What caught our attention this week?
- 100 Million Trees Are Cut Down For Junk Mail Each Year. Here’s How To Stop It For Good
- PaperKarma app
- So you want to be a CE Provider.
- When asking about re-booking, offer the rebook option as the second option. Example: “Would you like to schedule online or would you like to go ahead and get your next appointment on the books now?”
- Check your equipment
Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Yomassage. Yomassage combines restorative stretching, massage, and mindfulness in a small-group session. Limited in-person trainings are happening in 2020, and virtual trainings begin the first Monday of each month. You can get a special $50 off on trainings January through March in 2020 using the code BLUEPRINT. That’s all caps, one word, BLUEPRINT. You can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/yomassage to find out more about Yomassage trainings, and use that special code, BLUEPRINT, for $50 off.
Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I am Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines I’m Allissa Haines.
MR We’re your hosts.
AH We are.
MR Welcome. Glad you joined us today. We have a great show for you today.
AH We really do. I’ve overprepared in some areas and underprepared in others, so I’m really excited. I’m going to say we jump in with what are we reading this week, what caught our attention, and I will just say right here that I don’t have anything here. I have —
MR No reading this week? Nothing caught your attention?
AH No. I had a very busy week in the last week with some family stuff, and I’ve got a writing deadline. So I kind of just hunkered down, and yeah. I have nothing that has attracted attention in a way that makes me want to share it with you.
AH So Michael, what do you got?
MR Well, you’re in luck because I read something this week that spoke to the deep recesses of my soul that hates paper with all the fire of raging suns. So I was reading this article on how to opt out of all the paper crap that you get. The article title is actually 1 Million Trees are Cut Down for Junk Mail Each Year. Here’s How to Stop it for Good. So since I saw the headline, I knew this was for me because everyone who knows me even a little bit knows how much I hate paper, and that extends to all the junk mail I get in the mailbox.
And so if there’s anyone out there like me who hates all that junk mail and feels like you’re just killing the environment and just cluttering up your life with extra paper energy, this is for you. So I really enjoyed this. It’s not really an article, so to speak. It’s more of just a little quick-tip hit list of what you can do. So it kind of talks about some of the sites you can go to to opt out, and I am in the process of doing this. I actually have already opted out of the first one. So they describe how you can opt out from the Data & Marketing Association, or the DMA for short, and there’s a website you can go to to opt out of all of the promotional mail that you get going through that particular database. And then they’re also talking about how you unsubscribe from Valpak and some of the coupon sites, from credit card and insurance offers, all of the different things you could unsubscribe to.
I really like this, as well, because especially when you get credit card and insurance offers, those are little opportunities for identity theft if you don’t shred them. I shred every offer I get, but some people, they just — they don’t get around to shredding them. They just throw it away, and people can go through your mail and find those offers in your name and can sometimes use that for identity theft. And so a whole slew of negative things, in my opinion, come from all this junk mail. So I was really excited to read this and get all of the nice quick list of links and places you can go to to opt out of all the junk mail and to save trees and unclutter your life.
Now, one caveat is they did make a mention that the postal service does rely on mail for jobs and for operation, and so it’s a reminder that while the postal service makes more money on first-class mail than bulk mail, it is a good idea to maybe consider sending a few more pieces of personal mail to kind of balance out the lack of junk mail that you’re producing. So anyway, that’s my — that caught my attention this week, and it warmed my heart.
AH Sorry. I had to unmute myself.
AH So I’m excited because I actually can contribute the tiniest bit to this conversation. There’s an app called PaperKarma, and —
MR Yep. I’ve used that one.
AH Yeah. So I —
MR It sort of works.
AH Does it? I remember it working for me when I lived in my last place. I PaperKarma-ed the crap out of all of the junk mail that I got for the first six months I lived in that place, and it dramatically reduced what was going on. And not for nothing, if I could just find a way to stop all of the Massage Warehouse catalogs that come to me at my post office box, my office —
AH — and my home — I don’t even know how they got my current mailing address because I sure as heck didn’t give — I haven’t ordered from them in years, and it still comes to my place where I have only lived for a year.
AH And I have called, and I have done all the things to try to get off their mailing list, and they still send me three catalogs. So if anybody’s got an in at Massage Warehouse, tell them stop sending me paper catalogs. So there’s that little rant for the day.
AH But I like the PaperKarma app. I was looking at it now, and it looks like if you didn’t get grandfathered in, now they charge you a dollar a month. But frankly, I might just do it and pay the dollar a month.
MR Oh, I paid the $2 for DMA. You have to pay $2 to opt out of the Data Marketing Association, but I paid it.
