Ann Wendel of PranaPT Shares How to Start a PT Clinic--Part II
As with starting any business, there’s bound to be the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tell us about a time that was “bad/ugly” and what you learned from it.
You have to really believe in yourself and you can’t give up. This felt like the most reckless thing my husband and I have ever done! I left a job making a comfortable salary and went right out on my own – there was no easing into it this time. So, I started and the schedule was completely blank. With two kids, it’s really difficult to save up the recommended 6 months of expenses. We had to just keep going past the initial “What are we going to do?” The good news is that as a P.T., you’re always going to find a job. Always having options is good. The huge demand for PTs is not true of all industries, especially in today’s job market.
If you could go back and do one thing differently what would it be?
There were a lot of things I could have changed. I learned from all of it though; so, in the end I wouldn’t change anything. I try to make the best decision I can at the time and run with it. Each thing, good or bad, added to my knowledge base. At the time, each thing seemed like the right thing. Over time, I’ve become a little more sure of myself. There’s no way to not be naive when you’re young. You just need to have a sense of humor.
What’s been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
I’m working towards something for me and my family. I’m working harder than I ever have before, but it’s for a reason. It makes me happy and I love what I’m doing. I love the control. I get to do what I want. Having control over my schedule is great for the kids. I also love having breaks in my day. At my prior job, I was seeing 15 patients a day with no lunch break. I really love going on lunches for marketing purposes or working out. I get a lot of ideas working out with other trainers and instructors. Seeing the sun once in a while is a good thing!
Any actionable advice that an aspiring clinic owner could implement today?
The best thing to do is to figure out your marketing. Your strategy has to be something that works for you, not someone else. I’m a networker - I do a ton of social media, blogging and meeting with people. I work out with different people, take classes, rock climb and I give out cards. That’s what works for me. Other people sometimes try to do things that don’t work for them. The other day, I heard a PT say “I’m going to try blogging, but I don’t like writing.” That’s not going to work. Whatever you pick, it has to be authentic to you. If bringing lunches to doctors isn’t you, it’s not going to work. If you’re bad at public speaking, don’t try to give seminars. It’s going to seem forced. Also, there’s a certain way to use social media, you can’t just say “We do the best PT.” Give people something to interesting to read.
Any final thoughts?
For anyone starting their own clinic, know that you’re going to work really hard; but, it is going to be rewarding. It’s going to be fun, or it needs to be. If you’re a PT who’s never gone out on your own, you need a mentor. Meet people. Find someone to coach you. You need someone to call at 9PM when the money is not coming in the door. You need someone to celebrate your successes with you, too. Chiropractors expect to run their own clinic, so in school they get a lot of business training. It’s not the case for PT. You have to find alternatives to learn about the business.