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Massage Today
May, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 05

The Five Fundamentals for Building Your Business

By Cary Bayer

As a business coach for massage therapists, every day I see so many people in pain — suffering in relationships, in unconscious communication and in desperate financial situations. As LMTs, you see pain, too.

You and I face similar challenges: namely, how do you get people to recognize they deserve relief from pain? The answer: knowledge and techniques to help break through to better health In your case; and better relationships, more money, and greater happiness in mine. I've seen similar patterns in the more than 260 massage therapists I've coached so I'll draw on them to offer you motivation now and practical tools for the future. To invoke the Chinese proverb, "I'll offer you fish for food for the day, and knowledge of how to fish to feed yourself for a lifetime."

To become successful and happy, you need more than massage techniques alone. Being alive means that you're on an intriguing journey to self-knowledge, peace and prosperity. So, what do you know about journeys? "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step," said Lao-Tzu, the great Taoist master. Yogis offer wisdom, too. "You've got to be careful if you don't know where you're going ‘cause you might not get there." That yogi was named Berra. Continue reading to learn the five "S's" for creating a successful massage business. These are: self-knowledge, Strategy, serenity, sales effectiveness and success thinking.

The 1st S: Knowledge of Self

The Five Fundamentals - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark You need to know what you want from business and who you truly are. Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." He might have added, "The unexamined massage business is not worth practicing." Self-employed people are often so busy trying to make ends meet, that they overlook taking time to shape their businesses. So ask yourself some vital questions:

  1. How many massages do I wish to do weekly?
  2. How much would I like to be paid?
  3. Are there products I refer to clients that I could sell?
  4. Do I want to be self-employed?
  5. Do I want other therapists working for me?

Find these answers right away to progress with a direction that you could move in with velocity.

The 2nd S: Strategy

Managers hustle to get things done to meet various deadlines. Leaders, on the other hand, create visions to evolve the business into and a strategy for the manager to accomplish them. Strategies are necessary for people or organizations intent on growth; they incorporate short-, mid- and long-term goals. When you've got a plan, you know where you're going and can guide your actions effectively.

The 3rd S: Serenity

People want to work with you because of your hands and your spirit. Many clients see you as a healer who helps them manage stress. Clients don't want stressed-out massage therapists. Therapists with good hands and good vibes succeed. So much success depends on our serenity. As the great French philosopher Blaise Pascal said, "all of man's troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone." I could give you the experience of profound serenity, but I'd need to put on my hat as a teacher of Higher Self Healing Meditation, and it takes several hours to do that, and I can't do it by remote. In one minute, however, I can give you a small dose of serenity.

Close your eyes now, and take a deep breath. Release all your cares and breathe like this for a minute. Do you feel silence and peace? Can you see what this one-minute breather can do if you center this way before each massage? This is the value of serenity.

The 4th S: Sales

Many therapists dread selling their services. Mostly it's because they think they're selling themselves, and if nobody buys, they're not liked. A person can't be sold in America. You can rent your services by the hour on your table. Once you truly get the distinction between selling yourself and renting your services, anxiety and the sense of rejection can completely disappear. Do you remember when you were in kindergarten, and you played show and tell? You brought something to school that you loved and shared it with the other kids. Perhaps a favorite doll, baseball glove or teddy bear, and you inspired the others. Unfortunately, they had no way of getting it, because there was only one of them and it belonged to you. Show and tell is a bit of a selfish tease because your enthusiasm interests people in having something that they can't have.

Therapists can play a similar game today, in which they just as enthusiastically describe whatever it is that they love. Only this time, it's spelled slightly differently. It's called show and sell. It's similar to show and tell, except that you don't have a stuffed animal to show and pass around the room. But you do have massage techniques that you can talk about. In fact, in half a minute you can even demonstrate the benefit of such techniques. The good news about your work is that it doesn't take more than a few seconds for someone to feel the benefits of it.

So, if somebody asks what you do, show and tell them. Their neck and back are very interested in what you can do. You have no idea how people value your work. The famous actress Hedy Lamarr once said, "I don't fear death because I don't fear anything I don't understand. When I start to think about it, I order a massage and it goes away." Virtually every adult you see every day, wants what you offer. Everyone wants less pain. When someone is interested in having less pain, ask them, "Would you like to set up a session to relieve this pain?" This question sets show and tell apart from show and sell, because now the person can have the great thing that you're enthusiastic about. You're not five-years-old anymore and neither is this person — you're probably each closer to forty five than to five. They have been holding tensions in their body for longer than five years. It's innocent to ask if they would like to have less tension. It's what we call selling. It needn't be more complicated than that.

