Episode 252

Oct 15, 2019

What does a long, healthy massage career look like for a small massage business owners? We tackle options in this Q&A episode.

Listen to "E252: Q&A – Career Longevity for Massage Therapists" on Spreaker.
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What does a long, healthy massage career look like for a small massage business owners? We tackle options in this Q&A episode.

Submit your questions at: https://www.massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk

Sponsored by Yomassage andPure Pro Massage Products Peppermint Pedango


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Michael Reynolds Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast. A Q&A episode today. I’m Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines I’m Allissa Haines.

MR And we’re your hosts. Glad you’ve joined us today. I’m loving the questions we are getting.

How about you, Allissa?

AH I’m so excited. This question came in, like, today’s question came in, like, not even that long ago; like, a week ago, and I’ve been thinking about it constantly, and I’m super excited.

MR Me too.

AH Yeah. Let’s make it happen.

MR All right. Let’s make it happen. Here we go. This is from Jeanne.

Listener question Hey, guys. This is Jeanne. I have a question about career longevity. I need a game plan and am hoping you can help. Hopefully, this question is not too multi-faceted for you to answer in one recording — in one show.

I have been doing massage since I was 19. I am now 43. So I have been doing massage for 23 years and am hoping for another 23-plus years in this career. However, as I’m getting older, I’m starting to feel concerned about being able to physically do massage and for massage to financially be able to continue to support me now that I have children and the need to really start amping up my retirement savings.

So I’m just hoping that you can give some feedback or thoughts about being able to stay in the massage field in the long haul. Do I need to get a separate side gig, or are there things I can do to really make sure that I am financially and physically able to continue in this business that I so love? Thank you so much.

MR Thank you, Jeanne. Great discussion. Great topic. Great question.

AH It is. I’m super excited. But before we jump into my answer, Michael, who is our sponsor?

MR Today our sponsor is our friends over at Yomassage.

AH It is. Yay.

Sponsor message And registration for the first Yomassage virtual training is open now, with classes beginning in November. That’s next month, people. The Yomassage therapist training is an intensive 25-hour certification program. Over three weeks, you are immersed in the Yomassage philosophy. You learn about the nervous system, the mind-body connection, the fascial system, mindfulness, benefits of touch, and trauma-informed bodywork. You’re going to learn how to structure classes, understand body mechanics, encourage self-massage techniques, utilize Yomassage positions and incorporate modifications and contraindications. And all of this stuff in a virtual learning program. You will build community with the other therapists going through training, assignments that are due each week to hold you accountable, all sorts of Q&A discussion posts and quizzes, and it’s really an innovative new style of virtual training, if I haven’t emphasized that enough. You can go to yomassage.com and get $50 off virtual training registration with the code BLUEPRINTONLINE. That’s all lower case — all one word — BLUEPRINTONLINE. And that will get you $50 off the virtual training at yomassage.com.

MR Yay. We love Yomassage.

AH Yay. That was so much information, I need to, like, take a breath.

MR Deep breath.

AH Yeah, so I love Jeanne’s question. She’s got 23 years under her belt, which is amazing to have started massage at 19.

MR Yeah. Congrats.

AH Oh, that’s so cool. And, ideally, looking for another 20-plus more. So I want to address the physical stuff and then the financial stuff, and there’s some overlap here. But physically, this is something that you already know, but you want to actively be taking care of your body. And not just the “I need to exercise,” but a structured plan to address your stuff.

And this is a lot like Michael’s theory towards marketing where, like, you can’t control a lot of outcomes, but you can control what you do every day. You can’t, like, realistically say I’m definitely going to have ten new clients by the end of the week, but what you can do is, every day, take action to encourage an outcome similar to that. And that’s the same way with exercise. Not just I need to exercise more, but a structured plan to address your stuff.

If you’re noticing fatigue in your low back by the end of a busy workday, then that’s what needs to be addressed. Things related to low-back strength or you need to see, ideally, a personal trainer or someone who is skilled or do your own research and figure out what kind of exercise plan you need to be doing to address the specific issues in your body. And you can control if you do those exercises every day. You can control getting to a class. You can control working on your cardio so you don’t feel as fatigued at the end of a day. And all of those things help you mentally as well.