AH Nice. Great. And I actually — when I was looking — when I was prepping for this podcast and I saw this article you linked to, which, of course, we’ll have in the show notes, I went through and did a whole bunch of the things, too, to stop getting so much. And yeah, so thank you for this, Michael. I think it really helped.
MR Yeah, and let me quickly tie it to business as well, just because I can. To me — this is my opinion, but to me, the more paper crap you have in your office and in your life, the more it bogs down your ability to have clarity in your organization. So to me, it’s really useful in a tiny sense in your business as well, because if you have less stuff cluttering your life up, you’ve got more clarity in what to do and how to approach your work. So that’s just something that affects me, and there’s actually data out there showing that physical clutter does affect your mental clarity as well. So I think that affects us in business, too.
AH Absolutely, and just — it gives you two minutes of your life back every day, like of sorting the mail, and it’s just super annoying.
AH So I’m — this was a good — and this was a big — a good clean start, beginning-of-the-year tip too. So thank you for sharing, Michael.
MR Yeah. It’ll be in the show notes. Check the link out there, but the title, again, is 1 Million Trees are Cut Down for Junk Mail Each Year. Here’s How to Stop it for Good. So google that title or check the show notes.
AH Dang. What’s next?
MR What’s next? That’s a great question. I think what’s next is showing some love to Acuity, who is one of our sponsors today. We love you, Acuity.
Sponsor message Acuity is your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule. It is my online assistant. I use it in my little massage practice. You don’t have to play phone tag. You can handle your forms before the appointment. You can enjoy their email customer support, which is super helpful and speedy.
And also, I’m just going to say there’s always this fear of online scheduling and switching from one system to another or whatever, that you’re not going to have as much control over your schedule. And last week, I had some stuff pop up, and really quickly in a mobile situation, I needed to bring up my schedule and contact a client to cancel them last minute. And it was super easy because their email and phone number was right there from when they book it, and I didn’t have to worry about me typo-ing because they wrote it in there. And also, it was super easy for me to just tap a few buttons on the screen and close out my schedule for the next two weeks knowing that I wasn’t going to know what my schedule was going to look like for a little bit, and I didn’t want anybody else booking for a couple weeks.
It was super easy. I was able to do it on the go. And you, my friends, can get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today using our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.
AH All right. What’s our topic today, Michael?
MR So I feel like this topic has been a long time in the making. A lot’s gone into this. A lot of questions have come around it. So I know that we are talking today about becoming a CE provider.
AH Yes. Yes, we are.
MR Lay it on us. Lay it on us.
AH Okay. And yes, this has been a very long time coming. I have avoided it because I don’t have a lot of positive things to say, and I’ve worried about being big, negative rantiness. I have tried —
MR [Laughing] That’s never stopped us before.
AH Which, you know, yeah. This is not an all-encompassing overview of what it takes to become an educator in massage, either CE or at entry-level school levels. This is not an overview. This is not a “everything you need to know about” guide. But it is some ideas on how to get started and some resources to access if this interests you. And the question came about — it’s been asked in a lot of different ways, but most recently, someone in our premium group asked, “For those of you who teach massage-related classes and subjects either at a school or as a CE course, how did you get started? I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting into massage education for a while, but I have no idea where to start.”
And I’ll note that this person actually did figure out where to start. They looked into the massage — the entry-level massage education program at a local school, which I believe is run out of a college, and so — or like a community college. So they have a really structured program, and she’s already registered to take a class on teaching. There’s a mandatory class people who want to teach at this community college have to take, and she has enrolled and begun, and I love how structured that is.
I will also note that we covered a little bit of this in Episode 151 with our friend Adrienne Asta. We had a topic, what to do if you think you might want to teach massage. I will link that in the show notes, again, Episode 151 with Adrienne Asta. She actually has an education company that helps to prepare CE — people who want to teach continuing education. So we’re going to jump in. There’s a lot of little — this is — I felt like I needed a flowchart to make my notes for this episode because there’s a lot of if you want to do this, here’s what you need to consider. If you want to do this — it was very much like a “choose your own adventure” situation. So let me just lay out some highlights.
Do you want to teach in a school, or do you want to teach continuing education? So a school is more like becoming a massage therapist, entry-level education, and there are private schools. I call them mom-and-pop operations that have been around for years or are fairly new, owned by a human, usually a massage therapist, and there’s all different kinds. There’s ones that if you’re in a state that only requires 400 hours of education, that’s what you get. There are others that require 2,000 hours of education in this private school. Great. There are trade schools, like the same kind of school you’d go to become a medical assistant or a mechanic, and they have massage programs. Great. There are community colleges and full colleges that have massage education, often as an associates. I don’t know if there’s a bachelor’s-level massage program around. I don’t know.
