Massage Practice 101: How to “Just Do It”

If I could do my launch into private practice massage over again, I would NOT invest in certifications to tweak my massage skills.

Instead I would invest in understanding me.

More specifically, I would drill down on what motivates me, what keeps me focused and, ultimately, what compels me to finish the job.

The Problems From Not Knowing Yourself

When I look back over my 20 years in private practice, I now realize that the times when my business stalled, that I felt crappy about myself as a therapist and/or I couldn’t get a particular job accomplished, I was the problem.

For example, once when my wife, Lisa, and I opened up a new office, it took me a year to get the sign up. We lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars because I had moved so slowly.

About ten years ago, I had an office in a fitness center. The fitness center was moving and I couldn’t decide whether to move with the fitness center or move into another office that we had. That indecision cost me around $10,000 in lost clients.

During the first couple of years with my massage practice, I let difficult clients chew up my time. And I charged some clients much less than I should have. It took me years to get a handle on this.

Time to Accomplish Your Goals

But over the past 5 years, I’ve devoted myself to developing a process that keeps me on track to accomplishing goals and finishing tasks. And this year I’m on target to meet most of my business and personal goals for the year.

Here’s what’s working for me:

  1. Find the right motivation to get started.

Not all motivation is equal. For me, effective motivation has a sense of urgency, like: If I don’t bring in more clients, I won’t be able to pay for _______ or do _______.

Urgency doesn’t have to come out of a dire situation. It can come from the realization that everything has a shelf life.

At 51 I’m less likely to stop everything and travel the world than I was at 21. If you don’t start your massage practice now, chances are that you won’t start it later.

Feel the adrenaline kicking in?

  1. Focus on the goal, not the details.

Once you’re motivated (got the adrenaline going), it’s time to fight off everything that’s going to derail you. Your punch list could be one of them.

For example, if you want to open a massage practice, but your To-Do list to open your practice is the length of your arm—you’re set up for failure.

Instead of trying to get every detail done, just pick the key ones that are essential to opening your practice.

  1. Acknowledge Your Fears

There will be times when you find yourself dragging your feet about a key task you need to do to accomplish a goal. These are the times when you need to ask yourself some serious questions, like “Why am I dragging my feet?”

Look closely. Nine times out of ten, I’m dragging my feet because of fear.

Remember the sign that took me a year to put up? Here’s why. The person that I hired to do our signs was a disaster. It took him 3 months to get our banner sign done.

He was supposed to do our marquee signs, but after the banner debacle I couldn’t trust him. The other sign companies that gave us proposals for our marquee signs were too expensive. So I decided to make the signs myself.

But I was so nervous that I was going to mess them up and have to redo them (costing us money) that I kept putting the job off.

Eventually, I made the signs and got them right the first time. However, at the end of the day, my feet dragging probably cost us more money (lost revenue because the signs weren’t up) than if I had paid a sign company who would have gotten the job done in a timely manner.


The project that took me a year, ugh.

Here’s a common fear for MTs striking out on their own: fear of being exposed as a fraud. I can’t tell you how many times in the beginning of my career that I waited for the client to get off my table and say, “Well, that really sucked.”

When you’re in this fear-based mindset you may find yourself not following through with advertising. That way your name doesn’t get out there (just in case you really do suck).

  1. Stay connected to what compels you to accomplish your goal.

To resolve the feet dragging, reconnect with what is compelling for you to complete your goal. It could be a stick or a carrot.

A stick would be: if I don’t accomplish this goal, I will never have a house. A carrot would be: if I accomplish this goal, then I will have my dream job.

One more thing about the compelling part, it is the emotional fodder that will get you through the tough times. This is where knowing what moves you is important.

Your reason to accomplish the goal must be compelling. Click To Tweet

When I started this website, I had no idea of the challenges that I would face, like learning WordPress. And when my due date for my website revamp was rapidly approaching, I balked at the thought of only getting a few hours of sleep for the next couple of nights to get the job done.

But I had trained my brain to go back to the most emotionally compelling reason for me to do the website.

Here’s my compelling reason: I had written for magazines and developed CE courses for quite a few years. And I loved having my work out there through these businesses and professional organizations. However, the final product was always filtered through their screens.

I wanted the freedom to say what I thought needed to be said without their filters. Hence, the website. This was waaaay compelling to me.

You Can Kick Butt

You can kick butt with your massage business goals. First, find the right motivation for you, then focus on key details, not all details.

Look at your fears and if you find yourself in mission creep, latch onto the emotional trigger that is so compelling you have to stay on board. It could be the dream or it could be the negative consequences that result from not following through.

You CAN do this. If you need some help, let me know:-)



(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)
0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: