The occupational therapy profession depends on entrepreneurs—not only to drive innovation and improve the quality of our care, but also to keep the profession itself moving forward.
The rapidly changing healthcare landscape means there are always new opportunities for us, and there is no shortage of private practice niches we can fill to serve our clients.
Entrepreneurship is exciting and fulfilling, and it takes you on a journey that is unlike anything else you will ever experience.
But, taking that plunge can be downright scary—and justifiably so!
In the 10 years I’ve been an entrepreneur myself, I’ve seen multiple OT businesses come and go. I’ve watched readers excitedly charge down the path of practice ownership, only to have life take them in another direction.
And that’s why many people stop short of diving into entrepreneurship: the unknown factors and risks can make even the bravest of souls think twice about whether it’s worth it.
Luckily, I’ve witnessed a major sea change over the past few years.
While we business owners used to be largely left to our own devices, we now enjoy access to countless resources and experts to help us get our business ideas off the ground in the first place—and then take them to the point of thriving.
There are countless facets to starting a business, and it’s unrealistic to imagine we can be experts in everything from day one.
So, why not leverage the expertise of those therapists who have done it already?
That’s why I rounded up resources for occupational therapists who are interested in starting and growing a business. I limited this list to resources that are produced by fellow therapists (OTs, PTs, and SLPs).
What will 2023 hold for private practice OT?
The resources that you will find below in this blog post have been assembled over many years. And, many of these resources have withstood the test of time.
But, each new year also brings new challenges and opportunities.
So, before you dive in below here is my conversation with Doug Vestal about starting an OT private practice in 2023:
Nurturing your OT business idea
If your business idea is in incubation, there are great resources out there to get your creative juices flowing.
The therapy podcasts listed below all focus on the business of therapy, and feature interviews with therapists who have been in the trenches growing their own practices.
- The Brave OT Podcast | Carlyn Neek, OT
- Health, Wealthy and Smart | Karen Litzy, PT, DPT
- Mind Your OT Business | Laura Park Figueroa
- (Laura recently started the Therapy in The Great Outdoors Podcast)
- OTs Get Paid | Trish Williams, OT
- OTs Gone Rogue | Melissa LaPointe, OT
- OTs in Pelvic Health | Lindsey Vestal, OTR/L
- The Cash-Based Practice Podcast | Dr. Jarod Carter, PT
- The Cash PT Lunch Hour | Aaron LeBauer, PT
- Therapy Entrepreneurs and Leaders of Color | Tomeico Faison
I also highly recommend following the WebPT blog, which covers pretty much everything OTs would need to know about starting, running, and growing their practices.
Here are books that members of our OT Entrepreneurs FB group recommended as being critical to their own business journey.
- BE 2.0 (Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0): Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company | Jim Collins
- Dare to Lead | Brene Brown
- Profit First | Mike Michalowicz
- The Small Patient Practice | Jeanine Gregoire Colburn, DPT
- The Prepared Leader | Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten
Consultants and coaches who help you launch and grow your OT business
Once you are ready to launch or grow your business, you may desire more in-depth or one-on-one help.
Whether you are looking for an ebook, a mastermind, a coach, or a consultation, there is someone out there to help. Here are a few therapists who can help you take your business to the next level!
Tomeico Faison, OT
Here’s Tomeico’s mission in her own words:
“As a business consultant and coach, my goal is to partner, guide and support health and human service entrepreneurs so that they can freely provide quality services in their dream businesses while still making a profit—it is possible. It is my hope that more therapists and health care providers will start more businesses that focus on serving and meeting unmet needs and I am available to help make that happen!”
Laura Park Figueroa
Laura Park Figueroa is a business coach who works with pediatric practitioners who want to start profitable nature-based outdoor businesses. Her own nature-based practice, Outdoor Kids OT, quickly grew to multiple 6-figures in revenue and has been profitable every single year.
If you’re interested in taking your work with children outdoors into nature, join the free Therapy in the Great Outdoors Community for tons of nature-based therapy resources and support!
Scott Harmon, OT – Start a Therapy Practice
StartaTherapyPractice.com is a place for therapists already in private practice or interested in starting a practice.
Scott offers a podcast, blog, ebooks, free forms, and tools.
Iris Kimberg, MS PT, OTR
Iris is a veteran in the business end of the therapy world. She grew her own practice (from scratch) into a $14M multi-branch therapy company that she sold to a Fortune 500 Company.
She now consults privately with therapists across the country and also offers affordable workbooks, live and on-demand webinars, and generic business-related templates for contracts and forms. You can find her materials at privatepracticeopportunitiesandguidance.com.
Iris’ goal is to help therapists set up fiscally and legally sound practices, as well as offer actionable ideas on how best to strategically grow and eventually sell private practices.
