How Do I Start My Own Massage Therapy Business?

Woman provides a chair massage to a client at her massage therapy business.

If you are looking for a new career that you can start and run on your own, consider a massage therapy business. Massage therapy is a great field to begin a new career in because it allows you to begin on your own terms, at your own pace, and in your own way. It is a career that has many interesting opportunities and an array of versatility.  Are you asking yourself, “How do I start my own massage therapy business?”

There are many reasons to consider a change in career path right now. Are you thinking about becoming an entrepreneur in order to take control of your own employment situation? In these uncertain times it is important that you try to make informed decisions. Consider things carefully and make sure you are making the right choice. Enact thoughtful plans when deciding on a new career path.

Steps to Start Your Own Massage Therapy Business

There are a few steps that will help you start your own massage therapy business on the right foot. These steps include doing your research, completing training and certification, deciding on a location, starting a marketing strategy, gaining momentum and maintaining success.

Step #1: Do Your Research

Even before you get started taking serious steps to realize your new business goals it is important that you understand what starting a massage therapy business entails. Doing some research before you get started will help you make smarter decisions and feel confident about your plans moving forward.

Understand the Demand for Massage Therapy in Your Area

It is worth knowing what kind of massage therapy is in demand in your business’s area. Is there a high demand for spa therapy experiences? Do you have community sports or athletic teams that might be in need of sports massage therapy? What kind of massage services are available in your area for pregnant women? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to the demographics you may want to consider. Understand your services, partner with other businesses, and decide how much advertising it will take to get started. Keep in mind that underserved communities have high demand.

Weigh Your Educational Options

Getting an education is arguably the most import step in beginning your massage therapy business. Certification and licensing are essential to an informed and educated start to your new career. They are also necessary for legal business operation and required by law. Finding the right program is a crucially important part of your research. Explore programs that fit your schedule, get you started quickly and have experienced instructors that offer one-on-one attention.

Step #2: Complete Training and Certification

Once you have decided on the massage therapy program that fits your needs it is time to start learning the valuable skills and information you will carry throughout your massage therapy career. Enrolling in a program is just the beginning. From there you will complete the course requirements, learn the massage techniques and methods you will need to begin your business. Here are a few tips that will help you see your certification goals through to the end.

Tip #1: Select a Program That Fits Your Needs

Make sure that you commit to classes and a schedule that fits with your life demands and current obligations. Whatever your specific needs may be, make sure to decide on an academic option that you are able to dedicate yourself to. Your career aspirations and future success are well worth the effort and commitment to completing a massage therapy program.

Tip #2: Support Yourself in Reaching Your Goals

Starting down a new path can come with many challenges and struggles. Make sure you prioritize your ambitions in your daily schedule by blocking out study/practice time when you need it, so you are familiar with concepts and techniques that have been covered. Take care of your mental health by allowing time to cool down and decompress when things get stressful. Burning out on the starting line is no way to start a business.

Tip #3: Stick with It

Don’t give up on yourself. Your goals are worth pursuing. Be creative when facing problems and don’t be afraid to think outside the box for solutions. If possible, rely on a personal support system of people who can be your cheerleaders during the months you are completing your massage therapy courses.

Step #3: Decide on a Location

You’ve competed your education and acquired the proper certification and licensing. Now it’s time to get started taking concrete steps toward making your personal business plan a reality. Consider a location that fits your needs and offers the most traffic that you can afford. Make sure the decisions you make on location are fully informed and properly researched beforehand.

Traditional Spa Option

Starting your own business out of a massage therapy spa has a lot of advantages. The spa offers advertising and potential clients in exchange for rent. However, you may be competing with others at the spa offering the same services you do. Working in a traditional spa offers both pros and cons that should be carefully considered.

Home-Based Spa Experiences

It is possible in many areas to operate a massage therapy business out of the comfort of your own residence. This allows you to begin your practice quickly without a large upfront real estate investment. Make sure that your home has all the structural requirements and amenities necessary for you to conduct your business comfortably and safely. Also, make sure your massage therapy space is able to pass any health codes that apply. Look into all codes and requirements in your area even before you have completed your education. This will give you time to make any adjustments needed so you can be ready to go as soon as you are certified.

Client Mobile Services

You also have the option of starting a massage therapy business that provides massage services in your clients’ homes. This option does not require you to secure a “business location” because you would likely operate as a mobile support service. There are local and state guidelines for this kind of operation. Most of what you will need is a business license, certification, clients, supplies, the proper equipment, and a means to get from appointment to appointment.

Step #4: Marketing Strategy

After you have made decisions about the look of your new business it is time to build a customer base. Making the public aware of your services will be crucial to generating and maintaining revenue. There are a few different ways to reach your audience. The best choice for you will depend on where you live and what your target demographic is.

Online Advantages

Online marketing is an easy and highly accessible way to advertise your services. It is also very cost effective in most cases. Social media marketing and website scheduling give you the tools to get the word out about your business. Make your online advertising engaging and your scheduling system as simple as possible to help increase client interest and participation.

Customer Review/Word of Mouth

Getting positive customer reviews and increasing word of mouth will be important to the success of your massage therapy business. Overcoming a bad reputation can be incredibly difficult and require a lot of time and monetary investment to correct. On the other hand, building a good reputation makes everything easier. Treat your clients well and take your professional reputation seriously. Word of mouth can help make you, but it can just as easily break you.

Step #5: Gain Momentum and Maintain Success

Starting a massage therapy business on your own takes a lot of strength and commitment. It is important to stay committed if you want lasting, real success in your new career. Thorough preparation and informed planning will make your massage therapy business successful.

Constant Improvements

Making adjustments is not a signal of failure, but rather a sign of wisdom and intelligence. Reacting to new information instead of ignoring it might not always be the easiest option, but it will likely end up being the most profitable in the long run.

Celebrate and Follow Your Successes

It is always a good idea to reassess and reconfigure things that aren’t working, but don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. If you are having success with your clients using a particular technique, then stick with that technique. If your community has a high demand for certain services or information you provide, consider expanding those particular areas of your massage therapy business. You can even highlight those services in your advertising. Give yourself credit when things go well, the same way you take responsibility when they don’t go as planned.

Final Thoughts

Once you have the proper training you will feel confident in beginning your massage therapy business. Starting your own massage therapy business is a risk but it will be a risk worth taking if you enjoy a challenge.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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