Venturing into Private Practice with no Business Background with Elizabeth Perry SLP 039

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About Venturing into Private Practice with no Business Background

Have you ever wondered what it takes to transition from a secure job to starting a private practice? Listen to our conversation with Elizabeth, a speech therapist who stepped out of an elementary school and went into private practice with no business background. We go through the challenges of transitioning, from navigating the intense demands of a local school district to the intimidating bureaucracy that comes with such a role.

After working in an elementary school, Elizabeth was confronted with the intense demands and bureaucracy of a local school district. However, a push from a colleague helped her entrepreneurial spirit. In this episode, we will learn about establishing an LLC, partnering, how to grow and scale a therapeutic, and keeping a balance between growth and work-life.

Elizabeth shares her inspiring story of networking to introduce speech therapy initiatives in China, shedding light on the remarkable impact she’s been able to make through this venture. Ultimately, Elizabeth’s journey emphasizes the importance of continually learning, growing, and evolving as a professional. So, join us for an engaging conversation that could inspire your career transition and your desire to start a private practice.


Transcript of Private Practice with no Business Background

Intro: 0:01

Welcome to the Rehab Rebels podcast. Are you a rehab professional ready to transition to an alternative career? Hear inspiring stories from others just like you and learn the best ways to bridge your career gap. This podcast has you covered. Now here’s your host, doctor of physical therapy and podcaster, Tanner Welsh.

Tanner Welsch: 0:24

What I like to have you do is introduce yourself, a little bit about where you went to school, where you’re living, and then what you’re doing now, and then I’ll ask the questions and we’ll fill in the gaps after that.

Elizabeth Perry: 0:35

My name’s Elizabeth Perry. Go by Liz or Elizabeth, both are fine. I’m the owner of Speech Therapy and Accent Group, which is a private practice for speech therapy. We’re just branching into occupational therapy as well. We’re an in-home practice and we’re located in the San Francisco Bay area. We’re fairly small but we’re growing and there’s always new areas to explore into. I did my undergraduate at University of California Davis. They don’t have a program for speech therapy there. I had no clue what I wanted to go into. So once I realized I wanted to go into speech therapy, took as many prerequisite courses as I could, but I had to make all of those up in graduate school once I got there.

Tanner Welsch: 1:17

So what did you do? Getting out of SLP school, what was your first job.

Elizabeth Perry: 1:23

I was eight months pregnant with my daughter when I was graduating, or in the process of graduating from graduate school and I got a frantic call from a local school district and they said we had a speech therapist but she hasn’t shown up to work in about two months. So we’re two months backlogged on services for these kids. Could you drive out to this school and see all of these kids? And I said, well, I don’t have my degree yet. I still have a couple of weeks. And they said that’s totally fine, just get out here. We need to be meeting minutes and we’ll make sure that there’s appropriate supervision for you until you graduate in a couple of weeks. And I said I’m also about ready to have a baby and they said that’s also fine, just come on out. So I was trying to balance the three days out in this little rural cow town district and then two days on campus, still trying to fulfill all of my teaching requirements on campus while I was about ready to give birth. And I ended up loving working at that school and I stayed there until several days after my due date and then, when I had my daughter, I just called in and said, well, I won’t be in for a couple of weeks and he said that’s fine, take as long as you need, but come in whenever you want. It was a really positive experience. That was out in Utah. And then at the end of the school year we moved to California and I started working at a school district in California and it was completely different. I’m not going to say that school districts are better in one state or another, because I have also met really, really phenomenal teams out here in California. It was just, it was a very different experience. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and there are ups and downs to working in any environment. So I transitioned after the following school year from an elementary school into a private practice about an hour away from my home, and I really enjoyed that experience. I loved the people that I worked with, I loved being in a private clinic setting and I learned a lot about working in a private practice, so what it means to be a private practice clinician as opposed to working in a school, learned about payer sources and insurance a little bit, how that works, and about the kinds of payer sources that are available, not just in California but nationwide, in terms of what early intervention sources are available and what’s available through school districts and through private practices.

Tanner Welsch: 3:40

If I may, what was the transition from going from Utah to starting in that elementary, I think setting that you did in California. What caused that shift in that move?

Elizabeth Perry: 3:51

I think now, looking back on it, it wasn’t necessarily just changing from Utah to California, although I did find that California is a little bit more litigious in general than Utah, so there are a lot more families out here who were a lot more interested in their rights as parents and I wasn’t expecting that. So everything you do is being watched by lawyers and at first felt very, very uncomfortable. It also transitioned from an extraordinarily poorly funded, rural, poor district where 75% of the students were receiving backpacks full of food at the end of the week to take home. When I was at this district in Utah versus in California, at a very wealthy school where students would come back from summer vacation and talk about all the cruises that they went on over the summer and the number of iPads they had, it was just a very different demographic. I wasn’t expecting quite a drastic shift.

Tanner Welsch: 4:48

For sure, the shift from the elementary setting to the private practice. What was the reasoning behind the shift? And maybe, what did you like, what did you not like and what really made you get into the private practice at that point?

Elizabeth Perry: 5:01

While I met some of the best clinicians I’ve ever met in the schools my clinical fellowship supervisor at the elementary school. I was at Denise LaBarba. She just retired this year but she’s one of the best speech therapists I have ever met and she was so knowledgeable and very kind and direct. She taught me a lot about what I know about speech therapy now and she was at the elementary school. But I couldn’t stand the bureaucracy of it, the piles and piles of paperwork and the numbers of meetings and how you have to watch every single word so carefully because parents and special education staff and lawyers everyone is looking to see how that can or cannot be used in the court of law and I did not like that. I wasn’t prepared for it. As a new clinician, I do a lot of that now and I love it, but at the time, 12, 13 years ago, it just was not what I was looking for. So I decided to give private practice a go. There was a clinician I knew who worked at a private practice about an hour away and she said come and interview for a position at our company. So I did and the case-loads are much smaller. So instead of having a caseload of technically 60 children on individualized education plans, but more 80 to 100. When I was in Utah, I had a caseload of 120. At the time it was just. It was a lot, and I felt incompetent, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do with all of the students, because they’re just rapid-fire sessions You’re taking three kids into a classroom, you have 20 minutes with them and then you just release them. You don’t have time to prep for your sessions, and that felt a bit of a disservice to me. You could still get things done. You could still exit kids and make progress. It was just harder to do when I was in the private practice, however, you had a caseload of max 30 kids maybe, and so you have time to prepare for your sessions, write up more notes, think about how you are going to best serve your client and their family, and more time to drop in with them. I just felt I had a little bit more autonomy and slightly less paperwork and I didn’t have lawyers breathing down my neck, and that was really nice too. There’s just a bit of a different environment.

Tanner Welsch: 7:08

It sounds a no-brainer really when you’re putting them up there, comparing them side by side. Which one’s going to be a better fit?

Elizabeth Perry: 7:14

Well, a lot of clinicians love working in the schools. I think it’s 70% of speech therapists are working in a school setting and they really enjoy it. I was not one of that 70%.

Tanner Welsch: 7:27

And that’s okay. You know, a question I had for you was is it pretty common in the school districts in California to have everybody present, lawyers present, really hanging on every word you’re saying?

Elizabeth Perry: 7:38

I would say it really depends on the district you’re in. But yeah, okay, yes, things are much more litigious out here. I had never once had to go to IDA law meetings when I was out in Utah versus when I was in California and we went to trainings all the time and I didn’t like the emphasis on how to protect the district rather than how can we best serve our kids and also be legal at the same time. And I think that special education directors and special education administrators and personnel are really working hard to bridge that gap and to have more unity within their districts and to be more harmonious with families, and a lot of districts in the area do take a lot of pride in the good relationships that they’re cultivating with the families within their special education programs. But it’s still going to be hard and there’s a lot of division. You have parents who are appropriately advocating for their children and districts who are appropriately advocating for the district, but there’s not as much unity.

Tanner Welsch: 8:44

So we got you to the getting into this first private practice that you got more autonomy, less caseload just really seems to be a better fit. What’s next after that?

