1. Tell us a bit more about you and your practice as it is today? i.e. are you a solo practitioner or a business owner? If solo, what kind of an establishment do you work for, how large is it, what is the clientele like, what is the specialty offered? If it is a business that you own, kindly include the same time of relevant information that will give the reader a good idea about your establishment/practice. Please also include where you live and work?
I live in Dallas area, but work in the Carrollton area. I am a Solo Practitioner of Now and Zen Bodyworks. I work out of a Luxury Salon Suites, where I lease a space to practice.
My clientele varies from all ages and gender. I offer a variety of specialties as followed: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Prenatal, Sports massage, chair massage, Hot Stone Massage, and Reflexology.
2. Tell us why you chose to go into massage and at what point in your life did you decide to do so? What were you doing at the time? Where did you first hear about the massage career? What factors influenced your decision? What were you looking to get out of this decision?
My passion has always been to help others. I am the person people come to for advice or to vent. So one day I heard a jingle on the radio regarding a massage school. I knew being a massage therapist I could fulfill my passion and help people to revitalize themselves through such services.
I stopped by to tour the school and then a few months later applied, was accepted and started on my journey. Some factors that influenced my decision were due to the close distance between the school and where I lived at the time. I appreciated the smaller setting of the school, which allowed a one on one teaching environment.
It was one of the best opportunities for a career change. After making my decision, I was looking to accomplish a career in a field that would provide happiness to others and myself.
3. What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals? Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.
One of my main concerns was the price of program and what the program had to offer. I was originally interested in physical therapy, but had a change of heart and wanted to something that could allow for a flexible schedule, so Massage therapy was the key. Before entering the profession I inquired about the risk, complexity, and how I would gain clientele, which all things are falling into place.
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
I spoke of my specialties within the previous questions before. The top specialties that most of my clients prefer deep tissue massages; because of my size, and height they try to doubt me of being able to give a deep tissue massage, but I always prove them wrong. I must say my top three contributing factors for my success consist of flexibility (customer needs), practical skills, and clientele moral.
5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
I enjoy being the outlet aide for individuals to relieve stress, overcome medical conditions or relax; setting the mind and body at peace.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?
Within the industry there are certain individuals who lack certifications who are known to give happy endings. Due to this, individuals always ask if I am that type of Masseuse, which insults my certifications and hard work.
7. If there were three things you could change about your work or the industry as a whole what would they be? Why would you change them? What would you change them to?
I don’t have much that I could change or would change about the industry. The only thing that I would like to change personally is the way I market, due to the lack of funds needed to market.
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
I plan to practice for another five years or longer. My ultimate goal is to open a Wellness Center that provides, chiropractic, Physical therapy, Massage Therapy and acupuncture services.
9. Do you currently have another job or business whether full time or part time? Tell us a bit more about it and how you are able to juggle that with your massage career?
My part-time job is within the same career area, so I am able to juggle both by managing my time and adhering to my scheduled appointments. I follow a certain shift at the part-time, which allows me to schedule within those hours and accept walk-ins, not conflicting with my hours for my practice.
10. What are some mistakes you made in your career pursuit that you’d like to warn other students about so they can learn from your experience and avoid it?
I worked for a company that did all of my marketing and handled everything that a practice would need, but due to a pay increase with another company I made a bad decision lacking resources needed to be successful to make the more money I wanted. I had to start from scratch with building clientele and marketing for myself. I was in a rush to make money not being fully knowledgeable of the next company’s infrastructure.
11. What would you advice someone who is looking at massage therapy schools? What do you recommend they look for and how do you recommend they determine whether the school is the right one for them?
The advice I would give someone looking into massage therapy school, is first make sure that it is something that you want to do. The programs are very time consuming. It will help to determine what areas of interest you want to go into such as a hospital/medical setting, fitness center, spa/salon setting, or work for a sports team.
I recommend that you pay close attention in class because the test for completion of program is very detailed. When it comes to finding the best fit. Will determine your finances and your area of interest. You will never know if the right school is for you it’s all about the teacher and how you retain the information. I recommend that students speak with individuals within the industry or program to gain insight, which will also help to get an idea of what may be best for them.
12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
Look into getting grants of loans. But avoid loans as much as possible, but if it is a must just try to get a loan with the lowest interest rate.
13. What are your three biggest points of advice for an aspiring massage therapist today? What should they do/not do? What should they think about and consider?
Three biggest point of advice: have passion in what you’re trying to accomplish, be dedicated and motivated in order to exceed. Most importantly, work hard. Money is everything, but don’t go into an industry for the money because it can end up being temporary. Do it with purpose and integrity. One must think about long-term goals and how the industry will devote to them.
14. Any open thoughts / comments – anything else that you’d like to share about yourself, the massage industry, profession, future, etc? If nothing, make one prediction for the future of massage?
I predict that multiple Now and Zen Bodyworks will be opening in the near future in several locations (good luck).
15. What is your passion outside of massage? What are your hobbies and interests which you pursue when you are not working? Tell us why you enjoy what you enjoy.
Sleep Sleep Sleep! I love to exercise, run, being active, and entertaining. I enjoy doing all because it rejuvenates my mind and body. I like to have fun so entertaining others is always a great thing!
Brenda L. Austin, MT is the owner of Now and Zen Bodyworks. She specializes in stretching techniques and prenatal massage. You can connect with Brenda on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at NowNZenBodyworks.