Eric Brown of BodyworkBiz (an online massage business resource) also owns Thermal Palms, Relax to the Max, World Massage Conference and Massage Therapy Radio. Sign up for the free BodyworkBiz massage marketing newsletter at http://bodyworkbiz.com/newsletter.php
Having a full practice is the number one concern among massage therapists. So I asked my BodyworkBiz subscribers to send me their best practice building tips.
I wanted to know the one thing they did that shifted their practice dramatically. Furthermore, I asked them whenever possible to provide me with specific details and and to outline their results in dollars and cents. I threw away more than 40% of the submissions I received.
In the end, I compiled 260 practice building ideas. These were not vague theoretical ideas, but extremely practical in the trench strategies that were tested and proven to work in practices like yours. I sold this for $99 at BodyworkBiz.com until I closed the BodyworkBiz site to pursue other project.
Over this past month I have taken all 260 tips from that course and formatted them into a book which is included in the 2018 Massage and Spa Resource Bundle offered by Gael Wood. In the bundle, you’ll get over $1,000 worth of resources for less than $40!
Getting images for your website, blog or newsletter used to be expensive with prices starting at $29 for individual images on the low end. Fast forward five years and there are a whole range of sites that offer beautiful stock images and photography that are 100% FREE to download and use. Here are a few that I’ve come across over the past little while.
Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through our discover pages.
With over 30,000 free stock photos and 3,000 new high resolution photos will be added every month, Pexels is one of my favorite free image sites.
Pixabay is another one of my favorite image sites. Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.
FreePhotos.cc is a free resource where you can find creative commons photos for your website or print projects. You can mention the photographer if you want, as a token of respect for the work, but it’s not required.
FreePhotos.cc uses the APIs from a few stock photo providers and gathers images in one place for easy preview and download. They are not associated with these services in any way, other than to power search results.
Unsplash has over 300,000 free high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.
The images are beautiful and there are some curated collections. However, I find that there are a lot of abstract or environmental images and finding images around a particular theme, like massage, is better done on some of the other sites.
Negative Space photos can be shared without copyright restrictions, meaning that you are free to use them however you please.
From architecture to technology, Negative Space‘s is a growing collection of images, but it is much smaller than some of the other sites listed here and finding the exact image you want may be a little bit more difficult because of it’s limited size.
Picjumbo is a collection of images, including photos and illustrations, available for personal or commercial use.
It is free stock photo site created in 2013 by designer & photographer Viktor Hanacek. He has about 1,900 free photos available to download. The images are excellent quality, but because the size of the library is somewhat limited, you may have a hard time finding exactly what you’re looking for.
I just recently came across this site. It houses mostly graphic images and very few photographs, so you’re not likely to find massage pictures. You can sign up for unlimited downloads for a year. No credit card is required.
The graphic images are good quality and many are unique, but searching for images is a little cumbersome.
Taking the Latin term that now means “free”, Gratisography is a site of high-resolution photos taken by Ryan McGuire, the founder of Bells Design. Everything on the site is free to use under Creative Commons Zero. The only thing he politely asks is money for his coffee fund. According to him, coffee allows this project to flourish, giving him the energy he needs to get things done.
The images are great, but like PicJumbo, the selection is a bit limited because it’s a one-man show.
With over 354 million free stock photos for bloggers, Visual Hunt’s catalogue is enormous. It pulls Creative Commons images from all over the web and puts them in an easily accessible, user-friendly interface. You may need to provide attribution to the photographer.
The photos are all tagged by category or genre, (“Nature,” “Animals,” “Computers,” etc.), making it easy to quickly sort through and find just the image you’re looking for to top off that new blog you’re working on.
Kaboompics is a collection of High Quality Photos offered for free to bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers & social media ninjas. Kaboompics is one of the most popular source of free images for lifestyle, interior design and specialized bloggers in World. Again, great images, but limited selection (7,700 images) because it is run by just one photographer.
Check out the Massage Nerd
I’m a big fan of Ryan “The Massage Nerd” Hoyme. If you are looking for massage pictures specifically, then go to his site and pick up a collection of 30,000 massage images for just $149! You can also get a sample pack of 150 massage images for just $15.
I continue moving out of the massage profession. The BodyworkBiz site has been closed for about three years now, but I’ve been publishing many of my resources as inexpensive books on Amazon. Most are available in both Kindle format and paperback.
At one time last year, I had five of my books in the top 20 list in the Massage section.
Here is my annual year in review. I’ve been doing these posts for a number of years now (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) and it’s a great exercise to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and learned over the previous year. If 2016 was a year of “gratitude”, then the theme for 2017 was “transitions”.
