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Good afternoon everyone, My name is Johnathan I reside in Houston, Tx. by way of Philadelphia, Pa.

I decided about 2 years ago to look into massage Therapy. I did it as a means of learning something new, and to sub my income. I do ok in my regular career, but in these times, you gotta have something to fall back on. Im 42, w/4 beautiful children. 

 

I wanted to know if anyone has had issues with clientele that are anti-men! I know some men just cant wrap their minds around a man touching them. But what about woman as well. Has it been difficult to stay busy with all the issues of being men in the female dominated industry?

 

I met a LMT about 2 weeks ago at a massage supply store in houston. He said he does mainly chair massage. Anyone having these issues?

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Johnathan, I've been in this profession for the last 8 years and I'm not sure about that "anti-man" thing. It is a fact that many people when given a choice of gender for the therapist might pick the female therapist, but at the same time I've worked for clinics which I see clients looking for male therapists because some of them get the idea that we are strong enough to provide a good deep tissue session (many people do not like a light massage). I'd say that for the anglo market my clients split 80% women and 20% men, for the hispanic market 60% women and 40% men. 

In my experience, more than dealing with gender issues I have faced lack of knowledge on running my own practice or lack of knowledge on good marketing, so it could take a LONG time for anybody if you are not advised properly.

If this issue was completely true, then we wouldn't see successful male therapists around, and believe me I've met quite a few of them doing great.

It's very hard to get your practice going while working full time. Would it be possible for you to put yourself out there working for a local clinic/spa for a few hours on the weekend? how about specializing on specific modalities? such as orthopedic, neuromuscular, etc.

I try to market myself as someone who can help on injury rehabilitation cases because I have the proper training.

My last comment is the following, you could be the best therapist in all Houston, but without good marketing and great NETWORKING you'll be heading to a rough ride. Just my 2 cents

Hey Jorge,

 

Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you shined some light on the issue. I plan on focusing on chair massage in the beginning. I have been practicing weekly on friends and family. Working on my A&P studies. And yes, working Full Time.  Really rouge, but its the cost I'm willing to sacrifice to be good at MT. I know a few MT's that are great as well. I go to them with questions all the time. And they are always willing to assist anyway they can. In order to get friends to come and help with internship, I told them every intern massage they pay for at the school, Ill give them 2 free chair massages. And yes I told them @ N/C!!! lol, So I'm trying to market it from that angle. I figure They better get all the free massages they can get right now, because after certification, NO MORE FREEBIES!!!

 

Thanks Jorge,

Jorge Cisneros said:

Hi Johnathan, I've been in this profession for the last 8 years and I'm not sure about that "anti-man" thing. It is a fact that many people when given a choice of gender for the therapist might pick the female therapist, but at the same time I've worked for clinics which I see clients looking for male therapists because some of them get the idea that we are strong enough to provide a good deep tissue session (many people do not like a light massage). I'd say that for the anglo market my clients split 80% women and 20% men, for the hispanic market 60% women and 40% men. 

In my experience, more than dealing with gender issues I have faced lack of knowledge on running my own practice or lack of knowledge on good marketing, so it could take a LONG time for anybody if you are not advised properly.

If this issue was completely true, then we wouldn't see successful male therapists around, and believe me I've met quite a few of them doing great.

It's very hard to get your practice going while working full time. Would it be possible for you to put yourself out there working for a local clinic/spa for a few hours on the weekend? how about specializing on specific modalities? such as orthopedic, neuromuscular, etc.

I try to market myself as someone who can help on injury rehabilitation cases because I have the proper training.

My last comment is the following, you could be the best therapist in all Houston, but without good marketing and great NETWORKING you'll be heading to a rough ride. Just my 2 cents

I'd like to invite you to listen to the podcasts we are creating with some wonderful people with decades of experience on the field. You can join the Massage Therapy Podcasts group or simple just visit massagepodcast.com and subscribe to the feed so you get notification when we post a new episode. All our guests are sharing great advice to new therapists or experienced ones.

