Taking The Leap

How To Be An Entrepreneur Without Quitting Your Day Job

tiny leap


If you’ve done any Google searches on marketing for physical therapists or participated in any online therapy discussions then you’ve probably noticed a movement taking shape. Everywhere you look, it seems like there are therapists embracing entrepreneurship, autonomy and lifestyle practice as never before.

Even recent therapy graduates, undeterred by huge amounts of student debt, are embarking out on their own to start up their own businesses. They are abandoning traditional clinical practice for upside opportunities of being their own boss. Promises of flexible schedules, higher incomes and a more exciting career are almost too good to pass up.

But are these therapists being led astray by a glamorized version of entrepreneurship?

Are they setting themselves up for disaster when the harsh realities of business hits them like the ALS ice water bucket challenge?

I think not.

I believe they know more than we think they do. Perhaps more experienced therapists can learn from their optimism and courage to push the envelope on new ways to deliver care.

I believe therapy entrepreneurs are the future of private practice.

Real Magic Begins With Entrepreneurs

Why Entrepreneurs Will Save Physical Therapy

Real Magic Begins With Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs. The physical therapy profession benefits from a rich history of innovators and entrepreneurs. We all have been blessed by pioneers like Florence Kendall, Robin McKenzie, Shirley Sahrmann and many more. These therapy entrepreneurs(before entrepreneurship was hip) saw health problems in their patients and despite resistance created innovative ways to solve them.

Why Entreprenuers will save

The physical therapy profession exists to make a distinctive difference in the lives of individuals and society. This is starting point and ending point of our mission–changing lives for the better. It always has and will always be the mission of our profession.

Any professional group is composed of individuals that are it’s representatives on a daily basis. It’s important for every therapist to think carefully about answering a central question.

What is my mission?

It’s such a simple question but it goes right to the heart of how our profession stays effective and relevant during these tumultuous times. Every truly great profession demonstrates the ability to preserve its core mission while it responds to changing realities.

A new reality that therapists must adapt to is how therapy services are paid for in the new healthcare economy. Without sacrificing our core mission we must adapt our educational programs, delivery methods, strategies, clinical practices, marketing, business models etc.


Why Being a Therapy Entrepreneur Makes Sense

lemonade stand

Remember the good old days in physical therapy?

Therapists relied on a stable industry with positive career growth and mobility.  PT graduates were paid a competitive salary that allowed them to pay off reasonable school loans in a realistic time.

Good jobs were abundant in choice locations and specialties. Skilled therapists were allowed the necessary time to develop their craft as patients made substantial progress.  Therapists had the environment to deeply connect with patients which often lead to a meaningful experience for both parties.

In large most therapists loved their work and encouraged the next generation to think about a career as a therapist. 

Well, times have changed. An over emphasis on cost containment is eroding away the very heart of the physical therapy profession. There are lots of therapists who are unhappy with their jobs. And apparently therapists are not the only ones.

In a recent poll by Gallup reported that only 13 percent of the world’s workers are “engaged” in their jobs. The other 87 perscent feel disconnected from work and more frustrated than fulfilled. Similarly, only 54 percent of physicians said they would select medicine as career if they had to do it over again.

Feel Small and Insignificant?

small & insignificant

Are you feeling a little bit small and insignificant? As competition for dwindling reimbursements and good jobs becomes more intense many therapists are feeling feeling undersized in the winner-take-all economy.

Mergers are happening–not just in private practice but up and down the healthcare spectrum. It seems that if you want your clinic to survive  you need to become a multi-clinic chain to just get your foot in the door.

Big data is the latest buzzword in healthcare. Governments, insurance companies and healthcare organization are all rushing to embrace large quantities of data. They are scrambling to understand the medical industry in ways they could only dream about before.

Big data with it’s high stakes data analytics threatens what many therapists value most–meaningful one on one connections with their patients. It’s easy to feel like your life’s work is just another data point.

The truth is probably all of us go through times when we feel small and insignificant.

I often feel like I don’t contribute much when I hit the publish button to send a blog post into the world wide web. When I managed my own practice there were many times when I wondered if I was making a difference. I was anxious about what to do next and if I was going to make it another year.

I felt incredibly small and anomynous.

Yoga Cash Therapy Startup -Christine Walker DPT[ff69]

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Christine Walker DPT

Does this sound like you?

Your interest in physical therapy started when you were young after you were injured as an athlete. You are working hard in your job but feel like your patients aren’t getting the care they deserve.

You’ve this nagging feeling deep in your gut that something is wrong with today’s healthcare system. There is too much emphasis on productivity and not really enough attention paid to people getting better.

You like the people you work with but you’ve always had this desire to be your own boss in the back of your mind. You’re wondering if there is a way to work full time or part time at your day job while doing your own thing on the side.

If this sounds a little bit like you then you’re not alone.  Today’s guest, Christine Walker might share part of your story. Just three years after graduating from PT school Christine started her own cash therapy practice.

