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    Strategic Income Planning

    Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

    Strategic Income Planning

    Painless Tips To Make More Money In 2016

    By Angie Patrick

    Who doesn’t enjoy a raise? A raise means someone acknowledges you and your efforts for another year of service. It means you have performed well at a certain level and now it is time to reward your efforts by raising your earnings a little.

    A raise is something we have all come to think of a synonymous with doing a good job and being rewarded for that good job in a monetary way by our employer. No, I do not believe anyone ever said, “What? A raise for me? No Thank You!”

    But what if you are self-employed? What if “the boss” who so graciously divvies up raises happens to be the same person as the purchaser, the scheduler, the therapist, the marketer, the janitor and the chief bottle washer? How do you give yourself more money from a business you think you run like a tight ship, and a workload and that is at maximum capacity? You look for new ways, that’s how. Money hides in the darndest places, and finding ways to eke out a couple more percent here can add up to a net pay raise overall for you. I want to look at a few places your money is hiding from you, and give you a few tips on how to coax it back into your pocket.

    Preventing Client Churn

    In most businesses, churn happens naturally for a variety of reasons. But sometimes, it is because of specific reasons and these may well be reasons you have control over. Before we can look at why customers leave, we need to first have a means to identify they have left.

      Now, I understand many clients come for a specific issue and then once that issue is resolved, they stop coming. We all want to be known as the therapist who helped Jimmy with his frozen shoulder before his big golf game. But do we just accept Jimmy will not be returning because the issue has found resolution? When this happens, do you just allow them to go or do you offer other means to serve their needs and provide education to support this? I am sure you are familiar with the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” These are clients that have experienced your talent and skill first hand, likely are candidates to continue to visit you to prevent issues. It takes education on the importance of prevention and the means to keep in contact with that client long after the initial issue has resolved. A client who knows you will likely return if they have received good service, been treated well, and have seen the value in what you provide. These same clients that are now better as a result of your care may well wish to remain under your preventative care to ward off future issues. This is a client you can count on, and can rebook. But if you just allow them to leave without providing alternatives, you have to work hard to find a replacement client.

    When a client does make the decision to leave, do you ever learn why? Do you notice they are no longer booking with you? It is more common than you might believe to have a client slip through your hands unnoticed. Having a means to track client visits and reach out to them on a regular basis is important. Whether you do this through personal calling, a newsletter, or email; customer outreach is hugely important to a successful practice. Knowing when a client leaves as early as you can detect it, will give you the ability to call and check in with them and learn if they are in need of making an appointment or have moved on to other pastures. If they have moved on, I always think it is important to try and determine what prompted the decision to leave your practice. This conversation need not be confrontational, but more informational. Perhaps they had a bad experience, one for which you were wholly unaware. Learning about it and finding the root cause to prevent re-occurrence can save you future client departures for the same reasons.

    The money and time spent keeping a client is far better spent than spinning through new client after new client that seldom return. I am not advocating fabricating reasons or issues that compel your client to return out of fear. I am advocating your taking a preventative stance, and sharing with them what you know to be true. Regular massage brings along with it many significant health benefits. Educating your client on the benefits of regular massage can help you keep your client happy and satisfied, and your booking calendar full.

    Eliminate ” No Show” Clients Early On

    We all have them, those client that book a block of time, and then on the day of appointment they don’t show up and you find yourself sitting on 60-90 minutes of booked time. This happens and is part of life, but working to nip this behavior in the bud is the best means of prevention. There are a few ways you can help alleviate this issue.

    First, consider spending time the day before reaching out to your clients by phone to remind them of the appointment. Sometimes, this will enable you to learn ahead of time any challenges the client has come across in making the appointment allowing you time to rebook. Second, consider a ” no-show” fee. If a client has booked with you and fails to show without contacting you in enough time to work to rebook the time, then a fee could be charged. Having explained this fee and the consequences up front can help eliminate this issue fully. No one wants to pay a fee, but additionally, no one wants to be “surprised” by one either. Clear guidelines need to be set up and discussed before a client books so they know what to expect.

    Lastly, most people want to be respectful of your time, but will take any slack you allow them. Make sure you have clear guidelines as to when to show up for an appointment, and when the appointment is over, regardless of late arrival.  If a client arrives late, still see them, but being clear that they have taken up their own appointment time in being late ahead of time makes for a less uncomfortable exchange and can help prevent lateness the next time.

    Remember, your time is your money. When you allow your time to be wasted by clients who don’t show, or are chronically late, it is you who pays for it. Think carefully about these issues and find a place of comfort you can live with and then inform the clients of your policies. They will work to adhere to your guidelines, and when they cannot, they know what to expect.

    Supply Chain Management

    As a therapist, you are a consumer of professional products, specifically related to the work you do. Have you ever considered how you purchase your goods as a means to add black ink to your bottom line? Having a strong understanding of your supply needs, timing, and consolidation of purchases, as well as how you choose to pay for them can save you money.

    Let’s say you are a therapist who orders just what is needed, just in time for the previous product to run out. You order weekly, or perhaps every other week, and order just enough to satisfy the needs of the next two weeks. This is called “Just In Time” ordering, and can work for many. However, if you take a step back, and look at your overall purchases for a three month period, you may be able to detect a specific pattern to your needs. Once you can determine what goods you will likely need for the coming quarter, consider buying these all at once. Look online for price breaks on your favorite brands, or freight incentives, and consider buying in bulk. You can save significantly by the gallon if you go from buying five individual gallons, to buying a five gallon pail. The savings are real and are important enough to take a longer look into what else you may be able to buy quarterly instead of bi-weekly.

