Podcast

Episode 415

May 20, 2022

Allissa and Michael cover how to ease back to work without taking on the clients you don’t want to see again.

Listen to "E415: Do I Have to Take My Clients Back?" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 415

Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Do I Have to Take My Clients Back?

Quick Tips

Sponsors


Transcript: 

Sponsor message:

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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. Welcome to our show today and belated happy birthday to you, Allissa. I know wished you happy birthday on the interwebs, but also want to verbally wish you happy birthday belatedly.

Allissa Haines:

Yes, it, and it made me cry. It was so sweet and I'm not even going to remotely top it or match it when your birthday comes around in a couple weeks, so there you go. Thank you for the lovely birthday message. I, at the end of the day, kind of looked at all my text messages and private messages from various places, and I got so many thoughtful notes from all of our massage friends and it made me a little bit weepy because also last week I traveled and took a class and I stayed, I shared an Airbnb with another Blueprint member that I had never met in person, and we had a blast together. I, by the end of the week was like, "I love our massage community." And really if all that Massage Business Blueprint accomplishes is giving me a bunch of friends because I'm terrible at making friends on my own, then I'll take it. It's been super effective.

Allissa Haines:

Hi, speaking of another friend, Jen Boyen just popped in to say hello on our live broadcast. Hi, Jen. I've been thinking of you. Jen's in southern Illinois, I think.

Allissa Haines:

Anyhow, that is my shtick on all the friends we've made and I'm so delighted and really grateful for everybody.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, you deserve every bit of it. All right.

Allissa Haines:

I hope so.

Michael Reynolds:

So what are you reading?

Allissa Haines:

I've read for funzies just before I went away. And then last week while I was at my class where I would absolutely fall asleep every night and the Kindle would fall on my face, because I was so exhausted from my brain working, a book called Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li. It was really great. It was about this crew of four, five friends? Five friends who, for various reasons, decided to begin taking back Chinese art and artifacts that had been stolen from a particular palace in China. It was really fun and interesting and sweet. It was a really good book. Portrait of a Thief, Grace D. Li. What are you reading?

Michael Reynolds:

Thanks for sharing. I'm reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. It's been around for a while. It's kind of been on my mental list for a while, but I got it, not as really a gift necessarily, but I kind of picked it up at an event one time as one of those kind of giving away books and stuff. I had it my shelf for a while. I started reading it and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm not finished with it, but it's all about creating habits for success and productivity and kind of setting up your environment and learning from various just methods of developing good habits. So really enjoying it so far. It's actually helping me apply some of these principles to other areas in professional life, as well, and help others with these sorts of things too. It really integrates into a lot of what I'm doing in the financial space and I think it also might apply to some of our accountability stuff we do in Blueprint Mastermind. I'm really enjoying it. Not quite finished, but so far so good.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah, I skimmed it. I got it from the library, but then it had to, I skimmed it quickly and then it got returned before I finished it, but the author was on the podcast I like Gretchen Rubin's Happier. Happy, Happiness, Happy, Happier podcast? I don't remember anymore. The Happiness Project, something like that. Anyhow, I've been listened to her for so long I don't remember the name of it anymore. It has a yellow podcast cover. Oops and then I just accidentally muted myself because that's how im-

Michael Reynolds:

I'm you're so excited.

Allissa Haines:

But yes, the interview with the author was really good. Can I give you a little thing I learned about habits?

Michael Reynolds:

Sure.

Allissa Haines:

A little pro tip I learned about habits from the ADHD community on Twitter a couple weeks ago was that the thing that people often with neuro divergent issues needs are structure and habits but it's also the hardest thing for someone with ADHD to create, is a structures for themselves, but introducing the concept of novelty. They'll try something, an organizer, an app or whatever, or just setting timers, and then they might get the hang of it but then the novelty wears off and it stops being fun so it stops being an effective tool. Just tweaking the habit just enough to be different, even if it just means setting a different alert tone for the timers you set or moving where the app is on your phone or introducing some kind of novelty every few months can help people with ADHD maintain a habit that they might have gotten into their system, they might have gotten into their daily structure, but loses its novelty and therefore they stop doing.

