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Healthy Wealthy & Smart

The perfect combination of healthcare and business! At Healthy Wealthy & Smart, we interview THE top experts in the fields of medicine, physical therapy, fitness and entrepreneurship to allow you to increase your health, increase your wealth and live your best life.
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Now displaying: June, 2020
Jun 29, 2020

On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Anne Stefanyk on the show to discuss website optimization.  As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions. Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp.

In this episode, we discuss:

-Why your website is one of your most important marketing tools

-The art of simplicity in branding

-How to track the customer lifecycle

-The top tools you need to upgrade your website

-And so much more!

Resources:

Anne Stefanyk Twitter

Drupal

Anne Stefanyk LinkedIn

Kanopi Website

HotJar

Google Pagespeed

Accessibility Insights

WAVE Web Accessibility

Google/Lighthouse

Use user research to get insight into audience behavior
How to make your site last 5 years (possibly more)

 

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode!  Learn more about Four Ways That Outpatient Therapy Providers Can Increase Patient Engagement in 2020!

 

For more information on Anne:

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne fell into the Drupal community in 2007 and admired both the community’s people and the constant quest for knowledge. After holding Director-level positions at large Drupal agencies, she decided she was ready to open Kanopi Studios in 2013.

Her background is in business development, marketing, and technology, which allows her to successfully manage all facets of the business as well as provide the technical understanding to allow her to interface with engineers. She has accumulated years of professional Drupal hands-on experience, from basic websites to large Drupal applications with high-performance demands, multiple integrations, complicated migrations, and e-commerce including subscription and multi-tenancy.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.

 

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy (00:01):

Hey Anne, welcome to the podcast. I am so excited and happy to have you on.

Anne Stefanyk (00:06):

Nice to see you. Thank you so much for having me.

Karen Litzy (00:09):

So before we get into what we're going to talk about today, which is kind of how to use your website as a marketing tool, and that's putting it lightly, we're going to really dive into that, but I want to talk about kanopi. So for a lot of my listeners, they know that I'm a huge proponent of female entrepreneurs of women in physical therapy. We have a whole conference for it every year. And I love the fact that kanopi is a majority female company. So can you talk about the inception and kind of the journey that you've taken with the company over the years?

Anne Stefanyk (00:47):

Sure, I'd be happy to. So I founded kanopi kind of off the side of my desk and it actually came from meeting a need that I needed to take care of with my family. My family became quite sick and I had to stop working and as a result it forced my hand to pick up some contract work. And that contract works. Certain cuts soon kind of snowballed into, Oh my goodness, I have actual projects. I probably should hire some people and get out of my personal email to run the business. But it did come from a place where I needed some lifestyle flexibility. So I built a company that is fully distributed as well. And as a result of the business model that we created, it allowed us to really attract and retain really great talent. Outside of major cities. And I have a lot of single moms or a lot of moms and I have some single dads too, but we really are able to, with our business model, attract and retain a lot of top talent.

Anne Stefanyk (01:39):

And a lot of those are girls. So we're over 50% women and there's only really two men in our leadership, a team of nine. So there's seven girl bosses out of the nine that run the company. And we really have focused on helping people with their websites and making it really clear and simple and easy to understand. We find that there's always too much jargon out there. There's too much complexity and that we all are just craving simplicity. So building the business was twofold, was one to obviously help people with their websites. What was also to really create impactful futures for my staff and give them opportunities to kind of grow and expand in new ways. So I'm really proud that as kanopi has formed our team, I'm part of our retention plan has to really been to take care of our families and put our families first.

Anne Stefanyk (02:28):

Because if we realize that if you take care of the family, the family takes care of you. And so we've extended a lot of different benefits to be able to support the family journey as part of the business. And we find that as a female entrepreneur, really recognizing and appreciating that we need flexible lifestyles to be able to rear children or take care of elderly parents or we have a lot of demands as females on us. I mean the men do too, don't get me wrong, but as a female I'm creating a space of work where we can create that space for everybody really makes me proud. And happy.

Karen Litzy (03:03):

Yeah, I mean it's just in going through the website and reading about it, I was just like, Oh gosh, this woman's amazing. Like what a great way to go to work every day. Kind of knowing that you're staying true to what your values are and your mission is and that people really seem to like it.

Anne Stefanyk (03:22):

Yeah. Yeah. We always say it's not B to B or B to C, it's H to H it's human to human. And what do we need to get really clear to speak to our humans to help them, you know, move forward in their journey, whatever that looks like for them.

Karen Litzy (03:34):

Right. And, so now let's talk about that journey and it's kind of starts with the website. So let's talk about how you can make your website an effective marketing tool. Because not everyone, especially when you're first starting out, you don't have a lot of money to throw around to advertising and things like that. But we all have a website or maybe we all should have a website and have some sort of web presence. So how can we make that work for us?

Anne Stefanyk (04:00):

Yeah, definitely. You need a website. It's like a non negotiable factor these days and it really doesn't matter. The kind of website you have, especially when you're just getting started. There's lots of great tools out there from Wix, Squarespace, even WordPress that comes with templates or pre-baked themes. And I think the most important part is to really connect with your user and figure out who your user is and what kind of website needs to support their journey. But yeah, definitely you have to have a website and you actually have to have a good website. Having a bad website is the non, like, it's really bad because it will detract people so quickly and they'll never come back. So you pretty much have that first impression. And then if you don't make it, they won't come back. I think there's a well known stamp that if your site doesn't load within four seconds or three seconds they'll leave. And if it doesn't load within four seconds, they will never come back to that URL.

Karen Litzy (04:56):

Wow. All right. That's a great stat. I'm going to be, I'm going to go onto my computer, onto my website and start my timer, you know, so there's some really cool tools.

Anne Stefanyk (05:06):

We can include them in the show notes, but the Google has a page speed test where you can actually put your website URL and see how fast it is and give recommendations on what to fix.

Karen Litzy (05:15):

Oh perfect. Yeah, and we'll put all those links in the website and we'll get to that in a little bit about those different kinds of tools. But let's talk about, you said, you know, you're human to human business. We have to know who are we putting our website out there for. So how do we do that?

Anne Stefanyk (05:34):

Yeah, that's a great question. So when you're first starting off, you probably all like if you're just starting your business, you're just trying to figure out who you serve, but you may have special things that you'd like to, you know, that you're passionate about or you specialize in. Like for example, maybe you really specialize in women's health or sports medicine or you know, one of those things. And just to kind of get clear on who is your best customer. If you've been in business for a couple of years, you probably have a pretty good idea who your ideal customer is and how they engage with you. So first off, it's really thinking about who your target audience is and what are their needs. So when we're thinking about a website and thinking about that user journey, you often identify them as certain people. So you may have like, Mmm you know, kind of creating different avatars or different personas so you can really personify these people and help understand their journey.

Anne Stefanyk (06:27):

And from there you kind of understand that if someone's coming to you for physical therapy, there's going to be different mind States that they come into you with. So when you first have your website, you're going to want to, of course, a lot of people just put up who they are. Like, you know, this is my practice, this is who I am. This is my credit, my accreditation, and my certifications. And maybe maybe here's some testimonials. And then we run and we go off to the races. And that's great to get you out the door. Once you started your business, you're going to recognize that you're people, when they call you, they're going to have a million questions and there's ways to answer those questions using your website. And as a solo entrepreneur, like I ran my business by myself for three years, which means I was everything and I wore all the hats.

Anne Stefanyk (07:09):

I was the project manager, I was the designer, I was all the things that was the marketer, was the, I know that feeling well. So it took me like three years to operationalize. And I think the first thing I did as a female entrepreneur, I hired an assistant. I would highly recommend that as being one of your first hires as an entrepreneur. And that's just someone who can do all the little itty bitty details and then move on to whatever that looks like for you. But when you're building your website, the next level you really need to take is it serving my humans? Is it serving my audience? So are they able to get the information they need? And I think this strange time that we're in, we're all, this is an opportunity for us to look at our own website and our own stuff and say, is this the best representation possible?

Anne Stefanyk (07:52):

Because no longer are they just picking up the phone and calling you because your practice is probably closed. You're at home right now, your phones, maybe you if you have them redirected, but either way they're going to your website first. So it's like having the right information there at the right time for the right person. And that really comes to the user journey and that's where you know, if someone is just broken their ankle and they're now told by their doctor, you have to go into physical therapy, that's their first stage as they now are going to Google and saying, you know, PT for San Francisco and interestingly enough as Google wants to keep you there, so here you are. You user is Googling for you or Googling for physical therapy wherever, San Francisco, San Jose, wherever, and up comes the Google listings. If you can get past that point, then they go into your website and they're going to click open a bunch of them.

Anne Stefanyk (08:43):

That's what we call, you know, your awareness phase. They're becoming aware of you. There's certain things that a user wants to see in that phase. So understanding of someone's looking for you, they're going to, Oh yeah, they specialize in ankles. And I really think you know, Oh, that's person's for me. Versus now they're in the consideration stage and now they've chose likely, but Sally over here and James and Jimmy and we're figuring out which PT to go to, then that's a different level of content and what are they looking at to compare and contrast. And then when they've actually decided to work with you, then there's another layer of content you have to consider. So, Oh, I've decided to work where they're located. How do I get there? Was there anything I need to prepare their forms I need to fill out in advance?

Anne Stefanyk (09:27):

And then you even have the persona of the user once they've actually gone through all your services as I imagine. And therapy. A lot of you folks are getting referral and word of mouth. Let's nurture that. Let's use the website to nurture the word of mouth and referral work. Let's give your patients a place to go really easily to provide feedback, which will then change, you know, getting those Google reviews up leads to a higher ranking on that Google page. So if you understand where they began and where they pop out at the end, kind of map it all together. You'll start to see your gaps.

 

Karen Litzy:

And is it possible to go through sort of a quick example of what that might look like? So if someone's there on Google, they hit Google, they click on your website, you just said if it doesn't load within a couple of seconds, they're gone.

Anne Stefanyk (10:14):

Right? So that's a good awareness phase situation, right? What else? Someone's there, they're just click, click, click trying to find someone. What is it that they're looking for in that awareness stage? Like what are they, what is going to be like, Ooh, I like this, this person. I'm moving them from the awareness bucket to the consideration bucket. Yeah, yeah. So they need to see themselves in the way that their problem gets solved. So when they look at the website, they can say, Oh yeah, that person had the same problem and they got help. And then, Oh, look at their results. Oh look, there's a picture of them, you know, back on their skateboard six months later as part of this patient follow-up log. Oh, we don't, you know. So that's the kind of stuff is that when users really want to just be able to see themselves, they crave simplicity.

Anne Stefanyk (11:01):

And so often I think that if we're too close to it, we don't actually see how complex our stuff is. And sometimes when we're really smart and we have degrees in specialized things, we use vocabulary that our users are not even aware of yet. So it's really when you're talking to getting them from that awareness into considering you, it's about using really basic common language. It's about guiding them through a bit of a story. People love to read stories. So showing them like, Oh, you know, I was really showing another patient and showing the patient journey that all, I considered multiple companies locally, but I ultimately went with Sally as a PT because this, and just showing those things helps the user kind of see the whole journey so they can say, okay, okay, if you've never broken your ankle before, have no idea what to expect. You've never gone to physical therapy, you have no idea what to expect. And just the anticipation, if you can show them what snacks they feel a sense of relief that they'll be taken care of.

Karen Litzy (12:04):

Yeah. So what I'm hearing is that your testimonial page on your website's pretty important, is that something that should be front and center on the homepage?

Anne Stefanyk (12:16):

Well, that's an interesting thing. I think the main thing you want to use that front and center is being really clear about what you do. Right? Some people like to put these big sentences up there, but getting to know your user and the problem they have and this, you know, getting to how you're going to solve the problem is the most important part of that, of that real estate upfront. I will warn everybody that please don't use carousels. They're a big fad and they're just a fad. They're from a usability standpoint. And what happens is the end user thinks that whatever you put in your carousel is what you do. So if you're promoting an event in your carousel, they'll think that you're just doing the events.

Anne Stefanyk (13:01):

They won't even know that you're a physical therapist. Really clear upfront about what you do. You know, like I help people with, you know, however it goes, and then provide supporting content. So a testimonial is wonderful if it can also be like imbedded within a bigger story. So it tells the full story. I like that video. I mean everybody has an iPhone. So, or at least access to video really easily. You could do a quick little video testimonial with one of your clients over zoom for two minutes to say, Hey, you're one of my favorite PT clients and can you get on a quick video with me and just do a video testimonial. That's great way to leverage video content on your website to help the user see themselves as what the solution's going to be.

Karen Litzy (13:47):

Yeah. Great, great, awesome. And then one stipulation I would say on that is talk to your lawyer because you'll need them to sign a release for HIPAA purposes, right? To make sure that they know exactly where this video is going to be. You have to be very clear on that. Okay, great. So we're out of the awareness phase, so we're in consideration. So let's say it's between me and one other PT in New York city. What should I be looking at on my website to get that person from consideration to yes.

Anne Stefanyk (14:20):

So one of the greatest ways to do stuff is actually a very tried and it's email marketing or text-based marketing. So if you can capture an email during that awareness phase, even if it's just like you know, Mmm. Interested in getting some tips and tricks on how to rejuvenate your bone health during, you know, it doesn't have to be like sign up for a newsletter or sign up for this. It could be just a very simple, if you know your user is coming there specifically for a thing and you can provide some type of value added content, then there might be some small way to get a snippet of data so that you can continue the conversation. Cause most people are just bombarded with information and overwhelmed. So if there's any way to connect with them so you can feed them information. But another great way to kind of pull them into that consideration content is once you've got their eyeballs hooked and you're in, there is again to kind of figure out what are the common things, questions they need to have, they have answers they need answers to.

Anne Stefanyk (15:22):

And this might be from your experience, just answering phone calls when people are starting to talk to you. But it's like the questions like you know, maybe how long does it take for me to heal, you know, will I have different types of medicine I'm going to have to take? How much homework will there be? Do I need any special equipment? That's kind of, you know, just showing that you're the expert in the field and you have the answers to questions they didn't even know they had to ask. That kind of aha moment makes them feel really trusted. They trust you because they go, Oh I didn't even think about asking that question. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad they thought about that. I feel so taken care of. And that's where I think a lot of websites drop the ball is they straight up say like this is what we do, here's some testimonials. And they don't put all that soft content and that builds the trust. Can be a little blog, a little FAQ section and this is all like non technical stuff. You don't need a developer to do any of this. It's mostly just your writing time.

Karen Litzy (16:18):

Yeah, no and it's making me go through my head of my FAQ, so I'm like, Hmm, maybe I need to revisit. That's the one page I just sort of did a revamp of my website. We were talking about this before we went on, but I actually did not go to my FAQ page cause I thought to myself, Oh, it's probably good. It's probably not. I need to go back and do a little revamp on that too, just to think about some of the questions that I've been getting from patients recently and how does this work and things like that. Especially now with COVID. You know, like what about tele-health? What about this or about that?

Anne Stefanyk (16:51):

Yeah. Google loves when you update your content. Google loves it. Google loves it so much. It is one of the biggest disservices you can do is build your website and leave it. That's just not healthy. People think you have to rebuild your website every two to three years. That's who we are. That's bananas. You have to do it. If you just take care of your website and you nurture it and you love it and you make it, you make it work and you continually work on it and maybe that's just an hour a week, maybe it's an hour every month, whatever it is. Just a little bit of attention really goes a long way and it is something that we believe a website should last for at least 10 years, but that means you got to take care of it, right. A lot of clients come to me and say, Oh well, you know we're going to have to rebuild this in three years, and I'm like, no, you shouldn't.

Anne Stefanyk (17:31):

It should be totally fine. It's just like if you get a house right, if you don't do anything with your house a hundred years later, it's probably demolished. Like you're going to tear it down versus you've got to do the roof and you've got to replace the carpets and you got to do the perimeter drain. Right. It's kind of the website stuff too. I mean, Google will throw you curve balls if you're spending a lot time on social. Unless you're getting direct business from social media, don't worry about it so much. Google has changed their algorithms, which means that social doesn't count for as much as it did. Oh, so if you're spending two or three hours a week scheduling social, unless you're directly getting benefit, like from direct users, finding one social tone that way down and spend more time writing blogs, spending more time getting you know content on your website is, that's what matters from a Google standpoint.

Karen Litzy (18:16):

Good to know. Gosh, this is great. So all right, the person has now moved from consideration. They said, yes, I'm going to go and see Karen. This is what I've decided. Awesome. So now how can I make their patient journey a little bit easier?

 

Anne Stefanyk:

So we started at Google, they got from awareness to consideration. They said yes. Now what? Yeah, now what? So it's continuing the conversation and creating kind of being ahead of them. So text messages, 99% of text messages are open and read. Okay. Yeah, I think it's like 13 to 20% of emails are open read. So it would be skillful for you to gather a phone number so then you can text them, alerts, reminders, et cetera. That's a great way. There's a wonderful book called how to, what is it? Never lose a customer again. And it's beautiful. It's a beautiful book.

Anne Stefanyk (19:11):

It applies to any business. And it really talks about like how when you're engaging with a new client, the first two stages of that are the are the sales and presales. But then you have six steps. Once a person becomes your clients on how to nurture and engage and support that client journey. And that might just be simply as like if they're deciding to work with you and they book their first appointments, there's a lot of cool video. You could just do a little video recording and say, you know, thank you so much for booking an appoint with me. I'm so excited. I really honor the personal relationship that we have together and I want to build trust. So this is a just, and then giving them like a forum to then ask the question to you. So just building that relationship. Cause even though your clients, I mean if they're coming for PT, they might just be a onetime client.

Anne Stefanyk (19:57):

But again, they also might have lots of friends and family and that works. So when their friends and family and network happened to have that, how do you also kind of leverage the website that way? But a lot of it is just clarity. And you'll notice that big way to find out what's missing is interview your last few clients that have signed up, find out what they found was easy, what was difficult, what they wish they had more information. And if they're a recent enough client, they'll still remember that experience and us humans love to help. It's in their nature, right? So you should never feel worried about asking anybody for advice or insights on this. You know, there's even a little tool that you can put on your websites. It's a tool, there's a free version called Hotjar, hot and hot jar.

Anne Stefanyk (20:47):

And it's pretty easy to install. We actually have a blog post on how to install it too. It's really, we'll put that blog posts, but what it allows you to do is it allows you to see where people are clicking and whether they're not clicking on your website. So you can actually analyze, you know it's all anonymous, right? It's all anonymously tracked, but you can do screencast and you can do with these color heatmaps, you can kind of see where people are going. You can track this and it's free, right? Three you can do up to three pages for free. So I feel like the guys looking at stuff like that, you kind of get the data that you need to figure out where your gaps are because what you don't know is what you don't know, right? So I first recommend like getting clear on who your user is, you know, if you specifically take care of a certain set, figuring out where their journey is, what kind of content you'd need for each of those and what the gaps are. And then filled out a content calendar to fill the gaps.

Karen Litzy (21:42):

Got it. And a content calendar could be like a once a month blog post. It doesn't have to be every day. And I even think that can overwhelm you're patients or potential patients, right? Cause we're just inundated. There's so much noise, but if you have like a really great blog that comes out once a month and gets a lot of feedback on it, then people will look forward to that.

