In this episode I talk about the idea and mindset of being fully committed and “All In” in your own speech therapy private practice. So many times people start their own business and simply give up. They quit because they can’t seem to cut away from their job, or they just don’t have enough patients coming into their practice. Most often, they quit before miracle. Also in this episode I take time to recognize a very busy and motivated speech therapist Grace Tan Cheng Man, a speech therapist based in Malaysia who has an online magazine!
In this episode:
01:08 – Value, Value, Value,
03:37 – Grace Tan Cheng Man, Malaysia Speech Therapist
06:07 – Becoming an Independent Speech and Language Pathologist
07:34 – Required Mindset for Private Practice
09:40 – Establishing a solid foundation for Speech Therapy Private Practice
11:51 – Motive for startup
18:45 – All In
20:10 – Self Honesty
20:51 – Worried?
22:52 – Getting Paid
Well, Hello everyone you’re listening to the Speech Therapy Private Practice StartUp Podcast. This is episode number 49. My name is Kyle Meades and I’m a Speech Pathologist since 1993. And these podcasts are designed to help you improve your business and your life one Podcast at a time.
Welcome back to the show everyone. Thanks again for all the emails and all the questions. As of today, today is June 26, 2019 we have well over 51,979 listeners to the show and I’m super fired up. You guys are out there getting good valuable information and it’s free for you. And you know me I say it every single podcast. It wouldn’t be my podcast if I didn’t say it, “Value is what you get in the absence of money” and these podcasts are free for you so what I would like you to do is, just simply go to the iOS or Android platform of your choice and just leave some five star feedback that way other people just like you can get the same valuable information that you’re receiving right now because it’s important to give back.
And when I started this podcast over three years ago I wanted to give out as much free information as possible and to do that I want to be able to drive traffic to our website and we’re doing great. When you Google “Startup Speech Therapy Private Practice”, we’re right there on top. I mean we’re helping a lot of people, I get a lot of questions during the week and I’m doing conference calls and coaching calls with people in the All access community. And they’re always wanting to know how do you do it all. Well that’s because I have a team I don’t rely as a podcaster and as a business person, I don’t rely on other clinics to show my subscribers and members of my community how to do things. We do it all here in-house so if I want to teach one of the access community members about billing we can get on the phone to have a coaching call with our billing department. We have a referral department, we have a scheduling department, we have a team of therapists multidisciplinary team of people and locations where we can help as many people as possible. That’s from patients all the way to all access community members so if you want to learn how to start your own practice, you’re in the right place. And again if this is your first podcast, welcome, start at the beginning and work your way through all 49 episodes along the way. If there’s anything you need from me, all you have to do is reach out to me at privateSLP.com/contact and I’ll help you.
I get people all the time that say, I can’t believe you’re just picking up the phone and calling. Well absolutely, I’m picking up the phone and calling because I don’t like typing emails. It’s just too much work so I’d just rather get on the phone, talk to you, see what’s going on in your business and see how I can help you. Because there is a solution, if you need help with your billing or credentialing. Let me know we can help you. If you want to start your private practice let me know we can help. If you want to grow it and scale, we can help you with that too. Because with all the experience that I’ve had doing this there’s always an answer, so I’ll be more than happy to help you in anyway that I can.
OK. Today I’d like to answer some questions from Grace Tan Cheng Man she’s a certified Speech therapist and she’s a member of the Malaysian Association of Speech-Language and hearing. She’s a candidate member of the Malaysian Writers Society. She’s also certified in Hanen. She also is certified in Picture Exchange Communication System and Vital stem. She also has expertise in Parental training on Hanen. She also does talks on breastfeeding, feeding disorders and feeding therapy talk tools and also written communication therapies and her website is Gracetanchengman.com and I’ll leave this in the show notes below. But she simply reached out to me and wanted me to answer some questions for her so that she could share with her listeners. She’s definitely a motivated individual. And she has her own magazine online. It’s a subscription based model so I wanted to answer some questions for her so let’s get to these questions.
Question 1: “I always come to the words of Freelance. In Malaysia, we use the word “freelance”, for describing the Speech therapist who work on their own practice. So may I know what it is called? Is Freelance equivalent to the definition of Private practice. Or do you refer to those Therapists who own a center? Please advise.”
