How to become a Celebrity Therapist

Becoming a Celebrity Therapist is a possibility, however,  you need to put work into it like anything else you wish to succeed in.  Working in upscale resorts where celebrities visit and being on call for upscale hotels like the Hilton while increasing your reputation is one way to get you started.

I’m sorry, you can’t exactly just cold call Lebron James or Ashton Kutcher to remind them they need to schedule with you, but what you can do is master your touch, increase your network, build your reputation, and be available.

If you don’t want to work for a resort or spa, you can develop a professional relationship with an upscale hotel like I did.  Concierge would call me for incoming clients that could be anywhere from husbands and wives wanting a weekend away from the kids, to musicians and comedians on tour, professional athletes playing at our home field, agents flying through to meet their celebrity clients, or movie stars themselves.

Bring your best massage techniques that will make them melt.

Remember they receive massages all over the world, and you need to make yours quality so they remember and have their assistant to schedule with you again next time they are in town.  Or perhaps one hires you to travel with them around the world.

Yes, this happens and I have experienced first hand.

Be the professional therapist they will want to call back.

Constantly work to master your touch.  You will never know the day an experienced massage-goer who happens to be a celebrity is next on your table.

How to get started:

  1. License.
  2. Work for upscale resort or spa that celebrities are known to visit
  3. Be on call for upscale hotels like the Hilton, Hyatt, The Loft Hotel Downtown, or The Ritz Carlton.  Only upscale ones.  Develop a relationship with the Consierge to where they call you when a therapist is needed, but are also another filter out potentially creepy and unprofessional clients.  Be prepared for their valet and concierge gratuity if appropriate.  (The Loft Hotel Blog found here.)
  4. Be available.  Performers may need a session after a concert or an athlete after a game.
  5. Massage celebrity agents that have access to many other potential clients.
  6. Never stop learning and mastering your touch, or becoming a better listener and connecting to your clients.
  7. Treat them compassionately and professionally, not star-struck!  Celebrities have enough people in their face and wanting to know their business and talk about their lives.  Be professional and give them a break.  Let them enjoy a peaceful massage like anyone else.  If not, they will sense your nervousness and leave a poor impression.

Which upscale resorts, spas, and hotels are near you that you could potentially work or be on-call for? Could you share any experiences?

Business Owner or Employee Material?

As Massage Therapists, we have all been there when working for someone else, such as a spa or office, and we feel underpaid.

We think someday we will get out on our own and start our own business and be rich, but it doesn’t quite work that way.  

In order to start and run a successful business, it will largely depend on your personality, goals, and to be honest with yourself, if you are a good enough therapist to keep clients coming back.

If you are a good enough therapist, you will be busy; quite simple, unless nobody knows about you and you are hiding. If you put yourself in the shoes of a client, are you truly the kind of a Massage Therapist you would be looking for and willing to schedule consistently with?   What do you need to do to become that therapist?

When starting a massage clinic to mentor therapists in the science and art of Deep Tissue and Sports Massage, I was left speechless by an unexpected expectation.  A therapist stated she had been massaging for 20 years, and put the responsibility on me to fill her schedule as a subcontractor. Perplexed at her request, did she not have a following?  Not to mention this wasn’t another employment opportunity, but a mentoring opportunity while getting paid.

Therapists, YOU ARE IN CONTROL of your own busyness.  Whether you are an employee or a business owner.  Especially if practicing for 20 years, you should have a following.  In the days of working at spas, there are slow days, there are cancellations,  and there are therapists that are still in need of skill development for clients to want to schedule with you again.  You can’t expect to sit around and wait for your schedule to be filled magically.

However, there are special situations that I too have been in as a brand new therapist. Nobody knew the spa had a massage therapist, nobody knew I existed.  At that point, it was up to me to work with the owners for promoting and marketing, not to sit in my room depressed of an empty schedule and no paycheck.  We all need to get out there.

The Differences

Employee:  If you are the type of therapist that doesn’t like to take up all the responsibility and time commitments of building a business, perhaps remaining an employee is your best option.  It is a lot to handle, and most therapists end up prefer working for someone else. Many love the idea of working for themselves, but simply can’t afford it, also.  Perhaps you are not wired, nor interested, for all the other areas it takes to have a successful business.  You like having the structure of regular work hours and having your supplies taken care of.

