Podcast

Episode 348

Apr 16, 2021

Allissa and Michael discuss the red flags of a running a volunteer project and not a real business.

Listen to "E348: Are you running a Massage Business or Volunteer Project?" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 348

Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Are You Running a Massage Business or Volunteer Project?

Quick Tips

  • Learn to be less wrong over time

Sponsors


Transcript:

Sponsor Message:

This episode is sponsored by the Original Jojoba Company. I firmly believe that massage therapists should only be using the highest quality products because our clients deserve it and our own bodies deserve it. I have been using Jojoba for years, and here's why. Jojoba is non-allergenic. I can use it on any client and every client without fear of an allergic reaction. It is also noncomedogenic so it won't clog pores. So if you've got clients prone to acne breakouts, Jojoba is a good choice for them. It does not go rancid. There's no triglycerides, so it can sit on your shelf for a year plus and not be a problem. That's what also makes Jojoba a wonderful carrier for your essential oils as well. It won't stay in your 100% cotton sheets so your linens are going to last longer. The Original Jojoba Company is the only company in the world that carries 100% pure first press quality Jojoba, and we are delighted to be their partner. You, my friends can get 20% off the price of the product when you shop through our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

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.

Michael Reynolds:

We're your hosts. Thanks for joining us today. We are glad you are here as always. How about you, Allissa? What's going on?

Allissa Haines:

Not much. [crosstalk 00:01:40] I have nothing exciting to share. So I'm going to jump right into what I'm reading. Is that okay?

Michael Reynolds:

Go for it. Go for it.

Allissa Haines:

Our friend, Michelle, who is a premium member and also a phenomenal massage therapist outside of Illinois ... I can say that because I've actually gotten a massage from her ... She shared an article in our community called, What Happens When Adults Are Vaccinated But Kids Are Not? It's actually cool. It's this doctor, pediatrician, I think, and he has some really great ... I kind of dived into his website after reading this article, and I love him. Anyhow. It's a really wonderful resource about how to handle your activities, what protocols one should take if the adults are vaccinated but the kids are not. This is an issue that has kind of come up repeatedly in my household, as we think about the summer.

Allissa Haines:

As we think about other families that we might want to hang out with or not, and how to treat the situation, because I don't want to expose my kids to unvaccinated people. But also they need to be around other kids. So how do we be safe, and what are the parameters? I'm not going to tell you because I want you to read the article thoroughly yourself if this is something that's important to you. The link is in our show notes, What Happens When Adults Are Vaccinated But Kids Are Not? By Dr. Steve Silvestro. And that is what I am reading. What are you reading, Michael?

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah, I saw that article, I think a few weeks ago and it was interesting. So I really liked it. What am I reading? I am kind of on a don't overthink things kick over the past few weeks for various reasons and various kind of contexts. I think when I'm on a kick like that, I see things that really resonate with me in that area. One of the things that I read recently was Rob Hatch's recent newsletter. Rob Hatch is part of Owner Media Group with Chris Brogan. They work together, they each have their own email newsletter that goes out once a week, and they do coaching and training and courses.

Michael Reynolds:

I like both of their styles. I think they have different styles. Chris Brogan has a certain style. Rob Hatch is more tactical and productivity oriented. One of his recent newsletters was titled, Where Do I Begin? I really liked it because it resonated with my more recent kick of not overthinking things. His whole premise of the newsletter was he did an interview with a woman named Trudy who was on his podcast or his show recently, and she was talking through how she started up her new business. It's not so much about starting a business, but the concept was, how do you get started? So many people I talk to both in the massage therapy space and not struggle with where do I start to do a new thing, whether it's launch a new business or submit a new project or do a new thing in my business or rebrand or whatever it is, they don't know where to begin necessarily.

Michael Reynolds:

Her whole premise was stop making it more complicated than it has to be. They walk through the basic things that she used to start a business. Her website she put on Squarespace. It was simple. It was low cost. Easy to set up. Boom, done. This could be any number of DIY platforms, whatever. She just picked Squarespace. Email newsletter, just pick MailChimp. It's free. It's out there. It's available. Use Zoom for meetings and coaching use. Stripe for payments and done. Then the interesting part after this was the pushback people always get about just choosing something and moving on. "But Rob, I've heard such great things about X or Y and what if I outgrow Squarespace or MailChimp? What if it doesn't do exactly what I want and all this stuff?" We get hung up on all that. His response was, "Hey, what a great problem to have when you get there. You don't have to think about that stuff now. Just pick something and move on."

