BodyworkBiz Is Closing Up…

EricBrownAll good things must come to an end and I’ve decided that I’m going to close up shop here at BodyworkBiz and in fact to give up my 25 year career in massage to make way for other adventures. The world of massage has been good to me and very fulfilling, but like a fight champion, I’m bowing out of the ring while I’m on top.  I’m stepping into an abyss of sorts. I don’t have any clear next step right now, but I’ll be looking new opportunities and challenges outside of massage.

BodyworkBiz will continue to remain open for business for December to give everyone a chance to pick up any courses or resources before they come offline. I’ll be offering specials throughout the month as a clearance sale of sorts. Keep your eye on your inbox starting December 1st for more details.

If you’ve purchased courses, don’t worry. Even though products will no longer be available for sale, the Resource Center that houses your courses will remain open throughout 2015 and beyond. So you’ll be able to access anything you’ve purchased and will continue to receive support for the next year.

I studied business in university and was quite successful with my clinics, my corporate chair massage business and my school. However, I saw so many therapists struggling in their practices that I decided to start Practice Success in 1998 to help give these therapists the skills they needed to be successful in their businesses. I did a lot of touring and speaking, but after the birth of my son in 1999, I decided to take my practice building workshops online so I could spend time at home enjoying my boy while he was still young.

BodyworkBiz was born in 2000 and offered some of the first online courses ever for massage therapists. This was early in Internet years. The browser had just come out in 1995 and dial up access through your phone line was still the norm. Many of those early courses were done through expensive teleconference lines and I would pay transcriptionists to type out the calls and would post those transcriptions online. The web was still largely text and people were still excited to get email. Pictures would take too long to download to be used extensively and video streaming was pretty much non-existent.

BodyworkBiz was very successful despite the low tech nature of our profession. In the early years, BodyworkBiz would get more traffic than even the AMTA website according to various monitoring services. Over these past 15 years, I’ve help tens of thousands of therapists grow their businesses and develop soul-satisfying practices. And in the process I’ve helped them reach hundreds of thousands of new customers, expand their reach and assist them in literally touching and changing the lives of people in their communities.

My business and marketing articles have appeared in massage journals both at home and internationally. I’ve built over 100 massage websites, helped some of the biggest names in the massage profession with their marketing, and have served as a consultant for some of the largest organizations in our industry. In addition, I co-founded both  Massage Therapy Radio and World Massage Conference.

World Massage Conference, if you’re not familiar with it, is an online massage conference and the largest event in the history of massage seven years running, with about 20,000 paid registrations in 2014.

The conference will continue to run and because it’s so big, I’ll stay involved part-time to help make sure it continues to operate smoothly and deliver exceptional continuing education to massage therapists.

Why am I leaving a profession that has been so good to me? Everything comes to an end at some point and my preference is to leave on top. I feel like I’ve pretty much taken on every challenge possible in this industry, from pioneering chair massage in Canada, running clinics, working on massage legislation, to pioneering online education and running the largest events in the massage world. It’s a small profession and there are not many opportunities to go any higher or further and I’m ready to push myself to another level.

What will I do next? I’m not sure. I’ve always been a proponent of action. If you’re not sure what to do, then just do something. You’ll find out soon enough if it was the right thing or not. Whatever happens, you’ll learn and grow in the process. So I’m stepping into a bit of a void to see what will happen. It will be an adventure and I’ll keep you updated.

Cheers,

Eric Brown, Grand Massage Poobah
http://bodyworkbiz.com

Update! Here’s the link to the Retirement Package:

 

This will take you to the page where you’ll see everything you get for just $199.

 

 

Be Unrealistic

baby lifting

When I started World Massage Conference seven years ago, I enlisted a couple of equally naive friends to help me and insisted that we make this the biggest event ever in the history of massage. There was no such thing as a virtual conference at that point. I looked for models, but no one had done anything like this… in any industry. We did six days of live streaming broadcasts, from early morning to late at night, to a profession of low tech practitioners at a time when live streaming broadcasting was still in its infancy.