    Once you have determined that you may well be able to save not only money, but time when you place the planned quarterly order, you may want to consider how you pay for these goods. Many opt for paying cash or using a debit card. This is always good, and can give you real-time accounting of what money you have right now. But with a little forethought, you can structure these buys to provide you rebates, points or cash back on the goods you know you are going to need anyway. In my experience, I have seen successful businesses have a business-only charge card and they search for the ones providing the greatest loyalty benefit to the business. Maybe you prefer a percentage as cash back of purchases, or perhaps you would like to earn points towards a personal reward like that set of gourmet pots and pans you have always wanted. Using a card for these purchases, then paying the card off in full monthly, will help you take advantages of the benefits of using these cards and still alleviate the interest if paid in full each month.

    Hire an Accountant

    I know, it sounds scary, but believe me when I tell you, your accountant will always help you stay on the right path and help provide direction in a whole host of ways that ultimately save you money. This is the single best piece of advice you can be given in my opinion, and here is why: Do you know what education expenses are deductible? Do you have all the answers in regards to claiming a client gift or dinner, what is deductible and what is not? Do you know if you can claim attending conferences and what mileage can be claimed? How about association fees, or other business related forum fees? Most people don’t have this committed to memory, and chances are this is not your center of focus either. Just as your clients hire a professional in your field to provide them with solid advice and care, you should do the same when it comes to your money and the care of your business.

    When you hire an accountant, you can let them manage all the financial issues you may or may not have been doing correctly, thus allowing you to focus on building your business and retaining clients. They can worry about filing taxes, returns, exemptions, deductions, and all those things most of us find nebulous at best. An accountant is certainly handy to help you put accounting management tools in place so you can also have greater visibility to the overall financial health of your company. Obtaining the advice of this type of professional is a smart business decision and one that will save you from mis-steps and pitfalls often made when braving these endeavors on your own.

    Ultimately, in order to save yourself the maximum amounts of time and money possible, you need to take a close look at your processes, how you do things, and seek ways to improve or streamline them. No doubt, when you take each part of the business management role you play and look to find sleeker more streamlined ways of management, you will not only save time but money, too. For most of us, these two things are one in the same. Any time or money saved can be spent doing things you enjoy, spending time with family, or even just reinvesting it into your business. Isn’t this the same we would do with a raise from an employer? Take a weekend, and re-evaluate where you can streamline and consolidate, or improve processes like retaining clients and re-booking. Doing so now can net larger dividends for you in 2016!

    At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply, pedicure tools and spa equipment needs.

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    NRG Premium Microfiber Massage Sheet Set

    Monday, November 30th, 2015

    Check out the New NRG Premium Microfiber Massage Sheets Set

    Our Premium Microfiber Massage Sheet Set represents the ultimate in quality, comfort and durability. made from 100% double brushed polyester, these light weight, soft as silk sheets are wrinkle resistant right out of the dryer and resist pilling. The perfect addition to your massage or spa table.

    Our massage table sheets will withstand repeated washings with proper care. Pretreat stains before laundering, especially stains resulting from oil-based products. Wash in warm water with mild detergent and tumble dry on low heat. 120 GSM (Grams per Square Meter). Do not bleach.

    Massage Spa Sheets Set Includes:

    1 Fitted Massage Sheet (7″ drop – 36″ x 77″)
    1 Flat Massage Sheet (63″ x 100″)
    1 Crescent Cover (13″ x 13″ x 6″)2290221L

    No Pain No Gain, does it apply to massage?

    Friday, February 6th, 2015

    No Pain No Gain, does it apply to massage?

    By Elline Eliasoff, CMT

     

    When you think of the massage and spa industry, you typically think about a soft spoken therapist working in a calm relaxing massage room, listening to soft background music, experiencing pure relaxation.   The image and experience are wonderful and has a valuable and necessary place in our hectic lives, but the question is, does a bit of pain and discomfort have a therapeutic value?

    The answer is yes! Medical massage often involves releasing contracted hypertonic muscles. This means the therapist is working less superficial and more deeply. A medical or therapeutic massage goes beyond the simple relaxation massage. The benefits are: increased circulation, decreased hypertonicty, and in many cases decreased pain. The deeper muscle work definitely has a lasting therapeutic effect!

    The client, while receiving a therapeutic massage, should be communicating their pain or discomfort level to the therapist. I like to quantify pain on 1 to 10 scale, 10 being intolerable and 7 being therapeutic. It is important while receiving a medical massage, to be in touch with your body enough to distinguish pain that is therapeutic, ( “hurts so good” ), resulting in muscle release and pain that is simply too intense to tolerate. The client should never leave a session bruised or with lasting discomfort.

    Medical massage can fall under a variety of different names. Is it commonly referred to as: Myofascial Release, or Deep Tissue Massage. So, the next time you are experiencing pain or discomfort, consider massage therapy as an alternative medical treatment.

     

    http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/health-and-fitness/the-balance/articles/how-much-pressure-is-too-much-pressure-in-a-massage-january-2015

    The Ergonomics of Massage Table Design

    Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

    The Ergonomics of Massage Table Design

    By Elline Eliasoff, CMT

    Massage Therapy is one of the most exciting, flexible, low stress and rewarding professions! As a Massage Therapist, the most important investments you will make are: your education, your self-care, and your equipment. In this article I will discuss purchasing a massage table which is the largest single investment and the main tool of your practice.

