Friday, April 12, 2019

What Do You Need to Start Your Own Business?

So you want to start your own bodywork business? Let me preface this post with the following:
"If you build it, they will come" is a terrible marketing plan.
You can have a beautiful space with the nicest equipment, lotions and oils, and decorations --
-- but if you don't have clients coming to see you, ensuring your rent gets paid and the lights stay on, those lovely doors will be closed in a hurry.
Marketing and choosing how and where you want to work are topics for separate posts. If you want to plan ahead, here is some of my advice.

To start your business on a barebones, shoe-string budget:
  • Sack away extra income to pay a first month's rent and security deposit. You can sell gift certificates, but using that money before they're redeemed carries a substantial risk. Similarly, try to avoid using lines of credit.
  • Furniture, linens, and decorations can be bought second-hand or sometimes found for free. 
  • Reach out to other massage professionals about any extra tables, massage chairs, or other equipment they may be willing to sell.
  • Buy quality massage products in affordable quantities -- these will be used on your clients and yourself, so this is one area where you shouldn't skimp.
  • Ask friends and family for gift certificates to your stores of choice.

For the back-end and marketing details:
  • Vistaprint (affiliate link) has some of the best deals on basic business cards.
  • Google Domains can get you set up with a .com address of your choice for as little as $12 a year, with connections to other web services at varying price points.
  • Square (affiliate link) offers gadgets and an app for accepting credit card payments, along with many other resources.
  • A basic MailChimp account is free and relatively easy to use for e-mail marketing. (Affiliate link, but only if you purchase a paid plan.)
  • Get a free Facebook Page for your business. (Please, oh please, don't register a new profile for your business; there is a difference.)
  • Use an online scheduling system (affiliate link).

Sunday, April 7, 2019

You Will Make Mistakes

You will make mistakes*.

Nine times out of ten, they will not be the end of the world. 

* After seven years, I still make mistakes and I will be the first to admit them.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Advice for Bodywork Students Preparing to Graduate

Specific to (Southern) Maine:

  • If you want to work on a lot of different people and make a lot of money in a hurry, then a gig in the tourism industry can help you get there. Head for the coasts in the summers and ski resorts in the winters.

In General:

  • Be open to opportunities. You may not get to your ideal workplace or wage right away; accept that you may need to make concessions and take smaller steps to get there.
  • Ask your teachers if they're willing to serve as references and write letters of recommendation. Networking and word-of-mouth are golden for marketing your services, but require building and maintaining rapport.
  • Avoid the independent contractor trap. Unless you are really clear on your own boundaries and the regulations of the state, aim toward becoming an employee.
  • Honor your body and go at your own pace: just because Joe Schmoe the massage therapist can work on five people back-to-back without a break doesn't mean that you can or should. If you push yourself too hard, too fast, you can jeopardize your career before it's barely started.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019



My name is Bethany Ingraham, and I've been working as a massage therapist for about seven years. I've spent my career working in a hair salon, at chiropractor offices, and doing mobile massage before officially transitioning to my own business, I Knead Serenity, in Buxton, Maine. As of January 2019, I've started teaching at my "alma mater," Spa Tech Institute, because I love working with massage students and sharing tips and tricks for getting through school and out into the community.

Professional™ Me... ... versus My Latest Facebook Selfie

I aim for casual professionalism: I hold myself and my colleagues to high standards, but I'm incapable of being super serious and rigid 100% of the time. My office and services don't quite fit the spa industry standard of complete, meditative zen. It's comfortable and cozy, but I have a corner office next to a busy road and post office, with other office neighbors frequently going through doors and connected halls. I like to let my clients pick their music, so we get a nice mixture of Reggae, the Lumineers, acoustic rock covers, and Annie Lennox to balance out the pan flutes and synthesizers.

And if the name didn't give it away, I'm really into alternative rock music, sci-fi shows, and at-times-obscure pop-culture references.

As much as I enjoy writing, I'm also a perfectionist. I love to wax poetic and make sure everything is nice and tidy and makes sense before I hit "publish." Sometimes, I just can't dedicate that amount of time and attention, which means I end up with unfinished drafts that don't make it out into the world. This blog may not always have photos and long paragraphs of information. I will likely ramble. I may have to go back and edit things later, or make a new post to better explain whatever points I was trying to make.

Still, I hope that you'll stick around and find something that helps you. Ask questions -- there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. And it's me: I drive my family nuts with my smart-alec answers, and I'll probably try to answer with something witty.

Stay shiny! ♡