Burnt out on absorbing new business-y info? Bored at work in general? It happens! We’ve got a few tips for shaking out of a rut and loving your business again.
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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 am Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And we’re your hosts. We’ve glad you’ve joined us today. Welcome, welcome.
So Allissa, I know you said it was raining at your neck of the woods. I was a little bit excited today because as I was getting Eli out the door for school, I had to bring his jacket. I told him, you know what? That means summer is wrapping up, fall is coming, and you know what that means? And he said, Halloween. [Laughing].
MR He was so excited because he wants to be Spider-Man for Halloween.
MR I’ve — we’ve been talking up Halloween, so he’s excited for fall also.
AH That’s nice. I am not a fan of rushing through — okay. So when is this — this episode is going to air on August 30th, so I am going to allow this conversation to continue —
AH But I have — I am firmly opposed — I’m trying to live in the moment. I’m trying to be where I am without wishing any portion of my day away, any portion of my life away, at any given time. And so I have banned all talk of fall in my home and pretty much in my life when people are like, I can’t wait for fall, and I’m like, nope. I’m trying to have a really nice summer, and we’re in it for a few more weeks, and I want to be in it for a few more weeks. So I oppose that statement and —
MR Well, for me, it wasn’t about rushing summer away. It was more about celebrating being happy about a thing. That’s all it was. So —
AH All right. That’s fine.
MR No one’s rushing summer away at our house. Don’t worry.
AH I’m not crapping in anyone’s pumpkin spice lattes. I’m just not prepared. I am — I’m actually looking forward to a lot of things about September as well, but I’m in the moment of this misty summer morning, and I’m going to bask there for a while.
MR Oh, it was lovely. It was perfect temperature. It was lovely.
AH Nice. Sweet.
MR Great time of year.
AH I just think it will be good sleeping weather.
MR Yeah. Yeah.
AH And we still don’t have proper air conditioning, so I’m really excited about good sleeping weather, so (indiscernible).
AH Yay. Good job us. Nice banter.
What are we talking about today, Michael?
MR [Laughing]. Thanks for encapsulating that with — so what are we talking about today? That’s a great question. So dealing with massage business boredom is on docket for
AH Yeah. So —
MR What do you think?
AH Oh, I’m so excited about this, and I’m so excited that the topic came up. So one of our premium members posted in our private discussion group about needing a break, and she meant — I’m going to paraphrase here. She says, I mentally gave myself the summer off from thinking about business stuff; I needed a break. What do you do to get excited and inspired about work? I’m signed up for a workshop soon, so that’s great. I need to run an ad campaign, but I need to be motivated for that, and I’m struggling finding the motivation.
So there’s two factors here. First, the notion of taking the summer off from thinking about your business. Ugh. I wholeheartedly endorse taking a break from business stuff. It gets — like, business-y stuff — giving yourself a pass to not send an extra email if you don’t want to, to not do some business-y things that drag you down. I am a huge fan of taking a break because very few of those things, like, have to be done. I encourage people to set a timeline for that break so that your whole business doesn’t collapse around you. You don’t want to find yourself in December with two clients a week only and having not reconciled any of your receipts for 12 months. So I firmly think a timeline can be really helpful. And be strategic about what you give up and what you take a break from so that you don’t crash and burn, so you don’t cause a downward spiral.
But yes. I spent a couple of months, must have been last year, just unsubscribing from almost every email I would get, every automated or sales email I would get, partly because I didn’t want to be enticed to buy anything, but also I just was so overwhelmed. And it has to — I have to do this regularly because over time I’ll subscribe to some different things I’m interested in, but it takes me a couple emails to realize that I’m not interested in. And I’ve really weaned down what I consume, and that has helped me. Like, the two marketing emails I do get I adore, and they’re not frequent since one of them is weekly and one of them is every other week, and I love them. It is the most valuable and fun content for me to consume related to business administration stuff and marketing, and I — and even then, sometimes I don’t even read them, and that’s okay. And I gave myself permission to delete an email if it’s been sitting in my email box for a couple weeks and I know I’m — I know I should read that, but I don’t get to it. Just let it go, man. I’m so done with the fear of missing out on business-y or marketing information. Like, let it go.
So yay to you for understanding that you needed a break from certain aspects of your business-y stuff. And now, I’m going to give a couple of tips for getting — breathing in a little life, a little motivation, back in to what you need to be doing to run your business.
Michael, take a moment — have you had to take a break, a step back, from business-y and admin stuff just because it made your head spin?
MR Oh, I have. Yeah. Not recently because I’m kind of swinging back to the — getting in the zone of focusing and growing and stuff. But yeah. I mean, recently — yeah. All the time. I think many times throughout the year I just have to kind of say, you know what? I’m going to clear my calendar, I’m going to go get a massage, I’m going to stop working all these hours, and I’m just going to reel it back a little bit and rein it in. And yeah. I need that. I think we all need that.
AH Excellent. Fabulous. Thank you for vamping for me while I had to take a sip of my coffee.
MR [Laughing]. I suspected that might be the case.
AH And I apologize if you heard that because I don’t know how the mute button works on my new headphones, so.
MR I did not. It was — there was no slurping coming through my ears, so.
MR Mission accomplished.
AH So let’s jump into things you can actually do here. So — and I’m talking, like, free and cheap stuff. And there’s a couple — I’m going to start with superficial things because sometimes some light and superficial things are enough to bring us a little bit of joy, a little bit of cheer, to get us moving, to help with momentum that hopefully will go much deeper.
So there’s two parts to this: superficial pre-our-halftime and then a little deeper after. So spiff up your space. Whether that be your desk space, whether that be a spot in your home where you sit and you do admin work, or your massage room, spiff something up. And this doesn’t have to be, like, spending lots of money on anything new. Move stuff around. Move your artwork around. This could cost you as little or as much, even, as just $10 of those Command 3M Strips that you can use to hang stuff without damaging your walls. Makes it really easy to move stuff around. Move your artwork around. Clean some stuff. Give yourself something different to look at when you’re at your desk or in your massage room.
Do you have your desk positioned so that the window’s behind you? Flip your desk around. Push it against the window so you’re looking out when you’re sitting at your desk. Do something like that to give yourself a little change in your day-to-day motion and positioning. I do not suggest, like, rearranging your entire massage room several times a year because that can be really confusing for clients, but look around. See what you can spiff up. See — for very little money — see what needs to — if clutter has accumulated over time, clear it out. What can be done? You get the idea.
The next thing — sort of superficial but also kind of cool — is to create a seasonal treatment or add-on to your massage services. So if you’re doing a really good job of niching, that’s fantastic. It’s good for your business, it’s good for marketing, it’s good for your clients, it’s good for your soul, usually, but you could get a little bored too. And it can be a really good thing to just kind of add a spontaneous seasonal treatment or add-on like — like, I’m not really into fancy stuff or spa treatments or tools in my practice, but every so often, I’ll offer something like, this month I can — I’m going to offer you the option to use a certain essential oil if you want; there’s no extra add-on. Or maybe I’ll add a $5 add-on and they can take home a couple ounces of that. So that’s really great.
Sorry, I was trying to think of another on-the-fly idea, but I totally flaked on that. So the essential oil —
MR Well, actually, if you don’t mind, I can — can I —
AH Please do.
MR I know you didn’t ask, but when you were talking about clutter, that’s actually one of my top go-tos. Like, when I feel just stuck and overwhelmed and bored or whatever and I’m just kind of bogged down in business, the best thing I can do is to reorganize, clean my house, clean my office, throw stuff away, declutter. That opens up so much energy. And it’s counterintuitive because you think you need to work on your business, not on superficial stuff like that, but the superficial stuff that you described makes the most difference for me. So I fully endorse that.
AH Yay. Okay. Now, I lost my place on my notes when I was —
MR Sorry, I probably threw you off.
AH No, no, no. You didn’t. You helped me — you gave me time to get back to it. So I feel like we’re recording at like six in the morning, and we’re not.
AH So sorry, people. I’ve just — it’s been a morning. It’s been a morning.
So okay — also, seasonal additions to services and your service menu can — spontaneous stuff like that can bring back some not-so-regulars to the office, and encouraging that upgrade to my devout regulars, it’s fun. Especially if you do decide to do some kind of upgrade that costs you a — that will cost your client a couple bucks, it can be really lucrative, which is also really motivating.
