How did TheK9PT Start?

Jul 18, 2022

I wanted to share some background as to how my journey to business ownership started. When I first heard about canine rehabilitation, I knew that was what I wanted to do and I went full force into educating myself on what I had to do to make the switch from humans to canines.

Just like many folks on this journey, I also had lots of questions about the field of canine rehabilitation. Would I even be able to find a job afterwards? If I were able to find a job, how much could I expect to get paid? There was very little information out there about it, but I knew deep down that it was something that I wanted to do. I went full in full force with the support of my wife and with the mindset of I'll figure out later. So I went through the certification training and in 2015 completed my CCRT through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. Shortly after I did that, my wife and I moved from Pittsburgh to Chicago.

The ironic part of this story is that I actually never wanted to be a business owner. Yet today I am having the time of my life running a very successful clinic in Chicago. At the same time, I’m mentoring other canine rehabilitation therapists.

So how did that happen? How did I go from being someone who had no desire to be a business owner to now really enjoying it and coaching. After moving to Chicago, I worked for a standalone rehabilitation and veterinary clinic for a couple of years. Gradually I realized that for a multitude of reasons, I just wanted to do things differently. I wanted to structure my sessions in a different way. I wanted to focus less on specific modalities of treatment and more on empowering the pet parents through teaching exercises and techniques that they could do at home. I wanted to be able to build a true relationship with my clients without getting rushed from one patient to the other. But the thing that I wanted most was to be valued as a physical therapist. I did not want to be seen as a glorified veterinary assistant who was getting severely underpaid. In the fall of 2017, I left my position and started TheK9PT here in Chicago. 

In the early years, it was a mobile business with myself as the only employee, driving all over Chicago. While I was seeing patients, I was also trying to figure out how to make this business thing work. I had absolutely no clue how to run my own business. I pulled information from people I knew, reached out to veterinarians and asked their advice and found people who were succeeding at what I was trying to accomplish. 

I really dove deep into it. I was reading tons of books on business, signing up for all sorts of different courses, coaching programs, attending numerous conferences throughout the year. Basically just trying to be a sponge and just take in as much as I could. Little by little, I tried to implement things to see what worked and what didn't. I just could not get enough of it. Over time, this led to my PT business no longer being mobile and now we have grown into a 2,500 square foot facility with 8 staff members in addition to myself. 

It is really fascinating how we tend to think that people who are successful in business have some sort of predisposition that just makes them that way. Being a business owner isn't because that was who I wanted to be. I just really immersed myself into doing it. I also found myself enjoying learning about marketing, talking to people about the sales and operations, and excited to show other physical therapists what they can do too.

Knowing the struggles that I went through and the questions that I had, I knew that I needed to share my journey and help coach others who were looking for the same answers. I coach veterinarians, physical therapists, technicians and more on how to make canine rehabilitation work for them, how to market their business, structure it successfully and figure out how much to charge amongst other things!

Picture: me and Rudie, my first patient back on October 2017

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