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3 Essential Steps to Start and Run a Professional Massage Business Starting and running a massage therapy business can be rewarding in many ways. As a way of contributing to the world, it’s wonderful to be able to help people relax tight muscles, rehabilitate injuries, and calm their restlessness and anxiety. And as a business, it’s a lucrative way to earn a living. If you’re already a practicing massage therapist working for someone else, starting your own business is a way to create your own schedule and start getting paid what you deserve. In that case, you’re probably already trying to figure out the best place to rent an office and the best source for finding portable massage chairs and other equipment and supplies. If you’re looking for a career as a massage therapist and planning to start a business when you qualify, then you’re on the right track for designing a fulfilling career. So, how do you start a massage therapy business? Three Steps to Success Assuming you’re starting from scratch, here are the three big steps to follow: Step #1: Meet the basic requirements to be qualified as a massage therapist.  Your first step to becoming a massage therapist is to get certified and licensed. Enroll in a massage therapy course to learn all the skills you need to prepare you to earn a certificate of accomplishment from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). The only time you won’t need to get certification is if you choose to work as a certified massage therapist in Alaska, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Next, you’ll need to get a business license based on your local state laws. Every state has slightly different criteria for applying for a business license and what the license covers. Finally, you should think of joining a massage therapy association because it will help you network, meet business owners, get relevant advice, and help answer any questions you might have about certification, licensing, employment options, marketing your services, and starting your own business.  You can find out more from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Step #2: Start a massage business. Create a business plan, then choose a business name, get a small business loan for covering all your start-up costs, rent an office space, and buy all necessary equipment and supplies. Next, make sure you are fully insured. The three types of insurance you will need at a minimum will be liability insurance, self-employed health insurance, and disability insurance. Here is why you should get these three types of insurance: With liability insurance, you will protect your business from any clients who might sue you, alleging that you made their condition worse, and protect your business if you have to make a claim for any damages. Since you’ll be self-employed, you’ll need to buy your own health insurance to pay for any future medical expenses. You will be covered by disability insurance in the event that you have an accident or incur an injury that prevents you from working again. Step #3: Be proactive about lead generation. Although you may already have a few people who are interested in becoming your clients, you need to create an ongoing marketing plan to keep the pipeline full at all times. It is better to be overbooked and refer people on to other massage therapists then to be under-booked and wonder how you’re going to pay your bills. Use an integrated marketing approach, which means try to generate leads both online and offline, will help you generate a stream of massage clients. To generate leads online, you will need a website, a blog, and a social media presence. By creating blog content on various aspects of massage and well-being, by connecting with other people on social media, and by using paid advertising with Facebook Ads and Google’s Pay Per Click, you should be able to generate a steady stream of leads to your website where people can book an appointment to see you. To generate offline leads, you have to get good at networking, handing out your business cards at business meetings and building up contacts with business owners who could refer clients to you. Manage Your Time Well Wherever you are in your current situation, either as a massage therapist who wants to create an independent income or as a career- minded person hoping to find the right line of work, the most important factor in determining your success may be how well you manage your time. So whether you’re scheduling a business plan or planning where to go to school, three smart scheduling secrets to keep top of mind are not to squeeze too many things in a day, assume each project will take longer than you estimate, and avoid frittering away your time on trivial things.
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