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Have ever taken an appointment on your day off? Or lowered your prices because somebody just asked you to. What about have you ever been talked into yet another free chair massage gig even though you really didn’t want to do it? I’ve been there. When I started out, I wanted clients, period. I don’t know about you guys but my massage school taught me how to give a mediocre Swedish massage and then shoved me out the door. No business education and very little discussion of boundaries and how to handle different situations like that. Thank God for continuing education and some amazing experiences on what to do and a whole lot of trial and error learning what not to do. It can be really hard to say no to people but you have got to learn to become a fan of it. Here’s the thing, if you’re constantly saying yes, going out of your way to do all sorts of things for other people things that you don’t really want to do then you’re going to resent that person and the thing that you’re doing. More often than not you’re not going to be giving it your best, you’re 100% awesome self and you’re going to resent it all. So it’s not really good for anybody. Now of course this can apply to your personal life too but I’m talking about things professionally here today. Before saying yes to anything you need to ask yourself three questions that will clarify things for you.
 

#1 Does it respect me and my time?  

So let’s say that a client asks for an appointment on your day off, is that respecting your time? It’s your day off so immediately no. There are a couple problems that can arise here. Some people are quick to jump and say yes to this without even making sure that the client knows that it’s your day off. They may not be aware so just tell them. Seems obvious but you’d be surprised how often it doesn’t happen. If they do know and they still think it’s okay to pressure you into coming in well that’s just asinine. I don’t demand that Chick-fil-a open up on Sundays even though I really want some freaking chicken minis because they’re my favorite. They’re closed, period. So, when you’re faced with a client asking for an appointment on your usual day off, you can just say something like “I don’t see clients on Saturdays, but I’ve got an opening on Friday evening so you can still start weekend off right.” If they refuse that opening or anything else that you have, just refer them to somebody who can get them in on Saturday’s. If Saturdays are best for them and you don’t work on Saturdays, then they are not your ideal client. Any client who respects you will not have a problem with you taking a day off. Anybody that does have a problem with that, can kiss it. You’re nobody’s servant. You’re not at every client’s beck and call. You do not want those people as clients they will make you hate your work. Same thing goes for clients who try to negotiate prices that you have set. Stop saying yes to that crap! You are teaching these people that that behavior is okay, so just stop.  

#2 Can I give it my all?  

This is a huge problem. when you can’t say no and you drown yourself in so many tasks that you are just too busy to do it all. There are only 24 hours in the day and, you have to sleep sometime. Hustle is good but only to a certain point. Constantly saying yes when you really don’t have the time, money, the resources, or even just the desire to do it that makes for a quick trip down burnout lane. If you’re not able to give 100% of yourself to a client an event or some project then stop doing it. Would you cancel your appointments if you had a death in the family? Yes, or at least you better! You cannot be one hundred percent focused on your clients at that time. Your mind and your focus would obviously be elsewhere. It’s no different. If you just feel overwhelmed with tasks to accomplish through the day, if you can’t give a hundred percent of your focus then don’t do it. You’re only going to be doing a half-ass job and that’s not good for anybody.  

#3 Does it fit my business plan?  

This is one of the biggest problems I see in therapist that I mentor. You have to stay laser focused on what your business plan is and your steps to get there. If you don’t have a business plan, make one for the love all things holy have a business plan! If you need help with one, please get in touch with me I will be happy to help you. So let me give you a slightly random example here. I have big plans for all the things that I want to do in my house. New cabinets, bathroom remodel, another bathroom remodel, sinks replaced, walls painted, new decorations, new flooring, the list just goes on (my husband probably hates me). So, when I walk into a home improvement store, I am seriously like a kid in a toy store. I can’t help but look at all these awesome shiny things all around and dream about everything that I’m going to do to my house. But there’s a problem with that, it is freaking overwhelming and obviously I can’t do it all at once. I have to stick with my plan, and start with one room. What can I do right now? Make my list for the store, and go get it. The same thing goes for your business plan. Yes, you have these lofty goals and that’s fantastic. Don’t give up on that, but you have to break that down into smaller goals so that you’re actually able to accomplish it and stick to them. If something doesn’t fit into that goal then say no. Let’s say that one of your current small goals is to put a thousand dollars to redecorate your treatment room. So, you want put a thousand dollars into savings. That needs to be taken into account every time you’re posed with some new opportunity that you might want to say yes to, or ones you feel like you should say yes to. So, if a new client calls and tries to negotiate your prices down well first that goes back to not respecting you, but also it doesn’t fit your business plan. You’ll have other clients who will gladly pay full price to help you reach that goal. Or if it’s that time of year where every single nonprofit is asking for donations and here you are trying to save as much as you can as fast as you can, don’t feel pressured into it. Obviously, give if you feel you need to give, I am NOT saying don’t be charitable at all. But keep it under control so you can still reach your goal. Tell some people no! They hear it all the time. It’s okay just to give to those charities that hold a special place in your heart, the rest will survive.  

So, when someone asks something of you, ask yourself these three questions: does it respect me and my time, can I give it my all, and does it fit my business plan.  

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