Resources to Start (and Grow) Your OT Business
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 niches we can fill to serve our clients.
There are even plenty of ways to leverage our experience to help other OT professionals thrive in their own careers.
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!
I’ve been blogging for over six years now, and in that time 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).
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 Cash-Based Practice Podcast | Dr. Jarod Carter, PT
The Cash PT Lunch Hour | Aaron LeBauer, PT
Functional Freedom Podcast | Paul Potter, PT
Health, Wealthy and Smart | Karen Litzy, PT, DPT
Seniors Flourish Podcast | Mandy Chamberlain, MOTR/L
Speech Therapy Private Practice Start-up | J. Kyle Meades, CCC-SLP
Start at Therapy Practice Podcast | Scott Harmon, OT
Therapy Insiders Podcast | UpDoc Media
If you are looking for even more guidance in fleshing out your idea, Jen Gash has a fantastic ebook, Selling OT: From Random Idea to Unique Value Proposition.
This encouraging and inspiring book was written specifically for OTs, and it helps you think through critical initial questions like:
What is my unique value proposition?
Who will my customers be?
How can I create a minimal viable product?
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.
Just a few of the topics covered include:
Billing and accounts receivable
Leadership, communication, and company culture
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 a few therapists who can help you take your business to the next level!
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!
In addition to consulting and one-on-one coaching, some of her most popular offerings include:
WHOT Business Academy: A supportive and inspirational membership community to help you build your women's health practice while balancing your own healing journey. Members have access to a combination of masterclasses, group coaching, business resources, special guest interviews, and a private Facebook group.
Visionaries on Fire: A nine-month mastermind group filled with thought leaders and change-makers in the women's health industry.
Strong Beginnings - An OT's Journey in Perinatal Health: This is a self-paced online program designed to give you the tools and resources to confidently grow your practice in prenatal/postnatal health.
Iris is a 34-year 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 on her two websites: www.nytherapyguide.com and www.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.
To date, she has worked with over 470 therapists, and has helped bring over two dozen practice sales to fruition.
Tomeico Faison, OT
Here’s Tomeico’s story in her own words:
“From as early as I can remember, I have been enthusiastic about entrepreneurial endeavors. Born to teenage parents, who later divorced, I saw entrepreneurship as a way to help out the family financially in middle school. My first business was a tutoring and babysitting business that became so lucrative that my family decided to take over it.”
“As an adult, my love for entrepreneurship continued to grow. In spite of the vocation I chose, I was always led back to entrepreneurship. I have been an occupational therapist since 2001, helping others participate in meaningful daily occupations in spite of disability status. After working two years as an employee in a psychiatric hospital, I started Therapeutic Solutions, an occupational therapy business. My business was created for two reasons: I saw a need for occupational therapy consultative services for older persons with developmental disabilities and I needed a flexible schedule due to having a premature infant.”
“Therapeutic Solutions has now been in business for over 15 years offering innovative specialty services to include but not limited to, low vision rehab, mental health recovery services, home care services, domestic violence counseling and group home consultation. Therapeutic Solutions has grown the low vision division of the business from scratch with one referring provider in 2012 to currently over 90 referring eye doctors across the state, with six therapists providing in home low vision rehab services. The low vision division is still expanding with a mission to be a globally recognized leader with a model that can be easily replicated to serve this underserved population.”
“Although Therapeutic Solutions has successfully developed work in niche specialized markets, navigating the business systems of these markets has not always been easy. Therefore, I am a dedicated educator and advocate for the success of current and aspiring entrepreneurs in health and human service fields who want to serve underserved populations. I understand the frustrations that many therapists have in some traditional settings that focus on productivity and profit more than service and improving quality of life which results in less than optimal practice. I also believe that God has gifted me in the area of entrepreneurship in order to help create businesses with higher ethical standards.”
“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!”
Daphne Scott, PT
I am a huge fan of Daphne’s weekly email. Daphne is a physical therapist and leadership coach. Her focus is on coaching and developing leadership skills, rather than walking you through the nitty gritty of setting up a business. While she tends to work with larger organizations anyone taking on a leadership role at any level is wise to pay attention to the “soft” leadership skills she teaches about.
