As a massage therapist, you have the ability to drive your career in a way that people with other types of jobs simply do not have. You can work full time or part time or seasonally. You can work in a variety of settings or your can start your own business and have people work for you! There are so many options and combinations of options to be had and the opportunities only increase as you become more experienced as a massage therapist and otherwise grow in your career.
If you prefer the safety and stability of having a set schedule and being able to dedicate all of your energy to taking care of your clients (as opposed to marketing, scheduling, traveling from appointment to appointment, etc.) then you may find it ideal to work in a health spa or at a doctor’s office. You can make a nice living and you may even be able to get benefits such as industry discounts, paid parking, office parties and snacks in the break room. You may even be able to get health insurance and a 401K. Living the dream!
On the other hand, if you just live for NOT having a set schedule, if you are driven by the desire for a flexible and even non-traditional work environment, if you have the motivation to be your own boss, then being an entrepreneur might fit you like a glove. If you want to make a lot of money as a massage therapist, this is a way to do it. But a caveat to that is that you will also have to work quite a bit (especially at first) and have some skills unrelated to massage to make it happen. This can be a great life. So, do you have what it takes? Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur must have a creative idea to be able to stand out in the marketplace. While it is a good idea to follow tried and try practices, you should also be sure to know what makes your business unique. If you are new to the type of business that you want to create, it is advisable to work at a similar type of business for some time in order to learn about it. You can also ask for advice and mentoring from people who are already experienced in doing what you want to do.
An entrepreneur must have the drive to make it happen. In life, not everything goes as smoothly as we would like for it to. When you hit a bump in the road, will you be able to make it without the promise of a steady paycheck. Are you a motivated self-starter who can redirect your course of action if necessary? Do you love the hustle of searching out and talking to potential new clients to get business coming in the door? Remember, the idea here is to build a viable business.
Do you have skills in or are you willing to learn how to do marketing, web development, bookkeeping, record keeping, understanding legal documents and more while still staying relevant as a manual therapist? An entrepreneur wears a lot of hats. If your intention is purely to take care of your clients and be a great therapist, maybe you can partner with someone who has a business skill set.
Having a good plan of action before you start is a key to success. There is plenty of help available to you along the way. A great free resource to learn about starting, running and funding a small business is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Of course for more industry specific assistance, you might consider a WorkSmart Business course which will not only provide you with the tax deductible continuing credit hours that most therapists require, but will also give you some really solid and industry specific business building knowledge.