Anne Stefanyk (22:11):

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And I mean, humans want to get clarity, they want to receive value. And right now we live in an intention economy where everything is pinging at them. So realistically, the only way to break through the noise is just to be really clear and provide what they need. Simple. It's just simple. It's actually, you just simplify it, remove the jargon, you know, make it easy. And I mean a blog post, it could be as short as 300 words. You don't need to write a massive thing. You can even do a little video blog. Yeah. You don't like writing, you can just do a little video blog and embedded YouTube video and boom, you're done. Right?

Karen Litzy (22:46):

Yeah. Yeah. I love this because everything that you're saying doesn't take up a lot of time. Cause like we said before, when you're first starting out as a new entrepreneur, you feel like you've been pulled in a million different directions. But if you can say, I'm going to take one hour, like you said, one hour a month to do a website check-in, right? One hour a month to get a blog post together or shoot a quick video. Like you said, we've all got phones embedded in every device we own these days. So it doesn't take a lot. And I love all those suggestions. Okay. So now I'm in the nurturing phase and what we've done is, because I didn't use jargon, I was simple, clear to the point, filled in the gaps for them. Now those patients that who have come to see me are referring their friends to me and we're starting it all over again. So it's sort of this never ending positive cycle.

Anne Stefanyk (23:41):

Exactly, exactly. And that's what we really frame. We call it continuous improvement, which is the methodology of that. You always need to be taking care of it, nurturing it, loving it. Because if you just let it sit, it will do you no good. Right. And that's where you know, when you're that little bit of momentum and it's about pacing yourself and choosing one goal at a time. Like if you're feeling like, Oh my gosh, where am I going to start? What am I going to do? You know, just say, okay, I just want my site to go faster. Just pick one goal. You run it through the speed test, it's scoring forward of a hundred you're like, Oh, I need to make my site faster. So then you look at that and you say, okay, I've learned, you know, big images create large page speed load. So it'll tell, you can go through and look at your images and say, Oh, I need to resize this image. Or maybe I need, if I'm using WordPress, put a plugin that automatically resizes all my images. You know, a lot of it is content driven that you can kind of make your cycle faster with an accessibility. Accessibility is so dear and near to my heart.

Karen Litzy (24:44):

When you say accessibility for a website, what exactly does that mean?

Anne Stefanyk (24:48):

I mean, yes. So that means that it is technically available for people of all types of ranges of ability from someone who is visually impaired to someone who is physically impaired, temporarily or permanently disabled. So if you think about someone who's got a broken arm and maybe it's her dominant arm. I'm doing everything with my left. Try using a screen reader on your own website and you will be shocked that if you can't type you know with your hands and you're going to dictate to it, you'll be a, is how your computer does not actually understand your words. So it's about making your website really technically accessible with consideration. Four, font size, color contrast. Yeah. Images need to have what we call alt tags, which is just a description. So if your image is like one, two, three, four, five dot JPEG, you would actually want to rename it as lady sitting in a chair reading in a book dot JPEG because that's what a screen reader reads. Oh. So it's about the technical stuff, so that if somebody needs to use a screen reader or if somebody can't use their hands from physical, they can't type, they're reading, they're listening to the website. It's about structural, putting it together correctly so the tools can output.

Karen Litzy (26:12):

Mmm. Wow. I never even thought of that. Oh my gosh, this is blowing my mind. Anyway, so there's tools out there to look, let's talk about if you want to just maybe give a name to some of those tools. So how about to check your websites?

Anne Stefanyk (26:28):

Yeah, so it's Google page speed and it's just a website that you can go in and put your URL. There's another plugin called lighthouse, and lighthouse is a plugin that you can use through Chrome. And then you just on that and it'll output a report for you. And some of it's a little nerdy, right? And some of it's, you know, some of it's very clear. I love it. They, they'll put some jargon, let's just say that they don't quite understand that not everybody understands laptop, but if you're on a tool like Shopify or Squarespace or Wix, which a lot of like first time entrepreneurs, that's a great place to start. It's really affordable. They take care of a lot of those things built in. So that's the benefit of kind of standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to those. But lighthouse is a good tool because it checks accessibility, performance, SEO and your coding best practices.

Karen Litzy (27:28):

Oh wow. Okay. So that's a good tool. Cool, any other tools that we should know about that you can think of off the top of your head? If not, we can always put more in the show notes if people want to check them out. But if you have another one that you wanted to throw out there, I don't want to cut you off, if you've got more.

Anne Stefanyk (27:45):

Oh no worries. There's lots of different checkers and I think the big thing error is just to be able to understand the results. So I'm always a big fan of making technology really accessible. So if you do need help with that, you know, feel free to reach out and I can get more help. But generally we look at search engine optimization, which is are you being found in Google? And there's some tools like SEO. Moz is one. And then we look at accessibility, is it accessible to all people and then we look at performance, can it go fast, fast, and then we look at code quality, right? Like you want to make sure you're doing your security updates cause it's a heck of a lot cheaper to do your security updates than unpack yourself if there is.

Karen Litzy (28:27):

Oh gosh. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, like you said, on some of those websites, that security part might be in like already embedded in that or is that, do you recommend doing an external security look at your website as well?

Anne Stefanyk (28:44):

Exactly. Most of the time when you're using a known platform like Shopify or if you're using WordPress or Drupal, then what you want to do is you want to work with a reliable hosting provider so they will help you provide your security updates. It's just like you would always want to lock your car when you would go out in the city. It's just like some do your security updates. So, but yeah, that's the benefit of being on some of these larger platforms is they have some of that stuff baked in. You pay a monthly fee but you don't have to worry about it.

Karen Litzy (29:14):

Right. Perfect. Perfect. And gosh, this was so much good information. Let's talk a little bit about, since we are still in the midst of this COVID pandemic and crisis and what should we be doing with our websites now specifically to sort of provide that clarity and calmness that maybe we want to project while people are still a little, I mean, I watch the news people are on edge here.

Anne Stefanyk (29:47):

Yeah. I think everybody's a little on edge, especially as things are starting to open. But nervous about it. All right. So I think the main thing that you can do is provide clear pathways. So if you haven't already put an alert on your website or something, right on your homepage, that speaks to how you're handling COVID that would be really skillful in, that could just be if you, you know, Mmm. Some people have an alert bar, they can put up, some people use a blog post and they feature it as their blog posts. Some people use a little block on their home page, but just something that helps them understand that what that is, and I'm sure most of you have already responded to that cause you had to write, it was like the first two weeks, all of our clients were like, we got to put something on our website.

Anne Stefanyk (30:26):

Right. And so, from there is I think being very mindful about how overwhelmed your peoples are and not trying to flood them with like tips and tricks on how to stay calm or how to parent or how to, you know, like that's where everybody's kind of like on overwhelm of all the information. So for right now, I would say that it's a wonderful time to put an alert up so people visit your site. If you've switched to telehealth and telemedicine, it'd be a great time to actually clarify how to do that. So if they're like, okay, I'm going to sign up for this and I want to work with you. Mmm. But how does it work? Are we gonna do it through zoom? Is it through Skype? Is it through FaceTime? Is my data secure? You know, like you said, updating all your FAQ is like, we're in this weird space where we really have almost like no excuse to not come out of this better.

Anne Stefanyk (31:16):

You know, as an entrepreneur we have this like lurking sense of like, okay, I gotta make sure I'm doing something. And the web is a great place to start because it is your first impression. And to kind of go through your content, and maybe it is if you don't have a blog set up is setting up a blog and just putting one up there or writing two or three and not publishing it until you have two or three. But it is kind of figuring out what is your user need and how do you make it really easy for them to digest.

Karen Litzy (31:41):

Perfect. And now before we kind of wrap things up, I'll just ask you is there anything that we missed? Anything that you want to make sure that the listeners walk away with from this conversation?

Anne Stefanyk (31:56):

I think the big thing is that this can all get really confusing and overwhelming very quickly. And all you need to just think about is your humans that you're servicing and like how can I make their journey easier? And even if it's like if nothing else, you're like, Hey, I'm going to get a text messaging program set up because I'm going to be able to actually communicate with them a lot faster and a lot easier. Or, Hey, I'm just going to focus on getting more five stars reviews on my Google profiles, so I show up. I'm just going to make that the focus. So I think the big thing is just a one thing at a time, and because we're in a pandemic, set your bar really low and celebrate when you barely hit it because we're all working on overwhelm and overdrive and we're all exhausted and our adrenals are depleted. Even in overdrive syndrome for like 11 weeks or something. Now I know it's kind of like, Oh my goodness, my websites maybe a hot mess. I'm going to get one thing and I'm going to give myself a lot of wiggle room to make sure that I can take care of the pressing needs and just being really like patient because it isn't a journey where you're going to have your website and your entire business.

Karen Litzy (33:00):

Yeah. We never got to turn off your website. Right. I hope not. Oh, you never will. Right. Telemedicine is going to give you a new kind of way to practice too. It's revolutionizing the way we treat patients. A hundred percent yeah, absolutely. I personally have have been having great success and results with telehealth. And so I know that this is something that will be part of my practice going forward, even as restrictions are lowered. I mean here in New York, I mean you're in San Francisco, like we're both in areas that are on pretty high alert still. But this is something that's definitely gonna be part of my practice. So if there is a silver lining to come out of this really horrible time, I think that is one of them. From a healthcare standpoint, I think it's been a game changer because you're still able to help as you put it, help your humans, you know, help those people so that they're not spinning out on their own. So I love it. Now final question and I ask everyone this, knowing where you are in your life and in your career, what advice would you give yourself as a new graduate right out of college? So it's before, even before you started.

Anne Stefanyk (34:21):

Yes, yes. Honor my downtime. I think especially as a girl boss, that's always like, I've been an entrepreneur pretty much since I was in high school. I never took weekends and evenings for myself until I became like a little older. I would've definitely done more evenings and weekends because the recharge factor is just amazing for the brain. When you actually let it rest, it figures out all the problems on its own, get out of your own way and it'll like just, you know, even this COVID stuff. I find it so interesting that you know, as a boss you feel like you want to do so much and you want to get it done and you want to help your staff and you've got to figure out how to be there for them and then it's like, wait, you gotta put on your own mask before you put it on the others.

Anne Stefanyk (35:04):

And I feel like healthcare professionals, it's like so important for you to honor that little bit of downtime that you have now. Yeah, I mean, if I knew that back then, I'd probably be way stronger way would have honored myself. And as a woman, self care seems, we put it like second to our business and our families and second, third, fourth, fifth. So it's like, you know, advice to pass out. Let's take care of you. Yeah. It will be great. You will do wonderful things. Take care of you. You'll feel great. You know, I broke my ankle because I wasn't taking care of myself. Yeah.

Karen Litzy (35:36):

Oh wow. What advice. Yeah. Honor the downtime. I think that's great. And I think it's something that a lot of people just don't do. They think that in that downtime you should be doing something else. So you're failing.

Anne Stefanyk (35:48):

Yeah. And it's just so silly. It's just this weird, you know mental game that we have to play with ourselves. I listened to one of your recent podcasts and I just loved the girl that was on there said like, you know, successes is 20% skill, 80% of mind game. And I could not agree with that. You know, having a company full of women, imposter syndrome is the number one thing that I help coach my females with. It's like, no, you know exactly what you're doing because nobody knows what they're doing. We all learn, right? There's no textbook for a lot of this stuff. Like we went to school, there was a textbook, there was structure. We got out of school and now we're like go learn. It's like okay, okay so I find the entrepreneurial journey so cool. And that means like kind of like also finding out other tribes like where can we lean into and that's why I love you have this podcast cause it really focuses on like building a tribe of entrepreneurs that are focusing on taking it to the next level. Like how can we be empowering them to do their best, be their best selves.

Karen Litzy (36:47):

Exactly. I'm going to just use that as a tagline from now on for the buck. Perfect marketing tagline. Well and thank you so much. Where can people find more about you and more about kanopi.

Anne Stefanyk (37:00):

So you can go to kanopi or you can simply just look for me just go to kanopi on the Googles and you'll find me. But if you want to reach out via LinkedIn or anywhere, I'm always just a big fan of helping people make technology really clear and easy to understand. So find me on LinkedIn or on stuff and we can chat more there.

Karen Litzy (37:23):

Awesome. Well thank you so much. And to everyone listening, we'll have all of the links that we spoke about today and I know there were a lot, but they're all going to be in the show notes at podcasts.healthywealthysmart.com under this episode. So Anne, you have given so much great information. I can't thank you enough.

Anne Stefanyk (37:39):

Well thank you so much for it. I'm really grateful for the work that you're doing. I think it's fantastic.

Karen Litzy (37:45):

Thank you. And everyone else. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.

 

 

Thanks for listening and subscribing to the podcast! Make sure to connect with me on twitter, instagram  and facebook to stay updated on all of the latest!  Show your support for the show by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts!

Jun 29, 2020

On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Anne Stefanyk on the show to discuss website optimization.  As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions. Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp.

In this episode, we discuss:

-Why your website is one of your most important marketing tools

-The art of simplicity in branding

-How to track the customer lifecycle

-The top tools you need to upgrade your website

-And so much more!

Resources:

Anne Stefanyk Twitter

Drupal

Anne Stefanyk LinkedIn

Kanopi Website

HotJar

Google Pagespeed

Accessibility Insights

WAVE Web Accessibility

Google/Lighthouse

Use user research to get insight into audience behavior
How to make your site last 5 years (possibly more)

 

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode!  Learn more about Four Ways That Outpatient Therapy Providers Can Increase Patient Engagement in 2020!

 

For more information on Anne:

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne fell into the Drupal community in 2007 and admired both the community’s people and the constant quest for knowledge. After holding Director-level positions at large Drupal agencies, she decided she was ready to open Kanopi Studios in 2013.

Her background is in business development, marketing, and technology, which allows her to successfully manage all facets of the business as well as provide the technical understanding to allow her to interface with engineers. She has accumulated years of professional Drupal hands-on experience, from basic websites to large Drupal applications with high-performance demands, multiple integrations, complicated migrations, and e-commerce including subscription and multi-tenancy.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.

 

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy (00:01):

Hey Anne, welcome to the podcast. I am so excited and happy to have you on.

Anne Stefanyk (00:06):

Nice to see you. Thank you so much for having me.

Karen Litzy (00:09):

So before we get into what we're going to talk about today, which is kind of how to use your website as a marketing tool, and that's putting it lightly, we're going to really dive into that, but I want to talk about kanopi. So for a lot of my listeners, they know that I'm a huge proponent of female entrepreneurs of women in physical therapy. We have a whole conference for it every year. And I love the fact that kanopi is a majority female company. So can you talk about the inception and kind of the journey that you've taken with the company over the years?

Anne Stefanyk (00:47):

Sure, I'd be happy to. So I founded kanopi kind of off the side of my desk and it actually came from meeting a need that I needed to take care of with my family. My family became quite sick and I had to stop working and as a result it forced my hand to pick up some contract work. And that contract works. Certain cuts soon kind of snowballed into, Oh my goodness, I have actual projects. I probably should hire some people and get out of my personal email to run the business. But it did come from a place where I needed some lifestyle flexibility. So I built a company that is fully distributed as well. And as a result of the business model that we created, it allowed us to really attract and retain really great talent. Outside of major cities. And I have a lot of single moms or a lot of moms and I have some single dads too, but we really are able to, with our business model, attract and retain a lot of top talent.

Anne Stefanyk (01:39):

And a lot of those are girls. So we're over 50% women and there's only really two men in our leadership, a team of nine. So there's seven girl bosses out of the nine that run the company. And we really have focused on helping people with their websites and making it really clear and simple and easy to understand. We find that there's always too much jargon out there. There's too much complexity and that we all are just craving simplicity. So building the business was twofold, was one to obviously help people with their websites. What was also to really create impactful futures for my staff and give them opportunities to kind of grow and expand in new ways. So I'm really proud that as kanopi has formed our team, I'm part of our retention plan has to really been to take care of our families and put our families first.

Anne Stefanyk (02:28):

Because if we realize that if you take care of the family, the family takes care of you. And so we've extended a lot of different benefits to be able to support the family journey as part of the business. And we find that as a female entrepreneur, really recognizing and appreciating that we need flexible lifestyles to be able to rear children or take care of elderly parents or we have a lot of demands as females on us. I mean the men do too, don't get me wrong, but as a female I'm creating a space of work where we can create that space for everybody really makes me proud. And happy.

Karen Litzy (03:03):

Yeah, I mean it's just in going through the website and reading about it, I was just like, Oh gosh, this woman's amazing. Like what a great way to go to work every day. Kind of knowing that you're staying true to what your values are and your mission is and that people really seem to like it.

Anne Stefanyk (03:22):

Yeah. Yeah. We always say it's not B to B or B to C, it's H to H it's human to human. And what do we need to get really clear to speak to our humans to help them, you know, move forward in their journey, whatever that looks like for them.

Karen Litzy (03:34):

Right. And, so now let's talk about that journey and it's kind of starts with the website. So let's talk about how you can make your website an effective marketing tool. Because not everyone, especially when you're first starting out, you don't have a lot of money to throw around to advertising and things like that. But we all have a website or maybe we all should have a website and have some sort of web presence. So how can we make that work for us?

Anne Stefanyk (04:00):

Yeah, definitely. You need a website. It's like a non negotiable factor these days and it really doesn't matter. The kind of website you have, especially when you're just getting started. There's lots of great tools out there from Wix, Squarespace, even WordPress that comes with templates or pre-baked themes. And I think the most important part is to really connect with your user and figure out who your user is and what kind of website needs to support their journey. But yeah, definitely you have to have a website and you actually have to have a good website. Having a bad website is the non, like, it's really bad because it will detract people so quickly and they'll never come back. So you pretty much have that first impression. And then if you don't make it, they won't come back. I think there's a well known stamp that if your site doesn't load within four seconds or three seconds they'll leave. And if it doesn't load within four seconds, they will never come back to that URL.

Karen Litzy (04:56):

Wow. All right. That's a great stat. I'm going to be, I'm going to go onto my computer, onto my website and start my timer, you know, so there's some really cool tools.

Anne Stefanyk (05:06):

We can include them in the show notes, but the Google has a page speed test where you can actually put your website URL and see how fast it is and give recommendations on what to fix.

Karen Litzy (05:15):

Oh perfect. Yeah, and we'll put all those links in the website and we'll get to that in a little bit about those different kinds of tools. But let's talk about, you said, you know, you're human to human business. We have to know who are we putting our website out there for. So how do we do that?

Anne Stefanyk (05:34):

Yeah, that's a great question. So when you're first starting off, you probably all like if you're just starting your business, you're just trying to figure out who you serve, but you may have special things that you'd like to, you know, that you're passionate about or you specialize in. Like for example, maybe you really specialize in women's health or sports medicine or you know, one of those things. And just to kind of get clear on who is your best customer. If you've been in business for a couple of years, you probably have a pretty good idea who your ideal customer is and how they engage with you. So first off, it's really thinking about who your target audience is and what are their needs. So when we're thinking about a website and thinking about that user journey, you often identify them as certain people. So you may have like, Mmm you know, kind of creating different avatars or different personas so you can really personify these people and help understand their journey.

