Sports Therapy Community Streamed

Ep9 What are the 10 things that you need to know about setting up a sports therapy clinic? - Naomi Huggins

October 01, 2020 Kristian Weaver Season 1 Episode 9
Sports Therapy Community Streamed
Ep9 What are the 10 things that you need to know about setting up a sports therapy clinic? - Naomi Huggins
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Sports Therapy Community Streamed
Ep9 What are the 10 things that you need to know about setting up a sports therapy clinic? - Naomi Huggins
Oct 01, 2020 Season 1 Episode 9
Kristian Weaver

In this episode I speak with Naomi Huggins about the challenges and set up of a successful Sports Therapy clinic.

If you want to Become An Unstoppable Sports Therapist then visit: 

www.sportstherapycommunity.co.uk
 
To find out more about Naomi:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram:
@nmsportstherapy
Twitter:
@nmsportstherapy

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I speak with Naomi Huggins about the challenges and set up of a successful Sports Therapy clinic.

If you want to Become An Unstoppable Sports Therapist then visit: 

www.sportstherapycommunity.co.uk
 
To find out more about Naomi:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram:
@nmsportstherapy
Twitter:
@nmsportstherapy

Kristian Weaver:

Welcome to the sports therapy community streamed the place where sports therapy practitioners can get useful and actionable advice from industry leading experts from sports medicine to psychology to business. Here is your host sports therapist, exercise physiologist, and creator of the sports therapy community, Kristian Weaver.

:

What are the 10 things that you need to know about setting up the sports therapy clinic? Hello and welcome to this episode with Naomi Huggins. Today we are going to be talking about the setup and running of a successful sports therapy clinic so, Naomi, tell us how you got to the point of being a successful clinic owner.

Naomi Huggins:

Um, so I guess it all starts with a undergraduate degree. So I did a sports therapy at university , graduated in 2013. Um, and actually straight away I ran away to America , I did camp America for the summer. Um, kind of people like, Oh , you need to start work. Um, but no, I, I ran away to America and that's actually in my life. I , uh , I grow a lot as a person, learned a lot about myself , especially around organisation and abandoned in random places in America having to get buses and things. So , um, I was probably around where my success starts , um, but from them got back and I first set up mobile , um , whilst working as a learning support worker in an SEN school. So , um, started kind of a couple of evenings a week driving to people's houses, setting up that way. Um , quite early after getting back I got job with the rugby club , um , and they very kindly let me use their treatment room , um, for a very, very low cost. And so I kind of very much took them up on that. And those few I who weren't comfortable with mobile, I got into kind of that clinical space. Um, but if anyone's worked in rugby clubs, it's not the nicest place to take non-sports people. Um, so it was fine for the athletes , um, but not a lady that's coming in for some neck back pain , uh, not too sold on the mud stained walls. So , um , quite soon had to kind of change that up. Uh , so I got a space within a holistic center. Um, so I was very, very different to what everyone else was doing, so it was quite attractive to , um, to clientele. However it was very much the educational side of things. Um , people coming for kind of relaxing massage with me and I'm going , I think you're not quite in the right place. Um, but no , the owner was incredible. Um, she'd been a business owner for a long time and taught me a lot as well, so I picked up a lot from her, still friends with her now. Um, it's kind of keeping those networks and those , um, relationships, kind of solid basically, to kind of keep getting help , um, as you go. From there because of the kind of holistic side of things and it was a kind of a relaxing music situation , incense and things like that. So I kind of took a room in a gym as well. U m, all of whilst working full time. U m, by this point I was, u h, u m, working the university of Gloucestershire as a sports therapy technician. So working full time doing this evenings and kind of weekend team things as well. From then I kind of went, y es, n o, yes, no, yes, no. But finally bit the bullet and went fully self employed and u h, took on a room solely. U m, so rather than kind of in a couple of locations and working full time as well. U m, I took on a room within a gym in Cheltenham, u m, which was o urs, our name on the door of the room, u m , w ithin the gym. Um , b ut a great place to build a cl ient b a se i n terms of people being in the gym, getting injured and kind of not kn own w here to go. So we were there kind of first point of call. Um , m et some great personal trainers along the way as strength and conditioning coaches, nutritional c o aches, w ho again I still work quite closely with now. Um, a n d that referral system, u m , wo rked a treat there. And so we were there for a y e a r. U m, I got so busy that I ended up having to take on two therapists. Um, so they kind of came in to help me out. Um, so me learning curves along the way, b e cause I wasn't quite savvy in business then. Um, so kind of learning the importance of kind of contracts and kind of building those relationships with, with people you wo rk with as well. So ju st kind of tracks relationships. Um, s o we were there for a y e ar and then, u m , I bit th e bul let ag ain, we took on our very own premises. So we've been there two, just over two years now. Um, so we have our own front door. Um, I have all the responsibilities of, e v erything, n o kind of reliance on any one el s e no w. It's all, it's all on me. Um, an d I now have a team, six therapists. As some people know, I lecture part time as well. So I'm an associate lecturer at university of Wor cester. U m, me aning I don't get to spend a lot of time in clinic anymore. Um, so my clinic pretty much runs itself, which is incredible. That's kin da my journey of where I've come I guess. Um, bu t along the way it has been lots of ups and downs. Um, qu ite few breakdowns. Um, ye ah, great fun.

