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What if you didn’t accept tips?

No Tipping?

What if you didn’t accept tips? Your clients would be happier, come more frequently and spread your name to all their family & friends. In turn, you would be happier, busier and have more time for yourself. Also, your customers would view you as a “health professional” like others in the health community such as personal trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, hypnotherapists (yes they made it on the list too). These professions don’t typically receive tips.

How would you make up the difference?

You’d simply make up the difference by raising your prices.  

This restaurant did the following, 

In lieu of tipping, menu prices at Park Kitchen have increased by 18% to 20% to maintain its profit margin – but in the end, customers will end up paying the same amount.

According to research by Michael Lynn, professor of consumer behavior and marketing at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, most people tip not based on service, but because they feel guilty and obliged. He also found that 53% of customers liked the idea of higher menu prices where tipping is not permitted.

It’s a mixed bag

Tipping is part of American culture. We like showing our gratitude with rewarding great service with a good tip or vice versa. But “no tipping” policies have been known to backfire. Especially in cases where people rely on tips or customers are known to tip really well. In cases like these, companies would have to step in to provide higher salaries to their employees to make up for the loss of revenue.

My personal experience

I’ve worked in places where there’s absolutely no way I’d survive without my tips. But, when I became self-employed, I instantly adopted a no tipping policy and love it.  Here’s why.
It puts less stress on the client. They can come in, pay their bill and leave. There’s no hemming and hawing about how much to tip.
It puts less stress on me too. No tipping took away all the awkwardness. It freed up more time in between sessions. Biases were completely removed from the interaction.  They show gratitude by rebooking and referring.  Two things I prefer over a tip.
As a result of not accepting tips, my clients and I are happy. It’s a win-win for all. 

Let me know your thoughts around tipping.

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Simple 5-step digital marketing plan that won’t break the bank

Google Search Marketing

So you want to be a massage therapist?  You want to work for yourself?  And, you want to make a decent living?  But, you don’t think that you can afford to market yourself?  Well, think again.  Here is a simple 5-step digital marketing plan that won’t break the bank and it works.

Note:  I pay an average of $14.11 per month using the following plan.  Yes, it’s doable.  And gives you a competitive edge.

Step 1:  Build A Website

Now, this may seem intimidating but it really isn’t.  There are many many places to build a website for free.  Look into Weebly, Squarespace, Wix, Website Builder, WordPress.  But my ultimate recommendation is to build your website on the platform. 

Step 2:  Setup Your Social Media

So many businesses start here and end here as a means for building their business.  In my opinion, this is a mistake.  Yes, social media is important for building an audience.  It’s also a great source of business leads.  One thing that has become pretty clear about social media is that it doesn’t do a great job at turning followers into customers.  That’s why a website is so important.  You want to use your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Yelp to drive visitors to your website.  At your website, you convince your visitors to call you, email you, and/or book an appointment with you.  

Step 3:  Submit Your Website To The Search Engines

You can do this manually by submitting your website to the top search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing.  This is free to do.  

Now if you want to submit your site to more search engines I highly recommend using a service like Entireweb.  The more places a link to your website equals greater chances of people finding your site.  Like all things, this has free and paid options.  The free version is adequate enough.  

Step 4:  Use Google Adsense

These are the ads you see at the top and to the right of all your searches in Google.  It’s worthwhile to have a few of these running under keywords that describe the type of clients you’re looking for.  Be as specific as possible because general words like massage, massage therapy, shoulder pain, back pain will cost you big bucks when people click on them.  These are keywords that are used by lots of businesses.  Most likely these businesses have a lot of money to burn compared to you.  Instead, use keywords like shoulder pain in the front shoulder, shoulder pain in (your city).  Be super specific.  The cost per click will drastically go down.  The idea is to have a presence in the search engines.  Not to have everyone click your ad.  

