Well, of all the unanswerable questions in all the world, you had to ask this one? You did, and we love it. Michael and Allissa talk through the factors that define success and how to parse through what matters to you.
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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 We’re your hosts. Happy winter, everybody. Happy winter.
AH Oh, it is indeed. I’m out here in my little office. I may have forgotten to turn the heat up earlier —
AH — so it’s hovering at about 52 degrees out here now.
MR A balmy 52.
AH A balmy 52. But I think by the end of our recording, it should be up to something a little more humane. So, we’ll be all right .
MR I hope so. I certainly hope so.
AH Yeah, when it’s an 8 by 14 room, it heats up pretty quick.
MR Yeah, I would imagine it’s pretty efficient from a heating standpoint, so —
AH Not bad.
MR I’m glad you will survive.
AH How you doing?
MR I’m doing great. I’m enjoying seeing pictures of your grandbaby. Allissa sent me some pictures via Slack, our private Slack channel, of the grandbaby. He’s adorable. Has a little racoon outfit and has little overalls. And I’m just loving it.
AH He’s enchanting. And mind you, Michael asked for the pictures. It’s not like I just, unsolicited, sent a bunch of pictures.
MR I did. I was like, more pictures.
AH He’s so cute. He’s inside smiling away at the kids. I’ll be out here working for all you people. [laughs].
MR So let’s do a podcast episode, how about that?
AH Mind you, I’m counting the minutes until my stepdaughter gets here with the baby so she can watch the other step-kids. I’m counting the minutes until I can come out to work. So really, hot a hustle here. We’re good.
MR So take our time?
MR All right. Our topic today is when is your massage business “successful”?
AH Man, and yeah, this came from a discussion in our premium group, as many of our ideas and inspiration do. Somebody asked — they were putting together some annual goals and said, how do you define success? I loved this question because it was mindful of the fact that everyone defines success differently. And also the answers that came in are really great. There was a couple things I hadn’t really thought of, and then it kind of made me nail down different markers and goals that you might want to consider for yourself in order to define what successful means.
I think it’s important to do this on occasion because if you don’t, you just — so much of business is just slogging along, put one foot in front of the other and do this thing that you know is going to build your business, doing this next thing that you know is going to build your biz. We don’t always have an end goal in mind, or you can end up 5, 10 years into this and be like did I meet my goals? Is this what I wanted? Is this the business that I thought that I wanted? So I think that’s it’s good to evaluate and consider what the factors are that matter to you.
So I want to share a little bit some of the answers– some of the answers that came from our group were financial. Some people wanted a total sales mark of $50,000 or more. And other people defined it as how much they could take home per month. And we saw ranges of anything from 1,000 to 5,000 a month of what you could take home. Some people measured their success as far as how many appointment they have booked and how far out they’re booked. Some people wanted to break — so one of my friends said he wanted to break six figures, work from home in a newly constructed home office, and accept new clients by direct referral only. And then he noted that he’d done that. He actually, after, I don’t know, 18 years of practice, met that criteria and is now began this year working from his home office.
And for some people, it wasn’t about a number, it was about feeling successful when clients consistently report that they’re having great outcomes or they give compliments saying that you’re a wizard. And some people were a little less specific about it and said a successful business looks to me like regular clients and a steady income and employing staff.
So I think that that really matters. And I have to say — one of our members noted that she felt like her success was going to look like a certain number of clients booked a certain number of months out. So let’s say 20 clients a week booked two months out. And she noted that it didn’t feel as great as she thought, and she wished she had been more mindful about what she wanted her life to feel like — making sure she had enough time for he self and her hobbies and her self-care — within her goals for her business. And that was really a helpful response for me to see to think about overall big picture.
So I created a list of markers that you might want to consider when you’re thinking about what success looks like for your particular business. But before we get into that, Michael, who’s our halftime sponsor today?
MR Our halftime sponsor is ABMP, our good friends at ABMP. We love ABMP.
AH They are. And we love ABMP and we thank them for sponsoring this episode. Let me tell you a little bit about them.
Sponsor message ABMP goes above and beyond great liability insurance to make it easier for you to succeed at what you love. With membership that combines the insurance you need, the free CE you want, and the advocacy and personalized customer service that you deserve. New for 2019 — this is exciting — ABMP certified members now get the most free CE in the world with full access to World Massage Conference vault of more than 400 on-demand massage and bodywork CE courses. Plus the already robust 200 free CE courses available in the ABMP education center. You can find out more at abmp.com and learn why you can expect more from ABMP membership.
AH I am a member. We have created some CE for them, and I wholly endorse visiting abmp.com and checking them out.
MR Yeah, we actually just posted a networking webinar about — a couple weeks ago for them.
AH We did.
MR It is in the portal. Go get it.
AH It is. It’s pretty good, too. It’s some of Michael’s best work, and I pop in with a couple of smart things here and there too, so that’s nice.
AH It’s networking, so it’s your real specialty, but I’m getting better so I’m feeling good about it.
