My Mission is to improve the practice of massage therapy to reduce therapist burnout. Thereby improving the quality of care for patients and the quality of life for therapists
Working for the last 7 years as a massage therapist I’ve had the privilege to help countless people manage pain and regain the activities that are important to them. Working in the very rural half of North Carolina, there were not many job opportunities for a new therapist. I started work as an independent contractor for a woman who really wanted employees. After 2 years I had hit a point where I was paying her a ridiculous amount of money to essentially rent a room. I was generating all my own clients, providing all my own supplies and equipment. My other options included being a contractor for Chiropractors or working at a Day Spa. I wanted to focus on the medical side of massage and I didn’t want to let someone else use and misclassify me.
So, being 23 I figured it was a brilliant time to start my own business. I could not imagine all the pieces necessary to make a massage practice not only run, but run well. I was good at attracting my ideal client, people in need of medical massage. Being an “education addict” meant I was constantly pursuing advanced training and new tools which kept clients curious and engaged. However, I was overworked. I would work long hours one day, be empty the next, and spend the rest of my time scouring the internet for resources to help me learn business. I was speeding toward emotional burnout and trying to figure out how to stop.
I have one word for you “Boundaries“. I realized I had to put my foot down and train my clients. The irony was I got this lesson from time I spent working at Jersey Mike’s. They have a standard way of topping sandwiches called “Mike’s Way” and to streamline the order line you ask all clients if they want their sub “Mike’s Way”. New customers have no idea what that means so you inform them “Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Oil, Vinegar, and Spices”. This allows people to say “Mike’s Way with mayo” and you know exactly what they want without having to juggle a list of toppings. But importantly, you have to train your clients to operate with your business. Boundaries exist in the business world as Policies and Procedures and I had to train my clients to operate using them.
I started with my schedule, I wanted to give 16 hours of massage a week and work 2 days a week on my business. I scheduled 4 days a week where I could give 4 hours of massage a day and I took Wednesday and Thursday as office days. This first step created an amazing shift in my practice. Scarcity of appointments meant clients got consistent with scheduling in advance and I had scheduled time to handle the business of doing massage. I still needed more time though, being a medical practice I had a very intensive consultation at the beginning of treatment. Getting tired of people showing up minutes before their session, I decided to simple schedule the consultation time and create a “New Client Massage’ so not only was I guaranteed to have the necessary time to understand my client’s needs, but I got paid for it. I can hear the gasps now, “You charged for consultation time?!?” Yes, I did, and people were excited to pay for it. When I explained the value of a thorough understanding of their health history and current condition to create a treatment plan designed to help them reach specific health goals; they jumped all over it.
This made me realize how many therapists are burning out because they lack the understanding and encouragement to establish their rules and stick to them. I’m here to tell you, it’s worth it to take the time and have a few uncomfortable conversations, and I’m here to help.