I get very inspired when I hear of an Occupational Therapist coming up with an innovative idea. A few years ago, I connected with fellow Occupational Therapist, Scott Harmon, in a professional group on Linked In. I have been very impressed to follow some of his pod casts and to learn from his website
Scott is always easy to interact with and shares so much on many levels about becoming successful as an OT who is an entrepreneur. I am very impressed to hear of the Academy of Private Practice (APP) that Scott has started. I could definitely have used such an academy when I first began to explore working privately. I asked Scott a few questions related to how he came up with such a wonderful idea. Enjoy the interview below to learn some of the background to Scott’s Academy.
Q1) Hi Scott, thank you for agreeing to answer some questions related to your new Academy. To introduce this wonderful new service can you share who works in APP, is there a team or is that all your work?
Scott: “The Academy is hosted and run by me. I do use a virtual assistant to help with editing and simple website tasks. One great aspect of the Academy is the therapists who are members all help each other. This happens specifically in our monthly Mastermind meetings and in our private Facebook group. The Mastermind meetings are a video conference with 6-8 other practice owners. In each Mastermind we focus on one therapist and a few of their most pressing questions. I am always amazed at the great ideas and advice that come from the members.”
Q2) What inspired you to develop APP.
Scott: “The Academy is what I wish I would have had when I first started my practice and then in the early years as I tried to figure out how to grow and improve on my business. My initial idea was to start a podcast and a website which is what I did. I listen to a lot of podcasts and I thought it would be fun to have my own podcast. At about the same time as I had this idea, a friend who graduated OT school with my wife asked if she could come to my clinic and ask me some questions about private practice. She and 3 of her friends were going to start their own practice. They visited with me for a few hours and I really enjoyed answering their questions and they really valued my advice and insight. It was at that point that I realized that what I had learned over the years could really benefit other therapists who were interested in starting their own practice. It wasn’t that I knew everything. I still don’t know everything and never will. It was that I was a little further down the road than these therapists who were asking me questions. I had made some mistakes that I could help them avoid. My thought then was to share what I knew on my website at StartaTherapyPractice.com and in a podcast. I was able to do this because I had put systems in my business that allowed me to step back from the day to day tasks of my private practice. I had some time to teach what I was doing.”
Q3) For those OTs who have an entrepreneurial spirit, how do you find time to write an eBook, develop an online academy and run two private practices?
Scott: “As I mentioned in question 2 above, I started implementing some automating systems in my business. I began to document what day to day tasks I was performing that I knew someone else could do just as good or even better than me. I started with tasks that were repetitive and easy to do but took a lot of my time. I used screen capture tools like Snagit and Camtasia to show how to perform these tasks. You can see how I do this at StartaTherapyPractice.com/sop”
Q4) Who has been your greatest inspiration / role model for OT in general and for working privately in particular?
Scott: “A role model for OT in general is Jean Ayres. I am inspired by the children I treat. I get some of my best treatment ideas from watching children play. I like to notice what they like to do and then put a twist on that activity to make it more challenging and novel. We all learn from novel or new activities.
A role model I have for private practice are some of the business books that I have read. Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership is a must read. I have put other must read books over at StartaTherapyPractice.com/resources”
Q5) Our clients certainly are inspirational. I love the idea of gaining treatment ideas from watching children play. Thank you for sharing that. Before we end, what message would you like to share with readers as to your journey from becoming an OT to being a private practitioner and entrepreneur.
Scott: “Business is about relationships. To the degree that you like people and want to find out how best to serve them will determine how successful you will be.”
Thank you Scott for sharing about your work to help other OTs to gain skills, information and guidance in how to develop a private practice. Thank you also for all that you share on your website.
What are your thoughts about working privately and / or about working from home? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
This post is prepared for you by: Shoshanah Shear, Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, certified Kallah teacher, working privately in Jerusalem. Shoshanah is also a freelance writer and co-author of “Tuvia Finds His Freedom” and author of “Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story“