For most therapists there’s a certain level of altruism in their choice of massage as a career; we all want to help people feel more comfortable in their bodies. But for those of us who depend on massage to pay our bills, it’s got to be more than just a healing profession: it’s got to be a profitable profession, too.

Which is why part of being a good therapist is being a good business person, too. Creating a successful practice requires the perfect blend of both; if you don’t do really effective work all the business savvy in the world won’t help – and if you’re the best therapist ever, but don’t intentionally use what you do, what you know, and who you are as a powerful marketing tool, your practice won’t grow like it could.

Here’s what I mean…

We’ll presume that your work is already effective, which is pretty easily measured; the client is consistently more comfortable in his body – if she is living with less pain (or, even better. no pain) and is able to jump a coffee table in a single bound. But how about if you take all the things you’ve learned – from school and the studying you’ve done since then – and refine them into a style that becomes your own unique “modality.”

Then, when a client says “What do you call the way you work? No one’s ever worked on me like this before,” you have an “in” to talk (read as market) about your work as a modality that no one else does.

You’ll turn that effective modality into an even more powerful marketing tool when you intentionally add components like educating your clients, sharing your life experiences, and offering alternative solutions to the mix.

In my opinion, the most invaluable component of that process is education. The ability to address any of their issues, questions, or concerns in a way he/she can understand radiates authority. For example, how would you explain the pain they are experiencing or respond to their “What’s that?” question so that it is something they can relate to and actually answers the question?

Backing up your hands-on skills with a thorough knowledge of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it establishes you as a therapist who’s not only effective, but who REALLY knows what’s going on.

Here’s the bottom line…a successful practice is built on repeat clients. The way you get clients to book frequently – and well in advance – is to do more than just give a good massage. The effectiveness of your work, the way you assess and discuss the issues your clients are experiencing, the words and terminology you use, and the way you present alternative ways for them to look at their issues (and even their lives), all work together to go far beyond just giving them a massage.

It becomes the perfect balance of good work and good business.