In over a decade of practising Soft Tissue and Remedial Massage Therapies, the actual instruction that I've received on how to actually build a successful business and truly monetize my hard won skills has been extremely limited to say the least. So, with the power of hind-sight and the world of possibilities open to every single bodyworker practising their art thanks to Social Media and the power of the internet, many 'local' therapists actually have the ability to reach more people in their locality than ever before. And for those who can harness the technology and create some kind of online therapeutic offering........well, the world is quite simply your oyster.
I'm sure I'm not alone in realizing that earning a 'great' income as a Soft Tissue Therapist (STT), if that's what you do exclusively, is going to be a challenge if you don't have a PLAN as there is a 100% a cap on the hours you can physically work and a cap on how many people you can and want to help in a working day, week, month or year without burning yourself out.........so, how do you make a great living as a STT without burning out in the process? So in no particular order....here are my thoughts.....25 Key Strategies That Actually Will Transform Your STT Business!
1. Work from home for at least part of your week - save on travel time and save your back carrying and lifting your bed and kit, save on petrol and save on working in spaces that sometime just don't have the ambience that suits either your vibe or what you're trying to achieve. But PLEASE do check with your local council (in the UK) to ensure that it's legit to do so and whether you need to meet special regulations for a home therapy set up. It's also really good if your working hours are mainly in the daytime when family members are out of the house. You get to use 'dead space' for virtually free.
2. Become a 'Specialist' - niche down! Someone smart once said, you've got to get smaller to get bigger. Niching down and going to work to establish and exploit your expert status is a key way for you raise your prices, serve deeper and ACTUALLY SOLVE PROBLEMS by implementing your 'problem-solving' methodology.
3. Blog!!! It never ceases to amaze me how people with LOTS of knowledge simply don't blog! To certify as a massage therapist, you have to do a LOT of education and know a lot about the body. Trust me, the general public are eager for a) clarity on a lot of topics and the 'science made simple', not to mention 'freebie' information. Blogging is essential for good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so people can find you on Google and also a blog is great for your SM outlets and offers quality info for free. It is of course a free-ish way to get infront of current, old and potential clients without saying BUY BUY BUY and overall, writing one will help you sharpen your sword re: knowledge and factual info as you can't be blogging rubbish 🙂
4. Create and clearly outline your TREATMENT PROCESS and your SYSTEM/METHODOLOGY and have it clearly listed on your website. The professionals who are getting better results, serving more deeply and commanding higher fees are those who go beyond what's happening on the therapy table. We all know that this ache/pain/dysfunction comes requires a multi-layered and truly whole body/life solution and so when we truly honour the restoration process, to do the job deeply we need to help the client with what's going on in the rest of their life like how they sit/stand/sleep/move throughout their day, their nutrition and their hydration, their rest and regeneration........I think that we all agree that most issues are solved in a single 1 hour session, so why many of us often sell the 'one session hit' and feel sheepish about creating treatment protocols and face-to-face solutions that expand beyond a single session? After assessment, for sure we need to deal with the most pressing issue (s) but then I think we all know that during our inspections we probably highlighted another couple of areas that are potential contributory factors to the main problem. Either way, clients are very rarely done after one session so we really do need to have in place our 'client journey' and take more of a WHOLE SYSTEM/WHOLE LIFE APPROACH to the healing of any ailments. Think what your results and your income would look like if each of the clients that you saw currently for 1 session turned into 3 session clients? See how Simon Jones, The Chester Body Mechanic, does it here.
5. Consider the full circle of your 'treatment protocol' - what else do you need to/could you offer to improve the outcome of your therapy session re: nutrition, homeworkables (at home re-hab exercises), restorative activity/lifestyle, exercise/rehab equipment, exercise plans, mindfulness meditations and 'healing nutrition protocols' (is your education permits). These items could provide additional income at the same time as improving adherence for the client and improved outcomes.
6. Change the narrative within your practise from not just 'acute care' to 'self-care', 'you deserve this' and 'prevention' as opposed to you come to therapy only when you are desperate and broken. This can be conveyed through your contact with clients (social media) and your weekly newsletter and of course you need to have in place your 'Self-Care Package' which offers say a monthly therapy session for 6 or 12 months. Trust me, that there are people out there, myself and other therapists included who would 100% value this stimulus to maintain their 'homage to wellness'.
