Most massage therapists will eventually start their own business or some even start it right out of massage school. Starting a massage business takes more than most people think. If you are planning on starting a massage business in 2014 or anytime soon well start doing some planning first!
- Do you have enough in savings to live on for a year? That is usually what it takes to get things going enough to make a living. You can also start it really with little to no money in the bank if you are ready to go all out and do whatever it takes to make it work. I started right out of massage school, but back then (1989) there were not any jobs in massage. Even if you plan on starting on a shoestring, it can help to have enough savings to back you up!
- Do you know how to start and run a business? Do you have previous experience in business/marketing? Most massage therapists will be doing all of the work – the bookkeeping, the paperwork and all of the massage. Most will want to just be doing the massage but it takes having clients come in the door to do the massage. Because massage therapists work in the business, they often don’t want to or forget to work ON the business. When YOU are the business, it is often difficult to separate yourself FROM the business. Can you make the difficult decisions like to stop taking clients that cost you more money to work on? Those clients are the ones that don’t show up or who are often late or things like that. Can you make the difficult decision to hire someone to do your website or put the time into learning how to do it yourself? Can you set goals and work to make them happen – X amount of clients by Feb. 1st. X amount of clients this year.
- Do you have a unique massage technique or a niche? Having a specific population or specialized technique can help set you apart from everyone else. There are many massage therapists out there also doing massage. What is it that will make people want to come to YOU? Figure this out and figure out how to get the word out to potential clients.
- Are you ready to do what it takes? Do you know what it takes? It takes having much more than massage skills and it takes having more than just passion. The “Do What you Love and the Money will Follow” concept just doesn’t work. It should be Do What you Love, Have a business Plan, Have a Marketing Plan, learn to set boundaries, Learn to charge what you are worth, Learn business and marketing and the Money will Follow!
- Are you ready to do what it takes to get clients? Set up an optimized website. Follow up with clients after their sessions. Learn to rebook clients for regular weekly massage. Learn to build a referral network from your current clients, from other businesses, from doctors and from the community you live in. Are you willing to come into the office everyday even when you don’t have clients and do something to reach out and get a client in the door?
- Get the Support You Need! Find a Peer Support Group in Your area or Start one!
- Read and Learn everything you can about starting and running a business. You can start with this website of course! There are also many books that can help you!
Fill Your Massage Practice 101
Eric Brown’s Fill Your Practice Online Program is now in a Kindle Book! Eric is one of the real leaders in the profession and has been around online for many years. His Fill your Massage Practice 101 is full of great ideas that are easy to do. The thing is though that you have to do them!
One Year to a Successful Massage Therapy Practice (LWW In Touch Series) Laura Allen’s wonderful book with a plan for the whole year! Follow this and you can’t go wrong! Again – Just do it!
Business Mastery : A Guide for Creating a Fulfilling, Thriving Business and Keeping It Successful Cherie Sohnen-Moe has been a leader in the profession for many, many years. This book has been one of the basic requirements in massage school since it’s first edition (1989?). You will also want to visit her website for a great resource of free forms and also sign up for her weekly email blast, Marketing Mastery, on things to do to build your business.
A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Business (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series) This is Laura Allen’s book on business concepts and business basics that will help you get started in really understanding that massage is also a business.
Marketing Massage: From First Job to Dream Practice Monica Roseberry’s second edition on just what it takes to market your massage business.
Websites for Massage Therapists – Most everything today will center around your website. You can get most of your clients with an optimized and content rich website so you can focus on what you do best – doing massage!
Insurance Billing 101 for Massage Therapists (my book!) – Are you ready to add insurance billing to your business? In most states you can bill insurance for a car accident or for a work related injury. Some health insurance companies in some states are starting to willingly pay for massage.
Ready? Set? GO!