Holiday Party? It’s Not Too Late!

I’ve made it my goal to host a monthly event at my office. It’s good for the community, it’s a pretty solid marketing effort, and it keeps me out of trouble. 

In November I hosted a holiday shopping themed event. I offered free hand scrub/hand massage treatments…and I made four dozen sugar cookies and over $300 in sales! (This number may sound paltry to those of you operating out of a large, multi-service-provider business, but for this lone wolf it was a big deal.)

Most importantly, I got to spend time with people who mean a lot to me and it was fun

I managed to fit a treatment area, retail display and cookie station in my little hobbit hole of an office. Yay!

I managed to fit a treatment area, retail display and cookie station into my little hobbit hole of an office. Yay!

Here are some tips I’ve collected regarding successful office events:

  • Spend your event budget wisely. Events can be cookies and laughs. It doesn’t make sense to spend more money on hosting an event each month than what the event brings in.
  • Invest in visually interesting games, food, products for sale, decorations, etc. You can Instagram the hell out of these things!
  • Push yourself to come up with event ideas that match up well with your existing clients’ expectations. Will they respond best to a monthly event that’s pretty much the same each time, or an off-the-wall themed event that’s different each month? Somewhere in my idea queue there’s a Pajama Cereal Party that’s just waiting to become reality!
  • Post the event on your website and in your newsletter, flyer local businesses and bulletin boards, make a Facebook event and invite people to it, etc. Remind people about the event using these tools, too. 
  • Remember that an event isn’t a failure if you don’t sell anything during the actual shindig. People who enjoyed your event will likely purchase things and schedule services at a later date. 
  • If the idea of hosting events sounds like a dreaded chore, find a way to do it on your terms and make it fun. If you can’t do this, don’t host an event. 

I already have my Annual Holiday Brie Feast planned for December 14th! If you’ll be in Vegas then, stop by and let me fill your belly in a manner not unlike that of a Sicilian grandma. 

The Technologically Challenged Massage Therapist

Face it; most of us are not technical. Most of us know how to use Facebook, and basic Microsoft Word, but that’s about it – and that’s ok. When I started teaching massage in 2001, all I knew was Microsoft Word. In 2005, I had to up my skills, and I started to learn more about technology. The first thing I delved into was video, and in 2006 I started learning about how to make a website. I started to learn Photoshop in 2009, and that is my main photo-editing program. In the past year, I’ve been using www.canva.com to incorporate some quick designs into my photos, and I use FCPX for video editing.

Technology can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Right now YouTube is the second largest search engine, and Google is #1. Most people search how to perform something on YouTube, and it’s full of educational videos. I’ve never taken a computer or video editing class. It definitely showed when I first got started, but it drove me to be all I can be.

FaceBookHere are some basics to get you started with Photos, Videos, and Websites:

Photo Sizes: 800px (Great for web), 1500px (Great for web, some print materials, and is ok for cropping), and 4000px+ (Great for editing and print, but you would need to resize them for web).

Resizing Photos: If you want a free photo-editing tool, try Canva. It’s pretty easy and doesn’t cost you anything if you use your own photos (Some designs you will still have to pay if they are more complex).

Photos: I have over 10,000 massage photos for sale on www.RyanHoyme.com, or here is a service I use for other types of photos (Subscription). There are tons of sites that offer 

Video: 1280×720 is HD (Great for viewing on your computer, and smartphones), and 1920×1080 is larger HD (Great for viewing on your TV).

Shooting video with your phone: Only shoot in a landscape format (Sideways) and portrait (Tall) for photos (Photos can be shot in landscape, too.

Shooting Video: I use my DSLR to shoot video, and when I started I used Flip Video. You can also use your phone, but I highly recommend to use a Microphone, or Bluetooth Mic. Most audio on DSLR’s and smartphones are not the greatest.

Editing Videos: There are many basic apps on your phone or some free ones for your computer. I started with Windows Movie Maker, and when I switched to a Mac, I started using iMovie – I upgraded to FCPX about four years ago, because I wanted more options.

Editing Photos: Use Photoshop, if you want to spend days (even months) learning a new program. There are tons of free ones online: Canva, Fotor, Pixlr, and others.