Michael Reynolds:

I see this a lot of times in our community when people are saying, "Well, what scheduling software do I pick?" Or, "Where do I put my website?" Or, "How do I do my email newsletter," or, "What social platform should I be on?" It's more important to pick something and get started than it is to spend six months researching 50 different options.

Michael Reynolds:

I really liked this particular issue of the newsletter to remind us that paralysis through overthinking typically leads to inaction, whereas picking something and moving on gets you started. Then you can always change your mind later. You can address the problem that might come up when you get there. If you want to subscribe ... This is an email newsletter, so I can't post it publicly online, but if you want the issue, just email me at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com, I'll send you the issue and you can also go to chrisbrogan.com to subscribe to both Chris and Rob's newsletter concurrently, and you'll start getting these. That's what I'm reading.

Allissa Haines:

I'm just going to jump in because I love Rob Hatch so much. I love his guidance and his advice. Every time he has openings in his calendar for more coaching clients, I consider doing it, but I'm just not quite ready yet, but I will be at some point soon. I loved that email from him last week, and I have two others actually still saved in my inbox. I tend to read his email on Thursday morning and think about it and go back and read it again a few days later and ponder it. They're just so helpful to me. He had one a couple weeks ago talking about how ... Michael and I very much subscribe to this philosophy ... You don't have to try every new tool. You're not being left out.

Allissa Haines:

Clubhouse became a thing, but only for iPhone users, which means I don't want to use it because I don't want to exclude people. People got really into Clubhouse, which is pretty much just like an old school group chat line, like a telephone thing. People get really into TikTok, which I have found very interesting. He very clearly lays out you don't need to try every new tool. You don't have to feel like you're being left behind and you're not missing out. If what you're doing is thinking about your current clients and your potential clients and serving them in a manner that they want to be served. I find this weekly newsletter is so affirming, and he actually did a wonderful email in January about self doubt and putting out an email newsletter like he does and how he's managed to do it every Thursday and what the result has been and that he never would have thought it would have been such a great way to connect with people.

Allissa Haines:

Five years ago, he could have told himself, "Hey, you're going to have a weekly issue. If it goes out a little late, people are going to be worried about you," he never would have felt so insecure about trying to do a weekly connection. I've had some really wonderful email exchanges with him because he often encourages a response with your thoughts about this topic. He really does get back to you. Anyhow, subscribe to that email. Sorry, I didn't mean to go off. I just love the guy. I love him so hard.

Michael Reynolds:

Me too. Good stuff. All right. Well, before we move on to our discussion today, let's give some love to ABMP, the lovely people at ABMP.

Allissa Haines:

They are wonderful. They have CE courses you will love available for purchase or included for free with membership in the ABMP education center at abmp.com/ce. You can explore hands-on techniques, complete ethics requirements, discover trending courses like addressing disparities and communities of color with wellness approaches with Dr. Nicola Finley. Sorry, I lost my space and I wanted to say her name right. All ABMP memberships include 200 plus video based on-demand CE classes.

Allissa Haines:

They've got a great new series of CE Socials. Michael and I will actually be on one Wednesday, the 26th or 28th or something of April. You can go to abmp.com/ce-socials to learn more about that. The CE socials are interactive events free for ABMP members and $15 for non-members. You watch the course and the instructors are there live in the chat to answer your questions. You get CE credits. It's awesome. I went off script and I'm a little bit confused now, but you can go to abmp.com to learn more about their courses, their blog, their offerings, their podcasts, and all the cool things that they do.

Michael Reynolds:

Around here we just call it being authentic.

Allissa Haines:

Yes,

Michael Reynolds:

Going off script.

Allissa Haines:

I'm just going off script. We'll just call it that. We're having a morning here.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. I love what we're going to talk about it because that's a great continuation from last week's episode. I think it's an awesome way to go deeper. So let's do it.

Allissa Haines:

Last week was episode 347, and we talked about the importance of paying yourself and establishing that regular monetary reward for doing all the work you do in your massage business. I talked a lot about if you're not paying yourself, if you're not doing this, if you're not doing that, you have a hobby, you don't have a business. Really, as I was thinking more about it through the last week, and I relistened to the episode, I thought, "Well, maybe the terminology isn't so much a hobby as a volunteer project instead of a business." I want you to know you can kind of interchange those expressions as you choose. But it also made me think, "What are the signs that someone might be running their business more like a hobby or a volunteer project and not taking it seriously?"

