Start Your Own Massage Business

Are you ready to be mompreneur? Balancing the roles of mom and business owner is no easy task. Choosing the right type of business venture is critical to your success, happiness, and work/life balance.

Massage therapy is a great line of business for moms. Owning a massage therapy business gives you the ability to create a flexible work schedule, the pay is very good and the startup costs are minimal compared to other entrepreneurial endeavors. The barrier to entry is also pretty low since you don’t need years of training or a college degree.

After you do get the required education and licensing out of the way, there are three primary things to focus on to launch a massage business.

Equipment for Your Massage Business

Before you can start kneads the knots out of your clients, you’ve got to have tools and equipment to get the job done. Fortunately, you don’t need much to get started.

The most essential piece of equipment is a comfortable high-quality massage bed or table. The best investment starting out is a portable option. Even if you plan to rent a studio space, with a portable table you can go to clients if they can’t come to you.

Other essential massage supplies include:

  • Towels
  • Massage oils and lotions
  • Aromatherapy tools
  • Heat sources for towels and hot stones
  • Relaxing music

Of course, the equipment you need will depend on your massage specialty. As you gain clients and income you can add extras that enhance the massage experience.

Branding for Your Massage Business

It’s understandable if you’re eager to get going, but it will pay to make time for branding your new business. Branding is the identity of your business. When you’ve got great branding it can actually improve customer loyalty and tie certain values to your business.

Make sure to add the following to your branding plan:

  • Business Name - Many entrepreneurs will tell you your business name is the most important part of branding.
  • Unique Value Proposition (UVP) - Every business needs to establish it’s UVP, which tells people what sets you apart from the competition. Think hard about what makes you and your services better or different. That’s your UVP.
  • Tagline - A tagline is a catchy one-liner that sums up what you do and/or your UVP.
  • Logo - Your logo will become a visual cue that tells people what you do.
  • Color Scheme - Don’t underestimate the power of color. Studies have shown colors affect mood.

Don’t worry too much about getting every brand element perfect. Your brand will likely evolve during your first year of business as you establish yourself.

Marketing Your Massage Business
Now that you’ve got a handle on the branding you can start marketing. Mompreneurs are super lucky these days in terms of marketing any type of business. Thanks to the Internet and social media there are a lot of free ways to market your new massage business and start scheduling appointments.

Take advantage of every social media platform. There’s no better free marketing platform since millions of people use social media. Because everything is done in real time, it’s also a great resource for promoting specials. Start accounts specifically for your business then invite all of your friends to check them out using your personal accounts.

Once you have more income coming in you can consider other low-cost marketing platforms. For instance, Google Adwords is an affordable way to get top ranking in the search engine because you only pay when someone clicks on your link.

Marketing messages are just as important as your marketing platforms. One of the biggest hurdles is convincing potential clients that your massage service is superior to using a massage chair. Sure, the Tekjoy massager is nice to have at the end of a long day, but it can’t replace the skilled hands of a massage therapist.

Think back on your UVP to craft marketing messages that get people calling.
The next marketing essential is a website. Using free resources like Wordpress and Wix, you can create a website at no cost. It will be fairly basic but that’s better than having no website at all. However, it’s usually worth the investment to step up to a premium account that allows you to have your own unique domain and advanced features like online scheduling tools.

Once you’ve got those three essentials covered you’ll be well on your way to owning a successful massage business.

Change your perspective, Change your Story, and the true meaning of extroversion/introversion

One of the best pieces of advice I can give to you is this: understand that not everyone thinks like you. They do not see the world the same, they have not had the same experiences, and they do not remember/keep the same things.

Consider the responses of witnesses to crimes. Whenever there are multiple witnesses, there will be multiple stories. They may have similarities, but they will be markedly different.

I attended a rural high school - with about 100 people in my graduating class. Growing up in a small community,  everyone knows everyone. They know your parents, your history, and every mistake you've ever made. It's kind of a drag. But what they think they know is often wrong.

I left my hometown the day before my 17th birthday and set off for the "big city" to go to college and start my life.

A few years after high school graduation, my mother ran into a girl from my class and she asked about me. This girl was someone I knew (of course, since there were only 100 people!) but I did not really interact with her.

I was never "mean" to her but I had only remember talking to her once in all the years I lived there. But what she told my mom was outrageous to me.

She asked how I was and my mom told her what I was up to. She said, "oh good. She was one of the only popular people that was ever nice to me."

I was never intentionally mean to anyone after my junior high days, but I was not outwardly nice either. And one thing was certain - I wasn't POPULAR. What in the world?

