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F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 75 So when we finally graduate and have that license in hand, the financial challenges of setting up our own practice can seem daunting. After all, for many of us, it took all we had just to pay for our training. Taking on more debt, or saving up enough to start our own practice, can seem impossible. At some point, perhaps after working in a spa or clinic for a while, many of us can no longer resist the desire to be our own boss, and we decide it's time to set up our own practice. This, of course, will mean anteing up once again and investing in the building and cultivation of our private massage therapy practice. When it came time for my husband, Shane, and me to branch out on our own and create our own private practice (in 2009, about three years after graduating from massage school), we had very little to spend on our new endeavor. But knowing that our spa jobs were never likely to support the kind of lifestyle we hoped for, we knew we had to bite the bullet and give private practice a try. The first few years were defined by a shoestring budget, a lot of creative resourcefulness, and a fair amount of bootstrapping. Bootstrapping, for those who may not be familiar with the term, refers to improving one's situation by using existing resources. Anyone who has built a business from the ground up without borrowing capital is very familiar with bootstrapping. A great, although not business- related, example of bootstrapping is demonstrated by Julie Andrews's character Maria in The Sound of Music, when she uses curtains to craft play clothes for all of the Von Trapp children in her charge. To bootstrap means, as Theodore Roosevelt has been quoted as saying, to "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Think of bootstrapping as the act of being enterprising, resourceful, and scrappy. Clearly, setting up a private massage therapy practice isn't a no-investment endeavor, but it can most certainly be a low-investment endeavor. And when you're broke and looking to bootstrap your way into a thriving practice, the question is, "How low can you go?" It's not for the faint of heart, but building your own business on next to nothing is indeed possible, if you know some bootstrapping basics. Those of us who are massage therapists have invested a significant amount of money into our vocational training. Whether we took out loans, saved our pennies to pay tuition in advance, or made installment payments to our schools, getting through our classes involved a fair amount of financial commitment, sacrifice, and struggle. boot ■ strap /'boot, strap/ verb 1. to improve one's situation by using existing resources. "The bootstrapping MT achieved her dreams without a lot of startup capital."

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