Tom Russell is the owner and head physiotherapist at Next-Gen Physio, along with his fiancée Carla. Their focus is to stay up to date with the most modern assessment and treatment techniques to assist their patients to recover as quickly as possible.
Following ongoing knee injuries when he was in year 12 at Hunter Sports High, Tom made the decision to focus on his study and helping people enjoy an injury and pain free life. Since this time Tom has under gone a journey from starting his own physiotherapy practice a year after he graduated from the University of Newcastle to growing Next-Gen to a team of 12 staff.
Tom is proud of the fact that he can remember every single one of the patients he has ever treated!
- Tell us about the journey that led you to start your own business.
It is interesting, I think it all started way back growing up in Tamworth in a small country town, relatively small. I was obsessed with sport and just moving in general. I always wanted to be healthy but unfortunately I did have a couple of injuries growing up so I did spend a hell of a lot of time at the physio.
So I suppose I fell into studying physio at the University of Newcastle and I completed my degree, got a really awesome job and then I was just super opportunistic. I had only been working as a physio for a year in the practice and the opportunity came to set up my own practice and I just went for it. I felt like I could do it, so yeah, I just had a crack and did it.
- What was your original mission for your business? And has it changed?
It definitely hasn’t. I mean at the heart of it has always been about raising the standard of physio in Newcastle, and I truly believe in young physios and young health care professionals. I think we are at the forefront of knowledge so when it comes to assessment and treatment we have the newest ideas, the newest techniques, so I was passionate about providing a service that had young physiotherapists involved and young health care professionals involved and I wanted to provide something a little bit different.
We always felt that healthcare in general had been a little bit stale, a bit boring, and we make it fun. So we want to help people so that they can do the things that they love to do injury and pain free and that’s always been the mission and that hasn’t changed for us. I think we like to have a bit of an edge which is what we are really all about.
But something that we did introduce around about a year ago that when we first started the practice I didn’t think that this was something we would do, but we introduced physio to your desk. So we go around to various different businesses in Newcastle and provide a service for them at their desk.
So that original mission that we had, I guess, how we achieved that has definitely changed and we’ve added that extra service to what we provide to our patients.
- Did you always know you want to be an entrepreneur?
To be honest, I didn’t actually know what an entrepreneur was until about a year ago. So honestly, I just work really, really hard. I feel like it is my biggest trait that I have and I am super passionate about what I do, I genuinely love it. Not only being a physio but also educating and building up my own staff and my own business so that we can be the best that we can be.
I’m just me, I’m just myself, this is what I do, I don’t see it as being entrepreneurial or anything like that, I’m just myself and loving doing it, it’s just being you.
- What do you attribute your success to?
Well, I think Next-Gen Physio has always been about me and my fiancée Carla. She has always supported me. This was my dream, my profession, she had a really good job that she was in and I basically took her out of that so she could come and help me live my dream. So I attribute my success to her support for me, that has been absolutely massive. I couldn’t have done it without her, and just that support network it’s massive. Like I said, you need to work hard but if you don’t have that support at home it just makes it very, very difficult.
- What local entrepreneur do you find inspiring?
I really look up to Daniel Casciaroli. He’s one of the owners of Fruit Brothers which is located in Beaumont Street, but it is also a fruit and veg delivery service. It sounds like it is just a fruit and veg delivery service but I really look up to Daniel as he had a job as an electrician and he wasn’t enjoying it. He didn’t like it, it was a very good income, it was stable and most people would just stick with that, possibly for the rest of their life. But he decided that he wanted more, he wanted to do something that was for him, something that he was really passionate about and I just find that so inspiring.
Like anybody who does that, steps outside of their own life and if they’re not happy is willing to change it, and do that themselves, I just find that amazing and really inspirational. Anyone who is like that I look up to.