What to Consider Before Making Massage Your Side Hustle

Dec 2, 2020

When faced with either new financial hurdles or a sense that you’re not getting the most out of your free time, you’ve likely considered a side hustle. Side hustles (also known as ‘side jobs’ and ‘side gigs’) are gaining in popularity, especially given the number of employees gaining more down time from now working from home or having fewer hours at your main job. If you need additional income and enjoy caring for people, a career in massage therapy may be just the job you need to bring personal fulfilment and financial security.

Massage therapy relaxes or eases the pain of someone else, and it is rewarding. Some massage therapists feel a heightened sense of wellness after performing a massage — benefitting from the comfort they have brought their patient.

In other cases, caring for someone else can drain the massage therapist emotionally, especially if the patient is critically ill. To be effective in a health-related role, you must be emotionally fit and strong, or the well-being of your clients can become overwhelming.

How to tell if you have time for a side job

Generally speaking, working from home is less stressful than commuting to an office each day, primarily because it offers more flexibility. If massage therapy is your side hustle, you can meet with clients in their home, your home, or massage business. Many jobs do not offer this many options.

Second jobs are inherently challenging to manage because there is another job that has priority. Yet being available to your clients when they need you is critical to success. Depending upon what your primary job is, you may only have evenings, early morning, or weekends available for your clients and that may not coincide with their availability.

The goal of becoming a massage therapist and providing accessible services to your clients is achievable. Still, you may need to spend more time building a base of regular massage clients who can work within your availability. By developing rapport and providing outstanding services, you will find they are much more willing to accommodate your schedule, just as you are eager to accommodate theirs to the extent you can.

Getting your new workplace set up

Part of the success of building such a clientele is the ability to provide services in almost anywhere the client is comfortable. If you intend to provide services from your home, you will save money on rent and enjoy greater convenience.

It’s not necessarily a bad image if they see you with your children or amid household chores, but you must make efforts to separate your personal life from your business. Conversely, there are risks associated with opening your home to strangers, and you may need additional insurance.

If working for home is the best option, here are some things to think about:

  • Create a separate massage room, used only for clients that is quiet and calming.
  • Designate a separate bathroom for clients close to the massage room.
  • If a private entrance is not available, limit the exposure your clients have to your house.
  • Mark the front entrance with a sign, so clients know they are at the right place.
  • Greet your clients warmly and make them comfortable from the moment you meet them
  • Always greet clients at the door and give them a mini-tour and show them where the massage room is, where the bathroom is, and where the robe is.
  • Explain in detail what you will be doing, when it will start, and when it will end.
  • Only accept patients referred to you by people you know, which can be difficult when you are first starting your business. As you build a trusted clientele, it becomes easier.
  • Put a security system in place to make you feel safer. Tell someone when clients are coming and when they are leaving and confirm they have done so.
  • Keep your house clean at all times—you never know when you will get an urgent call for a session.
  • Keep your mind on the task at hand by turning off your phone and other distractions.
  • Keep other household members away from the massage room, including pets.
  • Keep records in a locked file cabinet and observe best practices at all times for keeping your clients’ information private.
  • Set cancellation policies and other policies and make sure your customers understand them. Working from your home can seem less formal, and clients may take advantage of the lax environment.
  • Do not allow pets in the massage room at any time. Many people are allergic to pet dander.
  • You are a professional, so dress for work. Your clients will feel you take their needs more seriously if you’re not wearing pyjama bottoms and slippers.

How much could you make?

The average wage for a massage therapist in Australia should expect to be making around $60-$80 per hour. This rate applies to full-time and part-time therapists, which makes it a perfect side hustle. When compared to side hustles outside the health industry, such as being an Uber driver, you can earn as much as $15 – $20 more per hour. When you add that to the low-stress work environment, and the joy you get from providing others with healing services, becoming a massage therapist is an attractive proposition.

How to become a massage therapist with industry-recognized courses from Discover Massage Australia

Discover Massage Australia offers both face-to-face and online courses so you can become a massage therapist in just two days—all in one weekend. The course is entirely hands-on and ensures you have the skills and knowledge you need to begin a second job with confidence. As soon as you enrol, you get immediate access to the online course. You can get started early and practice to prepare yourself for the hands-on weekend course. Students who complete the Whole Body Massage course can join the MAA or IICT and purchase professional Indemnity Insurance. Membership in these organisations facilitates the purchase of Professional Indemnity insurance, which enables you to practice professionally.

The Massage Association of Australia (MAA) and the International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT) fully recognise our online courses, and are a great way to launch into your new career in massage.

Cameron Aubrey

Cameron Aubrey has over 20 years experience in the massage industry, and leads the team as Course Director at Discover Massage Australia. Cameron holds a Diploma in Remedial Massage, and his expertise runs across a large range of massage techniques, particularly sports, Swedish and whole body massage.