Top 4 Troubles for Self-Employed Massage Therapists and How to Avoid Them

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Most Massage Therapists are good at the art of giving a massage, even spectacular.  Rarely is the problem, when Massage Therapists decide to leave this career, that the therapist is bad at massage.  Sometimes this is the case, but even a mediocre massage can be improved with practice & study.

Another reason often mentioned for leaving the massage therapist career is the strength Massage Therapy requires is more than someone can handle for more than a few years.  True, sometimes, depending on the modality the massage therapist chooses to use.

Honestly though, the top reasons therapists leave this business, which is similar to why people leave many Entrepreneurial professions:  a lack of business savvy.  I think this is why being an employee or sub-contractor is easier in the long run for those people who are good at massage, or which ever business you are in, but not so good at the business end of the business.

 

Top 4 Troubles for self-employed Massage Therapists:   (And How to Avoid Them)

  1. Not enough clients or income or both
  2. Feeling stuck or frozen about lack of clients
  3. Paperwork overwhelm
  4. Fatigue, in the hands, neck, back, forearms, feet

 

First of all, THERE IS HOPE!!  So don’t give up or stop trying because of fear.  If you are doing what you love, like massage therapy or personal training or yoga, etc, I have some ideas for your success (and a reminder for my own continued success).  My suggestion is just to be realistic, patient and persistent.  Lets look at why these pit-falls show up in the first place:

The first problems start with UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS….that:

  • clients are easy to find & easy to keep
  • money will show up often “just because”
  • expenses are low, almost nonexistent
  • paperwork takes care of itself
  • taxes are for other careers
  • your body is strong and you don’t need extra maintenance
  • self-care, hydration, rest, stretching, physical fitness is what we Preach, not what we Do. Hee, hee.
  • assuming that this is the perfect career path for you, without looking at hard facts

The second problem is a lack of knowing your CLEAR PATH:

  • List your reasons for doing massage (or personal training, yoga, etc)
  • Why do you love doing massage, so much that you’ve done many for free?  Remember those reasons.
  • What are your Goals? (answer these questions…in writing)
    • What types of massage do you want to do/not do…be VERY SPECIFIC
      • example: instead of saying: I want to work on athletes.
        •  I want to work on female Mom athletes, between the ages of 35-55 who are college educated and willing to do their physical homework in order to get better.
      • example: instead of saying: I don’t want to work on Mean people.
        • I will pre-charge for first time clients, and I won’t reschedule them if they are disrespectful.
  • Write a BUSINESS PLAN   NO KIDDING!!  
    • Start with a simple plan
    • Know your NUMBERS!
      • How many appointments do you need per week/month to pay your “nut” or minimum bills?
      • How many people do you need to talk to in order to make 10 appointments?
      • What is your rate of return? (how many new clients return?)
      • How much money are you putting into retirement from each massage? (often forgotten about)
      • Do you pay your taxes monthly or quarterly? (and put it aside immediately…untouchable!)
      • From Where are people finding you?  (where should you spend your advertising dollar?)
  • Take CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
    • In ANY profession…60 min of daily exercise, plenty of water, plenty sleep… for starters (do what i suggest and not what i do… :))))
    • Find Balance: easier said… but still essential
    • When your hands are hurting…let them rest

Don’t give up.  A career you love—-getting paid doing what you love is really possible.  Find a MENTOR!  Message me if you have questions.  Don’t give up yet…

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.  🙂