Olivia Vedad’s appreciation for the beauty of the human form started with her dad’s love of Renaissance art.

As the daughter of a Navy man, much of her time growing up in Naples, Italy was spent strolling through galleries and museums with dad. She didn’t recognize it back then, but the striking depictions of chiseled physiques that she saw in the sculptures and paintings eventually planted a seed of curiosity in her young mind for how the body develops.

The natural healer within her emerged years later when she started massaging the wiped out backs of teammates on her high school’s surf club. That tiny seed from long ago began to sprout into a desire to one day become a professional massage therapist.

The road to her dream wasn’t without challenges and a few strokes of good fortune sprinkled in, but through hard work and determination, it blossomed into reality in 2017 when she opened Adventures in Massage Therapy—her very own independent massage practice that’s undeniably improving the health and wellness of her clients in Charleston, South Carolina.

We zipped across town to Olivia’s office one muggy summer afternoon to learn more about how this mother of two is mixing her go-getter attitude and savvy approach to marketing to firmly root her business in fertile ground.

You too can get to know Olivia. She’s easygoing and good-natured, but it’s her give-first attitude that’s driving her to build a better community—one massage at a time.

MassageBook: Hi Olivia! Thanks for letting us drop in to check out your place. We’ll jump right in. What kick-started your career as a massage therapist?

Olivia Vedad: I always wanted to go to massage therapy school ever since I was a teenager. But I listened to my parents’ wishes and went the more traditional college route instead. Years passed, and life in a cubicle began to take its toll. Ever seen the movie Office Space? Yeah, that was me. I was either going to get fired or be stressed out for the rest of my life. It was just me supporting my two kids at the time, so I didn’t see how going back to school could possibly work. But I finally got the nerve to call up a local massage therapy program and explained my situation. They actually had a scholarship available, and I ended up getting it! I graduated in 2016 from Trident Technical College here in town and immediately went to work at a spa.

MB: Sounds like fate! Did you always want to go out on your own?

OV: I was fully booked at my first two jobs but something wasn’t quite right. I was still working for somebody else and worried about having to call out if I had a sick kid at home. At one point, I was working alongside a chiropractor, and he eventually convinced me to go solo. That’s when I decided to open Adventures in Massage Therapy.

MB: Awesome! We love hearing about passionate LMTs who aren’t afraid to take the leap into business ownership. Let’s hear about the name. What does it mean to you?

OV: I grew up all over the world as a Navy brat, and I’ve always loved the idea of adventure. Life’s an adventure. Starting a business has been an adventure. Every massage is an adventure. Each time I work on someone, it’s a completely new experience and connection with that person even if it’s the same client I’ve seen a hundred times, and to me, that’s what I love about my job.

MB: What brings you the most joy as a massage therapist?

OV: When someone leaves here with a supernatural glow because they’re a totally different person from when they first walked in. Life can be stressful, and it’s my job to make it not. Helping people just feels good.

MB: Tell us three things you’ve learned about marketing your business that your fellow independent massage therapists should know too.

OV: Never stop promoting yourself, and don’t get complacent even if you think you’ve reached a place where it’s no longer needed. You should always be looking for opportunities, even in casual conversation, to tell others about what you do as a massage therapist. They just might be your next client.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to different groups of people too. It’s going to help you find your target audience and build a better customer base. That’s who you’ll work best with to grow your business.

Use MassageBook’s free resources like the Father’s Day email promotion they provided this year. It made creating a campaign to sell gift certificates so much easier. My mindset as a massage therapist is to be a giver, and it’s not always easy coming up with the right words when asking for something in return. But only needing to personalize an already drafted email saved me so much time and hassle. And it got great results too!

MB: That’s why we’re here! Simplifying your day-to-day is what we’re all about. Let’s hear about the long term though. What’s something you’re working towards?

OV: It’s my goal to build more relationships with like-minded professionals so that we can continue to be a resource for the community. I hope to one day host events that promote physical, mental and emotional healing for special populations like veterans and autistic children.

MB: That’s fantastic! Leave us with some words of wisdom.

OV: Stay grounded and true to what you want because a lot of people told me I couldn’t get to where I’m at now. Go outside and stand barefoot in the grass too. When the stress of modern day life feels like too much, get outside of your head and into nature instead.

Thanks for sharing your story, Olivia!

We’ll remember your advice next time things getting a little crazy here at the MassageBook office. There’s a nice patch of turf already waiting for us out back.