NOTE: This episode was recorded 3/18. Things are changing fast and some comments may be out of date.
What caught our attention this week?
I mean, you know. Pandemic.
Triage for your business.
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we live in interesting times. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And we’re your hosts. We’re glad you joined us today.
Allissa, I won’t ask how you are because that’s a pretty obvious answer that everybody’s giving right now is not awesome, not awesome.
AH Not awesome. And you know, there’s a lot of people who listen to this podcast who don’t necessarily follow us closely online, so I’m going to go ahead and tell them a little — a short — I’m going to try to keep it short, this coronavirus episode short.
MR Yeah. Tell us the short.
AH I am currently in — so we’re recording this on Wednesday, and this podcast will be published on Friday. And coincidentally, Friday is the day that I get out of quarantine because a client that I saw on March 7th is home sick, a presumptive positive with COVID-19, the first case in Attleboro. She was in the newspaper this morning, so that’s pretty exciting. Only it’s not because she’s also a very dear friend of mine, and I am concerned about her.
So I shut down my practice last Thursday evening. I saw my last client Thursday at 4. And thankfully last week I only had five clients. I had taken some time off and had a really slow week. So I only had to notify five people that I potentially exposed them to COVID, and that’s where I’m at right now.
I spent a lot of the weekend trying to convince a lot of friends and colleagues to stop touching people. And many, many, many of our colleagues by now have stopped working. And there are still a handful who are working either because they are ego-driven and think that nothing is going to hurt them, as is a post I saw this morning, which was really funny because this woman has a Facebook photo, and she upgraded that frame that was like “stop the spread,” and then the next picture she uploaded was a picture of her in a mask that ain’t going to do crap to keep coronavirus from her, advertising how she’s seeing patients that no one else wants to see because she’s not afraid of a little virus that’s a lot like the flu.
So we got a lot of really smart people taking their hands off of their work for a while, we have a lot of boneheads who are working because they are ignorant, and we also have a lot of people who are being forced to work by their employers still. I don’t know what’s going to happen as of Friday, but there are a lot of people who are employees who are being forced to work, and if they quit or if they walk off the job, they can’t collect unemployment, so they have to wait until their business is closed down maybe because the state or the feds tell them they have to close down. And it’s a really difficult situation in our industry right now, and I’m really sad for those people, and I also understand how they need to feed their families and cannot get fired and therefore not collect unemployment, so.
It’s a really tough situation out there, but I am almost done with my isolation, hopefully, if no symptoms pop up. And hopefully I will be okay, and hopefully all of you are doing okay, and hopefully none of our clients are popping up with this because of us.
And this — I literally — you know, heads up people. There’s probably going to be some swears in this episode because my notes literally say — my two notes under “banter” where we normally talk about what we’re reading say “we’re all in the same boat,” and “this shit is scary.” And that’s where we are.
MR That’s where we are.
AH That’s what I’m reading.
What’s caught your attention?
MR So we’ll go ahead and stick that “E” for explicit on the episode today, so. [Laughing].
Yeah. That’s what’s caught my attention as well. I think it’s pretty obvious. I think we’re all focusing on the same thing, obviously. There’s no need to pretend otherwise. So yeah. We had a good office hours earlier today. Biggest office hours ever because everybody’s kind of in the same boat. Everybody wants to have a support network. And you know, hopefully we all have individual support networks, but it’s also nice that we, you know, can have each other as an industry and a profession to be able to come together and support each other, so. Yep. We’re all thinking the same thing here, so.
Well, we have some stuff today. Why don’t we hit our sponsor, and then we’ve got a big episode where we’d like to kind of brainstorm out loud some things to get started with as we think through what to do right now.
Does it sound all right?
AH Yes, please.
MR All right. So let’s give a little love to Yomassage. So what do we know about Yomassage?
AH Tell me about Yomassage, my friend.
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MR All right. Thanks, Yomassage, indeed.
All right. So let’s dig in. Where do you want to start? We’re going to kind of go through some thoughts we have. And I want to preface this by saying, at least on my side, and I think we’re both quick to admit these are not fully baked thoughts. These are some clear things that we would like to discuss, but we also have just some general ideas and some thought-process kind of brainstorming to do as well. And I think it’s going to be a lot of that in the coming weeks, so this may not be the last time we just kind of brainstorm out loud to be, you know, part of the conversation, so.