    It is important to have a good idea of the type of massage you want to practice before purchasing a table. Please consider the following:

    • Where will you be practicing (office, home, field events, etc.)?
    • Will you bring your table to client sites?
    • Will your massage space be allocated for massage only? Will the space allow you the luxury of an       electric or stationary table?
    • Will you be doing any other adjunct therapies on the table? Is a spa table worthy investment?
    • Do you need to position a chair under the table?

    Purchasing your table

    Client comfort is essential; however, more essential is the comfort of the therapist. All massage tables must be height adjustable. Maintaining good body mechanics by avoiding excessive bending or reaching is imperative for the longevity of your career. Reaching and bending may seem like minor inconveniences; however, the cumulative effects on your body can be devastating over time.

    The width of the table is also a consideration for more petite therapists with shorter extremities. Massage tables can be found in widths starting at 25” all the way up to 32”. The average massage table is 30”, however, a smaller therapist may want to consider opting for the 28” width. (The 28” table will accommodate most clients without a problem).

    The weight of the massage table is an important consideration if you are traveling with your table to client sites. Carrying the table, moving it in and out of a car, and negotiating stairs can be extremely taxing on your body if a table is heavy. There are a number of table manufacturers that sell lightweight massage tables with aluminum frames that substantially decrease the weight of the table. This is a worthwhile investment for a traveling practice!

    A reiki panel or end plate is important if you plan to practice therapies that involve sitting. (Reiki, Reflexology, Cranial Sacral, etc.) The Reiki panel, or end plate, will allow you to get your legs under the table and sit in a neutral posture.

    Electric and Hydraulic Stationary Tables are undeniably the most versatile for client comfort as well as positioning and table height for the therapist. The most desirable feature is the ability to adjust height during a treatment. They are typically designed so that chairs can fit comfortably underneath and seated therapies can be performed with good body mechanics.

    Purchasing the “correct” Massage Table that enhances your professional skill set and your physical needs is the first step in a long and prosperous career as a Massage Therapist. Wishing you a long and successful practice!

    Massage therapy — from arthritis to migraines, there’s a plan for relief

    Monday, November 10th, 2014

    Massage therapy — from arthritis to migraines, there’s a plan for relief

    By Tribune Content Agency, CareerBuilder

    By Erinn Hutkin

    Jeff Muskovin’s job is most rewarding when a client has a “Eureka!” moment. The licensed massage therapist has watched a musician return to playing without pain, a marathon runner finish a race with a faster time and no injuries, and a couple with fertility challenges report they’re expecting.

    Muskovin, 57, has a private practice in Evanston and also treats clients at Chicago’s Lakeview Athletic Club. He’s trained to understand and help correct pain, tension and circulation issues in the body’s soft tissues, including muscles and tendons.

    He works six days a week, seeing 3-8 clients a day. Patients seek out Muskovin for everything from stress reduction and relaxation to relief from restricted movement. Many clients suffer from headaches and neck pain related to working on a computer. Muskovin sees many amateur athletes who need help with muscle injuries and overall conditioning.

    “I get to meet interesting people every day, and I get to help make a difference in their lives,” said Muskovin, who trained at the Chicago School of Massage (now Cortiva Institute of Chicago). “Sometimes, it’s simply helping someone learn how to stretch properly after their long runs. Sometimes, it’s a more lengthy, complicated process of helping someone rehabilitate after a serious injury. I enjoy physical work, and I get plenty of that in this profession.”

    In fact, said Felicia Tyler, owner of Universal Spa Training Academy, Downers Grove, because the job is so physically demanding, massage therapists can’t — and shouldn’t — work a 40-hour week. Most work 20-30 hours per week.

    Some therapists work on contract for chiropractors, treating a certain number of clients per week. Those at day spas see clients for 60- to 90-minute sessions. Self-employed MTs treat clients in an office, at the client’s home, or in the therapist’s home. Universal Spa Training Academy grads have found jobs in health care facilities, hotels and spas, doctor’s offices, even aboard cruise ships, Tyler said.

    “Massage therapy is a good career for people who like to work for themselves and have flexible hours,” she noted. “Also, all of your clients are happy to see you and so appreciative of your skills.”

    Once licensed, therapists stay current on advancements in the field through continuing education. Reading trade journals and new massage textbooks is also important, as new discoveries are continually being made, Muskovin said.

    “You can learn the basics in (about) a year. You’ll spend the rest of your career trying to master the details.”

    Massage therapy isn’t just a luxury, Tyler said. It can reduce muscle stiffness and inflammation and improve circulation. It’s also good for people with sore muscles, arthritis, high blood pressure, stress and anxiety. Stress is at the root of many illnesses, Muskovin said.

    Therapists can also learn specialized procedures to address fertility issues, digestive problems, breathing restrictions, headaches, tendinitis, joint dislocation and posture issues.

    The job comes with challenges. Massage therapists must make clients feel safe and secure enough to be touched. Clients who have unanswered questions or don’t feel comfortable may not be satisfied with treatment, Muskovin said.

    Because the work is physical, therapists must stay fit to avoid self-injury. They must also manage their time well to accomplish everything agreed upon within each session, and maintain relationship boundaries, with both parties respecting each other’s privacy.

    Nicole Boeger, owner and founder of Radiant Life Massage Therapy, Naperville, said some male therapists have a difficult time starting out. Many men and women are more comfortable with a female therapist. However, some men question the strength of female therapists when it comes to providing effective deep tissue massage, Boeger said.

    Massage therapy can be highly gratifying.

    After a Swedish massage session, an 82-year-old woman once told Boeger she’d been to spas across the country, but that Boeger was by far the best therapist she’d ever had.