So there’s all different kinds of entry-level massage education. I would suggest that your teaching options are limited by what’s in a commuting distance to you. So you can look into that. What is around you? What would it take to get into — there’s varying levels of requirements for instructors. There’s varying levels of professionalism. There’s varying levels of pay and benefits. Some massage schools, you can walk in with — I have heard of people graduating from massage school and beginning to teach at that same massage school a couple of months later, which gives me pause when someone doesn’t have experience in a health-related field prior. I don’t know that I would want to be taught by an instructor who’s been in massage for 20 minutes, but they also could have been a great instructor. I don’t know.
So there’s ones — there’s schools where, especially if you’re in a community college system, there’s a lot of structure. If you’re full time, there might be pay and benefits. Full time might not be an option in any school. It’s so varied. There is no conformity, which is a huge underlying problem in massage education. I can’t give you a guide. I can tell you to do some looking. You can look at the massage school you went to if you still live near it. You can look at what’s around you geographically and start there. There are also schools who are utilizing online education, especially for things like the beginning of anatomy and physiology class and pathology stuff. If you’re skilled and educated in that, maybe you can get in on that. I don’t know. What’s around you? What’s an option?
So that’s kind of all I have to say, which is barely useful as far as entry-level massage education and getting into teaching in that. Let’s talk about continuing education, which is even more fraught. So the first factor is accreditations. Are you going to teach the kind of continuing education where people get credits that count towards some requirement for their certifications or their state licensure? And again, there’s no conformity. There’s no standard state to state, so this gets really tricky. Some states don’t require any licensure, or even if they do, they don’t require any continuing education credits. Some do, and they use NCB — it’s actually technically NCBTMB, I think, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Body work, maybe.
Some require NCB-approved credits to qualify for those re-licensure certification stuff. Some states have their own accrediting bodies. So New York and Florida and a bunch of other states, they require that educators be registered with them and meet certain criteria within those continuing education offerings to be eligible so that people can get the credits they need for licensure renewal or staying certified or whatever. I will tell you that I — and again, this is part of why I didn’t want to cover this topic because I’m so negative about it. I think 90% of it is a sham. I think that the NCB is really great at taking people’s money. They’re taking educators’ money to become part of this provider list and become an approved provider. I think they’re great at taking certified — member money, people who want to be certified with the board or want their advanced board certifications. And there’s a whole thing that I’m not going to get into about them. I don’t even fully understand the different levels of being certified.
I think they’re great at taking people’s money and not really great at doing much to raise the level of education or standards in the system. And maybe even still recently, you could get — approved credits included things like light therapy, using light therapy. Now, that doesn’t have anything to do with massage, and I don’t think that that does anything to raise the level of massage if you consider that an approved credit for someone who’s trying to recertify. So I think it’s all a big scam and sham, and I have very little trust in many of the larger organizations in massage.
So I personally needed to take — I needed to take the NCB exam back when I became licensed. Now the NCB exam is no longer about entry-level licensing. That’s the MBLEx. So I had to take the exam a long time ago. I took it, and then four years later, I had to decide do I want to pay them another couple hundred dollars to be recertified? And frankly, no one’s ever asked if I’m certified. Sometimes people ask about my massage education, but the NCB certification did nothing to change how I work, change who wanted me to work on them, change who wanted me to collaborate with them. So I don’t see the point of it, but I also live in a state where I don’t — right now, CE isn’t required for my license renewal. I might feel differently when I need certain types of credits to renew my license. That’s my schtick about the NCB.
However, some states, and again, accrediting bodies and licensing bodies, require you to have a certain type of credit approved by some kind of accrediting body. If you’re going to be a CE provider, does this matter to you? And the question is does it matter to consumers? Does it matter to the massage therapists that you want to teach CE to? And I can tell you that it does and it doesn’t. There are many people who won’t buy CE, who won’t go to your class if you’re not approved for the kind of credits they need. And there are many massage therapists who don’t care. They just want the education.
So it’s a coin toss, and I have no good answers for you. I can tell you that Michael and I went through the work of becoming approved providers for a big course that we offered, and out of, I think, the — I don’t know — 18 people in our course, zero people took the quiz to get the NCB credits after paying $500 to take our course. So does it matter to massage therapists? I can’t answer that because I don’t know what your audience is going to be like. So there’s my accreditation schtick.