Sub-Contractor: An option I have done on the side for years, is to be a subcontractor for companies and fancy hotels for spa packages.  They contact you when in need of therapists, but you are not an employee.  Therefore, you keep track of all  your miles and responsible for all your bookkeeping and taxes.  You will need your own liability insurance on file at most  places before they contact you.

Owner: All responsibility is on you.  When you work for yourself, it makes sense why you weren’t being paid as much as you had hoped when an employee.  Rent, utilities, laundry, linens, products, receptionist (or in my case, I use online scheduling only to save on costs but still costs $20/month and up), promotions, making office supplies such as business cards, pamphlets, gift cards, and gift certificates.  Fees for each credit card swipe, paying your own book keeper and accountant.  Don’t forget the investment to making your office or studio be appealing for clients to want to come back to. These are all investments you need to be willing to make when working for yourself.  Business does not magically pour through the door and into your bank accounts.

None of this is cheap, and I learned everything the hard way.  I’ve tried only doing  home visits, being a sub-contractor, being an employee, and now owning my own business.  Nothing was ever handed to me.  Each level has its challenges and struggles.  If you are a therapist wanting to get to owning your own business, do it in baby steps without pricey overhead. Clients will feel your stress if you are too money focused.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I have received about having a successful business was, “People spend more time working IN their business, and not ON their business, and that’s when they fail.”–Christian Foote, Senior Banker, Easton Huntington Bank.

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This advice really propelled my mindset on succeeding on owning my business.  Not only do I need to become the best therapist I can be for my clients to want to continue scheduling with me and speaking highly of my work, but to continue learning and building outside business hours, and ON my business.

This means business plans, designing more brochures and ebooks to give out to educate clients and other therapists.   I am also trading services with a Career Coach to keep moving forward, building websites, reviewing products, writing blogs, following up with clients, getting massages and maintaining self-care and my own wellness. It’s not a 9-5 job where you show up and clock in.  It’s thinking as an entrepreneur and I love the challenge.  It never stops.

When I stop working ON my business, that’s when it suffers.  So don’t just work longer hours IN your business, think creatively outside the box ON your business.

Ready to get started?

  • Be truthful and honest.  If you are planning to start your own business, don’t violate or breech your promise to your current company by telling your clients where you are going.  I have worked for multiple spas and left clients quietly due to honoring my contract.  Yes, I have had to start over many times, but being dishonest isn’t worth it.  The clients that really want you will find you online if they search hard enough. Also, it was quite humbling to google about massage therapists and come across this forum that was written about me years ago.  The forum was about a search to find the best massage therapist in Columbus, where multiple authors contributed comments about me, and when they went to reschedule I wasn’t there anymore and had to relocate me.
  • Have the experience that clients will want to invest into.
  • Find an inexpensive office to rent from a chiropractor, physician, or booth rental set ups like Salon Loft or Studio Elements.  But have the skills to back it up so clients will want to reschedule and remain loyal to YOU.  (If you would like a Studio Elements in Columbus or Florida, contact me for more information.)
  • Pay attention how people find out about you so you are not wasting money in marketing somewhere that doesn’t work. I’ve spent  more money advertising on SpaFinder than what I’ve ever made from that method. I’ve also spent money on flyers, and not one of them worked.  What has worked is reputation, word of mouth, and the reviews on my website.  Find what works, stick with that, and build on that.

In the comments below, what methods have worked or havn’t worked for you?  What has led you to decide you are better at being an employee, subcontractor, or business owner?

However, I do love spending a little extra to get distinctive business cards from because my clients love them.  Their reaction shows me it’s worth it.  They actually take the time and look it over, making comments on how much they think its perfect, while most other business cards are mindlessly shoved in a pocket or wallet.  If you want 15% off your first order from, use the code supplied.  Hurry before they are all gone! Here’s mine, but go use code 2RB2CK for your discount too!

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For another great blog post click here:  Massage Therapists: Business Owner or Employee?

Impress Your Clients Before the Massage Begins

photo“Hello, Mary,” I greeted my new client with an authentic and warm smile.   I made sure my eyes were just as authentic, so she could see I cared about her as a person from the very beginning.

