Tag Archives: building business

And so it begins…

HAL has begun sending me things to reinforce my last post. One of which is the following:

How to Move On: What It Really Means to Let Go: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-move-on-from-the-past-what-it-really-means-to-let-go/

I guess I will never understand fully because letting go and focusing on love seem to be the bigger message. I still wish I had some understanding.

Anyways, in moving on, I had a really good time today with 2 different co-workers during downtime.

I took a walk with the office manager and we had a really great conversation, with some much needed emotional release for both of us. Plus it helped me reach my step goals today. I was very appreciative of that time all around.

I also got to play a couple of games of “Magic the Gathering” with the one chiropractor. It’s a game I used to play with the brother that’s closest to me in age. It has been …. let’s see…. since early 2003 that I’ve played. That’s 16, almost 17, years. Wow!

I still have my cards from back then, but so much has changed that the new decks are much better, so he has been encouraging me to use his. I feel like I’m starting from scratch and completely relearning everything. It’s so fun though. I totally lost big time- on both games, but still enjoyed every bit of it.

I am so out of practice that the strategy feels over my head yet, but I get the concept. The layering of steps and which cards work better in what order can be very complex. I literally had a card in my hand that I’d been holding for several turns, but forgot to leave myself enough mana(land) to use it and it cost me the one game.

I enjoy learning so much though, and it is definitely a fun kind of learning, so it literally made me giddy at one point. I felt like I got silly hyper with the fun. That was a very much needed distraction from my previous focus.

As for learning: I’m still working on hindi and telegu in my spare time, but since I have no idea why God nudged me to do so (especially since I’m letting go of that person) , it’s at a very relaxed pace. I’m getting to where in hindi I can pick out letters and sound out words even though I know very few translations. Telegu I know more translations, but have fewer of the characters memorized. It’s merely a symptom of the different apps and how they teach languages. I like Duolingo and Drops, which both offer hindi, but neither offer telegu. The telegu apps are much less sophisticated, but still get the job done.

I’ve also begun the slow tedious process of becoming an approved continuing education provider for massage therapy. Essentially, the easy part is proving my qualifications to teach a handful of courses by documenting I have so many years working using said techniques, I also have a bachelor’s degree, which though they would prefer it to be related (a BS), it doesn’t hurt. Once I do that easy step, I literally have to follow rules and write my own curriculum which can be no more than 30% cited source material. Finally, once I’ve written everything, I can apply by submitting my CV and courses for approval; of course paying the appropriate exorbitant fees. They really try to dissuade people from becoming providers: can’t have too many teachers and too few students you know!

I’m not intimidated by the process in the least. Their basic calculation is 1200 words equals a credit unit. That’s a blog post for me, so I’m guessing I’ll have more trouble pairing down or figuring out how to subdivide my topics for multiple related courses. However, after having written the operations manual for my previous position, I’m certain I’m up to the task. It’s more about convincing myself to do the free work knowing that eventually I’ll recoup the benefit in paid courses with students in multiplicity.

I’m also contemplating the investment of a site where I can host web-based courses. Essentially, the text/testing coursework can be provided via web interface without practical hands on CE hours. Ultimately that helps spread the information side, but the CMT loses access to the extra CE’s for the hands on practicals. It’s a lower cost solution for both parties, but longterm it would benefit me as the provider more. It’s a huge up front investment, to also have to market like crazy, but longterm reaping significantly higher benefits. Ultimately, it will happen, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the investment side just yet. I’ll contemplate web platforms and do the math several times during my writing phase of this momentous step, and make my final decision during the application process.

Long story short, I’m having fun and learning and inching toward another significant step of improvement. All by my not-so-little own self. I feel like screaming “HA, Take That World!”… but alas I know no one would really truly care anyway. So, I’ll keep my ‘I win’ moment to myself, and relish that I know I’m the only one that gets credit for digging myself out of a decade of hardship…. me and God that is.

May you all have happy dances of overcoming obstacles. May you find kindness around you and moments of connection with others. May you find joy in continually learning and ways to share what you’ve already mastered. May you see God’s grace and support guiding you through all of life’s moments toward brighter futures.

Siva Hir Su

Victory and insights.

So the victory is my midwife is paid in full!!!! Yay! Happy dance and squeals of delight.

