ScaleUp Success: Michele Cook of Body Ache Escape Massage Center

Business owners don’t become business owners by chance — they become business owners because they always want more and strive for continuous growth. That desire is what drove Body Ache Escape Owner Michele Cook to switch professions, become a massage therapist, and ultimately start her own clinic for pain management. But she’s not done growing yet.

Cook began her career path by starting a degree in sports and fitness management at Columbus State Community College, then transferring to the University of Cincinnati. When the UC program wasn’t what she expected, she headed back to CSCC, this time pursuing massage therapy.

Michele Cook
Michele Cook

Cook received her license in 2002 and took a job as a therapist for the YMCA in Canal Winchester. During her eight years there, Cook also expanded her skill set by working with other Central Ohio clinics, experiencing a range of specialties and leadership types. With a passion for improvement, Cook took classes in all kinds of practices, including deep tissue, Myofascial release, pregnancy massage, and lymph drainage therapy, to name a few.

In 2010, she and her business partner, Kyron Moses, took the leap and established Body Ache Escape, a massage center focused on relieving pain.

“There was a limit to what I could do if I just stayed as an independent contractor and didn’t open up my own spot,” Cook said. “I was stopping myself from becoming better, improving. I wanted to personally develop and grow and make more money.”

She and Moses work with six other therapists and an acupuncturist at Body Ache Escape. Addressing pain is their specialty, and they’re currently in the process of expanding their ability to do so. By adding personal training to their services, Body Ache Escape therapists will be able to extend their practice into patients’ homes by suggesting exercises to aid pain management. Some of their existing staff will add personal training licenses, but Cook is also seeking new therapists.

For assistance in hiring and broadening her services, Cook engaged with YMT Consultant’s Entrepreneur Exchange program. Since February, she’s started developing her new business plan, establishing her mission, vision and values, determining her revenue goal, and envisioning where she wants Body Ache Escape to be in five years.

She’s also figured out what she seeks in a new hire, and the questions to ask to effectively vet the applicants.

“One of our big values is continuous improvement,” Cook said, “So I ask questions about classes they’ve taken and what else they want to learn in their career, and how they might get a client to return.”

In a future employee, Cook looks for a positive attitude, and an ingrained desire to contribute to Body Ache Escape’s goal of “helping people have more fun in their life because they’re more comfortable in their body.” She’s hoping to have her new staff members hired and her current staff fully trained and licensed by October.

For more information, visit

To take the next step in scaling up your business, visit to apply and learn more about the Entrepreneur Exchange Program, funded by SBA ScaleUp America.

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YMT Consultants is a microbusiness consulting and training firm providing monthly consulting and business development. We help microbusiness owners change their mindset, resulting in greater control of their business, increased revenue and bottom-line, and a strategic growth plan to achieve their “big-picture” vision for them and their business.