What Your Voice Mail Greeting Says About You


When I get bookings for Groupon Strategy Calls, typically they’re with massage therapists who want to get more clients. Sometimes when I call at the scheduled time, I get their voice mail greeting. Often, that gives me a clue about why they’re struggling to build their practice.

Voice mail’s popularity isn’t what it used to be (I’ve often said that the growth of the massage industry is due to the invention of the answering machine). Many people don’t even bother checking it anymore. Potential clients who contact you by phone will probably be older. That means three things:

  • They’re more likely to have aches and pains you can relieve.
  • They’re more likely to have extra time and money to spend on massage.
  • This is the way they’re used to communicating with their massage therapist, meaning they’ve been receiving massage for a long time and know it works for them.

Not having a voice mail greeting that supports their search for a massage equals flushing money down the toilet. Granted, these leads may be a small percentage of those who contact you but they represent a demographic that’s more likely to want ongoing treatment. Take a quick listen to your current voice mail greeting and see if it meets these criteria:

  • It’s less than a minute long. When someone needs relief from tension and pain, they want to decide quickly whether or not we can help. A rambling greeting tells callers we can’t organize our thoughts and don’t value their time.
  • Includes your name, the name of your business and identifies you as a massage therapist if your business name doesn’t include the word massage. For example, “Hi, you’ve reached [your name], massage therapist (if your business name doesn’t include the word massage) with [your business name].” This lets the caller know they have reached the right number. Not including this information says, “I’m not really serious about growing my practice because I don’t care if you know who you’re calling.”
  • Contains the information you’ll need to reply efficiently, such as their name, phone number, day and time they’d like to book, and length of service. Asking for these details allows us to minimize phone tag should we get their voice mail when we call them back, which tells them we want to help. Not being specific about what we need to answer their request sets us up for poor communication.
  • Includes your website, providing the option to get more information and schedule online (if available). This way, they can self-serve should they have questions about your rates, schedule, or services and book their own appointment, which saves time for both of you.
  • Thanks them for calling and assures them you will return their call as soon as possible (be sure you do so you’re not giving false expectations). Depending on your community, there may be lots of massage therapists they could have contacted. We want them to know we’re grateful they chose us.
  • If you will be unavailable to answer your phone for more than one day (perhaps during a family emergency or just checking out for a while), you may want to change your greeting so callers know you won’t be getting back to them that day. This tells them you value their interest but may need more time than is courteous to respond. Set a reminder on your phone to switch back to your default greeting when your normal life resumes (I have my greeting written down but your phone service provider may allow you to switch back and forth).

I have mixed feelings about saying something like, “I’m either with a client or away from my phone.” On one hand, it reminds callers that we don’t answer our phone while we’re in session. On the other, the reason we aren’t answering isn’t really relevant. I do apologize for missing their call because I want them to know it’s important to me.

Missing out on clients can be as simple as not being clear about who they are calling and how they can get more information. Although this may seem old school, it’s an important detail. Making it easy for clients to reach me and responding promptly is a nonnegotiable component to growing and sustaining the practice that I love!

What else do you think an effective voice mail greeting should say? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Booked and Busy subscribers have exclusive access to the Booked and Busy Bonus Room on Facebook. This free group provides checklists, templates, guides and videos to get and keep more clients so you can make more money while helping more people!

Check out this post from Elicia Crook for more ideas to create a voice mail greeting that delivers.

Posted in Communication | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Not All Cancellations Are Created Equal


Cancellations suck, especially when they happen with too little notice to fill them. Often, this is the case when clients are sick. So what’s the best policy for cancellations due to illness?

Most of the advise I’ve seen from other massage therapists asks clients to cancel if they are sick. This approach is meant to protect us from catching something from a client and missing work. It seemed reasonable, so that’s how I structured my first illness cancellation policy. This sounds straight forward enough except that not everyone has the same interpretation of what it means to be sick enough to cancel, so I listed every cold and flu symptom I could think of to make it clear when I’d prefer they do so. I sent an email to all of my clients listing the symptoms and telling them that if they arrived sick, I’d refuse service to them and charge them for the appointment.

The problem with that was twofold. Not only did some clients miss my email, it didn’t account for how long symptoms had persisted or honor the judgement of grown adults to make their own decisions. Sadly, I found that some clients just didn’t get it even though it seemed obvious to me. It also didn’t include my responsibility to alert clients in the event that I have a cold but feel well enough to work.