“I’m Bailey, your therapist,” by this time a warm and intentional handshake aligns the motivation of my smile and eye contact.

People can tell if you are putting on an act or treating them like a number, so learn to be genuine with each person you meet. The more rapport you develop, the more loyalty you will earn.

“It’s wonderful to meet you. Here, follow me back to the studio. So how is your morning so far?” We make our way back to my softly lit room with brief small talk about her morning.

As she walks in and looks around, her eyes become wide open and gasps, “Wow! It is so nice in here! So beautiful!”

“Thank you!  I hope to make the room a place where you can completely unwind and escape your day. How are you feeling today?”  [Here is a great opportunity to do your consult and get the session started.]

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Have the goal to connect and listen to each client, to find what exactly they would consider the best massage.  If you want to be the one who gives them the best massage they have ever had; you won’t know unless you ask.

“Since you’ve had a few massages before, which one would you say would be your absolute favorite?”

Suggest some topics to help them remember, such as the environment, the technique, or the oil, “Perhaps a favorite technique that just made you melt? Like many people love their neck being stretched, hand massage, or a certain technique on your back?”

Mary explained what she looks for in a massage.  Specifically wanting a full body Deep Swedish with the focus on intense trigger point in the occipital area and scalenes.  She stated therapists usually can’t get the releases that she needs in her neck, and that is her biggest concern.

After using communication during the massage to find the perfect pressure and technique she was comfortable with, she exclaimed after the session,

“Oh my gosh!!  That was the best massage I have ever had! No, seriously!  I have been receiving massages from all over the world for 15 years, and  nobody compares to what you just did.  And I love your studio!  I don’t even feel like I am in Columbus, Ohio.  I feel like I am on the island St Thomas with all the smells, fresh water, and candles.”

Mary loved her experience and now schedules each week at my studio.  Making sure each day the studio is prepared for an experience to feel like in St Thomas, giving her the occipital releases evidently other therapists havn’t found yet.  (Instructional videos coming soon)



Greet your clients with the goal of them stating, “Wow, that was the best massage I have ever had!”  

In order to have your client say you gave them the best massage they ever had, you have to find out which ones were the best.  Have them be descriptive, perhaps you can learn a new technique from their own experience and be sure to use techniques you are getting good responses from.

In my previous  post, it’s critical to learn the art of connecting, listening, and then mastering your touch.

 Now add the environment to make the experience.

Almost every time I ask a client about their favorite massage, they first remember the environment and experience, or sadly they can’t recall a massage worth talking about.   Their favorite sessions usually had something to do with a cabin in the mountains looking out the window, a destination spa, a beach in Thailand, or my favorite one was a massage table on clear glass, overlying the ocean so the client could watch exotic fish swim in the during the massage.

They remember the environment and the experience.  They go in details about the experience without mentioning a thing about the massage.

“How was the massage?” I asked after Mary told me about getting a massage on a glass sheet over the ocean.

“Oh,” she thought for a second, “good, I think?” I don’t think she even remembered the massage, just where she was.

You may not have the exotic destination spa, but it is important to work with what you have, and make it an experience they will come back for more.  Become the Massage Therapist that they begin to remember more than floating on an ocean.

Here are some tips to creating an environment to make the minds and bodies of your clients melt before you even begin the massage without needing to hire a Interior Decorator.

  1. Soft lighting.  Remember you are not a doctors office, you represent a place your client can come to, to escape and relax.  Create a sanctuary, where their mind can simply be.  Use minimal lighting, just enough for your clients know where to put their clothes and safely get on the table.  There is also an association in the brain, when dim lighting means “relax” or “sleep”.  Use chemical free candles, tea lights, a decorative dimmer, or flameless candles.
  2. White noise.  Muffle out unnecessary distractions.  This addition has made one of the most positive additions to the overall experience in my massage studio.  We cannot hear outside noise, next door noise, or silence in between songs.
  3. Relaxation Music.  I always have spa, reiki, or relaxation music playing.  As the client is comfortable on the table, ask them if they prefer something else and if the volume could be adjusted. I found it to be simple to subscribe to Pandora without the ads. Some have pet peeves and find song birds, whales, chimes, or flutes irritating.  Be swift to make adjustments for something like have peace with.
  4. Element of Water. I purchased a beautiful water fountain for my massage studio, that every client comments on because they love the relaxing sound of water. Being nearly three feet tall, it also serves to muffle out other outside noises to protect the environment.
  5. Aromatherapy. While majority of clients love lightly scented aromatherapy in the diffuser, only very few would prefer not to have it due to allergies.  When greeting your client in the lobby for the first time, ask them before you get in the room if they have allergies to aromatherapy. If they do, air out the room and turn off the electric diffuser.  One in a million prefers no aromatherapy diffusers, so be prepared to make an inviting aromatic room for the other 99,999 that love it.
  6. Clean and Simple. Too much decor appears tacky and clustered.  Keep things simple.  Less is more.
  7. Warm table, warm oil, and warm hands.  After you have made your client feel relaxed and invited, you want them to be warm and cozy.  Clients absolutely love crawling into a warm table, massaged with warm oil, and warm hands.  Avoid ever having cold hands or especially cold or room temperature oil. 

