Episode 124

Nov 17, 2017

Many of us get stuck in the beginning phases of just learning about business and marketing practices. In this episode, Allissa gives 4 reality slaps <<ahem>> gentle tips, for getting to the doing phase.

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Many of us get stuck in the beginning phases of just learning about business and marketing practices. In this episode, Allissa gives 4 reality slaps <<ahem>> gentle tips, for getting to the doing phase.

This episode is sponsored by:


MR Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.

AH And I’m Allissa Haines.

MR And we are your hosts. We’re glad you joined us today. And if you’ve noticed, I’m hoping I sound better so — let’s see. This is Episode 124; so what better time than Episode 124 for me to actually get a decent headset. So how do I sound, Allissa?

AH Okay. I don’t have a refined ear; so to me you sound the same way. [laughs]

MR [laughs] Okay.

AH Your good headset is wasted on me; so the listeners will have to weigh in.

MR [laughs] Well, I’m using the exact same headset you’re using. I have been using earbuds up to now, and whenever I listen to the podcast, I think, “Allissa always sounds so much better.” So I’m hoping I sound better. Drop us a note, podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. Either tell me “Yes, Michael. You sound so much better. Great move,” or “Michael, you’re crazy. There’s no difference; get over it.” Either way, we welcome your feedback. So thank you.

AH Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a headset you could put on that would make you sound like me? Squee! That would be amazing.

MR But then it would be like you’d be doing the whole show.

AH Right? I mean, why not?

MR [laughs] Is this your way of trying to get rid of me?

AH [laughs] I may have some ego issues today, people.

MR [laughs] Okay. Let me know. Hopefully it sounds good. We’ve got a great topic today that I’m really intrigued about. The topic is how to get from learning to doing in marketing your massage business. And I can kind of see where I think you’re going here. But I’d love to hear your thoughts because, I think, a hundred percent of people I talk to — including you and I, Allissa — have trouble with the execution of the learning to the doing, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff we could talk about.

AH Yes. Yes.

MR What do you got?

AH This is not a productivity topic. Just FYI. If you’re all tired of productivity stuff, this is not it. So what happened —

MR I never get tired of productivity.

AH I know. But some people might be; so whatever. We’re nagging people in a new whole and different way today. So I talk to a lot — obviously, obvs, I talk to a lot of massage business owners, and I talk to people who are new to massage entirely, just got out of school, starting their own business, people who may have been doing massage for years but as employees, or whatever. And what I find is that, not a news flash, but people new to business ownership struggle with the learning curves of marketing. Networking can be really intimidating; technology can be tricky. And there is a very real fear of doing something wrong, and that it’s going to reflect badly on your business and cost you a whole bunch of money. But it’s not just the learning-curve aspect. People are getting really, really stuck at the beginning phase of learning about how to do something and then deciding whether or not they should even do it, and they’re getting crazy decision fatigue.

So deciding that they want to do email marketing and then getting so — asking 25 people who do email marketing what platform they use, posting in five different massage groups “Do you use Constant Contact or VerticalResponse or MailChimp or XYZ or this-that-or-the-other-one, and why.” And then there are so many comments and so many opinions that it’s hard to even make sense of all of it, and then it gets overwhelming, and they get decision fatigue, and then they never start email marking. Or they say, “Okay. The top three — or the top two are Constant Contact and MailChimp; I’m going to do the intros on both of them.” And then that takes so much time that the entire six months has passed, and they missed their gift certificate sale season over Christmas, and they never sold a gift certificate, and they never sent an email because they were so stuck in the research phase, the “I have to learn how to do this.” Or they even decided they would start using Constant Contact, they started watching all of the video tutorials for Constant Contact, how to set up, and then never actually set up a template because they ran out of time. And this is very — this is happening in every facet of learning how to market the business. People — there are some people who feel they need to research stuff so hard so they make the absolutely best decision for them, that they never actually execute the task that they’re researching. And this will go on for months and years, and they’ll let the rest of their business just kind of happen to them without ever taking a proactive initiative step to do good marketing or do good networking. So a couple of — people get stuck in this beginning phase learning about how to do something, and they never get to the just doing it part of it.

