It’s been a while since I’ve done a “5 Reasons” blog, and since I probably get the “why did you decide to get into this?” question about once a week, I decided to throw them together! Just a fun blog for my readers, and maybe some other massage therapists will be able to relate! Enjoy!
1. I Get To Be My Own Boss
I’ve been in this business for about nine years, so I didn’t get to start this way, nor would I have wanted to. The experiences I had working as an employee were indispensible in helping me hone my practical skills, as well as learn new techniques from other therapists. Even more so, I was able to take those years and really see, from a business perspective, what worked and what didn’t. I think that is such an important part for any successful self-employeed individual. That is, learning from others, from their failures and their successes, to get an idea of what to expect and to be able to hit the ground running.
That being said, I absolutely love being my own boss. It could be partly due to the fact that I’m the oldest child, as well as that I’m a Virgo, but many of my strengths lie in organization (at least, before I suffered from mom-brain!). There is so much freedom in being able to set my hours, set my pay, design a logo and a brand, and decide what services I want to offer and what paths I want to travel. There are no limits! Granted – it’s hard work, too, and our country doesn’t look too kindly on small, independent businesses anymore (especially when it comes to tax time), but the creative freedom this job grants me to explore is priceless.
2. It’s Family-Oriented
Kind of bouncing off the last reason, this job allows me to be what I desire to be while also being able to be what my family needs me to be. Because I am able to decide when I take clients (and because, for the most part, my clients are pretty flexible and will always make the effort to come in when they want to!), I am able to have a completely flexible schedule. Before I had my daughter, I was on the go, working five days a week and thinking nothing of it. After her birth, I was able to take a full twelve weeks off, and having that “fourth trimester” to recuperate, bond, and adjust to a new life in our family was exactly what our family needed. I can’t imagine having to go back to work after only four or six weeks (especially since, at that point, I was still pretty sleep-deprived!), but after about three months, I was ready to get out of the house! For us, it was a perfect situation, and with another job, I may have not had that freedom.
Even coming back to work, I was able to cut down my days so that I could still be a “part-time stay-at-home-mom”, and sixteen months later, I still am able to pack all my clients into three days so that the other two, I am able to spend at home with my daughter. If she’s sick, I can stay home. If we need a family mini-vacation, I am able to adjust my schedule accordingly. My family is my world, and being able to have a career that allows me to keep them my number one priority is crucial.
3. I Get To Stay Active
I could not work in an office or in a vehicle for a living. Just sitting down to blog even gets me antsy sometimes, so I can’t imagine having to sit for eight hours a day staring at a computer screen. I love to be up and moving, so being a massage therapist fits right into that lifestyle. I am often asked “Don’t your hands hurt?!” or “Don’t you get tired??”, and usually my answer is along the lines of, “Um… no, not really”. Looking back, it was pretty exhausting when I was in school and our clinic hours involved doing five hour-massages in the span of 5 1/2 hours (do the math: that’s not very long in between clients!); I would come home, pop in a DVD and pass out on the couch before Shrek even met Fiona (my weekly routine consisted of Shrek and very, very, very oily popcorn – does that date me?!). But now, after doing this for so long, I’ve conditioned myself pretty well to the point where five or six clients in a day is the norm and doesn’t seem to bother me too much. (I also take care of myself by regular massages, adjustments, diet and some sort of exercise on the side; self-care is crucial!)
In fact, I credit this job to why I was able to stay so fit during my pregnancy. I was the oddball who actually loved being pregnant, never really got sick, etc. But I also was able to keep my weight gain down and work up until the day my water broke. If I didn’t have a job where I was moving so much, I don’t think I would have been able to last as long as I did!
4. It’s Been A Gateway to Natural Health
Massage therapy school was really the first time I was properly introduced to natural and holistic health practices. Before then, I always wanted to be healthy (aka weigh a certain amount, which now I know is NOT the same thing!), but I oftentimes did not go about it in the right ways. For example, fat-free and sugar-free were foods I ate often. Oh, how much have I learned! The college I went to was great about blending Eastern and Western medicine, and being able to take classes on both really opened my eyes to a new way of taking care of myself and looking at what “healthy” truly means.
As a massage therapist in Iowa, I am required by law to take 24 hours of continuing education classes every two years. These classes have also introduced me to new ideas and started me on new paths and interests. Pregnancy, migraines, the lymphatic system… these are just some of the topics that I probably never would have sought out on my own, yet once I realized how important they were, it allowed me not only to help my family become healthier, but also my clients.
Massage therapy is also the reason why I got into essential oils. I know, they have become such a huge “fad” right now (another blog, another time), yet I dabbled in oils for years in my practice before I even heard of Young Living, doTERRA, or any of the other brands out there. It was also another massage therapist who was able to show me how beneficial they could truly be, and I can honestly say our family has been better because of them – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Without my background in massage, I probably would have just written them off as another marketing gimmick and never given them a proper chance.
5. I Get To Help People
I saved this one for last, because honestly, this is the backbone of what I do. Every day is a gift in this profession. When a client falls asleep on the table, or walks out of my office completely and utterly relaxed, I know that I have truly made a difference and helped someone. When I get a phone call the next day (“Last night I slept better that I had in months!”) or see a client the next week (“I haven’t had a headache again since I saw you!”), that is what keeps me going.
I won’t lie: I have days where I ask myself if this is really what I should be doing, or wonder if I am actually doing any good at all. Some days, I sit and marvel that people actually pay me to do what I do. It’s kind of like being a mom: you love it always, yet there is always that part of you that wonders why they let you go home with a tiny baby that you now have to keep safe and alive for the next 18+ years. I’m assuming most people feel this way at some point in their jobs (unless I am just crazy?), but being able to experience that instant validation that I have been able to help somebody is what keeps me grounded and focused on the future.
Everything I do, everything I am working towards, and everything I study all funnels down into this one motivation, and that is helping other people. I don’t do this for the money, I don’t do it for the recognition, I don’t do it because it is easy or simple; rather, I do what I do because I care.
That, and my clients are pretty awesome, too.