Seven Reasons to Sign Up for the Meantime Today

Meantime30ChallengeBUTTONJust a brief courtesy reminder that my 30 Day Cashflow Challenge – The Meantime has launched as of today. But we’re accepting new participants until next Monday night if you’re willing to catch up.

Seven Reasons to Sign Up Today:

REASON #1: It’s Super Affordable.

This program is only $300 and I can promise you it’s worth much more than that.

If this content helps you get even one new client, just one, you will have likely immediately made back your money for the program. If they come back more than one time, you will have made a handsome profit. My guess is that the combination of the material you’ll be learning in this program and your intensive focus on applying it for thirty days will get you much more than one client.

REASON #2: I Won’t Be Doing it Again Until January, 2016.

‘Nuf said.

REASON #3: Fast Acting Content.

Of all my programs, it’s the one designed to bring in new income and clients the fastest. You’ll be learning more than 30 proven approaches that bring in clients and money fast.

And a lot more.

If you’ve been struggling to get out of the vicious downward spiral and start bringing in some income fast, you could be starting on that path in just a few days.

I suspect you may make more immediate, financial profit on this program than any other you’ve taken.

REASON #4: Get Meaningful Support.

For thirty days you’ll have my support and the support of peers from around the world to not only encourage and cheer you on but to give you meaningful feedback on your ideas and strategies. From my heart to yours, doing things solo is likely what’s gotten you into whatever pickle you might be in. Whether it’s this program or another, consider opening yourself up to help.

REASON #5: $100 Profit Guaranteed.

Finally, and perhaps most compellingly, I’m offering a double your money back guarantee on this event. Meaning, you’ll make at least $100 in profit on this event, guaranteed. Really, actually.

REASON #6: A Chance to Make Big Changes in Your Business Life You’ve Been Putting Off.

Many of the people who’ve been in this program have commented to me that one of the biggest blessings of being in The Meantime (the program and the cash flow crisis) is that it opens up the opportunity to make big and bold changes to their business. Changes they have known they’ve needed to make for a long time.

REASON #7: Three Pay – Just $100/month for Three Months.

$300 isn’t a lot, but, when you’re in a crunch, it might be more than you have. So, I’ve set up a payment plan option where you can do it in instalments.

I hope you’ll consider joining us, or at least check it out to see if it’s a fit for you. You can learn more (and watch a quick video from me) at the link below.


p.s. Remember, I won’t be leading this program again until January, 2016.

p.p.s. You are guaranteed to make at least $100 profit on it. If you do your part but, at the end of the 30 days you aren’t satisfied, I’ll refund everything you paid plus $100 out of my own pocket. Actually.

Industry Report: The State of Online Course Creation

At some point in your life as a conscious entrepreneur, teaching an online course may be to be the next logical step.

You’ll want to help many more people, without the constraints of space and time. You’ll want to make an impact beyond your live group workshops or one-on-one sessions.

The best thing is, marketing your online course won’t feel gross when you know it will change your students’ lives. As someone who has sold online training programs, I can tell you it feels wonderful to promote and deliver a product when you’re confident it will truly help others.

Many online course creators believe their students’ success is the most important measure of their own success, as a recent survey by Firepole Marketing found. The rest of the findings are summarized in the infographic below. If you’ve tried making your own online course, or are thinking of doing so in the near future, these findings will interest you. You can learn more about what Firepole Marketing is up to here and read the full study here.

firepole OK

Introducing the “Are You Sure?” Page

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 7.09.21 PMHere’s an idea I’ve had for about two years and finally got around to/found a place for in my upcoming 30 day cashflow challenge for hippies – The Meantime.

It’s the idea of an ‘Are You Sure?’ page.

Here’s the idea: putting a page in between them click ‘buy’ and allowing them to buy. And having that step be to slow them down and make sure that they really want to buy – that it’s really a fit for them.

This idea is the weaving together of the notion that the role of marketing is not to get people to say ‘yes’ but (among other things) to help them see if it’s a fit plus the notion of slow marketing.

The problems this is designed to address are varied but can be summed up as, ‘making sure that people who aren’t a fit for your programs never sign up for your programs.’ When they do, you have drama. On your end: you likely get requests for refunds, you get a difficult participant, you get bad word of mouth and maybe called a liar for misleading them into buying. It’s draining. On their end, they spend money on a program they might never use and end up feeling burned and jaded.

One of my colleagues Maya wrote in the comments below,

I wish that some business/marketing coaches had done this for me because it would have saved me a lot of money. Back before I knew enough to read through over-hyped sales letters I took programs that were the wrong fit for me and now I have a bad taste in my mouth about those coaches. I deeply regretted wasting thousands of dollars at a time when money was tight for me. As a result, not only do I not recommend. Those coaches and programs but if asked the best I can do is to say something like “It didn’t work for me” or “I didn’t get what I expected”. And I know people can feel the distrust and negativity underneath those statements. I am sure I discourage many people from taking those classes. What was worse was when I took the classes I learned the exact techniques they had used to get me to buy and used them to sell one of my earlier programs. I followed the manipulative “script” and knew there were a couple of people who were the wrong fit for my program but had been sold the whole “Even if it’s the wrong fit for them you never know what other life lesson they are learning by taking a program that is wrong for them,” (Ick) so I didn’t say anything. Not only were they the most high-maintenance people in the program but I realized I had made them feel the same way I had felt when I bought a program that was wrong for me. I felt *awful*! I love that this page is a way to make sure I am never doing that to someone again as I start my new business. It feels like a way to balance out the necessary marketing with integrity. This kind of safeguard puts the “conscious” back into “conscious business”.

Carol shared this:

Thanks Tad. I knew I wanted to take the cash flow challenge and I’m that person who takes on too many programs and either doesn’t finish or lives in constant overload and financial regret. Your letter made me stop and take a moment to reflect on the questions you asked for consideration before committing. I was thankful you have another course running again and that took the pressure of ‘I have to, or else I’ll never have the opportunity again’. I really appreciated your insight and thoughtfulness of your potential client. It speaks so highly of you and how you walk your talk and I for one will be following your lead in my own business and I hope others will also follow suit. Thank you and bravo!

Claudia wrote:

This is the only ethical practice. I work with families who are desperate for assistance, but they need to hear that my approach is not the only one, and that how I work is not right for every family. And I am tired of meeting potential clients who have tried other clinicians who didn’t make sure their style fit the family, and who now feel betrayed by everyone in helping professions. Telling people, “hey, this other person might fit you better,” is a wonderful way to truly help someone, too.

