As students, we are scared of the looming boogeyman waiting for us 6 months after that glorious day of graduation. This boogeyman is called student debt. As new grads, we are watching that 6-month clock tick away before the first payment is due. Because of this, making and saving money now is crucial. Consulting as a PT is a great way to offset the debt borrowed and to pay off physical therapy student loans as soon as possible. Start now and ease the burden ahead.
Consulting without experience
As students and new graduates, we are the future of the workforce and future consumers. Therefore, whether companies know it or not, our point of view is critical to the future success of corporate America.
The good thing about being a consumer, employee, or future business owner is that the scope of business types will widen for you. For example, as a consumer, you are limited to a Business to Consumer (B to C) interaction with companies, such as Nike or Amazon. The equivalent to these companies in the physical therapy world would be Copper Fit, Rocker Bottom Shoes, and Complete Anatomy.
However, as an employee or business owner, your business scope can incorporate Business to Business (B to B) with companies, such as IBM or GE. The physical therapy equivalent would be medical equipment or telehealth companies.
Here is an example email you can use to open the conversation about consulting for a company. This is written to a telehealth company, but the idea can easily be utilized for other products or services.
Useful tips for consulting as a PT
Many of you may be wondering how exactly to go about consulting. You may also be unsure of the best way to develop relationships with prospective clients. This entire process probably feels foreign to you. After all, consulting isn't typically part of our PT school curriculum.
Below I have gathered some useful tips for getting started as a consultant. Some of these may require trial and error, but with persistence, you can find success as a consultant!
Ask the company what they need
Demonstrating what you can do for others is necessary, but it's also important to remember that not every business needs everything you have to offer. Your first reaction after reading this article may be to come right out of the gate spewing everything that is wrong with a company and then list everything you can do to fix their problems.
This may be the most important tip of them all. A simple email attempt may not work on your first or even your twentieth time. Relationships take time and no one gets married after the 1st date.
Email your favorite 15 companies, follow your favorite 30 professionals you want to work with, then patiently cultivate those relationships while you continue to work on your craft.
This may sound like a contradiction after my previous piece advice. But as Gary Vee says, in the world of business, “micro speed and macro patience wins."
Offer free service
Offer value to a potential client before asking for anything in return. This will make people more receptive to what you have to offer. There is nothing wrong with free work, especially if you are just starting.
Free service is a foolproof way to get your foot in the door and give your desired opportunity a chance to see if they would officially like to work with you. Put yourself in their shoes. If you had a company, would you be more willing to open the door to someone willing to work for free or would you rather blindly pay for a stranger’s advice?
Our knowledge is valuable
One of the reasons I chose physical therapy was the countless job options within the field. What other kinds of companies besides telehealth need our help? A few examples include PT equipment companies, moving and delivery companies, PT clinics lacking social media support, desk jobs, school systems, and truck driving companies.
This word may be intimidating to some and it certainly was for me. However, today you don’t necessarily have to go to a big conference or be an extrovert to network. Here are a few easy ways to network as a student or new grad right now:
Eyes On EyeCare: Create a free profile with EyesonEyeCare.com. There you can interact with potential employers, build relationships, and find an awesome job perfect for you.
Facebook: Join a physical therapy Facebook group. Join a Facebook live, get involved in discussions, or simply friend request the most popular people in those groups.
Twitter: This is a great place to follow current SPTs, new grads, and DPTs. Use the hashtags #DPTstudent, #APTA, #FreshPT, #PrePTGrind, and #SocialPT.
Online Courses: Learn from someone who is doing what you are already doing. As PTs, we do this with our clinical skills, why not do it with our business skills too? The community that comes with online courses may also house the person for your next opportunity.
Conferences: Online connections are great, but online relationships are only enhanced by the physical connection and face-to-face interactions. Attend conferences such as CSM, NEXT, National Student Conclave, and Smart Success Live. These are the biggest conferences in the physical therapy world and they are a great way to take your career to the next level. People like to do business with the people they like. Someone at one of these conferences may have your next opportunity.
Take on the responsibility of social media marketing. Social media is the #1 way we all consume information. If physical therapists want to thrive today and in the future, they need to engage in this way of communication.
Here is an example letter from a PT, PTA, or PT tech offering social media services to a company:
You can build your social media accounts and become an influence marketer for physical therapy, telehealth, fitness, nutrition, and other medical related products and companies.
As an influencer, you have insight into what the customers of these companies want. The information and the influence you have over their targeted audience is highly valuable. This gives you business opportunities for both consulting and marketing companies and for your own personal brand. Also, if you love PT advocacy, this is a huge opportunity to advocate for our profession.
As students and new graduates, we are the future of the workforce and future consumers. Therefore, whether companies know it or not, our point of view is of very high importance to corporate America.
One of the biggest upsides to being a physical therapist is our ability to serve in a variety of ways. If we think outside the box, physical therapy will grow exponentially in no time.