Two Minute Video Case Study on Identifying Your Hubs

hubsIf you’ve followed my work at all you’ll know that the core of what I teach is about ‘warm marketing’ where, instead of trying to reach people through a cold approach as a stranger, you, instead, triangulate and work to identify hubs who your ideal clients already trust, and have them introduce you. And, beyond that, instead of having a scattershot approach about where you market, really getting clear about the best places. There are three levels of marketing in my mind – cold, warm and hot. You can read about those here. And there are seven generic types of hubs which you can read about here.

The following quick video is from a piece of flip chart paper from a weekend workshop I ran in the Bow Valley of Alberta  a while ago that I thought might give you some ideas and inspiration around finding your hubs.


Guest Post: How I added 8,000 Facebook fans in 5 months


Tim Emerson is a graduate of my Niching for Hippies course and someone I did a case study on a while ago. He’s also a big believer in the power of slow marketing.

When Tim told me that he had over 8,000 fans on his facebook page whereas I only have a half of that, I was extremely curious as to how he did it and asked if he’d be kind enough to write up a guest blog post about it. I think you’ll really appreciate his ideas here. 

You can read it below . . .

Full disclosure—I am not a fan of social media.  It’s scattered, busy, a distraction, a time sink.  Further, I’ve spent a fair amount of time pissed off at Facebook.  So I’m an unlikely author for this blog post.

Nonetheless, I went from being “stuck” to adding 8,000 fans to my page,, in just five months—and more are still coming.   This page has also become one of my key promotional strategies.  Here’s how that happened.

I actually didn’t mean to open a Facebook fan page.  I had constructed a simple website with, and one of the options was to publish to Facebook.  So, on April 6, 2012, I figured “Why not,” and clicked it.   Voila.  Kwan Yin Healing had a Facebook page. 

It slowly added a few fans.  Then a few more.  And a few more.  This would take patience.   I saw the various “How to get 10,000 fans” promos, but while I’m sure these guys know their business, it’s the anti-thesis of the calm, peaceful image I wanted for my business.  Nobody’s going to come rushing to Kwan Yin Healing because my opt-in box is bigger, brighter, redder, and in your face before we get past “hello” – and if they did, the fit would probably not be good.  I’d just have to be patient. 

Facebook, however, is not patient, and likes to change the rules frequently.  One of these changes was deciding that just because fans like your page doesn’t mean they should be seeing your posts in their feed.  Unless, of course, they’re teenagers, and compelled to like or comment on virtually everything.  My fans…aren’t, and don’t.  So my fan count, at 623, sat their at 623, and the “talking about this” number dropped to around 20 a day.  Facebook offered a solution—pay to have your fans see your posts!  As you might imagine, this didn’t make me the happiest of campers. 

But then something happened, and that day, my page started climbing again.  It continued to climb, daily, and still continues to climb—it’s at 8,921 as I write this. 

What changed?   There are four key elements to my strategy, and I also have a few points about ads, as well as how I use Facebook to attract clients.   So let’s dive in.

1)  I got clear about my page’s purpose and message.  

Without this, nothing else matters. 

Understand that no one comes to Facebook to buy stuff.  They come to relax, to see funny or inspiration quotes and pictures and videos, to interact with their friends.  So not only are they not there to buy, but they resent attempts to sell them.  Imagine you’re at the park, on a walk, enjoying a show, and people interrupt you to sell their products and programs.  “Leave me alone,” right?  And they will leave you very alone instead.  

For Kwan Yin Healing, the cover photo, a forest waterfall, the same as on my home page, sets the tone for the peaceful, flowing feeling I wish to create, and one very compatible with my point of view about healing, about my work, and about me.  The posts on the page are all inspirational quotes and related material that fit with this theme.   Things I like but that don’t fit this energy, I post on my personal page instead.  It’s encouraging, reflective, helpful, inspiring, peaceful, and fits nicely within my Taoist/Buddhist perspective, without being spiritually dogmatic.  There’s no agenda here.  It’s a place to relax.  That’s why people follow the page. And that’s why they trust me.  

Nor is any of this mere theory.  This is what my own clients tell me.  “I like your page—it’s consistent.”  Yeah.  It’s hard to trust someone you can never quite rely upon.   You know what  you’re getting when you like my page. 

2) I paid attention to what got positive response and adjusted.

What’s nice about Facebook is that you can see how many likes and shares each post gets, and a report about the “virality” of each post.  The big losers here are text posts.   People already see a sea of text, and skim it at best.  Plus, at a glance, all text looks the same.  

Pictures are the rule on Facebook.  An inspiring quote with a corresponding image gets—literally—ten times the virality. According to Edgerank Checker, the median Facebook virality is under 2%.  My page’s posts typically hover around 20%.   Facebook is a visual medium.  

And just having a photo isn’t enough—the text must be part of the photo.  Typically, content creators post this over the face of the photo.  When I create content (which I do rarely), I use InDesign to create a matching box above or below (or both) the photo with the text.   But either way—this way the photo and message get shared—many times more than otherwise.  Including your site link on the graphic is a good idea as well.  While shared photos are credited by Facebook automatically, links can get buried. 

Every so often, I’ll share something I think readers would like—free Eckhart Tolle talks, or Louise Hays, or Wayne Dyer.   And they always fall flat, with virality around 2%.   This surprises me.   It’s why we look at numbers.

3) I worked out a simple system for keeping the page active while spending very little time on it. 

There’s a joke that floats around periodically:  How to be more productive on Facebook?  Delete your Facebook account and get to work. 

While I sometimes create content, most of my page is repurposed from other pages.   When I see something I like, I check out their page, and if it fits well, I’ll like it, and add it to my Interests list.   Every day or two, I’ll quickly scan down the Pages feed for appropriate things to post.   If it’s great, but too small to read, I’ll pass it by.  The other pages appreciate the shares, and I’ll just add a short comment and my webpage.  That’s it.

I’ll also check out the comments, and like most of them, so people know they were seen and heard.  Every week or so, I’ll check the Insights report (though just the likes and shares on the page are a good indication).  Once in a while, a post will get multiple comments (like 30-60 comments), and I’ll know I’ve accidentally stumbled across something to consider later strategically. 

