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What is your full name and title at your current job?
Sarah Edlin. I’m working as an OT while I’m growing my financial coaching business!
Where are you located?
Where did you go to OT school, and what year did you graduate?
I went to Temple University and graduated in 2016.
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
I worked as a travel OT for 3 years: 10 contracts, 6 states. I worked in HH, OP, SNF, acute care, inpatient rehab, and peds.
Being a travel OT was AMAZING! I absolutely loved it, and I stopped because I realized I loved Reno/Tahoe even more than traveling. So, I made a permanent move here in November 2019!
But, I took two more travel contracts in 2021 to expedite paying off my student loans.
At what point did you realize you wanted to do something non-clinical with your background, and why?
I think a part of me had always known I wouldn’t be able to work as an OT for 30+ years, and that feeling became solidified when I got so burnt out from COVID that I almost quit healthcare.
Even within my first year of work as an OT, I was always trying to figure out a path out of clinical work. I tried two different MLMs and looked into other career paths, other industries, and non-clinical OT roles. I kept getting stuck at the subsequent pay cuts, which I couldn’t afford because of my very high (refinanced) student loan payments.
And then I found my love for personal finance, and I decided to start my own financial coaching business! That was a big game changer. I am building this business while still working as an OT, I don’t have to worry about pay cuts, and, if I want, I can smoothly transition out of OT as my business grows.
What are you doing these days?
I’m now working PRN at a hospital. I’m giving myself some time to decide if I want to transition into a W2 non clinical role or work on building my financial coaching business enough to replace my PRN income.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it does have many upsides!
How long have you been in your current role?
I started taking clients in April of 2021.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
To be a financial coach, you don’t need credentials. However, there is a certification I will be going for, and I plan on using profits from the business to pay for it.
In the meantime, my lower rates reflect the fact that I don’t have financial coaching credentials at this time.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
Getting my own personal finances in order was so incredibly life changing. A weight I didn’t even know I was carrying was lifted.
I feel more empowered as an employee, I feel that I have more choices/options in life, and I feel like I can move through life in a place of strength now, not a place of fear or stress.
I want my healthcare provider peers to feel this same way. Burnout is so high in our respective fields, and so many of us feel so trapped in our jobs/careers. But, we also make a solid income, and it doesn’t have to be that way!
I want to help my peers get their personal finances in order so they too can move through life more freely, more empowered, and with more choices. After all, patient care suffers when we are burnt out and exhausted.
What is your business, and what types of products or services do you offer?
I currently only offer 1:1 financial coaching services. However, depending on interest, I may develop a Financial Fundamentals online course for those who don’t want 1:1 coaching, and I’m also working on creating some group coaching packages.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
My friends and family have been so incredibly supportive!
They know how burnt out I was during COVID, and weren’t at all surprised when I started considering other non OT jobs.
What’s a typical day or week like for you as a financial coach?
It is a little hard to answer this question. Because my business is so new, the tasks that fill my time change pretty rapidly!
Before launch, I was focusing on creating my website, developing my financial coaching program, working with beta clients, and learning about how to build and then run a business.
Post-launch, I’ve been spending time on marketing, continuing to learn business fundamentals, and outlining ideas for where I want my business to grow. And, because I’ve started gaining clients, some of those tasks have to slow down so I can allocate time towards working with my clients.
Time is a finite thing, and I want my journey of building this business to be sustainable.
What are some of the challenges and rewards of being a financial coach?
As a new business owner, I have to wear so many hats. I need to wear a business finance hat, a website developer hat, a marketing hat, a social media hat, and of course, a financial coaching hat (my favorite). My marketing and Instagram hats are the hardest. And to be honest, I haven’t been keeping up with Instagram–social media is not a strength of mine.
How do you think working as an OT prepared you for being a financial coach? Which skills transferred?
I was honestly shocked at the skill transfer to this role. Just as we establish POCs for our patients, I feel like that’s what I do with my financial coaching clients. Personal finance is personal, and while the fundamental tools are the same, everyone’s needs are different.
I think what’s helping me become such a successful financial coach are the soft skills I’ve learned as an OT:
- Flexible thinking
- Ability to see the bigger picture
- Ability to create and modify POCs to match clients’ needs
- Insight to read between the lines and meet the spoken and unspoken needs of each client
Roughly speaking, how are the hours and pay compared to patient care?
The pay rate is significantly better than that of an OT. Right now, I’m charging on the lower end of industry norms since I’m new and don’t yet have financial coaching credentials, and even that is nearly double the pay rate of my PRN job!
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
Someone who is:
- Passionate about personal finance
- Is a life long learner
- A good listener
- A flexible thinker
- Able to easily establish trust/rapport with patients/clients
Do you work remotely or on-site?
Remotely! I could rent out an office space if I wanted to, but I love the flexibility that comes with working remotely.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles?
I’m not hiring any staff at this time. In the future I may be hiring a bookkeeper, and someone to help with marketing and social media.
Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?
Yes! I’ve listened to an insane amount podcasts in a short amount of time, and I have read many books on personal finance covering a variety of topics, including basic steps to getting started, money mindset, and investing!
There really are a plethora of resources out there. However, personal finance can be so laden with negative emotions, it can feel so overwhelming, and it can cause so much anxiety.
What is a typical career path for a financial coach?
You can turn financial coaching into whatever you want it to be! 1:1 coaching, group coaching, classes (in person or online), teaching other financial coaches how to succeed in this industry–whatever floats your boat!
You can keep it small with just yourself, or you can grow and hire more financial coaches. There are many options here, and I’m not sure that there is just one “typical” path.
What would you recommend to someone who is considering a career as a financial coach?
A passion for personal finance and helping others is a must. To be successful as a financial coach, however, you also need to be empathetic and understanding, a cheerleader when needed, a good listener, and a flexible thinker so you can set up plans for your clients that meet their specific needs and sets them up for success.
If you could give yourself one piece of career advice you wish you had during your OT school program, what would it be?
I’ve thought about this a lot, especially now that I’m growing a business. I’m honestly not sure if I would have changed anything, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without the “mistakes” I made in the past.
Mistakes including, but not limited to, the amount of student loans I took out during grad school, learning the hard way to split monthly payments into weekly payments to reduce interest accrual, and jumping into grad school without looking into average income as an OT relative to the cost of OT schooling.
If you could teach anything to today’s graduate students in your profession, what would it be?
Figure out what you want out of your PT/OT/SLP career–do you want to be the most researched/up-to-date clinician? Do you want a healthy work-life balance? What’s your end goal?
Then, pick a setting that matches that goal/desire. Don’t settle for a job and try and force it into whatever your end goal is–that won’t work.
Also, there is absolutely NO shame in transitioning to a non-clinical role fairly soon after graduating. Working in healthcare is hard.
Asking yourself these questions at the start of your career may help slow down possible burnout.
Do you have any special advice for other rehab professionals who want to become a financial coach?
It took me years of trying different things (including MLMs) before I landed on becoming a financial coach for healthcare providers. This new path feels sustainable in a way that becoming a permanent OT never did. And, this is something that I truly feel passionate about.
It’s important to be patient with yourself, be open to opportunity, and be okay with failing. It takes time to figure out what your non-clinical career path will be, and that’s okay!