Archive for September, 2011
Do You Know Who Your “Ideal Massage Client” is?
When I ask people this question, I usually get answers that are broad. For example, a massage therapist or energy worker may answer, “Anyone who has stress and lives in this area.“ But is that really an “Ideal Client?” Upon probing, the practitioner may reveal they prefer not to work with senior citizens or only clients who believe in their philosophy. The point is — defining an “Ideal Client” is not just about demographics such as age, income and geographic location. Building your business – like any relationship – is most successful when we connect with our true desires, so, finding your “Ideal Clients” is about subjective preferences. Simply, it’s about what feels good or brings us joy.
Once you define your “Ideal Client,” you will know them when you meet them. I’ve seen this happen overwhelmingly in a most spontaneous way in my business — Conscious Marketing — and in many of my clients’ businesses.
Do You Turn Business Away?
It’s not uncommon for new bodyworkers to feel as if they should work everyone because “they need the money.” Soon they discover some clients just aren’t as agreeable as others. For some massage therapists, it may be very difficult to work with people with serious illnesses, while for others it may be very stressful to relate to clients who “just want to be fixed” and don’t participate.
If our clients don’t bring us joy, we probably won’t be in business for long. And if we continue down that road, it will cause great stress and our bodies will let us know something needs changing.
What Client Do You Most Want to Replicate?
Take a look at your appointment book and ask “Who are my ‘Ideal Clients’?” If you’re just starting out, imagine, as if you were in a daydream or meditation, who those clients might be. Or, ask friends and colleagues what works for them. The sky’s the limit. No, you won’t be narrowing it down too much. There’s an abundance of business for everyone! Even if you decide you want to work only with divorced women over 40 who are teachers, that’s an acceptable “Ideal Client” because this is your authentic desire. Your authenticity will attract these women.
Take some time to journal the answers to these statements. It will help you connect with your heart’s desire:
- When I am with my “Ideal Massage Client,” it increases my energy to work with these customers…
- I am reminded why I do the work I do after I’m with this client…
- If I had my way, I’d only work with…
- I want to help people who…
Are You Attracting Good or Evil?
You’ve heard of the Law of Attraction right? Like attracts like. Once you define your “Ideal Massage Client,” you’ll know them when you meet them. Also, the Law of Attraction will be implemented so the universe can conspire to support you. With clarity about your “Ideal Massage Client,” the frequency you send out will attract them to you.
Now, here’s where the “evil” part comes in. About a year or so after I started my massage practice, I found myself attracting clients who “didn’t feel they had the money” to pay for my services. As a result, I would say things like, “Massage is a luxury, middle class people don’t have the money for my services.” This was also at a time when I realized I had a belief that my services weren’t worth a higher fee and I really wanted to raise my prices because I was having increased costs for a build-out that I did. Which came first, the clients who “couldn’t” pay, or my belief?
We must be careful how we say things. Even though I didn’t define my “Ideal Client” as someone who didn’t have money, I was sending out that frequency anyway!
Now I harness the power of clarity and intention for “good” and not “evil.” I affirmatively define my “Ideal Client” by saying, “They are excited about my services and willingly pay my fees!”
You Hold the Power
Be sure to focus on what you want. It’s good to know what we DON’T want; however, we want to move as quickly as possible to focusing on what we DO want. Use positive, present tense language. If you’re grumbling to yourself, saying, “I don’t like clients who cancel at the last minute or who forget their appointments,” you can quickly convert it to a characteristic of your “Ideal Client” by identifying: “My clients honor my time and respect my boundaries.”
When you are deciding on your “Ideal Client,” I encourage you to dream and honor your deepest wishes for satisfying your truest desires in building your business. You deserve the best clients in the world and they are out there waiting for you! Write it down, Make it happen!
Need additional help finding your ideal client? Check out my ebook Your Target Market, Finding Your Ideal Client.
