Podcast

Episode 367

Jul 30, 2021

Not all changes as a result of COVID-19 are bad. Listen as Allissa and Michael discuss the changes she's keeping around forever in her massage practice.

Listen to "E367: Pandemic Changes I’m Sticking With Forever" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 367

Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Pandemic changes I’m sticking with forever


Quick Tips

  • Consider surveying your clients to see if you can learn from their feedback

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 non-comedogenic 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. And that's what also makes jojoba a wonderful carrier for your essential oils as well. It won't stain your a hundred percent 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 massage business blueprint.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:

And we're your hosts. Welcome to our show today. We're glad you're here. I feel like singing for some reason. I don't know why.

Allissa Haines:

So I'll tell you why. I was going to wait for the end of the episode, but we are currently... We're a couple of weeks ahead in recording as far as the July episodes. So when you're listening to this July 30th, or sometime after, were pretty much on like a loose vacation, I decided to take a lot of August off from creating new content. And Michael took the reins and lined up four phenomenal interviews with experts on various topics. And we have those podcasts all ready to go for you. So maybe you're feeling excited because you don't have to work quite so much in August.

Michael Reynolds:

That could be.

Allissa Haines:

And I say, I feel really empowered being like, Hey, we own this business. We get to make the rules. Why are we not creating a little more flexibility in our summertime schedule? And so we did.

Michael Reynolds:

We did. I like it.

Allissa Haines:

As you can tell, I'm giddy. I'm giddy about the situation, because not only I kind of decided I only wanted to work my massage practice in August. I needed a little bit of a break and Walt's taking the kids away for a week, maybe two to go to his family's house. So I get to be by myself and only working one job for at least a week or two.

Michael Reynolds:

Wow. What are you going to do with yourself? That's amazing.

Allissa Haines:

I'm going to eat nachos and watch Meg Ryan movies is what I'm here to do.

Michael Reynolds:

That's perfect. That is perfect.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. I'm also going to, I have a plan to paint the bedroom, which I may or may not get to. We've been doing a lot of like DIY house rehab. So there's a little, a lot of projects. I'm going to clean out my pantry and maybe even the linen, the storage closet in the hallway. So then those are like the biggest goals I have. Outside of that, I'm not really setting any big goals. I want to take my grandson to the zoo. That's it.

Michael Reynolds:

I am excited for you.

Allissa Haines:

Thank you. I'm excited for you. What do you think you'll do with a little bit of extra time that you have, because we're not blueprinting?

Michael Reynolds:

Oh, I'll just work. I have three other businesses to work in. So that's what I'll be doing. Are you shocked to hear me say that?

Allissa Haines:

No, but I think that you should take the hour that we spend on Wednesdays recording a podcast episode, you should like take that to hang out with your kid, do something special with them, do something.

Michael Reynolds:

We're going to have to do that anyway. I'm working really hard at making sure I don't overwork and get sucked into not spending time with my family because the whole point of these businesses is to give us a lifestyle. And so I'm being mindful of that as well. But thank you for the reminder.

Allissa Haines:

All right. Speaking of lifestyle, tell me what you're reading.

Michael Reynolds:

What am I reading? So I am reading an article from positive parenting solutions, which some may recall, it's a course that my wife and I enrolled in to help us become better parents because we could use all the help we can get. So this article is on screen time and it's specifically called too much television, how to curb your kids' TV time. But it really goes into screen time in general, it's not just TV. It's also like, iPhone iPad, gaming, stuff like that. So has some really good advice in there. And one of the things that jumped out at me was let me find it here, the way it's worded. So it says lead by example, and that really hit home to me because I think one of the best things we can do in my opinion for kids is to lead by example, to show, to demonstrate the things that we value.