Now, if you’re going to teach CE, how are you going to do so? Are you going to teach in-person classes, or are you going to teach online? If you teach in person, are you going to be local? Are you not going to travel to far away and just teach in places within driving distance of where you live, of where you’re based? Local can be great. It can be much easier to teach locally because you can find a space that meets all the criteria, and we’ll talk about some classroom stuff in a second. And then you can just rinse and repeat. You can offer the same class in the same space a bunch of times until the well dries up, until the people who will come to your area for that class have already taken it, and then no one else wants to take that same class.
So then you can change your offerings. You can write a new class, and then you can offer that new class. You could offer a couple classes concurrently, and that could be really great. If people liked your first class and you were smart and got all their contact information, you can send them info when you offer a different class, and many of them will probably come if you were a good teacher. You can also start marketing your class to people who might travel to you to take it. Logistics get a little more complicated there.
Then you’re not only thinking about your classroom space, but you’re starting to think about how to give the right information to people who are traveling. And if you ever planned a wedding or a big party where people were traveling in, it’s the same thing. You’re going to need to give them information about where’s the best place to stay. Are they going to need to rent a car if they fly in? What are the most convenient places for them to eat? And what happens if someone’s flight is late — runs late — and they miss a couple hours of your class? What happens then? So there’s more logistics to think about when you start marketing outside of your drivable area and people are traveling in.
Now, if you choose to travel and teach, that has its own set of logistics. Are you handling the running of this class, or is there a host? Are you, from a distance, handling marketing to a certain area of massage therapists, finding a space to have your class in, making sure the space is appropriate — does it have access to a thermostat, which is always a problem in hands-on classes? Is there enough parking for the number of people you’d have in the class? Again, where are people — what’s the lodging situation? Do they need to rent a car? Is it walkable from your classroom space to the lodging? Is there access to food easily? Will you have access to a kitchen during the day so that people can bring their lunch? Is there a fridge? Is there a microwave? How many people do you have in the class, and how many microwaves are there? Because if you have 20 people there who want to heat up their leftover whatever, moo goo gai pan, then that’s an issue if you only have one microwave and you have a 45-minute lunch break.
Or are you going to have a host who handles all this? Is that host experienced? Have they hosted classes before? Do they have their crap together? What kind of refund policy are you going to have when, again, there’s a blizzard and someone can’t get to your class because their flight’s canceled? What kind of refund policy are you going to have for people who register, but they have a legit emergency happen? And are you willing to take a financial hit if people have to cancel last minute because of things like that or not?
And then you’ve got to calculate, if you’re traveling, your own travel costs and then adjust your tuition accordingly. So I’m — and this is my sticking point, and this is why I’ve been so negative about traveling to teach CE. When I travel — because I have a full massage practice that sustains me and is the primary source of income, when I travel to teach, I lose money because whether you are going to a conference that’s hosted and you’ve got a contract about what you’re going to get paid for your speaker fee and your traveler reimbursements, or whether you run your own class, it very rarely makes me more money than I would make massaging.
I’m going to give some examples here, and again, this is me being really biased. And I do have some positive things coming up. I promise. When I travel to teach, let’s say I’m teaching over two days. I’m going to miss four days at the office. Maybe if it falls over a weekend, I wasn’t working one of those days anyway, but I’m probably going to lose at least two to three days at the office because you got a travel day. You got to travel the day before you teach. You can’t fly — you can’t expect to — even if you’re not teaching until 3 p.m., to fly in that morning, you are just playing with the fates. You’re going to get a flight delay or something. So you got to fly in the day before. And then you’re teaching for two days, and if you’re teaching for two full days, sometimes it can be hard to fly out that night. And there’s other expenses with that, especially if you’re teaching over a weekend and you need to fly out on a Sunday night. Flights are always more expensive on Sunday.
So now you’re losing four days at the office because let’s say I’m traveling on Thursday, and then I’m teaching, let’s say — or no. Let’s say I’m traveling on Friday. I’m teaching Saturday, Sunday, and I’ve got to fly out Monday morning. And I got how many hotel room nights? Now you got Friday, Saturday, Sunday. You got three hotel room nights. And I — oh, and you got all your meals. You got parking at the airport if you’re parking, or if you’re flying home Sunday night, you have — I have to park at the airport because there is no mass transit that gets me home. So I don’t have somebody who can come pick me up at the airport because Walt’s home with kids, and they’re sleeping at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night.
