Graduate Corner: Rachal Gustafson, RN, LMP
I asked Rachal Gustafson, RN, LMP to share her success story with us today so that you could see that, with hard work and dedication, it is possible to become successful just a few short months past graduation from Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage. From my perspective, Rachal took her schooling very serious and was determined to succeed. She followed every piece of advice she was given and practices the 4 Pillars of Success everyday: Technique, Marketing, Communication and Critical Thinking Skills.
Here is Rachal’s Story
My name is Rachal Gustafson I’m a Registered nurse as well as Licensed Massage Practitioner. Many people have asked me what made me become a massage therapist since I was already an RN. Well, while working as a nurse taking care of one of my patients I realized the power of massage for pain relief.
I was caring for a patient who was recently placed on hospice. My patient was very uncomfortable due to cancer with metastasis. While administering very high doses of Morphine, I quickly realized that she would not admit how uncomfortable she was because it was my impression that she needed to take care of her family still and she didn’t want to be a burden. I asked her if she would like me to massage her back in an attempt to bring her some relief, she sighed in relief and I began to rub her back. Immediately I watched as she took a deep breath and sunk into the bed. She began to relax and sink into a moment when cancer wasn’t winning, a moment when she could feel at peace, and in this moment I realized massage was my calling. I knew immediately that I needed to become a massage therapist so I could help other people feel this same way.
I graduated in October 2015, but this is not when my new career started.
I started planning for graduation the moment I started school. I guess you can say that was the nurse in me. Any nurse will tell you that discharge begins on admission, so thats what I did. I prepared for discharge on admission.
I started a business page on social media so I could obtain a following and posted my education progress and free massage offerings. Very quickly I hit the jackpot, I had people interested and following my page. So then what? I signed up for a scheduling system that allowed my practice clients to sign up for available massages via the internet. My scheduling system was an easy way to get my practice hours without needing to answer my phone and it also sent out reminders for appointments automatically. As a full time nurse, wife, and mom of two busy boys this was a life saver!
Yes still this wasn’t enough for me – I knew I needed to get the attention of people who I didn’t know, or who weren’t following me on social media. I contacted some friends of mine who own a coffee stand in town and I asked if I could advertise on their coffee sleeves. Again this proved to be huge. Without hesitation they allowed me to put my business name along with “opening this fall 2015” and my contact information on every one of their coffee sleeves. Before long I was getting calls to schedule and I wasn’t even open yet!
Opening a business was a scary thought at times.
I think my husband having the occasional doubt (though he was subtle), pushed me to convince myself and prove to others that my “dreams” were going to take shape and nothing was going to stop me! With the help of friends and family I found a great location for Rachal’s Place and began a renovation that was going to be the most beautiful, comfortable, inviting space imaginable. Today I would say that with lots of help, I have succeeded. Every day I go to “work” I smile. I get to set my own schedule, make great money, and I get to call the shots!
I have been blessed to have the opportunity to offer massage to a small town population who before Rachal’s Place required a commute for similar services. I feel like this is a dream and I’m hoping I don’t wake up. My phone rings everyday with what I call a cold call. Thats right, everyday I get calls from people I don’t know, but they know someone. Every person I have massaged has told someone else about me and then they tell someone else. Referrals are huge and what I believe sustains businesses in small communities. I send thank you cards to clients who have referred someone to me and this practice will continue regardless of how busy I get.
Advice for the massage student.
Prepare for discharge on admission. It’s never to soon to start planning your future. Why should your business be slow and non-profitable for the first three years. Don’t let yourself fall into the expected. Be the un-expected, this is how we create the new normal. Take the business plan from Bodymechanics seriously, start early and spend time on it. My business plan I created while in school matches my current plan for Rachal’s Place. Business has not been slow, as a matter of fact I’m currently expanding to offer other modalities as well. There is no limit to the possibilities, anything is possible.
Advice for the career driven busy adult.
Are you truly happy? Do you smile when you go to work? Are you proud of what you do and will continue to do? If the answer is no to any of these questions the STOP. Stop doing what you don’t absolutely love and find that gold at the end of the rainbow!
A huge thank you to Bodymechanics and each of their amazingly talented instructors. I could go on and on about each instructor and what they offer to the students
as well as their clients, but that would take writing a book. I’m so glad I chose Bodymechanics for my massage education. I know I obtained an education far beyond any comparable, and I get to see that come through with every massage I have the opportunity to provide. Thank you Shari 🙂
XXXX Rachal Gustafson RN, LMP
Proud Owner of Rachal’s Place LLC The “Place” For Massage
Thanks Rachal for sharing your story!
Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage is enrolling students for our upcoming classes in both Tumwater and Vancouver locations. Check out the schedule on our home page. Call us at (360) 350-0015 with questions or to schedule an interview.
Shari Aldrich, LMP