5 Tips for Starting Your OT Side Hustle in 2023

Are you an OT looking to start a side hustle? 

Do you have an idea for the private practice of your dreams? 

Are you ready to take your career to the next level? 


Starting your own practice can be both challenging and rewarding. Ashley Reina of Therabyte and Sarah Lyon of OT Potential teamed up to bring you “5 Tips for Starting your OT side hustle in 2023”.  This information was delivered as a Webinar on March 21 , 2023, to gain access to the replay, you can sign up here. 



5 Tips for starting your OT/SLP Side hustle in 2023


Tip #1 – Self Assessment: Are You Ready for Private Practice?

Before launching into private practice, it’s vital to conduct a thorough self-assessment. While a side hustle can be appealing, it requires risk and self-awareness.

Consider these factors: 

  • Clinical knowledge is crucial for private practice success.
  • Decide if you want to work solo or with a team of practitioners. 
  • Mentorship and continuing education are essential.
  • Consider your risk tolerance and financial stability before starting a business. 
  • Establish clear boundaries and time management strategies to ensure success.


Tip #2 – MARKET RESEARCH: How to Make Your Business Stand Out

To unlock the secrets to a successful business venture, you need to have a clear understanding of the market you plan to conquer. This involves asking yourself meaningful questions like what services are available, what the current business landscape is, and identifying gaps where your skills and passion can excel. Market research is an essential tool that brings into focus the ins and outs of your environment and informs your next steps. 

Consider these factors:

  • Identify your ideal customer and determine how many clients you need to create a profitable side hustle.
  • Analyze existing competitors and their services to ensure there is a viable market for your business.
  • Research any restrictions from your current employer regarding starting a side hustle.
  • Utilize positioning and claiming of space on Google to rank higher in search results and increase visibility.
  • Reevaluate potential players that you may have overlooked in your initial analysis.


Tip #3 – Referral Sources: Effective Networking for Occupational Therapists

Establishing solid relationships with referral sources is crucial for Occupational Therapists to gain recognition and build a thriving practice. These sources can provide a diverse range of clients, improve your reputation, and ensure a steady flow of business. Referral sources hold the key to unlocking your success as an OT, so don’t underestimate their power.

Consider these tips for building relationships with referral sources: 

  • Building relationships with the right people is crucial in gaining referrals and making clients aware of your business.
  • Reach out and introduce yourself to those who could potentially refer clients to you, such as OTs, Behavioral Consultants, and Speech-Language Pathologists.
  • Maintain relationships with your referral sources and thank them for their referrals. 
  • Utilize online directories like “OT near me” to improve the visibility of your practice.


Tip #4 – Mindset – Self-compassion 

It’s not about you… and it’s all about you.

After going through the necessary questions, you should have a good idea whether this is the right next step for you. The pre-work is crucial in getting yourself into the right state of mind to take on the next steps. Once you’re ready, the big hurdles are out of the way, and it’s time to put things into action.

When you work for yourself, time versus money becomes a balancing act. Everything costs one of those resources, so it’s important to consider the value of your time and decide which tasks you should handle versus delegating them to someone else. 

Often, people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in five years. Building something substantial takes time, so give yourself grace and remember that it’s like running a marathon.


Tip #5 – The Logistics

With support, starting a business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that even one paying customer means you’re already in business! Don’t overthink things at the beginning; focus on getting your systems up and running. Tip #5 reminds us to tackle the logistics with confidence. Here are some steps you can take to move forward:


  • Start by offering services at clients’ homes with a low investment.
  • Register your business name, possibly as a sole proprietorship.
  • Consider a business structure that includes yourself and a VA or assistant.
  • Get liability insurance
  • Select an EMR to organize and store client documentation.
  • Keep track of business expenses with a spreadsheet or QuickBooks.
  • Open a dedicated business bank account or credit card for expenses.
  • Get paid through government contracts, clients’ insurance, or private pay using various payment methods.


Give yourself a realistic timeframe, that isn’t too long. About four weeks is a reasonable amount of time to set up your business before taking on your first client.


Remember, perseverance is key, and once you get over the initial hurdles, you’ll be well on your way to success! We are rooting for your success, please reach out and share them:




5 Tips for starting your OT/SLP Side hustle in 2023

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