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10 Tips to be a yoga therapist

Can a Niche Be Too Small? -Ben Musholt PT[ff67]

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Seth Godin, author and social media thought leader, says

“There’s no such thing as a niche that’s too small if people care enough. “

In today’s competitive healthcare marketplace it’s of vital importance that therapists don’t blend in but stand out. A clear professional brand is an important part of your success.

Your professional brand is far more than your logo, business cards or what your website looks like. It’s you–your assets, experience and personal interests.

It’s what makes you unique. It’s what you stand for and what makes you different from the rest.

Blending in and marketing yourself like other therapists can be alluring. Focusing on your specializations and the letters behind your name gives the illusion that it’s the professional way to go. But it won’t really be you and you won’t be able to fill your schedule with clients who love to work with you.

Today’s guest, Ben Musholt, has built an online platform and online business around one of his unique passions– Parkour.  The training program called Parkour uses movement to get participants from one point to another in the fastest way possible without assistive equipment. It involves running and jumping, vaulting over obstacles to name a few.

I interviewed Ben in podcast Episode #24 about his Beyond the Clinc in House Therapy Services. To learn more about Ben’s background and his day job I encourage you to listen to that episode. 

Cash Yoga Practice-Dr. Lisa Holland, Belly Guru- [FF66]

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Looking for ways to make up for the money you’re not getting paid by insurance companies?

If you are, you’re not alone. Therapists are ideally positioned to offer medical fitness services because of their expertise in movement related problems and their indepth medical education. US consumers spend $267 billion dollars on health-related products and services. Consumer interest in fitness services, dietary supplements and weight loss programs has sky rocketed.

This Month’s Theme: Discovering Your Niche

We are highlighting the importance of being category authority in a area of practice that’s your passion.  I’m convinced that when you do your best work and help people along the way you’ll be the most successful and content. A niche is where your knowledge, clinical expertise and passion enhances your professional reputation and grow your practice.

Throughout the month I will produce blog posts, podcast episodes and free downloadable resources designed to help you become a category authority and build your practice.

In a competitive marketplace the benefits of standing out and being the best–no matter your profession– are rapidly increasing. The Internet has amplified the noise so to be heard above the crowd therapists need a strong clear message of who they are and the value they offer.


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Joe Simon Podcast Icon

“The next stage of your own private practice can be decided by reflecting on your past. Tears might be shed but that’s very important to help set goals for the future. Goals for the business as well as  family.”

The quote you read above was shared by my colleague Dr. Joe Simon of Private Practice Business Academy from our recent podcast interview for my new Cash Practice Roadmap Course. We talked about a variety of topics but I mostly about timeless business principles and war stories from my experience as a private practice owner.

Joe is a devoted husband and father of two children. He’s been in private practice for over 15 years. He is an entrepreneur who is in perpetual pursuit of new opportunities in health and business. He loves helping people and he loves business. He is a highly qualified coach in helping healthcare practitioners who aim to do well in both areas.

8 Trends That Will Change Your Therapy Practice

flying hockey player

Skate to Where the Puck is Heading


The JP Morgan Healthcare Conference took place this month in San Francisco. While most of the updates you’ll find from this conference focus on public, private-equity backed and venture-backed companies, the nonprofit track of the conference focuses on hospitals — and there were some pretty interesting and consistent takeaways. What you find below is composed mostly of an article written by Vince Panozzo, Senior Vice President on Strata Decision Technology blogJanuary 14, 2016. To read the entire article go their blog. Vince Panozzo currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer at Strata Decision.

I provide my commentary to each trend that is relevant to your therapy practice guide. Most health systems know what they want to and need to do. From this point forward, it’s all about execution. I encourage you to stay agile and let go of traditional practices as these trends work their way into main street therapy clinics.


It's their job to market blog post


I had a conversation with a therapist a few months ago who was trying to get referrals to the hospital satellite clinic where she worked. The hospital had decentralized their outpatient clinics and as the leader she was charged with the responsibility of making her clinic profitable.

She now found herself in the midst of competing for referrals with other private practices, chiropractors and others selling services to healthcare consumers.

Her comment was typical of what I hear from therapists during breaks at continuing education meetings.

“It’s my job to get patients better. Doing that and all the paperwork keeps me busy. It’s their job to market not mine. Isn’t just being a great clinician good enough? Are therapists now responsible to market on top of all the other responsibilities?”

The answer to her first question is no. Being a good therapist just doesn’t cut it anymore. Having clinical expertise is essential to a successful therapy practice but it’s not enough on it’s own.  The answer to her second question is yes. You will need to be proactive about promoting your own practice and not leave that up to anyone else. You’ve put in too much hard work and money into your professional career to trust it to someone else.

An interesting side note to this story is that her clinic was across from a physician group that was a part of the same hospital network. Even though they were technically part of the same organization she had difficulty getting therapy referrals from that group.

In order for you to be successful in today’s competitive healthcare market, you need two essentials: professional expertise and a professional platform.