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An Unexpected Journey: Physical Therapy Digital Marketing with Taylor Kirk

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Karen Tanso, CEO of Inchstones PT

Today's interview features my personal marketing assistant, Taylor Kirk. Taylor is the owner and operator or Taylor Danielle Creative and provides digital marketing consulting for physical therapy practices. Taylor shares her unexpected journey that led her from burnt out clinician to living her best life helping other PTs grow their practice through marketing. Discover how Taylor overcame challenges, learned to welcome unexpected opportunities, and stayed true to her passion for physical therapy through marketing.




What we're covering:


Tell us a little bit more about yourself your journey


Taylor: My journey is kind of a loaded story but we'll get there. My name is Taylor Kirk, I am the owner and operator of Taylor Danielle Creative, which is a digital marketing business for physical therapy practices. So a little bit about me, I'm first and foremost a physical therapist. I graduated in 2020 in the heat of the pandemic and entered right into clinical practice. I guess my normal was working through the pandemic and I didn't know anything different, which was probably good.


I flew right into working in the outpatient setting. From the time I was 15 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a physical therapist. It was really unfortunate because when I started working, it didn't take very long for me to experience that sense of burnout by just working in a busy outpatient setting, seeing way to many patients a day. After that I kind of dabbled in some home health and then finally landed in a hospital-based outpatient clinic and did some inpatient while at that facility. I liked that role a lot better, it gave. me some variety and I really felt like for the most part I was supported. But, about a year in, I was still kind of like 'I really don't know if this is what I want to do for the next 40 years of my life.' That just seemed really daunting to me.


My husband had taken a job and started traveling for work, so I started brainstorming like how can I use my skills but also be flexible so that I can travel with him. So, that's kind of when I started searching and that's when I landed on Morgan's stuff. I kind of just dove into all of the content she offered, I listed to her podcast when I drove on my commute to work, downloaded her eBook, watched her YouTube videos, so by the time I met with you [Morgan], I felt like I really knew you, which was awesome. I felt the sense that 'okay this person, even though you're a complete stranger, I feel like you genuinely care about us, the ones you work with and you want us to succeed.'


I was super excited, thinking that I'm going to start my own business, it's going to be virtual so I can travel with my husband. I had a non-compete, which most PTs are probably pretty aware of what that is, but essentially I just couldn't practice as a physical therapist for a certain amount of time within a certain mileage of radius. So I decided I was going to start a women's wellness coaching business. You know, my main interest at the time was the prenatal, pregnancy, and postpartum populations. So I was like, okay let's develop some type of course or buyable package for this population that hits of dimensions of wellness.


Low and behold, my company said 'you can't do that' and I just remember being on a coaching call with Morgan and being at the lowest of the lows and just ugly crying in front of you. I felt so back because you barely knew me and I'm just bawling on this call.


If I've learned anything throughout this process, it's being open to whatever opportunities came my way. It was so humbling but yet was also so exciting you know. It just so happened that Morgan needed help because of all the different things she was doing and essentially she was like 'you're kind of good at creating things content wise and you're kind of okay with graphic design, do you want to help?' And I was like 'yeah, sure!'


I think through all of this I found an unidentified passion that I had had some experience with before but had never really like pursued. Something I remember being told in high school was 'don't go to school for journalism, you won't make any money, don't go to school for this and that and marketing or communications, that's just not a good major, you won't make any money.' That's just totally not true. I think some of my background and then learning the valuable lessons of like how to run a business and how to launch a business and market your business has really just kind of led me to where I am today.


Morgan: Your story is your story and it matters, you know, you wouldn't be where you are today without going through everything that you did in order to get here. It's just super powerful because I think it really shows other people, who are maybe dealing with what you and I have dealt with in the past, that there's a way to make something else of your life. Whether it be starting your own practice or getting into digital marketing for other businesses or you complete change career paths.


I probably still kind of low-key struggle with like the identity of being a staff physical therapist. It's so engrained into you that it can be really hard to kind of part with that. But I guess one pice of advice for our listeners is that just know that it's okay for you to change your career, it's okay if you stop working altogether, as long as you have some kind of plan. Your identity is not 'physical therapist.'


Taylor: I wouldn't change any of it, I mean, I know it was rough there for a little bit but I think that I learned a lot through that trial. I've always felt the same way, like I am a PT, that's what I do, that's who I am, and the farther I'm getting away from that, the easier it is to be like okay that's a skill that I have and one that I will always have in my back pocket if I ever need to go work somewhere or if I'm just missing it. I can go do it if I want to and that's. so freeing because it's no longer like I have to do this and nobody's telling me that I can or can't, which that's very empowering as well.