7. YOU MUST BUILD YOUR DATABASE!!! - YOUR LIST IS KING! You should be collecting the email of EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU SERVE or expresses an interest in your services and of course those who sign up for your free gifts via your website. For speed, see what happens when you sign up for anything on my side bar to your right....check out the process and how the 'gift' is delivered and then notice that on Sunday morning, you start to receive my weekly newsletter ;-)....of course you can unsubscribe but I'll put such good stuff in it that you really won't want to and THEN we will become friends and the next time I'm offering something massage related and promote it, guess what? You'll see it for sure.....voila!
8. Stay in touch with your clients....email weekly with useful information. Encourage them to LIKE your Facebook Page and keep them connected by posting useful information and videos. Seems like simple stuff but often neglected. The aim is that a) you maintain your usefulness to your clients b) you keep yourself front and centre in their minds should they need you c) you keep yourself front and centre in their mind should someone they know need your services. Either way....presence win! You've got to be in it to win it.
9. Start building your bank of testimonials in both video and written for display on your website. This is not only ESSENTIAL as 'social proof' that you get results, are a wonderful person and actually know what you're doing but important because your potential clients will actually trust other people saying nice stuff about you more than just you blowing your trumpet. This is a fabulous example because it's a mix of polished video (which means you're serious), plus screen shots of client's feedback (highly authentic) and then other written testimonials. Overall, the page is FULL! The testimonial page is an often neglected page on a Soft Tissue Therapists website which is amazing when we all know that therapy clients are some of the most grateful clients anyone could have in the word of wellness bodywork. Go capture that! NOW!
10. Create a sizzle reel for your business - Don't know what a sizzle reel is? Check this out!
11. RAISE YOUR PRICES!! Duh, I personally think that a lot of SST who really know their stuff charge too little, and lots of not so brilliant therapist within high end environments charge way too much for the skills. So where are you? Are you really charging enough? Could you raise your prices? Ultimately, the only ways you can earn more is to a) charge more b) offer more services c) serve more clients. As there's a limit to how many hours you can and want to work, raising your prices and offering a longer 'client journey' that involves more than one session has got to be a priority in your business, especially if you are guilty of not having an annual price raise.
12. Get a kickass website and branding. THIS IS BEYOND IMPORTANT! Get the best help you can afford as it's YOUR SHOP WINDOW. Question, when you walk into a shop and it's a bit 'low rent', what are your immediate thoughts, do you want to spend time or money there? Do you trust the intentions of the shop owner? Probably not. As your website is going to be the first port of call for any potential customer, it has to be WONDERFUL! End of 😉 . Also, dodgy or homemade branding is also a no-no for the above reasons. Purchase the best you can afford everytime.
13. 'Up Level' your education/get excited about your profession again. Taking time to not only learn 'problem-solving skills' but connecting with dedicated therapists is just such a simple way to remind yourself why you got into this professional. Learn from anything, everywhere, anywhere and everything.....overall, stay curious! There's so much information on Podcasts, Youtube, DVD's, online resources and of course live courses.
14. Network, connect with those who also serve your new niche population 😉 and beyond! At the very least, you MUST have a local running club or Cross Fit gym....GET IN THERE!
15. Sell gift vouchers - this really is a no-brainer. You use the clients you already have to help you attract new clients but REMEMBER TO PROMOTE THEM!! Via your newsletter and social media!
16. Make simple self-help videos and distribute through your media as well as sending directly to your clients. Poll your clients and ask how you can help them if you need help deciding where to start but do start....what seems like a simple thing to you can be massively value-adding to your clients and of course, once made, you just recycle over and over again! Here's one of mine....
17. Create a Monthly Massage Membership - It's a FACT! So many people just need a lie down....and they are very willing to pay to have this facilitated well and consistently. For some people on a certain income or those who are very focussed on Self-Care, managing stress and taking care of their bodies, is massively important to them and they are always looking for great help. Are you accounting for these people who would probably pay for a regular appointment? There's probably no need to even discount if you offer to offer the ability to pay via a monthly recurring payment and this amount just simply gets added to their monthly outgoings. Use PayPal recurring payments or offer a 1 off payment option also. Again, THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE FOR WHOM THIS IS A NO-BRAINER. They are seeking accountability for their self-care.