The ‘Are You Sure?’ Page Plays Three Roles:

  • Role #1: it intentionally interrupts the buying process (blasphemy!). When they click on the ‘Purchase’ button, instead of taking directly to the place they can buy, it directs them to a page that does role #2…
  • Role #2: gives them the best information you can provide to help them see if it’s going to be a fit (information that they might have missed in your incredibly persuasive and compelling sales letter).  This page is explicitly not trying to sell them into the program or out of it. It’s just trying to do the heavy lifting of helping them sort out whether it really is the best thing for them or not. The info you’ll see on my Are Your Sure page was gathered over two years of leading this program and figuring out who it’s for and who it’s not for. It was gathered from a few refund situations where those I refunded kindly gave me candid feedback around what would have needed to be in the sales letter to make sure they would not have a bought (imagine that! someone not buying from you could be success).
  • Role #3: asks them to pause and really check in with themselves as to whether this is the right thing for them in this moment

Examples of Are You Sure? Pages:

You can see an example of what such a page might look like here.

My colleague, a film maker, Carolien Oosterhoff, inspired by this post came up with one too.

If you look on her ‘About You‘ page you can buy right away or click the ‘Before You Say Yes’ button which takes you to her version of the ‘Are You Sure?’ page. She said this about it: “last week I met a real ‘old fashioned’ gold smith (I am going to portray her) and she said she had read it all, and really understood me. So, it worked. And for those where it did not work and who leave … they saved me a lot of stress. I am too sensitive to stress, and want to do as much as I can to prevent me + my customer for becoming disappointed, angry .. or worse.”

UPDATE – SEPT 25th, 2015: I asked the people who had signed up for my Meantime program and, thus, had to contend with this page to share their reflections on how it was for them? Here’s what they said,

I loved that! It showed respect for your audience. I plan to use that as well in some of my marketing material.

The impression grew that you are standing being what you do. And I took this time to engage for my own sake and really want to focus on this 30days!

I appreciated this page. spoke of quality and care in who you are, what you offer and how you support others. asked me to be true to myself an dneeds at this time. what i need to move forward in vibrant and supportive ways of sustainable growth. thank you

it made me laugh, pause and I appreciated being given that space to doubt.

I like the opportunity to check out if it really is the right thing for me. I think it shows great integrity on your part to offer that chance to slow down and take a closer look to see if it truly is a fit for the buyer.

Initially it was a real surprise because I had hit the button and made the commitment to pay and here you were asking me to reconsider – this is not the norm. Infant, I’ve never experienced that before. I read through the information again to see if I was a good fit and it made me feel more sure I wanted to do the program. The pause also deepened the level of trust I had for you and it made me smile.

I thought “great, he knows what he’s talking about”. I first heard of this with Marie Forleo, that I really like and respect. So I knew you were part of this no BS tribe. It was even easier to trust you.

Really loved that page and the integrity of being asked that, both for you and for me.

I loved it! It made me really pause, check in with myself, ask a whole pile of “What if” questions and then really commit rather than rote commit (if that distinction makes sense).

Note: This kind of approach presumes that you’ve clarified your niche, have come up with a solid and compelling offer that works to solve a real problem and that your sales copy is good. If you’re missing these things and try to dump this into the mix I suspect it won’t go well for you.

I think this is a pretty great idea. What do you think?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and how it might be done even better in the comments below.


Sales Letter Case Study: My Hollyhock Retreat Problems

11665645_10155895850875195_2282314407417899631_nI recently sent an email out to about a quarter of my list.

It went to people who had opened previous emails about my upcoming, five day retreat at Hollyhock.

The situation that prompted the sales letter wasn’t great but I thought the sales letter was solid and, after receiving replies from a number of colleagues commending me on it, I thought it might be a worthy case study of a certain style of sales letter that I honestly hope you never have to use.

I heard about this style of sales letter first from Jay Abraham. The headline, and core thrust of the sales letter was, “My Problem is Your Opportunity”.

Here’s the unfortunate reality is business: not all of your offers are going to work out as you planned. That’s just how it is. Sometimes it will be because your offer wasn’t good and sometimes it will be due to factors outside of your control. There will be times in your business where you find yourself a bit stuck.

It can be easy, during those times, to want to just give up and throw in the towel.

The provocative premise here is to look at whatever you’re problem is and ask yourself, “How could my problem be an opportunity for my clients?” You often don’t have to dig very deep to find it. And, once you find it, you tell your clients the honest truth of the situation and offer them a deal.

And, if there’s a benefit to the clients, then that’s good for you. What if your problem was actually a chance to make some money where you thought there was none to be made and build goodwill and connection regardless?

What I like about this approach is that it is very direct and candid. It’s not resorting to hype. It’s just making an honest offer and giving the rational behind it. It’s telling the truth (even if the truth is a bit embarrassing). As the old saying goes, “If you can’t fix it, feature it.”

It could be that you’re a holistic practitioner who booked off two weeks to go on vacation but then a volcano erupted where you were going and you can’t get your money back because the hotel you already paid was swallowed by lava and you had to cancel the trip and now you’ve got two totally open weeks that you need to fill with clients pronto. That’s your problem and maybe it could become an opportunity for your clients when you offer a discount on those sessions because you’d rather make some money than nothing.

Maybe you’re a furniture store who ordered in a bunch of new stock but then there was an illness in the family and you had to shut your business down and weren’t able to get rid of the old stock in time and the shipment of new things is coming in in a month but you don’t have room for it all so you need to get rid of the old stock. That’s your problem and maybe it’s an opportunity for your clients because it means you need to have a fire sale to get rid of stock at steeply discounted prices rather than paying to put it all in storage. If someone is going to benefit, why not your clients?

Maybe you showed up in a town to lead a weekend workshop and, by the time you get there, no one has signed up at all but you do have 16 people coming to an intro. That’s your problem. And maybe it can be turned into an opportunity for your clients when you decide to not charge money for it but to offer the weekend on a pay what you can basis because you might as well make some money on your visit rather than nothing.

Or… maybe you’ve got a five day retreat coming up at Hollyhock but you’ve not had a lot of people signing up for it. That’s my problem. And this letter below is where I articulate where I see the opportunity for my clients…

So this is a fairly classic, “My Problem Is Your Opportunity” sales letter. I invite you to consider where in the past you might have used this and if there are any problems you’re experiencing right now for which this kind by an approach might be useful.

Hey there,

I’ve got a big, fat problem.

But it might just be to your extreme and selfish benefit.

In this introduction, I’m wanting to hook the reader. I’m about to tell them a story that may not seem relevant to them and that could lose them. I so I want to hook them with the promise of something I’ll come back to later that could be to their benefit.

It’s about my retreat coming up at Hollyhock at the end of September.

Months ago, I committed to leading a retreat at Hollyhock.

I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve attended so many events there and read through their calendar every year wishing I could go to even more. Hollyhock is one of Canada’s best kept secrets and also a hub of Western Canada’s positive change making scene. I can’t even imagine how many collaborations have been started there that have made this world a better place.