And that’s it.  Five to ten minutes.  Done.

4) Resist selling, except for limited free offers. 

And even then, you’re pushing it.  So here’s what works for me – curiosity.  “Hey!  Sign up for my free offer!”  No.   But after seeing several cool posts with above them, after a while, some people click on it…and sign up for my free offer.  It’s not big numbers…but it is steady.  My list (which last year was at 35) is at 620 – and just over a third of those came from Facebook.   But that doesn’t make them clients.  It’s a poorly qualified group. 

But Facebook DOES serve me in one major way—a source of free teleseminar attendees.  A nice graphic with the copy embedded and a sign-up link will bring 60-80 new people to my list.  20-30 will show up for the call, and 4-10 of them will become new clients. When those new clients are signing on to the Kwan Yin Journey, my signature program, a single teleseminar can make a month’s income.  So Facebook does bring clients after all, through the free teleseminar and enrollment route. 

Which brings me to advertising.

At first, “promoted posts” were great—I could reach friends of friends for $10.   Then Facebook realized their generosity, and jacked the price up more than one hundred times, dolling out only a limited number of people reached for each new level of investment—$1,000 still won’t buy what $10 did only a few months ago.  

It’s ridiculously steep for three reasons.   First, the response isn’t great. Second, people HATE promoted posts.  The posts say, right on them, “promoted post,” and virality drops to near nothing.  Some people even send nasty grams, letting page owners know how much they resent someone else footing the bill for their free Facebook.  It’s too “in their face.”   Literally, the SAME post NOT promoted will get a better response.  And third, Facebook won’t allow more than 20% of a graphic to be text, severely limiting advertising options.  

So if I have something to promote, I use a few tricks.

I’ll let a post run organically at first.  Once that slows down, THEN I’ll promote it, but only within a limited budget, which depends on what I’m promoting.   And if I don’t need to reach a lot of people, I’ll sometimes design what I want and run it anyway—it will run for a few hours until a Facebook person has a chance to get to it and stop the promotion for violating the rules.  The posts that have run already remain visible.  But that’s not a great strategy for anything I’m seriously promoting.  A web link to a press release with a graphic works reasonably well.  Message sent.

Then there are the ads with links on the side. 

Advantage—people don’t mind these the way they resent promoted posts.   They see these as not so “in your face” and not an interruption, but rather something they can check out if they please, unlike content “forced” into their feed.  And Advantage Two, these ads can be amazingly well targeted to specific audiences defined by a wide array of parameters. 

Disadvantage—they are expensive and not particularly effective.   You can’t say much, and you can’t really send them where you’d like.  Dead end.

With one exception I’ve used to good effect. 

Create a quirky ad, with an eye-catching image, that still is truly in keeping with your point of view and strategic purpose.   I ran, for example, one saying “Healing isn’t Magic,” with an image from a video of me in my car with an appearance by my curious husky.   The video includes a core piece of my point of view, and the ad links to a post featuring the video, where I can say much more.   This lands on my Facebook page.   I pin the original post to the top of the page, so that the landing is relevant (which must be redone every couple of weeks, as pins expire), and presto—the curious eyes are now on my page.  

I severely limit the daily size of this budget, just a few bucks, with a carefully targeted audience.   But it will bring in better than 20 new people (i.e., other than friends of friends) who become engaged in the page.   The ad doesn’t get stale, because it’s being seen by people who haven’t yet seen it. 

Slow and steady.  But altogether, worth 8000 new fans in five months, like opening a valve at the end of January, and it’s been flowing ever since. 

My plans from here are to maintain the status quo, at least until Facebook changes the rules again, and to concentrate on the teleseminar strategy.  I would also like to build a network of affiliate partners to help promote the Kwan Yin Journey.   If that might be you, check out and then drop me an email if this looks like a good fit for your clients – tim at kwanyinhealing dot com.

I’m also completely redesigning my web page to focus on synching my strategy and free offer in a clear, authentic, step by step path more friendly to curious visitors, and to then build relationship more strategically with my email newsletter and blog than I have been. 

And I’ll next turn my attention to my YouTube page,, which has, like my Facebook page, worked surprisingly well, largely by accident—but in this case, I actually get clients calling who found me on YouTube.  Time to focus on a strategy there—but that will have to be another blog post another time. 

Wish me luck!

Tim Emerson

Kwan Yin Healing

the four generations of opt in marketing

2182_Four-generations-20120811-1-958x538This is an email primarily about how to build a solid following and, primarily, how to get people to ‘opt in’ to receive your email newsletter.

I want to submit that there have been four generations of approaches to getting permission to be in touch with potential clients. And that what worked four generations ago, isn’t the best approach today.

But let’s start here: A lot of people focus on ‘getting their name out there’ in marketing.

And they justify a lot of useless activity with it. They go to networking events and not only give their cards to everyone but leave them on every table and they think, ‘Yup! Sure got my name out there tonight!’ They put their brochures in bookshoppes and cafes all over town, they put ads in all sorts of places, and try to drive people to their website (maybe even successfully) and they think, ‘Awesome. I am so getting my name out there.’

This kind of thinking might result in some business but I think it’s the wrong goal. I think that we want to get their name in here.

Let me explain: If you’re at a networking event, it is far more powerful to get 10 business cards from others into your pocket than to get a hundred of your business cards into their pockets. Because, if you have their business cards, you can follow up with them. You can take a next step in building a relationship with them. If not, you are stuck waiting and hoping.

And hope is not a strategy.

Put another way, let’s say you got a million people to visit your website in the next month. Sounds awesome, right?

But what if, instead of a million visitors, I gave you 10,000 new perfect-fit people for your email list?

The 10,000 on your email list is more valuable in the long-term. These are people you can stay in touch with and build a relationship with over time. These are the people who will spend money on you, hire you and tell their friends about you.

If I sent a million people to your website not much would happen.

Unless . . . unless you had a system to get those people to join your email list (and get their names in here). 

I want to suggest that there have been four generations of approaches on how to get people to opt in to be in touch with you and allow you to be in touch with them.

Generation #1: The Contact Me Page

When websites first began, there were no email newsletters. There was just a page with your contact info and, if they wanted to reach you they could email or call you.

