Episode 137

Jan 19, 2018

Moving from employment to self- employment can be jarring, and being in charge of our own schedules can be a curse as well as a blessing. Here’s tip to help you navigate the self-discipline required to make it work.

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Moving from employment to self- employment can be jarring, and being in charge of our own schedules can be a curse as well as a blessing. Here’s tip to help you navigate the self-discipline required to make it work.

This episode is sponsored by:


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

Allissa Haines And I am Allissa Haines.

MR We’re your hosts. Glad you’ve joined us today. Allissa, I am so happy to report that it is going to be almost up to 60 degrees here in Indianapolis.

AH Nice. It’s going to be 40 here tomorrow so that’s good.

MR That’s balmy. That’s balmy.

AH Yeah. It’s better than what it has been, and I don’t think we’re getting any snow. And I think we’re going to get rain to melt the giant piles of snow that we have, which is good, because I’m down four parking spaces in the parking lot right now. I literally had to shovel into a pile of snow, and —

MR I’ve been watching your office shenanigans with — [laughs]

AH — Oh my god. You know —

MR — [indiscernible] on Facebook.

AH Oh, yeah. I showed up to work on — I guess it was last Friday morning. Yeah. Because we had the big storm on Thursday. So I showed up for work Friday morning and there were 4-foot drifts up against every door of the office, and the plow guy who’s supposed to shovel just didn’t. It was fine because I gave myself plenty of time, but that stunk. Then the plow guy — I think he just phoned it in on this storm, because he just did a terrible job. The last week has just been cleaning up from crappy plow job and trying to — he covered a wall. It was just ridonkulous. But my landlord is on top of looking for a new plow guy, and it’s fine, and we’re getting rain tomorrow. And I’m not going to lie; this was the beginning — that Friday morning walking into work and being like Oh, great. Snow drifts at every door, was the beginning of what is a really craptastic business week for me. I’m just in that pit where everything is aggravating me and everything — I’m not going to say everything is going wrong, because that’s not the case. But I am struggling with multiple things in my businesses in the past 6 – 7 days, and I am trying to be a good sport about it, but that’s actually what our next two podcast topics are kind of all about. And how — I’m just going to segue right into this —

MR All right. Let’s segue. Go for it. [laughs]

AH Yeah. I’ve found that I do better refiguring what’s going on and I do better handling the interpersonal situations around me when I ask myself a variety of questions and — with the end goals in mind; so that’s actually what the next couple of podcasts are about.

So we’re going to jump right in. Today’s topic is one question to get me back on a work schedule. This is — especially coming off of the holidays can be really tough. We all have the best of intentions once the holidays get through, and we’re like I cannot wait to get back to work. Well, I got back to work last week, had 1.2 productive days, and then we got hit with this snowstorm; so I lost a day of work. I lost another half a day trying to recover from that storm, my schedule got all wacky, and I feel like I lost all of my good zhuj, and all of my momentum. Stuff gets a little crazy. On top of that, last weekend was my weekend off; I have an on weekend and an off weekend. I got behind, stupidly, even though I’d had more time in front of my computer to get things done. The moral here is that for many of us — and this is, again, not a new topic for us — for many of us, self-discipline when you are self employed is really hard. Disciplining yourself to get business stuff done when there are other things that are shiny going on is really hard. And many of us come from an employment setting; so we have worked for other people — with bosses and accountability — for a long time or at least for some time, and so making that switch to self-employment — and I’m 13 years into self-employment at this point, and I’m still struggling with this. Yes, an escape from employment is really, really freeing. Being your own boss is awesome. But being in charge of our own schedules can be a curse as well as a blessing. Combined with that, rigid structure doesn’t work well for everyone; so I know I give a lot of structure advice and a lot of it goes right past people, because it immediately kicks up that rebellious nature in them, and they’re like Well I don’t want to spend Monday mornings working on my email marketing, and I don’t have to. And even they rebel against themselves even when they have the best of intentions and they make some kind of schedule, they don’t stick to it because some of us are just rebels. I get that. I think a lot of us do what we do because massage is an art as much as a science and that breaks us from structure that perhaps was killing our souls in corporate or employment settings. But the opposite — being rebellious — resisting structure so much that you’re not getting stuff done will break your business. So we’ve given lots of advice on what to do if you don’t have enough time to work on your business. We’ve talked about a structured work schedule; making work hours; and if you don’t have massage clients during those hours, getting your business tasks done — making those work hours and making your, whatever, your email marketing, your client follow ups, your charting all of these things — treat them as if they are as important as a client on your massage table, which is when we shut our computers off, shut our phones off, go into that room and be completely present with a client thinking about, hopefully, not much other than their care, the person who’s in front of us. If we can apply that principle to all of our business-y business, we would all be millionaires at this point. But it’s a really hard thing to do. I have developed a question that I ask myself whenever I find that I’m blowing off my business stuff, whenever I’m giving myself too many passes in a week to ignore a particular task. Michael, before I get to this question — I’m changing your notes a little bit. I want to do our halftime sponsor now.

