Transitioning from Clinician to Business Owner

Having a business that works even while you are away is what every business owner should strive for. Sally Mohitian, Director of Fun Lab Therapy Pty Ltd in Australia, shares her transition from being a clinician to a business owner, the steps she took and the things she implemented in her business to succeed in this feat.

Occupational therapists don’t get very much training to run a business. So, it wasn’t an easy task for her and, as she said, it has taken her quite a while to get to where she is today. But going through this and getting her business ready to function even without her present in the office has made a huge difference in her life.

Sally knew that she couldn’t run a business and be client-facing at the same time. Her self-care went out of the window when she tried to do it all. She decided that as a business owner, she needed to know everything that was happening even in the business side but this wasn’t going to happen unless she stepped back from being a clinician.


Transitioning from Clinician to Business Owner

At the start, she really wanted to do it all. She didn’t do a lot of delegating. Now, she has learned how to delegate and has employed an excellent support team – not just a therapy team. They now have an accountant, bookkeeper andfull time admin so she can focus on the direction of the business, supporting the team, and learning how to lead a team. 


Setting and Building their Team Culture

To set their team culture and make sure that it is cascaded down to all the team members, they have set up their goals and values in their long onboarding process for their team to make sure that all of those values are really practised. She made sure that she recruited team members who have similar practice philosophies as her.


Outcomes of a long, fully-invested onboarding program

A long onboarding program in her business has helped in staff retention. Most of the time, if team members are just thrown in without help, assistance, or the right support, they feel isolated, especially in a private practice world where it is a fairly autonomous job. Having new staff go through monthly peer supervision and team meetings has built a connection that has been helpful for all team members. 

They strive to work for consistency and quality by having extra time to go through policies and procedures,  to learn using practice management software and processes. This has helped prevent a lot of questions, or doing things their own way. 

This has also given each team member a chance to know each other better personally and professionally. They learn from each other through the onboarding process. It also helps them trust each other and get support from each other to better serve their clients. Having a diverse team means they learn from one another all the time.


Understanding the onboarding process

Their onboarding process starts with management – the business owner, the team leader, the admin team, and other therapists. It’s spread across the team to be able to help the new member get to know the team members and to make sure that everybody is involved in the process and not only one person is carrying the load for the onboarding.


Setting up her business to run without her

Here are some of the things that Sally has done to be able to “baby-proof” her business and have it run without her being in the office all the time.

  • Hired a full time admin person.
  • Outsourcing what can be outsourced.
  • Hired a team leader to help support clinical work and the team.
  • Make sure that everything she foresaw that needed to be done was done
  • Made sure the team is well trained, that policies and procedures were clear and where to find that information when she wasn’t there.
  • Having the flexibility of being on leave but still available to the team when needed.
  • Having her husband go in to support things.
  • Try to predict and plan for things.
  • Trust in the team and systems they put in place.
  • Having clear lines of communication.


The road to having your business run without you may be hard but it is one that you’ll need to go through in the future. So the best way to do this is to set up your business for success from the get go. Do it slowly but surely, get a coach, hire team members that have the same vision that you have to be able to support you and your business. It isn’t easy but it is possible.

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