So let’s get started.
MR So Allissa, you want to kick off?
AH I do.
So I think the first thing that everyone is thinking of is, oh, dear God, how am I going to pay my rent? And we’re talking about office rents and for people, you know, home rents and mortgages. So — and again, we’re thinking, like, kind of some short-term triage and then some long-term thinking. We have no idea how long this is going to last. It could be a month. It could be six months. The uncertainty is a little bit paralyzing and a little bit terrifying, so let’s start doing the things that we can do.
First thing, talk to your landlords. This could go great. It could not go great. But it’s going to let you know where you stand. What do you say? I can tell you what I said to my landlord in an email, which was that, hi, I’m out of work; I do not know when I will be able to go back to work; everyone in my office is out of work. I can comfortably pay for rent and bills for April. After that, we’re going to have to have a conversation about how to move forward not knowing what the future looks like for us. And that was it. Haven’t heard back from her yet. Going to call her in a couple of days.
And that same — and I’ve heard stories of a handful of landlords saying, you know what? I’m going to suspend rent for at least a couple months until we figure out what’s going on. And that’s great. And I also think — well, let’s move into home stuff. That same conversation should be had with your landlord for where you live if you rent. Hi, I’m out of work. This is what I got; I don’t know what’s going to happen after this.
It is incredibly likely if this goes on that evictions will be halted. That’s already happened in a handful of major cities, so you’re probably not going to get booted out of where you live. Ditto that for mortgages. I don’t know that it’s started happening yet, but if this becomes a long-term thing, it is very likely that foreclosure stuff and mortgage stuff is also going to be — pauses are going to dictated by the government.
So you know, talk to people. Open lines of communication and find out where they’re at. If you email your office landlord — you know, and if mine responds saying, there is no alternative; you pay rent or get out, then I will be out on April 31st. And then I — but I know that. Then I know that, and then I know, okay, I’m shutting down entirely, and I will be reopening somewhere else when it is safe to do so. But right now, the unknown is terrifying. If you can at least open a line of communication, that’s going to be a good start. It’s going to help you figure out where you stand and what your next steps are.
Michael, did I miss anything there? I don’t have a mortgage, so you know, like — I don’t know. [Laughing].
AH I’m not a mortgage-holder. I don’t know how that works.
MR No. You are correct. I have also heard the same chatter that the usual penalties for getting behind on the mortgage and things like that are likely to be suspended. So that’s happening in a lot of areas. So I’m not saying count on it, but I’m saying, like, there will probably be options for people.
So the second note we have here is to lock down any spending. So look at your last couple months of expenditures and withdraws. If you can stop any auto debits, stop any services that you don’t need. You do not need to be paying for Pandora or any other music services right now. Anything that is not, like, vital for the maintenance situation here, cut it down. If you are paying for certain kinds of services — email marking, web hosting, accounting, scheduling systems — can you drop down to a free level of service? Or is your provider offering any kind of free service? We are starting to hear stories about how certain companies are pausing monthly fees for certain services. I expect we will hear more and more of that. But really sit down, look through your last couple months of expenditures in your business accounts and your personal accounts, and turn off any subscriptions, anything like that that you possibly can. This is, like, real triage here. Shut down any extra expenditures.
Michael, do you have anything to say in that segment before I move on?
MR No. No. Just I’m happy to see that a lot of bigger software companies are offering, you know, suspension of subscription fees or even refunding, you know, March’s fees, for example, and really trying to do their part to lighten the load a little bit. So kudos to those companies that are able to do that. We shouldn’t expect it from everybody because every company’s in a different situation, but kudos to those who are able to and are choosing to.
AH Yeah. So if you have a physical office, do the things you need to do to keep expenses a low as possible in there for the next month. Turn your heat down. Unplug everything. I was able to get to my office and not expose anybody else to anything, and I turned the heat way down. I unplugged everything except the minifridge. I made sure the trash was taken out so that nothing would be smelly in there in a couple of weeks. And yeah, I — you know, I have this later on in my notes, but I’m going to say it right now. Get your mail forwarded. If you have — if you’re not going to be going to your office for a couple of weeks, you can go online to the USPS and get your mail forwarded to your home. That is probably worth doing if you have bills delivered to you that way.
