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Need help--opening my own business.
Old 06-03-2009, 12:16 PM   #1
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Need help--opening my own business.

All of you have been very supportive the last year with my life changes....just wanted to run something by you and needed your input regarding questions/concerns that I should look out for.
I am meeting with an accountant tomorrow to discuss becoming incorporated.....I have two and a half months more of school and after mid June, I will be done with finals and just have clinics and business courses.
By the time I graduate, I want my business to be set up, become a provider for a couple of insurance companies, have two places that I will rent in addition to my home office, and join a couple of Holistic business groups.
Any thoughts, experiences, trials, and tribulations that you can share with me will be much appreciated!
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:05 PM   #2
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Why take on so much all at once? Doesn't it seem a bit excessive to be paying two lots of rent before you have clientele? I believe you are going to be doing massage, so would it not be best to build up your clientele and expand slowly to minimise overheads?
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:30 PM   #3
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I would rent the rooms only as a need to basis, not a monthly. As for why....I don't want all sorts of strangers (esp men) in my home office due to safety reasons.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:41 PM   #4
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I would rent the rooms only as a need to basis, not a monthly. As for why....I don't want all sorts of strangers (esp men) in my home office due to safety reasons.
That makes sense. Try to cut a deal with a local chiropractor for space in his office. Offer cross-referrals and they should be willing to deal. Those two services are quite symbiotic with each other........
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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I can pass this on from what I learned after having 3 successful small businesses over a 40 year span:

1. Keep away from so much overhead as you can until you have enough cash to justify any spending.
2. If your business is small, do your own books. Every year I would hear from 1-2 business owners that got ripped off by a bookkeeper/accounting type (anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well over a million dollars). You can learn to do your own books as a massage therapist.
3. Know who your competitors are and what they are charging, but don't worry about them at all. Just keep your nose to the grindstone, and concentrate totally on your own business. Your TOTAL focus will be your best asset in your becoming successful.
4. Surround yourself with positive people and stay away from the Debbie Downer-types.
5. As a massage therapist, you will need to get your name out there and what you can do. Get into everything you can to get your name out there that doesn't cost much (i.e., give "free" 5 minute back massages at events, put out flyers at local offices, offer to give talks and demos to local organizations).
6. For gosh sakes, don't overbuy your telephone ad. Statistically it's been proven that one reason many businesses have problems when they start is they let themself get talked into huge advertising bills. Stupid.

Don't sweat the small stuff...just keep your eyes on the prize. Good luck! And don't forget: word of mouth, word of mouth, word of mouth is your best advertising.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:50 PM   #6
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I agree, I would never allow anyone into my home for a work purpose, so if you can just rent the rooms on an hourly basis that is good. The spaces where the rooms are available, what will they do for you as in the way of referrals? Are you competing against other massage therapists in the same business?

Orchidflower makes an excellent point about learning to do the books yourself. I am an Accountant and I have a friend who has her own beauty salon and we used to do a skill swap. I would help her with her Quickbooks and she would give me facials in return. You might want to see if there is someone out there who would do a similar thing for you. I know she got badly burnt with the accountant she was using, charged her $1600 to update her books and do her taxes.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:59 PM   #7
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Another thing, keep a contact database of all the people you treat. That will enable you to target them in future with offers and discounts as it is with repeat clientele you will grow your business.

Also never grow complacent. Don't think that you have a good massage and you never have to change it. My beauty therapist friend is always looking for ways to improve and enhance her facial. Her clientele like consistency, however people like to believe that they are getting something extra and whilst the majority of her facial stays the same she has done things like incorporate a warm stone massage into her facial.
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:35 PM   #8
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I would definitely ask the accountant if she would barter services....does not hurt to ask!
I have health sheets with their information such as phone numbers, addresses, and email so I can contact them.
I will be working in the facility with other massage therapists, but we all have our different strengths....I do energy work and excel at deep tissue massage which is a great asset.
I will definitely be looking for a chiropracter's office once I get my massage license.
I have to take 20 CEU's every two years to keep my license so I will definitely be looking for ways to enhance my bodywork.
There is a lot of in network referrals with the two business groups I want to join and I also have two holistic provider websites that I want to belong to.
I am very competitive with my prices and give incentives for referrals and a free massage after 10 sessions.
I am already doing volunteer work where I go and offer free massages and am also coming up with a couple of workshops that I want to lead.
I am looking into selling retail as well such as novelty gifts from India, hand made soy candles, and aromatherapy mists which have been a big hit thus far.

