Are massage therapists spreading themselves too thin?

Are you a solo massage therapist spreading yourself too thin?

I’ve noticed a trend with recently with therapists, especially new therapists renting treatment rooms for existing establishments that they are juggling more than one or two locations at a time.
Now the reason for this could be as simple as their preferred location does not have enough availability to allow them to work there full time, but most often than not the reasons seem to be more about being placed in what therapists perceive are the spots that will allow them to have exposure to as many people as possible.

Exposure doesn’t always translate to clients.

It’s hard enough marketing and filling one location, when you take into account 2 or 3 locations you are increasing your marketing efforts exponentially.
No two locations and populations are the same.
What works for me at my little mining town clinic would not work at a city centre clinic.

If you are in an area that may have a lot of businesses, do the hours that you work suit commuters?
Can you be available several hours before basic business hours commence and after close of business?
How are you going to market yourself for that time in-between?
Do you offer chair massage that you could provide within the businesses around you, how would you justify the cost of renting a space and it being empty while you do this?

If the area has a heavy footfall how are you positioned to make your services visible?
What type of offers or promotions could you run that would encourage people to stop what they’re doing and come in for a massage?

Home is where the heart is.

The ultimate goal with building a client base is consistency, you want to make sure that you can achieve a consistent level of clients to make sure you are able to cover costs and pay yourself. If you are constantly distracted by the marketing demands or business demands of other locations it can take away from your primary location.

Are the hours at your desired primary location in demand?
Can you increase your availability as client base increases?

What about your secondary locations?

Here is a scenario I would like all multi-location therapists to consider.

You work at clinic A Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Clinic B on a Tuesday and Saturday
And clinic C on a Thursday

Clinic B is your newest location, and to build your client base you have gone all out on promoting yourself there. You’ve had leaflets made up that are shared with local businesses, referral cards for clients to share with friends and family members, you’ve set up Facebook and Google ads targeting potential clients within a 3 mile radius of this clinic.

Let the appointments roll in

Then the clients start contacting you for appointments, but they can’t do Tuesday or Saturday and your other clinics are not convenient for them. Oh but they see that at this location there are other therapists who work the days that they would like to visit.
You’ve lost a client.

Sometimes, you can make arrangements with therapists for a referral fee or “kick back” but those arrangements can get messy.
Is it only for the first time the client visits the other therapist, is it a set fee or percentage, when does the client officially become that other therapists client and no longer yours?

Messy huh?

So why would you want to invest all that time and money marketing when your availability only allows you to accept clients 30% of the time?

Factoring in time costs.

The last thing you need to consider when looking at multiple locations is the time cost of travel and set up.
If you have a 2 or 3 hr commute to your other locations, plus an hour for set up and tear down.
That’s 4 hours you could be offering treatments at your existing location.
You could potentially see 2-3 clients in that 4 hour period, is the loss of income for the commute worth it?

Expand when you overflow.
How good is your ability to build a business in one location?
If you can successfully fill your books to the point where you can no longer see all the clients who want an appointment can you expand your availability at your existing location?
If not, then a second location may be the solution for you.

But if you are struggling to fill your availability in one clinic, what makes you think you can do it at two, or even 3?

Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Focus on building a solid client base where you aren’t worrying about when the next client will be scheduling an appointment.

What are some other reasons you may need to work from multiple locations?
Are you struggling with marketing your practice and worried about your clinic location?

I’d love to know what hurdles you’re coming up against in your practice, so I can hopefully help you overcome them.

How not to get hired as a massage therapist

Over the last few months we’ve been trying to recruit some new therapists at our clinic, and we’ve learned a lot about how not to get hired.

For a business owner, the recruitment process can be quite time consuming and very costly as it takes you away from your clinic time to schedule interviews and do research on your candidates, and it is not easy.

If you are a therapist looking to work in a clinic or spa environment this is our guide on how NOT to get the job.

 

Don’t have the requested skills:

This may seem obvious, but if you have never trained as a massage therapist, it’s probably not a good idea to apply for a job as one unless the listing specifically states that there will be on the job training.
Training relating to the operations of the working environment will be provided, however the basic training required to perform a massage is something that the company will probably expect from you.

