Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's Not Midnight Yet.....So That Must Mean I Met My Deadline

Today is one week from my last post here. So I barely squeaked by in my effort to post at least weekly. But I did it! I have been a busy little bee doing other things. I do still write every morning just for myself. I have grown to love that ritual. And I'm generally not big on ritual. But this one suits me.

My mind has been a swirl of ideas/realizations/plans. I'm going to start keeping a small notepad with me at all times. I have a difficult time remembering my great ideas because almost as soon as I think of one, another pops into my head. That's frustrating.

Talked via Skype with my oldest daughter who lives in Costa Rica the other day. As different as we may be, we are one hell of a lot alike in other ways. She described to me almost feeling like she gets a high from the surge that comes with a new idea. And how invariably before she can make any headway on that idea yet another  equally high-inducing idea comes along. Oh God.....I have passed this madness onto her. The main difference is that she is much more likely to get SOMETHING in motion than I am. But she is spinning plates down there in Costa Rica. She is still operating her downtown walking tours which is generating some decent income. She has her yoga studio up and running and is always dreaming up innovative classes for that. She's struggling to find enough students to really have it make money though. Since her whole goal was to make it affordable to more people it really is going to take a lot of people coming in to keep it running.

On top of that she is still doing freelance marketing and is heavily involved in the professional womens networking group there. She has been doing a lot of schmoozing with government people with that. If there's one thing Stacey is good at, it's making contacts and networking. She is working on getting the past president of Planned Parenthood to come speak to her womens group. That would be a major feat for her and it's looking like it may happen.

She is now seeking to start a couple more ventures that she hopes to involve venture capitalists with. She has decided that if she wants to actually get anywhere she needs to find a way to get other people to fund her ideas and others to run them. She is best at being the idea person. She really is quite genius if you ask me. I am constantly astounded at what she comes up with. She aspires to really BIG ideas, like those of the social networking startup kind. I have to give her credit. She has already done more on her own than I could have even dreamed about when I was her age. I am inspired by her determination to do what she dreams.

So for myself, even though I may not have the track record of chasing down my dreams or of even figuring out what they really are, I do have things in the works. Things that I am actively working towards, not just daydreaming about. And that's a big deal right there for me. I tend to dwell in the land of daydreams. I have begun the work of putting together a website for my own massage business. I'm looking to have a home based business; not because I can't dream bigger than that, but because that is what makes me happiest. I have had some conversations with a 20 year massage veteran who runs a very successful business in another state. She has a whole wellness center she runs with other therapists, herbalists and acupuncturists working for her. She is in very high demand. She discouraged me from trying to run a business out of my home. But the thing is, I don't want what she has. I don't want to be responsible for the livelihoods of others. I don't want to have overhead cost concerns. I don't want to have to hire an accountant. I don't want all that STUFF weighing me down. I don't need the prestige. But there are lots of other things I do need. I need to feel comfortable and at home. I need simplicity. I need freedom. I need to have clients that are so comfortable with me that coming to my home for treatments feels natural. I'm looking for a clientele that is not interested in a spa setting. I specifically want those people that don't want that! I want them to not see themselves as someone who is to be waited on hand and foot while ordering me around. I want instead for them to view this as a joint effort in healing and restoration, one where we work together to find whatever it is that brings them into balance. By making the setting less about luxury and more about comfort and warmth I will likely keep the high maintenance prima donnas away. I'm also looking at a very different business model than hers. She charges much higher rates than average, because she believes she's worth it, and absolutely never discounts. I get that she most likely is very very good from what I've seen, and let's face it, some people take great pride in shelling out big bucks for services. So she commands those prices and she has no shortage of clients willing to fork it over. But.......I see this whole other category of client who thinks their only option is a massage factory like the chain I currently work at. And they don't have a lot of other options to be honest. I want to give them another option. I know I'm as good or sometimes even better than therapists at some of the more prestigious resorts. I know this because I've been told as much by those who have been around the massage block a time or two. So it's not that I think I'm not worth higher rates. It's that the clientele I most want to reach simply cannot afford it. And they are as deserving  of therapeutic massage as anyone. And I don't give a rat's hiney what other therapists think about someone like me undercutting the average going rates. I don't plan to undercut by that much, just enough to keep the clients total cost competitive with what they pay at the corporate chains. You have to be realistic about who your competition is. So I'm feeling very good about marketing myself as the personal touch alternative to the low cost chains.

I'm also having a great deal of FUN working on the website. It's a great creative outlet both in design and writing. I've spent some time googling other massage websites. There are some very good ones but the majority leave me cold. They come across very clinical and dry. Not what would draw me in for sure! I'm trying to give mine a very warm, serene & beautiful feel. I'm taking my time to insure it's exactly what I want.

I do find it somewhat ironic that I'm doing all this work finally towards getting away from my employer, when in the next year and a half or so we plan to hit the road full time. But I will see how it plays out in the meantime and who knows, I may try to take my business on the road with me. This therapist I spoke of earlier has multiple state licenses so that she can do occasional work when she travels. Tattoo artists do this. Why not massage therapists? We will need some occasional additional income to supplement Karins' pension. That would be one possible source. I could do it on an out call basis.

So this has been my main focus recently, amongst all the other things that catch my fancy here and there. And my headaches have gotten much better. I've been a good girl and been wearing my mouth guard at night. Seems to have done the trick!  :)

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