Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Elizabeth Dalrymple, Owner of Thrive Physio, located in Duluth, GA, USA.

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

Thrive Physio is a concierge orthopedic physical therapy practice providing one-on-one holistic care for active individuals. Our goal is to find the root cause of patients' pain and create a personalized plan of care to allow them to get them back to doing what they love as efficiently as possible. It's important for us to not only address the pain point but understand why it began in the first place to help prevent it from coming back. I often say, "it's all about balance." There are many sources of balance in the body that keep us pain-free, and there are also areas of life that must be balanced to feel our best, including sleep, nutrition, and stress. We look at all of these factors in a comprehensive way to get to the root of the problem and help patients to minimize pain and maximize function.

Our customers include all active individuals who are looking to prevent or rehabilitate a musculoskeletal injury. They are motivated individuals who are invested in their own health and want to keep finding joy in movement- whether that be competitive sports, weekend warriors, or day-to-day activities.

Tell us about yourself

I knew at a fairly young age that I wanted to be in the medical field and that a career in physical therapy would allow me to combine my passion for helping others with my love of movement. That said, opening my own business was not on my radar until much later. I moved to Atlanta to attend Emory University's orthopedic residency program, where I had fantastic mentorship. I gained an even greater appreciation of the importance of systematic diagnosis to ensure I know how to help each person most efficiently and effectively. I started my career in a traditional outpatient physical therapy clinic, working with diagnoses such as rotator cuff repairs, ACL reconstructions, low back pain, and whiplash injuries. Although I learned a lot from the variety of patients, I quickly realized I couldn't spend the amount of time with each patient that I knew they deserved. I was juggling two to three patients per hour and felt I couldn't give my best to each one.

And so I discovered the out-of-network physical therapy world. In an out-of-network model, I am able to spend a full 55 minutes one-on-one with each patient and decide how to best help them without an insurance company dictating how I do that. This model allows me and my patient to develop a deeper relationship and understanding of the problem to get them back to doing what they love sooner. I worked in an out-of-network practice for almost four years before opening my own practice, Thrive Physio, in April 2022. Opening my own business has allowed me to treat my patients to the absolute best of my ability in the most optimal way for each person. I combine both the science of my field (evidence-based practices, anatomy knowledge, continuing education) with the art of understanding each person to discern how I can best help each individual. I strive to meet each patient where they are in life to create a partnership in injury prevention, rehabilitation, and wellness. The relationships I am able to build with my clients and celebrate their successes motivate me to do what I do every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Honestly, my biggest accomplishment right now feels like opening my practice successfully. As I mentioned earlier, when I graduated from PT school, I truly thought opening my own practice was the last thing I wanted to do. A couple of years ago, I started to feel a little itch to consider it… but it took me a long time to scratch that itch. Leaping into the world of entrepreneurship really is a leap of faith. Faith in myself and my clinical abilities, but also in my ability to take on all of the added administrative, marketing, and financial responsibility. I have been open for seven months now and have been busier than ever before. I am grateful for the trajectory so far and look forward to continuing to navigate each phase of the business as it comes.

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

Definitely time management. As a former athlete, I have always taken pride in my time management skills. Yet balancing all of the different components of owning a business has been challenging. A former manager of mine told me that a business owner should spend no more than 80% of the week on "day-to-day" or "whirlwind" tasks- emails to clients, documentation of client sessions, returning phone calls, etc. Whereas 20% of the day should be saved for thinking about the bigger picture, business development planning. I have found it very challenging to save that 20% and carve out focused, creative time for the business. I am trying to focus on progress over perfection and work my way toward a more balanced week over time.

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

  1. Make sure your business (service or product) is something you are passionate about. Make sure it fills your cup instead of draining it. In other words, remember "your why." My why is the look on clients' faces when they've hit a milestone or reached their goal. Remembering this in moments of discouragement or frustration can help to refocus my energy.
  2. Be willing to ask for help. None of us can be experts in every part of the business. Unless you are an accountant, a lawyer, a salesperson, a tech whiz, a social media expert, AND a human resources director, chances are you are going to reach a part of the business that you don't know how to navigate. Be willing to find the right people to fill in the gaps in your ability.
  3. It's a marathon, not a sprint. There will always be more things on the "to-do" list than you have time for, so it is important to understand how to balance what the business needs at any given moment. But it's also important to balance the business and the rest of your life. It's important to prioritize relationships with loved ones, sleep, exercise, travel, or anything else you want and need. Your balance may not always look exactly the same- some weeks may need to be more business heavy than others, but you will need to find a balance to sustain your efforts over time. I am writing this in particular because this would be the one I most need to hear!

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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