Massage Career Tips

Start Your Own Massage Business

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Massage Business?

By Elizabeth Fletcher Brown LMT, BA

As a licensed massage therapist and business coach I am often approached by other therapists who are currently employed in a spa, a clinic, or possibly a chiropractor’s office, and would like to transition into going into business for themselves.
I, of course, am passionate about having your own business as I’ve done it pretty much all of my working life. However, not every therapist will be suited to the lifestyle of an entrepreneur.

Running a successful massage practice or business requires many skills that are not taught in the typical massage school. And just because you are a great therapist, does not by itself guarantee that you’ve got what it takes to be successful running your own massage business.

In my work I have interviewed many successful therapists to see what they have done differently from therapists who are struggling. I have come to the conclusion that there are certain skills and qualities they possess that truly make the difference between success and failure.

And the good news is that often these qualities or skills did not come naturally. Many of these skills and qualities had to be learned or developed over time. But if other therapists can develop them, you can too. It all begins with an honest evaluation of what strengths and weaknesses you currently have, paired with a willingness to learn.
So here are some questions to  consider if you are either thinking of stepping out on your own, or already have your own business but are wondering what skills you need to develop to take it to the next level of success.

How motivated are you to be successful? Many massage therapists who now have thriving businesses credit their drive to succeed no matter what to keep them going when times got tough. In every business there are up times and down times. Without strong motivation many therapists give up when the going gets tough. Sadly, success is often just around the corner. So, think about what you can do to increase your motivation and drive to stay the course until your dream manifests.

How willing are you to really put yourself out there? Many highly successful massage therapists told me that a key to their success was getting really involved in their community. They attended Chamber of Commerce meetings, Leads Clubs, and other networking events where they could connect with people in their target market.

For a very few this came naturally. For most it meant moving outside of their comfort zone. It meant accepting that this was uncomfortable and doing it anyway. How willing are you to get out in your community and promote yourself and your massage services? Interestingly enough, most therapists told me that networking become much easier over time. Some even got to really enjoy it!

How well developed are your “people skills”? Running a business requires to you interact with a number of different people and personalities that you might not ordinarily choose to spend time with.

You may find yourself interacting with cranky clients, unruly sub-contractors, troublesome employees, demanding receptionists.. to name a few. What can you do to improve your people and communication skills? One thing is to understand your communication style and learn how you can adapt that in different situations.
There are a number of assessments and programs you can take to help you with this.

How organized are you? Did you know that poor planning and lack of organization alone leads to the failure of many massage businesses?

Let’s face it, there’s a lot to keep organized. You have to organize your time, your schedule, your client files and records, your finances, your billing if you don’t get paid at the time of service, your inventory if you carry products… Yikes! If organization doesn’t come naturally to you, you might want to consider hiring a coach or an organizational consultant to help keep you on track.

So these are some of the qualities and skills that I have found to be present in highly successful massage business owners.

And remember, with every business endeavor there are risks involved. There are no guarantees. However, with some good preparation you certainly increase the odds of being successful and creating the massage business and the lifestyle of your dreams.

Elizabeth Fletcher Brown BA, LMP, has been a licensed massage therapist since 1989, and is a certified business coach. She is the founder of the Massage Business Center, ( which has been offering free resources to support massage therapists in creating successful businesses since 2003. In addition, she currently hosts a radio show for massage therapists at You can reach her at [email protected]




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  1. Stacey McNamara says:

    Hello Ms. Brown,

    I am an Integrated Energy Therapy Master Instructor living and working in Georgia. IET Certification classes are registered with the NCBTMB for accredited continuing education credits.

    I would like to offer these classes to massage therapists in need of CEs. I am reaching out to you to see how I can be off assistance to LMTs.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Yours in good health,
    Stacey McNamara

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