Elizabeth Perry: 8:54

I was there for about two years and I got pregnant with my son at the time, and when I went back to work after my son, I just had this amazing feeling of burnout where we were cogs in the system. You go in, you see a full eight clients back to back, just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. One right after the other every half hour or hour, and on your work break if you’re lucky you might get 20 minutes to eat, and then the rest of the time you’re just trying to prep sessions and write notes and then you’re right back into it. There’s an hour-long commute both ways and the pay was comparable with what I had been making at the schools, except you don’t get the summers off. It was fine as a second income, but if I were the primary breadwinner for the family it would not have sufficed. So about two years into being there, I ended up getting a divorce and realized I’m going to have to be the primary breadwinner for myself and my two young children and they were really little they were one and four at the time and at that point it was more a matter of what am I going to do that will be financially sustainable for myself and my family and, with regard to my time, is also going to be sustainable, because I can’t be commuting an hour in an hour back when I have a one-year-old and a four-year-old I need to be picking up from daycare.

Tanner Welsch: 10:18

Absolutely. The picture is painted here crystal clear. So what was your next move? You know what’s got to happen. What did you end up doing?

Elizabeth Perry: 10:25

I realized going into my own private practice I ran the numbers and saw how many clients I would need to be seeing in order to make what I was currently making and saw the potential for building. And that felt really scary because when I’m out on my own trying to get out of a marriage that did not work and not really having an income, and jumping into something trying to build up a business from scratch with no business background whatsoever seemed in some ways I thought this is really dumb. It’s not a smart decision. I don’t know what I’m doing. But also it seemed in the long term it would be overall more feasible because the earning potential staying where I was at or even transferring laterally to a different private practice or to a different school district I was just not going to make enough to ever provide for my children the way that I wanted to provide for them.

Tanner Welsch: 11:18

I have to ask, because I think you have a really valuable experience here what helped you get through this to be able to creating your own private practice?

Elizabeth Perry: 11:27

There were a couple of things. The first one was that I met with a colleague of mine, jennifer Oppenheimer. Her husband is now my business coach, but she’s a wonderful speech therapist. She’s the speech therapist who initially brought me into the private practice where I was working, an hour away from home. I said, listen, I like where I’m at at this company, but also I think that I could go out and do it on my own. She and I talked for a couple of hours and she said, yeah, you can do it, don’t worry about it. I think that if you are driven and motivated this is something that you can do. It’s not rocket science, but there are so many supports built up to help you. You don’t have to know everything, you don’t have to have the answers, but there’s free business coaching available loosely for women through various nonprofit organizations. There are local groups, and businesses networking internationally. You can join. There are books that you can read on entrepreneurship and business ownership. Asha are accrediting organization for speech therapists has some resources. Also, if you’re organized, dedicated and hardworking, you can definitely accomplish this. I don’t know. There was something inside of me that wanted to be able to prove to myself that I could do something good and worthwhile occupationally. I was not just getting a divorce. I was also leaving a cult at the time and coming out of that organization where I had been told that my only purpose in life was to be a stay-at-home mom, which is great. That’s a very noble aspiration, but I wanted to do something different. So this was also proving to myself that I was capable of doing that, and that drove me to keep pushing, even when it felt a little bit too hard and overwhelming.

Tanner Welsch: 13:05

For sure. Another resource I’ll add is a score.

Elizabeth Perry: 13:08

Yes, that was the organization I was alluding to.

Tanner Welsch: 13:11

Yeah, yeah, retired executive. So they’re across the United States. Anybody can go onto their website and sign up and get a mentor. They’re very helpful. The follow up question I had for you was practicing at the private practice clinic that your friend initially talked to you about and you took the job. Did the skill set that you gained there from working in that clinic really help you in opening up your own private practice?

Elizabeth Perry: 13:34

The skill set was helpful, but it wasn’t helpful in so much as owning your own private practice, because we were really shielded from the administrative side of things. They had people whose job it was to come in and to do the scheduling and to do the billing and to do the HR, and that’s not something that they teach the clinicians and they don’t need to and they shouldn’t. It’s great that they have a smart distribution of responsibility.