Cancel your internet if you feel like you’re going to be out for more than a month or two. I did that this morning. I called Comcast, who’s my business internet provider. And you know, I had to hold, and then they, like, transfer you to the retention department. And the first — and you know, I said, I need to cancel, and she said, okay, there’s some questions, and I was like, listen, I’m in quarantine; I could get sick at any minute and never set back foot in my office again; I don’t want to answer questions; I just want to turn off the internet. And she was so cool. She was like —
MR Oh, good.
AH — all the customer has to say is that I do not wish to answer any questions. And I was like, great, and she’s like, nope; you actually have to say that sentence out loud. And I said, I do not wish to answer any questions, and she said, wonderful; I’m delighted to let you know that Comcast is waving any and all cancellation fees because we understand the magnitude of this crisis. And it was like a minute and a half. And Jessica, you’re lovely. Thank you.
MR Oh, good. Good.
AH And it was so great. It was so easy. She was just delightful. And like, a minute later, I had an email. Just I had to sign a form — I had to e-sign a form to shut off the service. And I don’t use their router box. I have my own router. So I don’t even have to return any equipment to them. Although, I think they would have mailed me a box to do so if I needed to.
So I did that because there’s no need for me to be paying 80 bucks a month for that, and we were thinking of getting a new internet service in the other side of the office anyways, so it just worked out. I let all of my tenants know that so they are prepared to hotspot if we end up going back sooner than I can get the internet hooked up.
Yeah. That’s it for office stuff. Do whatever you can. You know, if you know you’re going to be paying rent at least through April or, you know, you’re going to be spotting those expenses for the office at least through April, do everything you an to keep the utilities down.
Taxes. File them. You should file them. Even if you know that you’re going to owe money, you should file those taxes. And in fact, today’s original episode was a whole episode on what to do if you can’t pay your taxes. But happily enough, we have a little bit more of an answer, which is that the IRS is extending the tax payment deadline. So if you owe taxes, in the past they’ve had this, like, if you can’t pay, you can take — you can get 90 or 120 extra days, and they pay you, like, a little bit of interest in penalty. But right now, they are waving penalties and interest on tax payments for 90 days — up to 90 days after they are due on April 15th.
We may see that that gets extended longer. We just don’t know. But either way, you definitely want to file your taxes. You still need to file by April 15th even though the payment will not — is not necessarily due on that day. It’s still due on that day, but they’re going to give you some more time without interest and penalties, so that’s really good.
Also, talk to your accountant about what to pay for first quarter estimates because at this point, that first quarter estimate, you know, is based on what your expected income for the year is going to be, and we’re getting an extended hiatus, so that expected income is going to change. So talk to your accountant about how and what and if to pay for first quarter estimates, which as far as I know — and they’re called — yeah. They’re called estimates. Sorry, sometimes I mix up quarterly and estimates, but I wanted to call them the right thing — it’s due on April 15th. I have not heard any other information that that has been extended, but talk to your accountant about if — you know, if you’ve already got your rough number of what you should pay, check in with your accountant about if that should change and lower or if you shouldn’t pay it at all. But get that advice from your tax preparer, from your accountant.
Anything to say to that, Michael?
MR Nope. You covered it. I have also not heard anything specific about quarterly estimates.
AH Yeah. And you know, we will. It’s a little tough — I’m going to go off track a little bit here — it’s a little tough because we’re hearing about people who can — you know, employees — people employee’s status who can file for unemployment. That’s not an option for sole proprietors. However, some states — I think New Hampshire was the first yesterday — have extended benefits to sole proprietors. I can’t even imagine what you’re going to have to do to, like, prove your income and all that stuff, but it’s coming. I think that it’s coming.
And in that same vein, I got an — you know, I get my health insurance through the Massachusetts Health Connector, and last week they put something out that said — and I know a handful of states have done this. I don’t know if it’s, like, a federal rule yet, but a handful of states have opened the enrollment period for health insurance. So if you are flying without health insurance, now might be a really good time to try to get it through your state or the federal exchange because at this point, you can probably say that you’re not going to have much of an income at all, and what you qualify for might have changed since the last time you looked. So there’s that. Check out the health insurance options.