Audio in Videos: I use AudioBlocks.com for most of my music in my videos (Subscription). It’s royalty free, and they have 1,000’s of songs. Here is a free one.

Social Media Sizes: Here is a link to know what sizes work for Social Media.

Websites: There are a lot of free programs out there that you can use to start a website (even AMTA and ABMP have free ones), but you really need to eventually have your own. A lot of websites are now using WordPress, and many web hosting companies have WordPress built into it. You can pay under $6 a month to have a company host your website. I now use Host Gator, but there are tons out there. I use Dreamweaver for MassageNerd.com and WordPress for some of my smaller ones.

Email: MailChimp is a popular email service. It’s free up to 2,000 emails, and after that, there is a fee. There are others you can research, too.

If you are a Massage Therapist, most of your clients are using technology, so it just makes sense for you to get your skills up to date, to reach potential customers. If technology really frustrates you, consider hiring someone to manage your website, newsletters, and social media accounts – it’s called outsourcing, and tons of companies go that route.

Ryan Hoyme is the owner of MassageNerd.com and RyanHoyme.com

Popping The Bubble

Cliques. Tribes. The Matrix, even.

If we gaze at the masses long enough we realize it’s a ubiquitous scenario: People doing things, building things and marketing things while being surrounded by their own people. Bubble People. 

Bubble People are a fine people. Most of them are very nice and we have things in common with them. This is exactly why we spend so much time interacting with Bubble People. Bubble People got our backs. 

But what happens when we want to do, build or market something that could benefit from (or depend on) connecting with people from beyond The Bubble? Should we remain safely surrounded by Bubble People in a spherically-shaped fortress that cannot expand without breaking? Or do we deliberately destroy this bubbly barrier, leaving ourselves vulnerable, opening ourselves up to outside influence, ideas and opinions?

We must decide, because we cannot do both. 

Bubble People are typically easy. They don’t care that we haven’t showered or put pants on by 4 PM on a Wednesday. “Go for it!”, they cheer. “Best idea ever! Keep doing what you’re doing! Don’t ever change it! It’s perfect!”

You’re perfect.

But maybe — just maybe — perfect is something we were never meant to be. 

A bubble for your thoughts?

Practice Promoting Parties

The other evening I hosted a Halloween gathering at my office so I could roll out my new product line while having fun with friends (both new and old). I supplied yummy treats from Target and Costco, handed out those ridiculous plastic vampire teeth that glow in the dark, and offered free mini facials using products from the new line. Oh, and I brought my theremin for everyone to play with! Here’s a video…

The Halloween event went so well I’m thinking I’ll host a monthly themed fun thing. Next month’s shindig will probably feature free hand massages using the line’s hand cream. Attendees will be able to choose their scent from a variety of testers, and tubes will be available for purchase. If I’m feeling super adventurous I may even supply warm paraffin wax, plastic gloves, and doughnuts. 

I’ve hosted office events in the past and I’m always amazed by how well they turn out. For the first 30 minutes I worry that I’ve bought way too much food and that nobody will show up to eat it, but 30 minutes after that guests show up in droves and the party is in full swing!

Aside from the obvious fun to be had, here are some other things I like about hosting a party at the office that’s open to the public. Many of my fabulous guests have:

  • met other guests (laughter and networking ensue)
  • asked questions about services and products
  • purchased retail items and gift certificates
  • booked appointments
  • tried new things without feeling obligated (mini facials!)
  • given valuable feedback on products, services and party ideas
  • checked in and posted about the party on social media
  • explored the office and building, sometimes for the first time
  • signed up to receive a monthly email newsletter
  • told their friends how much fun they had at the silly little spa in that silly old building

Have you ever hosted an office party? What was the occasion? What worked best? What would you change the next time (if there is a next time)?

Massaging A Wardrobe

Constructed of black sweatshirt fleece, it was as if a robe and a hoodie had made a baby. 

The shame factor hadn’t quite achieved “Snuggy”, but was definitely higher on the spectrum than “Old Navy Peacoat”. 

$39.99 plus tax later, it was all mine. 

