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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bodywork Buddy Member Spotlight: Jennifer Rosa

Today's Bodywork Buddy member spotlight is Jennifer Rosa. Jennifer owns Touch of Sole in Dallas, Texas.

Q: What inspired you to be a massage therapist?

A: I've always loved helping others. I worked in the spa industry since I was 14 years old, starting off as a receptionist. When I turned 19, I became a nail tech for about 9 years. I loved the before and after feeling clients would have after they received a service. I became interested in massage around 2006. I would see how clients would come out of their massage services and they always looked so happy and relaxed. I wanted to be able to give my clients something more and decided to attend massage school.

Q: How long have you been doing massage?

A: I graduated in September of 2007 at Bancroft School of Massage in Worcester, Ma. I have been practicing for almost 10 years now.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being an MT?

A: My favorite thing about being an MT is being able to help my clients. Whether its helping them de-stress from a hard week at work or providing them relief for their tight muscles. I love how grateful my clients are and hearing how my bodywork has helped them.

Q: What do you feel is the most challenging issue for massage therapists?

A: From my own personal experience and working with other MT's in the past, the most challenging issue would be building a strong clientele. Especially in the first couple of years starting out. It can be challenging when there are other MT's who have ten or more years experience than you.
I had a strong clientele in Boston after working as a massage therapist for five years. I moved to Dallas and opened my own private practice. I found it hard to build a clientele because of all the nearby massage businesses. I found clients were used to paying low prices at chain massage businesses and wanted those same prices from me.

Specializing in Ashiatsu has been extremely helpful for building a clientele in Dallas. I am able to provide my clients with a service that many have never experienced before.

Q: What advice would you give to other MT’s to help build their business?

A: My advice to other MT's to help them build their business would be to continue to take continuing education classes. I believe you have to constantly stay up to date with training in order to provide your clients with top notch services. Adding little touches to your services will help you stand out from other businesses in your area.  It can be simple things as a hot towel at the end of their service or adding an aroma to their lotion. Clients will remember these small little touches and it makes a huge difference. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Master Your Screening Process for Creeper Clients

Did you see this post last week on Bored Panda directly addressing Mr. Massage Creeper? (Or could be Ms. too, I suppose!)

We’ve all been there, unfortunately. Unlike most professions, licensed massage therapists have to hone their skills of gut instincts, intuition, screening, and noticing red flags of creeps. I remember early on in my massage career, I once had 3 creeps in 1 week.

I contemplated quitting massage, even though I loved the work. I wondered what was I doing to attract these weirdos, and what could I do to make it stop?

I couldn’t believe that someone would think that I was offering illegal services, didn’t they know how awesome massage therapy is and how disrespectful it was to do this?! I laugh to think now that I thought that way, but the truth is that massage school did not prepare me at all for how the average joe thought about massage, much less the creepy joe. No skills or tactics were taught to us newbies on how to deal with creeps…. I don’t recall it even being mentioned to us that we would encounter them.

Looking back, I think of some ways my working environment could’ve been improved for a more professional image. I was working for other companies, and didn’t really have any control over the building, decor, etc. I didn’t think at the time that it really mattered. After all, these people had successful businesses, they must know what they’re doing, right?

And this was before email was commonplace. Smartphones and texting were non-existent. Online booking? Ha! So all screening had to be done on the phone, and more often than not, nothing unusual would happen until the creep was there in person. Thankfully, we now have the awesome conveniences of today’s technology that can help us screen out any unwanted clients and hopefully save us from some face-to-face encounters with scoundrels.

Here’s a few ways some Bodywork Buddy members have screened out creepers:

Customize the Bodywork Buddy online intake form with distinct questions.

Asking specific questions like these can help you notice any red flags:

  • “What are your goals for your session?”
  • “What inspired you to seek out a therapeutic massage session today?”
  • “How long ago was your last massage?”
  • “How did you hear about me?”

Only accepting new male clients by referral from existing clients.

Let your clients do the screening for you! Only accepting new male clients (or female for that matter, if you have problems with female creepers) from existing clients will significantly reduce the number of people looking for “other” services.

Use online scheduling software that has option to decline an appointment request.

Bodywork Buddy has the option to accept or decline an appointment request. This can really come in handy to screen out creeps rather than having all appointments be automatically scheduled.

There’s also the option to include a message area for the client when scheduling. This can be a great tool to see red flags right away. Did they ask creepy questions or make a weird comment when requesting an appointment? APPOINTMENT REQUEST DECLINED.

Don’t accept same day appointments for new clients.

Many LMT’s have noticed that creepers are typically looking for an appointment that day. Help filter them out by using the “max days out for scheduling” feature in Bodywork Buddy. This will only allow clients to see openings as soon as the next day or as far out as 4 days (instead of immediate openings/same day openings) when scheduling online.

Require clients to agree to your policies online before they can schedule an appointment.

An optional feature in Bodywork Buddy can require clients to agree to your policies when they schedule an appointment online. The policies are completely customizable and written by you.

What screening techniques have you found helpful in your own massage practice?

Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.

