Massage Business Tips
Massage business tips for students are hard to find. Folks share a lot of strategies to implement after you graduate, but what if you want to start your full time gig right out of massage school? Well, it's possible. I know, because I did it. The other therapists in the clinic had hours every day open on their schedule, but I came out of the gate with a full book...why? Because I marketed my tail off. Here are some of the strategies that worked not ONLY for me, but numerous students who learned marketing from us.
Here are some of 'my secrets' of how to get a steady flow of clients from the moment you 'pass Go'.
First: There are some specific ways that therapists sabotage their business every day and don't know it. We named the
5 Ways to Sabotage Your Massage Business
in a previous article, so please read those, to be sure you START off on the right foot.
If you follow these massage business tips, and read through the other pages of this site, you are assured to have the marketing ideas down pat that work. It's not just us on these pages, we have the most successful massage therapists in the business on this site. The professionals on this site are the people who wrote the marketing text books and are continually educating the industry on good marketing practices. It's a resource for how to be successful in our industry...and our Facebook page is one that will allow you to ask your questions regarding business building and revenue generation.
Why am I qualified to give you massage business tips?
Leaving school, I was THE only student out of a class of two dozen, who was able to quit my job and BE a massage therapist immediately after graduation. I witnessed several of my friends drop out of their new career over the following years, because they couldn't fill their books enough to make a living. Many of them had similar patterns, business pitfalls, which I will share with you. I'm not saying they are BAD for these habits, but if you want to speed out of the gates, making a living with your new massage education, you will really want to consider these tactics.
Massage Business Tips For Students:
1) Treat EVERY single massage you do in school, as if the person ALREADY IS a paying client. This mindset will get you in the groove of running a business and drive a ton of energy your way to launching your new career.
Many of the students in my class were really casual about their 'guinea pig' massages. This was also the case with the students we later taught at the school. By casual, I mean not professional.
Some of the way that they implied they didn't care about their 'practice massages':
They wore clothing that did not send a professional message to their clients; they would show up late; they would not call their 'client' to confirm the appointments; they would have mismatched sheets; they would eat while taking an intake; not offer a client a blanket. Basically, there was no extra care taken for the 'client'. I get it. We give free massages, and sometimes can be really worn out in school...but if you create the value, clients really notice and will end up as your regulars once you have your certificate or license.
One of the reasons that many, many of my *practice clients* ended up as *paying clients* after school, was because I took amazing care of each and every one of them. I dressed like a professional, spoke to them professionally, booked them on my schedule weeks in advance, offered them the utmost level of comfort and TREATED them as if they were paying for the massage.
2) Work on as many different people as you can POSSIBLY get your hands on. While in school, and teaching as an adjunct instructor, we saw a very common activity among students. MOST of them worked on the SAME people repeatedly, just to get their hours in, and many of them would only do the minimum amount of hours they had to, in order to get through their requirements.
When Gary and I had a conversation years later, about what we felt was the common thread with the most successful therapists we knew, we agreed that the single indicator of success was how many different people someone worked on during massage school.
This could be attributed to a number of factors. Maybe they KNOW more people, so their referral base is bigger. In working on all those folks, maybe they became really comfortable with communication and marketing. Perhaps they were better therapists, because they touched so many bodies that their skills evolved faster...or maybe something else entirely. The fact is, though, that in watching hundreds of student massage therapists, THIS was a definite factor that favored success in the industry.
3) Be sure that EVERY single practice massage you do has your contact information.
In our marketing classes, we would share this one specific massage business tip, that helped SO many therapists. Have a business card with your name, a telephone number that you will still have after graduation, your email AND YOUR EXPECTED GRADUATION DATE.
So, in essence, you are setting up your business in advance, with a business card and email address that is hopefully something professional, *maybe* even the name of your business! Change your message on your voice mail of that phone number to something professional. It can be really simple, like, "Hello, thank you for calling Tiffany Blackden, student massage therapist, please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can." OR, it can invite ANYONE calling you to ask about getting a massage, "You've reached the business line for Tiffany Blackden, student massage therapist. If you are calling to book a student massage, please be sure to leave your phone number and best time to reach you. I will contact you as soon as I can. Thank you and make it a great day." Please be sure to call people back promptly, as you will when you are running your business.
Now for the all important reason you put your graduation date on your card...when someone picks up their phone to call you and it's after the date on the card, they already know that they are going to have to PAY you for that massage.
I did NOT receive payment during school for massage. Yes, I occasionally did have a client who insisted on giving me a tip...but here's how I converted THAT into more referrals, so I had a ton of people on my wait list months before the end of school.
4) When the massage is over, hand THREE business cards to your practice client and ask them for their help in reaching your goal of working on more new people. Tell them that you really need to practice on as many different body types as possible, to get valuable experience before you leave school. Ask them to please refer three people they know need a massage to you for a practice massage with you, and assure them that the session will be treated with the same care they experienced. I'll tell you that I did MOST of my practice massages at the school, during any time I could book them, so that I didn't have to worry about windshield time, or setting up my table in different rooms of someone's home.
I had several students challenge me in our marketing classes about how some of their practice clients would be their bread and butter regulars straight out of school, but it's like magic.
Please shoot us a note, if you have any experience with these strategies. We'd love to hear about your successes, either in a note, or in the social media networks on Facebook or Twitter.
To your success!!
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