“I graduated in June 2013 and by the end of 2014 I had to stop taking new clients because I was just full.”
Joanne Robertson’s story sounds almost too good to be true: she left a high-pressure management job to become an RMT, and within months of graduating had established a thriving clinic in her home. She performs 20 massages per week and has complete control over her work environment, hours, and client list.
But Robertson’s success is neither a fantasy nor a fluke. Rather, her story is a testament to the power of word-of-mouth marketing and building client relationships.
From the beginning, Robertson knew she wanted to set up a home-based clinic.
“I wanted to work from home because I wanted to have control over my time and my space,” she says. “It’s the flexibility: because I work from home, I can book people in anytime from eight in the morning to eight in the evening. There’s no working around someone else’s schedule. And my clients appreciate that flexibility as well.”
“I think the biggest thing was that I started to become active in my community.”
But she knew that starting a new business wasn’t going to be easy, so after graduation she also took a part-time position at a chiropractic clinic.
“I was basically checking to see what was going to grow faster—the chiropractor’s office or my home business. And then my home just blew up!”
Robertson’s success is a textbook example of word-of-mouth marketing. She created a website for her business and printed promotional materials, but only as supplementary tools; the real work was about making personal connections.
“I think the biggest thing was that I started to become active in my community. I was involved with the community league, and made a few contacts through people there. It gave me to the opportunity to talk to [people]—I’m very passionate about what I do,” Robertson says. “And word started to spread. My clients became vocal about how they were pleased with my results.”
This effect was amplified through social media.
“I am on the community league website and Facebook page, and people tag me and recommend me. It wasn’t me promoting myself on social media—it was other people saying ‘Does anybody know a good massage therapist in the neighbourhood?’ and then a bunch of people putting my name forward,” she says. “But I don’t think that door would have become open to me had I not become active in the community.”
Within half a year, Robertson was so busy at home that she was able to leave the chiropractic clinic entirely. And she couldn’t be happier.
“I love my job. You get to see people improve. You’re helping them with their mobility; you’re helping them with their life,” she says. “To have people walk in the door and they’re so excited to see you, and then when they leave they’re so relaxed and they feel so good. How rewarding is that? You feel like a rock star.”