Also, with the physical concerns, you can look into moving forward in your career training in a niche that’s less straining for your body. That’s different for all of us. If I was doing lots of deep-tissue work but I wanted to do it in a way that didn’t hurt my wrists, I would say, all right, I need to get some more advanced training in Ashiatsu. However, if I had a shoulder issue, sometimes ashi might not be great because you’ve got your arms up above your head and you have to use your shoulders in a certain way. For other people with, you know, different niches, what you choose to move into for maybe the second latter part of your career could be different.

So I happen to know that Jeanne specializes in women’s health. She does a lot of prenatal and postnatal care. And it could be that if you find moving forward in this stage of your career that all of that pregnancy and postnatal work with all of the propping and the side-lying and the, whatever, isn’t great for your body full-time the way you’ve been doing it, maybe you could consider moving towards a niche of work that’s a little gentler on your body. Maybe that means manual lymphatic drainage. Maybe that means working with oncology care, which has its own physical demands, but they’re different.

So again, this is something each individual needs to think through. These suggestions do not apply to everyone, but thinking through, specifically, what you feel like your physical limitations are becoming and how you can adjust your niche to accommodate a specialty that isn’t as physically demanding on your body. But that’s an individual decision.

Financially, you know, this was the next concern. How can she structure her business to continue supporting her if the hands-on work falls off or what are the options? So say that Jeanne has zero interest in changing her niche at all. What are some options?

So if you already specialize in women’s health, what naturally follows? I happen to — and we already talked about moving into women’s health and lymphatic work, but I also happen to know that Jeanne is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and kind of already has a side gig. So maybe that’s something that you need to explore doing more of, if it interests you.

But really the biggest thing I wanted to suggest is thinking outside of the fee-for-service model. Like, with both of your gigs, with massage and counseling, you give someone an hour and they give you a certain amount of money. And I think it could be cool to think about expanding your services and your offerings to things that are a little more scalable, that are going to bring you more money for the same amount of work and that are kind of reuse and recyclable.

So maybe that means workshops that integrate bodywork and self-care and some kind of therapy. Maybe it’s individual workshops or, like, specific workshops for pre and postnatal women. Maybe it’s coordinating some kind of group community environment. Maybe it’s couples workshops that integrate bodywork and self-care and peer care and therapy techniques to increase a couples’ — whatever bonding — whatever. I don’t know the right words to call this because, clearly, it ain’t my specialty.

But I wanted to kind of think along real tangible lines. Like, if you were to offer two workshops a month and you had ten couples per workshop and they paid $50 per couple. That’s $500 per workshop. That’s potentially $1,000 a month and, like, realistically maybe that’s like 700 a month extra, after expenses, for, you know, once you have the workshop developed, like, two to three hours of work running these workshops and promoting them.

So, you know, an extra three-ish hours of work a month to make an extra 700 bucks, that’s a good increase in your retirement contributions. Like, to add 700 a month to your retirement contributions is not terrible. That’s pretty good. You could also think about things that you can sell, like, online courses. How great would it be if you could sell some kind of online workshop to prenatal/postnatal women or couples or whatever you go with here — that you could sell online. That’s scalable. You build it once and with some marketing savvy and some networking, you can sell it online. And if you sell a course, again, for 50 bucks and, you know, you sell $500 worth of those a month, that’s a lovely retirement contribution. It doesn’t stink. And you’ve put the initial work into it and then it’s still work to run an online course, but it’s a lower level of maintenance versus just, you know, fee for service at 60 to $100 an hour.

Those are my ideas for longevity physically and financially.

Michael, what do you got?

MR I agree with your — what you said at the end, especially, which is some more passive income suggestions, online courses, etc. So I’ll talk a little bit more about that as well.

But first, just kind of want to reiterate when you come to retirement savings, I don’t know if you’re doing this already. You may be so this may be redundant but, Jeanne, I want to make sure that you think about paying yourself first when it comes to retirement savings. So a lot of massage therapists, for example, have a Roth IRA as a really good vehicle for retirement savings.

And, you know, a lot of times — all of us get in this habit where, you know, contributing to your retirement’s kind of an afterthought. It kind of gets pushed to the back burner because life gets in the way and business is, you know, all the stuff that happens in our business is front in our mind and kind of gets the attention, but I’d encourage you to make sure that you’re in the habit of contributing as much as comfortable and appropriate for your financial plan, as much as possible, into your retirement savings on a regular basis consistently, so that is one of the top things in your budget.

