This is a good time of year to be planning to cultivate new growth. It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting a practice or if you have been a massage therapist for a while, to get the best results, you will need to have a clearly developed plan.
I realize that answer is not sexy or complicated; it isn’t a magic pill or a button to push. It just requires a little bit of time and thought. Sounds too simple right? Sometimes I come across people who ask, how is that going to help me? I’m a sole practitioner or I work for someone else, why do I need a plan? Think about this, when you start a massage, you have an end result in mind, right? You were taught a series of steps or procedures you use every time someone is on your table, correct? Depending on your training you may start with the client in supine or prone position and either the head or feet but each time you begin a massage you always follow a series of steps (a plan), sound about right?
You were trained to follow this series of action steps and you are now able to perform a massage without having to really think about what comes next, but being able to concentrate on achieving the best results right?
So, take on that same mindset when you are approaching your practice. Develop that plan so you do not have to think about what to do next. What do you want your end result to be? Do you want to expand to a 20 room massage clinic? Do you want 3 more massage clinics in your area? Do you want to build the practice up to a sustainable income and be able to sell it? Do you want to maintain your current status and income and be able to continue working the same amount of hours for the next 10 years? What is your desired result?
When we first start working with our clients, we have to invest some time understanding what it is they want to achieve both short term and long term and what the final results should be. This is an important step not to be missed even if you have been in practice for any amount of time. Spend a few minutes to really think about what you want to achieve.
Avoid being a practitioner who starts “doing” lots of projects without thinking it through. Ultimately what happens is they get so busy “doing” things they might see some initial growth, but inevitably it stagnates and pretty soon they find themselves working harder and harder and going nowhere. Sound familiar?
Maybe you can relate to feeling like you are stretched too thin and it isn’t that the projects aren’t great ideas; it’s just that you are only one person trying to do it all. Or maybe you have others around you working and you are all working hard but you are so busy working “in” your practice instead of “on” your practice that you aren’t getting the results you really want. Can you see how that might happen? Trust me, we have all been there!
So, before getting to a breaking point or worse yet, burnt out- ready to quit give yourself permission to STOP. Now, take a breath. Then, retrain yourself to concentrate on what it is you enjoy doing most? This is so stinking simple, if you are like me, I try to over think it or complicate it too much of the time. Just ask yourself this question: “What do I enjoy doing more than anything else in the world?” And that answer, no matter what it is, is what you should be doing.
Now, I would assume for the majority reading this blog, the answer might be something similar to helping clients feel better. To which I ask, that’s great and how do you do that? For some, one way to make the client feel better is giving a hot stone massage, for others it might be some cranial sacral, or deep tissue sculpting; for me that could mean setting up a Facebook ads campaign, writing a series of auto-responders, redesigning a website or sharing my thoughts in a new book.
Here is the BIG take away, you need to figure out what is it in life that brings you the most joy when you perform it. And that, my friend, is what you should be doing daily above anything else!
Once you figure out what brings you the most joy, now determine what the plan is so all you have to do is do that one thing that makes you the happiest. To help you organize this into a format here are some steps.
Step 1: Start by compiling a list of where your practice is today: Be specific, how many clients you have, where you work, how many hours a week, what is your cost per treatment, what does it cost to get a new client? What is the initial value of a client and what is the life time value of a client? (If you don’t have clients yet or don’t have all the answers, then list what you need to have to support your expenses)
Step 2: List where you want to be and when you want it to happen; be specific about it. How many clients do you want to have? How many hours to you want to work? Where do you want to work? In a perfect day, what would happen? When do you want all of this to take place? Include all variables of your practice: personal, professional and financial.
Step 3: Imagine it is one year from today: List out what must have happened personally, professionally and financially to have made this the BEST year ever and describe what happened and how it made you feel.
Step 4: Ask yourself what is the main challenge keeping you from achieving that goal (the best year ever)? More than likely there is more than 1 challenge, not to worry, keep making a list until you have all the challenges listed.
Step 5: Review the list of challenges and identify the possible solutions for each of the challenges. If you don’t know a specific solution to the challenge then list a solution that might help you achieve that solution. For example, you may need a website but you don’t know how to build a website or even who to go to find a person to build one , so who are you going to ask or what are you going to do to potentially find the solution. (Ask friends? Look online for reviews? Ask your instructor? The goal is to list the best solution or a way in which you can get a solution to the challenge so everything has an answer or a way to start finding a solution, make sense?)
Step 6: Separate the solutions into categories identifying them as “things you can do”, “things you should be doing” and “things for someone else to do”. Here’s a hint: Those items in the “things you should be doing” category are the things you enjoy doing the most! Therefore, this should be a very limited category. So if you don’t enjoy doing them, they belong in one of the other categories. Also, consider there may be things you “can” do yourself, however, spend some time really contemplating the items in this category. Evaluate if that is the BEST use of your time management or money and how quickly you want to achieve your goal. The best result for the “can” do list might be to move it to the list for someone else to do.
Step 7: Prioritize your solutions to help you make next year the BEST year ever! In other words, which items do you need to do first in order to achieve your goal?
When you complete this exercise, you should have an action plan, with a list of challenges and prioritized solutions so you know where to begin and what action you need to take next. Now that you have the action plan we can start working on the individual components.
So, here is the challenge. Submit your list challenges for things you can do or items someone else should be doing in the comments below. I will help you with each of these on a monthly basis. I will provide solutions or recommendations based on my expertise, insight and support. I look forward to working with you to help make 2014 the BEST year ever!
All my best,