Anne Stefanyk (06:27):

And from there you kind of understand that if someone's coming to you for physical therapy, there's going to be different mind States that they come into you with. So when you first have your website, you're going to want to, of course, a lot of people just put up who they are. Like, you know, this is my practice, this is who I am. This is my credit, my accreditation, and my certifications. And maybe maybe here's some testimonials. And then we run and we go off to the races. And that's great to get you out the door. Once you started your business, you're going to recognize that you're people, when they call you, they're going to have a million questions and there's ways to answer those questions using your website. And as a solo entrepreneur, like I ran my business by myself for three years, which means I was everything and I wore all the hats.

Anne Stefanyk (07:09):

I was the project manager, I was the designer, I was all the things that was the marketer, was the, I know that feeling well. So it took me like three years to operationalize. And I think the first thing I did as a female entrepreneur, I hired an assistant. I would highly recommend that as being one of your first hires as an entrepreneur. And that's just someone who can do all the little itty bitty details and then move on to whatever that looks like for you. But when you're building your website, the next level you really need to take is it serving my humans? Is it serving my audience? So are they able to get the information they need? And I think this strange time that we're in, we're all, this is an opportunity for us to look at our own website and our own stuff and say, is this the best representation possible?

Anne Stefanyk (07:52):

Because no longer are they just picking up the phone and calling you because your practice is probably closed. You're at home right now, your phones, maybe you if you have them redirected, but either way they're going to your website first. So it's like having the right information there at the right time for the right person. And that really comes to the user journey and that's where you know, if someone is just broken their ankle and they're now told by their doctor, you have to go into physical therapy, that's their first stage as they now are going to Google and saying, you know, PT for San Francisco and interestingly enough as Google wants to keep you there, so here you are. You user is Googling for you or Googling for physical therapy wherever, San Francisco, San Jose, wherever, and up comes the Google listings. If you can get past that point, then they go into your website and they're going to click open a bunch of them.

Anne Stefanyk (08:43):

That's what we call, you know, your awareness phase. They're becoming aware of you. There's certain things that a user wants to see in that phase. So understanding of someone's looking for you, they're going to, Oh yeah, they specialize in ankles. And I really think you know, Oh, that's person's for me. Versus now they're in the consideration stage and now they've chose likely, but Sally over here and James and Jimmy and we're figuring out which PT to go to, then that's a different level of content and what are they looking at to compare and contrast. And then when they've actually decided to work with you, then there's another layer of content you have to consider. So, Oh, I've decided to work where they're located. How do I get there? Was there anything I need to prepare their forms I need to fill out in advance?

Anne Stefanyk (09:27):

And then you even have the persona of the user once they've actually gone through all your services as I imagine. And therapy. A lot of you folks are getting referral and word of mouth. Let's nurture that. Let's use the website to nurture the word of mouth and referral work. Let's give your patients a place to go really easily to provide feedback, which will then change, you know, getting those Google reviews up leads to a higher ranking on that Google page. So if you understand where they began and where they pop out at the end, kind of map it all together. You'll start to see your gaps.

 

Karen Litzy:

And is it possible to go through sort of a quick example of what that might look like? So if someone's there on Google, they hit Google, they click on your website, you just said if it doesn't load within a couple of seconds, they're gone.

Anne Stefanyk (10:14):

Right? So that's a good awareness phase situation, right? What else? Someone's there, they're just click, click, click trying to find someone. What is it that they're looking for in that awareness stage? Like what are they, what is going to be like, Ooh, I like this, this person. I'm moving them from the awareness bucket to the consideration bucket. Yeah, yeah. So they need to see themselves in the way that their problem gets solved. So when they look at the website, they can say, Oh yeah, that person had the same problem and they got help. And then, Oh, look at their results. Oh look, there's a picture of them, you know, back on their skateboard six months later as part of this patient follow-up log. Oh, we don't, you know. So that's the kind of stuff is that when users really want to just be able to see themselves, they crave simplicity.

Anne Stefanyk (11:01):

And so often I think that if we're too close to it, we don't actually see how complex our stuff is. And sometimes when we're really smart and we have degrees in specialized things, we use vocabulary that our users are not even aware of yet. So it's really when you're talking to getting them from that awareness into considering you, it's about using really basic common language. It's about guiding them through a bit of a story. People love to read stories. So showing them like, Oh, you know, I was really showing another patient and showing the patient journey that all, I considered multiple companies locally, but I ultimately went with Sally as a PT because this, and just showing those things helps the user kind of see the whole journey so they can say, okay, okay, if you've never broken your ankle before, have no idea what to expect. You've never gone to physical therapy, you have no idea what to expect. And just the anticipation, if you can show them what snacks they feel a sense of relief that they'll be taken care of.

Karen Litzy (12:04):

Yeah. So what I'm hearing is that your testimonial page on your website's pretty important, is that something that should be front and center on the homepage?

Anne Stefanyk (12:16):

Well, that's an interesting thing. I think the main thing you want to use that front and center is being really clear about what you do. Right? Some people like to put these big sentences up there, but getting to know your user and the problem they have and this, you know, getting to how you're going to solve the problem is the most important part of that, of that real estate upfront. I will warn everybody that please don't use carousels. They're a big fad and they're just a fad. They're from a usability standpoint. And what happens is the end user thinks that whatever you put in your carousel is what you do. So if you're promoting an event in your carousel, they'll think that you're just doing the events.

Anne Stefanyk (13:01):

They won't even know that you're a physical therapist. Really clear upfront about what you do. You know, like I help people with, you know, however it goes, and then provide supporting content. So a testimonial is wonderful if it can also be like imbedded within a bigger story. So it tells the full story. I like that video. I mean everybody has an iPhone. So, or at least access to video really easily. You could do a quick little video testimonial with one of your clients over zoom for two minutes to say, Hey, you're one of my favorite PT clients and can you get on a quick video with me and just do a video testimonial. That's great way to leverage video content on your website to help the user see themselves as what the solution's going to be.

Karen Litzy (13:47):

Yeah. Great, great, awesome. And then one stipulation I would say on that is talk to your lawyer because you'll need them to sign a release for HIPAA purposes, right? To make sure that they know exactly where this video is going to be. You have to be very clear on that. Okay, great. So we're out of the awareness phase, so we're in consideration. So let's say it's between me and one other PT in New York city. What should I be looking at on my website to get that person from consideration to yes.

Anne Stefanyk (14:20):

So one of the greatest ways to do stuff is actually a very tried and it's email marketing or text-based marketing. So if you can capture an email during that awareness phase, even if it's just like you know, Mmm. Interested in getting some tips and tricks on how to rejuvenate your bone health during, you know, it doesn't have to be like sign up for a newsletter or sign up for this. It could be just a very simple, if you know your user is coming there specifically for a thing and you can provide some type of value added content, then there might be some small way to get a snippet of data so that you can continue the conversation. Cause most people are just bombarded with information and overwhelmed. So if there's any way to connect with them so you can feed them information. But another great way to kind of pull them into that consideration content is once you've got their eyeballs hooked and you're in, there is again to kind of figure out what are the common things, questions they need to have, they have answers they need answers to.

Anne Stefanyk (15:22):

And this might be from your experience, just answering phone calls when people are starting to talk to you. But it's like the questions like you know, maybe how long does it take for me to heal, you know, will I have different types of medicine I'm going to have to take? How much homework will there be? Do I need any special equipment? That's kind of, you know, just showing that you're the expert in the field and you have the answers to questions they didn't even know they had to ask. That kind of aha moment makes them feel really trusted. They trust you because they go, Oh I didn't even think about asking that question. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad they thought about that. I feel so taken care of. And that's where I think a lot of websites drop the ball is they straight up say like this is what we do, here's some testimonials. And they don't put all that soft content and that builds the trust. Can be a little blog, a little FAQ section and this is all like non technical stuff. You don't need a developer to do any of this. It's mostly just your writing time.

Karen Litzy (16:18):

Yeah, no and it's making me go through my head of my FAQ, so I'm like, Hmm, maybe I need to revisit. That's the one page I just sort of did a revamp of my website. We were talking about this before we went on, but I actually did not go to my FAQ page cause I thought to myself, Oh, it's probably good. It's probably not. I need to go back and do a little revamp on that too, just to think about some of the questions that I've been getting from patients recently and how does this work and things like that. Especially now with COVID. You know, like what about tele-health? What about this or about that?

Anne Stefanyk (16:51):

Yeah. Google loves when you update your content. Google loves it. Google loves it so much. It is one of the biggest disservices you can do is build your website and leave it. That's just not healthy. People think you have to rebuild your website every two to three years. That's who we are. That's bananas. You have to do it. If you just take care of your website and you nurture it and you love it and you make it, you make it work and you continually work on it and maybe that's just an hour a week, maybe it's an hour every month, whatever it is. Just a little bit of attention really goes a long way and it is something that we believe a website should last for at least 10 years, but that means you got to take care of it, right. A lot of clients come to me and say, Oh well, you know we're going to have to rebuild this in three years, and I'm like, no, you shouldn't.

Anne Stefanyk (17:31):

It should be totally fine. It's just like if you get a house right, if you don't do anything with your house a hundred years later, it's probably demolished. Like you're going to tear it down versus you've got to do the roof and you've got to replace the carpets and you got to do the perimeter drain. Right. It's kind of the website stuff too. I mean, Google will throw you curve balls if you're spending a lot time on social. Unless you're getting direct business from social media, don't worry about it so much. Google has changed their algorithms, which means that social doesn't count for as much as it did. Oh, so if you're spending two or three hours a week scheduling social, unless you're directly getting benefit, like from direct users, finding one social tone that way down and spend more time writing blogs, spending more time getting you know content on your website is, that's what matters from a Google standpoint.

Karen Litzy (18:16):

Good to know. Gosh, this is great. So all right, the person has now moved from consideration. They said, yes, I'm going to go and see Karen. This is what I've decided. Awesome. So now how can I make their patient journey a little bit easier?

 

Anne Stefanyk:

So we started at Google, they got from awareness to consideration. They said yes. Now what? Yeah, now what? So it's continuing the conversation and creating kind of being ahead of them. So text messages, 99% of text messages are open and read. Okay. Yeah, I think it's like 13 to 20% of emails are open read. So it would be skillful for you to gather a phone number so then you can text them, alerts, reminders, et cetera. That's a great way. There's a wonderful book called how to, what is it? Never lose a customer again. And it's beautiful. It's a beautiful book.

Anne Stefanyk (19:11):

It applies to any business. And it really talks about like how when you're engaging with a new client, the first two stages of that are the are the sales and presales. But then you have six steps. Once a person becomes your clients on how to nurture and engage and support that client journey. And that might just be simply as like if they're deciding to work with you and they book their first appointments, there's a lot of cool video. You could just do a little video recording and say, you know, thank you so much for booking an appoint with me. I'm so excited. I really honor the personal relationship that we have together and I want to build trust. So this is a just, and then giving them like a forum to then ask the question to you. So just building that relationship. Cause even though your clients, I mean if they're coming for PT, they might just be a onetime client.

Anne Stefanyk (19:57):

But again, they also might have lots of friends and family and that works. So when their friends and family and network happened to have that, how do you also kind of leverage the website that way? But a lot of it is just clarity. And you'll notice that big way to find out what's missing is interview your last few clients that have signed up, find out what they found was easy, what was difficult, what they wish they had more information. And if they're a recent enough client, they'll still remember that experience and us humans love to help. It's in their nature, right? So you should never feel worried about asking anybody for advice or insights on this. You know, there's even a little tool that you can put on your websites. It's a tool, there's a free version called Hotjar, hot and hot jar.

Anne Stefanyk (20:47):

And it's pretty easy to install. We actually have a blog post on how to install it too. It's really, we'll put that blog posts, but what it allows you to do is it allows you to see where people are clicking and whether they're not clicking on your website. So you can actually analyze, you know it's all anonymous, right? It's all anonymously tracked, but you can do screencast and you can do with these color heatmaps, you can kind of see where people are going. You can track this and it's free, right? Three you can do up to three pages for free. So I feel like the guys looking at stuff like that, you kind of get the data that you need to figure out where your gaps are because what you don't know is what you don't know, right? So I first recommend like getting clear on who your user is, you know, if you specifically take care of a certain set, figuring out where their journey is, what kind of content you'd need for each of those and what the gaps are. And then filled out a content calendar to fill the gaps.

Karen Litzy (21:42):

Got it. And a content calendar could be like a once a month blog post. It doesn't have to be every day. And I even think that can overwhelm you're patients or potential patients, right? Cause we're just inundated. There's so much noise, but if you have like a really great blog that comes out once a month and gets a lot of feedback on it, then people will look forward to that.

Anne Stefanyk (22:11):

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And I mean, humans want to get clarity, they want to receive value. And right now we live in an intention economy where everything is pinging at them. So realistically, the only way to break through the noise is just to be really clear and provide what they need. Simple. It's just simple. It's actually, you just simplify it, remove the jargon, you know, make it easy. And I mean a blog post, it could be as short as 300 words. You don't need to write a massive thing. You can even do a little video blog. Yeah. You don't like writing, you can just do a little video blog and embedded YouTube video and boom, you're done. Right?

Karen Litzy (22:46):

Yeah. Yeah. I love this because everything that you're saying doesn't take up a lot of time. Cause like we said before, when you're first starting out as a new entrepreneur, you feel like you've been pulled in a million different directions. But if you can say, I'm going to take one hour, like you said, one hour a month to do a website check-in, right? One hour a month to get a blog post together or shoot a quick video. Like you said, we've all got phones embedded in every device we own these days. So it doesn't take a lot. And I love all those suggestions. Okay. So now I'm in the nurturing phase and what we've done is, because I didn't use jargon, I was simple, clear to the point, filled in the gaps for them. Now those patients that who have come to see me are referring their friends to me and we're starting it all over again. So it's sort of this never ending positive cycle.

Anne Stefanyk (23:41):

Exactly, exactly. And that's what we really frame. We call it continuous improvement, which is the methodology of that. You always need to be taking care of it, nurturing it, loving it. Because if you just let it sit, it will do you no good. Right. And that's where you know, when you're that little bit of momentum and it's about pacing yourself and choosing one goal at a time. Like if you're feeling like, Oh my gosh, where am I going to start? What am I going to do? You know, just say, okay, I just want my site to go faster. Just pick one goal. You run it through the speed test, it's scoring forward of a hundred you're like, Oh, I need to make my site faster. So then you look at that and you say, okay, I've learned, you know, big images create large page speed load. So it'll tell, you can go through and look at your images and say, Oh, I need to resize this image. Or maybe I need, if I'm using WordPress, put a plugin that automatically resizes all my images. You know, a lot of it is content driven that you can kind of make your cycle faster with an accessibility. Accessibility is so dear and near to my heart.

Karen Litzy (24:44):

When you say accessibility for a website, what exactly does that mean?

Anne Stefanyk (24:48):

I mean, yes. So that means that it is technically available for people of all types of ranges of ability from someone who is visually impaired to someone who is physically impaired, temporarily or permanently disabled. So if you think about someone who's got a broken arm and maybe it's her dominant arm. I'm doing everything with my left. Try using a screen reader on your own website and you will be shocked that if you can't type you know with your hands and you're going to dictate to it, you'll be a, is how your computer does not actually understand your words. So it's about making your website really technically accessible with consideration. Four, font size, color contrast. Yeah. Images need to have what we call alt tags, which is just a description. So if your image is like one, two, three, four, five dot JPEG, you would actually want to rename it as lady sitting in a chair reading in a book dot JPEG because that's what a screen reader reads. Oh. So it's about the technical stuff, so that if somebody needs to use a screen reader or if somebody can't use their hands from physical, they can't type, they're reading, they're listening to the website. It's about structural, putting it together correctly so the tools can output.

Karen Litzy (26:12):

Mmm. Wow. I never even thought of that. Oh my gosh, this is blowing my mind. Anyway, so there's tools out there to look, let's talk about if you want to just maybe give a name to some of those tools. So how about to check your websites?

Anne Stefanyk (26:28):

Yeah, so it's Google page speed and it's just a website that you can go in and put your URL. There's another plugin called lighthouse, and lighthouse is a plugin that you can use through Chrome. And then you just on that and it'll output a report for you. And some of it's a little nerdy, right? And some of it's, you know, some of it's very clear. I love it. They, they'll put some jargon, let's just say that they don't quite understand that not everybody understands laptop, but if you're on a tool like Shopify or Squarespace or Wix, which a lot of like first time entrepreneurs, that's a great place to start. It's really affordable. They take care of a lot of those things built in. So that's the benefit of kind of standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to those. But lighthouse is a good tool because it checks accessibility, performance, SEO and your coding best practices.

Karen Litzy (27:28):

Oh wow. Okay. So that's a good tool. Cool, any other tools that we should know about that you can think of off the top of your head? If not, we can always put more in the show notes if people want to check them out. But if you have another one that you wanted to throw out there, I don't want to cut you off, if you've got more.

Anne Stefanyk (27:45):

Oh no worries. There's lots of different checkers and I think the big thing error is just to be able to understand the results. So I'm always a big fan of making technology really accessible. So if you do need help with that, you know, feel free to reach out and I can get more help. But generally we look at search engine optimization, which is are you being found in Google? And there's some tools like SEO. Moz is one. And then we look at accessibility, is it accessible to all people and then we look at performance, can it go fast, fast, and then we look at code quality, right? Like you want to make sure you're doing your security updates cause it's a heck of a lot cheaper to do your security updates than unpack yourself if there is.

Karen Litzy (28:27):

Oh gosh. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, like you said, on some of those websites, that security part might be in like already embedded in that or is that, do you recommend doing an external security look at your website as well?

Anne Stefanyk (28:44):

Exactly. Most of the time when you're using a known platform like Shopify or if you're using WordPress or Drupal, then what you want to do is you want to work with a reliable hosting provider so they will help you provide your security updates. It's just like you would always want to lock your car when you would go out in the city. It's just like some do your security updates. So, but yeah, that's the benefit of being on some of these larger platforms is they have some of that stuff baked in. You pay a monthly fee but you don't have to worry about it.

Karen Litzy (29:14):

Right. Perfect. Perfect. And gosh, this was so much good information. Let's talk a little bit about, since we are still in the midst of this COVID pandemic and crisis and what should we be doing with our websites now specifically to sort of provide that clarity and calmness that maybe we want to project while people are still a little, I mean, I watch the news people are on edge here.

Anne Stefanyk (29:47):

Yeah. I think everybody's a little on edge, especially as things are starting to open. But nervous about it. All right. So I think the main thing that you can do is provide clear pathways. So if you haven't already put an alert on your website or something, right on your homepage, that speaks to how you're handling COVID that would be really skillful in, that could just be if you, you know, Mmm. Some people have an alert bar, they can put up, some people use a blog post and they feature it as their blog posts. Some people use a little block on their home page, but just something that helps them understand that what that is, and I'm sure most of you have already responded to that cause you had to write, it was like the first two weeks, all of our clients were like, we got to put something on our website.

