Archive for January, 2011
Question: I have heard that it is bad for you to have your clients feet facing towards the door when setting up your massage room, they say you are born head first and when you die they take you out feet first is there any truth that this could be bad karma?
Ann: In many massage therapy offices, either the clients’ head or feet must face the door. We want the client to feel safe & secure, first & foremost, so they need to face the door with their feet closest to the door. The best thing to do is hang a curtain that you can pull across the door during your session, so that the door is out of sight during your massage session.
Question: What suggestions would she make for the layout of a massage room, including decorations?
Ann: I would suggest using Feng Shui’s Bagua Energy Map as a first step in decorating your office. Here’s a link to the Bagua for Business that’s on my website to get you started.
For example you’ll want to hang up your practitioner certification in the Fame/Reputation sector if at all possible, and have plants or some kind of Wood/growth element in the New Beginnings area, as this is so important for your clients’ health.
I’d also want to make sure that all of Feng Shui’s Five Elements are balanced: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, so that the room feels aligned with nature. I’ll post a link to my blog post about that momentarily.
Here’s that link about how to use the Five Elements.
I’ve been reading at least one business related or personal development book at least once a month for several years now. I actually try to read one book a week, but some are just for fun. I wasn’t sure if I could actually read a book a week but discovered I can do it!
A number of readers have been asking me for book recommendations, so I wanted to share with you what I have been reading. So each month, I will update what I have been reading. Be sure to check back often.
I hope you get on board with this challenge too. Destroy your TV and get your book groove on!
The Five People You Meet in Heaven begins when an amusement park accident tragically kills Eddie “Maintenance”, an eighty-three-year old man who dedicated his life to keeping the park safe for its thousands of guests. From the beginning, Eddie’s character is incredibly well-guarded. We learn very little about him other than he takes great pride in his established routine of reporting to work and caring for his family. Read my full review here.
Save Your Hands by Lauriann Greene. Lauriann suffered an injury while in massage school. Through her journey of healing she discovered things you can do to help prevent hand, shoulder and back injuries and exercises to strengthen your hands. She was also a guest on Massage Unwrapped
David Sites Garland shares shares specific secrets that made him successful in his book Smarter, Faster Cheaper. All too often, we try to market ourselves like big brands when we should be doing things differently. He started studying the people who were making an impact in their businesses and how they were doing it smarter, faster and cheaper. He also gives practical advice for how to become a trusted resource online and off, the 20/80 rule of online content and vlogging (video blogging).
Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Karr. Diagnosed in 2003 with a rare sarcoma that affects less than .01 percent of cancer patients. This was the catalyst for a life-changing transformation in which Kris became the self-appointed CEO of her health and wellness. She embarked on an independent study in which Whole Foods became her second home and she devoured the readings of doctors and nutritionists and talked to the leading health and wellness experts to help heal. Crazy Sexy Diet is the wise and witty product of her study in everything from nutrition, meditation, cleansing and much more.
Before Kris was diagnosed, Kris “exercised, drank in moderation-ish, and ate ‘right’ from time to time.” Like many “healthy” women, Kris ignored symptoms such as allergies, depression, bloating, and constipation to name a few, and chalked them up to inconveniences that were just part of her busy life. That is, until, her cancer diagnosis required her to put her lifestyle under a microscope.
Unmarketing was written Scott Stratten, who goes by @unmarketing on twitter. UnMarketing is about the changes that are happening in marketing for all sizes of businesses. These changes are driven in large part by the push for more interaction, engagement and transparency via social media.
Linchpin by Seth Godin. The concept behind Linchpin is that many people need to take ownership of their jobs and lives, and demonstrate the value they can offer by becoming “indispensible”. People can become indispensible not because of their power or position, but because of the way they work – what Seth calls “emotional labor”, and what I like to call engagement and passion. He also goes into quite fascinating detail about the lizard brain and why our self talk gets in our way of doing things.
