five steps to get more (and better) clients – (14 minute video)

A few weeks ago, I realized how I take almost every client I work with through the same series of five steps. If you want more (and better) clients, you will have to, at some point, engage all five of these things. The bad news is that they’re not easy. The good news is that they’re really simple.

And they all start with knowing who is a perfect fit for you – who your niche is. 

what to call yourself

Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Screen Shot 2012 09 28 at 9.08.47 AM what to call yourselfMy dear colleague in the UK Corrina Gordon-Barnes (pictured right) just wrote a brilliant, brilliant blog post about the whole question of ‘what to call yourself’.

It’s a vital issue because what you choose to call yourself will have a direct impact on how memorable it is or isn’t and how easy it is to tell their friends about you. If word of mouth is the primary engine of marketing (and it is) then what you call yourself and how easy it is for others to remember and share matters profoundly.

If you do something with a funny name (e.g. permaculture, theta healing, appreciative inquiry, non violent communication, ‘the work’ etc.) you’ve no doubt noticed the glazed look people get on their faces when you try to tell them what you do. And you might also just not dig the generic title people in your industry use (even though it is clear). Perhaps you’ve been calling yourself a life coach, counsellor, dance teacher etc. but none of that really feels right or exciting.

So, what do you do?

You read this wonderful piece by my friend Corrina Gordon-Barnes.

To read her article click here.

seven reasons why to write a book

books

books seven reasons why to write a bookThis is an odd post to write given that I have no immediate plans to write a book.

But there are a lot of good reasons to write one.

Here are two reasons not to write a book.

1) To make money.

2) To become famous.

The publishing industry has changed so much in the past decades. The idea of being discovered and given a huge upfront payment of money to write the book and then make millions off the sales of the book are . . . unlikely. Even for authors who sell a lot of books, it’s far from the fame producing, lucrative strategy it might seem.

Realistically, for most people, it’s going to take time to become known as an author – and to make a living at it. My colleague Dan Blank has a lot of good things to say about the basics of this platform building process for authors here.

But still, there are plenty of good reasons to write a book.

Here’s my take on seven good reasons to consider.

REASON #1: You love writing. This is the most important reason. You love to write. You love the written word. You love to express yourself. You find yourself writing a lot anyway. You already do it even though no one is paying you.

REASON #2: To clarify your point of view. I think this is profoundly important and so often missed in marketing. Yes, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach, the problems they face and they results they crave most. That’s the heart of marketing. But you also need to be clear with people about your take on the process or system or series of steps that can get people from where they are to where they want to be. You need to be a map maker.

Most of us have an intuitive sense of our approach to the problems our clients face. But few of us have really taken the time to sit back and reflect on it and spell it out. People aren’t buying your product or service half as much as they’re buying into your point of view. Don’t wait to write your book until your clear – writing your book can be the process that helps you get clear.

And getting clearer about your point of you will make you far more effective in what you do. Clarity is attractive.

REASON #3: Stories are so compelling. My colleague Michael Margolis has spent years trying to advocate for the idea (point of view) that story telling is the currency of marketing. And I think he’s right. Not only will a book express your perspective, but, if done well, it will do it through stories and case studies.

REASON #4: Your book is a sales letter. An extension of the above reasons – your book is like a long, long sales letter to your clients. Do you think Eckhart Tolle would get a fraction of the people he currently does to his seminars if he’d not written those books? Your books give people a way to get to know you, safely, at a distance and decide whether or not it’s a fit to work with you.

REASON #5: Being an author makes you an authority. Culturally, we respond very differently to someone if their name is followed by ” . . . author of _____.” Simply the fact that you have written a book gives you an enormous degree of credibility that you can use to command higher speaking fees and workshop rates. People might even ask for your autograph and stuff.

REASON #6: Word of mouth. Books can help with word of mouth. Think of all the books you’ve passed onto friends that you thought they’d love or that might help them. Plus, if you decide you write your book via your blog and publish it in bits like that – you can start building your following long before the book ever comes out. And simply writing a book is a buzzworthy event. You might get local media coverage. It’s a wonderful chance to reach out to your list.

REASON #7: Deepen your connection with your tribe. Forget getting new people. Many of your existing community will read your book and that will help them ‘get you’ at a deeper level. They’ll appreciate you more.

designing for generosity

Screen Shot 2012-05-06 at 11.25.20 AM

Screen Shot 2012 05 06 at 11.25.20 AM designing for generosityA dear colleague of mine – Nippun Mehta – did a TEDx talk on the theme of “Designing for Generosity“. That I had to share with you.

Capitalism seems to be based on the idea that we’re selfish.

And there’s truth to this.

We do everything we do to meet our needs. But it’s so easy to forget that some of our deepest needs are for connection, community and contribution. So, what if we designed things with that in mind? What if our businesses gave people not only ways to consume more but also created spaces to contribute and connect?