I don’t remember the exact number, but we must of had 8,000 paid registrants from around the world at that first event.

In retrospect, as with many things I’ve done, it didn’t make sense. It was a crazy thing to do. I was naive and neither my partners or I had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. The first day of broadcasting was chaos and we were just praying that things wouldn’t explode when we pressed the buttons to get started.

But we accomplished an incredible feat bringing dozens of the top massage experts from around the world into people’s living rooms. And seven years later it still remains the largest event in the history of massage every year with more than double the registrations of our first year. We accomplished so much simply because we were completely unrealistic!

So the next time you do not feel competent enough to try something new, simply ask yourself if that belief has ever helped you. If not get rid of it and get a new belief because at the end of the day an unrealistic vision that pushes you to new levels of achievement is far better than a realistic one that makes you feel impotent and incapable of making changes in the world around you.

What’s one crazy thing would you like to do, but have never taken action on because you’ve been too realistic?

 

Vomit Your Brain Onto Paper

thought vomit with textI call it “thought vomit”.

My mind is very active and I’m sure yours is too. I have all these thoughts that roll around in my head. And if I listen to my thoughts, I find that they are often the same things going around and around and around like a “thought carousel”.

All these ideas and thoughts that are spinning in my head make it difficult to focus and give attention to the things I need to get done now.

I’ve found that the easiest way to clear my mind is to simply throw the ideas down on paper. I don’t worry about organizing the ideas or whether they make sense or whether they have any value. I just get them out of my body as quickly as possible as thought vomit.

Once they’re out I feel so much better. My mind is so much clearer and I can once again focus more sharply on the task at hand.

I have dozens and dozens of thought vomit notebooks. Sometimes there are some ideas that are worth pursuing. These ideas may turn into a business concept, a marketing initiative, a course, or maybe a blog post. Sometimes it’s all just a bunch of nonsense, but in any case it frees my mind to be productive.

Listen to your own mind. Do you hear the same things repeating themselves over and over? Do you feel too distracted to really focus on the work at hand? Then grab a piece of paper. Set aside 15 minutes (timer optional) and just get it all out on paper and see what that does for you.

Tell me about the experience in the comments below or in the Facebook Group set up for this challenge.

What Are Your Big Rocks? (A Little Story)

big rocks

An expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.

As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” He pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”

He said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”

By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.

“Good!” he replied.

He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”

“No!” the class shouted.

Once again he said, “Good.”

This time he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. He looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things in it!”

“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

What are the ‘big rocks’ in your life? Your children; your loved ones; your education; your dreams; a worthy cause; teaching or mentoring others; doing things that you love; time for yourself; your health; your significant other.

Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all.

And that’s really what the 30-Day Productivity Challenge is all about. It’s not about doing lots of work. It’s about doing your work efficiently so you can focus on the big rocks. Here’s my definition of productive…

productive2

If you spend too much time on the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then you’ll fill your life with activities and things that don’t really matter, and you’ll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks).

So, think about this short story, ask yourself: “What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life?” Then, put those in your jar first.

If you’re not signed up for September’s 30-Day Productivity Challenge, you can do so for free here: 

Why You Need to Communicate Visually

You may have noticed an increasing shift in the level of visual communication as technology allows us to finally communicate in the way we naturally communicate.

The original BodyworkBiz site was built in 1999. That’s dinosaur time in the Internet world given that the first Internet Explorer web browser only came out in 1995.

It’s only in the past five years that high speed internet has enabled us to effectively communicate with images and video. So BodyworkBiz which has been largely text-based to maximize accessibility is getting a major upgrade to reflect the changing times and changing needs of massage therapists. Look out for it in the next month.

People are expecting to be communicated with in more visually engaging ways. How can you incorporate visual communication into your marketing?

Haiku Deck is one of my favorite presentation tools. Check out Seven Keys to Business Success or Become Incredibly Selfish, both which have been done using this free tool.