If you buy insurance on the exchange and it’s based on your income from last year, you may be able to go in, edit your application, and adjust the expected income level for this year. I looked at mine to do that in Massachusetts. It got a little bit complicated, and I kind of backed out and was like, okay, I’m not going to think about this today. But I know it’s an option that I can go in and edit that application and see what’s involved in that. So know that you can do those things. That’s another bill that you can potentially decrease.
Track your cancellations. If you have, like many of us, had to cancel a crap-ton of clients over the next couple of weeks or month, make sure you have that information handy. You want to know who you cancelled, what date you cancelled them on, how much money you would have earned from that client. I don’t know if or how this information is going to help us, but I know that having it aggregated now is better than not having it aggregated now. So it could be that within your scheduling system there is a mechanism for you to track that. I have done that, and I have also created a spreadsheet. And as I notify clients that I’m cancelling their appointments, I am adding that information to the spreadsheet.
Michael, what do you have to say about that? Anything?
MR I think having data is always better than not.
AH Excellent. And that gave me enough time to take a sip of water.
AH Next up. Deferring. Why don’t you take this segment, Michael? Do you mind?
MR Sure. Yeah. Happy to.
So everyone’s in a different situation. So you know, some people are maybe paying aggressively on debt up to now, or you know, some people are not. Some people are just paying minimums. We’re all in different financial situations, so this is not a one-size-fits-all. But for those who are, you know, needing to free up cash flow to really do some drastic changes to get by right now, please, I want to encourage you to give yourself permission to defer and minimize as much as possible.
So you know, student loans, if they’re not in deferment, see if you can, you know, call them and make arrangements. See if you can put that on hold for now if you need to. If you’re paying more than the minimum, maybe drop down to the minimums. Same with on credit cards. If you have credit card debt — you know, if you were in the mode of paying off aggressively and paying more than the minimum to get it knocked out, that’s a great goal in normal times, but right now if you need the cash, give yourself permission to just drop down to paying minimums on credit cards, and just get by for now and free up that cash.
I also — you know, again, this is not — absolutely not one size fits all. But if you need to free up cash, absolutely give yourself permission to stop retirement investing. I want to be very careful with that because, again, if you — you know, if you’re in a multiple-income household and, you know, you don’t necessarily need to do this, I’m not recommending you just, you know, willy-nilly push pause on retirement investing. But if it’s necessary for you to get by and have the cash flow to sustain your household and yourself, then absolutely, you know, you should definitely push pause on retirement before things get worse. So that is something you can give yourself permission to do temporarily as well.
So yeah. Deferring. Minimizing. Saving up cash is really important right now. So the number one priority if you are in a pinch like this is put everything else on hold, save up cash, build up that emergency fund even more if you can to kind of weather the storm ahead.
That’s what I have to say about that.
AH Sorry, I had to unmute myself because I was absolutely blowing my nose while you were saying that.
MR Absolutely. Well, thanks for muting yourself while blowing your nose.
MR We all appreciate that. Our thousands of listeners and I appreciate that.
AH You’re welcome.
So next up is — and I’m sorry about this, people. I just openly apologize. But you got to do some math. Look at what is in your personal checking and savings and see how long you got. How long can you feed yourself and pay your personal bills that you have now, you know, shifted down to a bare minimum? How long do you have? Are you okay for a month? Are you okay for three months? Again, this is going to be a big economic thing countrywide and worldwide, and there will likely be some relief. But you want to know bare minimum what you can do with what you already have.
And a lot of people been rolling their eyes at us for a long time when we say build an emergency fund, prioritize an emergency fund, build that emergency fund, pay off your debt. We’re all about to learn the really hard lesson of why. And I am one of those people. I don’t have six months in the bank for living expenses yet, or business expenses yet. It was a goal that I have not reached yet. I’m good for a couple of months, and you know, let’s toss in my privilege here that I have a partner who can support me if and when I cannot support myself. A lot of us don’t. You know, five years ago I certainly didn’t, and the bulk of my career I certainly didn’t. And this is unprecedented, so don’t beat yourself up because none of us saw something like this coming. None of us.
