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In this Post: Downsizing your massage practice because of COVID-19 is not an easy decision to make. Trust me, I’ve been there, and here is where I landed.
Have you been considering downsizing your massage practice because of COVID-19? If you answered yes, you are not alone!
During all the crazy, head-spinning, mask-wearing, social distancing, I like you, contemplated downsizing my practice.
Downsizing Your Massage Practice Because of COVID-19
In the end, I made a decision.
One that was not easily made! But after many sleepless nights, long phone conversations with friends and family, many meditations, and lots of journaling, I knew want needed to be done.
I made the heartbreaking, yet relieving decision to downsize my practice.
The idea of trying to adapt to new, rigid cleaning procedures in a four-room treatment center with 15 staff members was daunting to say the least.
The financial realities of being a single mom and trying to keep a business afloat during a pandemic were substantial. Not to mention the fact that schools and daycares are closed with talks of not reopening until January 2021.
With a business 50% based in tourism and foreseeable downturns to this segment of the population for god knows how long, I knew that it would take considerable efforts to prevent this ship from sinking.
And you guys, I don’t want to sink. Instead, I want to adapt to the current times and find ways to stay relevant!
And while I know this was the right decision for me, it also carried a lot of guilt.
Guilt in regards to my clients. So many of them count on us for their healthcare needs!
Guilt in regards to my landlords. They have been amazing to me over the years!
And most importantly, guilt regarding my staff. But, I couldn’t see asking staff to put themselves in compromised positions just to turn a profit. And, much of my staff have other jobs and private massage offices of their own.
So, I decided to find ways to educate my clients about self-care practices while we work through this transition with an unknown return date.
I apologized to my landlords and did a REALLY GOOD job cleaning their space.
And I got and continue to get creative with ways to help my staff.
It’s not what I envisioned for the business that I had spent 12 years building – a business I have tirelessly poured my heart and soul into. But then again, I’m a different person than I was when I first started the practice. And as sad as it is, it is also an opportunity for rebirth—a chance to reimagine the relationship between my life and my career.
So, while I still have yet to figure out exactly what the next stage of my business will look like, I know that it will be good!
I thought I would share the two letters I wrote to my staff and clients regarding my decision. In case you are having a hard time expressing yourself as you go through the painful process of downsizing yourself, I thought you might be able to draw inspiration from the words I used.
Letter to My Staff Regarding Downsizing
It’s with a heavy heart that I write this email.
But, I did want to make sure you were all aware of where I am at. I anticipate that it will be challenging to rebound at the same capacity we have previously operated after all of this COVID madness.
Therefore, I have made the painful decision to dramatically downsizing the Kneading Hands operation.
It is heartbreaking to think about this change, and I’m not sure yet what exactly everything will look like.
Currently, I am moving out of the 306 Oak location and beginning to explore smaller office options.
I want to encourage you all to begin thinking about other options for employment. While I do have a fair amount of outstanding gift certificates and packages, I will probably need help fulfilling. I don’t see being able to provide full-time work for anyone in the near future.
I will stay in touch, and once the time gets closer, I will see if any of you are interested in helping out in this way. (Obviously, you would be compensated.)
I also wanted to let you know about a program I am currently creating.
The Kneading Hands Membership Program for Practitioners
The “Kneading Hands Membership Program for Practitioners” is a program that harnesses years of work building the Kneading Hands reputation online and on the ground to help you, the practitioner, get clients.
What you get from the program:
- The presence of your photo and bio on the Kneading Hands website.
- An endorsement from Kneading Hands.
- A link to your own personal website, if you have one. (Another really great SEO benefit. When you get a link from a more established website, your SEO score goes up.)
- Your address and phone number listed.
- A monthly shout-out to you on the Kneading Hands social media channels.
- And, when clients reach out to me personally asking to connect with specific therapists via email and phone, my willingness to go above and beyond to connect y’all.
I would love to say that I would just do all of this for free, but the truth is that all of these things, especially personally responding to ALL of the inquiries takes effort and TIME!
Please let me know if you are interested in joining this program and we can discuss costs.
I am so sorry for how this has all gone down. I just don’t have it in me to carry the financial, emotional, and spiritual load that I believe it will take to keep things going at the capacity they have in the past.
Please stay healthy and let me know if you have any questions or you need to collect any personal items.
Because there are still so many unknowns, I have not yet communicated anything about anticipated changes with clients. I would appreciate your discretion if you happen to have any interactions with clients over the next few weeks. If you do happen to talk to anyone asking questions, etc., please direct them to speak with me.
Thank you for all your hard work over the years. I sincerely will miss working with you on a regular basis and hope to remain friends for years to come! Please give me a call if you want to chat about any of this!
In the meantime, please start exploring other options, and I’m here and happy to help bounce ideas with you.
I’ll be in touch about key retrieval at a later date.
Here is the letter I wrote to my massage clients, letting them know about the downsize to my business.
As many of you are now aware, massage therapists were allowed, with strict restrictions, to begin practicing as of May 1st in Colorado.
These restrictions include:
- Stringent cleaning guidelines.
- Clients and therapists must wear masks during the entire duration of their treatment.
- Mandatory health screenings for therapists and clients.
- No facial or intraoral massage.
- Clients must wait in their cars until their therapist notifies them that they are ready for them to enter the building.
But, Kneading Hands decided NOT to reopen on the 1st.
The whole COVID situation has and will continue to have huge ramifications for our industry. From fewer people allowed in waiting areas to stricter cleaning procedures. With some therapists uncomfortable to practice and a decline in tourism for the foreseeable future, we realized that it would be an uphill battle to remain profitable.
And so, here at Kneading Hands, we have made the difficult decision to downsize.
This doesn’t mean that we are going out of business or closing our doors for good, but it does mean that there will be changes in the future.
With a heavy heart, I inform you that we have moved out of our office, a place we operated out of for over ten years – a location we loved and cherished. This historic Steamboat relic, 306 Oak, felt like home. While working out of this building, we really felt apart of the broader Steamboat landscape!
Yet, it seemed like the prudent thing to do. 50% of our pre-COVID business was tourist-based. By downsizing, we will better be able to serve you, our local community!
And, while we still don’t know yet where or when we will resume practicing, know that we aren’t going away. Just taking a moment to suss out the current situation, breathe, and regroup.
Any and all gift certificates and package deals purchased are still valid and will be able to be redeemed once we get rolling again.
In the meantime, many of our therapists are beginning to reopen in private studios. And while booking an appointment directly with them would not qualify as doing business with Kneading Hands, we still want to encourage you to explore these options.
Click Therapists Who Have Resumed Massage to check out who you may be able to get in with while Kneading Hands restructures.
Sincerely, Kneading Hands
It’s Not Easy, But It’s The Right Decision For My Massage Practice
While this whole process has been far from easy, I do feel like having clear communication all around has helped ease some of the shock and emotional turmoil.
If you are currently downsizing your massage practice because of COVID-19, what are you struggling with most right now? Is it harder emotionally or physically? Or both?
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008