Good stuff....keep it coming! I just want to make sure that I cover all bases prior to launching in September
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:03 PM   #9
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Why incorporation? An LLC is a lot easier and more than enough for a small business. You can also set it up yourself and just pay filing fees.
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #10
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LLC is a lot neater and cheaper than an S corp. Just do an LLC, I set up one in my state for $150........
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:21 PM   #11
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Citrine,

In our town there's a lot of business for massage therapists who specialize in injury recovery, pain relief, and massage for people with special medical needs (usually elderly, but lots of pregnant women in town rave about massage as well). If you're interested in doing massage and work with pregnant and postpartum women, I'd contact your local midwives and doulas, as they are likely to be working with the type of women who would embrace massage during pregnancy. These might be niche markets that you could work into as well.

Good luck with your new business!
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:38 PM   #12
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You know who is really really good at starting small businesses and might have some advice for you? TheFed!

Where are you, Fed? Citrine needs your help!

(Where is TheFedSignal when we need it!)

Seriously, all good suggestions here so far--good luck and congrats on being on the verge of getting through your schooling.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:18 PM   #13
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Why incorporate or even do an LLC? I would wait to see what income levels are like and probably go as self employed. The paperwork involved with having a company can be a pain and what would she gain?
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:41 PM   #14
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Get your liability waiver forms all in order.
Do not skimp on liability insurance, especially if you are going to provide massage to pregnant women.
Insist on referrals (from physicians only) for all new clients. You could end up with a client with an undisclosed pre-existing injury who is sue-happy.
Please cover yourself.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:44 PM   #15
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1. Don't sell your services cheap but make them competitive.
2. Join a massage association and pick the brains of those that you click with.

I faithfully do #2 and when we have our monthly pool association meetings I buy them a beer for their advise throughout the month. They never get tired of me calling and asking questions as they know come the first Monday of each month they have a free beer coming. BTW these are pool guys not sure what a message therapist would like...maybe wine?
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:31 PM   #16
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I don't have personal experience running a business, but plan/dream to one day. But have some thoughts...

I think building up a professional image is always useful. Business cards don't seem to cost that much and are easy ways to exchange contact information. A simple website works as well too. Perhaps you could barter for those as well.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:02 PM   #17
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Check out the local PT's in the area. Look for ones that work with a lot of spine patients and/or have a chronic pain emphasis. They may be willing to rent a room to you, etc. If not, they at least like to know good massage therapists in the area. Offer them a free massage so they see what your skills are like. I never had anyone offer this to me...but I might have taken them up on it if they had! (I'm a PT)

Once I found a good massage therapist in my area I would refer my chronic pain patients to them after d/c from therapy. I used to specialize in deep tissue work and myofascial therapy...good areas to concentrate in. Just watch your hands/thumbs!!!
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:55 PM   #18
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See if you can find a mentor as they would be able to give you industry specific advice and allow you to save money you spend with your life coach.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:06 PM   #19
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Why incorporate or even do an LLC? I would wait to see what income levels are like and probably go as self employed. The paperwork involved with having a company can be a pain and what would she gain?
Protection against lawsuits from disgruntled patients. I would try a single member LLC. Taxation as an individual, but with the limited liability and asset protection you need.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:37 PM   #20
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I am going to do a LLC.
Thanks for the tip regarding contacting the doulas Urchina.....I will be doing that.
I have insurance already for practicing and also adequate home insurance....I don't want anyone to be able to touch my personal assets!
I have asked a massage therapist who owns her own wellness center to mentor me as well and that is going well.
I have business cards already that I have been passing out. I need to find someone who will help me create a press kit for corporations and someone to create a website.
I will reach out to the physical therapists and I have also invested in some tools to help my hands such as thumb covers and knuckles.
I barter with my life coach and he actually wants me to do a couple of workshops for his center.

Good.....I have a few things to look into...I love you guys
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