So four reality slaps here. First, you’re never going to know everything about any particular topic until you do it, and even then, you are never going to know everything about that particular topic. I have been using email marketing effect- — that’s why I use this example — I have been using email marketing effectively in my business for more than 10 years. I do not know everything about it. I do not know how to perfectly use Constant Contact or MailChimp, which are the two systems I’ve used the most. I don’t know everything about it; sometimes I look things up; sometimes I think “Wow. I totally missed that innovation, and I have not been using that tool that I could use.” But I’ve still been using email marketing effectively for more than 10 years, and it gets clients on my table every darn time I do it. You’re never going to know everything about the thing that you start. Yeah, you should do some homework on stuff before you drop money and tons of time into something. Yes, you should read the manual and watch a tutorial. But if your research drags on, and you’re not starting to actually do the thing, you are using research as a procrastination tool, and you need to stop it.

Another reality slap: You’re never going to be perfect at any of it ever. Ever. I still have errors in my email marketing. I, last year, found a typo in my bio that has been there for six years; I am still a successful massage therapist. You will never be perfect at anything that you do; get over it.

I can guarantee you — third reality slap — that not doing anything is a terrible business idea. It is a terrible way to grow your business, and it won’t happen. Not doing anything is pretty much guaranteeing that you are going to fail, or that you’re going to end up five years from now maybe with a semi-full business because you let it all happen to you, but you’re not going to like it, and you’re not going to feel in control of it, and you’ve probably got terrible boundaries.

And then the final reality slap is that experience is research. So if you’re someone that needs to look into every detail of something before you try it, remember that the last bit of that is actually the doing. Actually experiencing how something works, actually getting into the process is part of the learning curve. Again, you cannot know all of the things about email marketing until you start sending it, until you start doing it.

So that’s my big reality slap. If you have been thinking about a new website; or you have been thinking about changing your massage product, or your actual lubricant or oil or whatever; if you have been thinking about switching your laundry service; if you have been thinking about these things, but not actually doing them and starting to look into it but then getting overwhelmed with the choices and never just jumping in and trying one of them, then you’re procrastinating. So before we give you the “how to recognize the red flags and the solutions,” Michael, who is our halftime sponsor for today?

MR Today it is the Center for Barefoot Massage.

AH Yay! This episode is sponsored by the Center for Barefoot Massage. Woo hoo!

(sponsorship announcement)

AH Okay. So, Michael, what do you think about my reality slaps?

MR I love it. It’s actually not quite the direction I thought you were going to go, but I love the direction you went.

AH Okay. All right.

MR I see it all the time. I see it everywhere in every industry, not just massage but any kind of business context. People overanalyze stuff to death because they want to make the perfect decision, and there is no perfect decision.

AH No. And even if you research the heck out of it, if two identical people research the heck out of it and both of them implement the exact same thing, it’s still going to turn out differently because everybody’s business is a little bit different. So you just have to accept that there is a margin of variance in all of these things, and that at some point you’re probably going to mess it up. And when you do inevitably mess something up or something goes awry or something’s just typo’d, it’s not going to wreck you; it’s totally not.

So how do you know if this is a problem? One, if you have been putting something off — but I like to set myself some little parameters. And I find if I spend more than two to three hours learning — and I’m totally making air quotes — learning about something, and I still don’t feel ready to even get started, I’m procrastinating; there is some obstacle that I need to examine. Either I really — if I am — what is it that is stopping me from finishing this print ad for whatever thing? Do I really not want to get any new clients? Am I afraid that someone’s going to say that I have bad grammar? What is the thing? But if I’ve been procrastinating — if I’ve been “learning” for more than three hours, and I still don’t feel ready to start that task or start whatever the project is, I’m procrastinating, period.

So some tips to break through this. One, not rocket science, break it down into bite-size pieces. The example I have here is you know you need to create a website. Say you’ve been using the free AMTA/ABMP website for ages, and those are just aesthetically unpleasing, but if you know you need to get a real website, break down the tasks as best you can recognizing that as you learn, more tasks will come up and/or your task list will change a little bit. But set a deadline for the tangible results and move everything into bite-size pieces.

