I’ve heard it time and again, “It’s to hard to build a massage practice” “You don’t go into massage to make money”. That second one is obvious, no one looked at massage and thought ‘that’s a 6 figure income right there.’ But that’s not what these people mean, they mean “If you’re a massage therapist expect to be broke unless your spouse makes good money” and I call bull crap.
It’s bull crap.
And I’ll tell you why: the money is out there. Massage is an amazing therapy that creates life-altering change in our patients. If you are passionate about what you do, educate yourself so you can provide quality service, and learn to intelligently explain what you offer; you will succeed in this profession. Let’s break down the numbers. Say you’re charging $75 an hour, a high/mid-range price for a massage in my area; not the cheap end but there’s definitely people charging more. Full-time for a massage therapist is roughly 20 hours of massage a week. If you take 2 weeks off a year that’s 50 work-weeks a year. So:
$75/hour x 20 hours/week x 50 weeks/year = $75,000/year
Granted, you still have to take out taxes and office expenses, but massage is a 2-year program (depending on your state) and has amazingly low overhead for a business (meaning you should have little to no debt against your business). So, even if you’re spending $1,000/month to run your business (and if you’re a solo practitioner and are hitting that we need to talk because something needs to be brought under control) that’s still only $12,000 in expenses, leaving $63,000 a year!
However, I can already hear what you’re thinking, ’20 hours a week! I can’t get myself to 20 hours a week that’s crazy talk! Do you know how many therapists live around me?’ Newsflash: 20 hours a week is 80 hours a month. Ideally, we should be educating our clients on the importance of regular massage; creating a clientele base of regular visitors. Assuming that not everyone is a monthly regular (though some folks will come multiple times a month, I had a woman come for a 2 hour session every other week, I currently have two 90 minute clients that come weekly) to get 80 hours a month you should have a clientele of roughly 100-120 people. That’s it! I ran my practice in a small city/big town of 80,000. Small towns still tend to have around 3,000 people, 120 people is 4% of that. Did you hear me? I’ll repeat it: full time in a town of 3,000 people only taps 4% of the population.
So stop limiting yourself, stop the self-defeating talk. Decide where you want to be and grow to reach that goal. Want a good place to start? I have a little homework for you that will seem counter intuitive. Get specific. Pick your favorite demographic, body area, or condition and specialize your training/marketing to speak to and help that specific thing so amazingly that people have no second thoughts about working with you. Remember, on the small side you only need 4% of the population to come see you. When you try and market to everyone your message ends up speaking to no one. When you get specific you can catch the attention of your market because they really feel you are addressing their needs.
For example: My niche is neuro-muscular issues of the neck and shoulders: Carpal tunnel, Migraines, Tension Headaches, Frozen Shoulder. I can obviously treat much more than just these, but these are what fascinate me and I tend to be surrounded by a lot of Desk Jockeys and Medical Personnel who need the work. I have trained in medical massage, massage cupping, and medi-cupping so that I can be highly effective at treating my favorite conditions. This is just one example. You may enjoy working on athletes or seniors, you may be fascinated by hip problems or abdominal work, or you may be intrigued by plantar fasciitis or sciatica. So sit down and brain-storm about what really intrigues you or brings you joy in your work. Then focus on building a clientele around that.
Remember, at most you only need to reach 4%