Just weeks before the New Year rolled in, my long time partner, Anne Williams, and I decided to get married. We wanted to do it before Seth turned 18, so we set a February date. We’ve both been there and done the marriage thing before, so we decided this would be our personal celebration. So we ran off to Las Vegas (Anne in a purple mini-dress with white go-go boots and me in a purple suit) and had a classic Elvis wedding.
At one point this year, I had five of my books in the top 20 massage bestsellers in Amazon. I’m glad this necessary marketing information lives on now that BodyworkBiz no longer exists.
Seth finished high school and was uncertain what direction his future would go in. He met a wonderful girl named Brianne and followed her to an Outdoor Adventure Naturalist program at Algonquin College where he is currently learning outdoor skills, from white water rafting to foraging for food. I know all parents go through the process of letting their kids go at some point. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier and it was very sad to have him leave home. I take comfort in the fact that he is having an awesome time and learning some fantastic skills.
My business partners, Scott Dartnall, Melanie Hayden, and I pioneered the idea of a virtual conference when we started World Massage Conference. Ten years ago, the idea of a virtual conference was unheard of as streaming video was still in its infancy and most of us were still using slow dial up Internet access. But we took the leap and created something truly unique. Ten years and about 400 online presentations later it’s still the premiere event in the profession as thousands of massage therapists from around the world join us online to learn from some of the top educators and experts in massage. This year marks my last year of producing the conference, but we have something very exciting planned for 2018. Stay tuned.
The fall was relaxing. I put up my feet for a while, so to speak and explored the world of English. I also continued my education in video and filmmaking, joining some great groups and getting out with my camera.
I’ve always said that every therapist should be developing an email list and communicating regularly with their clients. It doesn’t matter if you have 30 clients or 3,000 clients. And I’m constantly shocked that almost no therapists do this.
I think part of the problem is that the idea of writing and producing an email newsletter is just too intimidating… and possibly expensive. Well, four years ago, one of the largest commercial email providers, MailChimp, released a free service that made the whole process super simple.
As you discover in my new book, TinyLetter Guide: Set up, design and send your first email newsletter in under an hour… for free!, it’s not much more complicated than writing an email in Gmail or in whatever email program you use. At the same time it takes care of all the unpleasant tasks like managing subscribers, keeping archives, tracking replies, creating signup forms. All that yucky stuff is mostly invisible to you, so you can focus on what’s important: Developing a relationship with your clients.
In this book I’ll take you through the process of setting up your own email newsletter. Just follow along and complete the tasks as I outline them. There are lots of pictures and illustrations so you can see exactly what needs to be done. You will:
Right now the book is only available in Kindle version, but you don’t need a Kindle reader. You can read the book on any device: Your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. I may release a print version later down the road.
I’ll be doing some livecasting around the topic of email over the next couple of days and answering questions. Follow me on Facebook so you can get notifications of the broadcasts: https://www.facebook.com/ebrown1.
The BodyworkBiz site as you’ve come to know it will close down for good as of the end of June. If you’ve purchased the BodyworkBiz Retirement Package your access ends in June. I extended access from one year to two and a half years, but the site is aging and has to come down.
New Resources Available for You
If you’ve taken any of the courses, you know how practical and effective they are at bringing new clients into your practice and increasing your sales. So I hate to let these incredible resources simply get dusty and die.
So last year I produced 60 Clients in 60 Days as a book, which quickly became a number one bestseller on Amazon. And not too many months ago I quietly released Fill Your Practice 101 as a book as well. (Sorry I didn’t tell you about that one.) They are priced super low, so that anyone can afford them. So you should probably click over to Amazon now and pick them up.
My plan over this next year is to gradually publish all the BodyworkBiz classes and resources as books or video courses and make them available on public platforms like Amazon and SkillShare.
This is an updated version of the “watch and do” portion of the Email Marketing Lesson from the Web Marketing MBA program.
And you can get access to it for free if you like! I’ll tell you how in a minute.
I’ve always said that every therapist should be developing an email list and communicating regularly with their clients. It doesn’t matter if you have 30 clients or 3,000 clients. And I’m constantly shocked that almost no therapists do this.
I think part of the problem is that the idea of writing and producing an email newsletter is just too intimidating… and possibly expensive. Well four years ago, one of the largest commercial email providers, MailChimp, released a free service that made the whole process super simple. It’s not much more complicated than writing an email in Gmail or in whatever email program you use. At the same time it takes care of all the unpleasant tasks like managing subscribers, keeping archives, tracking replies, creating signup forms. All that yucky stuff is mostly invisible to you, so you can focus on what’s important: Developing a relationship with your clients.