    “Nothing can beat the feeling of accomplishment more than that. It’s at that point I know I’m doing something right,” Boeger said. “I live for those moments to help people feel radiant.”

    Demand up as more people learn benefits

    A massage therapist’s job involves using touch to treat clients’ injuries and enhance wellness. Treatment involves working the soft tissues of the body to relieve pain, help rehabilitate patients from injuries, improve circulation, ease stress and promote relaxation.

    On the job, MTs typically talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history and desired results. They evaluate each patient to find painful, tense areas of the body; manipulate muscles or other soft tissues; provide guidance on stretching, strengthening and improving posture; and document clients’ condition and progress.

    MTs can specialize in several different types of massage. Swedish massage — the most commonly thought of massage — uses five stroking styles. Deep-tissue massage is more vigorous and often helpful for those with injuries. Sports massage promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares the body and mind for optimal performance. The type of massage used depends on a client’s needs and physical condition.

    Educational requirements vary from state to state. Training is available in private or public postsecondary schools. In Illinois, a massage therapist must complete at least 600 hours of training at an approved school. At Tyler’s academy, students can complete the program in about nine months.

    “Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapist to have a license or certification,” the BLS notes. Candidates must also undergo a background check, be fingerprinted and pass a national board test.

    Many local schools offer massage training, including Universal Spa Training Academy, Downers Grove, and the Cortiva Institute, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and the Soma Institute, all in Chicago. For a full list, visit http://www.massageschool.org/search/illinois/chicago.html.

    A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admission. Massage therapy programs typically include both classroom training and hands-on practice, covering topics such as anatomy, physiology (the study of organs and tissues), kinesiology (the study of motion and body mechanics), pathology (the study of disease), business management and ethics.

    Most massage therapy schools have a student clinic open to the public at a reduced rate so students can get experience.

    According to the BLS, in 2012, 44 states and Washington, D.C., regulated massage therapy. Not all states license massage therapists, but there may be regulations at the local level. In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must be licensed or certified after completing an approved program.

    In May 2012, the median annual wage for massage therapists was $35,970, the BLS said. Most earn a combination of wages and tips. Most work part-time (only about 1 in 3 worked full-time in 2012). Most work by appointment, so schedules and work hours vary widely.

    Employment is projected to grow 23 percent by 2022, the BLS reports. As more states adopt licensing requirements for therapists, massage is likely to become more accepted as a legitimate therapy to treat pain and improve wellness. Also, as more health care providers understand the benefits of massage, demand likely will increase as massage becomes part of treatment.

     

     

    Read more on the Chicago Tribune

     

     

    To Be an Employee, a Contractor or Self Employed? That is the Question

    Thursday, October 16th, 2014

    To Be an Employee, a Contractor or Self Employed? That is the Question

    By Angie Patrick

    Our industry has a wide array of opportunity for the newly graduated therapist. It also presents a wealth of opportunity for seasoned therapists who may have been hit hard in the past years of economic uncertainty. Recently, I read a survey from the Day Spa Association sharing that 2013 and 2014 have shown some significant increases. It claims the Spa Industry is indeed in growth mode.

    This news is indeed encouraging. Moreover, I have had a number of conversations with employers within the spa and wellness industry who claim they are on constant lookout for therapists, as the need of the wellness seeking public outnumbers the quantity of therapist applicants. In one case, I learned that the lack of available therapists caused locations to close rooms and turn away clients as a result of not having enough personnel to cover the demand.

    I have spoken to therapists in private practice who also share they could expand their practice, if only there were two of them. They have more need for their services than they have time in the day to assist. This news also sounds encouraging. Could it be that the need for therapists has grown and people understand the importance of massage therapy in their lives, health and well being? It sure sounds like it!

    So what does this mean to you? Well, that vastly depends on what your needs are and whether you want the responsibility of running a business, contracting for a company or being hired. These are three very different roles and each has their own perks. I want to share a bit of high level insight as to the potential benefits of each and provide a bit of information to help you decide if one of these options is for you.

    Self-Employed

    If your personality seems to show a penchant for understanding the ebb and flow of business, social and print marketing, and the importance of the principles of strong money management, then this venue may be for you. As a self-employed therapist, you need to have a solid understanding of what the reality of profitability looks like and a plan on how to make it happen. You will be your own marketer, buyer, scheduler, workforce, accountant and boss. Being your own boss sounds pretty good, but in order to be successful as a solo practitioner, you should really understand it involves far more than being a competent therapist. The responsibilities of the success or failure of your practice rest solely on your shoulders and the rewards are great if you are willing to do all of the jobs above with as much effort and energy as you put into the role of therapist.

    Contractor

    If taking on the full responsibility of running a business isn’t something that speaks to you, then perhaps you should consider becoming a contractor. In this role, you are still working for yourself, but have contracted your services for a price to another business owner. This provides a bit of autonomy however, you will likely be asked to work a specific schedule which is conducive to the needs of the business owner and not necessarily your need. This may be a good tradeoff for you, as you can leave at any time and are often free to pursue other interests and opportunities at the same time. Additionally, you should be prepared to do the work in the manner the company requires and not necessarily how you would in your own business.

    These parameters should be clearly explained and discussed before you enter into a contract agreement so there are no misunderstandings of the expectations. There are perks to being a contractor, such as tax deductions and other economic benefits. These are better explained to you by your accountant and the opportunities may vary by state. Some of the upside may include the ability to deduct business expenses on your own income tax return. These can include office space, mileage, per diem and more. To learn more about the benefits of being a contract employee, please see your local employment bureau.