Kristian Weaver:

I think what we see typically in therapist is that starting out as a mobile kind of therapist where you don't need to sort of go into a full time premises where you've got lots of overheads and you obviously got lots of expenses going out. And then I did exactly the same as you going into a rugby club and actually working within a rugby club , getting some experience within that rugby club and then starting to build my client base from there. So very similar stories in that respect. So in terms of setting up that successful sports therapy clinic that you now have, what are the 10 things that you'd say that listeners need to know about setting up and running a successful sports therapy clinic?

Naomi Huggins:

Yeah, I've kind of made a few pointers down , um, but kind of the one that I kept coming back to is organization. Um, it is even if you're doing it part time and alongside another kind of full time job, you've got to be organized. Um, as most people know in sports, every world is not a nine to five. Um, so kind of organizing your time efficiently, effectively is, is kind of one of the most important things. Um, if you're working during the daytime, but you're saying three clients in the evening or if we're at work runs over, have you got enough time to get to your clients? What if there's traffic? There's so many things that need to kind of come into play. So organization is key and obviously when the business then starts developing , um , keeping track of money , uh , client numbers, statistics on returners , um, kind of who came back, why they came back. Um , those kinds of the basics you start with and tend to grow with the business as well. Um, so kind of starting with the basics , um, and then advancing kind of as and when you need to with the organizational skills. Um, anyone who knows me, I am a little bit OCD with my organization. Um, I use kind of my Google calendar. I have multiple alarms set for different things. I use a paper diary for one thing. I use an app on my phone for another. Um, I have post it notes everywhere. Um, but along with the organization it's kind of making sure you kind of note things down. Um, my team very much know that if they tell me something, they also need to message it to me because I will probably forget two minutes later cause I've got about 20 things going on around the head at the same time. So number one is definitely organization. Um, however you organize yourself, that is kind of your cup of tea. Um, but it needs to be there. Um, I tend to work on a week to week basis. My calendar is booked out for six months, so I know what I'm doing for sex around six months until COVID obviously ruined my organization a little bit. Um, but then I worked kind of week to week. So this week, what am I doing next week? What am I doing? So I don't kind of overwhelm myself of , um, kind of what's going on. Two , kind of almost kind of staying with the organizational side of things. Um, but you need to be able to wear many hats as a successful business owner. Um , you need to be a manager, you need to be a therapist and an effective therapist. You need to be a mentor. Uh , you need to be an accountant, a marketing director, a marketing manager , um, a sales representative, everything. Um, so it depends what day is, depends on who you're speaking to, depends which hat you need to put on. Um, there's definitely ways of kind of sourcing things externally. Uh, but for me, I started my business with no kind of set up costs, so I didn't have any kind of backing money to put into it straight away. So I started from the bottom and how it's going to work up Um, so that was my way of keeping costs down. Um, still to this day we do not have a receptionist. Um, we have , uh , online booking systems , um, that kind of cost marginally the cost. Um, we kind of do a callback system, so we've got systems in place to , uh, to organize them to manage whilst trying to keep, keep costs down. So yeah, organization then needing to wear many, many hats. I think the third most important thing, obviously this depends if you're working on your own , uh , but still if for example, if you're going into a gym situation, it's making sure. So it kind of points three , um, is building trust and trusting people you work with, whether that be a gym owner, a PT that you kind of refer between all the team you have within yourselves . Um, I always say kind of whoever I can get in , um, it's kind of work with me. Skills can be taught , yes, underlying skills are a very much a bonus. Um, and do you need to have the correct qualifications and kind of understanding, but people's attitudes are the key. So attitudes and values are what kind of shine. It's what I really kind of push on students. Your attitude can get you a lot further sometimes t han under s killset. U m, unfortunately that's how it kind of the world works. U m, I was very, very lucky and I'm very aware of this. U m, I straight out of university got a job working for Great Britain American football and that was because I had done a placement with someone and they picked up on my attitude, my values, my, my goals and they kind of put their trust in me, a put trust in them. A nd s o they kind of gave me a shot, u m, from