Morgan: So we went from being an outpatient physical therapist, which I'm also familiar with, to doing home health, hospital-based outpatient, some inpatient, into wanting to start your own practice and wanting to do women's health coaching to now doing digital marketing. That resonates with me a lot, I want to use your story and my story as an example of like if you start your business, it might not be your first version that's the thing you stick with for the long term. More than likely you're going to go through a few iterations of something before you get really comfortable and confident in what it is that you're doing and that's okay. I think for me, I was doing home health and didn't really like it and then I thought about leaving the profession altogether and was going to do wellness coaching and then may productivity or finance coaching, and then I ended up starting my own practice. Which it was in a gym, then it was online, then it was mobile, the it was back at the gym, and then it was at my house. I went from that and then went into business coaching, which I'm still doing, and then went into digital marketing, also still doing. I have tried so many different things before I got to where I am now and I'm sure a year from now or five years form now, it won't look the same. I think that sometimes that's a fear, that you have to pick the right thing the first thing around, but guess what, you probably won't so we can't be afraid of that.


What can digital marketing entail?


Taylor: Well, way too many things, we might not have time for it all. But I would say my biggest interest right now is definitely content marketing and that can be anything from long form, short form, written, video, audio, social media, email marketing content. That's kind of where I'm at as far as what I've found where I really enjoy doing it, like consistently all the time. Then there's website building, website rebuilding, rebranding, search engine optimization for all of it. Essentially the whole point of digital marketing is to market your practice so that you generate leads by showing your audience who you are so that they can trust you and they're more willing to work with you. But of course, there's so much more.


What do you find that you like specifically about content marketing?


Taylor: I like how we do it, or maybe how you've taught me to do it and then I implement it for other. It is kind of concrete in a sense, it's not so abstract, it's a bunch of creativity and brainstorming and ideas but no so overwhelming. It's like you have a starting point but you also have an ending point and then being able to teach people is actually not that challenging.


Another misconception is that content marketing can be way too challenging when it's really not. I did my first website build for a speech therapist out of Rockwall, Texas, and you know I think it was just so fun to take somebody else's vision and then put it on to [digital] paper. I just really let my creative side flow, there's obviously technical pieces to the website building, but like the design itself is what gives me the most satisfaction out of everything that kind of relates to content marketing. It's a little bit therapeutic to be able to just let your creative side just kind of flow and see what comes out.


Morgan: Yeah and like Taylor said, there's a huge misconception because like I used to think the same thing about making content, like how am I going to make a million different Instagram posts every single day for forever. You could do content like that where you make a new piece for every platform for every day, there are plenty of people who do, but then like the approach we have, which I've dubbed the Waterfall Content Marketing Method, it's so much simpler and it goes so much further and the content lives a lot longer too.


Do you have any suggestions for practice owners just getting started with content marketing, like the top three tips?


Taylor: Maybe number one is pick your top two or three things that you actually enjoy doing, whether it's blog writing or social media or writing emails. And then just like sticking with it and not worrying about doing all the things because I think that's also sometimes a frustration because there's so many things you could do, but if you just be consistent with a couple things you're going to get a lot better results than if you're inconsistent with many different platforms.


My second piece of advice would be don't be afraid to get in front of the camera. For most people I feel like that's not a super comfy thing for them to do at first. But, nobody cares what you look like and nobody's judging you. Getting in front of the camera is going to really help elevate the amount of personality of your Instagram profile or whatever platform you're on. When people feel like they know you, they're definitely more likely to be interested in your stuff or buy your services. It takes some courage, it takes some bravery but it's worth it.


Lastly, don't make things too complicated. Don't get tied up into what you should create your content about. I think the biggest thing is figuring out something that you feel like is valuable to your audience and then sticking with it. Using that one topic to create two to three weeks worth of content. This comes back to what you were talking about with the content waterfall method. I've been told by other physical therapists that do all of their digital marketing and are doing different content topics all of the time, and they're saying they feel burned out. They know it's not sustainable but they continue to do it because they feel like they have to. I just think that's too much work, work smarter not harder people.


Morgan: Right, because especially if you are a practice owner and you also have a full caseload of patients, you have to be your own marketing team unless at some point you decide to hire people. But for the time being you're doing the marketing yourself so you have to do it in a way where you can also still treat patients and not complete lost yourself to just working all of the time because a lot of us, that's why we left the clinic or hospital in the first place.


To learn more about why every PT should be doing content marketing, click here.


How often should someone be posting on their content platforms?


Taylor: I feel like if you're picking you two platforms to be on, if you're posting at least once a week on each of them, I thing that's going to be sufficient to let you're audience know you're still alive and still doing the thing that you're trying to tell them you're doing. It's not so overwhelming, and some people might say different, but I feel like if you're on those platforms at least once a week you're going to still have that consistent following.


Morgan: Yeah, for sure. It can never be like I post something this month and then once in December. My baseline things I would side, and I'm not an expert on all platforms, but from the research I've done and the course I've taken, what I've learned is if you are going to post on YouTube best practice is at least every week, same thing with blog post or podcast. So at least once a week with your long form stuff and then for short form, Instagram in particular some we're looking at a minimum of three to four posts a week, some people report better results if they post every day. Same thing with Tik Tok. I think it would take a little bit more research, but email bounces back and forth between once a week and every other week. I think staying consistent with every other week has worked out pretty well for us. Those are some of my thoughts but everybody's different and you also always have to pay attention to your audience and what they're responding to. Look at how they're reacting, take a look at your data to help you make a more informed decision with marketing moving forward.


