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Why Visibility Matters for Massage Therapists

Why Visibility Matters for Massage Therapists

Why the fear of being seen is holding you back – and how you can overcome it.

Does the thought of “putting yourself out there” make you cringe?

Do you find yourself posting inspirational quotes on social media, instead of information about your treatments, because you hate talking about yourself online?

Would you love to write a blog for your website, but can’t bring yourself to do it in case someone disagrees with what you write, or criticises it?

If any of that resonates, it’s likely you’re struggling with the FEAR OF VISIBILTY.

Fear of visibility manifests as a reluctance to be seen. When we have our own business, it can be scary to step into the spotlight.

It might not sound like a big deal for a massage therapist. After all, you’re not a performer expected to get up on a stage! However, this fear can massively hold you back in your business. It keeps you small and stops you from talking about your therapies and marketing your business.

If potential clients don't know you exist or what you offer, they'll never have the chance to experience your services. This is why visibility is so important. It's about being seen and recognised in your community and online, so you’re the first person people think of when they need a massage.

If fear of visibility is getting in the way of you making a success of your business, it’s time to do something about it!

In this blog post, we’ll look at how fear of visibility might show up in your business. We’ll uncover some of the underlying reasons behind it, and I’ll give you 11 practical steps you can take to overcome it.

Recognising the Fear of Visibility

Before we can confront a fear, we need to recognise that we have it! Here are some ways in which Fear of Visibility might be showing up for you - and how that might affect your business.
  • You avoid posting on Social Media because you don’t want to be judged, criticised or be given negative feedback.

  • You keep your prices low because you don’t want to stand out (or apart) from the other therapists in your area.

  • You steer clear of networking opportunities because you struggle to talk to people about what you do.

  • You don’t ask clients to rebook after a session because you’re scared of sounding salesy or pushy.

  • You don’t like doing live videos or even showing your face in relation to your business - You have stock images on your website instead of photos of yourself.

  • You do very little marketing at all. You’re scared of attracting the “wrong” type of client, so you rely on your existing clients to spread the word about you.
If you’re nodding along to this, it sounds as though fear of visibility is getting in the way of your business growth. So what can you do about it? How do you overcome it and develop the confidence to step out of the shadows?

Understanding the Reasons Behind the Fear

Breaking a fear pattern starts with understanding WHY it’s there in the first place.

Where does fear of visibility come from? There are many reasons (conscious, unconscious, historical or current) that might be causing your fear. If we can understand the underlying causes, we are one step closer to tackling the fear itself.

Fear of Visibility can be caused by any (or many!) of the following:

Fear of Judgment - many therapists struggle with not wanting to be judged or criticised by others. You might worry that you’ll be disagreed with or even ridiculed if you speak publicly about your treatments.

Imposter Syndrome – Do you sometimes feel like a fraud? Despite your qualifications and experience, do you feel like you don’t know enough, or aren’t good enough to talk about your work? That’s imposter syndrome. This comes hand in hand with self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy and it can lead to a constantly doing more training and learning new skills, never feeling quite qualified or good enough.

Perfectionism – Do feel as though you need everything to be perfect before you can share it in public? Instead of getting your marketing out there, you procrastinate, making tiny tweaks that no one would notice, except you! Perfectionism can stem from Fear of Judgment (see above.)

Conflicting fears of failure and success- You self-sabotage your own success because deep down you’re worried about what will happen if you fail OR if you become too successful in your business. Either way, you feel you couldn’t handle it.

Worry about the historical stigma around massage. You know you might have to deal with mistrust or misunderstanding of the work you do, and that makes it hard for you to share your skills with the public.

All of these factors can make it challenging to step into the spotlight and promote yourself. It can seem so much easier to stay behind the scenes! But if you stay small and hidden, it will ultimately be your business that loses out.

Overcoming the Fear of Visibility

Recognising and understanding the fear is the first step. The next step is to start to change the way you think.

Here are 11 strategies that can help you to overcome the fear.

1. Reframe your mindset. See visibility as an opportunity instead of a threat. Accept that if you want business success, the ability to be visible is going to be a crucial part of that!

2. Build your confidence slowly. Give yourself actions to take that feel do-able (if slightly uncomfortable.) For example, if you’ve been avoiding social media, try posting a picture of your treatment room or share a client testimonial. You can gradually increase your online presence as you become more comfortable.

3. Know your boundaries. Make sure you’re clear on what you will share in your marketing and what you want to keep private. Being visible doesn’t mean sharing 100% of yourself and your life, 100% of the time. Know that you’re always in control of what you share and how you share it.

4. Accept imperfection. It’s never all going to be perfect – and if it were, it wouldn’t be YOU! When it comes to marketing, authenticity is the most valuable thing. Sharing your journey, including the struggles, is what will make potential clients relate to you the most.

5. Remember that your massage skills are valuable. You have something special to offer the world, and there are people out there who need your help. When you can start to really believe in the value of your work, it becomes easier to put yourself out there. Don’t let fear hold you back from promoting your services to those who need it.

6. Work through your own mind-set limitations. Take the time to explore your fears and limitations around visibility, and get support from a counsellor or therapist if that’s what you need. (because this fear won’t just be showing up in your business – it will be leaking out into the rest of your life too and holding you back in other areas.)

7. Connect with other therapists. Look for communities of therapists who can support you, whether it’s a local meetup group or an online community. Being part of a community can also provide a safe space to practice being visible before putting yourself out there in the real world!

8. Keep it real. It's common to feel fear about what others will think—whether they are complete strangers online or your friends and family. Remember, every single person has their own stuff going on. They probably aren’t thinking about you or noticing you nearly as much as you imagine!

9. Confidence takes practice. You won't wake up one day and be full of confidence. Confidence grows slowly over time. Each time you take a step out of your comfort zone, it gets easier. So keep practising!

10. Remember Your “WHY.” What pulled you to become a therapist in the first place? Connecting with your sense of purpose and passion can help you overcome your fear of visibility. Whatever your “why” is, keep coming back to it. When you focus your attention on your why, it lights a fire inside and helps you get out of your comfort zone.

11. You’ve worked so hard to acquire the knowledge and skills that make you a great therapist. You deserve to be paid for that! It’s ok to talk about your work so you can find people who need your help and are willing to pay.

Fear of visibility affects everyone at one time or another. The key is not to let it stop you from showing up and letting people know you exist and can help them.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and becoming more visible in business is not easy. See it as a journey, rather than a destination. Remember that fear is normal, but it doesn’t have to hold you back.

You absolutely CAN step up, be seen and share your amazing massage skills with the world…So get out there and do it!

I can’t wait to see you shine.

About the Author

Business mentor for massage therapists, Nikki Wolf has over 20 years in the industry; including teaching, owning a massage school, and managing spas. Nikki is on a mission to demystify marketing for therapists and empower them to build their own thriving businesses. When she isn't massaging or mentoring, she’ll be walking on the beach with her dog, Storm. Find out more about mentoring at Orchid Massage Academy.

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