The non-clinical spotlight series exists to shed light on all of the interesting paths that physical therapy professionals have taken. Today’s spotlight focuses on Joses Ngugi PT, DPT and Casey Coleman, DPT, who started their non-clinical pursuits before they even finished PT school!
What are your names and titles, and where do you work/go to school?
Our names are Joses Ngugi and Casey Coleman. We are both titled as simply the Co-Owners of Pre-PT Grind.
Joses is a new grad physical therapist, currently serving as a full-time outpatient orthopedic physical therapist at Renewal Rehab in Tampa, Florida. He graduated from Andrews University with his DPT in Berrien Springs, MI. in August, 2017.
Casey received his doctorate degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI in August, 2018.
What made you decide to start Pre-PT Grind?
Pre-PT Grind LLC is the product of a Pre-PT Program designed and started in 2013 at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The program, originated by Pre-PT Grind Co-Founder Joses Ngugi, sought to create a student-led mentorship experience that provided future DPT students with the tools and community needed to not only make it to the next phase of their journey, but thrive!
In an attempt to take that course outside of our university and share it to the Pre-PT world in the United States, Casey Coleman suggested that we develop an online version of that very course created 3+ years before. That idea ultimately transitioned into an even larger dream, to establish a platform that did everything in its power to serve the Pre-PT world in every way possible. That’s when the concept of building the brand—and now, the company— “Pre-PT Grind” was born.
On Facebook, we have been able to develop a community page called the Pre-Doctor of Physical Therapy Students page. Standing at roughly 2,200 members, it has allowed us to bring Pre-PT students together from varying parts of the country and world. It has become an excellent platform for them to not only grow and develop on their journey, but also to associate and connect with many others who understand what they are going through.
Can you describe the business a bit – what you do and who you serve?
Pre-PT Grind LLC is a consulting and educational platform that serves future and current DPT school applicants.
Businesses are best when they serve a need or solve a problem. How did you identify your “problem” and set out to solve it?
We identified our problem as students at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. Many students—including ourselves—were lost and even misguided on how to navigate the application process. Through our journey, we realized the application started as early as freshman year and every step along the way either helped or hindered the acceptance into PT school.
Is anyone else involved on your team besides you two?
Yes, we currently have two stellar ladies who have joined our core team.
Molly Knight is a full-time physical therapist at Optimal Performance and Physical Therapy in Tampa, Florida. Chloe Moreno is currently in her second year of PT school at University of South Florida.
Molly Serves as our team’s media director, while Chloe serves as our Creative Writing Director & Interpersonal Network Strategist.
Did you have mentorship when you started your business or did you take classes, etc?
We have been fortunate enough to have several mentors. We are both products of Smart Success PT started by Greg Todd. We also follow Paul Gough, Aaron LeBauer, Ben Fung, Jerry Durham and so many more PTs and business owners in physical therapy.
How have you learned about social media, marketing, generating an audience, etc?
As mentioned before, a majority of our social media, marketing, and most importantly confidence was learned from Greg Todd and his course Smart Success PT. Learning from Greg has been the absolute catalyst to us launching Pre PT Grind. Through Greg Todd’s mentorship is where we were introduced to so many other entrepreneurs and business owners within the profession.
I know you both started PrePT Grind as students. How did you balance your work with your studies?
Balancing a business and school is all about priorities. In short, school has always come first. In order to mentor others and serve our community at the highest level, we realized we must practice what we preach of making school a priority.
After that, it’s honestly a lot of work and a lot of study and not much in between. We realize if we want more for our lives, careers, and professions, our actions must match our aspirations.
Did you practice patient care or go straight into your non-clinical role?
Pre-PT Grind was born before either of us had completed PT school. Therefore, we think it’s fair to say we went straight into our non-clinical roles before we went into patient care.
Do you intend to be purely non-clinical or will you treat patients?
A healthy balance of the two would be great. Both of us entered the PT profession not only because we could change lives through patient care, but because of the vast amount of options within physical therapy.
We realized we could change lives of future therapists, and changing therapists for the better will ultimately advance the profession which will in turn benefit the patient.
What are the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur?
Patience may be one of the biggest challenges. Instant results are tempting, but at the same time nothing happens overnight. Being in the physical therapy profession we tell our patients all the time that it will be a long road to success. However when it comes to taking that message yourself, its much easier said than done.
What are the biggest rewards of entrepreneurship?
Definitely our client wins. Just like patient transformation drives us in clinical care, seeing a student go from lost and scared to having confidence and purpose is truly remarkable.
How do you see the PT profession changing/improving as a result of your non-clinical endeavor?
We truly feel that if we can advance the profession to a new level, the majority of the push for change will come from the new students entering the profession. We feel that if we can influence and develop their mindset from an early stage, there is no limit on where the profession will be even 10 years from now.
What are your plans moving forward? Do you plan to grow the team? Expand to other professions? Offer paid services?
We have big plans moving forward. Our Pre-PT Success Program is launching in January, 2018. This program is an online course that gives pre-physical therapy students absolutely everything they need to know to be successful applicants, PT students, and future physical therapists.
Our course includes over 40 lessons on everything from the proper mindset, student loans and finance guidance, how to prepare for the interview, what to do after being accepted to multiple schools, and so much more. We also provide PTCAS essay and resume review, personal mentorship, and group coaching. We fully equip all of our students with absolutely everything they need to succeed.
Where do you want the profession to be in 10 years, 20 years, etc.?
We feel that our profession will truly be the doctors we set out to be. When the change was made to a clinical doctorate, the vision was to be the primary care provider for our patients. By instilling that vision and confidence in pre physical therapy students, it is only a matter of time before that vision is in full swing throughout the profession.
What is your advice to students or new PTs who already know they have a solid business idea or want to leverage their degrees in non-clinical ways?
Find a mentor and a community of like-minded people. You really are the product of the people you surround yourself with. Everything is so much easier when you have a mentor to who has been there and done that, With a mentor and true winners in your circle you are truly 10-20 steps ahead of where you would’ve been without one.
Thanks for your insight, Joses and Casey!