Consulting as a Physical Therapist

As students and new graduates, we are the future of the workforce and future consumers. Therefore, whether companies know it or not, our point of view is the fountain of youth to the future success of Corporate America. Since your perspective is valuable, you can offer your point of view as the consumer, employer, or future business owner, combined with your PT knowledge to consult for companies. The good thing about being a consumer, employee, or future business owner is that the scope of business types is widened. For example, as a consumer, you are limited to a Business to Consumer (B to C) interaction with companies, such as Nike or Amazon. The equivalent to these companies in the physical therapy world would be Copper Fit, Rocker Bottom Shoes, and Complete Anatomy.  However, as an employee or business owner, your business scope can incorporate Business to Business (B to B) with companies, such as IBM or GE. The physical therapy equivalent would be medical equipment or telehealth companies.

Working in these circles also gives you an advantage by making your resume distinct. Physical therapy is still in the business of making money. Therefore, if you show that you can diversify streams of income, you will be a hot commodity.

Here is an example email you can use. This is for a telehealth company, but the idea can easily be utilized for other products or services.

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Hello Company X,

My name is John Doe. I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy student at University Studios. I am using your product and absolutely love it.

I see value in your product and would love to see your company exponentially grow in the coming years. I would like to extend the offer to bring more value to the future of your company with the perspective of a physical therapy student. Many students, like myself, will be entering the workforce in the near future and are looking for ways to serve patients outside of the traditional model using a telehealth platform, like Company X. I hope to be an asset to your company by giving insight into how students are using technology in school and their daily lives, and how we want to use technology to serve our patients and your future customers, when using Product X.

During school, I will be working in four various clinical internship settings, giving me a firsthand perspective of how clinicians and other DPT students are actually incorporating technology into patients’ treatment and home exercise programs. This will give me, and in turn your company, Company X, a glimpse into why they have or have not chosen to use telehealth platforms and what they like and dislike about them.

I will give your company an advantage by giving an insight from the eyes of a patient. Being on internships gives me, and essentially Company X, access to patients 45-60 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week. This time will enable me to build trust and rapport with patients and allow me to pick their brains. With me on your team, you will get an insight into how different demographics of patients are using technology and how each subset of patients prefer to use telehealth platforms with their healthcare providers.

Although I am not yet an experienced PT professional, I represent your future customers, I have a flexible schedule, and am very willing to give my time to work with you and benefit your company. The insight I can provide will give you an advantage over your competition by catering and appealing to future and current clinicians and their patients. I hope we can work together in launching a substantial growth in your company.

I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and discuss how my qualifications will be beneficial for your company’s further success.

Many thanks,

John Doe

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Useful tips

Patience:

This may be the most important tip of them all. A simple email attempt may not work on your first or even your twentieth time. Relationships take time and no one gets married after the 1st date. Email your favorite 15 companies, follow your favorite 30 professionals you want to work with, then patiently cultivate those relationships while you continue to work on your craft.

Speed:

This may sound like a contradiction after my previous advice. However, in the world of business, “micro speed and macro patience wins” – Gary Vee. This means that if you see an opportunity, jump on it and don’t overthink. The time you’re spending thinking could be time spent working. You must take advantage when opportunity knocks.

Offer free service:

Offer value to them first before asking for anything in return. This will make people more receptive to what you have to offer. There is nothing wrong with free work, especially if you are just starting. Free service is a foolproof way to get you in the door and give your desired opportunity a chance to see if they would officially like to work with you. Put yourself in their shoes; if you had a company, would you be more willing to open the door to someone willing to work for free or blindly pay for a stranger’s advice?

Everyone wants someone with experience, but as students and new grads we have little to none. Offering to work for the experience solves that problem and if you deliver with high value, this strategy almost always leads to the money.

Our knowledge is valuable:

One of the reasons I chose physical therapy was the countless job options within the field. What other kinds of companies besides telehealth need our help? PT equipment companies, moving and delivery companies, PT clinics lacking social media support, desk jobs, school systems, truck driving companies, and many more. Promote and advocate for your profession and benefit at the same time.

Network:

This word may be intimidating to some and it certainly was for me. However, today you don’t necessarily have to go to a big conference or be an extrovert. Here are a few easy ways to network as a student or new grad right now:

  • Covalentcareers.com: Create a free profile with covalentcareers.com. There you can interact with potential employers, build relationships, and find an awesome job perfect for you.
  • Facebook: Join a physical therapy facebook group. Join a facebook live, get involved in discussions, or simply friend request the most popular people in those groups.
  • Twitter: This is a great place to follow current SPTs, new grads, and DPT. Use the hashtags #DPTstudent #APTA #FreshPT #PrePTGrind #SocialPT
  • Online Courses: Learn from someone who is doing what you are already doing. As PTs, we do this with our clinical skills; why not do it with our business skills as well? The community that comes with online courses may also house the person for your next opportunity.
  • Conferences: Online connections are great, but online relationships are only enhanced by the physical connection and face-to-face interactions. Attend conferences, such as CSM, NEXT, National Student Conclave, and Smart Success Live. These are the biggest conferences in the physical therapy world and a great way to take your career to the next level. People like to do business with the people they like and someone there has your next opportunity.

These relationships could lead to potential consulting, business, or employment opportunities. You never know who someone is connected with. Your big break may be just one person away.

Bonus Tips

Social Media

Take on the responsibility of social media marketing. There is no question social media is the #1 way we all consume information. If physical therapists want to thrive today and in the future, they need to engage in this way of communication.

Example for (PT PTA PT tech) offering social media services:

Hello Owner of Physio X,

I enjoy working here and I have learned so much from your company. You treat patients and employees with respect and serve us with the best mentorship and clinical care possible. Physio X is so much more than a physical therapy clinic. To your employees, and especially our patients, it’s home. I feel that as many people need to know about your business as possible and in today’s society, the best way to promote your business is through social media. Social media is no longer a fad, but it is the #1 way we all consume information. As the owner of Physio X, you have enough on your plate, therefore I would like to take on this responsibility at no cost to you. I would like to start marketing your business through social media platforms for free during the next 3 months. The line of communication will always be open and everything will be pre-approved by yourself, if you so choose. I know this service will grow your business and transform the lives of so many to come.

Influencer

You can build your social media accounts and become an influence marketer for physical therapy, telehealth, fitness, nutrition, and other medical related products and companies. As an influencer, you have an insight into what the customer of these companies want. This information and influence you have over their targeted audience is highly valuable. This gives you business opportunities for consulting and marketing for companies and, most importantly, yourself. If you love PT advocacy, this is a huge opportunity to do so.

Conclusion

As students and new graduates, we are the future of the workforce and future consumers. Therefore, whether companies know it or not, your point of view is of very high importance to the success of Corporate America. One of the biggest upsides to being a physical therapist is our ability to serve in a variety of ways. If we think outside the box, physical therapy will grow exponentially in no time.

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