I even have a little bit saved for the trip to Acadia National Park in Maine the end of July. At this rate I think I’ll have enough to make the trip. It might be tight, but I can’t say no to free lodging, a beautiful experience, and visiting family I’ve not seen in nearly a decade.

That is wonderful relief.

On an entirely different topic, the insights came yesterday at a mandatory meeting our building had with the President and Vice President of our company. I have to say meeting them was far more comfortable than daily working tends to be. Everyone around me was running around stressing and I just wasn’t. I don’t know why in particular but it felt very comfortable and I even had a good albeit short conversation with the President.

He seems like a genuinely good guy, and the biggest take away from the meeting was that the owners are also good people.

It led to a long conversation with our pastor afterwards. We discussed how a company gets to where they have such genuinely good goals and set out to do good deeds, but end up having staffing and budget issues as I’ve seen. How the low people on the totem essentially still boil down to numbers. And how those ideals fail to carry through to all of the individuals in the organization.

It helped me gain some more clarity on my goals of Atira. The pastor used the phrasing that perhaps a company gets too large to fully understand all of the individual workings and really know it’s people. That the connections that express a person’s value are lost. That sentiment reinforced prior ideas I’d had that Atira should be a singular community. It could spawn franchisee opportunities or literally just help people learn how to start their own communities, but I really don’t want a company of mine to grow so large that the company itself begins to lose sight of it’s intent.

I want Atira to stay manageable so that I know for sure it is helping people both within and outside of it’s structure. I want to know that if all the individuals understand that, the better it functions and the more they can make happen in their lives and in the lives of others.

For instance: I know I want to give homeless people second chances by putting them to work- training and all, but I also acknowledge that minimum wage being just over $7 is highly unrealistic with the inflation we’ve had the last 20 years. I want Atira to be able to sustain realistic living wages for all of it’s staff members, and those with experience and drive do deserve to earn more.

Yet, I acknowledge that in order for there to be profits to divert for other charitable uses, there does have to be positive flow of goods and services being exchanged for properly set fees.

It is definitely a tricky balancing act, and one that though I now can see my employer aimed for, either did not reach or was unable to maintain. I want Atira to reach and maintain it.

Beyond that, yesterday’s conversations and interactions solidified that I have done very well for myself with much less effort than some. I pointed out to the President that I had only ever paid for two boxes of business cards and never did pamphlets or other costly marketing.

I left Facebook nonsense out of that conversation knowing that I had already gotten their attention over that. However, in talking to the pastor I did revisit it. Explaining that I have yet to see any benefit from Facebook, also knowing over 2 dozen people that have tried to use it for marketing. Most of those, myself included had far too negative cost-benefit imbalances in Facebook marketing. Offering up hundreds of free services or visits to get a pittance of mediocre to decent client base. It simply just never netted the good reliable clients that massage therapists, chiropractors, and other care providers survive by.

I count myself fortunate to have seen that pattern and ducked out before giving away too many hours of my life, my work, and my hands, to those that are ungratefully taking advantage of the freebie.

That is not to say I never give away services. In fact to this day I still do. However, I’m much more discerning in my free work. I give to those that truly value it, but otherwise might not be able to afford it. I also give away a fair number of massages to veterans, even those that can afford it. That is where I choose to give, and when someone shows their gratitude in the best way they know or have available, I’m more likely to give them repeat free services. I have one veteran that I bill for about every 4th massage, knowing he’s on a tight budget but that he sings my praises nearly daily. So essentially I do my best to catch him weekly and bill just one a month. That is my avenue for flowing charity for God. It is what I can do right now, so I do.

And besides, not dealing with Facebook took a huge stress off of me. No longer having to consider finding or creating good stock photography, and reducing my concerns of protecting people’s information and privacy. As a sole proprietor HIPAA is a potentially life threatening costly mistake waiting to happen, so I’m glad I stepped away from Facebook when I did.

Anyway, I’m utterly grateful for the whole lot, midwife being paid, meeting upper management, learning more about the company, and especially both the conversation with the President and our pastor.

Another thank you to the Divine for providing more clarity in my days and helping to continually redefine and become more specific with my desires and goals. I truly look forward to brighter days ahead.

Spinning like a top.

Tonight I write as I work on drifting to sleep. The goal to empty my head, to calm my mind, so that I can sleep.

