Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2012

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best practices BUSINESS SIDE | Q & ART | TABLE LESSONS | SAVVY SELF-CARE Where to Turn for Expert Advice By Laura Allen Chances are, if you were self-employed a generation or two ago, you would have done business with a network of personal connections: a banker who knew you by name, an attorney who helped you with the closing on your property, and a local accountant who helped with your taxes and fi nancial planning. They would all be knowledgeable about your business and able to give you qualifi ed advice based on your circumstances. It's a different time. Progress has taken the personalization out of business, and communications in general. People bank online now. They hire attorneys they'll never meet by way of a prepaid plan on the Internet. Financial software companies have online payroll processing, tax preparation, and virtually any other money-related service you require, so the neighborhood accountant is a lot less busy these days. While that's convenient for the consumer, it's also opened up a can of worms that didn't exist a few short decades ago. When your only interaction with someone has been to visit their website, chat online, or talk on the phone, you're missing out on that eye contact, the handshake, and the gut feeling you get when you meet—the humanity, if you will, of business. "I'M SO MUCH COOLER ONLINE" I stole that line from a country song about a short, dumpy, 30-something guy with no life who still lives with his parents and drives a Ford Pinto to his job as a pizza deliveryman. He has convinced the women he interacts with in Internet chat rooms that he's tall with perfect abs, practices martial arts, models for Calvin Klein, drives a Maserati … you get the picture. He's created an Internet persona, and it couldn't be further removed from reality. I'm personally a big fan of social media. For me, it's part business networking, part fun to check in with other therapists on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and ABMP's site, There are a lot of opportunities for networking out there, and you can fi nd anything you could possibly want on the Internet. One thing in particular that jumps out at me is the number of self- proclaimed experts in the massage profession, and it isn't limited to just business. There are also many massage therapists and others in the holistic arts presenting themselves as health experts, nutrition experts, and life and/or business coaches. They're all wildly successful experts in their fi eld (well, they must be, because Yelp said they were), and just waiting to help you make a million bucks—for a fee. How do you know if that person claiming to be an expert actually is one, or just someone who wants your hard-earned cash and will end up giving you worthless advice? Just like the guy in the country song, it's relatively easy to set up an Internet persona that makes a person appear to be the fi nancial advisor to Donald Trump. THE INTERNET ADVANTAGE It's ironic that the same thing that has depersonalized many services these days is also the key tool for investigating anyone who offers services you're thinking 24 massage & bodywork may/june 2012

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