So, to be featured in the catalogue had a real feeling of having ‘made it’.

My plan was to host a gathering of my favourite colleagues. I sent our a preliminary email and got excited responses of ‘of course we’ll come!’.

“Do you think you’ll be able to fill it?” asked the staff at Hollyhock.

I was almost offended they even asked. “I’m going to have no issues filling it.” I teach marketing. I have an email list of 11,000 people. I’ve got a strong following on the West Coast. I’ve been in business almost 15 years. Filling one, very special workshop? Easy.

Boy. Was I Ever Wrong.

One by one, my colleagues sent their regrets that the timing wasn’t going to work for them this year. Even ones who’d expressed an excitement and commitment to go ended up needing to change their plans.

This happens in business. You come up with an offer you’re really excited about and then it flops. Not much response. It happens to the best of us.

But then it leaves you needing to pivot.

And with a Spring and Summer that had me travelling and then utterly burned out and in need of replenishment I wasn’t able to pivot as fast as I would have liked to.

The idea came finally: I’d turn it into a regular workshop/retreat for folks on my list. I’d open it up wide.

And so out went the emails but, still, the response wasn’t as large as I was needing.

Again, this happens in business. Things don’t work as well as you would hope.

And so this is my problem.

It’s looking like I’ll have about ten folks or so at my Hollyhock retreat at the end of September. I was hoping for 30-50 people.

So, the above is my best articulation of the problem. I’m a fan of telling things in a storied way. I could have said the above in a single sentence like, “My Hollyhock event isn’t filling up like I’d like.” but, for me, that doesn’t have the powerful, relatability or strength of a story.

Whenever you can share honestly about a way you screwed up, misjudged something or made some mistake I recommend it. It doesn’t have you lose credibility. If you’re able to share it without shame and, ideally, with what you learned from it, you will not only gain credibility but, more importantly, connection with the reader. You’ll seem more human. Which will have people trust you more. It’s hard to trust someone who seems infallible. It’s hard to relate to them.

Here’s why my problem could be your opportunity…

I made this a sub-headline because I wanted the reader to know I hadn’t forgotten about them. I’m not writing this letter to share my sob story. I’m sharing it with them because the problem lays the groundwork to understand the opportunity (which is what they really care about here). Whenever someone is reading a salesletter, we need to be mindful that their mind is constantly filtering everything with the question, “What’s in it for me? Is this relevant? Is there any benefit to me for reading this?”

If we lose sight of that central truth for too long, we will lose people.

The main complaint I get for any workshop I do is that people wish it were longer and had less people in it so that they could get more individual attention.

Of course, while that’s understandable, it’s not always feasible or sustainable on my end.

But, in this case, it looks like it’s what is exactly what’s going to happen.

And so, here, I name the opportunity, “This thing you always want when you go to a program? It’s here! This is it!”

Think of the previous examples:

You’ve wanted a massage but it was too much? You can finally afford it with this deal.

You’ve wanted a new couch but couldn’t afford it? Now you can due to this sale.

You’ve wanted to go to a marketing training but never had the money? Come to mine and pay whatever you want at the end.

You’ve always wanted an intimate, small numbered retreat with a teacher you’ve admired for a while? Here’s your chance.

Here’s what my problem could mean for you if you come to Hollyhock:

  • you get five days of my undivided attention on your business. Fifteen years of my experience, working with hundreds of conscious entrepreneurs just like you… and it’s all yours
  • you get all of your important questions answered in depth instead of being one person in a group of fifty who maybe gets to ask one question each day. Most people really only have so many important questions before the well runs dry for a bit.
  • you get solutions that are custom tailored to your situation instead of generic principles you’re encouraged to adapt and translate to your own situation
  • for five days, you’ll have strong access to my personal brain space (and everyone else’s). This is important: in a group of 50+ people the chances of your remembering everyone’s names by the end of five days is almost nil. The chance of you remembering what they do and what their particular issues are? Non-existent. But that means that you’re more or less on your own. But, when the group is this small, you’ve got everyone’s awareness and attention. You’re issues are sitting their in the back of their mind the whole time and waking them up in the middle of the night with an idea they just have to tell you first thing in the morning when they see you
  • there’s a very good chance your business will get hot seated at some point and receive feedback from the entire group (which is small but full of people with a lot to offer).

In the above section I do something that I think it really important. I explain the benefits of the feature I just told them. The feature of this training is that it will have smaller numbers. But still, they’re sitting there thinking, “So what? What does that mean for me? How do I benefit from that?” And, as marketers, it’s easy to assume that it’s totally obvious what the benefits of a feature are. But that assumption is wrong. It’s our job to make that translation as capably and honestly as we can. It’s our job to help lift up what might be in it, selfishly, for them. It’s our job to help them see how the unique facets of our work could benefit their lives in a real and tangible way.

Here’s how I plan to make it even better for you (and I can’t believe I’m offering this).

If you come and join me at Hollyhock, you will also get a 60 minute, private coaching session with me. You would normally pay $300 for this. This coaching session can be used at any point in the future.

This offer came to me in the writing of the letter and I honestly cringed at including it initially. But, when I sat with it, it felt right. And, if it made the offer compelling enough that even one or two more people signed up, it would be worth it.

In this case, I couldn’t offer a discount. And a discount is not always the best way to go. Often times, it’s much better to offer some add on that will add value to the proposition for them without costing you too much. In my case, I went for the very generous end of giving my personal time. But, I could have offered a series of follow up group calls. Or a free product. In this case, the offer of one on one coaching time felt right because I know that I’ll fall in love with these folks by the end of the five days and I’ll be excited to catch up with them after.

But, if you’re going to add something free as a bonus it’s vital that you give a reason why you’re doing it. Without a reason, people will devalue it in their mind. With a reason, the value can be maintained. Certainly people make up reasons that aren’t legitimate all the time but when you actually have a real reason to do so, by all means use it and share it.

The forces of the universe have conspired to create something that will be fabulously unprofitable for me but that could be incredibly impactful, transformative and profitable for your business.

I can’t imagine another time where I will…

  • be running a five day retreat (this is the first I have ever done)
  • for a group so small (even most of my day long events are bigger than this)
  • in such a beautiful location

This may, legitimately, be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

To be crystal clear: I would never have set it up this way on my own. I would never, on my own, create an event that takes so much time and effort with so little financial return for me.

If you’ve ever wanted to attend a live event of mine, I can’t imagine creating one ever again that will be so tailor made for you to get value from.

This felt important. To emphasize that this is legitimately likely to be a once in a lifetime situation. It’s rare in marketing that this is said with any candour. But, in this case, I actually get to say it and mean it. I didn’t realize the truth of it until I was writing this letter. If you ever get to say this yourself, I recommend it. It’s immensely satisfying.