 

Don’t pay attention to the job posting:

If the listing specifies that the position is for specific days (i.e Must be available to work Saturdays) it’s probably not a good idea to apply for the job if you can’t work Saturdays. Save both yourself and the recruiter time by making sure you understand what the role involves before applying.

 

Don’t research where you will be working:

At the very least, its a good idea for you to know where the business you are applying for is located, to make sure that if you have to commute to work you know how to get there.
It’s also a good idea to do some research on the business you are hoping to work for.

How long have they been around?
Who are the senior staff members or managers?
What services do they offer?
Are their business hours suitable to your availability?
What is the businesses ethos?

It’s highly likely you will be asked during an interview to share what you know about the company, and if it looks like you couldn’t be bothered finding out more about the company, they may feel you aren’t really serious about the business.

 

Don’t answer your phone:

The first stage of the interview process will normally be a telephone interview.
During this interview, the recruiter will probably give you an overview of the business and what they are looking for.
They will also ask you some basic questions to get an idea of what you are looking for in a position, what your future plans are, and why you were interested in the position enough to apply.

But if you don’t answer your phone at the agreed upon time, chances are the interview won’t go any further.

 

Don’t show up for your in-person interview:

If you’ve performed well during the phone interview you may be invited for an in-person interview, this is to let you have a look around the business. See where you would be working, chat more about the role and answer any questions the recruiter may still have.
It may also be an opportunity for you to meet other team mates and have a chance to chat to them about their experience working at the business.
Finally an in-person interview for a massage clinic or spa may involve a trade test. This is to ensure that you have the desired skill level, and clinical ability that meets the business needs.

 

Conclusion:

If you don’t care about finding a job, and aren’t really interested in getting a job with another business, these are great suggestions on how to screw the interview process up.
However if you would like to get a position with an established business and gain your own client base and build your experience, these tips should help you identify the things you should avoid during the job application process.

Good luck if you are looking for a massage job, but if you are currently looking, and would like some help identifying available positions in your area, let us know and we will reach out to our network and see what we can do to help you.

Looking for help in building your business? Have you considered working with us on some business coaching?

True customer service

Interesting lesson from the insurance industry today.

Received a letter about my car insurance renewal, and although the policy had only changed by about £2 a month (increase) I was almost tempted to just keep my existing provider and get on with things.

At the last minute I decided to do some research, and found an insurer who for the same price offered additional services such as breakdown and legal cover. All of which were missing from my existing policy.

Part of the renewal paperwork advises you to contact them if you do not wish to renew. So I thought this would be a great opportunity to let them know why I was going elsewhere, and allow them the chance to keep me as a customer.

I was surprised to find that this wasn’t the case, just “ok, you don’t want to renew? No problem, have a nice day.”

This is why people have to brand/company loyalty, because long gone are the days of customers feeling cared for by the businesses they frequent, and this matters more than anything in our industry.

I can gladly say that in my own clinic, I can count on one hand the number of complaints I’ve received since I opened the doors, to be honest it’s not too surprising, in most cases if someone isn’t happy with your service they just won’t come back.
But for those who do reach out to you to share why they won’t be back, this is not a lost client.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to ask for additional details about why they are leaving you. It’s the best form of constructive criticism that you can get. Open, honest and sometimes revealing as we can all get a little blinkered when we get comfortable in our work and may not notice things that may not be appreciated by others.

So think about clients who have raised concerns, or maybe a client who used to be a regular and suddenly no longer came to your business. Reach out to them, send them a “hey, we miss you” card. Start a conversation and show them you not only care about your business but that you care about THEM!
Now THAT is true customer service.

Why continued education

I often see discussions about therapists who aren’t happy with needing to meet a minimum requirement of education every year for their associations or insurance. They tend to feel that it’s forced upon them. That they should be able to choose as much or as little education as they like as they continue on their career, and to some extent I can agree with them. Maybe some minimum CEU/CPD requirements can seem a little high, but in the grand scheme of thing, these organizations (more often than not) don’t have a financial gain in you participating in these courses.

What they do have, is an investment in the profession.

An investment to ensure that the therapists who represent them are highly skilled, and highly educated and are devoted to doing good for the profession as a whole.

I’ve been personally working on a lot of self development lately. After all, how can I offer you the best advice, guidance, course offerings if I am not actively working on my own education?