The Downside: It’s a viable option but includes a bit of risk for the person reaching out. It also would only have people call you who were very close to being ready to buy. And if people were just shopping around, that’s a lot of your personal time answering questions. 

Generation #2: The Free Email Newsletter.

People have signed up to have newsletters mailed to them for many years. That’s not new, but, with the advent of email marketing, those newsletters could be free. I remember the first ‘free email newsletter‘ I saw was something simple like, ‘get a free inspirational quote every day’. And, at the time, that was really novel and exciting. For the first time, you could, for very little money, stay in touch with a large number of people and regularly add value to their lives. 

The Downside: The challenge with this approach now is that there are literally millions of email newsletters you could be on. Most of us are on so many lists that we don’t read. Some we got on because we participated in a telesummit or teleseminar and now we’re on their list, or because we joined years ago and have ignored it since. And some we follow regularly. 

But the bottom line is this: no one is excited to sign up for another free newsletter. No one. Now, if your website is extremely niched and your newsletter is targeted to helping a particular kind of person with a particular kind of problem people might want to. But, the idea of a free newsletter itself is absolutely no longer compelling. 

Generation #3: The Free ‘Opt In’ Gift

So, if an email newsletter isn’t that compelling, but to grow your business you need to stay in touch with people, what do you do? Should you just stop having the email newsletter? 

I don’t think so. I think your email list is the most valuable piece of property your business has. Social media lets you stay in touch but it won’t get the kinds of response rates an email list will have (unless you have a huge following). And, if your ideal client were to give it a try, they might really love.

So, how to get them to give it an honest try?

What a lot of people, myself included, have done is to offer a free gift to people for signing up. In some ways, free gift is a bit of a misnomer because what you’re really offering is a fair trade, ‘I’ll give you a lot of free advice and information if you sign up for my email list and give it a try’. 

The Free Opt In Gift could be an ebook, audio, a video, a quiz/assessment etc. There are a lot of options. The key is that it costs them no money, asks no risk of them and takes you no time to deliver. It’s a sample of your work that they can try to get a taste of what you do. It’s a pink spoon type offer that I spoke about in my blog ‘do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

And the difference you’ll see between just saying, ‘sign up for my free email newsletter’ and ‘enter your email here to get this free gift and you’ll be added to my email newsletter too’ is huge. You will get very few sign ups with the former approach and many more with the latter. You’ll be shocked at the difference it makes if you take this approach.

The Downside: More and more people are doing this too. The idea of the free opt in gift is no longer rare. It’s almost expected. And, here’s the surprising twist, even resented.

That’s right, increasingly, people might even resent your free opt in gift.

And here’s why.

Imagine you come across a website. It seems like it’s targeted to people just like you! Amazing.

This website definitely seems relevant to what you’re going through. Now you want to find out more. So you read a bunch of generic stuff about the business but then there’s nothing else to read. No blog. No articles. No videos. You want to know more about their point of view and approach. You want to know their take on your situation.

But there’s nothing that tells you that. Which means you’re going to have to go through the rigamaroll of emailing them and asking them and who knows when they’ll respond and . . . WAIT there it is! There’s some free info – they’re offering a free video series on how to take some first steps at handling your issue.


But . . . wait . . . you have to enter your email for it. Shit. You’re already on too many email lists. You resent that, to just check them out, you have to sign up to be on another email list that you aren’t even sure you want to be on.

To make it clearer why this is an issue: imagine you go to an ice cream shop and you ask to try a sample of their ice cream – just a little pink spoon. But, instead of having you the pink spoon they hand you an iPad and ask you to enter your email first. You say, ‘Uhm. Why? I just want to see if I even like this flavour . . .’ And they inform you that you need to be on their email list before you try it. Holy backfiring coercion.

Another downside, a lot of people will just sign up for your free gift and then unsubscribe at the next email. This might be unavoidable but if they see you regularly have new content on your site or at least a tonne of free content, they’ll be a lot more likely to come back of their own accord to check you out.

Generation #4: The Non-Opt In Free Gifts + Opt In

So, what the hell? . . .

What are you supposed to do?

I don’t know for sure but here’s my theory on what’s next: a mix of opt in and non-opt in pink spoons for people to try. 

Give people some things they can check out for free, without having to sign up for a damn thing on your website. Let them try free samples of your bread at your bakery or soup at your restaurant. Let them get a taste of you without having to commit to anything. But also give them the option to get some extra special if they’re willing to take the risk to sign up. 

On this website you can read over 500 posts on my blog for free. There are case studies. There are over three hours of free video. And there’s also a 195 ebook called The Way of the Radical Business you can get if you sign up for my email list. 

I am a big fan of the idea of being a generosity based business. But, being real, I give away a lot more than I need to. You don’t need to offer even a fraction of what I do (out of laziness of turning them into sellable products (actually true)). You just need to offer people a taste. A sample. A way of understanding your point of view. Enough that they can know if it’s a fit to take the next step. 

People will respect this. They love it. They love being able to explore your take on things and get a bit of help without having to pay anything and it will build trust in you.

When people email me to ask for coaching, they’ve likely already been following me for years. They don’t haggle over price. They’ve decided they want to work with me. They’re also often very familiar with my approach to marketing which is wonderful and allows me to help them more. 

Now, if you’ve got a single teleseminar or course, it’s fine to have a squeeze page – just a simple page where the only option is to sign up. But, I think of your website as more your home. It’s a place where people can come to learn about you and if, overall, you are a fit for them. 

And this isn’t even to speak to the benefits of blogging and how that free content can drive traffic to your website or give you little pink spoons you can send to people at networking events and have you feel even more proud of your website.

I want to submit that this fourth generation will build a more solid relationship with your people over time than insisting they sign up for your email newsletter to find out anything about you.

If you want help developing your free opt-in gift, you might want to check out my ‘How To Create Your Free Gift‘ workbook.


“How Do I Grow My List?” An Interview with PJ Van Hulle

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 8.04.37 PMCould you add 10,000 to your email list in the next 90 days?

PJ Van Hulle thinks that, while it might be lofty – with the right pieces in place, it’s not an unachievable goal.

I really love PJ. She’s one of the most genuine people but also so much smarter about online marketing than I will ever be.

