Class Struggles

At a recent continuing education class, our instructor went around and asked us to introduce ourselves and talk about how we are doing with our massage therapy practices.

Our first participant said she is doing a few house calls and working for a chiropractor two days a week. Her practice is slow. Renting a space is out because her house call clients will not come to an office once they are used to home service.
Our second participant has an office 30 miles away from her home, and is hampered by chronic health issues. Her practice is sporadic at best. She has to turn away business, mostly because many clients want simultaneous couples massages. She is thinking about recruiting another therapist.
Our third therapist networks with friends, family and networking groups constantly. She is looking for more clients all the time and finds many do not want to pay $75 an hour for a massage. She does a lot of showers, spa parties, etc. and is struggling.

Another therapist, a male, had gone broke renting a therapy room for $500 a month while struggling to get two to three clients in that time. He gave up the office and has been going to the local swap meet, doing chair massages. Most people do not want to pay his fee for a full massage, preferring the cheaper joints around town, many of which do not use credentialed therapists. He is also often rejected because of his gender.

I wasn’t feeling the confidence or success in this room. And people who bother to take c.e.u.s tend to be the go-getters. How can therapists develop practices when confronted with people who won’t pay or do not want the services offered?

I also felt like the oddball. My practice is going well, I have been too busy and I am working at my office and at homes. I can’t fit in all my clients.

A small sampling, but does it represent the struggles all massage therapists face?

Our instructor, an experienced and very smart therapist asked another question. “How many of you use social media?”

My hand went up. No others.

For folks trying to build a practice, remember much of social media is free. Cover the basics such as having proper credentials and licensing and you can list your availability on a number of sites. People looking for massage will find you.

Having your clients recommend your services to others often works very slowly. Their online review of your work makes that referral work for everyone who reads your information.

During the break, I was waiting for questions. No questions. Before class adjourned, I told my practice mate to stop going to swap meets. “Don’t chase people who do not want or value your services,” I said. Loudly enough for the rest of the class to hear, I hope.

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