Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Folding a Fitted Sheet

Or at least how I do it. =) Being a Massage Therapist I find myself extremely picky about how my sheets for the office are folded. Which often means. I do this myself. And can not convince anyone else in the family to do it. So This is how I fold them to remove most of the wrinkles from the sheet itself. Each sheet takes about 2-5 minutes to fold. Simply because to get it completely wrinkle free takes some practice and adjusting. Here are the step by step instructions.

First your going to want the sheet Right sides Out. Stick your hands in the corners of one side of the sheet. The Top or bottom. It doesn't matter. Then place it on a flat surface to work with. I usually fold sheets using my bed because its a large area to work with.
Take the opposite end of what your working with and right sides out pinch the corners placing it within the side on the flat surface. This image is to get the idea of how they are before you put one inside the other.

Place the two opposite ends together. Or within itself. All I did was stick the one end inside the other. With me so far?

Start organizing the sides. This is what takes the longest. Your going to be straightening everything out. The first couple times will not be perfect. However the more practice the easier this will get.

When you flip up one end to the other it will look a lot like this. Not perfect. However it eliminates a lot of the wrinkles this way by keeping things as flat as possible.

Now here is where I flip it over. So you are working with the opposite side. I do this for two reasons. Your curved end from the sheet is exposed this way. So when you fold it up. There will be less chance of it catching on something. It also "encloses" the sheet to make it look nicer if someone is digging through your drawers or closet to look at your things.

Now I fold the sheet in threes. Remember to always flatten and then fold. The more you smooth out the sheet the nicer the end result will be. Especially if you did a lot of smoothing in step three. =)

Your sheet should now look like this. Now we are going to flip it over.

Fold in half. And it should look like this!

Fold the top sheet and the two will look so nice together. =)

Thanks for reading. Happy Folding!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The things they never tell you

