One of the questions I get asked most often by massage therapists is “How do I start a massage therapy business?“. I can empathize with this question as it’s one of the questions I had when deciding to go into self employment. The school I went to educated us with some basic information such as, creating business cards, creating brochures, creating an outline or vision for what we wanted our business to look like. But honestly (and I don’t mean to be rude here, just realistic) teaching people how to create business cards and brochures doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on the steps you need to take when starting a massage therapy business.
I was so confused and lost when I started my business that I spent an entire year frustrated, scared, client-less (is that a word?) and seriously discouraged. You see, I took the advice of my massage school and did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I even found a great location in a women’s fitness club. The woman that owned the club was wonderful and advised me that she would book me with clients regularly. While she did her best to follow through on her promise, it wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t making more than a few hundred dollars a month. Not exactly the kind of living I expected when going into business for myself.
When I look back on the time I spent at the fitness club, I realize that I hadn’t yet shifted my mindset from employee to employer. I was expecting her to find me clients, instead of going out and finding my own clients. I wasn’t taking accountability for my own business and actions. I was blaming others for my lack of success. I was sitting back and virtually doing nothing to build my business and I didn’t even realize it.
Thinking it was the owners fault, I professionally ended my relationship at the fitness club and found another location to start my massage therapy business…a chiropractic clinic. I am sure you can imagine my disappointment when after a few months at the chiropractic clinic I was faced with the same problem. A few clients here and there. My massage table was lonely and cold, and I was discouraged and frustrated yet again!
This time though something shifted in me. A light bulb went off in my head. I realized that if I was going to be successful and make this happen, I had to take accountability for my own business. Like I said earlier, I was thinking like an employee, not like an employer. But in my defense, I had never learned to think differently. Nobody had ever taught me the basic fundamentals of business ownership. In this case, what I didn’t know was really hurting me. I began studying entrepreneurship and how to market a massage therapy business, and within 6 months I was consistently busy. Within a year I was consistently booked solid, and 2 years after that I opened my own business location. I don’t say this to brag about myself, only to encourage and motivate you towards the exact same success. It is possible!
While there is no overnight magic method to starting a massage therapy business, there are certain steps and actions to take that will allow you to position yourself so that you are attracting clients into your business. Below are just a few of those steps:
1.) Shifting Your Mindset
This begins with thinking like an employer. Taking responsibility for your own success will ensure that you will be successful. You can’t expect anybody else to bring you clients. You have to be willing to do all of the work. I promise you that if you master this first step, the rest will fall into place.
2.) Specialize In Solving Problems For People
Ask yourself what type of problems are you here to solve or help people with. Build your business around your talents and skills as a massage therapist that specializes in this. When I started I noticed a huge demand for people in pain. Instead of marketing myself as a massage therapist and expecting people to come running to get a massage from me (because this doesn’t happen), I marketed myself as specializing in pain management. People want to do business with specialists, not generalists.
3.) Guarantee Your Massage Therapy Sessions
I know many massage therapists are afraid of this. I was too! But I promise you that this is one of the most powerful forms of marketing that you can do in your business. There are so many massage therapists to choose from today. How are you going to set yourself apart from everyone else? Massage therapy is an intimate and vulnerable choice for many people. Providing a risk free offer to those in your community will no doubt attract clients into your business. While you can’t please everyone, you will end up giving a few free massages here and there. But the amount of people you end up attracting into your business will more than make up for the free massages. State something basic in your marketing such as “Satisfaction Guarantee” or “If you are not satisfied, you don’t pay”. Don’t make it too elaborate or confusing. Straight and to the point is best.
4.) Networking With Businesses In Your Community
If you are going to be successful you must leverage the relationships that others businesses have with their customers. Each and every business has built trusted relationships with their customer base. You will do the same with your clients once the ball gets rolling. Take time to get to know everyone in your community. Create joint ventures to attract new clients into your business. Joint ventures are extremely powerful when building a business. It’s basically free advertising. And because the other business has already built trusting relationships with their customers, they will automatically feel more trust with you when booking an appointment. Don’t overlook this powerful method of marketing your business. It’s the #1 reason I am so successful in my business.
5.) Location, Location, Location
Location is crucial when starting your massage therapy business. And I’m not just talking about the actual geographical location of where you provide your massage. Geographical location is very important, but the details that surround the location are far more important and must be taken into consideration.
As massage therapists we many times will rent a room within another business. This can be a great way to begin building a business at an affordable rate. But please don’t set up shop just anywhere. Make sure the business you are working within is first and foremost clean. One of the first things clients notice is cleanliness. Clients will not come back if your business is not clean. This is simple & preventable.
Also, does the location you are considering have good energy? When you walk in do you feel comforted and healthy? This is another thing that can make or break whether or not clients will come back to see you. Not everyone realizes that we are susceptible to energies, good and bad. Clients will just flat out not come back again if the location doesn’t make them feel good. Make sure the energy of the space if comforting, healing, calming and loving.
And last but not least, is the location cluttered? Cluttered spaces can cause people stress without them even realizing. Do your best to choose a business location that doesn’t have a bunch of random, clutter laying around. Simple and clutter free goes a long way when starting a massage therapy business.
So what is the secret?
I want you to realize that taking accountability for your own success is the key component in being successful. I can’t emphasize this enough. I think we can all agree that there is no magic formula to building any type of successful business. But studying others, spending time with successful people, educating yourself and pushing outside of your comfort zones are all important steps in working for yourself.
Have you watched my free training yet? Make sure you sign up for “Secrets To A Successful Massage Therapy Business”. This training is over an hour of valuable, honest, open content that I have put together for you to help you get started now. Everything within the training is exactly what I implemented to create my own successful business. There are also tons of extra’s that I have watched other successful massage therapists implement as well.
You are completely capable of owning your own business and being a successful massage therapist. You can absolutely make a great living at this. Make sure you continue to take the steps necessary to get there. Keep pushing forward and it will happen for you.
To your success,