Episode 305

Jul 17, 2020

Allissa and Michael discuss how keeping things simple and just giving a massage can work for your business.

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Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Don't want to sell packages and transformations and life-altering experiences on your table? That's cool. Just give a f*cking massage. 

Quick Tips



Sponsor message This episode is proudly sponsored by ABMP. All massage therapists and bodyworkers can access free ABMP resources and information on the coronavirus and the massage profession at abmp.com/covid19, including sample release forms, PPE guides, and a special issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine all about this health crisis. For more, you can also check out the ABMP podcast. Recent episodes feature conversations with Ruth Werner, Brené Brown certified instructor Amy Andrews McMaster, and the Massage Business Blueprint team; that's us. They are available at abmp.com/podcasts and also wherever you listen to podcasts, wherever you're listening to this podcast. You can expect more from ABMP.

Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone., Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines I'm Allissa Haines.

MR We're your hosts. Welcome to our episode today. We're glad you are with us.

AH We are glad you're with us.

MR [Laughing] I thought I'd see what happened if I just stopped talking. [Laughing]

AH I -- it's like a nice, oh, psychiatrist trick where -- or like your manager. When you're asking for a raise, they just don't reply until you've talked yourself out of it. Thanks.

MR Yeah. Exactly. That was my technique.

AH Thanks for starting our day and our recording by manipulating me.

MR [Laughing]

AH Michael, what's -- what've you been reading? What've you been doing? What's thinking? What's up?

MR All right. What am I thinking and reading? All right. So we talked about this a few episodes ago. We were discussing a course by Rachel Cargle called Do the Work. And we got really excited about it. I started -- Allissa and I both started the course. And it got ten days in and then stopped. And we're like, oh, my goodness. What's happening? This is good stuff. It turns out that this course by Rachel Cargle was -- I think she kind of started it a while back, and then it started making the rounds recently due to current events, and then she went back and finished it out and corrected some of the links that didn't work and stuff. So she sent an email last week saying, hey, guys, the full 30 days is out. Here is the full course. I've corrected the links. I've updated things. And she has launched the full 30-day course, which is awesome.

So I am now back to experiencing that. And again, I've put a link in the show notes. It's called Do the Work, and there is a link to the entire 30-day course where you basically click on one day at a time to -- I go in and take that particular segment of the course. Specifically, the course is to educate and inform and help us understand systemic racism, specifically for black women, but it has a lot of nuanced, applicable information for a lot of us that could be very useful, I think. So it's really interesting. I really am enjoying it. I'm glad she put all 30 days out. I've put a link in the show notes, and I encourage you to check it out if you are interested. That's what I've been looking into.

AH Excellent. Yeah, I was really excited when they put out the link with the 30 -- the full 30 days too. I haven't gotten back on it. When I ran out of days, I kind of took it off my daily to-do list, so I have it -- I have it set up to get back on the horse and do that.

MR Nice.

AH So yay. Thanks for putting that in here, Michael. I just read fiction, a book called Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. And it totally fits the -- one, it suits me because it's fiction, and it's interesting, and it's neither a scary mystery story nor a heavy romance, which I like both of those things, but not right now. And I'm just going to read a little bit from the actual description, which is, "A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice" -- which I totally agree with -- "Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both." And that makes it sounds like there's a big dangerous mystery. It's not. It's just interesting. It is a really interesting story that is sweet, and some of it's funny, and it -- I got to the end of it, and I was like, huh. That's a lot of interaction around race and privilege that I had not considered in the past.

So that was good. And it was -- it's a black author, and yeah. That's where -- that's where I'm at. I'm trying to read more. I need to be reading fiction right now because I just -- that's where my mind goes by the end of the day, so I am making an effort to read more fiction. I've been making an effort to read more fiction by women, and specifically, black women, and that is -- it was right up my alley. And it was just an enjoyable read overall. And that's what I got.

MR Nice. Thank you. Nice. All right. Well, before we move on, let's show some love to Acuity, one of our favorite sponsors and our favorite online scheduling software.

AH Yeah. As a matter of fact, I've been spending some time in Acuity this past weekend as I kind of redesign my menu of services and consider seeing a few patients next month. And I, as always, was just really delighted with how I can customize things and how I can hide links so not everybody is going to see the scheduling options. But I can send a direct link to people who I want to schedule, and they can choose their option and pay online and fill out a little intake form way prior to the appointment and then just 12 hours prior to the appointment with all the COVID questions. I will go into our scripted ad now.

