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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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A New Way to Think About Setting Policies {Guest Post by Michelle Doetsch, LMT, BS}



A New Way to Think About Setting Policies




There are probably a thousand articles out there telling us how important it is to have policies, and they’re absolutely correct; it IS important to have policies. Those same articles will tell us how to formulate our policies and give us several examples of the type of policy the author favors. That’s good info to have, especially if you’re new to the whole creating policies thing and need some concrete examples to get your own policy juices flowing. Or maybe you just need some policies to copy verbatim so you can be done with the unhappy job of writing your own.

Two of the most common ways we’re counseled to create policies are: 1) Create policies that treat your clients the way you would want to be treated if you were a client, and 2) Create strong policies with clear penalties for violating those policies, then make sure to enforce those policies every. single. time. Failing to enforce them shows weakness and clients will take advantage of you if you let them.

Seriously sound advice. The only problem is that neither way felt right to me. The first one felt more right, but I had a hard time with it. If you feel the same way or are just looking to tweak your current policies, here’s another way to think about them. Write them with a view to treating your clients the way you expect them to behave.

This is the guidance I use to set most of my policies, but it’s not for everyone. I know that. I also know, that I’m not the only one who favors this style of policy writing. Earlier today I was investigating a local delivery service that brings organic produce direct from the farm to your door, and found that they have a cancellation policy very similar to mine. That got me thinking that perhaps some of my fellow massage therapists might resonate with this way of setting policies also.

Where The Idea Came From


I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my almost 50 years of life, and I’ve had good bosses and bad bosses. The way they treated their employees was reflected in the ways the employees behaved… Not the other way around.

The bad bosses always assumed the worst, refused to listen to employee concerns, ignored problems, or blamed them on the employees. They required doctor’s notes to prove you were sick if you called in. They wouldn’t allow you to take lunches or breaks away from your desk for fear you might be a minute late getting back. They wouldn’t give out paychecks until 5pm on Friday to make sure you didn’t skip out early. They scheduled every staff meeting at 8am to “make sure everyone’s on time to work, for a change.” These bosses treated every employee as a misbehaving school kid, and the employees responded by acting like misbehaving school kids. These jobs, not surprisingly, were plagued with poor morale and high staff turnover.

The good bosses, on the other hand, took employees at their word, were accessible, and made employees feel comfortable bringing problems to them. If you called in sick, they gave you your paid sick day without grilling you. If you were late because of something beyond your control they understood. They scheduled staff meetings at times when everyone was available and best prepared to make a real contribution to the proceedings. These bosses treated their employees like professional adults, and the employees responded by acting like professional adults. These employers enjoyed a staff with high morale and low turnover. *
*Note: There was no correlation in type of employer vs type of employment. Some of the jobs which required advanced college degrees had the worst bosses, and some of my retail jobs were the absolute best about treating employees with respect and dignity.

A Few Policies

While most of my policies are pretty standard, they still aim to treat my clients how I expect them  (and myself for that matter) to act. For instance, my tardiness policy reads, “Sessions begin and end on time. If the client is late the session will still end at the originally agreed upon time and there will be no pro-rating of cost. If the therapist is late the session will continue for the originally agreed upon length of time or be pro-rated, whichever the client chooses.” 

However, my cancellation policy is very different from the standard ones. It reads: “24 hr notice is respectfully requested when canceling or rescheduling an appointment.” That’s it. 

I’ve had more than a few people tell me that it’s a terrible policy and that clients are going to take advantage of me left and right. They’ve told me that it’s not “business-like” enough. Frankly, they’ve told me in about every way possible how it’s a horrible, no-good, very bad policy but they haven’t convinced me of that.

You see, my policy works for me and that’s all that matters. There are two things I let slide: illness and family emergency. Both often strike without warning and often within the timeframe of a more traditional cancellation policy. Almost everyone alive has had the experience of going to bed feeling great and waking up sicker than a dog. It’s happened to me both as a client and a as practitioner, and I’ve cancelled appointments in both situations. Besides, I ask them to NOT come into my office when they’re contagious, and I deeply appreciate them honoring that request. I would feel like a hypocrite asking them to stay home when they’re sick and then charging them a missed appointment fee if they stay home when they’re sick. I also can’t bring myself to give x number of sick days to a client, after which I terminate them. That works for some people, but not for me.

