where was there an MBA hanging on my wall. There were no Facebook groups like there are now. No one even understood what I did for a living, how was I going to get advice on starting a business? If you know me, you know I like to fake it until I make it. So in 2010 to start Speech Chick Therapy. I knew what I did not want to be and what was important to me. I did not care about rules (partially a lie, I did care about some rules). Speech Chick Therapy was not going to be like any huge home health company I had worked for. My “kids” weren’t just a number or a dollar sign. People had trusted me to help their child. Their child was my child…for at least 30 minutes. You can understand the confusion when someone asks how many kids I have. Personally, I have two. Professionally, I have around 35.
Why did I think I could start my own business without a business background? Because I had the determination. I was determined that no client of mine would be a number or a dollar sign. Determined to bring hospitality and straightforwardness to areas that had been overtaken by “big business.” When I refer to “big business,” I am talking about those HUGE companies that have reported they serve a certain county in their insurance credentialing paperwork. When in realization, they have to look at a map to even find it. Since they don’t even know where it is, they have no therapist that will cover it.
I knew I lived in an area that had trouble filling school SLP positions, much less a home health caseload. Since I was familiar with the area, I knew I could fill that void. If these kids couldn’t get consistent services in the school, they could at least receive my services. I started out small. I marketed a daycare that I knew and that was familiar with me. About a year later, I got to know a pediatrician in the area. To this day, she keeps my caseload full. Around that time, a homeschool mom called me. Homeschool groups are the best word of mouth EVER! They are tightly knit group and have schedules that are typically easy to work around.
All of these years later, I am still rolling. It’s not easy. Some days I want to shut my doors and go to work for someone else. But then I remember why I started. Speech Chick Therapy was started so that I had flexibility to be with my kids. It began to help other mom’s kids communicate and flourish. I’ve only complicated things more by adding a TpT store, blog, and podcast. But I am still here…rambling about why you should start your own business. If you are interested in starting your own practice, I highly recommend Jena Castro-Casbon. She runs several private practice Facebook groups as well as “The Independent Clinician.” I wish I had known about these when I started. Both are links to Facebook pages she runs.
Here’s the part when you ask, “What do I need to do?” My answer: RESEARCH! Research everything! What is a good price for your area for private pay clients? You don’t want to be too high but you don’t want to give away your services either. How will you stand out from other practices/home health agencies? Will you go to client’s homes/daycares or will they come to you? What are your expectations-will it become your primary income or a side gig? Will you take insurance? If so, which ones?
These are all questions that need to be answered before starting out. If I were you, I would start a notebook to jot down everything that comes to mind for your practice. Carry it everywhere with you. If you get an idea on your lunch break at school, pull that notebook out and write it down. (Wow, I wish I had been that smart back in 2010 when I started my process!)
Be sure to listen to Ch. 2 of the Podcast too! I give you 5 tips to naming your practice!
Want to know where I came up with my name? Check out this blog post!