Top 6 Reasons for Being a Self-Employed Massage Therapist

Massage Therapist AlbuquerqueThe Top 6 Reasons for being a self-employed Massage Therapist:

  1. Help people and really make a difference
  2. Choose your schedule
  3. High earnings per hour
  4. Work only on the clients you want to work with
  5. Your choice of environment, colors, music, type of sheets, oils, etc
  6. Concentrate on the style of massage or expertise you like most

Do you agree with these top 6?  What are your favorite things about working as a self-employed Massage Therapist?

The Best Massage Sheets and Their Care

Truly, there is a huge difference in Massage Sheets!  We will finally have the sheets we like for sale on this website!  We use Marigold Magic, a locally owned and operated company with outstanding sheets.

When we say “outstanding” sheets, this is what that means:

This is a "sturdy elastic seam"

This is a “sturdy elastic seam”

  1. they last 1000 washes
  2. they are soft and comfortable
  3. the seams don’t come apart
  4. the elastic is sturdy and stays on the table
  5. the elastic is still “bouncy” after 100’s of washes

There are so many different styles of sheets that massage therapists prefer: colorful, plain white, flannel, silky, all cotton, partly cotton, etc.

I prefer the basic: white flannel sheet set.

A “sheet set” refers to a bottom sheet, a flat top sheet and a head rest cover.  I use a generic pillow case to cover my king sized pillow as the client’s bolster.  I get those on sale when I happen to see them.  Since they are under the blanket, I use many different colors, which makes it easy to find them on sale.

Helping Your Sheets Last Longer

For us, the bottom sheets wear out quicker than the flat sheet or the head rest cover.  This happens more quickly if the sheets are pulled too hard over the corners of the massage table.  Over time, that action on the sheet will tear the middle of the sheet, the “under the back” area, since we slide our hands under the client’s back and the sheets get worn there the most.

To delay this wearing out in this area, be sure to use both ends of the sheet under the client, by the head rest end of the table.  You can keep track by noticing where the sheet label ends up when you are “dressing” your massage table with freshly cleaned sheets, then switch where the label is next time.

After 300+ washes, when the flannel is no longer visible, and the sheets are very soft but there isn’t any visible “Wear” in the “under the back” area, take care to gently roll the sheets over the corners instead of pulling hard.  With this care,  your sheets will last another 300 washes.  I have torn sheets like this and it is heart breaking to hear the “rrrrriiiiippppp” right when you are in a hurry.  It always happens to be my favorite softest sheets that feel like velvet to the touch.  So, remember to move SLOWLY when pulling the sheets over the corners of your massage table. 🙂

Washing, Drying & Folding

To wash the sheets, we use hot water with Oxy Clean powder & a liquid detergent.  We don’t use fabric softener.  I put 3 sets in one wash load, no more.  Not even one more little head rest cover.  With more in the washer, the sheets won’t get clean.

Wash towels and pillow cases separately.

We dry them in normal heat in the drier.  We tried hanging the sheets to dry but they were too rough and not soft enough.  Because we live in New Mexico, mold is never an issue.

One of the best advantages to the White Flannel sheet is they don’t wrinkle very easily.  Even if the sheets have been sitting for a while, they won’t get wrinkly, and they especially stay nice and smooth once they are placed on the massage table.

For me, it’s easiest to fold the sheets the exact same way every time.  This way, I can do it automatically, without really thinking about it.  And in the linen closet, they stack very nicely and I can always tell which stack is the flat or fitted pile by the way the sheets look after being folded.

Making a Good Impression in Your Massage Interview

Make a good first impression

Make a good first impression

So, you would like to work as a Massage Therapist in a certain place you have seen or found to need massage help?  They don’t need a resume, but are requesting an initial interview to see if you are a match.

