It’s great to be able to delegate out the tasks you hate to handle. It’s also great to know exactly what’s going on in your business all the time. How do we balance that?
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Allissa Haines Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I am Allissa Haines. I am here solo, as we are doing for our December business affirmation series. We decided that you’ve got enough to do this month and we don’t want to give you specific tasks. We want you to enjoy your holiday season and also give you a little affirmation because it’s the end of the year. Some people are making a big deal about it being the end of the decade, and we just want you to enjoy what you’re doing in your business and maybe take some philosophical load off a little bit.
So today’s business affirmation-y topic, our quick tip, is to undelegate sometimes. I am a huge fan of delegating in your business. I am a big fan of hiring out tasks that make you miserable and getting help with, you know, whatever’s bugging you — whatever you feel you don’t have time to do in your business. And this might include bookkeeping. It might be cleaning your office. It might be getting help with a gargantuan task like scanning old paper intake forms, uploading them to the Cloud. It could involve a whole bunch of different things.
And at the same time, even though I’m a fan of delegating, I’m also a fan of getting your hands dirty. And I was having a conversation with the 13-year-old in my home — the almost 13-year-old in my home — about this the other day, and I quoted a friend who was quoting a Zen proverb, if you will, that says, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. And after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” And she didn’t understand, and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t understand it, but what I can tell you is that I spent, the other day chopping wood and carrying water in my business, and it was pretty great.
I had, like, two or three file boxes worth of stuff to go through: some patient intake forms that needed to be sorted through and some destroyed and some uploaded to the Cloud, and some information — a whole bunch of, like, data that needed to be added to a spreadsheet. And I’d been putting it off for a while and it was taking up space in my brain and in my physical space, and I just sat and did it for, like, three hours the other day. It was a cold and rainy day and it felt so good.
One, because it really got me in touch with a few things going on in my business, because I was going through some old tax returns, like, and some old, you know, I’m going to save every tax return for my business. I know you don’t need to save them past a certain number of years, but I’m going to save the actual tax return portion. I just am. That’s who I am as a person. However, I could definitely get rid of the big giant envelopes full of receipts and stuff that I was keeping, you know, should I get audited. So I got rid of a bunch of them, and I just — it was — it was really lovely.
Like, it felt so good to look at the front page of each of the last, like, 15 years of running a business, of my tax returns, to see how much, you know, what did I — what did I used to make when I was working in pharmacy and what am I making now and to compare. And I didn’t get really deep into it. I didn’t start, like, creating spreadsheets of all that data. I just looked at them a little bit as I was sorting through. Had some Christmas movies playing in the background. It was wonderful. I got all spread out on my living room floor, had a fire in the woodstove, and it was delightful. So that happened.
And then, also, I spent — I’m sorry. I’m fluttering because I — I — I wasn’t planning on telling this story, but I’m going to. I also had, like, a plumbing incident at my office last week. And was so fortunate; it got handled right away, but I did have to spend a couple of hours cleaning up in my office, like going to get a wet vac and vacuuming some stuff out and ripping up some carpet tiles and replacing them right way and feeling grateful that I had the extra carpet tiles to replace them with. And it was kind of a whole hilarious situation and ended up with me spending about three or four extra hours on a Friday evening. I expected to be strolling out of the office by 5 p.m. and I did not. So I spent some extra — couple of hours there. Once I had the fancy vacuum, I was, like, well, I might as well just vacuum some corners and some other places and it was really, really good for me.
You know, I delegate out the cleaning in my office and I do some of it myself, but it had been a while since I did a lot of it myself. And it was so good to, one, find some spots that hadn’t been cleaned because I didn’t make it specific that it needed to be, and I just got really in touch with my physical office, which was great. And that led to me coming in earlier, like, the next week, and cleaning out a bunch of things that I had found. Like, actually, like, getting rid of some old books and stuff, which I do periodically, but had not done enough. So it was really, really good for me to get my hands into things that I had been delegating out. I just — it felt great.
So let me jump to our halftime sponsor, and then we can talk a little bit more about some of the benefits of undelegating.
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AH So if you’ve been feeling out of touch with your massage business, maybe — and, again, I don’t want this to be super task-oriented. I just — it’d be great if you spent some time thinking, is there anything I miss? Do I feel like I — you know, if you’ve got a bookkeeper, are you actually reading their monthly or quarterly reports? Is there anything that you could happily dive back into as a mindless or almost mindless task that would make you feel good about getting your hands a little dirtier again?
I will say that one of the — one of the unexpected feelings I had after the plumbing debacle last week was a reminder of how powerful I am in my business. Like, and how empowered I felt. Because a couple of years ago if my office had flooded and — I would not have had the presence of mind to really deal with it without panicking. And I didn’t panic. I mean, I have a great neighbor who helped me coordinate with the landlord and the plumber, but by the end of that Friday night, I felt pretty cool. Like, I was reminded — because it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done any real physical work in my business and painted and redesigned and whatever — but it reminded me of how empowering it is to be a small business owner. And, yes, it’s so tiring to be the one who handles painting and organizing and maintaining the website and doing this and doing that and going to events and putting your best foot forward and blah, blah, blah.
But, man, when you feel super cool because you just handled a whole flooding incident, and it got handled well, and you were pretty calm and chill through the whole thing, and you could find the dumpster key when you needed it, and you knew where the new carpet tiles were and all of these things come together, you feel really powerful. And it was a really great reminder of how I would rather be handling these mini-crises in my own business than being employed and juggling anyone else’s mini-crises, and it was just a really nice week of a lot of chop wood, carry water.
And I wish you that level of Zen in your business. And I apologize to any people who actually properly study Buddhism if I have hacked up my thoughts here. If you want to tell me how wrong I am or how right I am, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you are enjoying your affirmations and thoughts and business love that we’re sending you in December and, if you’re not, you know, email us and tell us that too. Have a wonderful week.