How Do You Define Productivity?

We are entering Day 3 of the 30-Day Productivity Challenge and I haven’t really defined what it means to be productive.

I get the sense that a lot of people are thinking of productive in the economic sense of the word. You produce to get economic rewards regardless of the consequences. It’s the kind of typical definition that you find with a Google search:

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As a result of this economic focus, I see some of the participants resisting the idea of being productive. And that’s understandable. For example, one participant says this:

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[ “As I sit at the dining room table chatting w my son as he does his homework and my husband who is sharing some music he likes, I ask myself hmmm not exactly “productive” and yet so important for the heart! Sooo sometimes it doesn’t always feel like each minute has to be productive to be life enriching.”]

Excellent point Jacqueline. I agree with you. Sitting down and just enjoying being with the people you love is important. It’s something I value highly. So I would suggest we simply define productivity a little differently. Here’s my personal definition of productivity and the reason I’m big on being productive:

productive2

 

[Pro-duc-tive (adjective) getting a ton of stuff done in less time so you have more time to do stuff that’s important to you]

Why would I spend eight hours working when I can produce the same in five hours and have three extra hours to spend with my son, take a nice walk, go on a date, watch a movie, or go to a kickboxing class? I want to be productive so I can fully enjoy those “life enriching” experiences without the distraction of unfinished business in the back of my mind.

Effort Results GraphSo that’s why I included this little note at the bottom of yesterday’s email in response to Kate’s comment on unplugging the TV:

2014-09-01_22-31-04

It’s just a little reminder that we are being productive so we can spend more time doing the things we value, even if that includes watching a football game, Dancing with the Stars, or Dora the Explorer with your child.

Don’t Do What You Love

Dont Do What You Love - Plain (1)Last month I wrote a post on Following Your Bliss. I’m a big believer in pursuing your passion and following your dreams. But I forgot to put a footnote on that, which is:

“Do what you love” is useless advice when it comes to making a living.

…at least for some people and some jobs.

After watching massage therapists struggle throughout my 25 years in the profession, especially as a business/marketing consultant, it’s clear that some people should not be doing massage as a career.

They love it. They are passionate about it. It is their bliss. But…

…they have serious blocks when it comes to running a business.

They do not have an entrepreneurial mindset. They don’t want to learn the skills required to run a business. They have limiting beliefs about money.  They are not willing to push the boundaries of their comfort zone. They do not have the dogged determination that’s required in running a business.

These people should not try to do massage for a living.

And that’s okay!

Trying to make a living doing what we love when you don’t have the right skills, aptitude, beliefs or tenacity for the job means that what you love will turn into one big giant angsty weight on your shoulders… and to top things off… you’ll be poor.

You don’t have to try to monetize your passions. You don’t have to make money only through the things you love. You can have a satisfying day job that pays your bills and then do your blissful work after hours.

If you’re miserable in your massage career it’s okay to get out. Get a decent day job so you can really feel the passion you used to have in doing massage and really contribute to the lives of others.

*This post was inspired by Austin Kleon and the many miserable therapists posting on Facebook. 

They Are Buying the Destination, Not the Plane

dream-destination-39676I’m listening to a webinar by Lisa Sasevich on making Irresistible Offers. The message is a simple one, but really isn’t understood by 99% of small businesses. In simple, terms the message is: Focus on benefits.

For years I thought I understood this concept. I considered myself pretty good at writing sales materials until I read a book called Make Your Words Sell about 14 years ago. That’s when I had a light bulb moment and finally got it.

As massage therapists our primary interest is in our craft, in our technique, in the processes we use to get a result. That’s reflected in the sales copy that most therapists have in their brochures and on their website as they talk about the training they have and the techniques or modalities they use.

On the other hand, the client’s primary interest is the outcome they are going to get. They are interested the benefit they are going to get; how they are going to be transformed by your hands.

