Think you need to be a vivacious social butterfly to be a great massage business owner? Nopey nope nope! We share a few great thoughts on introverts as massage therapists and marketers.
Resource we mention: Author Susan Cain
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I am Allissa Haines.
MR And we’re your hosts today. Happy November, Allissa. What do you think of November?
AH I love November because —
MR You do?
AH I do.
AH Because it’s – what is it? The no shave November?
MR Oh, Movember?
AH Yeah, so it’s when men don’t shave, and they take whatever money they would have spent on shaving products and put it towards their local, whatever, prostate cancer charitable cause thing. And, I mean, I like it when Walt doesn’t shave anyway, like, he’s got a beard and moustache; I’m a sucker for beards and moustache. But it just goes totally Grizzly Adams crazy in November. And I love seeing beards and moustaches on dudes, so I like November for that.
MR I was not expecting that. [laughs] But I’m glad you like November. I was about to say it’s kind of a dull month, but you just livened it up, so thanks for that.
AH I really like Thanksgiving, too, because we don’t do traditional Thanksgiving meals and stuff because that doesn’t interest me. I like — and I’ve got a couple days off over the holiday this year — it’s early this year. And I actually already took down the Halloween decorations yesterday, and I put some Christmas stuff up on the mantel because I am just going all in this year.
MR Well, I’m trying to talk my in-laws into — my in-laws are super traditional Thanksgiving: the turkey and the stuffing and the blah blah, and I don’t really like Thanksgiving food. I like other kinds of food. So she’s like hey, what do you think we should have for Thanksgiving? I was like how about pizza? She looked at me like I had three heads. [laughs] It was so funny.
AH We did last year. We did make your own pizzas.
MR See? That sounds amazing.
AH You know what we’re doing this year is we’re actually doing a bagel bar because the kids all really like bagels. And these children are really specific — I’m not going to call them picky eaters because there’s sensory issues involved; they’re not just being jerks about it. But all of them like bagels and we have a really great bagel place near me, so I decided we would do bagels. I love lox and onion and capers and if I get goat cheese, like a spreadable goat cheese, I can eat because I can’t eat real cream cheese. I was like let’s just go all in and I’ll get a bunch of bagels, I’ll get all the stuff we really like, and we’ll just have a full day of bagel bar-ing it. We can all make our own bagels at any time for any way we want.
MR Well, I expect a full report after this Thanksgiving.
AH So that’s my November update, thank you for asking.
MR All right, so speaking of nothing really because there’s no good segue to this so I’m just going to make a hard left here, but our topic today is why introverts make great massage therapists. I am excited to have what you have to say about this, and I think a lot of our listeners would as well. So why do introverts make great massage therapists?
AH And oddly enough there actually is a tie-in here. When I was a child, and even still now, I am not much of a people person. I don’t — we all know how much I hate networking and meeting new people, and I hated Thanksgiving. I hated all holidays, especially the ones that were held at my house, and Thanksgiving happened at my house. And I loved my grandparents and my aunts and uncles and cousins — it was a big, loud family. I could not handle having the mayhem in my house. For a lot of Thanksgivings, because it was the holiday we had at my place, I would be allowed, bless my parents, I would be allowed to just go hide up in my room instead of doing the big meal at the table. And occasionally at any other family events where lots of people were in my house, I would wear out really quickly from the social aspect of it, and I learned that this is a familiar trait of an introvert. And it’s not that I couldn’t function socially or didn’t want to be around people, it’s that it drains me, it super drains me, and I need to recharge in solitude, which is a characteristic of introverts.
And there’s a real common misconception that introverts are hermits and they’re fragile and they’re socially awkward more than anyone else. And that’s not really true. It just means that you need to recharge in solitude. You do better recharging and planning for the next whatever of your life in your alone time. So, Michael, I know that you have those same introvert tendencies.
MR I do, indeed.
AH You do. And we can be — there’s part of my job that require me to be welcoming and social, and gregarious, especially in teaching and stuff. And I can do it and I do it quite well, thank you. But I need to recharge on my own.