That’s a great question. So basically the question is about what you would call someone in a different setting basically freelance or a Private practitioner. Now here in the States we have multiple places that we can work in different settings so to speak. So when clinicians work as a Speech and Language Pathologist we can work in an outpatient clinic or an inpatient hospital or a school setting or a private practice. It can be in the community and when people work for someone else they’re generally an Employee or a licensed Speech pathologist who works in a different setting. But when I know other people when you want to work for your own, when you want to be outside of an employment agency or you want to work for yourself, and kind of hang your own shingle for your own location, you can call yourself maybe an independent speech and language pathologist or a private practitioner or a center based SLP or community based SLP.
Here’s one how about PrivateSLP or even PR in, that’s when you kind of part time your way around different settings or something like that. But I think for this question when you have your own business, when you have your own clinic, I wanted to start my own business and I wanted employees in that business so I try not to put my name on the business that way I can hire a team to help serve those who need Speech occupational, physical therapy services in our area. So I hope that answers that question. Let’s go ahead and go to the second question.
Question 2: “So Mr. Kyle as you know what is the meaning of Private practice, it seems like a very new subject for those Speech therapists who used to work in the center, who work for the center rather than working on their own. So before we start any new venture we might be afraid of the uncertainty. So from your experience what are the mindset for Private practice startup. Kindly mention the mindset we shall have for those Speech therapists who are wishing to have their own practice.”
The mindset needed for private practice I mean for me and I’m only speaking for myself but its drive. I just had to have a lot of drive. It’s scary, it’s the unknown and I just don’t know what else to call it. I’ve got something in me. It’s just a fire and I just can’t stay still. I just wanted to make my own business I know what I want and I know I had an expiration date on this. I mean after Hurricane Katrina I knew that I only had a limited amount of time to make the move and I just had to take care me and my family and so I also didn’t understand the meaning of No. I’m a very hard headed individual which means in the States somebody who just doesn’t take No for an answer. My grandfather was the same way I think it’s a personality trait. But besides drive and not really taking No for an answer kind of what this podcast is today it’s about being all in attitude and just being 100 percent committed to being the best clinician I can be for my patients to come to see me in my office. And really I think for most it’s legitimately wanting to do a great job for the patients and families that we serve.
I’ve seen and talked to people in our profession and you can always tell when someone’s taking the job for the money or if their heart’s in the right place and definitely I think the people who are the most successful at private practice are the ones that you can just tell it who’s is out of their system. They want to make a difference in their patients and their families because really for me it’s not about the money. It’s about how I can help other people and help as many people as possible so I hope that answers the question about the mindset needed for private practice. Let’s go to the third question.
Question 3: “How to prepare our self and how to tell that we are really ready for a private practice startup? Maybe you can give us some advice on how to get a solid foundation to start a private practice.”
Well to have any business that’s successful and to have a solid foundation I mean specifically for Speech therapy we have to have patients, we have to have a referral source. So I think having what’s called an offer that converts at its simplest form is how that you are going to have a solid foundation. So let’s think about that an offer that converts what’s our offer in our Speech therapy private practice. Well, obviously it’s speech therapy services for kids or adults or whatever market that you’re going after. So you have to offer a good solid treatment for the patient at an affordable price that they can afford so they can come back again and again and get the help they need from you and you have to set yourself apart from other people in your community. So I think that referrals are very necessary to have that solid foundation because if you don’t have a patient flow then you really don’t have a business do you.
Also another thing that I would focus on is community alliances with pediatricians or doctors offices, psychologists or referral clerks in the area and really being very embedded in your market in your community having talks, you can go to the library and educate families on what speech or language disorder is. I mean being a very big advocate in your community and to me I think that is what makes that solid foundation for Speech therapy private practice.
Let’s go to question number four.
Question 4: “In my personal words, your PrivateSLP podcast is really amazing. What motive do you have to come up with something so fascinating and influential. Is there any incident or any event that pushed you to come up with something that is so amazing?”
My motive behind the creation of PrivateSLP.com and the All Access Community where I coach other people to start, grow and scale their own private practice and even the motivation to start my own business to start what I’m doing is really simple. I love helping other people I genuinely love helping other people I like watching the light bulb go off and I like helping other people. I like coaching people and I remember after Hurricane Katrina, I was living in New Orleans and I lost that job that I had and we were uprooted from New Orleans to Arizona and there was this little window of opportunity where the light went off. I remember talking to the accountant at the time because I was trying to get my taxes in order so I could file my taxes and because we had some losses in New Orleans and things like that. But I just remember she saying you can always go back and get a job. You can always go to the school or the nursing home and that just really made sense to me.