What’s been your experience with pelvic floor and women’s health? Do you have suggestions for people that are in that specialty or wanting to get in to it?


Taylor: My interest in pelvic started more like over a year ago. I took a Hermann & Wallace course and have spent time watching tons of YouTube videos and Instagram reels. It's such an underserved population or underserved niche that like if somebody is interested in getting into it, it's kind of like booming so it's probable a really good time. The amount of benefit that us as providers can help this population, there's so much that we can do just by giving them lifestyle modifications that they can try on their own. That goes so much farther than I ever thought it would. Being in clinical practice and providing somebody with a bladder diary or reducing the amount of cups of coffee they drink, like little things like that can go such a long ways.


If somebody's thinking about starting their own practice, I think it's a great time to just go all in because it's growing. I would say it's still in its early phase of growth.


Morgan: Absolutely, that's what I've seen too. It's one of best areas to get into because it's a population that really need help and education and just like creating awareness around the fact that these are common issues but they're not normal and that there is help for people struggling with pelvic floor issues. Strictly from a marketing standpoint, it's a perfect example of a niche because it is a specific problem and solution.


What advice do you have for someone thinking about making the leap into business ownership?


Taylor: I think that definitely depends on the person's situation, but when you're trying to figure out what is going to work best for you, obviously don't just quit your job and become homeless. But also take into consideration how serious you are about meeting your goals and diving into something. You know, sometimes, the longer you are prolonging your career in corporate healthcare, it's taking away from you personal goals as a business owner. Like there's no set timeframe on when it right for you to quit your job, I think it comes down to what you can stomach financially and still be able to eat and live, but also don't be so scare of making that leap because you're worried about not having stability. I'm going to guess that most entrepreneurs don't have this giant $50,000 savings account whenever they decided to take the leap.


Morgan: I like the points that you brought up. But if there's something inside of you where you have to do this because if not you're going to go insane or because your mental health has tanked, your life is worth a lot more than staying in the clinic. When I left my clinic, I had $500 in my savings account and I just thought I can't do this, I can't cry at lunch in the break room for another day. So I lined up a home health job and started working on my business.


My friend Jeff, who was on the podcast a while ago, suggested that say your ideal caseload without your full time job is 10 people. You are going to put in your notice somewhere between having 50-75% of that caseload. I think the way that he phrased it was you need to leave at 25% or more before you're ready because you're going to hit an energy threshold that is going to make it impossible for you to keep growing. That's just because you're only one human, one person. So for people looking for objective information, that's potentially a little bit more objective but all still have to consider the mindset part of it too.


To learn more about how to know if you're ready to start your own practice, click here.


What is your favorite thing about running a business and your least favorite thing?


Taylor: My favorite thing I would say is with just getting started full time I don't know what my threshold is and it's kind of an exciting thing because there's really no end in sight at this point. I think my favorite thing about being a business owner is you can work as much or as little as you want and there's not threshold to the amount of money you can make and there's no limit on what I can actually do with my business. It's kind of empowering and free, I can do whatever I want whenever I want, which is awesome.


I would say my least favorite thing, and I'm getting better, is reading. You've been recommending Book Yourself Solid to me for months. You can ask my husband, I hate to read, it's not just this specific book. So last week I finally got it and sat down and started reading. I think there's so much power in reading and gaining knowledge and that's something as a business owner I'm personally working on because there's so many great resources out there and being able to absorb them.


Morgan: I know some people love it, some people hate it, some people are in between. There's just so much good information in books. I love books that also present information in a step by step model rather than just all at you.


What do you feel has been your biggest challenge over the past year and how did you overcome it?


Taylor: That's a really good questions. I would say my biggest challenge, especially after I finished my internship with you and filed business paperwork in February of this past year, I think it was like first letting go of that PT identity, that was number one. Then two, working on not doubting myself in my path and my goals. Regardless of where you're at in you stage of business, it is a scary thing to be complete standalone in supporting yourself. But I think constantly reminding myself that I can do this and it's going to be okay and at the end of the day I'm going to get up every morning and put effort into something and if it's not meant to be then I'll go a different route. I think just like you were talking about mindset, it is a huge part of being a business owner and I would say that more often than not I'm make mistakes or I'm learning new things that I've never done before. It's never that concrete feeling of what it felt like to do a PT eval and know what's wrong with them in 15 minutes of talking to them. That's not how it works when you're an entrepreneur, there's too much information for you to learn, too many strategies for you to try to implement to be constantly and consistently comfortable. So yeah, kind of shifting my mindset to being okay with not knowing what I'm doing has been a huge benefit.


Morgan: It's almost like taking you back tot he days of you first internship and your CI has you do an eval. You're like, I heard about these, but I didn't think I would actually have to do one. I think that's a really good point, we always talk about the learning is never done, the growing is never done, so just like being okay with that and making you peace with that. Which can be hard for a lot of us who really like checking things off, so yeah, good stuff Taylor.


Top learn more about the importance of mindset as a business owner, click here.


How to contact Taylor:

*Find her on Facebook

*Find her on Instagram


Listen to this episode on my podcast!

DPT to CEO: The Podcast

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