Have you ever wondered why so many massage businesses don’t succeed when we were always told massage business setup was easy?

Are you thinking “eeek I’m not busy what do I need to do….I need to do steps A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I to be busy” and then you get to B and think “I can’t do all this stuff and feel overwhelmed”

That is how many massage businesses start and then fail, especially if you are still working in your “other” job to pay your bills.

When I started out (and honestly still sometimes) my thoughts went from:

“This is AMAZING” to “arrrggggh its so hard!”

massage business overwhelm

Note: Before you read on about the myths, setting up on your own is hard…..it doesn’t get easier, you just learn to work smarter. If you think its an easy ride, its probably not the blog for you.

When I was at massage school, the marketing module consisted of an hour or two and the only thing I remember was being told to get business cards and word of mouth and referrals are amazing.

Well yes they are two things that can help, but its not everything!

Here are five things they probably didn’t tell you at massage school about business (unless you are studying with me on the Burrell Education Sports Massage course.

And then you learn the REAL business stuff 🙂

1: The client’s you practice on in training on may not be your long term paying clients

When you are practising and giving away massages for free to get as much practice time as you can, those clients are often there to support you a friends and colleagues, but also because its a free service you are providing. When you qualify its easy to think you have a full client base already, but when you charge what you are worth after qualification its natural that you may not see some of your practice clients again.

It is important to not rely on them for as soon as you qualify, but have that plan in place to start marketing to your ideal client from the offset and attract the clients that you want to work with long term.

2: Referrals are wonderful but its just ONE of the strategies to focus on.

If you provide a wonderful massage service, your clients will often recommend you to their friends, relatives and colleagues but referrals should be one part of your marketing plan, not 100% of it.

Waiting for referrals is literally a waste of time. If you are only working part time on your massage business, plan in actual marketing time to let more people know that you are out there. Your circle potential customers will be pretty small if you only rely on referrals and I am sure there are lots of people in your area that really want your help!

pregnancy massage

3: Price what you value yourself from the beginning. Don’t give in to “newbie” massage prices

You have invested so much time and money into your education and you should charge what you are worth. It may feel tough and you will most likely have an internal dialogue with yourself about and say things like “how can I possibly charge that I’m only just qualified” or “Jo Bloggs down the road only charges “X” so I should charge about the same”.

Ignore what other therapists are doing as you don’t know their training, goals and value they give to clients. It can also de-value the amazing work we do as massage therapists if everyone keeps charging less and less.

Charge what you are happy with (both financially and personally) and what you are worth from the start and add value to your service and be different to every other therapist in your neighbourhood.

4: Avoid saying “Yes” to everything when you are starting out because you are scared of not earning enough.

Saying “Yes” to everything will bite you in the bottom….eventually.

My first 6 months into to business and I was:

Teaching 10 classes of body pump and spin a week, lecturing 3 days a week, fitting massage clients in at a clinic space and as home visits, seeing clients 7 days whenever they requested, and often starting at 6am and finishing at 9pm without feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything.

Guess what happened!

Its easy to feel scared when you first start out and even easier to say YES to everything, just in case you aren’t busy and can’t pay your bills.

With proper planning and a good marketing plan you can so “NO” to things if they don’t fit with your work. And believe it or not saying NO is quite satisfying. Even though its a bit daunting to start with, being strict about the work you do allows you more time and space to really focus on how you want to work and what you want to achieve.

That’s not to say you need to say no to every opportunity because it doesn’t fit in with your plan as new and exciting opportunities can arise all of the time, but take that step back and think “does this really fit with my goals and ethos”.

5: Once you have a good client base marketing can put aside.

How do you know your clients will be with you forever? Unfortunately you don’t. People move away, change focuses and sometimes don’t need a regular massage anymore.

Even when you have build your client base to where you want it, marketing doesn’t stop. If you want to create a successful business, disappearing every time you are busy means people will forget you. If you let your marketing slip and you want more clients you have to literally start from scratch AGAIN. Its always easier to keep  your marketing ticking over.