Working in home health care can have one feeling like they have limited career options, especially working in private or independent practice. Working for yourself is supposed to be the perfect way to maximize career satisfaction as well as having some form of control over your career trajectory—in an ideal setting that is. Being self-employed as an occupational, physical, or speech therapist can be challenging; from the logistics of setting up a private practice, to operating your business without hitches.
In an economy that has seen better days, even altruistic professionals have to worry about making ends meet—earning the bare minimum barely keeps your business afloat, much less take care of your bills. Sometimes there may be a shortage of clients, and even when you have some patronage, you are compelled to work at half-price to earn some semblance of an income. There has to be a better way to navigate through private practice, there has to be a better way to browse through private practice, you wonder out loud, and there is.
Rather than focus your energy into one income channel, expand your horizon and diversify your options. There is much more to practicing therapy (speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy) than the routine and regular one-on-one sessions with clients. For those with a steady clientele turnover, individual sessions can be economically rewarding, but without such consistency, you are better served engaging in other activities.
If you have been finding yourself unfulfilled and dissatisfied with your income level, the following steps can help you surmount those financial hurdles you are facing. Besides providing additional income channels, these steps inject a bit of excitement and revitalization to your career, and also break the somewhat monotonous and routine mold of individual therapy sessions.
Consider the following steps when deciding to earn some extra income practicing. The kicker is that these recommendations are not restricted to just your professional certification as a licensed therapist. You can diversify your income stream by utilizing these steps with regards to your hobbies or passion.
Publish A Book
Channel the knowledge and experience you have garnered over your years of practice into a resource for the general public. Over the years, working with multiple clients—of different demographics—you have become more than qualified to create a book for an audience. With your unique perspective, you have two audiences when choosing to write:
A self-help resource for people looking for practical and functional tips to live a healthier more holistic life. Decide on what valuable knowledge you can condense into a handy and compact book for both the general public and more specifically people already in the market for therapy.
Have you found success in navigating through demanding clients or experiences that are particularly unconventional? Or perhaps you wish to share the methods that have served you excellently over the curse of your practice. Write a helpful guide for new or veteran therapists, using your career as a reference point.
Publishing your book need not be convoluted or a stressful process, there are multiple avenues for self-publishing. With Amazon Kindle, you can publish your book on the most prominent online marketplace and gain another stream of income—dependent on your efforts at creating awareness for your book. The easiest way to market your book, of course, is word of mouth. Tell your friends, colleagues, clients, etc. Also make mentions at industry events like conferences, seminars, and workshops.
Carve a piece of the online cake for yourself with engaging and informative blog posts. By being a therapist, you can be assured of an existing audience for your blog, as people are always in need of therapeutic aid. Depending on your schedule, create posts that keep your followers engaged and coming for more. Niche blogging can be a reliable income stream—do it right, and you can even hit an annual six-figure income solely from blogging. Blogging is an avenue to not only share valuable knowledge but a marketing and advertising medium, engage potential clients and offer your readership your services based on the strength of your posts.
Another income stream from blogging is the money you make from affiliates who you refer your readers to. Affiliate marketing is incredibly lucrative if done right. Create a compelling and well-optimized blog, and you will see your income from advertising clicks and affiliates grow. Recommend helpful products or resources to your readers, and with a program like Amazon’s Associates, you will get a percentage of every completed purchase as commission.
Blogging can also be a funnel to your actual practice. Write about the services you offer, and with Search Engine Optimization, you can target clients in your location and environs. Businesses with blogs have traditionally seen an increase in client base, as prospective clients search for such services on the internet can seek them out more easily.
Find publications in your industry—newspapers, magazines, journals, and newsletters—you can send in contributions. Find out what their compensation or remuneration packages are and decide if it is worth your while to become a steady contributor to such media. Becoming a freelance writer needs no particularly specialized skills, besides the knowledge of what you are writing about, which you do, and an ability to convey your message. You may also write for online platforms as a guest writer—depending on what platform it is, and your level of expertise or industry authority, you can make as much as a thousand dollars from one article as a freelancer.
You can leverage your knowledge and turn it into a course which can be assessed by the public online. You have the option of either holding live sessions or offering pre-recorded sessions which can other therapists at the viewer’s convenience. Sell your comprehensive course on a learning platform like UDEMY. You do not need to have an office space to create a full video course. Work from the comfort of your living room with zero equipment costs, besides a webcam and maybe a whiteboard. Teach online courses you have meticulously prepared based on actual real-life experiences, and help countless people while also making a living.