Allissa Haines:

Actually in their heart wanting to be running a legit business, but just by virtue of doing things as best they could as they got started, maybe got themselves into a situation where their business isn't as structured or fulfilling or easy as they want it to be. Maybe it's by virtue of building the plane as it's in the air. It is haphazard and not what they actually want to be doing with their time. I know too, and I've mentioned this a lot, but I think a lot of us, when we had to take a pause for this pandemic, whether it be a short one, a month or two, or a much longer one that resulted in a lot of change like mine with a new office and all that, I think we had time to identify that one, maybe we needed a break and two, maybe there were things going on in my business that I didn't love, and this could be a good opportunity to change them. Or just a good opportunity to really look from a slightly more objective perspective and identify things that aren't great.

Allissa Haines:

What follows now is kind of a list of red flags that I found in working with other massage therapists in my own practice, red flags that say, "Maybe you're not running this business as efficiently and as a business as you could." Maybe these are things that could be adjusted to create a little bit more structure, but not in a confining way. We're talking about flexible structure. None of us work for ourselves to have to follow a bunch of stupid rules. We work for ourselves so that we can have flexibility, have enjoyment and be in charge of our decisions. That's a really great thing.

Allissa Haines:

So here's some red flags, and this will be a pretty short episode. If you don't pay yourself regularly. Okay, you can go back to our last episode, 347 and learn more about that. If you're not paying yourself regularly, it's realistic to think that maybe you're working a volunteer project instead of an actual massage practice.

Allissa Haines:

If you change your schedule frequently to meet the needs of your clients' schedules, if you are adjusting to fit them instead of them adjusting to be lucky enough to be in your schedule, that's a sign maybe you don't have quite enough structure.

Allissa Haines:

If you give a lot of discounts, like all different kinds of discounts, all different times in the year for all different types of people, or if you're super hesitant to raise your prices ... Let's say you raise your prices, but you don't raise your prices for long-time clients, you legacy them in, that might be a sign that you need a little bit more structure and you are making decisions based on emotion and a perceived ability to pay than actual business decisions about what you need to be making and want to be making.

Allissa Haines:

If you don't know how much money you make, if you cannot say, "Loosely, I gross about $4,000 a month, and I take home 3,000 of that." If you don't have a general loose idea of how much money you make, that could be a signal that you are not as in tune with the business aspects as maybe you could be.

Allissa Haines:

If you don't have any contracts or at least some kind of written down agreement for the side jobs you do for sharing your office space, for any kind of deals or agreements you have going on with colleagues or jobs, if you don't have any kinds of contracts or written criteria for your business relationship with other businesses, that's a sign maybe you need a little bit more structure and that you're operating this all as a chill friend level then a structured this is good for my business and therefore me level.

Allissa Haines:

If you don't have all the proper permits and licenses to operate, and this is a big one that I found working with people to help them apply for loans and grants, is that a lot of people found they weren't eligible because they had not gotten all of the business paperwork they should have.

Allissa Haines:

Massage businesses are legendary for operating under the radar and just kind of going along and not worrying about proper inspections or permits or all that kind of stuff. If you don't have the proper permits and licenses to operate, you've got an off the grid volunteer project and not a legit business. Likewise, if you are not claiming all of the money that you make, if you are not tracking and claiming all of the money, if you are not telling the government about when people pay you in cash, if you're putting that right in your pocket and not recording it in your bookkeeping, if you don't have bookkeeping, if you are not claiming your tips, if you are not legally and truthfully reporting the full amount of your income, you've got a hobby. I've got to tell you, there's actually IRS regulations for hobbies that make money too. That doesn't get you out of needing to be compliant.

Allissa Haines:

If you are not taking client notes for sessions or doing an intake, that's a sign that this is less a wellness provider and maybe more of a luxury care. I want to be really clear about this. Some states require intakes and notes, and some states don't. My notes are ... I don't mean that everybody has to have super specific soap style notes or really particular notes about every ache and pain and the exact massage they delivered every time ... That's not what everyone's massage practice is like. It's not what my massage practice is like. But if you're not tracking someone's care in a written way that could be provided to them to give them a loose idea of the kind of treatment and why that they've seen you or to give to one of their other care providers should that become relevant, that's a sign that you don't maybe have enough structure in your business and you're not taking the work you do seriously enough.