Simon Sinek speaks to this so brilliantly in his book Start With Why – that marketing tricks and tactics might create sales – but they won’t create loyalty.

What creates loyalty? It’s less about what we do and how we do it and more about ‘why’ we do it. People come together around a shared ‘why’. This is what brings communities and teams most deeply together – sharing a deeper and more transcendent purpose.

As we weave this into our business – and give our communities ways to contribute we then also deepen our connection to them.

Nippun gives some wonderful examples of pay what you can pricing models in business. What most people never consider with PWYC pricing models is the word of mouth potential of them – how people will not only talk about what you do – but how you charge for it.

If you’re committed to staying true to your politics, remaining accessible to the people who need you most but also to sustaining yourself – I think you’ll really love this video.

Here’s a blurb from the Karmatube description:

What would the world look like if we designed for generosity? Instead of assuming that people want to simply maximize self-interest, what if our institutions and organizations catered to our deeper motivations? This compelling TEDx talk explores this question and introduces the concept of Giftivism: the practice of radically generous acts that change the world. The video is charged with stories of such acts, ranging from: the largest peaceful transfer of land in human history, to a pay-it-forward restaurant, to a 10-year-old’s unconventional birthday celebration, and the stunning interaction between a victim and his teenage mugger. With clarity and insight, it details the common threads that run through all these gift manifestations, and invites us to participate through everyday acts of kindness — in an uplifting global movement.

You can watch it below.

 

Screen Shot 2012 05 06 at 11.23.50 AM designing for generosity

music is a weapon

375288_10151021221575195_516700194_22578794_1799798351_n

music is a weapon music is a weaponTon! Cade Bambara once said that, ‘the goal of the revolutionary artist is to make the revolution irresistible.’

And that makes me think of Lucas Coffey (pictured below).

With whom I just had a super interesting meeting about his project Music is a Weapon.

There were a lot of ideas and lessons that came up which I thought might be useful for you in your work.

375288 10151021221575195 516700194 22578794 1799798351 n music is a weaponOne of the main things that Music is a Weapon does is bike powered parties. The target market we explored was working with music festivals

So the music festival would bring them in and they would power one of the music stages through pedaling on bikes hooked up to a generator.

The question is: how does he get these festivals to hire him?

Let’s remember that his bike powered thing is his boat. Meaning it’s what he offers to them to get them from Island A (their problems) to Island B (to the results they want). His bike powered parties is what he’s proposing will help them on their journey.

So, what is the journey these festival owners are on?

Well . . . imagine you run a music festival. You’ve got all the logistics of it, choosing the acts, managing volunteers . . . etc. And then, on top of actually running the festival you’ve got to get people there. You’ve got to market it. Shit.

The only reason a festival organizer is going to care about Lucas’ boat is if it can help them out with their life and help solve their problems. Period.

The implications on Lucas’ marketing are obvious: he needs to show that by bringing in his bike powered parties he can help them make more money, build their email list, get more people to the festival, get more buzz and word of mouth and help them deepen their relationship to their people.

If he can make that case, they’ll hire him. If he can’t, they won’t. It’s just that simple.

Most conscious business rely on their ‘values proposition’ or, as we’ve discussed recently, their bigger why. Basically, the marketing pitch becomes, ‘hire me because it’s the right thing to do’. And only the most hardcore conscious people will do this. 80% of our offering really need to be the ‘value proposition’ where we make the case on the return on investment.  If you can offer both a solid values proposition and a solid value proposition it’s hard to fail.

So, if Lucas goes to them and says, ‘hire me because we’re all about sustainable energy and community engagement and fun!’ he won’t get as far as if he says, ‘Bring us in and we’ll help make more money, build your email list, get more people to your festival, get more buzz and word of mouth and help you deepen your relationship to your people . . . plus! It aligns with your community and green values.’

But it’s not enough to make that kind of a claim. They need to trust that you can deliver on that. He needs to become, ultimately a ‘trusted advisor‘.

Part of building trust come to some basic boat redesign. It’s not enough to understand the goals of your client and what Island B is for them. You need to actively consider how you can get them there. And sometimes that means some going back into your business and reimagining things. Innovating. Making our business better and more useful for the client.

So, Lucas and I got to talking about that . . . We realized that he’s actually in a perfect position to help them achieve their goals.

What he does is so fun and unusual that people will go home and talk about it which brings up the music festival in conversation. And what promoter wouldn’t want their festival being talked about more?

They are excellent at getting people to actually ride the bikes but maybe they could communicate ‘the seven charming tactics we use to get people on the bikes’. That might help the promoter feel more confident it would work. He could also get lots of testimonials from other promoters speaking about how well it worked. So he could do more to maximize what’s already working.

But we realized that there were additional innovations that could be brought in which might just excite the festival organizers.

They could ‘theme’ their bikes by decade. Have a 20’s bike, a 30’s bike, 60’s bike etc. And with each bike they could have some period costume pieces that people could wear while they pose for a sweet photo.

