Episode 29: How to Serve ALL Potential Clients in Your Niche - Reducing Inequity as OT Entrepreneurs with Sheela Ivlev

Season #1 Episode #29

Sheela Ivlev is an occupational therapist and owner of OT Bay Area, a wellness-based OT practice in California. Her passion is serving others to improve their mental health and wellness. 

In this episode, you’ll learn a variety of ways to serve ALLLL the possible people in your niche market. Sheela shares a variety of ways to increase equity and access to services in your business, while also keeping your focus on your specific niche clientele.

Sheela and I discuss: 

  • How Sheela runs her mental health and wellness OT practice.

  • How OTs can help destigmatize mental health challenges. 

  • The significance of July being Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

  • How we as OTs should consider disparities in health care access when creating our business models, and what we can do about it as business owners.

  • Sheela describes how it is OK to have a niche in business! No business can serve everyone. But she shares ways you can think about equity while still maintaining your niche focus in your business.

  • I share some ways I struggle with my own fears of perceptions around reaching out specifically to communities of color as a white OT business owner. Sheela’s responses surprised me and you’ll hear me process in the episode what this may mean for my own practice! I hope her ideas will inspire you to take steps in your business to increase equity to services.

  • Why we have to get over our FEAR and discomfort and put ourselves out there to increase equity and access to our services.

  • How we perpetuate inequities by staying silent and not taking action.

  • How it is possible within a cash-based model to take steps to increase access to services.

  • Why we should think about marketing to a wide-range of people within our specific niche market.

  • The differences between “mental health” OT and “regular” OT...there aren’t many! :)

  • Mentoring pre-OT students as a way to increase diversity in our profession.

  • Why diversifying our social media feeds may help us understand the perspectives of those who are different than us and educate us and equip us with resources to help us serve a diverse range of clients in our ideal niche in our businesses.

Resources from this episode:

OT Entrepreneurs Facebook Group

Peggy McIntosh’s article: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Instagram hashtag: #blacktherapistsrock

Sheela’s business website with loads of resources!: www.OTbayarea.com

Sheela’s business on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/otbayareasf/

Follow Sheela on Instagram @otbayarea