So there’s all of these things, right? And the reimbursements for teaching for someone else when someone else is the host is — they’re rarely enough to cover your expenses. So most will have a deal where they cap the amount of your airline ticket. They will reimburse your airline ticket up to a certain amount of money. Okay. That means I’ve got to fly out of the bigger airport, which is Boston, where the parking fees are more and it’s harder to get to and from because that’s where the cheaper flights are out of versus flying out of Providence, where the parking is really cheap and easy, but the flights are way more expensive and you got to get a connecting flight, which is just a nightmare.
So — and then a lot of conferences will reimburse a certain amount of meals, but not all of them. So I’m going to be paying for meals at an airport or on my own outside of the conference time. And they only pay for two hotel nights, so for Friday and Saturday. So then I got to pay for my own — or it’s just — it’s a debacle. I have never traveled to teach and not had to pay for expenses out of pocket, and the stipend that you get for teaching does not anywhere near match what I would have made massaging in my office for those two or three days. So there’s a lot of these little factors.
And I have to say that there’s a lot of conferences and organizations that have increased their speaker fees and increased their reimbursements, and they’re wonderful for doing so. And I have been on every end of this. I have sat in classes as a attendee. I have run education for an organization in Massachusetts as well as a large New England conference. I shared a large conference that was a three-day event. And I have been a CE provider, and I see how difficult it is from every angle. Organizers are doing the best they can. They’re trying to keep costs down so that people will actually pay for the courses and come. Attendees are doing the best they can paying for courses and showing up and being great students. And educators are doing the best they can and often taking a hit. If they’re someone who has an active massage practice or another job, they’re taking a hit to show up at these events and teach live.
So this is why I’m so negative about CE. I wanted people to understand where I’m coming from. However, traveling to teach can be wonderful and totally worth it too. If it’s not a situation where you’re taking time away from an active massage practice, then you’re not really losing income to do this. If your job is teaching and exclusively teaching, this makes sense. If you sell DVDs or downloads to instructional videos, if you sell tools, if you sell — if you write and sell books that people are going to buy after your class, that’s awesome. If you can negotiate a contract where you’re allowed to sell your item on-site after the class is over — you don’t want people feeling sold to in a class. But if you can negotiate that, that’s great. You can make a ton of money, and it can totally be worth your time, even taking it away from a massage practice.
But I worry that people think that traveling to teach is just so awesome and glamorous, and your classes are always full, and you make a bunch of money. That’s not always true. Sometimes teaching at this level is partly a labor of love with a little bit of income. So be aware of that, and it was a surprise to me when I started traveling and teaching years ago when I realized that reimbursements didn’t fully cover all the costs and I wasn’t going to make as much money speaking as I was massaging at my office. And it was a shock to me, and it was sad because I really enjoyed it, but I — being a sole — I was supporting myself entirely, and I needed to be making the money at my massage office.
So that’s about the traveling. The other option is to teach CE online. Now, some states and areas and re-licensure stuff, like renewal stuff, recertification stuff, will not accept online credits or they’ll only accept a certain amount of online credits. So again, if you’re teaching for education’s sake, that might not be an issue. If your people are taking your course because they want to be educated, that’s great. If they’re taking it because they need certain types of credits, this could get tricky. Obviously, online education is my favorite. That’s why Michael and I created this company and started creating online education and a community.
There you go. Michael, before I — I have a few notes that I want to talk about about being a good teacher, but before I jump into that, what do you have to say about CE and massage? Because you’ve been around a while.
MR [Laughing] Not much that you haven’t already said, just really kind of reinforcing my surprise at how hard it is to make money. That’s kind of the thing that really was eye-opening for me. I mean, I think a lot of people think, well, it’s great to go be a teacher, and it looks glamorous, and it’s this great life of teaching a bunch of people and making money and traveling and all this stuff. And in reality, I mean, I haven’t done this as much as you, but I have taught at various — at massage events and AMTA chapter events and things like that, and you’re right. You just don’t make any money. And I am kind of shocked at how low the pay is, how difficult it is to make money, and how unsustainable this seems to be. So that was my big, kind of, shocking experience.
AH Yeah. And I mean, you can make money if you have created this huge marketing empire and a modality empire, and you’re one teacher with two or three volunteer teaching assistants, and you’ve got a giant ballroom and 100 people and they are three to a table, you can absolutely make money. But more and more, that’s not the educational experience that people are looking for. And at the same time — and I’m talking to you people. I’m talking to you cheapskates. Half of the people, half the massage therapists, they don’t want to pay more than $100 a day for massage education.
So — and again, I’ve been on every side of this, and I am also cheap. But you can’t expect to get quality massage education from a quality educator and get all of the accreditations and CE, whatever, approved hours that you need, for $100 a day. So I apologize that massage education is expensive in many of our minds, but it’s also worth it. If you truly want that education, then save your pennies and pay $800 for a four-day course that’s the most intensive and wonderful experience you’re going to have.