their I grew into the kind of the positions I 've been in previously. U m, but without that, that relationship built, I would not have been able to gain that experience or opportunity. So kind of getting that trust is really, really important. U m, also when you have that trust in people, people trust you. So, u h, if you don't, if you don't trust yourself, i f people don't trust you, u m, it's never g oing t o work. You're never g oing t o build clients that way. I know I should talk a lot. I'm so sorry. Point 4 is to search the local area for competition. So, obviously it is not always a competition, although majority of us are sporting backgrounds , sporting each nature . So we can't help a bit of competition. Um, but no, this is more for gauging your, your level. You need to set yourselves up, gauging your pricing and seeing what everyone else offers, but what you can offer that's different to them. So why would it draw people to your clinic rather than other places? Um, and I think that it's really tough to do. Um, so it's a really kind of niche thing that you've got to be able to do over the years. We've been asked many, many times, or why don't you employ a physiotherapist? Surely that will bring more people in. Um, which possibly would be, but just because of the title. Um , but I've kind of stuck to my guns and we are all graduate sports therapists. Um, apart from , um, kind of one who's our in house massage therapist because we want to set ourselves differently to other places. So searching for the competition, set your prices, find out what they do, make it very different. Um, most people that walk into our clinic, this is , this is not what I'm used to. Um , we have a very, very relaxed , uh , environment, very relaxed setting. Um, it's very chilled. We've got clinic dog, Cody , um, so he's chilling around. Um, if you kind of want him there for some support, if not, he goes away. Um, but I'm very, very kind of open in clinic, open plan. It's a 'do you want a cup of tea?' 'Yeah, sure . Lovely.' Everyone knows each other. Our clients are very, very comfortable with all of our practitioners, not just the ones they see. And that's kind of, that's our one of our selling points.

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Five, I still have a breather. Um , quite an apt one is , um, make sure you don't burn out. So running a business is not easy. Um, because of all these different hats and if you're a little bit of a control freak, like I am , not distributing tasks to others efficiently. Um, you do take on a little bit too much sometimes, so it can get a lot. Um, then you are no good to anyone if you, if you do burn out . I'm not saying I haven't, I have had a number of burnouts number of breakdowns , um, but most people are aware of , uh, which is fine. Um, these things happen. Uh, but it's signs that need things need to change. Um, I mean I certainly learned from them and kind of learning to say no. As a sports therapist I think you say yes too much. Um, and yeah, being able to say no is is, is key. Um, it's taken me a good few is to learn how to say no, but it's, it's come . Um, so I kind of with that, setting boundaries , uh , especially if you're working with teams and things as well. Um, I was very much a work all hours , um, player contact you at 11 o'clock at night. Yeah , sure. How can I help you? What do you need? Um, is that appropriate? Not really. Um, they need to understand that you need to have a life as well. Um, I personally, whilst I was working with clubs as well and when I set up the clinic, I got myself a work mobile phone. Um, so work went to one mobile. I could keep my personal life separate, which means at a certain time I could just turn it off, put it away , um, I could stop, stop work. Um , and that really helped with kind of preventing burnout side of things. And I kind of really important to have that work life balance. Um, I've spoken to many therapists before who have had kind of relationship breakdowns , um, friendship breakdowns because they just put too much into their work. Um, and with only your business is your, it's your responsibility. It's your little baby. So this becomes even more prevalent. Um, I come setting those boundaries. I was getting calls at 2:00 AM in the morning on a Saturday night after the lads gone out to clubs after the game. Um, so and so's rolled his ankle falling off a curb. Like what do we do? Or someone's else got gotten a scrap and knocked themselves out. What do we do? Um, obviously not really my responsibility, but , um, as a kind of caregiver , um, it's difficult to say no and you just want to help people in that point. So yeah, setting boundaries and it took me a good few clubs to um, set that in place and with um , clients as well and with teams especially, it's kind of a an hour where I will walk in, this is how I work, this is what's happening, black and white. There we go, sorted. And they're like, okay. Yeah. But yeah , that kind of comes with confidence over years. Um, but our clients are the same kind of ringing you on a , on a Sunday evening and things like that. She's like, Nope, my time now. Um, so yeah, number five, don't burn out. Um, but it's OK if you do, just use it as that learning opportunity.