For as much “leeway” as I give my clients, I have very few late cancellations. By the way, I don’t consider it “leeway,” I consider it treating them like adults who know when they’re too sick to be leaving the house. Yes, having an appointment open up the same day affects my bottom line, but not as much as a sick client passing their contagion on to me would cost me when I have to cancel an entire day (or several days) worth of clients. It’s definitely a strategy/policy that takes a long-view approach. 

I’m not saying that you need to adopt my style of cancellation policy. Good heavens, no. What I am saying is that there’s more than one way to set the same policy. Use the one that works for you, no matter what anyone else says about it. You’re the one who has to enforce it, and you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of enforcing it. Therefore, it should fit who you are as a business person, not who anyone else says you should be.



Michelle Doetsch


I am a Licensed Massage Therapist in Michigan and I’m Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB). I have been a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner since 2002. My specialty is treating clients with headaches, high stress, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, and fibromyalgia, as well as other types of chronic pain. My training in energy work is extensive; over 200 in-class hours in a variety of energy work techniques including Reiki, Spiritual Healing (long standing and respected form of energy work in England), and Kundalini Energy Healing. I am a certified member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Grand Valley State University.


New Yew Healing

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Massage Therapy: Independent Contractor or Employee? Weighing the Pros and Cons






You have your license and you are ready to start your career as a massage therapist. That’s great! You still have some tough choices to make though. You probably know that some massage therapists work as independent contractors while others work as employees for a spa or other established business. How should you choose?

First, you need to understand the basic differences between the two types of work. In general, an independent contractor either works on her own or leases out space within an establishment. The individual is responsible for her own expenses and drumming up her own clients. An employee may have set hours and established rules to follow based on the employer. In fact, the Department of Labor has a set of guidelines that distinguishes if a worker is an independent contractor or employee.

Once you are sure you understand the difference between the two, it’s time to weigh your pros and cons for each.

Independent Contractor

Think being your own boss is the way to go? Here are a few things to consider.

Pros
      Flexibility – You can set your own hours and work as much (or as little) as you like. This opens up a world of opportunity!
      No income limitations – You choose how much to charge your clients and how many clients you see each week. You don’t have to split that money with an employer.
      Taxes - You don’t have taxes taken out of each paycheck.
      No Non-compete - You won’t have to sign those pesky non-compete agreements if you want to move on to a new location.
      Full Cut – If you charge $60 for an hour-long massage, that’s how much you get to keep (for now).

Cons
      Less security – If you can’t find enough clients, you won’t make a lot of money. It’s all up to you.
      No benefits – If you want a 401K retirement plan or health insurance, you have to find it on your own and you won’t get the perks of employer matching. Paid time off or worker’s compensation? Forget about it.
      Equipment and supplies cost – You’re responsible for buying all of your own equipment and supplies from oils, candles, and music, to the right massage table.
      No training – You’re licensed, so you have the skills, but you won’t get any extra training that an experienced employer could provide.
      Taxes – While they don’t come out of each check, you will have to pay income tax as well as self-employment tax. Be ready for that.

Employee

Perhaps you’re looking into a job at an established spa. There are things to consider there, too.

Pros
      Set Hours – You won’t have to feel guilty for not working all of the time. You can get on a set schedule that works for you and your employer.
      No Client Hunting – Your employer is responsible for finding new clients, not you. For some massage therapists, that’s worth everything.
      Benefits – As an employee, you may get the perks of paid time off, 401K (with a matching percent), and health insurance.
      No Supply Costs – Your employer is responsible for purchasing all massage supplies and equipment.

Cons
      Schedule – As an employee, you may have a schedule that isn’t ideal for you. While you may have some paid leave, you won’t have the freedom to take off on a whim.
      You’ll Have a Boss – As an employee, you’ll have a boss and sometimes they’ll make you do things you’d rather not like work overtime.
      A Small Cut of the Massage Price – While the client may pay $60 or more for that hour-long massage, your cut of that may be less than half. The employer needs to pay for those supplies, the electric bill, and insurance, etc.

So what’s the verdict? There really is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on what you want out of your career. As an independent contractor, you may have to work a little harder to make it, but the sky's the limit. On the other hand, working as an employee offers consistency and stability that may appeal to you. Just because you choose one today, doesn’t mean you can’t make a change somewhere down the road.

Regardless of your choice, you are ready to enjoy a rewarding career in the field of massage therapy. Embrace it and enjoy all it has to offer!