And do the math on how long you got and what you can work out and be — so you know that. So you know. So you have the number, and you’re not wondering. And you’re going to have to do that in your personal accounts and also with your business. How long — we kind of covered that already. What do you have in the bank for your business? And what can you chop off in your business to maybe move some of those funds to your personal accounts to give you a couple more months? It’s a lot of a balancing game right now, and I wish I had better answers for you, but here we are.
So next up is how can we continue to serve our clients with both paid things — things they may give us money for — and things that maybe are offered at no charge? Or — and/or how can we just keep in contact with them so that we are a source of comfort and support because we are people — we are professionals in their lives that have been a source of comfort and support via the work we do?
And I want to talk — I’m going to mention this. Like, the rich don’t suffer. And I had a client tell me this like ten years ago because we were coming — we were in that, like, 2008, 2009 recession, and that’s when I expanded my office — or that’s when I moved to a new office and my business took of in the middle of that recession. And I remember saying out loud to someone at some point when, you know, a client who asked me business-y things — he was a businessman — and he’s like — and I remember saying, like, I can’t believe my business has taken off this way in the middle of this recession; I didn’t think that would happen. And he said, oh, honey, the rich don’t suffer. And what I’m — I’m telling you that because I want you to keep in mind that your client base is probably diversified.
You probably have clients who are not going to take a huge economic hit, and you probably have clients who are going to take a huge economic hit. So no, I don’t think we should all, tomorrow, start selling, at high prices, online things to everyone. But I do want you to think about the economic diversity of your client base as we run through some of these things. Many of these things you can offer for a fee. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re offering things on a sliding scale. Meditations. Self-care routines. People who do movement are offering, like, live yoga classes, and personal trainers are doing virtual sessions and all of these things. But please keep in mind that your client base may well be economically diversified, and that the people who are not hard-hit by this right now are probably going to be very happy to support your small business and keep you going in this time.
And at the very least, you can keep in contact with your clients via email, social media, whatever mediums you’ve used. You could decide that, you know, if I’m supposed to be massaging Betty right now, I can’t massage her, I already cancelled that appointment, but maybe I will text her and let her know that I’m thinking of her, and I hope she’s doing okay, and remember to do your neck stretches. So how can you continue to serve and keep in contact with your clients in this time? And get creative about that, and let me know you come up with.
I’m going to let Michael work through some additional ideas of how to be spending your time and perhaps with income.
Did I preface that all okay, Michael?
MR Yeah. Yeah. Perfect. Perfect.
So I’ve said this before. I’m going to preface it again by saying these are not all fully baked ideas. I think we have many more weeks ahead of us to bake through some ideas. We’re just kind of still reeling from the impact of it all, but — and we’re all on different spectrums here, or different ends of the spectrum.
So you know, some of us are on, you know, an end of the spectrum where maybe we have multiple incomes in our household and this is a depressing hiccup, but it’s not disastrous. And maybe this is a good time for reflecting on how you can work on your marketing on this downtime. How can you work on your business? Maybe you’re looking at a rebrand. Or maybe you’re looking at building out a marketing plan or changing your services or doing something that you never had time to do. So if that’s you, if you’re in that situation, you know, naturally this is a great time to focus on that.
And I said this during our premium office hours earlier today is I also want to encourage you to give yourself time to reset. We — whenever a crisis hits or something kind of rocks our world, we have this tendency as humans to want to take some action. We want to do something. We want to just feel like we can, you know, do something that makes an impact that reacts to all the stuff happening. And that’s very natural, but I think in many cases, it’s also great to consider is it okay to reset? Is it okay to just maybe take a few days and not think about work? You know, close the practice. Be depressed about it. That’s okay. You have permission. Take a break. Redirect your energy toward something else. Friends. Family. Reading. Pursuits. Artistic things. Entertainment. You know, vegging out on Netflix. That is perfectly legit.
And then after you’ve had the time to kind of reset and unplug, then maybe come back to your business with a fresh approach in thinking, if I’m going to reopen in one, two, three, however many months, what is my practice going to look like at that point? How can I rebuild the dream practice I’ve always wanted because now I have the time to work on it from an administrative and a conceptual level? So if you’re in the situation where you have the space and the resources and the means to take that time, I think that might be a good idea.
So let’s say you’re not in that situation. Let’s say that you are on this end of the spectrum where you’ve got to eat. You know, you’ve got to make money. You’ve got to figure out a way to get income right now, and rebuilding your practice from a marketing standpoint is on hold. That’s secondary. So what are you going to do to work on those things? Again, these are not fully baked ideas, but I want to start some conversations around stuff like this.
