Episode 181

Sep 28, 2018

Worried your boss will be sad if you quit? Tired of coming in because your client always has a spasm on your day off? Let’s talk about what you do and don’t owe the people around you.

Listen to "E181: You Don't Owe Anyone Your Soul and Other Massage Business Tips" on Spreaker.
Image for E181: You Don’t Owe Anyone Your Soul and Other Massage Business Tips


Worried your boss will be sad if you quit? Tired of coming in because your client always has a spasm on your day off? Let’s talk about what you do and don’t owe the people around you.

Resource we mention: usa.gov/register-to-vote

Sponsored by: Gift Up! and The Jojoba Company.


Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by giftUP. giftUP allows you to sell your own digital gift cards and gift certificates on your website with no setup fee and no monthly fee. Built with massage therapists in mind, giftUP is easy to install on your website and Facebook page and easy for clients to use. Clients can email the gift certificate or print it out for in-person gifting, and it’s easy for you to redeem with the iPhone or Android app. There’s a special offer for our podcast listeners. Visit massagebusinessblueprint.com/giftup to get the first 10 gift cards sold completely fee-free and no monthly cost ever. Visit massagebusinessblueprint.com/gift up.

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’m Allissa Haines.

MR And we’re your hosts today, welcome, welcome. Allissa, what’s up?

AH I am sitting in my little home office with my fake fireplace heater roaring because it’s —

MF Roaring?

AH It’s roaring. It was like 47 degrees this morning, and then I heard it’s gonna be like 80 on Wednesday.

MR I know we’re in this season where it’s, like, too hot and too cold all the same week.

AH Yeah, but hey, I wanted to include in my banter today a little public service announcement that everyone should be making sure that they are registered to vote.

MR Oh, yeah.

AH We have some big, you know, not like the big presidential, but we have some big elections coming up in November, and everyone should check on their voter registration. Voter registrations have been purged here and there, and we want to make sure that everyone is registered to vote and doing their civic duty, if in fact they are a citizen of the United States and able to vote. We want you to make sure you’re doing it. So you can go to usa.gov/register-to-vote. But you don’t have to remember that; you could just google “where do I register to vote” or google “check my voter registration,” and you’ll come up with these links. And we’ll put a link in the podcast notes as well.

But, everyone, I’ve found myself a little piffy with some apathy lately when I’ve said, Hey, someone, you’re registered to vote, right? And then like, I’m not really political. We have U.S. citizens who are being denied their passports right now. So you need to get political, and you need to vote in your next election. And that’s my PSA.

MR Or you could log into Facebook. Usually pops up in my Facebook news feed every other time I log in, so that’ll give you a link as well. Right on.

AH Yeah. I’m all set with Facebook tracking my voting stuff. So you know what? Just google “where do I register to vote” or “check my voter registration,” which you can do online in most states. And all the deadlines for registering for the next big election are — they vary from state to state. So hop on that today, people. You’re listening to this on a Friday. I want you to have this handled by Monday morning. I believe in you.

MR Allissa prefers to be tracked by Google instead of Facebook.

AH Yes. That is my preference here.

MR That’s fair. That’s my preference, too, actually. That’s fair.

AH How is everything in Indy?

MR Doing well, doing well. Did some fun stuff over the weekend. The weather is this nice, crispy, yummy fall weather. I’m so excited.

AH Sweater weather.

MR It’s Halloween weather coming up, its candy apple season, it’s apple cider. So excited. I love fall.

AH Dude. Tell me — I could use a little lift this morning because we’re recording on a Monday morning. And tell me some nice things people have said about us, Michael.

MR Oh, you want to start with reviews? Let’s do it. Beautiful. You’re afraid I’m going to forget like I always do.

AH I am, I put it in our notes to remember to check the iTunes reviews.

MR All right. So we’re going to share a couple reviews at the beginning of our episode today. We had a couple of nice reviews lately, just last month. This is by MKOrchard828 on iTunes saying, “I can’t believe I haven’t written a review. I’ve been listening to the wisdom of Allissa and Michael” — aw, shucks. Thank you. I added the aw, shucks part — “for two years now, and I really do feel like they’ve helped me grow my business and myself as a professional. Sometimes owning a massage business is lonely, and this podcast reminds you that you’re not alone and there are tons of people going through similar challenges and difficulties and you can always get through it. Whenever I have business blues, I make sure to add one of these episodes to my queue for inspiration. Helps make a strategic changes in my business that makes certain business-owning aspects easier, and every massage therapist who is serious about business needs to subscribe to this podcast and join their premium community. I only joined the premium community recently and wish I had done it sooner. Thank you so much for being an inspiration and extremely helpful.”

That is phenomenal.

AH That is, like, a really prolific review. Thank you. That’s really lovely.

MR I know.

AH I know we have another one, but let’s save it for later.

MR Okay, we’ll do that the end?

AH Yeah, when I need a boost again after I’m tired of talking to you.

MR [laughs] It happens. All right. So our topic today is you don’t owe anyone your soul and other massage business tips.

AH Yes. I’ve been wanting to cover it for a while because I talk to — obviously, I talk to a lot of business owners and massage therapists, and I hear a lot of the same sentiments over and over again, which is they’re in an employment situation or in their own self-employed situation, and situations are occurring that make them unhappy but they do not take the steps to resolve them because they are making their decisions based on emotion or guilt. And I’m hearing things like, I want to quit my job but the owner is really nice, and I know if I quit the job this time, they’re going to be really short-handed and it will be hard for them. Or I’m really unhappy in my job, but this employer gave me my first chance in massage and I’ve learned a lot here, but I’m just not happy here anymore. And I hear a lot of versions of this story for people who are employed where they’re not happy with something, but there is some sense of loyalty either to their co-workers or to the boss even though the boss isn’t really managing the place very well. There is a sense of loyalty and a sense of guilt about what’s going to happen when we leave this job that prevents people from making changes.

And I’m going to throw in a little caveat here that a lot of times we use these things as excuses for not making change because change is hard. But in these situations, let’s just assume that these people really do have some kind of emotional situation, emotional connection that’s making them feel guilty about leaving an employment situation that is not best for them. And we hear this with small business owners, too, in our dealings with our clients or other colleagues where we hear things like — and this is going to be so familiar to everyone — where someone says, You know, a client called me and they wanted an appointment for Saturday night, and they really hurt their back and I felt bad, so I stayed late on Saturday. And usually this is followed up by, And now they want an appointment every Saturday night, or And then they didn’t show, or whatever. It’s a very much “give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.” But this repeats itself, oftentimes, even with things like, you know, I really don’t want to do deep tissue, but this one client keeps asking me to work harder. So then, you know, I’m working as hard as I can, but my wrists always hurt after I see him, but I can’t seem to say no. Things like that.

And this could all fall under the the heading of “boundaries”, of course, like 98 percent of our business stuff can. But I am — as I’ve been reading these posts, and as I’ve been hearing more of these stories in the past couple of months as I talked to different individuals and even therapists and colleagues at work in my own office and even some boundary issues that I’ve had as I’ve adjusted my schedule a little bit, I realized that it’s just sucking my soul. And I don’t owe anyone my soul. And every time I read about one of these employment situations, I think to myself, you don’t owe your employer your soul. And that’s how the title came about.

But let’s talk about what you do owe people. We’re going to talk about what you do owe people, your clients, your colleagues, etc. And then after the break, we’ll talk a little bit more about how to make decisions in these kinds of situations. So what does a massage therapist actually owe an employer or a client or a colleague you’re responsible to in some way or another? You owe people clarity. You owe people your honest — even if sometimes it’s a discreet, selective honesty — on what you think and feel. If you’re happy or not happy. If a situation is working for you or not working for you. You owe people — clients, colleagues, bosses — clarity. If your office mate is using an essential oil and it’s irritating you every time you’re in that room, you owe your colleague clarity saying, The thing that you’re doing is a problem for me. It’s affecting me in this way. Can we work it out? They don’t know it’s an issue until you tell them. You owe people clarity, a certain amount of thoughtful honesty on any given situation.