Anne Stefanyk (30:26):

Right. And so, from there is I think being very mindful about how overwhelmed your peoples are and not trying to flood them with like tips and tricks on how to stay calm or how to parent or how to, you know, like that's where everybody's kind of like on overwhelm of all the information. So for right now, I would say that it's a wonderful time to put an alert up so people visit your site. If you've switched to telehealth and telemedicine, it'd be a great time to actually clarify how to do that. So if they're like, okay, I'm going to sign up for this and I want to work with you. Mmm. But how does it work? Are we gonna do it through zoom? Is it through Skype? Is it through FaceTime? Is my data secure? You know, like you said, updating all your FAQ is like, we're in this weird space where we really have almost like no excuse to not come out of this better.

Anne Stefanyk (31:16):

You know, as an entrepreneur we have this like lurking sense of like, okay, I gotta make sure I'm doing something. And the web is a great place to start because it is your first impression. And to kind of go through your content, and maybe it is if you don't have a blog set up is setting up a blog and just putting one up there or writing two or three and not publishing it until you have two or three. But it is kind of figuring out what is your user need and how do you make it really easy for them to digest.

Karen Litzy (31:41):

Perfect. And now before we kind of wrap things up, I'll just ask you is there anything that we missed? Anything that you want to make sure that the listeners walk away with from this conversation?

Anne Stefanyk (31:56):

I think the big thing is that this can all get really confusing and overwhelming very quickly. And all you need to just think about is your humans that you're servicing and like how can I make their journey easier? And even if it's like if nothing else, you're like, Hey, I'm going to get a text messaging program set up because I'm going to be able to actually communicate with them a lot faster and a lot easier. Or, Hey, I'm just going to focus on getting more five stars reviews on my Google profiles, so I show up. I'm just going to make that the focus. So I think the big thing is just a one thing at a time, and because we're in a pandemic, set your bar really low and celebrate when you barely hit it because we're all working on overwhelm and overdrive and we're all exhausted and our adrenals are depleted. Even in overdrive syndrome for like 11 weeks or something. Now I know it's kind of like, Oh my goodness, my websites maybe a hot mess. I'm going to get one thing and I'm going to give myself a lot of wiggle room to make sure that I can take care of the pressing needs and just being really like patient because it isn't a journey where you're going to have your website and your entire business.

Karen Litzy (33:00):

Yeah. We never got to turn off your website. Right. I hope not. Oh, you never will. Right. Telemedicine is going to give you a new kind of way to practice too. It's revolutionizing the way we treat patients. A hundred percent yeah, absolutely. I personally have have been having great success and results with telehealth. And so I know that this is something that will be part of my practice going forward, even as restrictions are lowered. I mean here in New York, I mean you're in San Francisco, like we're both in areas that are on pretty high alert still. But this is something that's definitely gonna be part of my practice. So if there is a silver lining to come out of this really horrible time, I think that is one of them. From a healthcare standpoint, I think it's been a game changer because you're still able to help as you put it, help your humans, you know, help those people so that they're not spinning out on their own. So I love it. Now final question and I ask everyone this, knowing where you are in your life and in your career, what advice would you give yourself as a new graduate right out of college? So it's before, even before you started.

Anne Stefanyk (34:21):

Yes, yes. Honor my downtime. I think especially as a girl boss, that's always like, I've been an entrepreneur pretty much since I was in high school. I never took weekends and evenings for myself until I became like a little older. I would've definitely done more evenings and weekends because the recharge factor is just amazing for the brain. When you actually let it rest, it figures out all the problems on its own, get out of your own way and it'll like just, you know, even this COVID stuff. I find it so interesting that you know, as a boss you feel like you want to do so much and you want to get it done and you want to help your staff and you've got to figure out how to be there for them and then it's like, wait, you gotta put on your own mask before you put it on the others.

Anne Stefanyk (35:04):

And I feel like healthcare professionals, it's like so important for you to honor that little bit of downtime that you have now. Yeah, I mean, if I knew that back then, I'd probably be way stronger way would have honored myself. And as a woman, self care seems, we put it like second to our business and our families and second, third, fourth, fifth. So it's like, you know, advice to pass out. Let's take care of you. Yeah. It will be great. You will do wonderful things. Take care of you. You'll feel great. You know, I broke my ankle because I wasn't taking care of myself. Yeah.

Karen Litzy (35:36):

Oh wow. What advice. Yeah. Honor the downtime. I think that's great. And I think it's something that a lot of people just don't do. They think that in that downtime you should be doing something else. So you're failing.

Anne Stefanyk (35:48):

Yeah. And it's just so silly. It's just this weird, you know mental game that we have to play with ourselves. I listened to one of your recent podcasts and I just loved the girl that was on there said like, you know, successes is 20% skill, 80% of mind game. And I could not agree with that. You know, having a company full of women, imposter syndrome is the number one thing that I help coach my females with. It's like, no, you know exactly what you're doing because nobody knows what they're doing. We all learn, right? There's no textbook for a lot of this stuff. Like we went to school, there was a textbook, there was structure. We got out of school and now we're like go learn. It's like okay, okay so I find the entrepreneurial journey so cool. And that means like kind of like also finding out other tribes like where can we lean into and that's why I love you have this podcast cause it really focuses on like building a tribe of entrepreneurs that are focusing on taking it to the next level. Like how can we be empowering them to do their best, be their best selves.

Karen Litzy (36:47):

Exactly. I'm going to just use that as a tagline from now on for the buck. Perfect marketing tagline. Well and thank you so much. Where can people find more about you and more about kanopi.

Anne Stefanyk (37:00):

So you can go to kanopi or you can simply just look for me just go to kanopi on the Googles and you'll find me. But if you want to reach out via LinkedIn or anywhere, I'm always just a big fan of helping people make technology really clear and easy to understand. So find me on LinkedIn or on stuff and we can chat more there.

Karen Litzy (37:23):

Awesome. Well thank you so much. And to everyone listening, we'll have all of the links that we spoke about today and I know there were a lot, but they're all going to be in the show notes at podcasts.healthywealthysmart.com under this episode. So Anne, you have given so much great information. I can't thank you enough.

Anne Stefanyk (37:39):

Well thank you so much for it. I'm really grateful for the work that you're doing. I think it's fantastic.

Karen Litzy (37:45):

Thank you. And everyone else. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.

 

 

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Jun 24, 2020

On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Jenna Kantor guests hosts and interviews Gabbi Whisler on anxiety. Dr. Gabbi Whisler is no stranger to anxiety and depression. After years of struggling to find her path, she landed on physical therapy and has been combining the two worlds together, the use of physical therapy to help treat and coach patients with anxiety. No system ever works alone and when the physical, the mental, emotional and spiritual can be all addressed, then that is when true healing can be found. 

In this episode, we discuss:

-When anxiety manifests in the career cycle of a physical therapist

-3 practical steps towards mastery over your anxiety

-Why communication is important to break down the stigma surrounding mental health

-The future role for physical therapists in mental health treatment

-And so much more!

 

Resources:

Gabbi Whisler Instagram

Gabbi Whisler Facebook

Mind Health DPT Website  

 

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode!  Learn more about the Redoc Patient Portal here.

 

                                                                    

For more information on Gabbi:

Dr. Gabbi Whisler is no stranger to anxiety and depression. After years of struggling to find her path, she landed on physical therapy and has been combining the two worlds together, the use of physical therapy to help treat and coach patients with anxiety. No system ever works alone and when the physical, the mental, emotional and spiritual can be all addressed, then that is when true healing can be found.

 

“I've shared intimately my experiences with anxiety, panic attacks, alphabetizing, fixations, and suffering. Meds failed me. Doctors failed me. Anxiety controlled my life. I was drained, exhausted and defeated. I knew something had to change and I had to do it myself. I created freedom. You can too.”

 

For more information on Jenna:

Jenna Kantor (co-founder) is a bubbly and energetic girl who was born and raised in Petaluma, California. Growing up, she trained and performed ballet throughout the United States. After earning a BA in Dance and Drama at the University of California, Irvine, she worked professionally in musical theatre for 15+ years with tours, regional theatres, & overseas (www.jennakantor.com) until she found herself ready to move onto a new chapter in her life – a career in Physical Therapy. Jenna is currently in her 3rd year at Columbia University’s Physical Therapy Program. She is also a co-founder of the podcast, “Physiotherapy Performance Perspectives,” has an evidence-based monthly youtube series titled “Injury Prevention for Dancers,” is a NY SSIG Co-Founder, NYPTA Student Conclave 2017 Development Team, works with the NYPTA Greater New York Legislative Task Force and is the NYPTA Public Policy Committee Student Liaison. Jenna aspires to be a physical therapist for amateur and professional performers to help ensure long, healthy careers. To learn more, please check out her website: www.jennafkantor.wixsite.com/jkpt

 

Read the full transcript below:

Jenna Kantor(00:03):

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Jenna Kantor with the podcast, healthy, wealthy, and smart. I'm here with Gabbi Whisler, like give a little whistle and I'm so excited to be jumping on and talking about anxiety and if you can tell from my energy, Oh gosh, I never deal with that. What physical therapist deals with anxiety. So first of all, Gabbi, thank you so much for popping on. What got you interested in really focusing on anxiety for physical therapists? Why this passion? Why not just treating patients and focusing on the patients and their anxiety?

 

Gabbi Whisler:

Yeah, so it's kind of an ironic story because I was out in California working as a travel PT. I was maybe four or five months out from graduation from PT school and I was miserable. I was like, I cannot do this the rest of my life kill me.

Gabbi Whisler(00:59):

I just can't. It was awful. And Andrew Tran, owner of physio memes is my now roommate, but he was actually across the country, I think in North Carolina maybe. And he was one of my colleagues that do travel PT to somewhere and I called him and I was like, Andrew, I can't do this. It's miserable. And I don't know what else to do. I just racked up $180,000 in debt. Like I'm supposed to love this. It's supposed to be great. I'm helping people but I hate it. What do I do? And he was like, well, what do you want to do? What are you good at? What would you love? And I was like, I honestly have no idea. So I had to go to the drawing board and really do some digging. And I was like, what would I love? And the very first thing that popped in my head is I dealt with anxiety all my life.

Gabbi Whisler (01:38):

I'm in a much better place. I can't think of anything better than helping other people to get to that destination as well. And I was like, I can do that as a PT though, right? And I called Andrew and I was like, am I even allowed to do this? Like is this a thing? And he was like, well it is if you make it. And something just clicked. And I was like, well that's kind of cool and ever since I still don't always know what I'm doing but I'm making the path to be able to do it. So it's a lot of fun. But I still, like I said, I don't know what I'm doing most days and I still deal with anxiety myself as well. So it's kind of this ironic but fun twist because that allows me to connect with my clients now on a deeper level than as a PT.

Gabbi Whisler (02:19):

I've never dealt with a shoulder replacement or a knee replacement or anything like that to really connect with my patients in the outpatient ortho setting or I've never really had like a major fall to connect with my geriatric patient, but to connect with a 28 year old woman sitting in front of me who's had major anxiety, doesn't want to take meds and it's like, what are my other options? And to show her how to use exercise and kind of monitor what she's eating and drinking and just a mindfulness approach to feel better is incredible. And we can do that. As PTs, we learned about breathing, we learned about reflexes, we learn about exercise and movement and it's a lot of fun.

 

Jenna Kantor:

So I love that. And, why do you think there's the whole thing with anxiety and PT? I think this goes hand in hand with burnout.

Gabbi Whisler (03:07):

Yeah, it does. So from a clinician perspective or from a patient perspective, because it's on both ends actually, which is really focusing on clinician focusing on the physical therapy. Yeah, a lot of it is burnout. A lot of it is expectations that I don't think we're prepared for in PT school. Well I think going into PT school, we have this grand idea that, you know, we're a doctor of physical therapy, we have all this autonomy and we have the ability to almost do what we want. And it's really quite the opposite out there for most of them. Until we realized that we are able to kind of break out of that mold. But in the traditional setting, we're very limited in what we can do and we're dictated and governed by doctors and other clinicians and our patients and insurance, and we think we're going to have all this freedom to make this what we want.

Gabbi Whisler (03:58):

Certainly cannot always do that. And I think that leads to a lot of anxiety that that gap in expectations, expectations from other people and expectations within ourselves in there are aligned. And that's what causes burnout as well. So it goes hand in hand.

 

Jenna Kantor:

Yeah, I totally get that for forgive the sounds, the grumbling sounds, I just want to give a complete, you know, story here that's construction in the building, not me being gassy. Okay. I just want that to be clear as we are all just massive ladies here for anxiety, for anxiety. You were saying, it's interesting where you're saying, I don't know anything about this, but then you clearly have a drive to know more in order to help other people. What is it within you that's getting you to help out other people when you are dealing with it yourself?

Gabbi Whisler (05:00):

Yeah. Yeah. So I know what it's like to be at like that rock bottom and not have any outlet. Cause when I was going through all of this, you know, dealing with anxiety, depression, OCD, I knew in my heart I did not want to take medications. I knew in my heart talk therapy wasn't for me. I had given it a try and I was like, this is just, it's awkward for me. And I never felt like I left there feeling better. So I was like, I'm not going to continue wasting my money. And it was one of those things, I sat down with my primary care doctor and I was like, okay, what's next? And he had no direction for me. And I just remember what that felt like. And now as a PT, I know. So I said, I know, I said I don't know what I'm doing. And that's true. I don't necessarily know the direction my career is going. Yeah. PT, I know what I'm doing.

Gabbi Whisler (05:38):

I know how to prescribe all of these exercises. But at the same time I don't, and I think that's how we all feel in our careers. So really it's not anything I'm normal but knowing that I have tools that other people are searching for, knowing that someone out there needs what I have to offer but I'm just too afraid to put it out there sometimes is what gives me that little motivation or that little push to go ahead and do it anyway. You probably deal with that too cause your niche is so specific and so focused and so high performance. I'm sure you encounter that as well too.

 

Jenna Kantor:

Yeah, I get that. I get that. I hadn't really dealt with anxiety until after the conference. Smart success physical therapy like just this past year. And it was when I came back home and I have a best practice where I work with dancers and all of them were better, which of course it's great, but as business goes freaking out, Oh my God, I was just like, this is the worst thing in the world and we're, for some people that would be something to brag about. For me that was something to significantly freak out about.

Jenna Kantor(06:55):

Awful, awful, awful, awful. I do not recommend anxiety and stress at all. Not even a little, Oh my God, this sucks so bad. So that's my experience with anxiety and it's gone. I've gotten better with it over time and I think that has to do with really acknowledging taking action for myself. So for you, with people, what are your like big overall tips that you just, when somebody reaches out to you and they're like, Oh my God, I'm about to like, collapse my anxiety so bad right now. What are things that you give them to kind of help them out at that point? Yes. So like top five things or three or 20 I don't know what your number, I'm just saying numbers.

Gabbi Whisler (07:54):

Very first thing I tell them is give yourself grace and permission. Cause so often we can find ourselves to the notion that anxiety is this horrible thing and cause anxiety and depression are just emotions truly like their emotions and we so often label them as good or bad emotions in general and we always strive to feel happy and we strive to run away from anxiety and depression. The very first thing I told girls or guys or whoever I'm working with is let it be your anxious, like accept it and just sit with it for a minute and allow your body to feel that because your body needs it. It's very uncomfortable. It's very uncomfortable. It's like not butterflies, but it's like, Oh it's very uncomfortable. It's hard. Her own skin. That's the best word that I can think of. Like you literally want to run out of your own body.

Gabbi Whisler (08:43):

Yeah, yeah. Lots of you can have a moment. So that's what I was like, give yourself the grace to be human. The fact that you're experiencing this and then use it as an indicator. So like, so often we're controlled by our emotions and they tell us how to live our life. You know, when we were anxious we want to sit in bed but instead use as an indicator. What's this trying to tell you? Like what's going on in life? You feel this way? And beyond that, what can you do about it? So like you said, action, what action can you take to move on from this? Cause so often we let it paralyze us, but that's really when we need to take some sort of action, whether it's to talk to someone or maybe getting a medication or going to talk therapy or going for a run or lifting weights or like what needs to happen to make you feel better.

Gabbi Whisler (09:31):

And it's different for every person. So those are my top three starting points. I guess. Three is my number, but really it's giving yourself that grace, using as an indicator and then taking action.

 

Jenna Kantor:

Yeah. Yeah, that definitely makes sense. When you're saying give grace, what are ways that you can, because it's not just like, okay, I'm giving myself grace. What are things where you could actively be, you know, literally taking actions, you know, like cleaning the dishwasher, you know, what are things that you could do to help you start learning what it is to give yourself grace? Do you know what I mean?

 

Gabbi Whisler:

Yeah. So I'll just share examples of what I do in my own day cause I think that might be easier. But when I get anxious, I literally will sit with myself and say, Hey Gabbi, it's really okay that you feel this way.

Gabbi Whisler (10:18):

And I just kind of let my body off sit with it for a minute, you know, I recognize, okay, my chest is tight, my fingers are tingling, my eyes, my vision sometimes changes just a little bit. And I'm like, this is normal. It's nothing to panic over. This is my body's response. Okay. It's okay in the moment. Like it doesn't take it away, but it's like, okay, I know I'm not dying in the moment because often we do, right? Like, we're like, Oh my gosh.

Gabbi Whisler (10:55):

So I'll sit with it and then from there, a lot of times what I'll do is I like to have one person in mind for, you know, if I'm feeling angry, it might be my sister that I call if I'm feeling hurt, it's my mom that I call who's really good at helping me through whatever I'm feeling in the moment. And I always have that on the back burner and that's the first thing that I'll do is get it out because the more we hold it in ourselves, the worst off we get. And sometimes it's not even talking to the most sometimes like I'll literally sit in my room in front of a mirror and talk to myself.

Jenna Kantor(11:46):

It’s cool you can out like get it out. Like you did get it out in the universe. You know, before we started recording today, you were sharing something with me about wanting to just get out in the, because once you do that, you're more likely to follow through and take action and feel better about it. It's true. It's true. Like I'm doing this, I'm doing this. It's true. But I never thought about it in a way where you would use it as a tool with when you're like feeling it because it's like a zit that's dying to pop.

Jenna Kantor(12:26):

Yeah. So for you, where do you find in the physical therapists life with people reaching out you a common time when people, are you actually, okay, I'm going to actually separate this out. Common point in someone's career, whether it be student, new, grad or professional, where are you finding a real, like this is where it's happening a lot specifically in the physical therapy career.

 

Gabbi Whisler:

The answer's kind of funny, but all of the above. So for students I'll kind of go through each one cause I think we all do, it's just a matter of like, so each stage will have points throughout it that are very specific when that anxiety is like greatest. But for students it's typically right before the NPTE or right before an exam, like a lab practical that students are reaching out to like, Oh my gosh, I'm so anxious.

