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Massage Today
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02

Essential Keys to Creating a Rich Holistic Business

By Sharon Desjarlais, CC and Michele McGrew

Alison Elsberry became a solo-preneur after she fell in love with light touch therapy. No longer fitting in with her traditional clinical team, she left to open her own office. Yet even as her practice grew, she sensed a deeper calling.

As she opened up to her inner voice, she felt compelled to focus on helping mothers who are raising "spiritually gifted children."

To serve that big mission, Alison knew she couldn't limit her practice to individual sessions. So, she restructured it into a full-bodied business capable of supporting her clients and her higher spiritual purpose. Now, she takes women through group workshops, private retreats and long-term holistic programs that incorporate her hands-on help.

Does Alison's story ring a bell for you? Do you feel called to serve a bigger purpose through your practice? It may be time to create a holistic business that gives you the freedom to follow your highest calling. To find out, put a check mark next to each statement that feels like a "yes:"

___ You love your healing gifts, yet you know you haven't tapped all the ways you're meant to use them to fulfill your life purpose.

___ You're done struggling financially. On behalf of all the people you're here to help heal, you're ready to take a stand for your own freedom and prosperity.

___ You believe in living a holistic life as much as you believe in holistic healing. You're committed to making your needs a priority, just like you advise your clients to put their self-care first.

___ You know what's possible for people when they make a serious commitment to their health and well-being. You're determined to create the programs, retreats and workshops that make it easy for them.

___ You're giving your clients so many extras in the form of time, talent and tips that you're energetically out of balance with the modest income you're receiving.

If you checked even one statement, that's a sure sign that your spirit is calling you to expand your reach. We recommend starting with these four essential keys.

Key #1: Identify Your Big Why

Like Alison, you're probably passionate about using your hands-on gifts. The problem is, loving your process isn't enough to maintain the motivation you need to fully transform your practice. You also have to love your purpose; that deep, compelling reason you feel called to heal others every day. To sustain your commitment, take time to uncover your Big Why – your business mission and vision. It starts with a mission statement that captures the essence of what you're most meant to do. Follow these three simple steps to craft yours:

  1. Choose three verbs that are meaningful, purposeful and exciting — action words that resonate deeply with you. Examples include: teach, share, lead, speak, communicate, connect, inspire, claim, create, give, dream, educate, entertain, love, receive, practice, master, manifest, improve, refine, value, support, heal, nurture, illuminate, model, motivate, further, gather, drive, discover, build, brighten, advance and validate.
  2. Determine what you "stand for." What is your core value, principle or ideal? What would you gladly devote your life to? Examples include: creativity, beauty, health, spirituality, service, justice, freedom, family, equality, empowerment, joy, abundance, wisdom, balance, love, order, peace, unity, wholeness, integrity and security.
  3. Decide the group or cause you most want to serve, learn from, inspire or impact in a positive way. Examples include: groups like children, elderly, substance abusers, the handicapped, teens, animals, veterans or the homeless. Or causes such as child protection, animal rights, the environment, not-for-profit organizations, women's issues or men's issues.

Now, combine your answers to the three steps above into one powerful statement:

My mission is to _______, _______ and _______ (your three verbs)______________ (your core value or values) to, for, in or with ______________ (the group or cause that most inspires you).

For example: "To uphold, discover and support trust, honesty and integrity in all relationships." "To create, nurture and maintain an environment of growth, challenge and unlimited potential for boys and girls." "To communicate, create and validate freedom of body, mind and spirit to women." "To recognize, promote and inspire the divine connection in myself and others." "To inspire, encourage and support creativity, empowerment and joy in women in the healing arts."

Notice how a mission statement creates a meaningful framework that inspires you to step forward? Now, add your vision to the mission for even more motivation. Simply ask yourself, "What do I want the world to look like after people have been touched by my work?" As you roll the question around, jot down any thoughts, words or scenes that come to mind. Then, write it and refine it until all you have left is the image of the world you want to live in.

Key #2: Claim Your Divine Right Client

As a compassionate caregiver, you couldn't possibly have the time, energy or resources to save the world. But you are perfectly suited to take good care of your own special corner. You have a unique set of talents and strengths and a distinct essence that you were born to give and receive. This constellation of who you are makes you the perfect practitioner for some people and the wrong practitioner for others. Release the guilt that comes from the mistaken belief that you need to help everyone. Like Alison, stake your claim on your Divine Right Clients – those people you feel most called to help now. By focusing all your intention and your resources on them, you'll expand your opportunities to attract them.

Key #3: Map Out Your Pathway to Prosperity

Once you know your Big Why and your Divine Right Client, the next key is to map out a sustainable business model that allows you to serve more people in less time with less effort. Alison uses a proven model we call a Prosperity Pyramid (Fig. 1) that puts her high-end programs at the top and her entry-level services at the bottom. Then she offers multiple price points and healing opportunities on the way up.

Prosperity Pyramid - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Fig. 1: Prosperity Pyramid Holistic Business Model In this particular model, potential clients get to know Alison by connecting with her personally or hearing her speak and then visiting her website. From there they can invest a modest fee for a group experience that brings them to a breakthrough in their health. Inspired by seeing what's possible, they continue to move up the pyramid pathway into luxurious private retreats and programs, where Alison serves at her greatest capability – and receives a generous income in return. This is one of several Prosperity Pyramids that are proven to help hands-on practitioners like you build the foundation for a six-figure business. By using this essential key, you not only serve without sacrifice, but you also become a model for what's possible for your clients. As Marianne Williamson said, "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

Key #4: Receive the Full Value of Your Healing Gifts

By using the first three keys, you'll be on your way to transforming your practice into a holistic business. To fulfill your mission, however, you also need to be willing to receive its gifts. Alison has been using these same principles of prosperity with surprising results. She was recently tapped to be interviewed as a leader in her community. "I feel like I should pay you," the interviewer told her after their pre-interview meeting. "I got so much out of this experience. Your presence is worth paying for." Speechless, Alison simply allowed herself to receive the compliment. Then she thought, "Wow, it pays to be myself." That's what we call holistic wealth.


  1. Jones, Laurie Beth. The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life.
  2. Williamson, Marianne. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles."

Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.


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