Tax Time! Do you know how to fill out a Schedule C (which is where most of us document our business income and expenses)? I’ve created a 30-minute online course to help you with that.
Tax time can bring up all kinds of money issues for us. Here’s a healthy perspective on that.
“The first principle is that the business should be successful: that it should make money. There is a belief prevalent in America and other Western countries that being successful, making money, is somehow wrong for people who are trying to lead a spiritual life. In Buddhism though it is not the money which is in itself wrong; in fact, a person with greater resources can do much more good in the world than one without. The question rather is how we make money; whether we understand where it comes from and how to make it continue to come; and whether we keep a healthy attitude about the money.“
The whole point then is to make money in a clean and honest way, to understand clearly where it comes from so it doesn’t stop, and to maintain a healthy view toward it while we have it. As long as we do these things, making money is completely consistent with a spiritual way of life; in fact, it becomes part of a spiritual life.
“The second principle is that we should enjoy the money; that is, we should learn how to keep our minds and bodies in good health while we make the money. The activity of creating wealth should not exhaust us so much physically or mentally that we cannot enjoy the wealth. A business-person who ruins his health doing business is defeating the very purpose of business.“
The third principle is that you should be able to look back at your business, at the end, and honestly say that your years of doing business have had some meaning. The end of every business enterprise we engage in, and in fact the end of our lives, must come to every person who ever does business. And at the most important part of the business – at the end, when we are looking back on all we have achieved – we should see that we conducted ourselves and our business in a way that had some lasting meaning, that left some good mark in our world.”
The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life
Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally
If you want to explore your relationship to money, you want to read chapter 2 of The Accidental Business Owner.
When will you next raise your prices? What will trigger that decision? Will it be discomfort? Will it be a nagging sense that you should? Will it be your clients telling you to raise your rates (which means it’s way past time to raise your rates!)?What if you planned to raise your rates every xx years? When I had a robust practice that included office, seated, and outcall massages I raised my rates every year! Well, specifically, I raised one set of rates every year.
year 1: raise office rates
year 2: raise seated rates
year 3: raise outcall rates
year 4: raise office rates
That way each set of clients thought I only raised my rates every 3 years but in reality I was increasing some part of my rates every year.
At a minimum, you should visit the need to raise your rates every single year even if you decide not to raise them this year. Make it part of an annual review of your business.
Almost all of us want to say that we are “open to anyone” because “a body is a body”. But that’s not true.
A body is the vessel in which a specific life is lived. When we touch a body we touch a person, a life, a lived experience.
Saying “a body is a body” reduces our clients to merely flesh and bone and we know they are so much more than that.
In the privacy of your heart be truthful: are there people and populations you aren’t comfortable with? People you hope don’t show up on your table?
If so, you are human. You’re also a professional. What can you do to help you truly be open to anyone? How can you expand your understanding and awareness?
Because if you are a business that prides itself on being “open to everyone” it’s your responsibility to make that a comfortable reality for anyone who walks through your door.
I’ve been working my way through The Art Of Pricing, trying to translate it to a massage practice.
Recently, one bit of advice caught my eye: if there’s a product you can’t keep on the shelf, you need to raise the price.
What is something you “can’t keep on the shelf” in a massage practice? If you’re booked 2-3 months ahead, turning away clients, with a waiting list YOU are the thing you “can’t keep on the shelf”.
Maybe you don’t want to raise your prices the first time that happens. But if that’s been true for you for 6-12 months, seriously consider raising your prices. Your missing an opportunity to price your most popular product — your appointments — in a way that is consistent with market demand.
It’s not a way of “taking advantage” of your clients. It’s a way of honoring the value of your work and taking care of yourself financially.
Did you know….You can deduct things that you took from your personal life and started using in your business?
Office chair & desk
the massage table you bought for school
How do you do that? Calculate how much the items would be worth at “fair market value” (i.e., what you’d sell them for at a yard sale, Craigslist, etc.). That’s the “purchase price”.
In your bookkeeping, you enter “convert personal property to business use” as where you purchased it. Put the fair market value in as the purchase price.
Put a note in about what you bought.
This is especially useful when you first start out because you have to acquire so much to set up your office. But even as you go along you’ll replace lamps, chairs, etc. and if you do it from your personal possessions, you’ve got a deduction!