Ever since music legend Bill Withers passed away a few weeks ago, the sounds of his iconic track “Lean on Me” have flooded streets around the globe with a timely reminder that we can put our hope and trust in one another to help each other get through to brighter days ahead.

We’ve written about a number of business improvement projects you can work on while social distancing, but we thought we’d take a cue from Bill this time around.

You’ve been on the frontlines through this whole ordeal. You’ve seen firsthand what’s working and what’s not. And through it all, we know you’ve got firsthand experience that would benefit others who are in a similar position.

We reached out to our community of massage therapists and bodyworkers to find out more about what they’re doing to keep their businesses on solid footing during this critical time.

The response was inspirational—yet an eye-opening reminder of the hardships still ahead for massage and bodywork professionals all over. Deepest thanks to everyone who contributed!

We compiled their shareworthy tips and ideas into four categories: Financials, Client Communication, Specials & Promotions, and Personal & Business Improvement.

Take a look below at the vast opportunities available that you could be implementing today. Your next small win could come straight from ideas submitted by your fellow MTs!

Financial Tips for Massage Therapists

The financial success of your massage business relies heavily on you seeing a healthy number of clients each week. So what are you to do when you haven’t been able to take appointments for weeks on end?

As one wise MT put it, “All in all—if you can be creative in your massage craftsmanship, you’ve got it in you to find other ways to be creative too.”

Here are some unique ways that massage therapists and bodyworkers are being resourceful in their search for relief, taking on side work to bring in extra cash, and pinching pennies to save every bit during this time of financial instability:

  • Get lean and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Focus on the essentials like food, shelter, utilities, and medicine. Go through your bank statements to see which luxuries you can put on hold for now.

  • Apply for emergency financial help like unemployment benefits and small business loans. It’s not just government resources that are available either. Look into how philanthropic organizations and the private sector are providing assistance too. These application processes might seem overwhelming right now. Remember to stay focused and keep asking. Need somewhere to start your search? We’ve got links to small business resources here.

  • Talk to your landlord about negotiating the rent for your office space. Here’s one way to work out a deal: ask if you can pay a smaller portion for the current month and repay the rest in increments over the coming months. If your rent is $2500, pay $500 upfront and then add on an extra $200 for the following 10 months to pay off the balance.

  • Give retail a shot. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy products through vendors though. If you’re looking to turn a hobby into a source of income, try taking a more homemade, artisan style approach. Think about things you use regularly in your massage practice that could benefit your clients at home. Essential oils, lotions, and hand-sewn eye pillows are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Go virtual and teach online wellness classes in any areas you may have expertise, including self-massage, stretching, yoga, tai chi, meditation, sleep improvement, group exercises and much, much more. You’ve probably heard that Zoom and Facebook are huge platforms right now for getting started. How you get compensated for these is entirely up to your circumstances. You can offer complimentary courses, they can be on a donation or tip basis, or you can charge for individual sessions.

Client Communication Tips for Massage Therapists

Much of the work you do on a daily basis involves intuitively communicating with your clients through physical touch. But now that physical face-to-face time has been restricted, it’s time to switch gears to more visual and verbal forms of touch.

As a professional healer, your knowledge and expertise is needed to help people de-stress during these trying times. Fortunately, the world we live in today offers countless ways to keep lending a helping hand.

If this is an area where you could use help growing, here’s how massage therapists and bodyworkers are using this downtime to keep clients informed about what’s new at their businesses, how they’re using proactive, personalized techniques to spread goodwill, and how they’re reminding the world of how essential massage will be to healing once we’re back to normal:

  • Use email to communicate weekly or bi-weekly with your entire client base. Keep them up to date with any relevant information about how your business is handling the situation, but include something to make it worth their while too. Get creative in your approach. Self-care tips, uplifting quotes, guided meditation audio recordings, personal video messages, blog articles, links to your YouTube channel, and simply letting them know you’re available to talk are all great places to start. We’ve added a COVID-19 update email template to MassageBook to help get you started.

  • Stay active and continue to be present on social media. You can use some of the same content from email, and we’ve also got ideas for more posts that you can grab here.

  • Call (& text) your long-standing regulars who you have a very close relationship with to find out how they’re doing. They are the foundation of your business. Reach out to them individually.

  • Go old school if you’ve got mailing addresses. Nothing speaks volumes quite like a handwritten note. Bonus points if it’s handmade! Pro tip: If you want to add next-level personalization, you can filter your client list in MassageBook to only show clients who have a birthday within the next 30 days. That sure would make a nice surprise!

  • Check in on any elderly clients that trust and rely on your care. Ask if they need any help with the essentials. Offer any assistance that you can that’s within safe, reasonable boundaries.

