7 Deadly Mistakes Made By New Practice Startups

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20: Avoiding Burnout in Speech Therapy Private Practice

When you are starting, growing and scaling a speech therapy private practice, you have to pace and take care of yourself. This can be difficult, especially in the early years of your private practice, because often you are taking care of all aspects of the business: Scheduling, referrals, accounting, cleaning, compliance, marketing, supplies, etc. In this episode, I discuss actions that we can all take to avoid burnout so that we can continue to help our clients and employees.

In this episode:

01:30 – Over seven thousand listeners
02:36 – Space available for THE PERFECT STUDENT
05:59 – How to combat burnout as a Speech Pathologist
06:19 – Daily exercise can help
07:15 – Diet is important
08:48 – Acupuncture can assist with stress and other ailments
10:02 – Always have reservations
10:55 – Delegating task to others
13:10 – Avoid toxic people
13:42 – Have a spiritual connection with a higher power
14:08 – Spend more time with animals
14:58 – Have a schedule and stick to it


As the owner of two Speech therapy businesses here in Tucson, Arizona; I do have that experience and it’s nice to share that information with others, because when I started you’ve heard it time and time again on these podcasts I looked and searched for things to do, things to read, people to talk to, everybody that I wanted to speak to who had this big successful clinics, they wouldn’t talk, they wouldn’t share that information. I want to do that, I want to share this information with you so you guys can improve your business and improve your life.

[Commercial] Well, Hello everyone! You’re listening to the Speech therapy Private practice Startup Podcast; this is episode number 20. 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 thanks again for all the listeners out there who were giving me comments, tweets and e-mails, I really appreciated it. As of today, today is 18th October twenty sixteen. We have over seven thousand listeners to the show and for those of you who have been there since the beginning, it’s a big deal we started out with two or three people. It’s just growing every week and it’s nice to see when I log on to the show data and look at the statistics, I look at it on a monthly trend and it’s just growing and growing and growing. It’s so nice to help other people like yourself to build, start, grow and scale a Speech therapy private practice. As the owner of two Speech therapy businesses here in Tucson, Arizona; I do have that experience and it’s nice to share that information with others, because when I started you’ve heard it time and time again on these podcast I looked and searched for things to do, things to read, people to talk to, everybody that I wanted to speak to who had this big successful clinics, they wouldn’t talk, they wouldn’t share that information. I want to do that, I want to share this information with you so you guys can improve your business and improve your life.

Also on that note I have another space available for THE PERFECT STUDENT, now the perfect student is where you’re going to be able to come in to Tucson, Arizona at your own expense. You have to spent some money, get on a plane, fly in to Tucson and you’re going to work with me hand in hand and we can work together I’ll show you all the primary aspects of a Outpatient speech therapy clinic, I will also show you how to run a Home health practice if you wish. And I will show you how we do our referrals, how we schedule our referrals, how we build the referral base, how we collect it. I’ll show you all the aspects of a thriving Private practice.

I was just doing payroll the other day and I noticed we have over thirty people on our payroll between two businesses, and we see well over fifteen hundred patients per month so we have the experience to help you grow your practice.

Now this is for someone who wants to supercharge their growth, this is not for someone who wants to think about starting a private practice, this is for that person who wants to really just dive in and cut to the chase and get it done. Because if you are looking to grow and scale a business this is the way to do it so if you are interested in becoming a perfect student, email me kyle@privateslp.com and subject line put THE PERFECT STUDENT. And again tell me about yourself, tell me about what you are up to, give me some information, are just starting your private practice, are you just growing it, do you have employees, how many patients do you see per week, do you accept insurances, are you credential with all the carriers in your area. So let me know that information so I can help you better and I might just pick up the phone and call you, so leave a number on there too, that’s not a guarantee but I want to ask you questions, I am definitely going to email you back. So again this service isn’t free but for the right person I think you will get a great ton of value out of this, so it’s called THE PERFECT STUDENT, email me kyle@privateslp.com if you’re interested.

Also I wanted to talk to you today about BURNOUT. I was talking to a few colleague friends of mine and I said, “Hey, I need another topic for the podcast” and she said, “You can talk about burnout”. And you know I was really thinking about that this morning before I got dressed for work and burnout is something that affects all of us, it’s true, it’s real, it’s out there, and we have to manage burn out, we have to manage ourselves because as a Speech Pathologist I know for a fact that when I go, I go I don’t stop. I have one speed and that’s on and it’s really fast and throughout the day I just go so fast and I look down at my watch and it already like 4 o’clock, so it’s like “Wow, where the time go”.

I am always getting up early around 4:30 or 5 o’clock. I do my exercises I stay active, and when I go to work I work, I go-go-go and it’s just nonstop. I know employees they are busy too. Their schedules are full, it’s a busy a busy job. You know what I am talking about, our profession we help other people. When you help and give and give and give, we need to recharge ourselves and so it’s a part of life that we have to take care of. We have to take care of ourselves, we have to take care of our health, we have to control burnout and I wanted to talk about 9 different things we can do as a Speech Pathologist to help with burnout. I hope that this is a good topic for you and as always down below you can look at the comments. So give me some comments how you manage your burnout, when you get tired, when you just over board, what do you do to help yourself.


The first thing I want to talk about is Exercise. Exercise is probably one of the most important things in my life I like to run, I love to run on a treadmill, I am not much of a runner when it comes to outside. I am going to be 47 here pretty quick and it hurts my knees so I like to go to Jewish community centre. We have a nice JCC here in Tucson, they have a beautiful area where you can run upstairs and you’ve got this glass around you and you can look at all the beautiful landscape here in Tucson, Arizona. It’s gorgeous and I would love to run on that treadmill. After that I hit the steam room, and after that I hit the Jacuzzi, and I can stretch. So when you are in your late 40s you got to do that stuff. So but really exercise, walking, hiking, running, that’s what I do, and it keeps my heart rate down, it keeps me from getting frustrated and angry all the time, I mean it’s true I’ve got to exercise.

Another thing I want to talk about is Diet, my other half she’s a vegan and she has been trying to get me to go this whole vegan thing. I haven’t gotten there yet. I do admit I like to sneak of once in a while and go of to Five Guys and get a burger. That’s not cool with a vegan, but I still am there every morning when I wake up she’s got her white tea and steamed soy with two honeys and I got my latte on with whole milk and, I know but I am just not there yet. At home sometimes I would have a nice PG tips tea with a little bit of sugar and milk, and I know I am working on it. But I try not to drink all the coca colas, for those who know me look I don’t even have to eat. I keep three things in the work fridge, I keep palm juice, that pomegranate juice, I have got that Ayesee, I think that’s how you say it that juice that you get at Costco and then Mexican cokes. Those three things I can live off, but I am trying to change my diet, I don’t eat a lot of red meat. I try to eat more vegetables, brown rice etc. I am not perfect but I am trying to change my diet. I do go to the doctor every year and he says to me that I am in pretty good health, my heart rate is good, and my cholesterol is good. So I do watch it, and being from South East Louisiana its one of those things that I do have to watch, because I swear if I still lived in South East Louisiana it would be a problem.

Another thing that I want to talk to you about is Acupuncture, now Stefanie my other half she is a licenced acupuncture, she trained in china, she has got allot of cool skills when it comes to acupuncture so I am a lucky recipient of acupuncture needles. When I am all stressed out and freaked out it will be, there’s a needle right in between my eyes, and there’s another needle right in my calf, or she puts them all over the place and it really does help. And I have noticed I get a really good sleep when I am a recipient of an acupuncture needle.

I don’t know you might even want to look into that, that does kind of calm me down and I know for a fact as an employer who hires many speech pathologist, and assistants, and therapists in general I know there’s a personality type to us therapists, and its generally type A, very dedicated, stressed. I mean you know the profile type right. Any way check out some acupuncture that will help us destress. Also there is an acronym called HALT Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. When I get stressed, when I get into HALT, I need some acupuncture.

Another thing I wanted to mention is a Vacation or a Stay-cation, those things are awesome. Those listeners on this podcast when you look at some images, you will see that some of those pictures come from Hyatts, Hiltons here in the Phoenix area. Sometimes there might be pictures of Hawaii, when I take my son over to the North shore Hawaii, we stay in a little tool shed its gorgeous. It’s the nicest tool shed you will ever see because it’s on the beach on the north shore Oʻahu gorgeous right across from Teds bakery where you get that nice chocolate cream pie. That’s the place right around sunset beach and that’s a beautiful location to have a vacation but we like to take a lot of staycations. So up here in Phoenix which is about an hour and a half north of Tucson, we have the ability to stay in some pretty cool resorts, some nice resorts with all kinds of beautiful amenities. It’s just nice to have a break like a Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday kind of a deal so I can recharge my brain, clear my head and continue to run this company.