Monday, September 11, 2017

How to Make Free Events Suck Less

Ever been asked to work for free doing chair massage to promote yourself? To do it for “the exposure”?

“You can come and do free chair massages and in exchange, we’ll let you hand out your business cards!”

How about no.

Um….. People DIE from exposure.

Many skilled massage professionals have learned the hard way that free chair massage rarely turns into paying clients. But the opportunities to give your work away for free abound.

I find it’s actually even rare for PAID chair massage at an on-site event to turn into table clients. I definitely did my fair share of free work in the beginning of my massage career, with little to show for my efforts.

So, you’re a newer LMT (or even a seasoned therapist) and looking to promote yourself and gain paying clients. What can you do instead of giving away your work for free at an event?

We recently had a discussion about this in the Bodywork Buddies Facebook Group. (You can join the group if you’re a member of BWB or have ever signed up for our free trial.) One Buddy suggested instead of offering free chair massage, to do some quick samples of hand massage. While working on the client’s hand, you’re face-to-face with them and can talk to them about your business. They get a little sample of your touch, and you get to tell them about what you do. (Thanks for the suggestion, Erin!) I think if you’re going to give something away, this would be a better way to go than to do free chair massage.

When someone asks you to work for free, it’s likely out of their own ignorance than purposely insulting you. Rather than take offense, offer some other suggestions to the event coordinator.

  • Set up an information table featuring a drawing for a retail product, an add-on to a table service, etc. Something that adds value but doesn’t discount your services. When people register for the drawing, they agree to be on your emailing or mailing list so you can continue to build that relationship with them after the event.

  • Have a tv, laptop, or even a digital photo frame playing a video of a massage promo. Bodywork Buddy’s videos are a great option to sell the feeling of relaxation and stress relief.
  • Offer to do a scheduled 10 minute talk on the benefits of massage instead of doing free chair work.

What ways have you promoted yourself at events that didn’t involve doing free massage?

Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What If Your Client Forgot To Fill Out Their Online Intake Form Before Their Appointment?


Within Bodywork Buddy, you can email new clients (or existing clients, for that matter!) an online intake form that they can fill out securely online before their appointment. But what about those pesky clients who don't always follow directions and never filled it out before coming in?

Now you can also access the client end of that form for them to fill out from within your office. Just pull up their client file > click the blue actions button > scroll down to fill intake form. The form will open in a new tab, allowing for your client to fill it out right then and there. Once they submit it, it will be in their client file within your account. Easy Peasy!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

6 Ways Essential Oils Will Add Value To Your Massage Business

I know what you’re thinking… MLM company? But I started using doTERRA essential oils a couple of years ago, and have totally fallen in love with them.

I had used another oil company years ago, earlier in my massage career. While I liked the oils, and all of my massage friends were using them, I was completely overwhelmed and didn’t really know what to do with them. There was no education or support, I was just kind of left to my own devices to figure things out as I went.

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit the things I did learn… I melted some plastic containers that I had put a few drops of oil into for adding into my massages throughout the day. (I didn’t want to add the oil to my entire bottle of massage oil, so I thought this was a good solution!) 😂 I was coming down with a cold once, and could have sworn I had heard somewhere that a drop of protective blend on the tongue would ward off sickness. (BTW, it’s a really bad idea.) Of course, this was before the ever-connectedness of Facebook and all of these online resources that we have now. But long story short, I just got overwhelmed and felt like I didn’t have the time to learn all I needed to in order to safely use the oils.

So I quit ordering oils, quit using them, and went happily along my massage career without much thought to them for several years.

Then about 2 years ago, a lot of my clients started asking me about oils… and they seemed to expect me to not only have the oils to offer them, but the education, too. I realized they thought essential oils to be a natural adjunct to my massage business. So I honestly started delving into oils a bit simply to satisfy my clients’ curiosity on the topic.

One of my clients brought me some doTERRA Deep Blue Rub. I thought “yeah, sure.. I’ll give it a try” but thinking it wouldn’t possibly compare to the products we as professional massage therapists have access to, right? Well, I was kind of blown away. I had actually tweaked my lower back the week before this, and was really struggling making it through a day of work. I had never really dealt with low back pain before (HOLY HELL is THIS what my clients have been talking about?!). 😂 But the Deep Blue Rub not only felt good on my low back, but made work bearable that day. I was pretty impressed.

So I started using some of the oils in my practice and in my life, and next thing you know: I’m one of those crazy oil ladies.

I was still afraid to really get too much into the company though, because of past experience with pushy salespeople in multi-level marketing companies. I didn’t think a MLM company could be in alignment with my values. But as I was directed to support and knowledge on the oils from my upline, I started to realize that direct sales is actually a great model for essential oils. Because there is education needed to know how to use the oils safely, buying them from a store or website might not be the best solution. Where do you go when you have questions? Who helps educate you on the products you just purchased? I liked having real people to take my questions to when they inevitably popped up as I started using the oils more.

But I still wasn’t planning on selling oils to clients and certainly not signing them up for their own accounts.

