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I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) for twenty years, including fifteen running my own small business. There are many lessons I’ve learned along my massage career journey, including some career challenges as a massage therapist, all of which I am grateful for! As such, I wanted to share some of those business lessons with anyone in the massage therapy industry, especially any students getting ready to graduate from the Atlanta School of Massage or any other massage school.
Massage Therapy is hands-on, but the massage business is largely online. As such, it is important to be mindful of the early points of contact between your customers and your business, which are mainly online. Here are some lessons on business branding, skills, and tools I wish I had known about before launching my business, Corporate Massage Kneads.
Business Branding: Massage therapy is a great career path for someone who wants to go into business for themselves. That said, one important issue that gets easily overlooked is the importance of branding, including choosing a good business name. I know it seems like a relatively simple issue, but this is something that will follow you for years and years, and it’s a lesson I learned the hard way.
Around the time I first wanted to start my massage business, I was approached by a large hospital that was interested in chair massage services for their staff. As such, I rushed to launch the business itself and didn’t think of any longer-term branding issues. Unfortunately, this resulted in a confusing mismatch between my business name and website name, which lasted for a few years, and probably lost me some clients! Luckily, I eventually became mindful of this and fixed the branding issues I had.
As a small piece of business advice, I strongly suggest that you research website availability for any chosen name BEFORE you confirm your business name. My personal preference is to avoid using your personal name when incorporating your business name for many reasons, especially if you want to eventually sell your business in the future.
Website: Everyone knows that a good website is one of the important tools of any business, and massage therapy is no different. How does your business website stack up compared to others you’ve visited recently? Is it easy to navigate and visually appealing?
If not, then perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. There are many modern web platforms, like WordPress, that let you install a template, which can be easily modified without needing to do any coding. However, if building your own site is too much of a technical task for your liking, you always hire a web designer. If you choose to go that route, my personal advice is to find a designer who shares your taste. An easy way to do this is by asking for a recommendation from business owners with websites you like.
Scheduling Tools: Since most massage appointments are booked online now, having a good scheduling tool is crucial to any massage therapy business. While there are many scheduling platforms out there, customer experience is key when it comes to online booking. For example, is a client able to set and pay for an appointment easily and quickly on your website, or do they have to go through a bunch of steps first? Keep in mind that a good-looking booking webpage does not mean that the online booking process itself is good.
One suggestion I have is to look at the websites of different service-based businesses (gyms, salons, etc.) and see if their online booking process is seamless. If so, it may be worth exploring to find a scheduling platform with a similar process.
Staying Updated. Trust me when I say that the years ROLL right past you. Twenty years is a long time, so I suggest you continually stay updated on marketing, website designs, business logos, etc. It was not until COVID that I realized that I had not updated my website in years, and it really showed. With the downtime of COVID, I updated my website with new text, my logo, and all pictures, and a more clear and concise voice about my business.
While running a business is really the best way to learn about business, the massage therapy curriculum at the Atlanta School of Massage does cover business and marketing information, so you’ll have a head start in achieving your career dreams. But above all, the massage curriculum at ASM will give you the skills and confidence to succeed as a professional therapist. Learn more about the classes that are offered as part of this award-winning curriculum by downloading your free massage therapy course catalog below!
|Day Program: March 13, 2023||Weeknight Program: June 5, 2023|