Michael Reynolds:

And as someone who works in front of a screen all day long in all four of my businesses, I'm always in front of a screen, I find myself in this habit of just always being attracted to screens. Even if I'm not working, I'm like, oh, screens. And it's just like this thing I'm defaulting to. And so I'm trying really hard to put the phone down at dinner time, the phone is somewhere else. If I'm just kind of hanging around, and we're all kind of doing our things, I'm not always like grabbing my phone every five minutes. I'm trying really hard to demonstrate to my son that there are things other than screens that can entertain us and enrich our lives and that we can enjoy. And so that was something that really hit home to me. But the article's overall, it's pretty good. It's got a lot of information on recognizing screen addiction and ways to balance things appropriately. So I thought it was good. That's what I'm reading today.

Allissa Haines:

I love it. And I have the same situation. It's tricky when the kids use screens for things that are super creative. I don't want to take the little device away from Liam when he's making stop motion films all day and being like super, oh my gosh, what he did yesterday. So he put this, a box fan, he put it on the couch and he cranked it onto high. And then he took this little like, almost like a little play school, farm house thing only it wasn't actually play school and all of the animals that go inside of it. And he pretended like the fan was a tornado and spun the house around, through the living room with the animals flying everywhere. And he was like, it's a tornado and filmed bits and pieces of it.

Michael Reynolds:

That's amazing.

Allissa Haines:

It was. So I walked into the house, like he was in the middle of it and I was like walked through the back door and I'm like, what is... The fans on high, the kid's screaming, he's making like animal noises and shouting toward it.

Allissa Haines:

I was like, what is happening in my house right now? It was hilarious.

Michael Reynolds:

I want to see that video.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. It's pretty awesome. So anyhow. Yeah, it's really hard, like the whole screen thing, but I'm trying to do the same thing. We don't have devices anywhere near us when we're at the table eating and I try to not blankly scroll when I'm just hanging out in general. So yeah. Good on you.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah, what about you?

Allissa Haines:

I just read some young adult fiction, a book called Hello Girls and I got the link to it in the show notes. It's a very Thelma and Louise gets remade into a dark teen novel. It's very funny. It's two young women that are the authors, young adult women that are the authors and it was just a really fun, dark read. I enjoyed it. There you go.

Michael Reynolds:

Nice.

Allissa Haines:

Young adult fiction.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, thanks for that. Well, before we move on, let's give a shout out to our sponsor, Yomassage.

Allissa Haines:

2021 is the year to start incorporating stretch and mindfulness into your massage sessions. Pardon me, with Yomassage. You can combine restorative stretch, mindfulness and massage in a single one-on-one or a small group session. The three week virtual training with over 305 star reviews runs once a month and counts for 26 NCB TMB approved, CEUs. Use the code M B B Y O M I that's MBB YOMI for $100 off the virtual Yomassage's certification. I'm sorry. It's hard for me to say all these words. There's a lot of Ss. So use the code MBB, Y O M I for $100 off the virtual Yomassage certification. Now through October 2021, to learn more, you can visit massagebusinessblueprint.com/yomassage.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. So today it looks like you are going to share a pandemic changes that you are sticking with forever.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah, so it's said a lot and really can't be said enough that it's been kind of a wild ride the last 15, 16 months. And many of us have had to make a bunch of changes in our business, specifically pandemic related and also things that occurred because of other changes that we made kind of a domino effect. If you may have changed your location or whatever, changes a lot of us have made as we reboot too. And we started saying this a couple months into the pandemic, but to like really rethink how you want your practice to reopen, any change you want to make. And some people did not take huge extended pauses. They were able to safely return to work pretty quick and therefore didn't do a whole reboot. They just had like a little bit of a pause and some others of us had longer pauses and maybe other changes in location or whatever that made bigger, bigger changes, more appropriate.