Michael Reynolds:

Good tip.

Allissa Haines:

Anyhow. Rando, but there it is.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Very useful. Well, thank you. Before we move on to our topic today, let's give a shout out to our friends at ABMP.

Allissa Haines:

Yay, ABMP. Today I want to talk about the Massage and Bodywork Magazine. It is an award winning magazine. Members, ABMP members get it in print delivered to their mailbox, but anyone in the whole wide world can get it online for free, massageandbodyworkdigital.com. We write a Blueprint for Success column, which we really enjoy and think is pretty useful. It is a professional journal that includes techniques, in depth features, video tie-ins to cover the issues that matter to professional body workers, and I really love the magazine. I think everyone should check it out. You can check that out at massageandbodyworkdigital.com and you can check out all of the ABMP stuff at abmp.com. Super easy to find everything.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Thanks, ABMP.

Michael Reynolds:

All right, Allissa, let's talk. Do I have to take my clients back?

Allissa Haines:

No.

Michael Reynolds:

All right.

Allissa Haines:

Wrap it up.

Michael Reynolds:

End of the episode.

Allissa Haines:

[crosstalk 00:07:37].

Michael Reynolds:

Thanks everyone.

Allissa Haines:

No-

Michael Reynolds:

Have a great day. See you next time.

Allissa Haines:

One of our friends asked a really great question and I'm going to just read the text of it. "I am still a few months away from taking massage clients and I still plan to do a phase one, phase two kind of thing, but I need some advice. I don't want all of my clients back. I know that many won't be returning, but there are more than a handful that keep checking in and I know that we are no longer a good fit regardless of when I reopen. I haven't done a mass email for my clients in about a year. Am I ethically obligated to update all of them when I am heading back? What do I say if they find out I'm taking some clients, but not all? I know that this is the time for me to reframe and reshape my practice. I'm not sure how to kick it off when there are people I just don't want to work with anymore."

Allissa Haines:

It's beautiful. It's beautiful. Because this is a universal question that a lot of people have experienced as they return to work. I experienced it myself, but no, you are not ethically obligated to update anybody about when you return to work. I do think we are ethically obligated to be up front and honest with people if they approach us and we're going to cover how to do that. But no, you don't got to see anybody you don't want to see and this is a beautiful opportunity to cull that list.

Allissa Haines:

This can get tricky because if you see some people who are a group of friends and there's one or two people in that group you don't want to see, but you contact the others, it can get a little complicated, and again, we'll be ready with some scripts. Or you can just decide that if you don't want somebody back from a certain friend group or a certain family, maybe you just don't see anyone from that particular group. That is a valid choice. It's going to impact how quickly you're able to come back from work and get up to a full-time schedule. I happen to know that's not really an issue for this particular person, but be aware of that landmine should it occur.

Allissa Haines:

It's okay to just cull a client for any reason. If they want whatever, cranial sacral and you don't want to do that anymore, cull them. If they're going to push back on your safety protocols, ditch them. If they always wanted a 6:30 appointment, but your latest appointment is now 6:00 PM and you know they're going to push you on it, delete them from your list. Again, perfect opportunity to reboot your practice with no apologies. It's okay to not take someone back who is not a perfect fit for what you are trying to build.

Allissa Haines:

Now, inevitably, and this happened to me, when someone calls because they hear you're back, even though you did not email them or alert them in any way, I suggest something like, and this script is actually culled from what Michael suggested, "I'm reopening with a limited capacity in a more specific focus to my practice. I will only be working with clients who are an ideal fit for the work that I do." Then you send them some referral options for therapists around you who might be a better fit for them and wish them all the best. That's it. If someone pushes back on that, you can just hold firm. "I appreciate that we used to have a great working relationship, but I am no longer able to provide the kind of work or schedule or whatever," I hesitate to say schedule, because what if they actually really want to see you and they adjust their schedule, eh, or it's okay to say straight out, "I know that you're not comfortable getting vaccinated and wearing your mask all the time. Those are requirements for me and I am just not going to budge on those protocols. Again, here's some info for a therapist that might be a better fit for you."