So that’s my big problem.

I am hoping that you will take advantage of it.

For more info or to sign up go to:


And there’s the call to action.

p.s. What will your time there be like? Let me paint a picture…

Imagine eating delicious, organic meals grown right there in the Hollyhock garden while sitting in the sun on the wooden deck and looking over the ocean and feeling all of your stress melting away.

Imagine having five days, in paradise, away from it all with a small but might group of perhaps ten entrepreneurs and finally having time to reflect on and do actually work on your business.

Imagine sitting with your laptop over lunch and having a new colleague walk you through redoing your homepage or sales page or taking a walk on the beach while you get feedback on an offer you’ve been thinking up. Or perhaps helping you rework your whole social media strategy.

Imagine sitting in a hot tub under the stars with your new friends with a glass of wine and being inspired by the creative marketing approaches they use in their business and feeling possibilities open up again as big as the sky.

I hope you’ll join us.

This came to me to add when I let the letter sit for a few hours and came back to it (note: always let things sit for at least a few hours and, ideally, overnight before sending them out. You will always see more and make things better). What I’m doing above it doing my best to put them inside the experience. I’m trying to paint a sensory rich experience of what it will be like for them if they come. This is something I’ve written about in my blog post Tell Them A Story.

Sometimes it’s really hard for people to picture what an experience might be like for them. It feels abstract and theoretical. If you can paint the picture and put them it that picture you help them better understand what it might be like.

So, again: whenever you run into a problem as a business owner, ask yourself, “Where might this actually be an opportunity for myself as well as my customer?” You might be surprised with what you find. And try sending out an email like this and see what happens. The best case is that you get some more sales. The worst case is that you build some good will.

When you don’t like your client

Guest post by Corrina Gordon-Barnes,


Do you love every client you have?

I teach self-employed men and women how to get clients. Yet often, I hear (in hushed tones) that they want to un-get some of their clients.

The clients who turn up late, and who quibble about price; the clients who stay stuck in their stories, and who give bad feedback; the clients with monotonous voices, who are passive aggressive, who blame everyone else, who smell, who don’t take action, who show resistance, who change their mind, who send too many emails.

What’s your version of a “bad” client?


Watching the Clock

When clients are thin on the ground, it can feel especially hard to say no to the ones you don’t love. You watch the clock during your sessions; their voice grates on you. You find it hard to see their redeeming features, but you need their money so you say yes to the next piece of work with them.

It’s painful enough to feel dread about working with a particular client, but the effect can be even more damaging to your business – disliking particular clients can lead to you unconsciously sabotaging yourself from marketing yourself further. If you’re not enjoying the clients you’re with, why would you try to find more?

If you recognise this pain, I invite you to question the thoughts that are blocking you from loving your clients.


The Work of Byron Katie – A Way Back to Love

There are two parts to The Work of Byron Katie: firstly, identifying the thoughts that cause our discomfort and, secondly, questioning them.

Today, let’s explore how to identify the thoughts. For this, download a copy of the Judge Your Neighbour worksheet from Byron Katie’s website – – and I’ll guide you through how to fill it out.



I imagine you might notice some resistance to writing down your judgemental “negative” thoughts. As a healer, coach, practitioner, facilitator or service provider, we don’t want to admit that it ever feels like we’re tolerating or enduring a client. We’re good people; we love others; we’re kind and supportive.

From my experience of working with hundreds, if not thousands, of self-employed men and women over the years, please let me reassure you that it is NORMAL and COMMON to have irritation, annoyance, resentment or even despair with certain clients.

Whether you feel out of your depth, or the client is bumping up against key values of yours, let yourself be honest about the thoughts that arise for you about them.

I’ve found such freedom in humbly identifying, and then questioning, the thoughts that would block me from loving my clients and I wish the same for you.


What’s the Situation?

In order to identify the stress-causing thoughts, zone in on a specific moment where you weren’t enjoying being with a client.

Perhaps you were on the phone with them, or in a consulting room. Maybe they were on your massage table, or you received an email from them.

Find that moment where something angered, confused, or disappointed you about that client and jot it down in the blank space at the very top of the Judge Your Neighbour worksheet.



I’m in a workshop and the participant is taking up a lot of time, telling her story in depth, being dramatic. The trigger moment is when, with big hand gestures, she refers to a family member as “the abusive one” and looks to others in the room for their sympathy.

Tip: Once you’ve identified the trigger moment, stay as close to that moment in time as you can as you fill out the full Judge Your Neighbour worksheet.


Statement 1 – The Offence

Identify the emotion you felt at the trigger moment.

Identify the “offence” – what specifically did your client do that was the trigger?


I am repelled by my client because she doesn’t want to drop her story.

I am angry with my client because she doesn’t want to actually do the work.

I am exasperated with my client because she’s playing for my attention.

Is your client asking you for a refund, or wasting your time? Is she writing you a long-winded email, or making weird noises as you give her treatment? Is he ignoring your advice, or breaking his promise to you? Whatever the offence is, write it as statement 1.

Tip: I find it helpful to include “me” or “my” in the statements where possible; it puts me at the receiving end of the offence and makes it clear why this action bothered me in particular.


Statement 2 – The Wants

Identify what you wanted in that moment. How did you want your client to change? What did you want your client to do? List as many wants as come to you; you might find it helpful to picture yourself stamping your feet like a toddler having a temper tantrum, to allow your wants to come out.


I want her to grow up.

I want her to stop being such a drama queen.

I want her to realise this is her story.

I want her to see I’m not buying into her drama.

I want her to see her part in her family drama.


Statement 3 – The Advice

What advice would you offer your client? What should they do? What shouldn’t they do? Look closely at that image of your client and give them a step-by-step recipe. Aim for actions which are practical and doable by them.


She should catch herself labelling and judging.

She should write down her thoughts.

She shouldn’t continue to use the label “abusive one” without questioning it.

She should check her motive for sharing this story.

She should ask herself why she’s come to this event.


Statement 4 – The Needs

In order for you to move from the emotion you identified in statement 1 all the way to feeling happy, what do you need your client to think, say, feel or do?


I need her to leave this room.

I need her to make space for people who are genuinely interested in self-discovery.

I need her to be more humble.

I need her to be more likeable.

I need her to create warm feelings in me towards her.


Statement 5 – Who Are They?

In this situation, what do you think of your client? You might not think this about them all the time, but right in this moment, which nouns and adjectives describe them?


My client is a drama queen, attention-seeking, stuck, repetitive, self-deluded, unlikeable, un-evolved, acting like a martyr, in her story.