Gabbi Whisler (13:18):

I don't know how to handle this. I've never really experienced anxiety until now. Usually that's when they're noticing it is in grad school. And they're like, what can I do? And then, you know, I'll try to talk with them through that. As far as anxieties go, a lot of new grads experience it. Cause again, it's expectations. They're in school for so long and they have people guiding them and now all of a sudden they're kind of fed to the wolves and they're expected to do things that they weren't, they weren't yet in their minds, comfortable with. And also seasoned clinicians, a lot of times they're like, it's either burnout, it's not finding satisfaction in their career. It's wanting something more like, not feeling, they're not necessarily burned out, but they're also, they feel like they're doing the same thing day in and day out and they're not contributing to the world in a greater way, I guess.

Gabbi Whisler (14:08):

Or they're not seeing, yeah, just frustrating for them, but also sad from an outside perspective. Cause they're still making a huge impact, but they're just, it's routine for them now, so they're not seeing, so it's not as fulfilling. They feel like they're very separate from what they're doing.

 

Jenna Kantor:

Yup. Exactly. Exactly. Wow. That's powerful. Right. Because they're still, they're changing people's lives. Like every 20 minutes are changing someone's lives, but they're just doing it so often they don't see it. Where does shame come into all this?

 

Gabbi Whisler:

Ooh, that's a good question. I think it's very specific person to, but probably again, that mismatch in expectations so they don't feel like they're providing the care that they should be for their patients and then in front of their patient, you know, they have to continue and be professional and carry on throughout their day, but inside their brain, they're like, am I really the best person to be helping this person? You know, we tend to tell our story ourselves, stories like that. So that's true. That's insanely true.

Jenna Kantor(15:44):

Yeah. Wow. Yeah. If there was going to be, I would say one big vision you have for physical therapists regarding anxiety, what would be your big like one day Do you know what I mean?

 

Gabbi Whisler:

So this is kind of a far stretch, but I'll bring it back full circle model clinician because right now as PTs we can't treat anxiety or we can't treat mental health. It's just not like fully within our scope of practice. So myself and another PT are actively working to try to get PT into, there's a world Federation for mental health and there's other countries that are participating in and it's specific to physical therapy. So we're hoping to get PTs in that role because I think right as PTs were very uncomfortable with the idea of mental health because it doesn't get talked about in PT school. We don't really talk about it with our patients. It's one of those things we try to skate around as much as possible and there's some clinicians out there who are great at it and I think we're as a whole, we're getting better.

Gabbi Whisler (16:36):

But the more we can certainly the more we can start talking about it to our patients, the more we feel comfortable within ourselves talking about it to other people and opening up as well. Cause if we can't get other people to open up, how are we ever going to open up ourselves? So it goes both ways. If we can't open up, then we can't get other people to open up. So I think once we're able to, as PTs kind of get into this role just a little bit more, and it's not that every PT has to treat mental health specifically, but we find ways of bringing it into, because we know if someone's struggling with their mental health, their physical health suffers. And so if we're not addressing that, it's so true. And if we're not addressing that first with our patients, then we're probably not getting them the results that we need.

Gabbi Whisler (17:22):

But if we can't do that, if we don't know how, and that goes back to our own lives as well. So it all kind of comes full circle. So my big goal is to get PTs to be able to go to conferences at CSM, for example, and have a course, have a talk on the side of mental health. Cause right now there's very little out there for us. So truly but surely like nothing. And it's because we're so uncomfortable with it. So that's my dream is to be able to get us in that scope of practice and also show clinicians how to handle in our patients. And I'm hoping through that they see how they can handle it within themselves as well. And kind of tackle it from that approach.

 

Jenna Kantor:

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense to me. Oh my gosh, this is perfect. Thank you so much for coming on. I would love to ask for you to just have your mic drop moment and this could be for anyone who may be dealing with anxiety right now and I would love for you to just acknowledge that person and just give him some big picture advice if they're really feeling stuck.

Gabbi Whisler (18:46):

Yeah. So, Oh my gosh, I have so much in my head right now. Start with the word you. So if you are feeling super anxious and having a hard time handling this, especially throughout the workday, my biggest piece of advice for, I guess this is the direction I would go, so specific to clinicians who are feeling anxious throughout the day. And I actually have a couple girls who I work with right now, her PTs and their new grads and they're feeling this way too. They feel like they have to compartmentalize this and they can't talk about it at work. Talk to someone like whether it's your boss or a coworker, someone there needs to know that you're dealing with this because if you continue to try to do this on your own, it's only going to snowball and then your boss is going to come to you one day and be like, what in the hell is going on right now?

Gabbi Whisler (19:35):

You know what, what? Cause your performances is often the way you speak to patients. So the earlier you can nip it in the bud and let them know, Hey, I'm dealing with this right now. I don't want to go into details. Or you can say whatever the heck you want to, but they need to know about it. And the more comfortable you get talking to your boss, the more comfortable your boss gets talking to their employees about it as well. So you might be opening up the door for another clinician right next to you because more than likely everyone in your building is dealing with some form of anxiety.

Jenna Kantor(20:16):

That's true. It's not talking about it. That's very true. That's very, very true for clinicians. I love that. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for coming on. How can people find you, find you and contact you. Thank you.

 

Gabbi Whisler:

First, thank you for having me on. But yeah, @mindhealthDPT, that's my Instagram and Facebook handles, so they're free.

 

Jenna Kantor:

Got it. Wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on. This was an absolute joy. I think that this is going to be extremely helpful for people who are dealing with anxiety. So you guys don't be afraid to reach out to her. She's here to help you. In fact, you're one of many.

 

 

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Jun 15, 2020

On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Christa Gurka on the show to discuss marketing. An orthopedic physical therapist specializing in Pilates-based fitness, rehabilitation, injury prevention and weight loss, Christa Gurka’s reputation speaks for itself. With two decades of experience training those of all ages and fitness levels, the founder/owner of Miami’s Pilates in the Grove, which serves the Coconut Grove and South Miami communities, believes in offering her clients personal attention with expert and well-rounded instruction.

 

In this episode, we discuss:

-Why you should design an ideal client avatar

-How a small marketing budget can make a big impact

-Crafting the perfect message to attract your ideal client

-The importance of continual trial and error of your message

-And so much more!

 

Resources:

Christa Gurka Instagram

Christa Gurka Facebook

Pilates in the Grove

Christa Gurka Website

FREE resources  

 

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode! Learn more about the Redoc Patient Portal here.

 

For more information on Christa:


An orthopedic physical therapist specializing in Pilates-based fitness, rehabilitation, injury prevention and weight loss, Christa Gurka’s reputation speaks for itself. With two decades of experience training those of all ages and fitness levels, the founder/owner of Miami’s Pilates in the Grove, which serves the Coconut Grove and South Miami communities, believes in offering her clients personal attention with expert and well-rounded instruction.

 

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy (00:01):

Hi Christa, welcome to the podcast. I'm happy to have you on. So today we're going to be talking about three strategies for marketing for cash based practices. And the good thing about all of these strategies is they don't cost a lot of money, right? And that's important when you're starting a business. You know, we don't want to have to take out a bunch of loans, we don't want to have to spend a lot of our own money. We want to try and start up as lean as we can. And so I'm going to throw it over to you to kick it off with. What is your first strategy for marketing for cash based practices?

Christa Gurka (00:43):

Perfect. So one of the reasons I just want to start with saying why I'm a little passionate about this marketing thing is because myself included when I first started, I really kind of, I felt like I started backwards almost like from the ends. And I think it's really so helpful for people to learn to start kind of from the beginning. Right? So my very first strategy that I think is really, really important is to have a real good idea of who your ideal customer or who your target audience is. And I get often some pushback from people saying, well, everybody can use my services. Of course everyone can use physical therapy. Absolutely. And that doesn't mean you have to single anybody out. But you know, I think Marie Forleo said it or maybe somebody said it to her, but when you speak to everyone, you really, you speak to no one and so slew thing, your who, your ideal customer is, how they feel, how they think.

Christa Gurka (01:45):

It's very, very beneficial. So if you want, I can kind of go through like a few questions that I use to kind of narrow down who that person is. So one of the things to know when we go through our ideal customer, we actually give this person a name, an age, a gender demographic, married, not married, retired, not retired, education level, median income. And when we do anything in our business now, so we are ideal customer, her name is Georgia. And so we say every time we have a meeting we say, well what will Georgia think about this? Well Georgia like this, so we're Georgia not like this. So that's the very first thing. And we refer to that person as their name. And then you want to go through like what are their biggest fears about whatever problem they're looking to solve.

Christa Gurka (02:40):

People buy based on emotion. And so get into the underlying source of that emotion is really, it can be very powerful. So what are their fears? What do they value? Right? Cause when it comes to money, people paying for those, it's not always a dollar amount. It's more in line with what do they value? And if you can show these clients that you serve, offered them a value, the money, the dollar amount kind of becomes obsolete. So things like that. What could happen, what would be the best case scenario if this problem were solved for them? What would be the worst case scenario of this problem were never solved. So in terms of physical therapy, let's say generalize orthopedics, right? Back pain. 80 million Americans suffer from back pain. Yeah. So an easy one to start with, an easy one to start with, right?

Christa Gurka (03:35):

So let's think of, you know, back pain, it's so general, right? But if you can say, what is the worst thing that can happen because of this back pain, right? So maybe the worst thing that could happen is this person loses days at work because they have such bad back pain, they can't sit at their desk or maybe they have such bad back pain that there performance drops and so that cause they can't concentrate. And so now maybe they lose their job or they get emoted because their back pain. So the worst case scenario is maybe they're not, they ended up losing their job because of back pain. So you kind of take it all the way back. And then if you could speak to them about how would it feel if we were able to give you the opportunity to sit eight hours at a desk and not think of your back pain one time and what would that mean to you? So really kind of under covering a lot, a lot, a lot about who your ideal customer is. It's my number one strategy.

Karen Litzy (04:39):

And I also find that it's a great exercise in empathy. So for those that maybe don't have that real innate sense of empathy, it's a way for you to step into their shoes. And I always think of it as a what are their possible catastrophizations? So if we put it in the terms that the PT will understand, like when I did this number of years ago, I sort of catastrophized as this person. What would happen if this pain didn't go away? I wouldn't be able to take care of my children. I wouldn't be able to go to work. It would affect my marriage. My marriage would break up, I would be a single mom. I would, you know, so you can really project out really, really far and then reel it back in, like you said, and say, well, what would happen if they did work with you? What is the best case scenario on that? So yeah, I just sort of catastrophized out like super, super far and it's really helpful because when that person who is your ideal client then comes to you and you're doing their initial evaluation, you can ask them these questions.

Christa Gurka (05:51):

Yeah. Yeah. It's very powerful. And I love how you brought in, like you empathize with them and you know, and by the way, a lot of our clients do catastrophize, right? And we have to reel them, we have to reel them back in. So that was a really great point. I also think it can be sometimes on the flip side where somebody maybe comes in and their goal is very benign. Maybe it's, I really want to be physically fit. I want to look good. Right? So you kind of think, well, what's the catastrophe if that doesn't happen? But maybe, maybe they're in a relationship where they're a partner. Aesthetics is a big part of that. And maybe they feel insecure and they feel if they don't present well to their partner, their partnership may dissolve whatever the case may be. So now you're getting to an underlying, it really is more emotional than physical, right? So now you're being able to empathize with them in that way and speak to them in those terms, give them positive things that maybe they don't even realize they need.

Karen Litzy (06:53):

Exactly. And then it also seems like once you're in those shoes or walking in their shoes, in their footsteps, however you want to put it, that’s when that person does come to you, you can have a conversation with them that's maybe not so much centered around back pain, but that’s centered around their life. And that's when people make that connection with you. Right? So when we're talking to patients who are not sure that they want to start physical therapy, if we kind of get them, they're much more likely to come and see us. So it's not about the back pain, it's not about the knee pain. It's about how are we going to make a difference in their life. And if we can make that, like harking back to what you said earlier, it's an emotional experience and people tend to buy things based on emotions and their gut feelings and how they feel. So if we can tap into that in a really authentic way, then talk about a great marketing strategy.

Christa Gurka (07:58):

Excellent. Exactly.

Karen Litzy (08:00):

And then, okay, so we've got our ideal customer, client avatar. Now what do we do?

Christa Gurka (08:10):

Great. Now what? So you've got your ideal customer, right? And so by the way, people also sometimes think like, well, I don't want to pigeonhole myself into this, right? But by the way, your ideal customer may change. It's okay first of all to change. And he doesn't have more than one. You can have more than one. Certainly we have more than one in our business. And by the way, you may start out thinking about one ideal customer, but the people that keep coming back, maybe somebody else and you're like, Oh, obviously, maybe I have to rethink this. Right? And again, it doesn't mean that you can't serve someone else. It just means that when you're thinking about marketing and stuff, you're going to go after everything should funnel into one specific thing. So then the next step in the marketing is, okay, so where do these people live?

Christa Gurka (08:59):

And I don't mean live like literally what neighborhood do they live in? Where do they live in terms of getting their news information? Where do they live in terms of being on social media? Where do they live in terms of, you know, what do they value as far as like personal or professional life? So one thing I see is, you know, people you know are like, well, I'm gonna put an ad in the newspaper, that's great. But if you live in an area where nobody reads the newspaper, then you're putting your money somewhere that you're not going to be seen. Or maybe the flip side is, well, I'm going to do a lot of stuff on Instagram. Well, if you were, your clientele is over 65 studies show that most people over 65 are not on Instagram. That doesn't mean they're nobody is, it just means, you know, or vice versa.

Christa Gurka (09:50):

If your client is 25, they're probably not on Facebook anymore, right? So, then again you can be, this is why it won't cost you a lot because you can narrow down where you are going to spend your money, right? Also, if you're running Facebook ads, which will then go on Instagram you can narrow down in your audience when you build out your audience to be very, very, very specific based on are you a brick and mortar establishment? So are you trying to get people to come in to your place? Right? So you want to say, well, if people are not, if you know that your ideal customer's not convenience as important and they're not going to travel more than five miles, you shouldn't market to people that live or work outside of a five mile radius from your studio. Right? So that's important to know as well as also maybe your customer gets their information from friends or relatives, you know, or like someone said, you know, you need to go see Karen, she's been really great for me and that's how they get to you.

Christa Gurka (11:00):

So how can you then get in front of your client's friends, right? Maybe you could do an open house, invite a friend, bring them in. Let's do one-on-one, you know, just kind of like a talk, right? Maybe you could bring them in if, say your ideal customer, let's say your ideal customer is in their sixties, what are some things that people in that age group are going through? Maybe you can have a talk about that specific thing. Not necessarily a therapy, but now you get everyone to kind of come to you. It's not even about what you actually do cause you can need them based on where they are. And most people, by the way, they say there's the numbers range, but usually they have to see you about seven times or have seven points of contact with you before they're comfortable buying from you. So these are just way to get people to know, like, and trust you and then they'll buy from you. So that's strategy number two. Once you know really who your customer is and they could take a couple years to really start to peel back all the onion of that, then the next thing is be where they are, be in front of where they are.

Karen Litzy (12:13):

Yes, absolutely. And, I love that you mentioned the different types of social media and who's on where, because like you said, this is something that isn't going to break the bank because you have narrowed down exactly where you want to spend your money. Right? So we're taking who that ideal person is, where finding out where they like to hang out, what they read, who they're with, all that kind of stuff. So that when you build out a marketing campaign for your business, you kind of know who and where to target.

Christa Gurka (12:49):

Right? Exactly. Yes. And even so, even with Facebook, yeah. When you build out your audience, right? So you can have a variety of audiences. You can create lookalike audience, which I'm sure is like a whole podcast onto itself, but you can also target people that like certain brands. So when I do my ideal customer, I'm like, well what brand do they resonate with? In other words. So I would say that our brand is a little more towards Athletica versus like Lulu lemon. And that's not to say one is better than the other. It just means that's who my generally customer is. And why, what do they value? They value that customer service. You get, you know, Athletica has like a, you can take anything back all the time, right? So when you build out a Facebook ad, you can also target, that's right. They've bought from Athletica online. Right. So now you're reaching people. So you kind of near just keep narrowing it, narrowing it, narrowing it down, which can be, you know, other interests is your client. Do you do pelvic health? So obviously women, although men do it right, if moms can you target people that like mom influencers on Facebook or on the internet. So these are all just ways that the more you know about them, then you can use that in your marketing strategies afterwards.

Karen Litzy (14:15):

Absolutely. Fabulous. Okay. So know who the person is, know where they're hanging out. What's number three?

Christa Gurka (14:23):

Okay. So number three to me is the most important, the most, most important. And that really is messaging. So when you're working with your ideal, when you're working through that ideal customer you know, workbook getting to them, to you for them to use their own language for you. So I see this very, very commonly, and I am sure you can attest to it too. When physical therapists, we love what we do. We are passionate about movement and anatomy and biomechanics but you know what, the general population has no idea what we're talking about. None. Zero. Yeah. And so oftentimes I feel like, and by the way, I'm not saying I did this for a long time too. I think that we're trying sometimes to get other practitioners to say, Oh, that's a really good therapist. So we're talking about pain science and biotech integrity and fascial planes and the general population.

Christa Gurka (15:32):

The end consumers, like I have no idea what you're talking about. So you need to speak to them at their level based on what their problem is. And kind of like how we spoke about before. It's not always the back pain, it's what the back pain is keeping them from doing. Right. it's not always, let's take pelvic health for example. Right? A lot of pelvic health issues or not necessarily painful. Okay. So say you have moms, this is super, super common stress incontinence. They leak, they leak when they jump and they go to CrossFit and they're embarrassed to start with a jump rope because they, it's not, why? Why do women go 16 years after childbirth? Because you know what? It's not really painful. So they don't consider it a problem. Like physical therapy is not going to help me with it. So, but if you say to them, Hey, that might be common, but that's not normal, and guess what?

Christa Gurka (16:25):

There's a solution to that, you know? That is something that will resonate with them. Do you like things like, do you feel, do you worry when you're out at a restaurant as it gets later and later that the line at the bathroom is going to be too long and you stop drinking because you're afraid to wait in line for the bathroom? Right. So some women will be like, Oh yeah, I totally do that. Right? Are you afraid to chaperone your child's field trip? Because the bus ride is going to be three hours and you don't think you can hold it three hours on the bus without a bathroom. That's terrible for a mom. She can't chaperone her kids field trip because she's embarrassed that she might have to go to the bathroom. So using their language. So I like to send out surveys very frequently.

Christa Gurka (17:09):

Google doc is super easy. Survey monkey and ask them things like, what are your fears about whatever it is you're trying to sell. Right. what are your fears about exercise? What are your fears about back pain? How does it really make you feel? Okay. what are your, like maybe even if you could pay and if money was not an issue and you could pay anything, what would that look like for you? How would that make you feel and starting to, then you start to use that language. We've all seen marketing campaigns where you're like, yes, exactly. Totally. That's how you need to get into them. Right? And so maybe maybe as a physical therapist, it's tough for us because we're like, well, no, their hamstrings are not tight. It's not hamstring tightness. It's neural tension and it's the brain and the nervous system, but they don't, they don't understand.