High fashion in the H&M fitting room.

High fashion in the H&M fitting room.

This hot little number will keep me cozy as I walk from the parking garage to my office and back this autumn. It goes with most everything else I wear, and if I accidentally get some foot balm on it, a little Tide and a trip through the “normal” cycle will take care of my mess. 

My hoodie-robe shopping trip got me thinking: How do we decide which uniforms will work best for us? How many of us still don massage school khakis and polo shirts years after we graduate? How many of us opt for scrubs? And how do we determine if we should wear solid purple or kitty cat print?

No kitty cats here.

No kitty cats here.

One huge perk of running my own business is that I can get away with wearing whatever I want. (Well, within reason. The cosmetology board has a *few* rules.) From the day I opened my office I’ve consistently worn black (or a rare gray item) as my uniform. It’s easy on the eyes, easy to shop for, and if you wear the same type of thing every day you’ll help to build your brand just by wearing clothes.

Long skirts from Target were my jam this summer. Too long skirts from Target were jamming up my stool casters this spring before I wised up.

Long skirts from Target were my jam this summer. Too long skirts from Target were jamming up my stool casters this spring before I wised up.

A while back I wore custom made black tees with my logo screen printed on them. I loved them so much I wore them out. Price-wise they ran a smidge over $10 each. I should order more when I’m not so busy blogging about textiles and discount department stores.

Here's me during my video podcast heyday. Note the shirt.

Here’s me during my video podcast heyday. Note the shirt.

I’m super curious: What do you take into consideration when you’re choosing a uniform? What’s a priority feature in a uniform? Is the fact that I’m using the word “uniform” making you throw up in your mouth a little bit? If so, why?

Not my proudest moment on many levels. Silky pants from Target, Bettie Page thrift store shirt purchased for 99 cents, office restroom toilet.

Not my proudest moment on many levels. Silky pants from Target, Bettie Page thrift store shirt purchased for 99 cents, office restroom toilet.

Come on up to the runway and sashay, shantay! :)

Credit Where Credit’s Due

A couple of months ago my friend Jon and I were gallivanting around town, cameras in hand. We snapped, filtered, cropped, ate undercooked soft pretzels and posted about our adventures on social media. This is what we often do when we hang out, and it’s just one reason we’re friends.

One of my shots from that day’s shenanigans turned out pretty well (if I do say so myself). I posted it on Instagram with the usual tags. It got some social media love, and was even used (with permission and with proper photo credit given) on two local blogs to illustrate stories. Huzzah!

I think the weirdness started when a local casino regrammed the photo without giving me credit. Then it appeared – again, without credit — on a local government office’s Twitter feed. I thought the wild ride had ended, until just the other day when a local small business regrammed the photo (do I even need to say without credit?) AND had added their own logo to the mix. *cues Twilight Zone theme music*

This photo of my kitty niece is not the photo I'm talking about.

This photo of my hairy niece is not the photo I’m talking about.

Look, mistakes happen. I’m not claiming to be Saint Andrea here. I may have at some point in time uploaded a snippet of laser-riffic or double neck guitar concert footage to the interwebs. One time I took photos at a Holocaust museum exhibit because I didn’t see the signs forbidding photography until after I had already been through the building. (Even though they were serious, respectful photos and this happened a long time ago, I still feel a little bit embarrassed by this tacky error.)

But I don’t “regram” without giving credit. If I like something on Facebook enough to post it on my page, I use the “share” function…I don’t save the graphic and upload it myself, implying it is my own original creation. And “retweet”? It’s a thing!

I guess my gears grind the hardest when I witness improper social media sharing inside of our rather intimate communities. Whether we’re interacting within a geographical area of small businesses (or large businesses that should know better), or within an online collective made up of well-intentioned massage therapists (or large massage therapy businesses that should know better), we really should strive to behave courteously at all times. Remaining mindful of our integrity and trustworthiness will serve us best in the long run, and that’s definitely an impression worth sharing.

***

Want to know how to report copyright violations on Instagram and Facebook? BAM.

Want to learn more about sharing and caring? Tune in to The Young Thumbs next week, when our very own Massage Nerd discusses copyright issues!

