Taking The Leap Of Faith In Building Your Own Business With Ja’nae Brown, PT, DPT

TCLHP 166 | Physical Therapy San Pedro

 

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith to really see whether going independent and building your own business will work for you. This readily apparent in the journey Dr. Ja’nae Brown underwent in building Physical Therapy San Pedro. Ja’nae shares with host Aaron LeBauer how owning a business gave her more autonomy and control over her time and how she only realized it once she took the risk and stepped into it. Over the past year, she successfully scaled took in a team of PTs and aides who help her deliver her own brand of personalized care. Ja’nae also shares what she learned from Aaron’s course on cash-based PT business and how she applies it to her own practice. Her take on patient billing is especially informative and it is something that all PT owners can learn about. She also talks about how the business has adapted to COVID-19 through telehealth and improved in-clinic protocols.

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Taking The Leap Of Faith In Building Your Own Business With Ja’nae Brown, PT, DPT

My special guest is Dr. Ja’nae Brown. She is a fellow Californian. She lives there. I only used to. She’s in San Pedro, California, which is in the LA area right next to Long Beach, where they have the Grand Prix. She is someone who I had an opportunity to get to know a few years ago. I wanted to bring her on the show because one of the things I remember her saying was, “Aaron, cash-based therapy sounds great but I’ve got this one insurance company that’s going to pay me more than I ever thought.” I was like, “Let’s talk to Ja’nae about that.” She’s built her team over the last few years. I wanted to bring her on to showcase what she’s doing in crushing it. Ja’nae, thank you for being here.

It’s nice to be here.

Why did you start in physical therapy? What was it about physical therapy that attracted you to the profession?

When I was in high school, I was an athlete. I played basketball. I love sports. I love the body and I wanted to stay in healthcare. I had an aunt who was a nurse and she was encouraging me to be a nurse. I wasn’t feeling the nursing thing but she said, “There’s a great profession now, physical therapy. You can work with sports and work with the body still. You are in healthcare so you will always have a job. There are a lot of different areas you can work in.” I was like, “That sounds cool.” I ended up getting an injury where I needed some physical therapy and I had a good experience with it. That was it. I set my mind on applying to PT schools and here I am.

When you went to a PT school, did you know getting out, “I’m going to go start a business?” Were you like, “This is going to be a good profession, I’m going to go get a job, work in a hospital or work with some athletes?”

I am a driven person. I thought maybe at some point, I would have my own business but initially going in, I wanted to work with a team. I’d be the sports PT on a team. When I realized early on that that was not going to make me much money, I could have a family and travel, all the realistic things that I wanted in addition to being a PT, I started working in outpatient orthopedics and staying around the injured athlete or orthopedic injuries. I knew in the first four years when I was like, “At some point, I want to have my own business,” but I did have a daughter. She’s going to be sixteen. I wanted to get through being a mom, being there for her and then I thought, “I’ll do it when she’s more independent.” I thought it would be a lot more. I thought it would be what it was not. I thought it would be more work and it would be more time-consuming, and I’ll have less time for my family. It’s been the opposite. I’ve had more control. I’ve had more autonomy. I’ve been able to do what I want to do, which is what I didn’t see from that perspective as a young PT.

Why did it seem like it was going to be a lot of work? What was it that you thought or heard was going to be too consuming of your life?

When you think about going into your own business, you think like you’re all of it. You’re there from the morning until the end. You handle all the administrative stuff and fix all the problems. You do everything, all the HR, hiring. You have to be the front desk. You have to be on 100% of the time and financially. When you’re a business owner, there’s a risk that all that falls on you. You have to supply your own finances and make your own money. It was all those things. I was like, “It’s a huge risk to do that.” There was a fear in that in the beginning. I thought about that, that it was going to take time away from me time and money. I thought it would be too much for me.

At what point did you realize it wasn’t?

When I took the risk and stepped out on faith and did it, I really didn’t. I tell everybody this story a lot. My daughter was 7th or 8th grade and I was getting this itch to change jobs. I was working as a Director of Rehabilitation. I was running the region for a company called Burger Rehab in the Southern California region. I was doing it. Everything had led up to me opening a practice in the sense of I’d manage a lot of people. I worked with human resources. I’d done all this background. I learned a lot about insurance and all that. I’m like, “I’m ready to do something different. I want to open my own practice.”

