Bridging Holistic Therapist and Entrepreneur

['Round the Table]

How do you bridge the gap between holistic therapist and entrepreneur?


When you have the gift of healing hands and the compassion of a helping heart, you must shout it from the mountaintops. Seriously, how does one begin to touch others without letting them know who you are and what you do? Family and friends are always a great way to start, but to really impact your community and make a difference in the lives around you, one must get the word out. I began marketing myself while still in school. I bought the insurance plan through ABMP and got busy. I took advantage of the holiday times and knew folks would need to relax and also knew they could purchase gift certificates. I went to my first holiday open house with a rented massage chair from the school I attended. I sold two gift certificates and was asked if I could be at another event in two weeks, where I sold a few more and began to get calls. To bridge the gap you must get your hands on people, so go to them and success will follow. Happy healing.

Hayley Friedman

Sloughhouse, California


Most holistic therapists are not business people, let alone entrepreneurs. Massage schools barely cover 1 percent of what MTs need to know about running their own private practice and less than 1 percent of what MTs need in order to run larger practices.

MTs often think it’s easy to just practice privately, and many fail to adequately research the relevant laws and financial obligations that come with running a business. A solid grasp of applicable state and local laws; tax regulations with reporting requirements; basic marketing analysis and strategies; and excellent customer service (which includes some salesmanship) are all absolutely necessary. These are the main things that would enable a practitioner to become a businessperson.

To then become an entrepreneur, multiply the marketing and salesmanship by 100 and develop shameless pride and enthusiasm for growing the business. Without an infectious, overwhelming drive to see the business prosper, the therapist will never be an entrepreneur.

Jason Erickson

Eagan, Minnesota


As massage practitioners, our personal relationships with money may need to be reexamined and redefined. Money is not an evil thing. It is necessary for us to keep on doing what we do. Without payment for our services, we would not be able to continue to offer them, and everyone would lose.

We should never undervalue our services. We have achieved our skills through hundreds of hours of training and personal sacrifice. If we undervalue our services, they won’t be valued by others.

Creating new opportunities for ourselves will also open new doors for others to experience our work. Personal opportunity has direct correlation to others’ opportunities. Let us embrace the possibilities; we will attract those who will benefit from what we have to offer.

Barbara Sterritt

Port Townsend, Washington


For me there has never been a gap between these two worlds, or at least not in a very long time. Being successful in my practice or spa, financially or otherwise, creates holism in my own life, as well as that of my staff. As our needs are met, we are more confident, relaxed, and effective in all we do, which translates into better care and services for our clients, families, friends, and coworkers.

Being a successful entrepreneur also benefits others, as I can have a greater impact on the world in many ways: setting an example for others of success against all odds; providing gifts of my time, money, or services to programs, charities, and causes I care about; employing others in the field; and having time to teach, mentor, and consult with others who want to succeed.

It is my greatest hope that everyone in the massage industry will eventually embrace entrepreneurialism as a healing art unto itself and allow their own light to shine through, so that they can spark the light in others.

Felicia Brown

Greensboro, North Carolina

Quite simply, I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. A teacher once told me if I wasn’t marketing my business, I was being stingy. Those words stuck.

My work is a gift. My practice is the forum for offering it. It is my job and my obligation to share my vision and my vocation with as many people as I can, so that those who may benefit are able to find me.

Remembering this, the business of my business is a spiritual practice.

Lesley Pearl

Chicago, Illinois


Why do you have to consider each separate? Don’t you call your local physicians, dentists, or optometrists entrepreneurs? Are not their clinics considered and run as businesses? Are the services they offer to the public “less” because they accept money as payment?

We all need to live and have bills to pay. It’s hard to do this if you have a hang-up about running a business. There is nothing wrong in considering what you do a business. It does not make you less of a holistic practitioner. Separate yourself from what you do.

And now, there are more technologies out there to make running a business less of a hassle, so you can focus on your clients.

I consider myself a holistic therapist and the services I offer (including receiving payments) a business. Free, philanthropic services are donations for charity, also considered part of a business.

If you still need to have a bridge, then build it from your perception, attitude, and energy.

Kimberly A. Rogers

Waupaca, Wisconsin