So as Allissa mentioned already, we’re seeing some therapists that are extending their services virtually in areas that complement their practice. We have people that are talking about offering guided meditations or mindfulness or — you know, I talked to one massage therapist who is considering building an online virtual community with a membership fee where people can come online and, you know, discuss topics around mindfulness and meditation and serenity and feeling at peace and all those sorts of things that she kind of helps people work through from a mental standpoint.
So again, obviously stay in your scope of practice. Don’t try to, you know, be a psychiatrist if you’re not. But there are certain ways that you can be a resource for people and an educational source for people that — maybe they’re not getting a massage, but maybe there are other ways you can help them virtually.
Zoom, which is our favorite video conferencing platform, is now — I believe they upgraded their service so you get a free option for, you know, their kind of bigger plan. So Zoom is a great resource for stuff. Zoom.us. You can hop on there, set up a free account, and start connecting with people if you have a way to do that.
Something else you can think about. Maybe sell retail online. We don’t — Allissa mentioned we don’t want to push this too hard, but you know, if you have a product you sell and you can ship it safely, or maybe drop-ship it safely, then maybe selling retail online in the meantime is a way to kind of supplement things.
Also, maybe selling things in your practice, in your house that you don’t need right now. If cash is a concern, and you’re not going to be using some stuff in your massage office or in your home right now — or maybe you don’t need them at all. Maybe you’ve been wanting to have a garage sale for a while. And I’m not saying have a garage sale because that’s bringing a lot of people to our house. But maybe if there is, you know, a few things here and there that you could sell for some money and there’s people that will buy it, maybe that drums up cash right now.
Also, I — I want to be very fair that, yes, we are Massage Business Blueprint. We serve massage therapists. However, that doesn’t mean that there are not other doors open to you that we can help you think through that are not in massage. Maybe there are things that you’ve always wanted to try. I was talking to a massage therapist today that said, hey, you know, I love massage; I want to come back to it, but I’ve also always wanted to learn how to design websites. And I was like, great, let’s talk about that; maybe you launch a little boutique marketing agency building websites right now for niche small businesses, and maybe that continues beyond the passing of this crisis, and maybe that could be a great open door for you to explore to generate income. You can do it virtually from home, you can hop on video calls, and serve your clients without ever having to meet in person. It’s a great model.
Maybe there are things you can do around teaching — obviously can be done virtually. Maybe there are services you can provide in the space of marketing or design or writing or organizing or virtual assistant work. There’s a whole world of business out there that is already operating virtually or has made the switch to virtual very easily, and those businesses need services. They need things like marketing, design, writing, virtual assistant work, et cetera. So maybe that’s a time to explore that type of work and launch a new business doing that.
Maybe you sell things online through Etsy. Maybe you have a really strong talent in a craft or an art or something, or making a product, and that’s something you can start shipping through an online store or through Etsy.
Maybe you can just simply — if you’re not necessarily — you know, if launching a new business sounds mentally exhausting, maybe you just look for a job in the virtual space. There are lots of companies that employ virtual assistants to then match up with clients. Maybe you just want to kind of clock in, do some hourly work, and get a paycheck. And there’s lots of VA work out there.
Transcription work as well. Rev.com is a transcription service that, you know, they have a whole army of stay-at-home transcriptionists that, you know, listen to videos and audios from marketing companies and businesses and then provide transcription so that they are ADA compliant and able to be consumed by people with disabilities, which is a great thing. So that can be something to consider.
This is even less baked. I’m going to just tell you up front, you know, this next thought is even — it’s not even in the oven yet. But —
AH And he was going to not put it in the episode, and I was like, bring it, baby, bring it.
MR [Laughing] So this is not even in the oven yet, but you know, I am thinking through how do we look for industries that might be thriving right now or see increased activity in the current environment? And how do we figure out a way to serve those industries?
You know, some of the ones that may be obvious are health care, government. Media companies are blowing up because everybody’s on Facebook looking at the latest media articles on the coronavirus. You know, media impressions are way, way up. Digital entertainment. You know, Netflix, companies that serve entertainment through streaming, they’re very much in demand right now, obviously, because we’re all stuck at home. Online education. A lot of people are going back to school and providing — or learning lots of new things by going on to YouTube and to Udemy and all sorts of online course platforms.