Great!  Now you can prepare and show your best professionalism. Before you go in for your massage interview, do some research on the company you are interviewing with.  Also, do some brainstorming: do an honest self-assesment, make a list and be clear about  what your needs are:

      • What days can you work?
      • How many massage sessions are you willing to do in one day?
      • How much time between sessions do you need?
      • What type of clients do you/don’t you want to work on?
      • Why do you want to work in this particular place?
      • What are your favorite modalities?
      • What are you strengths & weaknesses?
      • Are you a team player or do you work better alone?
      • Do you want/need to be in charge?

Make your best first impression for your massage interview.  It can be a make or break of getting a job you really want.  Basic interview do’s:

  • Be on time
  • Look professional: smell nice, have good “massage friendly” clothes on
  • Wear shoes
  • Cover your underarms
  • Have your nails clipped and clean
  • Use a friendly greeting, look them in the eye and smile
  • Be yourself
  • Be honest
  • Show good manners
  • Stay positive
  • Have your resume with you or emailed ahead
  • Know their business, do your research, know why you want to work there, express that
  • Sit with good posture with both feet on the ground
  • Breathe

What NOT to do in an interview, especially for a Massage Therapist: (all of these have happened to us in an interview through the years! Shocking!)

  • Show up late
  • Come barefoot
  • Brag
  • Be confrontational
  • Wear revealing clothing, no bra, tank tops, no shoes, flip flops, sandals, or heavy perfume
  • Talk nervously without stopping
  • Show up stoned or drunk
  • Ask simple questions about their business, know ahead of time…why are you interviewing here?
  • Bring others with you to the interview
  • Bring food to eat during the interview
  • Bring pets with you to the interview
  • Tap your fingers or feet
  • Chew gum
  • Say negative statements about the place you are interviewing with

Good luck!

Alaskan Cruise Family Packing List

Alaskan Cruise State Room unpacking

Alaskan Cruise State Room unpacking

What to Pack for Kids & Parents 

Think less is more.  Really.  There isn’t much room, plus it’s just lighter to carry.  We moved from hotel to hotel for a few days before the cruise, and this is especially a time for LESS luggage!

I packed all of our clothes into 1 large suitcase & 3 smaller suitcases which would fit in the plane’s carry-on compartments if needed.  The big suitcase held the winter clothes, hats, etc, while the smaller 3 had all of our clothes. The kids shared a suitcase. Each of us had a backpack.

In the backpacks were extra outfits, swimsuits, kids toys, books, electronics, important papers/passports, & snacks.  This way, in the hotels, we didn’t need to even open the suitcases, and instead live out of the backpacks.  Though this was the way it was supposed to work, we did end up riffling through my daughters suitcase for dinner clothes before the cruise.

The backpacks were helpful when first on the ship because our luggage was not in the rooms until after lunch and we had some things to change into before the luggage arrived.  Once unpacked, I emptied the backpacks and used them to carry cameras, sunscreen and water on the shore excursions.

In the suite, there are 3 large drawers for each person, plus 4 hanging closet spaces, under the bed storage & other cubbies around the room.  In the suite, full laundry service is provided!! (Awesome!) So, you’ll be able to recycle some clothes several times. Also, we had the types of suitcases that can fit into one another, so after I unpacked, I was able to fit them all together and store them under the bed.

Our suggested packing list:

  • Power strip & extension cord: we used this immediately; there are only a few outlets, so if you have a phone, computer and other things to plug in, a power strip will be helpful
  • Comfy clothes.. for me this means t-shirts, sweats, yoga pants, slacks…I never wore my jeans or shorts
  • Comfy shoes.. for me this means tennis/running shoes, flip-flops, sandals (I wish I had brought my uggs!! they would have been perfect for around the boat or on the verandah!)
  • PJ’s & slippers (I missed having my slippers!) robes are provided in the room
  • Lounge around the pool clothes… don’t mind getting them wet, play ping-pong, play large chess, but there are several people out, so not looking too casual in PJs or yoga pants. 🙂
  • Swim suit & cover up with pool sandals or flip flops
  • Workout clothes for those who workout (kids have to be 16 to be in the gym)
  • 2 Formal outfits: I brought 2 dresses for me/daughter, easily packed (I twisted them, then hung up immediately…worked great) a nice black heel sandal. For my son I brought  1 nice button down shirt with a tie, 2 dress sweaters and a vest with black pants/shoes.  He wore the sweaters alone on the “smart” nights, and the button down/tie on formal nights.
  • 5 smart dinner shirts/blouses for Mom/daughter: I brought black slacks, floral & blue slacks, then 5 shirts, all worn with the black heels. Several of the shirts I doubled to use for dinner out in Vancouver & Seattle, at the pool for the days on the ship, and for the High Teas several times.  My daughter loved this option and liked to “dress up” the simpler shirts with scarves/jewelry. I wore my black scarf 3 nights to dinner because it was chilly in the dinning room.
  • Sweatshirts, hoodies or sweaters: this was worn each day…it’s chilly…I brought a thick sweatshirt for each family member, except my son, and we bought his at one of the ports for $19. The sweatshirt option is especially nice when you are on the verandah or on deck for longer periods of time.
  • Rain/winter coats.  We brought the thicker rain coats which we could also wear skiing, to give you an idea of the thickness.  We wore these at Glacier Bay, sitting out on our verandah for hours at a time and whale watching
  • Hats, gloves, scarves:  We wore these a few times and were glad we brought them.  I run cold, so do my kids.  My hubby runs hot, so he didn’t wear his.  Though, he did wear his rain jacket on the verandah.
  • For each shore excursion I wore my Lulu yoga pants with tennis shoes, and my kids wore comfy sweats & flip-flops. We didn’t do much walking, so if you are walking, the tennis shoe route is best.

Were we missing anything? Yes, my son’s shoes, which I was hoping to buy along the way, with no luck.  He wore flip-flops the entire trip except for formal nights. 🙂

I brought too many books & journals, so think before packing…these are heavy!

We wore each piece of clothing at least once…except my jeans…which is good to have used what we carried.  Good luck!

Hiring a New Massage Therapist..The Challenges for Both Sides

Find Matching Goals & Agendas for new Employees

Find Matching Goals & Agendas for new Employees

We are in the process of looking for, interviewing & hiring a new massage therapist to join our team.  This process is so much easier said than done.  After interviewing and determining a possible fit, then there are several layers of requirements before they are permanently hired.

The interesting thing about creating a career for another human being, is how specific each career is and how different each human being is.  Each of us is trying to determine whether the other is a good fit.  This is not always quickly established.  That’s why there needs to be clear expectations and “probationary” periods where either side can jump ship without much loss to either party.

Communication is key. But  just because one side feels they have communicated clearly doesn’t always mean that the other side heard/understood what was said.  Each side has their own agenda.  How can one create a way to have those agendas match?

What are the best ways to first determine a person’s integrity, honesty, teamwork & respect for others?  I think these qualities are often assumed to exist in others, or at least HOPED to exist in others. I have learned NOT to assume this after several massage therapists have NOT been honest or respectful or professional.

Unfortunately, this complaint is common with employers of most career types, and they end up having a hard time trusting incoming employees.  So much so that the employees are EXPECTED to lie or cheat, look out only for themselves, do the minimum required of them, etc, etc.  Instead of expecting honesty, the employers prepare for dishonesty.

This is so sad.

One can’t blame the employers.  They are basing their judgements on past experiences.  I am too.  It’s hard to have trust for new employees when others before them have been so dishonest.

On the other hand, the employee could have a pre-conceived idea of how bad an employer will treat them:  The employers will use them, not appreciate them, make oodles of money and not pay them enough for their efforts, etc, etc. So the employee could come into the relationship expecting poor treatment, thus starting out in a resentful, feeling-like-they-need-to-be-sneaky-about their-real-intentions manner leaving each side already unhappy before any work is ever done.

So, how does this dilemma go away?

By finding matching agendas & goals, which can take time.

Employees will be hired and they will do great work, under the scrutiny of a watchful employer.  And eventually the trust is earned.  This is how the dilemma goes away.  With time.

