Episode 333

Jan 8, 2021

Is it a good time to become a massage therapist? Allissa and Michael discuss it.

Listen to "E333: Is Massage a Viable Career Option Right Now?" on Spreaker.
Image for E333: Is Massage a Viable Career Option Right Now?


Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Is it a good time to become a massage therapist? Allissa and Michael discuss it. 

Quick Tips



Sponsor message ABMP is proud to sponsor the Massage Business Blueprint podcast. CE courses you'll love are available for purchase or included for free with your membership in the ABMP education center at abmp.com/ce. Explore hands-on techniques, complete ethics requirements, and discover trending courses like "A Detailed Approach to Low Back Pain" from Allison Denney. All ABMP memberships include 200-plus video-based, on-demand CE classes. And if you're not a member, you can purchase access for single courses or CE packages at abmp.com/ce. Want more from ABMP? Check out the ABMP podcast, available at abmp.com/podcast, or wherever you prefer to listen. Expect more with ABMP.

Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines I'm Allissa Haines.

MR And we are your hosts today. We are glad you're here. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.

AH Well, welcome to you as well, Michael.

MR [Laughing] Well, thank you. I feel like we're an NPR now: Welcome. Hello, everyone. How are you today?

AH Michael, would you love to share with the audience what you've been reading this week?

MR I would love to. And I'm a little too mellow now even for my own taste, so I'm going to amp it up a little bit more. Okay. So what am I reading this week? I actually read this article a while back and I kept meaning to bring it up for our podcast, and I'm glad that I remembered today to bring it up because I hate paper. I hate paper so much. I hate junk mail. I hate getting junk mail in the mail. I just hate it when I open the mailbox and it's full of crap. So I found this article from the Huffington Post a while back called "Stop Junk Mail for Good With These 4 Steps." The subtitle is, "It is the bane of modern existence." I agree. It is the bane of modern existence. I hate junk mail so much.

So it's a really simple little article; it's like one of those listicles with four tips. But some of these I hadn't heard of. There are some numbers you can call, including 1-888-5-OPT-OUT, where you can opt out of pre-screened credit card and insurance offers. A lot of my junk mail is that kind of stuff, so I'm going to be calling that one. There's also a website, optoutprescreen.com. There's also -- you can notify the Data & Marketing Association to remove you from their database. I'll be doing that as well. You can ban the smaller marketers and prospect catalogs. You can get those -- get yourself off those lists. And there's some other apps they recommend as well. So it's got a whole list of different things you can do to reduce the amount of junk mail you're getting. So I was in love with this list because I hate getting junk mail as I've mentioned like 50 times before already. So if anyone is interested in reducing your junk mail like me, the article is in the show notes, and you might want to check it out. That is what I'm reading.

AH That's awesome. I have been super annoyed with junk mail lately, so I am going to check that out and follow those steps. I used to use an app called PaperKarma, but I'm -- removed it from my phone, and then when I went to put it back on, they had moved to a pricing model, and I'm not paying for anything. So --

MR Yeah. It didn't really work either. I tried it and it worked like once, and then it didn't really do anything else.

AH Really? It worked really well for me, but --

MR Huh.

AH Also, I move a lot -- well, I previously moved a lot, so who knows what fell off because of that. Although, I am super annoyed to say that my freaking alumni association from my college found me again.

MR They're relentless.

AH I don't know how they do that. It's really -- they should be doing child support enforcement over there at the alumni association.

MR [Laughing] Or fundraising for nonprofits or something.

AH Right? Okay. So what I am reading, I've been reading some fiction. And I read a book called The Space Between Us by -- and I'm going to mess the pronunciation, I'm sorry. It's Thrity Umrigar. It's a novel about, essentially, two families in Bombay. The novel's about 11 years old, so it kind of refers to the current look at class and gender roles in Bombay, but it's like 11 years ago, but a lot of it's still the same. And it's interesting because it's kind of a story of a wealthy woman and the story of a woman in poverty who's been her servant for her entire lifetime. And it is a really interesting look at the caste system and religion. And it was very, very interesting, and it was beautifully written. And it was -- some of it was dark without being so brutally dark you had to put the book down. But it was really, really neat. It was a great piece of fiction.