Naomi Huggins:

Um , number six, so being successful, you need to know what's working for you and what's not. Um, and uh , lots of people are afraid of feedback. I certainly was to start with , um, cause I felt like people were judging me. Um, however, as the years have gone on, feedback is your best friend. Um, clients will be very, very honest with you if they ask, if you ask them to be , um, if they really, really like what you do, then excellent. Use that as your marketing. Use that as your kind of go forward. There will be some that don't like what you do and that's fine. Um, but you need to utilize that information to change, to grow as the practitioner, to grow as a business , um, to change and to maybe appeal to more , um, different types of clients. So keeping that and kind of helping with your development. I have to sit and breathe occasionally cause we do, we do get some , um, alternative feedback sometimes. Um, and it , it's just knowing how to approach it and how to reply and how to get the most out of that situation. Um, and yeah, it is a bit of a kind of kick in the stomach if you've seen someone , um , for a consultation. And then next thing you know, they're going to see another clinic and they're kind of posting all over social media that they have gone somewhere else. Um, and that's fine. I think this will come and go on my next point. I'm going on to my next point anyway. Um , but people will stay because people buy people, people don't buy things So things on the website will draw them in. Absolutely. Uh , but what will make them stay is, is people. So point 7 is people b uy people. So all your marketing needs to be around that. Your individuality assets as a clinic, as a business needs to be that and that needs to be y our, your sales pitch. U m, it's great when it works. Absolutely. U m, because once you see one client, they will then sing and dance about you, about your clinic, u h, to all their friends. And that's how t hose kind of referral systems work as well. So if you are someone who kind of as a therapist, your client walks in and it's just like, okay, let's just get straight down to the nitty gritty, u m, straight into an assessment, n o messing about... Fine, if that works for you. Some people absolutely like that way. That is not a problem. Um , o thers want a little bit more personal, u h , p ersonal touch. So l ike, Oh , so what do you do? How things go? In that kind of hairdresser chit chat as we call it. Um , b ut instead of just asking kind of general questions, remember them, u m , l earn about them, learn about the person. Uh , w e all know we've all had those clients, r ehabilitation wise that will not do their rehab and that's probably because they don't necessarily have tr ust i n w hat maybe you're doing. Maybe they do n't t rust themselves and what they're doing. Um , m aybe they're not sure actually, do they need to do that? So kind of having that kind of personal approach will help you build those trust relationships with your clients. Um , a nd yeah, I don't mind like what couple of clients that, u m , w ell they've been messaging me all through lo ck l o ckdown b ecause th ey m iss just having to catch up with me. And that is kind of, that's how, again, we work, not a lot of people don't work like that as fi ne a s well. Um , b ut majority of th e t hings we find with, wi th c lients to c ome to us, u m , n ot a lot of them know about sp orts t herapy, so we educate them. So you need to educate them as you go as well. Um , t h at w e've got some pl ans t h at c ome in and go, Oh, I thought you just did massage. No , no , no , we do this, this, this, this and this. So when they do get injured or their brother gets in jured o r ge ts i njured, then they can refer them to you as well. Um , s o it's kind of building those relationships with people. So yo u a l l w o uld g o to go to person. Um , s o anyone who they know wh o g e ts i njured or is i n p a in, you're the person they go to. So kind of that re al k ind of personal approach works for us. Uh , q uite a few clients we have who have been to X, Y, Z, A, B, C, D E for this issue and ha ve s till not got better. It's now become a chronic problem and there's no progression seen and you kind of st art t o talk to them a little bit about kind of their treatment and what they've had before and any assessments and they can't really remember. They can't remember where they've been, who they've really seen, u m , w hat kind of, what treatments they've had and things like that. So our goal and all that be with our clinic is that patients, clients should leave the clinic remembering your name, feeling like they are comfortable feeling like they ha ve t hat kind of trust relationship and knowing that we're just at the end of the phone or email if they need us . Especially in mental health week as we're recording this so it's quite apt. Um , b ut some people that's what they need. They need that little bit of a handhold initially. Um , b ut then we need to kind of wean them off that. Um , a nd they won't we an o ff unless they have trust in me. So, u m , t hat's a massive master thing that I kind of push towards. And I know I'm just rambling on, so I 'm moving on t o m y next point.

