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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 21 cards also makes it easier for clients to pay online before their appointment. The downside of credit card payments is the fee your business is charged for each transaction. There are a few popular credit card processors, and if you're just getting started, it's wise to compare a few options. You'll want to consider three factors when making your choice: transaction fees, monthly fees, and the equipment needed to process the transactions. Most processors charge a combination of flat and percentage fees. Some processors also charge a flat monthly fee on top of per- transaction fees. Some processors require only a smartphone and a small device attachment for processing. The device may cost $0–$50. Processors that serve larger business may have more expensive devices with more capabilities, such as paper receipts. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the options and calculations, so here's a general rule: For most very small, one-person massage businesses, who do less than $4,000 in credit card transactions per month, Square (and similar transaction-fee–only options) is the best bet. If your business does more than $4,000 in credit card charges monthly, it's worth your time to explore a more robust processor. Check your local bank or credit union for their processing options. Just like with cash and checks, you want a simple, repeatable system for recording credit card payments. A transaction may look like this: • A client pays with a credit card. (You then complete payment through software/device.) • You make a note of the transaction. (We'll cover this in a minute.) • The credit card processor deposits those funds (minus any fees) into your checking account. Whatever payment method you decide to accept (or not), be sure to communicate this information clearly to new and current clients. Put your payment information on your website, in your email confirmations and reminders, and on your intake forms, and note it verbally when you book new clients in person or over the phone. RECORD EVERY PENNY The final beginner step is creating a system to record every single penny that comes into your business each day. The goal is to have a complete record of all the monies your business has taken in and what payment method was used. You should be able to look at this record and quickly see your gross income over any day, week, or month. If you haven't started a system for this yet, it can feel overwhelming. But really, it's less than five minutes of work a day. (We're going to demonstrate this for you in the video companion to this column found at There are options for how to record this information, and you get to choose a system that works best for you. Here's what you want to record: • How much money you received (total) • How much money you received for each payment method (cash, checks, or credit cards) You may also choose to record separately how much was taken in to purchase gift certificates or packages. Paper If you use a paper calendar, you could make a note at the bottom of each day. You can draw columns on a notebook page, use graph paper, or print out a fancier template you make yourself. If you record income information on paper, make a habit of "backing it up." Use your smartphone to take a picture of your paper record at the end of each week. Email that image to yourself or save it to your computer or cloud storage. Then, if your paper gets destroyed or lost, you won't have to recreate the record from scratch. Spreadsheet Business owners who are savvy with a laptop or tablet may prefer to use a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets make it easy to add mathematical formulas and see your gross income by day, week, month, etc. Computers are easy to back up, and you can easily store spreadsheets in the cloud for safekeeping as well (for example, with the "Sheets" program in Google Drive). Check out for a free downloadable spreadsheet template. Something Else (Sometimes Software) I (Allissa) found my software by accident. I had been using Square credit card processing for years and saw that I could also record all my cash and check transactions directly through the Square app. Since it's easy and I already love the app and the available reporting (you'll see that in the companion demo video), it is my go-to method for recording income. You may already have software you love, and we'll cover more on money software in the next column. If you're not already using software, don't make this the time to spend three months testing out different apps. Just start simple, and you can graduate from there later. Again, the goal is to be able to look at this record and quickly see your gross income for any day, week, or month. Getting organized is the first step toward improving your money habits and taking control of your financial life. If you are already doing all these things, maybe you can fine-tune your methods. If this is all new to you, get started and we'll take the next step together in the next issue! Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds can be found at, a member-based community designed to help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. Watch "Intro to Mind Your Money 2020"

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