And it’s just nice to have that luxury to spend time with my family Stephanie and my son Conner who is also nonstop. He is a soccer player and he is just so active. He is 10 and he is just go, go, go kind of like his dad. It’s nice to have a vacations or a staycation.

When I was working in a nursing home one time, I was speaking to this elderly lady she was about 96 years old, she was always up and going and just all over the place and I said, “How do you do it?” And she said, “Reservations, that’s how I do it”. You always have to have reservations somewhere reservations at a hotel, reservations on a plane, really stuck with me so I try to do that.

Another thing that will avoid burnout is delegating task. This is something that can be pretty scary when you are starting out in your own business and if you have listened to my earlier podcast you will know that I do not borrow money from banks. I don’t like to borrow money. I want to fund everything myself and so when you start getting payments from patients and insurance companies you want to take care of that money and hold onto it so you can afford to hire somebody to help you. It’s kind of like gears in a car. When you get into a car and shift it into first gear you can only go up to about 2500 RPM then you have to shift into second gear and then you will see the RPMs go down to about 1000.

That’s what you want to do, when you get up to about 2500/3000 rounds per minute on your engine there, when it comes to work it’s time to shift into second gear or hire an employee to help you and when you do that when you delegate those tasks, you will find that you have less burnout, less headaches and that person you hired will pay for themselves over and over and over again. Also don’t forget that payroll is an expense in a business and that can decrease your overall tax liability.

Another thing is avoid Toxic people, I am going to say it again avoid toxic people. If you have people in your life who are toxic or who are sucking the life out of you who you feel that you have to baby sit, don’t settle for that. Why do I have to settle for toxic people? That can be one of the largest things that will cause burnout in your life is having toxic people in your immediate life style. You don’t want toxic people in your life.

Another thing is, and again I am not going hippie on you or all religious but meditation and have some kind of spiritual connection with a higher power. Now when I say this it really helps. When I wake up to meditate or have some quite time so I can reflect and plan that whole piece is very important when it comes to avoiding burn out.

Another thing is spend time with animals. Now Stephanie she is the other half and she brought this one up actually. In the last podcast, you’ve heard me talk about we just adopted another wiener dog. We have now two wiener dogs and four cats. It’s really nice when I come home and I have got all these little wagging tails looking at me, and they all want attention. It feels good to have animals around and when I am not at home or when Stephanie is at work we drop all the animals off, not the cats. The cats are another thing we don’t own the cats the cats own us but we drop the dogs off over at Stephanie’s mom house and she watches the dogs. But it is such a blessing when I come home to have these cute little eyes and little wagging tails looking at me. Spending time with animals definitely helps avoid burn out too.

Also the last thing I want to talk about to avoid burnout is Have a schedule. When you have a schedule, you tend to put boundaries on yourself. Now this is very important folks. You don’t want to sit around at your office and wait until 6 o’clock for people to show up for speech therapy. Create some scarcity and I have mentioned in other podcasts. But it’s very important to remember if you want to have a schedule, stick to the schedule. If someone says, “Hey, I need my speech therapy.” You can say, “Look, I have a Monday available or Wednesday available, I have a 2 o’clock or a 4 o’clock, otherwise I am full or I just don’t have that availability”. That’s what you want to say and when you stick to your guns, have some boundaries, put a schedule in place, you will find that you are less frustrated because you are not sitting here waiting for people till 6 o’clock and they call you at 5:15 saying, “We can’t make that appointment. I am so sorry”, and you are like GRRRR, because it happens all the time. That’s when you have to cut people off, that when you have to say, “You have done twice unfortunately we are going to put you on the waiting list and we will call you when something else opens up.”
So don’t forget that, creating a schedule, sticking to your schedule whatever that is. It might be getting up at 4:30, going to the gym, going for a walk; Sticking to your schedule will avoid burn out as well.

So those have been Nine tips on how to avoid burn out, so I hope this has been helpful and as always if you have any questions about your private practice or if you want to grow and scale your private practice and work with me, email me kyle@privateslp.com. Again if you’re interested in the perfect student put THE PERFECT STUDENT in the subject line, and as always thank you for listening.

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