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Speech Therapy Private Practice Series: Networking

Updated: 6 days ago

Building a network is an essential component of having a successful speech therapy private practice. Here's how I built mine.


This post is part of a series about how I've built a small pediatric speech therapy private practice in Brooklyn, NY. I am the sole proprietor and SLP of a professional service limited liability company (PLLC). I started it in 2020 -- without taking any expensive courses -- and it is going strong! I hope to share some of the things I've learned with other SLPs who may be curious about starting their own private practice.


First things first: The word "networking" used to make me anxious! I imagined "networking" entailed making small talk and trying to sell myself in ways that I was certain would not feel comfortable or honest.


I have come to discover that I was very wrong!


an illustration of a network


For me, networking serves two main purposes: my network provides me with clients; and it also provides me with people I can share information with and learn from.


I'll share a little about each with you.


First (and this was something I was most worried about when starting my practice), the network I've built has provided many different ways to find new clients. Here are some of the ways I've gotten clients:

  • The parents of some of the students I worked with in my former school setting wanted their kids to keep working with me.

  • A former co-worker kindly put my information onto a professional listserve she was a member of.

  • Another former co-worker gave my information to a local pediatrician.

  • The clients I've worked with have put me in touch with other professionals their children have worked with and they are now a source of referrals, as well as people I can make referrals to.

  • The schools of my current students now refer other students to me.

  • Parents of kids I work with share my information with other parents via word-of-mouth and group chats.

  • I'm a member of a local listserve where professionals can ask questions and find people to refer to.


Second, my network also provides me with a way to learn and share with other SLPs and professionals. Since I am no longer working directly with teachers and other therapists in a school every day, my connections to former co-workers as well as the new ones I meet along the way in my private practice have become even more important to me! It is now a sincere pleasure to get together and talk shop with the SLPs I know who are either working in schools or private practice. I also really value my friendships with teachers and other specialists; I learn so much from them! I also do the best I can for them when they ask me for information and guidance.


I've discovered that all professionals in private practice are eager to connect because they are in the same boat! I now know other SLPs in my area that I know specialize in areas I don't so I'm happy to send clients their way. In return, they refer to me as well.


Finally, making time to talk with other members of my students' school-based teams gives me so much good information and makes my treatment better and more functional. I get to learn about the tools and strategies different schools use and can sometimes share insights they may not have thought of. These connections have sometimes resulted in more referrals: win-win!


If the idea of "networking" feels daunting to you, you might just be pleasantly surprised. Don't let it stop you from making the leap to private practice!


LEVEL UP YOUR SPEECH THERAPY ACTIVITIES WITH STORYWHYS

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe below to get the latest blog posts, which feature lots of speech therapy ideas for busy SLPs who want to provide fun, impactful, and meaningful speech-language therapy.


Have you heard? StoryWhys now offers the Speech and Spell series of resources. I am always trying to tie articulation work and spelling together in my therapy and I've never found any good resources out there to help me do this. So I made my own! Many more speech sounds and spelling rules to come. They'll be 50% off for 48 hrs when new resources are added to the StoryWhys store. Find them here.


Did you know book companions can be among the best speech therapy materials for elementary students? Explore all of the StoryWhys book companions for speech therapy in my store. You'll find comprehensive book companions that target many different language skills or Spotlight Series book companions that focus on one type of skill, all using high-quality, beloved storybooks.


And get your FREE, 71-page book companion for speech therapy on the Free Download page.


Enjoy!

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