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. Make sure to check out our first interview with Rachael Baethge, the Texas Speech Mom!
This week, we're bringing in another awesome SLP who's also a social media star. We had the chance to interview Sarah Baar, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist practicing in Grand Rapids, MI, with her Master's degree from Western Michigan University. When she's not treating clients or creating therapy materials, you'll probably find her riding bikes with her kids, trying a new brewery with her husband, transforming her 80s house to a more modern decor, or cooking a new recipe in the kitchen!
In this interview, Sarah shares her journey with us of how she began her online SLP career.
What setting do you currently work in?
I am currently in private practice after working for a large rehab system across settings for nearly 10 years.
Tell us about your business and what social media platforms you’re using to promote yourself?
Honeycomb Speech Therapy is a website, blog, and store that promotes functional, meaningful, and relevant therapy materials for the adult neuro population using evidence-based principles. It's created knowing that our field needs to move toward person-centered care which is now expected by insurance companies and the healthcare field in general as a standard of care.
I've used Facebook and Instagram to gain followers and share ideas — really not knowing anything when I started! Now 2 years in, I have about 3000 followers.
What inspired you to start your own online business?
A few years into being an SLP, I was discontent with hearing patients say "What does this have to do with anything?" after playing the card games, non-functional apps, and worksheets that I had been taught to use as therapy tasks. After learning that these tasks are NOT supported in evidence for the neurogenic population, I decided to create my own functional therapy materials.
Were you already a tech-savvy wiz or did you need to take any social media courses?
I am NOT tech-savvy — I didn't even have instagram before my business! I had to teach myself to build my website and am a work in progress with learning social media as a one-woman show.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started? What were some of your struggles?
I love the phrase "Don't dance faster than the music!" This has been my approach, not knowing anything about social media / marketing when I started this journey. Instead of feeling like I needed to be on multiple platforms at once, I took an organic approach and grew naturally. Since I still am not a whiz at social media, this pace has helped me learn one new skill at a time!
How have you monetized your business?
I sell therapy materials on my blog, do paid speaking events that promote person-centered speech therapy, and also use Amazon Affiliates. I did have to learn about "intellectual property" with the help of a lawyer, which has helped me make better business decisions for myself and protect what I create.
How has your journey as an entrepreneur strengthened your clinical skills?
I knew if I wanted to sell something I created, I needed to be 1000% confident that I could stand behind it as good work! I have had to do tons more research as a product creator than I did when I was solely practicing as a clinician; the research has made me a better clinician, and being a better clinician has helped me create great functional therapy products.
Are there any social media platforms you’re not using that you want to use in the future?
I would love to be a guest on a podcast! I think that would be a fun "bucket list" experience!
What advice would you give to other SLPs interested in taking the online entrepreneurial path?
You don't have to wait until things are "perfect!" Go for it! I waited on ideas for years before daring to try — now I am able to remind myself that I will almost never feel that something I create is "perfect," but sharing a really great idea that's not quite perfect is better than not sharing it!
Honeycomb Speech Therapy started as a nap time project when my kids were sleeping, and is now a part-time business! This has been a surprising and unplanned part of my career, and a joy!
Thank you so much for sharing your advice, Sarah! Where we can connect with you?
Do you have any homemade and functional therapy exercises you’d like to share with us? Link them below!