Allissa Haines:

And I was thinking the other day, I was reflecting on some of the changes I've made that I won't ever change back from, I guess. And I'm going to go through my list because, and also I shot this at, I have four close massage peer mentors, and we chat in various ways, often, almost daily about various bits about our lives and practices and such. And I shot this at them and I didn't get permission to use all their names. But so this is kind of a bunch of my stuff and some other notes that some friends and colleagues kind of provided similarly. So pandemic changes that I am sticking with forever. Masks. I can't believe we were just breathing all over people before. I am confident that I will be wearing a mask in the bulk of treatments that I provide moving forward.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah, with very few exceptions, I will be wearing a mask. So there's that. A little more time between clients and I recognize this is a luxury that not everybody has. And for some people they need a shorter work day. So less time between clients is better, but I shoot now for 45 minutes between clients, I used to have 30. There are some days in which I still have 30 between clients, at certain times, but I often have at least 45 minutes and it gives me enough time to flip the room over, open the window, bring some fresh air in, close the window reheat or re-cool the room, have a snack, return an email and then the next client walks in. I am enjoying the pace of that, a great deal. I didn't realize how much stress I used to have if like a client was a few minutes late or a client was few minutes early and these longer windows have removed any and all of that stress.

Allissa Haines:

I just, it's a much chiller work day. Yes. It's a little bit of a longer work day because it's spread out a little bit more, but I raised my prices and adjusted my schedule in a little bit. So it's still really great for me. And I'll talk about the schedule stuff in a minute. A uniform. I now have dedicated clothes at the office for massage. So, we knew fairly early on a couple months in that the issue wasn't so much like full mites on surfaces as it was air quality. But by then a lot of us had already gotten scrubs or some kind of uniform. In Massachusetts, we were required to either have some kind of apron or a fresh shirt for each client. And when that happened and I went back to practice, I got a pair of work pants and they're like scrubs, but they're more like stretch pants.

Allissa Haines:

And I grabbed a couple of pairs of leggings and stuff that I used to wear for work a lot. And I got like five of my favorite T-shirts, a couple long tunic t-shirts, a sweatshirt. And I actually even have shoes like Old Navy slip-ons that stay at the office. All of these things are at the office. I walk in, in my street clothes and I changed into my massage gear and I make up my massage room and do this and that. And then when I'm done at the end of the day, I clean everything up. I take off my massage uniform, throw it in with my linens and get my street clothes back on. And I didn't realize how annoying it was when I was getting dressed every work day to make sure I was wearing something that I didn't mind if it got oil on it.

Allissa Haines:

And also how many of my more decent clothes got wrecked by oil and or whatever, just over wearing it at work. There's like a rubbed spot in my shirts from my massage holster. So I just love it. I will never go back to wearing my regular clothes for massage again. I love having it right there, with all my massage linens and having a couple extra t-shirts and yeah, it's awesome. Okay. So things that I always did, but now do more of, or do better. So I almost always had been using a fresh blanket for every client anyway, to avoid cross contamination. And I think back, and I'm like just appalled that my school and it was 16 years ago, but whatever, I'm still kind of grossed out and I was at the time that they taught that you use the same blanket, for each client throughout the day, everybody gets fresh sheets with the blanket on top and they kind of acted like, well, you could give a massage.

Allissa Haines:

And if you fold the sheets over the blanket, right, then you're not really touching, the client isn't touching the blanket. But like, I am. Even if the client's skin never touches that top blanket, I am and my hands are contaminated. So to use that same blanket on the next client is disgusting. So I had most of the time been doing that anyway, but I wasn't as strict about it as I should have been. And now absolutely, fresh blanket. Every client we're not messing around. Likewise like a nonpermeable barrier over anything softer or porous on your table. And all of that is great, like a very easy cleanable chair in the massage room. All of these things just much easier to clean in general. Everything that a client could touch in my massage room is easily wipeable between clients. And again, everything I touch is wipeable easily between clients, which is a thing I did anyway.

Allissa Haines:

I usually had some kind of disinfecting cloth or Clorox wipe or whatever that I would hit the adjustment thingy on my little rolling stool and the handle of the towel cabinet and the door knobs. And anything, if I had adjusted the music or anything, I usually did that between clients anyhow, but now I'm certainly much more regimented about it. Air cleaners. I have always had an air cleaner in my room. However, its primary function was as a noisemaker, as a white noise machine versus an air cleaner. So I certainly wasn't like cleaning the filters and replacing them and stuff as often as I should have. And now my air cleaners job, its primary function is to clean the air. I have moved its location. When I set up my new room at the new office, it is at the head of the table.