Step 5:  Promote with Facebook Ads

I’ll end here.  Facebook ads are super duper affordable and they are great for reaching your target market.  You can be as specific as possible when running ads on Facebook.  Although it only runs on Facebook, it’s pretty successful.  You can use these ads to guide people to your Facebook page or to your website.  You can use the more common words like shoulder pain, massage therapy, massage, etc on this platform without being penalized.  

Final Advice

If you don’t have the time or the brain power to do keyword searches or come up with creative ads, I recommend that you find someone on Fiverr to get this done for you.

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A path to better time management

Time Management

At one point or another, we all have to take a good look at how we manage our time.  There will come a point where you complain that you don’t have enough time.  You’ll read self-help books and websites for guidance.  YouTubers will motivate you just enough to get you through the day.  You can try bullet journal after bullet journal with little success.  Yet all these tools at your disposal and not a damn thing works!  How do I know this?  Because I’ve been there and I’ve talked to dozens of people who have been there too.  So what do you do?

You make a conscious decision that today you’re going to create a routine that will give you more time and provide me more value.  I’m going to stick with it for 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and so on.  I know you have a ton of different options of how you can manage your time so here’s one more, mine.

Create a Self Honor Statement

I will do the following every day.

  • Will not get involved in gossip, drama or speaking negatively of anyone.
  • Show up to work 30 minutes early every day.
  • Leave my workstation clean and prepped for the next workday.
  • Surround myself with those who share common values and goals.

This statement is comprised of personal morals, values, and ethics that you will live by daily without thinking about them.  In a sense, these are your scriptures that guide you to being productive, focused and distraction-free.  And ultimately giving you back your time.  I listed 4 of mine above.  

The Unquestionable Routine

Build a routine that has hard starts and stops.  Always leave time for yourself and your family.  Make sure your family agrees with your routine so that they can support you and vice versa.  So here’s a routine that will surely give you back your life.

  1. Wake up early
  2. Journal
  3. Family/Free time
  4. Work
  5. Family time.
  6. Journal
  7. Go to bed early.

The Break Down

Waking up early

Talk to any successful person in any industry and they will tell you that waking up early is the key to success.  Your mind and body are the sharpest at this time of day assuming you’ve had a good night sleep.  It’s quiet. You don’t have commitments.  Can get a lot done.  Some people like to take this time to read, write, stretch, meditate, drink coffee, listen to music.  It’s your time to enter the world.  Decide how you’d like to do that.

I wake up at 4 am daily.  I take this time to drink coffee and write blog posts.  


Adopting this into your morning routine is key.  It allows you to do what I call a mind dump.  Get it all out.  Just write everything you’re thinking about.

I am normally thinking about what I need to get done that day so I tend to write lists.  I refer to these throughout my workday. 

The Scattered Squirrel makes great free downloadable planners and journals.  Check out the website here.

Family/Free Time

Your family should be just as involved and supportive of your routine for it to work.  You need to come up with a functional plan that everyone can get on board with.

Weekday mornings I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I walk the dogs.  I work out.  Mind you, my workday usually starts at 12.  On the weekends, I workout.  I don’t have the responsibilities of cooking meals and walking dogs.


If you are self-employed, I would urge you to set a schedule.  Only work during your set hours.  That way you have a hard start and stop time that you can commit to and train others to respect.  If people can’t respect your hours then you don’t need them as clients.  Remember this is about freeing up time for YOU.

I use to work around the clock.  What that translated to was no time for me and burnout.  It took a lot to reverse the patterns I had established but once I did, I felt great.  Not only did I feel great, my clients were much more organized about their time, and I bettered my relationship with my family & friends.

I made a definitive hard start & stop time to my work day.  My day starts 30 minutes before I see my first client.  Before I leave for the day, I clean my office as to walk in the office the next day ready to begin my day.  I carved out time in my workday to be able to return calls, answer email, enter client information.  ***Put in your communications when you return correspondence.  For example, my emails say I will respond M-F at 2 pm or 6 pm.

Family Time

Don’t take your family for granted.  Make them a priority.  If you don’t have a family, this applies to distant family members, animals, and friends.  Be home for dinner, watch tv together, attend functions, spend time with your pets.  Things that let others know you care about them and vice versa.