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Point 8 , um, build local partnerships. Um, so one thing that's been really, really beneficial to us is , um, building local partnerships with, so we have partnership with the local ouch rugby club , cycling club , um, a couple of charity running clubs. Uh , we've got a couple of different um, sporting teams as well, but building those partnerships, offering discounts for players , um , kind of member discounts , um, when they come to you and again, this is a way of, we are associated with this club. You can come and see us whenever , um, and we're here for you if you get injured. Um, so you've got kind of four or five partnerships at the moment. We're looking to set up another one. So , um, that's kind of in the pipeline still, but that gives us an access to 200-300 more athletes that at some point might potentially need us. So knowing we're there , um, and we get , um , them to put our logo on the bottom of all their emails. Um, we get tagged a message from media, so it's kind of , um, they do a little bit there for us and we give them discount . So it's kind of, we use that as our kind of one of our marketing tools.

Naomi Huggins:

Point 9 is , um, using sponsored athletes. So using is completely the wrong term, not using , um, inviting sponsored athletes. So we, when I first opened, even when it was just me, myself and I, I noticed that there was a lot of elite athletes that don't get the funding from sport England aren't part of kind of the um, uh, EIS set up so they don't get the kind of medical support that they , they necessarily need. Um, so meeting me, I can't just kind of let that happen and they're trying to train full time. They can't work, so they don't have the funds coming in. Um, I started with one, one of our athletes that I went , right, I'm just going to treat you every week for free. Um, and we kind of worked out from there. Um, it got a little bit more technical after that. We kind of put some guidelines in place. Um, but basically , uh , we take on sponsors , athletes , um , so they get a treatment a week for free. Um, we tend to set them with a specific therapist so we can kind of obviously track their journey that they are able to see any of the team , um, if they need to change their appointment time or things for kind of training reasons or anything like that. So they have full access to the clinic whenever they, whenever they need really. Um, and in return for that , uh, they again tag us on social media posts. Uh, we kind of share all their competitions. Um, on our website we've got a sponsored athlete page show. It shows that we are working with elite athletes. Um, so our sponsor GB boxer, GB cyclocross We have GB gymnast, GB sailor and a world champion cross runner. So we kind of have a few niche niche sports in there as well. Um, and yes, I did not know what cyclocross was when I first , um, uh , took on the athlete, but again, it's all a learning curve as well. Um, but not only do we help those athletes , uh , kind of strive towards their goal , um, become better athletes. Um, we help or with that performance side of things as well, but they help us. So they kind of help with putting our clinical on the map a little bit. Um, it was one of those, I didn't really think kind of much of of it. I just was doing it to help people , um , until we got contacted by another GB athletes and received that you work with GB athletes already. Can we come we come for treatment. So it's definitely, definitely be beneficial. Um, absolutely.