She launching her List-a-Palooza telesummit at the end of May so I thought I’d interview her about the nuts and bolts of this strange beast of building one’s list. The telesummit is totally free to attend but I thought you might like to get the boiled down version of her point of view to see if it’s a fit for you worth exploring further.

Building your email list is a central piece of becoming a hub in the online world and moving from cold marketing (where you’re chasing strangers) to hot marketing (where your ideal clients are coming to you).

Why grow your list? Why is this something worth focusing on as an entrepreneur? 

As an entrepreneur, your e-mail list is one of the greatest financial assets in your business.  I’ve even heard experts say “your list IS your business.”  

With a profitable e-mail list you can:

  • Fill your seminars and programs
  • Attract more clients and sales
  • Turn current clients into repeat clients
  • Promote other peoples’ programs that you believe in and earn $1,000?s in affiliate commissions

Having a big, profitable e-mail list provides entrepreneurs with an uncommon level of financial security because you can even out your cashflow and generate more income any time you need to, simply by sending out messages to your list.

Without a profitable e-mail list, being an entrepreneur can be so much of an uphill struggle that many lose steam and eventually throw in the towel.

So, YES!  This is something worth focusing on as an entrepreneur.  If you’re not focusing on growing your list, you’re setting yourself up to continue to work much harder than you need to.

Also, most of my clients care about making a bigger difference in the world, and having an e-mail list that you regularly provide value for allows you to expand your energy and your message to many more people and make a bigger impact, even if not all of them become your clients.

What’s the story of how you came up with this program? What was the need that you saw in our community around this? You’ve done if for a few years now it seems.

This is my second year hosting List-a-Palooza, even though I was planning on doing it only once.

In my Big List Big Profits program, I walk people step-by-step through how to automate their marketing and sales online, but there just wasn’t enough time to cover the plethora of traffic generation tactics out there.

My intention was to turn the recordings from List-a-Palooza into a product that I could bundle with the Big List Big Profits program so that once people had their marketing and sales infrastructure set up, they would have lots of great training on how to drive traffic into their automated system.

Well, List-a-Palooza ended up being even more of a hit than I imagined it would be, and I received a flood of requests to do it again.

I had a ton of fun doing List-a-Palooza last year, and this is a topic that I’m super passionate about, so I decided to go ahead and do it again.

I’ve seen how people get dramatically better results with specific training, accountability and the support of a community of like-minded people, so I’ve done my best to provide those key elements through List-a-Palooza.

Can you share the story of how you went about growing your own list? When did you start your business and what were the phases you went through in building your own list, where are you now?

When I first launched my business, I didn’t have an e-mail list or an Opt-In page or anything.  I manually sent e-mails to people I knew, asking them to spread the word about a live event I was doing.

I knew that growing an e-mail list was important so I invested in a program called Constant Contact, which had done-for-you newsletter templates.  

I hired someone to help me get my newsletter out, and I just couldn’t crank out content fast enough so it was hard to get the newsletter going out consistently, and eventually, I gave up on it.

My big breakthrough came when I created the Client Attraction Blueprint system that I now teach in my Big List Big Profits program.  I created it for my Platinum Mastermind clients to help them organize all of their marketing and sales ideas together in one simple document.

I immediately applied this system to my own business, and the results were life-changing!  I got more done in the next 4 months than I had in the past 4-5 years because that blueprint gave me a level of focus and clarity that I had never experienced before.

When an architect looks at a blueprint, they know what needs to be built in what order and how everything fits together.

Suddenly, I could see my business that way.  Once I saw how my e-mail newsletter fit in to my overall blueprint, I became more inspired and motivated than ever to build my e-mail list and consistently provide value.

I finally got really serious about list-building about 6 years after starting my business.  

I committed to consistently publishing my bi-weekly e-mail newsletter, Prosperity Express.  

Now that I knew that the people joining my list would be consistently receiving value from me, I felt confident in growing my list.

I grew my list from 300 people to over 15,000 using a lot of the tactics we cover in the List-a-Palooza training calls.

What are the biggest blunders people make in growing their list? What are the things you see that make you cringe in people’s list building efforts?

I think the #1 biggest mistake is waiting to get started.

Growing your list is like taking advantage of compound interest.  The earlier you start, the more consistently you make “deposits,” and the longer you nurture your list, the more profitable it will be.

NOT building your list is costing you every day, whether you realize it or not.

It took me 6 years to get serious about building my list… don’t make the same mistake I did.

The #2 biggest mistake is driving traffic only to a “Brochure” type website with a bunch of tabs (Home, About, Blog, Contact, etc.) instead of to an Opt-In Page.

The #3 biggest mistake is only sending out sales and promotions and never providing value for the people on their list.

Here are the things that most make me cringe:

  • Seeing entrepreneurs invest $1,000’s on a “Brochure” type website that doesn’t even have an obvious Opt-In Box on it “above the fold” (where people can see it without having to scroll down).
  • Receiving e-mails that address me in the second person plural.  For example:  “Hi everyone!  Hi All!  Hi Friends!”  This is obviously a mass e-mailing, and I’m unlikely to read the message. Instead, I recommend addressing people in the second person singular.  If you’re e-mail program can’t mail merge my first name in to the e-mail so that it says “Hi PJ!” at least write something that feels a bit more personal like “Hi there!” or just “Hello!”
  • E-mails that are formatted as huge blocks of text all the way across the screen because they are very difficult to read.  I recommend formatting your e-mails in short columns for easy reading.

Your 90 day challenge has the claim of ‘add ten thousand people to your list in 90 days’. That seems very bold! I’m curious, what would already need to be in place for someone for that to be a doable goal?

I offer that specific challenge to inspire the participants and get them into action right away.

I was actually shocked how many people joined List-a-Palooza last year that were just getting started with their e-mail lists.

In that case, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll add 10,000 people in 90 days.  

However, many of the participants last year were still absolutely thrilled to have doubled, tripled or quadrupled their smaller lists.

In order to hit the goal of 10,000 new subscribers in 90 days, I believe that you need one or more of the following:

#1 – Time AND “Know How”: One of our List-a-Palooza speakers last year shared her exact strategy for adding 10,000 people to her list in only 45 days using Pinterest.  She knew what she was doing and invested a significant amount of time and energy in pulling this off. Another speaker last year talked about how to drive tons of traffic to your website for free with Deal Sites (like Groupon or Living Social).