Christa Gurka (18:06):

So you got to get them in. What they feel is that they have hamstring tightness. So you got to tell them that you can fix their hamstring tightness. And then little by little you explained to them that it's neural tension, right? But if you start off with neural tension, they're going to go somewhere else. And so I kind of like, I use this example a lot if you, cause I think we can all relate to this. We're on tech right now, right? Okay. So if you have, I have a Mac, I have an Apple. If I go to the Apple store, cause my computer crashes or my phone won't turn on and I go talk to what are they, what are the genius bar, the genius bar. And the guy's like, you know, so what I see here is the motherboard has this month and this software program, you only have so many gigabytes.

Christa Gurka (18:50):

I'm like, can you fix my computer? That's all I want to know. And if he says yes, I'm like, I don't care how you do it. So whether you use taping or I use myofascial release or somebody uses Pilates or somebody uses craniosacral therapy, it doesn't matter to them. So the end consumer, they just want to know that you can solve their problem. People have problems and they want to know that you have the answer to solve their problem. And that's it. So messaging is really, I think, crucial. It's the crucial point of the puzzle.

Karen Litzy (19:28):

And now let's talk about messaging. Let's dive into this a little bit further. So I think we've all seen different websites of healthcare practitioners, physical therapists and otherwise that kind of make us go like,

Karen Litzy (19:43):

Oh boy cause it's in cringeworthy in that it comes off as a little too salesy, a little too slick, a little too icky. So how can we compose our messaging to avoid that? Unless maybe that's what their ideal patient wants. I don't know. But yeah, how can we craft our messages that are going to hit those pain points, get that emotion going without being like a salesy, weird gross

Christa Gurka (20:18):

So the other thing I think that's important to understand is people's buying patterns. And when people say no to you, maybe they're not saying no to you, they're just saying this. It's not a value to me at this time. So one of the phrases, one of the things that I've really restructured, cause I used it, take it very personally, if someone will be like, no, I know and I'd be like, what you mean I could totally help you? And now I'm like, you know what? It's basically I look at it like if I'm at a party or I'm having a dinner party and I serve or Durham and I'm like picking a blanket and be like, no thanks. I'm like, okay, walk away. So I say therapy with Krista. No thank you. No problem. Let me know if I can help you in the future.

Christa Gurka (21:04):

Right? So the way that I say it is if you just speak honestly to your customer, honestly, to your customers. Nobody can be you at being you. So be your authentic self, whatever that brand is for you. And whether it's your company or you yourself, and let that come through in your messaging. Right? So in other words, like if your messaging is also about mindfulness and positivity and looking past the pain and what is your relationship with your pain or dysfunction that should maybe come through in your messaging that you're more holistic, that you're not going to be a treat them and street them type thing. But maybe if your messaging is, Hey, we're going to treat you and street you and you'll be out of here in 15 minutes, you're going to attract that type of customer. So either one is fine, but I just say really be authentic.

Christa Gurka (21:59):

And the other thing is, I would say send your website. I don't put a lot, a huge amount of stock in my website to be perfectly honest. I do love my website. I'm a very like, analytical person. So the colors and where everything sits is important. But I don't think as, I'm not a big believer that as much selling goes on your website as a lot of people may think, I think it's a place where yes, people are going to Google, someone gives you a reference at a cocktail party, they're going to Google your website, but they're basically going to look like, does this resonate with me? So what you want to hear is, you know, that tagline at the very beginning, you know, is does that tagline, the first thing that they see, does that resonate with that person? Right. So we use, because we're Pilates and physical therapy, we will, right now our website's a mess because it's got coven.

Christa Gurka (22:47):

We're close, we're not close. But helping people heal with love, every twist, every turn and every teaser. Teaser is a plot. He's exercise. So we stuck that with love in there because that is part of who we are. We are a community. We care about our clients. So you're not just going to come in here for like two things. We want to help you where you are. So that's, so if someone's like, yeah, that's cheesy for me, then it's okay, they can go down the street. Right. and we don't, I used, by the way, this has come with like 10 years of testing. You just got to test it. You got to test it and you got to see like who does it resonate with? Send it to a bunch of people and ask people for their honest feedback. Give me, you're not going to hurt my feelings. I need to know like, what do you see when you see this? What, how does it make you feel? So ask people their opinions and not physical.

Karen Litzy (23:45):

Yes. Yes. And you know, I just redid a lot of the messaging on my website and I sent my website from what it was and I'm in a group of female entrepreneurs, none of whom are physical therapists. I sent it to them, they gave me some feedback, I changed a little things. I sent it again, they gave more feedback, I changed some more things and now I feel now they're like, Oh see this sounds more like you. So before what I had in my website is what I thought was me. But then once I really got like had other people take a look at it, they're like, Oh, no this sounds more like you. And yeah, I love that tagline on the front. Like the tagline on the top of my website is world-class physical therapy delivered straight to your door,

Christa Gurka (24:28):

Which is short and concise and what you do. And it's what I do. Very easy. Perfect people. Oftentimes I see these like tat and they're like, you know, they had their elevator pitch. I'm like, what's your elevator pitch? You know, people talk about, Oh, what's the elevator pitch? I'm like, if you cannot describe what you do and like two sentences or 10 words or less, how do you think other people are gonna if you can't understand it for yourself, how are other people gonna right, right. Like you said, that takes time though. It does. It does take time. I struggled with this for a while, but me always, yes, but I think as physical therapist, one of the reasons we struggle is for a number of reasons. One. If we're business owners, we tend to be overachievers, right? We tend to have weak temp. We're bred from a certain mold.

Christa Gurka (25:18):

Right? the other thing I think is physical therapist, we're very analytical. We're very left brains, right? We are, I mean I think it's what makes me a really great physical therapist. But then the flip side of that is we're perfectionist. Everything has to be analyzed. And so we get so caught up in like the details of analysis and we went to PT school. So we have to show how smart we are. But being smart also means understanding what your customer's going to understand. And so you kind of have to swivel out of that. So sometimes even in groups when I'm like, when we see people like, Hey, what do you guys think of my website? I'm like, don't ask us, we are not your customer. Go ask your customers like what they think of your website. And so when I was in a group, you know, my coach challenged me to narrow things down as well. And they used to say things like, if you were running through a desert and you like and you were selling water, what would your tagline be like what would you, what would your board say? And you know, people will be like ice cold, dah dah dah. And he was like, just say water. If someone's running through a desert, all they need is water, water will suffice. Water will suffice. Clean water less is more free water. Even less. Yeah.

Karen Litzy (26:42):

And I remember, this is even years ago, I was doing like a one sheet, like a speaker one sheet. This is a lot off topic but talking about how we need to tailor our message to our ideal audience. So I had, you know Karen, let's see PT and I remember the person was like, does that mean like part time personal trainer? And I was like no physical therapist. Like you need to write that out then because the average person like PT. Okay. Does that mean part time personal? Like what does that even mean? So it just goes down to or sorry, it goes back to kind of what you said of like we have to speak the language of the people who we want to come to see us. Right? And the best way to do that is on our websites is we just have to simplify things and it doesn't mean dumb it down. It just means like simplify. And I'm going to give a plug to a book. It's called simple by Alan Siegel and it's all about how to simplify your language, your graphics, and how everything comes together to create a site that people, number one are attracted to and number two want to hang out at.

Christa Gurka (27:53):

Right? Exactly. And there's a lot of testing and I'm a big thing like testing. It's just testing, testing, testing. We test our sales page, we test even now with like some of my coaching stuff, working with other female business owners, testing, sometimes going in and testing, switching a graphic, have what you have above the fold. So the fold for those of you that don't know is like when you're on a website, it's you don't have to scroll. So everything is above where you have to scroll. I'll call to action a CTA right at the top. Changing phrases, you know, not using broad language like confidence, like what does confidence actually mean, but maybe making it more specific using language so that that's a really good thing. Helping or like, you know, reading yourself a back pain so that you can live the life you desire and deserve.

Christa Gurka (28:57):

Right? So changing little, and you can change that by the way, mid campaign, mid launch daily. You could change it if your Facebook ads are so one of the things, if you're, if people are clicking on your ad, but when they're not converting on your sales page, that usually means that either the messaging and your ad is really off and they're, once they get to your sales page, they're not understood. There was a disconnect between what you're offering or your messaging is great, but your sales page sucks. Or vice versa. Maybe nobody's clicking on your ad. Then whatever you're trying to sell them there does not resonate with them, right? So there has to be a connection. And usually when people don't buy, there's either a, with your offer or a problem with your messaging.

Christa Gurka (29:49):

So test means put it out there, see what kind of feedback you get, and then it's think of it as, okay, what we do in therapy, right? So this, what do we do when we get a patient in, we assess, we treat, and then we reassess, right? So what's going on? Let's try a treatment in here. Let's reassess. Is it better? If it's not better, what do we do? We go back, assess again, and then do another treatment and then assess, right? Reassess. So in marketing it's the same. So let's say you wanted to do, let's say you're working on like a sales page on your website, right? A sales page. I know it sounds salesy, but it's basically your offer, right? If people are getting there, so you see people you can track. By the way, with Google analytics, like people coming to your site, if a lot of people are coming to your site but they're not clicking on the call to action or they're not following through to check out some, there is some disconnect there.

Christa Gurka (30:56):

So maybe it's the messaging. So then maybe try to change the messaging, tweak the messaging, and then watch the outcome again, maybe people get all the way to the checkout and then abandoned cart. Maybe it means that something they got confused with something at the end. Maybe there's the customer journey wasn't right. They got to the end because they put something in the cart and then maybe your checkout structure is off or something like that. So test it and then just retest until your numbers are like, now we hit it. And by the way, it's taken me. I mean I'm still testing. Hmm. It seems like it's a constant reinvention. Constant, constant. Because the market keeps changing. Especially now. By the way, by the way, right now I don't know why there are. So at the time of this recording, we are in the middle of COVID. So when people come back, your messaging, okay. Is going to have to change, right? So we need to be aware of that.

Karen Litzy (31:49):

Yes, Absolutely. All right. So as we start to wrap things up here, let's just review those three strategies again. So who is your target market is number one, where are they hanging out? Where are they living? Not physically their address, but you know, where, what are they reading? Where are they hanging out, what are they doing online, what are they doing offline? And then lastly is making sure that your messaging clearly conveys part one and part two. And how you can solve their problem. Awesome. So now if you were to leave the audience with you know, a quick Pearl of wisdom from this conversation, let's say this might be someone who's never even thought about any of this stuff before. What did they do?

Christa Gurka (32:40):

So in terms of like, never even thought about marketing before or going into brand new, brand new out of PT school are, or brand new, like they want to kind of dive in and start doing their own thing, but they want to do it in a way that's efficient and that doesn't break the bank, right? So I would definitely say,

Christa Gurka (33:17):

Start with the end in mind. So that's from a great book, right? So so start with the end in mind meaning, but don't start at the end. I think a lot of people confuse that with, they start with the end in mind, but then they go right to the end and they go to marketing, right? So I like to equate everything back to physical therapy, right? So when we learn about developmental patterns, we all know, like we start with rolling and then Quadruped high kneeling, right? So if you take a patient that's injured and has a neuro, you know, and motor control problem and start them in standing off with multiple planes, you've missed a bunch of it, right? So you start marketing without understanding who your ideal customer is and finding out what they think and how they feel.

Christa Gurka (34:01):

You're going to spend a lot of money and you're not going to know why it's not working. You're just going to think Facebook ads doesn't work or I'm not good enough, which is a very common thing, right? So take the time to do the work. The ground work. Nobody loves to learn rolling patterns. But why is it important? Because if you work from the ground up, you take the time to instill these good patterns underneath. So take the time to do that. And the other thing I would say is just decide, you know, don't go through analysis paralysis. Decide and move. And the only way you're going to know is you got to put it out there. So you know, Facebook lives, Instagram lives. That's, you know, we didn't maybe start when social media was big, but which, so by the way, I have to make a point that I think that's why it's harder for us.

Christa Gurka (34:52):

So our generation did not, we didn't have, so I didn't even have a computer when I went to college. Nope. Like, so we didn't start with, I didn't have a cell phone like, so it's very different for us because this next generation coming up, they're comfortable on social media. We may not be, but the truth is, it's like everything else, just do it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. So, and you know, if no one's what, well, I'm afraid no one's going to watch it. But who's watching it now, if you're not putting it out nobody. So you're no worse off. Right? So just do, create an action step. Like, you know there's a book and now I forget who the author is. It's called the one thing, right? And you just focus on thing. Focus on one thing that you can do today to improve on understanding your ideal customer. If you're already past that, what can you do today to understand more about your messaging?

Karen Litzy (35:50):

Easy. The one thing you could just, just choose one doesn't have to be a million things you don't have, it doesn't have to be perfect. No, and it doesn't have to be perfect. Just one thing. Just one thing. Awesome. And now last question is the one that I ask everyone, and that is knowing where you are now in your life and in your business and your practice, what advice would you give to yourself as a brand new physical therapist straight out of PT school?

Christa Gurka (36:19):

Woof. Mmm. I would probably say be open to the possibility. Yeah. Yeah. Just be open to possibility of what's possible. Yeah.

Karen Litzy (36:35):

Excellent advice. Now Christa, where can people find you if they have questions they want to know more about you and your practice and everything that you're doing? What the deal?

Christa Gurka (36:44):

So my business is Pilates in the groves, so they can always find Pilates in the Grove. All has everything about our business. But they can find more about me at christagurka.com.  I have some freebies up there. So that's like Christa Gurka is more really about kind of business strategy. Okay, great. Like launch you know, mindset, that kind of stuff. And then the Pilates and the Grove website really if you want to look at what we do, brick and mortar wise, do it. But like I said, the websites kind of a mess. Right?

Karen Litzy (37:21):

We understand it's exceptional times. And, I know that you have some free resources and some freebies for our listeners, so where can they find that?

Christa Gurka (37:33):

Yep. So there is a link which we can either link up in your show notes, right? Or we can, so there's a marketing quiz that I created that basically will put people at, it'll kind of just give you an idea of where you are. Are you like a novice or are you a pro? Have you got this stuff down? And I could probably be calling you for advice. And then based on where you are, it kind of tells you kind of what you should focus on as well as then we have that lead you into. I have a social media and a Facebook live checklist. It kinda just gives you kind of a little bit of, I find structure helps me. So learning how to batch content, learning to say that like, okay, every Monday I'm going to do a motivational Monday post. Every Tuesday I'm going to do a Tuesday tutorial post. I think it just helps me map things out. And so I think it helps business owners also feel less overwhelmed when they can have a calendar. And we have national days. It has like a bunch of national days that pertain to our industry already built out for you, which is easy.

Karen Litzy (38:35):

Awesome. That sounds great. And I'm sure the listeners will really appreciate that. So thank you so much. This was great. And again, the thing that I love about all these strategies is it takes very little money to accomplish them. Just some time, which right now I think a lot of people have a lot of time. So thank you so much for taking the time out of your day and coming on. Thank you. And everyone, thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.

 

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Jun 10, 2020

On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Jenna Kantor guests hosts and interviews Javier Carlin on the art of listening.  Javier A. Carlin is the Clinic Director at Renewal Rehab in Largo, Florida. He is originally from Miami, he graduated with his Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy at Florida International University and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

In this episode, we discuss:

-The difference between nosy curiosity and coaching curiosity

-How to frame questions to dive deeper into conversations

-Verbal and nonverbal signals to watch for during client interviews

-How your clinic environment can help develop deeper client relationships

-And so much more!

Resources:

Javier Carlin Facebook

Javier Carlin Instagram 

Life Coaching Academy for Healthcare Professionals

Phone number: (305) 323-0427

 

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode! Learn more about the Redoc Patient Portal here.

 

For more information on Javier:

Javier A. Carlin is the Clinic Director at Renewal Rehab in Largo, Florida. He is originally from Miami, he graduated with his Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy at Florida International University and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Javier has always had a passion for health and fitness and his mission in life is to help you get back to doing the things that you love to do, pain-free. His goal is to inspire people to live a healthier, happier, more fulfilling live through simple and effective wellness principles; proper nutrition coupled with a great exercise routine and good sleeping habits works wonders in how you feel inside and out!

Javier enjoys spending time with his family, he loves being by the water either soaking up the sun on the beach or on a boat! He is an avid traveler, enjoys exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. He also has an adventurous side; bungee jumping, skydiving, rollercoasters, cliff diving!

For more information on Jenna:

Jenna Kantor (co-founder) is a bubbly and energetic girl who was born and raised in Petaluma, California. Growing up, she trained and performed ballet throughout the United States. After earning a BA in Dance and Drama at the University of California, Irvine, she worked professionally in musical theatre for 15+ years with tours, regional theatres, & overseas (www.jennakantor.com) until she found herself ready to move onto a new chapter in her life – a career in Physical Therapy. Jenna is currently in her 3rd year at Columbia University’s Physical Therapy Program. She is also a co-founder of the podcast, “Physiotherapy Performance Perspectives,” has an evidence-based monthly youtube series titled “Injury Prevention for Dancers,” is a NY SSIG Co-Founder, NYPTA Student Conclave 2017 Development Team, works with the NYPTA Greater New York Legislative Task Force and is the NYPTA Public Policy Committee Student Liaison. Jenna aspires to be a physical therapist for amateur and professional performers to help ensure long, healthy careers. To learn more, please check out her website: www.jennafkantor.wixsite.com/jkpt

Read the full transcript below:

Jenna Kantor (00:04):

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Jenna Kantor with healthy, wealthy and smart. I am here with Javier Carlin, thank you so much for coming on. It is an absolute joy Javier. As a physical therapist. He runs a clinic. What is the name of your clinic that you run?

Javier Carlin (00:21):

It's renewal rehab.

Jenna Kantor (00:23):

Renewal. Rehab. In what area though? In Florida. Cause you're part of a chain.

Javier Carlin (00:27):

Yeah, it's in Largo, Florida. So close to Clearwater.

Jenna Kantor (00:30):

Yes. I feel like the key Largo, Montego baby. What are we going to make it? I feel like that's part of a song. Right? Well thank you so much for coming on. You also, Oh, you also do have an online course. What's your online course?

Javier Carlin (00:45):

Yeah. Yeah, so it's a life coaching Academy for health care professionals where I teach healthcare professionals how to become life coaches and get their first clients.

Jenna Kantor (00:54):

Freaking awesome and perfect timing for that right now with everything. Corona. Thank you so much for coming on during this time and giving us both something to do. I wanted to bring Javier in because he has a skill, a magic skill that if you don't know him or you do know him now, you know, he is a Supreme listener. The first thing we did when we got on this call is, he goes, he just asked me questions just to listen what's going on. And I don't, of course I try to emulate it, but I'm not as good at him. You know, like I asked a few questions and I didn't deep dive as well as he does. So I want to dive into his brain and with this pen that I have holding and I'm going to part the hairs, get through the skull into the cerebrum. And so we can really deep dive into how your brain works when you are learning more about others, the art of listening. So first of all, thank you for having that skill.

Javier Carlin (02:08):

Yeah, no, absolutely. I honestly had no idea I had it until someone brought it up. And then looking into, it's kind of one of those things where, you know, I guess you have a skill. But you don't really know it. And then you try to dissect, okay, what exactly am I doing? Right? So, you know, leading up to this interview, I'm like, okay, let me actually think about this and reflect on what it is that I do. And what is it that I don't do? So that I can actually, you know, hopefully provide some value throughout the next few minutes.