    Employee

    If neither of these options seem suited to you or you really do not want the added responsibility of running a business or keeping records of every expense so as to itemize, then perhaps being an employee may be of greater interest to you. The benefits of being employed by a company as a practicing therapist are numerable. Not the least of which, you will be free to concentrate more of your efforts on client care. The marketing, money management and ordering may well have nothing to do with you. You should be prepared for the reality that you will be doing your job in the manner required by the company you work for and it may include retailing and rebooking of the client. This is generally accepted as being the case and many prefer this to the other methods of ownership or contracting.

    Occasionally, these positions can offer benefits such as healthcare and 401K. Another perk may be a regular income you can rely upon week after week to better manage your personal expenses. There is a wealth of places looking to hire dependable and talented therapists and the growth of need shows no sign of slowing. The industry as a whole seems to be growing. It has seen its share of difficulty in recent years, as all industries have. The economy has had a great impact on discretionary spending. However, while massage was once considered a luxury or splurge by many, it is now becoming more mainstream and accessible to the public. Certainly now more than ever, preventative healthcare and stress management are more forefront and people are seeking alternatives to the high cost of healthcare.

    They are doing this by working to take better care of their body, their mind and spirit in ways they have not done before. They are more inclined to work to stem the causes of long-term illness such as chronic stress, pain and inflammation in ways they would not have considered as little as ten years ago. In doing so, this has created an increased need for properly trained and licensed therapists across the nation. Many larger companies are adopting the philosophy of preventative care, and this too has opened some doors for massage therapists to walk through and build a lucrative career.

    You already know you love caring for others. You have a service heart that wants only to provide a means toward greater wellness. You have learned your craft and continue to hone it to become the best therapist you can be. Now, the decision which lies before you is how to go about the business of using these talents to sustain your livelihood and prepare a home for you and your family. I hope the information here may have sparked your interest to investigate further into the various roles you can fill and helps you in finding the space that is right for you.View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

    The Mindset of Successful People: Is Your Head in the Right Place?

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    The Mindset of Successful People: Is Your Head in the Right Place?

    By Angie Patrick

    We all know them. The people who seem to breeze from one client to the next, one project to the next, one crisis to the next and always seem to come out on top. While many of us feel like there is a glass ceiling, an insurmountable hurdle, or feel fear in stretching our own bubble to try something new, there are those who seem to simply take any challenge and own it with gusto.  However, those people who seem to be a success in most of the things they do are not magicians, nor are they genetically predisposed to be successful and they aren’t simply lucky. Being successful is as much about how you think as it is about the actions you take to get there. I would like to share with you five things strong and successful people think about and live by.

    The Past

    Successful people do not dwell on the past. We all have things we have done or mistakes we have made that may have been anything from minor or catastrophic. You know the things I mean; like saying something you regretted the moment it was said. Then when you remember it, you find yourself right back in the same embarrassed state and relive it all over again. Successful people do these things, too. The difference is, they do not beat themselves up for it repeatedly. They acknowledge it, make the apologies, set it right and move on.

    So you made a mistake in scheduling and it caused some undue angst for a client. Acknowledge the error, own it, make amends, compensate the client and move on. Don’t let the one instance of awkwardness or challenge wreck your relationship with the client. The true testimony of character for a person or a business is in how they manage a challenge. Learn from whatever led to the problem and make sure you do not repeat it. Success comes not from always being an ace, but from learning from the errors along the way. Chalk it up to experience. Be fair, be prompt, be humble, be honest; then take steps to correct the situation and let it go.

     Learning

    Successful people never stop learning. It can be easy to feel set in your ways and do things the same as they have always been done because it’s easy. Some may even feel like they know all they need to know to get by and are not interested in seeking new horizons or reaching new goals. For these people, this idea may work however, success is not achieved by being complacent. The world in which we live changes every single day. From technology to techniques, people are out there working hard to do better, be better, make better goods, provide better service and offer more. Successful people stay informed of new ideas and advancements by being well read in their chosen profession, being involved in events that pertain to what they do and consistently educating themselves on new modalities, applications, equipment, supplies and trends. As the world changes and expands its knowledge, so must we in order to remain competitive, sharp and above all else, successful.

    Goals

    Successful people have clearly set goals and focus to achieve them. Being able to visualize your path is essential in preparing for success. Having a clear vision of what success looks like in your own eyes and maintaining focus on the steps you must take to get there is paramount in creating successful outcomes. Often, it is easy to get waylaid and deviate from the course. Sometimes that deviation cannot be avoided, after all life happens to all of us. The kids, the pets, the parents, the partner, the day-to-day business and more, all compete for your attention and focus. The key is to be able to come back to center and when these bunny trails come up you must be thoughtful, care for the needs at hand, but then return to the path you have set to reach the goal.

    If your goal is to gain 50 new clients by June, then do the research and find the way that will work best in your application and then execute the plan. When setting your goals, stretch yourself some. Anyone can set a goal they feel they can easily achieve, however, pushing the envelope and going for more is cathartic! When you focus your mind, your actions and your energy on a task, you will indeed be surprised at how well you will do.

    Fear

    Successful people do not adopt the fears of others. Advice is great. In fact, advice from those who may have walked a few miles in the shoes you hope to be in is essential. Learning from others mistakes and taking the time to listen to their experiences and pitfalls can help you avoid making them for yourself. As helpful as positive advice and direction can be, you must also be wary of those who detract from the vision and embodiment of your goals. Inevitably, there will be those who may not want to see you succeed or are afraid you may achieve more than they have and want to stall you. There are those who may even want you to fail and they are quick to tell you your ideas have little merit or your efforts are pointless. These people may truly feel they have your best interests at heart however, many times, they are speaking from a place of their own fear. If after careful consideration, research, advice and initiative you have set about your path, then let no one impose their fears upon you. If you feel you are on the right path and that it is the path that fits YOU to get where you want to go, then it need not fit another’s expectations. I am not suggesting you block out anyone who has an opinion different from yours, but I am advocating placing the appropriate amount of importance to those ideas that detract from your goal.

