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So, how's your dream job going? I have to ask! With all the issues with the economy..... Can't get away from it, so I thought I would start this little discussion so we can give and get some candid responses. I feel that the people in this group tend to tell it like it is, with no sugar-coating. Ya welcome! Seriously, how are you guys doing with your businesses? Building, growing, staying afloat? Yanking your hair out as well as anyone in your general vicinity? What's working for you and what has totally bombed? There's a lot of great advice through various threads, but I tend to listen a little more closely when it comes from someone I have "contact" with. Not the "it works for me it will work for you too" sales pitch. Inquiring minds want to know... 

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Lots of potential, but things took a bit longer to get up and going than I thought. I have feelers out at no less than one hospital, two spas, a Pilates studio, an herbalist, and three PT clinics, but after tomorrow, my bank account will be in the red. I am a month behind on my office rent and need to pay on our cell phone bill tomorrow so it doesn't get shut off.

To add to all of this, my ex-boss has flipped her lid over an advertisement I ran that has kicked off a rumor around town because people apparently can't f****** read or understand English. I got a call from ABMP (who I am with) that said ex-boss was "considering filing a claim or a lawsuit" against me for "advertising injury," even though she's got nothing to stand on. So, one avenue of occasional revenue (not to mention good will) now completely shut down, not to mention extra stress.

OTOH, my practice in Denver is continuing to expand. If only I didn't live three hours away . . . *rolls eyes*
Fantastic that you have so many inquiries out and about, Erica! Methinks I needs must work on that avenue as well. I'm sure the old boss knows that there's nothing to "stand on" and is just working the scare tactics angle. The big cry-baby. And isn't that always the way things happen (Denver)?!?!
I've started the "head hunting" phone calls to other therapists in my area! Small expansion in my business w/o too much effort. I'm looking to hire on an IC to work the hours that I am not at the shop. Make the most out of my space. Will keep you all posted on how that goes. One step closer to the "Big Dream".
**You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.**

I am staying afloat and redefining the dream.

Out of school, I aimed my sights on working with the elderly. I love older people, their stories and their wisdom. But 3 years into this, I realize that with this population I have a hard time maintaining my boundaries, I get too involved with those that do not have a social and family support system and I allow their problems to become my problems. I do not have this problem with my other clients, only my older and frail people. And by not maintaining my boundaries, (my fault, I know) I find myself totally drained too many days.

Since school, I have become fascinated with myofascial work and structural integration. I am taking steps to get the training I will need to develop this type of practice. I will continue with my elderly clients that I now work with, but I am changing my focus on the type of work and clients that I want to attract.

The funny thing is that I have had feelings of guilt about changing from an elderly focus, while knowing without a doubt this is something I need to do in order to not only have the dream job, but also my dream life. Sometimes it is hard to admit that the original dream was not quite right, it needs some tweaking. :)

Building any business is difficult, but the wonderful thing about massage is that if something is not working, you have so many other avenues to explore. You just have to find the right fit for you. I realized that my initial focus was not right for me, and changing my practice will not be easy, but I know it will be worth it in the long haul. Now I just have to work for it.
Well, this is my "retirement career" so I can't complain ~ it really is a dream job. I guess I'm working about as much as I want to these days, doing between 10 and 20 massages a week, for maybe 2 or 3 weeks out of every month. Sometimes the 10 hours is in a two-day period (like this week) since I'm still in Chicago part of every week. The people I've been seeing lately are all "regulars," some more regular than others, and since I'm an IC with a chiropractor, I love my focus in structural integration and I've been actually hoping the other therapist picks up the occasional gift certificate "fluff & buff" work these days.