Allissa Haines:

I figured out how close can it be to be very close and how far does it need to be away so I don't bump into it with my stool and I've got it set exactly the right way, pretty close. And sometimes I will even move it closer when the client is face down, a little closer to under the face cradle. So it's really sucking their air in good and also HVC filters. I had always had good quality HVC filters on the intake in my office, but now I have the Merv thirteens and they're that much higher quality. So oops, let me... I lost my place because I had little sub-bullets there.

Allissa Haines:

Okay. Separating dirty and clean linen bags and such, like I don't use the same bag for dirty linens and then throw it all in the washer and then put the clean linens back in that bag, which might be dirty. I have a system now for cleaning those bags between all of that. So that clean linens are never going back into a dirty bag. And I always had that anyway, but my bags used to be different. They were like a material laundry bag. So I'd throw them in the washer. The bags now I have are different, but they can be disinfected between while my laundry is going. Okay.

Allissa Haines:

I am not taking any new clients who are unvaccinated. And actually all of my old clients are vaccinated. I haven't had anybody on vaccinated of my old clients say, can I come in even though I'm not vaccinated? So I am no longer taking new unvaccinated clients. And I might even enforce that into flu shots. I have not decided on that yet. I'm thinking through what that could mean and what that could look like. But I know that I'm definitely going to be asking clients beginning in September, if they've gotten their flu shot and I might even require masking for clients who don't get a flu shot. I don't know. Haven't thought about that entirely through, but I moving forward, will have no problems being very strict, making sure that the clients I see are those who are not just concerned about their welfare, but that of the people around them.

Allissa Haines:

And that's where I'm at with that. Masking indoors in all the places, so even though it's not required and even though I and my family are vaccinated, we are still wearing masks when we go inside public places. And even when we're outside in places where people are close and we're just doing that and I don't feel weird about it. I feel awesome about it. Okay. I got to take a moment to clear my throat. So things that are not necessarily COVID related, but happened over this time because of circumstance, that I'm totally loving, paying myself weekly. I did not use to pay myself weekly. I tended to do it monthly or every two or three weeks. And I know this was the same for a lot of us, but when pandemic unemployment assistance happened and we, many of us were getting weekly checks.

Allissa Haines:

I remembered how nice it is to get a weekly check. And so when I returned to work and I made sure that I had set up a plan to run payroll every Monday morning, based on the previous week's work and make a transfer. So I get paid every Wednesday for the previous Wednesdays work. Pardon me for the previous week's work. And I really like it. I find it motivating. I don't mind the five minutes of bookkeeping that it takes me to do. I've got a system, it's easy and I really like it. I'm going to keep paying myself weekly. Yay. My schedule changed. It is very, very strict now. I only work three particular days a week. My room is subletted out three other days a week and Sunday is kind of a flex day. And sometimes I go in, sometimes I don't, I've been alternating Sundays and Saturdays, so it still equals out to be three days a week.

Allissa Haines:

And I really like it. Likewise, also very regimented are the appointment times. You can get an appointment with me at 11:00, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 or 7:00. Period. You're not going to get a noon appointment. You're not going to get a 2:15. With very little exception, that works best for me. And it gives me even if I've got a couple of 90 minutes in a row, it gives me a minimum of 30 minutes between each but I don't really allow a lot of nineties to be scheduled in a row. So I usually end up with 45 to 60 minutes between most. It works really well for me. I used to go in for a 9:00 AM and sometimes still stay as late for a 7:00 or 7:30. And that made for a really long day. I wasn't knocking out seven massages in a row. I'd probably do four or five with some gaps, but it was just a long day at the office.

