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Let’s talk about building your own business when you’re operating within another business, like renting a room within an established salon or wellness center.  

I see this a lot…therapists who are struggling with building their own seemingly separate brand and business entity while they’re renting a room or some space within an established business. Clients kind of view them as another employee or something, because I mean, it’s not like they really know or care about the business structure, right? For those of you who are renting a room out of a salon or a gym or a wellness center, or whatever; how do you go about building a clientele and really establishing yourself as separate? Yes, you work there, but you’re independent. You’re not really ‘of’ that place. And what happens with those clients when you leave? Hopefully they follow you, right? But that’s the conundrum. How do you make it so they will follow you, and their loyalty is to you, not the establishment? So let’s work through this… 

#1 Offer something completely unique

This is especially true if you rent alongside other therapists. You need to separate yourself from the pack, so to speak. What can you offer in your client experience that is 100% authentic and completely unique to you? Maybe everyone is offering the same Swedish and deep tissue kind of menu; maybe a few integrate some hot towels or aromatherapy or something like that, but what can you bring to the game that is completely different? How can you make clients feel extra special, intensely taken care of, and give them a new and different type of massage experience? 

#2 Don’t be afraid of partnering up with others in the establishment for service packages or something, but that shouldn’t be your primary form of marketing or specials

So let’s say you rent within a salon and want to offer some sort of package, where they can get some massage and add-on services from you as well as maybe hair, nails, esthetics, or things like that from your co-renters. Great! In this sort of business setup, with renters, this can be a bit of a challenge, because you have to ensure all the others involved are definitely going to follow through, be on time, things like that; basically that everyone’s on the same page. But you also need to consider if the clients that want that sort of thing are really ideal clients for you, or are you using this as a way to get them on the table to try you out? Essentially, will these clients be loyal to you if you were to go out and open your own space somewhere other than this facility, or would they be loyal to them because of that full experience that they’re looking for? There’s a lot of specials you can run, and marketing you can do, but just keep this in mind if part of that will include bringing in other service providers in the establishment.  

#3 The good thing about our industry is that people are most often loyal to the therapist, not the establishment…generally speaking

I mean, you’re the one actually providing the service and if you’re doing your job well, and they’re your ideal client, they are coming for what YOU offer them, not what the business does. If you leave, will some of your clients stay with the business instead of following you, probably. But don’t let that get to you. If the client isn’t willing to follow you when you go, they’re probably not your ideal client. Instead, that appointment space is now open for someone who will be completely loyal to you, no matter where this career takes you. I mean, think about it like this, some clients go to these high end spas, and yes, they love their therapist, but many of them are going not just for a great massage, but also for all the ambience and extra amenities; saunas, whirlpools, spa services, and any other kind of luxury along the way. And if that’s what they’re really looking for, then unless you open up something very similar, of course they’re going to stay with the establishment. That’s nothing against you, they’re just happy with the full experience they’re getting there. The same goes for any number of other establishments. Everyone has their reasons for staying somewhere. Focus on building the clientele that you know is loyal to YOU and don’t worry about the rest. 

#4 Don’t forget, you CAN build your own brand, separate business name, and entity, even if you’re renting within an established business

At this time, you may want to keep it just as your name, so people know YOU and YOUR business. Having another business name may be a bit confusing for some clients, but it can be done; in my opinion though, I think it is a bit easier and cohesive to simply practice under your own name when you’re within a business, especially if they already have an established brand and following in your area. If you’re renting, as in, the business owner isn’t taking out taxes and paying you as an employee, they can’t really tell you what to do, how to do it, what to charge, or anything like that. You ARE a separate entity and can function as such, including using a totally different name, branding, services, and anything else to help yourself stand out. That stuff is completely up to you! If you haven’t checked out the employee versus independent contractor video I did a couple weeks ago explaining the difference, I’ll link that in the description for you; be sure and check it out. 

So how do you separate yourself from the business you rent from? In what ways will you build your own business, even while working within someone else’s? 

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