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Exploring Life & Business with Kristin Verhine of Optimal Communication

Hi Kristin, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’ve been a Speech-Language Pathologist since 1998. I have spent most of my career working with children with various speech and language impairments. In 2003, I had the opportunity to move to Japan for a year to teach English. During and after that experience, I realized I would one day like to pursue a career in accent modification. After returning from Japan, my husband and I settled down, bought a house, then a dog. We welcomed our first child into the world in 2005 and our second in 2008. Time marched on and the dream of working with people on their accents seemed like it may never become a reality. The summer of 2018, I decided to complete an online course for accent modification. I completed the training, but did not follow through with anything. I didn’t know how to get started and was afraid that I might fail. In March of 2020, my career changed drastically as I had to learn to treat my students virtually due to school closures (Covid-19). I was forced to learn some teletherapy skills in a short period of time. It was the summer of 2020, with the new technology skills under my belt that I decided (at 47) to bite the bullet and start my own company, specializing in accent modification. With very little money to invest, I started trying to build my own website. I soon realized that I needed help with the process. I hired a company to help build my website and to help me with marketing. I currently have two new clients from China that I have been working with. Sometimes I wonder if I have any business taking on another responsibility because I already have a very busy, full life. I have no regrets and am proud of myself for taking the risk. I am hopeful that my business will grow in time and that I will help many people improve their ability to communicate with whomever they like.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
One of the challenges I didn’t mention previously was not hearing a peep from my website for several months. I’m not naive enough to think the clients would come pouring in immediately, however, after several months of nothing, I started to second guess myself. I started to think I should have researched the market more etc. I started to think maybe I should not have jumped in with two feet. I was filled with self-doubt, but didn’t want to admit that. I would say to myself, “I always would have regretted it, if I didn’t try it…”.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in accent modification. I wanted to set up my business to make the instruction accessible to more people. Most people in my field charge potential clients up front for a package deal (tuition). I didn’t think it was realistic that most people would be able to pay for services up front. I wanted to offer an ability to “pay as you go”. I decided I wanted the experience to be “boutique like” in that it is highly individualized (no group sessions), but also affordable. I want to be my client’s biggest cheerleader when it comes to their communication and confidence communicating for career/social purposes.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Accent Modification is a pretty unique field. I took my training online with a company named Compton. Once you complete the training, you can become a member and can be affiliated with them. I am honestly without a mentor. I have just gotten my foot in the door. I have no experience networking, so am relying on word of mouth at the moment.

Pricing:

  • Screening-FREE
  • Homework materials-$140 (15% discount offered currently)
  • One hour accent modification session-$120 (15% discount offered currently)

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Heidi Bardi-photographer feralphotoworks.com

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