I think that we have unrealistic — and I think that if there were years where the AMTA — and this is how Michael and I both started. The state chapters were phenomenal at subsidizing education. So you could be an AMTA member. You could go to your annual or a couple times a year, depending on how active your state chapter was, and get a day of education for 50 bucks or a hundred bucks. And that was wonderful because the organization was really subsidizing education. I was the education director for a state chapter. I ran the conference for AMTA, and it was beautiful to be subsidized and be able to offer education really affordably. However, I think that that really skewed people’s ideas on how much education should cost, so I think that’s part of it. I think the rest of it, people who have even — never even heard of the AMTA are — many of us are just cheapskates, and I’m one of them. I get it. I’m struggling, too. I’m paying my bills. I’m scared about tax time. I get it.
But we have an unrealistic idea of how much we should pay, of what quality CE is worth. So I don’t know. I partly did that rant because I wanted people to understand that I’m not making — no one’s making a — with the exception of the big modality kings who, again, are filling banquet halls and you’re three to a table and you got a bunch of volunteer teaching assistants, which pisses me off — but you don’t — we don’t have a realistic idea of — unless you’ve run an education course, you have no idea what it takes to run a course.
Michael and I, we try to put together an annual event, and we are struggling to keep costs down, to keep a two-day event under $300 for attendees. And that’s outside of travel and stuff. We recognize it’s going to cost people $1,000 between a flight and hotel and the couple of meals we may not provide. It’s tough. So I just really wanted people to understand that from every idea — or pardon me, from every angle.
MR Well, I’m glad you — I’ll try not to —
MR — go down a rabbit hole too much on this. But while you were talking, I was like — I’m actually looking up AMTA’s 990 form, and just to look at the financials. And I’m like, what if the big organizations made a commitment to really compensate educators fairly so that they could make a decent living doing this? What would that do to the profession?
AH That’s true, and I’m going to teach for the Society for Oncology Massage at their every-two-year — I guess it’s a biennial conference, and their stipend has dramatically increased in the past couple of years. I refused an offer to teach a couple of years ago because it just wasn’t enough to make it worth it for me to leave my office. Their stipend has increased, and their travel reimbursements has increased, and I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of people. But I will just barely break even attending this event.
I am delighted to attend the event, and I don’t want to seem negative. I don’t want to — they have done a wonderful job of responding — and I have to say, any time I’ve taught for somebody and after — after the event, you submit your expenses for reimbursement. You get your stipend check. Your honorarium is what they call it. You get all of those things. I have made it a point to follow up with event organizers afterwards and say, thank you for letting me teach at your event. I do want to let you know that I have feelings about reimbursements and honorariums, and here’s why. And I’ve laid it out for them. For me to go to your event, I lost ten massages, which is this much income. I ended up having to spend this much in expenses out of pocket, and this is ultimately what I lost. I am $100 in the hole after teaching at your event. Again, it was a wonderful and rewarding experience, but — and also, let me just stipulate, I am not selling DVDs or books. I mean, at this point, I could say — probably say I’m selling memberships to Massage Business Blueprint, so I might make a little money on that.
But I’ve tried to be really mindful about helping to educate event organizers, who know a lot of this, but usually don’t see the numbers really clearly from an educator’s point of view. So I’ve tried to do that, and because I’ve done that, when the Society for Oncology Massage said, hey, would you apply to teach? We want you to know that we’ve increased this, this, and this — and I was delighted, absolutely delighted. I’m really excited, and there are lots of non-money reasons one would go and teach. And let me say them now.
Traveling to teach is — it is about going to great places and meeting great hosts and meeting wonderful students. And the best part of these events isn’t the classroom. It’s what happens around classroom sessions, like the really deep, wonderful discussions about massage as an art and a science and about collaborating on our future projects. This is how Michael and I met ten years ago, in a birthday party in the hotel lounge for a common friend in massage that was happening the night before a national conference happened. That’s how Michael and I met.
I’m not trashing these ideas. There is so much inherent value. But I want to give people the full picture that you’re not going to make a million dollars, and you might lose a little money if you’re taking time away from your massage practice. Traveling to teach is wonderful. It can get you to places you would not have gone to. I’ve got a friend who teaches — taught in Hawaii every year. I’ve got a couple of friends who are going overseas and teaching, and it’s wonderful. But just be aware of all the aspects, which again, I’m not even covering all of them.