I am the quintessential definition of "the lone wolf." I do not roam in a pack and I prefer to be alone. I never had any real friends through out my entire school experience. Actually, I take it back. I was friends with one person for a few months in my 10th grade year. She was my only friend. Even now, I find friends exhausting and have but a few.

Which brings up a big misunderstanding among people. Why are introverts and extroverts the way they are? I am 100% introvert, but ironically I spent my career working in outside sales. Say what? How can that even make sense? It's because introvert does not mean what you think it does.

Most people believe extravert = life of the part and introvert = unibomber. Nope. What it really means is "how you manage your energy." Introverts have so much to say and they are usually quite "aware." They spend more of their time observing than acting - waiting for an appropriate and worthy time to act (this is in regards to people interactions, introverts are not just lumps lying around, lol)

The reason for this is because introverts are givers and extraverts are takers. This is the more accurate way to look at the situation. Anyone can act "extraverted." Introverts can be salespeople that have to talk to new people every single day and ask them to buy their products. Introverts CAN have fun at parties. They just don't when there are a lot of extraverts in the room. Why? Because extraverts take and take and take. They suck the energy out of people. Out of the room. Out of the experience. They feel energized after talking to people because they take a lot out of the experience. They take your knowledge, your zest, your energy.

This is why introverts sit quietly in the corner. They are looking around for someone worth talking to. When they find that person, they will freely give of their time, their energy, their knowledge. But if they see an extravert or worse, a group of extraverts, they will avoid them until they are cornered. Then, the extravert(s) will suck them until the introvert manages to escape. After a long night of extraverted exhaustion, they will need to spend time alone to recover from the experience. 

So most introverts are able to accurately assess the situation and consider whether they want to engage in the experience. Those that don't are quickly consumed and they wither away, a slave to a taker.

I am not a taker. But I also withhold my giving. So I stay with myself. That did not make me popular in school, and it surprises me that she considered me to be "popular." I was not a jock. I was not wealthy. I was not involved in any groups/clubs. I didn't have a group or usually even a single friend.

And again, I had one interaction with her in my life. I am fairly certain it was the only interaction because I didn't actively engage with people - and pretty much only had forced interactions during classes (work in teams, etc) and she was not in any of the upper level classes I took that would have forced interaction.

My moment with her occurred at the crisis pregnancy center. At some point, my 16 year old self found out we had a crisis pregnancy center and for some reason I decided I should stop in and volunteer my time. This was not something they were used to and they didn't know what to make of me. I gave them my work and school schedule, then offered up any of my free time to help.

They did something really smart at that point. They told me I was too young to help as a counselor and that since this was a small community, I would most likely recognize the girls and they me. This would be hard for them so they wanted me to be "in the background." They asked about my hobbies, skills, etc - and when they heard I spent my summers at math and science camps, they quickly found me a role. This was the mid-90s and almost no older people knew how to use computers. We didn't have computers in our schools. There were no cell phones (gasp!!)

They were trying to convert their mailing list to a computer document so they could make mailing labels. Until then, they had been writing them all out by hand and none of them could get it to work. Well then. They expected it to take me all year but I completed it all in 2 afternoons. I offered to add the entire phone book to their list, but they declined - something about only wanting to ask for donations from current donors. Sounded wrong to me, but I was 16. What did I know? And my work there was done.

On my way out, I ran into the girl mentioned earlier in the article. She was pregnant and scared. She saw me and of course knew me from school. I asked if she was pregnant and she said yes. She asked if I was too. WHAT??? I told her I was volunteering there, but I had finished my work. Then I told her good luck and left.

That was it. And from that, I was the only popular person that was ever nice to her. Perspective.

We are a curious species. Perspective is reality. It IS reality. You make your own reality by how you choose to see the world. And you can even change your story. My husband does this all the time. He retells events from our lives to other people and the whole time I am thinking - "wow, you left out so much, and that's really how you saw it?" But he tells himself all the ways he won, he succeeded, he conquered. He sees himself as a winner and a conqueror so that is how he narrates his story.

If he chose to see the whole truth or to focus on the times we lose (quite often in pure factual data) then he might have less confidence and be unwilling to keep battling out in the giant scary world we live in.

So - remember that. You are the author of your story. Retell your story in a way that gives you the confidence to go out there and do your stuff. And choose the way you want to see an experience - good/bad/otherwise.

And if you are an introvert that does not monitor your time/energy - start taking back your time/energy. Do not let extraverts suck you dry.

Best of luck.