Specials and Promotional Tips for Massage Therapists

Finding ways to keep yourself booked once you can safely reopen is going to help jumpstart your business back to normalcy. But if you’re not in a position where you already know that your clients will be rebooking in the next few months, now’s a prime opportunity to reach into your bag of tricks.

Here are ways that massage therapists and bodyworkers are promoting gift certificates to attract future new clients, selling services in advance to bring in extra dough during this cash crunch, and using affordable monthly memberships to generate long-term income from loyal clients:

  • Sell gift certificates at a discounted rate. Even the slightest amount off can go a long way towards getting more purchases, and you’ll get the money right away. Plus, if it’s an existing client buying for a friend or family member, you’ll have a new client waiting for you in the future. Need help setting this up in MassageBook? Watch our step by step video here.

  • Cut a deal with people who book during the first few weeks of your grand reopening. You can set all this up in MassageBook too. Run a limited time promotion on a service, then let clients book and prepay for their appointments from the convenience of their own homes.

  • Create unique deals for medical staff and other essential workers. These groups of people are going to deserve much needed mini-getaways when this is all over. Give them a break on a series of sessions like a buy one, get one. You can even ask your clients if they’d like to give back by donating gift certificates to those on the frontlines.

  • Promote the long-term benefits of joining a monthly membership program at your business. Get clients to visualize how relaxing it will be to have their monthly appointment on autopilot once they can finally get out of the house. You’ll love the impact that this new reliable source of monthly income will have on your bank account.

Don’t forget—running specials and promos goes right back to the client communication tips we discussed earlier. You’ve got to get the word out if you want to get the sales in!

Personal and Business Improvement Tips for Massage Therapists

Right now, it’s important to live with the understanding that life will go on both personally and professionally. Keep moving and keep working. But don’t stop resting either. Massage is hard work.

Take this extra time to refine your mission and streamline your work. Find gratitude in this unexpected time out, and use it to emerge stronger than ever.

Here’s what massage therapists and bodyworkers are doing to maintain their own well-being while staying put, how they’re reinventing themselves at home and work, and how they’re preparing to come back fully equipped and ready to take on the next challenge once social distancing is a thing of the past:

  • Cherish spending quality time with family around the house. Try new activities and relish in old favorites. Cook, garden, play games, look at old photo albums, tell stories.

  • Put yourself first. Test your focus by keeping a daily structure that benefits your overall health. Get enough sleep, eat the rainbow, get your heart rate up, stay loose, soak up the sun, catch up with friends and family, and reflect on what’s important in your life.

  • Declutter your personal space. Donate unused items to charities and community thrift stores. Keep a clean home for a fresh start each day. And while you’re at it—tackle the office space too! A fresh coat of paint on a newly designed, fully stocked treatment room sure would impress your returning clients.

  • Don’t get rusty. You’ve got clients waiting for you when you return. Keep your hands and arms in shape. Your spouse, partner, pets, or anyone else you can safely work on probably won’t mind the extra attention.

  • Expand your professional knowledge to better serve your clientele. Earn CEUs, learn new techniques, or simply immerse yourself in free content from top pros on the web. Don’t limit yourself to just massage and bodywork though. Think about how you can become a better marketer, owner, and leader for your massage business.

  • Elevate your brand online. Are you making a great first impression when potential new clients first find you? Touch up your website with pro-quality pics and freshen up the written copy. Do the same to your social media accounts, and make sure your contact info (business name, address, phone) is consistent across the board. Tee up promotional marketing content now that you can launch later. You can even kindly ask clients to review you on Google to help boost your local search ranking.

  • Be in the know about what to expect when you return to work. Keep up with recommendations from health officials. Exude the type of professionalism that demonstrates you’re fully educated on how to properly operate your practice post-COVID-19. Give clients peace of mind by letting them know how you’re keeping your space safe and sanitized.

  • Hit the ground running when this has finally passed. You probably had to cancel quite a few appointments, so make it a point when you’re ready to reach out to those clients directly about rescheduling. Think about offering extended hours for a few weeks to accommodate an influx of clients. Your family probably won’t mind too much after all the extra bonding time. And if you’ve been fortunate through the storm, this might be the chance you’ve been looking for to bring on another therapist. Grow your business while helping out another passionate MT in need of work. Talk about a win-win!

We’re rooting for everyone in our massage and bodywork community to get through this as best as they can, so we’d really appreciate it if you helped pay it forward by spreading this good news with your friends and peers who are also figuring out how best to get through this challenging time.

Thank you, stay positive and be well.

Your biggest fans at MassageBook