I was talking with some of my friends about, “Let’s start our own home health practice. Let’s do something together, some sort of cash-based practice.” None of them were interested, then because of social media and how it flags things and sponsors things, I came across your stuff. I was like, “What is this?” I’d signed up for the course. I was like, “This sounds interesting.” It was me being interested in doing it. I love the way you set the course. It’s like if you do the work, you work each module, and you do each thing you say to do, you get to a point where it’s like, “It’s time to look for your lease.”

That’s what happened. I remember I finished the course. I started it in April or May and I got to October. It was like, “It’s time to go look for your lease.” I was like, “I’ve done everything I had to do. I need to go look for a lease.” I went and looked for a lease and I transitioned. I did what you said to do in terms of going in slowly, small, trying to keep your one hand and your other work, build a patient clientele, and keep your overhead low. All the right things that set somebody up to start a business that doesn’t have to go out and spend a lot of money or take a lot of risks. It happened and now I’m here.

Sometimes you will only realize that being a business owner works for you once you take a leap of faith and step right into it. Click To Tweet

It’s not like you snap your fingers and it happened. You did some work.

For sure there was work to be done. I did it and then it was like, “It’s time. What’s the next step? I either do it or I don’t? I’m either scared or I step out and do what I want to do and take the next step.”

In taking that next step, what did you realize?

I realized that it was the best thing that I could have ever done. It was the best decision I ever made to do that because you get the control. You can do as much or as little as you want to do. You can even work full-time for somebody and have a small business in a gym or something, and be working on clients on the side. If your business never grew to what it was, you could still do that. There wasn’t as much, but I did grow because of all the things that were in me and what I had learned to that point, I’m one of those people who don’t know how to fail. I do what I have to do. I’m like, “How do I get clients? How do I get my Yelp reviews? What do I need to do here to get this marketing out here? How do I bring everything together?” I did get in the business and kept growing. It went from me to adding a full-time PT aide, a full-time PT, two more aides. I had a per diem and I end up hiring a part-time doctor. It’s been every year because I’m at four years in 2021.

How many people work for you now? How many physical therapists?

I have two PTs. I had a full-time PT that I hired in 2020, and then I hired a part-time PT who’s going to be working about 25 hours a week. I have one full-time aide and two part-time aides who work together on a full-time schedule. My aides do everything. They do front office and back office for me. They know every role of the business.

Those aides are your admin staff and they’re helping with some treatment.

My philosophy is I need to know how to work every part of my business. You teach this too. When I bring an aide on, they need to know every part of my business because if someone leaves, then the next person can train the person coming on to know every part of what needs to happen, all the billing, all the scheduling, how to work with patients, how to set up things, active campaign. Every part of it is important for them to know because we see a high turnover with our aide’s inflow. When I came into my space that I’m in, which I am going to be growing out of soon, there was a concierge front desk. That was somebody who greeted everybody at the front. I didn’t hire a front desk person. I trained my staff to be able to take on my tasks. In our building, there’s a chiropractor who’s also an acupuncturist. We have personal training massage. It’s a wellness center. We have all the things in here. We independently went our businesses but the front desk person is a concierge to the building.

You’re in a suite area where there’s a common reception type of place and they check people in for the different businesses. When you call them physical therapy aide, there are a lot of different ways people describe what do they do, even with all the different state laws. It’s like, “Here’s what an aide can do. Here’s what an assistant can do.” What are some of the roles that you have the aides do? Is it checking people in? Are they involved in any of the patient care or delivery? How do they work? What do you do with them?

I think all of our aides are at a little bit different levels. Some have been here longer and some have more training. They’re all a little bit different in terms of their skillset with working with patients. We’re a one-on-one one-hour clinic with the PT. Our aide supports us within that. They might start and warm a patient up on the pulleys or bike. They might put a call back on a patient at the end. They might do some basic things that they’ve learned over time. If we have a patient that’s a back pain patient and we’ll say, “I want you to take them through these basic exercises.” It’s based on the skillset of the PTA that we all individually evaluated in comfort level.

I might start with prepping a note with the patient while I have an aide started. I’m right there with them watching what’s happening. Usually, we don’t have our aides work 100% one-on-one with patients without some guidance because of our style. Our style is the people come to us to work with them one-on-one. We do have a high cash-based portion of our practice. I set up the practice that we can be with the patients one-on-one for an hour. I want high-quality care. They’re an additive. They get to do things that we feel comfortable with the teaching and knowing. A lot of times we feel like we want to do those things. We use them as we need them.