But the trick here is people feel like introverts can’t be great in service professions because we don’t always love being around lots of people. But that’s what’s beautiful about introverts is we prefer one-to-one situations. We might have fewer friends, but our friendships are longer and deeper — deeper and longer-lasting, I messed that up. Oftentimes that comes across as a dislike for people, but it’s really not. We like people, but we like depth and one-on-one relationships with people. And what is more perfect for massage than that because we’re not seeing a ton of people all at once. And that’s really, really nice when you’ve got a one-on-one relationship with someone for one hour at a time, you’re not expected to speak — it’s even better if you don’t — you’re not expected to make eye contact, you can — when you do need to speak it’s on topics, so it’s something you’re prepared for — is this too much pressure, would you like more pressure here, can you tell me how this hurts or how this feels — and it takes away a lot of the icky social aspect of interacting with people because it’s on our turf in a quiet room one-to-one.
And not for nothing, introverts are very good with boundaries. We don’t love it when people invade our personal space or our privacy, and since this is really — boundaries are a big issue in massage. When you’re an introvert, it’s a lot easier to change the conversation to something that does not violate a boundary so you’re not telling clients too much about your personal life or intruding on their personal life. That wallflower habit that we pick up as introverts can serve us very well as massage therapists because they help us to deflect conversation that shouldn’t be happening. It helps to boost our powers of observation allowing us to be more intuitive and respond to a client’s body language, breathing, cadence of speech, any other signs of comfort and discomfort, and we’re a lot less likely to trample on a client’s unspoken needs because we’re used to keeping our mouths shut and keeping to ourselves.
Oftentimes, introverts are the kind of people who think before they speak. They think about things at their own pace. This tends to be one thing that I flub up; I will say things inappropriately all the time. But we tend to think before we speak and we don’t initiate idle conversation, which is worth repeating — I know I kind of said that in the last one.
And we’re really good at introspection. A lot of introversion is, again, being alone to recharge, thinking about things, thinking about how things went well, thinking about how things didn’t go well. That means we can be more likely to catch the early twinges that are a result of bad body mechanics or noticing when our own emotions can tell us when something in our business is not going well or is going really well. And noticing if clients — if there’s any pattern among clients rebooking that can help us — or not rebooking — that can help us reflect and fix something going on in our business. This is really great — our habits of reflection can help us adjust our plans and adapt to our own needs — our needs, not just the needs of the people on the table.
And before I move into more, Michael, who’s our halftime sponsor?
MR I’ve been waiting all episode for that.
AH I know. We just love The Jojoba Company and their jojoba.
Sponsor message I love it because it is a massage product, a lubricant, that does not oxidize or turn rancid. It has an indefinite shelf life. Heat doesn’t affect it. So if you’re in a warm climate and it gets hot a lot, it’s not going to go nasty on you. And if you’re in a cold climate and you warm it up a lot because your office gets cold at night but then you go in and crank the heat up and you put your bottle in your hot towel cabbie to get it liquified, it’s not going to get all rancid and gross. I forgot the next thing I was going — oh — [laughs] I have to refer to my notes because I always like to get this one right. There are plenty of massage products like almond oil and grapeseed and macadamia; they’re really fragile and they deteriorate and they make it really bad for hot stone stuff and reheating like when you’re in a climate like mine. But jojoba, it doesn’t contain those same kinds of triglycerides, so it can stand up to heating and reheating and doesn’t require any refrigeration. So it’s going to last forever, people, trust me on that. You can learn more at massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba, J-O-J-O-B-A.
AH That’s that. Let me pop —
MR You have a nice piece on their blog, too. We just showed that via social media last week, I believe.
AH Yeah, it’s totally on our Facebook page. I’m really excited because Jojoba asked me to write piece about things that new therapists and recent graduates would want to know, and it’s so lovely. We just shared it via Twitter this morning, too. I hopped on our Twitter this morning. I love it. I love talking to new grads and it’s part of a crossover piece that’s appearing in a trade journal for them, and I’m really psyched about it. I love using jojoba. I actually just poured out a bottle for one of my office mates to try because she’s been looking at my bottles for a while, and she’s like hey, can I try that. I know she’s going to be popping off a gallon soon. I’m so excited.
