OT Entrepreneur Spotlight: November 2023

Meet our Spotlight OT Entrepreneur…Jessica! Jessica is an MOT, OTR/L, she has worked in the school system since graduating in 2010. She has experience in nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and in home health, but working in schools is her absolute favorite!

What led you to choose occupational therapy as a career?

I was a dancer my whole life and in high school I tore my hamstring. It led me to meet a really amazing PT, which led me to thinking that was exactly what I was meant to be. I applied for PT school and just knew I would get in. The summer before the program started, they called and said I didn’t get into PT school, but that they had a spot in their OT program if I wanted it. All I had to do was complete some hours shadowing one. So, I called around and got in to shadow a woman who was working in a nursing home, but who also worked with kids. She let me tag along for an afternoon. Needless to say, I fell in love, and I thanked God for opening the exact right window for me. Helping people thrive in their occupations was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea what the profession was until that afternoon, but I was sold, took the spot in the program, and never looked back.

What is your favorite thing about being an OT?

I love how diverse our field is. The idea that you could completely change careers within our field seems limitless. I love that you can drive your career down any path with continued education. I love being a lifelong learner. I personally have no intension of ever switching out of pediatrics, but even within that there are millions of ways to serve and work. I like lots of movement and within my day I am not limited to a desk or a room. I am in different buildings, classrooms, and seeing someone new every half hour. It makes the days fly by all while having fun!

What settings and populations do you have experience working with?

I have worked in schools since graduating in 2010. They are my absolute favorite! I have also worked in nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and in home health. I get to spend each summer serving at the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma. I create and run self-care and life skills camps for all ages as well as offer outpatient OT to them for the summer months. It’s a really fun change of scene from the schools and something I look forward to all year long.

What sparked your idea to start a side hustle?

As a new grad working in the schools, I always wished I had fun themed resources to incorporate with my students. I felt like I was majorly lacking, and all my sessions looked the same. So, I took a course from some SLPs on creating digital products and started selling them on TpT. Then the pandemic hit, and I was desperately missing my students and connection with other people. I have a deep desire for connection and being creative. I usually fulfil that at work with creating engaging sessions or activities for my students and helping teachers thrive in their roll of supporting the students I work with. So, I created an account to connect to other OTs and to share fun therapy ideas. It gave me that creative outlet I was missing while our schools were closed, and my job quickly turned to paperwork. During that time, I dreamed up the EnthusiasticallyOT Card Club.

Explain what your business is for those who don’t know.

EnthusiasticallyOT Card Club and Irresistible Printables are my two main resources. IP is a digital download resource only. It requires some leg work to prep the materials, but it is at a much lower price point. Card Club includes the digital Irresistible Printables but comes completely prepared for you with a storage bag and themed manipulatives. It was dreamed up for the busy OT or COTA, or homeschooling parent that wants ways to address a variety of skills in a fun and cohesive way with these materials. The idea is to be able to print and go do your thing easily without a lot of thinking and prep work.

How long have you been in business?

This is school year 2 for Card Club. I only offer my products August through May. I take the summers off to recharge and plan for the next school year.

What is one long term goal you have for your business?

My long-term goal is to be able to cut back at my day job and still be able to provide my income for my family. I would love more time flexibility to enjoy watching my kids do all the things!

What is the most rewarding thing about owning your business?

I love seeing my products out in the world be enjoyed by others and know it has made more students than just mine love coming to OT!

What does a typical week look like for you?

I work 35 hours a week in the schools, shuttle kids to all the practices and lessons, and work my business after everyone goes to bed usually. Really every week looks different. Some weeks I spend my evenings in the floor prepare to ship the months materials, others in bed with my computer making the resources.

What advice do you have for Occupational therapy students or New Grads?

My best advice is don’t be afraid to go where your heart and your interests lie. Take the classes, gain the knowledge, explore the options, and if there is something you are passionate about find a way to make it happen. Don’t let anyone put you in a box and tell you how to do your job. We have one of the most beautifully diverse skill sets and have so much to offer and each one of us brings something so different to table. My other advice is, it’s never too late to pivot! 🙂

You can find me on Instagram @enthusiasticallyOT or visit my site www.enthusiasticallyOT.com