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Wild Strawberries are gross and other lies from the internet

Once upon a time, I used to read wild foraging books. They were full of all sorts of tales - lies actually. It seemed every book parroted the same false information. As a regular woodland forager, I am very aware of what is edible and have tried almost everything that grows in our area (with some plants still to be found...)

So I gave up on foraging books - with the exception of Sam Thayer's books because he actually eats the things he writes about, he lives/forages in a northern climate, and his information is accurate.

wild strawberries - see how little they are?
One of the most outrageous lies has to do with eating milkweed pods. I have eaten these on multiple occasions and they are actually one of my favorite wild edibles. Most books say they are bitter and require a minimum of three boilings. Hogwash. So it was not at all surprising to read every book glow about how great wild strawberries taste. My experience was that they were not worth picking.

On two separate occasions, I had picked wild strawberries and found them lacking in flavor and with an unpleasant texture - like foam. Just another foraging book lie, I thought. Then I got to telling people this and realized I better check again before I start spreading tales. So I gathered the strawberries you see in the photo above. They are small like a finger nail (ignore my dirty finger...they are always dirty this time of year.) I braced myself for a bite of foam, and..... they were fantastic. Oh my goodness! I had been wrong. Or maybe semi wrong, semi right. Maybe some are unpleasant - those further in the shade perhaps? But these were great.

But it's not all roses, friends. During the winter, I came across an article claiming that juicing rhubarb leads to a beautiful pink drink - sweet tart like lemonade - but without the need for ANY sugar. Hot dog. I marked the recipe into my calendar and when the rhubarb was ready, I got busy.

I only made a little because the recipe was surprisingly wasteful. This little bit of juice took over a cup of rhubarb to make. I used the pressings in a rhubarb bar recipe, but still couldn't get over the volume to juice ratio.  But it was beautiful, and pink. This surprised me because the rhubarb I grow at home is all green.
Well, I was looking forward to a glorious sugar-free sweet tart drink. No! It was awful. Like an unripe wild apple. Yucky, yucky, yucky.

I froze the juice in little cubes to sneak into smoothies, but I don't know. The internet was wrong on this one and I will never make it again. A much better option - staghorn sumac. This makes a real lemonade alternative. I just need an efficient way to save the goodness all winter, without taking up oodles of freezer space.

dried stinging nettle

raspberry leaves and nettles

This spring was the first time I caught fiddle heads in the right season. I am usually a day or two early/late. They were delicious, definitely something I will harvest again. I recently dried some red raspberry leaves (these make a great tea) and stinging nettles that I hope to make into a whole wheat sour dough bread.

The details on that will be coming shortly.

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Cultivating Mushrooms, Collecting Herbs, and Table Top Distilling - Book Reviews

Just yesterday I lugged myself through the grocery store. Though I am grateful for the ease and convenience, it just doesn't compare to picking/growing fresh produce in your own backyard. So I am thrilled to add 3 new books to my collections for doing just that!

The first book that showed up on my doorstep was Mushroom Cultivation - an illustrated guide to growing your own mushrooms at home. This book is a great overview of which mushrooms to grow at home and how to go about doing it. It's pretty slim and easy to read. It goes over which trees to use - and tree identification. I am a fan of the information and the pictures! Now to get the ambition to break into the mushroom world....

The second book was The Homesteader's Herbal Companion. This book also has great pictures - and how-to's and recipes for making salves, essential oils, and medicines. It even has a forward by Joel Salatin! I am in agreement with most of the herbs in this book, but as an active forager - I have a few complaints.

In my opinion, some of the best foragable plants (medicinally speaking) are missing, and there is a major error in the listing for Mullein. This is a fantastic and very useful plant (more uses than mentioned) but it is also dangerous. There is no mention about the hallucinogenic nature of the seeds or that it was traditionally used to poison fish. The book does discuss using the leaves and flowers, with no mention of the seeds.

This is one of the major dangers in comprehensive "herb" or "wild" plant books. There is a lot of parroting back in forth between books but if someone does not have extensive knowledge of each particular plant, it's dangerous to repeat bits and pieces of information.

The last book - Tabletop Distilling - inspired me to want to buy my own still. Let's just add it to the menagerie of solar ovens, dehydrators, kraut crocks, butter crocks, food get the drift! But it did motivate me to want to try and make some of my own essential oils.

With our 40 acre farm, I can certainly grow enough herbs/flowers to give it a shot. The book is detailed and full of useful information. A great reference guide for sure!

I will come back and update this post if/when I accomplish any of the adventures described in the books above.