About the Author
Robert Ellis is the owner of Massage Tables Now, an e-commerce store that offers massage tables and accessories for massage therapists.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

New Features Released Today!




We've been working hard to bring you some cool new features within Bodywork Buddy. This weekend, we added:


*Custom Business Hours: Open/Close specific days. 
You can now adjust hours by specific days without affecting your default business hours in your settings.







*Hours Report: Shows how much time you spent on services by year.
See the total number of hours you've worked since the beginning of using Bodywork Buddy, or for the year. Break it down into reports of how many hours per specific services.









*Referral Tree: See, at a glance, who all the referrers and referred are.





You may need to clear your browser cache after these updates. If you notice anything wonky in your calendar, clear your cache and check it again! :)



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Biggest Vacation Mistake You Don't Want to Make



Last week, I listened to a podcast about the importance of entrepreneurs taking vacation. (Which was pretty aptly timed since I was planning a quick camping trip for the weekend.)

It's hard to take time away from your business to take a vacation when you're a small business owner or especially a one-person show. My sister always used to say I was so lucky because I could take a vacation whenever I wanted being a self-employed massage therapist. Yes, so lucky! I could take time off, unpaid, and not only that - but my landlord would still let me pay my rent while my massage studio sat there unused! 😂


Michelle Doetsch, LMT and owner of New Yew Healing in Grand Rapids, Michigan says "It's super important to take time off from your business from time to time, even if it's just a day, or even a couple of hours. When I do that consciously and conscientiously I often have insights into my business or myself that I wouldn't have if I were busy seeing clients and doing all of the administrative and operational stuff I have to do as a business owner. Those insights almost always correlate into streamlined processes, new ways to do things, or some other thing that improves some part of my personal or work life. We have to remember that personal insights and/or growth are as important as figuring out how to streamline you intake process. They affect our massage businesses as much as they affect our private life outside the office."

The Fizzle podcast breaks down time off into a few different types of vacations:


  • the staycation or “digital detox”
  • the shorter "do no work" vacation
  • the longer "do some work" vacation
  • sabbatical
  • living abroad
  • paternity/maternity/family leave
It helps to think about planning short trips or staycations if you can't quite take a long trip far away at this time. What it boils down to is that it's SO IMPORTANT for your mental health to take a break from your business.





While these graphs are from an article that is specifically talking about employees taking time off from a company they work for, I still think they are relevant to independent massage therapists who work for themselves.



Kristy Poux, a licensed massage therapist who owns The Silk Mill Retreat in Fredericksburg, Virginia says: "For me personally, I feel like you can't pour from an empty glass. Taking time for myself isn't selfish, it's self care. I can't take care of everyone else if I'm not taking care of myself first and foremost."




I like to go camping because 1) It's quality time with my family. 2) It's the only way to truly unplug. (I still have my phone and iPad so I'm able to check in and make sure things are running smoothly. But if I go somewhere with full electricity and a place to setup my laptop, I'll end up working more than not.) Camping prevents me from doing this. Just sitting around the campfire listening to coyotes and wondering if there are bears that are going to kill me in my sleep ... I need this. It's also really hard for me to not make a little camping trip happen when it's so frugal - doesn't involve a flight or hotel costs, etc.  

Of course, don't get me wrong.... I'd love a long vacation at a spa or an exotic trip to another country. I just know that I can always swing a camping trip even when I think I don't have time or finances to get away.


"Vacation makes you feel refreshed and energized. Simply changing up your everyday routine and getting several nights of truly restful sleep can give you a new sense of vigor to look at your challenges with a fresh perspective and return to the office ready to make big strides toward your goals." AllBusiness.com


So it's time to ask yourself:
How often do you take time off throughout the year? What kinds of ways do you feel re-inspired about your work after a vacation?
Because the biggest vacation mistake you don't want to make it to not take one.

You work hard taking care of your clients. The Bodywork Buddy massage software dashboard shows you just how hard you work!






Take care of yourself and schedule some time off this Summer. You deserve it!






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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Early Bird Pricing for New Massage Client Attraction Boot Camp with Gael Wood

June 1-30, 2017 New Massage Client Attraction Boot Camp

Hey there!

I wanted to let you know about a great deal for early birds registering for this massage marketing program. Today is the last day to get this deal, so if you're in need of some help with your massage business, check it out!

Last day of early bird pricing!