I decided to include notifying clients if I was sick in my second attempt, inspired by the self-serving policies of former employers. In those cases, we were told to call in if we were sick but when we did, we were treated like we were just trying to get out of working. Usually, there was no one available to take our place so we ended up going in. Our clients weren’t told we were sick because these companies didn’t want to miss out on any income, so our unsuspecting clients would come in for their massages only to find their therapist coughing, sneezing and sniffling. Feeling trapped, they always went ahead and got their scheduled service, probably perturbed and unable to fully relax.

If I have a cold but feel well enough to work, I text clients the night before (or that morning if I wake up that way) so they can decide if they want to keep their appointment or reschedule. Cancelling clients under these conditions seems drastic to me since many are more concerned about missing their massage than getting sick from me. Adding that to my policy has gone well.

What wasn’t resonating with me was charging people for cancelling when that’s what I was asking them to do. Illness is simply too difficult (if not impossible) to predict and it didn’t seem fair to penalize people for doing the right thing even if it was short notice. It also didn’t seem fair to charge people for cancelling due to poor driving conditions. How bad would I feel if a client got into an accident coming to their appointment because they were worried about being charged if they cancelled last minute when driving could be dangerous? If that happened, they’d most likely miss their appointment anyway.

I thought my policy was as good as it could get until I had a few clients cancel within hours of their appointment, saying they had been sick the day before (or when they woke up) but thought they would feel better in time for their massage. The objective to any cancellation policy is to ensure as much income as possible by discouraging cancellations but this was backfiring. If I had known these clients were sick the day before, we could have made a plan together and possibly avoided their slot opening up too late to fill.

This fall, I went back to the drawing board. I sent this email to all my active clients:

Hi {name},

In an effort to maintain realistic policies that serve all clients and myself, I’m making some adjustments to my policy regarding cancellations when you (or me) are sick.

  • If you have any cold or flu symptoms when you receive your appointment reminder (even if they are mild), please notify me as soon as possible so we can decide the best course of action together.
  • If you develop cold or flu symptoms between receiving your reminder and your appointment time, please cancel. The more notice I have, the easier it is to fill cancellations. I’m also completely open to you finding your own replacement.

If you arrive sick without prior notification, you may be refused service and charged in full for the session.

If I have cold symptoms but feel well enough to work, I’ll text you to ask if you want to keep your appointment. I certainly don’t want to get you sick! Weather-related cancellations are exempt from the cancellation policy. I truly value your patronage and welcome your feedback.

Be well, Cath

When clients came in, I asked if they had received the email and if they had any questions or feedback. This allowed me to verify understanding of the policy and make any clarifications. Of course I didn’t see every client who I emailed but at least I know my most frequent customers have been informed. My goal is to improve communication so I have the chance to come up with an alternative plan. If nothing else, knowing someone is sick the day before cuts down on surprises.

Perhaps I’ll need to further tweak this policy but so far it’s working well. I’ve come to realize that business policies are merely a framework to guide individual situations rather than rules that force compliance. As much as we may want a predictable income, unforeseen cancellations come with the territory. The point of having a policy is to weed out those who don’t value me or my time far more than securing payment for services I don’t deliver. Besides, it’s hypocritical to enforce policies that I wouldn’t want to be subjected to. Letting go of what’s not working and trying another angle keeps it real in the practice that I love!

Do you treat cancellations due to illness differently? If so, how? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Booked and Busy subscribers have exclusive access to the Booked and Busy Bonus Room on Facebook. This free group provides checklists, templates, guides and videos to get and keep more clients so you can make more money while helping more people!

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Crashing a Perfect Massage Space


I’ve been keeping a secret. For the past year, my practice has been under siege by a seemingly uncontrollable conflict of interest. This has made me sad, angry, hopeless, optimistic, frustrated, and in the end, totally bewildered and relieved.

I moved in to my office three years ago. It has a great location less than five minutes from the main highway that runs through Denver with a decent-sized parking lot. The waiting area is adorably decorated by the massage therapist I rent from. It’s an excellent size, big enough to fit my Ashiatsu frame and massage table, storage shelves, a small table and two chairs, a mini frig, and a water cooler with room to spare. It’s garden level, so two-thirds of the outside walls are underground, making it cozy and quiet.

