How Speech-Language Pathologist Jennifer Buck Harnessed Her Internal Drive and Competitive Spirit to Start Not One But TWO Private Practices

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.  

I have had MANY lengthy phone conversations with families who are trying to decide if my professional skills, which are all fee-for-service/private pay, are the best fit for their family. I never try and sell a family anything, rather I educate and provide my honest professional opinion.  Sometimes financially I am not the best for for a family but they remember my knowledge and refer to me others.  In some cases families have even come back to me after less than satisfactory experiences in other settings.  I really feel that taking a few extra minutes to help a parent or guardian be a better advocate for their child can go a long way, for the patient and your professional reputation.  

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. 

Jennifer Buck, MA, CCC-SLP, owner of Jabbermouths, is a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist practicing in Phoenix, AZ & Maui, HI. Jabbermouths provides specialized speech therapy services for both pediatric and adult populations. 

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