Successful Business Handbook

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

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choose your career path career prospects What career choices are available in massage and bodywork? The answer is simultaneously one of the profession's greatest opportunities and challenges. There are two primary paths to consider when evaluating career prospects in the field—work on your own, or work for someone else. A third alternative is to join or create a partnership with other professionals, an option that, while it has its own hazards, has the potential of providing many of the benefits of private practice and some of the camaraderie and shared responsibility that makes working for others attractive. First and foremost, the career path you choose should reflect your own personal goals and interests, as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. Private Practice A clear majority of bodywork professionals end up in private practice, even though not all of them start there directly out of school. One of the many attractions to the field of massage and bodywork is the ability to work independently— setting your own hours, being the boss, and putting your stamp on your work. There are certainly benefits to working independently, but there also are challenges and responsibilities to consider as well. Marketing is one. When going solo, you decide who your clients will be and how to best attract them. This allows for creativity, but it also means no one else will get those clients for you. Bookkeeping is another example. When working for a chiropractor or spa, someone else will watch the money—you'll just get paid. Not so when going solo. You get all the money, but you also get all the expense, headache, and responsibility of handling the bills. When going it alone, there are two options to establishing a practice—creating your own or buying an existing business. Massage and bodywork are highly personal services, and there is certainly no guarantee of transferability of a client base when considering buying an existing practice or business. However, if the practice is wellestablished in the community, it could provide a valuable entrée that would normally take much longer to establish with a start-up business. Working For Someone Else Here's a paradox of modern life: while the number of small businesses and home-based businesses in the United States has skyrocketed, the number of skilled professionals in private practice has steadily declined. In any number of skilled professions—from doctors and psychologists to plumbers and electricians—the trend has moved

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