I found this book -- I've probably mentioned that my partner built a little -- a Free Little Library in front of our house. It was one of his earlier pandemic projects made with all recycled material. And then over Christmas, the gift I got him was registering it on the littlefreelibrary.org site. So we got a little plaque. And some -- one of my neighbors has fantastic taste in books, and I don't know which one. But every couple of months, three or four books get left in the little library, and they are fantastic. And I'll share another one that I read for next week's podcast. So it's great. I grabbed the book, I read it, I put it back in the Free Little Library, and somebody else takes it. And it's really lovely. So you can actually go to littlefreelibrary.org and see if there's any Free Little Libraries near you or build one and put it on the registry. And that is what I --

MR There are a couple near us.

AH Yeah, it's adorable.

MR Yeah. There's one near a park right next to our neighborhood and then another park that's pretty close as well. So they're really -- they're lovely. They really are.

AH Yeah. And it's really neat because there's a couple in -- near some playgrounds near us, and they kind of mostly have kids' books and stuff. But there are a few around town -- there's one next to a synagogue that's got all really interesting religious -- I don't know what I -- I don't even know how to say it, but really cool books about Judaism and also fiction. And it -- it's really neat to see how the different locations are oriented towards different communities, and it's really lovely. Yeah. Anyhow, it's a daily, fun thing now to go look and see what's in the little library. And it's really nice because I can see it from where I can sit in the front window of our living room when I'm reading, and I can see when people stop there. And it's just really fun.

MR Nice.

AH So that's what I have been reading. Michael, who's our first sponsor?

MR Jojoba!

AH Yay, Jojoba!

Sponsor message You know I love The Original Jojoba Company. And I think we should be using it because I want the highest quality products soaking into my hands as well as my clients' bodies. It doesn't go rancid. And actually, one of our premium members noted the other day that she has fully made the switch to jojoba after having to throw away a bunch of her other massage oil because it sat on the shelf for six months while she wasn't working. And that delighted me. And this little bit, that it doesn't go rancid, makes jojoba a perfect carrier for essential oils because the oil's not -- the jojoba is not going to go rancid after six months, and you're not going to lose like $30 worth of lavender that you put in there. It is nonallergenic, so you can safely use it on any client and every client without being concerned about an allergic reaction. And you, my friends, can get 20% off the price of the product when you shop through our link massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. I will also note you should follow their social media on Instagram and Facebook because they've had some really neat specials. And they've got some new lines of products that are pretty awesome like a lip balm and a hand salve. Again, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

MR All right. Thanks, Jojoba. All right. I love your topic today. I just love it. So I'm going to kick back and listen.

AH All right. And this is very specifically prompted by an email we got from a listener, specifically an email -- a listener in Massachusetts, so you'll hear a little bit of state references here. But I believe it applies to everybody, so I'm going to go with it. I'm just going to read her email.

"My question is, with the whole pandemic, do you realistically recommend someone start a massage therapy career right now? I went to massage school years back in California, but it was only 250 hours, and I don't think it can be transferred to any other state. Two schools told me so far that students have to start from the beginning, and there's no transfer credits. Plus, I'm rusty and I only got 250 hours of training. Plus, local career center in Massachusetts may offer free tuition to massage school for certain job seekers" -- because this particular listener, folks, is low income and unemployed right now. "But with so many people worried about COVID, can people still have a thriving massage practice now, or is it wise to pursue a different career direction?"

So that's the gist of it. And my reply -- and I've been thinking about it over the last week or two, and I think I feel the same as I did a few weeks ago that, yes, I really do think that massage has a strong future post-pandemic. And I think post-pandemic, for the bulk of the country, is looking like July, August, September. That is -- it looks like, with the vaccine rollout, even though it's been really slow, most states it seems like it's going to be to the general public by June-ish. So even if it takes longer than that, it looks like -- we will all have had our vaccines, and it -- for at least a month come August or September.

And yeah, I think that so many people have been so touch-starved, at this point, for ten months. By the time next summer rolls around, we're talking 14 to 18 months of people who live alone and being super touch-starved. And people who've been home with families and under an insane amount of stress are going to need our services. I think that health care professionals are going to be dealing with trauma and be more able to receive our services post-pandemic. I think they are probably going to be the largest segment of population that we can truly help with massage. I think that's healthcare workers who are going to be struggling with burnout and trauma. They are now, but I think that come the summer, we're going to be able to help them better as we get back to work fully.

