When you're ready to step out into the world as a practitioner, one of the first things you'll have to decide, is where you want to do Reiki. You might:
+ Work from Home
+ Travel to Clients for On-Location Healing
+ Rent or Sublease an Office Space
+ Use Parks & Other Locations
Let's explore the benefits and challenges of each of these so that you can choose the very best location--or combination of locations--for your practice!
Work From Home
The benefits of working from home include not having to pay an extra rent or lease for your business. It's a fast and low-cost way to start up. Plus the portion of your home that you regularly work from can be a tax write off, and your professional insurances can still cover your home space. However, if you are highly sensitive or struggle with energy boundaries at all, then working from home may pose some challenges. You'll need to be very clear with where your client is entering the premises, what is for clients and what is not, and what your procedures are if you feel that your boundaries have been crossed.
If you are psychically sensitive, then doing intense psychic work in your home will also mean that you have to be extra conscientious of how you clear and release energy from the healing space, so you are not lingering in that energy later in the day.
Working from home is an easy way to practice, but if you're planning a professional next step, consider the challenges of keeping your home "show-ready," or clean enough to create true comfort for your clients. The best work-from-home layouts I've seen have a specific, easily identifiable path from the front door to the healing table, and practitioners that excel in this style are comfortable with strangers sharing their personal and psychic space.
I do believe it's good to have a neutral work space as you're learning to vet your clients, especially in your first years of business, and that may be a challenge if you work from home. Most professional healers I know who see people from home as a matter of comfort years into their practice, have a special designated office space with easy access, and they only see clients they've already seen or met before.
Travel to Clients for On-Location Healing
Seeing clients in their space of residence can be an easy way to start your practice without the overhead of an office. It also allows you to reach more people who may not otherwise be able to see you.
There may be challenges: Your client's home may be dirty. They may have a lifestyle you don't agree with. Or, if they struggle with boundaries, the space may not be ideal for the kind of Reiki session you have in mind--they may have loud family members, pungent foods cooking, or other distractions. You'll have to put aside judgement, and it works if you are the kind of practitioner who is comfortable going into strange spaces.
To see clients safely on-location, be discerning. Most healers I know that see clients on-location, only go to the homes of clients that have been referred to them from a trusted source, and clients that they have met a few times before. Always know that you can say "No," or turn right around and leave if it isn't the right fit.
If you would like to start an on-location practice, charge a traveling fee on top of your regular Reiki Rate (or make sure your Rate includes $5-$25 for gas and vehicle wear). Speak with your client beforehand about your expectations and processes so they know what to expect, and how they need to prepare. Simple details such as, "Make sure you home is quiet, tv is turned off, no food is cooking, and nobody is coming over," should be shared ahead of time. Leave enough allotted time to set up your massage table, energetically clear the space, and get grounded before beginning. Know your closing and departure process before you go.
Rent or Sublease an Office Space
I often suggest that new practitioners either sublease a space, or use a public space such as a park (more below). The reason for this is the benefits; subleasing a space may allow you to pay rent on a space that you only use certain days or times of the week, with only a month-to-month commitment. Subleases are often less expensive than fully leasing an office building, and many may have other built in perks.
Psychotherapists, estheticians, massage therapists, and other service-based practitioners often have offices for sublease and are happy to split rent. Just make sure you always have a contract, even if they don't think there needs to be one. You can easily print up a monthly lease contract online if needed. When building a business, you want to have very clear agreements with your office mates so there isn't confusion that takes away from your growth process. Don't be shy about expressing your needs and terms at the negotiating stage of subleasing. This is business, and you want to stand up for what you're creating.
If you are renting from a professional leasing company, they may have very specific terms and the costs will be more. Think about whether those costs work with your vision, and whether it is affordable for you. Read contracts carefully.
The other benefits of renting or subleasing when you are first beginning is that it gives you the opportunity to anchor the energy of your business in a physical location. You can "hang your shingle," so to speak.
Consider whether your marketing strategy relies on being easily seen and found, or whether you have the web savvy to make yourself a destination location, and draw people to you. Knowing the truth about yourself in this way will help you decide whether you need an easy walk-up type of place on a main street, or whether you'll do okay buried in the back of a business park off of the beaten path.
Use Parks & Other Locations
I am a big fan of parks and natural places. If you live in a fair-weather place, or need a low overhead to begin, then the park and other natural locations are a great choice. You'll want to think about how to protect the privacy of your clients, and the peace of the sessions, so choose locations that are safe, close to bathrooms, and easy to access. Be prepared to bring signs (like those you see at a farmer's market) that explain what you do. Also bring flyers and cards for passersby so that you don't stop what you're doing every time someone is curious.
If you are working outside, remember that the sun can be bright, and the wind, cold. You can always work directly on a blanket on the earth, but if you are planning a regular setup, I suggest, being prepared with a massage table, chair, small "welcome" table (this also serves as a privacy buffer for strangers who may wander up), and possibly a small farmer's market tent (you can get one for about $100). The tents are great because they designate space and feel intentional. They protect from overexposure to the elements. You may not need a tent if you are doing just one session. If you're working regularly outside, your clients may prefer a tent, or a spot beneath the trees.
Remember that most public parks have rules around gatherings, and these can be found by calling the number on the city, state, or county website affiliated with the park. Many small city parks will require you to get a permit if you are conducting business regularly. Don't be afraid to go through the legal process. It's for your protection and the money supports park services. Permits range depending on exactly what you are doing. In my work in both big and small cities, I've found that the average permit for this kind of work is $35. And yes, sometimes it can be more.
Alternately, you may choose to develop your practice on location at a grocery store or farmer's market. This may be a combo of all of the options above (on-location, sublease, outdoors, but yours). Many practitioners begin this way, but remember that the market takes an intense energetic push. It's good for practitioners who love high activity, and who do well with it but don't have time for regular consistent work.
Where Will You Begin?
Choose a location for your business that excites you! I have run businesses successfully through all of these models, and I've seen other practitioners really embrace their locations and blossom as a result. In Los Angeles, this one man used to teach yoga in the park. He began his practice there and it was such a fit to his style and energy, that he became really know in parts of Los Angeles for his classes. He didn't have music, mats, or anything else. His very casualness was part of the appeal. He took money in a hat even after he was making regular high income. Choose what truly works for you, and then give yourself real space to have fun with it and see where it leads.
Businesses grow well with consistency. Remember, no matter what style you choose, or where you grow, stick with it for at least one year. It takes about that long to gain traction in your business model, and to and see if it's the best choice for you. During that year, keep researching and talking to others to learn how to really get the most from your location model.
Let me know how it goes!
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She offers private sessions, and teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com