Tip: I sometimes find myself ashamed of what comes out in statement 5, but I’ve come to see the importance of being uncensored here. It doesn’t mean these are my only thoughts about this client, and it doesn’t mean that I believe my thoughts, but they cross my mind so I write them down. I’m more interested in my freedom than in pretending I’m holier-than-though. If you think a thought about your client in this situation, even for the briefest flicker of a second, write it down.


Statement 6 – The Line in the Sand

What is it you don’t ever want to experience again with this client? 


I don’t ever want this client to share her story with no intention of shifting it.

I don’t ever want this client to look to other participants for approval.

I don’t ever want this client to expect sympathy from me.

Tip: I like to frame statement 6 this way: I’ve been making my case throughout this whole worksheet and if I win my case, here’s my settlement agreement. If I win, I don’t ever want to experience __________ again.


What Next?

Once you’ve filled out a Judge Your Neighbour worksheet, identifying your thoughts about your client, it’s time to question them.

The Work consists of four questions and then the turnarounds; you can self-facilitate, book sessions with a certified facilitator, or call the Do The Work Helpline free of charge. Full information at


Over to You

What do you discover as you fill out a Judge Your Neighbour worksheet about your client? Do you notice resistance to judging them, or are the thoughts delighted to be heard, uncensored? Does it feel taboo, or a relief? And if you take the next step and question your thoughts, I’d love to hear what you discover – about your client, about yourself, about running a business.


About the Author:

Corrina2015PROOF-10Corrina Gordon-Barnes teaches passionate, big-hearted self-employed folk how to market themselves and get paid to do what they love. Her popular online course Passion to Profit is running in September 2015; click here for full information and to get front of the queue. You can also sign up for her free weekly blogs.





The Ecology of Networking and Referrals

How to Grow Your Business Through Meaningful One-on-One Conversations

Guest post by Julie Wolk.


Networking gets a bad rap. Especially if you’re not naturally inclined toward floating around events chatting with everyone, even the thought of a networking event might exhaust you or make you cringe.

But here’s the thing…

Our lives and our businesses are made up of and totally dependent on the networks that we are a part of and create.

And, networking can be deeply meaningful and beneficial to ourselves and to everyone we touch.

So let’s look at networking from a different perspective . . .

Take a few steps back and imagine the system you and your business are a part of.

Think of it as an ecological habitat with many different points or hub . . . fruit trees, small mammals, edible plants, pollinators, soil microbes, all exchanging food, oxygen, minerals, water, pollen . . . They are all in relationship with one another. Your business is like one of these hubs.

And likewise, in your business web of life you relate and connect with other hubs (people, businesses, organizations), and you also exchange things, learn things, buy things, consume things, and you offer other things back out to other hubs. You also hire people, collaborate with people, refer clients to people, and vice versa.

In all of these relationships, there is an exchange of energy that can benefit both people, however some of these relationships are particularly mutually beneficial. In ecology, this is called mutualistic symbiosis: a close, long-term interaction between two different species where both species benefit.

Just like an ecosystem, your business thrives in a diverse web of interrelated beings helping each other out.

And the more each hub is playing its right role (or filling its niche), helping some people and calling on help from others, the more smoothly the system works. Community at its best!

In fact, each person or organization in your business web of life has a specific role, or a niche, just like each animal or plant in the ecological system has its role (the word niche comes from the ecological sciences).

Hopefully you have clarity or are moving toward clarity on your business’ niche (read my blog post here about niching or for a more in-depth exploration check out Tad Hargrave’s Niching Spiral). As Tad says, your niche is your role in the community, the gift that you offer to your people.

True networking looks at everybody’s roles and asks:

How can we help each other create a stronger, trustful, more intimately woven web for the mutual benefit of all?

And how can we go beyond traditional networking to what the Interaction Institute for Social Change calls “network building,” where we actually connect other people in our network to generate even more good, like a spider weaving its web.


Getting Practical: How to Strengthen Your Web and Generate More Business for Everyone

*Start this project today if you want to quickly generate some new leads, opportunities, and energy for your business.*

So how do we do this on a practical level? How do we deepen and strengthen our business’ web through meaningful networking?

First, you do NOT have to go to networking events (unless you want to). The strategy outlined here is a one-on-one networking strategy, and requires a phone and perhaps a coffee shop.

This is a simple marketing strategy aimed at building a genuine referral network (and seeding other potential collaborations) that I have all my clients do, especially if they are just starting out, adding a new service, or reinventing their business (which is pretty much everyone).

It’s probably the most simple, old-school marketing method out there, but it’s worth explaining because in this digital age, we actually forget the power of picking up the phone and having one-on-one conversations, let alone face-to-face meetings.

It can also be done before you even have a website, and it will generate new opportunities faster than most other marketing methods.

(Note: It’s important that you are clear on your own business and niche before doing this. See the articles above on niching.)

Step One – Make a List

Make a list of 20 people that you could help and that could help you. List the people you already know first, but it’s also great to create a new hub in your web by reaching out to people you don’t yet know! Try to think of people for whom there is a clear mutual benefit. The most obvious example is someone who could refer people they know to you and you to them.

For example, I have made intentional connections with life and career coaches so that if a client comes to me for help who’s not quite ready to start a business, I have people I can send them to help them figure out their next steps. On the flipside, these coaches know that if a client decides in the course of coaching that they want to start a business, they can send that person over to me.

Other mutually beneficial relationships might include people you could co-sponsor an event or program with, package up your work with, co-teach with, market each others programs, or collaborate in some other way that sounds fun to you.

Once you have this list, use your own version of the short script below to guide you in your first calls (it will become more natural the more you do it).

Again, you need to be uber clear on your offering and audience so that the person you’re speaking with can understand where they might fit in.

The Initial Phone Call Sample Script:

Hi So and So,

I’m not sure if you know about my business, but I help X kind of people do Y kind of thing (state your niche).

I really admire what you do/am interested in what you do, and I would love to hear more about your business and tell you some more about mine, so that we can help each other, either by referring to one another, collaborating, or through other means we haven’t even discovered yet!

Do you have few minutes to chat right now?

If yes, great! If not, then set up another time. If it’s someone who you feel there is a lot of resonance and potential with, take the time for an in-person coffee date.

Then . . . you get have a meaningful and useful conversation with this person about your work and their work, and how you might help one another . . .

Tips for Meaningful and Useful Networking Conversations:

The basic gist of this conversation is:

“Here’s my role in the community, what’s your role in the community, and how can we help each other?”


  • Speak clearly about your work . . . what exactly you do, who you serve, how you do it, and why you do it.
  • Speak from your heart. You authenticity is even more important than the perfect words.
  • Be curious and ask lots of questions about this person’s role in the community, so you can more fully understand how you can help one another.
  • Give generously and genuinely trusting that people have something to offer you too.
  • At the end, if it’s a potential referral partner, say something like, “I keep a list of people that I trust that I can refer people to. I’m going to add you to that list.” (And then of course, make a list of these people). This encourages them to think about you as a serious referral partner and do the same.

