Part 1: The Very Beginning
Hi, my name is Ruth Zimmerman Cummings, and this is my blog about life as a massage therapist, a massage therapy business owner/manager, a Mom, a wife and a dog owner. :) My fellow therapists and health professionals in my office and interns who join us will also add content along the way.
Besides being a Mom of two great kids, 9 & 7, Elizabeth & Jake, a super-wife to my husband, John, I own and manage a small massage therapy office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The name of my business is Athletic Touch Therapeutic Massage…Athletic Touch for short.
Part 1, Here is a bit of Athletic Touch history:
I opened in 1994 under the name “Blue Dolphin Therapeutics” because I love dolphins. About 6 months later, a man called me, asking if I could change the name of my business because he had a hair salon called “Blue Dolphin”. He was quite nice about it, and I decided to consider a different name. My brother, Ken Zimmerman, was rambling names out, “A Massage!” “AAA Massage!” “Sports Massage!” and finally he yelled “Athletic Touch” and it was decided.
For the first few years I worked alone, in a small 12 by 12 room, in a not-so-safe neighborhood. The rent was right and I was happy. There weren’t cell phones yet, so if I wanted to catch the phone ringing, I had to physically be at the office! What a bummer that was! What a waste of time compared to today’s standards.
I would just sit there, reading and writing as I waited for the phone to ring.
This was BRUTAL!
And then, when I did have a massage, and I was in my massage room with the door closed and the phone would ring in the office, I would jump up and run out of the room just to answer the phone! It was silly. I remember once, while working on a client, the phone rang once…”awww,” I thought, “that could be a new client.”
Twice, “if I run out now, I may have a new appointment.”
I decided to run to the phone…it was a sales call! I finished the massage, and the client was obviously disgruntled. I never saw that client again. She was a friend of the family, and I heard over and over from my Mom how “rude it was to run for the phone during a massage!” I never did that again.
After that I learned how to turn the ringer off so I wouldn’t be tempted to run and answer the phone.
It is true, though, new-massage-business-owners, that answering the phone will get you the business MUCH more often then calling them back after they leave a message.
In my opinion, when you are first starting out, you need to take massage appointments any time the the client requests to come in for their convenience. Creating your own schedule will come later, once you have enough clients who can and will come to you when YOU are available. I’ll talk about this more in my business building blogs.