Sponsor message Acuity is the scheduling assistant that makes it easy for you to run your business because it handles the heavy lifting. From the moment clients book with you, Acuity is there to automatically send booking confirmations with my branding and message because I get to customize it. You can let clients reschedule on their own. You can process payments. You can do all these form things. And that's what Acuity can do for you and more. You can get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today. You can check that out at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.

MR Yay. I feel like every time we talk about Acuity, I find out more cool things it can do.

AH Yeah. I've been diving in. I haven't -- when I first started using it, I don't know, three or four years ago maybe -- two, three years ago, I -- of course, I dove into all the tutorials, and I learned this stuff. But I haven't done any of the deep learning since then, so I've kind of tried to go back and start some things from scratch because when you start duplicating treatments and using templates you've created, something always gets missed, and it's just not as good as it could be. It's not as great at freshening up. So I've been starting things from scratch and watching the tutorials, and it's really been good for me to sink into some learning.

MR Nice. All right. So I could not be more excited about our topic today.

AH Yeah. So as well as learning Acuity, I have been sinking into some other learning. Like I've talked about before, I took a course on how to manage our new platform, our online community. I have been using and learning from different business resources, including some created by massage therapists, teaching business skills and different ways to run your business. And I have run into a few -- and I'm not talking about any particular one program right now, people, but I have run into a few training/coaching, business coaching-ish kinds of programs where I've watched a handful of videos and free trainings. I haven't enrolled in any paid training programs, but I've been watching a bunch of different freebie things.

And at the same time, we've been talking about -- in our private Massage Business Blueprint community, we were talking about branding for the past couple of weeks. We're kind of focusing in July on branding your business, your logo, the feel of your business. And I made a post that said, what do you want people to think and feel when they see your logo? because we talked a lot about logos last week. And we had a lot of really great answers like, I want people to feel energized. That's from people who do sports massage kind of stuff. I said, I want people to feel like I am calm and competent, that I'm not the kind of massage therapist who's going to flake out and miss their appointment. And my favorite response came from our friend Michelle. And we did not say this, although the episode is marked as explicit, and I'm guessing you can guess that from the title, but this is going to be an explicit episode, so if you have little ears listening, you should hit pause right now.

Okay. So we were talking about branding and what we want people to feel when they see our logo, and our friend, Michelle, said, I don't have a slogan, but if I did, it would be for people who just want a fucking massage. And I loved this. And Michelle was really directly speaking to -- we're doing branding this month. Last month we talked a lot about niching for people who want to specialize and recruit a clientele based on that specialty. We talked a lot about niching, and we always do. We're big fans in a lot of ways. And Michelle is like, screw that. I am a generalist. I am for people who just want to come get a fucking massage. And I love it. I appreciate it, especially in the context of all of these trainings and coachings and stuff that I've been watching.

And there's certainly a new wave of designing treatments and treatment plans and programs for clients. And we've been seeing this happen for a couple years. This isn't rocket science. It's great when some practitioners can create these programs of transformative wellness and take their clients on a holistic journey of ten massage sessions and ten online -- I'm making stuff up as I go here -- meditation practices and a weekly check-in and da-da-da-da-da, and all of these things. These are great. There is definitely a clientele base for those kinds of treatments. There is definitely a sense of security for the massage therapist or any kind of practitioner who can sell big packages. There's consistency. There's stability. There's a new way to use your skills. It's invigorating. But if you don't want to be that kind of practitioner, if you don't want to be a guru, if you don't want to sell people this package of a better existence or a transformative journey, you don't have to. You don't even have to niche. You don't have to have a four-page intake form that ask people about where they hold their emotions in their body. You can just give a fucking massage. That's it. You can give a massage.

And I want to say again, lots of these big programs work. Acupuncturists have been doing it for a long time, certain kinds of acupuncturists, chiropractors. They've been selling packages of ten treatments with the check-ins about this and that. All kinds of practitioners have been doing this for a long time. They kind of treat wellness like a course where you enroll and prepay, and then you do the work. And it's a great way to hold clients accountable.

But after watching a lot of these trainings and stuff, I have realized again and again and again, and especially with the nudge from Michelle, that is not the kind of practitioner I am ever going to be. I'm not. I'm going to be a "one appointment at a time", or for people who like to come regularly, "a couple of appointments at a time" -- a generalist, mostly a generalist, with a slight slant towards a niche, which I'll talk about in a minute, but still keeping our options wide open and offering single services on a consistent basis for people who want that and single services on an inconsistent basis for people who want that.