So in this video course, which is about an hour long, I’ll take you through the process of setting up your own email newsletter. All you need to do is look over my shoulder and my screen and do what I do. Just pause the video when you need to to complete your task. In about an hour, we’ll:
Sign you up and configure your account
Create and customize your sign up form
Design your newsletter
Write the newsletter copy
Add five subscribers
And send your first newsletter
…all in about an hour!
And the email service is absolutely free!
No strings, no catches, no upsells, no advertising. The only limitation is that you can only have 5,000 subscribers. But, hey! If you have 5,000 subscribers you can probably afford to pay me to manage a paid email service for you.
How do you get it for free?
You can sign up to the TinyLetter newsletter service for free on your own anytime. But if you really want to make it happen, be absolutely sure to watch my video course. It’s hosted on SkillShare which is an online learning community with over 15,000 courses.
You need to sign up, but you can get the first month free by signing up through this link:
You’re under no obligation. You can cancel your subscription anytime within a month and pay nothing, but at just $8 per month for the annual plan, it’s worth it to sign up. I’ll be posting all my future video courses on this site and as a SkillShare subscriber, you’ll have access to all of them.
If you want to see the introduction to the course (it’s just my talking head), go here:
The profession has certainly come along way since I became a therapist in 1989. Indidana State University now offer a minor in Massage through their Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation. They are using Erik Dalton’s myoskeletal alignment techniques as a basis of the curriculum. That a university it taking this one as a minor certainly shows how far mainstream massage is becoming.
This blog is a bit of a ghost town since I’ve closed down BodyworkBiz two years ago, but if you’re curious as to what’s happened to me over the past year, here’s what’s been going on.
My attention has shifted from the world of massage to the world of English. Almost two years ago I became CELTA certified as an English as a Second Language teacher. I knew absolutely nothing about English. Just like a fish that realizes he’s wet, I discovered I was swimming in a linguistic sea that I knew nothing about.
I started teaching my first class and was writing the conjugation of “to be” on the board:
But I heard myself saying:
Weird sounds were coming out of my mouth. Why was I adding y’s and w’s to every sound? It was bizarre! When I told my fellow English teachers that they do Wit, everyone said, “No Wi don’t!” It was my first clue that things are not as they seem when it comes to language instruction and learning.
Anyways, I’ve continued to devote a lot of my time to the development of a very unconventional online English as a second language learning program. It’s an enormous project, but I will start releasing some of it in 2017. Very exciting stuff.
I never thought I’d visit India, but in the name of love, spent two months living there in the spring. It was my first time to a developing country and was truly a mind-shifting experience. It’s a country that personifies resourcefulness and the strength of the human spirit.
The thing I love about travelling is that your senses are on alert and even the most mundane things are new. When I spent a month in France last fall, I had a lot of fun blogging about the little cultural differences I was noticing each day. In the case of India, there was really nothing familiar that I could hook into. Everything was new and different. Each foray into the outside world was an adventure. It was difficult to take in the experience because my senses were constantly overwhelmed with the exotic sights, sounds, smells, tastes and way of being.
I got my first Rickshaw ride (they call them “autos” here) and it was a harrowing experience. I can’t even begin to tell you what traffic is like here. It can only be experienced. The roads are filled with every sort of vehicle imaginable (trucks, cars, motorcycles, bikes, and thousands of rickshaws). Sidewalks are pretty much non-existent and where they do exist they are vendors stalls, homes, trash heaps, public urinals, cow parking and more. So everybody walks on the street. Throw in a smattering of cows, goats, chickens, and dogs (unbelievable numbers of street dogs) and you have the makings of complete chaos.
In a city of about 12 million people, there is not one stop sign. There are no such things as lanes. Where lane markings exist, they are simply regarded as decorations. Traffic lights are suggestions rather than absolutes. And everyone beeps their horns non-stop – everyone! I don’t understand what all the horn honking does except perhaps making you believe that it gives you some type of magical control over the hordes of moving things on the streets.
I worked for the two months I spent there. And I got the feeling for what it was like being an outsourced overseas worker. I sat pretty much right on the other side of the globe, so I would be up at 5:00 am to prepare for an North American evening broadcast and was working up to midnight on broadcasts that were happening the next morning. I had such a hard time getting my time zones right. Living a half day into the future was very confusing!
I feel eternally grateful for the opportunity to have had an India experience and thank Krittika Sharma for all her love and care.
Without travel, you can never return home. And on my return I had a whole new appreciation for the place I call home. My senses were awakened to all the things I loved about Canada. It was as if I was experiencing my country, my home, for the first time.