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Finally, number 10 and I think I've gone off on all tangents. Um, but all the information is in here. I just talk , um, number 10 is do not be afraid to ask for help. Um, again, this kind of ties in with some comments earlier about kind of learning when to say no. Um, this is a learning one to ask help. Um, yes, even though I lecture part time, not doing as much hands on in the clinic now. Uh, I still do all the accounting, all the marketing and all that kind of stuff. Um, but I liked doing it so I don't really mind. Um, but as we've grown, as we went into the new premises, there was a lot of extra business side of things that I have no idea around . I actually got one of my clients , um, has her own business as well. Um, she's basically a business consultant. Um, so she helped me write all of our policies, our procedures, our contracts , um, um, kind of helped me set things out that way. Making sure I'm up to the legalities. Because with your own clinic, you need a whole lot of things. I did not know you need fire extinguishers in the space we had. Apparently we did. Um, so little things like that , um, which as a, as a therapist I didn't need to have known that. Um, but now I do. So yeah, I, I'm very, very lucky either I have a large client base that I can work with, which means I have a lot of clients with skills that we can utilize as well. Um, so we offer skill swaps. Obviously it completely depends on , uh , the client itself that they normally go, Oh yes, please . Um, and it's kind of a service for service. Uh, so I've got , um , a guy who has done some signs for us for swapsies , um, did some kind of electrical work for swapsies , um, like contracts and stuff for wapsies um, so yeah, it's , it's again, ways of keeping costs down. Um, we don't have that spare cash, especially for growing. Um, it's a, it's a good way of , uh , working , um, obviously making sure everything is by the books. Um, but yeah, absolutely. Do not be afraid to kind of ask people for help that way. Um, but equally some stuff you just can't do yourself. Um, and that's fine. I'm very lucky that my dad's an accountant, so he's been an account for 34 years. Um, and that kind of got forced on me ass soon as I said I wanted to run my business. So literally from day one it was right. Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets. Um, so I had that support all along the way. And for my first three years , um, my dad sat with me and did my tax returns with me and did everything with me. And then it got to a year and he was like, right, you're done . And just kind of d rop, dropped it and left it all to me. U m, t hat's scary, but it's good. U m, but in terms of asking for help as well, it's not just the things in terms of running the business. I started my business working by myself. I was working in clubs, as I said, a s a therapist. U m, I spent a good four or five years of my career working by myself. U m, and that was tough. U h, maybe because I didn't know where I was going wrong, u m, because I didn't have that support t here. U m, I got into some bad habits in terms of kind of laziness and treatments and assessments and things like that. U m, so y ou're asking for help. It's not just about the kind of running of the b usinesses side of things. Asking for help is I need someone to kind of talk through this case study with me or I've got this really difficult case and I don't know where to go next.

Kristian Weaver:

Now you've given some really important points there and I think that I'll probably have to go back and listen to this episode myself just to try and pick out some, some really important points and things that I can apply in my own business and not necessarily just in clinical practice neither. And when I have these business mentors who I go to to work out my own business and the sports therapy community and the platform that I have there is that sort of point that you made about know what when you say yes and no one to say no to things and a lot of the phrases which the business mentors come out with is when you say yes to something, what you said then saying no to. So what you depriving yourself of if you're saying yes to everything. And I was very guilty of that when I first started my career. I'd say yes to every player to do everything with them. Yes you can contact me anytime you want, I'll be here. And in the end you do end up with that sort of burn out and that that situation where you're feeling a little bit overwhelmed. So that , I think that's a really important point. And then the second point that I picked out was when you were saying invest in people, invest in other people and people buy into other people. And we had an episode with Megan McNeill who was talking about personal branding. And she was very much about actually it's about the value which you give to your patients and they invest in you as a person as well. And that's very much a sports therapist role is that they will invest in you and people will trust in you. And I've had players open up to me very personal issues and because they trusted me as that practitioner and that person who they can go to. So it's is all linked into business as what we do as a sports therapist. So that was really interesting. And that might tie into sort of the next question I have for you, Naomi, which is what the challenges that you faced when setting up as a sports therapist in clinical practice?

