From Facing Retirement to Starting a Booming Accent Reduction Practice: Liz’s Private Practice Success Story

This is a guest post by Liz Schwartz, MS CCC-SLP, who is a speech-language pathologist and private practitioner in Queens, NY.

“I just couldn’t face having a boss anymore”

After spending 25 years working with children with disabilities and supervising clinical fellows, being passed over for promotions and laid off, I was in my early 60’s and it was time to figure out what to do next.

I just couldn’t face having a boss any more, especially one my own kids’ age or younger.

What better way to solve this problem than open an accent reduction practice! No behavior problems, no boss, no rules and regulations except the ones I made for myself. (I also happen to live in the most ethnically diverse county in the country – Queens, NY).

​My love of languages and cultures led me in the right direction and Better Speech Now, LLC was born!

My Private Practice Took Off

Once I was sure this was I wanted to do, a series of lucky events fell into my lap.

​One day, while browsing in the public library, I was chatting with the librarian and telling her about the business I wanted to start. She suggested that I contact my local economic development organization. I attended their workshops, including some focusing on their annual small business startup competition.

To make a long story short, my business actually won the competition that year along with a nice sum of money to help me get going.

Then it was time to figure out where I was going to see my clients. Another incredible stroke of luck occurred when I walked into an arts and music center two blocks from my house and the extremely nice people running it offered to rent me a room at a very affordable price.

Better Speech Now has taken off from there.

Six years later, I have worked with great people whose problem is not a disability, but rather, an accent preventing them from achieving their goals in the US. Best of all, I make my own schedule and get to visit with my delicious grandkids whenever I want.

My Advice to Therapists Looking to Start Their Own Practice

  • Tell everyone you know or meet what you do. One of my best contacts has been someone I met at the gym who is the Human Resources director of a major international bank. She has lined up a host of her employees to take my program, some of whom have my services paid for by their employer.

  • DO network, but don’t run all over town networking. Pick 2-3 networking groups where you will build relationships with folks who will get to know you.


  • Plaster your flyers (with the tear-off strips) everywhere there is a community bulletin board. Offer to give workshops at your local library or community center whether they pay you or not.


  • Get involved with your local business development organizations, SCORE and Small Business Administration.


  • Start an e-newsletter and build up your mailing list.

​And good luck!

Elizabeth Schwartz obtained her Master’s Degree in Communication Sciences from Hunter College, CUNY in 1992. She began her career in Speech-Language Pathology by helping children with a variety of speech and language disorders and delays. She later spent several years training and supervising new speech therapists and helping them achieve independence in their chosen career. She has always been fascinated by languages and is proficient in Spanish. She has traveled on five continents, which has broadened her view of communication across cultures.

Learn more about Liz and her private practice on the Better Speech Now website OR “Like” the Better Speech Now Facebook Page OR
Connect with Liz on LinkedIn 

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