MR Cool. We’re going to talk about ABMP today.

AH Yes, we are going to talk about ABMP today. Yay!

Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by ABMP. They are the Associate Bodywork and Massage Professionals. They are supporting the largest community in massage and bodywork. ABMP goes above and beyond great liability insurance to make it easier for you to succeed at what you love. I was actually browsing ABMP’s membership benefits page the other day, found a few new resources I was really excited about; so if you’re an ABMP member, you should do that. They combine the insurance you need, the free CE you want, advocacy and personalized customer service that you deserve. Join the ABMP family and learn why more massage therapists, including me, and bodyworkers choose ABMP membership more than any other association. Expect more at abmp.com.

MR We like the folks at ABMP. They’re good people.

AH We do. And I got to say, those resources were really great. I mean never mind all the CE they have online, which is phenomenal. I bookmarked a couple to watch over the weekend. But tons of resources like — and I get — I think of it every day — I use MINDBODY scheduling software for the yoga studio in my office, and I get a 20% discount, which is considerable —

MR Yeah. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

AH It’s great. And there’s another discount I get through them currently; I cannot remember what it is off the top of my head, but anyhoo…

MR Well if you cancel your Hulu membership, then you’ve got something to watch.

AH Right? There you go.

MR There you go.

AH I have not done it yet. I’m waffling. That said, I haven’t watched it in a while; so I think I’m almost ready. I have a note in my calendar because my billing period’s going to be up on that. I have a note the day before that happens. Anyhoo. Let’s go back to our topic.

When I find that I am putting tasks off or not getting enough done in my business and it’s a discipline issue, I ask myself one question to get me back on a regular work schedule. And that question is Would I take a vacation day for this? If I was still employed, if I still had a limited number of days off, would I take a vacation day to do this thing that I’m doing that’s blowing off my work? Would I trade shifts with a coworker? Would I ask my boss for special treatment to go home early to do this thing that I’m doing instead of my actual work? And 90% of the time, the answer is Nope, I would absolutely not. So if I had unlimited time off from work, what would I do with that time? It wouldn’t be — for example, this morning I got up and it was on my schedule to do a little bit of writing, and I blew it off. I sat in my bed reading a book. And it was great, and I’m glad I had the flexibility to do that. But I should not have and now I’m going to be up late doing my work. Would I have taken vacation time to sit in my bed and read a book? I would not. I would not have done that. And had I asked myself this question before I blew off my work, my day would be on a much better schedule. So really think about what you’re taking time off from your business to do, what you’re putting your business off for, and decide the value of that. This came up because I talk to people all the time. I talk to them about their businesses: Hey, how are you doing with your email marketing? And they say things like You know what? I’ve been really busy with the holidays. I’m like All right. Holidays are really busy. That’s cool. I actually talked to somebody who put off doing some really important stuff on her business website because she was getting the guest room ready for her mom. She had set a schedule; she had set a task list; she had set a day to get some stuff done on her website that was really important, and when I followed up with her and said, “Did you get that done today.” No, I decided I needed to get the guest room ready for my mom. Would you have taken the day off a real employment job to get the guestroom ready or would you just have run that laundry and made up that bed before and after your work? I would bet money that you would not have taken paid time off or traded shifts with a coworker or said to your boss I need the day off so that I can do some laundry and get the guestroom ready for my mom. No. You would have delegated that out or you would have gotten some help from someone at home or you would have done it before or after your real job. You would not have taken a day off for that. And there are times when the answer is Yes, I would request a day off for this. If you needed to go to your kid’s baseball game or your kid had a special concert, you would totally switch shifts with a coworker for that or ask for a little flexibility. But you probably wouldn’t — I have actually had a colleague tell me that she didn’t do important work on her business because she needed to mow her lawn. That’s not — we all have different priorities, but I don’t know that regular landscaping is one that should take away from your work schedule if you want a business that sustains you. So I think we need to consider how often we give ourselves a pass. If you are — I don’t necessarily regret this morning, because I really needed to read that book, but I shouldn’t be taking time off of my work to go grocery shopping, which was tempting for this afternoon. But when I applied this one question to get me back on a schedule, I realized that going grocery shopping was not a good reason to blow off working on some important stuff. So I will go grocery shopping after I finish my work for the day. That’s what I think. Michael, what do you think?