I also mentioned to this listener that we're in Massachusetts, and we have plenty of affluent areas that have not been economically impacted by the pandemic. So I'm confident that the massage here -- the massage market here is going to be quite strong. I know that people who are -- who went back to work as soon as they could here are pretty busy, maybe a little slower than previously on certain weeks when they have lots of people cancel because they've got a sore throat. But the demand is there even if the total follow through just because of circumstances isn't there.

I -- a client told me years and years ago that the rich don't suffer. And while there has been an enormous amount of economic instability and poverty initiated by this pandemic, in many, many communities, there are also just as many people whose jobs were not harmed, whose jobs may have gotten busier. Anybody who works in bioscience and bioengineering and -- they're all doing quite well right now because their companies are making vaccines or making physical components for vaccines or making you name it. So there's a lot of people, a lot of white collar workers specifically who had no problem transitioning to at-home work or who were already working from home, who had the resources to cover child care, who have the resources. And there's a whole lot of people that, for the last ten months because they've been somewhat locked down, haven't spent money on summer camps and vacations and a ton of other things they would typically spend money on. So they've been building up their savings. And I think the money is going to be there for people who seek massage. And I want for there to be massage therapists ready to take on that business and ready to educate more consumers.

And I will just say -- this is super anecdotal, but Michael and I both are active in a few finance groups, discussion groups on Facebook, especially for people who are looking to be financially independent, maybe retire early, socially conscious financial independent people. And there's actually been a lot of talk for people who've gotten -- recently gotten promotions and, what should I do with that money, and I just took a new job that's going to be dramatically more money; what should I do with the new resources coming at me? And I swear in every single thread, someone's like, okay, if you're going to be working more hours, do the things you need to take care of you. So save a little bit of that new income, but also think about what you can spend your money on that's going to help you manage your stress and manage your household as you're working more hours.

And they're -- people are always suggesting things like, is there a meal delivery service, more child care? Can you manage your own stress with massage? That happened in like five different threads last week and one last night. It was so exciting. And when last night's thread -- I -- somebody was like, one thing that I do that I am excited to get back to is massage to manage my stress. And I popped in, and I was like, as a massage therapist who treats stress and anxiety, I approve this message. And a whole bunch of people replied and were like, uh-huh, this is what I primarily use massage for. I will -- I cannot wait to get back to it. I love how my massage therapist has handled things during this pandemic. So there's going to be plenty of business.

And likewise, I expanded my practice at the very beginning of that 2008/2009 recession. And it boomed in the middle of a recession, and that's because I live in a suburban area with plenty of white collar workers. But -- and I understand that's not accessible to everybody. But depending on where you live, I think you'll be fine. So -- and I also want to note I closed my big office in May. I reopened a much smaller place in October, and I share with a massage therapist who left a spa in September, and she's already averaging six to eight clients a week. A few -- she got a few people that came with her from her last location, but she's gotten a ton of new clients and referrals just from having a website. She has done no other marketing. And again, most of the massage therapists I know who are working are doing okay, especially if they're taking new patients. That might not be a thing -- you might get through school and open in the middle of the summer, and if the pandemic's not in good shape around us, you might have to wait a little while.

But I do want to note, especially -- and it was for this person who emailed me, but if you have any opportunity right now to go for -- to go to school for free or greatly subsidized by a state program because you've been out of work and you're eligible for assistance, do it. I think it's a fantastic option. If you're able to do this, now is a good time to go to massage school. Maybe not if you're, health-wise, high risk; you don't want to be in a classroom with lots of other people. But worst case, massage is an amazing part-time job. It is a -- when you think about part-time jobs you can get at a department store or a book store or a dining establishment or a restaurant or whatever, massage is a pretty good part-time job. It's a well-paying part-time job, especially if your education has been subsidized at all, or you were able to pay as you go through school. It is a great, great job to hold you until you decide what you fully want to do full-time with your life. And -- or it might just be somebody who holds a couple of part-time gigs, and that's cool too. So that's my shtick. In a nutshell, I really do think that massage and our profession and the market for massage is only going to grow come the summer of 2021. And now could be a great time to get into it.

