There is a lot of business advice out there and it can be overwhelming to try to soak it all in. How do we decide what advice to take and what to ignore?
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Allissa Haines Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I am Allissa Haines.
Michael Reynolds [Laughing]. I am Michael Reynolds and not nearly so dramatic.
AH I am trying — adding some spice to this whole situation.
MR [Laughing]. Some pumpkin spice?
AH Ah, yeah.
MR Walked right into that one.
AH Because this is the first — the is going to — the first Friday in September that we’re airing; isn’t it?
MR But it’s not fall yet. We’re still hanging on to summer. I learned my lesson.
AH Yeah. But yes. I will — I don’t love the pumpkin spice. I don’t not like it —
MR I don’t either.
AH I’m not an anti-pumpkin spice person. I’m not anti and anything, but I take the pumpkin spice season as permission to get a caramel macchiato, which is my favorite fancy mixed coffee beverage, but I don’t get it very often. Like, maybe three or four times a year, so.
MR Sounds fancy. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds fancy.
AH It’s like espresso, and I think some kind of like steamed milk substitute or something, and then they do whipped cream and they drizzle some caramel on it and — oh, they had a salted caramel macchiato, so they would actually sprinkle a little bit of this fancy salt on top of the whipped cream, and you’d get all of it in a mouthful. It’s amazing.
MR Well, you have me at caramel. I’m in if it’s caramel.
AH Yeah. You would like it. You would like it. Yeah. So that’s what — what are you — what’s your — do you have like a — you like pie, right?
MR Pumpkin pie. Straight up pumpkin pie.
MR I would eat, like, ten pumpkin pies in one sitting. Gluten free crust, of course.
AH Yeah. Well, of course. Are you a doughy piecrust person or a graham cracker crust person?
MR More doughy. I like the doughy kind. Like, soft — oh.
MR But with gluten free, you can’t really get doughy, so it’s always going to be kind of dry and crispy for — in my case. But I don’t care because I will eat pumpkin pie all fricking day long.
MR I love pumpkin pie. Warm — warm pumpkin pie with cold — obviously cold — but vanilla ice cream on top. Oh, my.
AH I was going to say you à la mode that stuff, don’t you?
MR Oh, heck yeah.
AH Um-hum. That’s good to know. That’s good information to have. Thanks, Michael.
MR You are welcome.
AH So let’s jump in because I like when you’re in charge, and you’re covering the topic today.
MR Let’s do it.
AH Michael, what are we talking about?
MR We are talking about deciding what business advice to take or not. Yeah. That’s what we’re talking about. Should I jump in?
AH Okay. Please do.
AH How — Michael, how do we decide what business advice to take or not?
MR Well, before we get to that, you’ve reminded me before we started this that we need to announce something new and cool that we’re doing. So I’m going to go ahead and announce the new, cool thing we’re doing first if that’s okay?
So we are doing a new and cool thing, which is we are going to be adding — we’re going to trial run here. We’re not committing ourselves because we’re all busy, but we’re going to do a trial run of 12 episodes of a Tuesday episode going with our regular episodes. So our regular podcast episodes publish on Fridays, as you know because you’re seeing them come out on Fridays. But we’re going to start adding a Tuesday episode every week for 12 weeks starting here, I think, the next week coming up here in September.
So we’re going to publish Tuesday episodes that are going to be different in format. The format is going to be we will take questions from our community, recorded questions. We’re going to play those questions on the air. So we’re basically going to take the recording of the question, and we’re going to play them as the first half of the podcast, and then we’re going to do halftime, and then the second half of the podcast we will answer the question. And the idea behind this is our Friday episodes are a little more generalized, more conceptual, more kind of trying to teach on a topic or discuss a topic. Some of them kind of lean into Q&A, but generally they kind of teach a topic. So what we’re going for on the Tuesday episodes is to kind of bring the element of the consulting we do into our podcast.