Sign up for Gael Wood's New Massage Client Attraction Boot Camp June 1-30, 2017 to develop your massage marketing foundation, put your business on the map, get new clients on your table, and BUILD YOUR MASSAGE BUSINESS! Tons of bonuses and live Facebook group support only available June 1-30.


SIGNUP NOW!



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Microsite Themes, An Editor, and Bears, Oh My!



We're excited to announce some new designs available for our online scheduling microsites as well as some other cool features and updates to the microsite area!

There are now 11 color/theme choices for your microsite. We've also added an editor to the main text area of the microsite - this means you can now add your own links, images, bold or italic text, etc in your main text.

This makes our online scheduling microsite more customizable than ever! Combined with the ability to choose a video, upload your own images or use images from our library, and add your own text, you can truly make your Bodywork Buddy online scheduler reflect your personality and your business.

Interested in creating your microsite to match the design of your website completely? We do offer individual designs as well. Contact us for pricing and details.

Not sure if Bodywork Buddy is right for you? We have a risk-free 15 day trial. I'm a licensed massage therapist myself (still in practice, btw). I get it. It's hard to switch over to a new system, or to take the plunge away from your paper book. That's why we offer the trial and will also import your client list for you. We also have amazing customer service, if I do say so myself! ;) I'll be here along side you every step of the way if you need me.

Try it free.

Oh, and I was just kidding about the bears. Don't worry, there are no bears.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Staying Healthy and Motivated Throughout the Year

Staying Healthy and Motivated Throughout the Year


Photo Credit: Pexels, Pixabay


January has come and gone, and maybe your resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle has gone with it. Whether you’re just hitting a roadblock or if you completely fell off the train, you can still get back into gear. It’s important to implement a plan you can upkeep throughout the year. It’s all about finding the right balance of exercise routines, resting and recovering, and listening to your body.


Caring for Your Body

Instead of setting monthly goals, set goals for two or three month at a time. You can still set small target goals to reach so you’re motivated by seeing progression. Taking small steps is important because trying to take steps that are too big can be overwhelming, demotivating, and keep you from reaching your goals. Once you’ve reached your two or three month goal, do it all over again. If you don’t succeed, try setting even smaller target goals, like every week.

Many people search for a certain diet trend to try to achieve their weight loss goals, but those trends sometimes eliminate things our body really needs, such as carbs or fats. Instead, aim to eat as clean and balanced as possible. Consume non-processed foods, low amounts of sugar, foods that are naturally low in fat, and small amounts of good carbs. Carry these choices over when you eat at restaurants too. Also, be sure to eat in moderation and don’t overeat at meals.

When planning your daily meals, include plenty of fruits and vegetables and high-fiber foods. Eat a variety of foods to ensure your body gets all of the nutrients it needs. Don’t forget to stay hydrated. This doesn’t just apply to working out; it’s important to drink water throughout the day. Lastly, getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial. A lack of sleep can reduce your energy levels and affect the way your body grows and repairs.


Switch It Up and Cool Off

Regardless of how long you workout, exercising three to five days a week is enough for a healthy lifestyle. Remember to keep your exercises balanced by switching up the type of exercise, as well as the volume and intensity. This is to prevent over reaching and causing injury, and it’s especially important if you decide to workout more than five days a week.

For example, walk your dog (or if you don’t have one, take on some dog walking clients) on the weekend, lift weights on Tuesday and Friday, and go for a swim on Thursday. These different exercises work a variety of muscle groups and change up the intensity. Yet, they all offer you healthy training to help you reach your goal. Remember that participating in outdoor activities is great but depends heavily upon the weather, so have a plan for indoor activities in the summer when it’s too hot or in the winter when it’s too cold. You don’t want rain or snow sabotaging your exercise regime.



When you’re working out, be sure to listen to your body. If you need to rest, take a break. This also means taking a day off if you need it. Taking a day off doesn’t mean sitting on the couch and watching TV. Instead, practice yoga or get a personal massage. Personal trainer Tyrone Brennand says yoga has provided him with unbelievable improvements, mentally and physically. It’s also helped him improve other aspects of his training.


Worth It

Sticking to an exercise routine and practicing clean eating aren’t always easy, but the rewards are definitely worth it. To avoid getting bored or burnt out, challenge yourself with different routines. After a few months, you’ll be surprised and inspired by what you’re capable of achieving, which is the real beauty in becoming a healthier you. Enjoy your new healthy lifestyle and feel good about healing your mind, body, and soul.






Author: Paige Johnson