Yeah, so the markers, the goalposts maybe, the things you want to consider if they’re going to matter for you or not. The easy ones here are income goals, your gross and net goals that are going to meet your needs. So that are going to pay the expenses that it takes to operate your business, that are going to cover your taxes, that are going to cover your wages, what you take home. And what you take home, of course, needs to include however much you need to support you, whether you’re supporting your household full time fully as the single wage earner, or whether you have a partner who’s a wage earner as well and what proportion of the household that you need to be able to support. And also caring for yourself and your retirement. All of those things have to come out of what you bring home as a wage.
And you want to think, too, what are the income, gross and net income goals, that you want to consider for your future? So you want the income to be rising a certain amount every year? Do you want to be able to taper off and have a lower income as your move through your career and ease into retirement? What do you want your income gross and net goals to be today, this year, as well as five years from now or ten years from now or as you ease into retirement?
And another factor here is how much time do you want to spend working? For me, when I started my career, I wanted to be working 40 and 50 hours a week. That doesn’t mean 40 and 50 clients a week, but I wanted to be — I liked working a lot. It was great for me. Those goals — those work goals are very different for me now. And again that’s something — what do you want from your time spend working now, and what do you think you might want it to be in five or ten years.
And then there’s a satisfaction — are you happy when you’re strolling into work every day? Do you feel a good tired when you leave work at night, or do you feel bad tired? Are you slogging in, or are you happy when your first client walks in the door. How is your work? How’s your actual work, your hands-on massage? Are you effective? Are you meeting the needs of the people who come to you? Are you finding that your curiosity about your work and your excitement about your work, is that being challenged and met? Or are you bored? There are people who leave massage just because they’re bored with what they’re doing and they don’t see any other aspects of massage that would be less boring for them, so they leave massage that’s totally legit. And how about your personal life? Does the time that you spend working and the satisfaction that you’re getting from that and the income that you’re getting from that, does that work together well and leave you the desired amount of time and energy remaining to have a life?
Now, I don’t know that anyone can really do the math and come up accurate about how they’re going to feel. I don’t think any of us can say, I want to be working in my business for 35 hours a week and have this many hours a week to, whatever, watch Hulu or climb a mountain. I don’t know that that’s a thing you can come up with real hard numbers for. But you can come up with some rough estimates. You can think. I used to work with a pharmacist who would work — she worked every holiday. But she never, ever, ever in the four months of a summer, she never worked a weekend because she had a boat and she wanted to be out on her boat every weekend. She worked every holiday for the rest of the year in order to accommodate her “I never work a weekend schedule in the summer.” Or I think she actually had Friday, Saturday, Sunday off in the summer, which is a big deal in pharmacy-land for someone to get all of that. But she worked every holiday and occasional overnight shifts and the company let her do that. So I really like working five to six days a week, but it gives me the flexibility to take a long weekend off once a month and do certain vacations that I like. So it’s not always an exact mathematical equation. Sometimes it’s a feeling you get that allows you to prioritize. It’s the flexibility to prioritize.
And those are the factors that I think it can be helpful for all of us to consider regularly. Are my income, gross and net, goals meeting my needs? Am I happy with the time that I’m spending working? Do I feel good when I’m working? And is it leaving me with the time and energy remaining for my personal stuff? How’s all that going, and where do I want that to be in a year or in five years or in ten years even? And that is my assessment of how you would define when your massage business is successful. Michael, what did I miss?
MR No, I love it. I have many many thoughts and opinions on this that I won’t share because it’ll be a two-hour podcast episode, but I am in full agreement with the idea of — to me, anyway, for me success is being able to do the things I want to do from a income standpoint, having enough money to do things I want to do, and have control and freedom over my time and personal life at the same time. When that’s in balance, that to me is success. It’s not a certain amount of money or some other status or whatever. It’s that particular mix of elements. So I think that’s what you described at the end.
AH Yeah, I want to emphasize that balance isn’t something that has to happen every single day.
AH Balance can be big picture. For me, I don’t balance well. I can never have a certain amount of work hours versus a certain amount of personal time hours. On a daily basis, things that are like, “you should take a half hour for yourself every day,” that’s not – -I’m not good at that. I don’t like that. It doesn’t work for me. What does work for me is spending one day a month secluded either reading through a series of books or binging something on Netflix. One day every month or so. That’s how I spend probably one Sunday a month just brain shut down chilling. And that works really well for me. Of course, there’s little things I do to try to keep myself feeling good day to day. But you have to know what balance means for you and no one else can tell you that. Balance can be daily; it can be annually. And for some people it is. Some people work like mad for 40-some weeks a year and then take a month off. That’s pretty sweet; I would love that.
So what success looks like is different for everyone, of course, obvs. No real revelation there. But maybe take some time to think through what works for you. And I’d really like to hear your answers. So if you’ve considered what success is for you and you’ve attained it or you’ve not attained it and, therefore, rethought it, I want to hear it. So email us at email@example.com because I’m really interested in how people feel about this.
Ok, I’m done for real.
MR Cool. Love it. All right, well, we’ll end there. So thanks, everyone, for joining us today. As Allissa mentioned, the email address to reach us is firstname.lastname@example.org. And as you’ve figured out by now, our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com, so check us out there. If you’re not a premium member yet, consider becoming a premium member. And to tag on to our sponsor, ABMP certified members gets a special premium membership rate of $12 a month. So check that out in the portal and you can take advantage of that as well. Thanks again for joining us today. Have an awesome day and we’ll see you next time.