Start Up or Step Up: Financing for Your Massage Practice

You’ve been dreaming of starting your own practice or expanding for a while. You have all the details mapped out in your head and may even have some things down on paper. You visualize working with clients in a business you love that supports you physically, energetically, and financially. There’s just one problem: you don’t have enough money.

We often use not having enough money as an excuse for not taking a risk. Risks either pay off or they don’t. That translates into either success or failure, and we tend to avoid failure so we won’t be embarrassed, made fun of, or create hardship for ourselves and those who depend on us. But being successful requires failure. That’s how we learn what not to do so we can redirect ourselves and achieve our goals.

You may be surprised to hear the money you need already exists. You might even have access to it right this minute and not even know it. The options available to you may be limited by your credit history, relationships, and level of comfort with monetary risk. But I promise that if you’re truly committed to making your dream a reality, there is a way to finance it.


If you’re dependent on another source of income now, you may want to start conservatively. That way, you can maintain what you’re used to while testing the waters. Be aware that you’ll have to allocate time in addition to what you already spend working to see private clients, so the best place to begin with this approach is to take an honest look at your schedule. Determine when you’re available to take on more. It will be necessary to do marketing activities during that time when you don’t have clients scheduled so your practice will grow.

To economize, use a room in your home, be mobile, or find another independent provider (or two) to share rented space with (check with your city manager’s office for zoning/use laws for home-based businesses). This keeps your overhead low so you can make a profit from your practice faster. You’ll also have to buy linens, lubricants, and laundry supplies, in addition to other miscellaneous business and marketing expenses. Think ahead and make a list with the amounts you’ll be spending so you know how much you’ll need to earn to break even. Anything above that is income that you’ll owe taxes on, so have a plan in place to pay those from the get go.


Once you have a clear idea of how much money you’ll need, you can start saving. I know this can be challenging if you’re living week to week, so you may have to pick up extra shifts or find another source of income temporarily until you have the nest egg you need. There may be non-essentials you can do without for a few months to bolster your stockpile. When you’re tired or feeling discouraged, keep the big picture in mind and keep going. Most business owners have to make some kind of sacrifice in the beginning or when it’s time to grow.


If you’re already stretched to the max with time and money, you can use a credit card to finance your business. Look for one that has 0% interest for at least one year and a credit limit that will accommodate your needs (rewards you’ll actually use are nice, too). Divide what you’ll be spending by the number of months for the introductory period to calculate how much you’ll need to pay on the card each month to avoid interest charges. Should you have a balance when the interest kicks in, keep track of your interest charges and use them as a deductible business expense.


There are lots of traditional loan products available. Ask a representative at your bank what offerings they have that would fit your situation. You may need to create a formal business plan (Google write a business plan for guidance and inspiration). You may also need a co-signer.

Perhaps you know someone who would loan you the money. These kinds of agreements can strain relationships, so have a repayment plan in mind BEFORE you approach them about it. Once you’re up and running, make repaying this loan your top priority.


Crowdsourcing has become a popular way to finance projects. Depending on how you feel about it and your circle of influence, this may be an unexpected alternative. Those who donate may or may not expect to be paid back. Make your intentions and expectations explicit so you don’t get in trouble down the road due to a lack of communication. Google crowdsourcing platforms to learn more about what’s out there and how they work.

These are but a few ideas to finance your business. If none of them sound reasonable for your circumstances, think outside the box. There are countless ways to generate more money or spend less that will manifest the seed fund for your practice goals. As long as your methods are legal and ethical, any risk you incur should be manageable with sound planning and realistic assumptions. Be bold. Believe in your abilities to provide beneficial services that your clients will gladly pay for. With a bit of faith and ingenuity, you are entirely capable of accomplishing even your wildest dreams.


Cath Cox has been a licensed massage therapist in Colorado since 1999 and is the creator of the Booked and Busy in 90 Days System™. Her mission is to heal the world by inspiring independent massage therapists to build thriving practices of their own so they can work authentically for as long as they desire. She currently provides ashiatsu barefoot deep tissue massage exclusively in her private practice. You can learn more about Cath and her journey at