You have a lot going on: your massage practice, perhaps kids, family, books you want to read, classes you want to take. Moreover, don't forget all the things that you think you should be doing, like eating right or exercising, meditating, journaling and doing yoga every day.

You have a lot going on: your massage practice, perhaps kids, family, books you want to read, classes you want to take. Moreover, don’t forget all the things that you think you should be doing, like eating right or exercising, meditating, journaling and doing yoga every day.

Each one of these things is important and valuable. Each one of these things takes precious time. 

In light of all the things you want to do in your life, the question becomes: Do you really need to take the time for business development—aka, having a clue about what you’re going to do to move your bodywork business forward?

The answer, of course, is yes, you do. 

The time investment you make in creating and developing a solid business foundation will serve you well, now and in the future, eventually creating a practice that is successful and sustainable— a practice that supports you so that you can engage in all the things you want to do in your life.

In another article, I wrote about how you can find the time to work on your business and not just in your business. 

But, what about those things you think are good for your practice, but are actually huge time-wasters that bring you very little (if any) return on your time investment?

You need to not only be present for your business and focus on tasks that will bring you the greatest benefits, but you also need to get rid of time-wasters that may be keeping you from reaching your goals in your business.

Today, I’m going to share three common time-wasting mistakes that bodyworkers make, and the tools that you need to stop making them.

Biggest Time Waster Number 1: Social Freaking Media 

I’m not a huge fan of social media. I’m pretty darn old school in my approach to life. I like paper, I like pencil, I like time to reflect, dream and to just be. I only recently got a smartphone.

The research around social media is damning. (“Irresistable: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” by Adam Alter, will really open your eyes.)The average American spends—wait for it—123 minutes a day on social media. Two hours and 3 minutes. 

Takeaway: Think of what you could do with an extra two hours a day. You would have an extra 40 hours every month to become the best you that you can be.

That said, there certainly is some value to having a social media presence when you’re starting to grow your business. Just remember to use social media as a tool and not to get sucked into the abyss of scrolling.

Limit time on your feeds. Maybe check in once or twice a week on your social media accounts. If you can’t do once or twice a week, do it once or twice a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon. If you absolutely have to check in all the time, then use a tool like Newsfeed Eradicator for Facebook.

You can also consider checking social media on your laptop, which is far more difficult to do than using a phone. This will open time to work on the things that you need to do to grow your business—to do the work you love.

Your Challenge: Cut back your social media consumption by 10 minutes each day this week. That will give you over an hour to work on creating a solid business foundation for your practice. You can do this!

Biggest Time Waster Number 2: Endless Trades with Other Bodyworkers 

A bodywork therapist that I’m working with in my private mentoring program told me that even though her schedule was full every week, she wasn’t earning enough money to pay her bills.

I asked the usual questions: Are you charging enough? Are you seeing enough people? When we delved into her business more closely, I saw that she had two to three trades with other bodyworkers every week. Those trades are costing her about $300 a week. Multiply that by four, and she could easily be making $1,200 more every month. (In addition, she wouldn’t even need to work any more hours!)

The worst part? She wasn’t even enjoying the trades anymore.

When we went even deeper into this issue, and talked it through, she confessed that she felt guilty about ending the trades and wasn’t sure how she could do it without hurting the feelings of the other practitioners. She was really struggling with her boundaries.

How do we fix this? The One and Done trade.

One and Done trades are a marvelous way to share your work with other therapists so that they can become referral partners and for you to get a taste of what other people are offering.

You get a sample of their work. They get a sample of yours.

Takeaway: After one trade with someone, if you’d like to continue receiving their services, you need to make an appointment with them and become a paying client. They need to do the same with you.

There’s something completely different about the energy around a paid session. It’s entirely different than if you go for a trade with somebody.

If you’re paying for a practitioner’s services and they’re paying for yours, you’ll both expand your practices more quickly so you can serve even more people.

And you’re telling the universe that you believe in the work enough to receive it yourself.

You’re putting it out there that you have respect for other bodyworkers’ time and skill.

You’ll be amazed at the energetic shift that happens when you stop doing endless trades with other practitioners.

But what about other trades? The only trade that I’ve done that lasted for an extended period of time was not with another bodyworker. It was with an interior designer and she really needed the work that I was doing—CranioSacral Therapy—and I really needed the work that she was doing—helping me design my treatment room. She helped me tremendously. 

Here’s a good guideline: You know you’re in an excellent trade when both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the bargain.

Your Challenge: Begin to scale back the trades you do with other bodyworkers.If you can’t make yourself drop the trade altogether, try trading more infrequently—maybe once a quarter, rather than twice a month. Watch paying clients begin to fill those slots that you were using for trades!

Time Waster Number 3: Searching Online for Clever Marketing Ideas 

Trust me, if this worked, I would have been the Queen of the Marketing World!

 You don’t need catchy phrases. 

You don’t need a clever business name. 

You don’t need flashy, polished social media images.

To create a sustainable practice, you need to go deeper and begin to truly connect with people.

And you don’t need a one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter approach to marketing that you can find online. You need a simple step-by-step marketing plan designed especially for you, ideally with the help of someone who’s already done what you want to do.

So, what’s a better use of the time that you’re spending online trying to figure this out on your own? 

Stop looking for shortcuts. 

Takeaway: Start reaching out to people who know you and your work. If you don’t have any clients yet, reach out to friends and family, and tell them you’re starting your own bodywork practice, and share the kinds of people you’d love to work with. 

Then make the ask. 

Don’t ask them to randomly share with everyone they know on Twitter. Instead, invite them to share information about your work with one or two other people who could genuinely be helped by the work you do.

If the thought of reaching out like this is terrifying to you, remember that in general, people want to help. It feels good to connect on a human (not digital) level. Detach from outcomes and start spreading the word.

Your Challenge: Contact two people this week and ask for referrals in a heartfelt, humble way. Focus on the work and on the people you were born to help. Then detach from the outcomes and watch the magic happen.

Take Back Your Time

Start scaling back on these three time-wasters so that you begin to have the time to work on your business. 

You will also find that you have more time for your life and for the things that are important to you.

Mindy Totten

About the Author

Mindy Totten, LMBT, CST-D, helps bodyworkers build profitable businesses so you can serve more people AND make a great living doing it. Learn more about her and her work here.