I want you to write this down: The people I can serve are just waiting for me to get over my fears around marketing myself. The people you can serve are waiting for you. They need the work that you do. They need the help that you can give them to reach their health and wellness goals.
They’re just waiting for you to step up and put yourself out there so they can find you.
They’re just waiting for you to answer the call from your heart to do the work you were born to do.
They’re waiting for you to get over your fears around sales, around marketing, around putting yourself out there.
It’s time to step into your power—because you are more than just a skilled practitioner. You are an artist. When an artist creates something, they put their creation out into the world, and that’s a really vulnerable place to come from.
As a bodywork therapist, you’re like an artist. You’ve created this thing, this practice. You have the skills, and you’re developing your knowledge and developing wisdom in your hands.
When you put that out into the world as an offering, you might hear nothing back.
That’s a really scary, vulnerable place to be.
You might think, “If I build it, they will come,” but it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes people will say yes, and sometimes they’ll say no. And many people will just ignore you. But that’s OK. You’ve got to detach from the outcomes and do it anyway.
Put yourself out there anyway.
In the words of Brene Brown, the people who really make something of their lives—really make a contribution to the world—are those people who are willing to get into the arena and dare greatly.
Even though it can be scary and you can be knocked down, and you can lose, you are actually in the arena doing the thing.
That’s what I want you to encourage you to do.
No matter how scary it is, get into the arena, do the thing, share what you do, put your offerings out to people.
Even though it’s scary and vulnerable, you can then create a wonderful business.
After all, nobody is going to come to you for the wonderful work that you do if nobody knows about you, if nobody has any idea that you even exist.
Take a tip from Brow:. It’s not about the naysayers. You are the person who is going into the arena daring greatly and getting over those fears about marketing yourself.
I say this to people I work with—both in The Bodywork Project and in the masterclasses I teach—that having your own business, your own massage or bodywork business—is some of the most profound and deep personal growth work that you will ever do.
You put the thing that you’re creating out into the world, and it’s like a mirror back to you. All of a sudden all of your insecurities, fears, dread and under-confidence rear their ugly heads.
Do it For Yourself
When I ask practitioners why they’re struggling with their marketing, the first thing they say is that they’re not bad at marketing or selling things for other people. They just can’t do it for themselves.
This one can be tricky because you didn’t get into this business to be a marketing powerhouse. You got into it to help people. But guess what? You’re not helping anyone if you go out of business.
So how do you turn it around? How do you get over those fears about marketing yourself?
Let’s start with the know, like, and trust factor—you need to give people a chance to get to know you, and the work that you do, and the chance to get to like you. (That doesn’t mean everybody has to like you. It’s more like: Does this person resonate with me? Do I feel a connection with this person?)
And then the trust factor: Give people a chance to trust that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do, that you’re going to be there for them, that you’re going to show up for them, that you’re going to be consistent.
That can take some time.
The Holiday Party from Hell
I’d like to share with you a story from my own experience just starting out that makes me cringe when I think about it today. At the time, the common wisdom was all about the law of attraction—that you can just magically manifest all of this stuff if you just have the right mindset.
I had just moved to Wilmington, and about the only person I knew was my realtor, the woman who sold us our home. A few months after we arrived and I had opened my practice, she had a customer appreciation holiday party, and I was all into that mindset thing.
I figured if I just do the law of attraction and believe that it will happen, then everything will be peachy keen. I was going to believe that all the people at this party are going to be interested in me and want to come for a massage. I had donated a free hour session as part of a charity raffle.
I’m embarrassed to even say this, but I thought everyone was going to hear about that and then they’d come and talk with me and make appointments for sessions with me.
I wanted to be ready. I wanted to be open to the universe and be ready for all of the good will and abundance that would be coming my way.
Long story short: I brought my credit card machine to this Christmas party. So inappropriate! (And this was before the days of easy payment via Square, Stripe, or PayPal. I brought along one of those giant clunky credit card machines where you put the little carbon paper form in and do the back and forth motion to run the credit card.) I had this giant dinosaur with me, and I brought along a whole bunch of those carbon forms.
I went bopping into this Christmas party where I knew nobody. And at the end of the night I was crushed. So disappointed. I felt like such a rotten businessperson, a terrible person, because of course nobody had come up and talked to me about massages. Nobody was handing over their credit card to buy gift certificates or to set up sessions with me.
Why? Because they didn’t have the time that’s required to get to know me, to like me, or to trust me to set up an appointment.
Give it Time
I share that story not to embarrass myself but to illustrate how important it is to put yourself out there … and then give the universe time to percolate.
Don’t get discouraged or expect immediate results because they aren’t going to happen.
But if you don’t start today, those results are going to be put off even longer.
And, think about this as you’re gathering the courage to put yourself out there and tell people about the work you do:
If you’ve got a solid foundation for your business, and you’re not constantly worrying about paying your bills, then you’re going to be a better therapist. You’re going to be more present for your people and they are going to get better results.
I want to leave you today with some action steps that you can take to get past these fears so you can help the people that you most need to help who most need the work that you have to share.
If you’re just starting out in your business, your next steps are going to be quite different from someone who’s ready to hire another therapist.
I’ve created a free Bodyworker Clarity Quiz at mindytotten.com/quiz. Just answer a couple of questions and find out where you are on this journey.
Depending on where you are on that timeline, you can download a guide that will tell you the next best steps to take on your journey to creating a sustainable business.
Now, one more time, and I want you to really take this into your heart:
The people you can serve, who need the work that you have to offer, are just waiting for you to get over your fears around marketing yourself.
About the Author
Mindy Totten, LMBT, CST-D, helps bodyworkers build profitable businesses so you can serve more people AND make a great living doing it. Learn more about her and her work here.