You owe consistency. You — and I guess by that I kind of mean reliability, in that, if you say to your boss I cannot work Monday mornings, and then they keep asking you to work Monday mornings and you do it but you’re grouchy about it, or you do it sometimes and not other times, it’s kind of your fault for working Monday mornings when you shouldn’t — when you don’t want to work Monday mornings. You owe people clarity of what you want and then consistency maintaining that.

You owe people ethical behavior even if they don’t display ethical behavior. So you should always leave your massage room clean even if the therapist before you doesn’t leave it clean. You should be mindful of client confidentiality issues even if the boss and the business isn’t. You should be ethical even if people around you are aren’t. However — so those are things you owe people: clarity, consistency, ethical behavior. And I’m sure there’s more that we could add to that list, but we’re going to roll with that so that this isn’t a three-hour podcast episode.

Let’s talk about the things you do not owe anyone. Your soul, which really means your happiness. You do not — it is not your job to worry on behalf of other clients, colleagues, or bosses. It is not your job to worry about your client who does not want to do their self-care stretches. It’s not your job; it’s theirs. They want to do their self-care stretches, they’re going to do them. If they don’t do them and they come in super hurt in the same way that they always do and they’re not doing anything to help themselves, it is not your job to worry about that. It’s your job to treat them at the time you guys agree for the price you guys agree when they’re in your office. It is not your job to worry about them outside of that.

It is not your job to worry on behalf of your boss. You don’t need to worry about what’s going to happen when you leave. You owe honesty and consistency and saying I am going to — this is my formal notice. I am going to leave in two weeks. Here are the things I can wrap up before I leave. But you don’t owe them any extra work to wrap up any loose ends that aren’t yours specifically. You don’t owe them finding another therapist to replace you. You don’t owe them — you don’t get to relieve them of the slight concern or issues they might have replacing you — and be assured your boss isn’t going to have any trouble replacing you; you’re not that special. And if they do, oh, well, you deserve to be off on your own if you want to anyway; you deserve a better working environment.

It is not your job to take on other people’s responsibilities. So don’t. There’s no need. You don’t owe people your soul. You don’t owe them that effort. You want to make decisions that are best for you — and we’ll talk about that decision making in a second — but that’s all you owe people.

Michael, do you have any thoughts about what you owe people, at this point, before we jump into the halftime break?

MR No, I agree a hundred percent.

AH Okay. Then tell me who our — sweet. Tell me who our halftime sponsor is today.

MR I would love to because it is jojoba.

AR Yay, jojoba.

MR You’re welcome.

AH I totally didn’t even turn that to you on purpose. I legit forgot who it was for a second.

MR [laughs] I’m always having to remind you.

Sponsor message Let’s talk about jojoba. We love jojoba. I just filled a bottle of it to — last week — to bring to my new grandson, and I’m really excited that he’s going to get massage with jojoba. It is not an oil; it is jojoba and jojoba only. It’s a liquid wax ester. It’s akin to the esters in your skin. And that distinction is important because it means that jojoba is non-allergenic. This is really great for massage therapists and grandmothers like me because they can use it on any client and baby without the fear of them having an allergic reaction. It’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores. And it’s good for a million different things including rubbing all over your baby to keep them soft and keep him happy getting a little massage and for cradle cap and also for my skin now that it’s getting cold here and things are getting a little dryer. And it doesn’t go rancid, so even if you live in a hot climate, there’s no triglycerides so it won’t go bad. That is all I have to say about jojoba except that if you want to learn more about jojoba, you can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba, J-O-J-O-B-A and learn more and order your own.

MR And I will say that since the cold weather was coming up, I have skin issues too. My skin kind of cracks and gets really dry, and this is the perfect time to start using some jojoba. So there you go. Tis the season.

AH And I just took some out of my cabinet, where had been for a couple of months, and it’s not going to go bad ever, so I don’t have to worry about pulling it out and having it be yucky.

It’s perfectly good as it was a while back.

MR What a great feature.

