I'm Julie Onofrio (like the actor but without the D'). I have been a massage therapist since 1988 and have had my own massage business in downtown Seattle. I started out with my business in a health club and worked my way into various office situations through the years and now work in a space with a few other self-employed massage therapists.
In 1999, I was feeling really burned out and struggling with some minor health issues. I couldn't work as much as I had been (25 hours of massage a week!) so I started a website - www.thebodyworker.com where I just started putting everything I learned in massage school into a website. It became part of my 'recovery from burnout'. I also had been collecting all of this information to create an apprenticeship program for a friend of mine who wanted to go to massage school but who already had a significant background in science and anatomy. I never created it but the website is the result. I also always felt like so many good classes and information always had such a high price tag on them and it was such pertinent information that all massage therapists really needed to be successful in their careers. I wanted to provide as much information as I could to other massage therapists to make the journey easier than I had it! There was nothing available really when I started doing massage back in 1988 in a health club. No info on how to set and raise fees, interact with clients, deal with difficult situations or build a business. We learned by sharing with each other back then.
In about 2002 I created another site www.massagetherapycareers.com which was a site that talked only about what it takes to become a massage therapist and information to help people decide if they wanted to become a massage therapist. I wanted to tell the truth about becoming a massage therapist. I write about the side of the profession that no one seems to want to talk about. While I love being a massage therapist and have come a very long way, there was not much support for the process of starting and building a massage business. I now still do massage 2-3 days a week but prefer writing about it on my websites mainly because I can just reach more people this way. If I was starting my massage business now, I would be sure that I had multiple streams of income to allow me the freedom to do create my ideal massage practice right from the start. I would also take more time to plan how I was going to make enough money to live on and save for retirement. Back then being a massage therapist was more of a lifestyle - easy going, helping people, freedom to set your own hours and do what you want.
The massage profession has been all about personal and professional growth which is all for the best but something that is never talked about. No one told me how hard it would be to get and keep clients. No one told me that I would end up burned out if I didn't take care of myself more than I tried to take care of others. My mission is to share that information with others so that they can have support along the way. You can make $50,000 or even $100,000 a year as a massage therapist and you deserve to make that much but you will also need the support of others to take you there.
For many the massage profession is a calling - something their soul asks them to do. With that often comes the challenges of becoming more aware and working to find fulfillment and happiness outside of one's work (as with any career or vocation).
In Sept 2008, I ended up selling that site -www.massagetherapycareers.com and created this site to replace it. I also wrote a few ebooks -the "Massage Career Guide: The Truth About Becoming a Massage Therapist and also the Massage Job Guide: How to Create or Find Higher Paying Jobs in the Massage Profession. Both are available through this site. My reason in writing them is to share with potential students and massage therapists my 20+ years of being a massage therapist. Through those years I had to learn the hard way about how to be successful as a massage therapist.
My main message is that being a massage therapist is not only about helping but more importantly taking care of yourself. It is OK to care about people and make a Great Living too! For many in the massage profession caring too much without the financial rewards leads to burnout. It doesn't have to be that way and I am living proof that it can be another way.
I also wanted to add the steps to starting, setting up and running a successful massage business as well as teach people about starting and running their own peer supervision groups and getting individual supervision. I started a peer supervision group with a few of my friends in around 2002. When I asked these friends to join me, we had no idea where it would all be going but I now contribute my success with my websites and my continued success as a massage therapist (who successfully recovered from serious burnout!) to supervision. I am also working with many people in person and online through email and phone consultations as an individual supervisor and business consultant helping massage therapists take the steps they need to finding the success that they deserve.
Let me know what questions, feedback or comments you have about anything and everything.
To Your Success!
My massage office website
PS. To read more about me and my journey with Site Build it!
My Massage Career - Part One