Whilst reading The Miracle Morning, the author Hal made the following statement and I feel it sums up the continued education need for our profession perfectly:

“If you wanted to master Karate, you wouldn’t learn the techniques once and then think, “I got this.” No, you’d learn the techniques, practice them, then go back to your sensei and learn them again, and repeat the process hundreds of times in order to master a single technique.”


The one thing I would say that differs in my belief from the above statement is that you don’t have to have ONE sensei. In fact I highly encourage seeking out as many teachers, schools, training systems as you can that interest you in your particular niche. There are bound to be at least one course out there that covers it.
When you find it, simply follow the idea above.
Once you’ve learned and practised from the first class, try the next, and the next.

The biggest difference in massage education between institutes and instructors is the knowledge and spirit that each instructor brings on the day of the class.
Some instructors you will automatically click with, and every word they share, and every technique they demonstrate will feel like you’ve had this amazing breakthrough.

Some instructors, on a personality basis you may not quite jive with, that’s ok too. But maybe they have been in the industry a very long time, and they have a different spin on the technique you are learning. They may use their body in a slightly different way when performing a technique that is perfect to help you with your body mechanics.

Or it could be you don’t necessarily agree with the philosophy behind a certain practice, but there is merit in the technique, and experiencing the class helps highlight positive changes you can make in your own practice.

So don’t look at having to attend continued education courses as a chore. Embrace the experience. Look at it as an investment not only in your practice and as a way to boost your income, but look at it as an investment in yourself.
Take notes on not only what you learn, but how you feel about the course.
You’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself on the way.

Fighting for our goals

I’ve often tried to condense what I want from life into the simplest form, so that it is much easier to focus and stay determined to achieve those goals.

You’ll hear many affirmations that include the words above:
Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

Taking these words at face value can sometimes be confusing for people, or may feel unobtainable but I wanted to share with you what they mean to me, and why I use them as my target in life.

Happy:
Everyone wants to be Happy. However being “forever happy” is quite simply an impossibility. If you are dealing with a rough time in your life it can be even more difficult to feel happy, or to find something to be happy about. When I am in this mindset, I don’t aim for Happy, I aim for satisfied. It removes all the ideas of having to put on a brave face, to fake a smile, and be ridiculously bubbly and upbeat, especially if your world is crumbling around you. Instead I aim for satisfied.
I ask myself “Am I satisfied with what I did today?”, or “Am I satisfied with how I used my time today?”
That way if the answer is no, I still have an opportunity to find something that will allow me to change that answer. Even if it means I have to finally tackle the laundry that I am forever pretending doesn’t exist.

Healthy:
Being in the Massage Industry, our own health is so very important, but there are times that we push through minor niggles or pains because there are so many other things going on in life that feel more important. Then I think about how important it is that I am around for my family. You can never be too cautious with your health. That’s not to say I lead the healthiest life that I can, sitting here at the coffee shop drinking a large caramel smothered brew. But I do take the time to pay attention to my body and investigate anything that I feel isn’t right. If I can, I try to do at leas 30 minutes of some type of movement a day that raises my heart rate, and finally the one our clients are tired of hearing from us, I try to drink as much water as I can stomach. Which isn’t a lot to be honest as I’m not a great fan of plain water, but if I can drink a nice glass of water before going to bed tonight, I will be satisfied (theres that word from before) that I’ve done something healthy for myself today.

Wealthy:
Wealth, this is where you probably envision me as Scrooge McDuck, dreaming of diving off a High Dive into piles of glorious money. wouldn’t that be nice? Not really. Wealth to me doesn’t necessarily mean financial wealth. I simply take it to mean “to have”. I consider myself wealthy because I have many friends and family around me who love me. I have my beautiful daughter, I have my health and a home that keeps me safe and warm at night. My family and I don’t always get along, and boy does Moxie drive me up the wall sometimes. My house is just a simple private let, and I use blankets to help stay warm as energy prices continue to rocket. But I am lucky to have these things, as many people aren’t so fortunate. So there is where I see wealthy on my plans. Wealth and Fortune to means to have and be fortunate and I definitely consider myself to fall into that category. That doesn’t stop me looking up ridiculously expensive “Grand Design” Style homes in the area that I can only dream of ever owning, we all have our guilty pleasures and House hunting is mine.