I recall my Business class being a lot about "what ifs" and for that the reality wasn't there. I had no clue what my demographic would be, where I saw myself in five years. And most defiantly did not see myself running my own practice. But here I am. Six months into my own business. Wow, it's already been six months. This was not the plan I had envisioned for myself and yet, I have never been happier. Fresh out of massage school you are given the skills to either make smart future education decisions or your a dangerous tool with way too much confidence for your own good. And whatever path you choose. Well that is just how it goes. I look back upon my massage education and really wonder if I was truly ready to step foot into a treatment room and say Yes, I am a Massage Therapist. My first job I took as such, was more or less a feeler for the industry. And it gave me some good sound motivation. And it gave me a huge swat in the ass to what the real world can sometimes look like.
The salon I started working for was decent enough. I was able to have a nice room to myself, was far enough from the hair clients that I didn't feel anyone's massage would be interrupted, and lastly the salon already had a nice build-up of clients. Whom have seen previous LMT employees. The downer is. When you tell the salon you can work certain hours. Expect to actually sit there that long. You have SLOW days. And if your employer (or owner of the salon) feels that you have to sit there even when no one is on the books. You find it very hard to be motivated into what you are doing. Even more so when you see the 50/50 swap with the salon being less then what you imagined it would be. Working for someone else has its advantages and disadvantages. By the time I had been there a little less then an entire year. I learned that this was not where I wanted my career to die. The staff of the salon seemed to hate their own jobs, or hated the fact that they had to run the salon. Owners included. It was a filthy salon. So when they moved me from a 15x12 room to a tiny closet of 6x8 I realized this was the planets aligning so I escape.
With a great support system and my sadly put together business plan from class. A little revamping and I slowly but confidently asked my clients from the salon to follow me. Most of which did and are pleased they have. My new office is spacious and so very quiet. It's calming and very peaceful. I truly believe my space is a Client Vacation.
As I went from a massage student to a self employed Massage Therapist. There are some things that I have found easier, or more pleasing to clients. Things I don't mind sharing because when I left school I knew nothing of what to expect. And I find that when we share ideas. We seem to care that much more. That is what our profession is about, isn't it. Caring for our clients. They have come to us in a very vulnerable position and we help them as best we know how.
I spent a lot of time and effort making "face cradle covers" which were the bees knees in school and in the field... well they seem like a small mistake. For one client in particular (who will always remain nameless) Felt the face cradle covers were disastrous. They would crease your face making everyone for the next hour or so know without a doubt, you just had a massage. Not always a bad thing. But sometimes "cradle face" is embarrassing. We started off just folding a pillowcase over the face cradle itself. And after awhile I realized now we have different kind of crease line on the face. Something should be done. I took a piece of old flannel I had traced around my face cradle, increased it around the edges but left the space between the two dips about the same. Maybe a few inches longer. Cut the flannel to fit the pattern and laid it over the face cradle. Just like that. It was large enough to fit over the face cradle comfortably and since it didn't have any seams on it, there would be no longer "cradle face" I did in the end sew around the edges to create an edging. This is what I use on ALL of my clients now. I have made several, at least one to match color on every set of sheets I have and I have started to make more "fun" covers. I found a flannel with frogs on it that says Peace and Love. So cute. And of course I found others like Harley Davidson, Musical Instruments, things like that. And the personalisation for each client is appreciated. Especially those long term clients who tell you things that have been going on in their life. They love that you actually remember the things they tell you.
Some other things I lived and learned about. Is paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Owning your own place takes a lot of in session time and a lot of "paperwork" time. Keep every little scrap of paper about your business in a safe place. And don't be at all surprised if your home becomes just another place to store work things. LOL.
