TAKING THE LEAP!
It’s been a year since I set up my own business offering private Speech and Language Therapy for families in Nottingham. This time last year, it took a lot of willpower and confidence to go it alone. I designed and delivered speech therapy my way for children struggling with communication. I’d been thinking about this for ages, always teetering on the edge, wondering if I could actually do this…. aaaaaaaand I finally took the leap!
When I started offering my services, I had a megaphone shouting really negative thoughts at me, trying to put me off. I felt I wasn’t good enough to do this. It was a whopping big megaphone! It took quite a few months to work through my mindset and realise that I am absolutely freaking awesome at what I do and that I CAN totally do this! .
I’ve kept in mind why I chose to do this in the first place and that I wanted to help families with children who had difficulties with talking. I want to offer more than I could in my previous role working under the pressures in the NHS. I want to make long-lasting personal relationships with parents and schools to show them that I’m with them 100%, I’m in this all the way with them and committed to do my utmost to help their child to improve. I had to keep reminding myself about this and focused my energy on giving my best every time to my clients.
Only near the end of the year had I truly began to believe in myself, develop my confidence and overcome the fears holding me back. I now enjoy the therapy I do so much more than I thought was possible. I have undergone so many levels of learning this year, it’s been a transformational (though not easy I must say) experience. Here’s a quick rundown of the year…
WHAT WENT WELL IN 2019?
Determination saw me through – I was literally was ready to go from day one! I had my first website up, poster created and I even did a leaflet drop to some schools/ nurseries. Basically all systems were go from the moment of opening my doors.
I started to become visible to the community – I started networking and I remember the first event I went to, I felt so awkward putting myself out there but I had to go through this to be able to come out of the other side stronger. I realised how important this was. Even though for an introvert like me it was and probably still is a little difficult, I know the value of it even if you just end up making some new friends. I also joined a supervision group of other Private Therapists which was a godsend in helping me to navigate the private working field.
I learnt about being an entrepreneur – I booked onto a few business courses and joined a networking group to learn all about being an entrepreneur and made some great friends from this hopefully for a long time!
I invested in myself – I paid to go on more training courses this year. I absolutely love learning! I learnt how to do Lego Therapy, Attention Autism and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) all in one year. Beat that previous job!
I seriously started to work on my personal development –This was the biggest highlight to the end of the year, it made me realise how important working on improving yourself is. I always would say ‘yeah we should always improve ourselves’ to my family and friends but did I actually really do anything myself about it? Errm no! I’ve realised that it takes a lot determination to truly work on self-improvement and I could write a whole blog on just this subject. So I’ve taken steps to get serious on this journey now. I love what I have started and I know I will continue to give this a priority in my life. I just wish I could go on a personal development retreat – that would be my dream but probably not practical right now with 3 kids, 4 cats and my hubby 😊.
WHAT DIDN’T GO SO WELL AND WHAT DID I LEARN?
I had stressful moments and it took its revenge on me – I always thought I was a lion(ess) and could soldier on through really busy stressful times. However, I realised that I am not invincible and that if I don’t’ look after myself and set realistic goals then something is going to give. For me, this was my health as I developed severe neck and shoulder pain. I’m usually quite a determined and a headstrong person (Taurus through and through!) and so this really made me put the brakes on and re-assess my life a little. It made me shift my priorities and made me think about putting my health at the forefront and giving it the protected time and space in my life that it needs.
My organisational skills are definitely something left worth desiring – Well, I tried to be organised with my diary and I tried a timetable and carving out time for different bits here and there but it just wouldn’t work. On top of that I offered appointments all over the shop, after school, weekends. I didn’t want to let my clients down so I was bending over backwards to fit everything in. It just was not working and was very hap-hazard. So, even though I was trying and things were not quite clicking together it made me more aware that I will continue to figure this out and hey it might never be 100% perfect but I’m ok with that and I will adjust things time to time to try and get closer to some balance and organisation.
Family life fell by the wayside – Yep, I ended up working too much on the business and being in my previous job part time (so I essentially had two jobs!) and did not protect my time with my family. I knew this was important but I kind of didn’t know how to get off my treadmill. So, I made a commitment at the end of the year to try to find a way and I knew something had to give. I knew I couldn’t have two jobs and that I’m as not invincible as I thought. So I came down from that cloud I had stood in and landed back to Earth and was determined to head into 2020 with changes.
WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARDS IN 2020?
New direction – So for me I will have to say goodbye to my old SLT job of nearly 16 years! This is going to be the biggest step forward for me as I know it will allow me to have more focus and time to delivering private speech therapy to families in Nottingham. So this leap has to be made and I know it will be emotional as I will miss everyone I work with.
Balancing act – Yep I need to still work on this and get closer to some semblance of good home- working life balance where I get to spend more time with my family and yet still deliver fab therapy to my clients.
Inspired action – I am inspired already but I have some great ideas for 2020 and I need to get cracking on creating more to offer parents so watch this space as it will happen. Can’t wait.
I already enjoyed delivering therapy in the NHS but doing private, bespoke, 1:1 individualised therapy has brought a different dimension to my life than I thought it would. I experience more joy, passion, love of my job than I thought I had in me. It completely fits me and I totally love what I do! I’ve become so passionate about private therapy, who I am becoming and what amazing things I’d learnt this year about myself.
I would say continue to explore those niggly feelings of uncertainty and even fear. Crack those doors open and see what’s lurking behind as growth means these areas have to be explored. Don’t let them hold you back.
I have also learnt that private therapy can work similarly to the NHS and sometimes differently. It can be delivered alongside the NHS or before you get to the NHS, whilst you’re on the waiting list.
If you want to find out more about my take on the difference between the two feel free to read about it here. If you want to speak to me about what I can do for you and your little young talker, contact me.