Mostly I was selling a bottle here and there, and creating custom roller bottle blends for clients as an added value to their massage. Some clients had such great results with the custom roller bottle blends that I made to address certain conditions they were struggling with, that they wanted to know more about the oils… and then they wanted to buy more, and wanted to sign up for their own account so they could just order themselves at the wholesale price. In fact, what really opened my eyes was when a client went and signed up under someone else because, out of fear of seeming pushy, I didn’t mention she could sign up under me.

I realized my clients were thirsty for more information on oils, and that I could share that knowledge in a way that is natural to me that still aligns with my values and beliefs. Even if I’m selling a product from a MLM company, this is still my business - and I can do it in a way that works for me. Just like any other retail product that you believe in, you’ll be able to easily share it with clients and they will love what you love.

Here’s some ways I’ve added value to my massage practice using essential oils:
  • Create custom roller bottle blends for clients based on their issues. First bottle is complimentary as a “thank you” for being my client. Refills or additional bottles are $20 a piece.
  • I took a workshop to learn the doTERRA Aromatouch Technique and have that as an available add-on to all services.
  • I add in complimentary aromatherapy in every session (if client desires).
  • I diffuse oils in my studio and leave my office door open in between clients. Almost everyone comments on the wonderful smell drifting down the hallway.
  • I give clients samples to try out at home. The Deep Blue Rub is a popular sample that oftens leads to purchases of the product. Clients love it for muscle aches.
  • I use oil products such as a homemade lavender linen spray as a free gift when scheduling certain services (instead of discounting services or running specials).

A few LMT friends started asking me about how I was using oils in my practice, so I started a FB group for massage therapists interested in incorporating doTERRA in their business. If you’ve been interested in getting into essential oils more, but have shied away from MLM companies out of fear of pushy salesmen, this group may be for you. No pushy up-lines, just me and some other awesome massage therapists talking about oils and our massage business! I’ve found that a lot of MT’s have been confused on the requirements for signing up for their own account and were under the impression that they had to spend at least $200 (or whatever amount) each month to keep their account active. That’s simply not true. There are a lot of different options, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about that if you’re interested. Pop on over to the FB group and let’s talk oils!

Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Marketing Your Massage Business in Just a Few Hours a Week {Guest Post by Gael Wood}

We all know that marketing a massage business takes time, money and creativity, and most of us would like to save on the first two. You CAN market your massage business in just a few hours a week, with some planning and focus.

Taking a day every quarter or so, to plan your promotions and marketing themes can save you HOURS in the long run. Knowing what you want to do is the hard part, and it’s easy to hop online because you need ideas and end up completely distracted and confused!

Figure out an overall marketing strategy and go from there. I recommend using printed marketing materials (rack cards, brochures, business cards or flyers), having a clear basic website with online booking, regular social media posts and networking in your local community. That may sound like a lot, but with a good plan it’s very doable in just a few hours a week.

Organize your printed marketing materials and keep them with you in your car. This way you can put them out while you are running your normal errands, and you’ll never inconveniently run out of business cards. Keep some thumb tacks and business card and brochure holders on hand too. You’ll be surprised how many places you can leave your advertising when you start looking for it. It’s a great way to reach people who need a massage but aren’t actively looking for one online.

I’m always surprised at how many massage therapists don’t have a website! Think about it, if you pick up a brochure and want more information, where do you go?

There are some great choices for building your own website, like weebly and wix. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but very doable for most people. Another option would be to pay someone to set it up for you or trade for a few massages. You will probably want to know how to do basic updates for specials and new blog posts. If you don’t have time or don’t want to update your site often, just have basic info, so that it doesn’t get outdated. I know I’m not impressed when I visit someone’s site and the Christmas specials are still up in May!

Social media is probably the most time-consuming marketing activity for most of us. On top of figuring out what to post, creating images and content, and searching for great content, it’s a very distracting place to be! Did you know that Facebook uses some of the same technology that casinos use to keep people at the slot machines? This is why I recommend a post scheduler, like eclincher, sprout social or viral tag to help you to preschedule, and even automatically recycle you content. 

Plan an hour or two a week to sit down and schedule out a few posts a day. 

Be sure to post a variety of content that you think will appeal to your ideal clients. If you don’t have time to create images, blog articles, and look for great content to share, check out the Massage Marketing Content Club by downloading your free samples HERE.

Last on the list is networking! If you are in a formal networking group, like the chamber of commerce, be sure to get events like business after hours on your schedule. It’s easy for these events to sneak up on us, and we end up missing out. If you aren’t in a formal group, check a few out or check your local paper, and even your kids school or your church for volunteer, donating and opportunities to help out and get involved.

Once you get in the habit of marketing your business, you will see opportunities everywhere!

Gael Wood has over 20 years of experience in the massage and spa industry. including day spas, resorts, and office settings, owning a therapeutic massage office, full day spa and currently an out call practice. She has amassed an immeasurable amount of knowledge and expertise in the art of growing and maintaining a thriving massage & spa business.
She now concentrates on educating and training massage and spa therapists in the areas of marketing, business start up, customer service and spa services. She is a NCBTMB approved CEU provider, licensed massage therapist and esthetician. Gael has over 20,000 massage therapists on her social media pages and email list.