It’s very — like, I don’t do hot stones, but it would be really easy for me in the dead of winter to — I still have a few little stones and a little warmer that’s nothing fancy. It would be really easy in the dead of winter for me to do a mini hot stones add-on. I’d probably get, you know, 10 or 15 extra bucks per session, and it could be really fun. So something like that that could — and — but you could make it a limited time. So if I knew that I had to do hot stones forever, I would hate it. But if I know I’m just doing a fun mini stone thing in a really cold month and everyone’s going to love it, rock on. That could be really great. And there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so I won’t get drawn down with, like, oh, my God; I hate doing hot stones. Because I don’t hate it, I just hate doing a lot of it often. I just don’t like it.
So little things like that could be really helpful. A seasonal treatment or an add-on or something you can do to mix up your massage just a little bit. We have more on that after the break, too, that goes a little deeper.
Change your music, man. Change your music. Maybe actually suck it up and buy a couple of albums of some kind of classical relaxation or some — if you’ve never tried my friend Art, Artful Touch Music, buy an album. Do something totally different that is outside your realm. Like, I do not like water and nature noises, but I had, on somebody else’s mix where we had to swap iPods around in the office the other day, and it was some lovely music with some, like, birds chirping, and it wasn’t offensive. And my client’s like, wow, I really like that. And I’m like, I would have thought I hated it, but there it is. So whatever. Try something different. And again, you can do this, like, as a theme. You could decide that — you know, it’s not mandatory, but you could tell your clients — you could take a whole month and be like, hey, we’re going to do jazz month; we’re going to do mellow, instrumental jazz month, or we’re having Ella Fitzgerald month here at the office. And when people come in you could say, hey, would you like the regular massage music, or do you want to listen to Kind of Blue, like, Miles Davis? I love Miles Davis Kind of Blue album for massage. It’s really great.
So think about that. And you can ask your client. You don’t have to force — whatever — Billy Ray Cyrus on all your clients for a month. But as they come in, give them an option, or give people a heads up that you’re happy to play whatever their playlist is when they walk in. That’s great too. Give clients a choice in music. Just having a little something different to listen to while you’re working can be really, really nice. It’s fun, and it’s a talking point for your clients. They’re going to go home and be like, dude, I got to listen to some Miles Davis; I haven’t done that in a long time. So there’s that.
My next option is slightly less superficial, but if there is something that you hate either in your massage or in your business, delegate it. Take it off your menu. Do something. I’m not saying that you have to overhaul your business. These are quick tips. I don’t want you to get stuck in the mud on any of these ideas. But if there is one thing that you feel is dragging you down or that you’re dreading when you go to work in the morning, see if you can get rid of it. If you never — if you always have like a “ugh” feeling when someone schedules your 45-minute stretching session, take it off your menu. Stop doing it. Stop putting things into your business that are going to cause you that feeling of dread. If there’s a task in your business that is — you’re dreading, delegate it.
I’m — and again, I’m trying to do free and cheap things. So if you’re really struggling with, like, organizing your receipts, I’m not saying that you should go out and pay a bookkeeper — like, back pay to organize everything since January, but you could probably do something like have your niece or nephew over and put on a movie marathon and organize your receipts together. Like, my nieces and nephews were organizing my receipts chronologically from the time they were, like, four. So as soon as they could read a date, they were helping me with this kind of stuff, and I would pop popcorn, and we would watch a couple movies, and we would have a blast. So find a fun way to delegate that, or just meet with a friend and do it together while you chat, you gossip, whatever.
Just one thing. Again, don’t get carried away and do a whole business overhaul or spend a ton of money because that’s going to sink you further into your like, ugh, now I got to really get more clients because I just spent like $800 on this and — no. One little thing you can do to improve the job. Period. Get creative with that, and let me know where it goes.
Michael, who is our halftime sponsor today?
MR Our halftime sponsor is Acuity. We love Acuity.
AH We do. I use it for my own massage business, and I had a client tell me yesterday how they loved how easy it was to reschedule their appointment and then pay for the appointment via the link in the email confirmation that they got, or the reminder they got, so that’s really nice.
Sponsor message Acuity Scheduling is your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule. You don’t have to play phone tag. You can handle your forms before the appointment. Customer service is a delight, and Acuity’s style will help you to have fun and relax running your business. Our listeners — that’s right, you — can get a free 45-day free offer. I said free twice. That’s how free it is when you sign up today.
MR Super free.
AH Super free.
Sponsor message You can —
AH It’s wicked free.
Sponsor message You can check it out at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.
AH Yay. Okay. So some more things — so we’ve talked about how you can spiff up your business a little bit, give yourself a little shot of adrenaline so you’re not drowning in the drudgery of running your massage business when you need a reboot.