Tanner Welsch: 13:58

For sure. So talk to us about this journey. What are some of these initial steps that you took on and took to create your own private SLP practice?

Elizabeth Perry: 14:07

While you don’t gain the skill set necessarily to start a private practice, from working in a private practice, you get to know the owners if it’s a small enough company and that can be just good enough training really to jump into something. Because you see that they’re just regular people just like you who may or may not have had any business training and background. Do you see that they are people who’s just gotten up again after they’ve been knocked down by their mistakes? So that’s the adequate training I think you really need in order to start a busine ss to have some people who are also business owners who you can talk to and to support. But in terms of actually starting the business, I went on to and incorporated at the time as a limited liability company because I didn’t know any better. We’re now an S-Corporation, but I chose a name and got a logo and a website, hung out my sign and said, hey, here we are. We’re on Yelp, we’re online If you want private pay services, and people were calling in and asking questions and I didn’t know what they meant. They said, do you offer receipts? And I’m thinking receipts, what are those? Really no concept of Apple private practice works. This was back in 2016. We’ve come a long way since then and we got a couple of phone calls over the first month or two. It wasn’t a whole lot and I was looking at some additional payer sources at the time. Regional Center is an early intervention state-funded therapy helping organization throughout the state of California which does a lot of. It offers in-home therapy at no cost to families and you can become a vendor with them, and they’re very straightforward in terms of gaining clients and billing, and so I thought they might be a good payer source to start out with. So I started going through the process. It was a six-month process of becoming vendorized with Regional Center and then, once that happened, I went immediately overnight to full-time because they had so many clients in my area who needed to be seen in-home.

Tanner Welsch: 16:04

Perfect. When you were starting all this and you created the LC and you started the business and put it out on Yelp, did you actually have a brick and mortar location as well?

Elizabeth Perry: 16:12

No, we’ve never had a brick-and-mortar location ever, and that’s something that I would consider potentially for the future. But I love the business model that we have. We go in-home and we become part of people’s families, and that was never something that I was able to do when I worked in the schools or at a private practice, when I had my own office in a brick and mortar. Sometimes parents were in the sessions, sometimes they weren’t. It felt a stagnant place where people would just come in, do speech therapy, and then they leave. They go home and I have no clue what’s happening at home. But when you walk into someone’s home, there’s a level of authenticity and vulnerability that’s there that I really love, and we’re able to make progress and to generalize skills in a way that I could not do when I was in a different setting. So I know that home health really scares a lot of clinicians. The idea of having to drive to someone’s home is not as maybe profitable as lining up all of your clients, but there’s a way of connecting with families that I get within the home that I never got in any other setting, and I love it.

Tanner Welsch: 17:16

And I think it’s fair to say that your value can shine even more in those settings in the home because you’re seeing things that you wouldn’t probably otherwise see or notice at the brick and mortar.

Elizabeth Perry: 17:25

Absolutely. There are particular scripts and stems and behaviors and food preferences, everything coming out at home that you would never, ever, ever see in a different environment. And I found when I was working at a private practice and I had my own office, I was asking families a lot of questions about home because I really wanted to support the skill set that they exhibited in the place where they spend the most time, which is at home with their families. And when you get to step into someone’s home, that whole middleman piece is completely eliminated. You’re already there. You get to see a lot of these children. If, say, they’re non-verbal, how are they communicating with you to ask for things like a snack, or how are they playing with their toys that they have at home? And you can also use the tools, the toys, the manipulatives that they already have within their home, which helps with overall generalization of skills as well. So I like to bring in a couple of my own things, but then it’s great to use what they already have, because that’s what they’re going to be using during the week too.

Tanner Welsch: 18:27

Yeah, I completely agree. The services that you provide, are they generic and they cover a bunch of different things, or are they more specialized and you see only certain types of patients if you will?

