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?

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.

Orthopedic Massage with Whitney Lowe

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Orthopedic Massage demonstrations

Orthopedic Massage demonstrations

Whitney Lowe’s Orthopedic Massage was well worth the drive to Denver!

The Basics:

There were about 40 people in the class.  The class was 16 hours and yielded 1.6 CEUs for massage therapists.  The hotel classroom was clean and just a bit too small, but it still worked.  The hotel staff were good support of Whitney in a quick technical help if and when he needed them.  They also quietly kept our water, hot coffee and hot water filled and ready for our use.

The Colorado chapter of the AMTA hosted the event and did a nice job of organizing everything.  Kudos to them for collecting so many samples for all the massage therapist’s goodie bags.  Their follow up survey was well worded and they do a good job of including their AMTA members in their chapter.

The Class:

Whitney is a good scholar and has a calm teaching style that invites questions & concerns.  His gentle and humble demeanor  foster a fun & safe environment for learning.  One can’t help but giggling in support of Whitney once he starts talking.

His information is well organized in a very precise book that he wrote about Orthopedic Assessment for Massage Therapists, which has been a helpful resource and was nice to follow along with in class.

After an hour or so of lecturing, we practiced what he was demonstrating with our partner.  My partner,  Jody Foster, from Colorado Springs, was great and helped me understand the information better by figuring questions out together and getting all the movements correct together. I think having a good partner makes a big difference in this type of course because you need each other to learn and teach the movements being taught.  I was thankful that my partner and I were well matched.

The information Whitney taught was easy to remember and use the next week in my office.  I especially liked the psoas stretches, the piriformis pin & stretch, the stripping of the biceps femoris and the different ideas he had about muscle insertions/origins all around the sacrum.

I wish there had been a bit more hands-on learning and a bit more time with Whitney himself, or with a teacher’s aide.  There was only one helper, and an additional helper would have been helpful, in my opinion.

All in all, this was a great class that I highly recommend.  I plan on taking the rest of his series of classes.

Part 3: Adding Massage Employees

There were few headaches when I worked all alone: no one was answering my phone, I set all my own appointments, took all my own checks to the bank, did all my own bookkeeping, washed and folded all my own sheets.  It was the profitable, simple life and that was all about to change.  I spent time massaging…what I loved to do.  Now, my time was about to be splintered into 1,000 directions.

The first ideas I had about help went terribly wrong.  I had an abundance of clients.  I was wishing to create a win-win-win for me, my clients and the therapists I was hiring, renting to, referring to, etc.  There was always something wrong:  either my clients were unhappy and would come complaining to me, the therapists were wanting too much payment or both.  Some rented a room from me, some I just asked for a “referral fee” for each client.

It was hard for me to imagine massage therapists could not find their own clients.  Surely they were just lazy or just didn’t want to do this profession.  It’s easy, I thought.  Not only did I need help with my growing client load–which was built solely on personal referrals–but I was running out of time to do the laundry, answer the phones and do the bookkeeping.

All I needed was someone to take the phone calls while I was in treatment.  But this was 8+ hours every day.  I couldn’t afford to pay someone, I thought, to just answer the phones 8+ hours every day.  Finally, I hired someone to pick-up, wash/dry, fold and deliver my sheets.  WOW!  That was a relief!  And such a great man, Leo Maynes!  He helped me for a decade!

Sheets–Check!

How do I interview for massage therapists?  This seemed simple: get a massage from them.  So I did.  And they were all good.  So I hired them all.

The most “punch-me-in-the-face” reality check…just because someone gives a good massage does not mean other good things about them.

People who give good massages can steal and lie and complain and start terrible rumors with my clients, etc, etc, etc…

I was in such dis-belief! I would defend these therapists I had hired, perfectly CONVINCED that they wouldn’t take a client’s watch, or stop 10 minutes early but say they did an entire hour.  Nor did I believe that any of these therapists would take client information in order to start their own massage or colonic business.  I was very wrong.

I assumed everyone was nice and trustworthy.

One of the main problems was the people who were calling for appointments were referred to me, not to the other people I was suggesting they go to.  I would talk and talk, trying to make the client feel at ease and eventually, had enough clients trust me and see other therapists if I was busy.  This seemed ok.

But, no one was happy and I was still growing.  Growing out of my little space, until finally I needed to find a bigger space.

My next building was much bigger!  It was perfect!  I had 7 treatment rooms, a colonic room, a space for an office, great parking, a space for an acupuncturist, a great neighborhood, and the best part was the “classroom” I built with mirrored walls and wooden floors.  It was beautiful!

I had started a summer camp the summer before for kids I was teaching at a Montessori School.  The year before I ran the camp out of my car.  It was so much fun!  We went to the mountains, on picnics, swimming, to the park, to dollar movies, golfing, to archery, and horseback riding.  It was a blast!

This new classroom made it so much better.  Plus, I was teaching massage classes, and this room was perfect for any massage class.

I put $10,000 into this building…within a few months of moving in….not listening to my family or friends to wait.  I was renting, with the option to buy.  Yes, I was stubborn.  You guessed it…this does not turn out very well.