Thrift Store Finds for Your Massage Business

Running a small business can be expensive, ever wonder where to shop to save a images (1)few bucks? When I mention shopping for my massage business at thrift stores, I sometimes get a sideways glance or two…but there’s a method to my madness. The trick to fabulous finds at thrift stores is to make small trips often. It is unlikely that you will find all of this great stuff with one or two trips, but if you stop in every once in awhile, you’ll soon start to make great little discoveries. I usually pop in to various stores for a 20-30 minute trip once or twice a week. Since I am a mobile massage therapist, I usually make these trips between clients or on my lunch break in different parts of town.

If you have never shopped at a thrift store before, or if you find thrift stores unsavory, this post might not be for you…but if, like me, you enjoy a good thrift store and find shopping to be a relaxing experience – you might find yourself scanning the shelves with a fresh pair of eyes. Here are some of the things you can look out for. 

  1. This one is as obvious as it is surprising: professional massage equipment. It isn’t likely to be found, I have only come across a few things in my thrifting excursions, but when you do find some, it is especially exciting. I once bought an extra Earthlite facerest platform for my massage table for $7, and a professional leg bolster for $5. There was an Oakworks Nova massage table for $80, which I didn’t purchase at the time because I didn’t need one. My latest find, that I am really excited about, is a Medi-Rub foot massager machine for $10! If you have ever used one of these bad boys you know what a steal that is. I use it for myself, as well as bring it with me to office and convention chair gigs as an added perk for my chair massage clients. 
  2. Self Massage tools – from foot massagers to finger massagers, to vibration and percussion tools, people are constantly sending their self-care devices to thrift shops. These can be a great way to practice a little of what we preach between clients to take care of ourselves. Some of the things I have purchased include a Homedics shiatsu massage chair mat for $12 (this works incredibly well to ease my scoliosis symptoms when I can’t get in for a massage right away), an “Original Foot Log” for $3 (hands-down amazing for people with plantar fasciitis – I bring it with me to appts for clients to try out), and a calf-stretching rocker for $3. I am also the proud owner of a vintage Spine-a-Lator which I purchased for $125. My favorite recent find is a Spoonk acupressure mat which I paid $5 for. I LOVE this thing. I use it before bed or sometimes after a hot shower and find it incredibly relaxing on my back and the soles of my feet. It is a huge stress-reliever.
  3. Office organization supplies. You can find everything from briefcases to sample cases, binders and new packs of filing folders, executive planner cases, mail sorters, magazine racks, bulletin boards, white boards…and even smaller items such as three hole punches. I have bought all of my mobile massage bags at thrift shops – I usually use business traveling cases – my last one was a nice Kenneth Cole which I purchased for $10, and my current one is a Franklin Covey equipment bag which I purchased for $2.50. 
  4. Decorative Items. This one is pretty self explanatory. You can find many decorative items at thrift shops, the biggest problem here is really knowing what/when not to buy, so that your massage room doesn’t end up cluttered and messy. Often I find great deals on candles here. Such as the big three-wick candles usually used on coffee tables for a buck or two, or wooden wick candles, or huge bags of tealights for a buck. My favorite find so far would have to be my Himalayan salt glow lamp, which I purchased for $3. I know it is pretty cliche for a massage space, but I just love the golden pink glow from a pretty salt lamp…and they can be expensive in health food stores. My second favorite find would be the old style glass bulb Young Living essential oil diffuser which I purchased for…wait for it…75 cents! 
  5. High quality massage sheets and blankets. The concept of buying used massage linens came up in a massage group awhile ago and it seemed people were pretty divided about it. If you are someone who is comfortable using secondhand sheets (and really, aren’t they all secondhand once one client has used them?) then you can potentially buy much higher quality and/or higher thread count sheets for a fraction of the price you would pay for much lower quality new sheets. It is incredibly important that you thoroughly inspect every inch of the sheets to make sure there aren’t any stains, rips, or loose threads and that the sheets are thoroughly sanitized before going into rotation with your other sets. This means hot water, detergent and bleach, as well as a hot and thorough drying cycle. 
  6. Promotional display items: Comment card boxes, raffle boxes, picture frames, poster frames, A-frame signs, business card holders, etc.
  7. Client gifts. I know, that sounds cheap as heck…but give it a chance. Thrift stores are actually an amazing place to find small special client gifts. For instance, one of my clients just loves Disney, she takes her family to Disneyland every year for their annual trip, and a lot of her Christmas decorations are Disney themed. When I saw a gorgeous limited edition Disney Christmas ornament at a thrift shop for $8, picking it up for her as a Christmas gift was a no-brainer (after inspecting it very thoroughly for any defects). The original box was a bit banged up, so I tossed it and instead wrapped it in a satin organza bag and put it into a little sequined re-usable Christmas box which I picked up at the same store for $1. She loved it.  For my client who loves The Little Mermaid, a tiny snow globe for $2. For my client who is a chef who loves French cooking – a little kitchen sign with a quote from Julia Childs was a great personalized gift at only $3. Shopping this way allows me to give something my client will like, rather than something impersonal yet affordable which they don’t need. We all have/receive enough of that stuff. 
  8. Stationery and paper goods. Honestly, here is where I save the most money when it comes to thrift store shopping for my business. I send out a lot of cards, and you can buy big packs of greeting cards, beautiful stationery, envelopes, etc for a fraction of the price you would buy new. My newest great find for my summer promo mailers were these beautiful Papyrus notecards. There are 14 cards, envelopes, and gold hummingbird seals in each box and I got 5 boxes for $1.09 each. I’ll send these out with a little personal note and some summer promotions to all of my regulars, possibly with a coupon for a friend or family member. Photo paper is also always available in abundance for a tiny fraction of the price you pay at the store. Another paper good you can almost always find is Avery printable business cards. These aren’t really good for using as actual business cards (you can buy inexpensive, much better quality cards online) but they work very well for promotional purposes as coupons or referral cards. I like the versatility of thinking up a promotional idea and being able to print up a sheet or two the same day, possibly tailored to a holiday or specific event. You can usually pick up a pack of 250 for $1. 
  9. Furniture. Desks, bookcases, filing cabinets, lamps, chairs, good condition throw rugs, etc. This one is pretty self-explanatory. 
  10. Attire. If you are looking to build a professional wardrobe, but on a smaller budget, thrift stores are a great option with clothing that is often higher quality/longer lasting than the cheap new stuff you can buy at your local EverythingMart. You can buy a cheap polo shirt for $10 or $15 at your local big box store, or you can and buy a name brand Nike (for example) polo shirt of much higher quality at a thrift store for about $5. They cost less, you get more use out of them, and you keep goods out of the landfill. Not to mention many thrift stores are connected to Charities in your local community, so you may also be helping out those in need depending on where you shop (My favorite local store is Savers – which benefits SafeNest). That’s a win-win in my book.