#2 – Money to Invest in Paid Advertising: Over 1100 people joined List-a-Palooza last year from Facebook ads, and I’m challenging myself to add 15,000 people from paid advertising this year.

The key to paid advertising is TRACKING the results from each ad.  It’s amazing how wildly the results can vary from ad to ad.  I create a separate tracking link for each ad I run so that I can quickly increase the ad budget if it’s performing well or stop the ad if it’s not performing well.

It also helps to have something under $100 to sell right after people opt in so that you can calculate the ROI on your ads right away.

When people opt in for List-a-Palooza, I offer them the chance to get the List-Building Success Kit with all the recordings for an astounding 90% off.

Not only does this provide exceptional value for the investment and build tremendous good will, it also lets me know right away which ads are working and which aren’t.

When you do it this way, paid advertising doesn’t have to cost a lot.  You can start out with $5-$10 and go from there.

#3 – Powerful Relationships & Connections

If you are launching a new teleseminar or webinar or hosting a tele-summit (a series of interviews) and you have strong relationships with strategic alliances and or affiliates, you can add 10,000 people to your list in under 90 days by having them promote your launch.

For example, I just spoke on Vrinda Normand’s tele-summit, and over 11,000 people opted in for that event.

The point is…

Whether someone is just starting out or whether they already have a large list, I believe that “What you focus on expands,” and by focusing on building their lists for 90 days, especially with all of the resources they receive through List-a-Palooza, they’ll move forward MUCH FASTER!

And, then how do you do it? How does one go from adding a few people every week to thousands? What do you see as the most effective strategies for building ones list? 

Here are the 3 phases of list-building as I see them…

PHASE 1:  Getting Started

When you’re just starting out, I recommend reaching out to your sphere of influence and inviting them to receive your special newsletter or tips (whatever valuable free goody you offer on an ongoing basis). 

Here are some places to start:

  • Stacks of business cards you’ve collected
  • Contacts in Gmail (or whatever e-mail provider you have)
  • People in your cell phone
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn connections

Send them an e-mail message to reconnect, inviting them to opt in to your list.  I share some specific templates for this in my free report, “How to Jumpstart Your E-mail List.”

By the way, you need PERMISSION to add someone to your e-mail list.  Otherwise, it’s considered spam.  When someone gives you their business card, it does NOT mean they’ve opted in to your list (unless they specifically say, “Here’s my card… please add me to your list.”)

PHASE 2:  Launching

Just like a rocket uses most of its fuel to get off the ground, adding the first 1,000 people to your list is the hardest, in my opinion.

You can accelerate your results in this stage by asking for referrals, regularly posting on social media, public speaking, attending networking events, and investing in paid advertising, like Facebook ads. 

If you’re really ambitious, you can add hundreds or thousands of people to your list in a relatively short period of time by hosting a tele-summit where the speakers that you’re interviewing help promote the event. 

PHASE 3:  Leverage

As your list gets bigger and bigger, it’s easier to find strategic alliances and affiliates with bigger lists to promote you and vice versa.

Once you have an online sales funnel that converts well, it’s less scary to invest more money in paid advertising as well.

Who are the top three email lists (excluding our own) that you think really embody the principles you teach?

Tracey Lawton

I stumbled upon her website online and opted in to her list because she was offering a free goody that I thought was valuable.  Her e-mail newsletter captured my attention with good subject lines and useful articles, and I eventually purchased one of her programs.

She did a great job of building relationship with me through her e-mail newsletter, even though we had no previous connection. 

Since then, we’ve promoted each other to our respective lists with great results.

I was so impressed that I invited her to speak on List-a-Palooza.  

Kendall SummerHawk

She also does a great job of consistently providing a lot of value through her e-mail newsletter.

She spoke on List-a-Palooza last year and the training she offered was fabulous.

RC Peck

It took me 10 years to find a financial planner that I could whole-heartedly recommend to my clients, and RC is it.  He has also built a large e-mail list and a very loyal following (he’s sharing about how he did it on List-a-Palooza this year).

I really appreciate his regular Market Situation Reports and that he provides them in both video and transcription form.

What would you consider to be a good open rate and click thru rate these days for emails?

I think a decent open rate to shoot for is 20%.  As for click thru rate, it really depends on the offer so I don’t have a specific rule for that.

Do you think that building an email list is where it’s at these days? It seems like there are so many email lists to be on and I know it’s overwhelming for me (and I’m in the business!). Where do you see email fitting into the larger picture of ‘staying in touch’ with clients? There are so many options for social media now too.

Yes, I do.  Many people change their physical address more often than their e-mail address these days.  They’re still opening and responding to e-mail.

And just because they’re on your e-mail list doesn’t mean that e-mail is the only way you can communicate with them.  I also use text messaging (for people who request it), voice broadcasts, and regular snail mail. 

Also, you can use your e-mail list to create a “Custom Audience” for Facebook ads so that only people on your e-mail list see that particular ad.

During List-a-Palooza, we do weekly “Power Hours” to help build each other’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest followings, too.

Ultimately, it’s not about e-mail specifically.  It’s about taking amazing care of and providing exceptional value for your “tribe” in a way that’s also scalable for you so that you can make a big difference without burning out in the process.

You’ve also built a pretty incredible following on Facebook, could you share anything about how you’ve gone about that?

It started with a shift in consciousness…  

Most people use their Fan Pages to talk about themselves and promote their stuff.  Until the middle of last year, my Facebook page was all about me… what I was up to, what events I had going on, and so on.

Then one of my mentors advised me to stop making my page about me, and start making it about THEM (the people who like my page).

People go on Facebook to feel connected and be entertained (not to find out about your latest teleclass).

Give them what they want with funny, cute, beautiful and interesting posts, and they’ll give you what you want (likes, comments, shares, opt-ins, and sales).

So a lot of my posts have nothing to do with my business.  I post pictures that make me laugh (like kittens in tea cups).  

I know that some social media experts out there teach exactly the opposite and would sneer at me for suggesting such a thing…

But this has made my Fan Page go viral, and these cute and funny posts keep my engagement high so that when I do post about my business, people actually see those posts.