Allissa Haines:

And it turns out that I really like not going in first thing in the morning. I like having time to have coffee and not rush and feel good about starting my day at my own pace. So yay. Okay. The next one is better screening and turning away clients that are not in my niche. And I had put this on my list. And then when I asked my group of friends for what things they had started doing and not stopped, this came up and one of my friends was super clear about this. We both do a phone consult or assessment and make it really clear that we know what the person is looking for, making it clear they know what we provide, referring out for people who do not fit into our niche. And that's been kind of hard for me. It was hard for me the first couple of times, especially before my schedule was mostly full, to refuse a new client is really hard, but I don't do well with acute back pain.

Allissa Haines:

I don't do well with, I threw my back out kind of clients or people who want a really physically deep pokey massage. I don't enjoy doing that work. And I'm also not very good at it. And it's been really hard and yet has become easy to say, I do not do that kind of work. I am only accepting new clients who are dealing with cancer or anxiety, but let me send you to someone else in my office. And I literally had a potential client call me last week and I said that to her and she goes, you don't treat back pain? And I was like, not specifically, not the way you're talking about it. It's just not how I do my best work. And she's like, I've never heard of a massage therapist that doesn't treat back pain. I was like, well, I guess you're lucky then that I'm not going to take your money and do a bad job.

Allissa Haines:

I'm going to email you the info for someone else in my office. And she was okay with that. She was just completely shocked. And I guess it kind of shocked me a little bit that I had the cahones to be like, yeah. No, I don't do that. And one of my friends said the exact same thing. She noted that she says that there's even, she warns people and screens them and says, I don't do crazy, deep pokey massage. And even if they decide to give her a try and they ask for more pressure, she says, that's about my limit for pressure. Let's give this a try and see how you feel tomorrow. And if it's not a good fit, let me know and I can refer you to somebody else. And then just being okay with them not coming back. And it took me a little bit, but I am super-duper okay now with turning away people who don't perfectly fit my niche. Weirdly random and unrelated, but compression socks.

Allissa Haines:

I love them. I bought some socks online and the brand I bought also had these compression socks and I was like, yeah. My legs are getting a little tired sometimes. And I got compression socks and I keep them with my work uniform and they totally help because I'm old, I've been doing this for 16 years. I'd like to do it for another 15 or so. And yeah, it's pretty nice. I like the fancy socks and finally the last bit is a little more income diversification. And I've always had that. I've had my hands on massage practice and I've had this like the blueprint in one iteration or another and teaching other massage therapists. But if massage gets shut down, then I can't make my hands on money nor will there be any massage therapists paying me for my teaching. So while it was slightly diversified, it was all still kind of interdependent.

Allissa Haines:

So I did pick up a few part-time marketing consulting jobs. I took a web design class, actually with Michael's software company and I'm doing a little bit more marketing, maybe web design, eventually stuff that could be a viable source of income, even if I can't do hands on work for some reason. And I'm not saying I'm launching like giant companies and I'm not going to do massage anymore, but I am going to make sure I have some kind of small, consistent income stream that is not dependent on me or anybody else touching bodies.

Allissa Haines:

And that is it. That was a longer list than I anticipated. I apologize, but it's been kind of an interesting epiphany to restart and rebuild my practice. I'm not going to say from scratch because I moved a couple towns over, but the bulk of my client base has stayed with me at least enough to keep me busy, but I've definitely had some like, oh, I can't believe I didn't do this 10 years ago. And also some really good things that have come out of being forced out of my shell and being forced to make changes. So yeah, if you've had changes that you don't think you'll ever go back from or things that have just been awesome, let us know podcast @massagebusinessblueprint.com. I'm interested to hear about your experiences as well.

Michael Reynolds:

Thanks for sharing. All right. So let's give a shout out to our friends at ABMP before we move on.

Allissa Haines:

ABMP is proud to sponsor the Massage Business Blueprint podcast and we appreciate that. There are so many benefits of ABMP membership. I'm just going to pick one to tell you about. The ABMP education center, my friends. You can go to abmp.com/learn, and you are going to find 600 hours of CE courses included with your ABMP membership and also available for non-members to purchase individually or in like packs of three, I think. There is hands-on education, ethics, self-care, cultural competency and courses for massage and educators. So if you're looking to become a teacher, they got you covered. ABMP members get free CE for all courses included with their level of membership. And it's a great way to meet CE requirements. Try out new presenters before you take some really expensive live in person class with them. And it may help you save your CE budget for that big live in person course that you've been considering. You, my friends, can learn more by going to abmp.com.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Thanks ABMP.