Imagine how this might work . . .

You show up at a festival and set up your gear. It’s a beautiful sunny day and you’re just so happy to be out of the city. You look over the program and list of musicians and DJ’s who’ll be playing and smile. It’s your first time at the festival, so you decide to go for a wander and explore the fair grounds.

You see the usual food vendors, some crafts and clothing vendors but then you see something you’ve never seen before. Ten bikes stationary  bikes. With people riding them. And many of them are wearing funny hats and clothes.

You have to check this out.

As you get closer, the person running that area – whatever it is – charmingly engages you in conversation (even though you tend to be a bit shy). He explains that the bikes are hooked up to a generator and that all these people’s exercise is powering the stage beside them. He invites you to ride.

You’re hesitant but then a lady dressed in flapper hat and gloves hops off the bike and hands you her hat. ‘You have to try it!’ You find yourself sitting on this 1920’s old timey bike, wearing a hat, gloves and other period accoutrements, peddling. And having a lot of fun meeting the people on the bikes on either side of you.

One of the people working there asks if he can take a photo of you. Of course, you say yes. This will make a sweet photo. If it’s good you might make it your new profile photo. After he takes the picture of you (you check it and it’s super great) he gives you a card with the website for this group Music Is A Weapon and also a link to the festival’s facebook page. ‘We’ll be uploading your photo to this page later tonight. And we’re having a contest too. Whoever can get the most people to ‘like’ their photo on facebook wins two free tickets to the festival next year plus some other prizes you can use right away. It’s worth about $300. The details are on the card there.’ You slip the card in your pocket. Nice.

You hop off the bike and encourage a hesitant onlooker to give it a try. They smile. They’re shy like you and happy to meet someone friendly. On your way out, a volunteer asks you if you’d like to be on the email list for the festival. “You’ll get maybe one email a month for the festival fundraisers we do which are always super fun and a great chance to reconnect with people you meet here. You’ll also get advance notice on early bird prices for tickets.” You sign up (you can always unsubscribe if it’s too much later).

A girl standing beside him then charms you into buying $10 in raffle tickets. “They’re for the new stage. We just need $2000 more and we can do it!” How can you say no?

You wave goodbye and walk off with a new friend who was on the 1950’s bike beside you.

In this little story, from your perspective, you’ve made a new friend, done something fun you’ll talk about when you’re home and gotten a sweet new photo.

Imagine this same story from the festival organizers point of view.

You are stressed. But excited. And you’re relaxing quickly as the sun melts the tension out of your body. You’re here. A year of work has paid off. People are arriving. The bands are playing. All the hassles were worth it. But you can’t help mentally tallying people as they arrive. Are you going to make enough money this year? Will you get enough people?

You took a risk and brought in a new thing to your festival – a bike powered stage. It cost you a bit of money but people seem to be loving it and having fun. There seems to be a lot of buzz about it. By the end of the festival, you’re glad you brought them in. It added something fun and different to the festival.

And then you’re approached by the fellow who was running it. You small talk a bit about the festival and then he hands up a clip board and explains that, over the weekend, he’s added 327 people to your email list. He tells you that a lot of photos were taken and that they’re already posted in an album online with links back to your page. ‘You should expect to add a few hundred people to your fan page and to start following you on twitter too.’

You’d forgotten about this. This is amazing. You always forget to ask for people’s emails and you’re basically social media illiterate. Thank god someone’s on top of this.

‘Oh! And your raffle ticket volunteers were amazing. They sold a lot of tickets at our bikes.’

You will definitely be bringing them back next year.

It’s not about the boat.

It’s not about the bikes.

It’s about Island B.

Don’t just talk about your values – add real value. Make people’s lives easier. They’ll thank you with their business.

resonance in marketing

noorish

noorish resonance in marketingI want you to think of your favourite cafe or restaurant in town. You know the one. You take all your friends there. They know you by first name. There is so much affection in you for it. It’s a place that resonates for you. You feel like you fit. I bet the first time you ever walked in – you felt like you were at home. ‘These,’ you thought. ‘Are my people.’

And I want to suggest that resonance comes from a few things – none of which are marketing tactics.

Simon Sinek hits this point home hard in his book Start With Why.

Typical manipulations include: dropping the price; running a promotion; using fear, peer pressure or aspirational messages; and promising innovation to influence behaviour – be it a purchase, a vote or support. When companies or organizations do not have a clear sense of why their customers are their customers, they tend to rely on a disproportionate number of manipulations to get what they need. It’s because manipulations work.

If fear motivates us to move away from something horrible, aspirational messages tempt us toward something desirable. Marketers often talk about the importance of being aspirational, offering someone something they desire to achieve and the ability to get their more easily with a particular product or service.

Six steps to a happier life!

Work those abs to your dream dress size!

In six short weeks you can be rich!

All these messages manipulate.

They tempt us with the things we want to have or to be the person we wish we were.