Jenna Kantor (02:40):

Yeah, I would love to know. I think I want to just go into our conversation even before hitting the record button. What was in your brain when you first came on? Was it, Oh, I want to know what's going on. I'm just honestly like what was in that led you to start the conversation that way?

Javier Carlin (02:58):

That's a great question. So to be honest, I mean, I haven't seen you in a long time. We haven't spoken in a while. And so, I really, you know, did want to know what's been going on in your life? I've seen your, you know, posts on Facebook, but really had no idea what it is that you've been working on. And I always know you're up to something. So I really had a deep desire to really find out exactly what you've been working on and the people that you've been impacting. Just to know. I don't know. It's like, it's just natural for me. So, yeah.

Jenna Kantor (03:38):

You're like a curious George.

Javier Carlin (03:40):

Exactly. Yes.

Jenna Kantor (03:42):

Do you think that is a big base of it? It's just true curiosity.

Javier Carlin (03:47):

Yes. I think it's a curiosity and definitely curiosity. I'm always you know, really in tune with what people are doing. Cause I feel like it just, you know, looking deeper at it. I feel like there's, it just, I come from a place of always wanting to learn more about someone, deeply understand what they're doing and why they're doing it. Cause I think there's a lot to say about that. And it's very similar with you know, health care professionals in the sense that we're working with patients all day and we are truly, really trying to figure out you know, what's going on and where they want to get to and understanding really what they truly want the outcome to be when it comes to us helping them throughout, you know, our physical therapy and other rehab professions. And it's no different. Like that's the same, the same curiosity that I have when I, you know I'm serving patients I have with people in general. So I do believe that curiosity is a big thing and having the curiosity that's a, not in a nosy curiosity but more of like a coaching curiosity and really figuring out what's behind the words that someone is saying.

Jenna Kantor (05:02):

What do you mean by nosy versus coaching? Would you mind going into more depth on that?

Javier Carlin (05:09):

So, yeah, absolutely. So I believe, and this is, you know, there's a clear you know, when you're having a conversation with a friend, you're not really thinking about all these things. And then I think deeper into the coaching side of things, you start to think about the specific things. So when it comes to a nosy curiosity, there's always a story that someone's telling you and sometimes the story isn't even related to what the person is actually dealing with. So people use the story to kind of, let's see how I can put this to separate themselves from the interaction that you're having. Cause it's sometimes it's stuff for us to have conversations with people and really get deep down into our own emotions. So the story around it as you know, as someone who's dove into life coaching the story is actually at times something to distract people from that. And sometimes what I mean by nosy curiosity is that we actually get involved in that story, which has nothing to do with why the person is talking to you in the first place.

Jenna Kantor (06:09):

So it's like this superficial, superficial kind of thing, superficial thing, right?

Javier Carlin (06:13):

So instead of being nosy and it's the actual story and talking about the people that were in their story, we want to, you know, kind of separate that from the actual person and have a conversation about them and why that situation affected them as a person, not, you know, bringing everyone else. So that's what I mean by nosy. And he knows he's trying to get involved in their story and you know, getting involved in not just their emotions but everyone else's emotions and why they hate their boss and why this and why that. So it's really separating that from what they're telling you.

Jenna Kantor (06:45):

Hmm. I like that. Yeah. Yeah. Could you just keep talking cause I don't even know what question to ask next just because I'm really taking that in right now. Just tell me something else more about listening. Cause I know you came prepared just because when you're going into this, you just opened up a world of how much, I don't know, just from even that concept. So I feel a bit of the, honestly a lot of loss of words for it because just even that concept of the superficial versus diving deep down in, I guess my next question would be then when you deep dive in and you're getting, doing those investigative questions to really find out what really is the core of what's going on, how do you phrase your questions too? Because you're probably going to get to some real personal stuff. How do you do it delicately with them? So that way as you are deepening, deepening your listening, you're not invading their space.

Javier Carlin (07:54):

That's a beautiful question. So, I think a lot of it comes before you know, before you dive into that. So you know, you've heard of obviously you're building rapport, building trust, and at the end of the day, if someone's coming for help it typically comes with an idea that, okay, I'm going to have to, if I want someone to help me, then I have to open up to them. Otherwise, you can't really help someone. So I think, you know, it comes with that understanding and I think a lot of it also comes from coming from a place of neutrality. So not tying your emotions and your ideas and your thoughts and your beliefs and your opinions to what the person is telling you.

Jenna Kantor (08:37):

That's hard. That's hard. Yes. Very hard. Yeah.

Javier Carlin (08:41):

It really is. And, that's where, you know, that's when someone can actually feel that you're trying to either push them in a direction that they don't want to go, or that's where that nosy type of know feeling comes in, where they're like, Oh, like why are you, why are you asking me that? But I think the second thing is whenever you make an opposite, whenever you make a statement that's more of an observation or a fact

Javier Carlin (09:08):

As opposed to, you know, something that's a bit more emotional, you want to always end with a question. So as an example, a question. So after every statement you want to end with a question saying, Hey, you know, what's true about that? Or what comes to your mind when you hear that? Those, two questions allow you to kind of pull yourself from Hey, listen, what comes to your mind when I say that? As opposed to I'm saying this because Hey, you should do this or you should do that. Or you know, that came out like pretty that that came out as if, you know, instead of saying, Hey, you sound angry. Right? It's saying, okay, like what, you know, when I heard that it sounded like you, you know, there was some anger and what's true about that and now you're giving them the ability to respond back to that.

Javier Carlin (09:57):

So now it's more of an observation as opposed to kind of like telling them, or you know, letting them know, Hey, you sound angry. Right? There's more emotion to that. It's more of like, Hey, you're coming at me now. That's when someone can get a bit defensive or feel like their space has been invaded. But when you just state a fact and then ask them a question, it makes it a lot easier to have that conversation moving forward. I hope that, does that make sense?

Jenna Kantor (10:25):

Yeah, that does. That does big time. It actually connects, it brings it back to a conversation I had with my brother. I'm going to go a little deep on my own thing. I remember my older brother and I don't have a good relationship, but this is back in high school and there's a point to this that's not just about me, even though if anyone knows me, I love talking about myself, but he, I remember there was one evening where he was more of a night elephant, and we started talking. It was a rare time, was a rare opportunity when you just get into a deep conversation about life and anything and we were already at least an hour or something in and I'm just feeling my eyes shut on me. And I remember going through this like I have two options to continue this conversation to continue this conversation with him.

Jenna Kantor (11:29):

So I remember I had this opportunity to continue the conversation and force myself to stay awake and I felt like it was a very vital conversation. There was this little thing that was like, if I cut this off, it will be cutting off something big in our relationship. Me not being here to be part and present when he's open and being open to talking to me, for me to be able to hear what he has to say. Do you think that and it has over time now we don't have more. We have more solidly not a strong relationship. Do think there are conversations like that that exists that if you are not present and listening and you push it away too soon, it could actually cause damage to that relationship long term.

Javier Carlin (12:33):

Oh, 150%. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. and you know, it's tough. You know, diving back into exactly, you know, what you were feeling and how you're feeling and why perhaps that conversation was maybe at that time of interest or something that, like you were saying, you know, you felt like maybe falling asleep.

Javier Carlin (13:03):

So, you know, there's a lot to it that we could dissect really. But yes, I do agree with that. I think what happens in many conversations especially, you know, looking into it even deeper, it's, you know, when people have make offhand comments you know, short little statements in between the conversation that you're having. Most people are quick to kind of just let that pass. But that's what the person truly deep, deep inside is actually feeling and really wants to talk about. Everything else is just surface level. So, you know, exploring those offhand comments goes a very long way. And that's when people really know that you're truly focusing on them. And listening to them and that's where you get into those deeper conversations now. Again, back to the story that you just shared. There's so many different factors when it comes to that, but I definitely do believe that that can have a massive impact on, you know, the relationship moving forward and with anyone with, you know, your patients, your clients, people remember how you made them feel and that really, really sticks.

Jenna Kantor (14:19):

Yeah, you guys can't see me, but I'm like, yes. Hey man, I feel like I just went to church on that. But it's how you made them feel. So then, back to the clinic, you could have say a busy time, a lot of people, a lot of patients and everything and your time is running short. How do you cater to these conversations? If you see that there needs to be more time or if you do need to cut it shorter, how do you continue to feed that relationship, that trust? So you can have find an opportunity maybe later to spend more time listening to them. If you don't have it right then.

Javier Carlin (14:52):

That's a great question. I think there's several different ways to do it. I'll speak to more cause there's a tactical way of doing it and that's, you know, with I guess you can call it, you know, nature and the relationship through other methods with text messaging, emails and all those things. Right. Where you feel that connection with someone and continue to develop that relationship over time through sometimes automated, you know, systems and or where you're actually just sending a mass email, you know, once a week where it can still actually help to build a relationship. Right. But on the other front, you know, with our clinic specifically the way that we do that, because we do work as a team cause we are, you know, we do have insurance based model.

Javier Carlin (15:40):

So we do see several patients an hour. Because of the team that we have where for us specifically, it's a PT, two PTAs and two techs. Once we have a fully established clinic and got into that point that is where the PTA is that we have actually step in to treat the other patients that are there. And if I noticed, cause there's a lot of so when it comes to listening, there's, you know, when people say active listening, active listening really is it's not just listening to the words that are coming out of someone else, someone else's mouth, but also painted with everything else that's going on the unsaid, right? You really want to explore the unsaid. And that comes with a body language. You know, a visual cue is a body posture. You know, the way someone says something, their tone, their pace, right?

Javier Carlin (16:28):

And obviously as you get to know someone, you really get to feel how they feel when they're having a great day and when they're having a not so good day. So, you know, not letting, again, kind of like not letting offhand comments go. You don't want to let those, the visual kind of feedback that you're getting you don't want to let that go either. So, when you do see someone that's in that specific state where they might be disappointed, angry, upset, frustrated, you want to make sure that you address that right there. And then, and the way that we do that specifically at the clinic is we take them into the evaluation room and we can do that because of the fact that we work as a team, everyone on the team knows exactly what every single patient should be doing and knows them at a deep level so I could actually step out and have that deeper conversation with whoever needs it at that time.

Javier Carlin (17:20):

We'll sit for, you know, five, 10, 15 minutes, however long we need, really to explore what is going on at a deeper level so that we can ensure that they don't drop off. Cause typically what happens is that when you don't, when you just kind of let that go, that's where you get a patient call in to cancel and then it happens not just once, but twice, three times, four times, and then they ghost you. So that's how we handle that situation.

Jenna Kantor (17:50):

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that's a really important thing to put into place. So for clinics alone, how would you, if they don't have something set up and say they're a busy clinic and they don't have something set up where people can have the time to necessarily sit and listen, how could they start implementing that in order to improve the relationships with their patients and then they're showing up?

Javier Carlin (18:13):

Yeah, that's a great question. And I think there's so many variables depending on how the clinic is set up and ran. I believe that, you know, I think as you know, obviously as physical therapists ourselves, I think our first instinct is to always like go to like the physical, right? Like, you're feeling this way today. Okay, don't worry. Like, we're going to make you feel better after this. It's like, wait a second. Well maybe the person, maybe for those initial 30 minutes, they don't even need, you know, therapeutic exercises or whatever it is that we're prescribing them for that day. Maybe they just need to have a conversation, right, for 20, 30 minutes and just to let it all out. And those 30 minutes of actually just talking to them just because we can't bill for that time technically. That's going to be the difference maker between them actually seeing the results longterm and dropping off. So it's making that clear distinction and deciding, okay, what this person needs at this point in time is not, you know, to do a core exercises or to get manual therapy. What they need is to just have a conversation about what's going on in their world. Cause ultimately that's what matters the most event.

Jenna Kantor (19:28):

So yeah, true question. I think that was great. That was good. I just want you to know, okay. So then during this time, the Corona virus, what has your clinic been exploring on a listening standpoint with the switch to virtual to try to fit those needs? Like, I don't know, it's kind of an open ended question for you to interpret this however you'd like.

Javier Carlin (19:58):

Yes. So I think, you know, it's been, to be honest, it's been a challenge. And the biggest reason why is, you know, knowing that tele-health existed for, you know, the last year, two years, et cetera. And, has been existing, we didn't really make a push to have that as an additional service. So what's happening now is that it's like physical therapy, right? A lot of people still don't know what physical therapy is and it's not something that they necessarily want. It's just something that they need. Right? So, same thing with telehealth. It's something that, you know, now we're adding to things that people don't know, which is physical therapy and telehealth. And now we're, you know, most people are now trying to figure out, okay, how can we push tele-health without, you know, having any like, previous conversation about this.

Javier Carlin (20:53):

So that's where the challenge lies is that you have people who are, you know, the ones who do know what physical therapy is. We're coming in and you know, when they think of PT, they have this, you know, they have this picture in their mind because it's what they've been doing for the past, you know, X amount of weeks and now you're trying to get them to jump on to a different type of platform to, you know, provide a service that in their minds can only be done in person. So what we've seen started to do is we've started to offer complimentary telehealth visits. So the first visit is completely free 15 to 20 minutes in length. And offering that first, you know, giving the patient an opportunity to experience what it's like and showing them how valuable it can be.

Javier Carlin (21:39):

And then from there deciding to make an offer for them to actually purchase, you know, X amount of business. And typically, you know, your time is your time, so you want to typically charge the same that you would an actual in person session. But because this is so new, we have decided to offer it at a very, very low rate. So that barrier to entry is a lot less, especially in this time where you know, people's finances might not be at their all time high, or at least, they're not going to say, they're a little bit more reserved with what they're spending their money on. People are still spending money, but with what they're spending their money on. So that's how we're handling that now. A lot of, you know, constant communication through text messages, emails and just listening.

Jenna Kantor (22:34):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's amazing. Thank you so much for coming on. Is there anything else you want to add in regards to the art of listening that you think is a key point for people to take home with them?

Javier Carlin (22:47):

Yeah, so I think the last thing, and this is actually a quote from Stephen Covey and I have it here cause I didn't want to butcher it, but basically he says most people do not listen with the intent to learn and understand. They listen with the intent to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak. So that's it.

Jenna Kantor (23:09):

That's great. That's a really good quote. Sums it up. Yeah. Well thank you so much for coming on Javier. How can people find you on social media? What are your addresses on Facebook, Instagram, all the above?

Javier Carlin (23:32):

Sure. So I'm on Instagram. I'm at @drJavierCarlin. So dr Javier Carlin on Facebook have your Carlin's so you can just look me up there and friend request me. I do have life coaching Academy for healthcare professionals a Facebook community. So you can always jump into that as well with a podcast coming out soon. And I think that's it. If you want to send me a, you know, text message and just link up my phone number is (305) 323-0427 to have a conversation.

Jenna Kantor (24:05):

I love that. I love that so much and if you guys want to see or hear him in action, if you're in the group or even in his future podcast, you'll see from the way he interviews and speaks with people how he really uses his curiosity and deep dives and learns more and listens so well. Just watching him in action alone, aside from just even experiencing it yourself, you'd be like, Oh wow, he's good at this. I feel very listened to, thank you so much for coming on. Everyone jumping in, thank you for joining and have a great day.

 

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Jun 1, 2020

On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Tracy Blake on the show to discuss the evolving role of physical therapy in sport. Tracy’s desire to contribute to sport beyond the field of play motivated her clinical work with athletes from over 25 sports at the local, provincial, national, and international levels, as well as doctoral research focusing on pediatric sport-related concussion and physical activity. It remains the driving force behind her current work as a clinician, researcher, educator, editor, and author.

In this episode, we discuss:

-The preventative and reactionary roles of physical therapists in sport

-How to optimize the healthcare team’s strengths to amplify the organizational mission

-Equity and shifting power dynamics between the athlete and clinician

-COVID-19 and ethical considerations in sport

-And so much more!

 

Resources:

WCPT statement of diversity and inclusion

WCPT symposium on diversity and inclusion

2016 consensus on return to sport

Introducing patient voices

Coin model of privilege and critical allyship

Tracy Blake Twitter

 

For more information on Tracy:

The only daughter of Trinidadian immigrants, Tracy Blake and her youngest brother were raised in the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faith, working class Toronto (Canada) neighbourhood of Rexdale on the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, as well as the Anishinabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat peoples. Sport was a power source of connection and vehicle for connection throughout Tracy’s upbringing. Tracy’s desire to contribute to sport beyond the field of play motivated her clinical work with athletes from over 25 sports at the local, provincial, national, and international levels, as well as doctoral research focusing on pediatric sport-related concussion and physical activity. It remains the driving force behind her current work as a clinician, researcher, educator, editor, and author.

 

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy (00:01):

Hi Tracy, welcome to the podcast. I am happy to have you on. And I'm so excited to get to speak with you one on one. I heard you speak at WCPT in Geneva last year and I think I've told you this. It was one of my favorite sessions and we can talk a little bit about that session later. We'll probably sort of weave it in as we go along here, but it was a great session at WCPT and I'm really excited to have you on the podcast today to talk about the evolving role of physical therapy or physiotherapy in sport. So I'm just going to hand it off to you and if you can kind of let us know what that role kind of maybe where we were and how you see it evolving and how it has evolved up to this point.

Tracy Blake (00:53):

Yeah, so I think historically, physiotherapy or physical therapy, I'm Canadian, so I tend to use both. Historically in sport was seen as reactionary. So injury happens, enter physiotherapist from stage 1 right. And I think over time what has happened is that both from a clinician standpoint and an organization standpoint in sport there has been a change in perspective with an increasing level of focus on primary injury prevention. And so what that has meant is physiotherapists are not only responsible for there reactionary role, the rehabilitation, the remediation of injury, but also there has been a serious investment both in their time and an organization's resources around preventing injuries from occurring at all. I think the other part of this is that part of the evolution has been in the team around the team. So historically speaking, there may have been a physical therapist and athletic trainer, a doc, and that would sort of be the primary set of your team.

Tracy Blake (02:14):

Now, more and more organizations are having maybe multiple therapists, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietician, sports psychology, other disciplines are involved in the team, which both alters the way in which we gather information, gather experience, the way we develop as practitioners, and also the way in which we engage in our role and in our competencies. Within a sport context. And I think that there's sort of three arcs in which I see physiotherapy in sport, which is consultant. So in a consultant role, you may not be actually involved with front-facing athlete care at all. You might be making recommendations or talking to ownership or be brought in special cases for example. As a concept, then you have external service providers. They might have more regular athlete contacts, but they're not embedded in the daily training environment, which is the third aspect. Each one of those rules has a role to play in today's modern sport, particularly as you get into more resource abundance levels, your high performance or Olympic level or professional level. But the arc of change for each of them is going to be different. The arc of evolution is different. And what that means for the practitioner and the profession will also be different.

Karen Litzy (03:47):

And so when we talk about those tiers, so let's say you sort of outlined consultant the external service provider and those people who are really embedded with the team on a day to day basis. And before we went on, you sort of use the example of the NBA example. So can you talk about that just to make that a little bit clearer?