So here’s some slightly different things. So motivation for your marketing. All right, we’re going to do a callback. So you know how we mentioned the idea of creating a seasonal treatment or having a music theme month or rearranging your artwork, bringing something from home into your office so that you get some new artwork? Well, surprise. Whatever you do to add a little boost to your massage stuff is now a talking point to send an email. So hey, look at that. You already have some ideas to send an email and a social media post and do a little bit of a marketing thing that you weren’t feeling enthusiastic about creating from scratch ten minutes ago. Now you got some ideas. Awesome. Now you know what you can send in that email or post on social media. Yay.
Something that I find really motivating when I am having trouble getting my marketing tasks done, like my regular “got to just do this regularly because it builds a good foundation- for- your- business stuff”: money. When I’m hungry, I’m going to work a little harder to fill my schedule. So I look at the money figures in my massage business about three to four times a week. I — every morning-ish that I work, I look at — I open my You Need a Budget, and I reconcile the credit card deposits and any deposits that were made the day before, and I assign that money to a certain budget category, and I feel really good about it. Except if I don’t have any clients the day prior, I don’t feel good about it, and that’s a big motivator. So if I’m reconciling my money a couple times a week and I’m knowing what bills are paid or not paid and I look at next month’s schedule and I’ve only got — or, pardon me, next week’s schedule and I’ve only got five clients and my goal is ten, knowing that I need that cash is a really big motivator.
And so it’s easy to become a little complacent about this stuff. Like, if you’re in a good position financially, if you are making the numbers you need to pay your bills, if you’re taking home, usually, consistently what you want to be taking home, it can be easy to fall off the wagon and become complacent. So I would suggest if that’s the case for you, then you need to set some different money goals. Maybe you need to increase what you’re putting away in savings. Maybe you need to increase what you’re putting away in retirement just to give you that little psychic nudge like, oh, I got to earn another 100 bucks next week; this is not negotiable or I’m not going to max out my Roth IRA. So if you — and this is such a great problem to have where, if your income is mostly consistent or you’re paying your bills, you get a little complacent. That’s a wonderful problem to have. But it’s also human nature to get a little complacent when there’s no longer that hunger. So what can you do to make yourself a little more hungry?
Do you have anything to say about that one, Michael? I’m curious since you’re the money guy.
MR [Laughing]. Yeah. Money motivates some people and some people it doesn’t. I think it depends on you. So for me — I mean, I’m like you. I’m motivated by making more money. For some people, putting that target in front of them can be stressful, and it has to be focused on other things. Like, I think a while back I talked about the focus on activities versus a big, scary goal or something. So I think it depends, but I think it can work for a lot of people.
AH Yeah. And you can kind of mix that up a little bit. Like, some people are not motivated — the notion of, okay, I want to max out my $6,000 allowed for my Roth IRA, that’s not motivating because it’s too big. But to say, okay, I’ve been putting $200 a month into my Roth IRA, and I want to double that, like — or whatever trick you need to do for you, I think you can mix up your motivation style and increase something so that you feel a little more hungry.
MR Yeah. I like all of your suggestions so far.
AH Okay. And then — so my next idea, it’s not rocket science: learn something. Like, yeah. It’s great if you can take a live massage class. That’s awesome. That’s also a huge financial investment. But you can also watch a couple of videos and practice on a cool client.
So one of the things that I do if I’m getting a little bored with my hands-on work or I feel like I’m getting a little stagnant is I go online and I watch Massage Sloth videos. But I don’t watch a ton of them all at once and get overwhelmed and then not know what to try. I pick a thing. So if I have a handful of clients with migraines and I feel like maybe I’ve hit a roadblock, my work is getting stagnant, everybody’s plateaued, I will go to Massage Sloth, and I will watch a video on — and I haven’t done this in a while, so he might not even have this exact video — but a video on occipital work, or I’ll watch a neck stretch video, or I’ll watch a TMJ video. But I’ll only watch one. I’ll watch one video, and I’ll let myself be chill enough to only stress myself into getting one takeaway. Like, I’m not going to remember an entire sequence. That’s not how I roll. That’s not how I learn. But if I can get one takeaway from a TMJ demo video and do that one move with my next — with every next migraine or jaw client for the next couple of weeks, that’s a win. That’s enough. It’s usually enough to get clients to be like, wow, that was — that new thing you did was pretty cool. And that’s nice because that — it’s — just causes more forward momentum because you feel good about it. And yeah. I don’t really have anything else to say about that.