Wise:
Being Wise is something I think we all strive for. It’s not something we would ever say about ourselves I don’t think, but something someone may say about us. I try not to dwell on how people perceive me, but I do try to better myself every day and become more educated. Even if it is reading up on the news and maybe doing a few minutes extra googling, or searching through wikipedia to learn just a little bit more about the article I just read. My late brother in law used to always say “Every day is a school day” and he was absolutely right. If we aren’t learning something new every day, it’s been a bit of a wasted day. So this is how I strive to be wise.

That’s it. Four little words that I try to live by on a daily basis, to make me a better person, and to keep me focused and on on target. The last thing I’ll leave you with is this: When faced with a decision in life, and you don’t know what to do ask yourself if the decision you make will fall into one of the above categories. Will it make you Happy, Healthy, Wealthy or Wise, and if the answer is no maybe it’s not the right decision for you at that time.

Why you should never go foot to face


Why you never go Foot to Face

You may be wondering why on earth you would want to go Foot to Face in your massage session, and to be honest you should avoid it if you can.

However the massage session is all about your client, and there are a few occasions when a client may ask for you to finish the session with a face massage.

Whether this is because they just find that this relaxes them more, or they feel it helps reduce the dreaded cradle face from laying prone on the couch. Whatever the reason, our biggest concern is going to be on the cleanliness of the feet and how we would avoid transferring ANYTHING at all from the foot to our clients face.

Let’s face it, feet are icky.

Many of us don’t work in a facility that allows us to offer clients a shower before their session, and most clients are stopping in for their treatment between other tasks throughout the day. Having freshly cleaned feet, isn’t always the first thing on their mind, especially if they’ve just finished their 7 mile training session for their half marathon, or they’ve popped in for a treatment after 8 hours in the office.

For therapists though, our main concern should be the transfer of any potential bacteria or fungus from the clients feet to the other areas of the body.

What type of ickys are we taking about here?

Cellulitis:
Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender, and it may spread rapidly.

Tinea Pedis (Athletes Foot):

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It occurs most commonly in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes.

Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread via contaminated floors, towels or clothing.

Plantar Warts:

Plantar warts are hard, grainy growths that usually appear on the heels or balls of your feet, areas that feel the most pressure. This pressure also may cause plantar warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus).

Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet.

You’ve got to admit, those aren’t the nicest things you want to have rubbed and massaged into your beautiful face now is it? Although most of these conditions would be considered a (local) contra-indication, the bacteria and virus that causes them may not always present with the symptoms that you can see above. That, and the smell, oh goodness, the smell of feet. Blurgh.

So how do you get around this issue when a client wants foot work, but also wants work on the face?

Ideally you have a small sink in your treatment room, with hot and cold running water as this would allow you to wash your hands quickly after working on the feet. But if, like myself you aren’t lucky enough to have a sink in your treatment room, never fear, there are some other tricks to the trade that will make this a more pleasant experience.

1 Hand Sanitiser

Even if you don’t necessary need it for the transition from Feet to elsewhere on the body, it’s always good to have Hand Sanitiser laying around your treatment room because you never know what you may get on your hands when working. Or maybe you will want it to clean your hands of product before working with a client who has sensitivies. Either way, your treatment room should never be without it.

2 Hot Towel Cabinet

If you don’t currently offer treatments that include the use of Hot Towels, this may be a great way to slowly introduce them. The Hot towels are normally “steamed” so that they are ready for use, and sit in a small steamer.

You can use the hot towels as a foot wrap before you begin working on the feet (and as a sneaky way to give the feet a little clean) or you can use them for washing your hands after the foot treatment.

You can find them online: Here is one that we use listed on Amazon

3 Pre-session Foot Soak

Another option (in addition to hand washing of course) would be to offer your clients a complementary foot soak prior to their treatment. This can often be used as a way to get them into that relaxed mindset prior to their massage treatment. Foot soaks can be simply warm water with a little essential oil, or epsom salts.

What tricks do you use to get your hands “nice and clean” during a massage treatment?

Obviously washing your hands when necessary will always be your number one rule in staying clean and sanitary, but it’s important to know you have options if you need them.

Just remember, that without a handy method of getting your hands nice and clean afterwards, you should NEVER go Foot to Face!