If you want to succeed in any business, you need people to remember and act on your ideas. Unfortunately, attention is a scarce resource. There are so many things competing for our client’s attention. So, to be successful, there’s no choice but to make your ideas stand out.
The book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath aims to solve that problem. In the authors’ own words: “We wanted to take apart sticky ideas – both natural and created – and figure out what made them stick.”
The six principles of creating sticky ideas: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories (the acronym is SUCCESs). I really find the principles in the book useful. Of course, applying the principles takes practice and diligence and maybe a little creativity.
Stuart Diamond, a Wharton School professor of negotiation and a former Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times journalist, illustrates his 12 core strategies of better negotiation
In the Embrace Differences strategy, Stuart writes differences are not to be avoided or ignored in negotiations. On the contrary, they can lead to more perceptions, ideas and options — as long as you value those who are different.
This is just one of the areas where Diamond demonstrates his commitment to ideas that occasionally go against traditional business thinking. While other business book authors wage a pitched battle over the merits of aggressiveness versus kindness, Diamond provides strategies that push readers to get results. Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World is a tactical book in the guise of an entertaining read.
Early chapters in the book underscore some of the important themes that drive his brand of negotiation: People are everything, perception and communication gaps are deal killers, emotion is the enemy of effective negotiations. Later chapters adapt the strategies and tools of the book to specific areas including family, work and travel.
More than 400 anecdotes illustrate one or more of the strategies, as well as the tools, such as role reversal, that help implement those strategies. The stories in this book alone are worth the reading. Many of Diamond’s anecdotes involve negotiations in familiar situations that we don’t realize are negotiable — how to get an airline pilot to open the closed boarding gate, for example — while others illustrate the power of the strategies in the most difficult, high-stake situations. Every reader will benefit from Getting More.
After surviving a car accident, Brendon Burchard has dedicated his life to assisting people in creating change and making a life that matters. That is why he created this inspirational parable about Henry, a young man who is unhappy with his job and stuck in his life. After his girlfriend Mary nearly dies, she sends him on a mission to an old amusement park which has been closed for 20 years. He must sign a contract to gain access to this place of miracles and ask no questions about how it came to be or what it is. His guide through the amusement park is a groundskeeper.
In the Truth Booth, he encounters his mother who gives him some wise advice. Then a wizard helps him see that for most of his life he has been under Society’s Spell that has made him “secretly feel inadequate and helpless for far too long.” Henry later learns that the themes of his life — the world is a dark and dangerous place, other people are unfair and hurtful, and you yourself are inadequate — have limited his capacity to become all he was meant to be.
Find out what his encounters with the screaming carnies, Harsh the hypnotist, Gus and the elephants, the Hall of Mirrors, the bumper boats, Larry the Lion Tamer, the Tunnel of Love, does to Henry and what he ultimately comes to find out.
If you’re looking for a beginner guide on how you can get started and leverage social media in your massage practice, look no further. Shama Hyder Kabani’s The Zen of Social Media Marketing is what you’ve been waiting for.
You’ll find great information on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and online video. In addition, Shama talks about how to leverage this with your Web site (a must in her opinion…and mine) and blog. There’s also some good advice on how to behave in social media, and how to create a social media policy for your business.
As with any social media book, there’s always the concern that the book will be dated before the ink is dry. Shama has addressed that by creating the Zen of Social Media site where readers of the book can access updated information regularly.
Whether you’re just getting started, or you already have a Twitter account and Facebook fan page for your business, you’ll learn a lot by picking up a copy of The Zen of Social Media Marketing.
As you know, I like to mix in reading about business, metaphysical and self-help. This month I read Five Wishes: How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True by Gay Hendricks and it is both metaphysical and self help in nature.
There are so many life-changing lessons to be carried away from this book! With the most provocative and challenging Introduction imaginable, you hit the ground not just running, but running for your life…more to the point, running for the life you want. Momentum builds with each inspiring chapter as the reader lives through the author’s Five Wishes.