Give yourself a deadline for finishing all 20 calls or meetings. I suggest one month or less. Doing it in a condensed period can generate a lot of energy and opportunities for your business in a short amount of time.

Very Important Networking Follow-Up Tips

True networking requires repeated connection with the people in your network over time so that you may deepen trust and relationships.

So how do we do this? Follow up! Building a strong network of mutualistic symbiotic relationships must go beyond the first meeting into long-term community building:

  1. After you have a conversation with someone, follow up with an email thanking them for their time, the deepening connection, and any future referrals to one another (or follow up on any other collaboration next steps that are needed). Clearly write: Here’s a link to my website in case you meet someone who could use my help.
  2. Add them to your email list. I don’t care if it has six people on it – create an email list (go to Mailchimp and get a free account). Your email list is the simplest way to stay in touch with your growing community, maintain your connections, and remind them that you exist (so they can send clients to you!). All you need is a short monthly newsletter with one or two valuable bits of information in it.

It’s time to embrace meaningful networking as a foundation of a thriving business.

In the end, the more we can all find ways to support one another, the more successful and impactful we will all be.

If you’re interested in creating or growing your business through the lens of the Natural Business Cycle, please get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation to see if we’re a fit for individual coaching.


About the Author:

JulieWolk_Hollyhock15Julie Wolk, Business Coach, CPCC, helps purpose-driven entrepreneurs (coaches, consultants, teachers, healers) who are excellent at their craft but struggling on the business side, get super clear on their vision, strategy, and action plan so they can make more money and a bigger impact. She developed the Natural Business Cycle, a unique and overwhelm-reducing business development model based on the natural world.


Natural Media

Stencil art created by Drew Brophy Street art executed by Jim Bowes.

Stencil art created by Drew Brophy Street art executed by Jim Bowes.

Guest Post by Jim Bowes.

Natural media is used to produce outdoor advertising campaigns that have a lower impact on our planet while having a higher impact on your audience.

Traditional outdoor advertising not only has a huge negative impact on our environment but it also can be expensive.

Natural media has been used in Europe for many years and is now making its way to North America. It’s been used by established brands like Nike, Timberland, KEEN Footwear, Sony, LG, Heineken and Sonos that are dedicated to lowering the environmental impact of their advertising activities but it is also perfect for SMEs, NGOs and cities themselves. They are affordable and many are perfectly suited for businesses that want to do it themselves.

Natural media are a collection of communication techniques that use water, sand, snow, moss, grass, chalk, and milk paint to produce communication messages.

The most popular technique is known as “reverse graffiti” or “clean advertising.” Using only a template, water and a power washer, messages are literally cleaned out of the dirt – no paper, no plastic, no toxic inks, no electricity for front or back lighting and very little waste. One template can be used hundreds if not thousands of times. Reverse graffiti uses precious water but it uses less than 1/10th the amount of water that it takes to produce a piece of paper of a comparable size. Many natural media companies compensate for the water they use by contributing to water projects around the world.

Sand printing.

Another popular technique is sand printing where an image is created when a mixture of sand and natural binders is pushed through a screen that is attached to template. Sand printing is a cross between silk screen and rangoli printing. When the sand mix is activated by water, when it dries it forms a bond adhering to the surface.

Chalk and milk paint are also popular. Which material is used depends on how long you want your messages to last. Sand prints can last up to a week or two while milk paint and some chalk paints can last up to several months.

Flowers, plants, moss and grass are ideal for posters, signage or “living billboards.” These are usually adhered to a template and trimmed producing stunning communication pieces.

Sand and snow stamping are easy to use techniques that are somewhat temporary but placing them is so quick that one person with a stamping template can place hundreds of images a day.

Sand stamping at beach. Image courtesy of EarthStamps.

Sand stamping at beach. Image courtesy of EarthStamps.

The natural media industry is growing quickly and there are many companies you can hire to execute your campaign for you. These companies have the equipment and the knowledge and will normally charge you per “impression.” Natural media campaigns are affordable. But the real beauty of many of these techniques is that you can produce campaigns yourself if you have the right tools, materials and the spirit. For a few hundred dollars you can execute your own outdoor campaign and take advantage of this very effective form of communication. If I can figure out how to use these techniques, believe me anyone can do it!

Natural media techniques are not new. Most have been around for decades or centuries. Milk paint was used to paint cave walls. If you have ever written, “wash me” on a dirty car, you have already used “reverse graffiti” or “clean advertising.” Sand stamping was used in hotel ashtrays to produce hotel logos. What is new about these techniques is how they are being used for marketing and advertising purposes.

There are some challenges that the natural media industry is working hard to overcome and risks you need to be aware of. Natural media is in a legal grey zone so to speak. There are no laws against cleaning a public space. Municipalities would be hard pressed to arrest or fine you for organizing sand into a shape that your eye recognizes as a letter or an image. However, there are some valid concerns about monetizing the public space.

Billboard made of moss for Becks Beer.

Billboard made of moss for Becks Beer.

For those of us who like to challenge the way the system works, getting in trouble can be the best possible outcome if you are prepared for it. Why? Because getting into trouble for being a responsible business, acting in a way that matches or fulfills the sustainable ambitions of almost every country, city and town is at best a waist of the civil servants time and at worst hypocritical.

We have had clients that were thrilled to get into trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got themselves in trouble because they had a strategy and public response in place. Even a simple strategy like contacting the local press to innocently apologize for using sustainable media can work wonders. You are after all, just trying to be good corporate citizens almost forced to use natural media because the outdoor media companies who have a virtual monopoly on our cities do not offer any sustainable forms of media you can use. Getting into trouble for being a good corporate citizen is a story most journalist love to tell.

If your goal is to generate attention for your business than landing on the front page of the local newspaper will make sure 100 times more people will see your campaign than those that past by it physically. A whooping success by any measure, with the worse case scenario being you are asked to return and remove the messages by simply washing them away leaving the side walk cleaner than before you arrived and who doesn’t like clean!

Sand stamping brand awareness campaign for HI.

Sand stamping brand awareness campaign for HI.

Natural media can be even more effective when it combines art with brand experience. If we are buying more from brands we like, then winning our hearts is a far better approach than hawking products.

By using the urban landscape as the canvas and mother nature as the brush, you are practicing what you preach and demonstrating in a tangible way that you are authentically dedicated to reducing your impact on the environment.

Advertising and marketing are key ingredients to a successful business. Natural media techniques make it easy for you to promote your company in a way that has a lower impact on our environment and if done in an esthetically pleasing and clever way it can have a much higher impact on your target audience.

