Ask a Massage Therapist: What's Involved in Starting a Practice?

It's easy to imagine what working for yourself will be like: setting your own hours, developing a schedule that allows for flexibility, keeping all the profits for yourself. When you first start thinking about opening a practice, your natural inclination might be to focus primarily on the positive aspects of business ownership. And there's nothing wrong with letting the potential obstacles fade into the background—for a time.

But when you begin getting serious about this endeavor, you must be realistic about both the good that will come from opening your own practice, as well as the challenges you might need to overcome. The best way to success is on a road paved not only with a passion for massage therapy, but also sound business skills.

Think This Through

One of the simplest questions is also the one not many people ask themselves before jumping in and opening their own practice: Am I cut out to be a business owner? “It’s not unusual to choose self employment for the wrong reasons,”explains Nancy E. Schmitt, owner of Visionary Continuing Education Courses in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “They assume they’ll make more money, have more free time or simply won’t have to answer to anyone else.”

When you start thinking about opening your own practice, Schmitt suggests doing a thorough self-assessment that includes being honest about if you have some of the common characteristics of successful self employment. “Strong leadership skills are important,” Schmitt says. “Along with interpersonal skills, self-confidence, the ability to problem-solve and focus on achieving your goals.”

Know Your Business

Schmitt also suggests that massage therapists need to be educated in business, as well as massage therapy. “Simply stated, we should have at least as much education and experience with business skills as hands-on skills,” she says. “We work hard getting the best massage education possible, and yet are willing to take a leap of faith in the business arena with little or no know-how.”

Some things to think about from a business perspective include ensuring you have enough capital when starting your practice. “You should have sufficient capital to get through the first year,” Schmitt encourages, “with additional money tucked away for an effective marketing and promotion plan of action.”

Get more information on what you need to consider before starting a massage therapy practice!

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