And when I was younger and graduate school I used to make study guides. I would take my notes in class and I would make them into colorful notes in packets that I could sell. So I really like to sell things when I lived in New Zealand. There was a time where I lived in the Northland. I worked for the Northland District Health Board. I used to import and export different things I also used to study information products at that time. Some key players over in the New Zealand and Australia market who really helped shape the way that I made information products so that was a big thing. I like to motivate others but really I think Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to me because after Hurricane Katrina I had a decision to make. There is never a better time to start something when it’s uncomfortable and I had to take care of my child my family. I had to make money and I just had to do what I had to do. So this whole PrivateSLP part of this was just documenting everything that I do in my Private practice so I could teach others how to do it.
So really when someone asked me for coaching, when someone wants to become an All access community member at PrivateSLP.com then I can show them step by step what I did to create what we have here in Tucson Arizona, the multidisciplinary clinics at multiple locations. So that was really the motive behind PrivateSLP documenting what I’m currently doing clinically here in Tucson Arizona so that other people can learn.
Let’s go to this last question.
Question 5: I think we’ve listened to all the podcast. Can you tell us a little bit of your background? Like what is your education and what is your background, your interest and your specialties so that our readers can understand you better. Thank you.
My background is pretty simple, I have humble beginnings. My father was a plumber. He did not graduate high school but he had a serious work ethic. My grandfather was also a union pipe-fitter which means my grandfather did water pipes and built hospitals. I remember as a small child I go to see my grandfather work and here they are building these big hospitals in a town called Morgan City Louisiana. It’s kind of in the bayou area. But I remember going to see my father and I just really thought it’s really cool my grandpa was building all these big malls in Baton Rouge and it’s just really neat. And I remember my dad, he was a plumber. He had over 100 employees at one time in his business.
And I remember I just got the taste of money, I remember one summer my father asked me if I wanted. Well he didn’t ask. He said you’re going to work with us this summer because you’re out of school and I said well I need to take a break, it’s summer. He said now you’re gonna come work with me I’m going to pay you. So I would get 80 to 100 dollars a week and I got a company paycheck but I really worked hard. I remember my dad saying, “Son, you are the owner’s son but you’re going to have to work harder than other people to show them that you’re not some spoiled kid who just sits around and gets anything you wanted. For some reason that stuck and I remember my dad used to tell me. He would say, “I need you go out to the plumbing shed out there and make some gas line for me. I need 100 of these fittings and 100 of those fittings.” And I just remember one time going into the office and I said Daddy it’s really hot in southeast Louisiana, it’s really hot in August and September in the summer. And he said, “if you want to come sit in the air conditioner maybe you might want to think about going to college. But right now you need to go out there and do what I told you to do.”
And things were non-negotiable back in the early 70s, so it’s a completely different world now. But that really shaped me just being around my father and I remember my dad he used to pack me around on his shoulders and I was a little kid and we’d be at the fair and I remember him having conversations with other men about business and of course I didn’t know what they were talking about but something about my dad’s voice. He would shake hands and those were handshake deals and he kept his word. He was honest still is. I’ve talked to my dad almost every day. And my father was just a big influence in my career now. I went to LSU and Baton Rouge, I’m a graduate of Louisiana State University. I went to graduate school at LSU Medical Center Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans and did the program there for two years.
I moved my first job was in Whitesburg, Kentucky for Appalachian Regional Healthcare and then from there I moved on and went back to New Orleans. And I’ve lived in New Zealand, I’ve lived overseas. I’ve traveled, I’ve worked in all the settings known to man for speech and I just love doing what I do and helping people. I’ve got one son and he’s now 13 and we ride dirt bikes and we have fun. He loves skateboarding I’m an active parent and my son’s life and I care about him and his school. He’s a smart boy and I’m just trying to show my son a good example of what a good father and a good parent can be and that’s one of the reasons I like to do what I do is kind of document the stage in my life, the growth of our business. Document the people that we help in PrivateSLP.com.