Guest Post by Bobbi Payne of Bodywork by Bobbi
If I could start over on my journey with massage therapy, here are 3 things that I would have done differently or realized sooner:
1. I’d of started out in my own office space from day one. I would not have rented space from another practitioner at all. I was told in school that this was what I had to do to build up my clientele. I now know this to be a fallacy for myself and those driven to succeed with a vision, but probably truth for those telling it to me.
2. Realize that my personal growth and my professional growth are not separate, but very much interconnected. When you work on one, the other is impacted as well. Now I seek out inspiration in both avenues, daily.
2.5- Surround myself with people who contribute to my quality of life, I can learn from, who can inspire me and ideally, I can do the same for. Again, in both my professional realm, and in my personal life.
3. Trading is great, but paying for your massages is so much better. Trust me. It just is.
Bobbi is a massage therapist, business owner, and life inspirer. She’s raising the bar of professionalism & quality of service for massage therapy in Rochester, NY and if you’re not on board, your clients are scheduling on her website as we speak. She thinks massage students & recent grads need more support and inspiration, so she’s changing that game, too.
Guest Post by Tiffany Blackden of GTS Therapeutics, LLC
If I started my massage therapy business over, what I would do differently…
When I started my massage therapy business, I was in my late twenties. The reason I went into massage therapy was related to five solid years of back pain, which was not resolved by the endless specialists and physical therapists I saw, but by bodywork, stretching and learning about biomechanics. I had already traveled through a few careers, on the journey to my ultimate happiness in health related entrepreneurship. Those years included several years in sales and marketing, which offered me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone time and again, as well as the clarity that I did NOT want to be in a career which forced me to ‘sell’ ANYTHING. Going through massage school I had my ultimate goal in mind of running my own practice, and creating a space for other holistic practitioners to work together. I wanted it to happen sooner than later. I also was dropping my safety net…I had to be making full time massage income right out of school, since the person replacing me was starting right after I graduated. With that massage business marketing plan in mind, I knew I’d need to be deliberate in my time spent marketing while I was in school, so I could hit the ground running after graduation.
My goal through massage school was getting my hands on as many people as possible, and giving them every reason to refer me to all their friends. I worked full time as a chiropractic assistant, while going through my 10 month massage therapy program. An exhausting experience, but with the help of some specific massage student marketing strategies, I came out of school with 25 hours of massage a week on the books. What I would do differently in executing my initial massage business marketing plan had to do with being my own advocate about money.
So, here it is,
1. I would have negotiated a better percentage in the office I was working in, based on my willingness to execute a lot of marketing to fill my own schedule. A couple of other therapists in the office also had the benefit of my overflow within weeks after I was out of school. The number of massage hours going through the office more than doubled after I started…yet, I was too ‘agreeable’ to stand up for myself as a rookie. I knew in my gut that my value to the bottom line of that office was far higher than the other therapists in the office, from a marketing perspective. They were AMAZING therapists…but they did nothing to fill their hours. I left that office after one year to start my practice with my husband, also a massage therapist, who I met and married in the year after graduating massage school. That year I made someone else a LOT of money, with clients on MY table, as well as others in the office, and referrals to the chiropractic and acupuncture services in the office as well. Since this experience, I’ve heard of therapists in other offices getting paid up to 20%(!) more than I was getting paid at that office. Why? They weren’t necessarily far superior or even filled their schedule like I did…BUT, they had the nerve to negotiate something that worked for them.
2. On a slightly different note, but also related to money, we would have started our massage websites much earlier. Having a marketing medium that allows our target market to find us month after month is invaluable.
3. On the income side, we were in our fourth year owning a clinic before we created our Couples Massage DVD. That project was our first big project aimed at creating passive income. It was nearly six years in before we started creating other online income. Passive income through advertising, selling digital products and affiliate marketing has changed our financial world. We were able to take more time off to spend time with our family, enjoy fantastic vacations and share what we knew, because we had a venue to speak to those who were looking for solutions. Sharing what you know, whether it’s with a class, a book or a digital product, offers you an opportunity to free you up from the time for money exchange to take time off for other things. It’s important to remember that none of us really wants to ‘just get by’. We want to thrive. We want to be able to help a friend in need, or maybe take a vacation, or not sweat it when our car needs to be fixed. If sharing your gift gives you that possibility, plus the ability to help others through doing what you love…that’s where we find a magic space of feeling truly fulfilled and free.
