Tips For Successful Self-Employment and the Challenges of Moving a Practice

We spoke with Maegan Chase, who graduated from the New Westminster campus in 2005. She decided to be self-employed right out of college and has recently moved her practice from Vancouver to Victoria.

maegan-1883What made you want to become an RMT?

It happened kind of accidentally. I knew that I wanted to work with people, but I was thinking of nursing or psychiatry. When I graduated high school, I volunteered at a wellness clinic in England and one of my duties there was to do a type of massage that they taught me and I really connected with it. The massage therapist there told me I should do my RMT training in the states. My plan was to get some basic ground work then go off and do other things. But when I got back and I started researching it, I thought ‘oh wow, this is totally different’. When I got into the program, I was reminded of how much I liked working with the human body and how I used to be very fascinated with it as a child. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, besides working with people and wanting to help.

What was your favorite part of being at the College?

The instructors were really great at the time; all very well-educated. The camaraderie and the community that I created have definitely been a resource and close friends of mine since I graduated.

What is the most rewarding part of being an RMT?

Well, there’s more than one aspect. First off would be the one-on-one time I get to spend with people and the therapeutic relationships I get to build with them. Secondly, being engaged and challenged, either by a case being presented to me or modalities I have to dust off and use. I also find it rewarding to figuring out what is going to work for people and what will help them the most.

What made you want to be self-employed?

I never really contemplated not being self-employed. At the time, it wasn’t really something that was done a lot, by the teachers or students I really identified with. And the benefits outweighed being employed [by someone].

How would you describe your practice?

I focus my practice on modalities such as facial, visceral manipulation, craniosacral therapy and some osteopathic techniques. I treat a wide variety of clientele, using these modalities. I generally work within multi-disciplinary practices, so I am used to working with other professionals. I just moved to Vancouver Island so I’m still building my clientele and referral base up, but I spent the last 10 years working this way in Vancouver.

Has moving greatly affected your practice?

It has definitely affected my practice, mainly in that I am starting again. I did not move for a job but I took a locum [on the Island] and I’ve since stayed on at that clinic. It’s really interesting to have to rebuild after being quite established in Vancouver, but I’m enjoying the change. The community here is different, and one of the biggest differences being that clinic rents are a lot higher than I was expecting.

What is your advice to someone who would like to be self-employed?

I rent space out of a clinic, so I think it would be different if you were opening up your own practice but I would say that if you’re just starting out, find somewhere that there is a well-established name and presence in the community because it’s a lot easier to build your practice from that then from scratch. Take a business course. When I was in school we didn’t get that much of business training. A lot of it you can learn on the go but it’s good to have the basic knowledge. Or work with a business coach to get you thinking about a long term plan and bigger picture. When you first get out of school, you’re more concerned about the money you owe to student loans, earning money as well as getting established, It’s okay to take the time to figure out where you want to go with your business and what kind of practice you want to establish.

Thanks to Maegan for sharing her experiences with us! Want to share your story? Contact marketing@collegeofmassage.com to be featured in our blog. As always, WCCMT would love to see you on LinkedIn, our New Westminster Facebook Page or our WCCMT/CCMH Facebook Page so you can stay connected with our community.

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