Last summer, the long-empty office space down the hall was rented. I was worried that the build out construction would be noisy but the guys who were doing it were amazingly sensitive to the kind of environment my work requires, so there was not one problem. The business that moved in came from another office in our building on a different floor. They are an athletic performance improvement company, providing physical therapy, training and massage. They had shared their previous space with a massage business whose services included Ashiatsu but that practice had moved out. I thought this would be an outstanding opportunity to partner and support each other’s businesses.

Then fall came. I walked in one day to blaring music coming from a room separate from their main office space that shares two walls with our suite. Unbeknownst to me (or the massage therapist I rent from), this company also offers indoor cycling classes when the weather gets colder.  When I entered my treatment room, there was relentless thumping from the bass in the cycling soundtrack. This was not acceptable. In the words of one of my clients, “It has a good beat, but you can’t massage to it.”

I did everything I could think of to work this out. The lead instructor did lower the volume and leave the door to the hallway open to give the vibration somewhere to go, but it wasn’t enough. My husband, who is a bass player, consulted with them about some sound absorbing options. They did nothing. We reached out to the landlord to help us find a solution. They dragged their feet. I offered to pay for a wireless headphone system. They wouldn’t even try it.

So as fall approached this year, I decided the only way to restore the tranquil environment my clients had come to expect (and deserve) was to move. After looking online a bit, I realized a better way to find an appropriate space near my current location was to go old school and drive around to find complimentary businesses in nearby office buildings with space they weren’t using. I was surprised at how easily I found some just driving around and asking! These were my criteria:

  • Near the main artery
  • Easy directions
  • Adequate parking
  • Updated building
  • Control of the heat and AC (that’s what caused me to move from my first office)
  • Good cell phone reception (this is the one downside to having an underground space)
  • No sketchy massage businesses nearby
  • Quiet neighbors (of course)

Although I was hopeful and confident I would find a suitable replacement, something weighed on my mind. My space had been awesome when I moved in but that had changed. What was to keep that from happening again?

I had been looking for a couple of weeks when the lead cycling instructor came by. During yet another unproductive conversation, I told her I was going to move. She said she felt bad. I thought, “If you really felt bad, you’d do something!”

Soon after, our landlord informed us they would be doing a sound test and wanted to know when our offices would be empty. I wasn’t expecting much. To my delight, the test resulted in the disconnection of the subwoofer in their sound system. What a simple fix! I can still hear the music in my space when they have a class, but now it just drones on and becomes white noise. If clients didn’t know better, they would probably think it’s one of the mechanical systems. It’s easy to tune out and doesn’t interfere with relaxation.

I’ll likely never know what caused the change of heart. Maybe telling the cycling instructor I was moving really did make her feel bad and she became willing to compromise. Perhaps the landlord was persuasive. Whatever happened, I am immensely grateful! It appears I can continue growing the practice that I love from right where I am.

What struggles have you encountered with your massage space (or looking for it)? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Booked and Busy subscribers have exclusive access to the Booked and Busy Bonus Room on Facebook. This free group provides checklists, templates, guides and videos to get and keep more clients so you can make more money while helping more people!

Posted in Business Practices, Start Up | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Do You Really Need MORE Clients?


It’s common business knowledge that it takes less time, money and energy to keep customers than it does to acquire new ones. Having a thriving practice is the perfect combination of attracting new clients while retaining those we already serve. When it comes to our marketing efforts, do we really need more clients or can we achieve the same results by leveraging the ones we already have?

When we say we need more clients, what we really mean is that we need to make more money. The clients we have established relationships with are who we should be focusing on. They are our best advocates because they know first-hand how working with us improves lives. We should be using this to our advantage by giving them reasons to visit more often, book longer appointments and refer others.

Encourage Frequent Visits

Massage franchises offer discounted memberships and packages because it makes them more money overall. They know that a customer coming in once a month for $50 will earn them more in a year than if that customer comes in every other month for $75. In order for this to be effective, there has to be an incentive to stay on schedule, which is typically an expiration date. Enforcing it can be the hardest part because we don’t want to play the heavy, but it’s crucial.

I find that explaining how the loyalty program benefits them rather than concentrating on when it expires makes them easier to sell. Making the terms reasonable limits the number of expired specials, thus minimizing those uncomfortable conversations. Shoot for offers that reward at least one massage per month. For example, I tell clients that they will save 25% if they visit once a month or more. I don’t go into what happens should they be unable to do that unless they ask.

When I only offered discounted packages, I’d say they had two more massages to book before it expired (I now have packages that don’t expire for less than 10% off). I gave credit for any money already spent if a package did expire because it just felt like the right thing to do. So if all three massages weren’t redeemed by the expiration date, only the difference between my regular fee and what they already paid for that last massage was due.

Booking Longer Appointments

Longer appointments may not make you more money per minute but they can increase your total income. Do some number crunching to see if this approach will benefit your practice or not. Obviously, if we have an open thirty minutes, filling that will add money to our sales total for the day.

There are two main reasons why we hesitate to ask clients if they want to add time to their sessions: we’re afraid we’ll alienate them or we don’t know what to say (or both). Letting someone know you have an extra thirty minutes to massage them will most definitely not upset them. In fact, most clients prefer longer appointments (they may book shorter ones only because they believe that’s what their budget allows).

Once someone gets a longer massage, they seldom go back to a shorter one. There’s no harm in asking, “Would you like to add thirty minutes for an additional $30 (or whatever you charge)?” If it feels too awkward, start practicing when you’re exercising, taking a shower or driving until you feel comfortable. I promise it will be worth it!

Reward Referrals

I’ve seen a little controversy surrounding this topic. Some think that a sincere “thank you” shows enough gratitude for referrals. If that describes you, I honor your beliefs. We have to be true to ourselves to create businesses we love.

I give clients $10 off when a new client names them as a referral. It’s a small token of appreciation in addition to a sincere “thank you” that I feel better demonstrates how grateful I am that they are endorsing my practice. I find that once a client gets that credit, they are motivated to tell more people about me. I’ve even had clients who had fallen off the face of the earth make another purchase when they learned they had a $10 credit.

This credit is given in addition to any other frequency discount they would ordinarily receive. Not only is it easier to calculate, the extra few dollars I might make from some kind of reduced referral credit for my best customers diminishes the message I want to be sending. One referral can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars over time, so being generous with those credits is worth every penny.

There’s also the argument that referral credits may be considered fee splitting.  I’m not a legal expert, so you’ll have to decide if this is a concern for you. As for me, I’ll take my chances.

Acquiring new clients comes with the territory of owning a business, so we must continue the marketing efforts we find effective. While we wait for those to manifest, maximizing the income potential of our current clientele is not only efficient, it promotes better outcomes and builds loyalty. It’s an essential principle for sustaining the practice that I love!

How do you make the most of the clients you already have? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Booked and Busy subscribers have exclusive access to the Booked and Busy Bonus Room on Facebook. This free group provides checklists, templates, guides and videos to get and keep more clients so you can make more money while helping more people!

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Which Modalities Get the Most Clients?


In the beginning of every massage practice (and along the way), there’s a decision to be made. What services and modalities will be on the menu? This decision says so much about us and yet, we often don’t give it enough careful consideration. Getting this right makes all the difference in setting ourselves apart and attracting the best clients for us.

What do you love?

There should not be anything you provide to clients that you don’t love doing. We may think we have to offer Swedish massage and other general modalities because we’re expected to. The downside here is that schlepping through techniques you don’t actually want to do will be noticeable. Perhaps only on a very subtle level, but something won’t feel right. If you don’t love it, let it go no matter how essential it may seem.

When I opened my current practice, I wasn’t confident enough in my ability to build a practice solely with Ashiatsu. Even though doing massage with my hands was no longer serving me (I had a back injury that flared up bending over the table), I had traditional injury massage on my menu so I would appeal to more people. Over time, my injury clients got curious and tried Ashiatsu. Once they did, they never booked a hands-on massage again, which leads to the next criteria.

What’s most popular?

Giving clients what they want makes them happy. I suppose there’s a chance that your most popular service could be something you don’t enjoy, but that seems pretty unlikely. More often than not, your most popular offering(s) are what you do with joy and complete presence. That’s why clients like them so much.

I recently took 30-minute massages off my menu. I wanted a lower cost option available to accommodate tighter budgets and a shorter service people could grab on their lunch break. Since I opened, I haven’t booked more than three a year. Obviously, they’re not desirable enough to keep offering.

What makes you the most money?

Some treatments require additional supplies, which makes them more expensive to offer. Doing more of them may be enough to offset that or you’ll need to charge more for those to make it worth it. Depending on how your schedule is organized, there may be a length of service that’s more profitable.

To calculate which length of service is your most (and least) profitable, divide the amount you charge by the amount of time allocated for treatment combined with the time afterward used for prep/clean up. You may be surprised to find longer appointments aren’t necessarily making you more money. The amount I make per service from my membership clients (25% off visits once a month or more) doesn’t vary enough to matter (literally, the difference is one cent per minute for each length of service). Since 90-minute appointments maximize my schedule, I set up my online scheduling to make more of those available (they also happen to be the most popular).

Cutting things out of our menu can bring up some resistance. Often, it’s because we’re basing our decisions on outdated business advice or don’t want to exclude anyone from our practices. Some common challenges with this can be:

We don’t want our time and money wasted.

Massage school and continuing education are expensive! Of course we want to earn back what we spent. I took a manual lymphatic drainage course thinking it would be in demand, only to find most clients wanted something more mainstream. I wasn’t serving a specific enough population to utilize those skills. Should that be the case for you, chalk it up to experience and begin investing your continuing education dollars in building on the skills your clients want most.

We want to appeal to as many people as possible.

Trying to please everybody is a common marketing trap that leads to lots of one-time client visits. When we own what we love to do and articulate who we serve best, we attract more clients seeking our expertise. Get clear on what you excel at and promote it to provide a client experience geared toward those who need you most.

We want to appear well-educated.

Just because we learned something in school or took a weekend workshop does not make us proficient. Nobody wants to get reflexology from someone who has to review their notes. If you haven’t done a modality you offer in six months, it’s time to refresh your skills or take it off the menu.

Clients like having choices but too many actually backfires. Personally, I’d draw the line at five. Since I started giving only Ashiatsu massage, my confidence has grown and my practice has strengthened. Plus, it makes it so easy to weed out the people I’m not a good fit for which makes me more available for those who are. Sharing my passion and boldly scaling back has done nothing but benefit the practice that I love!

How many different modalities/services do you offer? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Booked and Busy subscribers have exclusive access to the Booked and Busy Bonus Room on Facebook. This free group provides checklists, templates, guides and videos to get and keep more clients so you can make more money while helping more people!

Posted in Business Practices, Marketing, Money | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How Using Groupon Keeps On Giving


Last month, I kept a client diary at Booked and Busy on Facebook to illustrate how using Groupon continues to make me money even though I haven’t had an active deal in six months. The results were extraordinary! If you’ve thought about trying it, this post will bestow you with a bit more savvy. If you’ve dismissed Groupon as a bad idea, it may sway your opinion.

When I decided to use Groupon for the first time, I was desperate. I had been in business for three months and was going down in flames. I had resisted Groupon because I had heard only cheap people buy them and never return, but since I had nothing to lose I went for it. Had I not used Groupon to jump start my practice, I sincerely doubt you would be reading this right now.

I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish and incorporated several key strategies to convert more of these new clients into returning clients. I ran my first deal March-July of 2014 and sold ninety-nine vouchers (seventy-one single sessions and twenty-eight three session packages). Of the eighty-eight that were redeemed, twenty-eight returned at least once and of those, eight still visit either regularly or occasionally (I got two awesome referrals, too). What I learned from this campaign is that customers who buy packages are overwhelmingly more likely to continue long-term than those who buy a single. What I didn’t do was ask those who bought the singles if they wanted to pay me the difference for a package. I would have made more money and possibly converted more clients.

I did my second deal to give my practice a boost two years later. Several clients had fallen off the schedule for various reasons and I needed more new clients fast. This time, I used both Living Social and Groupon (Groupon acquired Living Social in 2016, so now Groupon merchants are on both sites). This deal had two phases. The first phase was the same deal I had done in 2014. It ran March-mid June 2016, during which time I sold ten Living Social deals and forty-seven Groupons (only a single session was offered on Living Social). I redeemed nine Living Social vouchers, resulting in one regular client who is still active, one who visits occasionally and sold one package at regular price.

