Stick with One Job Long Enough to Build a Solid Client Base Says Gael Wood

Gael WoodI am currently on staff at a resort spa located in the NC Mountains. I also see a limited number of in home clients. We have 4 massage rooms and a full service salon. Our specialty is offering the best in customized therapeutic massage as well as signature spa services and packages.

I chose massage as a career after receiving my first massage when I was 18. I was excited to find something in the alternative and healing arts field that seemed to offer a good income, the ability to travel, and a way to help people. I was employed at a Bed and Breakfast helping in all areas. We had massage therapists come in to see guests.

I decided to attend the Cayce-Rielly School of Massotherapy in 1994. I had been learning and reading about Edgar Cayce and when I heard about the school from a friend, I knew I wanted to attend! I was looking for a career that I loved and that would help people! I also wanted something where I could be my own boss and have creativity as well.

I didn’t really have any questions or concerns. I was very young and so I just went straight ahead! I guess my main concern was moving 8 hours from home by myself! Then my best friend decided to move with me, because she wasn’t doing anything.

One concern that I have now is with the quality of education, it seems like with more and more schools popping up, some are not high quality. Another concern I have is that massage therapy going into a more medical direction, and I think that leaves out other important aspects of our profession, such as the healing that allowing our bodies to truly relax can bring about. I also love some of the more traditional methods of healing such as Lomi Lomi and Ayurvedic techniques. I would hate to see these kinds of techniques no longer practiced.

My specialty is giving a deep but very relaxing massage tailored to each client’s specific needs and wants. Learning to reschedule clients and “sell” my services has been essential to my success as a therapist. I have also worked in a variety of setting and have learned firsthand all that goes into running a business. I believe this has given me the ability to really love and appreciate my current work situation.

I love meeting new clients; I love the relationships I have developed with my regular clients and co-workers. I also really like being a special part of clients’ vacation or regular self care.

I don’t like the sometimes crazy hours, and the sometimes inconsistent pay. The area where I work and live is very seasonal, and we do have slow times. That can be discouraging and sometimes stressful. I plan to practice AT LEAST 10 more years, and then I will probably keep writing and teaching classes.

I have two websites/blogs one specifically for massage therapists and one about self-care for women. I also write e-books. I work part time doing massage and that is one of the things I like most about my job, the flexibility.

One common mistake that I made myself, was not sticking with one job long enough to be successful there. Building up a clientele takes time and patience. I also really had to learn to sell my services and reschedule clients.

My advice: Look for a quality program that has been around for awhile. Ask massage therapists that you know where they went to school and if they would recommend it. Try to speak with some graduates to see how they are doing in their careers.

Also each school will specialize in certain area some are more holistic, some are more medically based, some include spa training. Pick based on which area you are most interested in. If you cannot afford massage school, I would recommend saving over a few years. It is very hard to pay off a school debt on a massage therapist salary.

More advice: I think they should interview a few therapists about their career and income. Look into what it really takes to be successful and really look at the average income of a massage therapist You should always keep learning, about massage, customer service, business, and never advise clients outside of your scope of practice. It is OK to say you do not know something!!

I am somewhat distressed at what I see is a movement to redefine massage therapy as a medical service. Although massage has medical benefits I have always considered massage therapy to be a heart centered healing art. I hope that we can move forward as a profession while honoring our roots as a form of caring touch, which really anyone can practice.

My passion currently is spending time with my husband and kids, fixing up my old farm house, blogging, and going to the beach every chance I get.

Gael Wood is a Massage Therapist and an Esthetician. She can be reached on her websites here and here

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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