From the back cover of the book:
In my thirties I received the gift of a question that changed the course of my life. My decision to answer that question gave me a life in which all my dreams came true. Now I want to offer you this gift, so you can use its gentle power to create your own fulfilled life. – Gay Hendricks
The thing I loved most about this great book was the bridge the author built from his past to his future. In order to attain his own personal five wishes, Gay Hendricks didn’t stare starry-eyed into the future hoping that the wishes would come true. He first looked at his present – to find out exactly where he came up short. If things were perfect, the wishes wouldn’t be wishes, they’d be bragging rights! He had to take a good, honest look inward to learn why the outward wasn’t what he’d hoped or wished for.
Who wouldn’t want to receive Five Wishes? Even genies only give three.
I read I Will Teach You To Be Rich on the recommendation of David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich is “highly tactical”. He doesn’t just encourage readers to find the best savings accounts, he walks them through the process. He provides scripts for requesting rate reductions from credit cards and banks. He demonstrates his method of automating his financial life. He describes how to come out ahead in salary negotiations.
Ramit has built his book around a six-week program of action steps. Each week highlights one aspect of personal finance:
Week one focuses on optimizing credit cards and improving your credit history.
Ramit’s book is great, but it’s not for everyone. The book is targeted toward a younger audience of twenty- and thirty somethings with a fair dose of irreverence, humor, and brashness.
This tale of The Five People You Meet in Heaven begins when an amusement park accident tragically kills Eddie “Maintenance”, an eighty-three-year old man who dedicated his life to keeping the park safe for its thousands of guests. From the beginning, Eddie’s character is incredibly well-guarded. We learn very little about him other than he takes great pride in his established routine of reporting to work and caring for his family.
As Eddie reaches heaven, the setting for the majority of this novel, this shroud of secrecy is quickly removed. While there, Eddie gains insight into his life and, for the first time, sees how his actions impacted so many others. As he embarks on his journey, he meets five people, each of whom have been anxiously awaiting for his arrival into heaven.
Some of the people who initiate these meetings offer an extensive introduction since, when Eddie was alive, he was unaware of their existence. For others there is no need for an introduction since they played a prominent role in Eddie’s life. Each person reveals how Eddie’s life choices dramatically impacted their lives and we, as readers, are able to eavesdrop on his journey of self-exploration.
The underlying message of this book is certainly one that has been tackled before. It explores the notion that we are all connected to another so that an action undertaken by one person is destined to have an unanticipated and possible an dramatic influence upon someone else. Along these same lines, the book reminds us of how easy it is to fail to express appreciation or gratitude to those we love until it is too late to do so. Readers will likely feel saddened by some of these stories, since most illustrate that Eddie lived his life completely unaware of just how much he was treasured by his family and friends.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, just like Mitch Albom’s bestselling predecessor, Tuesdays With Morrie, is a touching one, without being sappy or overly sentimental. Some may think it as sort of New Age piousity, but such characterization would be an injustice to the book. Albom does not purport to have had a vision or some special inspiration, divine or otherwise. Albom says his portrayal of heaven is based on a “guess” or “wish” and that the point of the story is to assist those like the Eddie in the book and Albom’s real-life uncle, also named Eddie (to whom the book is dedicated), who feel their lives unimportant, to realize that their lives really have an importance, a tremendous value and are worthy of appreciation. The value of his fable-like story is the insights it imparts about life and the meaning of sacrifice.
This book got me thinking about various instances in my life when people have told me that I influenced them to do this or that….
I remember one of my clients, Charlotte (not her real name) stopped coming. Up until then she had been a once a week regular client. Several months had passed and I got an email out of the blue. She was so inspired by my story of quitting my full-time corporate job to pursue my massage career that she quit her job, moved to Boston to pursue her passion.