What most people don’t know is that Facebook tracks the “Virality” of every single post and expresses it as a percentage of how many people liked, commented, or shared out of the total number of people that saw that post.

If even one post has under 2% virality, Facebook stops showing your posts to as many people, even though they’ve liked your page!

That’s why most Fan Pages in our industry have NOTHING going on… it’s like a graveyard, which is heartbreaking because the owners of these pages have put all this time, effort, and possibly even money into growing these pages, and it’s they’re not going anywhere.

If this has happened to your page, you can build the engagement and “Virality” back up by posting some viral images (feel free to recycle some of the images on my Fan Page) and investing a few dollars in promoting those posts (click “Promote Now” in the bottom right of the post). 

To check out PJ’s upcoming List-a-Palooza click here.

Seven Community Building Lessons in Becoming a Hub

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.32.03 AMThere’s an incredible power in being a ‘hub’ in your community. When people get that you’re genuinely committed to the well being of your community, they will trust you more. While everyone is running around trying to get status, you are gaining stature in the community. Paris Hilton has status. Oprah has stature. 

And, one of the fastest and most powerful ways to become a hub in your community is to gather the existing hubs together.

When you do this, everyone wins. You win because you are now known by all your key hubs. Your hubs win because they get to connect with each other. The community wins because a community with well connected hubs works better. 

On October 20th, 2012 sixty of Edmonton’s baddest ass do gooders got together for a day of networking and community building at The Good Hundred Experiment (which was naturally followed by the Good Hundred Party).

It’s an event I was co-organizing with my colleague Nadine Riopel, author of The Savvy Do Gooder as a project of The Local Good (a project I co-run in Edmonton).

The Story of The Good Hundred Experiment . . .

Here’s how it came to be: In the spring of 2012, there was an election on in Alberta.

In early 2012, a group of young people in Edmonton decided they wanted their generation to be more informed and involved. They planned a viewing party for the leadership debate; something that many 20 and 30 somethings would be unlikely to check out on their own, and even less likely to discuss with friends.

By making it a social event at a bar, they got over 70 young people to show up, pay attention, and talk it over. They made it cool and easy to engage in the political process. They achieved their goal of creating more politically active young adults.

Seeing this, Nadine was inspired. It reminded her that there were many ways to do good, and many amazing people finding their own paths to the change they wanted to see in the world every day. She decided that she wanted to take a closer look at some of these folks, and at how they were generating such fantastic results.

So she started the Edmonton Do Gooder Project to profile several amazing local do-gooders and their work. One of the first people on her list was me.

Hearing about the project, I was struck by how many do gooders I’ve seen making positive things happen, in different sectors and using different approaches. But many of them don’t know each other. Living in the same city; sometimes even working on the same issues.

So many moments of, “how do you not know this person?!”

And I’ve seen how so many are struggling to get over the same hurdles; not enough money, volunteers or resources to get the work done; overwhelm; burnout; and such steep learning curves.

It’s so easy to get stuck in our various silos (e.g. anarchists hang out with anarchists, academics don’t tend to mix with entrepreneurs, etc.).

And I decided to approach Nadine with the idea of bringing these people together for a day of connecting, and of working together to make each do-gooder’s path a little smoother.

And the Good Hundred Project was born.


Seven Community Building Lessons

Lesson #1: Have a clear objective and perspective.

There are few things worse than bringing together a group of amazing people and saying, “We should all do something together. What you do you all think it should be?”

That way lies madness. You can get away with that move once. Maybe twice. But after that your credibility is gone. Those events are largely a waste of people’s time.

It’s far better for the convener to put out the word that, “We’d like to bring _____ kinds of people together to explore ________/ have ________ kind of experience/ learn how to _______.”

Something people can ‘get’ right away.

If no one responds then it’s probably because they didn’t experience that as a real need in their community. If there’s no need, then there’s no need for a gathering. In our case, we saw the need for people to connect outside of their silos to get fresh support and perspectives. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones feeling that need. And so sixty people responded that they were willing and excited to spend $40 and a Saturday to attend.

We wanted to support savvy do gooders in meeting each other. That was our promise.

Ever since I founded the Jams project in 1999, I become convinced of the power of bringing good people together in a good way and trusting that good things will come from that. The Jams started with the wondering of what would happen if we brought together 30 young people for a week (from around the world who were all up to good things and in leadership roles in their communities) without a lot of guest speakers. Just letting them connect with each other.

“What are your outcomes? What are the deliverables from this?” funders would ask us. “Will there be a declaration from the youth of the world? A statement of priorities? A new network?”

“Nope,” we replied. “Just friendships. And trust. And we trust that good things will come from that over time.”

And it did. There have no been over 100 Jams in many countries. Those week long gatherings have resulted in dozens of new projects, some new organizations and hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding going towards good things in communities that, formerly, had not had access to those resources.

We had a clear objective: help Edmonton’s savviest do gooders be even more effective in what they do by connecting them with each other. Simple. We knew that through conversations with each other and just knowing about each other’s work and the resources available to them, they’d be more effective in what they do. Our belief is that by having a more strongly and tightly woven community of do gooders that, over time, this would lead to more conversations and collaborations that could help more good to be done in Edmonton.

Lesson #2: Pick your people carefully.

Over the years, I’ve learned that, outside of a clear intention based on a need in the community, 90% of an events success is about who you invite.

A big reason is that, the major reason that people decide to come to any event is because of who will be there. Especially when you’re talking about bigger movers and shakers. The busier people get, the more jealously they guard their time. If someone’s a hub they do not want their time wasted. But, if they know that the event is going to be full of people they’re inspired by and want to hang out with, they’re more likely to come.

That’s why we created an RSVP page where folks could see the photos and bios of who was coming. We updated it regularly. We wanted people to know clearly with whom they’d be spending their precious day.

It’s important to be really clear about who your event is for and to not imagine that it’s for everyone. We kept the Good Hundred Experiment secret because we wanted to make sure that we were picking people we thought would be a fit for the event – people who would add something to the conversation, as well as gain something from it. We wanted people who either had a proven track record of do gooding or were onto a really good idea and pursuing it with a lot of hustle. We wanted the attendee list to be a list that had us feel inspired to show up.