The question that I want to circle back to is you hired someone new. A lot of the time people are like, “How do I hire the first person?” My question is how do you know when you need to hire the second? Have you figured out at this point like, “I need to hire another PT,” when this happens or “I need to hire an aide when X?” Do you have a better read on that now after a few years of doing this?

TCLHP 166 | Physical Therapy San Pedro

Physical Therapy San Pedro: When you’re starting a business, you don’t have to take a massive risk all the time. You can just keep your overhead low, do all the right things, and take it slow.

 

For me, when I hit my cap because I was trying to be working about 50% of the day. When I got to 20 to 25 hours, I knew that it was time to hire someone. I brought someone in per diem, and then I slowly fill their schedule. I go, “Now they’re at 12 to 15 hours. I need to hire someone part-time.” Some of it is a risk because if you know you’re getting a lot of good enough referrals, you know you can grow that schedule. Some of it is a risk that you step out and go, “It’s time.” Another part of it is having some money saved away.

The way I hit my business model is I have six months of salary saved away. Usually, it was three months but then your payroll goes higher so then you’re like, “I need to be safe.” Having enough cushion there where if something happened, I could still cover expenses. If there was a dip in what we make because I am relying on some insurance. If insurance slows down that month, being able to be in a space where I can’t not pay my employees. It’s a little bit of timing. It’s one of those things that’s hard because you just start learning and know.

You’re like, “I feel right. This is the time.” It’s a little bit of risk just like when you stepped out and opened your practice. You have to take a little risk and go, “I’ve done this before. I can do this.” Maybe I have to put a little bit more marketing efforts into some things. Maybe I’ll take a patient that I wouldn’t normally take. For us, we don’t take Medicare patients but if I have a patient came along, I might take that patient because I need to fill schedule for a little bit or worker’s comp patient that I wouldn’t normally take. I don’t have to do that again because I’ve marketed to fill that schedule. I do a little bit of that too.

With risk, there generally comes a reward. What’s the reward for you growing your business and hiring other people? What do you get out of it?

The reward is I get to help people the way I want to help them. I get to treat patients without feeling like I didn’t change anything. No matter when PTs work four patients an hour or one patient an hour, we know we’re changing and helping people. I get to do it on my terms, the way I want to do it. I get to take off when I want to take off. I get to come in late when I want to come in late. I can leave early when I want to leave early. I get to do whatever I want to do. It’s my world. The other thing I love about the structure I have is I get to treat employees and my staff the way I want to treat them.

You put your heart into this business like it’s yours and I’ll treat you like you own this. You’re part of it. We’re all in it together. I remember, when I was a PT working for someone, you feel like you’re going to work every day. It’s the same thing every day. I try to make it where it’s a growing environment where we’re learning together. We’re spending time communicating about patients. We’re giving every part that we can. I get to do what I want to do.

What are some of the ways that you incentivize your employees or reward them for taking ownership of your business? Is it some of the activities you guys do or is it some of the pay structure or bonuses? What are some of the things that you do that keep them around or help them feel like they’re this part-owner almost as you were saying?

One thing I do is when I interview my employees, I asked them, “What is important to you as an employee? Is it flexibility? Is it monetary? Do you need to be acknowledged for how great a job you do? What is it?” I try to get to know people. I would say that most people like to know they’re doing a good job. One of the things I do is I use my words a lot. I encourage them, let them know they’re appreciated, thank them. I try to find little things to let them know that, “You’re valued here at our clinic.” That’s one thing. The second thing is I have a petty cash file when we get copays and stuff. I’ll bring in coffee or donuts. Sometimes I’ll say, “Treat the staff to some coffee. It’s on me.” We had a long week. I’ll do some of that on a weekly basis.

During holiday times, I always try to bonus my employees. I remember being a PT. I ran a region for a company. I’ve been at a lot of different levels. A lot of times, you don’t even get a Christmas bonus, maybe you get like a $25 gift card. Some places do, but some you don’t. I try to give bonus even with my aides, I bonus them out at Christmas time. Before the holidays, I asked my team what they want. For example I’m like, “We can do a Christmas party. I can put money into that or I can bonus you.” Most people would like some extra money in their pocket before Christmas to buy their kids or their family gifts. I tried to communicate with them and figure out what it is that makes them want to stay here. What would make them feel like, “This is a place I want to be forever.” For us as PTs, we like when our employers pay for our con ed. We try to do courses that help grow the staff together and some of that too. It’s a little bit of everything.