Elizabeth Perry: 18:38

I like to see everything across the board. There are some areas that I don’t want to touch. I don’t feel confident in my abilities in areas like swallowing, for instance, so that’s an area of speech that I won’t go into. But I love everything else. I love getting to know people and helping the individual person. I had a couple of clients, for example, who called in last year and they all had functional speech disorders. I had never heard of that Maybe I had heard of it very loosely in graduate school but they all were desperate for help and no one was willing to help them because no one wanted to touch a psychogenic functional speech difficulty. I was very open and I said I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m open to learning, and all of the families said, great, that’s totally fine. It was three families back to back who were all children, who were dealing with this, and so I went and talked with a couple of speech therapists over at the Mayo Clinic who specialized in this, had phone calls and Zoom meetings and they gave me a lot of tips and tools and then went and took some continuing education in this, read up a couple of articles and then went in with these families and said I’ve never done this before, but let’s give it a try and it worked great. And now I can confidently say yep, you have a functional speech disorder, let’s talk about it. But it’s okay to go into an area that you haven’t had extensive experience before If you’re open with the family that you’re working with and letting them know. I’ve never done this before, but I’m willing to learn.

Tanner Welsch: 19:59

I love that. You’re being upfront right away with your clients and who you’re working with and helping establish that rapport and that trust and if they’re open to it, yeah, it’s an opportunity. You help them and then they help you too, right, because you’re learning.

Elizabeth Perry: 20:11


Tanner Welsch: 20:12

Let’s talk about, you’re starting out this business and you got to pay your source coming in. What’s next for you? Are you hiring staff? Are you hiring accountants?

Elizabeth Perry: 20:22

Well, I realized pretty quickly within the first year or so that I needed to have some admin to help. So I hired an administrative assistant and she was doing about 10 to 15 hours a week and she’s still on with us. This is about six years ago. She’s doing about 20 hours a month. She’s our regional center liaison coordinator. She does our graphics. It’s just a fabulous support. And she was the first person on. Then I took on a speech therapist just to see a couple of kiddos who I couldn’t get to. And she’s still with us as well. So she just sees a small handful of clients. And then after that, I realized I really needed a CPA. I needed a small business lawyer who could answer a lot of questions for me. I needed someone who could handle insurance. And those are three big ones that you really do need you have to have they’re like legs of a stool almost you have to have your insurance person. You have to have a really phenomenal CPA who has extensive experience in small business and you have to have a small business lawyer who you can also trust and talk to. So those three things got me really solidly set up, ended up transitioning my company from the LLC to the S corp and then hired a billing specialist because the billing side was taking way too much time and I was unfamiliar with a lot of various systems that I could be using to help systematize and automate make things go a lot smoother: reminders for sessions getting texted out to families and billing being done automatically and receipts and super bills being sent out automatically it was just overwhelming. So I hired someone who now does that for me, and she is out of state and works about 20 hours a week or so, and that’s been phenomenal. But I’ve just been sort of adding clinicians onto the business. It’s just been slowly growing and growing, and growing.

Tanner Welsch: 22:24

You definitely have gotten to a point where you’ve got a lot of experience under your belt with establishing an SOP and an overall therapeutic business, and then also, what I’d like to say scaling it, growing it, because what’ll happen is is, as you found out, one person can’t do all this stuff and, frankly, usually what’s recommended is, if you’re not good at it, it’s probably best just to hire it out and have somebody that’s good to do it, cause it’ll save time. So, in order to scale this and grow, to have some of these specialties paid for and be part of the business and serve the business, did you have to also increase your patient caseload to be able to allow funding for these kinds of things?

Elizabeth Perry: 23:05

Absolutely so I did have to increase it a bit, but more so than that increasing rates. I was really resistant at first to increasing rates and then realized this is just a necessary part of the business where you’re providing a high-quality level of care with a lower caseload. And if you really want to maintain your lower caseload but be able to afford the support on the side that you need to run the business, you need to increase your rates and you want to make sure that you’re choosing the right clientele who can do that comfortably, and I have some sliding scale so we get to support a wide variety of clientele.

Tanner Welsch: 23:42

That’s awesome. What was that like going through that? Was there a resource or colleague or something? Or did you do so me A B testing with figuring out what should I price this at?

Elizabeth Perry: 23:50

Well, I started back in 2016 well below the industry standard for hourly rates just because I felt so uncomfortable with it and I think a lot of new business owners do feel uncomfortable setting rates and asking for people to pay, and then, every year or so, just raised rates to try to bring it up to the industry standard. And then it started increasing over the industry standard and no one bats an eye. We are well over the industry standard for what we charge, but no one seems to care. And part of that is our clientele. We have a lot of people coming in who they’re millionaires, billionaires. This is all just a drop in the bucket for them, but also they help to make it affordable for the people who can’t pay. If I have a client coming in and they really need the help and no one else is willing to work with them, but they can’t afford it, then great, I’m charging someone on one end who can’t afford it and then working pro bono with this client who can’t. It works out well.

Tanner Welsch: 24:46

Everybody wins. I love that. Yeah, I’m really glad you shared that, because that’s what I’ve heard too in this business space is there’s a lot of hesitation with an owner wanting to increase their rates, and what’s often encouraged is each new client you know, each new some of that comes in. Just increase a little bit and see if you get to a point where they won’t pay for it. The owners are surprised because nobody’s saying no, they’re willing to pay for it and it’s because the value that you are providing is worth it to them.

Elizabeth Perry: 25:13

We charge now more than three times what we charged when we first started, and it’s a lot. But also, if you think about the cost of your drive time, getting into people’s homes and being available for them in extended hours and also being a support for them when they need a shoulder to cry on, they give us a call. We have been the first person that a lot of families have called when their child is diagnosed with autism and they don’t know what to do and they need resources. They just need someone to listen, and that’s an invaluable resource for a lot of families. And we have to make the business financially sustainable so that we can keep running it and also so that I can put food on the table for my kids. I now have a family of seven. My husband is going to medical school soon, and so he’s a full-time student. He also has some jobs he’s doing on the side, but all of that money is going into paying for school, and so I’m the primary breadwinner for us and our five young children. So I need to have a business with rates that are sustainable so that I can keep serving more families, and if I was charging the industry rate or below, there’s no way that I could pay the mortgage and put food on the table and then also, just as importantly, see clients and continue to make an impact in that arena. It’s hard to raise rates and also the services that you offer are totally worth it because you’re offering something that is the best in your industry, as is often the case for a lot of us who are running out to start a business. They’ll pay it because they want the best service and you are making an impact.

Tanner Welsch: 26:46

I love talking to you. You’re obviously very successful and come a long way.

Elizabeth Perry: 26:51

There are a lot of things that I don’t know and that I recognize I am not good at. I’m just not so. Bringing people into the team who are experts in those areas has been a complete game changer. Having our CPA on board who also runs our payroll, who also brought in a bookkeeper who does things on the side, having a billing specialist who understands how to run our EMR, and then having an HR specialist just to help with some of the managing and the paperwork affiliated with that. These are all areas I have no background in and I recognize that I could try to learn that skill, or I can just bring someone in who’s already acquired that skill and who’s infinitely better at it than I probably ever will be. Intelligating has been a life changer.

Tanner Welsch: 27:35

I think it’s vital, as you’ve proven if you’re going to grow a business and you’re not going to do everything, you have to hire out and delegate. Otherwise, you’re going to bottleneck your time because you won’t have enough time to do everything.

Elizabeth Perry: 27:46

Absolutely, even on a nonprofessional level, just from a personal level. As a business owner, I want to do and be everything. I want to be a 100% present supermom who is here and available with the kids and makes every single meal, does 100% of the cleaning and the yardwork and running the business and working a full-time job and being primary breadwinner. And you just can’t do everything. So I read Rachel Rogers book How We Should All Be Millionaires and in it she says the only thing that you can buy that’s going to help promote your happiness is buying your time, and I took that to heart and I immediately made a post on Facebook saying hey, is anyone looking for just a couple of extra bucks on the side? I could really use some help at home because I was noticing that there was a lot of work that I was not able to get to, that my husband was not able to get to with our busy schedules. That would enable us to free up our time so that we could spend more time with our children: making meals, cleaning, and folding laundry. I hired a friend who now comes in about five hours a week or so and she’s a personal assistant. She does so much work around the house and it’s affordable. It’s great for her. It’s helping out her bottom line, it’s helping us out and we can put that time directly back into our children.