Melissa LaPointe, OT
When you’re building a business, you need inspiration, guidance, and support, and Melissa provides all of these things.
She’s an OT-turned mindset coach and consultant who works specifically with therapists—and you will not regret working with her! She’ll help you to be more strategic with your time, more in tune with your intuition, more focused with your energy and more confident with your numbers.
Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L- Holistic OT
Emmy helps health care practitioners who would like to integrate holistic/integrative health care into their practices—or begin a private practice with a holistic/integrative, prevention, or health and wellness approach.
She has been studying and practicing holistic/integrative health care for nearly 20 years. She has provided care in both mainstream health care and holistic/integrative health care settings, and now blends the two.
Through her business, Holistic OT, her mission is to bring holistic/integrative health care into mainstream health care. She provides coaching/mentoring, individual sessions, continuing education, and guidance for OTs and health care practitioners on how to integrate these approaches into their practices–– whether in private practice, as coaches or consultants, or in employed positions.
Doug Vestal, PhD
Doug helps OTs start and grow thriving Private Pay practices so they can attain treatment freedom, time
freedom and money freedom.
Doug and his wife built a highly successful OT private pay practice in NYC which allowed them to payoff their student loan debt, save for retirement and achieve occupational choice without burnout.
For OTs looking to remove the treatment shackles of insurance, Doug offers both paid and free
resources, through Freedom of Practice, to learn how to price your services with confidence, develop authentic marketing plans based on relationship building and operate your OT business smoothly.
You can learn with Doug with these resources:
- The OT Freedom Foundation Checklist – A FREE checklist of the 13 steps you need to legitimize your OTPrivate Pay business.
- The OT Private Practice One Page Business Plan – A FREE video training on how to create a simple one-page business plan for your OT Private Pay practice with the 5 most critical components.
- The Freedom of Practice School – It’s no secret that OT school doesn’t teach business skills. The Freedom of Practice School fixes this with weekly, free videos, released specific to OT business.
- Private Pay MBA – The fastest way to build your OT Private Pay practice – guaranteed. A step-by-step online and group coaching program tailored specifically to OTs wanting to start their own Private Pay practice.
Trish Williams, OT
Trish loves to help transform OT Entrepreneurs from therapists stuck in hustle mode to strategic, organized and confident business owners. Whether you are an OT providing services, courses, products or programs, Trish is ready to meet you where you are at today and guide you to where you want to be in the future of your business.
Trish is your Biz Bestie Coach who will train and empower you to become an OT who Gets Paid, by increasing your profit, clarity and impact. Trish’s vision is to let OTs know you can love what you do, serve others and make money, by putting more money into the hands of female-identifying OTs.
Check out Trish Williams Consulting to learn more.
Website building resources
Having a great website is a tremendous asset to your business. Building OT Potential has been life changing for me.
I’m very passionate about helping fellow OTs build their own websites either for their private practice or other entrepreneurial endeavors.
If you are beginning the website creation process, I encourage you to check out our occupational therapy websites blog. This page showcases websites from OTs around the world.
I also encourage you to consider if you can start without full website. Maybe you just need a landing page, like the one bundled with with Therabyte. Then once your business has been validated, you can consider the help of someone like Corey Hiben.
Corey Hiben, OT/L
Corey is an OT turned healthcare marketer, with a focus on building websites. You can check out his portfolio of work on his website.
Copywriting and Marketing for Your OT business
Once your company is launched, the work of marketing and bringing in leads can feel like a full time job unto itself. Luckily there are several OTs, who are focused on helping you with this stage of your business as well!
Krista Frahm, MOT/L
Krista helps clinicians diversify their income and increase their impact through human-centered, conversion-focused copywriting. (Yes, your marketing can be ethical, authentic, and effective!)
Her copywriting specialties include sales pages, email marketing, and launch strategy for clinicians with online courses, coaching programs, memberships and mentorships.
She has 10 years of clinical OT experience, working with adults from the ICU to outpatient and every setting in between. After moving to a rural area with limited career and childcare options, she started Krista Frahm Agency and began supporting clinicians who are serving clients in innovative ways.
- Sales Page Tip Sheet — Increase sales with simple, effective changes to your sales page
- Website in a Weekend — Template + course to get your new OT business online without the headache.
- Uncommon OT Podcast interview — get to know Krista
Jenny Gill, MS OTR
If you’re an OT business owner, Jenny is here to turn your word vomit into words & ideas of marketing magic. As an outpatient OT-turned-copywriter, Jenny dove into the world of online entrepreneurship and launched Jenny Gill Copywriting.
