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?

A Week In the Life…as an Established Self-Employed Massage Therapist

A Week In the Life…as an Established Self-Employed Massage Therapist

Massage Room

_MG_2702What is it like to be a massage therapist?  Are you thinking of starting a career in massage therapy?  You Should!!!  It’s an awesome career! If you have compassion for others, you will get more out of a career in massage therapy than you will put in.

There are pros and cons, just like any career.  Each massage career is
completely unique, so you can truly build the career you want.  This is excellent for some and for other therapists, this free will is what challenges them the most.

After working hard to plan your massage career path, make goals &
work towards them, you can establish a wonderful career.  Please remember that this takes years of hard work and dedication.  If you can stay positive and focused, you can create the massage career you dream of.

An Example Week in an Established Self-Employed Massage Therapy Career of a Mom with kids:

DSC_0121You work when your kids are in school, Monday-Friday, from 8:00-3:00, massaging your most favorite people in the world and help them feel better for 12-20 hours per week.   The rest of your days are spent with your family.  You
also offer personal fitness training for your clients which has been a great addition

The appointments you make are mostly 60 minutes with 15 minutes in between treatments.  You try not to see more than 4 people per day, and bring a snack to eat between clients.  The perfect day is 2 personal fitness training hours & 2 hours of massage with a Tuesday weekly lunch date with your spouse.  You keep several calendars:  a pencil written small calendar, MassageBook, and iCal.  These you cross-reference incase any of them are damaged, stolen or lost.  You have backups of all your records.DSC_0723
The advertising, website and phone presence you maintain is a daily chore and keeps you on your toes of what is relative to your current client load.  The most important is keeping the MassageBook calendar up to date.   The work you put in on the website and with social media make it easy for clients to make appointments online with you, which makes things very easy for you

scheduling.

You make between $70-$150/hour, depending on the type of pressure you’re using and whether or not it’s Tigger, it's Me!a package, for which you offer a discount if the clients pay ahead. For an “Emergency Massage” or an “in-home” massage you charge more per hour.  You don’t usually do the out of office calls anymore, instead send one of your sub-contractors, since it takes so much planning around your childcare.You have a regular exercise and stretching routine in order
to keep your body (especially your hands) healthy and happy.  This includes receiving regular massage sessions from your favorite massage therapists around town.

An accountant does all your taxes & payroll.  You enter your clients’ information into MassageBook daily and keep both a hand written and electronic log of treatments & payments.  The continuing education you take to maintain your license is paid for out of your own pocket, so you get to look for the best and most relevant courses you can find.DSC_0695
You bring in $40,000-$60,000 working under 20 hours per week and get to take vacations whenever you like.  You find people to barter with:  carpet cleaners, dentist, hair dresser, handyman, mechanic, groomer, photographer, music teacher, etc.  You take good care of your clients and they in turn take good care of you.

REMEMBER:

This career will take about 3-5 years to create.  Consider having enough saved up to live on for at least 6 months (a year would be better) as you start this business.

Don’t take for granted the many, many, many hours and years it takes to establish a business, especially a business where you work the hours you want with the price you want to charge.  This is not overnight.  This is not simple nor is it guaranteed. It’s lots of hard work, dedication, and most of all, it’s working outside the “box” you want to eventually work in.  Late/early appointments.  Free appointments as you establish yourself.  Don’t give up.  If you ever feel like giving up, call me!

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…

Corrective Exercises Specialist through the NASM

I love this live class and the book is even better.  Thumbs up, NASM.

What a great tool to help with massage and personal fitness training!

What a great tool to help with massage and personal fitness training!

The test was tough.  I didn’t open the book and thought I would cruise through the test without any preparation and I was very wrong.  Thank God the test is hard, because this is important info, and not info to dish out lightly.  I was thankful for a challenge and am happy I studied the book to the point where if it’s not memorized, I at least know what page to find the info I need.

Though the class I took was a bit loud for the first few hours of the NASM’s Corrective Exercises live workshop at BrikFitness in Redondo, California, I still enjoyed it and really enjoyed the great trainers taking the class with me.  There were healthy shakes being swirled together in blenders while enthusiastic personal trainers encouraged their exercising clients through their regular Sunday workouts all a while the workout music going and then the videos we were supposed to be hearing.

It was like trying to pay attention to a college professor speaking in a mall.  I was trying to pay attention, glaring at the instructors with all my might and sonic ear power, but the blender would win.

The cool exercises that the personal trainers were trying also stole my attention for seconds at a time, which was enough to loose entire blocks of information from the class.

Finally, after several hours of being in a health store locker room with 80’s workout music tapping at my brain, all the noise went away, the blenders stopped, the clients and trainers went home, and the workout music was turned off.  Phew…now, what did you say for the past 2 hours?

Besides the major distractions, the information is excellent and I am already using it in all my massages and personal training sessions.

Corrective Exercises is just that, exercises to correct imbalances in our bodies.  We learned to assess what is off balance, either because a muscle is weak, overactive, too tight, etc.  From how a person moved in a certain exercise, we learned how to tell which muscles need foam rolling, which need stretching, and which need strengthening.  Awesome!

Every massage therapist should take this class because it really fits hand in hand with how we can help people.  Then, if you add personal training, you are several steps ahead in being able to massage their body back into balance.

MassageBook.com is Awesome!

A new way for Massage Therapists to manage their businesses.

A new way for Massage Therapists to manage their businesses.

Massagebook.com is a new scheduling, bookkeeping, notes taking, client management site for massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, etc.  This is a simple system of keeping track of this specific business type, with easy scheduling, client tracking, etc.

How it works:  It’s FREE, yes, that’s the best part!  You pay $6 (the amount may have changed) for each client Massagebook.com finds for you.  A very small referral fee for sending you a paying client!  Besides that, the use of the site to run your business does not cost anything.

I have been searching for an integrated way to run my medium sized massage business for years. In the process I have tried Millenium, SpaBoom, MindBody & a homemade version of software without a name.  Each has good and not so good features for small businesses like mine. (I have blog drafts to finish regarding each of these options…coming soon).

Massagebook.com is made by massage therapists for massage therapists.  So far, I really like their feedback and the way things are constantly changing for the better.  Right now, for example, they don’t have a tax option, since the state in which the software authors reside don’t require Gross Receipts Tax like my state does.  So, instead, I’ve had to improvise and add the tax to the price.  Unfortunately, it’s off just a few pennies because there are also no “cents” just “dollar” amount options (as of this writing, that is, an it changes often).

Since small glitches change often and bugs get taken out and beautiful ideas put in their places, I am willing to do some extra background work in order to support this group and to use the user friendly interface.

What scheduling software have you used and like? I’d love to hear about other options too.