So if you've been feeling like watching all these kinds of coaches, self-proclaimed or otherwise, sell all of these programs about how you can sell programs using their own experience selling programs of coaching to teach you how to sell programs of wellness to your clients, and you're annoyed by it, I just want to validate that. Not everyone needs to be that kind of practitioner. And again, yes. There can often be a certain kind of security and consistent income and an enjoyment in that kind of practice. But if that's not who you are, that is okay.

For me, I'm a generalist. I have a general practice. In the past few years, I have focused my marketing efforts to recruit more clients with straight-up anxiety issues, maybe a little depression. I don't recruit or take deep tissue clients or rehab clients or sports therapy kind of clients. It's not my jam. It's not what I do. It's not what I enjoy. I do niche my marketing efforts towards the anxiety crowd, but I pretty much accept anybody outside of the deep tissue kind of stuff.

That said, this validation that says it's cool to be a generalist, it's cool to not sell programs, it's cool to be a one-off massage therapist who just gives a fucking massage to someone who wants a massage -- that all of these things don't mean that you can just blow off structure and accountability. You still need a very strong business foundation. You need strong protocols for intake, for follow up. You want to make sure your clients are getting that fucking massage that they want. You want to have a good cancellation policies that you can enforce so when someone blows off the appointment, you can charge them. And that gives you the freedom to not charge them if they come down with a fever the day before so that they will cancel instead of coming in and pretending they're not sick. You want a really good protocol for taking deposits for appointments if you find that people tend to flake. You want good retention skills. You want to have wonderful communication with your clients. You need all the typical foundational skills that are boring and are so not transforming your life into any kind of spiritual journey.

Your massage practice does not have to be a calling. It doesn't have to be a spiritual journey. It doesn't have to be an experience of taking your clients through some kind of spiritual journey. You can just give a fucking massage with good outcomes and good goals and good service and a smile on your face under your mask, so nobody sees it anymore, but a nice calm tone of voice and giving your clients an hour of relief from whatever they need an hour of relief from without trying to entice them to commit to 20 hours of that over the next three months. A lot of our clients are never going to buy into that. A lot of us are never going to buy into that. I wouldn't buy a program like that. A lot of our clients just want an easy hour of relief from whatever.

And I have always felt that it is my job to provide that. That's my mission in my practice. Yours might be different. But when it comes down to it, my mission is to remember that every body is deserving of safe, non-sexual touch, and that it is my job to provide an hour of that. That's it. That's like -- I don't have any big calling. I didn't rub my grandmother's hands while she was dying of cancer. I don't have any -- this was a logical job for me in a time when I knew we need to go to school, but I didn't want to go for a couple of years. I look forward to going back after this whole pandemic, and it's going to happen soon. But you can just sell massage. You can just give a fucking massage. And I want everyone to be validated, and I've droned on about that enough. I warned Michael I was going to pull him in at the end.

Any bits I missed about like, hey, you can't blow off these foundational skills, Michael, that you want to add to?

MR I love this so much. I really do.

AH And I just want to say I love Michelle so much. And frankly, I have had a fucking massage from Michelle because she lives like half an hour from my grandparents in Illinois. She is so freaking good! It's an amazing massage, and she's good at it. Thank you for this fodder. Okay. I'm done.

MR I really love this. And it reminds me -- one of the co-founders of Basecamp, David Heinemeier Hansson, gave a talk a long time ago and said something similar. And he was talking about -- this mindset has been around a long time where everyone thinks they have to build this killer business that rules the world and is the best, most unique thing ever. And he's like, you know what? You don't have to be the best freaking Italian restaurant in the entire world. If you're going to open an Italian restaurant, you've got to have good food and be reasonably convenient for the people around you and charge a decent prices. That's it. You can build a great business quietly in the trenches just following those basic principles.

And you've mentioned a lot of them that I absolutely agree with. And I find that the smaller the business, the more flakey the business professionalism sometimes becomes. And so the smaller the business usually -- you're going to see people using a Yahoo account for their business. They're not going to call you back. They have no online scheduling. This -- just all this kind of stuff that just kind of detracts from professionalism. So if you're building those foundations -- if you have a professional email address that matches your domain name, if your website is clear, if it's mobile friendly, if you have a Google My Business page so people can find you on a map and leave reviews, if you call people back when they leave you a voicemail, if you have online scheduling -- all these little things, it doesn't take a whole lot to actually stand out among lots of other massage therapists and small businesses in general that don't have that level of professionalism.