You can also use this time for your personal enjoyment.  Get a hobby.  Meet friends.  Relax.  Work-life balance.  It’s essential to living a healthy life.

I’m fortunate enough to live close to my parents.  Every week I spend time with each of them.  They have helped me feel like my time is valuable and is well spent.  I’ve also to learned to play the guitar, play table tennis, and educate myself on new massage techniques.


Check in with your checklist from the morning.  Cross off all that you got done.  Next, write down what’s on your mind.  Write one thing you’re grateful for too.

I like ending my day on a positive note so I always like to end with what I’m grateful for.  It’s fun to look back at my journal entries to see how far I have come.

Go To Bed Early

Nothing good ever happens after midnight.  – Bo Schembechler

I first heard this quote in college.  Remembered it ever since.  Turn off the tv.  Drop the game controller.  Hang up the phone.  Put down the cookies.  Replace that with a good night sleep.  Have trouble sleeping?  Build a nightly routine.  Stop eating by 7.  Journal.  Read.  Shower. Drink camomile tea.  Lay in in bed.  Train yourself to go to bed early.

As an entrepreneur with very high goals, I can’t afford to waste my time running idol.  Yes, it occasionally happens but for the most part, I’m in bed every night by 10.  Ready to get a jump start on my day.

Final Thoughts

Life can become overwhelming PDQ (pretty damn quick).  Once it starts to pile up, it seems impossible to get control of it.  But, you can chip away at the pile bit by bit to get it down to a manageable level.  It takes two things willpower and planning. You can do it!


Do you have a routine that you follow?  I’d love to know what it is, how it’s helped you.  Comment below. 

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FREE Massage Salary Calculator

Salary Calculator

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[Download] Trouble growing your clientele? Don’t give up. Try this.

Grow your clientele

Know who your ideal client is and talk to them.  

How do I know who my ideal client is?

You create them.  

My ideal customer is a person who is familiar with massage and is seeking massage for very specific work.

I came up with this statement after years of being in the industry.  This is the customer I enjoy working with and working on the most.

Why do I need an ideal customer?

An ideal customer profile helps you better direct your marketing efforts towards their needs.  If you can do this effectively, you will increase your business with people you care to work with and build a loyal customer base.  

Think about the places you frequent the most and why you return to them.  Do you think it’s by coincidence that they have gained your business?  No.  Most likely you are their ideal customer.

Creating your ideal customer takes work.  As simple as my ideal customer sounds, it took years of brain power to form that statement.  Not to mention, the statement is always evolving and changing.  And, that’s okay.  Yours will too.  Especially as we grow in our careers, our needs, wants and desires change.  So will our customer.  For example my original customer was anyone, then I focused on health insurance, to finally the above description.  

Crafting our ideal customer

Crafting our ideal customer is a strategy that helps us focus on our goals.  Let’s say the goal is making $100k/yr salary.  This figure is going to determine how we reach, communicate, market, build a working relationship, design incentives and grow our skills.  This is where it’s necessary to know who were are seeking as clients.  

I recently had a massage therapist seek my help in growing her practice. 

She had been in business a year but it was under performing. 

My very first question to her was, “Who is your customer?” 

You know what?  She couldn’t answer the question. 

I took her through this super simple but effective drill. 

Try it for yourself.

  1. Take 2 minutes (time it if necessary) to write down all the characteristics you require in your ideal client.  This exercise gets easier the longer you work in the field and with the more bodies you work on because you get a sense of who you connect with.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  No erasing or back spacing.  This is for your eyes only.
  2. Take 30 seconds cross out all words you can live without.  If you have to think about it, cross it out.
  3. Take 1 more minute to write down more characteristics.
  4. Now, narrow your list down to 3 characteristics.
  5. Write sentences for each item on your list.  Start your sentences with
    • My ideal customer is ____________________________________________.
  6. Now marry all 3 sentences together.  You may find that you keep all three, or two and maybe just one.  That is okay.