You can make some money speaking at events—conferences, seminars, and symposiums. Given your expert qualifications, you can be a guest speaker at events to divulge useful information to your attentive audience. You may collaborate with organizations, say, for instance, a company holds a wellness summit for its staff, you are well suited to give a speech that addresses the needs of the audience. Prior experience in public speaking is an advantage but not necessarily required. Community programs are also a prime avenue for a paying speaking gig. Address your local community, or even students in the local community college, teach them actionable strategies, life skills, and techniques that will better their lives.
Networking with other professionals and creating an online presence for yourself is the best way to make yourself available for these events. Utilize social media, and networking platforms like LinkedIn to build your virtual resume, which potential hires can access to assess your fit. With an impressive resume, which outlines not only your professional qualifications but also the more casual and relatable side of you, you will be a prime target for organizers of such events. So, do not just describe yourself as, ‘a bay area physical therapy practitioner’ or a ‘bay area speech therapy professional,’ inject a little more personality.
Your experience in home health care can translate into more practical knowledge for people in the community. Your skills in communication, physical conditioning, and behavioral training can be taught at colleges, makeshift classes, or group sessions. Your classes can be structured to suit your strengths, formal or a more laidback and approach. Send a proposition to local schools, colleges, and organizations offering to hold regular classes. Be sure to sell them on the benefits and upsides to such lectures, as well as your qualifications and suitability to teach.
Group Sessions are Economical
While we are not advocating phasing out one-on-one sessions, as some clients need the more intimate and focused sessions, group sessions are a more financially sound path. Group therapy sessions involve multiple clients looking to learn valuable information—meditation tips, communication skills, stress relief, and relaxation techniques. While the cost-per-head is lower than individual sessions, you make more over a course given the sheer number of participants. Your workload is reduced, and you make more compared to equivalent hours of individual therapy.
Multiple organizations are in the search for people with specific skill sets, which you have, with your experience speech, physical, or occupational therapy. Become a freelance consultant for organizations and other professionals—banks, law firms, news stations, and media houses. Exchange your specialized knowledge for commensurate financial compensation. By becoming a consultant, you retain the flexibility your independent practice already provides. You can choose what projects to work on, or what organizations to join.
Create A Resource
If you feel comfortable enough with your expertise in your field and ready to make even more of an impact in people’s lives you can create a product or service which they can efficiently utilize on their own. Depending on your specialty, it may be an eBook, mobile app, health calendar, game, as a matter of fact, anything that can add value to your clients’ life is going to earn you some extra income as a side benefit. These resources can be offered on a trial basis to your clients with an option to get the paid version if satisfied. Impactful resources like these will always be in fashion, as long as they solve a problem and are easy to utilize.
Have you developed a particularly effective therapy method, or created a program that has had great success with your clients? You can market these techniques to other therapists in your field at a cost. While it may sound counterintuitive to your need to better the world, you should be compensated for your intellectual property, and in the long run, the benefits will outweigh whatever you may have charged for the same. Package your unique program and create awareness for the same on industry media platforms; get other therapists who has used it to leave honest reviews on the efficacy of your offering.
Thinking of money when you are supposedly in the business of helping people live a better, healthier, and pain-free life can be a guilt-inducing dilemma for many in this line of work. However, the need to make the world better should be balanced by the reality of the world we live in—without money everything crumbles. Licensing fees, rent, overhead costs, and the exorbitant cost of living has made it prudent to source for multiple, steady income streams. The only way you as a therapist can help someone in need is if you are still open for business, and as such you must strive to be.
Diversifying your income source gives you much needed financial security and peace of mind, as you continue to engage in private practice. The cash flow from these income sources allows you to be more flexible—with no financial hiccups to worry about, you can offer less privileged client’s discounts, and even take on pro bono cases. You are also able to focus on your other passion and hobbies; freeing you from the often regimented life of a therapist.
Working in home health care and therapy, you are primarily focused on improving the world and helping your clients live a better life, but that does not preclude you from pursuing your dreams. With the avenues highlighted above, you can successfully turn your private practice into one that is as altruistically rewarding as it is profitable.