 

Hey Guys,

 

I've been in the business for four years and have both male and female clients.  I have noticed that some folks would prefer one sex over the other, but like Jorge, I've experienced people requesting a male over a female for the idea that our touch is deeper/stronger.  (A properly trained female therapist can do every bit as deep work as a man, though.)  I've also experienced rejection due to the fact that a client preferred a female therapist.  Hopefully that's changing.

 

Jorge is right about the marketing aspect of the business.  The school I went to had 80 hours of marketing classes that were priceless.  Got to do it.  Figure out what you're selling, who you're selling to and how to sell it.  In my case I'm selling Swedish, Thai, Sports, Trigger point work.  I want to sell to athletes and to people who VALUE massage and who can afford it.  I network like mad.  I teach classes at the YMCA, I speak to graduating classes at my massage alma mater, I hang out with other MTs.

Figure out who your ideal clients are and find them.  In most cases they won't come looking for you but they ARE out there.

 

Best of luck!

 

Tom in Chicago

Hello Johnathan,

 

Absolutely I certainly Have, Basically I cant even get clients in my small town, first off, cause its a poor area, and the money isntthere, BUT mostly because im a man 40yr old chubby man, I got into MT because Im a gentle, compassionate man, and also need a new career after losing my job, and not haveing any jobs around here, 12.3% UE rate.

 I am very good at my technique, completing school as one of the favorite students by the staff.

Im so discouraged right now, I have  great room I rent from a Tanning Salon... Im available all hrs of the day/evening/weekends and I have offered great rates. even offered Freebees to friends and STILL noone schedules me...

I have tried everything the pros say to do, but still nothing, I have handed out over 500 cards, hundreds of flyers, posted on bulletin boards, even walked a street fair for two days during the summer heat with a Tee saying " I give Massages" I even have a facebook page with over 900 connections, and STILL NOONE , I havent had a client since the first week of Oct.

I still have no plan to give up yet, but IM Certainly discouraged...

Honestly I believe its because im a Man...

Just Ranting,

David

Hi David,

I might suggest that the first thing you do is stop all those freebies. I have done that, it´s a fact that people who are always looking for freebies are not going to become a regular client willing to spend some $$$ on your services.

Not sure if the tanning salon could be the best place for you. Any chances of doing some work on gyms? or other places around?

I'll share with you what I´ve done here: I offer ion-cleanse or footh bath detox sessions on my practice, it's a simple way to detox the body. So many times people would be willing to come to my practice just for that, over time they'll start asking questions or I initiate the conversation about the topic, so once you have created that relationship about trust, then many of them both men or women will likely give me a chance to work on them. But even if they don't, it doesn't matter because they come to me and use my services (prices could range from $25-$55 for 30 min depending on market).

Another thing that works really well for me is to offer 30 minute sessions designed to work specifically on back and neck. So that way they can leave their lower body fully dressed and for women I might even ask to keep their bra, I'll just tell them that when I work the back I'll have to unhook the thing and then back. Again, this helps people with concerns of full nudity and allows you to create a relationship based on trust.

Hope that helps!

Jorge

Hey David,

 

Sorry to hear about your experiences as an MT.  It's not so easy when you work for yourself.  If you can pick up a few hours working in the industry in an environment where you work for someone else, such as in a spa, a school or as in independent contractor in a gym or some other facility it may help to boost your confidence and moral.  (you can still keep your private practice going as well.  Just don't steal clients from an employer, it'll come back to you.)

 

I'd suggest quiting the freebies, as well.  People tend to not value things they can get for free.  Are you networking with other MT's in your area? Networking is so valuable on a number of levels.  (You keep your ear to the ground and learn from others what works and what doesn't, you can learn new techniques and by trading you can learn what works and what doesn't in your massage style and in that of others.)

 

Best of luck to you.

 

Tom in Chicago



David Beard said:

Hello Johnathan,

 

Absolutely I certainly Have, Basically I cant even get clients in my small town, first off, cause its a poor area, and the money isntthere, BUT mostly because im a man 40yr old chubby man, I got into MT because Im a gentle, compassionate man, and also need a new career after losing my job, and not haveing any jobs around here, 12.3% UE rate.