This also has a lot to do with respect, I think. Respecting the time of the people you’re inviting. Inviting the right people sets up the day to be a success.

And so, after months and months of hand picking, inviting and following up with some of Edmonton’s finest – the day finally arrived.

Lesson #3: Have a Clear Schedule and Structure, But Don’t OverSchedule

This is the hardest thing to summarize.

If the focus of the day is clear, it’s much easier to create the schedule and flow of the event.

Our focus felt very clear: help savvy do gooders in Edmonton meet each other.


So, we created a schedule and structure of the day that we thought would best facilitate that.

We started at 9am (on a Saturday. #whatwasithinking?).

People arrived, got some tea and coffee and immediately began to look at the wall full of photos and bios of the participants we’d put up (pictured right). In fact, people kept coming back to it throughout the day. When you’re designing an event, it’s not always just about the ‘schedule’ but about the structural and environmental pieces you put in place for people to connect.

The wall of bios became a way people could learn about each other without having to talk directly to the person.

We created the #good100 hashtag for twitter which people used to tweet all day.

We made sure that people sat with new people regularly.

Think ‘structure’ not just ‘content’.

Throughout the day and afterwards I heard many people voice a feeling of intimidation, ‘how did I get invited here?’ That’s how you know you’ve got the right people – they’re so inspired by each other. #goodnews.

We began with some hello’s and welcomes from Nadine and myself and then immediately invited people to people into groups of six with people they didn’t know and then gave them three minutes each to introduce themselves answering five simple questions (name, project name, what your project does, what’s coming up next for you and what you want to talk about today). Simple.

After 15 minutes, they did it again with another group of six. After the second circle, someone tweeted, “only ninety minutes in to the event and I’ve already got my money’s worth”.

Remember: our stated goal was to help savvy do gooders network. People signed up for that promise. And then we delivered on that promise.

During the day I saw so many people, who’ve been doing good Edmonton for years and years, meeting each other for the first time. I heard important conversations that I know will lead to inspiring projects in the years to come. We’re building a fertile soil of trust and letting seeds be planted so that collaboration isn’t forced or pressured but happens organically.

After the small group introductions, participants got into groups of three and each member of the triad got 25 minutes of coaching from the other two participants. This was based on the metaphor of their project being like a boat taking their communities from Island A to Island B.

The two people coaching were under strict instructions to offer no advice to their colleague for the first 20 minutes. Their only job was to ask questions, be curious and listen. I think we often jump to advice too soon.

They asked questions like, “Why do you do what you do? What is your vision for your community (Island B)? Where is your community now (Island A)? What’s your project (the boat)? And why do you do your work the way you do it? (the map)”.

At the end of the 20 minutes they were left with a much clearer sense of the persons project. And then they had five minutes to share their very best, hard won wisdom from years of doing their own projects.

For a lot of the participants, this was the highlight of the day.

We then had lunch where people were invited to eat with some new people. They found those people by reaching into the brown paper bag which held their catered lunch and pulling out a small, wooden, puzzle piece sized toy. Some people had balls, some had butterflies, some had fishes. I had lunch with a cool bunch of fishes.

And, in the afternoon, we broke off into the themes of work that folks were most passionately working on (e.g. local food, community building, women’s empowerment). This was probably the least successful and most challenging part of the day as we didn’t give very clear instructions on how to have that conversation. That was a good reminder about the importance of giving a clear intention and structure. Our intention was vague and we gave no instructions on how to have the conversation. That ended up being frustrating for many.

That was followed by breaking out into groups based around ‘burning questions’ that people wanted to explore during the day with each other (see photo on right).

I joined in on the discussion around ‘how do we make our projects diverse and accessible’ which, for me, lifted up some excited ideas for the future of the Good Hundred Experiment.

Lesson #4: Uniqueness is not a weakness. Diversity makes us stronger.

To quote participant Waymatea Ellis, “Uniqueness is not a weakness.”

I worked as hard I could to make the event as diverse as possible (in terms of age, gender, ethnic background, type of work etc.).

I believe that diversity gives us more points of view. It makes us wiser and our solutions better. It helps complicate things in the most wonderful way. It gives our projects and perspective subtle nuances they would never have had before.

The group we had was amazing and fairly diverse and I’m excited about the possibility of have more young people, more ethnic diversity and also to have more funders, foundations and granting agencies present so we can start connect the people with access to the money to those who most need that money.

It’s easy to get trapped in our silos and have our events be only activists, only white people, only the hip hop scene . . . but our communities can be explicit without being exclusive. They can be clear in themselves and honour the unique gifts they have to bring and their unique natures but also build bridges with other communities.

I think that bridges make communities richer.

Lesson #5: Representative Leadership.

What’s clear to me is that, if we want the next event to be more diverse, we can’t simply invite a more diverse crowd, we have to have the leadership of the Good Hundred Experiment be representative of the communities we want to attract. They need to be involved in the design of the next event (which we hope will be a two day event) the selection of participants and the facilitation.

To have an all white facilitation team try to run an event for a group that’s majority people of colour, or an all male facilitation team running an event for women, or an all straight team running a healing workshop for the LGBTQ community, or a group of billionaires being the only facilitators of a program for those who are struggling financially . . . wouldn’t be optimal.

Recently in the United States there was a panel of women’s reproductive health issues . . . without a single woman on it.

Barack Obama is the first black president and that brought out people to vote who had never voted in their lives because they’d never seen their own interests or community represented.

When we started the Jams project, the first event was a fairly diverse mix of participants with four white, North American facilitators and one facilitator from Mali. But, after a few years, the groups are far more diverse and so are the organizing and facilitation teams. The facilitation seems to represent the people in the communities which makes everything easier. And the diversity adds an intelligence and richness to the design of the event – more heads are better than one.

I have consistently found that when I facilitated with others who came from different backgrounds of race, class, gender etc. – they noticed dynamics in the group that I was 100% oblivious to – hadn’t clocked it at all. But they caught it. Which allowed us to adapt and respond beautifully.

There’s nothing more welcoming than to see that the leadership of a group putting on your event has someone who looks like you, comes from your background and who represents you. It relaxes you.

