Employment vs. Self Employment: Which is Right For You?
Whether you’re just getting started, or are well into your massage therapist training, congratulations! You’re on the path to a rewarding career. You’ve faced or will soon face a lot of important decisions. In deciding where to go to school, you’re probably looking for personalized classes with flexible schedules and affordable tuition payment options, as well as a dynamic school with a strong community outreach program. Even if you haven’t started training yet, it’s not too early to start thinking about whether you will open your own practice or go to work for an employer. There’s no “right answer” to this question. Different personality types will be attracted to different choices. As you explore these options, ask yourself questions to help discover which is right for you.
First let’s look at employment. Massage therapist training opens doors for you in many industries such as healthcare, spas, and sports/fitness. Employment may be right for you if you have the following traits:
• You like a structured environment. Your employer will likely set your schedule and rates.
• You don’t like to deal with bookkeeping. An employer will pull the appropriate taxes from your paycheck.
• You need health benefits. While being an employee may pay less than being self-employed, employers often offer health benefits, which is crucial for some.
• You hate marketing yourself. Being part of an in-house team will alleviate the need to self-promote.
• You enjoy groups. Working for an organization could increase the amount of people you interact with and give you access to social outlets such as a company cafeteria or break room.
Maybe you’re thinking employment sounds pretty good. And it is a great choice if you are not an entrepreneurial person. As you go through your massage therapist training, pay attention to how you like to work. If the points about employment were not appealing, you may prefer self-employment. Consider whether or not you have the following traits:
• You like to set your own hours.
• You have strong opinions about how you are being represented and enjoy self-promotion.
• You want to create a unique space for your massage practice.
• You like to be in charge of your rates and manage your income.
• You’re self-motivated and can work just as well alone as with others.
• You like to do things your way. (There’s nothing wrong with this!)
Once you complete your massage therapist training, you’ll be making a highly personal choice. Some people may want the best of both worlds and choose to work part time for an employer and work for themselves the rest of the time. Or maybe you’d rather start out as an employee to get a feel for how other people run their business before setting out on your own. If you are still having trouble deciding, talk to massage professionals and see how their experience relates to your preferences. Good luck—a wonderful world of opportunity awaits!