Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kara O'Donnell, owner of Hamilton Kids Physio, located in Ancaster, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am the proud (and elated) owner of a Kids Physio Group franchise: Hamilton Kids Physio. We provide physiotherapy to babies, kids, and teens. Yes, just kids. Yes, just physio.

Tell us about yourself

Oh boy... this is a long one. I have always wanted to work with kids. When I applied to Physiotherapy school, it was for the sole purpose of becoming a pediatric physiotherapist. Generally speaking, pediatric centers prefer their physiotherapist hires have experience, so I didn't even bother seeking out employment that was specific to children. I worked in private practice orthopedics from 2004 until 2011.

In 2011, my marriage fell apart, and I found myself a single Mom of two kids under three. I knew that in order to provide us with the best life, I would need to make a change, so I pursued employment specifically with kids. I managed to secure a short-term contract with a local children's center, and sure enough, I loved it and knew that this was what I was meant to do. I had also taken on a short-term contract at that time with a local private pediatric center that further solidified this.

When there was no funding to keep me at the Children's Centre, I knew that returning to orthopedics with a majority adult population was not going to work for me. I applied to a school health support services position (our Local Health Integrated Networks contracted the company I worked for, CBI Home Health). I provided assessment and treatment in local schools). I had also learned from a colleague of the private pediatric center I had briefly worked for that the center was closed, but she had a little guy whose family was desperate for physiotherapy services for him. So I set up my own practice called PhysiO'Kids (an homage to my Irish heritage) and began treating him in his home. I ran this practice from 2014 to 2020.

In 2019, I sat down with Kids Physio Group CEO Laura Patrick and the Director of Growth and Operations, Carly Waring, along with the first Ontario Kids Physio Group clinic owners, Jenn Halfin and Hillary Abramsky, who discussed with me the KPG expansion into the East and potentially opening a clinic in my area. They had me at "hello."

When you have a practice that you own and love and feel like you're making an impact and are presented with an opportunity to increase your impact by well over a thousand percent... you jump on it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Do I have to choose only one? Ultimately, being able to open a business seven months into a pandemic successfully is a huge accomplishment especially given the number of companies that were forced to close. I didn't qualify for government support through the pandemic. The franchise team was unable to provide in-person (much to their dismay), and I couldn't enlist the help of my family in the weeks prior to opening due to the potential for COVID to cause serious illnesses and complications. While I had tremendous virtual support, there is nothing better than in-person, hands-on support.

Attached to this accomplishment is having the ability to be able to offer employment to people during a pandemic. Our team grew from two to nine in less than 18 months.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think one of the hardest things for me is knowing when to reach out for support, being specific with what I am asking for, and giving myself permission to not know everything; after all, the only business course I had ever taken was high school keyboarding when I was 14.). My early assumptions, in particular, made a steep learning curve even steeper.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't be afraid to follow your dream.
  2. Seek support when you are out of your depth and hire when someone can fill a role better than you can.
  3. Get comfortable setting expectations.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am so fortunate and proud to be part of a company with a strong mission, vision, and values. These are what drive our clinics' success, and I am grateful to the Kids Physio Group franchise company for all of the support they provide. Not only have they prompted my growth as a business owner, but they have also prompted my growth as a human - even I can see it.

The fruits of this are the kids and families we are able to help day in and day out. My clinic contributes to the tens of thousands of kids that have been helped by Kids Physio Group.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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