    Balance

    Successful people find a work/life balance. Yes, it is possible to accomplish, despite all the reasons many say it is impossible. Many will say to be successful in business you must put business first, always. While this notion may have worked for some, often the trade-off is a lackluster or virtually non-existent personal life. Finding a way to place importance on both your work and your home life in equal measure is a skill you must try and master. After all, what is the point of gaining success if you have only that success with which to identify. There are times in which your business may need added attention. This is absolutely acceptable and expected. You may find it has become a problem when you find yourself working around the clock, missing family events and not being present for your family or for yourself. You must allocate the time required to solely focus on the goals of success, but also allow yourself the time to set it aside to enjoy your life outside work as well. You are more than your job, and while it is a hugely important part of your life, it cannot become all there is.

    People find their own definition of success. Once you have given this thought, you will find what will make you feel successful. Don’t measure your definition by the definition of others. Find your own voice. Whether that is in business, home life, parenting, education, marriage, sports, fitness or whatever your heart desires, you can apply these five skills and they will undoubtedly help you in reaching the pinnacle you seek. Success is attainable for all of us and to recognize you are worthy and deserving is the first step.View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

     

    At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

    ONE Concept Massage Conference

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

    People are always on the lookout for ways to save, be it on groceries, gas, vacations, or even continuing education. Since continuing education is something every therapist needs, it makes sense people are cost conscious when looking for quality education. On a different note, I am also frequently asked when we will have a Massage Warehouse location in Southern California. The market in SOCAL is so large; it stands to reason a Massage Warehouse Location would be requested there! Interestingly enough, the answers to both of these seemingly unrelated questions are in the same.

    Saving money on professional grade products and high quality continuing education is the name of the game in San Diego, September 26-28. It is there the ONE Concept Massage and Integrated Health Conference will be held at the Town and Country Resort.  Massage Warehouse will be there with tons of massage tables, massage equipment, and massage supply products for you to touch, try out, and fall in love with! We are one of the sponsors for the COMMUNITY ROOM, which is essentially a working clinic set in the middle of the trade show floor where we raise money for Massage Outreach and Charity. This Year the recipient is Liddle Kidz Foundation, founded by Tina Allen. For a ten dollar donation, you can have any number of wonderful treatments. From chiropractic evaluations, reflexology, and massage to beauty, hair and makeup, there is something there for everyone!

    We are excited to bring a wide array of treatment needs to the event in support of the COMMUNITY ROOM, and will have all of these available for purchase there on the spot, saving the freight and shipping time! If you have never shopped at a trade show, you are in for a treat! We will have all the items you love, like linens, lubricants, tools, equipment, and retail items available there at tremendous savings. Why open a location in SOCAL when we bring the company to you once a year! So many manufacturers will be represented at this event, so no matter what you may be looking for, chances are it can be found there and at a huge savings!

    Massage Warehouse has partnered with ONE Concept to bring you even greater savings on your value passes. http://www.oneconcept.com/massagewarehouse  Here you can save between $80-$200 on your registration, hotel discounts, and your pass can even include your LUNCH! Talk about value! These passes provide access all three days of the event and access to classes, the level of the pass you choose dictates the classes you will be able to access.  Information about the two different passes are below, and can be purchased by clicking the link above.

    ONE Concept presents a program called SMART FROM THE START, and this event is designed with you in mind, offering business advice from industry leaders which can help you get started on the right foot after graduation. This event is also well known for the “Goodie Bags” and Prizes given! Each student walks away with a bag filled with products from supporting vendors, and the opportunity to win an ULTIMATE BUSINESS STARTER KIT from Massage Warehouse! We put EVERYTHING you could ever need to start a practice into this kit, and I have no doubt you will want one as soon as you see it! http://www.massagewarehouse.com/products/ultimate-business-starter-package-upgrade/

    If you are looking for a place you can go that enables you to feed the passions for massage and wellness, and do it affordably, then I believe that the ONE Concept Massage and Integrative Health Conference in San Diego is where you want to be.  Massage Warehouse is proud to be the Global Sponsor, and we will be there enjoying the attendees, the weather, and the fun!

    We hope to see you there!

    Angie Patrick

    Five Habits of Consistently Successful People

    Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

    Five Habits of Consistently Successful People

    By Angie Patrick

    We have all known these people, you know the ones. The people who seem to always succeed in whatever they endeavor to do, no matter how crazy or wild-eyed the scheme might be. They are the risk takers, the people who have learned some very basic, but highly important skills that keep them focused, alert, sharp and in tune with the business they create, making them far more likely to be successful.

    I have met these people throughout my career and it occurs to me these renegades of business, the titans of triumph, all seem to share some common traits that undoubtedly contribute to their continued success.

    I would like to share with you my observations of these enigmas and perhaps provide tips on how we might all increase our success rates.

    Habit 1: Focus

    Successful people are focused. They see the finish line and have already won the race in their mind. Everything else is just a matter of how it happens. Failure is something they do not dwell upon, but rather they look at the lesson that failure might have taught them. They take that information, focus on bettering outcomes and press on.