I always heard that from other people because I’m like, “I’m a little out of touch with being an employee. It’s been a long time.” It’s like messages or coffee. I was like, “Coffee. I should do that sometime. I haven’t done that.” Hopefully, I’ll do that before my employee reads this episode. Those little things go a long way.

The year with COVID, it’s like I wanted to bonus them a little more in 2020. I’ve been able to keep every one of them employed. They haven’t had to get unemployment. We’ve been able to keep our clinic open. I didn’t close my clinic. I did everything I could to make it work. They understand that too when I say to them, “This is a rough year but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to keep you guys on staff.” When they know you and you do things consistently, it’s like a spouse who doesn’t wait until Valentine’s Day to give you flowers. They are constantly acknowledging you and doing things, then they know too when you’re up against the wall and you can’t do something. Some of it is a personal thing, knowing someone cares about you and wants you to be a part of their family or their work environment.

You mentioned COVID. What were some of the things that you guys did earlier in 2020 that helped you keep everyone employed and get through it?

One of the most rewarding things about being a business owner is that you get to help people the way you want to help them. Click To Tweet

Immediately, I looked for telehealth platforms. I had come off of going to a PTA in Denver and CPT, which telehealth is a big conversation before COVID even happened. They were getting us all prepared for that conversation. I came back to my team at that point. I was like, “PTs are doing telehealth.” They’re like, “Why would we do that? We want to work with our patients one-on-one, in front of them.” I tried to explain to them, “It’s an opportunity to tap into people in another part of the world that might want our clinical skillset or our ideas or can’t come out. It’s not closing that gap. It’s opening more opportunity.”

We had that conversation then COVID happens. When it happened, I feel like it forced us to figure it out and we did. We tried a couple of things in Zoom. Most of ours are on Hangouts. It works good for us. I didn’t ask my patients like, “What would you like to do? Do you want to go to telehealth?” I told my patients and this is my personality style too, “We’re moving all of our patients to telehealth to make everybody feel comfortable. We’re going to get our processes in order, see how these next couple of weeks go, and then move everybody back as they desire to come back, and everybody feels safe to come back.” That’s what we did.

I didn’t lose any patients. I did it with our Medicares too. At that time, we had one Medicare patient. I was like, “They’re going to figure it out,” and they did. I had a sense that it’s worth the risk to not leave this patient hanging. I just moved them. Funny enough, the patients were surprised at how successful it was. They’re like, “It’s like you’re right in front of me. You’re killing my movement. You can see everything I’m doing. It doesn’t even feel like I’m not there.” Other than the fact that we couldn’t touch patients. We had to get creative with myofascial release balls, foam rolling, and different ways to try to get to those things that usually we use our hands to touch. We said, “It was better than nothing. You don’t want to get weaker.” We know on our end that it’s successful, useful, and it’s a great thing.

I’ve noticed in my business, there are certain things that have changed and take us more time and certain things that are different. What has changed for you in your business because of COVID like how it runs? Maybe some of the things you’re doing that maybe you didn’t expect. We have to clean more. We have to check people in. Are there some things in your business that are here now that might not go away even when everyone gets a vaccine because of some of the changes that we’ve had to make?

We’re not sure whether masks are going to go away. The conversation has not been clear whether you’d get vaccinated or not whether that’s going to change. I don’t think we know yet. Personally, I hate wearing a mask. I get flustered and I’m doing multiple things. It’s frustrating to feel like you can’t breathe sometimes. We’re active with our patients too. I don’t know if it will go away. I’m praying it does. I’m praying that this is not going to be a long-term thing. That’s a huge part for us because us and our patients are trying to navigate with that. Cleaning and disinfecting, we haven’t changed much with that. We’ve always done a good job of cleaning and disinfecting. Washing hands before they come in is a great thing that we added in. We weren’t doing that before. That’s a good thing that can stick and a good thing in general. We always wipe our equipment down before and after use.

Is there anything that you’re spending more time with? Sometimes with our patients it’s like, “Why is it taking so much time?” It’s because of all the different new instructions, or our patients have been more worried. Are you finding any of that? Are you spending any extra time with patients because they’re worried or in-between or asking questions?