I feel at the moment as though my head is spinning as fast as a dradel.

This month I’m on a ride, I think I dove straight into that fast spinning vortex Abraham talks so much about, and I’m definitely holding on for the ride to resume normal.

Quick recap of previous bumps: depression cycles, miscarriage, Anya succumbing to depression, losing my mind thrice over with manic in between, sinus infection taking me down a notch, and discovering I’m actually still pregnant with the other “twin” 8 weeks along.

Oh, but it gets better. After yesterday’s news, I asked my one building if they were still interested in having me in their team. They had given me a sort of impromptu walk in interview last week when I went to do my regularly scheduled chair massages. They responded that the position might have been filled and send my resume anyway.

I received the call at 9am that the position was mine if I wanted it, I gave a tentative yes. By 10am I’d filled Nathan in, and confirmed my acceptance to start on the 22nd.

 By noon I’d rescheduled most but not all of my massage work. I have 2 buildings left to permanently reschedule, and 2 individuals will likely get permanently dropped. Everything else I found homes for in my new schedule. And I still managed to complete most of today’s actual originally intended work.

The new schedule starting the 22nd will be full 10 hour work days Thursday through Monday. 1 half Tuesday per month, & Wednesday’s will likely end up filled, but only half for work (pm will still be family activities).

So I’ll essentially be working 6 long days a week. While pregnant, and yes the new job knows I’m expecting. They really, really wanted me.

It felt really nice to have a respectable employer want me that much. It validated my thoughts about my mad skills.

The pay is lower than hoped, but Nathan pointed out I was interviewed on the spot before I submitted a resume, which generally speaks to how highly they regard me. In addition, they’ve already pointed out that within 6 months I could work toward increases equal to half again the base/starting rate, potentially reaching over 15 an hour. Plus it has benefits, and I could keep all of my massage work that I chose to.

It was just really, really easy and very convenient, with perfect timing. I couldn’t have asked for a better solution for the moment (exception being winning a lottery jackpot).

 I spent the rest of the day thanking the Lord/God/Shiva/Jesus & the divine in general.

I’ve already broached moving back to the city, or at least much much closer with Nathan. He understands my concerns especially with being pregnant and now working so much. He’s not fighting me, but we need to discuss and work out an agreement on details. I’m hoping that as we do that, something will show itself equally easily.

We’re suddenly in this space of knowing that every time we make a specific request it’s like we get a very direct, very easy response from the divine.

At this point I’m just doing my best to keep up, still needing to invoice, finish paperwork for Anya to see someone, and now tomorrow fill out new hire paperwork, plus a dozen odds and ends that we’d intended a while ago.

Oh, that was the other thing. I mentioned ages ago that I thought I was being nudged to get passports in order. I thought at that time Anya’s was in our fire box with her birth certificate. Apparently the grandma still had it from the trip to Brazil before her mom died. I had no idea. But the divine did and somehow solved the problem. Grandma literally gave us the expired passport with the money to renew it when she brought Anya back Tuesday. None of us asked, but poof, exactly what was needed.

See what I mean. Hang on for the ride and do your best to keep up. That’s all. Everything else is just falling into place. 

The only one I’m waiting for is my friend to show up, I keep seeing him looking out a plane window. I don’t know when, he hasn’t said anything to me, but I know it’s soon. It makes me happy to think of it.

And on that note, I’ll drift off to sleep thinking happy thoughts of new homes and cute boys showing up out of nowhere.

Business is booming- in my brain!

This week beyond thinking about my rebirthing experiences, I’ve been contemplating my Elder Care Massage business, and our Atira goals, especially how they might coincide.

—-

It really did throw me a bit when I had the conversation with the other massage therapist. I knew she was working on retiring when the referral was given to her by a person I work with. I had no idea though that it would end up resulting in me being the only therapist in the metro doing this line of work. I just assumed there was still a handful of us doing geriatric massage, and that this therapist might not even have to give me her building, that it could have gone to someone else. I’ve been enjoying relishing in the fact that I have a monopoly on such endeavors, even making it a point to tell others my/her discovery.

