Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Genevieve Richardson, founder of LIFE Speech Pathology + LIFE Aphasia Academy, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
LIFE Speech Pathology is a private practice located in Austin, Texas but Zooming into clients' homes in more than ten states nationwide. We specialize in whole person + whole family treatment for stroke survivors with aphasia or related neurological conditions that impact speaking, listening, reading, writing, or thinking. That means we look at everything from their psychological and emotional well-being, physical activity, family life, support, and speech and language issues. Lives are complex, so we will address and discuss everything that can help or hinder rehabilitation progress.
What sets me apart, and why this private practice is special, is my entire career, 29 years, has been in the rehabilitation field in speech pathology. For the last nine years, I have specialized in the chronic aphasia population and treated clients via telepractice. I support this community with the Listen for LIFE podcast, course creation for families, accept graduate speech pathology clinicians for internships, and supervise in person at the University of Texas Health in San Antonio Communication Disorders Department and other universities, including NYU and Akron University in Ohio. I train speech pathologists how to deliver telepractice ethically and set them up for success in their telepractice.
We have a mission at LIFE. The private practice is growing, and we can support clients locally and out of state if they or their loved one has a neurological condition that impacts speech, language, or thinking. For LIFE, it's about community, resources, and ongoing support because the rehabilitation journey doesn't stop when one is discharged from inpatient or outpatient speech pathology treatment. We don't believe in plateaus. We believe there is always another way, method, and angle to help our clients reach their communication goals. Our motto is Do More. Do LIFE.
Tell us about yourself
My motivation every day is the survivors and their families. When one is discharged from rehabilitation, even with residual speech, language, or thinking deficits, the families are now "on their own."
The survivor and their spouse or partner become isolated because other family members, friends, and community members don't know how to help. They feel bad for the families' circumstances and cope with this discomfort by staying away. It's not that they don't want to help. They don't know how to have a difficult conversation. Families of stroke survivors also don't know how to ask for help. They often go it alone.
I refuse to be a part of this isolated life for stroke survivors. My companies are here to support, provide resources, and teach families and survivors how to advocate for themselves and get the services they need and deserve so they can live a life they love.
I started LIFE businesses to bridge the gap from rehabilitation to LIFE, hence the name of my companies.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That I can reach families who need the services my company provides, I work daily to build my local network of providers, resources, and community support. I just passed the 30th episode of the Listen for LIFE podcast while starting a private practice, growing the business, and creating a course for spouses, partners, and caregivers who have a loved one with aphasia. My business is thriving and growing!
Additionally, I am an expert in telepractice. I teach courses in this area to speech pathologists. I've been in this space for nine years and love it.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a business owner in the private practice/healthcare space is establishing all the details required to start a private practice (software, scheduling, resources, Medicare billing, etc.), marketing, networking, etc. Working in healthcare is not a lucrative business. Many expenses are going out, and much less comes from insurance and Medicare payments.
Beyond the day-to-day responsibilities and seeing clients all day, I am driven to produce content to support the aphasia community. I am in the middle of creating a course for spouses and partners who have a loved one with aphasia. Also, I just released the 30th episode of my podcast, Listen for LIFE. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE content creation. I am building my private practice to be able to hire and support full-time clinicians to do the day-to-day treatment so I can focus on content creation, public speaking, and continuing the podcast.
Some days there are not enough hours in the day. My mission and devotion to the aphasia community get me up every morning, and I am grateful for every milestone and every connection.
I am blessed to be in a position and have the knowledge and experience of my career to guide my decisions. I also have an amazing local network of other entrepreneurs that I tap into weekly. I learn from those who have gone before me.
The biggest challenge is running the day-to-day operations, anticipating barriers and challenges, and always thinking bigger and not playing too small. I refuse to play small. This mission is bigger than mine. It's about the community I serve.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Understand the day-to-day time commitment and all the details of starting a private practice. There is a huge misunderstanding of what it takes to be in healthcare in private practice. It's different than other businesses.
- Acknowledge what you are good at and what the needs of your business are. Hire out the parts you are not good at or don't want to do.
- Be willing to invest. There is no gold medal for building a business all by yourself. It's lonely, and many people give up because of this. Find a local network of like-minded entrepreneurs you can interact with and get advice from. I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have the support of fellow entrepreneurs, my family, and my community.
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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