So last week we talked a whole lot about money! We covered a ton of topics including how to budget, how to think about saving, what kinds of things you should be saving for, and all that really important stuff. If you haven’t read that post yet, I suggest you go back, read it, then meet me back here when you’re done.
So now that we’ve covered the basics of budgeting and finances for small business people like massage therapists, lets talk about ways to increase your income that don’t involve doing more treatments.
Being an RMT is pretty great but let’s be honest here, unless you branch out your income is tied to how many clients you can see per week. And unlike many other health care professionals you can only see one client at a time. Unless, of course, you've mastered the massage two clients at once technique, in which case, you should share your secrets with everyone else!
All kidding aside, what this means is you’re limited not only by the number of hours in a day but also by how many treatments you reasonably can do without your body falling to pieces. For the vast majority of RMTs, doing 40 treatments per week isn’t going to fly. You just can’t do it physically, no matter how fit you are and how much self care you do.
So in order to increase your income without your body staging a protest, you need to think about other things you can do and charge money for it. So that’s what I’m here to do today, give you some concrete ideas and some things to think about that will help you develop your own ideas on how you can increase your income, based on your own skill set, interests and passions.
Obviously some of the ideas I’m going to say here aren’t going to be new to most of you. They’re things that many RMTs have done to add to their income. I’m saying them here because they’re useful and totally valid.
But some of the ideas take a bit more creativity and thinking outside the box. They might be a good fit for you if you are the creative or entrepreneurial type and have a varied skill set (or are willing to learn new things).
Before I continue let’s talk a bit about what we mean by being an entrepreneur. There’s a lot of blurry lines between what a solopreneur vs small biz owner vs self employed vs whatever other terms you can think of for someone who works for themselves. Some might even think the terms are interchangeable. But the main thing that defines an entrepreneur is innovation and creative thinking. They tend to be more willing to take risks and try new ideas that haven’t been explored before. So being an entrepreneur isn’t some title someone gives you. It’s really more about your way of thinking about your career and business.
Let's jump right in to some ideas on how to increase your income. The first list are more 'common' things RMTs do to earn more without their hands falling off. You might think of them as being less 'outside the box' ideas.
Teaching at an RMT school
Yes, very common and a good way to expand your career. Many massage schools are looking for teaching staff, at least here in Ontario. This one may be a good fit for you if you're good at instructing others, have good clinical skills, and are interested in having a more regular schedule (at least for stretches of a few months at a time).
Running a clinic
A heck of a lot of work! I'm not going to lie here. But you can expand your income significantly if you do this right. Essentially you’d be earning income from the therapists renting from you and dedicating your hours to making the clinic awesome instead of seeing more clients yourself. If you love the business side of your career, feel comfortable having others working for you (whether as full employees or independent contractors), and are willing to put in the time and effort to build an attractive clinic for therapists and clients alike, this could be a good fit.
Running Workshops for the Public
If you've got a classroom space available to you or are willing to rent one out, you could teach workshops such as couples massage, infant massage, injury prevention for athletes, and so on. Whatever you're particularly good at, you could potentially run it as a workshop. This would be a good fit for you if you're comfortable speaking to a room and teaching others who are not health care providers how to help themselves.
This requires some thought as you don't want to be selling anything that is questionable in terms of your scope of practice. As well, I strongly suggest that if you are part of any MLM product marketing you keep that separate from your health care practice, to make sure your authority as a health care provider isn't swaying anyone to make a purchase when really, the product isn't related to massage therapy (or whatever it is you do).
But if you have products you truly believe in and know can benefit your clients, such as pain relieving creams, balls/rollers, yoga mats, epsom salts, essential oils, or anything else that can help people with self care, that's fair game as a product you can sell.
The next few ideas are a bit less common. You could call them 'more entrepreneurial'.
Coaching other therapists
Are you really good at keeping all your client records up to date, know the regulations and legislation like the back of your hand, and have great business skills? You could coach other therapists in the same things and charge a consulting fee.
There are a lot of speaking opportunities out there for health care practitioners. You might have to start with unpaid gigs to get some recognition (and, let's be honest, some practice speaking about your topic!). But once you've been doing it a little while you can start to charge organizations to come give a talk that would benefit them.
Write a book
Is there a topic you are passionate about? Is there something you've done that's new and innovative and you'd like to share that with an audience (such as fellow massage therapists, other health care practitioners, or the general public)? Are you a decent writer? Think about writing a book! You don't need a book deal - these days it isn't hard at all to self publish. You can even get listed on Amazon.
Teach a CEU course
Have you developed a new technique for something? Want to teach other therapists business skills? Got something useful to share that other therapists would want to learn about? You may be able to develop and teach a CEU course.
Organize a conference
If your area is lacking a massage therapy (or general health & wellness) conference and you're interested in starting one, you could do it! And yes, you can draw a salary to do this. It takes dedication, time, effort, and some big 'people skills' but it can be incredibly rewarding.
Create a tool
Do you see the need for a product or tool in your profession? Do you have the skills to make that product or tool happen, or are you willing to put together a team that can? Are you willing to put in the time for development, testing, marketing and selling it? Go forth and create it!
Hope those ideas have you inspired! Do you have a way to increase your income that I haven't mentioned? Let me know in the comments!