INDEPENDENT SINCE 2020
Michele, is like so many, going to different settings as a DPT and trying to find what makes her happy. In the end, working for herself is what makes her happy. So she went for it!! You are going to love her story..
What is your name and discipline?
Michele Rigel PT, DPT, CDP. I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
Where did you go to school and when did you graduate?
I attended The Pennsylvania State University for undergraduate studies and got my Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Science with Athletic Training emphasis. I continued to Slippery Rock University for my DPT degree. I graduated from physical therapy school in 2000.
When and why did you decide to go “independent”?
Back as far as physical therapy school I knew that I wanted to be a business owner eventually. But we never learned how to be a business owner in college, and I didn’t know the steps to take. So, I graduated, took my first job in Florida (away from everything and everyone I knew), for an adventure, and started the cycle of working for someone else. Seven years later I made another move to Omaha, Nebraska and started another adventure. Over that span of 18 years, I worked for hospitals (both inpatient and outpatient), outpatient clinics, home health companies, and skilled nursing facilities, and sadly I let my goals fade into the background.
I ultimately moved back to PA in March 2019 to be closer to my family and got my last traditional job at a SNF, working as the Director of Rehab, figuring this would be a “step forward” in my career. Well, in a roundabout way it was, because it drove me to finally take the leap and go out on my own; I learned that management was not for me, and I wanted to leave there as quickly as possible. I found the therapy business builder program and it renewed my desire and provided the guidance and confidence I needed to start my best adventure with owning my own business. I wanted to finally work hard but with low stress and total autonomy and allow myself to love being a physical therapist again. As of September 2020, I have done just that and the journey is just beginning!
"Sadly I let my goals fade into the background"....
Such a common occurrence in life. But its not to late and it is the Best reason to go Independent!
What Are You Doing Now?
I have a mobile outpatient physical therapy practice, At Home Rehab & Wellness, LLC, in central Pennsylvania, so I tell others I am the “food truck” of the outpatient PT clinic world. I bring all the goods from the clinic to them! My focus is on helping the Medicare population live full and uninhibited lives; my main love includes fall prevention and balance/safety training. It’s just me for now so I do it all, including eval, treat, bill, accounting, etc., but I plan to eventually expand with other PTs and possibly OTs and an office person. I am excited to be a PT again!
What are your hopes/plans/dreams for the future?
My hopes and dreams include treating patients as long as I still have the love and desire for it, but to transition to only running the business side and have other therapists doing the hands-on part. I also want to prepare for retirement (50 isn’t too far away, yikes) and retire young and healthy, so that I can have the time and financial freedom to travel and take care of my family. Life is short and unpredictable, and I want to make the most of it; being a business owner is allowing that to happen.
What tips do you have for others looking to go independent?
Do it now! Don’t wait. I wish I could go back 10+ years and start on my own earlier. Find a mentor or others who have done it to help and guide you and run hard towards your dreams!
(ITA wishes Michele nothing but success in her business adventures!)