Episode 150

Mar 30, 2018

What’s bugging you? Think about that for a minute. Now get over it. In this episode, Allissa talks about the absurd stuff that she used to care about and why she stopped.

Listen to "E150: Things I Stopped Caring About In My Massage Business" on Spreaker.
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What’s bugging you? Think about that for a minute. Now get over it. In this episode, Allissa talks about the absurd stuff that she used to care about and why she stopped.

This episode is sponsored by:


Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by the Center for Barefoot Massage. The Center for Barefoot Massage offers Ashiatsu continuing education classes across the country. They focus on a unique blend of anatomy-driven, game-changing, career-saving “FasciAshi” courses that will “toe-tally” empower you to provide massage techniques with your feet. With this alternative to wearing out your fingers, wrists, and shoulders, they’ll work to invigorate your career and enhance your quality of life. And it all starts from your foundation: your feet. Visit massagebusinessblueprint.com/barefoot to visit more and sign up to win a free day of training. That’s massagebusinessblueprint.com/barefoot.

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. By the time this episode airs, I have faith that it will be spring.

AH It will be spring.

MR It will be spring. The birds will be signing. The sun will be out. The fog —

AH And I’m tired of talking — I’m just going to interrupt you. I’m tired of talking about the weather. So, Michael, tell me one hilarious thing that Eli has done recently.

MR Oh my gosh. You put me on the spot. I was so ready to talk about the weather. [laughs]

AH Nope.

MR So — oh, man, where do I start? So many hilarious things Eli does every day. So one of the things he’s doing recently is — you know how when you have a little kid and they do something and you’re like, “Good job!” and you guide them and help them and wash their hands after going potty or whatever, and it’s like, “Hey, good job!” So lately, he’s gotten in the habit of telling Ariana and I to do something, and he’ll point to us and say, “Good job,” or he’ll grab our face and gently put his hands on our cheeks and go “Good job!” [laughs] It’s so funny because we’re like, “Oh. We went potty. Thanks, Eli. Good job.” Or we’ll clean something up and he’ll be like, “Good job, Mommy.” Because he’s so getting into giving people affirmation for doing good things.

AH That is adorable, and I cannot wait to see him. I’m going to get to see him in a month or so. I can’t believe he’s going to be 3. Holy moly.

MR By the time you get here, he’ll be 3.

AH Holy mackerel, we’re going to have so much fun. I’m going to give him so many presents that are going to annoy you. I’m thinking about can I carry on a drum set, a kazoo, I don’t know.

MR That’s what crazy aunts who live far away are for, right?

AH This is exactly my purpose in life. All right, what’s our topic today, Michael?

MR I don’t even know. What is our topic? Let me figure that out. So our topic today —

AH I’ll tell you.

MR Okay. You tell me.

AH So our topic today is based on, well — let me just share this. I recently had my business-iversary, which I like to make a big, stinking deal about celebrating.

MR I saw that. Congrats.

AH Yeah, thank you. Partly because, one, you know, owning a business is really hard, and I think you need to take your wins and take your celebrations any time you can. And, also, I’ve got so many clients who’ve been with me for the full thirteen years that I want for — I want to remind them that they are part of something really wonderful and that I really appreciate all of the time and the money and the referrals and stuff that they’ve given to me over the past 13 years. So I make a mildly big stink about it.

And it’s also a really good time to reflect and think about what I used to do. And we’re not going to talk about it in this episode, but — except to say that I recently got fired by a client and it turned — it was a good thing, and it was also a reminder of how I’ve evolved in the past 13 years and how much better my boundaries are and my business skills are. And this was a client who had been with me for the full 13 years, and I deserved to be fired and that’s fine. And it worked out very well. It was to reflect on the last 13 years with that client was to go oh, yeah, you know what? Here are the places that I made errors in our relationship, in our professional relationship, and here is the place where I began to be resentful of this, and here is how this went down. And also for myself to think about how I could have ended the therapeutic relationship much sooner in a more professional way and — it was really good.

So it’s a good time to reflect. One of the things I also like to reflect about is stuff that I don’t care about anymore; things that were important to me 13 years ago when I started, and for several years at the beginning of my business, that I have realized do not matter, that I no longer give a crap about. And here’s a few of my things: I used to be really picky about note cards and linens and the color of my massage chair, and I was super particular about artwork in my office and the kinds of pens I used. And, by the way, I’m still particular about those things. And that’s the way a new business owner should be. It takes a long time to work through what matters and what doesn’t as you create a business that reflects your skills and your values.