    Habit 2: Don’t look back

    Successful people do not spend time looking behind them. They look at their own tasks, complete them and give little concern to what their competitors are doing. They know, if they are focused on what they are good at, then competition is not really a problem. Providing a good or service UNIQUE to your skill set makes competition seem less of a concern. No one can provide what you provide the way you provide it. Successful people make their product or service their own and do not try to emulate others.

    Habit 3: Avoid the Fray

    Successful people work very hard at staying out of the fray. Too much time spent finger pointing and whining about something that did not go the way they hoped can only serve as a morale killer and time waster. Instead of blaming, they spend their time working to make things better and take the opportunity to coach, mentor and train employees to make better choices and decisions.

    Habit 4: Be Available

    Successful people are available to their customers. They know communication is key, and having dialogue with clients about bettering service, bettering product and bettering productivity can only serve to make their business stronger. They engage their clients through newsletters, e-mail blasts and by asking questions. They value their customers and their opinions.

    Habit 5: Do What You Love

    Successful people are those lucky souls who are doing what they love. It is very difficult to find success in an industry or job for which you have no passion. Success is born of passion, and these savvy people ooze passion about their business. They cannot resist telling everyone they meet about what they do how they do it, and how what they do can help the other person. This drive is not something you learn; you have to just FEEL it. If you do not feel this passion about your profession, perhaps you need to take a long hard look at your chosen path.

    Being successful is more than just making a nice living; it is about lifestyle, it is about fulfillment, it is about a drive to be the best you can be. It is certainly within the reach of each and every one of us, but it takes hard work and a willingness to remain true to your goals. Perhaps something in this article spoke to you and you can take that nugget and enhance your own success story! View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

     

    At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

    Massage Tables Are Like Elegant Desserts

    Friday, March 7th, 2014

    Massage Tables Are Like Elegant Desserts

     

    By Angie Patrick

     

    It’s true, massage tables really are like elegant desserts. The best ones have the perfect balance of sumptuous and delicious layers. Go enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner. Chances are the dessert tray will be filled with items sporting layer after layer of sheer decadence. More layers really equals more luxury and more indulgence.

    However, this is where the similarities with your massage table end. I have seen some therapists who will place a sheet over a table and call it complete. This can leave a client shivering and feeling more than a little exposed. I have also witnessed other therapists create the equivalent to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in an effort to make the table more comfortable. This often results in the client fussing with the table covers and struggling to keep them in place while trying to roll over, or even worse, the coverings sliding to the floor completely when the client gets off the table due to ill fitting or inappropriate coverings not created for use on a massage table.

    How do you know when enough is enough? How can you be sure you have not crossed the line between cocooning comfort and overcompensation for an uncomfortable table? Often, these lines can be blurred. Let’s look at some of the regularly used table coverings in order of their layering on the table, and then you can utilize the information provided to pick and choose which would be appropriate for your specific applications.

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    Massage Table Warmers

     

    Table warmers come in many different forms. Some are washable while others are not. Some are suited for treatments where they might come in contact with water and others are not made to withstand moisture. Before you choose, decide whether or not you plan to practice treatments that require the warmer to be water-proof. For instance, if your plan is to offer herbal wraps, you will most likely opt for the water-proof option for safety’s sake. If your plan doesn’t include treatments utilizing moisture and free-flowing water, then a regular fabric table warmer will work fine. In all cases, check to be sure the warmer has an auto-off feature. This alleviates the age old worry in the middle of the night as you sit straight up in bed, “Did I unplug the table warmer?”

     

    Some models can be programmed to work continuously for up to 99 minutes, and then power down. This is a great feature, and one I personally prefer. It takes the guesswork out of whether or not the warmer will remain on for the full treatment. Given the average massage is 60 to 90 minutes, it should cover most treatments. The trick is remembering to reset it between clients so it does not power down in the middle of your massage. These typically are washable on the gentle cycle, although it is preferable to hang them to dry to better prevent the warming filaments from breaking.

     

    Ideas for Added Padding

     

    Massage fleece pad  likely is the most popular and widely utilized plush covering. This covering provides additional cushion and a degree of comfort that a sheet on bare vinyl will not provide. Look for fleece with elastic corner holds or a fitted cover to secure it to the table. You have a couple of choices in the type of fleece you utilize. Some people only want wool fleece pads. Although these are very warm and cozy, they cannot be machine washed and some clients might have allergies to wool, which won’t necessarily be disclosed in the intake form. I prefer the synthetic fleece because it offers greater flexibility in washing. It can be machine washed and dried in the dryer on fluff or air dry without heat. I would suggest a therapist have a few sets of fleece so they can be changed out between clients on a busy day. Now they are more affordable than ever before, ranging from $25 to $110 depending on the material you choose.

     

    Another popular option for added comfort is memory foam covered in vinyl. This is a fantastic way to soften a hard table or elongate the life of one that is beginning to show wear on the padding. It usually is 2 to 3 inches thick and is made of visco-elastic material which reacts to body heat, conforming to the contours of the body. These, when covered with vinyl, are easily cleaned and offer a very comfortable foundation for your client. While not inexpensive, they can truly provide a luxurious feel to your table and extend the usefulness of a table in the beginning stages of wear, allowing an additional pocket of time before you must invest in a new table.

     

    Choosing the Right Massage Sheets

     

    Once your warmer and choice of pad are in place, affix your fitted sheet to the table. The next layer is your top sheet. Please be sure the sheet sets you buy are appropriate for a professional setting. I have seen the occasional therapist use cartoon-character sheets fitting a twin bed on their professional massage table. The intent is to be cute and quirky, but the reality is you come off looking ill-prepared, childish and difficult to be taken seriously. Purchasing sheets appropriate for your practice is fundamental in being considered a professional. Be sure your sheets are in good repair, not stained and do not reek of old oil. This is more than a wee bit off putting, and can ruin the whole massage experience, no matter how expertly executed.

