I originally became a massage therapist to help my son become a more flexible athlete. During my journey through massage therapy school, I had an awesome opportunity to volunteer with the Cleveland Crunch/Force indoor, semi-pro soccer team. Throughout this experience, I was able to learn hands-on from my teachers in the professional arena. I volunteered every day that they would let me because I simply wanted to learn as much as possible. I studied, asked questions, and went the extra mile every chance I could get. Everyone thought I was crazy for doing all the free work, but I couldn’t have been happier!
In one of my business classes, my professor once said, “I can give you a fish and you can eat for the day, or I can teach you to fish and you can eat for a lifetime.” Needless to say, I learned to fish. That quote stuck with me and encouraged me to create a business plan for myself while I was still in school. After all, we don’t plan to fail but, sometimes, we just fail to plan.
One of the best outcomes from all of my volunteering was the ability to have testimonials from the players I worked with. They all knew how much I prided myself on going home and watching massage therapy videos to get better, reading about the injuries I was presented and practicing each week with my colleague, Kathleen Goggin. I was blessed to have my athletes so willing to share their experiences and help me to expand my business.
Once I was licensed, I used the testimonials from my athletes to help build my portfolio. I carried my portfolio with me everywhere; I wanted to be ready to meet a potential client at any time! I even kept a copy of my portfolio in my car. I had a date with destiny and I was not going to be late!
My portfolio paid off tremendously when I least expected it. One random day at church, I had the privilege of meeting a Cleveland Browns athlete. One look at my portfolio and I earned myself a new client!
Read what Cleveland Browns players had to say about Dawn Weeks:
Shortly after he became a client, he quickly told his teammates about me. Not only was I blessed to continue growing my business, but I was also able to build a stronger portfolio by retaining professional athletes. Working with professional athletes encouraged me to increase my knowledge of injuries and challenge myself to become a better massage therapist. Once again, I decided to go back to school.
Without wasting any time, I attended Baldwin-Wallace College to study athletic training. While attending school there, I attended a forum with the Cleveland Indians Head Athletic Trainer, Lonnie Soloff. I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to get the interview I had been trying for years to get!
To make sure I did not miss my opportunity, I prepared heavily ahead of time. I researched the staff of the Cleveland Indians, updated my portfolio, resume and cover letter. To set myself apart, I even brought a business card with a free massage on the back. I nailed down my thirty-second introduction. When I met Lonnie Soloff, I was going to be ready.
After the forum, I took the opportunity to talk with Lonnie. When we were through talking, he asked to interview me later that week! My “interview” consisted of showcasing my talents by massaging the assistant ATC. I must have made a good impression, because I got the job with the Indians!
Since my job with the Cleveland Indians, I have had the opportunity to expand by business by working on players in several different states and travel with several professional teams. As I have gained more experience with both athletes and travel, I accepted a new job with NovaCare to travel along with the Cleveland Indians to their away games. The constant career challenges with the Indians have been both a privilege and an honor.
After accepting my job at NovaCare, my client list has expanded to include my son (a college basketball player), athletes from the Charlotte Bobcats, North Carolina Panthers, Pittsburg Steelers, and Cleveland Browns.
Two years ago, I took my career to new heights by teaching other massage therapists. My Stretch Assisted Massage (SAM) Seminars focus on muscle attachments and joints, as well as the complete muscle. My technique teaches therapists how to lengthen tight muscles to relieve pain and increase strength, optimizing performance for athletes everywhere. SAM seminars are hands-on experiences that will increase your soft tissue techniques to get results fast, effectively and efficiently. I love passing along the techniques that have given me so much success. That is what is so fulfilling to me about this job!
Investing time pays off in the end. I still volunteer at different events and always try to give back. I believe that, as massage therapists, we need to help each other become better; in the end, we become stronger as a profession. My clients and I have found that massage therapy for soft tissue injuries is amazing and has even replaced the need for surgery in many cases.
In my mind, desire put into action equals success. Having people like my son support me when others laughed and said it would never happen helped me to get where I am now. My experience working with professional athletes and being taken seriously has changed my life. I encourage all of you to continue following your dreams and become the best massage therapist you can be! No one can stop you from accomplishing your goals except you.
I wish you all much success,
NCTM, LMBT, ATC