Tracy Blake (04:10):

Yeah. So there was a time where like if you were, the internet still existed, but maybe like online rosters and Google's worth weren't quite as prevalent, I know, usage, but you wouldn't have been able to just go on and find a physical therapist listed on an NBA team. There might've been one a decade ago, maybe two. And now in today's days and times, every NBA team has at least one and sometimes multiple that are working in various specialties within physical therapy. And so I think that that is also something to consider it, right? So what exactly is your contribution to the team in the context of both your profession, which is a healthcare paradigm and your occupation, which is in a performance paradigm in your sector. And so how do you reconcile those two in a way that allows you to contribute and to be of service?

Tracy Blake (05:11):

And I think we were, I mentioned this to you as well, that I think that the only way to reconcile that in a way that is grounded and sustainable is to be really clear about what your specific mission is as a physical therapist. And then making sure that whatever role you're in, whatever tier you're in, in the incredibly fast paced moving world of physio and in the fast, fast moving world of sport that you're grounded to that regardless, it makes you more responsive and adoptive, particularly in these days and times where on top of the unpredictability of sports and the fast paced moving to sports, we now overlay a global pandemic into that. And so you lose your footing. It's real easy to lose your footing in sport these days. And so if you are not grounded in something that is separate from your job professionally, it is very easy to lose your way.

Karen Litzy (06:10):

And especially now that there is no sport happening. Correct. While we're in the midst of this global pandemic, there is no sport happening. And so I guess being very clear on what your mission is, does that then allow you to find other ways you can contribute to the team aside from direct we'll say patient care, athlete care or direct overview of strength and conditioning programs and things like that.

Tracy Blake (06:41):

Yeah. So, then the question becomes is how is a team still a team when they're not playing? So when the technical has been removed from you, what makes you a team? And then in that context, what is your role in maintaining that team in contributing to that team? So I think when we were at WCPT when I had mentioned the idea of what is your mission, I had told people to think about it and you're not allowed to use the words rehabilitation, remediation, illness or injury in whatever your mission statement is. The purpose of that at the time was that you were having conversations with people in sport who do not come from your health care background. So if you only use language that relates to health care remediatory way or inaction reactionary way, you're undervaluing what you do. And you also run the risk if that's not understood in the same way you intended.

Tracy Blake (07:52):

It turns out that that actually works out in this case as well because now we've taken all of the trappings or all of the preconceptions that come with our role have now been wiped away. Right. So what are you contributing to the team in this context? Are you, for example, as it's somebody who is usually in the daily training environment? Having a team that is sometimes centralized and sometimes decentralized. I made sure that I continue to talk to my team and do check-ins even when they're decentralized. So now we're decentralized longer than we would have been because the Olympics aren't happening. Right. But their communication with me isn't somehow new.

Karen Litzy (08:42):

Smart.

Tracy Blake (08:44):

So that's not everybody's option. But that is for me, a way in which the relationships we've had, we're not based on strictly what was on court in the team context. So therefore the relationships are able to be sustainable when an earth shifting history shifting thing is occurring.

 

Karen Litzy:

And, I have a question for you. What is your mission statement? Without using remediation, rehab, et cetera, et cetera.

 

Tracy Blake:

So my mission in sports specifically is the optimization of health function and performance, whatever your age, stage or field of play.

 

Karen Litzy:

Excellent. I love it when people are prepared. That was great. And I think it's very clear. I think that's very clear. It's short and sweet and to the point and people get an idea of what your mission is and what your function is within that team setting. And now let's talk about the team, but not so much the team that's on the court or on the field. But let's talk about the team around the team. So you had mentioned you've got maybe a couple of physical therapists the MD, the ATC, a sports psychologist, nutritionist, but let's talk about how the team around the team functions for the good of the team that's performing on the field, on the slope, on the court, et cetera.

Tracy Blake (10:15):

Yeah, I think that there is, so my circumstances were particularly interesting in my current situation with volleyball Canada in that I was brought in with the strength and conditioning coach halfway through a quad. Like going into Olympic qualifiers, which is highly unusual. Well we were very lucky was that we had our conversation right out of the gate and we were of a mind so to speak philosophically in this way. So we had our first conversation, I say lucky, I think our director of sports science, sports medicine and innovation would say that he planted this way cause he hired both of us. But we were lucky that we were philosophically aligned in both what we thought our jobs could be for the team in this setting and in this circumstance. And then turns out how we work together also worked quite well that way. So that becomes, I think one of the first things is what's your mission? Does it align with the people who you work with? That's the first thing. And then from that spot, how do you use your strengths of each of those team members to amplify what that organizational or team goal is.

Tracy Blake (11:33):

And then how can you also identify gaps in each other and fill those in. Because that's the thing, like people love to talk about their strengths. To a team and what they can contribute with their strengths. They're less comfortable, particularly in sports, particularly an environment that is bred on competition and winning. And there can only be one. It is much harder to feel comfortable with vulnerability and opening up something that feels like a gap or a weakness or an area that you're not as confident in and trust that somebody else will fill it without exploiting it. So I think both parts of those need to happen for a team to be both functional and that function to be sustainable for anyone for time.

Karen Litzy (12:20):

Yeah. And I think that's also where the learning happens, right? When you have that team of professionals around the team, I would think me as a physiotherapist or as a physical therapist can learn so much from those other partners.

Tracy Blake (12:38):

Yeah, I agree. And I'm a nerd. There's no getting around it. I love a learning moment. I love them all the time. I want to know everything. And so for me, I feed on that, but that is not everyone's experience. And so what I've had to learn is timing and approach and repetition. Frankly, being not just clear on my mission once, but clear on it over and over and over again. How do I express my mission in the big and small things that I do in a day so that I'm consistent and I'm transparent so that at no point somebody can be like, well you said that at the beginning but you did this and this and this. That was inconsistent with that. And so I want my own way. And so in those kinds of circumstances I'll be like, look, this is where I was coming from with this.

Tracy Blake (13:30):

This is why I thought it made sense. I went to a school where when I say school, like entry level physio training, was that a school where we didn't have traditional lectures? Very much. Almost everything was small group learning. And so I feel like that environment really fostered the way that I work in the team environment, in sport where everybody had the same questions. We all went off and found the information and key information, excuse me, and came back to it with our own whatever that information is plus our own experience and perspective layered in on it. And then you figured it out together what was useful, what was not.

Karen Litzy (14:13):

Nice. Well that's definitely set you up for being part of a team, that's for sure. And now let's talk about, so let me go back here. So we spoke about kind of the different tiers that may be a physiotherapist might be in how being part of the team is so important to understanding your mission, staying true to that. And I think being self aware enough to know that you're being true to that mission and that you can stand by it and back it up. And now let's talk about how does all of this that we just spoke about, what are the implications of that for athlete health and for support in sport?

Tracy Blake (14:52):

So for me, the cornerstone of every relationship but particularly in the context of sport is trust. I work in sport obviously, but I also work in acute inpatient healthcare. And I also worked in private practice for a long time and people often assume that my private practice life, my private practice, orthopedics and my sport life are the two that are most closely aligned. Okay. Particularly in recent years, I've corrected that. And then I actually think it's my hospital life in acute care and my sport life, particularly in high performance that are the most aligned and the reason why is the relationship building and the communication that they require. So when I'm working with an athlete, the way in which I can get the best out of that athlete is if they trust, but I'm working to the same goal they're working to.

Tracy Blake (15:58):

Now that does not mean that I don't care about health, right? Because sport is inherently a risky situation, right? There's a level of risk acceptance that you have to participate in them, particularly when the levels get higher. And I believe there was an article by Caroline bowling, it's a couple of years old now that actually talked about injury definition and asked high performance athletes, coaches and sport physios. And in that article, all injury was negative effect on performance. There's no mention of it risk, there's actually no mention of illness or injury. So if I can't have a conversation with you about what I think the injury is doing to affect your performance negatively, I'm only filling in half the picture. So I need you to trust me. And the way in which I garner that trust. The way in which I build that trust is making sure that you always know that I have your goal, which has performance in mind. And so I think that that component of the relationship is the cornerstone. What cannot be left out of it, however, is the role of equity and the power dynamics.

Tracy Blake (17:23):

Physio is a health profession. Health professions historically are in a position of power or a position of privilege in the context of your practitioner patient relationship, right? If that's the situation already to start, how can you know that the person is giving you the accurate information if they're already in a position where the power is shifted out of their favor? So knowing that and understanding that concept, I've tried to be really intentional and again, really consistent in actively working to even the scales. I do that. Yeah. So I regularly consistently ask athletes, not just what they think, but I start with the part that they know the most about because as it turns out, I've never played professional volleyball, I've never played any sports at a high level, right? So if I start with the part that they know the most about the technical components of that, the way that training happens, the way practices are organized. If I start with what they know and ask questions about that, and then I work the way in which I build a program back from that, what I often say to people, not just athletes, but obviously this applies to athletes as well, is that I say I know bodies, you know your body and what we're trying to do is take what we know about those two things and put them together in a place that gets you to where you want to go.

Tracy Blake (19:02):

And anything that you think I'm doing that either doesn't make sense for that for you or that you think is working against that you need to tell me early and often. And so that's the framework. That's a conversation that's happening like right away. First day.

Karen Litzy (19:19):

Hmm.

Tracy Blake (19:19):

And then I give them opportunities to come back to that over and over. And not everyone communicates the same way. So you can't expect somebody to like just be like, you spit out five minutes of like clinical decision making information at them and they're going to be like, yeah, aha, Oh by the way, this, this, that and the third. Right. That's not going to be how it happens all the time. So making sure that people have time to think about it. Give time to reflect how the place to come back to you. Some athletes want to break it down into small bite size pieces. Some athletes want to be like, just fix it. I don't want to talk about it. And that's also my responsibility to make sure all of those different types of personalities, those people with different relationships with their bodies. How the power of the emboldened to be able to say what they need to say to meet their goal. And so that's what for me, that communication and relationship building part has to be the cornerstone because it's the only way we can get anything done with the kind of both the speed in which we need to get it done in the context of sport, but also in a sustained way. Because if someone keeps getting hurt, that is also not going to help anybody’s situation both from my job security or theirs.

Karen Litzy (20:34):

Right, right. Absolutely not. And so again, this kind of goes back to being part of the team. And so what I'm sensing is, and again, I feel like as therapists, we should all know this, but the team around the team also includes the team. You can't just have the team around the team making the discussions and these return to play decisions without involving the members of the team without involving that athlete.

Tracy Blake (20:48):

Correct. And one of the things that I found, like I'm saying a lot of these things to be clear, I'm saying them now and it sounds Zen, but I found out most of these things through failure to be clear of course a million times over. It has brought me to where I am having this conversation today, but I just wanted to be clear that I did not like walk out of entry-level physio with this knowledge on a smorgasbord. No, I know. Shocking. Shocking. What kind of program was this? You went to again, that didn't prepare you for high level sport athletes shawty is what it was. But the idea that the idea that an athlete, an essential part to their healthcare team still is radical for many and they see it, they see it.

Tracy Blake (22:03):

But what happens is when there actually requires an actual power shifts to make happen. Yeah. It's hard for people when it actually requires them to let go of some of their power if it requires them to acknowledge. There was a moment in the process of programming, in the process of delivery, in the process of recovery that they are not the expert in the room. It can be a blow, particularly people who've spent in our cases years getting to that point.

 

Karen Litzy:

Oh absolutely. And I think in several presentations I've seen in writings of Claire ardor and I feel like she goes through this which with such specificity and simplicity that it makes you think, well of course, kind of what you just said. Like for some people it's a radical view that the athlete should take this big part in their recovery and their return to sport or in their health. But when you listen to folks like you or like Claire, it's like, well yeah, it all of a sudden turns into a no brainer. So where do you think that disconnect is with those people who still considered a radical idea and the people who are on the other end who are like, well, of course they should be part of it.

Tracy Blake (23:09):

Some of it is experience. And so what I mean by that is not just like length of time experience, but I found that when everything's going well, it's going well, right? There is no impetus to change. There is no disruptor that actually acts to give you a moment to or recalibrate as you need. And so when I say experience, I mean I've had instances where, to be honest, I wasn't sure if it was going well. I wasn't sure I was doing what I thought needed to be done and I was doing what felt right. Again, I was aligning with the mission that I had because I didn't have any real world context in this specific sport or circumstance that I might've been in. And then something goes wrong. And you realize in the aftermath of that, whether it's an illness, whether it's an injury, whether it's something off court altogether, right? Whether it's an abuse and harassment situation, whether it's a boundary situation, whether it's a patient confidentiality situation, right? You realize when those things go sideways, but that's whereyour power and your metal is tested professionally.

Tracy Blake (24:46):

And so I think that's one part of it. I think another part is there's ability to what they call it mission creep, right? Where over time you sort of like, this is what you think your mission is, but then you did a little of this and you do a little of this and the next thing you know, you're far away from where you started. And I think that a lot of people, I think they're in service to the mission one in sometimes they actually end up in service to the business model. And particularly in sport where the jobs or when I say sport, like high performance sport professional sport, where the jobs are few, where the jobs are highly competitive. I don't think I've ever applied for a sport job that had less than 75 applicants and upwards of several hundred in some cases.

Tracy Blake (25:43):

Wow. Everybody wants that gig. And so people can sometimes get led by the, or creeped away from their mission by the instinct to do what is necessary to stay in the position rather than what is necessary to optimize the health function and performance of their athlete. So having a situation where you've been tested and sometimes don't, aren't successful and mission creep. Those two things I think are maybe the biggest ways that aren't just related to like personality. Like those are that things can be trained or modify. Those are like the modifiable things I think.

Karen Litzy (26:44):

Great. And then, you know, we had said as we are recording this, we are in the middle of the global covid-19 pandemic. And so there is no sport going on. And so to the best of your ability, and we're not asking you to be a future teller here, but what do you think will happen to the role of physiotherapy in sport and the medical teams in sport?

Tracy Blake (27:28):

I don't know necessarily what will happen. What I hope happens is that all healthcare practitioners, but particularly physical therapists in our case because I'm biased in that direction that they recognize their role in contribution to population health in the context of sport. So public health in the context of sport, we often think of sports as a bubble and it is to a certain extent, but that bubble is manufactured. That means all parts of an athlete's existence are manufactured, right? All parts of what the athlete is provided with from a health perspective are manufactured. So have gaps are left in that it's up to you as the person who is actually in the sport context to identify and try to remedy and resolve. Right? It's deeply problematic for athletes to not have the same information that somebody who works in the public house. It's deeply problematic for athletes too, not have access to labor rights. It's deeply problematic for athletes to not have be informed and be given informed consent to participate in mass gatherings during a time of pandemic.

Tracy Blake (29:02):

And I also think there is a strong ethical quandary that comes with providing services, two events that fly in the face of public health recommendations during times like this. And I've been on record with this, I said this a couple of weeks ago, I posted about it on Twitter where there was a massive wrestling tournament happening and I thought to myself, it's wrestling, it's a combat sport. It can't happen. Like they literally would have no insurance if there was no medical covenant medical coverage provided. So if you didn't have medical coverage, the event couldn't happen. So how does medical coverage or physio coverage or what have you happen against public health recommendations? We can't continue to act in separation with each other. We need to view sports as part of population health. And then we need to make sure athletes and those in the sporting community are acting in accordance with the public health.

Tracy Blake (30:11):

At the times demand as well. And I think the Rudy go bear situation was truly, genuinely shocking for a lot of people. They were unprepared at every level, not just sports medicine and sport physical therapy. And so what I hope lingers for people is that we think about emergency action plans a lot, right? We think about how we're going to get somebody off the court in the case of an emergent issue, Encore, how are we preparing them for life in that same context? How are we in preparing ourselves as professionals in that context? And I hope that those conversations, because it turns out you don't need to be in person for that.

Tracy Blake (31:01):

That people are reflecting on that now and that steps are being taken to improve both the gaps that are specific to the city, the situation with the pandemic now, but also how do we identify these things going forward. And I think some of that had already started to show its colors around issues of food insecurity, issues of education, issues of like the younger your players are coming in. Are you providing appropriate development? I went to you as a, you know, I went to the United nations last year for the sporting chance for him, which is around sport and human rights. And last year, 2019 was the year of the child. And so there had been a special rapport to report on the rights of the child and child exploitation and snails. There is an entire section dedicated to sport and how sport has been used as a vehicle for the exploitation of the child.

Tracy Blake (32:08):

And I think of things like that, like those are the kinds of gaps. But now that you know that these kinds of gaps exist now you know, you understand in a very real way and it's kind of, it's telling in some kind of ways that it needs to strike so personally close to people's wallets and they'll help. But now that we've had that touch, now that we've been exposed in this kind of way, can we continue to be proactive in the way we address other things going forward? That would be what I would hope to see.

Karen Litzy (32:40):

Well, and I think that's I feel like very doable hope. I don't think it's like a pie in the sky. Hope. I think all of those conversations can be had and hopefully can be had by everyone surrounding sports, not just the physiotherapist or just the medical team, but straight up to owners and players and everyone else in between. So Tracy, thank you so much for such a great conversation.

Tracy Blake (33:13):

Yeah, it's been great. And I think again, like physios are really well situated because you have physiotherapists who have really like have access to the player and have access to the coaching, the ownership, the administrative stakeholders. They're well situated to be able to bring these things to light on both sides and be involved in those conversations even if they don't have out right decision making power.

Karen Litzy (33:38):

Right. Absolutely.

Tracy Blake (33:39):

Yeah. Thanks for letting me out of the shadow.

Karen Litzy (33:42):

Oh, it was great. Thank you so much. And then before we sign off here, I have one more question that I ask everyone. And knowing what you know now and where you are in your life and in your career, what advice would you give to yourself as that fresh graduate, straight out of physiotherapy school?

Tracy Blake (34:04):

I would say that you need a mission early and you need to speak it into existence. It's not good enough to keep it in your head. You need to say it out loud to people and you need to get feedback from people and whether it's clear or not. And I also think that one of the things that I learned I was 36 almost 37 when I took my first dedicated health equity class and aye, it was a workshop. And in the beginning she said for some of you this will be new information and it was specifically targeted at health professionals, not just physio. And some of you would have learned this in, you know, your first year equity studies, first year gender studies kind of course. And after the weekend where I slept for basically three days because of all the information floating in my head, I was like, there are 18 year olds walking around with this in there. And so I think that if I could go back now, I'd be like, you need to start taking those courses early. You need to start embedding it into your thinking early. Maybe you'll be better at being intentional about how you use it earlier.

Karen Litzy (35:11):

Excellent, excellent advice. Now, where can people find you if they want to shoot you a question or they just want to say how great this episode was?

Tracy Blake (35:22):

So I'm active on the Twitter, so my Twitter handle is @TracyABlake. I am not as active on the on Instagram. My Instagram still private, but if you shoot me a message I usually find it anyway. So that also works. Same handle @TracyaBlake.

Karen Litzy (35:38):

Perfect. And just so everyone knows, we will have links to certainly to your Twitter at the show notes over at podcast.Healthywealthysmart.com. So Tracy, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. This is a great conversation. Thank you so much. This is quite the podcast debut. I appreciate it anytime and everyone, thanks so much for tuning in and listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.

 

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