The universe does provide: It seems every time I have a large bill to pay, somehow, curiously, calls come in for the occasional ladies' party or chair event! Maybe that's the power of positive thinking? I do love to walk the fine line, so that always makes me smile...seems I can practically predict it...although, I'm too chicken to test this by making a major purchase!
Some minor exciting news on my search. I contacted our community college about job placement for their graduates. And while I'm not "qualified", due to not being a direct hire employer, they are presenting all my information to the new therapists in a career services workshop. Ups and downs with hiring on a "newbie", but I'm feeling more of the ups. Giving someone their first opportunity, the fire and eagerness of being right out of school, and lets not forget the opportunity of "molding"a new recruit for the long haul...
Can you guys believe this?.... I have not had one single phone call from the Massage Therapy students! It seems to me that since there are so many job issues out there right now, that people would be jumping at this opportunity! Especially a new grad that needs it. Makes me wonder if my information was actually presented as I was told.
This April my practice finally got back to where it was in October of '08 -- when I was feeling pretty good about things just before the economy tanked. Unfortunately just as things are picking up I'm anticipating that my appointments will drop off by about one-third, as they do every summer, because clients either are on vacation or have kids at home.

This summer I'm taking a big risk and have paid $800 to be a sponsor for a series of eight free concerts that are being organized by the neighborhood business group. This is the first year for the concerts, which will feature a variety of musical groups -- blues, funk, acoustic guitar, brass, etc. -- and will be held every Wednesday evening in a park two blocks from my office. The first two concerts had to be cancelled because of rain, but they'll be rescheduled for later in August. But the third one this past Wednesday came off and drew about 120 people. We expect (hope) the crowds will get bigger as word gets around.


I'm setting up and offering chair massage in exchange for donations to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I don't want to offer massage for free because in the past I've ended up working on a lot of people who take anything that's free but who won't ever become a paying client. And by charging a fee that goes to a good cause instead of into my pocket I hope I can get people to try massage for the first time, or at least try me for the first time, while building goodwill at the same time.

That's awesome Steve! Congratulations on the continued success of your business! Sponsoring is definitely a risk, but I think in this case, very worth while. Have you considered working with the muicians? I know many musically inclined people that have all kinds of elbow, wrist, hand issues.... Just a thought! Please let us know how charging for the massage and donating the proceeds works out! I think it is a much more practical solution. I have stopped giving chair massage at events for the same reasons you stated. Basically, you work your arse off for 5-6 hours and get no returns. FREE is "catchy", but not "sticky".
Dream job...the truth of the matter is...it's a labor of love. I left New Jersey & 70 clients behind almost two years ago. Had my own business and two PT massage therapists assisting me to keep up the load. It was never business issues that crept up to get me, it was the PT'ers and the constant struggle to accommodate their schedules...etc! Anyway...moved to So. Carolina after careful thought and the fact that my father needed attention (Alzheimers). I decided NOT to open a business ,but rather participate as an employee/sub contractor. No mess, but pay without the drama. In the short time here, it's been a slow build, but I'm gaining clients everyday. I'm in a resort/vacation area. Very little big business, everything is tourism related so I don't see too many repeat clients. The loyal FT residents are mostly professionals in healthcare, gov't, real estate and mid sized businesses.
Long term...considering opening a franchise business...any thoughts?
Kevin, sounds like you're in a perfect location for that...please remember me if you DO decide to go the franchise route, or even a group practice situation! We just returned from SC (Columbia, on Lake Murray) where my sister lives...I am seriously considering adding a SC license so I can spend more time down there and work while I'm there...well, I did some work while I was there, but not legally...so to not tempt the bad juju and license nazis, it would be the right thing to do. Glad you're so busy, don't y'all over-do it!
An update to about the Main Street Music Festival that I'm participating in:

The concert last Wednesday drew about 180 people, up from 120 the week before. I was busy, doing chair massage for almost two straight hours and earning an even $100 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I even had someone schedule an appointment for a 60 minute massage at my office.

It looks like it's going to be a success and well worth the money and effort. This week there was a brass quintet playing marches, show tunes and even New Orleans jazz. Next week there will be a group playing "American Roots" music.

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