Allissa Haines:

Yay.

Michael Reynolds:

Quick tips. Do you have any quick tips for us today?

Allissa Haines:

I've got nothing I've talked enough.

Michael Reynolds:

All right, I've got a thing. So my quick tip is consider serving your clients to see if you can learn from their feedback. And this is a simple thing that you can implement pretty easily in your massage practice and could have an impact, a pretty significant impact. So, and I just realized this might be a cool thing to expand into a full podcast episode at some point in the future. So, we'll put that on the radar, but kind of the short version is I think all the times we kind of get tunnel vision in what we're doing and we maybe get incidental feedback in passing, but it's not really as formalized as it could be, which might not make it as useful and constructive as it could be. So, example of casual feedback, oh, how was your massage?

Michael Reynolds:

Oh, great. I feel good. Or how do you feel? Oh, great. It's kind of just casual conversation, but are there things we could learn from our clients that we could collect in a more thoughtful way? So my suggestion would be consider a way that you can reach out to your clients after their session in the form of an email, maybe a text or some sort of link you can send them, that gives them a short questionnaire that kind of guides them toward giving you really constructive feedback. And I want to add a little more context here, and I want to say that when you're asking for feedback, I think it's really, really important to invite the client to feel comfortable being honest. And what I mean by that, is there a different ways you can ask questions. So like for example, let's say you want to ask a question, is not probably the greatest example of let's say, was the pressure appropriate or was the pressure to your satisfaction throughout the massage?

Michael Reynolds:

And one way of giving multiple choice answers could be good, fair, or bad. That's very laced with judgment. Most clients are not to want to pick bad because they're nice people and they're not going to want to say that. So instead you could frame answers in a way of, Hey, met my satisfaction or could be improved or was somewhat throughout the session, but definitely room for improvement or something like that. Something that's basically framing it in a way that helps people feel comfortable giving you honest feedback, even if it's constructively negative feedback.

Michael Reynolds:

So, that's my suggestion. I think I'd like to probably turn this into a bigger discussion later on in the podcast that we might do that. But I think it's really useful because often we think we're doing things a certain way, but our clients can teach us. They can teach us what is working and what's not working in the service you provide, whether it's the hands-on work or the business experience or anything about how you operate your business. So, that's my suggestion is to consider implementing surveys into your process.

Allissa Haines:

Cool.

Michael Reynolds:

What do you think?

Allissa Haines:

I hate surveys. I don't do them and I don't give them.

Michael Reynolds:

Okay. Well, now we have Allissa's opinion.

Allissa Haines:

Well, here's the thing they have been certainly useful. We've certainly had members talk about it. We've helped members vet like blueprint premium members in our community. We've helped vet questions for clients. People have shared them. I am not a big survey taker. So I'm just not a big survey sender. It's just not for me the best tool, but for a lot of people, it has been super duper helpful. So it's not me, but I think there's a lot to be said about it. And I think I'll just hunting around in our community to find somebody who's done it effectively and maybe we'll get them on the podcast.

Michael Reynolds:

All right.

Allissa Haines:

That's what I have to say about that.

Michael Reynolds:

Okay. Well with that, let's wrap it up for now. A reminder that Allissa is off next month for the month of August, a well-deserved break. And I have got, as we mentioned, I've got some, I'm calling them co-hosts because we're doing a full normal agenda. We're doing the three part agenda we normally do. And so my co-host slash experts are going to be joining me for all those episodes. And we've got four amazing experts with some really cool stuff to talk about related to some really specific business topics. I think you're really going to enjoy it. So with that, you can find us on the web @massagebusinessblueprint.com and of course, email us if you want to @podcastmassagebusinessblueprint.com and we would love to hear from you. So with that have a great day. We'll see you next time.

Allissa Haines:

Bye.

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