     

    Your choice in sheet material is one that could require some additional thought. Although we all want an attractive and inviting table, being pretty may not be enough. Look for fabrics that are durable and can withstand repeated usage and laundering. Here are a few examples of the most commonly chosen sheet types, and reasons why they may or may not be a fit for your needs.

     

    Massage Poly Cotton sheets: These are a blend of cotton content and polyester. These sheets are thinner and great in warmer climates. They resist wrinkling, although they are not wrinkle-free. There is little shrinkage, and they usually hold up well during laundering.

     

    Massage Muslin sheets: Very thin fabric, does not offer much coverage for client modesty. These sheets might work well when used in wraps. Not a favorite among most therapists for everyday use on their massage table.

     

    Massage Cotton Sheets: Natural fiber, flat-spun fiber finish, and soft to the skin. For client modesty, look for sheets with 300-350 thread count. These are a bit thicker and offer greater coverage. Buy sheets a bit larger than your table to allow for inevitable shrinkage. These will launder well although they will wrinkle substantially if left in the dryer unattended after drying.

     

    Massage Flannel Sheets: A tried and true staple in any therapist arsenal. This is a natural cotton fiber that has been spun to allow fibers to be “unruly” and then brushed to allow fibers to loosen and become lofty. These sheets offer superb coverage and long wear. The more they are washed, the softer they become. Flannel is not gauged in thread count, but it is rated by weight per square meter. For durable flannel that will wear well, look for flannel with weight of 150 g per square meter or greater. These weights will launder well but will wrinkle if left in a basket after washing. Again, be sure to buy sheets large enough to accommodate shrinkage.

     

    Massage Bamboo Sheets: A new fiber in the massage-sheet arena. This fiber is incredibly soft to the touch. It feels almost silky and can provide a very luxurious feel to your table. It is also a nice “trendy” component to say you are using greener products. Even though there are several positive reasons to choose bamboo, it also has a few setbacks. It can be price-prohibitive in many cases, and it often can have substantial shrinkage and wrinkling if laundered in any way other than described on the packaging. It also is still somewhat fragile in its longevity, allowing the stitching holes to stretch and become somewhat unsightly. If you have the budget, time and opportunity to truly care for these sheets, they might be a good fit. If you are looking for a workhorse, you might decide to opt for another material.

     

    In all sheets, you will want to be sure the pocket is deep enough to accommodate the table warmer, and fleece or memory foam pad, as well as the table. In the top sheet, you likely will wish to find something measuring 59 to 65 inches wide and 80 to 90 inches long. Not only will this allow nicely for any shrinkage, it will continue to provide adequate coverage for the client following laundering. This is why most household sheets for twin beds do not always offer a perfect fit.

     

    The Proper Massage Blanket

     

    There are many schools of thought in regards to blanket materials. Again, it is driven by your needs and usage. I will provide you with the most common offerings, although there are many more on the market than I can list here.

     

    Massage Cotton Thermal blanket: Likely the most widely used blanket in massage. It is loosely woven, thicker yarn cotton that will remain breathable while retaining warmth. It is prone to shrinkage and does have a tendency to become snagged. These are affordable and come in an array of designer colors.

     

    Massage Fleece blanket: Softness is the hallmark of this fabric. It harkens to days when we were children and all things we snuggled with were fluffy and soft. It evokes an instant relaxation response and is widely used in the industry. It will launder well, although it is prone to shed in the first few washes. Most will not have appreciable shrinkage. These will also wrinkle, but not much.

     

    Massage Bamboo blanket: This fabric makes a lovely blanket; offering softness and luxury to any table. This is not a very durable fiber so handling and laundering of the blanket must be done with care. It is prone to pilling, so it should be handled with greater care. It will also shrink if dried in a heat setting. Tumbling on low heat or no heat is preferred to extend the life of the blanket.

     

    Massage Down Comforter/Duvet: Incredibly lush and totally cocooning. It’s downside is the expense and the upkeep of the duvet covers between clients. For a similar feel without the expense, look for down alternative comforters. These can also alleviate the allergy reaction to down.

     

    Making Your Table a Sanctuary

     

    Many therapists have different ideas about the way they would like their table to look and feel to the client before they climb on. Some would opt for a clean, luxurious spa feel with a crisp, white duvet covering a plush, down comforter. Others may prefer a world-traveler look, complete with colorful saris from India or Pakistan accompanied by a decorative pillow of silk or satin. Still others may opt for a more ethereal feel, with thin gossamer fabrics covering their table, lending it a cloudlike quality.

     

    I have seen tables with flower petals scattered on them, or simply dressed with a bundle of freshly cut rosemary sprigs tied with a piece of raffia placed in the center of the table. I have seen the table scattered with chakra stones, as well as beautiful bowls of water with a Beta Fish swimming in it on the floor beneath the headrest for a lovely view while face down. Any one of these ideas can evoke a serene feeling of calm and relaxation. The truth is, there are no real wrong ideas when it comes to the decorative part of the table. Just, as in all things, present a professional appearance.

     

    I hope these bits of information will be able to assist you in the decision of what to use on your table. The possibilities are truly limitless, and we have only scratched the surface here. There are more beautiful massage linens coming into the market every day and there are many great suppliers bringing these to the forefront. Enjoy the search, but always remember to present yourself, your practice and the supplies you use professionally.  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

     

    At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.