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).
  • Make your own graphics and use them on all of your business-related websites, social media pages, etc. to make a consistent "brand."

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.