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  • Writer's pictureAmy Williams

My first year in independent practice

It’s been a year since I left my senior role in the NHS and decided to work for myself.

I did this to give me the flexibility around my family life but also carry on my satisfying and interesting career as a Speech and Language Therapist.

So what have I learnt? I love my job!

With having a bit more flexibility, no long commutes and having the luxury of being able to spend longer with clients, I am more present in my work and have really enjoyed getting stuck into therapy programmes.

I’ve picked up skills that I hadn’t used for a while in my last NHS role but I’ve also used approaches that were essential to my NHS role that perhaps havent traditionally been related to independent work. For example, I realised I am a massive advocate of self management. I like to give clients the skills to feel empowered to manage their own rehab.

I’ve learnt and am still learning new skills related to running a small business. A whole new world that’s involved numbers which are not always my friend.

I’ve met new people and reconnected with others. I’ve had to put myself out there, even if I’m a bit nervous how I will be received.

I’ve actually had to believe in myself and ignore my inner critic, telling myself all the time that I am good enough to be doing x, y or z. It’s starting to work!

I’ve realised that Speech and Language Therapists should shout more about the good work we do and the many skills we have. For a chatty bunch we are quite quiet in the public forum and have a lot to give to the wider community.

Oh and the liberation!! It’s just unreal how excited I get by taking on new clients, thinking of new ideas for my practice and sharing my skills. My mind is always buzzing with excitement.

So it been a really interesting year but with all the good, what’s been hard?

I miss having a team and colleagues to bounce ideas off and share the load on a daily basis. I hope to expand my practice now to include other members of staff to have that kind of support again.

I realised that the good work/life boundaries I’d developed in the NHS were thrown out of the window with starting my own business. Due to my enthusiasm and sometimes unrealistic expectations of myself, I didn’t always achieve the perfect balance between family and work sadly, but I’m continuing to work on that.

I now know that despite the hundreds of exciting ideas I have, things take time to get going and materialise and I can’t act on everything otherwise I will end up burning out. Part of the process is being thoroughly clear on what ideas I want to act on and to generally be patient and consistent to get those ideas going.

I hope some of these things relate to any small business starting up and it may be reassuring to other people that may be thinking about taking a step out on their own.

It’s challenging, there’s been tears but through it all, I’m getting to what I set out to achieve and there’s nothing more satisfying than that. 💜

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