Meet Colleen Goethals, Owner of Hands of Truth [Interview]
Being an entrepreneur is tough, isn’t’ it? Sure, you love what you do and want to help people as you do it—that’s why you decided to start your own business—but the actual day-to-day, administrative and accounting side of the business can be as daunting and frustrating as trying to master a foreign language.
Today, we’re talking to Colleen Goethals who will share her experience as a newly minted entrepreneur, running her own massage therapy practice. She discusses how she surrounded herself with a team of skilled and business-savvy mentors who are helping her to thrive in her in the health and wellness industry.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Colleen Goethals, Licensed Massage Therapist
Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com and we are continuing our series of interviews with fitness and wellness experts and today we are blessed to have Colleen Goethals with us, who is a licensed massage therapist in Lexington, Kentucky.
She’s the owner of Hands of Truth and she operates out of Cornerstone Chiropractic Wellness and also Sunshine Factory Studio, both in the Lexington, Kentucky area. So thank you for joining us today, Colleen.
Colleen Goethals: Thank you. I’m happy to be joining you and talking about all of this wellness.
Schimri Yoyo: Yes. So let’s just jump right into it with some of your background and history. How did you develop a love of health and fitness and wellness and how did you get into it as a profession?
Colleen Goethals: Well, I’ve always kind of been into, I guess, healing and helping. I started as an obstetrical nurse about 15 years ago and since then retired from that and was a stay-at-home mom. During that time, I was actively working out, running marathons, putting my body through the gauntlet of stuff that we do.
And I ended up with some injuries and it was actually massage therapy combined with some other modalities to include chiropractic that healed me and helped me avoid having to have surgery. And so I thought this is what I want to do. I want to help people the way that it helped me.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome.
Colleen Goethals: So yeah, that kind of set me on that path and it’s been great ever since.
Schimri Yoyo: Well you’ve been paying it forward ever since.
Colleen Goethals: Yes, absolutely.
Schimri Yoyo: So what sports did you participate in growing up?
Colleen Goethals: I was an all-around tomboy growing up. I have brothers, so I played everything from football. I did TaeKwonDo. I played softball. But most of all I was a competitive gymnast, which took a big toll on my body. Yeah, I love all sports, as a spectator and as a participant.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And I’m curious, who does a licensed massage therapist go to for a massage?
Colleen Goethals: Another really good licensed massage therapist. Fortunately for me, the one who got me into this has been mine for six years and she is amazing. And I don’t know that I’d ever want to go with just somebody else. But you go to your colleagues. You go to the people you know and you also go to really just anybody because it’s kind of fun to go into a new place if you’re traveling and just see what they have to offer. In massage, your experience is going to be different every time. So as long as you’re going, you’re probably doing yourself good.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s pretty good. Yeah. You can get a massage and kind of write it off as like professional development, right? You’re doing research.
Colleen Goethals: Yes. That’s the stuff I’m starting to learn. I’m new to the business aspect of things. I have the healing down, but the business I’m learning.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, that’s good. We’re all learning together. That’s great.
Colleen Goethals: Yes.
Schimri Yoyo: Now who are some of your mentors or who are some of the mentors? You mentioned the lady who… Your personal massage therapist. Do you have other mentors in the business?
Colleen Goethals: Yeah, I do. I have a lot on a lot of different levels. I’ll start with my massage therapist, Tonya Leger. She does a lot of energy work modalities, craniosacral work. She does Qigong and she works with your whole, entire body, which is amazing. Which opened my eyes up. And because she works at a facility they have there and there’s an acupuncturist named Hardin Field and I’ve been a patient of his and he is phenomenal. And he’s now a mentor of mine, as well.
And you know, I ended up at the chiropractor that I work with, Dr. Shan Twit at Cornerstone. He mentors me on my business. Constantly helps me promote myself and market. And then, my boyfriend, Josh [Bowen], has been my biggest supporter. So you know, he’s my biggest mentor too, and he’s great with business because he runs his own facilities well and he understands all the demands and what goes into it. So I’m pretty blessed to have a big circle and community around me of support and further learning.
Schimri Yoyo: So what do you do for fun when you’re not healing and not practicing massage therapy? What are some of your activities and outlets for fun?
Colleen Goethals: Well, I love to be active, so I’m a nature girl. I love to hike. I love fitness. I box a lot. Gets out a lot of tension and frustration that you might have. And then I write. I’m working on a lot of projects. So I write a lot for fun, too, and hang out with my kiddos.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s something that we share in common. I like to write and I like to hang out with my kiddos. So we’re like kindred spirits.