So that’s a little bit about me and what really early on shaped me to be what I am today. And I just wanted to say thank you for sending these questions to me and I know the reason that I’m playing this for our listeners is I know that our listeners just like your listeners in Malaysia will get a lot of value out of your question. So again thanks for sending those questions to me.
Now Today’s episode is about ‘Being All In’ and when you think about being all in, a kind of think of it as is like breakfast. The head makes a contribution to the breakfast but really the pick is the one that’s all in, right. And the biggest question that I hear all the time is when you started, why did you do it? Now for me I wanted more time with my son. He’s now 13 but I really want him more family time, because after Hurricane Katrina I needed a life change and I said this is the best time for me to start from scratch. So I just did it. But you really have to ask yourself when you’re going all in. Why do you even want to be in business? Is it just for more income or do you want to have more time with your family or is it personal growth time? Do you want to just the challenge of it all? Do you need a career change? Maybe moving from more treatments to more of a management role so those are some questions you have to be very honest. Because I talked to a lot of practice owners and some of them are just kind of dabbling in the fact that they want to be in private practice. But when it comes down to it they’re still relying on their job and their paycheck from their employer so they can make ends meet or they’re run in high debt – credit card debt, consumer debt and that’s not a good place to start.
I remember when I made that step to being all in, when I made that jump on I made that leap. I had to get very honest with myself. So that’s one of the biggest questions I would say to you as a potential practice owner somebody who really wants to scale it, why do you even want to do this because if you don’t set it up right the first time it can be really difficult to manage it later on. So that’s one of the greatest things I think about being a member of the All Access Community at privateSLP.com, is you’re learning from experience and I’ve made tons of mistakes and I document those mistakes in the community. So it’s just another way to reassure you that you can get what you need.
Now a lot of people the second question is, “How do I even start?” Some people use that term, “fake it till you make it.” I disagree, there’s no way to fake. Being in business there are some things you can’t do to make it look like. You’re a big business owner like with your phone systems, answering your phones, returning your phone calls and hiding your number, to be a big clinic number or having a bunch of zeros at the end of your number but at the end of the day you’ve got to have a good service to give your patients and if you don’t have that. You’ve heard me talk about this in other podcast. You got to have an offer that converts and an offer that converts at its basic form. You have a service to provide in exchange for the fee and you provide that service and you provide it to the best of your ability. And when you do that well and take care of your patients and families, you’ll see what I’m talking about. You have exponential growth.
And again that’s how you start to got to have an offer that converts, you got to have strategies, systems and you may want to make sure you’re providing the best location for your patients and your service delivery. Is it going to be group or individual or if you’re going to take insurances or if you’re going to just do packages, cash deals and things like that. So when it comes to starting how to start, that’s another thing that the All access community talks about. How to even get credential with insurance companies if you want to take insurances and people say, “Oh, what a headache.” But there’s a way to do things appropriately. I talked to a business owner recently who was working and just really working hard but she was doing her billing at the end of the week, one time per week she was doing her billing and she couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t get paid. And I said the first thing is when you see a patient you got to get your money and that might be in a check or a credit card or bill the insurance with a copay or deductible or coinsurance. And again this might be confusing to you but it’s a lot of information but you can get paid at the time of service.
And another reason to bill at the date of service is because the following week you can give the patient a copy of the EOB once that claim is processed and you can say this is what you owe per visit. So it’s really clear. But again billing in accounts receivable two totally different things. I always use the expression you can train a monkey had a bill, but it’s an art in a science to be able to pick up the phone and call the insurance company to work your denial. So again how to start, you got to make sure you’re going to get paid and you want to work your claims.
And also when to start” Sometimes people say, “Is there a better time to start during the year, anywhere when than January or June or in December? Really, I don’t think that makes a difference. But when it comes to insurance as you have to remember about deductible. Many people’s insurances have deductibles and those are generally met by the fifth of the six months. So when it comes to cash flow from insurance companies you may want to consider starting in June, July or August or something like that. But that’s just a suggestion. Every place is different, every market is different, every city is different, just depends on your demographics and your patient. But again in this episode I wanted just to kind of review being all in and why you even want to be in business and how to start and maybe when’s the right time to start.
So I hope this has been a helpful episode for you. And if you have any questions about growing or scaling your own Speech therapy private practice you can reach me at privateSLP.com/contact. And as always, thank you for listening.