Always check items very thoroughly for defects, and remember to have fun! Do you have an awesome thrift store or garage sale find in your office or in use in your business? If so, please share in the comments :) 

Some Self-Publishing Basics in Case You’re Curious or Have Something to Say

The following is a guest post written by my sister Deena. Although she is not a massage therapist, she is a fabulous librarian and passionate author of YA (young adult) fiction. I asked her if she’d mind sharing her thoughts on publishing ebooks because some of us may want to put our written stuff out there. Being the awesome sister that she is, her answer was a resounding yes. Enjoy!

***

Hello, Young Thumbs Readers and thanks for having me here today. My sister, the self-published author of her own ebooks on massage therapy, asked me to talk about the basics of getting your book Out There in ebook form. With the glacial pace of the traditional publishing world, I love that epubbing is a viable option for writers today and I’m happy to have jumped on board in 2013. Hopefully some of you with something to say will take the leap as well.

I will start by stating that my experience is limited to the world of publishing young adult novels, and that I only have three titles under my belt. I am by no means a bestselling author, and my skills with marketing my work are fairly sad as my day job, life, and sleep take up large chunks of my non-writing time. I will not be insulted if anyone wants more info than I can provide. In fact, I’ll even point you to a fantastic resource: this free ebook by best-selling indie author Susan Kaye Quinn.