We’re not drawing in the traditional PT client. We get a lot of athletes. We get a lot of gym-goers. We get a lot of people who aren’t scared. It’s not a fear-based clientele that we have. We have a couple here and there, but I have a non-fearful leadership style. That’s how I lead. We have employees that are a little scared but I think how you lead is how people will feel. We haven’t had too much of that happen where patients are scared or worried. We give the patients the ability to choose. If someone wants to not mask, we stay away from them. It’s mostly because someone is on the treadmill running or we’re doing that type of active movements, we mask and stay away. If they don’t want to wear a mask and they get short of breath, we’re like, “Pull your mask down. We’ll walk away from you.” We’re trying to make everybody feel comfortable but it’s not a fear-based clientele that we have. We haven’t had to spend too much time reassuring patients that things are going to be okay.

Are people still doing telehealth? Are they over it by now?

We have two patients that are doing telehealth still that’s a husband and wife team. Their son is compromised. He has a liver issue. They’re staying home more to protect him. Those are two clients we have other than that.

Do you see that coming back in 2021 whether COVID or not? Do you think people are more comfortable with telehealth, or do they have telehealth or Zoom fatigue?

The cool thing is now we’re offering it for our patients when they get stuck at work or they can’t come. Sometimes, the patient forgets an appointment and they’re like, “I forgot. I’m going to be ten minutes late.” We are like, “Do you want to do a telehealth session?” We use it now as a tool. Most PTs did do it. We all have now this tool. We also have been able to work with patients across the world who want to do telehealth with us from going and seeing our Instagram and saying, “I have a PT here but I like your style better. Can we do a telehealth session?”

I feel like if you learn how to take the good from the bad, they could be a great addition to your practice. That’s how we’re using it. It’s about trying it now. If there are patients who have not tried it, we say, “Try it. You’ll do well with this.” They try it and they’re like, “I love it.” They know they can go in between if they wanted to. We use it as a tool. I don’t know about 2021. I feel like we’re all walking on who knows. We are trying to live one day at a time. We don’t know what’s going to happen but I feel like we can do it. Our profession can do it. Insurance companies are paying for it. Cash patients are paying for it. The whole time, we never lost any of our cash patients either. You have to show them the value in everything.

TCLHP 166 | Physical Therapy San Pedro

Physical Therapy San Pedro: You have to show your clients the value in everything. If you position telehealth as something that’s not worth as much, then people wouldn’t want to take part of it.

 

If we position it as something that’s not worth as much then people will be like, “I don’t want that.”

A lot of people are not doing that.

People I talked to were like, “I would never do that because I touched people.” I’m like, “You’re okay with having no business?” We did the same thing. We’re like, “This week we’re doing telehealth. Here’s your roller and here’s a ball. Come pick it up on the curb and we’ll see you on at 5:00.” I want to go back to something that’s interesting. You were one of the first who I was like, “Wow,” because I’ve had other people over the years come through me like, “Aaron, I want to do cash.” I’m like, “What about insurance? What does that look like?” I’m sure you posted something like, “I want to do this cash thing but I’ve got these 1 or 2 insurance companies. They’re going to pay me $180 to $200 something or more. Can you tell me about that?” Is that still the case because it’s been a few years? What was happening at that time and how did you make it work out?

When I first was going to open up, it was going to be 100% cash because I didn’t have knowledge of insurance. I thought it was going to be another thing I had to deal with or another thing I had to figure out. I don’t know enough about it. I don’t know someone to trust to do it. I don’t want to deal with it. The model that I went through the CashPT Nation made sense to me like, “Let’s do it this way.” When I came into my lease, the owner of the building, her daughter was running the front office and she was doing all the medical billing for the chiropractor in the building.

She’s a chiropractor and acupuncturist. She said to me, “I know you want to go cash but I do medical billing. You can stay out of network and make good money. It’s worth trying it. I’ll do it all for you. I’ll teach you and show you the ropes but I caution you, don’t not do this. It’s in your best interest to do this.” We’re in the market of an area where we have a lot of longshoremen and so they have a great insurance style. I will be turning away essentially a ton of business based on the area we’re in. I said, “Let’s try it. Let’s see what happens.” We did and it’s easier than I thought it would be.