And that's my thing, Michael. Got anything?

MR Yeah. I agree, and I think it's great because I've seen a few people in our Community say things like, well, I'm not even sure I want to go back to massage; is it even something I want to continue doing? And I think the same conversation applies to people in that situation as well. So I really -- I love what you said. I agree.

AH Sweet.

MR We need massage.

AH We really do. Okay. That's that. If anyone disagrees with me, you should email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com and tell me how wrong I am. I'm cool with that.

MR [Laughing]

AH Who's --

MR Not that that ever happens. [Laughing]

AH Not that that ever happens. Who's our next sponsor, Michael?

MR Our friends at Acuity.

AH Yay!

Sponsor message Acuity is the scheduling assistant that makes it easy for traditional businesses to become virtual or stick along with your brick-and-mortar situation. You -- I lost my place in my notes, people. I'm sorry. You know that happens. Okay. I got so excited. You do not need to play phone tag. Clients can view your real-time availability and self-book their own appointments. It is so nice, so convenient to not have to go back and forth or to offer someone an appointment time, and then three days later they finally get back to you, and you've already given that appointment to somebody, and they get mad. You can avoid all of that. You can handle your forms before the appointment. You can have automated confirmation and reminder emails and also text messages if you choose. And you can have all of this for a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today. You can check it out at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity. I will also note that Acuity is among the more affordable options. Their monthly fees, or you can do an annual fee that gets you a little bit of a discount, are much lower. And they have a few different levels of service, so if you don't need all the bells and whistles, you can use the lowest price plan, which I think is $15 a month right now. That's the one that I --

MR There's even a free version.

AH There is even a free version, which I actually used for a while when I didn't need the options of the one price -- I pay $15 a month for my scheduling, yo. So yeah, you should know that, and you should learn more about that at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.

MR All right. Quick tip time.

AH Yeah. Do yours first. I'm tired of talking.

MR [Laughing] Okay. All right. So one of our Community members, Annalisa (phonetic), shared a resource a few days ago in our private community, in our premium community on anti-racism. It was an anti-racism newsletter called Anti-Racism Daily, and I subscribed. And it just kind of reminded me that educating yourself is doing something. And what I mean by that is -- so I think it's easy for a lot of us, for me anyway, to look at the world and say, okay, there is lots of complex issues -- there are lots of complex issues out there: sexism, racism, social injustice, social issues, all this stuff. And it feels very huge and very overwhelming. And me as a privileged white guy, I feel like I'm -- I can't possibly understand what minorities are going through and what things are like for people in these situations. And so I feel like I often wonder what I can do. I can donate to organizations, which I do sometimes. I can volunteer. I can do certain things. But I feel like I just don't really know how to help sometimes.

So I've kind of been thinking about this recently, and Annalisa's resource really helped me kind of also come to terms with the fact that if I can educate myself, that's going to be helpful in many ways because it's going to affect how I can -- how I interact on social media, how I interact with people in real life, and the attitudes I have toward various social issues happening in our world today like racism. And so by subscribing to this simple newsletter -- which it's really good so far; it's been really good to kind of read some of the resources out there -- it helps to just educate yourself, in my opinion. So educating myself is one small way that I can do something to hopefully make a difference. And this particular newsletter, I put a link to it. It's called antiracismdaily.com. And it says, "Each day, we offer an overview on current events and apply an anti-racism lens. Learn how practices embedded in our politics, criminal justice system, and workplace enforce systemic oppression and what you can do about it."

So that's just one little quick tip I have if you're interested in educating yourself more on issues like racism. This seems to be a good one, and there are lots of resources out there to educate yourself. And so that's one thing I am doing.

AH I think that's awesome. And I saw that resource. I bookmarked it. I haven't looked at it yet. I will say that in our Massage Business Blueprint premium community, we have kind of a subcommunity being led by two of our members on anti-racism and things we can actively do in our massage practices to become anti-racist in the way we do business and just as human beings. And that's where this resource popped up. It's -- we have a monthly, hour-or-so meeting talking about something in particular. Yesterday was focused on how to reply to racist remarks and situations that may occur in your business. And we looked at some video of some situations that happened with a hairdresser a while back and how that was handled well and maybe how it wasn't. And it was so interesting and helpful, and I will have more info on that coming soon.