Tanner Welsch: 29:05

Thanks for sharing. That’s come up before in a prior episode where I talk with another young gal that’s an aspiring entrepreneur, and business owner, and she talks about really the mind shift, this getting your time back and how do you want to structure your life. And something that came up too is momgill. I don’t know what this is, I’m using what she said in our prior episode but the pressures of maybe society or family, whatever that as a mom, you’re supposed to do A, b and C, and the reality is is, if you want to create your own business and have time that you really get to spend quality time with your kids and those that you love and care about, it is okay to hire things out to get done. So you can do that and I’m glad you’re on here talking about it. It doesn’t make you any less of a mom.

Elizabeth Perry: 29:50

Absolutely. That’s a really tough one, societally speaking, even among other business owners. I went to this business networking international meeting about five years ago and I was sitting next to this woman and she asked what I did and I told her and she said, oh, that’s great, but just wait till you have kids and I already had kids at home. But I was in shock: Oh man, she’s another woman and she’s telling me that, like we can’t simultaneously hold motherhood and entrepreneurship, but men can walk in and hold fatherhood and entrepreneurship.

Tanner Welsch: 30:25

Yeah. Is there a resource out there that helped you find all of these delegated professionals to do what you’re needing to do? The administrative assistant, the CPA, the lawyer, the person that’s helping you at your house, what’s helped you most? Find all the right people to fill these spots for you?

Elizabeth Perry: 30:42

It has been trial and error over the last seven years, so there probably are great resources out there and I’m just not aware of them. I went through another CPA before I got to this one, and that was after I had interviewed five CPAs. Oh yeah, I interviewed five, I went with one. It was a complete disaster. Stuck with them for a year, but it just everything was a mess. And then I found my new CPA my current CPA and I’ve been with him for about five years now or so. He spent two years trying to help me clean up the messes that were made previously. I found my insurance agent through a previous business coach of mine who introduced me to her, and then my small business lawyer I found on Yelp of all places, yelp is a great tool. My business coach now I found through another colleague of mine who runs a private practice about an hour and a half away. It’s a similar model she does in home and so she directed me to him. But having other business owners in a similar, tangentially related field is important because they have resources and they can help you. And now with all sorts of business owners in the area who run other practices physical therapy, occupational therapy, other speech therapy practices with a different model. We all refer professionals back and forth to each other and then they’re already vetted for you, which is really nice.

Tanner Welsch: 32:09

That’s great. Using your network to see where to get these good professionals and services that you’re needing.

Elizabeth Perry: 32:15

The network is everything Reaching out to potential power, partners, people who might be referral sources for you, or people who you might refer to and they may not refer to you. You want to build your network. It’s so, so, so important, because every business meeting one to one that you set up with another business owner whether it’s in person, over Zoom you never know where it’s going to lead you and what opportunities might arise from it. And then you have this wide network of resources at your disposal, not just for you and your business, but also for your clients. It’s good to know what’s available in your area, so if they need literally anything, you already have someone who’s on speed dial who you can send them to directly, and that’s a huge perk of a business.

Tanner Welsch: 32:59

Absolutely. I want to take this time to talk about other avenue streams that you’re establishing. Talk about as much as you’re comfortable sharing, and I just think it’s really exciting.

Elizabeth Perry: 33:10

It’s wonderful doing in-home and making an impact in the area where we do the direct speech, but there are also wider areas of impact that I’ve been wanting to look into for a while, for instance, we get a lot of families calling in whose children have just been diagnosed with autism and they say we don’t even know where to go. There’s no handbook for this, but wouldn’t it be great if there was a handbook? Or there are whole areas of the world where services are not available to families or speech therapy and occupational therapy don’t even exist. So how are we going to go and try to make an impact domestically, and internationally? There are so many different areas to go into when we have to pick and choose, but we have sort of delved into a couple of different areas outside of direct in-home speech therapy. One area that we’ve gotten into over the past couple of years has been outreach in China. There are a billion people there, more than a billion people, and they’re very, very limited resources available, not a lot of evidence-based practice, and so how can we be culturally sensitive and also really try to make an impact and help? So we piloted a few programs last year and the year before where we taught classes to various students, professionals, and parents at various universities throughout the country, starting in Beijing and then expanding from there. Recently we just found out that a series of guidelines that we wrote for best practices for speech therapy for children with autism ages zero to six, was just accepted by the China Association of Rehabilitation for People with Disabilities, which is the offshoot of the government where they help and standardize and monitor a lot of the therapies that are going on within the country. So those will hopefully, after a few more edits and meetings and approvals from the board, will be ready for distribution in 2024. And then we’ll see where we go from there. But that was a huge, huge win Congratulations.