Naomi Huggins:

Um, so I think , uh, the first one, and it , it's normally they're kind of the key one that , um, when new therapists come come to me is it's their issue as well is finance. Um, it takes, it takes a while . It takes a good two, three years to build up a decent client base that you can be, you can live off . Um, we're in an area where there is a lot of clinics in a very small area because we're in a quite a big town. Um, so we have a lot of competition , um, which makes it that a little bit more difficult as well. Um, but for, for me , uh , the way in which I was able to set up my business, starting with the mobile, so there's kind of very limited costs, outgoing , um, then going into the rugby club set up. So again, not a lot of outgoings. So it took, well it was five years before I opened. Five and a half years. Yeah, five and a half years until I opened up the new premises. So our own very own spanking new premises. Um, and it took those five years to build up the client base, the cost to do that. I know what my challenge is, a bit of advice there. Um, make sure if you're going into someone else's premises, don't be afraid to negotiate. Um, people will go, this is the cost, this is what we need. Um, but as a brand new therapist with no client base, if they're asking for , um, 80 pounds for, for a day, whether you've got clients in or not, well, I'm really not gonna be able to pay that because I need that space to grow. Um, so don't be afraid to negotiate with them and say, okay, for the first two months, could I pay , um, kind of 10 pounds per or per hour or something like that and kind of work out a deal with them, but get it in writing. Make sure you get in writing , um, this is where all the kind of the contracting side of , um, legal side of business comes in. So I highly advise kind of even having a meeting with a legal advisor or something like that before setting up a business. Um, so finances, obviously it's going to take a little bit of time to come in. Um, some people come straight out of university and expect to go straight into a full time clinical position. That's unlikely to happen unfortunately. Um, it's is very much about having start with anyway , um, about a million jobs to make one income, which is where that organization comes in from. Um , so you might be relying heavily on your kind of team team wages , um, whilst you set up client base. So finances is definitely the biggest challenge that I saw. I just still see day to day. Um, second challenge is getting clients through the door. Um , and again that is finding out your sales pitch, your persona, your, your personal brand , um, as per the other episode. Once you find that, stick with it, go with it. I was trying to be everyone and anyone. I was trying to be whoever people wanted to be initially. Um, and one that's just not me. Um, um, I am again, people know me. Um, yeah. Um, so it was kind of a lot of acting and yeah, don't be who are not. Um , if they don't like who you are in my eyes, they're probably not going to be the best client for you anyway, so that, that relationship is not going to work, so don't do that . Um, but yeah, getting through the door is definitely the biggest challenge and I'm still now , I find since like I stepped back , because people know the brand is me, I find it quite difficult to , um, people will want to see me because it's my business. Um, and it's difficult to say , well know that they're just as good, go, go and see my team. Um , I haven't, I've taken them on because of how good they are and how much they like me and things like that. So go and see them. Um , that's quite a difficult to to do as well. The final point I've put is finding confidence in what you do. Um, like I said, it took me a few years to be confident in what my skillset was and what my, my way of being a therapist was. Um, and until you have that confidence, it's not really going to work out. Um, you've got to have some confidence even if it's in one small area to start with, you need that one small bit of confidence to help you progress and help you grow. Um, otherwise if you're not going to put confidence in yourself, no one else will.

Kristian Weaver:

And that's similar when I went and worked in professional sport is that you do need to have that confidence and that belief in your own ability to treat the patient in the best way possible. And sometimes it does require that sort of though love with the patient to say, actually, this is what we're doing, this is why we're doing it and this is how it's going to help you to progress in the future. And if you deviate way from that, then I'm willing to say that actually maybe you need to see a different therapist and that's a difficult thing to do. And I think that comes with experience. I think it comes over time, but definitely that development of confidence in what you need to do with your patient .

Naomi Huggins:

Yeah. Sorry. It's not fair of not wanting to lose clients, but actually having the wrong clients. It's more detrimental to yourself having the wrong, wrong clients than it is not having enough of the right clients. If that makes sense.

Kristian Weaver:

perfect. Yeah. I think as you say, and you link back to it there, it's how you can sort of advertise yourself and find that sort of ideal customer that you're trying to bring into your clinic, which then really relates to your values as a clinic and as a clinician , but also it relates to their values as a sports person and a performer. So it all ties in together. So then what would your advice be for any recent graduates who are looking to be set up in a clinical, self-employed?