18. Allow instalment/recurring payments for larger priced items.
19. Improve your therapy environment! Everytime I go into a therapy space that doesn't say comfort and pamper, I just die a little ;-). Dramatic I know, but when I schedule in this time for 'giving back to myself', I also want to feel a sense of indulgence and that it's a treat. So I totally will pay more for a place that feels lush....nice visuals, nice smells, nice lighting....and don't think I'm alone. So although you might not be springing for a chandellier just yet, PLEASE take a look around your practise space and think.....'can I do better'? Could the space do with a revamp?? It really won't cost much whatever you do to improve the aesthetics and a little time and energy, does go a long way. Ultimately, you too have got to love the space you're spending your day working in!
19. Be more, offer more, solve more, charge more! Forget about what the others around you are charging, charge according to your education, your skillset and the fact that you get results and offer a special/unique experience.
20. Try to get a 'corporate gig', get a room in a gym or some other facility where you are guaranteed footfall and are within a community from which referrals might flow and of course where you can build a reciprocal relationship.
21. What other skills are in alignment with your STT skills - fitness, yoga, pilates meditation, alternative therapies....is there another skill set that you could resurrect or learn that would act as a funnel (source of clients) for your STT work or actually enhance your work with your STT clients?
22. Teach others! At some point, you're going to be further along the continuum of learning that there will be others behind you and when that time comes and you are sufficiently as master of your craft, TEACH OTHERS who are further behind on their STT journey. As someone who's made that journey, it's probably one of the most rewarding things that I've ever done. I love the creative process of making a pieces of education and then process of sharing it with others and watching my initial thought/idea become information that others value. It's not for everyone, but if you are considering ways to truly use your awesome skills.....teaching them to others has got to be a no-brainer.
23. Have a BEYOND CLEAR cancellations policy and an appointment system that reminds your clients of their appointments via text message weeks, days and hours before their actual slot. I use Schedule Once.
24. Pre-Screen Electronically - OMG, you MUST DO THIS if you are still doing all of your 'question-asking-screening' while your client is sat infront of you! Client's hate this! When you're a client, you hate this, so why are we doing it still when we all have the potential to create electronic screening forms that we can get clients to complete online in their own time, return to us so we can decided if we can help them and then have so much more time for treatment when we see them. Check out Google Docs - it's free if your form isn't too lengthy.
25. Display your prices clearly on your site, what your clients will receive and the link to your automated payment ie., PAYPAL ACCOUNT! No more cash nonsense. . You don't need a credit card terminal or anything fancy. You can just use your smart phone or Ipad! Just call up your website and locate the PayPal button on your sales page and voila, allow the client to pay on the spot! If they don't have a PayPal account, they can still use a credit or debit card. If course there are tons of mobile card readers now, that are just so reasonable to use but overall, the cash thing as got to stop because people quite simply don't like carry around or handing over large sums of cash and are like to spend larger amount when they are using a card.
26. Wear your branded clothing throughout your workday, so wherever you go, you have the potential to advertise yourself.....even in the Supermarket!
27. Brand your car!
I thought this video made some solid points about how you actually increase your income in very clear steps. As always, the steps in themselves aren't rocket science, it's more about EXECUTION and being brave about shining a light on key areas of your business and making the commitment to not only change but doing the consistent work to ensure the change sticks.
I thought this was a good piece: http://internationalassociationofwellnessprofessionals.org/4-myths-about-building-a-holistic-business/
This PDF also had some great info within: https://sohnen-moe.com/free-stuff/massage-marketing-e-book.pdf
And I loved the clarity of information in this blog: http://blog.signpost.com/massage-marketing-tips-promote-local-massage-therapy-business/
Burrell Education offers one of the deepest and most progressive educations for Soft Tissue Therapists wishing to expand their skills to work with the Pregnant and truly neglected Post Natal woman....is this something that you've been thinking about? Would you like to create a new niche for your business? Check out the contents and what lots of happy students have said (you see, walking the talk) and do get in touch if you have any further questions about the 2-Day CPD. Hope to see you soon and meanwhile....good luck with the list above! Join us in 2016 for our truly unique, Pregnancy Massage 2-Day CPD Including Post Natal Massage & Remedial Therapy.
If you're READY to get serious about your Soft Tissue Therapy Business......you might be interested in the Burrell Education Business Hub Mentorship.....Class 2 kicks off on Monday 1st October....it will TRANSFORM what you do!