There is a common dissatisfaction among therapists with very traditional, very busy practices. Mega-practices with enormous overheads are employing large numbers of therapists in high-volume, hamster-wheel clinics. There is also growing trend among healthcare providers to jump off the high volume treadmill for a more satisfying experience.
Innovative primary care doctors, nurse practioners and therapists are escaping the hamster-wheel starting micropractices. As a result they are finding professional and financial freedom never dreamed possible.
In large practices therapists are expected to crank through patients like a factory worker cranks out widgets. The problem is that neither therapists nor patients are widgets. When therapists are forced to pack out their schedules they feel like they hardly get to know their patients and quality care goes by the wayside.
After a couple of years of hamster-wheel production, therapists feel like their careers aren’t going anywhere and look for something different. Unfortunately, simply changing locations or clinical emphasis doesn’t deal with the organization’s underlying business model or values.
The mega-practice business model causes constant pressure on producers to see the maximum number of patients to cover the huge amount of expenses. Therapist’s career aspirations get lost in the daily overload and overwhelm.
But what’s a therapist to do?
Do therapists in high volume clinics have any options?
I believe we do have options so please read on!
What’s A Micropractice?
A micropractice is a very lean business that capitalizes on the provider’s knowledge and skill to deliver a service or product. A micropractice utilizes technology to reach and help ideal clients. A micropractice streamlines workflows to keep overhead low and profits high.
Read that paragraph again.
It doesn’t say anything about having to launch a traditional brick and mortar private practice. A micropractice isn’t a smaller version of tradional private practice. A micropractice starts with the essential elements needed to deliver exceptional quality services and products in the most efficient way possible.
To have a micropractice doesn’t always mean that you have to quit your job to venture out on your own. Some practitioners will launch a private practice clinic but it’s not a requirement. Some therapists don’t desire to totally leave traditional models of care with a steady paycheck and interaction with colleagues. Therapists are reinventing “full-time employment” with several part-time jobs that allow them to purse the career and lifestyle they desire.
Some therapists are launching profitable micro-businesses without having to quit their full time jobs. Dr. Lisa Holland PT opened her cash based yoga therapy center for new mothers while being employed in a large hospital. Dr. Lisa has since grown her Belly Guru brand of yoga therapy to include coaching women to become the CEO of their own lives.
A micropractice can allow you to have the best of both worlds. Let’s look at three reasons why you might consider starting a micropractice.
3 Reasons You Should Start A Micropractice
1. You Don’t Have To Spend Boatloads Of Money
Most therapists venturing out on their own know that it will be financially challenging. Therapists are willing to take risks to have more time with each patient to do their best work. Starting a micropractice reduces the amount of risk and allows the practice to grow at a sustainable rate.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, new PT graduates begin their careers with an average of $96,000 in student loans. A new grad’s starting salary will usually be in the $60-70,00o range. According to Katie Choe in New Grad PT blog, to pay off this debt in 10 years, will require a monthly loan payment close to $1,400/mo. (25% of gross salary)
Therapists with large student debt who have a desire to be their own boss will need to be as frugal as possible. They should try their best not to take on any more debt especially to start a new business.
Starting a side hustle or part-time gig while working a full time job might be one of the best ways to pay down on your loans. I cannot think of a better way to parlay your investment in professional degree by turning it into a service or product that solve a consumer’s health problem.
Rather than opening up a traditional private practice, therapists are launching micropractices. Micropractices use a business model where the focus is on a positive cash flow by operating with no staff members and relying heavily on technology. Micropractice owners are finding low-cost space in fitness centers, sharing offices with other medical practitioners or working out of their own or patients’ homes.
Therapists are negotiating with current employers to launch a win-win micropractice. In this era of declining reimbursement employers are looking to diversify income streams with cash based services. Micropractices that maximize ROI utilizing existing staff and facilities are extremely desirable by owners. Cash-based services can be offered in non-peak appointment times or even after hours.
2. You Don’t Have To Quit Your Job
In 2003, Steve Jobs launched Apple’s iTunes Store and the music industry has never been the same. Music consumers and artists are no longer dependent on industry gatekeepers to find and do business with each other.
According to RR Bowker, traditional and self-publishing outlets publish over one million new books every year in the U.S. alone. Approximately two thirds are self-published. Self-publishing books and videos through websites such as Amazon’s CreateSpace and YouTube are here to stay.
Therapists are joining thousands of content creators generating income online by going directly to consumers and other healthcare professionals. There are many free and easy tools on the Internet for do-it-yourself creatives to turn their professional expertise into profitable services or products.
Ben Musholt is a physical therapist, co-founder of Beyond the Clinic rehab practice. Ben’s personal interests include parkour, free running and martial arts. In 2012 he was a contestant on television show American Ninja Warrior.
Ben turned his personal passions and professional degree into a profitable side hustle. From his blog he sells his books Parkour Strength Training and Mad Skills, BPMRx exercise software and is know internationally as the “Parkour PT”.
Ben’s micropractice has maximized technology for self-publishing and coaching while keeping his costs low. His parkour PT brand has opened doors with Parkour authorities all over the world and a stream of patients who are willing to pay for his services.
Therapists publish courses independently on Udemy or Teachable to reach new markets with high quality educational opportunities. For therapists willing to put in the up front work, self-published assets generate passive income for years to come.
3. You Can Live Your Dream
Dr. John Rusin PT is not your run of the mill type of therapist. John has created his dream practice where he is able to combine his passion for hardcore strength conditioning and physical therapy.
Dr. John Rusin is an internationally recognized coach, physical therapist, speaker and writer. John brings together high-performance strength and functional hypertrophy training for a successful worldwide brand. Dr. Rusin is in hard pursuit of his goal of combining high performance strength training with cutting edge rehabilitation. He has been able to successfully grow his micropractice into a business that trains athletes from all over the world.
You don’t have to give up on your dream of helping people and being paid fairly for it. Starting a micropractice may afford you the opportunity to pursue your dream practice without putting yourself and family at unnecessary risk.
Cash practice owner, Brennan Hussey, feels called to serve his community with his manual therapy skills and coaching basketball. Brennan’s father was a teacher/coach and died of a heart attack in his 50’s. Brennan’s father’s early death had a profound impact on how Brennan was going to live his life and practice physical therapy.
For Brennan that meant taking advanced training in manual therapy so that he could provide his clients the best care possible. It also meant that he would volunteer his time as a basketball coach. Selflessly being involved in his community has turned out to be an effective marketing strategy to build his cash-based practice BrennanHusseyPT.com.
Brennan has built a successful practice upon deep personal relationships with his clients, their families and friends. They know him, trust him and happily pay cash for his extraordinary patient experience.
Escape Hamster-Wheel Practices
For many therapists opening a micropractice is a fresh new way of connecting with patients. Helping people in a meaningful way is the main reason many therapists became therapists in the first place.
Therapists are leaving mega-practices complete with office managers, receptionists and billing staff for newfound inspiration and freedom. Perhaps the micropractice will be in your future someday.
I encourage you to step off the treadmill long enough to examine your priorities and research how the micropractice business model might apply to your situation.
I’s love to hear your reactions or questions about the micropractice model?
Paul Potter is a physical therapist and mentor who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, who is also a therapist. They have four daughters. For more than 35 years he successfully managed his own private practice. He now shares his knowledge and experience through teaching and mentoring therapists who want to have their own practice.
He has authored On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice and the Cash Practice From Scratch Course. His website PaulPotterpt.com is dedicated to helping therapists achieve professional and financial freedom. Connect with Paul on his website or on LinkedIn paulpotterpt. You can also get more free resources at CashPracticeFromScratch.com