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Forty Things I Wish I'd Told My Kids - Book Review

What is your role as a parent? Most parents would agree on a few of the important issues - keeping your child safe, feeding them, etc. But not everyone things about the end game. What is your actual role? Is it to be their life long friend, cheerleader, coach?

My thought is that it's most important to prepare them to stand on their own - all the rest is extra. Of course you should cheer them on, be the shoulder to cry on, give them a boost, feed them....

And then there is adulthood. Scary for some people - those who are not prepared. Prepare them by making sure they know how to function on their own and are confident in who they are. That's where a book like Forty Things I Wish I'd Told My Kids comes in. You know - it's actually a good book for anyone, but really important for preparing children.

What is it? It's a book about life. Things you should know. Advice on how to enjoy life more - to be your best self.

It's a very quick read. The chapters are short, the material not difficult. You can stop and start and come back without missing a beat.

That was the one thing that struck me as different about this book - it is succinct. I recently finished a book that should have been a few hundred pages - at most, but the author stretched it out to a thousand. He added so much extra nothing that the book was horrid to read.

The author of Forty Things does not do that. I read it in e-book form so I'm not quite sure, but I would guess it's more pamphlet size in real life. The book is straight and to the point and almost everyone could benefit from it.

I would recommend it for graduation gifts, coming of age birthdays (14+) and for anyone trying to find direction in their life.

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Is there a God? Who the hell are we? The story of humanity - a review of the book Sapiens

Last year, the book Sapiens came across my screen and I put it on my Christmas list. Long story short...I just finished reading the book. It's a good one to read, but it's not all inclusive. I guess I just expected more from it, but with every book I read I try to take away at least one nugget of new knowledge.

From the book Sapiens - I take an all encompassing/big picture view of humanity from start to finish. And finish is the new aspect. My interpretation of the book's message was that we are destined or are evolving to become ONE.

We started out as many tribes - maybe thousands but at least 11. This has been known for a long time. Following the haplotypes (mitochondrial dna lines - always passed down from mother to child,) we know that were at least 7-11 original mothers. No Eve. Eve(S).

At least 7-11. Not every human being has been typed. In fact a very small percentage of the human race has been genetically sequenced. We may find that there were 100 original mothers - that still have surviving offspring. Mother groups may have died out and there could have originally been thousands. (Incidentally - this is how they determine your "ethnicity" when you do DNA testing.)

It's almost as if humanity started as a multiplayer video game with 2000 original players. 1000 mothers, 1000 fathers  - all in geographically distinct areas. Each of them had their own skills, advantages/disadvantages, and genetic differences.

Some were better suited to cold or warm climates. Some started in cold climates but were not suited to it and had to learn/adapt in order to survive. Some of the original parent and parent tribes died out. Some of them survived. All of them moved.

When they encountered each other the did a few things - they intermingled, they fought, they learned from each other, and sometimes they exterminated each other.

And it all lead up to where we are today - a global society. No longer separated by oceans, language barriers, and cultural differences. Or hardly so, compared to what the original peoples and our most recent ancestors were encountering.

As the age of the internet, the new world order, the use of one currency and one universal language, there will be even less separating us. We will become one.

E Pluribus Unum
Out of many, one

Scary stuff, but incredibly cool. Almost as if this was the plan from the beginning. Which leads me to a few beefs with the book. The author does a great job of being politically correct and not offending anyone. This is not something I see as an asset, but it does allow the information to be spread without bias/anger.

He seems to be quite against the Christian religion - I'm guessing a personal bias entered in, but it is not really relevant. I, myself, am not a Christian but I am not an atheist. I have seen and experienced way too much to believe that there is not a master designer - even, at minimum, an uninvolved watchmaker. Anyone who has delved into biochemistry or basic quantum physics would have to admit the same (except in public, of course - we must be politically correct.) Frankly, anyone who has ever quietly watched the world would see it's design.

But I digress. I have issue with his atheist stance because it's irrelevant. You can see the design and discuss the progression without worrying about the intricacies of religion.

My other issue is with the timeline, but this author does a much better job of separating out the different homo species to make a lot more sense of human history.

This author does discuss activities 100,000 years ago, 2 million years ago, etc. This is always just a guess - even though it is presented as facts. We can not assume that radiocarbon dating is correct. It gives us a guage - based on our current understanding but is not definitive. Science is not definitive. We are always guessing (hypothesizing) and everything is up for debate and dethroning.

So we are assuming that radioactive atoms decay at a continuous rate for all time. That is presumptive. So we have observed that for 1-200 years. And then extrapolating the data for millions of years. It may be right. It may never jump around, speed up, slow down, change because of external forces, etc. But it is foolish to lay down dates as absolutes. Even when they give "ranges" those are still "best guesses."