Naomi Huggins:

Do your research. Find out exactly what you want to do , um, and try and place yourselves in those positions. Um, so obviously the question kind of being set up or self employed that could be in the team stuff. All the , um , the clinical side of things or , or both, or a combination of both. Um, personally it's, it's finding your balance. Um, when I first graduated, I did not want to do clinic. I just wanted to work in teams. And then after just working in teams, I realized that I needed that. I wanted time with a client to actually try and help them get better rather than your 10, 15 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon evening. Um, so that's where I kind of then found the love for clinic. Um, if you want to do clinic , it will not happen overnight. As I've said, it takes out kind of three years to build. Um, so it is a good thing to do. Um, keeping kind of teams in , um, kind of doing a few bits and bobs cause then you will know, you'll be able to kind of pick out bits and bits and pieces you like of each job. Um, I personally can't do one thing solidly. Um, I need a bit of everything to keep you balanced so that always get a bit bored. Um, but that's just me. I'm very kind of hyper-stimulated I need to be kind of go, go, go all the time. Um, so just doing clinic full time, that's when I had my burnout because I needed something to break it up. I then went back in with a team for a bit and just gave me that, that difference that , that separation. These kind of 10 million jobs you'll have to start with. Um, this is where you get your name out. This is where you get your reputation. This is where you start building a network. Um, so these 10 million little jobs you do left, right and center are the key ones in your first kind of two, three years. Um, you want to be the person that is called upon when this needs cover that needs cover or , um, Naomi don't suppose you know, anyone who could cover saturday's game for you. Um, don't suppose you've got anyone who wants to go and do this tournament or , or things like that. So keeping those kind of networks and building those networks and keeping those kinds of communications open is, is key when you're setting up. Um, as I said earlier, organized organizational skills are a must. Um , keep on top of it. Manage your time effectively, making sure you give yourself downtime as well. Um, because especially if your kind of having to do a full time job as well as setting up, this gets a little bit too much. Um, the biggest, biggest part piece of advice is find someone you can go to if you have questions or queries or support or something like that. Um, within my clinic, all my therapists know they can contact me whenever. Um, we do, well I say monthly, recently there has been kind of bi-monthly kind of CPD sessions. So they kind of give me a topic that they want to go over. They're not kind of, they want to refresh on and I run it for them. Um, through this we kind of have case discussions. Um, if I'm in clinic and another therapist has a patient in and they're not quite sure on something and they want a second opinion, they call me up. You need to surround yourself with people that can support you. Uh, as I said earlier, I will my own for the first four or five years of my career and I did not grow as a person. I was very, very , um, stuck in an area , um, which is why I joined the community as well. Um, but yeah, you need someone to bounce, bounce off. Um, we do not know everything. Uh , no one in sports therapy will ever know everything, even though some people may , some people on Twitter, I think they do sometimes , um, every day's a school day. Obviously it's an evidence based practice, so evidence changes all the time depending on what literature comes out. Um, so yeah, you need to, you need to stay up to date. Um , also kind of keep someone who can support you.

Kristian Weaver:

Great. Naomi, and obviously listeners might want to find out a little bit more about what you do , and sort of reach out to you online as well. So is there any way that they can find out more about you?

Naomi Huggins:

Yeah. Um , so I don't get many hops away, so I run a lot of social media. Um, so it's just ways to get in contact is via , nmsportstherapy, social media. I set my boundaries and my personal social media is , is that it is personal, it stays away from business. Um, so anything kind of business related is through there nmsportstherapy , um, uh , tag . So @ nmsportstherapy. Um, or feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions or you want to chat or talk you through. Obviously I'm not a business guru. Um, but talk through what I've been through on what I did and business planning and things like that. Uh , that's absolutely fine as well. So that's just [email protected]

Kristian Weaver:

Naomi, this has been an absolutely fantastic chat. I've really enjoyed it and there's some things that everyone can take away from our conversation . So thank you very much for being on the podcast and I'll make sure that all your contact details that you've mentioned there are in the show notes and as a member of the sports therapy community, obviously the members can reach out to you and network with you within the community, such really important as well. And they can ask you some more questions on there . Thank you for your time

Naomi Huggins:

No worries. Thank you for listening to my rambling.

Kristian Weaver:

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