OK, now with the disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump in.

  1. No matter what you are writing (fiction or non-fiction for any age group), make sure your book is well written. Since 2004, I have written over ten novels. Thankfully, self-publishing was not a popular avenue ten years ago, because if I’d actually put my earlier work up for sale, I’d be super embarrassed by its crappiness right now. Find writing partners and critique each other’s work, read books on the craft of writing, and read books in your genre. Write, write, write. Revise, revise, revise. Do not publish your first draft.
  2. Once your well-written book is complete, get it copyedited. Yes, some typos and bad word choices may still get through to the final product (admitting guilt here). They do in traditionally published books, too. That is OK and no reason to panic since you can fix and upload your files again as needed. But still, enlist a freelance copyeditor or friend or writing partner who is good with grammar to do a final edit for you before publishing.
  3. Hire someone or learn how to format your book in MOBI and EPUB files. MOBI is the format used by Kindle, and Amazon is where you’ll sell most of your books. EPUB is the format used by Nook and most other e-readers.
  4. Buy an ISBN…or don’t buy an ISBN. Honestly, it doesn’t matter too much these days for e-publishing since most e-tailers don’t require them anymore. However, if you want to publish your book in print and sell it, you will need one.
  5. Create or purchase a professional book cover. If you are not good with design, do not attempt this on your own. Hire someone. Cover art is important and is the best marketing you can give your book out of the gate.
  6. Write a short blurb for your book. Polish it. Make sure it is error-free. This will be what potential buyers see when they browse your book at e-tailers (you will upload it with your manuscript), so make it perfect.
  7. Upload your book to e-tailers. I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon, but you must upload your book to this megastore for ease of access for your audience. I would also recommend using Barnes & Noble for those Nook users. Kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes are optional in my opinion, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it available through as many vendors as possible (even if uploading to iTunes is the most convoluted, antiquated process compared to the cutting edge technology of their products).
  8. You will also set your book’s price when you upload it. There are tons of posts online (just Google “best ebook price point”) that try to pinpoint the winning strategy to this, but I go with $2.99. Then I’ll put them on sale for $.99 at times and promote the deal for the duration.
  9. Advertise! As I’ve said, I suck at this part of the process, but do as much of it as you can so you sell more books than me. If you have a platform (you are a massage therapist writing non-fiction about massage, for example), find readers in your field who will post reviews on relevant sites or ask them for online interviews. Encourage readers to post reviews on Amazon and B&N. If you can, create a short (one minute or less), professional book trailer or hire someone to make it for you. Have a professional website with a clearly marked “books” page. Carry a bookmark or business card around with you that has your website on it and calls you an “author.”
  10. The best way to bring attention to your book? Write the next book. A fresh front list will bring attention to your backlist. Only have one book in you? Periodically update the content of your book if it is non-fiction, or give it a fresh cover if it is fiction. Something so it stays relevant in the glutted market of books.

Hopefully some of these tips are helpful for anyone dipping their toes in the world of self-publishing. Just remember, it is not a get rich quick scheme and if you don’t love to write, it may feel like a chore. Spend your time on what you love, and if writing is it, make time for it.

The Many Sizes of Social Media

I’ve been managing social media accounts for many years, and I started in the social media arena in 2006 on Youtube. Things were a lot simpler back in the day, but now it can give a person a HUGE headache with all the different sizes required for photos. Since 2006, Youtube has changed their main layout at least three different times, and don’t get me started about Facebook :)

The rule of thumb (pun intended) for photos on social media websites:
* Profile photos: Usually a square shape (100×100, 250×250 and so on).
facebook-profile-image
* Photos as posts: Most social media accounts recommend either a square (Instagram), or a photo that is wider (Landscape size) for Twitter and Facebook.
facebook-post-normal
* For Pinterest and Tumblr: these sites look better if the photos are taller (Portrait size).
twitter
* Cover photos: totally different story. Most of them are wider (Landscape size), than narrow (Portrait size) – but every site has different dimensions.facebook-cover-imageEditing Websites
Here are two great sites: autreplanete and internetmarketingninjas, that you can make your photos the right sizes for  your social media accounts.