Find one video for an especially tricky client issue, or just one thing that sort of interests you, and incorporate it into every treatment. Don’t make it a whole big thing. And if you need to — if you’re like me and you have trouble remembering stuff from minute to minute, put a sticky note on your treatment room wall or somewhere that a client won’t see it that just says “remember jaw stretch” or something like that. Whatever you need to do for you.
The second idea that’s part of this is to learn something that’s not massage related. And I have been doing this, so I wanted to make sure that I shared. I have been watching and going through a course — it’s free on Coursera — that’s called “Learning How to Learn.” And I’ll put the link to it in the show notes. It’s fantastic. It’s — I cannot even remember her title, and — but I think it’s Dr. Barbara Oakley, and she studies the brain and how we learn. She’s written a couple of books, Smart but Scattered, and there’s a Smart but Scattered for teenagers and tweens and younger students, and — which I have purchased both of, but I’m — and I’m going to read fully after I finish taking this video-interactive course.
And it’s great learning how the brain absorbs information. And the cool part about this is it’s not just how we absorb new information, it’s why we procrastinate — what’s going on psychologically, what’s going on physiologically when we procrastinate certain tasks — especially procrastinate, like, large learning projects. It’s so helping me work better, and it’s interesting, but it’s a pretty light course in that the videos are all under six minutes. She’s in — they have — it has really funny, cute little 2002 kind of style graphics, but it’s great. It’s just enough to be silly and campy to look at some of the silly graphics, but also it’s visually so great to learn from because she’s just really chill, very matter-of-fact, really funny. And it’s a great little course with short videos, and it’s — you’re supposed to be able to work through it in four weeks. I think I’m on — I probably just hit six weeks, and I’m only halfway through because I’m not doing it at the consistency that it’s suggested, but it doesn’t matter. Like, every week, I log in, and I’m, like, reset my deadlines. And these are contrived, arbitrary deadlines anyway. So I’m working my way through the course, and I’m really enjoying it, and again, it was free. So learn something non-massage related, and it can be non-work related, whatever.
My next thing I’m going to do is taking up cross-stitch. I am going to do some cross-stitch. Our transcriber woman — transcriptionist — I said that word — who transcribes our podcast, she does cross-stitch, and she sent me this really cute, little cross-stitch gift, and I loved it, and I was like, I want to take up cross-stitch. So I’m totally doing that after I’m done this learning course. That’s my next little fun learning goal thing. So there’s that.
Okay. Finally, hang with a colleague. Have coffee with your bestie — and it doesn’t have to be a massage person, it can be another business owner, but massage person is great — and ask them for their favorite trick. Like, I plan to say to my friend Karleen this afternoon, hey, what’s a thing that you do in every massage or what’s a thing that you do that maybe I haven’t noticed when you work on me that you do with every client or something that clients have commented on? And I’m totally going to steal a trick from Karleen today. I’m pretty excited about that. And that’s going to be something I maybe integrate into my massage or maybe not, but I’m going to try it.
So — and finally, what I want to say is you only have to do one thing. Don’t overhaul your practice. Don’t get so mired in ideas. Just do one thing. One thing. One thing — what’s one thing you can do to get one more client on the books next week? It doesn’t have to be an email campaign. It can literally be an email to one client who rebooked but then had to cancel and hasn’t rebooked yet: Hey, Sue. Hope you’re feeling great. Just a reminder that we’ve got to schedule your next massage. Here’s a link to do that online.
One thing. If all you do is one little thing, you send that one email to one client, that’s okay. Maybe tomorrow you do another thing. Maybe you wait three days then you do another thing. But you can do one thing and then give yourself permission to stop and rest. And that’s it.
MR I like all of your suggestions. I liked them all.
AH Aw, I’m glad.
MR Yeah. So thank you. I am thinking of some things already I can do to kind of kick-start some creativity in my business world, so thank you.
All right. We’ll wrap up there.
AH All right. Well, I hope that helped.
MR Yeah. So thanks, everybody, for joining us today. And thank you, Allissa, for all those ideas.
Reminder, our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com. You can check us out there. And if you have a question or a comment or a topic or anything you want to give us a shout about, email that to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will answer it in a future episode. So tell your friends about us. We appreciate everyone who’s giving us iTunes reviews and sharing it with their friends. Until then, have a great day, and we’ll see you next time.