I’m scared and we’re scared of everything we don’t know but it was easy. This one particular insurance company. If we bill $300, they paid $288. Sometimes, they’ll give us a little push back with requesting notes and things like that but it’s worth it to do it. In general, without a network, I figured out how to set my pricing. Out of network, we work with our patients. If they come in and they say, “My end network deductible is $500 and my out-of-network deductible is $1,000.”

I will say, “You’ve got to meet your deductible. After that, when it comes to your copay, I’ll match your copay.” As long as I’m collecting my fees, which for me I’m still at $125. I’ll probably raise my session fees. As long as I’m collecting that, I don’t charge the patient any more than that. I do let the patient know upfront, “If they don’t pay that fee, you might have a difference that you’re going to be billed and that you’ll have to be responsible for it.” I collect most of it upfront. I collect all the deductible upfront. I try to collect as much as I can upfront, only bill them the portion that I don’t think I’m going to have to bill them and sometimes I have to. It’s rare. I keep open communication with each patient.

UnitedHealthcare would pay us $38 no matter what we did. Someone else was $45. I think that’s an important point because to be able to file a claim and be out of network and still generate close to $300 per visit, that’s great but that doesn’t sound like it’s all of your business. What percentage of your business is that?

Because of where we’re at, it’s 40% to 50% of my business. It’s a lot of my business. I have about 50% ILWU, that particular insurance, 25% everything else and 25% cash.

Are some of the other insurance plans doing something similar where you’re getting more than your cash rate?

The only insurance plan that I don’t get covered for my rate is when it’s a Blue Shield covered California plan. They pay $75, sometimes $50. Those patients I now know well enough to know like, “You’re going to be responsible.” I charge them upfront. For every other insurance, they usually make somewhere between $125 and $180 on most insurance plans.

When people say, “Can you take my insurance?” You’re like, “Yeah, we do insurance.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for what your value is. Click To Tweet

Everything but HMO. My front desk, my aide, they verify insurance for the patient and go over benefits. I taught then how to do that. We’ve learned through working with our medical biller on how to do that. We do tell the patient, “You need to know your benefits. We want to be upfront with you but we only know what they tell us. You need to understand them too.” We try to be as helpful to the patient. My biggest fear is I’ve seen some of these Yelp reviews where they say, “I got this big bill from my doctor and they didn’t tell me anything about it.” We keep open communication. I’d rather have a patient walk away in the beginning and say like, “I can’t afford that,” than be upset and get a bill. We communicate with the patient.

How do you do that? What point in the new patient onboarding process do you start discussing the insurance stuff and the payment?

Before their visit. Before they walk in the door. I would collect it as soon as they walk in the door. I would collect it beforehand but I think it was offensive a little bit to collect beforehand. We discuss it all on the inquiry process and we make sure they’re good with that before we schedule the appointment.

When you’re having a phone conversation with them, you’ll discuss the payment and their responsibility. What’s the first thing that you guys talk about? Do you talk about other stuff? Is there anything else?

The first thing we try to do is figure out if the patient is a good candidate for our clinic because we don’t take every patient. If a patient is not necessarily active or doesn’t like exercise, we’re huge on exercise because we’re all strength coaches. Our goal is to get people moving and getting them back to sport or back to the gym or back to something active, maybe even work injuries, back to work but you need to have some workout. You need to keep working out if you have a physical job. If they want to come and be fixed, we don’t take that patient.

Sometimes we’ll encourage them towards chiro or accu. We’ll say, “If you don’t like exercise, you’re not going to like our clinic because we’re not the place for you. We’re going to be moving and exercising. We do this together. This is not us fixing you.” We try to clear that right up at the beginning. There are some things that we’re looking for. If they’re not, we refer them out. If it’s somebody who has a neuro condition or something that we’re not treating, we refer them to a local clinic. We have good relationships with our local clinics and we refer out to places that we feel like a better fit for that patient. We get them to the best place for them.

What’s the number one way that you find patients? I know at LA, there are a ton of people. You go to Google Maps, you look up physical therapy, you’re going to find hundreds of clinics. What’s the thing that sets you apart? How do people find you?

I used your model, which is Yelp. Google getting a Yelp account, getting a Google account. A lot of it is the social media or Instagram. We use our Instagram account to share information but right away when we opened the practice, I focused on getting reviews like, “Can you please share your experience?” When you look at our reviews versus other people in our area, there are some competing numbers. We ranked number 1 or 2. It flip-flops between another clinic in the area. Our reviews stand out. They’re genuine. They’re paragraphs long for the patients and we ask the patients to talk about the niche of them.

