As a child the six weeks school holiday seemed to be a long time – trips away, fun at home, visits to see family, playing games; indoor and out, enjoying the sunshine, enjoying the rain… and then school starts again, back to the routine and the homework… but after those six weeks children seem ready for it… maybe they have a different relationship with time than adults do – because as an adult those six weeks whizz by, and before you know it, it is time to buy new uniforms, stationary, equipment, sports kits, lunch-boxes… and that is just the shopping order, what about all the other prep?
Back to school time can be hectic for parents, but also they are often ready for their little cherubs to start or return to school. Like anything it is best to be prepared – so here are some tips for parents:
- Give plenty of time to buy the ‘back to school’ things your child/ren may need for the new academic year. Do remember though, whilst it is great grabbing items in the sale – avoid getting the uniform or shoes as children can often seem to grow over night, and whilst you would have saved in the store initially, you don’t want to have to buy again because your son or daughter has a growth spurt a few days before they return to school. You can get around it by buying a bigger size in some items – but just be mindful.
- Avoid getting caught up in your what your child/ren want, as opposed to what they need – you do not need added financial outgoing as well as more stress because they want a certain brand or the same colour lunch-box as their best friend.
- The six weeks can certainly feel like a long time for children, especially the young ones, or even the ones starting out at school for the first time – prepare them by talking to them throughout the holidays about their new school, or teacher, so that it is not a shock when the day arrives. You can also do a countdown wall chart, or read specific school starting books. It is important that your child/ren is emotionally prepared for the new school year no matter what age they are.
- If your child/ren is of the age where the year ahead involves academic choices or even exams, it maybe worth talking to them about an out of school activity they may wish to start, so that they have balance in their schedule as well as something else to look forward to other than exams.
- School lunches or school dinners? There are benefits to both! The lunches mean you can choose what your child/ren eat and then you can opt for health foods – but always include a treat – they need it! School dinners can mean a nice warm meal in the day especially during the colder months, as long as you know that your child/ren will eat it.
- Some parents can get emotional when there child/ren start or return to school, and so maybe it is a good time to increase your client base, so you can focus on work when your child/ren are at school, and then spend time with them after school hours. Also, try not to let your child/ren see you get upset – they have their own apprehensions, or they may feel absolutely fine about school – so it is best not to influence them indirectly.
- If you child/ren are having trouble settling during the first few weeks – this is normal, no matter what the age… just make sure you are there for them, and maybe talk to them about your school days – even show them old photographs. If this persists then it is worth talking to the teacher, as well as to your child/ren.
- Depending on your modality, you may wish to treat your child to a session perhaps of yoga, reiki, to a massage or some sound therapy – you know better than anybody that the benefits of the therapy you offer can help in so many areas of people’s lives, including anxiety and stress.
- Keep your own stress levels down also by having a treatment yourself. Use the opportunity when your child/ren are at school to get some ‘me time’ too.
- A top tip for any parent leaving their child/ren at school, is to always depart on happy terms – even if the morning has been hectic or challenging, and even if you have had a small falling out with your child/ren, ensure that as they leave the house, or walk through the school gates, or when you leave the classroom that they know without a single doubt that you love them, that you are there for them and that no matter what may come up in their day that you are their to support them.
As I’m writing this on a sunny summer day, many of our clients are still heading for the “beach body”/beauty needs of spray tans, manicures, pedicures and waxing – but it’s easy to forget that this is also the time of year to take extra care of your skin for the duration of summer – especially your face!
Exfoliation and rehydration are key in the summer. Keep pores unblocked from sun cream, sweat, tanning products and allergens such as pollen, dust and pollution – and replenish moisture lost from spending more time outdoors and exposed to the sun.
Often when we talk of a good, toned skin, we (mostly unknowingly) are referring to skin with ‘closed’ or non-visible pores. Enlarged/’open’ pores are frowned upon in the quest for perfection. However, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves – as our pores don’t actually open or close and the size of them is predominantly genetic! An enlarged or open pore is just doing its’ job for you. It means it’s working to release sebum and dead skin cells from out of the hair follicle it is a part of.
What can happen though is skin debris, sebum and introduced/topical products get clogged around the pore like leaves and litter clog around a drain. This leads to the pore getting blocked and enlarged, bacterial build up may occur and ultimately a blackhead or spot can result – even acne in more severe cases.
Regular exfoliation is vital for the maintenance of healthy pores – and so healthy skin. Ideally choose a natural, gentle exfoliator that combines both physical and chemical exfoliation. That way, you get the best of both worlds in a system that won’t aggravate your skin. Physical exfoliation can be in the form of ground fruit seeds or drupes such as rosehips or almonds. These will help to physically remove or pluck out debris. The best chemical exfoliators are the AHAs – or alpha hydroxy acids – as they can be naturally found in fruits and some vegetables. These enzymes will directly break down dead skin cells, making them easier to wash away and expose new skin. Some are milder than others, so less irritating for sensitive skins – choose fruit or pumpkin AHAs.
Ok – so what next? We have our clean, unblocked pores and know we need to do this regularly for healthy summer skin…
We all here know that our skin is actually our largest biochemical organ, working 24 hours a day without fail – so it goes without saying that it needs constant replenishing. Most if not all of the nutrients it needs are provided by our diet (exception vitamin D from sunlight) – so it’s really true that you are what you eat – and one of the first places it shows is in your skin!
Our modern, busy lives with convenience/processed foods, coffee pick-me-ups, booze at weekends, stress at work and family demands (I think you know what I mean!) can sometimes make it hard to religiously follow a pure, natural diet. Most of us are tired or dehydrated most of the time. Add to that the effects of sun exposure and summer holidays! D’oh! So what’s the single most important ingredient you can help your skin with? Water! It’s not rocket science.
With over 70% of our body being water, when we are so often in short supply of it what we do have in our bodies supports our vital organs, blood and lymph streams – so our poor skin plays second fiddle. Drinking lots of water and/or (healthy!) fluids is of course paramount, but luckily for us we can apply water topically too in the form of a good moisturiser.
What makes a moisturiser ‘good’? Well, you want a gentle one that works in harmony with your skin – again, look for natural brands that are suitable for all skin types. What, not prescriptive for my skin type? Nope. (Head on the block here). Your skin can largely self-regulate itself – and all skin, whatever its’ age, gender, colour, oily, dry or mature, blah de blah has exactly the same fundamental biochemistry and physiology – with its structure based on elastin and collagen – and water.
You want ingredients that bind water into the deeper layers and hold it there i.e. ‘humectant’ – many seaweed extracts will do this – also hyaluronic acid and (ethically-sourced) glycerin. You want to also look out for lighter lotions and milks that don’t sit heavy or greasy on the skin so can soak straight in. In the summer, vitamin E (‘tocopherol’) can also aid against environmental damage.
Hope you found this useful, folks! Until next time, Lizzie xxx
Liz Badger, Face The World Ltd
People are often scared by change, especially in business, but it is important to refresh and move with trends and technology. Re-branding your business may come out of expansion or necessity, perhaps you’ve moved location or maybe you’ve qualified in a new treatment and your current branding doesn’t fit with the range of services you now offer, or maybe you have decided to join the whirlwind offered by the world wide web; joining FaceBook, Twitter, getting a web site or a blog, and need your online and offline branding to match.
If you feel pushed into a re-brand because what worked years ago, no longer does, it is important not to get caught up in the past. Think ‘fresh’, think ‘now’, and look forward. It is often easy to attribute business problems to the ‘brand’, but before going head first into re-branding, ensure this is exactly where your business problem lies – check aspects such as employees, integrity, quality and overall service, and if all appears fine in these areas, then start to plan you re-brand.
All re-brands do not necessarily mean a name change, but if you do feel this is needed ensure it is a clear choice; a name that is suited to your services, and that is likeable by you, but more importantly by your clients. It is fine to ask some of your regulars their thoughts on your new name options; perhaps you could give them a market research form and as a thank you for taking part award them with a discounted treatment. When it comes to choosing a name, less is often more effective. Use convenient spellings and straightforward words or phrases, as when it comes to online searches or typing in web address, it is more likely you will be found. Also, think about how the name may sound over the telephone too, you can always test this by mocking a call with a colleague or friend.
It certainly is worthwhile putting yourself in your customers’ shoes; you can do this by arranging a secret client, similar to a mystery shopper and see how their experiences are with your employees. If you do not have any staff then a feedback box is a great way to know how your clients feel and provides them with an anonymous way of highlighting problem areas.
Take the time to research other similar successful businesses – how do they brand their company? What can you learn from their strategies? Obviously, this is just for inspiration, there is no benefit in trying to copy or emulate another brand, especially if they are deemed as competition.
Planning your rebrand isn’t just about aesthetics, such as logo, colours, décor and promotional material; it is also about execution. How do you plan to re-brand? What strategy do you have in place for telling your existing clients and potential clients about your re-brand?
If you do decide to take the plunge and re-brand, don’t do it by halves – recycle old business cards, do not give them out if they do not carry the same new message as your re-branding – it looks unprofessional, slack and confuses your customers. Talking of customers, ensure they are aware that you are rebranding but are still the same business/company run by the same team – customers like to know where they stand. If you are open that you want to refresh they will welcome the change and see it as investment in them too, especially if your rebranding includes a refurbishment of the therapy room, or a lick of fresh paint – the effort will make them feel valued and included. So keep them in the know.
Whatever your reasoning for re-branding, it is so important that all of your branding is consistent, so when it comes to your business activity you are using the same colours, logo and ethos on marketing material, online, in store/therapy room, and uniforms. Ensure you allocate a sensible budget from the offset, this gives you an idea of how much you may need to spend on elements such as a website or a front of house sign, or business cards.
Re-brand for the right reasons, and think it through carefully, don’t just do it out of boredom, or just because you need a change – remember if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.
Holistic Therapist Magazine has been a platform and source of advice for therapist since January 2012 now, and our most important purpose is to make business subjects easily understood and accessible to you – the practitioner – our reader – so that you can continue working your magic in the Holistic industry.
We have always supported the camexpo, and are proud to announce that we have partnered up with them this year to bring to you the brand new Business Clinic.
These small, focused sessions (10 practitioners per session) will look at the latest challenges affecting businesses within the natural and integrative health sector. They are an opportunity for you to ask questions directly to the session leader and get feedback from fellow practitioners.
These intimate Business Clinic sessions at camexpo are free to attend and are not bookable so if you’d like to be part of one, then please visit the area when you arrive at the show and let the host know that you would like to attend… It is as simply as that!
Head to the camexpo website for more information on this year’s event and to register: camexpo.co.uk
Event info: Saturday 4th October: 10am-6pm Sunday 5th October: 10am-5pm at Olympia, London
Thinking about accounts can certainly be daunting, and the actual process of sorting out your papers, receipts, invoices and keeping your books is far from fun for the most of us. A question many of us ask as we are tiptoeing gingerly into the world of self-employment is, is there any point in having an accountant? Even if you are competent with your numbers, if your business grows as no doubt you want it to, then you will have less time and more accounts to juggle. Doing your own accounts can be quite straight forward initially, however just like any profession there are tricks of the trade that only fully qualified and experienced accountants would know about. It’s just like all of the people that would attempt to give a friend or partner a back massage, whilst it may be pleasant or relax the person, it is certainly not a long term fix for somebody suffering with more serious problems, it is a job for a professional massage practitioner. The fact is, you probably do not need an accountant, as you are fully capable of doing a decent job, just like the massage example, however it is not just about doing okay, it is about doing a good job, so getting a good accountant that can save your business more money than what they cost you to hire is a sensible business choice for most.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that will help you with deciding to commit to getting an accountant as a sole-trader:
How much will an accountant cost me? Just like prices of treatments vary from one therapist to the next, so does the cost of an accountant, but some accountants are happy for you to pay your fee as a standing order per month.
What does my accountant need? Your accountant will need all receipts, as proof of payment for any item or service that you have paid out for in order to facilitate your business. It is worth putting this in an envelope at the end of each month, so that you can help your accountant organise your papers. They will require bank statements and any other paperwork relating to your earnings.
Does my accountant need to be qualified? It is advised to use a fully qualified accountant, as they have undertaken the relevant study, passed numerous examinations and had extensive practical work experience before qualifying. They also undertake compulsory continuous professional development (CPD) to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date, and their skills are maintained. They adhere to rules relating to ethical and professional conduct, and they monitored by their professional body.
How do I know the accountant I choose is qualified? Qualified chartered accountants will have ACA or FCA after their name or as part of their business information; and chartered certified accountants are identifiable with the letters ACCA or FCCA.
How do I find a qualified accountant? Go by personal recommendation or you can also visit Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) icaewfirms.co.uk.
What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant? The job of a bookkeeper is to make sure all the financial transactions are properly logged and recorded. An accountant can then review your financial position and make appropriate recommendations on how to run your business more profitably. You can keep your own books, employ a bookkeeper or your accountant can do it for you.
What else can an accountant do for me? An accountant will use their skills and knowledge to enable you to conduct your business smoothly and efficiently. They can provide advice prior to your setting up your business, offering continual financial advice, including advice on managing your business; planning and managing growth; preparing your VAT returns (if you’re registered for VAT); taking care of your year-end accounts and calculating how much tax and National Insurance you owe HMRC; giving you advice on minimising business tax by making full and proper use of your allowable expenses; and handling any enquiries with HMRC over your tax or VAT on your behalf.
Ultimately, it is a great idea to have a grasp of all aspects of your business and what is now expected of you as a self-employed business person, but by employing an expert to do your accounts, means that you can free up space in your mind and in your diary to concentrate on bringing in new clients and encouraging existing ones back… it’s a case of let the accountants do their job, to help you do yours.
HAPPY SCHOOL HOLIDAYS… Camping is an inexpensive way to have a family holiday… But not everybody will jump at the idea of this type of a break! You could opt for a long weekend somewhere local to see if tents and campfires are your thing, before committing to a full-on camping holiday. Here are five top tips to ensure your first camping trip is a hit with all of the family:
1) Plan: If you are prepared, than less will faze you. Plan your journey, so that you arrive while the sun is still up, as it is a lot easier to pitch your tent. Check the weather forecast, directions and travel news before embarking on your journey.
2) Pack: Write a list of things you need to take. So carry a first aid kit, matches, toilet tissue, anti-bacterial wipes, dry food options, plenty of water, and spare warm clothes.
3) Pitch: Ensure that you pitch your tent on as even ground as possible, avoiding stones or sharp sticks. Maybe have your tent opening or door away from the direction of the wind. If it is likely to rain, then you can dig a moat-like drainage ditch around your tent. A near by tree is a good option, for shade, and also for a discrete place to use as a ‘toilet’ – that is if you are opting for traditional basic camping. Steer clear of pitching too close to a cliff edge, hillside, or riverbank… so another good reason to pitch when it is still daytime.
4) Play: Inside, outside, good weather, not-so-good weather… Make sure you have fun on your trip. Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud, try and be open to entertaining you and your family without the backup of television, computers or any other device. Instead opt to play sport, and board games, singing, and enjoy cooking together on the portable stove or campfire.
5) Pitter Patter: Is there really any need to point out that it is likely to rain at least one day while you are camping? – This is the British summer after all! But a big part of camping is to embrace the great outdoors and just go with the flow, even if that is the flow of puddle water. Swim in the rain, dance in the rain and sing ‘I’m Singing in the Rain’. Ensure you have lots of warm blankets and towels, along with spare clothes at the ready.
After the first smooth outdoor break, it is likely you’ll carry on camping for years to come.
Most of us working in the holistic industry have similar mindsets – this obviously doesn’t mean we are all cloned, but that we enjoy the same kind of things, the same lifestyles, and have a warmth towards helping others. Whilst it is super important to be kind, and helpful, when it comes to business it is also vital to be bold:
- When it comes to setting your goals, set them high, and believe you can achieve them.
- Give yourself regular confidence boosts - even if this means writing messages to yourself on sticky notes.
- Remember you are a therapist but you are also a businessperson and so conduct yourself with this mind.
- What many of us practise in life, is balance, and this can come from being safe with some business decisions, but on other occasions it is important to take risks, and to not fear change. The most important thing is to be bold enough to make the decisions.
- We are often monitoring our performance so closely, that fear of doing something wrong blocks what we are really capable of. You obviously believe in your therapy that you practice. So if you have conviction in your knowledge and skills, then your clients will see this and this will re-enforce your confidence, and enable you to be bold in business when the time calls for it.
- Get involved in holistic events and maybe do a talk.
- Ensure your employees know you are serious about business, and hold regular group meetings within work time.
- Book on HTM Training to solidify your business skills and increase your confidence.
So in a nutshell, believe in yourself, be decisive, and be fearless.
When it comes to marketing, there are ways that you can get your brand name out there to potential and existing customers without spending a penny, but sometimes it is worth allocating a budget – even if it is a small one – to some marketing or promotional ideas… especially the good and effective ones.
A great way to remind customers that you exist is by having branded merchandise. Remember don’t go crazy on branded stuff, but there are lots of options depending on your budget or type of therapy that you offer… Here are some of them:
- If you use pens al of the time to fill in appointment cards, or to get clients to fill out participant forms or health forms, then branded pens are a great way to market your business brand. There are so many types of pens, different sizes, colours, and perfect for a lower budget. there is also plenty of space for your brand name , number and web address too. And pens are useful, so they will only make it to the trash bin, once the owner has used the ink, unlike a leaflet which is likely to go straight in the bin.
- Canvas or cotton bags – these are great promotional gifts, and are super useful. Your clients are likely to use theirs as a spare shopping bag, or a book bag. Ensure you go to an organic company to get these printed – it may cost a little more but we holistic professionals have to practise what we preach.
- Branded festive cards are easily printed and if they are posted out early, they will get pride of place on the fire place or book shelf – and your brand will be seen by your client regularly reminding them you are open during the holidays, plus their friends and family will also be likely to have a nose inside the cards on visits, raising more awareness.
- If you have staff then it is worth getting them branded uniforms, or even fleeces or t-shirts – and when they travel to work or head out to lunch they are advertising the business for free. It also adds professionalism to your business.
- If you are a mobile therapist than car magnets are a great way to get your brand out there, and as you are traveling to the clients – why not give them a branded magnet for their fridge – either with a notepad so they can write their next appointment or a calender – make it useful and it will be kept.
- Already mention – calenders – these are great gifts given to key clients either for Christmas, or in September if it is an academic calendar. You can get branded calenders with gorgeous images or you can use an online printing company that lets you upload your own images. Remember a calendar gift is going to hang around for twelve months. You could also add notes on specific days you plan to have promotions or discounts.
- Not all branded merchandise needs to be gifted. If you work in a modality where the client is likely to purchase something like a towel, candle, mat, or eye pillow, then get some branded pieces and sell them at a small profit.
In honour of the UK’s buddies thousands of miles away – HTM have decided to give you ten top tips on being independent:
- Listen to your gut instinct as well as the reason in your mind.
- Be content in your own company – go to the cinema with ‘me-myself-and-I’
- Be your own person, and make your own decisions – balance it though! Avoid being bossy.
- If you don’t have your driver’s licence yet, start taking lessons and get that freedom on the road.
- Be your self in your relationships – just because your best friend or partner supports Liverpool FC that doesn’t mean you have to. Just because someone close detests going to the gym, if you enjoy it then keep it up!
- Have personal goals and pursue them! You can still have goals with over people, but NOT at the cost of your own.
- Wear what you want – okay avoid anything offensive, or that may get you arrested or fired – but your attire is an extension of your personality – so do not suppress that.
- Choose your own food at restaurants – taking recommendations and advice is different to having somebody order for you – you decide what you eat, when you eat it and with whom you dine with.
- Do a night class in something that you love, not because you need to for work or for any other reason, but because you are an independent person.. so belly dancing, fire eating, cookery, guitar, accounts, creative writing… if you fancy it, then try it!
- ME TIME: So work and family do take priority and this is fine, but allocate some Me Time – your kind of personal meditation that means you can chcek in with your needs, and remember who really eye when there are no external factors blacking your personal connection with you.
Happy Independence Day… 4th July 2014!
It’s summertime and time for yet another wonderful issue of Holistic Therapist Magazine… Read on to find out from the editor, Amy, what exciting articles are featured this issue. And if you still are yet to subscribe – your copy of Holistic Therapist Magazine is just a click away: SUBSCRIBE.
The summer issue of HTM is all about letting yourself shine – professionally and personally.
As ever, we’ve got a rich seam of sound business advice running through the magazine from our fantastic contributors. The CAM Coach Mark Shields shares his words of wisdom on forging a future in the CAM industry, while Jonathan Pollinger and Amanda Cook share their internet marketing expertise. Continuing professional development is a vital part of any therapist’s journey, and Adam Lomax show you how to make the most of the opportunities for CPD throughout your career.
If you have all the skills but lack the confidence to make your business take off, read Katalin Swann’s advice on how to build up your confidence and your career. Hone your soft skills with Louis Jensen’s Business Journal, and learn how to articulate and communicate with ease with Rachel Fairweather of Jing Massage. Success is nothing to be afraid of, and life coach Nova Woodrow shows you how to stop self-sabotaging and embrace it.
We’ve also got real-life business case studies, to show you how anything is possible if you really want it. We also launch a new series in partnership with holistic health experts as they show us different ways to cope with stress in our new series, “Ask the Hale Clinic”.
HTM’s ‘You & Your Health’ section is packed with natural health, beauty and lifestyle advice to help you enjoy summer to the full. We have fabulous features on integrating yoga into family life, and also using your practice to reconnect with those you love. Our latest makers share their passion for their products, while Janey Lee Grace helps you to get gorgeous summer skin and hair with her holistic beauty picks. Make a light and delicious summer salad with Charlotte’s recipe and whip up some indulgent puddings with our seasonal sugar-free recipes.
We’ve also got three fabulous competitions, and some great reader discounts exclusively for you.
Enjoy this summer issue and we wish you health, wealth and happiness,
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