Why Your Massage Practice is Meh

The key to building a massage business is to actually build it.

I should know. I spent many years thinking I was building a practice when I was simply living off referrals from a few key clients.

Eventually, my referral sources dried up, and it was sink or swim time for Markie.

That’s when I discovered something really important about business: Either go all in, or go home.

Going all in is critical because it will afford you the time to work on all the things you need to do to make your business succeed.

Many Hats Challenge

But going all in can be a challenging, especially if you wear many hats like me (massage therapist, business owner, CE teacher and writer).

At first, it seems like the “many hats” strategy provides a level of income security. If one job goes, you still have the other ones to support you.

But the reality is unless each job is set up to produce extra income on demand, you don’t have security.

For example, if your $1000 a week massage therapist job suddenly goes south because you injure yourself, it’s unlikely that your $50 a week daycare worker gig is going to replace your massage income.

Building a Massage Business Detour

Years ago when my practice took a hit, I threw myself into generating more money through my side jobs (personal trainer and writer) and a vicious cycle started.

I spent a lot of time working the side jobs that didn’t generate as much as I was making as an MT, and my massage business (where I should have been throwing my attention) shrunk even more.

If having “many hats” is preventing you from going all in with your massage business, I’ve got a pill that can help you out.

Alright, I’m lying. No pill. But I do have something else.

It’s self-interrogation.

Yeah, I know, it’s not a whole lot of fun.

Here, I’ll make it easier by going first.

“Mark, good, ole buddy, why do you wear so many hats?”

Because that’s who I am.  

I feel my best when I have multiple things going on.

And I don’t like being boxed in.

Are you trying to box me in?!

(Long, contemplative look from internal interrogator.)

“Anything else?”

Well, yeah, if I go all in I could fail. That gets me nervous.

And there’s the thing about competition. I really don’t have to compete with others if I’m only half-way into massage.

Not to mention that I’d have to sell myself (my soul) if I went all in. (No you don’t.)

Oh, and once I’m all in, I could get stuck in something I don’t want to do.

Sure enough when I did my own self-interrogation, I started to see a pattern,

I was emotionally comfortable having many hats. And when the going got tough with my massage business, I’d throw myself into writing or personal training.

Later, recognizing this pattern was enough to keep me on track when I wanted to diverge from working on my massage business.

And getting small wins, like  more clients walking through my door, made me want to stay all in.

Building a Massage Business Bonus

At the end of the day, going all in with building a massage practice, netted me more than a massage practice.

It gave me confidence.

Oh, and remember that fear of getting stuck?

It went away because I had the confidence to try other things, like developing and teaching CE classes.

I also didn’t have to give up being me.

Hell, I even added more jobs, like Make the Most of Massage.

The difference between me then and now is that now I recognize when the other jobs are distracting me from growing my massage business.

Building a Massage Business Quick Notes

If you’re business is floundering because you’re not all in, try some self-interrogation.

You may find that one reason you have a lot of things going on is so that you don’t have to commit to going all in with your massage business.

Once you commit to building your massage practice, you’ll begin to recognize the times when you’re avoiding massage business projects because they’re unpleasant.

I ain’t going to lie–the costs for going all in are blood, sweat and tears.

However, the rewards are a productive massage business, confidence and opportunities to build other businesses.

P.S. When I opened my first office, I knew a massage husband and wife duo. They opened up a massage practice in a high rent district and tried to make it as a wellness center.

It failed.

Damn, Mark, why are you telling me this when I was getting pumped about starting (growing) my practice?

Here’s why. Their business didn’t fail because they hadn’t gone all in.

They had.

Their business failed because they started off too big. They had too much rent to cover.

Being “all in” is important to building a massage business.

A good business plan is, too.

If you need some help putting everything together, sign up here for my building a massage business mini email-course. It’s free:-)

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2 comments… add one
  • Cathy Kamhi Oct 21, 2017, 11:54 am

    thank you for sharing your wins and losses. i totally identify and appreciate your input.

    • Mark Liskey Oct 21, 2017, 2:24 pm

      Hey Cathy, thanks for the comment! We’re definitely not alone! Maybe there needs to be a group sharing of wins and losses post in the future.

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