Resources to Start (and Grow) Your OT Business

Start and grow your occupational therapy 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).

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to try a free OT CEU from us, click here.

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.

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
  • Compliance
  • Healthcare reform
  • Leadership, communication, and company culture
  • Marketing
  • Revenue diversification
  • Technology

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

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.

Iris Kimberg, MS PT, OTR

Iris Kimberg, MS PT, OTR

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

Tomeico Faison is an occupational therapist and small business coach.

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!”

Jena Casbon, SLP- The Independent Clinician

Jena Casbon is a speech therapist who helps fellow therapists start their own private practice!

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:

Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L- Holistic OT

Emmy Vadnais is a holistic occupational therapist who helps fellow therapists start their own practices.

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:

Scott Harmon, OT

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. 

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.

Join the OT Entrepreneurs FB group to connect with fellow OTs!

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.

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!

Website builders

Practice Promotions is a business specifically dedicated to helping therapists build private practice websites!

SEO Resources

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.

OT Potential’s blog post on marketing your OT Practice!

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.)

Conclusion

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!

27 replies on “Resources to Start (and Grow) Your OT Business”

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!

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!

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.
Thanks!!

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!

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.

Sarah,

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
Monica@agingwithaloha.com

Hi Monica!
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!

Best,
Sarah

First off,
WOW! what a plethora of helpful information.
and second,
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.

  • Michael

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.

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.

Sincere regards,

Keith Tisdell, OT/L

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.

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