But there will also be those employees who create the bad taste in employer’s mouthes.

I sure wish those type would go away. You make it hard for everyone.  Because of you there are cameras, paper trails, uncertainty, mistrust.  Because of you there are “No Compete Clauses”. Because of you, national chains in many businesses have a running list of employees willing to take 1/3 of the pay because the chain can then afford to be lied to or cheated.

In the end, I trust.  I take another chance that they are telling the truth. I try to state clear expectations.  I try to listen between the lines of what their agenda really is.

In the end, I’m very happy to have an office manager who does this all for me! 🙂

Massage is a Great Career Choice for Moms

There is so much discussion about women and their careers on whether women should be at home with the kids or whether they should

Massage is a Great Career for a Mom

Massage is a Great Career for a Mom

pursue great careers.

The problem is that women simply ROCK.  We can do it all.  Our ability to multitask and organize is amazing.  Plus we can nurture and heal, discover & teach, cook and clean. On and on.  Lately, in the past few decades, we have tried to do it all.  And we CAN do it ALL…we just can’t do it all at the same time.

The last conversation I had with my loving Mother-in-law before she passed away, which I will never forget, as I was playing mental tug-of-war, she said to me, “Ruth, you can do ANYTHING you want….you just can’t do EVERYTHING you want….especially all at the same time.”

It’s such an individual decision to stay home or hammer at work, it seems.  Women are so capable, and for that exact reason, the struggle to find the balance between family and career can be excruciatingly painful.

For me there was no question of whether I wanted kids…I always knew I did, and set up my career around that idea. But it hasn’t always been an easy road.  As I established my business, I wondered if I’d ever meet anyone…because I was working 70+ hours each week, then going home and washing massage sheets.  I was lonely, but I was on a mission to have an established business by the time I got married.

Once established and married and staying at home with the kids, I struggled with the choice of letting my business almost die to stay home, or to stay working long hours to continue the financial success, but let someone else raise my kids.  Sleepless nights I struggled & played tug-of-war in my mind of what is the best for my family.  No one could comfort me.  No one had the right answer.  All the while staying home as my business almost died, but I spent all my time playing with my kids.

It’s funny that “in the moment”, like Rush’s song FREEWILL, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”, I WAS at home loving my kids, laughing, playing, but suffering with the withering of something I had spent so much time creating.  I finally let go and appreciated where I was in life….that this was one of the “have ANYTHING” while a career was part of the “EVERYTHING right now” part of my Mother-in-law’s advice.  She had been through what she was watching me struggle through.

The idea that those who are not in this position can’t understand is the push and pull from both sides.  Each side feels extremely justified in their convictions of YOUR time.  The very beginning of being a Mom is the hardest, especially with an established career:

  • Staying at home is actually MUCH HARDER than working!!
  • At work, I know EXACTLY what I’m doing and what to expect
  • At home, even the best plan rarely starts and ends the way it’s “supposed to”
  • At home, nothing is EVER organized, clean, put away for any amount of time
  • At work, I know where everything is, counters are clean, my mind seems peaceful and clear
  • At work, I am making more money for the family & keeping staff happy
  • At home I am spending money & keeping family happy
  • People at work want you at work and don’t care about those at home
  • People at home want you at home and don’t care about those at work
  • At work I can sit quietly, alone, and get oodles done
  • At home, I’m never alone, I worry and am constantly moving to manage the household…just to start all over again, it’s never done

This is the cycle of thoughts until a decision is truly made peace with.  The loss of my bustling business was all about my ego, and that part of me could wait. The kids and their daily milestones could not and would not wait.  This finally was crystal clear to me and the rebuilding of a career took back seat to being home full-time when the kids were home. What an incredible opportunity.  I am so lucky.

For those Moms who may be going through something similar with your career vs your family….hang in there.  Only you know the right answer for you and your family.  Meditate.  Force exercise and quiet time at home.  I think it’s good for our kids to see powerful women in the workforce.  And also, it’s so important for kids to have their Mom to be with and physically hang on to.  When you look back on your life, ask yourself, “what is most important to me” then make choices accordingly.  That’s what I answered for myself.  This answer is different for each Mom.