The Author:

Jim Bowes grew up in Northern California and now lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He left the traditional advertising industry ten years ago with the mission of reducing the impact of advertising on the environment. He founded GreenGraffiti one of the first natural media companies and has recently started a new consulting firm called Natural Media Experts to promote the young natural media industry, teach advertisers and creative’s how to use natural media to its fullest potential and to help others set up their own natural media companies. He is widely recognized as an authority on natural media and has been invited to speak at TEDx Warwick.  You can reach him by email at .

The Century of the Self

Century-of-Self1The following text is taken from the incredible site TopDocumentaryFilms where you can find many excellent documentaries you may have missed. I encourage your perusal of this site.


This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings profoundly.

His influence on the 20th century is widely regarded as massive. The documentary describes the impact of Freud’s theories on the perception of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies and politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their engineering of consent. Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the father of the public relations industry.

Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as well as Wilhelm Reich, one of the main opponents of Freud’s theories. Along these general themes,The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality.

Happiness Machines. Part one documents the story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays who invented Public Relations in the 1920s, being the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses.

The Engineering of Consent. Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires.

There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed. In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which lead to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create new people, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics.

Eight People Sipping Wine In Kettering. This episode explains how politicians turned to the same techniques used by business in order to read and manipulate the inner desires of the masses. Both New Labor with Tony Blair and the Democrats led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group which had been invented by psychoanalysts in order to regain power.

How Local Cab Companies Could Win Me Back From Uber

Uber-LogoI love Uber. And I hate Uber.

And I wish my local cab companies would do more to win me back.

If you’re not familiar with it, Uber is the $50 Billion company that allows people to become, in essence, cab drivers without having to buy an expensive cab license or renting a cab from someone who does. It’s the AirBnB of cars.

If you wanted to buy a license for a new cab in Edmonton from the city it would cost you $250,000 or so right now. In Vancouver, about a million. In New York? God knows how much. What this means is that no one new is getting into the cab game. If you want to drive a cab, you have to drive for a company who, years ago when they were affordable, bought the licenses.

I was suspicious when I first heard of Uber but after years of terrible experiences with cabs (e.g. not showing up or waiting for me, card machines that broke, drivers who had no idea where they were going, showing up late etc.) I was willing to try something new. This willingness was only expanded when I heard stories from cab drivers about how poorly they were often treated by the cab companies for whom they worked and how little they got from them.

Uber offers benefits to its drivers and passengers that local cab companies, for the most part, do not. Here are a few that come to mind that Uber offers that most local cab companies do):

  1. you book the car on your phone, using their app. No need to call in and wait on hold for 15 minutes to order. You type in the address (or it can just direct people to where it knows you to be using the phones locator/GPS service thing) and the first available driver nearby grabs the order and they show up at your house. My local cab companies do this but Uber’s interface is better and easier.
  2. you can cancel with the app as well. This is huge. No waiting on hold for 15 minutes with the cab company to cancel the cab. Why am I being punished for trying to do the right thing? Again, my local cab companies offer this with the app.
  3. you can see, on the app, where the car is in relation to you. No more waiting in a cold porch or risking not waiting in said porch and having them show up and drive off without you. My local cab apps do this too, but Uber’s is much more accurate.
  4. paying with credit card. No cash exchanged. No card machine needed. You get out and walk away and the app charges your card for the amount of the trip. I’ve had a few times catching a cab where their card machine wasn’t working so they drove me to the nearest convenience store to take out cash at an ATM adding 15 minutes to my trip. Ugh.
  5. rating system. This is, I think, my favourite aspect of Uber. At the end of each trip, you have the chance to rate your driver from 1 to 5 stars. This seems to turn into much better customer service from drivers. And they get to rate you as a passenger. This means, as a passenger, you can avoid bad drivers and, as a driver, you can avoid picking up abusive passengers.
  6. ability to give feedback. Not only can I rate the drivers, I can give direct feedback they’ll make sure the driver hears. Good or bad.
  7. they’re on social media. Edmonton’s two cab companies, no doubt wanting to avoid the complaints and hassles (and possibly still mired in the 20th century) were not on Twitter. For the modern company, Twitter is the frontlines of customer service. Uber is incredibly fast in responding to tweets.
  8. cheaper. Uber is just not as expensive as cabs.
  9. more flexible driving schedules. Many uber drivers have told me that what they love most about Uber is the flexibility of when they can drive. If they book a cab, they have it for a block of time and pay for that time. So, if they pay $500 for a 12 hour chunk of time, they make no money for themselves until they pass $500 in revenue. This means no time for breaks. Uber drivers can start and stop whenever they want.

Uber: A Case of Value vs. Values

In my experience, Uber deliver more value than cab companies do.

But, it falls short on the values proposition in my mind. Before I delve into why I think that, let me share an excerpt from The Way of the Radical Business which breaks down the difference between the value and the values propositions –

The Values Propositions and The Value Proposition:

This is where we start talking about the results that we’re promising people. Something I want to lift up for all of us here that’s so important is that a lot of it is we’re conscious businesses. We’re green. We’re eco-friendly. We’re community minded and it’s really important to distinguish here between a value proposition and a values proposition.

The values proposition is your values. You know, “We’re green. We’re eco-friendly. Every year we do an ecological footprint on our business. We use only recycled products. We’re fair trade, living wage. We give 10% of our profits to a charity.”

And it’s important to create one. I was recently at the launch of Calgary’s new green business network, and the founder pointed to a survey that had been done where 78% of Canadian employees would leave their current job for a more conscious, green job. And 81% of 1275 surveyed agreed that their employer was either polluting, ignoring the need to become greener or needed help in moving in that direction.

All things being equal, companies with a solid and compelling values proposition enjoy: more customers, more loyal customers, more leeway when they screw up, more loyal employees and more credibility in the marketplace.

In case, you don’t care about these and are thinking of ignoring it (or you’ve got a great values proposition and are too lazy to tell people) you might be interested to know that not only are more companies joining this green revolution. More companies are reporting it to their investors, board, employees and customers. Out of the top 250 companies in the world, 35% created sustainability reports in 1999. In 2005, it almost doubled to 64%. 45 of the top 100 American companies do. 87 of the top 100 European companies do.

But, this is a vital point. It’s not just enough to identify your values proposition – you must then embody and communicate it to your staff, your customers and anyone else important. And you must be specific.

What codes of conduct do you hold?

What values based certifications do you have? (e.g. certified organic, fair trade etc).

Have you been endorsed by any significant non-profits?

Are you a part of any local, green business initiatives? etc.

So, your values proposition is vital. But, it’s not going to be the only reason why people buy. There’s a small chunk of the population that’s why they’ll buy. They’re hard core. They’re just going to buy because of that even if they have to spend a lot more.