The Groupon deal that coincided had thirty-seven vouchers redeemed. Six returned at least once or referred, one of whom is an active regular client and another visits occasionally. So what made the conversions so much lower the second time around? I’m pretty sure it’s because my regular fees were higher by then so the stretch between what they paid for the Groupon and what they would pay me was more than they could justify. If I were to do this again, I’d price my Groupon closer to my frequency program. Regardless, the two monthly regulars who still visit from this campaign book during weekday afternoons, which are typically my least popular times. I paused both this deal and my original one when I was booking clients two weeks out.

For phase two of my 2016 deal, I tried an experiment. I offered the option of a single 60-minute or 90-minute session priced very closely to what the price per session was for the discounted packages I had at the time. This ran from mid June-February 2017 and sold very slowly due to the higher cost. Of thirty-two redeemed, four clients have returned at least once or referred someone and one is a monthly regular who gets two hour massages.

The biggest lesson I learned from this incarnation is that offering a 90-minute session doesn’t serve the business owner at all. Since that’s what most of the vouchers purchased were for, I wasn’t able to upgrade them to a longer service that would have put additional money directly into my pocket. Without a package, I didn’t attract as many clients interested in ongoing treatment.

So what were the results of my client diary? Clients who came to me through Groupon or Living Social (or were referred by someone who did) accounted for 25.6% of my total income for the month! Some of these clients have been coming in regularly for over three years now and probably would never have known about my practice had they not found my daily deal.

Keep in mind that Groupon is merely the tool I used to get exposure. It’s the overall strategies and skills I employed to either earn more by upgrading when I could or give them a reason to return that makes this work. These techniques will get results with more traditional marketing, too. Using Groupon accelerates the process.

Did you happen to notice that I only mentioned the clients who came back rather than those who didn’t? I have no doubt that focusing on what I wanted and what was getting me closer to my goal instead of worrying about how many clients weren’t signing on had as much (or more) to do with my success as the marketing tactics. Taking chances and being open to unexpected outcomes has become common place in the practice that I love!

What have you heard about using Groupon? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Booked and Busy in 90 Days™ combines guidance for creating a Groupon deal that promotes business growth with sound marketing to fill your practice faster. Learn more here.

Posted in Groupon, Marketing, Mindset, Money, Start Up | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

5 Business Beliefs That Keep Us Stuck


Our beliefs are an integral part of who we are. We make all of our decisions based on them, whether or not those beliefs truly support our growth as people and business owners. Most of our beliefs go unchanged and unchallenged because we aren’t consciously aware of them. That’s how they continue to hold us back.

But once we’re aware of our beliefs, we can examine them objectively and determine if they are contributing to manifesting a life that we want. As we identify those that limit our potential, we can begin to form new ones that create possibilities and opportunities we couldn’t have imagined with our old belief system. Where they came from isn’t really important. What allows us to free ourselves from limiting beliefs is simply knowing what they are and being brave enough to try something else.

This is a list of limiting beliefs I know well. They have kept me from taking risks, following my truth and controlling my destiny throughout my life. But as I seek to fulfill my purpose, I’ve realized I have to let go of them. It’s scary to leave the familiar behind because we associate what we know with being safe, which is one of the most basic needs for survival. And yet, the safety we strive for exists in the unknown, too. We just haven’t experienced it.

Belief #1: Resistance to Change

Change is hard. We are wired to repeat behaviors that result in reward and avoid those that don’t. But just because something is comfortable doesn’t make it rewarding.

When I opened my current practice in late 2013, I decided to specialize in deep tissue massage. I had read that choosing a niche would be more effective than trying to appeal to everyone. I thought I was doing that, but I wasn’t all in. My desire to be liked, guilt about not helping everyone I could and fear of there not being enough clients who wanted Ashiatsu caused me to offer traditional injury massage as well. I knew I was really good at that but doubted my ability to have a thriving Ashiatsu practice because I had so little experience.

Most of my clients did book Ashiatsu because that’s what I promoted but I kept injury work on my service menu so I would be more legitimate to health care professionals and insurance companies. What I found was that my injury clients would get curious about Ashiatsu and try it. Once they did, they didn’t book another hands-on session again.

This wasn’t a reflection of my skills, just a testament to the effectiveness of Ashiatsu. After two years in business, I decided to not only take traditional injury massage off the menu but to change my business name to highlight my exclusively barefoot services. This has made me a more confident provider and tells potential clients exactly what I do so there’s no confusion. I have now stepped into who I was meant to be as a healer at this point in my career.

