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CLASSROOM TO CLIENT education Design a Job You Love! Questions to Guide You to Your Professional Niche By Cindy Williams As part of my liaison role with Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), I spend a significant amount of time traveling to massage therapy schools across the country speaking to students who are about to graduate and supporting their transition from student to professional. When I mention that the massage profession has a vast array of employment opportunities, students light up with interest, as if a great secret is about to be revealed. While entry-level massage programs teach the essential starting points for a career in massage therapy, there are many ways new therapists can use their skills, knowledge, and interests to be of service to others in ways they may have not learned or imagined. Designing the perfect massage job is a fun, creative, and self-explorative process. Whether right out of school or already in practice, you can find your niche within the massage profession that brings your gifts into their fullest light. Here are 20 questions to help anyone find that niche. EMPLOYEE OR SELF- EMPLOYED? The most obvious and general questions to ask yourself are: • Do you want to work for someone else or be your own boss? Depending on your answer to this and the following questions, you can determine which avenue is right for you. • Do you want a flexible schedule that changes from week to week and works around your personal life? • Do you mind having an income that fluctuates from week to week? • Do you like talking to people, marketing yourself, and inviting them to schedule an appointment at your office? • Can you keep track of income, expenses, and records related to money? • Are you interested in building your own website, designing marketing materials, developing and tracking promotional campaigns, and writing policies and procedures for your business? • Does being a businessperson in conjunction with being a massage therapist excite you? If you answered yes to most of the above questions, self-employment is a great option for you. If you answered no, you will likely be happier letting someone else do the marketing, scheduling, bookkeeping, policy creation, and business management, and be best suited as an employee focusing your effort toward your hands-on work. Keep in mind you can do a blend of both as you test the waters. Just be sure you discuss any restrictions or agreements with your employer, such as noncompete clauses that require you to market to clients outside a specific distance away from your place of employment. YOUR IDEAL WORK ENVIRONMENT There are many environments in which you can provide massage therapy. It is a perfect complement to the medical/ clinical environment and is also perfect as an ongoing wellness practice purely for relaxation and stress relief. Following are some questions to help you determine which appeals to you most. 36 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j u l y / a u g u s t 2 0 1 8

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