Bob, a very dear friend, was also influenced by me. I remember him taking me to lunch and grilling (but not in a bad way) about massage. He wanted to know the good, the bad and the ugly. I think I was in my second year of business, so that first very rough year was still fresh in my mind. I gave it to him straight. I guess the bad and the ugly didn’t sway him. He was excited about what he saw me doing and wanted the same for himself…and he didn’t want to wait by going to massage school part-time while we worked a full-time job. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to see his dream come to fruition. He died of a heart attack at the age of 39…a few months before he was scheduled to graduate. I did go to his graduation ceremony. His massage school held a special seat for him. So maybe he really did get to see his dream become a reality.
More recently, as I have been writing this blog, several people have thanked me for inspiring them to accomplish their goals and affecting their lives in one way or another. Sonia Hazard wanted to start a blog. After several of my blog post about writing blogs, she took the plunge and just published her first blog post. Ezekiel O’Brien was inspired by my blog post 2010: A Year in Books and has decided to take the challenge and start reading business related books to help him grow his practice.
And my last example, Cindy Gillick writes, “You were inspirational about this industry as well as being such a positive person. I needed someone to look to for an example and your personality fits the bill. I was trying to follow someone here locally and it seemed to bring me down. I think meshing with the right people helps keep us positive in our business. So thank you!
I have had a really rough time since becoming an LMP. My personal struggles have been so difficult but I know they are not impossible. You are a wonderful example and I feel that has helped me to overcome some of the fear of success. Specifically the first video I saw of you. I was so inspired to do more with my practice. I am shifting my whole plan to create a better marketing plan, better habits, better self care. I want to become more professional. I see that in you. I am not trying to put you in Idol position or on a pedestal but more as a really good example so dont take this as pressure. LOL You are the most fun of all the examples I could have chosen to connect with on this level.”
I might have inspired Sonia, Ezekiel, and Cindy, but their words have also affected me…made me feel appreciated, motivated me to do more, give more. So I thank you for that.
Who will you influence today? Whose life have you already affected? Share your stories in the comments.
Have you read the book? What did you think? If you haven’t read it, you should. Here’s the link to amazon (affiliate link). Get your copy today and then go affect some lives.
Have a card tossing contest for you customers where they win prizes. You could send out an email, Tweet and post a notice on your Facebook business page to let you clients know about the event. Really promote and have specials going on the day of the event.
Or if you don’t want your clients tossing your business cards create a competition among your employees (or independent contractors) and have your clients come and watch.
Maybe even post videos of your employees prepping for the competition on your website and YouTube. Give the employees competition nicknames like Relaxation Rustler or Restorative Rep — use names to promote your business’ benefits. Maybe, you’ll even end up with a new brand character.
Whatever you decide to do turn it into a marketing event and offer special prices on competition days. It could turn into an ongoing promotion for a few weeks or months or an annual event that customers look forward to seeing.
Be sure to be safe during the competitions. You may want to have safety goggles for competitors to wear. Or make it an easy card toss like those toss a ping pong ball into the goldfish bowl games you see at Fairs and Carnivals. Turn it into a toss the business card into recycle bins at various distances and each distance gets an increasingly better prize or discount.
Check out this video of the Master Business Card Thrower to get some ideas. It’s worth the 2 minutes to watch it. I wonder how much practice the guy had to do. You’ll never look at your business card the same way again.
Good copy makes all the difference when marketing your services to clients. Have you seen the Old Spice ad (if you haven’t seen it check it out below)? The commercial has an interesting visual style with all the special effects but what really grabs attention are the words being said:
“Hello ladies. Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me. But if he stopped using lady-scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me. Look down. Back up. Where are you? You’re on a boat with the man your man could smell like. What’s in your hand? Back at me. I have it. It’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again. The tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I’m on a horse.”
The copy engages the listener directly. It tells you what to do and think and how things could be if you buy this product that opens up possibilities.
