When I graduated in 2011, it was always my intention to work in the NHS, however, there were few vacancies around at that time and none in my area. I therefore decided to work in private practice.
My early post grad days were within a MDT clinic in Leeds, working alongside Podiatrists, Physios, Orthotist and various other holistic therapists. Whilst doing this, I also decided to begin building up a client base of my own nearer home in Burley in Wharfedale. I obtained my first 20 patients by doing a leaflet drop around the village for a domiciliary Podiatrist and from there steadily grew my business. In 2012, I began renting a room within a dental practice and my business continued to grown steadily.
In March 2013, at the age of 48 I was dealt a devastating blow when I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and told I would have to have very radical surgery with almost immediate effect. By now I had a few regular patients, and knowing that I had cancer was never going to deter me. In fact, on the afternoon of my diagnosis, I sat friends down and told them that I was going to celebrate my 50th Birthday in 2015 in New York and I was also going to open a Podiatry clinic of my own. Whilst some thought, I had lost the plot, others told me it was all positive but that cancer had its own agenda. My retort was to tell them, that I also had mine and whilst cancer may have its own agenda, it had never before met me, and I was determined to beat it!
Skip forward to 2nd March 2015, I got the keys to my very first clinic, an old Victorian terrace house in Burley in Wharfedale and two weeks later, on 12th March, I flew to New York and celebrated my 50th in the Waldorf Astoria! You see, I had won the battle!
On opening the clinic at 113 Main Street, Burley in Wharfedale, my very first patient was a retired dental surgeon, who after his treatment took a look around my newly converted building. With my heart in my mouth, he then turned to me and smiled, saying “yes, you have got this just right”…..
I began at this clinic with 60 regular patients and by September 2018 I had over 2000 on my books. How did I do it? Well, hard work of course, a total commitment to offering a professional and friendly service with a little piece of me thrown in for good measure.
My marketing came via a leaflet drop, social media, a good website, an article in the local press and mainly word of mouth, which has been phenomenally successful.
By January 2018, I had gone from being a ‘one man band’ to having two part time Podiatrists, a Receptionist and a book-keeper as well as offering a room to rent to a massage / reflexology therapist. We also decided, that the premises was getting a bit tight and as the reception was no more than a corridor, we were getting a bit fed up doing the do-si-do every time we wanted to pass one another. We therefore decided to look for bigger premises.
At the time, there was nothing bigger in Burley in Wharfedale, so decided to rent a building in Ilkley and applied for the usual planning permission which took months to come through. However, I am a great believer in things happen for a reason and in July, I learned of another property being available in Burley in Wharfedale. Ever the optimist, I decided, I know, I’ll have both!
So, in September 2018 I opened the new clinic in Burley and on 8th November I opened our second branch in Ilkley. My two original Podiatrists left to concentrate on other things, one more holistic therapies, the other to do her MSc. I recruited two new graduates and put together a programme to help with their CPD and for them to get to know all about the private practice I had created and establish it further. I also took on a second Receptionist and together we now make up a team of 7 across the two sites.
We have also opened a satellite clinic in Tadcaster, where we see patients once every 6 weeks.
Whilst at University, I did a business plan and called it Wharfedale Podiatry Practice which was a bit fictitious and also, I thought maybe a bit ambitious, however, on reflection maybe I tempted fate as I have three clinics now along the Wharfe Valley!