Updated: Mar 15
In this weekly blog series we aim to highlight fantastic creative people mainly from SE London who we either work with or admire.
This week its Sarah Claxton founder of Sarah Claxton Massage
Hello! I'm Sarah and I'm the owner and founding member of Sarah Claxton Massage. I'm a lone practitioner with clinics in 7R gym, Woolwich, the Waterloo Body Station, Waterloo and Amanda Hall Physiotherapist, Wimbledon.
I began my business in 2014, just after I'd completed my level 4 sports massage qualification, which was 2 years after I'd completed my level 3 qualification in professional body massage.
I am qualified in several disciplines, including aromatherapy, hot stones, seated acupressure, holistic and sports massage, my passion is to help people work towards living pain free. This often involves working alongside other practitioners such as physiotherapists and osteopaths.
Over the years I've developed my business from part time mobile massage to full time over 3 clinics and a mobile practice within the boroughs of Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham.
1. What led you to start up your business?
It’s one of those things that had been in the back of my mind for a while, burning away whilst I was busy with my other work.
You know the kind of thing where you think “Oh I might like to do that some day” so when the redundancies came along, I decided it seemed like a good time.
2. What were the biggest obstacles to starting up?
Things didn’t really take off for me until I set up my clinic practice a few years ago so I suppose getting a foot in the door of a clinic.
It’s quite hard when clinics have no spaces or say they are looking for people with clinic experience. In the end I found a therapy room in 7R gym Woolwich to hire when the Osteopath wasn’t using it and started there under my own umbrella.
3. What do you love about your business?
It’s a great industry to work in with so many great people in it committed to helping people manage pain and discomfort.
Even though technically we are each others competitors it really doesn’t feel that way.
The most successful therapists I've come across work together and learn from each other. Then there’s the anatomy side of things of course. The human body is fascinating, although I appreciate that’s not everyone cup of tea.
I once asked my husband if he'd like to watch a 20-minute seminar on fascia with me. I've never seen him move so fast to do the washing up.
4. Who would be your dream client?
All my clients are dream clients of course! That really sounds cheesy doesn't it?
Most people that I see are so lovely and everyone is so different and grateful for the work I do it makes me value them all.
Having said that I do have a soft spot for fellow runners.
5. Where would you like to take your business ultimately?
Hmmm good question. At the moment it feels like I am where I am meant to be right now, but life is fluid so let’s see where it goes.
I've started doing more talks (such as everyday essential oils and self massage) so things might move more that way. Watch this space.
6. Where have you received the most support along your journey?
I have a fine bunch of people in my life who have helped me through my ups and downs and instilled some excellent points for living in me.
I guess I'm exceptionally lucky to have them.
7. Would you consider going back to employment for someone else now?
No. Nope. Never. I love working for myself.
8. What do you consider the key skills a small business person must have?
Bravery. Obviously get to know your market but get to know yourself more.
Don’t be afraid of walking away from something that doesn’t feel right. I’ve done that a couple of times.
My fear of financial insecurity nearly made me stay but I knew in my gut walking away was the right thing to do.
It worked out even better than planned. Also, I find acceptance that life is fluid and things change is key.
Don’t be disheartened if things don’t work out as planned. Pick yourself up and move onto the next challenge.
9. Have you been influenced by any business books or blogs recently?
I'm more of a hands-on learner so have found the workshops run by South East Enterprise exceptionally useful.
To be honest if I'm reading something business related it generally tends to involve anatomy.
10. What would be your top tips for someone starting their own business?
Rest. It’s important. I know we all love what we do and want to make a success of our business but being burnt out and stressed never helped anyone.
Take time off. I used to do half days here there and everywhere but couldn’t do it. Now a make sure I have a couple of days off in the week.
11. Do you think networking is important for your own business?
Absolutely and it doesn’t just need to be at networking events.
Join a local group, get to know the people there. Pretty soon people will get to know what you do.
Attend events, give talks, make friends with people in your field, take part in Tweet chats. You'll be surprised were business flows from.
Thanks so much for your interview Sarah!
To find Sarah online
Don't forget you can catch up on any interviews you may have missed here starting with Interview 21 - Marienne Patchonick
Interviews so far
Interview 19 - Emete Friddle
Interview 18- Maddy Carrick
Interview 17 Anja David
Interview 16 -Bridget Daley
Interview 15 -Karen Arthur
Interview 14 -Rebecca Trowbridge
Interview 13 -Angélina Jandolo
Interview 12 -Kelly Harris
Interview 11 -Sara Dalrymple
Interview 10 -Ciarán O'Fathaigh
Interview 9 -Elizabeth Knights Trench
Interview 8 -Aba Edwards-Idun
Interview 7 -Roxsanne Slatford
Interview 6 -Lara Pearce
Interview 5 -Ashanti Jason
Interview 4- Shannon Reed
Interview 3 -Claire Connor
Interview 2 -Becca Teers
Interview 1 -Cat Bateman
Singing for my Supper
If you enjoyed reading this article and maybe others I've written, found a tip that worked for you or learned something new, it would be great if you'd consider sending me the price of a cup of coffee :) https://www.paypal.me/thanksforreading/2.50
Space at 61 is a venue for hire in Nunhead near Peckham. Often used for childrens parties, workshops, classes, talks, filming and popups you can hire us from £20per hour. The 'Have you Met?' Blog interview concept was created by by Shona Chambers owner of Space at 61 and Shona Chambers Marketing. To read more like this visit www.shonachambersmarketing.co.uk