So we’re looking for very specific questions like, hey, in my — stay anonymous, obviously; give us your first name, but don’t give us details if you don’t want — so, you know, hey, I’m so-and-so, and I have this specific problem or this specific challenge happening right now. And be very detailed about it. We want the specific question. Don’t, you know, go too long, but give us the specific challenge you are facing, and we’re going to play that challenge, and we’re going to speak to it as if you were sitting in a consulting session with us. That’s the idea behind it.
So we already have a handful of really great questions, and we’re excited to share those, but we want you to submit your question to us. And you do that by going —
AH Michael, where does someone do that?
MR I was about to do that.
You would go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk. Again, massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk, and you will click a button — and you will have to allow microphone access in your browser — but then you will speak your question just as if you’re on the phone. And you’ll record you speaking your question, and it will send it to us right away when you’re done, and we will take every question that we possibly can, and we will feature that as an episode with — it’s kind of a free consulting session on the air.
So that is the thing we’re doing. massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk, and we can’t wait to hear from you, so.
AH Thanks for remembering that, Michael, because, like, five minute ago I was like, hey, let’s make sure we mention it, and then I immediately forgot. So thank you —
MR I know. I almost forgot too. [Laughing].
AH — for being on top of that.
AH You the man.
MR All right.
AH So tell us now, how do I know what business advice to take or to trash in my massage (indiscernible)?
MR Yeah. Let’s talk about that.
So this came up in office hours. By the way, office hours are, I think, one of — probably our best premium benefit. So if you’re a premium member and you haven’t made it to an office hours, you got to check them out. They are amazing. We get together, and we really open up our businesses and share all sorts of challenges, and we get really deep into stuff sometimes, and some really amazing conversations happen.
So anyway, this came up in office hours. Someone was asking, hey, I’m part of this business incubator, and there’s all these people around me that are into tech businesses and bigger businesses, and they’re always marketing people, and they talk about sales funnels and Facebook pixels and building all these elaborate systems for marketing your business and everything. And I’m like, do I need to be doing all that? I feel like I’m just kind of way behind.
And so I want to talk about that. So first of all, running a business is really hard. You know this. Like, running a business — a massage business is — or any kind of business — but it’s really difficult. It’s very challenging. You have to do 17 different things every five minutes. You have to be all these different roles. You have to deal with the cash flow, the culture, the marketing, the sales, the money, the all — it’s just — it’s overwhelming. So let’s establish that as an agreement. And there is a ton of business advice out there. There is no shortage of business advice. You can Google. You can go on YouTube. You can take courses. You can go to conferences. You can talk to consultants and coaches. There’s so much business advice out there. No one has the problem of not knowing where to find information.
So that’s a great thing. It’s a really great thing to have access to all the information. I think it’s wonderful. The downside of it is there is so much information out there, and it can overwhelm us or make us feel inadequate sometimes, and we often get paralyzed or overwhelmed. And we often can get in this state where we feel inadequate or like we’re behind or missing out or not doing something we’re supposed to be doing because people around us are either giving us advice or talking about things, and we don’t even know what they are. Especially in marketing, this — the particular case we’re talking about here is in marketing. The member in office hours was talking about sales funnels, and many of you listening probably have no idea what a sales funnel even means. That’s okay. You know, that’s a particular kind of marketing jargon or sales jargon word that is being thrown around, and it can easily kind of get to us to say, well, I fell like I’m dumb, or I don’t know how to do business or whatever. And what I want to talk about today is, mainly, you don’t have to take every piece of advice that you hear in business, and you don’t have to do everything or even most things you hear.
I want to talk a little bit about how to decide and discern what business advice to take and what not to take. So let’s do halftime, and then I want to briefly kind of go through kind of my thoughts on what to take and what not to take.
And first of all, Allissa, I want to hear from you. Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you’re surrounded by all these different pieces of advice you see everywhere?
AH All the time. And we actually talked in the last episode about how I really needed to take a break about — with the — I cannot — volume — the volume of content —
AH — coming in at me regarding marketing and business administration stuff. So yeah. Sometimes there’s just so much out there, and I’m like, okay, well, I know that I need to get a few new clients, and I’d like them to come in weekly. I’m like, okay, how do I do that? And I get so overwhelmed with, like, ugh, I need to improve the SEO on my website, and then, oh, my gosh, I got to go to my Google my business listing, and somebody had told me that I need to re-write the copy so that my service descriptions are more in niche to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I get so overwhelmed that I’m just like, I don’t know what to do.
So yes. I feel that. And sometimes I don’t know — I’m not sure how to discern if that bit of marketing or business advice is relevant to my exact business.
MR Right on. So let’s talk about — let’s do halftime, and then let’s talk about that some more.
Who’s our halftime?
AH Our sponsor today is Jojoba.
Sponsor message We are delighted —
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All right. So let’s talk about what to do when you’re overwhelmed by all this and what advice do you take. So first off, I like to make sure we think about evaluating the source. So what is the source of the business advice? A couple aspects here. One, is the source credible? Now, obviously we don’t want to be negative and assume that everyone’s out to get us or they don’t know what they’re talking about. But there are lots of people out there, and lots of brands out there as well that are — well, brands are made up of people, so we’ll just say people — so lots of people out there are talking about what to do in business. They give you advice on all sorts of topics. Marketing is a big one; how to market your business, how to sell, how to do operational stuff.
Take a look at the source. If it’s someone that you respect and you feel and you can kind of see evidence that they have been there before and they have some valid experience behind their advice — are they someone who is just sort of deciding to be a consultant one day and they’re just giving advice that maybe they haven’t even tested themselves? Evaluate that. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but I think it’s a factor you should consider. So take a look at the source. Take a look at — before you jump into, oh, this person’s telling me this, it sounds good, I should do it, take a look at who they are. Take a look to see if they have a proven track record of at least having experience and knowledge about the topic they’re telling you about.
Next, more importantly, do they understand your business? This is probably the big one for me is do they really understand what they’re saying, how it relates to your business? Now, obviously, if it’s a generalized person out there you’ve never met — like, Gary V, for example, is all over social media giving advice, and I think he has some great advice, honestly — does it apply to your business? Maybe sometimes. Maybe not sometimes. So take a look at the source and understand if they understand your business.
Now, this applies even more, I think, when you are talking to someone who is talking directly to you. So if you’re talking to someone maybe in a networking meeting or they’re a coach or consultant or someone who you just kind of met in passing and they’re — they give you some advice, which might sound good, do they know, first of all, what your business is and what you do and what — that you do massage and how you do it? And do they know enough about your business to give you contextually relevant feedback and contextually relevant advice? So I think that’s pretty important. And if they do, that’s great. Maybe you should take their advice or consider it or think about it. If they don’t, maybe it’s not necessarily — if the advice doesn’t feel appropriate to you, then evaluate it with that discernment as well.
So is it general advice? Is it personal advice? Evaluate the context. Is it appropriate to your business and your situation? Is it something where — at this particular time in your business, does it make sense? For example, maybe you are — let’s focus on marketing because marketing’s a really easy one we always talk about. So maybe you are doing a lot of great things on social media, you are really — you have got a great presence on Facebook, and someone comes along and says, hey, why aren’t you on Instagram? Your type of business is extremely — would be really well-suited for Instagram. And you just don’t like Instagram. Or maybe they use Instagram a certain way that’s not appropriate for the way you do business. Maybe your type of business is extremely focused on a certain type of clientele that, you know, they’re all over LinkedIn because they’re business professionals or they’re attorneys or whatever, and they never use Instagram. Well, this person doesn’t know that. And if they just blanket say, hey, use Instagram because the kids love Instagram, and it’s hot and trendy. Okay. Yeah. They may think that, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for you, or it could be a money-based advice or productivity advice. So think about, again, if it’s appropriate for your business and do they understand that.
And do you need the help? We talk to a lot of people in our community that come to us because we like to teach. We — Allissa and I both love to teach and share and share experiences and have conversations and try to help everyone, including ourselves, get better and better in our community. And we have people often come to us and say, hey, I’d like some consulting, or I’d like to join this course; I’d come to office hours. And they list off all the things they’re doing, and we ask questions like, well, how busy are you? Do you want to be any busier? And they’re like, well, I could use maybe one or two more clients a week, but I’m pretty much as busy as I want to be. And we’re like, awesome, don’t change a thing; you don’t need help right now; you’re doing awesome. And they’re like, oh, okay, great, I’m doing awesome; I guess somebody just hasn’t told me that recently. [Laughing]. So —
AH It’s really, really easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to keep doing more and more and more, and you don’t.
MR Yeah. It is real easy. So don’t let the overwhelm of the world always trying to tell you to go, go, go and do, do, do — don’t let that kick you into thinking you need to do something you don’t need to do. So if your practice is going smoothly, and you’re making solid, organic, incremental improvements without drastic changes, then that is okay. There is nothing wrong with that. You may not need to take any advice right now.
And can you apply it to your needs? Is the advice something you can apply to your particular situation? A lot of times we hear marketing advice or sales advice that’s related to big business, big companies. You know, hey, use a big, fancy CRM; hey, use a multi — a five-step sales process; do this and that. Well, that works great for a manufacturing company of 1,000 people, but if you have someone at a networking event telling you this stuff as a blanket generalization, can you apply that to your needs? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe a piece of it. Maybe the fact that they said, hey, you should be using a CRM. Well, a CRM, which stands for customer relationship manager, is simply a database of contacts. Maybe you could use that. Maybe you actually could benefit from a CRM. But do you need to make a five-step sales process? No. You don’t.
So maybe you can take certain pieces of advice and apply it to your business but not all of it. Maybe 10% of what the advice is actually makes a difference for you, and you can filter the rest out as white noise.
So that’s my take on it. I don’t — you don’t need my permission. It’s your business and your life, and you make your own decisions based on what you know is best for you. But if it helps to have someone who’s been there give you permission to ignore business advice, feel free to ignore. You have permission to ignore stuff that is not relevant to you. And this comes from someone who loves sales funnels. I’ve been in — I’ve worked with big companies and worked with all sorts of systems and marketing and sales and finance, and I love all the complex marketing stuff, but it doesn’t apply to everybody.
So this is your permission to not get overwhelmed, to pick and choose, and to ignore stuff that doesn’t make sense because you know what’s best for your business. So that is kind of my take in it.
Allissa, I’m sure you have thoughts as well.
AH I just so hardily agree. Like, you were giving examples of people who are like, you should do this, and I think about how many people were like, you should put up a flyer at the grocery store. Yeah. That’s not how I roll. Like, it’s just not. And even the advice of, like, you should go introduce yourself to all the wellness practitioners in the area. Like, that’s not everybody’s style, and it’s — that’s okay. You just got to say, okay, that’s a good idea for somebody. What’s a thing that I could do that more fits my style? And I think the sweet spot is finding things that gently nudge you outside of your comfort zone but are still appropriate for your business. So yeah.
I think you nailed it, Michael. I have nothing else to add.
MR All right.
AH So yeah. Do you have anything else to add?
MR No. I was going to quit while we’re ahead.
AH So anyone, if you have questions you’d like us to answer, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk and give us an audio recording, and we’ll answer your question.
But we love to hear from you. If this helps you, we would love for you to tell a massage therapist friend about our podcast. Maybe show them how to listen to podcasts on their device because you can get us in all the major podcast places. And if you really like us, leave us a review. Tell us that. If you don’t like us, you could also leave us a review, but whatever, man. Five stars is nice too. Whatever. Do what you feel is best for you. And that’s everything I have to say. I hope everyone has a productive and lovely day.
MR Thanks, everyone.