Suddenly everyone is listening and thinking either “How can I be that man” or “How can I get a man like that?” Hmm, well if Old Spice can help let’s buy some. Men will buy it hoping to be that cool guy in the commercial. Women will buy it hoping her man will morph into that cool guy or at least smell as good.
Anything is possible when you wear Old Spice. Boy that makes you want to buy. I was ready to buy it for my husband.
Now how can you use good copywriting to engage your website visitors and get them thinking “How can I feel like that” so they will want to buy your service?
How can this change? Let me suggest a few ways to easily improve your bottom line starting today:
1. Examine all of your income streams. Which pay you adequately? Which pay poorly? Which make you go through enormous effort to get paid? If you want to see you income increase quickly, plan to eliminate the one income stream that pays the least and gives you the most hassle to get paid.
Inform all of your current clients about your decision and give them adequate time to get used to the idea. Once the income stream is eliminated from your business, you will see you income increase due to the fact that you are getting paid more per hour (on average).
2. Return all phone calls promptly. You will have more clients and more returning clients if you offer top notch customer service—return phone calls promptly, be on time for appointments, and of course offer top notch, quality care. I know this sounds too basic, but trust me, I hear from clients all the time that they are now MY client because the 5 therapists they called before me never called them back. You must adopt the mindset that every new call or referral you receive is potential income. Don’t leave money on the table with sloppy customer service. Returning calls and being on time are easy, requires no monetary investment, but many health care professionals neglect it and suffer financially due to this oversight.
3. Be upfront and honest with clients about your fees and financial policies. People will not respect your business if YOU don’t respect your business. Most clients understand that you offer a service for a fee.
When you initiate your relationship, be open and honest about how you get paid and how much you expect to get paid. This will make it much easier to ask for payment as treatment progresses.
Do you have any other ways that you use to improve your bottom line? Share them in the comments.
Color is all around us, from nature to our cars, furnishings and the multitudes of designs we see on the Web and in print. If you’ve used a designer to design your Web site, they give a lot of attention to two major factors: the design (choice of graphics) and the content. But what about the colors?
In my opinion, your color choice is one of the most important things to consider when designing your site. The colors of your Web site are important because they will define the mood and emotions of your visitors as well as reflect your identity and image branding.
Colors affect us psychologically. They can stimulate our appetite or suppress it. They can make us happy, excited, angry (i.e. have you ever heard the saying “he is red with anger”) or sad.
Let’s take a look at colors and what they mean to your visitors. Then we’ll discover the different color combinations and how they apply to your Web site.
Red: Red is one of the most powerful and attention-getting colors. Red symbolizes passion and fire, love and lust. It has been proven to raise blood pressure and cause perspiration. Red reflects energy and can motivate an individual to take action. It can also symbolize war, violence, blood, and aggression.
Pink, however, is the softer side of red. Pink is romantic, calming and feminine.
Orange: Vibrant and warm, orange is associated with autumn, pumpkins and Halloween. It inherits many of the traits of red, but is less passionate. Orange has been known to stimulate the appetite. As a citrus color, it can also symbolize health.
Yellow: Yellow symbolizes sunshine and warmth. It can mean hope, light and energy. On the other hand, it can mean weakness or illness, or symbolize cowardice.
Green: Green signifies health and growth (vegetation) and wealth (money). Green symbolizes spring, renewal, and fertility. It can also mean jealousy or inexperience.
Blue: Blue is one of the most calming colors and is associated with the sky and the sea. It is considered to be a “safe” color and signifies intelligence, reassurance, and trust. Blue has also been known to be an appetite suppressant and can signify depression and sadness.
Purple: The combination of red and blue, purple is one of the most intriguing colors and symbolizes creativity. Purple is spiritual and mysterious. Deep purple is associated with royalty and richness while
lavender is associated with romance and nostalgia.
Black: Black can represent power, elegance, and sophistication, but it can also represent death (Western culture), evil, anger and sadness.
