By Paola Bassanese
Massage therapists, both new and experienced, often ask me for opinions and advice on what it takes to turn our passion into a profitable business.
Too many of us just look at massage as a healing art and disregard the financial aspect. We must all approach massage as a business first. Just like any other business, revenue must be higher than expenses and working hours should be fair and balanced.
Being a good business person is a mixture of hard and soft skills. Some massage therapists think there’s not enough money to be made in our profession so they seek another job to supplement their income, yet if you plan and drive your business forward keeping focused, there is no need to bust a gut working 12 hours a day.
I have summed up my thoughts into three main key messages.
- Speak only if you are spoken to. This may sound a bit strange but because massage therapists are good listeners, being able to listen is our greatest asset. Most people take the opportunity of talking about their life during a massage and this is the opportunity to shine as a therapist. This type of soft skill can be extremely important in business meetings too: listening to another party and taking stock of their views is vital as you build your own argument.
- Speak up when needed. Therapists, with their good manners and soft spoken approach are often taken advantage of when negotiating rents and fees. You can still be a good business person by speaking up and making your opinion heard. Whispering is more powerful than shouting. The important thing is to voice your concerns when your business profitability is compromised.
- Brush up on number crunching. Getting the right price for your services, leaving a good profit margin after paying rent and materials, avoiding unnecessary fees and planning your income and expenses are all tasks that take priority and cannot be delegated. You are not selling a 1 hour massage. You are selling a relaxation experience and your own expertise. You are also selling a wellbeing programme to make your clients feel healthy in the long term. Can you put a price on health?
- Know you who are selling to. I am often asked questions like “Can I have your clients?” which is obviously the wrong question to ask a fellow massage therapist. The real question is “Who is my ideal client?” and then do your research. According to gender, age, profession, hobbies you will need to network, shake hands, swap business cards, visit companies. There are no shortcuts. Also you must remember that clients choose you so you must make yourself interesting and offer services that your clients need. If you are more of a corporate bunny then chair massage at offices is your best bet. If you like working with families baby massage and pregnancy massage should be your core business. The list goes on.
- Useful resources. In my conversations on social media I have come across wonderful therapists who share their business advice so here’s my favourites:
Massage Business Blueprint https://www.massagebusinessblueprint.com/
Andrea Lipomi http://confidentmassage.com/