Since 2008, Jena has helped OTs, SLPs, and PTs who are looking for more flexibility, clinical freedom, and higher income start their own private practices, step-by-step.
For OTs who are looking to start their own private practice (either full-time or "on the side"), Jena offers free and paid resources to help walk clinicians through the entire process.
Jena's available resources:
The Private Practice Mini Course: This FREE course is great for those just starting to explore private practice
The Guide to Private Patients: This is ideal for beginners who need help with setting up their practice and getting their first clients
The Guide to Creating a Web Presence for Your Private Practice: This is ideal for those looking to grow the online presence of an existing practice
The Guide to Setting Your Hourly Rate: We all struggle with setting rates, and this is so helpful––plus, it comes with a rate-setting calculator
Aaron LeBauer runs his own successful cash-based practice and helps physical therapists and occupational therapists do the same.
In addition to his podcast, mentioned above, he has a course to walk therapists step by step through the process.
Here's what Aaron has to say about his course: The CashPT Blueprint is the premier online training program for passionate occupational therapists who want to achieve success in the cash-based therapy model.
(Disclaimer: I have an affiliate relationship with Aaron for this course.)
Paul helps therapists gain professional and personal freedom while doing the work they love. On his website, paulpotterpt.com, you will find:
Inspiration and practical guidance on creating a lifestyle practice through content, courses, and coaching
Time-tested business wisdom combined with current trends to provide fresh perspective and resources to help therapists reinvent their professional careers.
The Cash Therapy Success Course provides step by step guidance to launch a cash practice from scratch
You can also find resources from Paul in the OT Potential Marketplace.
Jamey teaches practice owners such as PTs, OTs, and Chiropractors how to automate their practices. This allows them total freedom by having their team and the processes in place manage the day-to-day operations. This includes an understanding of the four areas of business:
At his website, jameyschrier.com, you will find coaching resources, a video series, and the chance to join a year-long mastermind group.
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.
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.
Emmy’s available resources:
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.
Social groups to for OT entrepreneurs to join
Support and camaraderie are key when you’re building a business, so here are some of the top social media groups for you to join to connect with other therapists.
Books for OT entrepreneurs to read
Here are books that members of our OT Entrepreneurs FB group recommended as being critical to their own business journey.
Playing Big |Tara Mohr
Smartups (Street-Smart Start-ups) | Rob Ryan
Profit First | Mike Michalowicz
The E-Myth Revisited | Michael E. Gerber
The Small Patient Practice | Jeanine Gregoire Colburn, DPT
Building a StoryBrand | Donald Miller
The 4 Disciplines of Execution | McChesney, Covey and Huling
The 4 Hour Work Week | Timothy Ferriss
Eat That Frog | Brian Tracy
The Miracle Morning | Hal Elrod
Website building resources
Having a great website is a tremendous asset to your business. Building OT Potential has been life changing for me, and has become a business unto itself.
I’m very passionate about helping fellow OTs build their own websites either for their private practice or other entrepreneurial endeavor.
If you are are beginning the website creation process, I encourage you to check out my yearly contest, The Best OT Website. This contest was created to spotlight some of the best OT websites out there so we can all learn from them!
SEO stand for search engine optimization, which essentially amounts to the best practices you can use to make sure that the people looking for your services/website actually find them.
Here are two of my most trusted SEO gurus:
Marketing your OT business
I don’t know why, but I love marketing.
Or maybe I love what marketing is becoming, which is simply building relationships.
If you taken to to explore major shift we are seeing in marketing right now, I recently listened to Krista Tippet interview Seth Godin and the discussion is well worth your time!
For some more concrete ins and outs, you can check out my blog post Marketing Your OT Practice.
If you are looking for someone to help you with SEO and other aspects of digital marketing, I highly recommend Aaron Treguboff, who I consult with. Aaron is one fo the digital marketing strategists at WebPT, but also does freelance consulting. You can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discounts for OT businesses
I love tracking down discounts for you all!
If you have five or more therapists working for your, please remember that you can get a group discount on MedBridge through the MedBridge Enterprise plan. (I am a MedBridge affiliate.)
If you are interested in doing a demo of WebPT, you can save $100 if you end up subscribing when you use my link. (I am also a WebPT affiliate.)
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. I hope to keep this post up to date as new resources come out!