LT: I had been a purchasing manager in a very stressful industry for 20 years when I was introduced to massage by a colleague (who later became my business partner.) I accompanied her to a “meet and greet” introductory class at ASM and it felt so right that I signed up immediately. My thought at the time was that if I could quit my day job and work for a year as a massage therapist that it would give me a much-needed break from stress. That was in 1990 and I never did go back to corporate work.
LT: ASM was the premier massage school in Atlanta and I was impressed with both the interview/application process and the faculty members.
LT: I own two massage centers, each with 5 treatment rooms. My business partner, Shirley Penny Fargason, and I opened the first center before we graduated in 1991 and the second one in 1996. The centers are open to all medical practitioners,and have included acupuncturists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and, of course, massage therapists. The centers are unique because we were grandfathered in by Dekalb County, allowing us to be one of the very few places in Dekalb where therapists can be self-employed.
LT: I think that a successful massage therapist will attract similar clients, and that is a “niche” over which there is no control. I have always been a no frills therapist, concentrating on deep tissue and anatomy and, being near Emory, CDC and the VA Hospital, nearly all of my clients are academics and medical.
LT: It is human nature to be drawn to successful businesses and practices. I have found that word of mouth is the best advertisement and that, in order to get word of mouth you need at least 2, preferably 3, clients in each group. For instance, my first CDC client from the Cancer group, “Mrs. M” told me her assistant needed to see me but said that she kept procrastinating. I gave Mrs. M a gift certificate for ½ hour as a gift from her to the assistant. Mrs. M looked like a great boss, Ms. J is now a regular client, and, through word of mouth, I have several clients from that department. They remind each other when it is time to schedule an appointment with me—there is no better marketing technique!
Linda B. Taylor, CMT, LMT, NCTMB The Massage Therapy Center, Atlanta, Georgia