So I love this topic. I love your discussion of it, and I could not agree more.

AH I also want to note that this is not a dig on people who do big integrative programs and things like that because I think it's wonderful. I think it's a great way to practice. I think it can be really helpful for everyone. It is just so not what I do. And I think I was starting to feel a little crappy about myself because that's just not what I do. It's not what I want to do. And I -- when I started to learn more about it, I got so exhausted by the idea. That kind of work, to create such a program and market such a program and sell a high-ticket item, it stressed me the heck out. I felt like I was failing at business, which is ridiculous because I'm a freaking expert in marketing and business, especially in massage. It made me feel bad about myself. And then I -- it was validating to hear Michelle say that and then to realize that that's who I am and what I am.

And that's why we teach what we teach at Massage Business Blueprint. That's why we teach these foundational skills of niching, and branding, and having a good website, and productivity, and time management so you can manage your business well, and then business practices, and financial practices, and networking and clients' relationships. And we teach these things. We have them laid out in our portal in a very particular order so that you can build a strong foundation with a general practice or otherwise, with a specialization. And it was really -- it was just really good for me. I start listening to too many colleagues who teach stuff, and I start to feel bad about myself. So if you've ever felt that way, know that you're validated.

Michael, who's our next sponsor?

MR Jojoba!

AH Yay, Jojoba!

Sponsor message As you know, I recommend HobaCare Jojoba for use in your massage practice since it never goes rancid. And I have a ton at home to just slather on me and everybody here with all of the handwashing we're doing. And the little guy's got some eczema, and I've been putting a little bit of jojoba on that, and it's really, really helped with -- he gets out in the sun, and there's chlorine from the pool, and the poor kid gets all red and scratchy, and the jojoba's been really, really useful for that. And you, my friends, can get 10% off the price of the product on orders of $35 or more when you shop through our link massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

AH And if you have not picked it up, you should pick up a little tin of the HobaCare Hand & Cuticle Salve. It's like 9 bucks or something. It's this little tin; it'll last you forever. I was too cheap to buy it for myself, and our friend Meg sent me a tin as a gift. And I've still got. She sent it at the beginning of this pandemic, and I still got, and it's wonderful, and everybody should check out the stuff that Jojoba has. That's what I got.

MR Love it. All right. Quick tip time.

AH Yeah. You want to go first?

MR Sure. I'll go first. So my quick tip is to schedule thinking time, and I'm going to be a little more specific about it. We've kind of touched on this in the past as a conceptual kind of discussion, but this is a little more specifics. The article I'm linking to is titled "Self-Improvement: Thinking Time: The Secret Weapon of Billionaires." I don't want you to be turned off by title because I realize that billionaires don't always have a -- have great optics, especially in this day and age when it comes to social stuff. But anyway, if you can get past the title -- I also think there's nothing wrong with wanting to increase income and make money. So just kind of think through that lens.

This is from a workshop that was conducted a while back by Keith Cunningham, who is an executive CEO consultant. And he outlined his suggestions for how to do thinking time. The idea behind thinking time is that we spend most of our days just reacting and putting out fires and just doing little surface-level things here and there, and we never actually set aside space in our brains for creative thinking. And if we don't do that, we never really get to the root of solving problems or moving our businesses forward. And so thinking time is really useful to be able to create that space so we can actually generate leaps forward in our lives and our work and our business. Warren Buffett, for example, says he spends about 80% of his time just thinking and reading, just processing and thinking and the creative space.

So here is Keith Cunningham's suggestion on how to do thinking time.

One is schedule thinking time into your calendar each week. His suggestion is you start with a 45-minute block twice per week. People may have different success with different time frames, but his suggestion is 45 minutes seems to be a sweet spot for him. 20 minutes is too short, for example, because it doesn't give you time to really get into it. So he does suggest 45 minutes. And the time is going to vary for you. He does Tuesdays and Thursdays around 2 p.m. So depending on when your best thinking time might be, you might adjust that for your schedule.

Next, focus on one question for thinking time, which allows you to give each question the energy it deserves. So write a question down.

Find a quiet spot with no distractions. The local Starbucks, not a great place, full of distractions. So it's going to be probably some place in your home that is quiet, that is set aside that you can have private -- set aside for thinking time.

Next, find a favorite pen and notebook. He says don't overthink it. It's just a pen and a notebook. You can use a crayon and printer paper if you want, but make it just a simple pen, a simple notebook or piece of paper.