I cannot dispute that manipulations work.

Every one of them can indeed help influence behaviour and every one of them can help a company become quite succesful. But there are trade offs.

Not a single one of them breeds loyalty.

Over the course of time, they cost more and more. The gains are only short term. And they increase the level of stress for both the buyer and the seller. If you have exceptionally deep pockets or are looking to achieve only a short term gain with no consideration for the long term, then these strategies and tactics are perfect.

Beyond the business world, manipulations are the norm in politics today as well. Just as manipulations can drive a sale but not create loyalty, so too can they help a candidate get elected, but they don’t create a foundation for leadership. Leadership requires people to stick with you through thick and thin. Leadership is the ability to rally people not for a single event, but for years. [Manipulative] tactics win elections, but they do not seed loyalties among the voters.

In business, leadership means that customers will continue to support your company even when you slip up. If manipulation is the only strategy, what happens the next time a purchase decision is required. What happens after the election is won?

There is a big difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you. Loyal customers don’t often bother to research to the competition or entertain other options. Loyalty is not easily won. Repeat business, however, is. All it takes is more manipulations.

Manipulations lead to transactions, not loyalty.

So, if manipulations don’t work, what does?

Resonance.

Marketing tactics are like the searchlight form of marketing – that people run away from.

Resonance is the lighthouse that draws the ships into safe harbour.

Resonance is when we express ourselves so beautifully and honestly that people can’t help but feel it. Resonance is when we focus more on the quality of the light our lighthouse is putting out and the brightness of it than who might be seeing it. Resonance is preparing your home so beautifully for guests. Resonance is when we follow up with someone, not because they’re an ‘excellent contact to add to our network’ but because they give our heart a pretty little hum when we’ve around them. Resonance is when we trust the universe is a friendly place.

Resonance comes when we can relax and be comfortable in our own skin.

 

“Stress is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

- Chinese Proverb

 

And resonance comes from a number of things – here are the ones that come to mind most quickly . . .

  • a genuine, human vibe: people are, increasingly, running away from people who are posturing, pretending to be more together than they are, fake, phony, pretentious etc. They are drawn to people who are genuine, real, authentic and just plain honest. This doesn’t mean ‘granola’. It means that whatever you are – you embrace it fully. You open to the world as that. It’s like the line in Breakfast at Tiffany’s about Audrey Hepburn’s character, ‘she’s a phony. but she’s a real phony.’ It means we’re not doing what we’re doing to impress people, win approval or become something else. We’re just enjoying being us. We’re even embracing our own weaknesses. We’re okay with having needs – including the need to eat and live in this world – so we’re okay with needing to have some money. We’re okay with our clients supporting us – and we feel so grateful and amazed whenever it happens.
  • an unattached mindset: we give equal weight to ‘yes’ and ‘no’ from potential clients because we only want to work with people for whom it’s a fit and who want to work with us. If it’s not a fit, we bless and release. We don’t chase, we replace. We love people as they are – we’re not trying to change them. We’re not trying to get them to be anything they aren’t or to do anything they don’t want to do. We’re not pitching anything – we’re just sharing what we have with the world. We’re not trying to convince anyone of anything – we’re just sharing our truth and letting the world change if it wants to. We know that people will either love what we have or they won’t. We’re okay with either.
  • a crystal clear, unapologetic point of view:  we have know where we stand, we have an opinion, a take, a worldview, a diagnosis, a perspective on the way things oughta be. It’s clear to us and it’s clear to the market place. It’s not an ideology – but it’s a clear set of guiding principles and ideas and beliefs that guide our work and that people can count on. We have a clear map that people can understand of how we’ll be guiding them on their journey.
  • an inspiring ‘why': people know why we’re doing what we’re doing. They get the deeper cause behind it for us. They know that we’re not in it for the money. They know the kind of world we dream of and are working towards. They see how everything in our little business is all wrapped around and expressing this core, beating heart of our business. We don’t see the market place as full of competitors – we see it as full of potential collaborators who are all working together (or could work together) towards something bigger. We’ve got no interest in being a leader of a movement – but we’re so deeply passionate about movement happening in the world.
  • a solid structure and container: we prepare our home to receive the guests. We make sure we’re ready for when they show up. We are craftsmen of our arts. Attention to details. Small things matter. We lay strong foundations for our business. This gives us a sense of pride. We’re excited to send people to our website. We can’t wait to show off our cafe. We know that the details are handled so we don’t fuss about them. We can relax. The container, we find. not only holds the potential client – it holds us too.
  • a good strategy: we are ready to have clients and now, instead of chasing them down, we make it easy and safe for them to find us. We make it risk free and easy for people to say yes to working with us. We pick marketing tactics and strategies that feel authentic and real to us and then we make sure we implement them in the most genuine ways possible. When we create a strategy that we know will work – we can relax. We know that we’ll get enough clients because we have a plan. And our plan is not only something that gets us clients – our marketing is actually an expression of our deeper cause and our point of view. Our marketing feels really genuine and easy. Our clients feel that and relax too.

