We’re ending our Q & A episodes with a bang! The ‘how-to’ of running a business can be a mystery for a new business owner. A listener asks where he should turn and we answer!
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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 I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And welcome to a Q&A episode. This is, I believe, our last Q&A episode of the season.
MR I can’t wait.
AH And we’re going out with a bang with an interesting and intricate question.
MR A very interesting and intricate question. So this is from Clint. So let’s play the question, and we will get to it.
Listener question Hello, Allissa and Michael. This is Clint from Washington State. Greetings from the Pacific Northwest. Before I ask my question, I need to put a little bit of context to it. So my business purpose is to combine massage therapy, personal training, and health coaching into one. And I’m in my fifth year with the massage, and last year I got my personal training certification, and next year I will be going for my health coaching certification. And so my question has to deal with business. And I’ve come to the realization that part of my struggles in with business is that I don’t understand fully how business is supposed to work, never had a business degree or any of that. I just kind of jumped out with it. And so I was wondering if there is any kind of steps or avenues or what’s the best way to get a handle on business so that I can understand things like budgeting and planning. And I know that you don’t necessarily need a business plan, but just to understand the ins and outs of making a business work. Thanks.
MR All right. Thanks, Clint.
AH I love this question. But first we have to chat about our sponsor. Michael, who is our sponsor?
MR Today, our sponsor is Yomassage.
AH Yes, it is.
Sponsor message Registration for the first Yomassage virtual training has happened and is happening and they are enrolling classes for now and next year. The Yomassage therapist training is an intensive 25-hour certification program, all online. Over three weeks, you immerse yourself in the Yomassage philosophy. You learn about the nervous system, mind/body connection, fascial systems, mindfulness, trauma-informed bodywork. You learn how to structure Yomassage classes that you teach, you understand body mechanics, you learn to utilize Yomassage positions and incorporate modifications, adjustments, and contraindications. And you’ll build community with the other therapists going through the training online. You’ll have assignments due each week, weekly discussion points, live Q&As, weekly quizzes, and lots of one-to-one feedback from your instructor. People, this is a very new and different format of online class. I cannot — I’ve been listening to discussion of people who are in the first training right now, and it sounds amazing. You can go to yomassage.com and get $50 off of virtual training registration using the code BLUEPRINTONLINE.
And that’s about Yomassage.
AH So let me just flip back to my notes regarding Clint’s question.
MR Yeah, so Allissa, how does business work? I think our plan was that you were going to give us some guardrails here, and I’m going to kind of fill in some gaps —
MR — as needed. But go for it. What do you think?
AH And we’re kind of lovingly titling this episode How to Business. How do I business?
I love this question because it speaks so clearly to a very particular issue with massage therapists and bodyworkers and anyone in wellness is that often we come to these careers with a nonbusiness background. We have no idea of the difference between gross income and net income. We don’t understand what is an appropriate tax deduction and what isn’t. And we have to learn these things ourselves. We have to self-teach a lot of these things. And there are so many resources out there that it’s overwhelming, and there’s so many opinions about how to run a small business, and there’s so much discrepancy about what is considered a small business. That is a thing we’ve all talked about before. I know I talk about it constantly how massage — all the resources out there for small business, oftentimes they mean businesses that employ up to, whatever, 50 employees and they’re doing a $1 million worth of revenue a year. And that’s not what our businesses are. That’s not what micro-businesses are, our one-person shops or our smaller massage establishments with a handful of — with just us or just a few employees. But for the most part, massage therapists and related are one-person shops. They’re taking in, their gross, their accepting payment may be $100,000 a year tops, maybe $150 depending on your business. That’s what’s coming into your business, but what you’re taking home is if — that’s you net. Sorry, I got sidetracked by that.
But we don’t have any frames of reference for any of the business we do. And I think Clint’s question really gets to the heart of it. Where do I go to learn this stuff when I don’t even know what I need to know, and I don’t even know what I don’t know, and I’m not even sure how to frame the question. How do I business?
So I want to lay out just a few ideas, a few thoughts here, which is that you can teach yourself this stuff. You do not need to go back to community college to take classes in business administration. And in fact, what you would learn in such business administration programs would not be relevant to a small one-person shop. They might be relevant if you were going to manage a bigger small business. But you don’t necessarily need to learn traditional business stuff. What you do need to learn, very specifically — well, okay, hang on.
What you do need to learn very specifically is small business money management and the basics of marketing and networking is what I’m going to call that. And there’s a lot grouped into that. So small business money management, budgeting for business, financial planning for business. We teach some of that. We’ve got a new project that I can’t quite tell you about for next year where we’re going to be teaching more of that. So it’s coming in the next few weeks. It’s exciting. And Clint, I know you have already had the book Profit First in your hand for a year. You told us about that in the premium member discussion group. And I know that you started reading it. And it’s probably at this point my favorite money book except it’s written for more brick and mortal — like it’s written for businesses that are bigger small businesses. So you have to take those concepts and apply them to our small — our type of microbusiness.
And the Profit First concept is very much about how to — when you take money in, how to allot it yourself to pay yourself even if you’re at the very beginning of running your business, how to allot some for savings, for taxes, and for actually running your business. And what happens with most of us is that we start a business and the money starts coming in slowly and we pay all of our expenses and maybe even plan a little for the future, but unless we have to or unless we’re forced to because of our personal or living situation, we don’t pay ourselves and we certainly don’t pay ourselves enough. And that leads to more expenditures than need to be happening, more expenses and higher expenses in our business instead of really teaching ourselves to be uber frugal and prudent so that we can take more money home personally. There’s a lot more to talk about there, but money management. That is number one of how to business.
And then marketing and networking. So how do you word your services so that you are connecting to the kind of client you want. How do you figure out the kind of client you want? All of these things. So where would you learn about these things? Well, six years ago I would have said go to your local small business association administration office — it’s a nonprofit — get yourself a mentor through the SCORE program. But five years ago, Massage Business Blueprint didn’t exist. So at the risk of sounding like I’m tooting our own horns here, it could be that you can’t see the forest through the trees and that you’ve been so overwhelmed with the idea — and you’ve been training too. You’ve been learning all of your personal training stuff, you had to take time off for an illness, Clint. So I think that you’ve been so weighed down by the prospects of learning these things that you have not really seen what’s in front of you. You need to know how to make a business plan. You’re a Massage Business Blueprint premium member, Clint. Go to the premium stuff page. We have a webcast on that.
You want to learn how to create a marketing plan very specific to small massage and related business? Yeah, we got a webcast on that, Clint. Go to the premium stuff page and watch that. And I’m not saying that Massage Business Blueprint has every resource everyone’s ever going to need, but it’s a really good starting place to learn the basics and help you ask more and better questions. And I’ll be honest, Clint asked this question a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. One of our other members has used a business coach to create a very specific kind of massage program that I thought would be really interesting for Clint and I sent him that — some of that business coach’s information. Michael and I do private one-to-one consulting. There are lots of resources right in front of you, but I think because it’s been so daunting, you have not seen them, you know? You haven’t really dove into them even after you’re paying us every month to be a premium member.
So my first suggestion for you, Clint, and really for anyone if they’re struggling with the overwhelm of not knowing what to do next, this is literally why I wrote the How Do I Get New Massage Clients blog post and why we recorded it as a podcast and why we turned it into a webcast Essential Steps to Market a New Practice, which is available for everyone, not just premium members. So I’m going to make sure that goes into the podcast notes.
But I would say the first step of how to business is to look at the resources you have a available to you, use them, and let them help you develop more, better, specific questions like, okay, I understand the basics of community networking now, I have to go explore some networking groups. And maybe you need — you have more questions about that you need answers, then private consulting could be appropriate. Or just googling the crap out of it and reading what other people have to say. So keep up with your Profit First, revisit the premium member resources. If you find a hole, if you find something that you need to know that we haven’t covered, let us know, and you know I either will create the resource, or I’ll find it for you created by somebody else and sent it to you because that’s how we’re chill.
And Michael, that’s my answer to Clint’s question.
MR Yeah, good stuff. In addition to that, I would add about couple things. One is — you mentioned googling already. I just googled “basics for small business finance for solo business owners,” and I found a whole page full of resources from reputable sources to kind of give you so walk-throughs and step-by-step stuff. If you go to Google and be really, really specific and say hey — for example, I typed in “basics of small business finance for solo business owners”. You may not get everything as a perfect hit, but that will really narrow down the results for you.
In addition to — oh, go ahead. You were going to say something?
AH I am. I just want to reiterate that the small — sba.gov — small business administration is phenomenal. I mean, they literally have on the front page a bunch — it’s set up. Step 1, plan your business, launch your business, manage your business, grow your business. Literally sba.gov is fantastic.
MR Yeah, yeah. And the second thing I would add is have a team and ask that team your questions. Ten years ago — or x years ago whenever I was still kind of floundering with a lot of these business topics and questions, I would just make a list of dumb questions for my CPA. I would just go to my accountant and say, hey, I’ve got some dumb questions for you and I would just make fun of myself, because I felt dumb but they were valid questions that were actually not dumb questions, I just kind of felt dumb about it. So I would make sure that you have a good accountant and a good financial advisor and a good attorney on call. The attorney is a maybe. Most solo business owners probably don’t need an attorney all the time. But definitely your first stop for the basics of general financial structure stuff is your accountant. So even if it’s someone who does your taxes once a year and they’re available for an hourly rate for random questions, that’s really valuable. Because it’s really — it can be daunting to kind of just look at all the resources online and say, well, is that really for me and kind of understand how to interpret it. But I learned a ton in my day by just taking a list of questions to my accountant and saying, hey, this is a dumb question, I think, but how does this work, and my accountant would explain exactly how it worked. And I got really specific one-on-one advice for my business. So I would make sure you have a good team, and be sure that team consists of a good accountant. That’d be my take on it too.
AH Yeah, and I think that with many of us — and I know Clint well enough to say probably with Clint — we let perfect be the enemy of good and certainty be the enemy of well-functioning in that we want — we’re so afraid to do something wrong that we do nothing. Or we’re so afraid to make a decision that we don’t make a decision and we stay exactly in the same place with very few clients for several months. And I think what Clint’s doing to integrate the bodywork and the fitness and then the — I don’t remember if it was nutrition or something training. I’m sorry, I forgot already. It’s going to require some innovation and thinking beyond the normal fee-for-service model just paying you for an hour.
I think your — what you’re going to do is going to be fantastic for creating a new kind of program that integrates all of those things very specifically for people who have chronic pain or people with maybe fibromyalgia or people who want to — seniors who want to be much more active so they can better play with their grandchildren and play golf and do whatever. But making those decisions about the niche that you want to serve or just getting started with a package and this fear that no one’s going to like it and then not making any decisions at all and being stagnant for six or nine months at a time, that’s hard. That’s a really tough place to be. So maybe do some inner work, maybe do some meditation, maybe see a therapist about how to get the heck out of your own way and make your decision-making a little clearer and a little more efficient.
MR Thanks, Clint. We’re here for you.
MR Anytime. Give us a shout. So thanks for the question.
AH Thanks. And everyone, that’s how to business. And I’ll have a ton of notes in the podcast notes that you can see at massagebusinessblueprint.com. Just click on that little podcast part in the header, and you’ll see Episode 264, and they’ll be tons of podcast notes in there because I like to load them up with those kind of resources.
MR All right, that is our last Q&A episode of the season. We may be doing more in the coming year, but if you want to go ahead and get a jump on those questions or just give us topics in general you want us to turn into regular episodes, go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk, and you can record your question there and send it our way. So definitely send us questions if you haven’t gotten them in in yet. We will work them in somehow.
Thanks for listening. Appreciate you being a listener. Have a great day. We’ll see you next time.