Tiffany Blackden of GTS Therapeutics has been doing massage for 12 years. She and her husband, Gary, have built and run multi-therapist massage practices in different cities in the country. They love to share their experience, good and bad, for the benefit of other therapists who are focused on growing a successful practice. Their primary focus now is on helping massage therapists make money online, or offline with classes, by sharing their knowledge, instead of just their hands.
“If you could go back to the start of your massage career, what 3 things would you change and why?”
I wouldn’t change a thing. Every mistake I have made, every misstep I have taken has lead me to this point in my fifteen–plus year career, and in my life. I believe that all of this has played out in order for me to assist others in not making some of the mistakes I made, and for them to be able to reach their dreams and goals with much greater ease then I did. Suffering is not necessary, and is in fact, counterintuitive to building success at this. Coaching Massage Therapists has now given me proof that, with the right actions, one can be successful in this profession rather quickly. Now, having said all that… there are three lessons I learned through out my career that I would love to see other Massage Therapists learn the easy way, rather then the hard way, as I did.
1. Money is not the root of all that is evil. Being a “money-monk” or one of the many “noble poverty” believers in this profession will only keep you poor. Being poor is exhausting. Being exhausted leaves no room for taking care of your clients to the level that is necessary to build a clientele, whether you are working for someone else or yourself. Basically, you will sooner, rather then later, be of little benefit to yourself, your friends and family, or your clients with your vow of poverty. While poverty in itself is not bad, it is not a goal to strive for. It is the easy way out. It is a cover up for not reaching for your dreams, for not putting your light in the world. So stop pretending that poverty is noble. And be concerned about the influence of anyone who tells you it is. Likewise, be wary of anyone who mocks your desire to be financially secure and stable. They, most likely have not experienced the freedom to give back to the world and community that money (abundance) provides.
2. Surround yourself with people who dream big, take action, and support you in doing so. I’m not talking about people who support you in blabbering on and on about what you “will” do or “want to do” but those who support you in “DOING” the things you need to do to fulfill your dreams and goals. I once had a friend look me in the eyes and say “I think your full of sh*t. I don’t think you’ll ever write a book. I want to believe you, but where’s your proof? You’ve been talking about writing a book for years. Talk is cheap.” Her words stung. They took my breath away, but they rang true from a place of love. I had become complacent in my other accomplishments and somehow felt I could hide behind those. “See, I create and accomplish” I would think as I reached goals as a Massage Therapist and business owner that didn’t scare me half as much as the idea of being an author. Thank goodness my friend called me out. One year later I published “The Magic touch: How to Make a $100,000 per year as a Massage Therapist” and owe much of that to her and Forbes 500 clients who supported me in taking action, whereas most of the members of my family or current associates couldn’t see far enough outside of the box to support my vision, or were in disbelief that I could accomplish such a thing based on feelings of their own inadequacies. While we can’t choose our families, we most certainly can choose our friends and mentors. Learning to choose wisely early on in our profession and our day-to-day life, makes all the difference.
