Setting Up a Schedule that Works for YOU
As we cruise right along here in Healthy Boundaries Month, I want to talk today about something that's so obvious that it's often overlooked: the importance of setting up a schedule that works for YOU.
Because, how can you have healthy boundaries with your clients, if you're unsure of your own boundaries?
Too often, bodyworkers set up their schedules haphazardly, or to please other people. After all, we want to help people, and we want to earn a good income. So, we end up doing nutty things: "Sure I can see you at 10pm!" "You want to bring your 3 kids and dog with you to the appointment? No problem!"
Except of course it IS a problem -- your client isn't getting a premium service because you can't do your best work in these situations.
So, starting today, I want you to think about setting up a schedule that's perfect for YOU.
There's no single, one-size-fits-all way to do this. Each of us is unique, and what works for me might not be how you want YOUR schedule to look.
But there are 3 simple things you need to consider when you set up the framework for your schedule: how many people you want to see, what days and times you want to work, and how much time you want between clients.
Get these pieces in place, and you'll be on your way to a profitable and sustainable bodywork schedule.
1. How many people do you want to see each week? In The Bodywork Project, I teach you how to figure out your individual Exhale Number -- the amount of revenue you need to earn each month to keep your business doors open (and stop holding your breath so you can exhale).
Your Exhale Number gives you clarity around how many clients you actually need to see each month.
Too many therapists just say, "I need more clients! Pronto!" without having an idea of how many is ideal your unique situation. That can lead to burnout when you just try to see AsManyClientsAsYouPossiblyCan.
Instead, once you have your Exhale Number, and know how many clients you need each month, simply divide that number by 4 to get a general idea of how many clients you'd like to see each week.
If you need to see 40 clients every month, then you'll need to average about 10 clients a week.
Boom. Simple math. (Which is the only kind of math I like!)
2. Decide what days of the week and times of the day are ideal for you to work.
Once you know how many clients you need to see to make a go of it, you can begin sketching out a schedule that will accommodate them and be ideal for you.
If you need to see 10 clients each week, you could see 2 each day in the mornings, and have your afternoons off in time for your kids to come home from school.
Or it might work better for you to do what I do and chunk my clients into longer days.
I do hands-on work 2 days each week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So I see 6 clients each day. That's a lot for some people, but it works out perfectly for me, and gives me time on Thursdays to mentor and coach other therapists. (And it gives me 3-4 days every week to be at my happy place: the beach!)
What would be the perfect situation for you? How could you set up your schedule so that you could be in YOUR happy place every week?
3. The final piece is scheduling time in between your clients. This is absolutely critical.
If you work on a standard 50-minute hour (you talk to your client for 5 minutes when she arrives, do your therapy for 50 minutes, and talk and receive payment for 5 minutes afterwards), then rinse-and-repeat all day long, it's almost impossible to give your clients a premium customer experience.
And that means that it's almost impossible to charge a premium price for your services.
To offer a premium service you need time in between clients. Your clients need time so they don't feel rushed, and you need time to get grounded, re-centered, and ready for your next client.
I recommend scheduling at least 15 minutes between clients -- 30 minutes is even better.
While your day may be longer, you'll find that you're not as tired at the end of it because you've had multiple opportunities to regroup, refresh, and recharge.
You've had the chance to catch your breath and even have a bite to eat, so of course you're going to be a better therapist -- you've engaged in self-care throughout the day so that you can better care for your clients.
Once you've laid out this foundation: deciding how many clients to see each week, choosing which days and times you're going to see them, and deciding how much time to schedule between clients, you can simply fill in the available slots with clients that you love.
And your schedule will start to work for YOU.
If someone calls for an appointment Thursday night, you can say, "I'm not available Thursday evenings, but I do have an opening Wednesday at 5:30. Can you make it then?" rather than, "Um, I guess I could do Thursday. Let me move some things around..."
You'll begin to step into your power as the PRO and CEO of your business, and people will move things around for the opportunity to work with YOU.
For more help in building your ideal practice, download my checklist of 100 Ways to Grow Your Bodywork Business. It's chock-full of ideas to get you on your way to a business that you love.