Resonance is different than relevance. Relevance says, ‘yes – that can help me on the journey I’m on. That can help solve my problem. That could get me what I’m craving.’ But there are likely many, many options out there that are relevant to them. Why should they pick you? They will, at the end of the day, pick the one who most deeply resonates with them. 

Don’t you resonate with that idea?

See?

It works.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

your platform: six things you can be known for (and one other)

number-6-md

number 6 md your platform: six things you can be known for (and one other)If you want to succeed in your business – you need to become ‘known’ for something.

How do businesses ultimately succeed?

By word of mouth. People telling people because they want it to thrive. Because they love it. Because they know it will be useful to a friend.

In short, the business is known for being good at something.

And that ‘something’ should be clear from the first moment people meet you. That something is your brand.

It should be something that’s so clear that people can express it to their friends.

It doesn’t need to be something you can sum up in a slogan (but bonus points if you can) but it should be something people can feel and ‘get’.

And, of course, this can all feel a bit daunting.

So, let’s break it down.

I would submit that there are six things your business can be known for.

That your platform isn’t just one thing. It’s not some pithy sound bite or elevator speech or a single Unique Selling Proposition. It’s a weaving together of six things. At least.

And, I’d submit that most businesses settle for being known for only one of these things (almost always the same one – which also happens to be the least inspiring and the one most likely to have you relegated to commodity status where people compare you only on price).

Before I give you the six (plus the one other). I need to tell you a story – to give you an image in your mind.

Imagine a young man on an island (which we’ll call Island A). It’s not that great a place to be. But, it’s all he knows, so he goes about his days. Then he starts hearing that his is not the only island in the world. That there are other islands. At first he doesn’t believe it, but the more he visits the docks and meets these visitors the clearer it becomes. It’s true. And then, one day, he hears about a particular island (which we’ll call Island B). And his heart leaps. He wants to go there.

Of course, he needs to get a boat to go there.

But there are so many boats to hire! Which one to choose?

Your business is a boat. It helps people like this young man get from Island A where they’re struggling with some problem (i.e. set of symptoms they don’t like) to Island B where they have the result they want (i.e. something they’re craving).

So, in this image we have six elements I want to lift up for your consideration. Each of them is something you can become known for.

  1. The Captain: you.
  2. Boat: what you do. Your irresistible offering.
  3. The Journey: the problem you solve and result you offer for a particular group
  4. The Sea: your particular point of view and map on that journey.
  5. The Sky: the overarching reason and cause that all of your work is an expression of.
  6. The Unimagined Possibility: beyond the place they can imagine going, there might be something even more wonderful.
  7. The Deepest Fear: if they do nothing – what are they secretly afraid might happen? (this is the ‘other one’ because it’s not something you can really be known for but it plays a role).

If you’ve been following my work for any time at all, you know that a core theme of mine is about identifying the ‘journey’ that people are on.

Metaphorically, it’s like people are on Island A where they’re struggling with some problem (i.e. set of symptoms they don’t like) and they want to be on Island B where they have the result they want (i.e. something they’re craving).

And your business is like a boat that takes them on the journey from Island A to B.

The truth is that some people will just want to buy from you because they like you, the captain, so much. Some people have such a great vibe that people spend money with them because they just want to support them and be around their vibe. This is the heart of any kind of holistic work because the implied message in holistic healing is, ‘do what I say and you’ll end up like me’.

And when practitioners have a bad vibe – all the marketing tactics in the world won’t help them.

But, the best vibe in the world isn’t something you can build a business on. You can have such an amazing vibe and still be broke unless people are clear about the other four pieces.

And, in your marketing, you want to make sure that you’re speaking to their journey, not just talking about your boat and how great it is. The homepage on your website should be about the journey, not about the boat. The first words in any presentation you do should be about the journey – not about the boat.

But most marketing is just people talking about the features and benefits of their boat. But when people see you as a boat, sometimes it can be hard to tell you apart from all the other boats. And so you’re a commodity. They have lots of options and ‘let’s see who’s cheapest’ becomes the mantra.

So, getting clear about the nature of the journey is vital.

On the outside edges of that journey are two other islands. Behind to the left of Island A you can imagine Island Z. That’s where they’re secretly scared they’re going to end up if they do nothing. These are fears like, ‘if i don’t handle my dating life I’m going to end up old and alone’, or ‘if I don’t keep my mind sharp I’m going to end up with alzheimers like my great grandparents.’ These fears are rarely talked about, but they’re deeply real for people. These fears aren’t things you can be ‘known’ for but understanding them gives you an incredible empathy and sensitivity which will allow you to engage the other three more deeply and safely.

The key here is that Island Z is not real. It’s a mirage. A nightmare fantasy. The worst case scenario. That’s why it’s not part of your platform. It’s a part of their internal world.