Here is a list of sizes (This is just a generalized guideline):
– Blog Graphic: 800 x 1200px

– Business Card: 8.5 x 5cm
– Card: 14.8 x 10.5cm
– Document: 21 x 29.7cm
– Facebook Ad: 1200 x 627px
– Facebook App: 810 x 450px
– Facebook Cover: 851 x 315px
– Facebook Newsfeed: 1200 x 1200px
– Facebook Post: 940 x 788px
– Facebook Profile: 180 x 180px
– Google+ Cover Photo: 2120 x 1192px
– Google+ Newsfeed: Minimum 497 x 373px
– Google+ Profile: 250 x 250px
– Instagram Cover: 2048 2048px
– Instagram Post: 640 x 640px
– Instagram Profile: 110 x 110px
– Invitation: 14 x 14cm
– Kindle Cover: 1410 x 2250px
– LinkedIn Cover: 646 x 220px
– LinkedIn Business Logo: 100 x 60px or 50 x 50px
– Photo Collage: 25 x 20cm
– Pinterest Profile: 165 x 165px
– Pinterest Post: 735 x 1102px
– Poster: 42 x 59.4cm
– PowerPoint: 1024 x 768px
– Social Media: 800 x 800px
– Twitter Header: 1500 x 500px
– Twitter Newsfeed: 1024 x 512px
– Twitter Profile: 400 x 400px
– Youtube Cover: 2560 x 1440px
– Youtube Desktop Display: 2560 x 423px
– Youtube Mobile Display: 1546 x 423px
– Youtube Tablet Display: 1855 x 423px
– Youtube TV Display: 2560 x 1440px
– Youtube Thumbnail Preview: 1280 x 720px
– Youtube Icon: 800 x 800px
– Tumblr Profile: 128 x 128px
– Tumblr Posts: 500 x 750px

Hope that helps, and please embrace technology – it’s a lot easier than you think!

Ryan Hoyme is the Owner of MassageNerd.com (Largest Massage Website) and RyanHoyme.com (Largest Massage Website for Stock Photos)

10 Things Your Mother Never Told You About Entrepreneurship

Since posting about my resort spa-leaving in October, a handful of lovely people have approached me to express their own desires to go out on their own and become entirely self-employed. Some have asked questions like “what’s the first step?” or “how do I find clients?”. I hope to share my insight on these matters briefly yet somewhat competently in this post.

Let me start by mentioning that no two paths to entrepreneurship will be the same. Each of us are born into individual circumstances, raised in different environments, given unique opportunities, and influenced by factors specific to our own lives. I share some of my experiences here, modestly hoping that at least one small, useful part resonates with someone out there in our virtual living room. If you have an entrepreneurial story of your own – good, bad, even completely unrelated to massage therapy – I encourage you to share it in the comments section. Entrepreneurship is one of those blog topics that can only benefit from group participation, and I thank you in advance. Now let the listing commence!

 

