Heidi March 2nd, 2009
So what happened with your home speech therapy business?
I’ve learned that it’s very hard to start a speech therapy business.
Once you get those first two or three clients, then word spreads and you’re good to go. But getting those first clients is really tough. And despite advertising, I never got any referrals that materialized into a real appointment.
I did, however, receive a phone call from the owner of a clinic who received my advertisement.
And she offered me a job! :)
At first I assumed it wouldn’t work because I didn’t want to work during normal business hours and most clinics are Monday-Friday, 9 am-6 pm.
But this owner made it clear that she is different.
And so is her clinic.
“I’m a mother, too,” she said, “So I understand your needs and want to support you in meeting them. Name whatever hours you want and we’ll take them.”
So I did.
And she did.
And I couldn’t believe it!
So I started working for her, but I’m still open to taking clients at home.
What happened with your photography business?
I learned that I can’t handle being paid to do photography.
When people would contact me to book an appointment, my blood pressure elevated through the roof.
And for days before a possible appointment, I couldn’t sleep.
I would lay awake in my bed for hours, mentally planning out every minute detail of the shoot to make sure it would be absolutely perfect.
And then I’d go back over every minute detail and stress out about all the ways it could possibly go wrong.
I felt all creativity, enjoyment and confidence in my photography drain from my body.
And I was afraid my customers would be disappointed and then I’d feel awful for taking their money.
But I kept hoping that with more experience it would get easier.
And I told myself that we needed the money, so I just needed to deal with it.
But then my dear husband gently took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said, “Heidi, if it’s making you so miserable, then don’t do it.”
And then I had the epiphany that just because I could make money at photography didn’t mean I had to.
So I took my husband’s advice and decided not to do it anymore.
And I’ve been much happier ever since. :)
(Though I am sincerely sorry for those of you I’ve had to turn down and I hope you don’t hate me!)
So where exactly do you work and how is it going?
I’m working at a private pediatric clinic and it is going great.
It was pretty hectic at first trying to learn how the clinic worked, meeting all my clients, setting up my office and getting back into the working mode.
But the staff couldn’t be friendlier or the parents more supportive.
And it’s wonderful to be in the “therapy” world again and talk with other professionals about this incredible field.
It’s also fun to observe the physical and occupational therapists in the gym outside my office window.
And when I have a free moment, I sit back and marvel that I’m blessed to be paid while doing something I absolutely love: helping children and their families.
It’s also been absolutely fascinating to me to see how my perspective, depth and understanding as a therapist has changed since the last time I worked, because of my experiences as a parent to the Bubbers King these past two years.
I feel like a much better therapist because of it and that’s been a neat, unexpected feeling.
Is working in a clinic different from working in schools like you did before Bubbers was born?
In a word, I feel absolutely spoiled.
I’m not sure how other clinics work, but this clinic has layer upon layer of incredible support staff.
Who are constantly asking me between clients, “How are you, Heidi? Do you need anything?”
Then I smile and say, “Yes, I’d love some glue sticks!” or “Thank you for asking, would you be able to laminate this for me?” or “Yes, I’d love a can of Lysol and some hand sanitizer!”
And then they say, “Sure thing!” and whatever I’ve asked is magically and immediately completed for me.
They also take care of all the scheduling, phone calls and insurance billing.
And they even come back to my office to tell me when each client has arrived and give me the chart.
So I am completely free to concentrate all my time and energy on providing the best treatment and evaluation sessions I can.
And it’s surreal.
Because in the schools, it was very different.
I was a one-woman show with zero support staff, so I did everything that needed to be done for my 50-60 clients.
Not to mention supporting the school in all their speech and language needs and many of their non-speech and language needs.
Which was okay, because I worked full-time and had more time to do those things.
But now that I’m only working a couple hours here and there, it’s really nice to be able to walk in the door and just concentrate on one thing: the clients.
How is leaving Bubbers going?
For the couple nights I work, I only miss the last 15 minutes before he goes to bed, so that works out really well.
Bubbers loves having a little private time with Daddy and I’m free to work knowing my son is sleeping, my husband is studying and I’m not missing anything. :)
But the few hours I work on Saturdays can be harder, because I’m really missing time with Bubbers and Daddy (when he doesn’t have school).
So I try to focus on the positive.
And I appreciate how much Bubbers enjoys being able to play with his Daddy or his sitter while I’m gone.
And I love the sounds of his feet running excitedly to the door, his little fists pounding on it, and his dear voice shouting through it, “Mommy home! Mommy home!!”
And I love how he beams up at me as he runs into my arms and I squeeze him in a hug I never want to end.
And I cherish the added measure of love and appreciation we all have for each other, because I’ve been gone.