Even those people, there’s still fundamentally this question of a return on the investment which is the value proposition. So there’s the values proposition which is your values, and then there’s a value proposition; What is the value they get out of it? What’s the return on investment?

I see this and it breaks my heart so much because I see so many great, good-hearted green conscious cool entrepreneurs who are really frustrated with why they’re not getting more business.

It’s so clear to me when I look at it because they focus all their efforts on their values but not on the value the customer’s getting. It’s a super tragic mistake, so just to notice where you’re oriented.

It’s not that the values don’t play a role. They can be very, very powerful as an augmentation to the value that people are getting from your business. But it can’t be the whole thing.

For different target markets there’s probably going to be a different ratio but consider both of them.

Here’s a great example: your car breaks down and just as you pull off the road you magically pull into an autobody shop. Amazing. What luck! And not just any shop. It’s a ‘green/ecofriendly’ shop. They greet you warmly, serve you organic snacks and delicious fair trade coffee while you wait and read cool, progressive magazines. You get a free buspass just for doing business with them and they encourage you to drive less. Amazing. You leave in such a wonderful mood and then – a block later – your car breaks down with the same problem. They embodied their values but didn’t deliver on the value.

If you have great values but don’t deliver value and then someone else does, you will likely be ditched hard and fast.

Where Uber falls short, in my mind, is on its values proposition:

Uber has cracked the value proposition of what I actually want from a cab. They understand what is most important to me as a customer, but they don’t understand what matters most to me as a community member. There are two main ways this shows up.

  • Shopping local matters: Uber is not local. Therefore a certain amount of money leaves the economy every time I spend money with Uber. The Sharing Economy (of which Uber and Airbnb are poster children) may not be so sharing as we thought.

So, many people I’ve known have felt caught.

Do we support the local cab companies where the money stays local and drivers are screened better? Or do we spend out money with a company where some of our money leaves our communities forever to line some executives pockets but where the value proposition is so much stronger?

Honestly? From a values standpoint, I’d rather spend my money locally but, these days, I don’t as much when it comes to cabs.

Here are five ways my local cab companies could win me back:

Local cab companies already have stronger safety and the built in benefit of being inherently local companies. But, most of them have become incredibly lazy about customer service and offering value because they have had a monopoly for decades and no reason to care. Here’s what they could do…

  1. Be on Twitter: Get on Twitter and respond to people’s tweets immediately. Will most of the tweets be about frustrating experiences? Yes. But that’s where you can show the world publicly how good you are at customer service.
  2. Allow me to give anonymous feedback on my drivers: Waiting for 15 minutes on hold on my phone to give feedback on a frustrating experience only makes me more frustrated. Doing this after I’ve already spent ten minutes looking for some email or customer service form on your website with no success? Even more so. Let me just type it in on my phone, send it and be done with it. And then let me know that you actually value that feedback by personally replying to it and offering me a discount on my next ride if it was truly horrific. Uber does this.
  3. Use any of these five ways to show you give a shit about your customer service: If your drivers were being rated, maybe that accountability would have them actually want to do a good job. Here are some simple things any driver can do to impress their clients that nobody seems to: 1) Have a box of tissue in the car. 2) Offer a bottle or carton of water to your fares. 3) Offer gum (a driver recently did this and I was so grateful). 4) Have a way for me to charge my phone during the ride. 5) Have a copy of today’s paper. 5) Ask me if I want to listen to music and what kind.
  4. Let me pay with credit card like Uber does: Man. I am tired of machines breaking down or feeling rushed to get out of the cab because traffic is piling up behind and I’m trying to use my debit machine or fishing money out of my pockets and waiting for you to count the change.
  5. Treat your drivers better: I’ve heard so many horror stories from cab drivers or neglect from the owners who simply collect their money every month. Why not offer profit sharing? Why not find ways to take such good care of your employees that they’re constantly glowing about you?

If one of my local cab companies did all of those things, I would be more than thrilled to bring my business back to them.

Until then, I am going to continue my love/hate relationship with Uber. While I ride in their cars.

Guest Post: The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

storyThis article was originally published on and went viral with 6,000+ retweets/shares. It has been republished on LifeHacker and across the web.

Written by: Michael Margolis      Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative — you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you — and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles.

Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Gone are the days of “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Instead we’re all trying to suss each other out in the relationship economy. Do I share something in common with you? How do we relate to each other? Are you relevant to my work?

That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise.

People work with people they can relate to and identify with. Trust comes from personal disclosure. And that kind of sharing is hard to convey in a resume. Your bio needs to tell the bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How can I help you?
  3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?
  4. Why can you trust me?
  5. What do we share in common?

Your bio is the linchpin for expanding your thought leadership and recognition, especially online. It frames the conversation and sets the tone. It’s your job to reveal a bit about yourself and how you see the world. Do this well, and people will eagerly want to engage with you further.

Here’s the challenge: who taught you how to write your bio?

Admittedly, most of us never got a lesson in this essential task. You’re not alone. Even the most skilled communicators get tongue-tied and twisted when trying to represent themselves in writing. We fear the two extremes: obnoxious self-importance or boring earnestness.

It gets further complicated when you’re in the midst of a career or business reinvention. You have to reconcile the different twists and turns of your past into a coherent professional storyline.

The personal branding industry has only muddied the waters. It’s easy to feel turned off by the heavy-handed acts of self-promotion that the various gurus out there say you’re supposed to do. We’ve been told to carefully construct a persona that will differentiate and trademark our skills into a unique value proposition.

That’s mostly a bunch of buzzword bingo bullshit.

Instead, share more of what you really care about.

And then write your bio in service to your reader, not just ego validation.

Imagine that: A compelling reason to tell your story beyond bragging to the world that you’re “kind of a big deal.” Embrace the holy-grail of storytelling: tell a story that people can identify with as their own – and the need to persuade, convince, or sell them on anything disappears.

With all this in mind, here’s a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative — you have to anchor it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find the invisible lines of connection.

To revamp your bio, start with these simple storytelling principles and questions above.

In the process, you’ll discover a greater potential to shift how you see yourself and how the world sees you. Your story sets the boundaries for everything else that follows.

If you’re having trouble being heard, recognized, or understood, it’s probably an issue related to your story and identity.

SAMPLE COPY ADDED to promote webinar:

The good news? I want to help you tell your story.

Join my friend Michael for his new FREE webinar called, RE-STORY YOURSELF: How to Attract Your Future with a Better Bio.

This webinar will teach you simple storytelling shortcuts to creating a standout yet authentic bio that attracts more of what you want. Discover the right tone, structure, and how to craft an interesting point of view. You’ll learn how to use story to position your work, attract opportunities, and get paid for being the real you.

Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar now!

It’s never too late to reinvent your story.

Story on!