Next, make sure you use the bathroom. Drink some water so that you're hydrated and your bladder is empty, and you don't have to be distracted. So make sure that you get all of that stuff taken care of, because once you sit down, you're not allowed to move. You're supposed to stay there the whole time and not move.

Set a 45-minute timer while you do this using your watch, your Echo, your phone, whatever. Set a timer for 45 minutes. You don't have to worry about watching a clock.

Next step, start writing. He says that you'll find is the first several minutes will be easy. You'll get all the low hanging fruit answers out of the way, so to speak. But then toward the end, you'll find that it's taking more serious brain power to get the last 20% out. And those final ideas are going to be the best ones. And he encourages you to push through and to really stick with it through the entire 45 minutes when you're answering that question or writing the ideas out around that question.

And then finally, when you're done, analyze. You've got all the ideas. Analyze the ideas and decide what your execution steps are. And he says the most importantly, ideas are useless without execution. So you really have to decide how you are going to execute and implement the ideas and solutions you have written down.

So that is eight steps it looks like. That is Keith Cunningham's suggestion for how to do thinking time with a specific structure.

AH Sorry. It took me a second to unmute there because I was making some notes.

MR That's all right. Yeah.

AH This is great. Thank you. Having specific steps and having that idea of focusing on one question per session, that is a little bit brilliant. Thank you.

MR Yeah. I'm going to give it a try.

AH I kind of realized I have inadvertently done a little bit of that, but not structured nearly enough. Thinking about when -- going back work, when exactly do I want to work? How many massages do I want to give? And my next step is to sit down and think about what are the parameters and rules around which I'm going to give a massage. And that's why I was furiously making notes about that. I'm going to sit down and think about that today. Thank you.

MR Right on.

AH So my quick tip stems from trying to keep things not quite so tedious and boring for four people who have been essentially alone in a house together for four months and not -- without much outside interaction. And it's getting a little boring around here. We sit down at the dinner table and have absolutely nothing to say to each other because we've spent the bulk of the day together and have nothing to talk about.

So I started to inject a little bit of wackiness and fun into our lives. And one of the things I have done is -- Walt mentioned a couple weeks some cereal that we had when we were kids. He was like, you remember that? And we were -- I was like, oh, my God, I loved -- Golden Grahams were like my favorite, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch was my second favorite cereal as a kid. And we talked about sitting and eating cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons, and we decided to start doing that with the kids. So I just got a box of everyone's favorite ridiculous cereal because we don't buy junk food like that very often.

And we all picked a half-an-hour cartoon to watch. And Walt and I picked cartoons of our youth. He picked the old Transformers, and I picked Jem. And one of the kids has been mixing it up with the old Inspector Gadget cartoon and a couple others. And then the older one, we've been watching the newer series, Avatar. And we found an app to do this called Tubi, and I'll put the link in the show notes. It's free. It's just like a regular smart TV app.

And we have been having a blast. And it's so funny because every episode is like a "to be continued," especially with Jem. They're big on cliff hangers. And we're not allowing ourselves to binge watch. And the kids are like, what? We have to wait until next weekend to see the next episode? And Walt and I are like, welcome to our childhood. And we're already looking forward --

MR That's awesome.

AH It's so good. We're already looking forward to the next week. And we're being flexible about it. We can't always do it on Saturday morning. But we do it Saturday or Sunday, and it's just really fun. And we tell the older one, who's been sleeping a little later nowadays, we're like, we're at 9 whether you're up or not. And I think she was up by the -- no, she actually got up in time. But even if she didn't get up, we were just going to hold her episode to be last, so then she'd be up by then. And we're just -- it's really nice. It's a low stress -- last week, I got Pop-Tarts instead of fancy cereal, so that was really fun because we don't get those very often.

It's just been a blast. So if you are also home and a little bored, try some rituals that are maybe a little nostalgic but also just, in general, kind of fun. That's what I got.

MR That's awesome.

AH And thank you for finding that link, Michael. You embedded that for me right away. Thank you.

MR I thought I'd grab it for you.

AH You're so thoughtful. And that's all I got for today.

MR All right. Wonderful. Well, thank you very much for all of that, Allissa. And thank you very much, everyone, for joining us today. All right, as always, you know where to find us. massagebusinessblueprint.com is our website. That is our central place for all the things. If you want to join our community, you can read more about it there. If you want to send us a note, you can do that on our contact page or just email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. We welcome feedback.

All right. Thanks, everyone, for joining us today. Have a great day. We'll see you next time.

AH Bye.

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