Meet our Spotlight OT Entrepreneur…Amanda! She is a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant. Amanda has been a COTA for the past 17 years. She has experience working with both pediatrics and geriatrics throughout the majority of her professional career in inpatient rehab and public-school settings. Amanda says, “Fine motor is always on my brain!”
- What led you to pursue Occupational Therapy as a career?
My grandmother had a stroke during a time I was still trying to figure out what to do with my life. I took her to her therapy sessions, and she had such a fun time with her OT, I found myself thinking, “I could totally do that!”
- What is your favorite thing about being an COTA?
I love seeing the progress our patients make when they really dig deep and work hard. There is no doubt in my mind God made me for occupational therapy because He gave me big and cheerful personality. I know that most patients don’t WANT to be in our hospital. They are often forced into our world, but I want to make sure it the best experience as possible. I used to tell them, “I’m either your biggest cheerleader or nag. It all depends on how you view me because I’m coming for you for therapy no matter what!”
- What settings and populations do you have experience working with?
I’ve worked with peds in a public school district and adults in inpatient rehabilitation.
- What sparked your idea to start a side hustle?
Patients in IPR have 3 hours of therapy a day and while that sounds like a lot of therapy it leaves A LOT of downtime. I would leave “homework kits” for many of my patients to work on fine motor and cognitive tasks during their downtime in their room. Families would often ask where they could purchase something similar to work on at home after discharge. There was no go-to product to refer them to, so I created one.
- Explain what your business is for those that don’t know!
Therapy Busy Boxes are therapeutic toolkits filled with over 50 activities and exercises used to improve fine motor coordination and hand strength. It comes with a printed instruction manual that guides the user through each of the activities found within the Box while also pointing out therapeutic tips a therapist may give.
- How long have you been in business?
- What is one long term goal you have for your business?
My dream is for Therapy Busy Box to be the go-to product therapists, teachers, and family members think of when attempting to help a patient/student/loved one improve their fine motor function.
- What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?
I would have to say wearing ALL the hats. Marketing, product development, purchasing, shipping, bookkeeping, inventory, etc. It can be a lot some days.
9.What is the most rewarding thing about running your own business? Knowing that people see the value in the product when they purchase it as a gift for a loved one or when a customer messages me and thanks me for having this type of product.
10. What does a typical week look like for you?
I still work part-time at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital 3 days a week then work on my side business each of the others. Some days are 10 hours, others may be 3. I’m still figuring things out, so I don’t have a set workflow quite yet.
- What advice do you have for Occupational Therapy Students or New Grads?
- If you’re wanting to work with geriatrics or the adult population at all, PLEASE spend some time in inpatient rehab! The value of the fast pace and numerous diagnoses you’ll see will reply help you gain a great deal of knowledge and experience.
- You THINK you’re an OT or OTA going into the field but that’s not all. You’re also a salesperson. One of your hardest jobs will be to sell the idea that therapy will help that patient feel and do better IF they participate with you. You’ve got to convince someone who doesn’t feel good, is in pain, may be depressed, and quite frankly at times, just doesn’t want to participate that working with you WILL make them feel and move better overall.
- Please remember you have chosen a profession that allows you to be with people during some of their darkest days. YOU can be the ONE positive in their day. Be kind. Be patient. And ALWAYS treat your patients as though they are your family member because someday that patient could be you, your husband, daughter, brother, or mom.
Connect with Amanda!