To the right of Island B, we have Island C. If Island A is the pain they’re in now and Island B is where they want to get to, then Island C is what we know is possible for them that’s even beyond Island B. As I wrote a few days ago,

Island A: I’m lonely. Island B: I want to date someone. Island C: we fall in love and say, ‘I never knew I could feel this way.’

Island A: I’m sick. Island B: I want to be healthy. Island C: we cleanse, do yoga, start juicing and say, ‘I never knew I could feel this way.’

Island A: I’m broke. Island B: I want to to be able to pay my bills on time and have money left over. Island C: we do the work needed to handle our money and say, ‘I never imagined I could feel so at peace and proud in my relationship to money.’

Island A: I’m full of angst and depression. Island B: I want to feel good again. Island C: we get deep into our personal healing work and one day wake up saying, ‘I feel so beautiful and light. I feel so at peace.’

Island C is what might be possible in the life of ONE person that they hadn’t previously considered. This i different than the bigger cause we imagine which is what we envision for our whole community or the world (though they are likely connected).

There’s the pain they feel. There’s the thing they’re craving, but the thing they’re craving only goes to the limits of their imagination. Our cravings take us to the end of what we know but no farther.

And then you have a certain map or route that you’d recommend for how folks can get from Island A to Island B. You have a certain Point of View about the journey. You can think of that as everything that’s under the water connecting these two islands. It’s your diagnosis about the underlying, root causes of why it’s so difficult for folks to make this journey. I’ve written a lot about that lately.

But there’s something more that’s been becoming clear to me recently.

It’s not enough to be clear about WHAT the journey and the boat are or HOW you take them on the journey – they need to know WHY you’re so passionate about that journey and what the bigger picture is for you. They need to know what this is about beyond the money. Why does your work matter to you and to the world?

Your why is the bigger cause you stand for.

It’s the journey you see that the world or your community is on (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr.’s articulation of the journey from a deeply racist USA to ‘the beloved community’).

Simon Sinek talks about this in depth in his brilliant book, Start With Why:

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

WHAT: Every single company and organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. This is true no matter how big or small, no matter what industry. Everyone is easily able to describe the producs or services a company sells or the job function they have within that system. WHATs are easy to identify.

HOW: Some companies and people know HOW they do WHAT they do. Whether you call them a “differentiating value proposition”, “proprietary process” or “unique selling proposition”, HOWs are often given to explain how something is different or better. Not as obvious as WHATs, many think these are the differentiating or motivating factors in a decision. It would be false to assume that’s all that is required.

There is one missing detail . . .

WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money – that is a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

When most organizations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason – they go from clearest thing to fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.

But not the inspired companies. Not the inspired leaders. Every single one of them, regardless of their size or their industry, thinks acts and communicates from the inside out.”

A strong ‘why’ or cause doesn’t marginalize anyone – it’s different that a position. Your point of view is a position. Your point of view says, ‘I’m for this and I’m against this.’ People will often disagree with your point of view. But a reason why you do something is less likely to get disagreement. Usually they’re the kinds of things that anyone can relate to and empathize with – even if they might choose a different approach. Your cause is a stand for something bigger and deeper. Your cause says, ‘as a world we need to get to island B’ your point of view says, ‘and here’s my belief about the best way to get there’.

Your why is what you want, not what you don’t want. It’s the core of what you’re for – not a list of things you’re fighting. It’s often inarguable. Once you land on it, it’s like, ‘who could be against this?’

You might picture the ‘why’ as the golden sun shining above the islands and the boat – holding them all. The umbrella of the sky.

What’s interesting about all of this is that when the journey, point of view and larger ‘why’ are clarified – the boat often changes.

You will, in the end, be known for your boat – but make sure that your boat is an expression of you not just a cookie cutter, copy cat boat. Make everything about your boat an expression of the cause. If your business is about fun and celebration then make it a fun boat with wonderful colours and amusements around every corner. If you’re in love with elegance and beauty – then make your boat the most elegant boat the world has ever seen with lanterns and candles and beautiful dinners. If you’re passionate about adventure – then let your boat be rough and the rooms people sleep in be spartan.

And, of course, the boat must be a boat that you want to be on. It must fit the kind of lifestyle you want to have. As you figure out your ideal lifestyle, that will do more to help you design your boat than just about anything I know. And, if you need help with that, there’s only one person I can commend speaking with on that.

Every plank of your boat should ‘fit’. It should make sense. It should all communicate a clear message. They should be able to look at the boat and quickly get a feel for it what kind of journey it can take them on, what your point of view is and what you’re about at the core.  And then, when they get on the boat their initial impressions should be deepened and confirmed.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

case study: panty by post

panties by post 300x210 case study: panty by postNatalie Grunberg (pictured below) had an idea for a business.

Mail women pretty panties. Once a month.

This business is a brilliant example of some many things: niche marketing (panties are for women), having a point of view (it’s about confidence), having a simple, well crafted offer (a pretty panty. mailed monthly), doing something provocative that gets people talking (panties!).

