Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cammy Lawlor, Owner of Idaho Speech & Swallow Services, located in Boise, ID, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Idaho Speech & Swallow Services. I am a medical Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in voice and swallowing disorders. I treat clients who are 18+ years old, though the majority of my patients are 55+ years. As a certified endoscopist, I can complete flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallow (FEES) studies to view swallow anatomy and physiology. I work with people who struggle with voice and swallowing due to various reasons, such as head and neck cancer, stroke, reflux, laryngopharyngeal reflux, neurodegenerative diseases, and idiopathic reasons. I work with various doctors such as neurosurgeons, Ear, Nose & Throat, and Gastroenterologists. I absolutely love what I do and the people that I get the opportunity to treat.
Tell us about yourself
Out of college, I worked in the sales and marketing industry and was yearning for more fulfillment in my career. I knew I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. I discovered speech-language pathology through a family member who had survived a stroke and, as a result, had to relearn how to swallow. After observing his SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist), I was fascinated that this could be the career path I had been longing for! I ended up going back to school for a second bachelor's degree, followed by my master's in Speech-Language Pathology. Throughout my career, I have worked with infants to geriatrics, but I am always drawn to the adult population. After working in the COVID unit of a skilled nursing facility, I was burnt out and needed to hit the restart button. I put the idea of starting my own practice out into the world, and it all fell into place! I still pinch myself that I can be my own boss and provide my clients with quality care that makes a tangible impact on their quality of life. I treat each of my clients like they are family members, providing quality therapy and giving my clients the time they deserve. My biggest motivator is seeing my clients' lives improve. Whether it is helping them transition from a feeding tube, eating at a restaurant with their family, or helping a person with Parkinson's Disease improve their voice so they can engage with their families, it gives me purpose and motivates me to do this type of work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Thus far, my biggest accomplishments have been building a sustainable business and earning a respected reputation in my field. I also feel proud to be a self-taught business owner. They don't teach you these things in grad school!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing for me has been holding strong to boundaries while maintaining compassion. As I mentioned, I treat my clients like family, and therefore I go above and beyond to help. This is often time-consuming and can cause compassion burnout. I am learning to balance my needs with those of my patients. Additionally, as a small business owner, it's difficult to turn off for the day. There is always something to do!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you have an idea, speak it out loud. You never know what connections someone may have and how the right person can come into your life and be the driving force that makes your idea a reality.
- Keep your overhead as low as possible, and don't overextend your
- Find people to help you, even if you start with one employee or contractor. You can't do it all, and it will take the fun out of it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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