Belief #2: Unwillingness to Invest

Saving money is smart. Or is it? Generally, a reliable car costs more because we pay for routine maintenance on it instead of saving that money (or spending it somewhere else). Sounds like an analogy for getting regular massage, too!

There’s a difference between operating conservatively and being cheap. Sure, all those little expenses add up but when we deny ourselves the chance to make more money because we aren’t willing to invest in our business, we end up stunting our growth. Considerations such as location, cell phone performance, online scheduling and the massage products we choose should be carefully evaluated. What seems like a great deal may actually be costing us big time by giving clients a compromised experience, making rebookings and referrals less frequent.

When I started my first practice in 1999, I shared space with a truly wonderful person and therapist. As I got busier, it got harder to accommodate clients with my limited schedule. Another space opened up in the tanning salon, and I decided to stop sharing space and have my own. This more than doubled my rent but also let me concentrate on earning a living exclusively from massage and leave my part-time job behind.

Belief #3: Projecting Expectations

In order to validate our beliefs, we often project them onto others. One of these is how much our clients have or are willing to spend. Most business owners are on a tight budget when we start out (I know I was). That doesn’t mean our potential clients are, too.

I’ve held the belief that keeping my prices on the low side is important for keeping clients. This belief came from feeling I didn’t have the discretionary income to spend on massage. The truth is I still keep my prices lower but only in exchange for frequent visits. Although each individual session may cost less, overall spending might be quite high.

Early in my practice, I stumbled upon the power of the discounted package. They were easy to sell and kept clients coming in regularly. The problem was, I couldn’t get a handle on my cash flow getting paid sporadically in large chunks rather than daily. After almost three years of constantly being behind, I changed to a pay-as-you-go membership. I was worried about how my clients would react but knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in business if I didn’t try something different. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made! Now I’m making enough money to stop relying on trades and pay for the bodywork I need to take care of myself.

Belief #4: Lack of Action

Fear is a powerful motivator for keeping us stuck. We often don’t try another approach even when our plan isn’t working because we’re afraid of making a mistake. There are few things you can do that will destroy your business unless you don’t stop them soon enough. Heed the red flags early on because what we fear most is more likely to happen if we don’t switch gears than if we do.

Another common reason we don’t take action is a lack of knowledge. If you feel you need more business and marketing skills, learn them! There are so many resources available. Yes, some cost money. If you’ll make that money back (and more), then they are an investment. I’m a firm believer that any program will yield results if it is done consistently. Don’t get hung up on which one you should try. Find something that fits your budget and has the features and benefits you’re looking for. Then commit, make a plan to implement it and follow through.

After a year of writing the blog, I wasn’t getting the traction I wanted to get my message out there in a big enough way. I happened upon a coach on Twitter who helped me get focused. She turned me on to techniques and resources I either didn’t know about or wasn’t using for maximum impact. If you heard about me for the first time recently, it’s probably from something I learned from her. Now I have a direction and the fire is burning brighter than ever!

Belief #5: Impatience

There is a universal Law of Gestation that states that what we ask for takes time to manifest. If what we want is quite different than what we’ve settled for thus far, the time required to line things up will be longer. This means we must continue taking action for a while even if the results we intend don’t happen right away.

I’ve been guilty of deciding something doesn’t work after only one try. Now that I know about this universal law, I give new ideas three months of consistent action before I evaluate them. If nothing has changed by then, I give it up and try another angle. More often than not though, I see progress by then and keep going.

I tried a boosted post on Facebook once. It reached 10,000 people but no one booked from it, so I decided boosting on Facebook doesn’t work. What I’ve learned since then is that the audience you choose is vital to getting the response you want. Stay tuned for more in-depth success strategies for that. 🙂

We are often our own biggest obstacle to success. Developing an awareness of the beliefs that lead to our actions (or inactions) can be transformative if we’re willing to dig deep and step outside what’s comfortable for us. It’s ok to start small. As we gain clarity, we experience more abundance and become more willing to take chances. For me, that’s the most crucial element of having a practice that I love!

What business beliefs are holding you back? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!

Did you know I have a series of Massage Mindset Minute videos on my YouTube channel? They’re packed with easy to use techniques that dismantle limiting beliefs that keep us stuck. I invite you to check them out!

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