Allissa Haines:

If you don't have clients' contact info in a manner that you could find. If you don't have it in an aggregated spreadsheet, or you don't have it even able to open a file cabinet drawer and see all your paper intake forms that have at least a phone number and/or an email address for people, that's a sign that you are not running a real business. This was a huge problem for people when we had to shut down for the pandemic. There were a lot of massage therapists who had no way to get in touch with clients. Maybe they had a phone number, but it felt really awkward when you decided you were reopening your office a couple of months later, it felt really awkward to call every single client and say, "I'm back in the office."

Allissa Haines:

Maybe you hadn't collected people's emails, or maybe you had done all that on an intake, but that was 12 years ago, and emails and phone numbers change and mailing addresses change. If you don't have client contact info and you don't make any effort to keep it current ... I will say, I am among those people. There were a handful of clients that, because our arrangement has just always been like, you come in every fourth, Thursday at 7:00 PM, and then they come in on that one and we scheduled them for the next few. I didn't even know I didn't have the current phone number for a couple of clients.

Allissa Haines:

Finally, if you feel resentful about anyone you treat that has a discount typically, or a friend or family member who you treat regularly for a discount or for free, and really, if you feel resentful about any part of your business and especially any part of your hands-on work, that's a real red flag that maybe you don't have boundaries in place.

Allissa Haines:

Again, you're going to notice when you think about this, this is all boundaries. When you don't have any structure, you're not really running a business. When you don't have any boundaries or rules that are there to serve you as a business owner and as a care provider, to support you and keep you feeling fulfilled and organized and capable in all the aspects of your business, it's not a business.

Allissa Haines:

I would encourage you to think about what are you bummed out about in your business? What is the thing that you don't enjoy? It could be that the thing you don't enjoy is new patients coming in with acute back pain. I will tell you that is my thing. I hate when someone calls me because they are in an episode of acute back pain. I don't see those clients. I used to see them, even though one, I'm not very good at that work and two, I don't like it. I used to take those patients anyway, because I felt bad, and now I realize that taking their money without really being able to improve their situation, because it is not my skillset, that's really a worst thing to do than to deny them an appointment. So they find someone else who maybe can help them or refer them to someone who can help them.

Allissa Haines:

That's a thing that I've been bummed out about in my business. I have made it a rule to not take new clients except within my niche for right now because my schedule is just full enough as I reemerge from my shell. It could be a point at which I do take new clients that are outside of my niche if I in fact do need them or I'm struggling in some way or just want to expand. But it's a thing I was bummed about.

Allissa Haines:

I was bummed about working five days a week, going to the office and having too many gaps between my clients. I changed my schedule and that has really, really helped me. It was hard to do. I was worried about clients who wouldn't come back, but once I ripped that Band-Aid off, it's been awesome. What are you bummed about in your massage business? How is your business not fulfilling your employment needs? If you were working for someone else and you were making the same pay and the same hours and the same benefits, including retirement and vacation and sick pay, if you were working for someone else and getting all of the pay and benefits and schedule and such that you are now as working for yourself, would that be acceptable?

Allissa Haines:

If that would not be acceptable, then you shouldn't be doing it to yourself. I said this last week, I've said it before, you need to be your own best boss. You need to be the best boss you have ever had. That means a good schedule for you, the appropriate amount of pay for you, the appropriate benefits, which usually means saving up for a vacation and having some kind of savings for when you were sick and you can take time off without being worried about having enough cash, all of these things.

Allissa Haines:

What would you be upset about if your boss was someone other than you and you had the option to just go look for another job? What are the things you would be looking for? Can you provide those things for yourself? All of these things.

Allissa Haines:

I'll just end with, how can you fix these things? How can you fix these things so that you are running a business that sustains you and fulfills you instead of a hobby that sometimes makes you not want to get out of bed or that will burn you out? That is what I have to say, Michael.

Michael Reynolds:

I love it.

Allissa Haines:

I knew you would.

Michael Reynolds:

Especially, of course. I especially fixate on things in the middle of your list. You don't know how much money you make. That one's a big one. I talk to a lot of massage therapists about money and helping them think through issues and solve problems and make plans. One of the questions I always ask is, "Okay, tell me how much money you made this year, last year. Let's look at how much money you've made, both gross and net and take home," and without fail, I think the majority of massage therapists I talk to don't know. They honestly have either no idea or they really can't pin it down to a reasonable guess even.