So what are some ways that you can identify or that we can all identity industries that are thriving? And are there fledgling businesses that can be launched virtually to serve those industries? I feel like the answer is yes, or at least probably, and that’s a conversation I want to continue to have with myself and with our community in the coming weeks as well. So I wanted to kind of talk through that out loud as well, so.
What would you add, Allissa?
AH I think we’re all about to find out how flexible we are or aren’t. And keeping a really open mind about what you can do next in addition to doing massage when it is again safe to do so is going to be really, really important.
MR Agreed. Agreed.
AH Yeah. I don’t have a lot more to say about that. It’s — you know, Michael and I have talked a couple of times in the last week, and Michael is the one being really positive, and I’m being the one really apocryphal, so.
MR [Laughing]. We’re the yin and the yang like that.
AH We’re a little ying (sic) and yang about that. And I don’t have anything else to say.
MR Well, like many things, I think the right answer is a balance of the two. I mean, I think it’s valid to be very scared and very concerned, and this is — like you said, this is scary shit. This is bad stuff happening, and we need to honor that and agree to that. But I also think it’s good to go to work and to figure out what we’re going to do about it. So I think that however you feel is valid. Whatever you’re feeling right now is valid. We all feel different things right now, but it’s all valid.
AH All right, Michael, before we jump into some tips to help people not go bonkers while they are on leave from their massage practices, who’s our sponsor?
MR Our longtime sponsor that we love is Jojoba.
AH All right. Thank you very much. I was really looking for you to go Jojoba! But you —
AH — you didn’t, so you lost the moment.
MR Oh. Sorry.
AH Sorry, everybody. This is a tough episode in a lot of ways.
AH So what I want to say about jojoba is none of the things you think I’m going to say. What I am going to say is that thank gosh I have this stuff at home and extra at the office because with all of the excessive handwashing and hand sanitizing and bleaching things and all of that, it has saved my hands. And like, just the past whatever, five, six days of not massaging, my hands have already gotten a little extra dry, and I have these weird cuticles and these weird fingernail things going on, and jojoba has saved me.
And as I am just confined to, like, the bedroom and half bath that’s attached, I have found that jojoba is good for a number of things including squeaky doors, moisturizing my hands, polishing a wooden spoon thing that was on the tray of food that got delivered to me. That was great. And you can totally, like, refurbish your cutting boards with it, and your bamboo cooking utensils, and there’s a whole bunch of other stuff you can use it for. But I’ve been using it for a facial moisturizer. When my hair got really statically the other day and the room was not clear for me to leave and go shower, I was able to, like, just put a little bit on my dry hair and get it out of my face. So yay jojoba for saving me from myself and for saving you —
AH — every moisturizing need you have while you’re home. So if you don’t have some at home already, maybe next time you pop into the office to turn all the lights and the heat down and stuff you can grab your bottle of jojoba and bring it home because, my friends, you’re going to need it.
Sponsor message You can get more if you’re going to run out at massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. They are going to take 10% off the price of the product on orders of $35 or more when you shop through that link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. And even if I never massage again, jojoba’s never leaving my life. So I want everyone to know that.
MR [Laughing]. Jojoba’s just plain awesome.
AH It’s great. So —
MR All right. Quick tips.
AH Quick tips. So my quick tips — well, it’s funny because they’re actually going to stay the same from when we were — mostly the same from when we were originally recorded this episode last week before I was quarantined. But I want you to know that you can unfollow people and pages that are stressing you out online. Specifically, I’m talking about Facebook.
So if you’ve got that crazy uncle who’s still posting articles about how this coronavirus is a hoax, you can unfollow him without unfriending him. And we’re going to put a link in the notes with instructions on how to do that. You can do that right from your feed, or you can do it from people’s profiles. You can unfollow a page without unliking it. So if your sister’s got that candle business and she’s selling candles that are — she says they’re scented to improve your immune system and you don’t want any part of that crap show, you can unfollow her page without unliking it so she won’t get mad at you if we’re all allowed to be in the same room on Thanksgiving.