So I’ve zoomed in on what really matters most, and I’ve let go of the stuff that doesn’t. So here’s a few things that I no longer care about. I do not care if I lose clients because I don’t like to answer my phone and I don’t play phone tag very well. I will call a client back twice for appointment-making purposes, but then I give up. So if someone calls me — if they don’t want to use my online scheduling and they call me to make an appointment, I will call them back once. And if they return my call but I’m busy, I will call them back twice. But on that second voicemail, if I don’t get them, I just say straight up, “It doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to connect by phone, if you want to make an appointment, you should go to the website and do so here.” If it’s a new client, I might make a little more effort. If it’s an oncology client and we really need to talk about screening, of course, I’ll make a little more effort. But, in general, I’m difficult to reach by phone, so I do not want to match myself with a client who is also difficult to reach by phone and entirely unwilling to book online. I just don’t want to cultivate a client that’s difficult to schedule. There is no part of my dream business that includes spending two hours a day on the phone calling people back because they don’t like computers. I decided to not care. I do not stress about it. If I lose a client because I don’t want to talk on the phone to them just to book an appointment. it doesn’t worry me anymore.

Another thing I don’t care about anymore is if clients are late or don’t they show up. This used to make me crazy. I was a super time-sensitive person. I’m always 10 minutes early to everything I’m doing. And for every minute that went by when I was waiting for a client, I would get more and more anxious and more and more annoyed, and that would make me really resentful even when the client came in. And even though I knew I wasn’t going to elongate the appointment time, even though I was comfortable saying, “We have to shorten your appointment a little bit so I can end on time,” it still drove me nuts. And if a client didn’t show, I would just go — in my head, I would just go ballistic, and it would make me resentful of the client. And I watched my officemate be super vigilant about enforcing her no-show policy for years, and I relaxed. Seeing her structure helped me chill the heck out. If a client is late, I cut out the time, I take a deep breath, and I don’t care. It’s fine. If a client doesn’t show up, they get invoiced for my no-show fee. If they pay the fee, great, we book our next appointment. Awesome. I made a couple of bucks even though I didn’t have to do any real work. And if they don’t pay the fee, I never see them again. Yay. I got rid of a high-maintenance client.

For me, the trick with that was to not care about a client’s appointment more than the client does. If they’re cool getting it shortened, if they’re cool missing it, I’m cool about letting go of that. It took me a while, but I really, truly no longer feel pissy and resentful when a client shows up late and has no real excuse because, frankly, their excuses are none of my business. The only thing in front of me is that the client is there and now I will give them the rest of their time. To not care about that appointment more than the client does was such a huge stress reliever. I just don’t care anymore. It took a little while to get there, but it’s really nice.

We’re going to break for our halftime sponsor before I tell you people two more things that I just don’t care about anymore. Who’s our halftime sponsor, Michael?

MR [laughs] I was all ready to hear about two more things you don’t care about anymore, but I’m also excited because our halftime sponsor is Pure Pro, who I know you love, and a lot of our community loves as well. What’s the scoop on Pure Pro?

AH We’re talking about their Arnica Relief Lotion today.

Sponsor message So, tell me what do runners, martial artists, people with fibromyalgia, and me all have in common? We can all benefit from the powerful, activated arnica complex and all-natural essential oils in Pure Pro’s Arnica Relief Massage Lotion. It is a natural anti-inflammatory herbal extract that aids tissue repair to provide pain relief — so you can ease aches and pains and even muscle spasms during and well after the massage. I know that when I use Arnica Relief lotion, my arms, my wrists, my hands, my elbows — the tendinitis reduces in them, so it’s why I use it as much for me as for my clients. It’s a really smooth glide with a grip and a control, but not sticky. It’s residue-free finish, and it is a great relief from everyday soreness or just the occasional overworking. All Pure Pro products are vegan, cruelty free, and nut free, which make our job safe, safe, safe, mindful practitioners. It makes it so much easier to choose our products knowing that they are nut free. You can choose Pure Pro because it’s made by massage therapists for massage therapists. For $10 off your next order, you can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/purepro and use the one-time discount code BLUEPRINT, capitals B-L-U-E-P-R-I-N-T, at checkout for 10 bucks off your next order. And that’s a one-time code, so if you’ve already done it, you can’t do it again, but go buy Pure Pro stuff anyway.

All right. I’m done.

MR Go for it. I’m ready.