As a Massage Mom, this has been a great 20 years!!  I recommend this career and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The PROS for a Mom as a Massage Therapist:

  • Able to establish an office and buy a house fairly quickly
  • Work while pregnant and raising kids all while working minimal hours making great money
  • Forced to stay in shape
  • Choose days and hours worked
  • Choose the clients I want to work on
  • Do what I love & make money doing it
  • Connect with clients in a manner that is extremely fulfilling
  • Be a “stay-at-home-Mom” with a career
  • Be with my kids most of every day
  •  Exciting daily work, always challenging, always engaging
  • Learning something new everyday
  • Honoring God with my work, using the talents I was given
  • And the best pro of all:  I’ve been honored to help the clients I love so much
  • Help them feel better in their lives
  • Keep my clients playing their sport
  • Allow clients to become and stay pain free.

The CONs for a Mom as a Massage Therapist:

  • Massage is physically demanding
  • My hands hurt after 20 years of working
  • There is little camaraderie in this profession

Bottom line:  massage is a great career choice for a Mom, especially before you have kids.  Strengthen your hands before you start and learn excellent body posture while you work.  This is true in any profession.  Good luck. 🙂

Finding a Career You Love

DSC_0848One of the subjects that comes up with my friends and clients is finding a career that people love, a career that is exciting to them and GIVES them energy instead of DRAINING energy.  This career brings fulfillment,  energy, smiling, fun & enthusiasm.  With this type of energy flowing, your ideas come easy, and you feel energized after work.

I am a “Glass-Half-Full” type of person, and I believe that people can CREATE what they want in a career.  As an eternal optimist, I like to brainstorm with people about what they love about life, or jobs in the past.  When someone is in a job or career that sucks out every little ounce of glee, hope & confidence, this is VERY HARD on the body.

Possibly the goal to finding a life-healthy career is one that combines your passion with being able to make money WITH that passion. A career that is fulfilling AND pays the bills.

What a great combination when you find a passion that you have a talent for AND get paid to do.  That’s what massage therapy is for me: my passion for helping people…something I have a talent for AND I get paid to do it.

Some feel like finding a career like this is impossible unless you are Justin Timberlake.  If you have a job you like, even love, consider yourself lucky.

I’ve always believed that if you “follow what you love then the money will follow.”

Maybe you love a hobby but don’t feel like it could financially support you? Maybe google your hobby to find people around the world who possibly are making enough money with this hobby to pay the bills.  Ask them questions.  If they are honest with you, decide if this will work for you.

I love my job.  There have been very few hours of work where I counted the minutes. My career is fulfilling mostly because I feel instant gratification from helping people for whom I care about.  With each career there are pros and cons.  For Massage Therapy, the cons are mostly physical, where proper posture, good nutrition & rest are essential for longevity.  But, aren’t those essential in ALL long-term careers?

How many people look at work this way? I thought most people did.

My husband, who is a financial planner, including selling life insurance, mentions how jealous he is that I have a talent I love doing AND get paid to do.  “People aren’t exactly jumping for joy to talk about life insurance…dying, leaving money to those they are responsible for. For you, they can’t wait to hear from you and look forward to coming in for their next massage. THEY call YOU.”

I’ve never looked at it that way.  But I appreciate my career even more after hearing him say that.

There are many careers where a client is happy to see you.  Maybe this is important to you.  What is important to you?

  • How many hours per day do you want to work?   Some careers spend many more hours than others per day…
  • Do you want to travel or stay in one place?
  • Do you want flexibility or do you like stability?
  • Are you a good leader or a good follower?  Each needs the other…just be honest which one you LIKE being
  • What can you offer that is needed?
  • How much money do you need/want to make?
  • Do you like people? kids? animals?
  • Do you have good discipline?

Stay positive and keep brainstorming.  🙂