All right, so hopping back into introvert stuff. You know massage offices can be quiet, with music, and a little bit dark, and if you’re not happy with solitude and quiet, minimally-simulating environments, that’d drive you crazy. But introverts like me, man, we love this. We work best in solitude and massage rooms are exactly like that. Yeah, there’s plenty of massage practices in vibrant loud gyms and PT clinics and vivacious chair massage all over. And I do gigs like that hear and there. But the majority of massage rooms are quiet and soothing places. For me, that means I can tailor my massage environment to my needs as much as my clients. So if I have a draining morning like when I went to that networking event, or if I just had to call a plumber, if I had to talk to random people at the laundromat, it’s so relaxing to me to go to work. And now living in a house where there are children and kid’s stuff and hilarity going on all the time, in the middle of my day yesterday — I was home yesterday for a weekend with the kids — and the middle of my day was like oh, my gosh, I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow where it’s quiet. That can be really, really good. So being able to recharge that way in the solitude of your own office even while you’re working is pretty awesome.
Michael, you tend towards introversion in many ways. What do you think? What are the introvert tactics or characteristics that have helped you in your work?
MR Well, I’m like you in that — I think that there’s actually — a friend of mine told me that I’m an ambivert because I get energized by people in bursts, just like you, and then I need downtime to recharge. So that’s kind of my style. And that works really well for me because I think introverts also tend to have more empathy sometimes, and they can really empathize with other people that have similar tendencies or, kind of like you said, as massage therapists, you’re caring for people and that can really help you connect wit your clients as well. So I do agree with a lot of what you said, and it kind of applies to me as well.
So in my work, I mean, I think you and I both do this work. We, not just in massage, but we help people through Massage Business Blueprint, we help them with challenges they’re having, we help them with — other business I own, I’m also helping people with challenges in marketing or business or finance. And so I think any business you’re in or any service you’re in where you are helping someone with deeply personal things, it’s sometimes advantageous to be an introvert. I think the empathy is there.
AH I think so, too, and I have to say my aversion to leaving my office is what made me good at online marketing. Like 13 years ago when I was starting my practice, it’s like —
MR Right? The virtual world is great sometimes. [laughs].
AH Yeah. It was huge for me. My not wanting to go cold-call and talk to other practitioners and go to networking stuff, which I’m out of that shell now, but not wanting to do that is what made me the first therapist in my town to have a website and to do email marketing and to have online scheduling and all of those things. Knowing your tendencies, knowing how you are, and choosing your business direction and actions accordingly is smart. I’m not saying you shouldn’t push yourself out of your comfort zone, but it can be really helpful.
And I’m going to put in the show notes some really great stuff from an author named Susan Cain —
MR Oh, I love Susan Cain.
AH I love — oh, she’s just delightful. We saw her speak at a conference and it really —
MR Yeah, at Inbound.
AH — it really changed me. It really helped me a lot. So I’ll put some of her stuff in a link. She’s got a really great email, like a weekly email, going on. Yeah, that’s what I have to say. I want to show a little extra love to the introverts because I know a lot of the people we talk to struggle and they think it’s a character flaw, and it’s not. It’s a character aspect that you should embrace and make adjustments accordingly in your business.
MR Yeah, love it.
AH I’m done.
MR Love it. Introverts unite. We hear you. We see you out there.
All right, well, thank you for that. We’ll wrap up there then and remind our both extrovert and introvert listeners where to find us online. It’s massagebusinessblueprint.com. If you have a question or a topic you want us to bring up in a future episode, the email as always is firstname.lastname@example.org. We love iTunes reviews; we’ll probably hit up a couple of those here in the next few episodes and maybe read some of our new ones. So we appreciate all of the new iTunes reviews that have come in. It helps other smart massage therapists like you find us. So thank you for that. Until next time, have a great day; we’ll see you then.