As a business coach for massage therapists, I find myself working the most with solopreneurs who are well-established with clients but searching for business solutions to take the next steps in business.
When you are busy with massage, you almost have to create the time needed to work on your business and push it forward. Whether increasing rates, bringing additional income streams into your business or employing other therapists, finding the energy and ability to expand into something more can feel overwhelming.
Welcome to our year together in advanced business strategies. Over the course of 2022, I will offer you month-by-month strategies to process through to the next big step to assist you in your business success. This month’s column topic will help you establish a new way to manage an aspect of your life and business that is probably siphoning off some much-needed mental energy from you—and therefore not allowing you to move forward to other beneficial goals.
Use Time Wisely
Every business has an economic ceiling, meaning supply and demand have limits. I am sure as a busy massage therapist you are familiar with your ceiling. This is the number of sessions you can complete each week that meet your financial goals while maintaining the physical energy you need to perform those sessions without taxing your body or creating injury. For many, that number is somewhere between 12 and 24 sessions a week.
When you are consistently booking your preferred number of sessions per week, this typically means your spare time is limited. If you are looking to create positive change and grow your business further, you have to find the energy or time to do that without losing the balance of what a thriving hands-on practice requires as well.
It’s quite the balancing act to be efficient while ultra-busy as a solopreneur. From my own experience, in order to have the energy or time to work on business growth, I must first find or create time and energy. Since none of us can magically create more hours in the day, it takes some creative organizing to find time when we think there isn’t enough of it.
To create more time, the first thing you have to do is look for ways to clean up, organize or simplify other areas in your life, therefore creating the mental space, energy and time to divert to working on business growth.
One of the best places to start creating more time for growth is to streamline the paperwork side of your life and business. Since a majority of paperwork has gone digital, we are going to talk about how to create more energy and time by streamlining your business digital needs; specifically, your email.
End Email Inbox Overwhelm
Busy professionals need to find the most efficient use of time that helps them to stay on top of their business. Starting with how email is managed and staying on top of the digital aspects of a business creates time, mental freedom and motivation.
In my business, I sit at a computer and frequently check my emails. I have noticed a theme with many of the massage therapists I work with: Since they stand at a massage table all day, the digital side of their life and business get neglected because it is not a requirement for their hands-on job.
Therapists have told me they may not even look at their emails but once or twice a week. I have also heard they feel lost in a sea of email, with 2,000-plus emails sitting in their inbox, and can’t seem to find what they need when they need it.
This approach can leave you frustrated. Seeing that large number of emails sitting in your inbox can feel identical to having a large pile of mail cluttering up your counter. Clutter drains you of mental energy, and you need mental energy to move forward for business growth.
5 Ways to Declutter Your Inbox
There are a few simple systems that can help you manage your email, starting today.
1. Separate your work email account from your personal account. This will require that you create a new email address for business-related emails only. This separation helps you identify your business needs faster.
2. Unsubscribe or delete any unnecessary subscriptions littering your inbox. Whenever you subscribe for emailed information or whenever you purchase from a business, your email is added to their email list. Some companies send email daily, and you must determine if you want or need the information coming from them. If you do not, then stopping the overflow of emails is the best thing you can do for your inbox overwhelm. You typically can find an unsubscribe link at the bottom of those emails.
3. Use folders, labels and filters. Folders and labels are the filing system inside your email account. All email service providers have a system where you can create folders to move your emails for future reference. Look over the email topics you have in your inbox and determine the categories you have. Some of those categories might be bills, income, education, client communication or licensing. If you do not know how to set up categories inside your email, you can search for a video tutorial that can easily assist you.
4. Use such filters as promotions, social media, primary or main inbox. Most email systems have options to presort your email for you. These options can be selected to be turned on when setting up a new email or they can be located in the settings area of your email. Look for the keyword “filter.”
5. Commit to cleaning up your emails and reaching a zero inbox. Spend five to 10 minutes a day in your inbox for cleaning up, deleting, moving emails to appropriate folders and responding as required. Missing important emails occurs because there are too many in your inbox. Lack of responding typically happens because the answering of those emails was forgotten. Try for a zero inbox—which means keeping your email inbox empty, or as close to empty as possible, at all times.
Free Up Energy
The feeling of having your life organized in your email is amazing. You will find that having this area of your life organized creates a feeling of success and accomplishment, contributing to the mental creativity you need for building the next phase of your business.
About the Author:
Amy Bradley Radford, LMT, BCTMB (ppsseminars.com), has been a massage therapist and educator for more than 25 years. She is the owner of Massage Business Methods and the developer of PPS (Pain Patterns and Solutions) Seminars CE courses and a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved CE provider. Her articles for this publication include “Start a Massage Practice. The MT’s Guide to Budgeting for Startup Costs & Monthly Expenses” and “The Client’s Body Does the Healing (The MT Provides the Opportunity).”