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To Run a Private Practice or To Be an Employee? Part 1

The pros and cons of running a private manual therapy practice.

So, you’re in the middle of 2021 and you’re starting to think that maybe working at the local spa isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and maybe you should take your massage career to another level and possibly work for yourself. You’ve seen your friends/colleagues who work for themselves, and they seem to have more freedom with their schedule and seem to make just as much are you are, if not more!

Working for yourself can be extremely rewarding, but I’d like to offer up some real-world insight into this decision. What qualifies me to give any advice? Well, I’ve had a private practice for over 17 years and worked at spas from 2003 to 2009, so I guess this means I got a full two cents to give you!

Without further ado, here’s my perspective:

CONS of Working for Yourself

1. Uncertainty.

This to me is the biggest con to working for yourself. There won’t be anyone to hand you a paycheck at the end of two weeks. There won’t be anyone to do your marketing to draw in clients when it’s slow. You can’t just walk into your office and expect a full schedule like you would if you worked at a spa. If you can’t deal with uncertainty, then I suggest leaning toward working at a spa.

2. No more perks and benefits.

The last spa I worked at had great health benefits, hotel perks (the spa was in a hotel), and always had freebies. The only freebies you get from working for yourself are the ones you BUY for yourself, lol!

3. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

Want to go on a two-week vacation? Want to spend three weeks at Burning Man and then go backpacking with your new soulmate? Well, that’s all great and amazing, just make sure you budget for being away from work for several weeks at a time.

4. You’ll need to be a jack of all trades.

Welcome to running your own business! If you’re working for yourself now, you amazing business owner, you, you’ll need to understand and apply the principles of sales, marketing, and accounting. If not, you’re going to need to hire someone who knows how to do these things and that can get expensive. If you want to be a full-on entrepreneur, you’ll need to understand revenue analysis, networking, and the generating of passive income, among other things.

PROS of Working for Yourself

1. You are your boss.

If you don’t like working for someone else or answering to someone else, then working for yourself is the way to go. You have pretty much full autonomy (in a sense). Want to paint your studio pink? Go for it. Want to take every other Tuesday off? That’s your call? Want to take a week off to go to a conference? Enjoy! Being your own boss gives you tremendous flexibility and freedom!

2. You will learn a lot!

Working for yourself will mean that you will have to learn a lot about a lot of things. Nothing will stimulate your mind more than having to learn how to write good newsletters, reading up on how to determine how much revenue per client you’re actually generating, or a tax law that will allow you to write off an expense you had no idea you could write off. Personally, I feel like I grew up a lot when I learned to run my own business

3. You should be able to make more money.

When you work at a spa, you only keep a fraction of what the client paid. When you work for yourself, you keep 100% of what your client paid you. Of course, you’ve got all sorts of expenses that you will need to pay but working for yourself should generate a greater net income than working at a spa if you do things right. My revenue went up by 4X when I started working full time for myself.

4. You’re going to blow your mind.

I don’t know how else to say this but having my own business has really shown me what I’m capable of doing. I have pleasantly surprised myself with how much I’ve learned, grown, and been able to share by putting myself in this position. I can only imagine I’m not the only one that has gone through this process so I think you too will experience a ‘growth spurt’ by working for yourself.

That’s it for now folks. Notice I called this ‘Part 1’. There’s a lot more I can share, but I think this is a good start. As always, contact us at if you have any questions.

Also, if you’re ready to become an entrepreneur, come check out our online course, The Healthcare Ultrapreneur Project for some insightful information from Dense DeShetler and myself.


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