For Zelda Wafer-Jones, becoming a massage therapist wasn’t the career trajectory she had always planned on.
But after graduating from college and working as a paralegal, her aspirations of becoming an attorney quickly gave way to a career rooted in helping people.
We spoke with Zelda to learn more about what she does, why she made the pivot from law to massage therapy, and what advice she’d give to those considering making a career change.
Can you tell us a bit about Z’s Body Massage and how it came to be?
I’ve been practicing massage therapy for almost 25 years now. But originally, when I graduated college in my former life, my goal was to be an attorney.
But after working as a paralegal, I realized that it just wasn’t my calling. I was really good at what I did, but I honestly felt like it was depressing work. It was horrible, the stuff I was working on.
Ultimately, the change came down to my health and lifestyle: I didn’t have a problem working a lot—I still do now—but I felt like there was so much going on around me and I needed to slow down.
So, I decided to start looking at other options. I ended up going into massage school which, back then, wasn’t as popular as it is today. It was kind of hippie-ish but it felt right, even if my mom disagreed with my decision at the time!
From there, I did a lot of different things: I worked as a traveling massage therapist for the Washington Wizards, at The Four Seasons Hotel, doing outcalls, and at the International Monetary Fund as their massage therapist.
And now, I have my own practice, Z’s Body Massage.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?
You know, they say that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
And I honestly believe that to be true.
Doing massage therapy is my way to give back to people—to take care of them and connect with them.
Right now, people are extra stressed. But it’s a new type of stress. And with the way people’s mental health impacts them, it’s more important than ever for people to look after themselves and I’m glad to be able to help with that.
Not only that, but I also have clients that have been with me for 20 years and I know them so well that they’re almost like family to me.
What advice would you give to professionals who are thinking about switching careers to follow their calling?
I’d say, if possible, don’t do it like I did and go all-in right away. Do it part-time first, try it as a side-hustle, and see if it’s something you really want to do before you fully commit to it. Then, if it feels right, go for it.
Beyond that, though, I’d also just say this: don’t do it for the money. Do it because you love it. The money will follow.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned since you started your business? What could other entrepreneurs learn from your journey?
I’ve always told people to make sure you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Try to diversify as much as possible in your business.
For example, I have my private office here at Launch and it’s phenomenal, but I also do outcalls where I go to people’s homes, I have people come to mine—you need to diversify what you do as much as possible.
Find other ways to bring in more income with that same job you do.
It’s also important to get out there and network with people because you never know where your next client might come from.
How did you end up working at Launch Workplaces?
For a long time, I had a space with a partner. But the pandemic hit and that was the tipping point where I knew it was time to start my own practice and get my own space.
Eventually, I saw an ad for Launch and I reached out. Being a massage therapist, I’m a bit OCD and literally had pages of questions I wanted to ask to make sure it was a good fit for my practice—security, cleanliness, privacy, insurance, socialization, and things like that.
When I spoke with Bria, my Launch representative, she was so professional that it made me feel incredibly comfortable. The space was brand-new, clean, and there wasn’t a ton of foot traffic on my floor. It was also safe and secure. So, it was perfect for a massage therapy practice.
I actually had spoken with another space as well, and they took weeks to respond to my questions, but Bria got back to me right away. So, I knew it was the right place.
Want to learn how massage therapy can support your wellbeing?
If you’d like to learn more about Zelda, her practice, and how massage therapy can benefit you, get in touch with her today.
And if you’d like to learn about our flexible office services or to book a tour of one of our Launch Workplaces locations, contact us today. Our team is here to help and answer any questions you might have.Hear from Launch member Zelda Wafer-Jones about how she left a law career to pursue her calling in massage therapy and what advice she’d give to others.
Z’s Body Massage is a Black & Woman-Owned business! Happy #BlackHistoryMonth