Her signature offer is a Brand Message Intensive that gives you the clarity and words that sell your brand across your marketing efforts. And if you’re looking for a website that captures the voice of your brand, her services include website consulting and done-for-you website copy that gets found in Google while connecting with the hearts of ideal clients.
Forever a believer in the value of OT, Jenny views marketing and communication as the key to sharing that value. That’s why she offers training and resources tailored to the needs of OT business owners who want to confidently build an online presence that shares their message and services with the world.
Just like a first impression, the first line of copy is the most important. Grab the free Hooks, Headlines and Subject Line Idea Guide to nail that opening line so you get more opens, reads, and views for every piece of content.
Courtney Smith, OT/PT
Courtney is an experienced OT and copywriter who has made it her goal to help OT business owners find their voice and thrive in the often overwhelming world of online marketing. She pursued this work after realizing that many of her colleagues were giving up on their entrepreneurial dreams. Although they had wonderful business ideas, they couldn’t figure out how to attract an audience, build relationships, or sell in ways that were effective yet natural.
With her resources, you will learn the ins and outs of email and content marketing and set up systems that simplify the process so that you can focus on making an impact on the community you aim to serve.
Grab your free Healthcare Marketing Toolkit for Practice Owners, Coaches, and Course Creators to create or polish up your marketing strategy in just a matter of minutes.
Then, learn more about how Courtney can help your business grow at www.theofficeoncall.com.
For some more concrete ins and outs on marketing, you can check out our full blog post on the topic: Marketing Your OT Practice.
I’m incredibly passionate about seeing fellow OTs pursue entrepreneurship. I hope this article has been helpful to you as work toward making your dreams a reality.
If I am missing any resources that have helped you grow your occupational therapy business, please let me know in the comments.
32 replies on “Resources to Start (and Grow) Your OT Business”
Thank you for such an amazing post, Sarah! I can’t wait to get started with all of these wonderful resources.
Thanks, Jaime! Are you taking on private clients or have you been working on your website? Or a different venture?
Also! Do you know Iris? She is from your neck of the woods!
This is a very nice post, thanks for sharing, it’s very helpful.
Thanks for this list! I’m a business book and podcast junkie and I didn’t know about a lot of these resources. Can’t wait to explore more.
Once again, I google something OT related and Sarah Lyon is to my rescue! 🙂 Thank you so much for creating and maintaining OT Potential. I want to open my own practice in a few years, and this information is wonderful!
Ha! Thank you, Steve! Have you joined our Facebook group occupational therapy entrepreneurs? It is one of my favorite corners of the internet. https://www.facebook.com/groups/otentrepreneurs/
I didn’t see this resource listed, but thought this would be helpful; It was for me: J. Kyle Meades, CCC-SLP has a great podcast specializing in speech therapy private practice: Speech Therapy Private Practice Startup Podcast
Hi John! This podcast looks awesome and has some great reviews! I finally got it added to the post. Thank you so much for the recommendation!
Love your posts and emails but this is my favorite of all. Thanks, Sarah!
Ahhhh! Thank you, Aileen! It is such a privilege to be able to create resources for fellow OTs and this is a topic that I am particularly passionate about!
Hi!! Great post!! Great resources!! I’m in Texas & been doing home health with peds (mostly Medicaid). From your list do you recommend a specific business guide to help grow my field? I didn’t see any specific peds areas but may have missed it. I’ve been practicing for 20 yrs, mostly HH & some yrs in schools to fill in gaps. Prefer to expand (or keep it flowing) my HH area.
Ohhh! Good question. I don’t know of anyone who specializes in HH practices, but Scott Harmon runs his own pediatric clinic and I bet that most of Jena Casbon’s customers are in pediatrics. Might be worth messaging both of them to see if they could help you! Good luck!
Thanks! I will contact those 2!
Thanks again for all your resources!
Great post Sarah! So much excellent advice and resources. The marketing part is my strongest and most fun! Happy to be a resource in that section and for the readers.
I have been passively following your page for a couple years now & decided that its time to get outta by comfort shell and be more vocal!
Thank you so much for the heart and soul you put into OTPotential and being my cup of courage as I enter this oh so exciting yet scary world of entrepreneurship.
These resources are great and I am stoked to dive into some serious business development homework!
I am in the works of building my online platform addressing various aspects of healthy aging. Any general advice for someone who is new the blog world ( in both writing and participating) and general advice on things that worked for you while developing a strong foundation?
Thanks so much, aloha!
Monica Quehl OTR/L
It means the world to me to have you as a reader! And, I’m so excited for you to enter into the wonderful world of entrepreneurship and blogging!
My #1 piece of advice is to be persistent and just keep learning as much as you can. I love it because it is so multi-dimensional. With any given task, I might get called upon to use the techie side of my brain, or the creative side, or the empathetic side, etc. etc.