 I am very good at my technique, completing school as one of the favorite students by the staff.

Im so discouraged right now, I have  great room I rent from a Tanning Salon... Im available all hrs of the day/evening/weekends and I have offered great rates. even offered Freebees to friends and STILL noone schedules me...

I have tried everything the pros say to do, but still nothing, I have handed out over 500 cards, hundreds of flyers, posted on bulletin boards, even walked a street fair for two days during the summer heat with a Tee saying " I give Massages" I even have a facebook page with over 900 connections, and STILL NOONE , I havent had a client since the first week of Oct.

I still have no plan to give up yet, but IM Certainly discouraged...

Honestly I believe its because im a Man...

Just Ranting,

David

Hi, all.

 

I'm in Huntsville, AL, a very computer/high tech/military-oriented city.  My degree is in Computer Science with a minor in Math.  After 24 years of working in that industry, I left 3 years ago to be a full-time Massage Therapist.  Overall, I have not regretted my decision.  Because this area is becoming more and more a melting pot of different cultures, male MTs are being more accepted, but it I still must work MUCH harder at marketing myself than any of my female coworkers.  (After working at two high-end spas, I now work at an 8-person place, Huntsville Massage Professionals.)

 

Of course, men in this industry (at least in this area of the country) will see a wide range of conflicting stuff, including "I'd rather go to a male MT because men have more upper body strength", "I'd rather go to a female MT because men are too strong!", "I'm not gay!", etc, etc, etc.  This has been difficult for me.  One plus is that our business is called "Huntsville Massage Professionals".  This name was chosen after much thought.  Many people in this area do not want to go to an establishment called "Lotus Blossom Zen Garden Day Spa".  Many people here are not attracted to things like Reiki, ionic foot baths, ear candling, etc., because there is no scientific data to support that any of it works.  (Don't kill the messenger here.)  So, I feel lucky that I am working someplace where the name alone will attract folks.  But, on the down-side, I have often times been "out booked" by a recently licensed female coworker due to the fact that I'm male.  This is something that male MTs must accept.

 

It is entirely possible that David, for instance, will never get clients...or very few.  David, I couldn't tell where you live, but this just might be the reality for you.  However, I *do* agree with the advise given here that you need to stop the free stuff. I have done so many chair massage events for high-tech companies here, including bicycle ride fund raisers in August, where the humidity here is practically unbearable.  I have not received ONE client from any of that work.  Think about it:  if an employee is trapped at the computer for 10 hours a day and is given the chance to go to the cafeteria for a FREE massage (sometimes I did this for tips...sometimes free....and one time for a set fee from the company), and talk to other health-related companies, that person is not in the market for a new MT...he/she just wants to get away from the desk!

 

Also, David, I mean this in the nicest way possible, but walking around in a t-shirt saying "I give massage" may have chased more people away than you realize due to the possible sexual interpretation.  I understand that this was probably an act of desperation since you have had such bad luck, but I don't think you should do that again.  Maybe you could go to your courthouse and register as an LLC, then go to the same events but wearing a polo with your logo on it.  And as far as the facebook stuff goes...I've had a professional account on facebook for a year now and have only gotten ONE client from it.  (She and her husband came to one appointment, then no-showed for the next 3 appointments, so we banned them.)  I have almost 400 people on my personal facebook account (only about 50 on the professional one) and rarely get folks.  I can be quite upsetting.

 

Now, Johnathan, I hope I haven't scared you!  After re-reading this, I guess I've done a little ranting myself, so I apologize if I've set any negative tone, but I've only been licensed  for 3 years and I've heard the same lamenting from practically every male MT, whether it's been in Huntsville, Alabama or San Francisco, CA.  (Side note:  I have a cousin in the Castro in San Francisco who has a 100% male clientele and is doing quite well.)  For me, the road has been long (only one client from the high-end spa followed me to my new place), but I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm about to celebrate my 2-year anniversary with Huntsville Massage Professionals. My income increased by $10,000 from 2009, which is very encouraging. 

