Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Omar Ruiz, Founder of Online Private Practice, LLC, located in Wellesley Hills, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is a coaching service for therapists looking to start, build, & grow an online private practice.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Omar Ruiz. I am professionally a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. I have owned and managed my own private counseling practice (business) for just under eight years, which is now called TalkThinkThrive, PLLC. Before COVID, I had already started transitioning my practice away from accepting health insurance and into a private pay model. There are many reasons for this, but one is that for me to grow the business in a way to reclaim back some of my time, I needed to generate more profit. I started to engage in very traditional forms of marketing, and when COVID finally hit, and everyone was placed in quarantine, my business, as with everyone in mental health, went from in-person to online sessions. Anything I could do to build my practice needed to be revamped to adapt to an online marketing strategy. After dedicating my time to learning the online world, I fully embraced this adjustment and built a now successful solo private pay practice. Since then, I have spent most of my time cultivating a robust online presence, whereby I and my practice has been featured in big media publications such as Huffington Post, WebMD & New York Times.
As of earlier this year, I have joined many niche Facebook groups where other private practice practitioners are looking for help and resources to build their practices. I would offer some tips and advice and slowly started noticing many individuals reaching out to me asking for help. This inspired me to start thinking about transitioning from being a therapist to becoming a business coach, helping therapists simplify the business of online private practice.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As of now, I would say gathering a small following of people who want to learn from me. Outside of my website, I have also created a small Facebook Group (Online Private Practice) where I have just under 375 group members and growing. There is so much more room for my business to grow that it's hard to truly say what my real biggest accomplishment is, as I have yet to reach that for myself. Like any business owner, my business continues to grow and build.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a solo business owner, I would say it is knowing that building a business is not quick and fast. You have to be willing to look ahead as it's a long-term strategy. To get through the slow grind of it all, it's best to set small milestones as a way to measure the progress that you make in the business, even when your calendar is not full (assuming you are a service-based business).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Marketing - Think about marketing as being customer focused. Don't make your marketing all about you. Your customers don't know you enough to care about you. What they want to know is how your service helps them. Customers are selfish, and your website and any marketing materials you develop need to focus on what they want from your service. Focus on the benefits of your service rather than the feature. For example, the benefit of working with a business coach is that you receive customized, simple yet effective guidance around ways to increase your profit while improving your online presence to get more cash-paying customers. A feature of my service is that I can meet folks online. See the difference; the benefit is the experience you get from the service, while the feature is what comes with paying for the service.
- Putting earnings back into the business so it can grow - Many people nowadays are buying this hustle culture that they forget they are building a business. People develop these "side hustles" and spend their earnings on extra guac at Chipotle. My advice is whatever profit you get from the business, put all of it back into the business. It will help you decrease your gross income during tax season as it would be listed as money you spent on business expenses, and it will allow you to grow much faster over time.
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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