White: White represents cleanliness, purity, and spirituality. It represents life and marriage in Western cultures, but it represents death in Eastern cultures.
Grey: Grey is the combination of black and white. It is a conservative color. Grey can symbolize security, maturity and reliability, but it can also signify gloominess and sadness.
Brown: We like to classify brown as a “special” color. Sometimes brown can be used as a neutral and sometimes as a warm color. Either way, brown represents credibility and stability, the hearth, home and the earth.
Choosing a Color Scheme
Once you understand colors and their connotations you are ready to begin choosing a color scheme for your site. If you are in the process of designing your site or want to change it, look around at the colors of other Web sites (massage related, or not) What do you like about them? What don’t you like? Then go create it.
Here’s what I want you to do – in the comments, tell us what is the color of your Web site? Why did you choose it?
If you don’t have a website, you can get one here.
It’s a brand new year. A time when there is an opportunity for change. It’s a chance to reflect on where you are going and to focus on your dreams: What do you want to do? What do you want to become?
While you are listening to this video, let your mind roam and see what dreams are waiting to be fulfilled.
If you would like to share your dreams, post them in the comments below.
When I first wrote my 2010 goals, I wasn’t sure how the year would turn out…you know with the economy and all.
Fortunately, things have worked out for the most part. 2010 was a year of surprising developments for me both personally and professionally as well as the world in general.
In the actual goal news, it appears that I have only accomplished a few of them – or partially accomplished them. But the goals that I did accomplish were the important ones, so overall, I am pretty happy with how I’ve done.
Sell my 3 Costa Rica condos: Check! (well kind of) I sold 2 of the 3 condos and made a tidy little profit. I’m hoping to sell the remaining studio condo in 2011. If you know anyone who wants to buy an investment property in Costa Rica, hey, hook us up!
Putting all my continuing education courses on-line: Fail. I was able to put eight of the 20+ classes on-line. This has taken a little longer than I anticipated. For most of the classes, I’ve had to create video for the demonstration part of the class which takes time (especially with the editing), but I’m working my way through them. Another time-consumer has been converting the manuals to a format that is more like a book than a manual. I will continue with this goal in 2011.
Travel: Check! Traveling is one of my passions. The first 3 months of the year, we were in Costa Rica and going on a few sightseeing excursions around the country. In June, Gary and I went to the Berkshires. What a beautiful area. We did lots of hiking. In October, we drove cross country to Montana where we visited Glacier National Park and Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. We saw amazing, amazing wildlife and I was able to take photos and video (two more of my passions) to my heart’s desire. There were small trips and weekend get-aways sprinkled throughout the year. All in all, I’m very happy with the traveling we did in 2010. I’m already planning and booking trips for 2011.
Keep a gratitude journal. Fail. I haven’t kept a journal at all. But I am going to reaffirm this goal for 2011 because gratitude is SO IMPORTANT and I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, even when things don’t go my way. It is never too late to remind myself of that.
Language – continue to improve Spanish: Pass/Fail. It’s a process. I continue to study on my own because I can’t seem to find a group class that is my speed. In 2011, I’m going to find another private classes.
Start a massage blog tailored toward the general public. Fail. I registered the domain name but that was as far as I’v done.
Updated my book: Check! I updated and added a few chapters of Creating a Prosperous Practice. It is now an ebook for instant download. And you receive free updates for life! So if you haven’t gotten your copy, you can do that here.
Create videos for clients, massage therapists (to use free for their sites), my classes, my blog and myself: Check! I have created over 100 videos this year. Looking forward to 2011 with much creativity in this area.
Well, it’s been a fantastic journey to say the least. But, I just want to say thanks to every one of you who’ve visited my blog, commented, and more for all your support over the last year. I really am grateful for everything I’ve experienced and think that it was all meant to be.
What have you accomplished in 2010? Share your triumphs (and what you could have done better) in the comments.