Brenda Heinecke knew she wanted to be a physical therapist since high school. She envisioned a peds focus for her career, but once she landed her first job after PT school, she knew it wasn’t a good fit.

While looking for another job, she started doing some in-home therapy — and continued that even after she took a full-time job. Within a few months, she rented a small office to see her own patients with the hope of using that as a springboard to her own sports-oriented physical therapy practice.

But because she didn’t want to deal with the hassles of insurance billing, she didn’t know when or how she could move ahead with her dream.

At her husband’s suggestion, she began to investigate the cash-based practice model. She quickly found my website, made use of all the resources available there, and read my cash-based practice guidebook. This convinced her there were already many people running successful cash-based physical therapy practices, which meant it was possible for her to start a practice that didn’t revolve around insurance hassles.

Brenda put all she learned to work and has spent the past four years building the practice she’d long imagined… despite being faced with some incredible challenges along the way. Now her bustling, pelvic-floor physical therapy clinic has two locations and seven employees.

In this interview, she candidly shares the details of how she made her dream of owning a cash-based practice into a reality. Her resilience and positive attitude can serve as an inspiration for us all!

We covered so much in this interview that it’s split into two parts. This episode covers how Brenda got started and how she managed her clinic’s unexpectedly fast growth and early setbacks without taking on any debt.

For part two, please click here.

More specifically, we discuss these cash-based practice topics:

  • How to get a private practice started and growing with no investment and no debt.
  • The details of her schedule and how it changed during the first year.
  • How shifting focus to a niche audience made the practice really take off.
  • How group exercise classes have become a significant contributor to the clinic’s patient enrollment.
  • What worked and didn’t work when Brenda began hiring trainers to teach exercise classes and how keeping the classes specialized helps them stand out from normal gyms.
  • Balancing growth with staffing and space, including details on financial measures that covered revenue shortfalls.
  • What gave Brenda the confidence to take on a second, large location much earlier than she’d anticipated and how she managed it economically.
  • Lessons learned from the extremely bad behavior of one early employee that help protect the practice from future problems.
  • What key traits are prioritized for new hires and how that contributes to finding a great fit for the practice.
  • How Brenda managed significant staffing problems, including her own maternity leave.

Resources mentioned in this episode: