Ep 109  – Practice Partnerships with Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds of Massage Business Blueprint

Two ants lifting up a banana

This dynamic duo are the perfect pair to speak to successful business partnerships, as they celebrate six years of working together. Allissa and Michael tell us why they created Massage Business Blueprint and how their skill sets complement one another. We also dive into the pros and cons of partnerships, what it’s like working with your best friend, and how to keep work fun. We close with thoughts on workload disparity, how formal a partnership contract should be, and how to bring your best self to any relationship. 

Author Images: 
Allissa Haines of Massage Business Blueprint
Michael Reynolds of Massage Business Blueprint
Author Bio: 

Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds are the duo who make up Massage Business Blueprint. Allissa is a practicing massage therapist of 16 years and self-described Director of Shenanigans at Massage Business Blueprint. Michael is a former massage therapist, financial advisor and tech entrepreneur, and self-described Director of Nerdy Things at Massage Business Blueprint. Both happen to be authors for Massage & Bodywork magazine and are columnists of the Blueprint for Success column. For more info about them and their wonderful podcast, please visit their site at massagebusinessblueprint.com or read their column at massageandbodyworkdigital.com.


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Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.  

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(se) Connect:

At Structural Elements, we view ourselves as Body Engineers. We evaluate the human body according to its structural integrity and establish proper balance between compression and tension elements. Through identifying patterns in the body, we are able to locate areas of compensation to treat the cause of the imbalance, not the site of pain. Our patients achieve lasting results as we reduce structural imbalances, improve connective tissue health, and reeducate movement patterns. Now, we have taken our education, operations, and communications infrastructure from our franchise company and made it available to the industry through (se) Connect.

(se) Connect is the only interdisciplinary knowledge sharing platform that exists in the wellness industry. Participants gain access to treatment tools, business tools, and the ability to connect with other professionals in a variety of modalities. Through our community, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, acupuncturists, and others all learn to look at the body through the same lens, which allows for rich discussions on patient care and treatment options. Our training staff brings decades of experience in massage, manual therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and business, and we look forward to sharing that with you.

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Full Transcript: 

0:00:00.2 Kristin Coverly: With SE Connect, you can learn a 15-minute comprehensive manual therapy treatment that will set you apart from other massage therapists. SE Connect is the only multi-disciplinary platform with practice tools, business tools, and a community of practitioners speaking the same language. Check it out at network.structuralelements.com. As a massage therapist, you know that truly the world's most beautiful machine is in your hands. You help relieve the pain and pressures that hold your clients back from fully enjoying life. The CBD Clinic Massage Collection uses ingredients from nature to deliver strong, effective temporary pain relief with aromatic botanicals and natural emollients like CBD. Our tiered pain products let you personalise your massage to meet each client's needs. Be your client's hero by giving them the massage treatment of their dreams with CBD Clinic. Learn more at cbdclinic.co.


0:01:17.9 Darren Buford: Welcome to The ABMP podcast. My name is Darren Buford. I'm Editor-in-Chief of Massage or Bodywork Magazine and Senior Director of Communications for ABMP.

0:01:25.9 KC: And I'm Kristin Coverly, licensed massage therapist and ABMP's Director of Professional Education.

0:01:30.5 DB: Our guests today are Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds, the duo who make up Massage Business Blueprint. Allissa is a practicing massage therapist of 16 years and self-described Director of Shenanigans at Massage Business Blueprint. Michael is a former massage therapist, financial advisor and tech entrepreneur, and self-described Director of Nerdy Things at Massage Business Blueprint. Both happen to be authors for Massage and Bodywork Magazine and are the columnists of the Blueprint for Success column. For more information about them and their wonderful podcast, please visit their site at massagebusinessblueprint.com or read their columns at massageandbodyworkdigital.com. Hello Allissa and Hello Michael.

0:02:10.2 Allissa Haines: Hey.

0:02:10.7 Michael Reynolds: Hey, happy to be here.

0:02:12.4 KC: Hi, welcome. We're still glad you're both here, and as Darren said, Allissa and Michael are the duo. I love that. It's like a dynamic duo, more dynamic, yeah.

0:02:20.2 MR: It's like more, isn't it? Duo?

0:02:22.2 AH: We're like the wonder twins.


0:02:23.5 KC: You are like the wonder twins. That's exactly what I envisioned when you said that, that make up Massage Business Blueprint, and today our pod focuses on talking about partnerships. Allissa and Michael, excellent example of a successful partnership, and I believe you just celebrated a partnerversary. Is that right?

0:02:40.6 AH: Six years, although it was a little shaky earlier when we were fighting before you started recording. You never know what's gonna happen.


0:02:47.9 DB: And that's gonna be the bonus material at the end.

0:02:50.6 AH: Perfect.

0:02:51.3 MR: Yeah, it takes the... Blueprint.

0:02:53.8 KC: True partnership in action, though. So tell us a little bit about why the two of you decided to create Massage Business Blueprint? What was the draw to working together?

0:03:02.1 AH: Well, we had met, I don't know what, like 11 years ago, maybe 10.

0:03:06.2 MR: Yeah.

0:03:07.0 AH: Yeah, something like that. And we were both involved in various massage things, and we were really aggravated that organisations and individual therapists just could not move into this century. And it was frustrating because we recognised that massage therapists, we're caregivers. It is our job to build relationships with people, and if massage therapists could just grasp that marketing is about building relationships with people, they'd realise they could be really, really good at it. And if they would embrace the learning curve of technology, they could be amazing as could organisations like you who have actually embraced technology and moved forward. And so we were... I've been really crotchety about that for a long time. I started blogging and writing and teaching, and it was, I don't know, six and a half years ago, Michael was like, "Do you wanna finally turn this into a real thing that makes money?" I thought that would be a really nice idea to actually make money off of this thing I labour over for 15 or 20 hours a week, right?

0:04:07.6 MR: Why not, right?

0:04:10.0 AH: Yeah, and then this is the beauty of our partnership. I had a whole bunch of weaknesses and Michael's skill set fit that, and we were able to build this. We really, really want individual massage therapists to know that like a full-time practitioner, even a part-time practitioner, can earn a good living doing massage. Michael, did I miss anything?

0:04:33.2 MR: No, that was great. I love the way you tell the story. Yeah, we launched the business, I think a few days or maybe a month or so after the birth of my son, my first child, and it was kind of fun. It's how I remember the anniversary is [chuckle] that May, we launched the business and yeah, it's been great. So we've had a lot of fun since then.

0:04:52.4 DB: Alright, let's dive right in. What are some of the pros of partnerships?

0:04:56.9 MR: I'll start. Can I? So one of the biggest pros is you get to run a business with a best friend. Like Allissa and I are great friends. She's one of my best friends in the whole world, and we love running a business together. It's just fun, and that was really at least one of my primary motivations when we talked about it is, "Hey, this would be so much fun to spend more time together [chuckle] and do things in the business context that we both love". We love running businesses. So it just seemed like a fun thing to do. So to me, one of the key benefits is just having fun with it, and I think business should be fun. It's not about just making money at the expense of your happiness and your soul. It's about enjoying what you do, and we really enjoy what we do together, and that's been a lot of fun.

0:05:41.3 MR: So that's a really key benefit, I think. Also you get two brains together. Independently, we both run independent businesses as well that are separate, but with Massage Business Blueprint, we find that working together makes us smarter in this business, I think. We really are able to, like Allissa said earlier on, play to each other's strengths and weaknesses. Allissa provides most of the content. She's great at being the voice and the wisdom behind a lot of the educational resources we share with the massage community, and I've historically been a little more tech-focused and nerdy-focused about building platforms and stuff like that and we're blending a little more of that as time goes. I think we're both trying a little more cross-over in that area. But I think we work really well together because we have gaps that we kind of fill in and fit together really well. It's also less lonely. We have fun running a business together because we can talk to each other, and it's like we're a team and then sharing the load of wins and challenges together. So that's what I would add as far as the benefits.

0:06:45.7 AH: Yeah. I think you're right, and it's funny because Michael and I have been friends for a long time, but life, multiple businesses, children, whatever, kinda get in the way. And I think that we weren't talking as much. We should actually talk on the actual phone, like weekly, and that faded as life went on. And this was a really great way to... [chuckle] We have every Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock, I get to hang out with Michael. We record a podcast episode. We go through anything that's happened in the past week, anything coming up, and it's just super chill and super fun. It's like a regular lunch date, and some work gets done. We make a little money.

0:07:20.3 MR: Yeah, that too.

0:07:21.5 KC: And especially too for therapists who are sole practitioners and work solo in their massage room by themselves, that can be a real lifeline, right?

0:07:30.0 AH: Yes, yes, and that's part of the big thing we offer in the Blueprint is the community. It is so lonely running a business by yourself, and I've always been really lucky. I've had colleagues local to me that have created my little massage therapist community. Not everybody has that, and some people are just so introverted, they're not gonna go make friends with other massage therapists. Some people just don't have the time, and yeah, it can be so lonely running a little service-based business all by yourself in a dark quiet room all the time with clients. It can get rough.

0:08:01.8 DB: You mentioned that you both have businesses aside from Massage Business Blueprint that you run solo. Do you bring those aspects when you... Do you pick each other's brains on ideas, or do you totally keep those things separate and you like keeping those separate?

0:08:17.1 MR: I think there's a lot of brain-picking that happens, I think. [chuckle] So I am involved in four businesses. Three of them are partnerships, one of them being Massage Business Blueprint. And so my financial advisory background comes into play a lot when we help members with money questions. My tech background and the marketing and tech base comes into play. Allissa is obviously in the solo practitioner environment working in her massage practice, which is where a lot of wisdom for our members come from her experiences, and we help each other with our just advice too. Like I've asked Allissa for advice in other businesses many times over, and vice versa.

0:08:55.6 DB: Okay, what are the cons to partnerships?

0:09:00.9 AH: If you disagree on something, it can totally derail you, and it can become not only an argument about things in the business, but it may become an argument about how you've related to each other. And you can wreck your business, and you can wreck your friendship if you're not really careful. So this is not for everyone. You have to be committed to caring about the friendship and the partnership, and... Yeah, and if you have a terrible partner who turns out to just be an unethical schmo, you're like, they lie, cheat and steal, and your credit can get wrecked and you can lose the money that you've invested in and you can be on the hook for debt that came up. And actually we heard a lot of these kinds of stories as people were applying for EIDL loans and PPP loans, finding out that their business partner had taken out lines of credit without them knowing, or a former business partner because they had access to someone's like their former partner's information was applying for credit and loans and stuff and not being ethical about it. So it can be scary. It can leave you open to a lot of liability and yeah. And then it stinks, man, 'cause then you're out of money and you're out of a business, and you're out of a friend.

0:10:12.6 MR: Yeah, it's just a reality and a risk that you have to understand. I don't think it's necessarily a show-stopper for partnerships, but it does happen. We've heard of it happening. It's a bummer, and it's just an unfortunate risk of doing business with a partner sometimes. But I think more often than not, if you approach it well, I think more often than not, it can work out.

0:10:32.0 DB: Let's take a short break to hear a word from our sponsors. Anatomy Trains is happy to announce our return to the dissection lab in person, January 10th to 14th, 2022 at the Laboratory of Anatomical Enlightenment in Boulder, Colorado. We are thrilled to be back in the lab with Anatomy Trains author Tom Myers and master dissector Todd Garcia. Join students from around the world and from all types of manual, movement and fitness professions to explore the real human form, not the images you get from books. This is an exclusive invitation. Email info@anatomytrains.com if you'd like to join us in the lab. Now, let's get back to the podcast.

0:11:15.1 KC: So after hearing the pros and cons and knowing going into a partnership, it can go one of two ways, it could be a great experience. It could be a really challenging experience. How does someone going into a partnership increase the chance that that partnership will be healthy and survive?

0:11:31.6 MR: So I've been a part of partnerships. Way back when when I first started businesses, I had two other partners in a marketing agency I started over 25 years ago, and I learned a lot since then. Back then I was pretty... I became pretty anti-partnership after that because, honestly, I was young and stupid. We were all young and stupid. We were just idiots. [chuckle] We didn't know what we were doing. We just launched a company in college. I'm surprised we even made it as far as we did. So it wasn't a great experience because I let my ego get in the way. All of us were just after the same... Our egos were first and foremost over the partnership, I think, and it didn't work out very well. It was fine. There was no big blow-up, but it just didn't... It kind of fizzled. But since then, I really feel like I've warmed up a lot of partnerships, obviously, because three of my businesses are partnerships, and I've done a complete 180.

0:12:25.2 MR: And what I've learned, at least for me, is that going into a business partnership is a lot like either a marriage or a committed partnership where if you put the needs of the team, the team of two or however many people there are in the team above your own ego, and you strive to be the right partner instead of looking for the right partner, it works out a lot better. So I think early on, I was looking for the right partner. And in my mind, it was, "Oh, they weren't the right partners". Well, I probably wasn't the right partner. [chuckle] So when you're going into a partnership, if you decide that, "I'm going to be the right partner. I'm gonna be someone that I would like to be in partnership with. I'm gonna be someone that cares about the other person's needs at least as much, if not more than my own needs, and the collective health of the entity over either of our egos", that's the right attitude, I think, to go into a partnership with. That's what really, I think makes the biggest difference in a partnership.

0:13:20.2 AH: I can only agree. You have to treat it, your communication style and learning how to communicate better and learning how to talk about the very objective aspects of your business as well as the less tangible things in a really articulate way with each other and speak in a way the other person understands and vice versa is... Yeah, and you really... You have to bring your best self.

0:13:44.6 DB: Do you think there's a chance of the success for the partnership if somebody's had a previous business experience? Do you have a lot of people or do you hear from a lot of people who launch into partnerships early in their career? Do you think they need that background first of working solo or running a business solo before entering a partnership, or does that matter?

0:14:05.6 AH: I don't think it matters. I think that personality styles matter so much more than business acumen.

0:14:12.8 MR: Yeah, I would agree. Especially if one partner kinda handles the businessy stuff. The other partner is maybe more of the marketing front-facing stuff. That can work really well. Maybe one partner has been a business owner for 20 years and the other is just starting out, and they acknowledge those ways they fit together and fill in those strengths and weaknesses. And that can work really well, I think.

0:14:33.3 DB: One of the things I think about a partnership is just the safety, right? That seems the word that keeps coming to mind to me, which is the safety that I can rely on someone else. I can check in with someone else and that can be scary.

0:14:44.4 MR: You can take a vacation, right? [chuckle]

0:14:45.6 DB: Yeah. That's right. Take a vacation.

0:14:47.7 AH: That's exactly it. I realised recently, I hadn't really been taking advantage of our partnership in a way that I could. Like I forget that I don't have to do all the things. And I don't do all the things, but I realised not long ago that I was like, "Huh, I would like to have one month a year where I am not working at three different jobs". And all it took was a conversation with Michael to say, "Hey, can we pre-record some podcasts? Can you maybe do a few without me? I think for this month, I only wanna work in my massage business, and I just wanna pop into the Blueprint community and check on things". And like I know that Michael will handle stuff. If I'm having a very busy week and we get an email that's like a customer service issue, I know that I can just ping Michael and say, "Can you handle this?" And he will, and vice versa. And again, it's just really good communication where one of us will be like, "I'm having a crazy busy week, can you handle that?" Or, the other day, something came in and I was like, "I do not have the emotional energy to handle this particular situation. Can you do it?" And absolutely like, that's right up his alley. And he did, and it was so nice to not have to handle all the things.

0:15:58.2 KC: And again, just not the example of how well you complement each other, which is great, and again, the key to finding the right partner. So a question for you, maybe we've got some therapists listening to the pod and they're starting to get a little curious about creating a partnership, can you share some examples of, we've got two massage therapists or body workers partnering together, what kind of things are they partnering on if they both have their own practice? Can we share some ideas to get the creative juices flowing for them?

0:16:24.6 AH: Yeah, so if they each have an independent practice, then they might be partnering in just simply to run a space, to manage, to partner in signing a lease and share a space and share the financial risk and responsibility of that and also maybe sharing the income that comes from sub-letting out to other therapists. Maybe they partner for just the purposes of running education out of that space. Maybe they teach some kind of massage continuing education, and they can teach within that space or not even have an actual space, but create companies specifically to teach continuing education. Well, that's kind of what we did, Michael. And there's a handful of different things that an independent therapist could do, and they can also just merge their independent practices into a company in which they manage. They also might massage a little bit, and then they hire therapists to massage. That's kind of what I'm thinking.

0:17:27.2 KC: Yeah, and when I graduated from massage school, not only did I have my own independent practice plus a few other jobs as you do when you graduate from massage school, but two friends and colleagues and I formed a little partnership company solely to do chair massage in the community because when we were going to big sort of wellness fairs and events, it was nice to have all three of us going. And when we could partner our marketing resources and pool that sort of community connection together, it really expanded the opportunity we had to go out into the community to do that kind of work. So people can even do just very specific partnerships for certain aspects of their business.

0:18:03.8 AH: Absolutely, that's brilliant.

0:18:05.3 DB: Let me ask you then, Kristin and Allissa, massage therapists. So what happens if you're renting space together or you're sharing that kind of business together or you're doing the chair massage business that you described, Kristin, what if one massage therapist is more popular than the other and books more massage than another? How does that affect? And did that ever occur?

0:18:29.0 KC: For me with our chair massage little business, no because we were all going to the events together, and it was just lines of people coming to see us. But that was sort of a unique situation, so Allissa may have a different story from people she's worked with.

0:18:41.7 AH: Yeah. It's a little tricky, like my experience was not with having business partners in the situation, but I subletted space to six other therapists when I had a large office. And absolutely, when a new therapist would come in, we would all cringe a little bit and feel threatened for like five minutes until we realised that none of us are competitors, and if I don't have enough people on my table, it's because I'm not reaching out to the people who are my perfect clients. And so that would happen sometimes where we all were in very separate businesses, but we were in and out at different times and saw each other and knew... And we referred to each other, so we've really created a collaborative situation. And I think any time you start to feel a little ego-driven or competitive, there's gotta be something or someone on your team or in your partnership who reminds everyone that we're collaborative and someone who can draw out everybody's strengths. So if one person isn't getting enough clients, there's a website that routes out to every individual massage practice.

0:19:50.7 AH: I had a website for our location, and it routed out to each individual's website for their individual practice. And if somebody wasn't getting traffic from that, there's usually a reason. Either the description of their services was bad on the main site that kinda hubbed out, or when someone landed on their website, the copy was off. They didn't do a good job of describing their ideal client, or other people in the office didn't know who to refer to them. So usually when you get that sense of unfairness or competition or somebody getting left behind, it just takes the willingness to be proactively collaborative, and that solves that. But you gotta have people who aren't ego-driven.

0:20:31.0 DB: So as Michael had mentioned, when he was young, he started a business with some friends, and I did the same thing. And it was called easyedit.net, and it was a disaster, a disaster.


0:20:43.1 MR: I love it already.

0:20:44.9 DB: Because my friend, grad school friend and I thought we would take our editing skills and combine our resources and work together and take tickets as they came in, submissions, and we would take projects. The problem was workload disparity, and we had never talked about that before. So I'm wondering, what recommendations do you have for therapists, who are entering in a partnership with somebody who is a colleague, a friend, a family member, somebody they're in a relationship with? What kind of advice do you have for that?

0:21:17.2 MR: So I would say it's a conversation that becomes more important the more formal the partnership is. For example, if we're talking about just kind of a collective, I really call it a joint venture. Like a joint venture is like, "Hey, let's do an event together, or let's do a space together", or something like that. You're not in a legal partnership. To me, it usually makes more sense to be a little more independent in your workload, your income. You're still operating more independently in some ways, but let's say you're gonna form an LLC. So you're gonna form a legal entity together. Then the conversation becomes, "Okay, what are we comfortable with? Are we comfortable with whatever we book, we earn and then maybe we put a pot together and share some of that, but in general, whatever we work is what we earn?" Or do you move more toward a collective? "Hey, this is our business. We're not gonna keep track to the letter of how many hours you're working or I'm working or what you're bringing or what I'm bringing. We're gonna put it all in the same pot and then we're gonna divvy it out and split it".

0:22:10.2 MR: And there's lots of hybrid models in between, but that's a conversation that I think needs to be had because there's no right or wrong. Some people are very comfortable with saying, "Hey, it ebbs and flows. The workload changes. I contribute more in client bookings, but maybe you contribute in other ways that are just as valuable. And we agree on that, and it's all just one big pot". Others may say, "Hey, we're gonna be really strict, and whatever I book, I bring home". And then we're gonna have a little bit in the middle. So I think as long as you talk about it and agree on it, there's lots of ways that can work.

0:22:39.1 KC: And I like too that you've mentioned, Michael, that there could be a difference between sort of a joint venture, which is a little bit looser, a little less legal-driven and a partnership. So let's talk about the legal aspects of a partnership.

0:22:51.4 MR: Yeah, so we have an LLC. That's pretty common. Allissa and I are an LLC. Every other business I have is an LLC. That's a limited liability company. It's pretty easy to start. In most states, it's not too expensive. In some states it is. [chuckle] But it's one of the most common small business entities, and it's really good for partnerships. Two people come together, they form an LLC. They're both members, and they have percentages of ownership. Allissa and I are 50-50, and that's a really common way to form a business. There's other things like S corps, but those aren't as common for a small practice, like like we would be referring to.

0:23:26.0 KC: Do you recommend that people have a contract that really lays out all of the nuances of that relationship?

0:23:31.5 MR: I think to some extent. For Allissa and I, we like simple. We like approaching things with good faith and simplicity within reason, obviously. So we had this conversation with some massage therapists in the past, and they were approaching it with questions like, "Hey, what if these horrible things happen, and how do I outline all the rules of engagement for if we have this argument and mediation and all this stuff?" And they were coming up with lots of "what if" scenarios. And those are good to think through, but I feel like there's also a leap of faith to happen here. If you're gonna form a partnership, it's a leap of faith. It's you're saying, "Hey, you know what? We're gonna hold hands and jump off the cliff together and see what happens". And [chuckle] there's some element of faith you have to have there, and so I think the legal agreement to me anyway, it makes sense to say things like, "Hey, what if one of us just says, 'Hey, I'm out,' life changes, what happens then? Okay, the other partner, do they get first right of refusal to buy you out or dissolve into the... What happens? Let's just outline some basic stuff there".

0:24:31.6 MR: I think the basic "what if" scenarios make a lot of sense, but to me, and there's various opinions here, and Allissa might even disagree with what I'm saying here, but in general, if you have to have a big, long contract that outlines every possible thing that could go wrong, at least in our size business, I think that's probably overkill in many cases and maybe a sign that there's more thinking to do about it.

0:24:54.5 AH: I think, yeah, if you're considering a partnership and you're already... Your mind is already going to, "How would we mediate? Do we bring a third party in to mediate?" Then this probably isn't the best partner for you, or maybe you're just not someone who should be a partner, and that's okay. And I think there needs to be a legal kind of operating agreement like you can get at any of the online legal services, the basics of what happens if one of us wants to leave or one of us dies suddenly or any of that stuff. And you have to consider this as like, it's like a prenup. It's like taking care of and providing for your partner before you hate each other, and that's what I think those kinds of legal agreements are about. And I think there's a secondary... There's potential for a secondary document, which is literally like a Google Doc or something, where you write down things you agree on. And so you write down your expectations so that memory doesn't become an issue later. Like your partner is not like, "Well, I told you I wasn't gonna handle the QuickBooks", and you're like, "You totally said you'd do the bookkeeping".

0:26:01.3 AH: So when you write that, when you think about all the things that need to happen in the business and you kind of divvy them up even loosely, and then you make notes. Like, this is not a finite document. This is not like your LLP or LLC paperwork. This is a living document that helps you communicate and remember expectations for yourself and for your partner.

0:26:22.9 MR: Yeah, the rhythm is super important. Getting into a rhythm with communication is really, really helpful.

0:26:27.7 DB: I was actually gonna ask you, do you do formal strategic planning together?

0:26:30.9 AH: I wouldn't call it formal.

0:26:31.9 MR: I mean, maybe.


0:26:35.1 MR: I feel like we plan strategically every week. Every time we talk, we're kind of like implementing a piece of strategic planning. So I'm not great at like the whole, "Let's have an annual strategic plan and let's have poster boards on the walls and all the markers and things... " That's not my style. I don't think it's Allissa's style either. We have our annual meeting where we're doing some big picture vision stuff, so I guess that counts. But I feel like we're iterating constantly.

0:27:00.5 AH: Yeah, it's not like super structured in that manner. It's, "Okay, listen, we're doing pretty good post-pandemic. We got a lot of members back as people went back to work. We'd like some more members. What are some things that we could do? What should we do? What do we do that we enjoy that we haven't done in a while, or what's a thing we wanted to add, or what's a thing we're tired of doing and hasn't brought us many new members?" It works.

0:27:22.5 DB: So there's no formal SWOT analysis going on?


0:27:25.3 AH: God, no. I will sell all my businesses and go work at a bakery before I'll do SWOT analysis, which is by the way, everyone that's an analysis where you look at your strengths, your weaknesses. I don't know what the O is.

0:27:38.2 MR: Opportunities and threats.

0:27:39.0 DB: Opportunities and threats.

0:27:40.4 AH: Yeah, to your business, which can be a really valuable exercise, and I have done it like loosely with a piece of paper. It's not a thing I have ever been able to bring myself to do in a super structured manner that just, "Ugh, why work for myself if I'm gonna have to do that kind of crap".

0:27:57.4 DB: Okay, let's swing back around, and let's close here with one more question on partnerships. And we've touched on this a little bit, but what happens when you can't agree? What's the first steps?

0:28:09.5 AH: On any particular thing, I think you have to decide how much it matters to you, so some things will be really important to me and not important to Michael and vice versa. So if I really like something and he was like, "Ugh, I hate it", I'm like, "Yeah, but I really like it and I wanna do it this way". And if he cares enough, he's gonna fight for his thing, and I'm gonna be like, "Yeah, you know what? I don't care as much as you do", and vice versa. Really, there's things where we probably... We definitely disagree, but we defer to the other person because maybe that's something that's more in their area of expertise or skill set. Like, "Okay, Michael, you know more about search engine optimisation that I do, so I am not gonna fight you on the copy of our sales page". And there's things I care about more that he doesn't, so I think when you find that something you disagree about is so important to both of you that you cannot compromise, it's time to shut it down. It's okay to not be partners anymore. We're not in this, necessarily, to take us through to the grave. This partnership is a success, even if it ends next week. Even if next week, one or both of us says, "Yeah, I don't wanna do this anymore", it's a win if we can decide to shut it down. That's what I think.

0:29:36.1 MR: Yeah, I would agree, and I think a lot of that comes, like we said before, with compartmentalising your ego. I can't think of... Obviously, we're still here in business, so we haven't encountered this type of conflict before. So [chuckle] I can't think of anything that we both care so much about and that it is in so much conflict that we just shut the business out. Maybe it'll happen next week, like Allissa said, [chuckle] but so far, yeah, we have so much fun with the business and we have such a passion for doing it and helping people through the business. So that's more important than the color I think is good for this page or the stock photo for that email. That kind of stuff, it's okay. We get through that kind of stuff. The big picture stuff is still important to both of us. We both want to serve massage therapists. We both feel like we have a lot of support we can offer a massage therapists in our community.

0:30:24.2 AH: We're not not saving babies over here. We're not.

0:30:26.2 MR: Yeah, yeah. We're doing a fine thing, and we're helping people. Keeping it simple.

0:30:29.3 AH: We have a good perspective on a value of what we do. Nobody dies if our podcast doesn't publish on the right day. We're good. We're okay.

0:30:38.9 MR: Yeah, well said.

0:30:39.8 DB: That's it though. You've never missed a podcast right?

0:30:42.3 MR: That's true.


0:30:46.0 MR: In our six years of doing this, we have not missed a single week on the podcast episode. I am so proud of that. I'm like, in an unhealthy way, I'm proud of that. [chuckle]

0:30:55.2 KC: You should be.

0:30:55.5 AH: We have published episodes that have errors in them or that weren't edited properly and included a pause that was supposed to be off record.

0:31:04.4 MR: We've had crappy episodes.

0:31:06.8 AH: Oh, we've messed it up, but we've published an episode every darn Friday, which is hilarious because we have our email that goes out every Friday, and there was a problem with it like, I don't know if it was last week or the week before, and nobody noticed the email didn't go out until a week later when the virtual assistant was like, "Hey, the email didn't go out 'cause there's something wrong with the billing and the blah, blah, blah". And we were like, "Wow, we're really good at business 'cause nobody noticed". [laughter] Between the three of us, like nobody noticed the email hadn't gone out, but that's not a thing we would get mad about. It's fine, and that's... It's perspective, like nothing bad is gonna happen in the world if your massage partnership ends, comes to an end, if you guys decide that you're no longer the best collaborators and partners. As long as you can do it kindly, and as long as you can do it so that everyone leaves with hopefully the same percentage they walked in with, then everybody is okay. It's not the end of the world.

0:32:07.1 DB: I would say, yeah, I think I can speak for Kristin here. We have mad respect for you two. Kristin and I are just one year in on this podcast adventure, and the fact that you've never missed is mind blowing. That's incredible.

0:32:20.8 MR: We're super proud of that. I think we had one week where it was late for like... It was like a few hours late or maybe a little bit late, a day late or something, but we got it out the door, so it still counts.

0:32:30.3 DB: Okay, I'm gonna mark that demerit down there.


0:32:33.1 MR: Give us an A minus.

0:32:34.1 AH: So whatever.

0:32:34.8 KC: I'm sort of proud of you.


0:32:38.1 AH: You sound like my grandmother.


0:32:41.3 DB: I wanna thank our guests today, Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds of Massage Business Blueprint for joining us. Find out more information about them at massagebusinessblueprint.com. Listeners, like what you're hearing on the ABMP podcast? Leave us a review on Apple podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast or wherever you listen. You'll help us reach more people in the massage and body work community. Thanks, Allissa and thanks, Michael.

0:33:03.5 MR: Thanks so much.

0:33:04.1 AH: Thank you.

0:33:05.0 KC: Thanks so much for having us, and also thank you for being a great example to our profession and community on how to create and maintain a successful partnership. Congratulations.

0:33:12.7 AH: Thanks.

0:33:15.0 MR: Thank you.

0:33:18.6 KC: Members are loving ABMP 5-Minute Muscles and ABMP Pocket Pathology, two quick-reference web apps included with ABMP membership. ABMP 5-Minute Muscles delivers muscle-specific palpation and technique videos plus origins, insertions and actions for the 83 muscles most commonly addressed by body workers. ABMP Pocket Pathology created in conjunction with Ruth Werner puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips and provides the knowledge you need to help you make informed treatment decisions. Start learning today. ABMP members log in at abmp.com and look for the links in the Featured Benefits section of your member homepage. Not a member, learn about these exciting member benefits at abmp.com/more.


Colorado Bill Requires Local Background Checks

Governor Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 24-1371, requiring local government (counties, cities, or municipalities) to conduct periodic criminal background checks for massage establishment operators, owners, and employees.

Washington Massage Board Vacancies

The State Department of Health and the Washington Massage Board are seeking licensed massage therapists to fill professional member vacancies. Apply before the June 30 deadline.


Julie Plachta: Serving the Underserved

Woman massages a client who is lying facedown on a massage table.

As we get closer to celebrating Massage Is for EveryBody, July 14–20, 2024, we wanted to share more of Julie Plachta’s story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign.



Skills and experience are transferable, but your state massage license is not. On this episode of The ABMP Podcast, ABMP President and CEO Les Sweeney is joined by Debra Persinger, Executive Director at FSMTB, to discuss the Interstate Massage Compact ( IMpact ), how it would affect practitioners, where it stands in regards to legislation, and how it would benefit consumers.

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