*

What is the name of your project?

PantyByPost.com!

natalie g1 220x300 case study: panty by postWhat’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

PantyByPost.com is an online business that sends a pretty panty every month in the mail to your loved one, or maybe to you (you deserve it)!

I thought of the idea on a trip to Paris some years ago and the plan was to spread the confidence of those enchanting and stylish French women. That’s exactly what we’ve done, one panty at a time (wink).

I saw a need, to spread French style all over the world. Even if your daily uniform is a Lululemon pant, you can wear a panty by post panty and feel better. Self confidence may just start with the panty you choose to wear. My company helps to make women’s panty drawers sexier, more colourful and playful.

 

 

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

panties 300x115 case study: panty by postWe always support local charities and we are collecting panties right now to donate to the Vancouver Downtown Eastside Women’s Center. Some of our customers have even donated a month of their subscription to the Center, which is very cool. We are currently supporting a local theater group in Victoria BC by outfitting their set with panties (it’s called NANA’S NAUGHTY KNICKERS).

To order a subscription you click on the shop button and select the line, Signature or Bridal and then proceed through to check out. It’s very easy! We ship worldwide now, so there…your whole Christmas list is done!

Who do you find it’s working best for?

Women made up our biggest supporters when we launched. Now the men are starting to hear the good news! Men like to gossip too, so our customers are a pretty even split of men and women.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

Online marketing for an online business is the best approach. Magazine and newspaper advertising doesn’t work. PR is the most important fuel for customer acquisition but after you have enough customers and you prove you have an incredible service and product, they will talk. My customer to customer referrals and referral perks (one free panty for every customer you refer) are how I gain more traction.

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

  1. Don’t risk more then you have.
  2. Trust your gut, listen to others and then make the choice that is right for you. Always do the honest and right thing. Never let money ruin relationships.
  3. Nurture relationships authentically. Be real.

What does that mean for you? “Nurture relationships authentically”

Many business people share that relationships are what matter. I added the nurture and the authentically component mostly as a response to some of my early experiences. Be real and be yourself. I really don’t like it when people are just trying to get something from me. I’m not a big fan of business mixers or networking. I find it to be a huge effort, it’s unnatural to be so self serving.

It’s icky.

By all means, get out there and make connections but for me I like to keep it small and keep it humble.

What’s been most effective for you in the online marketing arena?

CPC, cost per click advertising has been effective. We use Adroll to help remind customers who have visited our site, which is a good marketing tool. Bloggers from all over the world help spread the word about PBP and they do it very authentically because they get a panty by post to try.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

We are going international BIG TIME! We have our first international office in Moscow and our next operation opens in Paris this November. How exciting! We will continue to create relationships in other languages and in other countries. This is the jet setting (and carbon offsetting) that I dream of doing!

At its heart – what is this project really about for you?

At the heart of PBP there are two old fashioned ideas: customer service is key and self confidence comes from within.

We have been told we go above and beyond the call of duty for customers, but we don’t see it that way. Doing a job well and promptly makes us feel good. As the owner of the company, I set the tone. I’m an absolute perfectionist because having a top notch consumer experience is rare these days. When PBP staff delivers incredible service, every day, we make customers happy and they return.

This seems so basic but I can’t tell you the last time I had a quality “old fashioned” consumer experience. It’s our edge in a competitive online shopping environment.

The other pillar of the company is about confidence. I was inspired by the women in France and they continue to remind me (lucky me I go to France each summer) that looking beautiful is about self respect. French women put effort into their appearance and so do the men for that matter.

It’s a different ethic and for me, I think it represents their commitment to finding beauty and style everywhere, spreading that style and also enjoying the pleasures of life. Everywhere you look in France people have put effort into beautifying their environment. The least I can do is run a company that makes getting a French style panty easier.

Now those of us non-Frenchies have no excuse.

What has the response been this this project?

Each year PBP builds and grows. I put very little money into advertising because our product and excellent service does the work of spreading the word of PBP. Men especially seem to appreciate the gift giving service. We basically are the answer to all their gift giving issues.

Why do you think your customers love you so much?

Our customers love us because of our high quality of service but really our product is very unique and totally fabulous The panties are very special, colourful and sexy. Once you start wearing our panties, it’s shocking that you once settled for plain Jockeys or Victoria Secret. Our panties are accessibly priced (about $16 per panty), durable but mostly they are adorable

You’ve got such a unique idea that I imagine a lot of PR came from that – but what are the three biggest tips you could give people to be ready for it, get it and take advantage of it?

