The Merry-Go-Round

By Leslie Young
[Editor's Note]

Like kids headed to the carousel, we’re filled with excitement as we look to the year ahead. OK, yes, we’re also nervous as we pick our mount. After the ups and downs of 2008, we figure 2009 has to be an improvement. As I write this, postelection, I’m steeped in reader, advertiser, and educator feedback, most of which reflects apprehension about the economy and its influence on the profession.

In unsteady economic times it takes varying doses of business savvy, intuition, and dumb luck in order to thrive. In fact, just surviving may be tricky for the balance of massage therapists. Many of you tell me you’d rather heal than handle money. But in order to heal, you must be able to balance the books.

Last summer, we at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) did a survey as part of our strategic planning for future communications with professionals like you. We asked licensed MTs what they’d like to learn from their professional publications and the answer was clear: you want more information on how to become a better bodyworker and, no thanks, you don’t want business-oriented information. We also asked you if you had enough clients. You said, no. If fact, you wish your schedule was more full. And, in a heartwarming vote of confidence, you said you expected to have more clients in 2009 than in 2008.

Clearly there’s a disparity here. Narrowing this gap between expectation and reality—and subsequently filling your appointment book—can help you better weather 2009. Challenge yourself to learn what you need to learn, not only what you want to learn. Grow your skills by stepping out of your comfort zone and raising your level of business expertise. We’ll help you do it, issue by issue, through our website, and through every vehicle we have. You’ll also benefit from the ABMP BizFit program, designed to help members and Massage & Bodywork readers survive and thrive.

My best advice is to do what therapists in this profession do so very well: stay centered. Focus on what you love to do and practice to your fullest potential. Your clients will be the benefactors and they’ll calculate your sessions into their budgets. Help them understand massage is essential as they manage stress and ride today’s merry-go-round.

And if you still feel like you’re on a carousel, at least pick a colorful horse.

Leslie A. Young, Editor in Chief