How to be a Self-Employed Massage Therapist

Self-employed massage therapist waling through a clients home with a massage table

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Have an interest in massage therapy and want to make it your career? Starting a massage therapy business can be exciting, but it is important to prepare. That is why Minnesota School of Cosmetology offers a massage therapy program to help you start a massage therapist business. Take the first step and get ready to graduate from a massage therapy program.

Step #1: Graduate from a Massage Therapy Program

The first step toward becoming self-employed as a massage therapist is to complete an accredited massage therapy program at a vocational school. Although massage is an unlicensed profession in Minnesota, part of the requirements of becoming a licensed massage therapist is first completing a specific number of hours in a diploma program to prepare you for the licensing exam.

During the massage therapy program, you learn the many techniques of massage including Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu, prenatal, Thai and many other techniques. Knowing these massage techniques allows you to create a unique session for your clients with the right combination of massage for their needs. You will learn about anatomy, physiology and kinesiology as it has to do with massage. You also learn about becoming self-employed as a massage therapist or running a massage business as a manager. We help you understand light bookkeeping, how to file for different business licenses, managing costs and the other business practices that you must master to run your own massage business. The best part about attending a massage therapy program is all the lab work that you will receive to get practical experience while massaging real clients.

Step #2: Pass the Licensing Exam

Although massage is an unlicensed professional in Minnesota, you may need to become licensed at the city or county level to offer massage services. Either way, passing the MBLEx licensing exam proves to your clients that you are serious about massage and they will have more confidence in you as a licensed massage therapist. This can set you apart from your competitors.

Step #3 File for Proper Business License as Self-Employed

When you start your own business, there are many different licenses and permits you will need to get started. First, you will need to apply for a business license at your local city governmental department. Most self-employed individuals will need to apply for a special self-employed business license that comes with some restrictions. You will need to pay city business tax each year based on your gross receipts. This is in addition to state and federal income tax and any sales tax that you collect.

Step #4: Do Some Competitive Research

Once you graduate from the massage therapist program, get a license and file for the proper permits, it is time to do some competitive research. It is important to take a look at your local city and figure out how many other massage therapists are offering massage services. Is the market saturated? Can you differentiate yourself by offering aromatherapy, prenatal or sports massage? Are you going to rent a space? These are all questions that you must answer before you invest the time and money into your business.

Step #5: Purchase the Necessary Massage Supplies

Now is the time to invest in massage supplies that you can take with you to client’s homes. Do you want a portable table or chair? Do you need towels, pillows, essential oils, or any other massage supplies to give the client a unique massage experience? You may need some PPE to keep yourself and your client safe from viruses and bacteria. You are also going to need a way to charge your clients for your massage services. A great way to do this is using Square or Apple Pay on your smartphone.

Step #6: Build a Clientele

Most successful businesses have a website that offers basic information about their services, contact information and credentials. Once you have a website up and running, take the time to submit your information to local directories like Yelp. Many of your potential clients will look to Yelp for reviews and information about your business. Social media is also important to capture new clients and create loyal customers out of your current clientele.

Don’t’ forget a leave behind. Whether it is a brochure or business card, make sure that you leave something for your clients, so they know where to call you for another massage service. You can also ask them to follow you on social media so you can keep them up-to-date on any specials or new services that you may offer in the future. Social media will also allow you to reach your clients contacts and build out your clientele.

Final Thoughts

Now that you are ready for your new adventure as a self-employed massage therapist, it is time to take the first step and start a massage therapy program. Though becoming a business owner can be daunting, Minnesota School of Cosmetology is there to help. We not only teach you the techniques you need to service clients, but we have a curriculum that will help you start a massage business. If you choose to get licensed, we prepare you for the MBLEx exam. Every journey starts with a single step. Ready to start moving?

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 13 months. 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.

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