My daughter was a ballet dancer and she had an ankle sprain or ankle injury or fracture. We asked them to detail it so that someone who would be looking and go, “I have that same problem. I tore my ACL and I wanted to go back to play football.” We asked them to do that to make it easy for the reader to go to, “This is the right clinic for me.” That segues our patients. They look for that and then we don’t get a ton of patients that don’t fit our category for that reason.

Is there a form that you give people or you ask them in person?

We ask them. We try to get them better at it, but it’s good not to ask them when they’re discharging. You need to ask them a few weeks into treatment. If you wait too long, it’s hard to get patients to do it on the backend. I know you’ve experienced that too. Once they’re happy and they’re seeing like, “This is awesome. I felt better. I like where I’m at.” We asked them to do it right around them. Sometimes it ends up happening at the end because depending on the patient and depending on what’s going on, we get it at discharge, but we try to have to do it right away. We use a ton of your messaging in our automation, which asked for that throughout time, through email.

We try to target them one-on-one while being here through email, through Instagram, through different avenues to meet them where they’re at and with communication. A lot of stuff I do is your design of how you laid things out. I took it and made it my own. I feel like it was such a blessing to go through that. I would encourage anybody if you’re even thinking about opening a practice to go through and purchase your program and work those modules because it’s worth it.

TCLHP 166 | Physical Therapy San Pedro

Physical Therapy San Pedro: Charge your patients upfront. It’s better for them to walk away in the beginning because they can’t afford it rather than have them be upset when they get their bill.

 

I’m stoked to see how successful and how far you’ve come in the last few years. That’s great. Is there anything that I didn’t ask or anything else that is important for people to know from your perspective over there in California or from your experience?

I’m grateful for that opportunity. It was the right place, right time. I appreciate what you’re doing for the profession because I feel like it’s needed. We’re in a time where we need to bring value to what we do. The new doctor I hired was in another clinic and she came to our clinic. I said, “You are a doctor. We all have the PTs here. We call ourselves a doctor, pick your name.” At her other clinic, she was going by her first name. That’s okay too. I feel like anything we can do to bring value to what we do, our education, our expertise, and that comes in payment too like not being scared to ask for what your value is.

I learned a lot about that from you as well. We need to know we’re valuable as it relates to our education, as it relates to what we asked for in terms of being paid, as it relates to telehealth that our skillset is not just touching people. We can help people move better, when they move, they’re going to feel better. In all these areas, we need to be able to know our values and share that with others so that we can bring light to our profession. We have a wonderful profession. The people that are doing that are uplifting and you’re one of those. I appreciate what you do.

I appreciate the kind words. It’s awesome. Ja’nae, if someone wants to reach out to you or internet stalk your company and see what you are doing, where do they find you on Instagram or website and all that?

Our website is PhysicalTherapySanPedro.com. That is how you find us through Facebook and Instagram, we are @PhysicalTherapySanPedro. No Twitter for me. You can look us up on Yelp or Google if you look up Physical Therapy San Pedro.

Thank you for being here. This has been great. My number one lesson is to step through the void into the unknown and trust that you’re going to land on solid ground. Thank you for being here. Ja’nae, thank you for being on the show. We’ll see you on the next one.

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About Ja’nae Brown

TCLHP 166 | Physical Therapy San PedroDr. Ja’nae Brown is the owner of Physical Therapy San Pedro, in San Pedro, Ca. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise & Sports Science in 2002 and from Loma Linda University with a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy in 2005.

She played basketball in high school and developed a love for sports and the body. Her practice is in an outpatient setting focused on sports and athletic injuries of all ages. Her goal is to get her patients strong and teach them ways to manage injury. Dr. Brown is a specialist in Pilates, Concussion, ROCKTAPE, and a Certified Functional Strength Coach. She is married and has a 14-year old daughter who is also a student-athlete.

When she is not treating patients she enjoys exercising, taking courses, shopping, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

About The Author

Aaron LeBauer

Aaron LeBauer PT, DPT, LMBT started a 100% cash based physical therapy practice right after graduation. He's on a mission to save 100 million people from unnecessary surgery & enjoys helping passionate therapists build successful businesses without relying on insurance.

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