One of the most common questions new Massage Therapy grads have is, “how long does it take to build a business (or private practice)?”.
A reasonable question!
After all, we want to know how long it will take before we’re earning a reasonable income. There are bills to pay, a life to live, and those pesky student loans to pay off.
So, people ask others they know who are already working as Massage Therapists. And invariably, those people will share their own stories of building their clinics and client lists and how long it took them. For some of them, it’s a timeline of months. For others, years.
But here’s the real answer not many people are sharing: There are too many factors to really tell you how long it will take for you to build your business.
Even if you followed someone else’s blueprint, promoted your services exactly how they do, and made your business essentially a cookie cutter of theirs, you would still be unlikely to find success exactly the same way they did.
Well, because you are not the same person they are. There will always be factors that are individual to them that made their success happen in a certain way.
Maybe they are working in their childhood hometown where everyone knows them, which makes it much easier to find clients.
Maybe this is a second career for them, and their previous career taught them many skills that will help them as a business owner.
Maybe they have a best friend, former colleague, partner, or another person in their life who is extremely good at marketing and promotion, so they’ve got that person helping them find lots of clients.
Maybe they have a financial situation that allows them to invest in their business right from the start, without having to take on (let alone qualify for!) a big business loan or do things on a shoestring budget.
I am sure you have some of these factors yourself.
So trying to answer the question ‘how long will it take to build a massage therapy business’ isn’t so straightforward. Your situation isn’t going to be exactly like anyone else’s, so you can’t expect to find success in a cookie-cutter way.
However, there is something that is fully in your control. Something that will help you build a client list and a successful business much faster.
The one thing that will help you build a massage therapy practice faster:
That thing is putting in the work.
All the super successful Massage Therapists with packed schedules, speaking engagements, and a popular blog/newsletter/product/TikTok account/you name it? They got there because they worked their butt off. They got out there and made connections with people. They learned marketing and sales skills. They collaborated with others in health and wellness. They made lots of mistakes and learned from them.
It didn’t happen overnight. In most cases, it didn’t happen over a year, either. It happened over years of hard work, and it takes hard work to maintain it.
Now, this isn’t to say you can’t build a sustainable client list and income within 6 months of starting your business. It is absolutely possible! Many Massage Therapists are able to build themselves a decent income within the first 6-12 months of being in business.
However, that too takes work. It takes the commitment to do exactly what the other successful business owners have done: meeting people, making connections, learning how to market themselves, and putting in the hours of unpaid work in order to get their business off the ground (and clients in their appointment book).
Having a passion for something isn’t enough. Having fun ideas for decorating your clinic space isn’t enough. Taking many different massage technique courses isn’t enough. Being an amazing Massage Therapist isn’t enough (sorry to say!). Those things are all great, but those things alone will not bring you success.
The real answer to ‘how long will it take to build a massage therapy business’ is honestly: well, are you able to put in the work to make it happen?
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