So my idea — let’s say you’re looking into doing a new website — give yourself three hours a week of time to dedicate to your website project. So the first week, you’re going to spend two hours deciding between Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, or a WordPress designer. You spend two hours looking into this, and then you make a darned decision, and you either email a designer, or you set up a free account with Weebly or Wix or Squarespace gives a free intro. That’s it. You give yourself three hours, and these are the things you need to accomplish. And if you feel like at the end of two hours that you haven’t done enough research, just choose one of the free templates and do it. There’s always a decision in front of you; try to avoid making the procrastinate version of that decision.

So Week 2 you got three more hours. You’ve decided you’re going to use Wix. In that three hours, create the necessary pages and template for your website. You don’t need to get all the writing in them, that’s going to come in Week 3, but you need to create the general template that you’re going to use. That gives you three hours to kind of learn how Wix works, how to drag and drop, and create the four basic pages you need. Week 3 you got three more hours. Spend an hour looking at other massage websites to see what you like and don’t like as far as written copy and service descriptions if you don’t have that yet, and then you spend two hours drafting the copy for each page and having a friend edit it. Send it along to a friend. Great.

Now you’re on Week 4; you got three more hours. And, again, you don’t need the details of each week, but know that — let’s say, we set a deadline of six weeks. At the end of six weeks, that’s your deadline to launch a new site. So breaking these things down and forcing yourself to move after a certain amount of time — if you don’t like your service description after two hours of working on it, you got to bring in a little help; call a friend. But have something even if it’s the roughest draft. Have something so that you’re taking a step forward at the end of each session that you have scheduled to work on this. Keep some kind of forward momentum. It really helps to have a buddy keeping you accountable.

It also really helps to need the thing that you’re doing. If you have a side gig or a day job as you’re starting your practice, one, it’s tough to dedicate time to building your practice and laying this foundation. But, two, if you don’t need the money from new clients, you are less likely to hustle to get it; so you might have to reexamine your motivation here. And if you’re like, “Oh. Yeah. No. Because I don’t need that money for groceries or rent next week, I’m probably not hustling as hard as I could have.” And sometimes just recognizing that is enough to get your butt in gear; sometimes just recognizing that is enough to say maybe I don’t want to do this thing; maybe I don’t want new clients; maybe I don’t want more people on my table; maybe I need to adjust my plan accordingly. Michael, what do you got?

MR I got nothing. Sorry, I was unmuting. [laughs] I’ll edit that section out.

AH No you won’t.

MR Eh. I probably won’t. You’re right; I probably won’t. I love it. Yeah. I see this everywhere all the time, this decision fatigue, the analysis paralysis. So — I mean it’s — to be sympathetic, it is tough sometimes. I’ve found myself in that situation as well; so I think we do need to realize that — what helps me anyway is if I make a decision, I can always change it. I cannot think of very many situations where if I pick the wrong software or pick the wrong path or do the wrong thing or whatever, that if it doesn’t turn out right, I’ll just do something different. You can change your mind. So that helps me kind of back up from that and have perspective.

AH But to just kind of reiterate, if you are someone who gets stuck in that research cycle, find a way to jolt yourself out of it; find a buddy; find a task where you can list out — find a project you’re working on where you can lift out — list out the tasks and hold yourself accountable to. But if you’re not moving forward, then you do not want to be successful. You really have to say it that way. If you really, truly want the end result, then you need to move past the research state of what you’re doing.

MR That’s fair.

AH Tough love, people. Tough love. And that’s all I got, Michael.

MR All right. Nice. I love it. I love it. Cool. So we’ll wrap it up there. Good stuff today. A reminder: our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com. There’s a ton of stuff there that is both free and premium; so check both out. And as I mentioned at the beginning of the show, our email address is podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. We welcome your feedback. We also — we got a few new iTunes reviews this past couple weeks; we really appreciate that; so those who have been giving us reviews — I read every one; I’m sure Allissa does, too. We read every single one; they just make us very, very happy. We really appreciate the support. So thank you for that.

AH Thanks, people.

MR Thanks. So until then, have a great day. We’ll see you next time.

AH Bye.

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