  1. Get a communication coach. We had Maria LeRose coach us at the very beginning and throughout our launch. Having a profession coach like Maria will help you get clear on your company goals and will make your media interviews really stand out. She videotaped us and we reviewed the way we looked and the way we delivered our story. This kind of practice is key.
  2. Hire a professional PR person to work with you on your media pitches. We had a coach for 3 months to support us to improve our media writing and understand what the media is looking for.
  3. Start local and aim national. There is no such thing as a small enough media outlet.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Email us,

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you think panties don’t matter, try a panty by post and I beg to differ. We have something special here! Oh yah, right now I’m wearing a Raven Beauty hipster in noir. It has buttons all down the derriere and when I wear them I feel like a Paris runway model (note: I’m 5’2″, so clearly the panties give me super powers).

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

Are you Marketing in a Box?

Maggie Ostara
box 300x225 Are you Marketing in a Box? In my email recently, I got a newsletter from Maggie Ostara who’s work I’ve just started following. And I think she really nails this whole conversation about niche and the ways that entrepreneurs seem to just fall into ‘the way it’s always been done’. Below is her article . . .

 

I have a new client who calls himself a personal trainer.

Now the thing is, what this guy does is SOOO much more and so much more cool and important than whatever I think of when I hear the words “personal trainer.”

Okay, yeah, so that’s what he was officially trained in–that’s the box he was given by the people who certified him. But get this–he does not like the gym! In fact, he is against people going to the gym. He thinks people hurt themselves at the gym.

But when people call him, because he’s a personal trainer, they ask him where his gym is.

Get the contradiction?

Do you see how that label, that box, does not suit him, and in fact is probably hurting his sales and marketing?

Not only this, but if he markets to people who are looking for fitness, he’s got an upstream flow to battle.

What I mean by that is that people who are looking for fitness are expecting certain things. They expect a gym. They expect to work out, to lose weight, to get stronger. There’s nothing wrong with all that. Except that the main stream ways of doing those things actually hurt your body a lot.

So my client actually helps people relate to their bodies, and learn to move, in entirely new ways that build flexibility, mobility, inner strength and stability. And as a consequence, they gain confidence, they look better, they have more vitality, stamina, a broad perspective, more drive.

Can you see how what he’s offering, positioned differently, outside the box, could make his business entirely different?

See, I know all of you out there spend too much time at your computers and on the phone, sitting. Sitting, sitting, sitting. You and everyone else these days. And as busy entrepreneurs, could you use a simple practice that would help you look better, feel more vitality, give you more confidence, ease your body aches and bring you more stamina? Well hell yeah, as my coach would say.

What if my client were to get more in touch with what you are really looking for–you want to look good when you’re on stage or for your photos and network meetings (or those snapshots that keep showing up on Facebook), right?

You want to feel good without having to go to the gym. I know I do–I hate the gym. I would never go look for a personal trainer–yuck. But what this guy does, so man, yes I want that.

But in his box, if he weren’t my client, I would never find him, and he wouldn’t find me because he’s not marketing to me. He’s in the box he was certified into.

Can you see that?

As soon as he steps outside that box, and starts really looking at all of the people who need what he offers, and gets in touch with what they want, wow a whole new world opens up.

Where are you in a box in your marketing? Are you just thinking of people to market to who are like you? I see healers only market to each other–it’s crazy! Do you know how many people out there need the services of healers, coaches, and yes, leading edge personal trainers? Millions and I am not kidding.

But if all you ever do is to talk to other healers, coaches and personal trainers you are living inside a box.

This is a comfort zone issue, isn’t it? Because you know people who are in the box with you. You speak the same language. You have agreements about what is important. But let me ask you, how big a contribution are you really making if you are just talking with people like yourself, if you just use your specialized language. Do you want your village to be monolingual or multi-lingual? I may only know English, baby, but I am multi-lingual English! And it’s more fun that way. Reach out, find out what people outside your box want and need? Listen. Communicate.

And you know what, when you do that, you can make WAY more money, too.

Way more.

Because you create specialized solutions for people in a different industry where they need and want what you’ve got but they don’t entirely know it yet–and you can show them how you are the solution to the problem that is making them miserable, or stressed, or sick, or broke–you have got an out-of-the-box breakthrough happening. And that means more money for you. Give it a try–and make sure you hit reply and tell me how it goes!

Maggie Ostara Are you Marketing in a Box? Maggie Ostara, PhD is a Soul Healer and Strategic Marketing Expert. She draws on her many years as a successful business owner to support healers, teachers, and coaches to get their work out to the world, and make their contribution to the New World Age now emerging.

She combines a strong intellectual background with intuition and body wisdom for a grounded, powerful, expansive, nurturing and insightful way of facilitating your business and spiritual growth. Her credentials include being a multiple-published author,Certified Clarity Breathwork trainer and practitioner, a qualified Awakening Your Light Body teacher, former Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Columbia University in New York.

Do you love what you do, but hates marketing and sales?  Learn an entirely new way of marketing called “Creating Money by Creating Community” with Maggie’s free teleseminar available at www.soulsignaturemarketing.com

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

 

patch adams on community

In this 16 minute video, Patch Adams shares his provocative views on the business of health care.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.