Tanner Welsch: 35:09

I’ve never heard of anybody doing that and I’m just super excited for you. I think that’s very cool.

Elizabeth Perry: 35:14

Thank you, it’s been really exciting.

Tanner Welsch: 35:17

How did this start? How did this journey start, with this opportunity here?

Elizabeth Perry: 35:22

I met this colleague a couple of years ago. We were working together on various projects and then he started asking me a little bit more about speech therapy practices for the children who’ve been diagnosed with autism and I was curious why we were meeting about this until he disclosed a couple of months later. I’ve been wanting to learn more about this because I want to bring speech therapy into China. So he and his wife are these incredible powerhouses in the country who’ve done a phenomenal job bringing resources and in training, and he in particular translated the assessment V map into Mandarin from English and published the first and one of the only, if not the only, textbook on behavior for the country. So he already had a lot of inroads and colleagues and associations with various universities and the government. Instead, let’s use those resources that we have at our disposal to bring in speech therapy and see what we can do there, and it was just such a humbling and wonderful experience to partner with him and see really what’s going on from day to day for a lot of these families and how they really literally have no resources and the resources that are available, no one has had training or coursework. There are almost no accredited organizations that train in how to do therapy. So people are doing the best job that they can, they’re doing a great job and also they’re guessing, and it’s awesome to be able to go in and provide some training so that people have more tools that they can use if and when they want to do more evidence-based practice.

Tanner Welsch: 37:02

I’m really excited for you, Liz. I think this is so cool. It was a, you know, right person, right time that you connected with. I’m just really excited for you and I wish you so much success that just grows and you reach more people.

Elizabeth Perry: 37:13

That’s what we want, right? We’re aiming to help and to make an impact and I love being on the ground and working one on one with families and also simultaneously trying to advocate for larger groups to make more widespread change. But the networking piece has really been the big thing. I’ve networked a couple of years ago and got to meet a wonderful pediatrician who works in the concierge industry and she introduced me to a lot of the families that she worked with and these are all billionaires who run the world. And when you have an opportunity to go in and work with these families who have started the biggest tech companies in the world and they just there’s so much opportunity to make wide sweeping change because when they learn about best practices for their children, they have the money and the resources to start nonprofits, to get involved in new ways. There’s just so much opportunity for change.

Tanner Welsch: 38:12

Another follow-up question. I know there are different career avenues and you know, for example, you could be a travel therapist or you can stay in one place for a long time and there’re different options. So how long, would you say, did it take for some of these networking connections to actually get established?

Elizabeth Perry: 38:28

For me, it has taken quite a few years. I know that there are ways to fast-track and accelerate that if you are mindful and intentional and you know what you’re doing. I have not known what I’ve been doing. It’s taken years. But every connection that you cultivate, you never know how that’s going to play out in the ends. And it could be now, it could be a month from now, it could be five or 10 years from now, but you never know. So learning to looking for opportunities to reach out to others and to help and to get to know other professionals in the field could benefit you now, could benefit you five, 10 years down the road.

Tanner Welsch: 39:04

You just never know when that opportunity will come up. You know, now or later, those positive, healthy relationships. Well, Liz, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show and share a little about your journey and your story. It’s great and I wish you great success. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Perry: 39:19

I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. It’s been a pleasure.

Outro: 39:24

Thank you for listening to the Rehab Rebels podcast. If this podcast was useful, make sure to hit that subscribe button and leave a review. For more information about transitioning to alternative careers, head to or follow us on Instagram at Rehab Rebels podcast. We’ll see you next time

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