MR I agree, generally. [laughs]

AH In general. I know. I know you don’t like thinking about employment stuff, because you run [clinking noise] a different type of business. Sorry. I totally just made a clanging noise stirring my soup.

MR I know. I heard that. I was like what is that?

AH I was stirring my soup, because I’m thirsty.

MR You were snacking during our podcast episode.

AH I’m straight up eating during our podcast episode. But I’ll be quiet and sip my soup while you say what you think.

MR That’s pretty normal for us, actually. At least one of us is usually eating during this session. No, I agree. I’m just picturing — I love the example of mowing your lawn instead of working your business. Yeah. We often do things that just feel easier because we want to procrastinate. A lot of it comes down to procrastination. I tend to ask myself Is this a revenue-generating activity? If it’s not, maybe I should swap it out for something that’s actually revenue generating, like working on marketing tasks or working on something operational that will make me more efficient or something that relates to the growth of my business and actually attaches to revenue or some other worthy goal if it’s not revenue. Yeah. I think we all are guilty of that. The difference is you — I mean, I don’t think you set out this morning to say I’m intending to stay in bed and read my book instead of doing this thing; it just kind of happened. That happens to all of us. But if you decide to — I’m going to make a decision to mow my lawn instead of doing this thing, that’s more intentional, and we have to be careful about that.

AH And I think we need to make all of these decisions intentional —

MR Well, ideally, we would. Yeah.

AH — yeah, it’s just — it’s a thing that aggravates the crap out of me when people want to do things for their business and then sabotage themselves this way. So I think sometimes that notion of thinking about what life was like when you were employed, one, reminds you of why you like to be self employed now, but also gives us a framework — you said revenue-generating activity — your boss doesn’t want you doing non-revenue-generating activity in your work time. So that means you need to be your own best boss, and sometimes you need to be your own worst boss if that means motivating you and bullying yourself a little bit to get the work done when you’re supposed to get the work done as opposed to procrastinating with other things.

MR Right on.

AH And I know that’s a thing most of us struggle with.

MR We do.

AH And that’s what I think.

MR [laughs] We’ll keep working on it. Thanks for that. Anything else you would add, or are we good to wrap?

AH I’m good. I think I’ve lectured everybody enough today.

MR All right. After all that finger-wagging, we’ll wrap it up there then. Thanks for joining us for this episode and listening to us snack a bit as well. Reminder, you can visit us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com; that’s our website. We have a lot of great resources there: articles, podcast episodes, and stuff like that, as well as our growing premium member community. We actually just passed 200 premium members recently. I think we have some other things planned for future milestones, but that’s a nice milestone for us and we appreciate everyone who has joined. A lot of that, I think, is due to the awesome free content in the future is now a premium benefit; so a lot people are taking advantage of that; so thank you. We also welcome questions and feedback. Send that to us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com via email, and we would love your questions and comments and topic ideas. Until then, visit us online for more stuff. Don’t forget to give us iTunes reviews if you enjoy this. We’ll see you next time. Thanks, everyone.

AH Bye.

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