Please keep us posted on how things progress for you!
WOW! what a plethora of helpful information.
WOW! Thank you for the direction and insight. Here is to the start of something great.
Questions, I’m an entrepreneur with a B.S. in Exercise Science and almost ten years in the industry. I got burnt out, left to go serve to do humanitarian aid work overseas. When I came back home to the U.S., I didn’t see a future in the fitness industry. So I found a new home in Advertising / Marketing agencies for the last five years.
Exercise Science, Fitness, and working with people in this capacity remains a passion for me. I’m now 38yrs old and debating going back to school for my MS in Kinesiology.
1) Can I become an OT with an undergrad in Exercise Science and a Masters in Kinesiology?
2) What is the minimum amount of experience I need to start my own practice?
I’d like to take everything I’ve learned in Marketing & Advertising and apply it with my passion for helping people physically and create my own business. Any help or advice anyone can provide me would be amazing.
Hey Michael! Great questions! Time may be of the essence for you- as it sounds like your main obstacle to getting started will be whether your undergrad classes still count. I bet your undergrad degree contained many necessary pre-reqs, but I know for my OT program that pre-reqs have to have been completed in the past 10 years. So, first step for you would be to look into specific programs you are interested in and see their requirements. There may be some out there that don’t have the 10 year cap! Beyond that I think you will be well prepared for private practice with your background. In general, people do recommend that you work at another facility/clinic first, but I do know new grads who have successfully transitioned to private practice. I think with all of the coaches in our industry that there are ways to get mentorship and draw on others’ experiences other than working a traditional job to start with.
Oh! And I literally have blog post coming out next week on how to become an OT, so be sure to check back!
I am a college student planning on majoring in entrepreneurship in hopes of starting a private practice. However, I am starting to question if that would be a good major and if I would be prepared for OT school. Do you have any suggestions on what should be my major(s) or minor(s)?
Ohhhh good question! I’ve actually been thinking about this recently because I just published this article on How to Become and OT: https://otpotential.com/blog/become-an-occupational-therapist
My personal advice, is simply to pursue what ever major is most interesting to you right now! I really believe that any path can be a great path to OT, and you can learn what you need to along the way! (Obviously still get your pre-reqs in of course 🙂
You could be a dance major and still be a great private practice OT.
I was a religion major and the critical thinking skills I learned have helped me so much as an OT.
I’m also reading a book right now, which is influencing my thinking on this called "Range: Why generalists triumph in specialized world," which might be interesting for you!
Hi Sarah, I would like to start my own business and have been looking into vocational rehab as a means of getting client referrals. Do you have any resources that can help me in that direction? The information on the VR website is very limited and geared more toward clients than vendors. Thanks!
Hi Sarah, I have been an OT for 19 years and always entertained the idea of going out on my own. I am in the process of becoming a provider for the Gardiner Scholarship (Step up for Students) in Florida. Do you have any creative ways on how to network? I have reached out to a few organization including the pretty substantially large church we attend. Churches typically have families that have either adopted or provide foster care and as I am sure you know many of these families need OT. I feel like the area that I am living in is pretty underserved. Do you have any suggestions about going forward beyond what I have mentioned? I appreciate any information that you have to offer.
Keith Tisdell, OT/L
Wow! Congrats on your work, Keith! Sounds like you have a great mission. I think the best place to brainstorm ideas for you would be in our OT Entrepreneurs group, so we can get some more OT minds on this: https://www.facebook.com/groups/otentrepreneurs/
Hello Sarah, my name is Reyes Nino and I owned a staffing agency for 14 years. I sold my company to a large publicly traded company. After working for that company as an area director I blew the dust off my PTA license and began working as an independent contractor. I have enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of working when and where I want. I utilize agreements similar to those used by my staffing agency and charged agency rates for my services. I wrote a book that shows other therapist how to properly operate as an independent contractor. I hope you don’t mind me sharing but my website is https://www.independenttherapist.com. I believe it is a great resource for any PT, PTA, OT, COTA or SLP wanting to work as an independent contractor.
Hi Sarah – great article! I’m putting together a panel on OT entrepreneurs to feature at the AOTA Inspire annual conference. Would you have time to discuss? Thank you!
Hey Katie! Totally! Do you want to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
I found this article incredibly informative and interesting! Would anyone be open to presenting to my Student Occupational Therapy Association club?
Thank you for putting these all together in one place!
HI Sarah and happy new year!
Thank you for keeping this blog post alive. There are many therapists who reference it when they reach out to me. 2023 is already starting out as a very busy year for therapists starting, growing and selling their practices and I am happy to be service to so many in our industry.