Starting and building your massage practice is seriously big and important work. And, over and over again, I see excellent massage therapists falling into the three traps we’re going to talk about over the next three posts.
I believed these three myths myself when I was in the beginning stages of my practice nine years ago – that’s how I know just how powerful and problematic they are!
When I finally erased these myths from my business vocabulary . . . well, that was when the real progress happened.
I’m talking about these three myths because one or, more often, all of them keep folks from really nailing it with the practice of their dreams.
It’s so easy to think that a thriving massage practice just happens. In reality, any thriving business is the result of consistent and focused work.
That does NOT mean the work has to be grueling or even particularly difficult. On the contrary, it can be really fun and enlivening!
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty so you can get your practice onto the right track, right now.
I recommend you complete your worksheet as you go through this post. That way, you can hit the ground running when you’re done.
I must discount heavily in order to bring in and keep clients.
I am putting this one first because this particular myth can seriously kill your spirit and your practice in a very short amount of time.
Please remember: YOU NEED MONEY TO LIVE. YOUR PRACTICE NEEDS TO MAKE MONEY.
So often there is deep discomfort and disconnect for helpers and healers around this fact. I know, because I (and almost every practitioner I have ever known) has had this disconnect! You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. But you do need to get this cleaned up inside yourself as quickly as possible.
Unless your bank or grocery store accepts goats (or whatever other trade you set up) as payment, then you need money. If that thought makes you squirm, then work through it in yourself so that you can have a thriving business – and there is no time like the present!
These are common sticky spots for people. Does this sound familiar to you?
- Do you equate making a living from your work with taking money from other people? (This belief will make it very difficult to get your practice really growing.)
- Do you believe that money is dirty and you are ashamed of accepting money as a result of your good work? (This belief will make it very difficult to get your practice really growing.)
How many more of these kinds of thoughts can you come up with for yourself?
Please take the time right now to do Exercise #1 on your Myth #1 Worksheet. (And, don’t ignore the little sting of thought or conscience that you bury right away because you don’t want to look at it. Pull all of this stuff out into the light and see what’s there! There is nothing dangerous in this exercise – it’s all about awareness!)
Ok, now that you are on board with bringing in money from your work in this world, let’s talk about how this might play out in your massage practice. I could talk about this for hours, but here is the short version:
There are a couple of very good reasons to run a Groupon, Google, or Social Living campaign in the first couple of months of your practice. But, BEWARE. Too often, therapists get trapped in the cycle of discounting heavily and then not being able to make the transition to bringing in clients who are happy to pay their full rate. Don’t let this be you!
Once you have figured out what your true prices are, and have done the work to really find and bring in your ideal clients, then, with clear and well-timed communication you can keep your practice stable for the long-term without losing your ideal clients as your prices go up.
I know this because I’ve done it multiple times over the course of my practice and I have never lost a client because of a price raise.
You need to keep your prices where they need to be so that you can relax and enjoy your time with your clients, so that you can feel satisfied that you have everything you need to offer them your best care.
If you are consistently underpaid and stressing out about money, your work will suffer and that stinks for everyone.
I know this can feel overwhelming if you only have three clients and they’re all paying half price. You’re likely afraid that if you suggest to them that they need to start paying full price, you’ll lose them and then you won’t have any clients.
The easiest way to ease into your full rates is to simply start charging your full rate to all new clients – even if they’ve heard that you have this half-price rate going on. Because Ideal Clients are not “ideal” if they aren’t willing to pay your full rate.
And if you are having a hard time figuring out exactly how to get your prices and your ideal clients in line, you’re not alone.
Which brings us exactly to the next powerful myth that so often kills practices . . . click here to go to Myth #2.
But before you go . . . make sure you’ve completed your Myth #1 worksheet!
- Isabel Spradlin has owned her full-time practice since 2007. She has a deep drive to help other massage therapists and bodyworkers to create thriving businesses for themselves. For comprehensive programs to help you do just that, see the 'Programs' tab in the menu.