AH Yeah. So let’s say you’re in an unhappy employment situation or colleague issue or client issue, think through — here’s some of the decision-making processes. What are the expectations here and are they realistic? So if your client expects that you’re going to keep working Saturday nights when you don’t really want to and that’s not in your regular regular business hours, that is not a realistic expectation and you need to work your way out of it. You got yourself into it, so they think that’s a reasonable expectation. But you got to get yourself out of that. But would that be a reasonable expectation in a non-massage business situation? You know, if you were working retail at The Gap and there was a particular customer who liked your help trying on pants, but you weren’t supposed to come in on a Saturday night and they wanted you to, would you? No. Sometimes it helps to think about what would the expectations be in a non-massage business. And that helps because we attach a lot of emotion to our service business. Because it’s health and wellness and, I don’t know, mind-body-spirit. I almost said “spiritually connected,” but that’s not really the kind of thing I would say. But there’s a lot of heart in our massage businesses, as there should be. But sometimes because of that we get ourselves into weird predicaments that would be completely weird and unexpected in other business situations.

So think through the situation you’re in. Is this something that would be an emotional issue in another business? If you had a lousy boss who wants you to come in at different times or gives you crap about how you treat your clients, would this be acceptable in a non-massage business? Would this kind of feedback and unhappiness be acceptable in another type of job? So think that through, and if the answer is no, then get yourself out of that situation because you owe no one your soul.

I got some great advice when I was trying to work through an issue — a business issue a couple months ago — where someone said to me, If your best friend was in this situation or your other colleague, massage business owner that you know of, was in this situation, what advice would you give them? And it real — and I think I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve used this in my personal life, I’ve used this with kids, I’ve used this with all kinds of decision making. What would you tell your best friend if they were in your situation? And it allows you to kind of step outside, be a little more objective, and oftentimes we’re better advocates for other people than we are for ourselves. So thinking about that — your issue in these terms — how would you advise your best friend, how would you advise another business owner — can help you come to a better conclusion.

Finally, what would you do if emotions and loyalty and guilt were not a factor here? So if you wanted to leave a job, the thing that’s stopping you, is it emotion-loyalty-guilt related? And what would you do and how quickly would you do it if that wasn’t a factor? I’m going to leave it that because I think that was pretty clear.

Michael, any wrap-up advice you have here?

MR I hate to be so useless, but I agree with a hundred percent of what you said, so I’m going to go with no, no additional advice.

AH All right, then, I nailed it.

MR I think so.

AH Why don’t you bring us home and share with us that other iTunes review?

MR And thank you for the reminder because I probably would have forgotten. So the other iTunes review we wanted to share, which is our latest one, is from our friend Whitney Lowe. And he put his full name in the review, so we’re okay publicly saying his name. Whitney Lowe, as you may — he’s pretty well-known in the massage educator community and a lovely human being so we appreciate his review —

AH Really is.

MR Yeah, he’s awesome. We love Whitney. So Whitney said, “A very large number of massage therapists leave the profession after only a few years because of poor training and business practices. Unfortunately, when you were a student in school, focusing on business is probably not your first priority and something that you don’t put a lot of attention on. This podcast excels at covering a tremendous amount of valuable information that is helpful for any practitioner building their business regardless of the workplace setting. Michael and Allissa are a great team that bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in easily digestible chunks that is extremely valuable for any massage practitioner. I have been in this field for over 30 years and still have learned a lot of great things from them.” Well, I am honored to have such an awesome review by Whitney. So thank you, thank you, thank you. We appreciate that.

AH Yeah like — I’ve known Whitney since probably 2009 or ’10. And he totally saved my butt once when I was running a massage conference, he saved me and was a phenomenal presenter when I had some presenter issues come up, and he was just — answered my phone call on the Sunday of a holiday weekend and saved me from myself. And this was when I barely knew him, and he has always been so kind and supportive and innovative and really willing to say, Hey, what’s coming next with technology as it relates to massage? I am just tickled that he took the time to review us and that he participates in our premium member community. It is so rewarding when people you respect also respect your work. It’s really lovely. Anyhow, enough gushing. Bring us home, Michael.

MR All right. Thanks, everyone, for joining us today. As always, your home base on the web is massagebusinessblueprint.com. You can find everything about us there including more stuff like our premium community, our courses, all the good stuff we offer there. So check us out. If you have any topics or questions or comments for us, the email address to send those to us our is podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. And once again, thanks for joining us today. We will see you next time.

AH Bye.