We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynne Hilliard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynne, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
First of all, I like to differentiate between joy and happiness. I think that joy is an internal gift that comes as a result of how we live and treat others. I have joy when I feel connected to God, to myself and to others. I believe that happiness is a by-product of joy.
Some of my happiest times include hanging out with people I love. I especially enjoy spending time with my three adult children. They are hilarious! I absolutely love to laugh, and they make me laugh so hard! I also think I’m pretty funny too (I’ve been told that once or twice), so I make them laugh as well. It gives me joy that we are blessed to have such a close relationship that many families don’t experience.
I also have a bestie in my life who I grew up with and she loves to travel. As a result, I have also grown to enjoy it. It makes me happy to visit places that I’ve never been before. We are also so connected that we not only travel together, but often visit with one another here in Phoenix or in southern California where she lives.
Making a positive difference in people’s lives also makes me happy. There are people who make such a positive impact in my life and I want to pay it forward. Life can be so difficult sometimes. If I can be an agent of change for the better, that’s what I desire to be.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list but I do experience happiness when I succeed at something that I’ve worked very hard to achieve. I’m very proud of my career as a public servant. But I am extremely happy to be a successful black business owner. I don’t define my success by volume. I define my success by my impact in someone’s life. As a practicing licensed massage therapist (LMT), my physical touch and presence provides healing to my clients on an emotional, spiritual and physical level.
What should our readers know about your business?
H.I.S. Extension Massage Services was bore out of my desire to do something more. Initially, I was planning to return back to higher education to obtain a PhD. Although massage therapy had been a fleeing thought years prior, it wasn’t until I was taking a mental health day that the Holy Spirit reminded me of that inner gnawing. I had to make a decision, either go back to get another degree or go to school for massage therapy. I am so thankful that I listened to the spirit within and made the “right” choice. I absolutely love being a massage therapist.
The selection of my business name was very intentional. H.I.S. Extension Massage Services represents honesty, integrity and service. Extension comes from my desire to be an extension of the God that I have come to know and recognize as the very essence of LOVE. I want to be a conduit of that LOVE and in the process provide physical, emotional and spiritual relief to my clients.
I think what makes me most proud is that my business has been built solely on referrals from others. I had a budding client base before I finished school which is a testament to my instructors and my abilities. My social media presence is limited but yet I am able to thrive. This can also be a challenge because there are so many other successful massage businesses out there with a significant online presence. I don’t fret though because my clients are loyal and I continuously get new opportunities to build my brand.
I have my own personal studio but I also provide mobile massage services as well. Here’s a funny story. When I started my business, I primarily provided mobile massage service. I had a two door mustang convertible at the time so I would literally squeeze my huge massage table into the back seat and if the weather was permitting, I would drop the top to make it easier. Whenever I see a car that looks like my mustang, it makes me laugh at myself because it took a lot of energy to get that table to fit in there. I don’t know how I ever made it work – but I did!
Some of the lessons that I’ve learned along the way include being patient, exercising resilience, remaining consistent, and most of all having faith. When the pandemic hit, my business was severely impacted as was many other small businesses. Many of my clients have yet to return, but some have and new clients have been added. I trust and believe that in time I will expand my business model to utilize other massage therapists as contractors.
I am so excited to see where H.I.S. Extension Massage Services grows to.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love listening to live music so another place that we would go is the Blue Martini in North Phoenix. “The Blue” as I affectionately call it, has a great atmosphere. There is also a location in Las Vegas that I frequently visit. I used to take all my guests to Char’s Has The Blues. Unfortunately, they closed during the pandemic, however, I am very excited to see that they’ve reopened under a new name and ownership. It’s now called, Char’s Live. I have not yet visited, but I plan to so I can add them back in to my rotation.
Mill Avenue is fun to stroll and grab a bite to eat or just people watch. I also enjoy hanging out at Tempe Town Lakes and hiking South Mountain trails. And what woman doesn’t like to shop? I love Ross Dress for Less. I can shop there for hours and I know where all the good ones are located! Some of my other favorite places to get a good workout and find good deals are Tempe Marketplace, Desert Ridge Marketplace, SanTan Village, Biltmore Fashion Park, or Scottsdale Fashion Square.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many beautiful people that have positively impacted my life over many years. I like to recall my very humble beginnings in life because it has defined who I am today. I will always remember and be very grateful to one of my ninth grade teachers back in Muskegon, MI. Her name is Jan Witt. Miss Witt encouraged me at a time in my young life when things were very difficult, challenging, scary and uncertain. As a pregnant, young teen who stayed in traditional school instead of dropping out, Miss Witt took me under her wings and showed me that I could make it. She never judged me. She showed me empathy, compassion and unconditional love. It was her example that led me to my own passion for young people who struggle with life and feel alone. Just because you see a person smiling on the outside doesn’t mean that they’re not hurting on the inside. She was a conduit of love. I’m not certain where she is now, but her footprint in my life will always remain. Wherever you are Miss Jan Witt, I want to say “thank you” for showing me how to love others when they feel like they are unlovable.
Eric Winfield – EDI & Marketing Solutions