So every month when you’re looking at the things you’re spending money on, I would encourage you to move that retirement contribution to the top and, ideally, put it on auto-contributions. You don’t really have to think about it. It just sort of is an operational habit that happens automatically, and obviously make sure your retirement vehicle is invested properly for your age, for your risk tolerance, all that kind of stuff. But try and move that to the top so that you kind of have that habit already formed of every month I’m putting X dollars per month into my Roth IRA or my solo 401K or whatever vehicle you’re using, and that way, you’re not having to kind of fight the priorities every month of figuring it out. It’s just going to happen. So paying yourself first is something that is going to go a long way in the long-term, toward building you up financially a little bit more.

And I have a bias toward parallel entrepreneurship, and Allissa already really talked about this. But you kind of already opened the door for additional streams of income. Not everybody is going to open this door, but in your question, Jeanne, you opened the door by saying, do I need to consider other, you know, careers or businesses or income, and you already said that. So that kind of opens the door for me to encourage you to kind of pursue that.

And, you know, whether it’s counseling or therapy or whether it’s an online course, like Allissa mentioned, or whether it’s something totally different. Maybe you start a totally different kind of business that’s not even in, you know, wellness or healthcare. Maybe it’s something that’s just fun. So I’m a big fan of multiple streams of income through different careers and businesses because it also diversifies your income. So if your massage therapy income ends up, you know, later on there’s — you have an issue because of longevity or your body is not able to support the same type of work you have up to now, then you have additional streams of income that can kind of offset that. And so diversifying your income, I think, is a really good way to set yourself up for more reliable stability when it comes to finances.

So that’s kind of my take on it.

AH Rock on. And that’s what we got.

So Jeanne, I hope that we gave you some good ideas, and if we didn’t, follow up with some different questions or thoughts kind of taking off on the ideas that we have. And my initial instinct to answer this question was, like, okay, you’ve got to think through a total financial overhaul on your business and, like, see where money is leaking out, and see where you’re making the most money, and see how you can increase that and dut-dut-dut-dut-dut. But I didn’t want to go into just like a whole big, you know, “raise your prices, make more money” kind of thing. I really wanted to think a little deeper and a little more strategic about that.

So of course you should look at your business’s finances and make sure that you’re taking home as much as you can and should be from your business, but I didn’t want this to be a generic answer that way. I really wanted to customize it to you. So I hope this was helpful. If you need more, by all means, you and anyone else with questions can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk and record your question, and we will likely answer it.

MR [Laughing] Likely. Probably.

AH [Laughing]

MR In theory.

AH There are no dumb questions, but there are questions that are not suitable for our podcast, but even if you answer a question that we can’t answer on the podcast, I will get back to you with some kind of answer anyway.

MR Truth.

And Jeanne, I also want to add — I just want to — some more thoughts that popped into my head as we wrap up here. Again, we already kind of talked about you open the door for other streams of income, other types of business. Maybe you enjoy massage more when you’re doing it less. Maybe you, you know, some people want to make a long term, full-time, all-out career out of massage, and some people don’t. And that’s okay. There’s no right or wrong. So maybe you find that you enjoy massage more if you supplement it with something else that’s more knowledge-based and less physically demanding. So, yeah, explore that.

So great discussion. Thank you, Jeanne.

AH Thank you.

MR And thank you, Allissa.

AH Thank you, Michael.

MR No, no. Thank you.

AH Let’s wrap this up.

MR All right. Let’s stop there. [Laughing] All right.

Thanks everyone for joining us today for our Q&A episode. So you might ask, how do you submit your questions. I will tell you how. It’s very easy. You would go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk, again, that’s massagebusinessblueprint.com/T-A-L-K, for talk, and it’s really easy. You click a button there. You may have to allow your microphone access in your browser — whether it’s mobile or desktop, and once you do that, you will be on record. And you just speak your question like Jeanne did. Don’t worry about making it super polished or formal, just spill your thoughts. Just kind of dump your mind out — dump your question out. Don’t worry if it doesn’t sound, you know, totally polished or whatever. Just say it. We want the raw thoughts you have in your mind to come out, and we will record and play your question on the air, and we will discuss it just like we did Jeanne’s.

So thanks, Jeanne. And thanks everyone for joining us today. We’ll see you next time.

AH Bye.