Going solo – 7 awesome tips to succeed with your own massage business

Massage Careers - Sage Institute of Massage

You’ve qualified as a massage therapist, you’ve chalked up ample experience, and now you’re fired up and ready to take on the world with your very own business. Starting your own massage practice can be an exciting and rewarding experience, just as long as you make sensible choices and know good advice when you see it! Here are a few tips we recommend you take on board…

Start small
We wish you abundant success in your new business venture – and hope you have people lining the streets to book in! However, let’s take this one step at a time. Start with a place that has adequate room to be professional, but is small enough for you to fill it without looking like you are only half open. Before you expand to larger premises, it’s important that you can answer “yes” to the following:

  • Can I attract a steady flow of regular clients?
  • Am I making enough money from these clients?
  • Do I like working for myself?
  • (If employing others) Do I like being the boss, which involves organising timetables, payroll, insurances, etc.?

Only then should you think about expanding, which brings us to our next point…


Keep things affordable
Shop frontage is not a prerequisite for massage therapists, which is great news as this means you can save money. The following tips may save you a few dollars:

  • Find a room that is a short walk from a popular street, so you are easy for people to locate and a short distance from public transport and popular shops.
  • Negotiate with real estate agents over the price of potential properties. There are lots of spaces out there that agents need to fill.
  • Ask for a rent-free period. This is absolutely acceptable, and you could gain a free two weeks to two months or more. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
  • If there is a spare room, could you confidently and easily sublease it? If the answer is an absolute yes, then this could indeed be a bonus. But be sensible about this: if the spare room looks more like a storeroom with no windows or ventilation, chances are no one is going to want to pay good money for it.


Examine your studio space

  • Does the room have access to plenty of fresh air and natural light?
  • Stand in the room quietly for a while and ask yourself, “Can I see myself working here for long periods of time each day?”
  • Is there air conditioning to heat or cool the room? Does it work? Check this yourself. If it doesn’t, ask for a new unit – and make sure that keeping it in running order is a part of the contract. If they are offering you a room at a bargain basement price, they may not be willing to buy you a new air conditioning unit. Even so, ask them if they would consider meeting you halfway with the price.


Redesign your studio – on a budget
Undoubtedly, you’ll need funds to make your massage rooms look professional and smart. But it pays to get creative, not cash-crazy.

It’s a wonder what can be achieved by giving your entire space a facelift with the right colour paint. Choose carefully though and purchase some test pots first. It is best to see the colour in the correct light and context. Dark, small places, will benefit from lighter colours and larger, lighter spaces can carry stronger colours. Just remember that it is a massage studios, so muted tones are always a good idea.

Eliminate clutter. You want to create a relaxing, stress-free environment, so take away anything that looks messy or overly stimulating. And remember IKEA! So many of their pieces are perfect for small business environments on a budget.


Having your own insurance is a legal necessity, to make sure this is covered fully before you even open your doors!


Once again, stay frugal, consider all options and don’t be talked into any “special deals” anyone tries to entice you into for thousands of dollars. Word-of-mouth and local traffic will be your bread-and-butter advertising, so think of ways to leverage from this:

  • Provide a great service, so people will always come back for more
  • Think about loyalty cards
  • Always have business cards, possibly even with a 10% discount offer or some special offer for newbies, so that your clients can hand them out to friends.
  • Start a database. At the least, have people’s mobile phone numbers so you can SMS them in the future. Collecting email addresses will also be valuable for marketing further down the track.
  • Get to know your neighbours! Tell them you’ve arrived on the block, pass out business cards and invite the proprietors in for a treatment. People talk. Word travels.
  • Contact your local paper: they are always keen for a new story and are refreshingly supportive of local small businesses.

Want some more great tips for marketing your massage business? See our blog: 7 small business marketing ideas for your massage business (that won’t break the bank).

Look after your body
With the excitement of running your own business, it’s very easy to neglect yourself. Take care of your body – eat, sleep and don’t overbook yourself! If you start small, running your own business can be a fantastically rewarding experience and actually not as daunting as you may think. So get organised, get out there – and turn your dreams into a reality!

For more great tips to help you get a head start see our blog, Top 10 tips for starting your own massage therapy business.

Sage Institute of Massage – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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