My son, who many of you have come to know through my courses and this blog (and through Seth the Chef) is growing up. He is now in his last year of high school and like me, is thinking about what he wants to do when he grows up. Here he is today with his step-sister.
I had some fun expanding my video skills. Here’s a little video I did of a flash mob. See if you can spot Marla Gold, World Massage Conference’s administrative goddess. And you’ll see my weaving in and out of the dancers, playing with one of my new gimbals.
I continue to extract myself from the massage profession. Slowly, but surely. I produced the ABMP Head & Neck Summit. About 17,000 massage professionals signed up for the event. And this was followed by a groundbreaking full day online workshop with Erik Dalton. Nothing like this had ever been done before in the profession, so it was very exciting. My hats off to ABMP for being willing to entertain such a crazy idea and push innovation in the profession.
World Massage Conference ran its 9th annual conference. Next year will be the last year of my involvement. I came across this schedule (see image) from the 2009 show when we did almost 80 live presentations in the span of a week – all live streaming. Was I insane?!
I also attended the World Massage Festival this year to meet up with some old friends and meet some of my loyal BodyworkBiz fans.
With our inaugural issue’s cover girl: Monica Pasinato-Forchielli.
Oh ya, almost forgot… I served as Editor-in-Chief for Canadian RMT Magazine. My good friend Scott Dartnall always drags me into projects even if I’m kicking and screaming. So I was enlisted to help with the launch of a new Canadian magazine. We had super high level people contributing to the magazine including Tina Allen, James Waslaski, John Barnes, Til Luchau, Erik Dalton and so many more talented writers and educators. We got two issues out before the end of the year and each magazine was distributed to about 10,000 therapists free of charge. If you are interested in taking a look, I believe you can view it online and you should be able to find links on the magazine’s Facebook page.
One of my highlights of the fall was hanging out with a falconer for the day. She was the real deal with about 80 birds of prey. I got to fly some owls. (I have completely fallen in love with owls). And to finish the day, we took a hawk for a walk in the woods. He followed us through the trees and every once and a while I’d call him to come back to my arm. It was truly a day I’ll never forget.
Access to the BodyworkBiz site will close for good in 2017, but I’ll extend everyone’s access until June. I’ll publish some of the resources as books through 2017 so practitioners can continue to benefit from the information. Currently, 60 Clients in 60 Days and Fill Your Practice 101 (also in Kindle) are available on Amazon at discounted prices. You’ll have a short time to pick them up so you can add them to your library. You’ll still see my face around for one more year before I make my final exit.
I’ve been doing these posts for a number of years now (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and it’s a great exercise to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and learned over the previous year. Feel free to publish your own “Year in Review” and post it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you’re up to.
At the end of each year I take the time to reflect back, take stock of what’s happened and chart my direction for the future. This year has certainly been a year of shifts and changes, of closing old doors and opening new ones.
Last year I decided to take a leap and leave the massage profession by giving up my massage license. I wanted the departure to be quick, but it’s difficult to extricate myself out of a world that I’ve been deeply involved in for 26 years. The departure continues. BodyworkBiz is now closed, I’ve scaled down my involvement in World Massage Conference and have been actively looking for a buyer for Thermal Palms.
I always wanted to write a best seller and was sure that I could. So as proof of concept, I released 60 Clients in 60 Days on Amazon where it shot up to the number one spot like a bullet. Amazingly, I was able to write, edit, format, publish and get it to the number one spot in just two weeks! By the way, it’s still available on Amazon for just 99 cents! (And as I was writing this blog post and checking out the book on Amazon I see it got an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5!. Hey, that’s better than the iPhone!)
With time on my hands I got more into French language. It’s my cultural background, but I’ve only ever been functional and never fluent in speaking. And as I explored courses and programs, I realized that language instruction sucks and I wanted to learn how it could be done better.
So I did an intensive ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor certification program to better understand conventional approaches to language learning. I absolutely loved the experience of being back in school again. But I’m not someone who loves convention and as you can see from the slide in this photo, I took some unusual approaches to teaching that got me applause from the class, but failing marks from my trainer.
I discovered some unique and somewhat radical teaching approaches and came up with a crazy idea for an online ESL training program. This lead me to hanging out in cottage in July with Hollywood writer, Stephen Witkin, as we explored narrative for the project. (Oddly enough, although he lives in LA and he’s not someone I know, he has a picture of my ex-wife in an elephant suit hanging in his cottage. Don’t ask me to explain.) A fascinating process and fun times. What’s to come of all of this? I’ll let you know in 2016.
I crossed off one big item off my bucket list in September as I journeyed through France with only my knapsack and a desire to meet some cool people, speak French and eat great food.