 

Johnathan and David, if you feel that massage is a passion for you, then I would never discourage you from that.  Just be aware (Johnathan, in particular) that the road for males is a long one...a very long one depending on where you live...but it can be a very rewarding career.  David, I know you live in a poor area with high unemployment, but you may also want to consider moving to another city, if at all possible.  Just an idea.

 

Word of mouth is probably the most important marketing tool I've encountered.  I've gone to restaurants, Mom 'n Pop places, grocery stores and posted business cards with little luck.  However, if you can actually do work on the employees (or just one employee) from any of those places, they will then tell their friends.  Go to a local hospital and work on any of the nurses (either in the chair or convince them to come to your establishment for a table massage) and you'll make friends for life!

 

Ok, I'll stop rambling.

 

 

-Mark in Huntsville, AL

AL License #2442

 

Mark,

I do agree with your comments/suggestions, naming your business or choosing the right domain name on websites might be really important. Just recently I met with a very successful bodyworker on my area and he said something that put things in perspective for me, he said: " I'd hate being a woman and jumping into this field that is way dominated by other women so competition is really tough... it's great to be a male therapist "  :-)  just food for thought.

jorge

Well, I have not seen that much recent activity on this site, for this group, but there are interesting threads of conversation here.  Let me introduce myself.

My name is Paul and here in Massachusetts and I am just beginning my MT practice here in central Massachusetts.  We have had a very hard winter.  I especially endured this winter with a major dental problem, delaying my entry into the massage business.  As Spring approaches, I am hoping to get my independent business going.  I am semi-retired, and I intend to work part-time, doing especially 2 types of massage: Relaxation Swedish Massage with Deep Tissue Work; and Sports Massage, pre- and post-activity.  I have done some massage exchanges and I have attempted attracting clientele from a couple flyers and a couple online ads I've posted, following the advice given me by networking here in Central Massachusetts.  I have gotten very few clients in these ways.  I have heard people responding to an ad "unhappy that there are no female massage therapists at your business.  I never heard similar complaints in hospitals about doctors and other practitioners based on gender. 

I am hoping to get a discussion going around this issue of gender because I want to get a good business going when I start my practice.  There is a financial aspect to doing business which we all must deal with now during a time of economic recession and inflation of food and oil prices.  I want my being a male massage therapist to be a plus and not a minus to my business.  Jorge Cisneros' comment, above, is very positive and hopeful, and the choice of name for your locale by Mark Zymewski is something for me to reflect on, also. 

 

Any comments on how being male affects you financially and in getting started?  I do not want to be in the boat of competing with the "spas for the wealthy" in my city.  I want to get an active practice of healing massage going, where being male attracts both sexes.  Any ideas?

 

Paul Lewis, Ph.D., LMT

Worcester, MA -- March 20, 2011 (Spring!)

 

 

Hey Paul,

 

I've found the best way to get clients is by networking.  Attend as many events as you can and have a supply of business cards.  Let people meet you and get to know you.  Let them know you are looking for clients/work.  

 

I've found that working for an establishment that hires massage therapists makes all the difference.  I see private clients and work in a gym (YMCA) and at a practice that provides massage therapy.   (The River North Massage Therapy Center, here in Chicago.  http://www.rivernorthmassage.com/)

 

If you find that your confidence and enthusiasm for the work is waning due to a lack of clients and lack of work I'd strongly suggest that you spend your first few years working as a therapist at an established practice, be it a chiropractor, a gym, a spa, etc..  (I know, I know: We all want to work for ourselves and make $80,000 via our private clients, but it's important to keep your skills and your confidence level up and if you're not seeing any clients that can be a challenge.)

 

Also by working in an establishment with other MTs you're NETWORKING and hearing how they've achieved success.  

 

All the best,

 

Tom Mertes, LMT

Chicago, IL

 

  

Dr. Paul Eric Lewis said:

Well, I have not seen that much recent activity on this site, for this group, but there are interesting threads of conversation here.  Let me introduce myself.

