My move into self employment wasn’t part of a grand plan, but a reaction to circumstances. I had moved to a new state and was offered a great opportunity working per diem as an independent occupational therapist. I thought it would be an ideal way to scope out my new home state and give me time to choose something more permanent. But I discovered very quickly that I loved the freedom of setting my own schedule and choosing when and where I would work. I was hooked and never looked back to the traditional employee/employer model.
Working per diem as an occupational therapist eventually led me to develop my own patient education handouts and now writing, illustrating and selling my books, the Occupational Therapy Toolkit and the Physical Therapy Toolkit, is a full time job!
While I love the freedom of being my own boss, I honestly didn’t give much thought to the business side of working for myself until I was so in love with the lifestyle that I could never go back. So if you are considering the switch to being your own boss, make a plan for running the “business” side of working for yourself.
Sales – If you are establishing your own therapy practice or have created a product, you are the person who needs to sell it! What will that look like? Are you comfortable selling yourself? I admit that self promotion is still hard for me sometimes even though I have run a successful business for more than a decade.
Taxes – I still hate this part of running a business and procrastinate until the very last minute. But it is important that you understand what you need to file for state and federal taxes and when. Get some solid professional advice so you don’t pay any penalties – not knowing you will owe is not a good excuse.
Insurance – If you hate thinking about taxes you will hate this even more. Health insurance, professional liability, general liability….the list goes on. Being insured and understanding what is covered by your policies is essential to protecting all you are building.
Copyrights and trademarks – Again, this is about protecting what you have created. No one wants to see all their hard work disappearing into another person’s pockets so research this and talk professionals well versed in business copyrights and trademarks.
I recently met Connie Sakellaropoulos, MOTR/L and Elisha Becker, co-founders of a company designed to help therapists navigate these issues and more! The Independent Therapist Alliance – ITA Excels- provides “tools for the business of rehab” so check out the benefits of membership today at www.itaexcels.org including a members-only discount on both my books the Occupational Therapy Toolkit and the Physical Therapy Toolkit.