This article was originally published in the Charlotte Observer 06/30/2003 – republished with permission
Instead of opening up an office, she does all of her work on-site
Like many baby boomers, Sheila Alexander needed to help care for aging parents. The licensed massage therapist left her business in Tampa, Fla., last fall to return home to Charlotte. To achieve the flexibility she needed as a caregiver, Alexander, 48, sought business clients for on-site chair massage rather than opening an office. She talked with staff writer Stella Hopkins about starting from scratch with her Cornelius company, A World of Good Inc.
I had moved to Tampa in 1985, but I knew I wouldn’t stay in Florida. I had finished (massage therapist) school in 1993 and started a massage business. I had an established practice in an office.
My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago. He was doing well enough to live at home. My parents were in their 80s, very self-sufficient. I would visit three to four times a year. They just needed help.
As I saw my father begin to need more help with things, I knew that I could provide for him. My mother had built an addition, an apartment upstairs, for a caregiver.
I arranged my schedule with my business so I could care for my dad. I was very lucky that I could.
I decided to focus on my on-site practice. When you rent an office, you have to be there to answer the phone. I knew I couldn’t do that. I had a cell phone, computer, (massage) chair, networking and marketing experience, and skills. I knew that I could build the business.
The biggest challenge has been that many people here are not familiar with the massage chair. I have to sell the service and the idea, but first I have to educate people about what it is.
My dad died last month, at 83. I was able to provide care for him for the last seven months. I will have more time now to devote to my practice. Eventually, I will establish an office.