I started my private practice, Jabbermouths Therapy, in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008 after seeing a need for more SLP’s with experience in pediatric dysphagia and medically fragile pediatrics in the community. At the time I had worked for 7 years at a large children’s hospital in acute care. Over the course of a year I slowly made the transition to working for myself 100% of the time. It is a big learning curve to manage a business, not something they teach you how to do in graduate school but with lots research on small business operations and a few accounting classes I was off.
Something I would like new private practice therapists to think about is best referral source for my practice has been word of mouth. In the 7 years I have been practicing full time I have never paid for a marketing campaign or referral. I think working hard, providing educated and ethical services and being a source of knowledge to your patients is the key.
Another fun fact about my practice is in 2012 my life moved to Maui, Hawaii and so did my business. I had no idea how things were going to work in Hawaii since I didn’t have any established referral sources let alone any knowledge of even what sort of services were needed on island. It has been a whole new learning experience maneuvering through new systems and establishing my presence in a community that thrives on word of mouth relationships. After about 6 months on island I managed to again work full time for Jabbermouths Therapy.
Personally I would say I am a very driven person, competing in triathlons and since moving to Maui, outrigger canoe paddling. A strong drive and willingness to step outside of your comfort zone are vital to making a fee-for-service private practice work.