Allissa Haines:

Hold your own. I really think the worst case scenario here is that they BADM mouth you to a few friends, maybe leave you a bad review, which you can totally respond to and say, "I'm so sorry that my new practice is not a good fit for you. I hope that you utilize the referral options I provided." But you don't have to feel bad, you don't have to budge on your own boundaries here. I will tell you a story of how I did budge on a boundary and absolutely almost immediately regretted it because I have a client who used to come in for half an hour and probably only four or five times a year. She'd buy a package of the half hours and then not really love that they expired in a year and I would extend it and she would come in and it was just a whole thing.

Allissa Haines:

Then she found me, I don't offer half hours anymore, she came in for an hour, but I know she's probably going to come back like twice a year and it's going to bother me every time because I think that she just wants to buy the MLM product that she sells, so I feel like the whole hour is just her making polite conversation so as to ease into, do I need any of this MLM product? I am 100% regretful of it and if she calls to schedule versus using my online scheduling system, I'm probably going to try to dissuade her.

Allissa Haines:

Don't do what I do. Don't budge on your boundaries. I should have just said, "You know what? I don't know that I'm the best therapist for you anymore. I'm not doing X, Y, Z," whatever she likes. I'm not going to buy your Tupperware. That's my story. I regret it. Don't be me.

Allissa Haines:

But boom, that's it. You're done. You're allowed to rebuild the business you want, you are allowed to only contact clients who you think will still be a good fit for your business. You're allowed, after you see them once or twice, if you realize they are in fact an anti-masker, you're allowed to say, "You know what? I'm going to refer you to some therapists who don't require masks in the massage room." You're allowed to do whatever you want so this is your permission slip and I hope that you do really, really well rebuilding the business as you want it to be. Our businesses are here to serve us as much as they are here to serve clients and that is the end of my story.

Michael Reynolds:

Love it. We get a few comments from Facebook. I want to acknowledge. Jen says, Jen loves this question. Thank you, Jen, appreciate that. Alexander also agrees, great question, and Siquina stopped by on Facebook as well to say and, "And don't pretend you're busy."

Allissa Haines:

Oh my God. We have a whole other podcast, thank you for bringing this up, Siquina because I forgot to put it in the notes. We have a whole other podcast episode on not lying to clients. It is such a bad idea to tell people that you're too busy and this may have worked back in the day when you scheduled people manually, but it doesn't work nowadays if you have online scheduling or even if there's a chance that client knows other clients, because you're going to say, "I'm too busy. I can't fit you into my schedule," and then their BFF is going to call you the next day and get right in and tell their friend, "I'm so excited. I just scheduled an appointment with so and so," and they're going to be like, "Oh my God, they told me they didn't have any room in my schedule."

Allissa Haines:

Then you're a liar and frankly, that's on you if you're lying to your clients. That is, in fact, an unethical thing to do. I think we do have an obligation to be professionally honest and honestly professional. I don't think we need to say, "I don't want to see you because you've been texting me like crazy and giving me crap because your hairdresser went back to work and isn't only seeing vaccinated clients and doesn't require a mask and I know that. ..." You don't have to be a jerk about it, you don't have to be accusatory. You can just say, "You're not a good fit for my practice. My safety protocols are a lot more hardcore than I think you're willing to accept and I think that this would be better if you saw another therapist with different protocols." You can be honest, and if someone gives you a lot of crap about it, you can leave a voicemail or email or text that says, "This is the end of this discussion. I will not be replying to any further communications," and then you just block them in every possible place and that's fine.

Michael Reynolds:

Leslie also is joining us on Facebook and agrees that is a great story. So thanks.

Allissa Haines:

Good morning, Leslie.

Michael Reynolds:

Good morning.

Allissa Haines:

Leslie has rebuilt her whole practice, really being branded on being the COVID-conscious massage therapist and that has gone really, really well for Leslie. Leslie did not even do a big I'm back to work thing. She just started back, I think contacted a few clients she was particularly close to and has rebuilt as a COVID-conscious therapist in a non-COVID-conscious state and area, and I really respect that a lot. Leslie's pretty cool.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. Agreed. Love it. All right, before we move on to our last sponsor and our quick tips, it's a good time to remind everyone who's listening that we do these broadcasts via Facebook live, YouTube live, and Twitter live live every Wednesday at 9:00 AM Eastern so if you'd like to join us and kind of get the freshest version the episode before it goes out in the podcast on Friday, if you want to post comments or questions as we do the episode, you're welcome to join us. Again, you can join via our Facebook page or our YouTube channel or Twitter. Most people join on Facebook, but all three of those channels are available and you can post comments and questions. As you see, we do love to interact and love the feedback, so feel free to join us 9:00 AM Eastern time every Wednesday morning when we do the podcast.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Our last sponsor, before we move on to quick tips is the Original Jojoba Company.

Allissa Haines:

Yay, and I'll tell you what, if you are a therapist returning to work after two years and you had a big old bottle of the Original Jojoba Company Jojoba, you don't have to worry about it sitting in the cabinet for two years because it does not go rancid. Jojoba does not contain triglyceride like many products do so it won't go bad. This also makes Jojoba a fantastic carrier for essential oils as well. Jojoba is non-allergenic so we can use it on any client and every client without being concerned about an allergic reaction, that is a huge deal for me, and you, my friends can get 20% off the price of the product when you shop through our link massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. We are chock full of quick tips today.

Allissa Haines:

Are we?

Michael Reynolds:

We are.

Allissa Haines:

Oh yeah, look at that.

Michael Reynolds:

We have three.

Allissa Haines:

I will tell and they're all COVID related.

Michael Reynolds:

I know, I thought that was a good theme there.

Allissa Haines:

Just so tiring. I'm sorry, guys. My quick tip is to be prepared to walk out of any situation that does not meet your COVID safety standards without apology. I have mentioned that I had a continuing education experience last week. It has all been resolved, but the protocols were not what we were told they were going to be, and it was a little stressful. I did find a situation that made it more comfortable for me. There was a day of classes that I missed and that was resolved, but had I not had my Blueprint member friend with me, I probably would've just gotten suckered into being gaslit and feeling like I was being hypervigilant and ridiculous and like I was being the only person who had a problem with these lack safety standards, and I probably would've ended up staying in the class with the less than comfortable standards as opposed to helping to make some changes and miss a little bit of class in order to feel comfortable.

Allissa Haines:

I think if I had not had my friend there to prop me up and feel similarly, I would've been a little bit of a wimp about it and not held to my boundaries. I think that had I prior to the class said, "Okay, here's what I'm going to do if these things that they have promised are not in place," it just didn't occur to me that they wouldn't be in place, so I did not pre-think about this. I think that it is going to be useful for me in the future to have a proper escape plan in place for any particular situation which could turn out to not be awesome. That is my quick tip. Be prepared to leave any situation that you are not comfortable in without apology.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. When I saw you talking about this story, I was so vicariously frustrated for you because you asked very specific questions and the instructor promised very specific things and then they didn't happen, they lied to you. It was just so frustrating.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. It was actually a communication thing because it was the site host who promised us certain things and not the instructor.

Michael Reynolds:

Oh, I'm sorry.

Allissa Haines:

But the instructor had agreed and said months and months back that they were going to be following the instructions of the site host for any particular location. Then one, they didn't, and then two, the site host didn't have some of the things they said they were going to have. It was kind of a dual failure and the CE people, they have made good on it, they were pretty accommodating, and I'm not going to trash any particular company because I think a lot of it was a communication and expectation failure, but I wish that I had been more prepared to be more assertive about them meeting the standards on the first day. I should have, at the first break, I should have called the site people, I should have put my foot down and said, "You promised us this, this expectation needs to be met or you're going to have to pay me a whole lot of money for tuition and lodging and food and lost income." But you sign a contract that says they're not going to be responsible for any of that, so it was frustrating, but now I know.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. All right. Well, continuing on our COVID themed quick tips, I found the new app that I'm pretty excited about. It's called the Covis app. Have you heard of this? I don't really think much about it. I just found it recently. Have you heard of this app, Allissa?

Allissa Haines:

No.