Colleen Goethals: Yeah, see that’s why I get up at 4:00 AM to write. So then I get it before everyone else gets up in the house. Because then I’m running full speed.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, what one word would best describe your philosophy and methodology of therapy?
Colleen Goethals: Well, one word. Therapy, to me, is healing. And it’s actually a really important word because we have to go through it, whether it’s psychotherapy, massage therapy, exercise therapy. There are so many different types of therapy. And when you’re seeking therapy, most of the time, you’re seeking someone to help you. You’re seeking out something. So it’s just something to provide. It’s just healing. So therapy.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s a good word. Just practically, on a day-to-day level, how many different types of massage do you perform and can you break down what’s the advantage of each or give us a just a little summary of each different type of massage that you perform.
Colleen Goethals: Yeah, definitely. There are lots of different kinds of modalities. Coming out of school, most massage therapists are coming out equipped with Swedish Massage, deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, oncology massage, all of those things, which are all great and are widely used.
Swedish massage is your more relaxation massage. What most people have had. When you go to get a massage, you will always get kind of a Swedish massage. If your therapist is good, she knows to incorporate Swedish. Deep tissue is great for athletes. It’s great for people that have a lot of tension and stress, who don’t give a lot of attention to themselves.
Let’s see, prenatal, that’s you know, obviously just pregnancy clients. And it is amazing and awesome and I love doing prenatal massage. And then also I’ve learned some other modalities. I like to work with hot bamboo and it’s an antimicrobial tool to use, which is really great. And the heat of the bamboo penetrates deep down into the belly of the muscle, which creates just a perfect environment for me to get in there and actually relax the muscles.
And it keeps your hands warm, so you never have cold hands on you. I think everybody likes that. Yeah. And I use all modalities in my sessions. When you come with me, I don’t charge extra for this, this or that. It’s whatever your body’s calling for and your body needs, I meet you where you’re at and whatever tool I have in my tool belt you will get.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh that’s a pretty good advertisement. I’m going to have to take advantage. Do I get the exercise.com discount or no?
Colleen Goethals: Yeah, absolutely.
Schimri Yoyo: I’m just kidding.
Colleen Goethals: I offer discounts, too. That’s another thing I do a lot of. We offer for veterans and teachers and police force and you know, we offer lots of discounts. We want it to be affordable for you because you need to do it. Self-care is hard.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. No, that’s true. Now I’m an athlete and I’ve actually—
When I was active in sports used to get a couple of deep tissue massages before a game or after a game. Can you just delve into some of the differences between a pre-workout or pregame massage, and a post-workout or post-game massage?
Colleen Goethals: Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of the times, my experience with pre- and post-workout kind of stuff has been chair massage mostly. And you know when you’re doing a pre-workout massage, you want to kind of limber up the body, do some stretches. You want to do more vigorous, more tapotement, tapping type stuff. Get them waked up, ready to go.
Post-workout massage, you really want to engage their parasympathetic nervous system and let them just kind of relax and recover. You do more of a meditative massage or slower massage. Tend to sore muscles, places like that. So it’s really—both are very beneficial to do. One gets you ready to go and one just is more recovery.
Never Should on Yourself
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And how often should someone get a massage, like the average person?
Colleen Goethals: You know, I learned a really good quote from my instructor at the Lexington Healing Arts who said, “Never should on yourself.” So the word should is difficult for me because I don’t know that I can recommend how much you should, but in my experience, and I have clients who come once a week, every two weeks, once a month, a few times a year. I have all the ranges.
The body—the muscle remembers. So the more that you come, the better it is. So with massage, for me, I guess what I would say is if you can do every two weeks, I think that is the best benefit you’re going to get. If you can come once a month, I think that’s wonderful as well. Anything outside of that is still going to be great for you, but I would recommend staying within the once-a-month range for sure.
Schimri Yoyo: Wow, that’s a great answer. And I’m definitely going to steal that quote. “Never should on yourself.” I like that. After a massage, are your clients more likely to speak of the physical benefits or the mental, emotional benefits? Or is it all of the above that they speak of?
Colleen Goethals: You know, it’s kind of all of it, but I do draw it out of them. You know, I’m big with psychology and human behavior, too. I pay attention to all elements of my clients, so I kind of know where they’re at and what they’re feeling. So I get both. I get a lot of it. I think people go into a massage anticipating only the physical, and I think they, a lot of times, come out with the other thing.
I call it “massage drunk.” When they walk down the hallway, it’s like they just, they’re floating. And I don’t think a lot of people expect a massage to put them into that kind of altered state of relaxation.
