Making It On Her Own
Apr. 17, 2017
It was through Concorde that she was able to take that horrific life circumstance and, through incredible perseverance, a good deal of elbow grease and an entrepreneurial spirit as enormous as her heart, turn it into a promising future.
“Like everyone, I have good days and bad days,” she said. “But you have to remember why you’re doing it. You just have to keep going.”
Watkins’ reasons, she’s quick to point out, are her two children, now almost 5 and 11. Today, she is owner, manager and sole therapist of Relax4You Massage, a massage therapy clinic in her hometown of Memphis, Tenn. It’s been a remarkably quick journey to owning her own massage therapy company and flies in the face of the ragged, uphill climb she had to endure to get here.
Facing hardship head-on
She was working as a retail store manager back in 2012 when her husband died suddenly, leaving her alone to raise her then 6-year-old and the baby she was expecting. It was a tragedy that might’ve sent some into a destructive tailspin. But Watkins never wavered from her focus – the child she had and the one on the way.
“I knew I needed to do something more promising,” she said. “The retail world was changing. It was not as fun anymore.”
Watkins knew her brother had completed a program at Concorde Career College – Memphis. She knew she wanted a program she could complete and get her into a career quickly. Concorde’s accelerated programs fit her needs perfectly.
“I hit the ground running,” she said. “I wanted to do something for my kids, to get my career going.”
She just wasn’t sure which program she wanted at first. It didn’t take long to figure that out once she took a look at Massage Therapy.
“I came to Concorde wanting to be a Respiratory Therapist,” she said. “But an RT required more time than I had.
“I’d never done a massage in my life. But when I got into it, I just knew it was my speed. It was just home. It was the perfect way to express myself and help people.
“Learning to love and self-love was awesome.”
Becoming a Massage Therapy professional
Watkins started working professionally as a licensed massage therapist one month after graduating from Concorde in February 2014. But she quickly realized that becoming her own boss was the way for her. She took some of the money she had been gifted after her husband’s death and opened Relax4You and has turned into a successful enterprise.
“I was confident in what I could offer,” she said. “Being able to put my own love into it made all the difference in the world.
“You just can’t stop. There are slow months, but you stay driven, remember your purpose.”
Watkins said she eventually wants to expand the business and manage her own stable of massage therapists. But, for the time being, she’s happy where she is … and, she knows she has Concorde’s Massage Therapy program to thank for a lot.
“Concorde is a great starting place,” she said. “If you have a passion for what you want to do, they’re there to help lead you on whatever path you choose.
“Even after graduation, I keep in contact with my instructors. They don’t leave you. I like to say, you come through their doors as one person, but leave as family.”