So instead of spending 90% of your time talking about what you do, change your focus and spend 90% of your time talking about to what’s important to the client, which is the outcome they’ll get.

In explaining this concept in workshops, I always said that people don’t buy a drill because they want a tool; they buy a drill because they need a hole.

Lisa’s phrase was: Remember, they are buying the destination, not the plane.

The approach works and I’ve seen it in my own businesses over and over again. The first sales piece I wrote after reading Make Your Words Sell was a sales letter for a chair massage workshop. I was getting something like an 8% conversion rate with my original sales letter. That means that out of every 100 people who requested information, 8 signed up for the workshop.

After re-writing the letter to focus on benefits, my conversion rate shot up to about 13%. That means I got close to twice the sales with no additional expense. (75% more to be precise, but it’s still a big number.) I was charging $1,600 for the workshop so that translated into a lot more sales.

The only thing that changed was that the focus on my sales pitch now focused entirely on the benefit of taking the course rather than the process.

In fact, many months later my assistant said, “Someone’s wondering what we teach.”

“Haven’t they read the sales letter?” I asked.

“I looked at the sales letter,” he informed me. “It doesn’t say anything about what you teach in the classes.”

He was right. The sales material didn’t say a word about what they were going to learn. In focusing on benefits I had completely forgot to include an outline of the curriculum. But the crazy thing was that people been responding and signing up for months based on that information and they really didn’t care what was taught in class. This is the first time in months that anybody actually asked about what was taught. Most people obviously didn’t care about the learning process. They only cared about the freedom, the excitement, the flexibility and the money they would get by learning chair massage. They were sold on the outcome.

So the next time you write any communication, put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask yourself, “What outcome do my clients really want?” and focus 90% of your attention to making that benefit come alive for them. Remember, they are buying the destination, not the plane.

Here’s Why You Are Unsuccessful (Short Version)

“Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.”
~ Calvin Coolidge

Any business needs to perform well in these three area to be successful:

  1. The product, in our case an intangible product called massage
  2. The marketing of the product, that is, educating people about the unique benefits that you offer them
  3. The delivery of the product, in other words fulfillment and customer service

So if your business is not successful, there is a failure in one of those areas of your practice.

So ask yourself:

2014-07-03_23-37-43Do I give a great or even decent massage? If yes, then the product is not the issue.

Do I provide great or even decent customer service? If yes, then you are good in that area.

That means if you are not as successful as you want to be then the only thing left that could possibly be a problem is your marketing. Your marketing sucks!

I hear a lot of therapists blaming the economy or market saturation or price cutting or a myriad of other factors for their inability to earn the level of income they desire. But the fact is that there are clear winners in every competitive, saturated, and price sensitive industry. These are the companies that know how to market their products and services.

I didn’t get into providing marketing education to make a fortune. I’ve made my money in other ventures because I’m a good at marketing. I’ve made my money with corporate chair massage, massage clinics and education. BodyworkBiz has always been a bit of a hobby business and a way for me to contribute to a profession that I love.

For the record, my marketing skills are not a natural talent. I have spent and continue to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours every year on my own marketing education, through live workshops, online training, books and business consultations with people who have expertise in areas that I’m lacking.

I know the disenfranchised and cynical people reading this will doubt my motives, but my sincere wish is for therapists in this profession to focus on their marketing skills so that they can literally touch more lives. Invest as much in your business education as you have in your massage education because it is just that important.

That’s a major paradigm shift for most therapists. And no doubt most people who have read this far are already brushing this off as hyperbole or fear mongering of a business sort.

When you get tired of struggling however, remember the words of Calvin Coolidge and get the marketing help you need. If not from me, then get help from other marketing experts. Beware though: Nothing is worse than the advice of someone who struggles themselves and who has not developed mastery of their own marketing. Don’t listen to them. Just don’t. They will take you down.

Make sure you only follow people are models for what they preach and are highly successful themselves. The shortest path to success is to model those who have already been there.

My rant is done. I’m off my soapbox now.