Schimri Yoyo: You have all the great quotes, Colleen. “Massage Drunk,” I’m stealing that too. I’m making a t-shirt and everything. That’s beautiful. What ways do you motivate yourself and your clients?
Colleen Goethals: I think it’s both by words and hands. You know, I have a double approach. And a lot of times I get people into my chair and I have them just for five minutes and I speak to them about the benefits while they’re feeling it. And a lot of times that combination is very helpful because they’re allowing their parasympathetic to settle in, which their mind relaxes.
They stop thinking about all the reasons not to get a massage and then they think about, “Oh this is good for me; I feel this.” So I kind of use a combination most of the time. And motivating myself, I am doing my best to practice my best self-care so I can just lead by example.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. And keeping up with that, how do you measure progress for your clients and then also for yourself? What is success? What does it look like for you?
Colleen Goethals: Well, success starts in the first session. Just seeing them relax and taking to the massage. I’ve yet to have that not occur. But we keep SOAP notes. I do something called posture and gait with a lot of my clients.
I see where their range of motion is. The biggest thing that I do is I ask them their why. Why are you here? You know, you looking for relaxation, blah, blah, blah? For example, a client will say, “Because I can’t wash my hair. I can’t get my arms up high enough to do that.”
So they want to be able to do that. So then I have something I’m working at. So I’ll say, “Okay, well we’re going to do these sessions and get you to be able to lift your arms and be able to wash your own hair.” You know, you have to find what people want to accomplish from the session and then help them with that. So that’s kind of what I do. So they can see the progress, too. Everyone has a why.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Do you find that most of your clients prefer you to engage them in conversation while you’re giving a massage? Or do they want you to remain silent? And how do you get—you know, people are funny.
Colleen Goethals: Yeah, so that is a 50-50 split. A lot of clients want to talk and a lot don’t. I follow suit is what I do. I plan not to engage them during their session. I have a thorough consult with them prior and I follow up with them after. Now if they chat me up during the massage, I will chat back and I love that and that’s all fine.
But I think that there’s more benefit in just relaxing and letting the process happen. Getting into the moment and—not that people think when they’re in solo company, I guess, just you and another person—[they think] that conversation must take place. So, I do my best to answer but try to get them to just come and get out of their head.
Entrepreneurship is Hands-On Education
Schimri Yoyo: Now as far as managing your business, how do you budget your time and energy between being the massage therapist and the professional and then also being an entrepreneur?
Colleen Goethals: Well, that is what I am learning. It’s a lot to do and fortunately, like I said, I have a lot of great mentors and people around me who help me with that. I’m learning that schedule is everything. Your word is everything. You have to show up. You have to be precise. You got to run a tight ship and be prepared to work. And luckily for me, I love to work.
But I do have to be mindful of my body because I can’t see six, seven clients every day of the week. It’s a taxing job and I tend to give a lot and forget to regard myself. So I pretty much cut it off at five a day and try to regard that and then think about how that looks from a financial standpoint, from everything. So it’s a lot to configure. It’s a work in progress.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. I think that’s a common thread, no matter what level of success in business. I ask that question just about to everyone and it seems that work in process, time management is a common theme that’s throughout.
Colleen Goethals: Well, that’s nice to hear. It’s not just me.
Schimri Yoyo: I’m going to give you a chance to brag about yourself a little bit and the people you work with. What makes you and Hands of Truth unique?
Colleen Goethals: Well, what I attempt to develop with Hands of Truth—for now, it’s just me and I do have this group of people that I do affiliate myself with, but I have an overall dream, we’ll call it, of just really integrated healthcare. Wellness care, I call it, because we’re not really operating within the healthcare system as most know it.
But your wellness, the time that you take for yourself. I’d really like to see one-stop shops. You know, places where you have a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a counselor, a physician, osteopath, whatever. All of those things where you know you’re in good hands when you’re getting well-rounded, integrated care where people are focusing on all aspects of health, not just the physical because the mind is really important.
It’s the most important part. So that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. And then hopefully finish writing some of my books on these ideals and stuff that I have as well. And like I said, I think I have a great team around me and I feel very blessed and I think we’re doing great work in the community.
Schimri Yoyo: Well, yeah, that actually leads to my next question. How do you use your platform and your business to serve your community?
Colleen Goethals: Oh my, the greatest way is that I can give free massages to people. That is an awesome way. I participate in anything. If someone comes to me and says, “Colleen, you want to set up a chair massage at this event?” You know, things like that.
I do raffles all the time, where I’ll give free massages away. Like my services, being able to have this service, it doesn’t require me anything. No monetary amount and I can give back in such a great way.