In the process I have spent a significant amount of time contemplating what it is I like about what I do, and what the downfalls of such work is. I have to say that I always come up with more bonuses than negatives. I have thought about what the steps might look like in moving from sole proprietor to a full fledged business with employees doing the same work. It does seem a bit daunting, but contemplating that process does get me a bit excited, in the realm of I could potentially build a significant business that would be the first of it’s kind. I could end up, long term, being the first Massage-Envy-like business that solely travels to provide elder/geriatric care. Which, even if it wasn’t a huge dollar producer, just having that niche market would be a success.

In the process of acknowledging this possibility, I’ve clarified things that would need to happen.


 

One being that Kansas, as well as a few other states, need to be required to have reciprocity laws. Right now there are not many metro areas that fall on state lines, but every one that does creates a complicated situation.

For instance when I first started working as a Massage Therapist I worked in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area. Nebraska had stricter regulations than Iowa by 200 hours, not a huge amount, but they would not allow therapists to add on, a therapist would have to start over with their education to meet Nebraska laws. I fell in the middle having more hours than Iowa required, but just shy of what Nebraska wanted. Nebraska also refused to honor Iowa licensure, even though Iowa would accept Nebraska licensure. So, I was relegated to staying on the Council Bluffs side, which had a notoriously low economic base with high unemployment and vast areas of poverty. It was not a pretty employment picture and one that ended hazardously for me.

When we moved to the Kansas City metro I was faced with a similar picture. Missouri is state licensed; Kansas is not. Each individual city on the Kansas side of the line can have it’s own licensing requirements. What is interesting to note here is that nearly all of the regulations for all of the cities are the same, with a very small handful of exceptions (like Shawnee doesn’t require a license if you work under doctor or chiropractic supervision). The difference lies mainly in the amount that is charged for a therapist license and what determines if they are also going to charge you for having a separate business license. I know this because I have held a license through 4 cities and contemplated another 3 cities, and there are only 9 on the Kansas side of the metro. They all require 500 hours &/or Board certification, CPR/AED certification, to carry liability insurance, and pass their police background check. I have 800 hours, I am nationally certified, keep my CPR and insurance current, and have a record so clean I used to carry a government “Classified” clearance.

So, I can step back and acknowledge 2 things:

-Licensure is supposedly in place to create safety through knowledge. Acknowledging training and board ethics is important: it keeps clients safe from bad practices and it reduces risks of sexual activity in a therapy setting.

-Licensure allows for taxation of the licensed party. If one city can offer a license and background check for $85 (Shawnee), then there is no reason that other cities charge more except to make money off of someone.

Where this gets my goat, and the reason why it needs changed, is that if I can meet the standards for all of the cities in the metro, then there should never be a fear of being caught “without a license” because I crossed an imaginary line (city boundary). Yet that is a very real reality. If you don’t carry a license for every city you work in, you can currently be prosecuted for working without a license, and if found guilty it can prevent you from ever being licensed again. Yet, I’ve already demonstrated that I have the education and physical ability to carry any license in the KC metro. So what does it boil down to?

Money.

I have chosen to not carry every license consecutively because it would cost me nearly $3,000 a year to do so, and if you’ve read my blog you would understand how ludicrous that is. I gross $33,000 a year, that is a 10% local tax, on top of state and federal tax.  My AGI falls closer to $16,000 with mileage and business expenses, so now that $3,000 becomes a 20% local tax on top of state and federal taxes. I count that separately because paying Massage License tax (fees they call them) happens directly at a city clerk and never makes it onto my tax return except where I can note business licensing as an expense.

What I’m going to say next might piss some off, but I’m gonna anyway.

If you required that same process of Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, IT professionals, or any one of another high salary positions, it would not fly. The second a lawyer faced 20% local taxes on top of their regular state and federal taxes, bills would be created and laws would change. Yet, massage therapists, aestheticians, and cosmetologists regularly face just that through the risks inherent in failing to carry multiple city licenses when a state doesn’t require reciprocity. The lowest income, and generally female held, positions are the ones penalized the most. That screams discrimination to me.

Yet, it has nothing to really do with safety. There have been and will continue to be all manner of “professionals” that lose their jobs, and often licenses for having sexual relations in their office. I’ve noted in just the last year, dentists, Md’s, and psychologists that have gotten in trouble just for that very reason. I know that CEO’s and upper-management also experience abuse of power through sex, and are quietly asked to leave their positions. It may not be frequent, but it is frequent enough that if that were really the only reason for the licensing requirements like I deal with, then the same licensing procedures would apply to all professions. It’s simply not the case.