Those guesses help us to put things in order, but we  may be off by millions of years in the process.

Why am I so hell bent on this topic? Because I read a lot of history. I have read many books written between 600-2018 AD. I read on a lot of topics - health, food, agriculture, biographies, war chronicles, scientific discoveries, diaries, religious texts, etc. I read them to get an understanding of specific issues, but have come away with much more - a firm understanding of humanity. Here is what I have discovered....

Humans have been the same for all that time. Books written by people in the 1400s are as intelligent, thoughtful, curious, insightful, and caring as those written today. The humans are JUST as smart as we are today. They were always on the cusp of something.

Based on the knowledge they had (and we subsequently RELEARN!) I can not in good concsious believe that human beings have been around for more than around 10,000 years (give or take a few thousand.) Yes, they were stopped by famine, distance, evil kings, wars, diseases. But they really weren't. Our ancestors were amazing - go get 'em, discover and conquer people. They created, the lived, the explored, the discovered....they survived. They were never stopped. Just slowed in comparison to our rate of growth. The reason we are so much "faster" is not because we are smarter but because we are more connected. Written language, Clean water, More people, efficient transportation, decreased infant/maternal mortality, human equality, More food, Electricity, Interent connectivity, Global trade... all of these things make us able to learn/do faster than our ancestors. But they would be able to do the same if transported into this side of history.

Looking at how things developed through the documented years (approx 3000-6000BC to now), it's pretty clear that there is not much more to history than that - for humans, at least. This is not a Bible thumping proclamation. The bible claims humans have only existed for 2000 years. Obviously not the case. But we were not on some slow evolutionary chain for millions of years.

Actually, I highly doubt that the humans of 10,000 years ago were much different from us at all - genetically. Yes, we are more mixed now from generations of breeding - but there were no "evolutionary" changes in that time.

The author of Sapiens separates this by breaking down what scientists call humans. Homo erectus, homo denisovan, neanderthals, and homo sapiens plus others. He says that homo sapiens have been roaming the earth some 13,500 or so years. That makes sense.

When scientists say we have evidence of humans at an archiological dig from 300,000 years ago - they are not referring to homo sapiens. Maybe homo erectus. Maybe something else. Where they human? Maybe - but not like us exactly. Were they homo sapien ancestors? Maybe - or maybe they were bred into us in some groups. It's all a maybe.

For a better understanding of what really happened all those thousands of years ago, I would recommend Fingerprints of the Gods. Again - this is not a religious sermon. That just happens to be the title of the book but it does explore when/how/why Sapiens appeared 13,500 years ago - it uses ice dating information and goes over what might have happened - a freeze and a flood that are part of every ancient human origin story - across cultures and across time.

There is much to learn from looking back - but the best gift the book Sapiens gave me was a clear idea of going forward. We are to be one. Out of many - one.  Out of chaos - order. This is the grand plan. Do your part, contribute your unique talents, and enjoy the ride.

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On the Hunt for the PERFECT bath towels!

As we age, we tend to learn more and more about the basic things in our life. I always thing - wow, if I had only known this when I was twenty... But there is no way to know it when you are younger unless you had very experienced parents that took the time to teach you the nitty gritty behind it all - and they had great parents and so on.

One of the things I have really improved upon in the last year is clothing management. Sounds crazy....but after 4 decades, I can finally wash clothes well enough to tackle almost any stain. I am much better at picking out quality, long lasting, and well fitting clothes, and am so much better at getting rid of the clutter/garbage that used to swamp my closet.

I also do a much better job with keeping our sheets and blankets washed and buying only quality blankets. For some reason, we had so many "bed in a bag" sets that turned to garbage after just a few washings. Not anymore! Now our beds have good quality washable wool blankets and down comforters. Yes, these things cost more, but can be found at garage sales, thrift stores, or on sale. And they last a lifetime.

The one area I am still working on is towels. When we got married, we pooled our towel resources together, both of us bringing our parents castaways. We still have all of those towels - so there is something to be said for their longevity. But they are not soft and not visually appealing.  Our kids use them in their bathroom.

We got fancy 10 years ago and bought ourselves new towels. We searched high and wide for affordable quality towels. We got some ho hum towels that have held up, but again are not soft or visually appealing.

I have come to the conclusion that pima or egyptian cotton is where it's at when it comes to towels. Now to find one that is affordable and high quality... The search is on, but I may be headed in the wrong direction. If anyone knows the answer to this high quality towel situation, I would appreciate your input.

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