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Hello 2017!

This is a long overdue 2016 review post, and a preview of some new changes, mostly in scheduling.

I have been very quiet on social media since November for a small variety of reasons, and while I will probably still keep a low profile, I’ll be making a little more noise than I have been.

So 2016 was another great year – business doubled again. It continues that any day I declare to be the “busiest” will immediately stop that, so I’ll just say that the beginning of the week is the easiest to schedule, in general.

My best decision was in hiring Amanda to handle my phone calls. It took a long time for me to get comfortable with letting go of that, even though I know its my weakest skill. I never really have thought of myself as a control freak but there it is, staring me in the face.

There are still some days with my long time clients that I think that I can totally handle returning a phone call. And then a butterfly floats by and returning the call slips my mind. So if you haven’t talked to Amanda yet and you’ve called me before, you will.

I still suck at asking for reviews, so there still aren’t too many of those around. I know, I know, how can my business double when I am the worst at returning phone calls and have so few reviews? The majority of my first time clients are a fantastic fit with my practice (and y’all are pretty fantastic as people as well). I see the same people over and over, with new clients coming on board regularly.

I also took a bunch of classes for my next CEU deadlines. These were all fun classes for me with rocks and energywork. I’ll be adding crystal healing and a new form of energywork to my menu of services by the end of the month, if not sooner. If these things are too weird and out there for you, that’s fine. We can just do the same ol’ massage stuff and never talk about the weird things. If you’re curious though, feel free to shoot me any questions over email, I’m happy to talk about them.

And in the late fall, I cut off my long blonde hair and had it dyed blue. Normally my hair color is no big deal, but since my website and social media have my natural color, this new, short ‘do has thrown a few clients. So this is just a heads up.

It’s going to be weird for awhile but eventually I’ll get back to blonde. The plan is to go from blue to deep purple to a bright red (my favorite so I’ll probably be red for a long while) and then transition back into my natural blondeness.

My hair is the least important part of your massage so I’m not getting new website photos taken, just know that while my hair is weird, my hands are just fine. 😉

So here’s the new 2017 stuff:
+ As some of you know, I work out of an office in McLean a few days per week. Since my busiest day there hasn’t changed and my weekly clients tend to happen on the same day, I am dedicating my Thursdays to that office, leaving just a 10pm appointment for you all that day. If you happen to live in McLean, feel free to text me on Thursdays if you need an appointment that day, I’ll work you in earlier if I can.

+ I am taking a half-day on Mondays for myself. I am torn between just blocking off half the day (what I’m currently doing), or just taking the whole day every other week.

+ I am still working on a few of my classes. If there’s a Carnegie Hall of energywork, that’s what I’m aiming for. 😉

+ I am developing a webstore for crystals and crystal accessories. While it’s true that Melissa Rocks Massage is a true statement ;), it’s also my name plus two of my favorite things, I’ve been collecting pretty stones since I was in high school. The store is a side project that neatly fills up all of my spare time.

+ I am done discussing politics during massage. It was never my favorite thing since it’s hardly a relaxing topic, but the way things are going these days, it’s just too stressful/distracting for me. I love everybody*, and I’ve been concerned about the ozone layer and global warming since I wrote my first report on CFCs when I was in seventh grade. #resist, yes, but not while I am working.

Last but not least, I just want to thank you for reading this, thank you for being great clients who make my work a pleasure, thank you for supporting small businesses, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

*it’s true. My natural inclination to like everyone I meet. I want us all to win, I want everyone to have truly equal rights.

Some upgrades ….

While my phone number remains the same, I did finally hire an assistant to return phone calls, since, let’s be honest, that’s the worst thing about me. You can still reach me directly through texts and emails.

I’ve changed my default email address to book@melissarocksmassage.com. I spend a lot of time in entrepreneurial groups, which have a lot of UK/Australian members so I wasn’t sure if book@ or bookin@ would be better so I am sort of using both. I’ll be whittling it down to book though. I think. For now anyway.

I have created a new intake form. Yeah, that’s the least exciting update.

I finally got the HelloBar working on this version of my site.

I registered some short domains so soon all my links will be cute and short (ever create a Google form? If not, it’s like 98 random characters – that’s not exactly sharable.).

And the last, somewhat sad update is that I am struggling with the plugin that I use to backup my sites. As soon as that is set here, I’ll be taking the original Melissa Rocks Massage site and setting that subdomain to forward to this domain. That’s the sad part. I’ve had that site for … idk, like forever. It’s an end of an era. At the same time, I feel fully committed and more … professional with this site and email address.

Go, tinybiz, go! 🙂

New options!

Tonight I figured out how to add online scheduling to my Facebook page! Feel free to try it out. 😀

AND I added instant gift certificates to my Schedulicity listing. It’s with a different company than the instant gift certificates on my website, but hey, who doesn’t love having options? And setting up instant gift certificate account is actually way more complicated than it sounds like.

… I realise that this is a very boring post, however, this is my idea of Sunday evening excitement (because I am afraid the Sand Snakes are going to end up on the Iron Throne so I’m delaying my GoT watching). #entrepreneurialthrills #productiveprocrastination #sandsnakesaretheworstsnakes

About Reviews

So I had someone ask me for references the other day, it was a first and to be honest, it threw me off-guard.

And eventually it dawned on me that while I have Facebook and Instagram accounts, I’m not a hardcore user. I do have a Yelp page, but the one 5 star review I have there has been hidden.

So this evening, I figured out how to get a Reviews tab on my Facebook page, I updated my Yelp page to actually reflect my current business (I used to try to be super formal and proper when talking about massage — it wasn’t a good look for me), and I finally fully updated my Google+ page.

Now you have options when it comes to leaving reviews.

I do have to note that both Yelp and Google have outsourced the menu section of the review page to one company, Single Platform. While Yelp offers a method to get your menu updated through them, Google does not. Through Google, my option was to “Claim this business,” which led to giving them all my information and then they will call me within 24 hours. (where’s a headdesk gif when you need one?)

If you go to my afore-linked Yelp or Google+ pages now, there’s a chance you will see menu information that is from either 2007 or some other company (I genuinely don’t remember having a menu like that).

The Yelp method should be resolved within 2 business days, according to Yelp. The Google+ method, since I have run into this company before, will probably take longer and be super annoying since their call is a sales call, my least favorite of all phone calls, and I have zero intention of paying them money to get my information updated (I did note on my Google+ page that the menu is wrong). Yay for resolutions.

On the upside, there is small comfort that my Yelp page has not not filled with negative reviews, people are way more likely to complain. I know it’s kind of weird to have a stranger come to your home so I get the need for reviews, I have just always been terrible about asking for them — I truly hate to be sales-y and annoying, it’s just really not my style.

But hey, if you’ve had a massage or Reiki session with me, I would appreciate an honest review. For your convenience, here are the direct links:

What I may do is respond to any compliments you give me about my work, and ask if I could use them here as a testimonial/mini-review. I’ll keep you all listed by first name and city, like Yelp. That may be the easiest compromise.

On scheduling appointments…

I have run into this situation a few times lately, so I thought I would just make this super clear:

In order to have an appointment with me, you need to provide ALL of the following information:
First Name
Last Name
FULL Street address, including apartment number
Any weird parking issues (residents of DC, Arlington, Alexandria, and townhome communities, I am especially looking at you here)
Any weird building issues, like that you live in the basement and I need to walk around the back of the house.

I need either a working phone number or an email address, or both.

If you fail to provide me your full information, I reserve the right to not honor your attempt at an appointment.

A regular client jokes that I’m like pizza delivery, but better (massage is better than pizza — there are no calories). So if you can’t get a pizza delivered with the information you provide, you aren’t getting a massage delivered.

To be blunt, I am carrying ~80 pounds of gear. Let’s make it as easy as possible for me to get from my car, parked in a safe, nearby place where I will not be ticketed or towed, to your front door. (On one hand, I do this all the time, nbd; on the other, it is 80 pounds and having to stop and dig out my phone to text or email about where I am going and/or if its okay to park where I parked, it does start feeling heavier and heavier.)

Business update.

Okay, so first, the most awkward one – I’m raising prices on the 60 minute packages as of January 1, 2016. Everyone who regularly uses them has already been notified, the raise isn’t significant, and it only effects new 60 minute packages (calm down, 90 minute package people! ;)). Whew, the worst is over.  Oh, and if you want to stock up on 60 minute packages before the price increase, why would I stop you? You can prepay for packages here.

There is obviously no rush to finish a package before the end of the year. Your current package will last … until you use it, or I die/retire. Note: if you wait until I’m 90 to redeem your last massages with me, it’s not my fault if my hands are shaking the whole time, I’m no longer capable of deep tissue work, or if my dentures fall out and land on your back. : If you buy a package and then move out of the area before redeeming all massages, feel free to gift them out to your friends. Just send me an email and let me know who is getting how many massages and how to contact them.

Next up, I’m actually in the process of writing policies, which is about zero percent fun but it dawns on me that it’s actually necessary. Despite the unseasonal weather, my winter weather policy will be featured. There will also be a same-day cancelation policy, a privacy policy (especially relevant since I will also be debuting an intake form!), and a creepy dude policy (unforch, just saying that I hate creepy dudes is probably not the only deterrent that they need. Because creepy.).

Earlier this week, I formed the Melissa Rocks, LLC. So yeah, that’s a thing. 2016 = the year of leveling up. 🙂

If I don’t see you, I hope you have a great New Year. I’ll be over here with my finger hovering over the “update” button while the clock is counting down to midnight. 😉

Since it’s what people have been asking for …

I am currently trying out a new online scheduling service. Look for the new “schedule now” buttons on the site and a widget on the Service pages so you can schedule from the site.

It’s definitely not perfect. Notably, if you are scheduling for multiple people at the same address, it’s going to force an hour of travel time between each appointment (just shoot me an email if I don’t notice this happening and I’ll sort it out manually). Also, please do make sure there’s an hour between the last appointment and your appointment as I do need time to drive from here to there.

Because this isn’t my only calendar, as I get used to updating my entire life to this schedule, please bear with me if I am accidentally overbooked and need to move your appointment.

 

    Schedule online now

 

quick notes:

First, my annual personal holiday is next Sunday, July 6. I am probably not even looking at my phone or checking email that day. So if you want to schedule an appointment, please get to me on the fifth or seventh, or be patient on the sixth. 😉

 

If you want a same day appointment, pretty please text me (571.766.8007). It’s the fastest way to reach me. I don’t generally have time to listen to voicemail or answer calls until the end of the day, which pretty much eliminates the potential for a same-day appointment. Email works fine, too, but texting is still faster.

 

I do have a bunch of updates to this site that I’m working on, so watch for changes by mid-July. 🙂

Sick, Snow, Yelp

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Three quick things for you today.

Sick: I’m currently under the weather. Today was better than yesterday and I should back to my regular self by Saturday.

Snow: I don’t like it, I avoid driving in it at all costs. So if your road isn’t plowed and easily drivable, warn me, we can reschedule. It’s not a big deal. There’s only one of me and I can’t afford to replace my car so getting an accident to see one client is simply not worth it to me. I’d much rather reschedule for a warmer/sunnier/snowless day.

Yelp: I’ve been avoiding unknown callers on my personal phone for awhile now. I get a lot of marketing calls despite being on the national no-call list. And then I went on Yelp yesterday and realized that it had reverted to my old information, including my personal line and home address, which I had changed months ago. Argh. So my apologies if you’ve called a 703 number recently for a massage. If I’ve never seen you as a client, you aren’t saved in that phone and thus, I haven’t even listened to your voicemail. Please try again at 571.766.8007. Texts are much easier for my life, especially with the cough I have going on right now.

And if you saw my home address, because Yelp makes it awkward to be clear about it, I don’t see clients in my home, ever. In the past, I’ve had people text me that, oh, they are free at 6 and could be at my house at that time. Haha, no, pretty please don’t be that guy.

I really wish there was a way for me to skip the address part of Yelp but it seems insistent on plotting me on a map somewhere. If you know a way around that, please let me know. I am not sure how other mobile businesses do it.

So the tl;dr version: currently scheduling for next week, please don’t make me drive in the snow, yelp is not my bff so please use the 571.766.8007 to schedule a massage, & texts are easier than phone calls. I hope your hearts & flowers day is as lovely as you. 🙂

a new phone number

So I got a new line for business calls and texts. The previous number on this site is my personal cell and I thought it was a good time to put a little separation between the two.

 

If you have my previous number, please note that it still works and you are welcome to still use that number to set appointments. If we have talked or texted previously, you’re probably saved in my contacts there anyway.

 

571.766.8007 — the shiny new number.