Congratulations you have done the first iteration of your ideal customer!  Remember it can change over time.  

Download the My Ideal Client Worksheet to develop a detailed profile of who you’re selling to.

The massage therapist that I spoke of above came up with these 3 sentences:

  1. My ideal customers are Jewish women.
  2. My ideal customer is over the age of 50.
  3. My ideal customer plays mahjong.

We looked at these statements, read them out loud and began to play around with the wording.  She began to question her limits, values, demographics and eventually decided on:

  • My ideal customers are women over 50 who play mahjong.

A winning statement

That there is a winning statement.  It allows her to reach a wide diverse group of people in her community that she feels comfortable working with and on.  Because you’ve taken the time to identify your target customer profile it will make reaching them much easier.  Your messaging, branding should be speaking to them. 

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[Download] 5 Email Templates You Should Be Sending Your Clients

5 email templates

If you aren’t using emails to communicate with your clients, you should be.  They are a very effective tool for communicating to clients.  Here are a few more reasons why you should be using them:

  • Emails help limit the number of no shows.  
  • They are quick.
  • Have high deliverability and open rates.
  • You can be as direct or indirect as you want to be.
  • Clients feel they are less intrusive than a call, a text, a poke.
  • Clients also have control over who can contact them.

Simply put, email can be a very valuable tool – especially if you know how to use it.

Here are the emails you should be using.

The Standard 5

  1. Appointment Confirmation: Sent the day they make an appointment.  To give peace of mind that their appointment is acknowledged and made.
  2. Appointment Reminder:  Sent a day or two before the appointment to reconfirm their time and date as well as give options to cancel their appointment.
  3. Cancel Appointment:  If you or they cancel the appointment, this email should be sent immediately after to acknowledge the cancelled appointment but also to reschedule the appointment.  Possible suggesting available dates.
  4. Request A Review:  This should be sent anywhere from 1-5 days after the appointment while the service is still fresh in their mind.  It should only be sent to people who haven’t reviewed your service.
  5. Save the Dates:  Their email can be sent quarterly, giving clients a heads up of special dates you may have scheduled like vacation, training, etc.

Two More

Here are two other emails that are worth adding to this list.

  1. Sick Policy: Send this out at the beginning of a new season when people are likely to get sick.  Think winter & beginning of the school year.
  2. Weather Policy:  Let your customers know what are the parameters for canceling during bad weather.

What’s the best way to deliver email?

You don’t need fancy software or to spend money to create them. You can do something as quick and budget friendly as setting them up in your Gmail account. Here’s a blog post you should check out if you’re interested in this method, click here.  

However, the most common method is using an appointment scheduler like Fullslate, Square, Genbook.  These usually have a monthly fee.  They also come preloaded with generic email templates.  I would encourage you to customize the emails with information that is specific to your practice.

Customized email template

Subject: Massage Appointment Confirmation

Hi Sally,

Your appointment with Hayes Bodywork on 1/1/18 at 12pm is now booked.

You can visit {appointment link} to view or modify your appointment.

Thank you,

Felicia Hayes, LMT

Phone: 000-000-0000

Text: 000-000-0000 (Please ONLY text quick messages.  I will ONLY respond during regular business hours.)


4256 Your Street

Your City, Your State, Your Zip


1.  Coming from  

2.  Coming from

3.  Coming from

Sick Policy:  You will not be charged for missed appointments due to being sick REGARDLESS of when you cancel your appointment.

Crazy Weather:  You will not be charged for missed appointments due to weather conditions REGARDLESS of when you cancel your appointment.

Keep in mind that your clients usually have limited time.  These emails should not infringe on their time. 

My clients often compliment me on having all the details in my email.  It makes everyone’s life easier.

These key elements should be in your emails.  

  • Contact information.
  • Address.
  • Directions.
  • Any policies you enforce.
Make your emails stand out too

Also, highlight important information that you want your clients to know either by changing the text color, bolding the lettering, highlighting the text, or making certain words larger/smaller and italicizing.  These are all fantastic ways to draw your clients eyes to parts of the email you want them to notice.

