Three-day weekends on a consistent basis while having a productive and satisfying career might be the stuff dreams are made of.
Carole-Anne Charlebois, 28, chose to live her life that way and hasn’t looked back. One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is that you call the shots. As a registered massage therapist (RMT), she manages her time based on no one’s schedule but her own.
“I don’t work Fridays because I don’t want to work Fridays,” Charlebois said. “It really is a freeing career.”
Graduated in 2007 from the Kine-Concept Institute on Bank Street in Ottawa, Charlebois has been her own boss since she became an RMT.
While the Kine-Concept Institute’s Bank Street location is no longer open, RMT courses are available through other colleges. However, massage therapy practitioners are carefully regulated on a provincial level.
But in whatever country or culture you choose, massage therapy’s benefits are being acknowledged and not only for its comforting and soothing results.
Charlebois’s interest in massage therapy stemmed from her athletic activities while growing up.
“I’m an athlete and I kept hurting myself,” she said. “Massage therapy was the only thing that helped.”
Charlebois’s work is divided between three locations. She has an office on campus at Carleton University, where she meets with old and new clients. She also keeps a work room at her parents’ house, in the basement.
“I treat friends and family at my parents’ home. I never bring new clients there, though,” she explained.
Her third “office” is in her own home, where she keeps her paperwork and whatever documents she needs related to her career as an RMT.
Lately, Charlebois spent five weeks at home, a bonus to being self-employed. While the freedom of being an entrepreneur is liberating, there are disadvantages.
“I don’t get maternity leave, no sick leave, no vacation time,” she explained. “I took five weeks off to help Laura with the baby.”
Charlebois and her wife, Laura, recently had a baby. Born in December, their daughter has the attention of both parents and while Laura has maternity leave through her employment, Charlebois does not. While it is a complication, she doesn’t seem worried in the least.
“It’s totally worth it,” she said.
On average, a massage therapy session can cost about $80 to $90 for one hour, depending on the location. For appointments made through her Carleton office, Charlebois charges $90 for an hour.
Dominique Roy, one of Charlebois’s clients, has been going to her since 2012. “My work insurance covers about 80% of the cost but I do need to bring a doctor’s note for it to be covered,” she said.
After a car accident in 2011, Roy started seeing Charlebois for a while, but her insurance only covered up to $500 in treatments. Roy is seeing her regularly once more, but for a different reason: weightlifting and running issues.
“Often, Carole-Anne teaches me stretches I can do for problem areas and that really, really helps. She’s shown me techniques I can do with foam rollers and tune-up balls to help improve those areas.”
During her studies, Charlebois attended classes about the ethics involved with massage therapy. Even the terms used in the industry are changing, where being called a massage therapist is considered the more politically correct term and the word “masseuse” is being dropped.
With almost eight years of experience and a family of her own, Charlebois and her three siblings—also entrepreneurs—face the challenges of family and life while making their own way in the world.