Complementary Therapists Association - Forums
Posted by Tracey Daniels, Oct 28 2010 9:24AM

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How long does it take to find work?

I have just recently qualified as a Holistic Massage Therapist, and am finding it very hard to find work...Did any of you have the same problem? Do you think it is because I am older....I am a 40 year old stay at home mum, and decided I was going to retrain to work around my son? I am even booked onto another course in Lymphatic Massage, maybe hoping it will open other doors....
My sons school is holding a pamper evening which I am doing, I have also left business cards and leaflets in the local area, but am getting the odd weird call, nothing serious, but its causing me concern, that I may have done this to no avail!!!
Nicky Dyer
Oct 28 2010 9:31AM
Hi Tracey,
I started my business as a stay at home mum in my mid forties and I love it. I must say it took me a while to build up my practice but I was happy for it to be mainly via word of mouth so it did take longer. I was going to a chiropractor at the time who was really helpful to me and put my leaflets up in his treatment room. I always gave complimentary treatments to the people who could help me as it's important they know and understand exactly what you do.
Pamper evening, as you mentioned, is a good one and I would give away lots of special offers and freebies to get it off the ground. I never thought of it as wasted time doing freebies at the beginning as it was all helpful experience too. Via your kids and their friends and mums is a great way to get business. Even if your friends dont come at first, I found they would give me referrals further down the line. Keep going, believe in yourself and it will happen!

Angela Rawlins
Oct 28 2010 3:46PM
Hi Tracey

I'm older thank you:) but started out at a similar age:)

Beware of giving out too much at the pamper evenings, remember how much IT IS costing you! I've done loads of them and only treat them as an opportunity to advertise. For a long time I'd give out vouchers to get £5 off perhaps also a voucher for the raffle that would be a totally free treatment and consultation!! I've learnt my lesson because I found that they would only come for the free treatment and not book any more or have the first session £5 off and book no more:(

You'll get inundated with requests to do the pamper evenings because it attracts the people to come and spend their money. What I do now is to only give a voucher for 20 minute taster session for the raffle, still give a £3 0r £5 reduction voucher - BUT make sure you put a use by date on them for say 2 months.

Huh, some even expect YOU to pay for a stand!! If they do that, make sure you are charging the recipients about £8 or £10 per 15 minute session:)AND get the money up front so they can't just decide to waltz off:))

Advertising and 'weird' calls - be VERY careful where you advertise!! My friend put herself in a well known book that's delivered only to start getting dodgy calls late at night!!! Not unusual - I've read some posts on the forums:) (I don't do massage by the way)

Susan Quayle
Oct 28 2010 6:41PM
I too am an in my forties and have been a stay at home mum.
I made up leaflets and put them in trendy cafe's and places where community events were already happening. I also treated lots of friends at reduced fee so that they would spread the word. It does take time but the more you put out there the more you get back (and heard about) I would be cautious about pamper events and limit what and how much you do - it is a mistake that I have made too, it's important to look after yourself.
Another good way is to sign up at a local natural health centre or therapy rooms on a adhoc basis just to get your info out there where people are actually looking for treatments.
Good luck,
Barbara Lewis
Oct 29 2010 8:38AM
Consider pampaer evenings as advertising -as i have found over 20 odd years of working that the only way to get clients is to get out there, sell yourself and your therapy freebies may not come again but i do find they often recommend others
give talks to local groups
get an article in the newspaper about your new business
have you got knowledge about a particular problem - i belonged to the osteoporosis and thyroid support groups for instance
do parties offering several friends taster sessions in their own homes charge per 20mins or half hour
whenever you do taster sessions make sure you take names and addressess and maintain contact with these people - hold a taster session party at your premises and invite them
make sure your cards work for you - put on the back your specilisms or some info that might attract clients
join some of the marketing companies - tlc or others thru the group offering two for one treatments
once thru the door you can sell yourself to them
join in with other therapists to do fayres etc
dont be fooled into paying out for appointment cards big ads in the paper or local booklets ( unless you cna get a good editorial and advertise an event )
freebies and charity - i was once advised by a wise woman we should give 10% of our earnings to charity - this can include time i have always tried to maintain this approach
i would say it takes about 3 years to get established
obviously some of this will depend on your area

happy to discuss if you want to contact me

Giuseppe Tomaselli
Oct 31 2010 10:23PM
Dear Tracey,

You are going through what all of us have gone through. I am a man in my early fifties but I started practising massage therapies in my forties and had the same problems (yes, including the ‘strange’ calls)

First of all you need to decide if you want to be a mobile therapist, convert a room in your home into a treatment room or work in a hairdressing saloon, clinic, etc.

If you are a mobile therapist are you going to women only addresses and offices or are you prepared to risk visiting men?

If you hire a room in a clinic/saloon/etc., is the payment a percentage of what you make or a fixed charge? What about if you do not have clients but have the cost of the room? Have they got a customer base which they can share with you? Will they advertise for you?

The cheapest, but also the slowest, way to find ‘safe’ clients is by word of mouth.
Get your friends and family to try your skills for a reduced fee and ask them to recommend you to people they know. Remember that for them to do this they must have a full understanding of what your skills are good for, i.e. relaxation, detoxing, muscular injuries etc. Mainly, you need to sell them your abilities so that they can sell them to others.

Another way is by doing voluntary work in hospitals and hospices. You do not get paid for the work but you will be perfecting your skills in the real world and you might be recommended by the people you treat to their friends and members of their family.

Alternatively, you can have a web site (in my case was the most efficient tool).
Decide whom your customers are going to be and target the web site to them.
I was lucky to have found somebody who knows how all works and has been able to target the right clients via Google’s and other search engines manipulation.
Cost £99.00 first year and £45.00 the following.

Remember also not to charge too little. It usually means that you are not very good and you are desperate for clients. Offer free assessment (we all do anyway) and discounts for paying for 3 or 4 treatments in advance.

Go to your group meetings. You will be able to speak to other therapists and get more ideas. Speak to your area coordinator and ask for more help. Some groups are holding events to increase their clients base (well, we are anyway).

I hope I have given you enough information to start with.

Good luck and welcome,


Giuseppe Tomaselli
Area Coordinator
North Kent and South East London
Tracey Daniels
Nov 1 2010 4:18PM
Thank you all so much for your replies. It means a lot to me that you have all experienced the same, and you comments and advice have been greatfully received, and shall be in touch soon to let you know how I get on, or ask for your help again.....

Once again, many thanks
Tracey x
Deborah Sheppard
Nov 3 2010 5:27PM
This is the first time I have visited the CThA site, even though I joined earlier this year, when I was still working towards my qualification. I'm now in pretty much the same situation as Tracey- so thanks to all of you who have posted here, for your really useful advice! :)

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