Become the therapist that clients talk about when they are asked, 

“So who gives the best massage?”

Be sure to incorporate these tips to not only impress your clients and separate you from the others, but to make them want to keep coming back.  Connect, listen, master your touch, find our their favorite massage techniques, and providing the most relaxing environment will help provide them with the experience they will want more and tell their friends about.

Clients Want More than Just Good Technique

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It’s not how much you know, it’s about how well you live through experience.

Establish a connection with each client, listen well, and then master your touch.

You can have all the answers, all the boxes checked off, and have all the right things to say, but without experience, not only can life be empty, but so can your career as a Massage Therapist.

I massaged for free for three years, because I simply wanted experience.  I was new and learning, I didn’t want people to pay me for that.  I needed them more than they needed me in the beginning. I volunteered going to homes, in hospitals, and sports medicine clinics under Physicians and Physical Therapists.  It wasn’t long before patients requested me as the teenage massage therapy student before the PT’s.

You can meet the most intelligent person in the world, yet has not an ounce of compassion.  You can meet the most intriguing person, yet cannot truly listen and only waits to butt in their next thought.

Gain experience for the right motivations, because you care for your clients and want the best for them.  You should want to see them healed and restored.  Go in with the intention of wanting your client to say, “Wow! That was the best massage I have ever had!”

Think about the importance of gaining experience like this massage intern:

“It’s really important to be able to apply the theory in a practical environment. Being an intern gives me access to the knowledge of experienced therapists who are able to guide me each step of the way. If you just study from a textbook, you receive a lot less mentoring and it can be harder to find a job at the end because you don’t have the experience most employers are looking for.”

(See full blog post here: A Day in the Life of Soft Tissue Massage Intern)

If you spend your massage sessions hoping the clock to speed up so you can get a paycheck, you will find clients won’t be eager to come see you again.  Believe it or not, clients can feel how well you connect with them and how much you care.  If your heart is right and you have the touch and technique to follow through, your clients won’t want any other therapist.

Each day, check the heart of your motivations and priorities:

  1. Connect with your clients, let them know and feel  you care for their well-being.
  2. Listen well.  Your clients can guide you to giving the best massage they have ever had.
  3. Master your touch and technique. (Mentoring with me is available).

If interesting in gaining hands on experience mentoring under Massage by Bailey with paid commission, email me at with your cover letter and resume.  For online experience, continue to follow my blog for valuable e-books and instructional video’s.

Blessings to you and building your clients through the experience of connecting, listening, and mastering your touch.

Become the Best Therapist You Can Be!

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One of my most favorite testimonials are

“Who are you… where did you come from? And why aren’t there any other therapists like you?

It’s humbling to receive such reviews and testimonials.  Honestly, it makes me blush!  Please follow my blog as I share my 15 years of experience of working with professional athletes and celebrities, and telling you my own secrets on how to become the best therapist you can be, too.

Recently voted best Sports Massage Therapist of 2014, I am eager to not only continue being and growing into the best therapist I can be for my clients, but to be a mentor to teach and share what makes you stand out above the rest, that you simply cannot learn in school.

Thank you for your patience as I learn the art of blogging while transition into instructing and sharing all my secrets through this blog, instructional videos, and upcoming seminars and workshops.

Remember, each appointment is an opportunity to make  your client say, “Wow!  That was the best massage I have ever had!”