3. Striving to be exceptional is a worthy goal. We are not in high school anymore. It’s okay to let your inner “nerd” “geek” or “leader” come out of the closet. Be passionate about what you are doing and who you are being in life. This is not a dress rehearsal. If you are going to be a Massage Therapist for one day or 80 years, give each day your all. Challenge yourself by setting new goals that feel just outside your comfort zone. Put one foot in front of the other to meet that goal, set a new one. Change the programming in your mind that has burned a path of bad habits through your brain that says “I can’t”, I “don’t want to”, “I don’t know how” into “how is this possible if it meant my life depended on it?” Because in many ways, your life does depend on the little stuff. You are not who you were yesterday, or the day before. You are standing in endless possibility right now. Whatever you want in the future can be had by the habits you develop today. I hear too many massage Therapists, massage instructors and even mentors complain of what “can’t” be done in this industry. An industry that is still in its infancy here in the U.S. An industry that brings in $11 billion dollars per year in this country, in fact. I see these people say “that’s not possible” in an angry tone about making $100K as a Massage Therapist, or “it’s too difficult” when it comes to billing auto insurance. The list goes on forever of the number of “I cant do that because…” I hear from massage therapists who gave up trying or never did try in the first place. And I sadly observe, how other easily influenced massage therapists spread the same message as gospel, rather then try for himself/herself. But on the flip side is a whole lot of massage therapists who are so successful they don’t have time to be spreading doom and gloom. Their practices are busy and they are constantly involved in the task of creating new goals and conquering them. These people let their inner nerd come out. They are focused on their goals of giving a superior massage, delivering exceptional service, marketing effectively, and continuously strive for better. Better for their clients, their businesses and themselves. At the end of the day, it’s one of them you want to be, not one of the ones who stopped them selves short of their dreams.
Meagan Holub has been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 1995, and Celebrity Massage Therapist for the second half of her career. Meagan has authored two books on how to make $100,000 per year as a Massage Therapist “The Magic Touch’ and “More of the Magic Touch”, has mentored over 100 massage therapists, written for and been featured in Massage industry magazines, and the world’s #1 selling fashion magazine. She currently owns and operates MASSAGE LA (www.massagela.com), is building the world’s most comprehensive on-line directory of Massage Therapists (eMassage.co) and writing a memoir about her experiences in the world of Massage. In her free time (she does the best to make some) she takes her Pomeranian to the beach, dabbles in acting and photography and decorates modern interiors.
Meagan’s books can be purchased at any major online bookseller as well as through her website www.HundredthousandDollarMassage.com. You can read her thoughts on the business of Massage as one of the Women in Bodywork Business (WIBB) contributors at www.massagetoday.com. You can find her on Facebook under the name Meagan Holub LMT.
Guest post by Allissa Haines of Writing a Blue Streak
If I were to begin my massage career over today knowing what I know now I would change these 3 things from the way I did it the first time…
1. I would find and create my community of like-minded massage therapists sooner. It took me a few years to get active in my professional organization and seek out friendships with my local colleagues. Running my business became much more enjoyable (and prosperous!) once I found my friends!
2. I would recognize the value of high quality massage lubricants, not just for my clients’ well being, but for mine. If it’s the cheapest product on the shelf, I probably don’t want to be soaking my hands in it for 5-6 hours a day. Once I learned about the ingredients, my whole mindset changed.
3. From the very first day I start my business or begin my employment, I would automatically put 10% of my gross away for savings and retirement. I did this in my previous career, I don’t know why I neglected it when I became a massage therapist. When I finally corrected my error, it was a tough budget transition.
She is BORED, BORED, BORED with 80% of the material out there for massage therapists. She finds it dry and humorless and overly-professional to the point of being impersonal. She writes a blog at Writing a Blue Streak, a forum for discussion and a resource for other massage therapists.
If I Could Start Over
Susan and Shane Epperly of Tiger Lily Studios have just released their new instructional video entitled “Techniques & Application of Vapocoolant Spray & Stretch.”
Check out our interview to get the skinny on this highly effective, non-invasive, quick and painless method for releasing trigger points.
Vapocoolant spray & stretch techniques allow massage therapists to get virtually instant results while saving their hands. The supplies required for this modality are completely portable and can be used in any treatment room, or even at on-site sporting events.
Vapocoolant Spray & Stretch Techniques are Ideal for:
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Myofascial Pain Syndromes
- Muscle spasms
- Restricted motion
- Minor sports injuries
You can get more info or purchase their video or video/dvd combo at Tiger Lily Studios (affiliate link)