My name is Paul and here in Massachusetts and I am just beginning my MT practice here in central Massachusetts.  We have had a very hard winter.  I especially endured this winter with a major dental problem, delaying my entry into the massage business.  As Spring approaches, I am hoping to get my independent business going.  I am semi-retired, and I intend to work part-time, doing especially 2 types of massage: Relaxation Swedish Massage with Deep Tissue Work; and Sports Massage, pre- and post-activity.  I have done some massage exchanges and I have attempted attracting clientele from a couple flyers and a couple online ads I've posted, following the advice given me by networking here in Central Massachusetts.  I have gotten very few clients in these ways.  I have heard people responding to an ad "unhappy that there are no female massage therapists at your business.  I never heard similar complaints in hospitals about doctors and other practitioners based on gender. 

I am hoping to get a discussion going around this issue of gender because I want to get a good business going when I start my practice.  There is a financial aspect to doing business which we all must deal with now during a time of economic recession and inflation of food and oil prices.  I want my being a male massage therapist to be a plus and not a minus to my business.  Jorge Cisneros' comment, above, is very positive and hopeful, and the choice of name for your locale by Mark Zymewski is something for me to reflect on, also. 

 

Any comments on how being male affects you financially and in getting started?  I do not want to be in the boat of competing with the "spas for the wealthy" in my city.  I want to get an active practice of healing massage going, where being male attracts both sexes.  Any ideas?

 

Paul Lewis, Ph.D., LMT

Worcester, MA -- March 20, 2011 (Spring!)

 

 

It takes time. Connect with any Homeopaths in the area. Leave information at the Doctors' offices. Donate chair massage at any local school or charity events. You might donate massage for the staff at a local hospital once a week. People need to get to know you and your touch to recommend you. I have not seen the usual networks working for touch.

It has taken 2.5 years of slow building on referrals to be busy all week at the business I bought over three years ago. Yed, I took it over the week the recession was announced.

 

Now that I am busy I have two women starting in my clinic. My problem is how to being in business for them. We have an ad in the gym across the street and I post online. I am sure that it will come, My clients are reluctant to try someone else. So gender bias can go the other way.My clients are almost equally men and women, boys and girls. I offer Asian Bodywork blended with MFR, Craniosacral Therapy, Lymphatic Massage, Aromatherapy and Diet/Lifestyle Change.

Rome wasn't built in a day.

Good luck

 

Dr. Paul Eric Lewis said:

Well, I have not seen that much recent activity on this site, for this group, but there are interesting threads of conversation here.  Let me introduce myself.

My name is Paul and here in Massachusetts and I am just beginning my MT practice here in central Massachusetts.  We have had a very hard winter.  I especially endured this winter with a major dental problem, delaying my entry into the massage business.  As Spring approaches, I am hoping to get my independent business going.  I am semi-retired, and I intend to work part-time, doing especially 2 types of massage: Relaxation Swedish Massage with Deep Tissue Work; and Sports Massage, pre- and post-activity.  I have done some massage exchanges and I have attempted attracting clientele from a couple flyers and a couple online ads I've posted, following the advice given me by networking here in Central Massachusetts.  I have gotten very few clients in these ways.  I have heard people responding to an ad "unhappy that there are no female massage therapists at your business.  I never heard similar complaints in hospitals about doctors and other practitioners based on gender. 

I am hoping to get a discussion going around this issue of gender because I want to get a good business going when I start my practice.  There is a financial aspect to doing business which we all must deal with now during a time of economic recession and inflation of food and oil prices.  I want my being a male massage therapist to be a plus and not a minus to my business.  Jorge Cisneros' comment, above, is very positive and hopeful, and the choice of name for your locale by Mark Zymewski is something for me to reflect on, also. 

 

Any comments on how being male affects you financially and in getting started?  I do not want to be in the boat of competing with the "spas for the wealthy" in my city.  I want to get an active practice of healing massage going, where being male attracts both sexes.  Any ideas?

 

Paul Lewis, Ph.D., LMT

Worcester, MA -- March 20, 2011 (Spring!)

 

 

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