If you want people to think you are not a robot, add a bit of personality to your emails.  It doesn’t have to be riddled with sarcasm but add some of you to the content.  You will see this in my emails which you can download here.

Never Miss Another Great Post! SUBSCRIBE.

Start creating email templates now

Train yourself to get in the habit of sending emails to your clients regularly. Make the emails purposeful and appropriate. Nothing is more irritating than receiving an email without any purpose. Clients might mark your emails as spam and rethink whether or not they should come back to you. So be smart about your email.  Ask yourself, “Would I like to know this information?”.

Another word of advice would be to start a list of regular questions you receive from your clients. Take a mental note as to how often you hear the same questions. This will determine if an email template would be appropriate to responding to these questions. For example, I also have email templates about price increases, the best ways to contact me, how to have insurance pay for massages and so forth. Now I may not send these emails out regularly, but I do when they are appropriate.

Creating and using an email template can save you a lot of time, especially if you find yourself sending out the same replies to clients. With an email template you can save the information that you’re frequently asked so you don’t waste time retyping or even copying and pasting it every time. Instead, the appropriate template can be selected and any new information can then be added to it if necessary before emailing it to clients.

Download the editable version of my email templates here.  Plus get 2 bonus email templates too.   

Don’t forget to subscribe to More Massage tools newsletter so you never miss an awesome post like this!

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A simple guide to get rich massaging

Get rich massaging

So, I just finished reading the article Tips to Improve Your Finances in the Massage & Bodywork magazine.  You can find the article here.  I was shocked to find that ONLY 3% of massage therapist make $75k or more a year and only 7% make $50k – $70k.  Seriously blew my mind because I thought those numbers would for sure be higher.  Then there were all kinds of other statistics that jumped out at me that you can read about on your own but for this post, I’m solely focusing of how to get rich as a massage therapist.  I’ll define rich as making more than $50k/year as a massage therapist.  However, this recipe for richness has no limits.  

The magic formula

Let’s say you want to make $100k per year.  Here’s how the formula works.  

$100k / 12 months = $8300 month ← This is how much you need to make a month.  

$8300 / 4 weeks = $2075 per week  ← This is how much you need to make per week.  

$2075 / 5 – 7 days working per week = $415 – $296 ← This is how much you need to make per day respectively.  

A simple way to set your prices

Decide how many people you’d like to see a week.  Let’s see what the average cost per session would be at 25 weekly sessions.

$2075 per week / 25 people = $83 / average per session

Keep in mind this number is scalable depending on how many sessions you are doing per week.  It’s also dependent on what your pricing scale is for 60 minute, 90 minute, 120 minute and specialty massages.  I would recommend from experience that this figure be your 60 minute session price.  This is the minimum price you would need to make for you to reach your goal.  Everything else is extra or contributes to you reaching your goal faster.

Check your competitors prices to make sure you’re within the market range.  

Setting goals work

Setting goals is the number one driver to you achieving financial success.  Goals need to be broken down into smaller short-term ones.  Shorter goals makes it seem reachable.  The more short term successes we have, the more confidence we build and the more motivated we are to continue building our success.

Regardless of where you are in your career, I recommend setting weekly goals until you get a better picture of how your business operates.  When I first started this journey, I did this for the first 2 years.  It became a routine.  I got to see and understand in real time how holidays, marketing, weather, schools, client personalities effected my business.  These things matter.  They dictate things like visits, no shows, cancellations, how to utilize a wait list.  Basically things that effect the financial growth of your practice.  

Putting in the time

If you want the prize, you gotta put in the time.  You may look at the 25 sessions per week and say that’s a lot.  If you have high goals then you have to work for it.  As your business, brand, reputation grows you can reevaluate some of these things.  You can raise prices, give more options for your services, sell more gift cards, etc.  In theory, the older more established your business becomes the more you will earn and the less you will work.  

Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes.