I am a member of the Society Of Sports Therapists. I was randomly selected recently by SOST and asked to submit evidence of my CPD (continuing professional development) undertaken between 1st July ’20 – 30th June ’21. This was to include a 500 word written statement giving a summary of my sports therapy practise over the last year & a 750-1000 word written statement providing an overview of my CPD activities, demonstrating how they are linked to my sports therapy practise & how they have improved my quality of work & benefited my clients.
I figured if I was going to have to sit down & write about my practise & CPD during the pandemic, maybe others might be interested to hear about it, so I decided to share my experience as a solo practitioner during a pretty challenging time.
Someone once said to me;
Keep sharing your story! Because, you never know who you will inspire..
My clinic, due to the pandemic, has been a combination of on-line pain management and face to face.
Having spent almost 10 years growing & developing my business and my professional development, my foot has rarely come off the gas in the last 20 months, in order to retain what I have worked hard to build. Following being forced closed for 6 months, I was prepared to do whatever it took to maintain a sustainable business.
I had to quickly learn how to use ‘Zoom’, a platform I’d never used prior to the pandemic. Signing up to many tutorials, so I could run a smooth clinic, without too many technical hiccups.
Promoting my business via social media during lockdown was challenging. I had to schedule posts in a way I have not needed since setting up my business. I wanted to reassure clients I could still manage their pain virtually, and give my business the best possible chance for when doors could re-open.
One of my social media campaigns was advertising ‘Self Massage Techniques’ via Zoom.
I contacted a physio supplies firm, who offered me a discounted price for foam rollers, massage balls, stretching straps etc, I then put a self-care package together. I arranged delivery directly to those who needed equipment, to reduce hassle for them and to ensure they got the most out of their on-line classes with me.
Every Mon evening, I delivered a ‘Zoom’ Self-Massage class.
I recorded my Zoom classes, so I could send a link to those who could not make the time of the live class, this also gave me an additional stream of income at a time when my business was forced closed.
I reached out to local companies, advising I could help them & their employees virtually, in the comfort of their own homes, guiding them through techniques that would ease their pain and discomfort, a direct result of their stress levels and ‘working from home’ environments.
A local solicitors firm and a car insurance call centre, who’s staff were all working from home asked me to deliver some self-massage techniques via Zoom for their staff. During lockdown v1, I looked after them, once per week.
May ’20, Skills North East, who specialise in delivering adult learning courses to young adults in the North of Tyne area, contacted me and asked if I would be a guest speaker on a webinar they were hosting for their soon to qualify practitioners.
As I have almost 10 years industry experience and single handily run a successful sports therapy business, they thought I would be an ideal person to give their students some insightful guidance and advice.
The area’s I covered were;
- The peaks and troughs of self-employment
- Social media and marketing
- Establishing/growing/retaining a loyal client base
- Building a sustainable business
- Business systems and strategies
The learners were very positive following the webinar.
Due to the positive feedback, I now provide bespoke packages, offering training academies mentoring and consultancy for their students.
To focus my mind, calm & distract myself from worrying thoughts, I read a lot. Literature that would benefit my business, and also broaden my knowledge on subjects that I wanted a better understanding of.
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.
12 Rules for Life by Jordon B Peterson.
Start with Why by Simon Sinek.
The 4 hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.
Overview of CPD activities during 1st Jul ‘20 – 30th Jun ‘21
On line masterclass – The Vital Knee Complex, Feb ‘21 – 21 cpd points
On line masterclass – The Vital nerves, Jan ‘21 – 21 cpd points
On line masterclass – Muscles & Motion of the Shoulder Complex – Jan ’21 – 21 cpd points.
‘Go to Therapist Mentorship Program’ through Pro-Sport Academy – 60 hours cpd, started Mar ’21, complete.
JST website project with Arttia Creative, Mar ’21 – Aug’21
Working on business development with RTC Growth Specialists, Nov ’20 – Feb ‘21
During the first lockdown, I was pushed out of my comfort zone due to not being able to rely on my hands on techniques to get results. This made me feel a little overwhelmed and knocked my confidence a little.
It was because of that I decided to invest in the ‘Go To Therapist Mentorship’, which was a 12 week/module on line course, that promised to give me the ability to design “world class”, none hands-on treatment plans, to get clients results, adherence, reviews and referrals.
The course is lead by a senior physiotherapist. I felt some physio lead exercise correction/pain management would be a very useful string to my bow.
Much of the content was brand new to me, and really challenged me. I learned a lot more about rib cage mobility and how stress effects that. As we were in the middle of a pandemic and stress levels were high, that was information I was able to implement straight away.
As well as the on line, life time access content, there is on-going support from the team at Pro Sport. If there was anything I didn’t understand, someone would video call me and talk me through it. That support extends to beyond completing the course too, so if I have a tricky client moving forward, or a treatment isn’t going to plan, they will help me get my client back on track and great results.
From a solo practitioner point of view, with no one to bounce my uncertainties and/or doubt off, that support from them is much needed & appreciated.
All the ‘Vital’ masterclasses are written & delivered by John Gibbons who is an Osteopath. He runs a diploma course which I completed prior to the pandemic. His teachings have been integral to the practitioner I am today. He has taught me many techniques I didn’t learn during my degree and because of that, he elevated my confidence in my own capabilities. He was a super supportive mentor, and I am very grateful to him.
John put all of his masterclasses on line once we were locked down, he added fresh content. The areas I chose to re-visit, were the central nervous system, the knee & the shoulder. My choices based on new, none ideal, working from home environments for my clients, plus gym closures, which had forced/encouraged people to get out and walk, run and cycle.
Whilst working alongside a mentor from ‘RTC Growth Specialists’ I was advised that there were many of my business goals that would be more achievable if I had a website. I’ve had a successful ‘word of mouth business’ for almost 10 years!
I have a contract running with Somerset Bridge Insurance, bi-monthly, I visit their offices and treat their staff for the pain & discomfort caused by being sat at a desk for 8 hours. Ideally I would like more of these contracts for my business, as many of the staff I treat at SB would not have sought out a practitioner like me to help them with their discomfort, so it would be great if I could expose more people to how sports therapy can help them, even if they are not a sporting participant.
A website could help me with that, as senior management/HR looking for well-being/incentive packages for their staff are unlikely to scroll through facebook!
I secured a web builder I felt confident in, and started my project with them Mar ’21, it was finished Aug ’21. https://jaimesportstherapy.co.uk
I wrote the majority of the content myself to keep it as authentic as I could.
I applied for funding for my website through NBSL (Northumberland Business Services Ltd) & was thrilled to be accepted, receiving 40% towards the total cost of my website. They told me they could see my business had a lot of potential for growth, & that if could get through a pandemic, it was clearly a sustainable business too, so were happy to help. That really meant a lot.
The pandemic has been a real learning curve. My business means way too much to me to be beaten by it. My feeling of loss of purpose during lockdown v1, is what pushed me to find a way to still be able to help others.
It made me re-evaluate my goals and what was important and it very much pushed me out of my comfort zone.
I’ve gained many additional skills and knowledge that benefit both my business and my clients, the time to invest in some of that, I probably wouldn’t have had if my business hadn’t been forced closed, so for that, I am grateful.
The leader who is forever in learning mode, is the one most likely to succeed.