I recently received an email from a massage student who was currently studying to be a licensed massage therapist. She was thinking ahead and planning how she was going to get started in her new career.
She wondered if she should either work for an established wellness center (and possibly even begin to develop her own clientele “on the side”) or start looking for a location and immediately go out on her own as a self employed professional. She asked for my advice.
I though that there might be others out there reading this who would be interested in the subject, so here’s what I told her…
“The approach you take really depends on how good you are at promoting yourself and running your own business. If you want to go off on your own, there are a lot of benefits, but you will need a good plan in place to market your services. That is where many of the therapist I talk to get stuck.
In addition to business and marketing skills, you will also need some start-up capital, or at least money to live on for the first 3-6 months while you build up your clientele.
If you think that you can really get the word out in your community and have the discipline and motivation to run your own business then go for it. The rewards are super; freedom from someone telling what to do, keep all of the profit for yourself, run your business however YOU want.
But if you are unsure about your basic business skills (or even your massage skills for that matter) then I would recommend that you begin your massage career by working for someone else. Let them take care of getting clients in the door, and you can focus on developing your skills and your “style” as a therapist. That way you will have a lot more confidence if you later decide to go off on your own.
It will also give you some idea of what it takes to run a business, so you can decide if it is something you are cut out for. Many therapists underestimate what it takes to run a successful massage practice and are ultimately happier being employed by someone else.”
And that is what I wrote. But that is just one opinion. And I know there are some experienced therapists out there who read this. So my question to you is….
What would you have told her?