Therabyte Gave Rishma the Confidence to Grow Her Private Practice During Covid

When it comes to occupational therapy (OT) and the wellbeing of seniors, Rishma Ishma is a strong advocate. If you follow her on LinkedIn, you’ll see that she contributes to different threads of conversation where she shares what she knows. She is devoted and encouraging. She has a wonderful knack for making others feel important. She specializes in helping the elderly in her work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and insurance claims. Two months earlier, she hired her first contractor for her own practice, which she launched in April 2020, at the height of the pandemic. She is a local of Vancouver, where she resides and maintains her career.

Interview completed on October 28, 2022 by Ashley Reina, Owner of Therabyte App


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Are you new to working in private practice? Tell us a bit about your transition story.

I have worked in private practice off and on for my entire career, always as an independent contractor. I started a toxic job in 2019 with the health authorities. I gave it a good try for a year and a half before finally (with the help of my family) venturing out on my own. 

Finally, after 25 years, I gained the courage to say, “I think that I can do this on my own.”

I really think that I have what it takes to do this. April 1, 2020, the beginning of the pandemic, may not be the best time, but I saw it as a chance to take the leap into private practice and ease into it slowly, taking the time to set up and improve my systems. I tried Therabyte in May and joined in June 2020.

I’m so thankful for this system! It has helped me grow and evolve with my business and has allowed me to keep everything in one place. No more panicking about my computer crashing; no more wondering if I ever got paid for that invoice; no more searching folders in Word for that chart note—everything is in Therabyte. Now, 2+ years later, I have just signed on an OT and am looking forward to 2023 with excitement!


What were some key resources that you relied on during your transition into private practice, or in improving your private practice?

I started tuning into different OT podcasts. I’m a member of a lot of OT Facebook groups and follow a lot of OT business owners on social media.


Share with us why this feature is your favorite and how you use it in your practice?

I now use the Therabyte scheduler exclusively for both work and personal appointments. I love the different colors and how you can tell at a glance what’s going on.

The invoicing is such a blessing!! It has reduced my time (but more importantly, my stress levels!) and has made me more confident with my billing practices.


How did you decide to go from being on your own to bringing on another contractor? And how did you find them, and what did that hiring process look like for you?

April 1, 2020, was my first day with my own business, and all I wanted was enough work for me. Just enough to pay the bills and save for retirement. That was my goal. I never intended to expand or add contractors. However, things evolved. As I got more referrals, the referrals started to become very refined through Veterans Affairs Canada. So I thought, maybe I need some kins to help me with my rehab files. First, I started to bring some kins on board. When I realized I was working beyond full time, which was not what I wanted, I thought, “Yeah, I need someone else.”

It started out as getting some help so that I could take a vacation. As it turns out, my nephew is an occupational therapist in private practice in the lower mainland, and he came on to help me with some clients while I was on vacation. That is what got the conversation going, and it evolved from there into his choosing to work with me full time. Now that he’s on board, and I’m thrilled and proud, my business is turning into a family business, which I love but didn’t initially imagine it this way. So that’s how things evolved for me. Now I’m in a situation where, as Kelly stated, I can prioritize my life and pick what to do with my business. 

And I feel like I’ve just gone along with the flow of doing good work and then seeing where it takes me.


What is your advice for someone considering the switch into private practice either part time or fulltime? What is the one thing you wish you had done or would tell yourself?

Just do it. Believe in yourself and invest in systems like Therabyte. It’s so worth it to make your dreams come true.



To read the full OT panel transcript and hear more from Rishma and the other panelist on various questions regarding building a thriving private practice – click here


Connect with Rishma!



Instagram: @rishmaot4life

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