I believe that really, it is old biased thinking that created outdated and ludicrous laws, and those in power are simply too lazy and blinded by dollar signs to care about changing it.

So full circle: IF (a huge IF), I decided to take my job and turn it into a full fledged business with multiple employees, I would have to take that on. I would have to figure out a way to mandate at least Kansas and Missouri to have reciprocity laws in place. Further yet, if I plan on building my business to have multiple locations in the future, it is likely that I would need to do that for any state I functioned out of. Better yet, I would want all states to have reciprocity laws. There is no reason that a therapist should have to carry multiple licenses consecutively. If doctors and lawyers don’t have to, then neither should massage therapists or any other profession. There should be a blanket acceptance that if a professional met the requirements to hold a license, especially one that requires repeat renewals, and background checks, then that license should be good regardless of the location of their works activities.

Now reciprocity laws are specifically designed to address traveling professionals- that is people that technically have one source of employment, but multiple locations where the physical work is completed (roofers, traveling nurses, hospice works, etc.) Reciprocity does not count in a professional moving or taking a new job (i.e. I used to live in Iowa and my Iowa license is still good, but now I live and work in Kansas)- in that situation any professional still requires new licensing. So, if my business ends up having multiple locations in multiple states, I would still need multiple business licenses, that is natural. I just want to ensure that my therapists would only need one license, and I could still send them to multiple buildings regardless of where those buildings were physically located. That is the goal of reciprocity laws.



Another thing I have been actively working on the last couple of weeks has been researching grants to see if I, or my massage business, or Atira might qualify for grants that are currently available. I’m discovering there is a lot of free money to be found. However, most of the results I’m finding so far are either directly research related, for the purpose of promoting hiring diversity, or location specific. For instance I found grants for diversity building in cooperation with one of our consulate locations in Japan. Cool but not helpful to me. The search will continue, there are thousands of grants just through the United States government to wade through. Maybe I’ll find a good one!


 

So finally, how does all of this wrap together with Atira?

Well I thought about things that we want to do, how my massage practice has always been a part of that. I think this really is just another avenue to explore. but it led me to thinking about names, and how businesses can be subdivided. I thought more specifically about my ideas, and inspiration began flowing. Mostly with names and building my website. Which, by the way, I have put adjusting my current website on my new priority list.

Anyway, here were my inspirations (FYI- I consider this to be copyrights as my blog is part of me and my arts):

For Elder Care Massage-

name: Atira ReLive

sub-title: Helping our elders find comfort and peace through Relaxation and DeStress.

I thought that this provided just enough ambiguity that I could incorporate art and music therapies into the list of services offered by our traveling therapists.

I also contemplated naming the parts of Atira as a whole:

Atira Group: where I am at now, already a registered name with my EIN attached, represents my business umbrella.

Atira Community: Honestly I’m stuck at coming up with a more creative name for this one!

Atira Arts: Studio and Gallery: Atira In the Making, and Atira’s Hung…. I’m not sure Nathan will like the latter one!

Atira Cafe: Une Boisson D’Atira … you know like the french phrase for a drink of water- une boisson d’eau.

Atira Restaurant: Graze on Atira… that came from my mom referencing vegetarians as grazers.

Festivals: Atira Explorations… I’m not sure I’ve convinced myself of that one. I was going for the feel of playing, having fun, enjoyment. Needs some work.

And the store… I’ve got little nothing inspired for that yet.

 

Regardless, I have miles to go, I’m still just scratching the surface of getting started. The difference is that this topic interests me and excites me. Even if I don’t have any tangible evidence of manifesting it, I’m still enjoying it. Thinking about the millions of details is fun. Trying to be creative is even more fun. I’m going to keep doing all of it, while I function in my current constructs. Life keeps rolling, and I’m going with the flow now. It’s nice. Perhaps, I’ll find the magic grant that will launch part of this, or maybe even all of this. Perhaps I’ll win the lottery and will be able to put it all into effect soon. I just don’t know, but I’m doing my best to look forward and keep positive while trudging through the current mess I’m still wading in. Somehow, somewhere, a way will be made for improvement, and September is still significant from what I can tell, just not sure how or why.