With the ever-growing presence of social media networks, SLPs are in a great position to expand their reach by educating each other and sharing resources. Over the next few months, we’re interviewing 5 SLPs who are doing excellent work in the social media world.
Rachael Baethge is a pediatric speech language pathologist who lives in Texas with her husband and 2 year old daughter. When she isn’t busy running her online business Texas Speech Mom or working for a private practice, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, weekend getaways, and DIY projects.
In this interview, Rachael Baethge shares her journey with us of how she began her online SLP career.
What setting do you currently work in?
I currently work for a private practice that provides speech therapy in the home or private school of the child. I have been fortunate to work in just about every setting; however, being a “traveling SLP” is still my favorite.
Tell us about your business and what social media platforms you’re using to promote yourself?
I am the creator behind “Texas Speech Mom.” I blog about various therapy ideas and sell speech therapy materials on Teachers Pay Teachers. Instagram has become a huge platform that I have been able to promote my therapy materials in action, network with other speech language pathologists, and also share ideas daily. I have been fortunate to have made wonderful connections with people through Instagram, which has opened so many opportunities professionally and personally.
What inspired you to start your own online business?
I enjoy the freedom of commuting between clients and interacting with families but I realized there were some shortcomings. Since I essentially work out of my car, I needed materials that I could use with my entire caseload that required minimal prep. I started to create my own speech materials that worked specifically for the needs of my caseload. It didn’t take very long before realizing I was loving the creative outlet from these “side projects”. That’s when I decided to finally take the jump and list my resources for sale!
Were you already a tech-savvy wiz or did you need to take any social media courses?
I had experience with social media through my personal accounts, but that was pretty much it. Before I officially launched Texas Speech Mom, I did a lot of research about branding and graphic design. It was a whole world that I had no idea existed but I was (and still am) fascinated by it all. I love the creativity behind branding and design schemes.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started? What were some of your struggles?
I wish I knew how time consuming it was all going to be. The “side hustle” of a new job is a lot of work, but then the branding, marketing, networking is another full time job! I do it because I absolutely love it, but I have had to really focus on time management in order to juggle my family life, work life, and side job life.
I also struggle with having to remind myself to take things “slow and steady”. A successful business is a marathon, not a sprint. There are good days and bad days and you just have to focus on the positive!
How have you monetized your business?
The biggest way I have monetized Texas Speech Mom has been through selling Speech-Language therapy materials through Teachers Pay Teachers. I have been so fortunate to have incredibly loyal customers that I am forever thankful for. Many are “repeat customers”, which is truly the biggest compliment to a seller. I will never take any customer purchases, small or big, for granted.
How has your journey as an entrepreneur strengthened your clinical skills?
Creating therapy materials through Texas Speech Mom has pushed me to think outside the box. I love the challenge of coming up with something new that is different from what is already available. I also love the ability to showcase my materials in therapy settings through Instagram. It keeps me accountable to always “switch it up” and not get in the “therapy rut.”
Are there any social media platforms you’re not using that you want to use in the future?
My biggest priority right now is to expand the current platforms that I am using such as Instagram, my blog, facebook, and pinterest. However, I would love to eventually explore the world of YouTube.
What advice would you give to other SLPs interested in taking the online entrepreneurial path?
Don’t give up! Remember to keep things slow and steady. Also, don’t get stuck in the comparison game. Instead of constantly comparing yourself to someone else, try reaching out to them. Getting to know other SLPs in the field, regardless of their level of success, has been a huge perk that I wasn’t expecting!
Thank you so much for sharing your advice Rachael! Where can we connect with you?
Thank you for this opportunity and allowing me to share my journey of "Texas Speech Mom"!
Have you had a personal experience in starting your own SLP business or have you been wanting to start your own business? Sound off in the comments section below!