We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful David Bruno. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with David below.
David, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Being a business owner can be really hard sometimes. It’s rewarding, but most business owners we’ve spoken sometimes think about what it would have been like to have had a regular job instead. Have you ever wondered that yourself? Maybe you can talk to us about a time when you felt this way?
I am unbelievably happy being a private business owner! During covid like most people, I wasn’t out of work so to speak, but I struggled constantly and slowly, doing my best to keep my head above the water. Being a therapist puts me in a high risk environment. This means people instantly stopped coming, despite their need for well being or other bodily injuries. So for over a year “many” people simply walked around in pain out of fear of covid and quarantine. This was extra tough, but thanks to my prior business planning, which helped me get through the toughest of those times. I was able to stay in my home. You see, I received ZERO government or state subsidies. ZERO bail but help, NO unemployment checks. I lived and survived entirely on my savings… which is now mostly gone but, I’m still surviving month to month, and that’s what counts. Trust me, I applied for those checks that every one else had seemed to be getting, but I was turned down every time I applied. All said n done, I do not want, nor do I ever want to work for someone else, even though that’s why I wasn’t receiving bail out checks. Turns out it’s an independent contractor thing that they kept turning me down for. And yes I know full well how many other self employed therapist “did” get checks, it just wasn’t in the stars for me evidently. All the same, There is nothing like working for one’s self. If I had to work with other people during the last two years, it would have been too stressful on my mental health. Dealing with Mask n no-maskers, vax and anti vaxxers, wondering who’s sick and who is not? Wondering who is a responsible human and who is not? Wondering how many time will I get covid this year? All the excess testing just to show up to work… just awful stuff. Working for myself has been like working in a bio-dome… working from home as a “private” therapist offers me just such a luxury. I can completely control the environment, no overhead issues… I can book and work with who I want and choose not to If I do not feel safe with a certain individual. I can work whenever I want and as much as I please. It allows me to keep everyone safe by having full control over my sanitized sanctuary. None maskers need not apply for my services… it’s not just about that one persons dislikes, it’s about ALL of my other clients as well as my own safety. The one down side of being self employed,… if I’m sick and not working on people, I don’t get paid.
David, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I have been working as a self employed Muscular Orthopedic Massage Therapist for 19years now. My title means that I specialize in working with joints, tendons, ligaments and intrinsic muscular of the body, along with injury assessment and treatment. Helping people heal through awareness, movement and manual therapy. After a steelworker career in construction with the USN Seabees for 10yrs, I wanted to do something new. So I started going back to school and found massage, I felt it would be a good starting point seeing how I was interested in chiropractics. I wasn’t long before I discovered that anyone can become a massage therapist… but “not” everyone was a healer. I quickly discovered I had a niche for such work, I quickly excelled in my lessons and wanted to know more and more about the healing arts and manual therapies. While most people where becoming certified with minimal requirements of 550 hours of training to be a massage therapist… i received my license after achieving 2200 hours due to my extra training. I worked with and only trained with other therapist who’ve been in practice for 20yrs or more, because I wanted to know that magic one can only learn in this field after decades of practice and wisdom.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
As a private therapist I had to unlearn a specific stigma regarding body work, “working from home”. I have always worked alone and for myself, At one point I even had two office spaces in two different parts of town, this is when I was living in Boston where I grow up and lived most of my life. I did this for two reasons, one was to spread myself out more and interact with more demographics. Secondly, I wanted to brake up any monotonous issues I was starting to get from having to travel and be In The same place day after day….. this is all a conundrum as to how I live now but hey, I was younger and it was almost 20yrs ago, we all go through these preferential changes right. Anywho, one day doing taxes I found out why I had no savings, I was paying a mortgage and rent at two different office spaces… although I was living as I pleased and enjoying life, I had no savings after paying down 3 rents every month…… blerrrgg….. One day a friend said to me “why can’t you work from home?” I looked at her as someone turned on the lights after living in a home with only candles…. It was a silly sensation…. I mean, I literally felt silly for not thinking this before. You simply need a few things to do so, one of main things is “confidence”! I mean, I had the licensing and insurance, off street parking, a separate entrance, an extra room to convert into an office space, i was even handicapped accessible on a first floor. I only work with referees and people how randomly find me online anyway. There’s a peace in not having a store front, no one can just walk in on you or ever would. I feel completely safe in my own clean environment. After discovering I can keep 100% of my income by save on overhead cost, my bank account started to actually accumulate some savings. Being a private therapist and working form the home allows one to become financially sounder and feel safer for everyone’s well being. A controlled clean environment is absolutely key mind you. You do have to walk the walk and not simply talk the talk, so to speak and always keep a very clean clutter free environment. If you think representing yourself as your business is though… try making your home the same way… people don’t want to see a hoarder home when they walk in to meet you for the first time, or experience a smelly one with misbehaving animals that jump all over them whenever they come by. You have to truly become the king or Queen of your whole environment. Making safe, clean and respectable for your clients. After all, if you cannot keep a clean environment, they will not feel you can help them with their healing. Clutter creates anxiety, this is a well known fact. So if you can keep a clean well controlled home, you can succeed as a private home therapist.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
I have always felt that my clients where and are my best sources for new clients. Most of my long term clients often become my long term friends as well When you truly help someone and they return time after time, they also begin telling friends and family about your wonderful work. These are known good people who are serious about seeking out your help. If you own a store front, it’s not so easy to cherry pick your clients. For some reason when people just walk in off the streets, they always seems to want something for nothing… it’s a weird conundrum yet it really happens. As a therapist who is private and by appointment only, I am allowed to help who truly needs my help. The universe always provides if you put out the right energy. I am please to have and help my regulars deal with their issues and help them maintain the highest quality of life they can. My main goal has always been to help active people stay active! Rehabilitation massage is more key to healing than most people will ever unfortunately know. Wealth is not health…. To stay healthy one must look to obtain a better health by being and doing healthy life style choices. I am the incarnate of one of those life choices…. Most see a luxury, only few benefit from seeing past that stigma. My work is a way-of-life! After 30, it’s all about maintenance!
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Me and my Fury friends