When I first started I used my phones calendar which linked to google calendar to keep all my appointments in check. The nice things is when doing so you can have txt messages sent to remind you of appointments. Which in theory is great. But then you wake up one day and realize that you have someone managed to have collected multiple calendars that for some reason or another didn't link like they were supposed to and your appointments become a jumped mess. And then you in tern. Look unprofessional and completely un-organised. I invested in a professional appointment book. I wasn't thrilled about spending $25 on just another calendar, however, it fits nicely in my purse, because I travel everywhere with it. And its in-depth enough that I can store and entire days worth of clients in it without mass confusion. And plus I'm a huge post-it note freak. And my book allows me to post it note days, but still have room for clients. YAY. Invest in an appointment book. Save yourself. I really thought the linking my phone with my calendars was going to be great. It was great alright.. A great migraine.
My mother, who had been a bookkeeper for years, and still occasionally does it on the side insisted that I purchase Quickbooks for my records. And of course find a method that works for me to file paperwork and receipts... Because you need to hang onto everything. For the time being. All of my transactions are written in a spreadsheet on my computer. Which I find the time to update weekly. And each receipt is placed in an envelope by month and placed in my accordion file that holds just about everything else. No, not the best in the world. However it had kept me organized and everything is right there when I need it. So this works for me, so far.
Half of my desk at home is dedicated to work. And for one reason. Any mailings or chair events that I do. I need to prepare for. Should be done at home when I'm not expecting clients. I have postcards and magnets, samples, and tons of business cards at home. And even though it takes over my home too. All my work purchases are just that. Work. I have separate stamps, envelopes, even labels. To keep me on track.
I send out Birthday postcards the first week of every month. I send out Reminder letters to those I have seen multiple times but have not seen them recently. I even have special cards that I hand out during chair events. Which I still do, for the love of getting out there. I love meeting all kinds of people, even if they don't yield tons of new clients. It's the idea they I'm out there doing what I love, sharing what I love. And that love comes back.
Another fun thing I would love to share with you. Figure out your gift certificate system. Because I can't believe how many I have gone through before I found things that work best for me. I tried the actual gift certificates you buy from the office stores. Tacky and really unprofessional. Then I tried special ordering them. Great, profession but really costly. In the end I ended up ordering more postcards but printing gift certificate information on them. Tons cheaper and allows you to tape a business card on it, or use a decorative brad to make it looks cute, personal and classy. Ive also designed another set of cards. Usually rack cards for my "donation" gift cards. I supply these to business doing raffles, or give-aways. Anytime I need to donate my services they get these different gift certificates. I usually am pretty good at remember who purchases these gift cards. However this is a great way to know, OK this card is from this company, Or this was a give away for this. Easy Peasy.
Vista Printing is a love hate relationship. They are great when you are just starting out and needs tons of free stuff to get your name out there. But there are certain things I will never purchase through them. Shirts are the big one. I have been wearing the same scrubs to all my chair events. They are clean, eye appealing colors. And seemed to do the job well. But I wanted something more. Professional. you are in fact pimping yourself every time you do anything with your business name. So. Throw it out there. I ordered some shirts from Zazzle. Decently priced if you were to get a few. Kinda price when your getting bulk. But the turn around time was fast and the shipping even better. Have issues about the product once you get it? That was easy too. I ordered the wrong size for my son. Explained that to the returns departments. No problem. I have another shirt the right size with no hassles. Easy. So Zazzle has my vote for printed work as far as shirts, totes, mousepads, and things of that nature.
Massage Therapists are a strange breed of animal. But because of that, we need to stick together. I'm sharing what made my life a little easier. I knew I would have liked that if I was just starting out. Just remember the best way to spread the word is by word of mouth. I can't speak highly enough about how amazing my clients are. Since my move I have had so many client referrals I was baffled. Every time I think .... I need to do something to get the word out. My clients end up doing the leg work and making me feel so lucky I have such great clients. Who care enough to send their friends. So... Let the love of what you do transfer to every client. Because that's your advertisement. Everyone they talk to. =)

