Hey Guys! TGIF !
I meant to write this post sometime yesterday, but I got caught up in school work, then I worked all evening and went straight to a friends house. So, if this post has more grammar and/or spelling mistakes then usual, I apologize. I’m also extremely tired, so much so that I cooked approximately 1/3 of an eggshell into my eggs & broccoli this morning. It was crunchy, I and I did not like it!
Anyways, today marks one year since I graduated college. I didn’t believe everybody who told me that times flies by extremely fast once you graduate, but it is true. It seems like last week I was up in stage in front of my graduating class,family,teachers & friends, trying not to vomit as I delivered the welcoming speech. ( Public speaking is not my thing, I thought I was going to pass out! )
When you graduate as a massage therapist, you have a couple of options. You can either
A) Start your own small business
B) if you’re lucky, find a hospital who employs RMTs
C) Work under a physiotherapist or chiropractor in their clinic
I chose option A, as it made the most sense for me in my town. Did I know anything about starting a small business? Hell no. There was a short business class that was mandatory in my program, so I guess I had a vague idea, but in reality, I was clueless and a bit frightened. However, if I can successfully start a small business, anyone can.
This past year has been an amazing learning experience, I believe I’ve learned more in the past year than in the whole two years I was in college. Which is saying a lot, because my program was insane at times! I’ve spent the last week or so going over in my head everything that I have learned in the last year, and I decided to write it down here. Starting a massage therapy business is a bit different than other businesses, as I make my own hours & don’t have set hours or days every week. So, here is my list of things i have learned since graduating college and starting my own business
1. You are going to make mistakes. A lot of them. However, don’t dwell on the negative aspects, mistakes help you learn and are necessary for growth. Breathe and move on.
2. Learn to go with the flow. I am the type of person who thrives on a routine, a set schedule. The past year has really challenged me, as my schedule fluctuates daily. People cancel last minute on me, people call me last minute for an appointment. I have learned to not panic when things don’t go as planned.
3. Kill rude/unpleasant/cranky people with kindness. Smile extra big, be gracious and kind. Don’t give in to their negativity, maybe they are just having a bad day. Spread the happiness, even if you don’t really want to deal with their unhappiness.
4. Be flexible. At the beginning, you have to cater to the clients every needs to gain clientele. They need you to work Saturday afternoon? You do it. Friday night,7pm? You do it. They will love you for it.
5. Learn to say no. This may seem contradicting to the previous point, but learning to say no is something I haven’t quite mastered yet. Sometimes you just cannot fit another person in that day. Sometimes you have other plans, and you cannot cancel them. While it is important to do your best to accommodate your clientele, don’t forget about you. You matter too, and you can’t bend over backwards all of the time because you will only burn yourself out. Trust me, I know from experience.
6. You are going to have to do things you don’t really want to do. You have to call people back, you have to go to the bank, and deal with insurance companies ( with rude insurance people who bitch you out). Just suck it up and get it done. The sooner, the better.
7. Keep your finances organized. I am super lucky, and one of my best friends has done the finances for his dad’s company since high school, and agreed to do mine for free. Excel spreadsheets are your friends, people. Also, get your taxes done early. Saves a lot of stress in the end.
8. Leave work at work, don’t bring it home with you. I try to keep work and personal life as separate as possible. Don’t bring unhappiness from home to work, and vice versa.
9. Making your own hours is really great, but make sure you give yourself breaks during the day. I am really bad for doing this, I tend to not schedule myself lunch breaks, which leads to me being a hungry monster by 2:30. I’m working on it.
10. You are not going to make as much money as you planned/hoped/thought. That is the harsh reality of adult life. The first year of a business is hard, slow at times and sometimes you want to quit. Don’t quit, it gets better. You eventually make money, with advertising,word of mouth and hard work. Be realistic about your goals, better to underestimate than overestimate and be disappointed with the results!
While I don’t think I want to run a small business for the rest of my life, I am extremely glad that have had the experience of starting one. I will be able to use everything I have learned to achieve my other career goals in the future.
Sorry this has been an extremely wordy post, but it feels nice to have everything written down, where I can re-read and remember these things when I am having a tough time.
Have a good weekend everyone 🙂