I booked a AirBnB residence for only two nights on arrival. After that, I made up my itinerary from day to day, going wherever circumstances or curiosity took me. That lead me to lots of adventures including eating giant snails and pig cheeks, exploring catacombs, mushroom hunting, climbing sand dunes, singing the blues, sleeping in a medieval village, and hanging out (literally) at a nudist colony. I kept a daily blog of the France trip for anyone who was interested in joining me on the journey.
It was back to work on my return to Toronto as my World Massage Conference partners Melanie Hayden and Scott Dartnall and I produced the ABMP Back Pain Summit, the largest event in the history of massage. We stopped promoting it when we got to 14,000 registrants as we were quite certain that our servers would explode. Over 7,000 people ended up attending the live event. It was awesome!
I never thought I would own a house. That just seemed too grown up for me. But I picked up a little place in my hometown. Although I have no plans to move out of Toronto for the immediate future, at least I’ll have a nice little home for retirement whenever that may happen. A big thanks to my mom and dad for the work they did on it.
I crossed a second item off my bucket list this fall as I made a trip to the Big Apple with the lovely and talented Krittika Sharma. It’s crazy that I’ve never visited New York before. Otherwise, I took most of the fall off, thoroughly enjoying my home and the people in my life.
The one thing that we can count on in our lives is change. As much as we would like to freeze our lives as a moment in time when things are good, that’s not the way life works. This year I’ve felt the pain of many losses, both professionally and personally. At the same time I’m thankful for the pillars that have remained unchanged and I’ve thoroughly delighted in the new people, experiences and opportunities that have filled the vacuum.
This may be the last post I do for this blog as I continue to migrate out of the massage profession. But feel free to keep in touch on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter where I’ll be sharing new projects, experiences and lessons learned in the years to come.
The BodyworkBiz Retirement package is only available for a few more days, so check it out and get it now. We’re both savvy enough to know that leaving it “til later” means “never” and you don’t want to miss out. And the pay what you can offer means there’s no excuse for not getting access to these awesome resources.
This is a “pay what you can” offer. That means you choose the price.
But some people are uncomfortable with that and have been writing to ask me what they should pay. These resources are worth well over $2,000 and I’ve suggested you pay just $199. It’s less than a 1/10th of what they are really worth. That is incredible value and is pretty much within anyone’s reach.
If you are really struggling financially, then pay $99.
If you are absolutely destitute, enter $20 to $50.
If you are homeless or can’t even afford to buy groceries, you can get it for $0. I’ve gone hungry at points in my life because I couldn’t afford to buy groceries, so I understand.
I just ask you to be honest and pay what you can, not a low-ball price because you’re cheap. I’m doing this to help therapists who sincerely want to change their life circumstances, transform their business and touch more lives. I’m not doing this for tire kickers or curiosity seekers.
If you used this pricing structure for your own clients, you’d want them to be honest.
A little self-reflection…
This offer has been an interesting exercise because it makes me, and hopefully you, think about what has value in your life. Most therapists are willing to pay $700+ per year for their cable TV package (that’s the average cost), but therapist surveys show that most therapists spend less than that on marketing their practices each year. That means most therapists value entertainment and distraction more than building a solid client base and a firm financial future for themselves and their families. Is it no wonder that the average therapist makes under $20,000 per year?
How about you? Where do you put your resources? Where do you spend your time, energy and money? What’s really important to you?
Personally, I believe in investing in myself and my goals. I attended two events related to book publishing last year. They weren’t cheap and I debated whether to make the investment. Between travel and the cost of these two trainings, I probably invested about $10,000. But as a result, I was able to write, format, publish a book and get it to the number one best seller list on Amazon within a couple weeks. I feel confident that I can do that over and over again predictably and I will. Furthermore, I can charge $5,000 to $10,000 to help other aspiring authors do the same. Do you think I’d be able to do that after watching a few free videos and reading some free articles online? Of course, not. I made a real investment and got a real return on my investment.
The sad thing is that most therapists don’t recognize the value of investing in themselves and their businesses. As a result they struggle with frustration and financial uncertainty each day or end up working for minimum wage at a franchise or in jobs completely unrelated to massage.
If you are not successful in your practice it’s because you have not invested sufficiently. I urge you to invest in your business education. If you don’t like my approach there are others in the profession that are qualified to help you. For example Irene Diamond, Laura Allen and Felicia Brown are a few that come immediately to mind. They are all awesome humans, business consultants and educators who offer great business resources.
So I encourage you to do a little self-reflection this week. Think about how you invest your time, energy and money and whether those investments are being used in the best way possible to help you reach your life goals.