And to have that skillset is awesome for our community. Most people love massage. I’m not offering something that most people are like, “No, don’t want that.” So I have something that people love and it’s very awesome to be able to provide it. So yeah, I just do a lot with that and I just affiliate myself with as much as I can. And in our community, I really think starting small is how it works. You got to build your community first here and then it expands out.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, what have you learned in the last year or so running your business that you wish you would’ve known when you first started?
Colleen Goethals: That it’s not easy. Because I think everything’s easy. I’m one of those people that just dives in head-first. Like, I got it. I didn’t think about—I would work for free if I could. And that’s a problem for me.
I guess that part because when you’re in a healing business, you just want to help people and you can tell when people need help, but you’ve got to help yourself first. And I guess I didn’t anticipate that part of it. So that’s a struggle for me.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, that is a struggle as an entrepreneur and an independent contractor, at times it’s hard to sometimes place a value on your worth and to know how to directly market your services.
Colleen Goethals: Exactly. And that’s something you can only learn. I mean, I’m not hard on myself that I didn’t think about it prior. But you know, we have to learn it and we do have to value ourselves and be reimbursed for the work that we do. And if I could just walk around and do everything for free I could, but then I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have a house over my head and everything else.
Schimri Yoyo: Right. Now, what ways do you use technology or social media to promote your services?
Colleen Goethals: Well, that I am actually getting new to, as well. I am learning a lot of different things with hashtags and algorithms and when to post things and how often. And you need to do it every day, apparently. I’m learning how it’s viewed, much like we were speaking about before, you know? What people are looking at. What they’re seeing.
And you have to go after your audience. You do. And so you’ve got—I want to bring as many people to myself and the other people around me as I possibly can and that is a great platform to be used that way. So I am expanding on that right now. I’m doing more of it and trying to get more comfortable with it. Like doing this.
Schimri Yoyo: Are you currently on Twitter or Instagram or are you still building that up?
Colleen Goethals: No, I have an Instagram. It’s ForThoughtFuture, and I have a Facebook. I have not tagged a Twitter. Apparently, I have a Twitter account, but I’ve never been on it. I’ve never Twittered yet. But I’ve done Facebook Live things. I’ve messed around with Instagram and Instagram Live and I’m getting better with all of that.
Schimri Yoyo: Well, we look forward to seeing you expand on that as well. What has been the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur and what has been the greatest reward?
Colleen Goethals: Well, the challenge, I guess, is the business side of it. The reward is being the creator of it. It’s like everything that I do is my creation, what I believe in. What I want to do. And that doesn’t mean, “Oh, I can just go to work whenever I want.” I don’t have that mentality. I work when people need to be seen. I have an all-around- the-clock schedule. But it’s my choice, my creation, and I really like that because I feel like I can do my best work without restrictions of other things.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. A couple more questions. Thank you again, Colleen, for your time. We just want to know what’s next for you and your business? Where do you see yourself in the next two to three years?
Colleen Goethals: Like we were talking about previously, I think more in an integrated environment, just building, creating more of this kind of self-care. Teaching and educating. I’ve never been too comfortable in front of a camera or crowd. I have a lot to say, though. So that’s why I write.
But I would love to be able to educate more and get out there and get my hands on more people and just keep growing in this whole self-care and wellness community.
Schimri Yoyo: And lastly, that kind of leads to my final question. What resources, whether it’s books, podcasts, or magazines, would you recommend for our audience who, like you, want to continue learning or want to continue developing? What are some of the things that you’re listening to right now?
Colleen Goethals: Well, I listen to a lot of podcasts and my favorite podcast person right now is Aubrey Marcus. I think that he has amazing content. I listen a lot to Joe Rogan. I guess the commonality of these things is free-thinking type things. The Power of Positivity is a big site that I follow. The Third Eye. As you can see, the commonality in all of these things is just promoting people to go inward and focus on self and reflect and create and change the world.
Because I think we all are at a point where we need to begin doing that. Understanding that it starts with ourselves. And if somehow we’ve been culturally conditioned to say it’s selfish to take care of ourselves… And it’s not, it’s the complete opposite. So I listen to a lot of that kind of stuff.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, well thank you again for your input and your insight. We wish you continued success as you grow and develop your business and shout out to your boyfriend, Josh Bowen, for making the connection to us. So, thank you.
Colleen Goethals: Great. Thank you.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Schimri Yoyo is a writer for Exercise.com and a financial advisor with active life and health insurance licenses. In a past life, he covered Villanova Men’s Basketball and Big East Football for Examiner.com. Schimri has also produced freelance copywriting, editing, and proofreading for various websites and online publications for over a decade. He is an avid sports fan, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco 49ers. Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to stay financially and physically fit.