Friday, June 3, 2011

The New Game Plan

Yes, I'm back. Finally with a new plan of action. So we're going to have to play catch-up again so you understand what's going on in the crazy world of mine. And of course know, what has taken me so long to get back to blogging important things. Or at least meaningful things. =)
I'm going to start with, where things went terribly wrong. I think that was only the start of the madness.
First let me explain a little background. When my family moved to Missouri, the idea was find somewhere reasonable and then eventually move to a better location, or purchase a home. Well the first couple years were nice and quiet and being our location was large enough that we could survive without getting in each other's way. We simply just stayed here. A fourplex, on the end. When we moved in; there were a family living next door that we never heard, nor hardly ever seen. And when we did happen to cross paths. They were nice and seemed to be pretty decent people. Something went wrong and we came home a few weeks later and they had an eviction notice on their front door. For some time after having NO neighbours at all, well I couldn't complain. Then "they" moved in. It was nightmare from day one.
That six months they were here was one episode of COPS after another. They were the kind of people who were nice to your face, but as soon as you walked away they would slash your tires. And they did in the end. The three daughters were very lovely. The middle child actually rode the bus with my son. And after getting to know the oldest, you could just tell she wasn't happy. I guess the "adults" did not like the idea of me sitting out on the porch in the morning waiting for the bus with my son and talking to their daughters. Because they at one point would drive all their daughters to school, and if by some off chance they were up too late in a drunken state of mind didn't get up. The oldest was left to care for the other two.. One being 3rd grade the youngest being only 4 with no communications skills. I understand gibberish pretty good. But this poor doll. Couldn't understand a word, her sisters say it's not even words its just gibberish to get attention. Beside the point. Anyways. So the family would be up till 12 or later on school nights screaming and laughing and being drunk. The police were phoned alot. We would ask them to quiet down on several occasions getting some of the greatest responses ever. Ranging from "my daughter turned it up" (after the TV would boom my back bedroom for 30 minutes before I went over there) to "You just need to learn to have fun." (this comment came after they tried to split our cable TV wire outside. Funny. We don't watch enough TV to validate cable, so they didn't get very far with that)
Extremely long 6 month story of hell cut as short as I can besides rambling of the insanity. It really was six months I spent little time in my home at all. After the police stand-off that resulted in the arrest of the mother. The family ditched and ran. Prolly the best thing they ever did. I spent alot of that 6 months crying. I really, really hated living here at that point.
The quiet location was a nightmare. And getting Rob to actually deal with home sales people only lasts long enough for them to tell him what he wants a few dozen times before he gets through. And then we don't look again for months.
At the time I was also working for a salon here in town. Which was another nightmare all in itself. It was close and it gave me the opportunity to get a feel for the LMT thing. At first it was nice. I had this large 15x12 room to myself. The only down-side was the owner tried to control everything I did. From telling me when to clean to telling me how to actual perform my job. (she and her mother did hair and nails) The dirty little salon wasn't doing so hot so they ended up closing half of it. Which included by room. But, because they wanted to keep a Massage Therapist on staff they prepared another room for me. And at first glance, I really wanted it to work. However, in the end I was doing more damage to myself then anything else. The room was a small 6x8 space with cabinets that stuck out 14 inches from the wall. There was no more then 12 inches of space around the table to "work" I also had to share the space with the cosmetologist. Who was a slob, leaving hair and crap all over the room and ruining the sheets so that I could not use them for my work ever again. Let's also remember they demanded that I stay there all day, even if I didn't have anything booked (just in case someone walked in) So I stayed there from 10 in the morning (sometimes I would have to wait till 11 for them, and then my entire day would be off) till sometimes 7pm. And lets not forget those Saturdays when I was there from 10 to 3, or 4, or 5 The salon closes at 3, however they often booked me massages after hours and then call to make sure I locked up properly. I was not allowed to book my own clients, They controlled everything. And took half my wages in the process. Almost a year later, I cashed my last check and text messaged them that I wasn't coming back. It took less then a year for them to suck the love of what I do out of me. I hated going to work, I hated being around them. I really, really, was in a bad place.
February of 2011. I started my own massage business in an office building closer to my home, and in a great location for my clients to find me. A good 95% of my regulars from the salon followed me to my new location. And within my first two weeks of opening I had three new clients. Which I know doesn't sound like much. But I'm talking a good 30 regulars who come between once a week to once a month. That's not bad considering I just opened my doors.
Since opening I have taken on at least 3 new clients a week. And the referrals are great. I have a lot of hard working clients =) One thing that was very important to me, was keeping the same prices I had at the salon. It's a big difference when someone is not taking half of everything you make. That being said. I work on the low end of the massage spectrum. Not really ideal, but most weeks I'm making rent for the office space in a week.
Rob has been amazing through all of this. And if it were not for him. I may have still been at the salon. As I said before I wasn't in a happy place. And if Mom isn't happy, then no one is. I was crying most days, it was the only way to get it out of my system before going postal. There was no sanctity for me at all. I was miserable at home (the neighbours were ALWAYS loud) and I was miserable at work (because some people don't have a clue what I do, but want to dictate my life) Through it all Rob has been right beside me. Even on those days when me being a women just looses it. My poor son, too. He knew why I was upset and that itself made it horrible. He shouldn't have had to see me like that. Sometimes we just loose our path in life and someone needs to smack us to wake the hell back up.
So here is the update on the down-low.
Currently there is an older couple who lives next door to us. Great people. We hardly ever see or hear them. EVER. Occasionally their granddaughter comes over and runs down the stairs like a maniac but its only on the weekends, and it's not anywhere close to the thundering booms we used to hear. So I am A-OK with it.
I am also in the start of 5 months in business for myself. Wow, has it really been that long. OK maybe not. I started the last week of February and now it's the first week of June. Regardless. WOW.
My space is my own. I come and go as I please and if I want to have an appointment at 7 in the morning. I can. And there are days I just can't tell a client NO, I can't book you today. So I squeeze them in. The past two days I have been there from 9 am to around 8 pm. Tiny little breaks in between so I can run home and spend time with the boys.
Anthony is out for summer vacation, he starts band camp next week. And by Friday we will be heading out to Chicago for a week on vacation. On the way back, Anthony will be dropped off at my folks place, he will be brought back a week from then. The rest of summer.. I dunno. Chicago was the big plan this year.
So... I appologize for being absent this many months, years, whatever. It was all a nightmarish blur that I really would much rather forget.
I get to set my own work schedule so if I book myself the time to do something. YAY I can actually do it. Unless I pull something like I did today. I told myself I wasn't going to work after my own massage today. But I know I'm going to be out of town next week. So I booked two massages later in the evening. I feel bad, but, I'll have a whole week off.
The game plan is to actually schedule time to do this once a week. Show you some things that I have been working on. And generally share my funny adventures as a Massage Therapist. We do have alot of adventures.. LOL
No clients will be harmed in the making of this blog. So no worries.