My second little bit, which is new from when we first recorded, is call someone. Yeah. Call a friend. I called my friend Karleen, and we see each other frequently, but — in real life, and we text, but we don’t call. And I called her, and it was probably the most therapeutic thing that I have done in a week. It was really good. She is also a full-time massage therapist, so it was really good to just talk through some stuff and also just get the news on her and her family, and it was really good. So if you’re not a phone person, I respect that. But you could maybe try it. Call a friend that you used to talk to, and talk to them a little bit more, and see how that goes.
And that’s it. Unfollow people and call a friend. That’s my advice.
MR Good advice.
MR All right. So last time I think we were on the podcast, or a recent episode anyway, we talked about books, and I was talking about how I had bought books on Amazon, and you scolded me for not using the library, and I was like, okay, fine, whatever. So I ended up looking into it, and apparently the library has all these books for free. Who knew?
AH Who knew?
MR I’m just discovering this, which is really sad because I grew up with a mother as a librarian, [laughing] so I spent lots of times in libraries.
AH [Laughing]. I did not know that.
MR You didn’t know this? Yes. My mother has a degree in library science, and she has been a librarian for most of her life. And so she actually was the librarian at the public library in my hometown, and I grew up, like, hanging out and playing at the library while she was working there. So I have been around libraries, like, my whole life. So it’s about time I start using them, don’t you think? So anyway.
So I looked into kind of how to do this, and I found the Libby app. I really like the Libby app because it lets you pull up your phone, and you can connect it to your local library and reserve books on the app, and you can read them on the Libby app when they’re checked out — these are digital books — and you can also send them to your Kindle. And I know everybody knows this already, but I am just figuring this out for myself because I’m a little behind on the curve on this. And I’m really excited because it’s a really nice, seamless way to digitally check out books from the library, virtually read them on your Libby app or your Kindle, and an unlimited pool of library books for free. So while we’re all stuck at home, if you have time to read, then this would be a fun app to check out. So congratulations to me for figuring out how to use the library.
AH Good on you.
And I don’t even use the Libby app. I just do things — my library has the option to, like, have it delivered via Kindle. So it goes right through, like, Amazon and all that, and it delivers the book free to my Kindle, and then when it’s due to — when it’s due, it becomes unavailable to read on my Kindle. Although, little trick — and a librarian taught me this — if you put your Kindle into air — what is it called? Airline? Airport? Airplane settings?
MR Airplane mode.
AH Airplane mode. Thank you.
It won’t retrieve and take books away. And it —
AH — and it doesn’t prevent the next person from borrowing the book. So I —
MR Beautiful. That was the hack that I needed because I am running out of my two-week period, and I haven’t finished the book, and I’m like, oh, I don’t want to return it. But now —
AH Put it into airplane mode —
MR Ugh. You’re brilliant.
AH — and then it won’t take it away.
So I usually get, like, three or four books at a time, I put it into airplane mode, and then when I’m done, I bring them back — I put it back in. And yeah. So that works really well.
MR That is an amazing life hack. You’ve changed my world.
AH I don’t know if it works within the Libby app. I don’t know. But it works in your Kindle.
MR Well, I’ll send it to my Kindle, and I’ll put it in airplane mode. That’s beautiful.
AH Excellent. I’m glad I can be helpful here.
AH I love it when I know a tech thing that you don’t know!
MR I know! Well, this whole episode was worth it just for that tip for me, so.
AH Oh, yeah. Never mind the trauma our entire profession is going through right now as long as we got Michael’s Kindle fixed up.
MR Hey, my Kindle is loaded up with books, so I’m good to go.
AH All right. So thanks, everybody, for sticking with us on this.
AH This was a little bit longer than we anticipated, but I hope this was helpful. Send us your tips. Tell us what you’re doing. Tell us how you’re feeling. If you need something, reach out. I might be able to help you. I got nothing else to do for a while.
MR [Laughing]. Yeah. Well, we’ll be here. So we’re going to — in the coming weeks, like I mentioned, we will continue conversations about this.
And reach out if we can help you. So you know where to find us. We’re at massagebusinessblueprint.com. Send us a note. You can email us. Email’s really the best way. We have a contact form on the site, but it gets caught in spam filters frequently, so just email us. Send that to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear how you’re doing. With that, we’ll see you next time. Thank you.