  1. Identify your vision. What kind of work are you passionate about doing? What types of products are you passionate about using? I love doing many kinds of massages and spa treatments, but foot massage is right up there at the top of the list. I also like using luxurious creams and oils that are beneficial to the skin (this is especially important here in the Mojave Desert). So I opened a little day spa that specializes in feet. Pinpointing your passion will help you to hone in on your signature offerings, which will set you apart from the chain massage clinics down the street. This is one of the first steps to building your identity as a business.
  2. Get cozy with your branding and stay consistent. Maybe you live in a small town and you’re the only massage therapist within 200 miles. You can probably afford to name your business “AAAAA Massage Therapy” even if everyone hates the name. But in my experience, I’ve found that in a marketplace full of half-baked business ventures and forgettable distractions, having a fun, clever or thoughtful name is a plus. It also helps to keep you on track when you’re considering the overall feeling that your brand conveys. “Feetish Spa Parlor” has always been very Victorian in my mind, so I keep my branding consistent with that vision as much as I can. Victorian influenced furniture, cabinets, ceiling tiles, lighting fixtures, décor…even the typefaces and clip art used on my signs and printed materials are reminiscent of the time. Obviously I use a smartphone, hot towel cabi and factory-produced hand soap too, but you get the idea. You wouldn’t install Ashiatsu bars in a room that isn’t used for Ashiatsu, so don’t clutter up your image with inconsistencies that dilute and confuse.
  3. Remember that you can’t be all things to all people. I can’t do couples treatments because my office is tiny and there’s only one of me. Once in a while I have to explain this to a caller. But I continue to put myself out there, and the right people find me. Again, focus on what you can do, and on what you enjoy doing.
  4. Location is key. I don’t necessarily mean you have to be in the biggest, flashiest building in town, but if you’re running a brick and mortar operation, location is pretty damn important. You’ll want your location to be convenient to the clientele you’re looking to attract. You’ll also want your location to be convenient to yourself, as you’ll be your very own #1 VIP client. Is there parking nearby? Is the area relatively safe? Are there other businesses in the area that mesh well with yours (cafes, boutiques, other places where relaxed or adventurous people with disposable income hang out)? Are there other businesses in the area that compete with yours that might cannibalize your clientele now or in the future? Stake out the locations on your list of possibilities. Become obsessed. Check out the flow of people on different days of the week during different times of the day. Do this for months. Talk to people who are active in the community where you hope to set up shop. Make allies before you sign your lease. Spend your money in this community. Say hello. Smile.
  5. Make your presence known. You will have to market your business. You will have to invest countless hours into this seemingly thankless task. You will be tempted to give up, but you shouldn’t. Cast a wide net. The advertising I pay for right now consists of my website, business cards, and printed spa menus. I will sparingly and selectively donate gift certificates to causes I’m passionate about. I send out a monthly email newsletter using MailChimp. I have a free Yelp listing. But other than that, most of my marketing efforts are concentrated on social media. I use Instagram a lot, and I usually auto post my photos to Facebook and Twitter. Someone may see you on Yelp today, someone else may see you on Google tomorrow. You never know.
  6. Don’t get in over your head. Signing a lease on an 8,000 square foot facility may sound like a dream come true right out of the gate, but I’m having heart palps just thinking about it. It’s perfectly OK to start small.
  7. Consider your schedule. The more hours you make yourself available to take appointments, the more appointments you’ll likely take. Wait! You say you only want to work Tuesday through Thursday from noon ‘til 5? And you wonder why you’re only booking two appointments per week? And you resent the whole damn thing because you just drove 45 minutes one-way to perform a 30 minute service when gas is $3.26/gallon? It sounds like it’s time to rethink your schedule. Two years ago when I first opened my business, I had set hours when I was in the office — appointments or not –five days per week. This was good at the time. But last year I realized it benefitted my clients (and my sanity) more if I switched to working by appointment only, but with greater availability. Now I can schedule my life around the appointments on my book and vice versa.
  8. Make things happen. Create excitement! Start a blog for your biz! Video chat online and upload it to your business’s YouTube page! Visit with your neighbors! Throw a party at your office and invite the neighborhood! Offer them food! Share meals with people…people like to eat! The early days of business ownership are usually the loneliest. Fill that time connecting with people and building relationships with people in your community, because eventually, when you’re super busy with appointments, you’ll wish you had more time for that.
  9. Adapt. Now that I have more appointments on my book I’m no longer able to sit in my office with the door open, waiting for retail customers to stroll by. So I’m running a clearance sale on Dermalogica this month, and it’ll probably be a while before I order more retail-sized items. And y’know what? I’m totally OK with this.
  10. Some pressure is OK. Like a firm handshake or a leather corset. But business is messy, invention is messy, and life is messy. To quote my dad: “We can’t control everything that comes our way; we can only control how we react.” Countless successful entrepreneurs have failed in business multiple times before they eventually made it big, but they learned a lot along the way. Entrepreneurship is hard work, long hours, boatloads of stress and tons of sacrifice. I’m still really happy with my decision to take this path, but if it ever gets to be too much for me – if I feel like I’ve been paying too high a price for too long with too little return on investment – I’ll do my best to adapt. And if that means hanging up my holster for a bit so I can treat myself to some well-deserved kindness and understanding, then that’s what I shall do.