Also, the final point here is that — and I’m quoting my friend Whitney Lowe, and Blueprint Premium member Whitney Lowe, who said, “Lots of people can and do get up in front of a class and talk to students, but that is not necessarily good teaching. There is no shortage of stories about disastrous classroom learning experiences, both entry level and CE. Being a really good teacher is a lot harder than it looks.” And I couldn’t agree more. We all have an experience of being in a classroom with a wonderful teacher and being in a classroom with a terrible teacher.
Teaching isn’t just throwing a PowerPoint together and making a couple of good jokes about massage and thinking you’re going to demonstrate hands-on. It’s a structured curriculum. It’s understanding learning objectives. It’s understanding how different personalities interact and learn in a classroom. It is classroom management because as much as we like to make fun of millennials, which I don’t, but generally, in my classes when I’ve taught — and I don’t teach hands-on. I teach business — the biggest problem students I’ve had are 50- and 60-year-old students who won’t get off their damn phones. I almost lost my teaching gig at a school because I had a student who was so rude and obnoxious using their device, and I asked them to stop, and they refused, and I had to go get help.
It is ridiculous how rude some people are in a classroom, and learning how to manage problem students, that is kind of out of my realm, but it’s a thing. You can’t just think you’re going to stand up in front of a group and they’re going to understand everything that you say, either, or understand your PowerPoint slide. And there’s a whole art to creating PowerPoints if you’re going to use them. So — and I am going to quote Whitney again, and what he said is, “I would also say that our profession is in dire need of good educators. So if this is something you feel called to do, I encourage you to pursue it. If you’re looking to go down this path, spend some time learning about educating and teaching adult learners because some of the biggest problems I see with those that jump into teaching in our field originate from a lack of understanding of essential concepts of learning theory and instructional design.”
Now, I don’t think you need to go and get your master’s in teaching to start teaching a simple massage course on how to relieve migraine headaches if you’ve been an expert in headache stuff for ten years. I do think you’ve got to seek some resources and some conversations with people, some coaches, people who teach teachers. My first resource, actually my only resource for that, is Adrienne Asta at Cerebral Vortex Education, and again, that was Episode 151 where Adrienne talked to us about where to start if you want to become a teacher. And there are classes for people who want to become teachers. There are some basic elements to know. And I’ll put the link in the show notes for Cerebral Vortex Education as well.
So in conclusion, how do I get started with CE or teaching? Yeah, I have no idea. Look at some local schools. Think about some topics you want to teach. I’d say if you want to teach live in-person classes, start locally and small with your local community of massage therapists. Do a test class. Start looking into what you need to be accredited if that interests you and if the people in your area need certain kinds of accredited CEs. Start small, start local, and try and see if you like it. And if you want to teach something online that’s teachable online, like Michael and I, start. Give it a shot. Have a test group of people who can tell you if they think it’s worth it or not. And even though I’m very, very negative about it, I agree with Whitney. We need a lot of good educators, both entry level and CE. So I encourage you to explore it if it’s something you’re interested in. You’re hardier than I am if you can do it, and I really respect that.
And that is what I have to say, Michael. This was a long one.
MR Right on. A long one, but a good one, I would say.
AH I hope so. We’ll see.
MR Well, I say we lighten the mood with a little bit of jojoba.
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MR All right. Quick-tip time?
AH Quick-tip time. You go first. I need a break [laughing].
MR [Laughing] That’s fair. All right. So my quick tip is something I’ve shared with people in individual meetings and in office hours for our premium group and stuff here and there, but I don’t think I’ve shared it with the world as a whole through the podcast. So I’m going to share this. So a lot of times, people are kind of curious about, how do I increase my rebooking rate? How do I get people to come back? I ask them when they’re checking out, and they always, oh, I’ll just book online, or I’ll call later or whatever, which is totally fine. But some people have the desire to try to increase the rate at which people will rebook on the spot.
And so I always kind of share this little quick tip, and it is when you’re asking someone about the rebooking option, what we typically do — and I — this is not backed by data, but anecdotally, I’ve pretty much seen this. Most people do this. They say, hey, would you like to reschedule now, or would you like to call or book online later? And what do we do when we hear a choice, a choice is given to us? We typically go with the path of least resistance, which is — we’re distracted. We’re looking for our credit card or whatever, and we’re checking out. We’re going to go with the last thing we hear, probably. It’s like — because it sounds like the easiest, and it’s the most recent presented. Do you want to — think about how you would respond if someone said, oh, do you want to reschedule now, or do you want to call later or book online? Oh, okay, great. Book online. That’s the last thing I heard. Sounds easy.
