The Smart Business Owner Would

A thing annoyed me the other day. I know, mind blown, huh? I got annoyed at a thing. But here it is:

Someone suggested that I should have put my business on Yelp! before a client did so. The reasoning was not particularly valid, but the “why” was a legit question and we encourage discussion. So that’s cool.

What got to me was the wording “As a business owner the smart thing to do is..” and of course I’m immediately all “OH YOU DON’T THINK I’M SMART?? LEMME TELL YOU SOMETHING, LADY.” And it’s been bugging me for 20+ hours now. Which of course is an absurd (and human) response to a completely innocent comment.

But, if you spend any time in the company of other business owners, or in discussion groups for such, you probably hear this kind of sentiment. Often. The “you need to” or “that won’t work” or “the only way to handle that is”. And I get it. I’m certainly guilty of it. But it still irritates the crap outta me. Because it’s just. not. true.

There are a gazillion ways to run and promote a business. So many. There are just as many ways to apply massage. There is no ‘right’ one.

There is nuance and context to every decision you make in your business.  And this “you should” that gets thrown at business owners is exhausting and overwhelming. It’s unhelpful and divisive.

So in case you’ve been wondering if it’s okay to just blow off all that ‘guidance’ (even mine) and keep on plugging the best you know how...


It’s okay to ignore Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp!, Instagram, LinkedIn and yes, even Facebook. If you hate these platforms, if your target clients don’t use them or you can just reach you target clients another way, let it go. Spend your time on something else that will get you results.

It’s okay to unsubscribe to every ‘massage business building’ email you receive, stop reading blogs, stop following Facebook pages and just STOP trying to absorb new information for awhile. For as long as you want. I’m a big fan of the ‘pick one place to learn from for a few months, then move on to another one’ approach. Otherwise I get overwhelmed quick.

It’s okay to be content with a one-person massage practice. Just like it’s okay to want to expand.

It’s totally cool to take a week, 2 weeks, or a month off and regroup.

It's okay to disagree with instructors who told you clients should be sore after a massage, or that water is necessary to 'flush out toxins'.

It’s okay to use $15/gallon massage products if they work well for you and your clients and it’s fine to be an ingredient snob and use the $90/gallon stuff, too.

You can wear jeans or a fancy uniform. Whatevs.

Doing, or not doing, any of these things will not be the demise of your business.

Are there some issues that are pretty clear? Yup. You should work legally, with all necessary insurance, licenses and permits. Don’t cheat on your taxes. Protect client confidentiality and comfort. Pretty much: don’t break the law or be a big jerk.

But the rest is all just a stack of variables. If it was all cookie-cutter, this would be easy, right?

Oh, and here are some better ways to contribute, if you catch yourself being the “You need to” person.

  • Have you considered XYZ?
  • Have you tried XYZ?
  • I once tried XYZ and it went well/failed miserably, here’s why:
  • I think I would handle that situation this way:

Aside from that, you do you, baby. You’re a smart business owner. You got this. 

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