We had the good fortune of connecting with Cathy Yi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cathy, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
When I first began this endeavor of opening my own physical therapy practice, all the business advice of being an entrepreneur seemed to be about learning/growth with every spare moment. It was expected to be up late, to exhaust every minute with marketing, reading a business book, working on growth, learning about ‘best business practices’, etc. Now, in no way am I saying it’s supposed to be easy, or that there aren’t supposed to be late nights, that you won’t need every second of a day to squeeze in what needs to get done to start the ball rolling… I am saying the conventional advice of “if you have time to watch TV, be on Instagram/TikTok, or read a book, then you are wasting that time that should be given towards your business growth.” Initially, I stuck to this mantra. If I sat to watch Netflix, I had my computer out working on SEO; if I read a book, it had to be about business growth or being an entrepreneur; social media was for marketing and being active enough on the platform to build a presence. Mainly, there was no downtime. I was so very burnt out from the constant effort and ‘go’ that I was in every level of fatigue, getting cranky, and felt too drained to actually do the job of 1:1 physical therapy in the manner in which was the whole point of wanting to open my own clinic in the first place.
Down time is so very important. Rest, letting your brain take a break from the everyday grind, and allowing moments for yourself were more helpful in engaging in the manner needed for treating, marketing, and networking that it cannot be ignored or replaced. After being burnt out, I switched up to working on my mentality/perspective as a person to help growth, I read books for leisure, I allowed some fun perusal on TikTok; and having that balance (versus the nonstop of starting your business) helped immensely.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My practice is about 1.5 years old! I worked in traditional clinics since graduating in 2001. It became quickly frustrating that time per patient was limited and I could barely get more than 8min with a patient to do manual skills. I tried moving up administratively by managing a clinic by my 14th year of working, but it took even more time away from treating and learning how to best help someone find relief. When I got married, it gave me the courage to come out of the “big clinic” umbrella (and all its benefit packages) to work in a private practice that allowed for 1:1 care. It was great to finally be able to help others and give the time to them I had always wanted to give; not only that, it also helped my skills grow as a clinician. After a few years (and a divorce), I realized I needed to go out on my own for full potential and growth. The Universe definitely gave me a proverbial shove to get my own practice going and I have been Blessed ever since. It’s never easy, right? There is a lot of self-growth and awareness that has to take place; and that’s personally as well as professionally. The courage to come out of the conventional notion of securing a known paycheck, having a benefits package, and having patients brought into you is a hard thing to give up. Mix that with jumping in with both feet to learn: how to start the process of opening a business at all, best ways to market, business loans, budgeting for business expenses in addition to personal, what to charge, equipment, etc. at an exponential rate in 4 months to be open and ready definitely takes some moxie!
My brand is all about making sure people know they can get quality healthcare, 1:1 treatment, and extensive hands-on skills. It isn’t about homing in on the one region you feel your pain, it’s about ‘why is it hurting’, ‘how did it begin to hurt there’, and ‘where is it truly stemming from’? Too many patients get the quick 5min visit with the doctor, get prescribed meds, get told ‘there is nothing really wrong’, and are told ‘nothing can be done’. I want everyone to know there is an answer, you can be fixed, and that I will constantly problem-solve to get you back to how you’d like to function. I very much believe it’s not because ‘you’re getting old’, it’s the mechanics of your body that are changing the lever arms of your muscles/tendons to exert excess stress on the structure or joint that lead to chronic aches/pains. And I can fix that!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Strolling, browsing while sight-seeing at your own pace is the way I prefer to explore and enjoy cities/new places. For Orlando, [Monday] I’d pick paddle board yoga off the lake from Kraft Azalea Gardens followed by lunch and stroll down Park Ave. I prefer mixing movement/activity with eating and Winter Park easily offers both! The area is charming and quaint with a good variety of places to shop and eat. {Tuesday] Could be browsing local shops and eateries in the Audubon Park Garden district. I enjoy supporting small, local, non-chain businesses (being one myself) and the heat of Florida promotes one to enjoy some AC-filled browsing! [Wednesday] Wekiwa Island offers paddle boarding, kayaking, or canoeing to Wekiwa Springs and is situated where food/beer can be enjoyed in their cabanas. [Thursday] Antiquing is fun because it’s nostalgic as much as interesting. Renningers has a vast array of antiques and estate items that’s near enough to Mount Dora for quaint strolling, browsing, and eating. Similar theme of local, non-chain while mixing in some AC relief! [Friday] Disney Springs may have chain restaurants and brand name stores, but the variety is grand and you can walk with a beverage while shopping in the area. It’s fun to be a tourist for a day! [Saturday] Winter Garden’s historic district has a great Farmer’s Market in the morning and the downtown area is sight-worthy with a good blend of shops, coffee houses, and cafe’s.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Sylvia O. for creating my logo Dance Trance Orlando ladies for support, encouragement, and helping to share of my business
Camp Gladiator, Winter Park Tennis Center, Uncanny Fitness, Momleta Central FL, House of Sweat and Allfit Orlando {as well as all the other local businesses!!!!] for allowing me to market with them
Ammani B. for the extra help and belief in my business.
Sarah K. for the extensive and invaluable business and accounting knowledge
Misbehavin’ Media and Little’s Portraits for amazing photos and videos for my website and social media platforms
Kerry T. for advice and ideas to get started while being a support system along the way
[many more, I’m sure, that mean just as much to me!!!]

Website: cathyorlandopt.com

Instagram: @cathyorlandopt

Twitter: @cathyorlandopt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CATHYORLANDOPHYSICALTHERAPY

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/cathy-orlando-physical-therapy-winter-park-2

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS4FuDiTehPSdlIk6Opanhg

Image Credits
Julie Little Misbehavin’ Media

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