So instead, I suggest we flip that, and as you’re checking people out, flip the order. Say, hey, would you like to schedule online later or would you like to go ahead and get something on the books now? So they’re hearing that option — the most recent option is the thing — is the reschedule now option, so they’re hearing that most recently in their mind. It’s the thing they can latch onto most easily, and I don’t think it’s going to dramatically double your business or anything, but it might go a long way toward helping people pick that path of least resistance, which is the last thing they heard is reschedule now. Okay, sure. I’ll pick that. And I predict you’ll get at least a few more people or a slight uptick in people that will reschedule on the spot as opposed to booking online.
So flip the order you offer it to people. You’re not coercing them. You’re not trying to be pushy. You’re simply flipping the order to give them the most recent option, or the second option you give them that they hear most recently is the book now option or reschedule now. So give that a try. I’d love to hear feedback if anybody tries this and sees how that works.
AH I would totally love to hear the feedback because our friend Rianne said she’s been trying this, and it has made zero difference. And I —
MR [Laughing] Yeah, so maybe it’s a horrible idea.
AH Maybe it’s a horrible idea, but I tend — the thing that I say is the opposite of what you’re saying. So I’m going to flip mine around because I usually say, do you want to make a plan now or do you want to book online when you’re ready? So I’m going to swap that around. I’m going to try really hard. I have a theory that people are going to do what they’re going to do. Clients who are going to rebook on the spot are going to rebook on the spot, and ones who are not –don’t have their calendars or are just not — can’t commit, they’re not going to. And I don’t think it matters the order in which I say things. However, I’m going to switch it up and report back in a couple of months.
MR Well, I think you’re right about 95% of people, but I think there’s that tiny subset of people that are probably on the fence. And I think if you can get the people on the fence a little bit, you might sway one or two of them, which might make a slight difference.
AH Hey, you know, it’s —
MR I think there’s a tiny slice of people that are on the fence.
AH I’m happy with that tiny slice and that one client because it’s a hundred bucks in my pocket.
MR There you go.
AH So okay. My quick tip is to check your equipment, yo. And I’m going to link to an article on the ABMP website that’s about a year old that talks about how ABMP’s insurance carrier had seen — at the end of 2018, they’d seen an increase in claims from massage tables collapsing or malfunctioning. So this is terrifying. And in the last few years, they said they saw — I’m still guessing they mean 2017 and ’18. There were more than 20 claims, which, again, terrifies me. So we all need to maintain our equipment.
So if you haven’t checked out your equipment lately, you need to do it, and you need to start doing it regularly. So clean it, of course. Look through all the parts and pieces. Make sure, if you’ve got one of those tables that the legs screw on and off to adjust for height, make sure that all the screws are tight. If you’ve got the little metal buttons, make sure that they’re all secure and they’re not getting worn out. I have a theory that there’s more of these claims because there’s more longtime massage therapists now. Our careers are getting a little longer, and that means that we’ve got tables that are 15 and 20 years old, and it’s probably time for a replacement or a tune-up.
Make sure that your table legs and support and the face cradle — if your gears are slipping, that can be really dangerous. Make sure that the wear and tear on them is appropriate and that they’re not going to be breaking or collapsing soon. And here’s a trick. Keep track of your inspections, of you inspecting your equipment, in a recordable way so that should there be an injury on your equipment, you can’t get pinned for neglect. You can say, I have inspected this piece of equipment every week. I tighten the screws. I clean this. I clean that. And show that you’re responsible and you’re not just ignoring the fact that equipment ages and wears.
So I’m committing to making a note weekly. In my appointment book, in my Acuity calendar, I’m just going to create a little note at the end of every week, or probably in the middle of every week because that’s when I tend to do my chores, in the middle of the day on Tuesday. So — where I clean all around my hydraulic table and I make sure everything is secure as it should be, and nothing is looking funky or different. So yeah, and maybe it’s also time to just replace stuff. If you’ve had your massage table for 20 years, it might be time to get it refurbished or replace it because 20 years is a long time for a massage table.
And that is my quick tip, Michael.
MR Excellent advice. All right. Well, thanks, everyone, for joining us today. As always, we appreciate it. Don’t forget you can always give us reviews on Apple Podcast. I said Apple Podcast this time, not iTunes. I’m learning. I can be taught. So check it out there. We’ll even read it on the air, most likely, if we get some reviews in. We appreciate everyone who’s given us all the reviews recently.
And if you want to check us out online, our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com. We have a vibrant, thriving Premium member community there as well, you can check out. And again, thanks for joining us today. Have an awesome day, and we’ll see you next time.