How To Reduce Overwhelm When Starting An OT Private Pay Practice

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Reducing the overwhelm you may feel when starting your OT private pay practice comes down to 3 simple steps


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Most OTs feel very nervous about starting their own private pay practice. After all, it is a huge step! But, there are some simple things you can do to help you focus, reduce the overwhelm you may feel and set yourself up for greater success.

In this video, Doug Vestal, Ph.D., shares 3 tips to help you reduce overwhelm when starting your OT private pay practice.

This video is not intended as professional or legal advice. Be sure to seek the services of a professional and understand the risks you are undertaking.


Transcript of Video:

Let me ask you a question – do you want to start an OT private pay practice but feel overwhelmed with where to start?

That is how we felt in 2014 – we knew we wanted to start our OT private pay practice, we knew that was the path we wanted to take, but we weren’t quite sure how to make that dream a reality.

All the business side of stuff was really intimidating – forming a business entity.  Getting an EIN.  Opening a bank account.


And then, how would clients find us.


Perhaps this is how you feel as well but, after having gone through this ourselves and coached other OTs how to do it, there are some really simple things you can do to not be as overwhelmed as we were.


So today, I want to tell you how you can start your own OT private pay practice without feeling overwhelmed.


If you are new here, my name is Doug Vestal and I help OTs just like you start and grow thriving private pay practices.  And I make these videos from the experiences my wife and I have had since we first started our own Private Pay OT practice in NYC back in 2014.  We grew that to be very successful and I want you to learn from our mistakes so you can achieve success even quicker.


Alright – the most important thing you can do to not be overwhelmed by starting your own OT private pay practice is to find someone who has already done it and learn from them.


When we started in 2014 there weren’t a lot of resources teaching and supporting OTs how to open their own private pay practice.


Yes – you can figure things out on your own.  But, you have to ask yourself how much your time is worth and what is speed worth to you?


It probably took us about 2 years to really start to feel confident and that was after we had our OT practice up and running.


And the reason is we were trying to do everything ourselves.  We tried to figure everything out ourselves.  If there was a problem or a question we had, we didn’t have anyone to ask so we would research it, google it, and then experiment.


All of that led to a lot of angst and contributed to us feeling overwhelm because we were uncertain if we were doing the right thing.


So – seek out a mentor who has already opened a private pay practice.  Learn from that person – it literally short-cuts your success.


Its like they can give you a map of where to go, what to worry about, what to focus on and when, and you come away with a lot of confidence.


Don’t spend a week researching a problem or mulling something over when, in literally 2 minutes, you could have the answer because you are working with something who has already done the thing you want to do.


Next – focus on your financial security.  I don’t hear this talked about enough with starting your own OT private pay practice.

Unless you are starting with a very large referral base, things will be slow in the beginning as you establish yourself.  This means your revenue will be low.

And the key to not feeling as overwhelmed is ensuring you minimize your financial stress during this period.

So – you can absolutely start your OT private pay practice on the side.  Keep your existing job and cut down to 4 days a week and work on your business 1 day a week.

Or, if that isn’t an option, take per diem work where you can still earn an income while you are working on growing your referrals and client base.

Building a successful OT practice is a long-term thing.  If you are operating it from a place where you really, absolutely need the income each month then you are going to be incredibly stressed and overwhelmed feeling like things are stacking up against you – when in reality that’s just the way it goes.

So – make sure you are in a place financially to be able to withstand this – even if that means saving up or just working part-time.


And the last thing to help you reduce overwhelm is realize that you are going to have periods where you just don’t know what to do or where it seems like you have too many things to do.


When you are starting an OT private pay practice you are going to want to say “Yes” to everything.

Every meeting, every coffee date, every workshop, networking event, etc. will seem like an opportunity.

And a lot of times these things are opportunities.  But, I can’t tell you how much time and energy we spent in the very beginning on opportunities that went nowhere.

We would just say yes to everything because we never knew – it seemed like everything held out hope of an opportunity that would lead to more clients.

But – what happened was that over time we realized that us saying “yes” to something meant we were saying “no” to something else.

Or – it meant that because we were saying “yes” to everything this meant we were working crazy hours to try to fit everything in which is what led to feeling overwhelmed.

So – over the years we started asking ourselves 2 questions to try to focus us.  And those 2 questions are:

  • Will this activity benefit my existing clients?
  • Will this activity bring new clients to our practice?

These are 2 really powerful questions.  And in the beginning you may not feel like you yet have the experience to answer these questions and that’s fine – but you want to keep these in your mind and start having the discipline to ask them of yourself to get into the routine.


For instance, as you get established and are giving workshops in your community, you may have a location reach out to you and ask you to come in a give a workshop to their audience.


On the face of it, it may sound good – you get to have your practice in front of more people.


And you may think – if I could get just 1 person to come into my practice then it will be worth it.


But – you really have to ask yourself – does that place you are giving your workshop really have your ideal client?


If the answer to that is no – then don’t do it.  Now, I can almost hear people saying “but – you never know, I may get a client from it.”


And that’s true – but, there are only so many workshops you can give.  So ask yourself, have you really exhausted all the places in your community where you know for a fact your ideal client frequents?  And have you given your community workshop to those places with those people already?

If you haven’t already done that – then why say “yes” to an opportunity where there is less likelihood of success?

Take that energy and that time that you wouldn’t spent on the other workshop and spend that on the place that have a higher likelihood of success.

You can gracefully say “no – sorry I can’t do it at this time” so you can then focus on those things that will attract your ideal client.