I have been wanting to share the story of how The Therapist Support Network (TSN) and the recent remodel, I like to call it TSN 2.0, came to be for quite some time now. Having been in the start-up world before, I've been exposed to so many great founder stories--stories of companies founded across the table of a peer, stories of one child's needs inspiring development of a now large company, etc.
The TSN's story isn't quite like that and our initial offerings and pricing looked completely different than the product that we now offer. However, the intent of being a place for provider support fueled the company every step of the way, and I could not be more pleased with how the company has evolved to address that intent.
I founded The TSN (1.0): empowerment, support, and community (which has now changed to materials, support, and community) in 2019 after leaving a corporate teletherapy position. I made the difficult professional decision and came to the reality that being in management and a corporate role was no longer for me, but I knew I wanted to stay active in the therapy community by offering consulting services: enter TSN 1.0.
The initial vision for The Therapist Support Network was consultative in nature. However, through that consulting, I was exposed to pain points in our industry such as:
*the cost of material sourcing which was TYPICALLY an out-of-pocket cost (many providers reported spending over $1,000/year)
*the difficulty in streamlined sourcing of materials for multiple populations, such as pediatric and adult populations
*the difficulty for many therapists to locate another provider to collaborate or connect with outside of social media sites
*the difficulties that managers faced in providing materials to their hired therapists.
I looked into these pain points and decided that I wanted to spearhead the creation of an affordable space to meet the above needs.
The Transition of the Company Mission
Here's the part that is slightly unorthodox--when I first discovered these pain points, I actually spoke to other companies to help build this vision. I knew that the creation of an affordable material center would require a good amount of "boots on the ground work" because outsourcing vector image creation, platform location, etc all would increase the pricing, and I didn't want this to be expensive for providers. Call it imposter syndrome or a shake in confidence, but I was genuinely concerned that I couldn't pull this off. I had done nothing like this before and feared spearheading it alone.
Respectfully, in my discussions with companies, I found that companies didn't want to prioritize funds and team members in hiring someone to build this out, particularly someone whose background is in teletherapy and management.
After months of sitting on this idea, trying to find a company that shared this vision, and battling my insecurities, I decided it was time to act. A dear family relative that is in the graphic design industry made our first round of clipart and supported me as I learned to make these images. I attended webinars and watched tutorials to learn how to make both print and no-print materials. I then took 5 months away from work and built out what is now our ever-evolving material center and website.
The Company Status
I am honored and excited by the members we have obtained since launching our new mission of providing materials, support, and community. I am someone that really respects the seriousness of spending money (a professional way of saying I'm cheap), and so I don't take it lightly when a therapist invests $15.99 in what we have to offer!
The material center is currently at 650 materials, that number growing weekly, and is a combination of adult and pediatric materials--print and no-print. We have options to lease our materials to companies and clinics. We also have a location for collaboration and will be starting optional community-building events this fall. We are growing and evolving with our network members dictating what works and what needs to be expanded on.
Although the Founder's Story behind the TSN is a bit unorthodox, the intention always remained the same: to help support speech and occupational therapists in an affordable way. I'm excited to keep addressing pain points and provide therapists with affordable materials, support, and community.