Michael Reynolds:

It's kind of a symptom of a lot of this stuff is not knowing how much money you make. I feel like if you know how much money you're making, that's an indication that a lot of other things are falling into place. It's important to know that number because there's a lot of mental energy that goes with knowing how much money you're making. If you don't know, then you can't make a lot of other decisions in life and in business. That one really jumps out at me especially. The list is great, but that's the one that really jumps out at me. So thank you for that.

Allissa Haines:

Well, thank you. I'm glad you found it helpful. Who's our next sponsor?

Michael Reynolds:

Speaking of running like a business, Acuity is a great way to help you run like a business because they are also [inaudible 00:24:49] scheduling and other stuff.

Allissa Haines:

Acuity is indeed. All you need to do is show up at the right time for your client. Acuity is your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule. I love this part. You never have to ask, "What time works for you?" You never have to email or text a client and say, "Did you want Thursday at 2:00 or Tuesday at 1:00?" And then they take three days to get back to you and the appointment they want has already been filled. You never have to do that. You can just give them a link to your online schedule and say, "Book something that works for you. You can handle all of your forms and payments before your appointment." You can just let them handle the reminder texts and emails. It just happens automatically. It's beautiful. And you, my friends can go to ... I lost my space again because I get really excited about our sponsors ... You can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity and get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today. Check it out. Massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.

Michael Reynolds:

Yay.

Allissa Haines:

Got any quick tips for us, Michael? I don't.

Michael Reynolds:

I do have a quick tip today. In my financial advisory business, I use this phrase a lot, actually with every single client I work with. This came from a, a guy named Carl Richards, who I've talked about before in the past on this podcast. He's a coach for financial advisors, and I did one of his courses. In his course, he used a phrase that really, really stuck with me that I now use again with clients as we get started with financial planning. That phrase is learn to be less wrong over time. Specifically what I say is, "Hey, we're going to put together a financial plan. We're going to get some things right. We're going to get some data in place and we're going to have a starting point, but it's an ongoing process. Our goal is not to be exactly right. Our goal is to be less wrong over time."

Michael Reynolds:

I love that phrasing because again, going back to this theme of overthinking and just getting started and taking action, so much of the time we think we have to get everything just right. We think we have to predict the future. We think we have to have this magical certainty button that we can push and make everything okay. If we don't have that, we feel like we're paralyzed and can't do anything. Or we think why bother, why getting started? The phrase being less wrong over time really, I think throws into sharp relief the need to give ourselves permission to have flexibility, to have uncertainty, to give ourselves grace and to move forward without knowing all the details. This applies not only to financial planning, but to, I think, business, to life, career, everything we do.

Michael Reynolds:

When you're running a massage practice, you don't know what the future is going to look like. I mean, who knew that we'd have a year of a pandemic? Who knew that all this stuff would happen? There's other stuff that's going to come up that we can't predict. We're uncertain about so much in life and so much in our massage practices. But if we can learn to be less wrong over time, that gives us a direction to point, a place to align our energy toward, and that can take the form of getting a little bit better at our accounting as time goes on, getting a little bit better at client boundaries as time goes on, getting a little better at predicting how things will play out in our business over the next year by making educated guesses based on how things have gone in the past. We're not going to get it right. We're not going to get it exactly right, but we're going to learn to be less wrong over time. And that has a lot of value.

Allissa Haines:

Dude, this is like parenting.

Michael Reynolds:

Why do you say that?

Allissa Haines:

I don't know. I've been reading a lot of parenting resources, specifically parenting neurodivergent children and neurodiverse family. It's pretty much about like, "Oh yeah, you're going to mess that up. If you can try again tomorrow and be a little bit less sucky at it, that's a win." I really like that. Learn to be less wrong. I'm going to be less wrong about dealing with homework today than I was yesterday. That's what I'm going to shoot for. Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate that. All right. Wrap it up, dude.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Thanks everyone. As always, we appreciate you being a listener. We love that you're a part of our community. You can find us on the web at massagebusinessblueprint.com, and we've noticed a lot of new people coming into our premium private community. If you want to check that out and join the smartest group of business-minded massage therapist in the world, go to massagebusinessblueprint.com, click on community, learn more, sign up for 30 days free, and you can find us there. If you want to email us, you can email us at podcastatmassagebusinessblueprint.com. And that goes to both Allissa and to me, and one of us or both of us will reply and get back to you. Thanks again for joining us today. Have a great day, and we will see you next time.

Allissa Haines:

Bye.

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