Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Cross.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Mine is a classic story of being thrown into things that I don’t feel prepared to do and somehow making it work.
My journey as a massage therapist and founder of Unlock | Bodyworks, a sports therapy and pain management massage clinic in Denver, began with a martial arts instructor. When I started training with Dr. Baker, he was a practicing Chiropractor who had an extensive background in martial arts. I expressed interest in being a student of his on a Tuesday, and by Thursday I was waking up at 3 am to be at his studio by 4 am where I would study anatomy until 6 am. After that, I’d practice strength, flexibility, and martial arts for two hours. Then learn how to perform chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy techniques until 11 am, at which time I would be dismissed go sleep for a few hours before going to work in the evenings at a fondue restaurant.
That went on for what became the most mentally and physically demanding year of my life. Then one day when I came into train Dr. Baker stood up from his desk and said “There won’t be any practice today. I don’t have time to continue your training so today you’re going to go enroll at the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado. Mark Manton, the founder of the school, will be able to take you through your next phase.”
I never got an explanation, but I didn’t need one. Dr. Baker was an incredible teacher and I trusted his judgment. So even though this next stage would mean changing major aspects of my life again, I went to MTIC and enrolled in classes that day.
Mark Manton was my main instructor and expected a high level of engagement from his students. I did everything I could to meet those expectations and within three years of graduating the program, I found myself TAing for multiple other instructors, teaching classes on my own, working as a therapist in the school’s professional clinic, and directing the student clinic.
In 2012 we were asked by Dr. Fairbairne, the head of Inner City Health Hospital, to integrated the MTIC student clinic into their facility where we would bring students to observe and assist with treatments for pain patients. I headed that program as well and even though I was constantly strapped for time and feeling like a fish out of water, I was learning an incredible amount in a short period of time.
For the next couple of years, I juggled all of those projects while slowly building a private practice on the side, and taking as many continuing ed courses as possible to stay sharp and maintain growth as a therapist. After three-and-a-half year stint in advanced courses for joint mobilization, myofascial work, and acupressure I thought I might have a little time to take a breath and relax into a grove for a while. That’s when I got a call from the head therapist for the Denver Broncos.
They needed a couple of therapists to travel with the team. The interview process felt like an elimination game show. We would all be out there through the week doing treatments with the players, and then on Friday, they would tell us they’d call us on Monday if they wanted us back for another week. That went on for two months until my colleague Jay Krats and I got the news that we were officially on the team. I was elated, and also terrified because I had no idea how I was going to manage everything I was doing and add travel with an elite team on top of it.
Somehow I made it work. I was still doing my work with MTIC, Inner City Health Hospital, and had a solid private practice in a shared space with an acupuncturist. By the start of the second season with the Broncos, I’d finally found a grove.
Then, halfway through the second season, the acupuncturist told me she would have to leave the space. If I wanted to stay in the same location, it would mean taking over the whole ground floor of the building and making that work as well. The location was too good to leave, so I went for it.
The gravity of the situation hit me when she left and I realized virtually everything in the space had been hers. I spent the next month working during the days and rebuilding the clinic during the nights. That was in September of 2018. By October it was time to put a team together. Through the month, with the help of one of my colleagues Sara Kieser, we were able to put together a team of nine fantastic therapists. We officially opened at the end of October with a beautiful space, three advanced therapists, two pro therapists, and four interns. I was exhausted, and very proud.
There was no time to rest, however. I’d heard many times that ‘if you build it, they will come’. That is not the case. I had organically grown my practice over the course of many years while I also being involved in all of these other projects. Now I had to build eight other people’s practices, and it had to happen immediately. So I got a high stakes crash course in business and marketing, on the job, while floating all of the expenses with my personal savings.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and skirted many others, all while flying by the seat of my pants figuring it out as I go. I’m happy to report that Unlock Bodyworks has made it through those first stages and continues to grow. After 93 consecutive days of work, I was ready for a breather.
Then, in January I got an opportunity to send a couple of our team members to summit Cotopaxi, a volcano in Ecuador, with an elite team that climbs mountains to raise funds for amputees to receive sport-ready prosthetic limbs. The trip is set for summer of 2019, and all we have to do is train the team to handle the mountaineering, and raise 25,000 dollars.
Of course, I don’t feel prepared to do either of those things, but it’s a great opportunity to do a lot of good in a fantastic way. So even though it means I’ll be way out of my comfort zone yet again, I wake up in the mornings and say to myself, “Here we go.”
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are smooth patches on every path, but no road worth traveling is completely smooth. The struggles come in all shapes and sizes, but the most difficult ones are the internal struggles. It’s easy to get discouraged and look around at other people and think “Entrepreneurship is hard. Why am I doing this to myself? It doesn’t seem like other people are struggling like this.”
The truth is that everyone struggles. If I wake up in the morning and meet the day knowing that I’m struggling towards the goals that I’ve set for myself, and that other people will benefit from me overcoming those struggles, then at the end of the day it’s all worth it.
Please tell us about Unlock | Bodyworks.
Unlock Bodyworks provides athletes, nonathletes, and pain patients with relief, better performance, and a higher quality of life through hands-on therapies, nutrition, and fitness consulting, and self-care coaching.
That’s what we do, but what we specialize in, what sets us apart from most practitioners, is asking the right questions and really listening to the answers.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In my experience, it doesn’t pay to dwell on what I could have done differently. Instead, I focus on what can be done differently going forward. Recognize my mistakes and learn from them, yes, but that’s in the past. Those things are gone. What’s important is what can be done, not what should have been done.
- Advanced sessions with seasoned therapist from $90 per hour
- Pro sessions with licensed, skilled therapists from $75 per hour
- Intern sessions with our top, up-and-coming therapists from $60 per hour
- Address: 1730 N. Gaylord st.
Denver, CO 80206
- Website: unlockbodyworks.com
- Phone: 7208197237
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: Unlock Bodyworks
Collin Taylor, Melissa Markle