And actually, the two women, Meg and Sakinah, who are running this anti-racism group, they're, I believe, creating a course for Healwell on this. I don't even know if I was allowed to say that, but I did, so there it is. And it's great. They also had an article in Massage Magazine a while back about the anti-racism work they're trying to do, and it's really, really cool. And so I have bookmarked that resource as well, and I look forward to probably sharing more of it in some of the "things I read" coming up.

MR Cool.

AH Thank you, Michael. Thanks for spotlighting that. So my quick tip is to create a daily reasonable expectation list. I have my Microsoft To-Do list that's got all of my business stuff that needs to get done and a few household things that firmly need to get done. And I have that to-do list to work off of. But I have definitely found that my productivity is way down. The amount of time I can concentrate on any particular thing is dramatically down. And I've had some trouble looking at computer screens because my eyes are old. And I did get my new glasses, and I think they're helping a little bit, but the amount of time I can spend actively working in front of a computer is limited.

So a routine I started doing is that every morning, I get my cup of coffee, and this is primarily what I'm using my Bullet Journal for is I bust open my Bullet Journal, and I write my three words for 2021 -- patience, pace, and purview -- and I think about reasonably, according to how I feel that day, what do I think I can get done. What is a -- what is reasonable expectations of my productivity and my accomplishments? And it's gone really well. It's helped me to prioritize my own care on days where I feel like I can actively for real exercise. I put that on the list, and then I do one of my, whatever, 20-minute exercise videos that is actually a cardio workout. And on days where I'm like, I'm not going to be able to do that today, I can say, but I can manage a 15-minute walk. I can go for a walk. I just can't be like jumping up and down in front of a video today. And also putting just a few work goals on there like, what are the two projects I think I can make a dent in today? And it's been really nice.

And I -- sometimes I have remembered to check back on it at the end of the day and kind of check off what I did, and sometimes I haven't. I don't look at it again until the next morning. But it really does help keep me focused and also feeling good about what I can accomplish without being like, ugh, at seeing this huge to-do list. I still check my Microsoft To-Do list every day because I don't want to forgot something that's due that day or whatever. But it's been really nice.

So quick tip is maybe consider making a reasonable expectation list for yourself on a daily-ish basis based on how you feel that morning. And that might help your productivity a little bit and also help you mentally a little bit.

MR Love it. I'm a huge advocate of aligning with your energy.

AH Yeah. And I -- also just accepting and forgiving that my energy is down right now. And now, I had intended to do a lot of writing today; I can't. I cut my finger last night, and I can't -- I cut my ring finger of my left hand, and it's -- I can't type. It hurts. It's -- I have to kind of keep my -- it's bad enough that I had to put ice on it, and I can't have my hand below the level of my heart too long or it starts to throb. So I'm not going to be writing a lot at the computer today. But I do have some other things I can do. And I actually have some things I need to -- I want to physically write out on paper, and I can do that. So I have adjusted my expectations for today accordingly, and I feel good about that. And I have -- when I check it at the end of the day, which I've been trying to do, I can check it off and feel good about what I've done. Even if there's something incomplete on there, I can still feel good. And I'll see that incomplete thing the next day and maybe add it in that day and get it done. So anyhow, there's my hack.

MR I like it.

AH Take us home, Michael.

MR All right. Well, thanks, everyone, for joining us today. We appreciate you being part of our Community. And thanks to our sponsors as well. I think we need to thank them more as well, so we appreciate all our sponsors supporting us as well. And if you would like to contact us, feel free to email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. And if you are not a member of our private community, now is the time to get in. It is growing; it is full of amazing conversation and content. You can look for that at massagebusinessblueprint.com and click on Community. You'll find us there. And there's a free 30-day trial, so you can hop in for 30 days, look around, get to know people, see if you like it before you commit to anything. All right. So thanks, everyone, for joining us today. Have a great day. We will see you next time.

AH Bye. 

Logo for Happyface
Logo for ABMP
Logo for Jojoba
Logo for Pure Pro Massage Products