Michael Reynolds:

I'm being cautious because first of all, it's free. I don't know who's behind it, I don't know the story behind it, I don't know much about the app. It's a new app or new to me, but it looks really well designed. I did look at their website and their team is made up of lots of women and non-white people so I trust them a little more already. It basically seems like an app that's designed for helping you track your COVID risk level and it uses GPS and tracks your phone and lets you check in at certain locations you visit and puts your age and health information, habits, and everything, lots of information, and it gives you a score. It's from zero to a 1000 and for example, my risk score today is 88. That's what it shows on the app. I know most of you are probably listening via audio only, but on the video here, I'm showing it to the screen there, it's got 88, so I've got a very low COVID risk level based on all these factors. It basically tracks you every day. I thought it was really interesting because it goes by your location, your county, the health information based on your county, also your habits, so it combines all this data together to give you risk levels.

Michael Reynolds:

I thought it was only available for iPhone, but there is also an Android version, there's two versions so you can get it on pretty much any phone, and it looks really well done. I don't know much about it, but so far I'm really impressed with the app, and it's really interesting, and it seems to do a lot. I'm going to share that in case anybody else wants to investigate the app and take a look at it. You can donate to support the project apparently. They don't charge anything, but they take donations to support the project.

Allissa Haines:

I'm excited for your next tip because Leslie just popped it into the comments. She was reading your mind.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. Oh, thanks, Leslie. Yeah. Our bonus quick tip today is that our third round of COVID tests for free are available. You can go to covid.gov/tests. It's also linked in the show notes here. One of our members in Blueprint Mastermind actually alerted us to this. You can now get the third round. Actually I ordered mine and they said, "Hey, if this is a first or second round order, you can do one more." Basically I'd ordered one free batch before, didn't do the second round, because I missed it, and basically I could just click the same button again and I got two orders in one session. I've got my second and third orders on the way now on that same site. They're available, go get them.

Allissa Haines:

Sweet. I'm not able to interact with the chat, Michael, I don't know if that's like a setting we need to work on, but we did get a message, a note from Kylie who said, "Do you have a podcast about closing your business due to moving out of state and the steps?"

Allissa Haines:

Well, as a matter of fact, we do. Episode 191 from 2018 is literally titled How to Move Your Massage Practice, so there is that. We also did an episode, should I move my business or deal with the compute, hello, commute? That's episode 405 and that's got some tips for you as well. By all means, listen to those and if you have any lingering questions, by all means, email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com, and we will answer them directly to you or if it makes a good topic, expand on that in a podcast episode, so thank you Kylie for that contribution.

Michael Reynolds:

Right on. Thanks, Kylie. All right. Action packed show today. Love it. Anything else to add?

Allissa Haines:

We really nailed it in like 25 minutes, man.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah, well, let's let's keep it short. Let's stop there. No one ever gets mad for ending early, right?

Allissa Haines:

That's not true. Leslie used to because she wanted it to be longer to match her commute or something.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, sorry, Leslie. We try to accommodate. All right.

Michael Reynolds:

Well with that, a reminder that you can find us on the web at massagebusinessblueprint.com and if you're not a member of our Blueprint Mastermind community, it is growing every day, every week, at least we see a few members join every week, and a lot of new members that are excited about learning from each other in the community.

Michael Reynolds:

Oh, I want to stop for a second because Meg stopped by via Facebook as well. Meg says, "I should be completing my smart goals, but instead I'm watching," okay, great point, Meg. That's a great segue to reminding me to remind you that in Blueprint Mastermind, we have all sorts of great benefits including accountability groups and our most recent accountability group is focused on smart goals, which Meg, Allissa, and I are all tag teaming on, one of the great benefits of Blueprint Mastermind. That's something we offer as well as office hours, lots of downloadable materials like marketing images, social media images, free blog posts you can use on your site and as well, just the greatest, smartest community of massage therapists in the world, I think. Blueprint Mastermind is available on our website at massagebusinessblueprint.com.

Michael Reynolds:

With that, thanks for joining us as always. Again, that website, massagebusinessblueprint.com and email us if you'd like at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. Thanks for joining us today. Have a great day and we'll see you next time.

Allissa Haines:

Bye.

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