Saturday, February 12, 2011

Know any Richies?

The more I drive the car, the more obsessed with it I become.  Yesterday it didn't feel I couldn't drive it enough.  So beautiful.

I've also made another decision lately- tell me what you think.  Today I was driving around with a friend and we were talking about my never ending stress with my job.  She's the second friend I've had now that suggests that I do this: she thinks I should build my massage clientele until I can afford to support myself.  When I lived in Utah, I charged $100/hr and did in-house private massage.  I am trying to start that up again here in CA, but I don't know very many people.  I'm super excited about this because then I will be working for myself;  I would never again have to answer to another person.  Now, let me be clear on something; I don't mind having a boss- as long as he/she is a good boss.  Right now, I have a horrible relationship with my boss and don't care to try to fix it.  He is the reason I am constantly upset about my job.  I just want to take care of myself and no longer be dependent on someone else to make money to pay my bills...feel me?

The only problem is, it usually takes years to build a steady enough clientele that you can walk away from a day job. Does anyone have ideas on 1)How to build my clientele quick, and 2) network effectively (with the right type of people- how do I find them)?  I will NOT be advertising on craigslist or anything of that nature; the type of clients I am trying to get are NOT going to be looking for a massage on craigslist.  These are people who own $6 million dollar + homes and can afford to have me come to their house once a week or more.  People on craigslist are a crapshoot at best.  You never know what you're going to get or if they are expecting a "full release" massage, or a "happy ending" or something of that nature (usually they are if they're looking on craigslist).  I am not interested nor am I willing to risk it in order to find more clients- my clients usually come from word of mouth.  I have done it before and have about 3 clients now but want to build pretty extensively pretty quickly because I don't know how much longer I can do my job.  I am not from here though so I don't know how to start meeting the right types of people.  Most people I meet are around my same age and cannot afford me. ;)

One friend suggested that from now on I only tell people that I'm a massage therapist and don't tell people that about my day job; just tell them I'm a massage therapist from now on.  She also suggested I get some nice cards and when people ask my massage prices, I start at $100 and never give them the options for anything cheaper (which I wouldn't do anyway).  The key is to tell people the $$ amount with confidence- and if I'm dealing with the right type of people, I have no problem telling them how much.  I know she is right about this and obviously intend to do this starting now.  What else can I do though so that I am meeting the right type of people, and meeting quite a few of them??  Any tips??




  1. Wish I could help, Dizzy but I don't have a clue how to start. Maybe put up some flyers in public places with your phone number. Ask your current clients for referrals. I wish you the best with it. :)

  2. I have a Black Saturn Vue with the Chrome Package. Lurve it!!

    Great plan-I think you could totally do it! I sell custom boutique style baby/wedding gifts and only do it by word of mouth. Your friend has a good idea with word of mouth/business cards. You can also use any groups you are in and possibly talk to your gym? Do they do massage? Maybe they would refer people to you. Or even see if an office complex would be interested in you coming in and giving massages. People could sign up for 20 minute head/neck/shoulder massages for a lesser amount. And then they might hire you for more!

  3. Tell the clients you have that if they refer a client to you they get a 10% discount. Facebook maybe? A classy announcement saying you're going back to your passion which is massages and you're taking bookings now. Flyers where the richies hang out. Give 1/2 price massages if they come once and book another full price one. Wonder how much it would be to actually call a PR person and get their input? Might be worth it. Good luck! I know you can do this.

  4. You could make a Facebook page for your business and direct people there. People here do that - they have a page for their hair salon or yoga studio...and they post specials on it so it's not on their personal FB page.

  5. Miss S' office idea is a good one. It's not the same as discounting your service--not a good idea if you're going for class.

    The office gig is offereing a different service than the full massage, so it would obviously have a different fee. I'd add a minimum # of clients per visit to that.

    Promoting yourself to gyms, yoga instructors, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors is part of what you need to do. A chiropracter here has a free-lancer come in one day a week to do massage in his office.

    Besides the business card, you need a brochure. One that lists the service you provide & the cost, but an educational one as well.

    If you're promoting your service to doctors or other businesses, they are not going to take the time to explain to people what you do. They will want to hand their patient/client a piece of paper or two that describes what the massages involve and who you are and what you cost.

    You may already have access to that kind of material from doing this before. If not, your school might be able to steer to some educational pieces that are already put together.

    When I set up my practice, I spent time researching other practitioner's brochures and cards. I looked at what worked & whht was ineffective or tacky. Get online and see what's out there. Call and ask for info to be sent for you. Have friends from other towns get printed info for you.

    Is there a professional assoc for your field that is respected that you can join that has resources for you? That association would also be able to provide you with an additional credential. You know, "A member of the xxxx association for professional massage therapists." kind of thing.

    Whatever you do--remember your market. I'd say that it is twofold--and both folds have $$.

    1. The younger crowd who frequent gyms, yoga spots & have found some success. They will pay just to say that they are getting a private massage.

    2. The older, well-established, wealthy group who have come to expect private, specialized, and preferential treatment.

    About a job. Is there an already established group that you could partner with or be hired by NOW? That way you could have a steady income in a job you'd like while building your own clientele.

    It is common practice in counseling. I worked for a counseling agency for years before while building my own practice. It adds the cushion of a steady income w/ benefits--and the inside tricks of the trade can be found nowhere else.

    It's important to know is the agencies rules on private clients first, tho.

    Here there is a 20 mile radius rule. My office had to be located at least 20 miles away from the agency & I could not see any clients in my private practice that I had seen or met while working at the agency--even after I left the agency. Undercutting clients is frowned upon. chuckle.


  6. Sorry to be chiming in late but thought this idea was worth sharing.

    I would try to find a local B&B (Bed and Breakfast) and get yourself affiliated with that (or multiple, doesn't have to be just one). The B&B can "sell" you to the clients and, more often than not, the clients are fairly local anyway. I suggest this because it worked for my hubby and I. We went to a B&B for our anniversary last year and got massages while there. The B&B's only tie to it was setting it up for us. The masseuses came to our cabin and we paid them directly. The B&B had nothing else to do with this other than 1) knowing of them and 2) setting up the appt. Turns out, the masseuses were midway between our city and the B&B and so now they come to our home - cause we loved them and thought those were two of the best massages we've had in a long time. Since then, I've noticed a bunch of B&B's offering something similar. The B&B's don't even take a cut, they just know of the masseuse and set up the appts to keep the guests happy and coming back to the B&B (and no, I don't mean happy ending type of happy).

  7. I would also suggest to drop some business cards off at your gym. That you give every friend a few cards as well. Be confident! You are amazing and never back down from your set price!