Reflections on a year of self-employment
It has been a full year since I became fully self-employed with my own business, Integrative Rehab Training LLC. It has been an amazing year of discovery, learning, growth and…. a bit of humility. I thought I would share a few things that I love and have learned about this new venture—and the adventure it has become—and some things which has made the transition incredibly smooth. I hope these might help others who might be considering venturing out on their own:
o Unmatched, unparalleled, the top reason I love what I am doing. I can manage clients how I feel is best for their particular situation, based on a combination of the Big E’s:
§ Experience (professional)
§ Evidence (best practice)
§ Environment (we are in, they are often in and they have exposure to)
§ Exploration (of innovative strategies)
§ Expectations (theirs and mine)
o Lesson: An integrative approach comes from a multimodal background.
o In the types of clients I see, to the different environments I see them in; from the lecturing opportunities I’ve had to the consulting gigs I’ve done; with my business responsibilities and paperwork to the ways I’ve integrated “marketing” into everyday living.
o Lesson: Diversity, variability and a little chaos can be incredibly rewarding.
(Working with Stars On Ice in Lake Placid)
o Slow day? No problem. It doesn’t make me feel like I am being unproductive, or letting down an organization or that some administration is holding me accountable for revenue. Some slow days I’ll just get on my bike or paddleboard for the afternoon…. just because I can.
o Lesson: You represent yourself so downtime is what you make of it.
(Lecturing in Changzhou, China)
o Spending each day at a couple of different facilities with colleagues who are similar in approach, mindset, and are able to challenge each other and exchange ideas has been incredibly rewarding. Surrounding yourself with those who will help build each other up is incredibly powerful.
o Lesson: While it shouldn’t pigeon-hole your approach or opinions, like-minded colleagues certainly can help with building each other’s confidence and skillsets.
o After many years of interacting with health professionals and other professions through sharing, asking, reaching out, visiting, calling, etc., I have been fortunate in having developed a wide network of people, from a rather large radius, to refer to and receive referrals from. This includes, physicians, osteopaths, PA’s, physical therapists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, Pilates/yoga instructors, colleagues, coaches, schools, friends and neighbors. This is done with a genuine interest in bettering myself and others and it’s just a bonus that it has worked into a referral base.
o Lesson: As you develop your career, spending time networking with other people in your field, and others outside of it, is essential for independent professional security.
(Consulting with Miami Dolphins strength & conditioning and athletic training staff)
o I’m thankful for: the experience(s) I’ve had over the years, the colleagues I’ve learned and shared with, the courses I’ve attended, the patients and clients I’ve worked with, the people willing to share their knowledge in their writings, the mistakes I’ve made and some of the successes, and a strong desire to learn and grow professionally. This has contributed immensely in helping shape me and the unique skillset I have developed.
o Lesson: What is it that drives you, represents you, and makes you passionate in your work? Chase that….
(Inservices to Bates College athletes)
Time with clients
o The model I have been working with allows me considerable time with people. This affords me the ability to be thorough, while the client receives undivided attention to detail and instruction on what we are there to accomplish. I am fortunate in that people who see me want to be there. They have either been referred to me, sought out a different approach, have been unsuccessful with other interventions, or are looking to get fit and strong while managing conditions or problems they may be having.
o Lesson: The ability to have time with motivated people is a recipe for success.
(Consulting & lecturing in Tokyo, Japan)
o I can wear shorts to work just about every single day! I do make exceptions on those day where it is single digit temps or wind chill craziness, but that merely means wearing sweatpants over them on the way in.
o Lesson: I can wear shorts!
Hiring a bookkeeper
o Let’s me focus on the things I am good at, helps with making sure things are done in a timely manner, and, more importantly, correctly (at least I hope so!).
o Lesson: Reduce stress by letting experts do what experts do.
My wife and children (really should be top of the list)
o Without a doubt the most important, supportive, loving, patient and amazing people in the entire world without whom none of this would be possible.
o Lesson: Family is everything.
(My family....my everything)
Deciding to take this step was one of the more challenging decisions of my professional career. It has so far worked out quite well, but that is due to having spent an incredible amount of time, energy, money, travel, etc. to be able to get to this point in my career. “Sweat equity”, “pay your dues” and similar clichés are all true, but the rewards are worth it….