Learn these "S's" because an increasing number of people will be coming to you for massages. According to AMTA research, through 2012, massage therapists are likely to see a 20-35 percent rise in job opportunities. Some 47 million Americans got massages between August 2004 and July 2005, with 34 percent of adults receiving a massage in the previous five years. With only 17 percent of men in that previous year having been massaged, more than 8 of 10 men haven't experienced massage in 365 days. That's a huge opportunity for them and you. Two of three adults haven't been massaged. Virtually everyone wants what you offer. Ask clients to share their benefits with friends. Seventy three percent of people polled who get massage would recommend it to others. Talk to health professionals, too. Seventy percent of therapists receive two referrals monthly from healthcare pros. Talk to these medical doctors and chiropractors.

The 5th S: Success Thinking

Success is a function of our attitude. As positive thinking guru Norman Vincent Peale said, "change your thoughts and you change your world." You ate 20,000 meals at your parents' dining room table while you were growing up under their roof. And money was a major topic of conversation at that table. You learned many limited ideas there, as if they were Reality with a capital "R." They weren't. They were just your parents' opinions with a lower case "o." Here are some common ones:

  1. There isn't enough money, because it doesn't grow on trees.
  2. Money is dirty and corrupts.
  3. Rich people are greedy, poor people are selfless.
  4. You have to do things you don't like to get money.
  5. You won't get paid much to do what you love.
  6. Money is for men.
  7. Life is a struggle.

There are three other big opinions. The first is so universal that I've seen it in students from all over the world:

  1. Don't take money from strangers.
  2. Don't take money from family.
  3. Don't take money from friends.

So I ask, who's left? Known enemies? That's why, at different points in your career, you've unconsciously turned bosses, clients or customers into known enemies. But don't despair. I have a technique to transform limiting beliefs. First, I want to show you how to receive, because parental training about receiving money has confused the act of receiving itself. It's important, as therapists — masters all at giving — that you learn how to receive. You voluntarily massage politicians, marathoners and Olympians. Now it's time to master receiving.

If it's difficult receiving appreciation, it's difficult receiving money. Your net worth is tied to your self-worth. Enhance the latter and you can increase the former. To prosper, it's essential that you master receiving money. This technique starts by acknowledging someone for a minute. t can look something like the following:

You: "I acknowledge your kindness."
Them: "Thank you."
You: "I acknowledge your intelligence."
Them: "Thank you."

And so on. After a minute, have them acknowledge you. This can look something along the lines of the following:

Them: "I acknowledge you for being an outstanding massage therapist."
You: "Thank you."
Them: "I acknowledge you for caring about people."
You: "Thank you."

If they acknowledges your dress, please don't say, "This old thing." Or, "got it at Marshalls for 60% off." You do this every day. You'll be amazed at how powerful this technique is for overcoming this kind of deflecting of appreciation. Two minutes daily will increase your self-esteem and teach you how to receive appreciation. You may want peace of mind more than a piece of Berkshire Hathaway stock, but you can have both. You're more effective when not worrying about how to pay this month's mortgage. The Italians say, "the money you refuse will never do you any good." A Yiddish proverb goes, "with money in your pocket, you are handsome, you are wise, and you sing well, too."

Confidence and competence creates success. I can't teach you competence with massage techniques but I can teach you confidence. When confidence is overwhelming, others want to be around you, they want what you have, and they will pay you for it. Babies emanate positive energy. That's one reason you love their presence. Material success — in the Olympics, business or massage — depends on your inner success. I've seen many talented massage therapists quit doing body work because they couldn't support themselves. That's a real loss for the world and for themselves. I don't want that to happen to you.

To master the inner life, transform negative thinking in your conscious and subconscious minds. It's essential to believe in yourself and overcome fears of failure. Athletes succeed on playing fields because they master the mental field. This technique creates powerful transformation. Think the thought: "I can prosper and succeed as a massage therapist." Then record the first negative thought that disagrees with it. Let's say that it's, "Massage therapists don't make much money." We're not focusing on the negative here, we're releasing it. These thoughts live in the subconscious part of the mind and help attract that corresponding reality to you, as the Law of Attraction points out.

"A" invokes a reality that you desire to be your reality. "B" releases an obstacle that prevents the thought from becoming reality. The next step transforms the limited obstacle with a new affirmation geared specifically to present a larger reality to the smaller part of your mind that entertained the limited thought in the first place. Here's a good one, "I'm so magnetic to clients that my schedule is always full." It's difficult to prosper as a massage therapist when you don't think that you can, don't deserve to, aren't smart enough to or aren't talented or experienced enough to. Why should people flock to you if you don't think they should? When you're clear that you deserve to prosper, think that you can, and are smart, talented and skilled enough to, your chances rise significantly.

I call this ABC affirmation technique, the ABCs of Transformation because, in three steps, it introduces success, eliminates failure in your thinking, and re-introduces success to parts of the mind that entertained failure. We just did one repetition; do a few more for 10 minutes daily. It's an inner prosperity aerobics workout.

Click here for previous articles by Cary Bayer.


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