Jane Kooner: Tips from an Independent OT

July 17th, 2014

Jane Kooner: Tips from an Independent OT

Why did you decide to start your OT business/start working as an independent OT?

I had been working as a senior OT for a Local Authority for a number of years which I enjoyed however due to the lack of career progression within my role, I wanted a new challenge. I didn’t want to take a sideways step into another Social Services post, therefore when a colleague suggested working as an independent OT, I felt that this would offer me the new career opportunity that I wanted to take.

How did you take your first steps to starting a business/in independent OT?

I spoke to colleagues who worked in or had knowledge of private practice and sent my CV to a few independent OT companies with no success, therefore I continued in my role in the Local Authority and did not pursue things any further. Some time after my initial thoughts about private practice, a colleague recommended contacting Inclusion, which I did and soon after my initial communications with Matthew, I was offered some private work with Inclusion, which I did alongside my local authority OT role.

Have you found a benefit from social media marketing (twitter, facebook, google plus, etc)?

I use LinkedIn, which is of great benefit to market yourself and connect with other OTs.

What were some lessons that you learned in the initial stages of your business/working for yourself?

I was very fortunate to be offered a full time apprenticeship post with Inclusion a few months after I starting doing some private work with them, this enabled me leave my Local Authority post and take the leap fully into private practice.  This post which lasted 8 months provided me with excellent opportunities and support from Matthew who has guided me through the transition into working as an Independent OT.

How long did it take for you to turn a profit/how long did it take to achieve a steady flow of work?

I have been very fortunate to have had a steady flow of work from the outset with excellent oportunities around every corner and this has enabled me to leave my Local Authority post, despite relocating from the South East to the East Midlands last year.

What was your original goal and have your been able to achieve that vision, if not how have things changed?

I have achieved my original goal of becoming an independent OT, however I continue to feel challenged as you never know what job opportunities may arise next.

What is the best thing about owning your own business/being an independent OT?

  • Flexibility for your own working life and the clients
  • Variety of work
  • Variety of work locations.

What are some tips that you could give to OT practitioners considering starting a business or working for themselves?

  • Ensure that you obtain support/advice from a mentor. I have received great support from Matthew and the team at Inclusion, particularly regarding aspects of private practice such as insurance, tax returns, branding which were new areas to me in my role as an OT.
  • Remain persistent and don’t give up on your goal.
  • Remain flexible and be mindful that you may have to juggle several roles to maintain a steady flow of work/income. 

Jane is a private Occupational Therapist covering the Derby, Nottingham and Midlands areas. To find out more about her experience and background please visit her profile here.