AH [laughs] All right. So another thing — and you guys are going to laugh at this one — at some point, I had an instructor in massage school who told us that we should only use solid color sheets and that was what was acceptable and professional. And that if we used printed sheets, that it was going to look like a bed, and we don’t want our massage table looking like a bed because we do massage; we do not do “bed stuff.” For whatever reason, I carried that thought into my massage career and into my practice. Then, I don’t know why — I had this hard block in my head because this instructor said I should only use solid color sheets; I should only use “linens”; we shouldn’t even call them “sheets.” Until one day, I found myself standing in front of a clearance shelf full of super soft microfiber sheets. And they were patterned. There were some that were floral, there were some that were a geometric print, and they were lovely. And I really needed sheets, and they were good quality and they were cheap, they were on clearance, so I bought a bunch. And it turns out my massage business did not implode. The introduction of patterned sheets into my massage practice did not cause people to think that I was a sex worker. Who knew? My professionalism was not challenged because of the color or pattern of my sheets. In fact, a whole bunch of clients really liked the sheets and made reference to that. Some of them didn’t notice at all. And I realize now that it’s totally ridiculous that I thought the color of my sheets or the pattern on them would even matter, but I thought that. These are the lessons that carry over from massage school, and this is why there’s a whole bunch of massage therapists out there who still think massage releases toxins from the muscles, which it doesn’t. Whole other argument, other episode that we’ll never do because, oh my God, I’m exhausted by it. It’s not a true thing, but many of us heard it from our massage instructors and we’ve never let go of it. It’s ridiculous. And now I have all sorts of patterned sheets, and clients love them. I have Star Wars sheets, and I have Wonder Woman sheets, and I’m totally going to get the Black Panther sheets when they go on clearance, and I am pretty much only buying super fun awesome sheets now for my massage practice because that makes sense for my style and my practice, and it turns out no one thinks I’m any less professional. In fact, they love that I have Wonder Woman sheets. So there’s that.

And the final thing that I stopped caring about is what other local massage therapists are doing. I’ve stopped giving a crap. I’ve stopped caring about what other massage businesses around me are charging. I’ve stopped caring about all of the different services that they do that I may or may not do. I’ve stopped mostly caring if they are marketing themselves in unprofessional ways. I just don’t care. I used to get all worked up about if other therapists in my area were doing stuff that make us all look bad. And every so often, this gets in my head and it bothers me for about 10 minutes until I’ve decided that I don’t care. I am a really good massage therapist. I market myself pretty well. I’m pretty professional; not a lot of people who could say I’ve done them wrong or behaving in an unprofessional manner. I’m just going to worry about myself and being the good example in my community of what an upright, professional massage therapist business owner can be. If other massage therapists are acting badly, I’m just going to let it go. If they’re acting illegally, I’m doing to drop a dime with my state board. But if they’re just acting badly and dumb and making stupid decisions, I’m just going to let that go and trust that anyone who’s seen them act badly will eventually see me acting like an upright, professional business owner, and then their opinion of massage therapists will change.

And those are the things I’ve stopped caring about and, I got to tell you, I sleep a little better at night. So whatever it is that’s nagging at you, maybe decide that you can stop caring about it and see how that goes and maybe share in the comments, if you want, about stuff that you’ve stopped caring about, or tweet at us, or Instagram at us, or post under our Facebook, or whatever. I’m done, Michael.

MR As you were talking, this episode to me is the podcast equivalent of one of those stock photos of the woman hiking to the top of the mountain and having her arms outstretched [laughs] letting go. One of those cheesy stock photos. I just imagined that the whole time.

AH I would way prefer to be one of those cheesy stock photos of women laughing while they’re eating salad because that’s a whole genre.

MR That’s also a thing.

AH That too. That too. Yeah.

MR Yeah. I like it.

AH I feel good now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.

MR All right. [laughs] That’s a great place to wrap it, then. Thank you for that. I feel much better as well. I feel much more at peace just listening to you let go of things. So thank you.

AH I am trying.

MR With that, we will wrap it up there and remind you that our website is at massagebusinessblueprint.com. Grab all the information on us on there. If you’re a premium member, you know the scoop. If you’re not a premium member, check out our premium membership. It is $9 a month, and you get all kinds of goodies like a free blog post template every month to use in your own massage website. You can basically copy/paste, customize it a little bit in two seconds, and you’ve got a free monthly article to publish that ‘s really, really, really good. It’s actually really high quality. It’s professionally written, and it gives you stuff to publish on your site. We also have a premium Facebook group, which is the best Facebook group for massage therapists on the planet. I can definitively say that.

AH Word.

MR It is totally true. Office hours for peer-to-peer mentoring and consulting and all sorts of great things. So check it out. We’ve got new members signing up every week. With that, don’t forget if you have topics you want us to cover in the future, email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com, and we’ll bring it up in a future episode. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. We will see you next time.

AH Bye.

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