In our table exploring this theme of diversity, we talked about how even the venue one chooses can affect how welcome and excited people are to come to your event. An organizer of the Latin American Film Festival had noticed that the Edmonton Latin Community wasn’t that excited about coming to the U of A for the festival, ‘It’s so far! I always get lost! I don’t know my way around!’ they would tell him. A member of the community is more likely to know these things and save you from expensive mistakes. 

It’s also one of the reasons that niching around your past wounds and struggles is so powerful. You’re a native to the territory, not a tourist. Whenever I see people choosing target markets they have no background in, I know they’re in for a steep learning curve. They will have to learn the language, tastes, values, point of view and so much more of the community they’ve chosen to serve before they get anywhere. If you want to be a in a position of leadership in a community, it helps if you’re from that community. If you’re wanting to create an event serving multiple communities – make sure that the leadership of the event is representative of that.

When your following looks at you and your team, they should be able to see themselves in you.

Lesson #6: Celebration!

It can be easy to get caught up in work, work, work.

But so much of the glue that holds communities together comes from informal socialization and celebration. Parties. Potlucks. Picnics. Gatherings with no agenda other than to enjoy each others company.

The evening of our event was the Good Hundred Party. While the day had been invite only – the evening was open to everyone to come. In the end, we had about 100 of Edmonton’s finest do gooders and community members.

I saw many good folks catching up after months of being out of touch and new connections being made.

By the end of the night, I had completely lost my voice and left while the party was still bumping knowing that folks were still weaving itself just fine without me.

It’s an exciting time for the Edmonton do gooding community. The more we get to know each other, the more possibilities there are for collaboration. And the more we work together, the happier we’ll be.

Lesson #7: Reflection – Bringing in the Harvest

Make sure you take time regularly to reflect on your event. What went well? What went poorly? Ask for feedback.

At the end of the Good Hundred Experiment, we passed out index cards and invited everyone to write down, on one side, any reflections they had one the day – what they loved, what they’d change, what they’d love to see next time etc. On the other side, we asked them to write down the specific names of everyone who they wanted to see there next time. Many of these names were completely new to us.

Sit down and reflect on your event and harvest the learnings from it to make sure your next event is even better. Write it all down and make clear outlines for activities so that you can give them to any facilitator in the future and have them run it succesfully. Reflection can allow you to scale what you’re doing so it doesn’t just rely on you. It allows you to create checklists, outlines and instructions so that others could step in and have a successful experience. That’s how things grow.

If you try to do it all yourself and you aren’t willing to learn from your experiences your efforts will become stale quickly and you will burn out.

For more reflections on the day . . .

To read reflections from other participants you can go to Nadine Riopel’s blog post You Are Not Alone, Deborah Merriam’s blog post or to the Natural Urban Mama’s blog post.

To see more photos from the day click here.

To read a storify account of the day from the point of view of Twitter click here.

To read a storify account of the party from the point of view of Twitter click here.


niche case study: healing for healers

Tim Emerson is a trooper.

He participated in the Niching for Hippies program I ran in the summer of 2012. And, like many, he struggled with this idea of niching. I can’t even count the number of times he’d come to the group with what he thought was (finally) a workable niche, only to get a ‘meh’ and ‘please try again’ reaction from the group. Lots of encouragement but nothing seemed to be clicking for people. But Tim wouldn’t give up. He kept trying. Kept sitting with it. Came at it from so many angles when a lot of others might have just given up on the whole thing. Tim was committed. And, given that the Latin roots of commitment come from the verb ‘to begin’ that certainly fit because Tim seemed to always be starting from scratch.

And then, finally, something clicked and has been slowly unfolding since that moment.

What follows is an interview with him and my personal thoughts on where he might go next with it all.


Name: Tim Emerson, Kwan Yin Healing


What is the niche you’ve come up with? Who is it? What are the problems they struggle with?

You know how healers can sometimes struggle to feel connected with the light they felt when they first learned their practice?   Too much space between clients limits their practical growth, and they wish they had the intuition and results they see other healers demonstrate.   They truly want to make a difference, to share their gifts, but as time passes, doubt creeps in, and they wonder if they’re just kidding themselves, if they can really help after all, whether their gifts are real.  They can feel somewhat empty, disconnected, and disheartened.   They wonder sometimes how they can heal others when they’re struggling with healing their own doubts, fears, and limitations. 

What’s the result you are helping them to achieve?

Well, what I do is help them to brighten that light and to keep that light burning, to reconnect them to the feeling they had when they started so that they can continue to grow, to keep believing in themselves, and to fulfill the dream of helping others that set them on their paths initially.  I show them how to feel this connection, to experience its reality directly and demonstrably, and to facilitate their own multi-level healing from it.  I act as a catalyst for their own very real change and accelerated growth.  With these changes come a lightness of being, a clarity and direction about their life paths and spiritual directions, with insights and confidence they can then demonstrate and share with their own clients.   They can then practice authentically and confidently as healers, as just who they truly are now, getting the support and encouragement they need to learn to be genuine and to allow themselves to grow again on their life path.

How was the process of coming to this niche for you? Was it hard? Easy? A struggle? Something you’d already been working on?

I found I could generate website traffic easily, but it wasn’t qualified traffic.  I needed to find specific people–but who were these people?  Naturally, I could work with anyone, but that wasn’t going to help me with search criteria.  Whom could I best serve?  I started by asking “Who is already coming?”:

Generally people see me (or are referred) for one or more of three reasons:

1) They are suffering from chronic pain or illness, and a friend referred them (often not someone I know either).   Back pain, cancer, asthma, something medicine isn’t handling well, things like these.  There’s often an emotional heaviness as well.

2) They are in a period of uncertainty, and are looking for clarity, focus, insight, new directions.   Shifting careers, changing relationships, periods of spiritual transformation or seeking, feeling things aren’t as they should be, often accompanied by some angst, weariness, or anxiousness about the situation(s). 

3) They came across Reconnective Healing somewhere, and article or the Internet, or read Eric Pearl’s book, and then found my name on the practitioners’ directory, and want to book a healing session or The Reconnection.   This may be for reasons 1 or 2, or they may be interested in learning about healing itself, with an eye to later training and practice.  They are curious, but ready to pay.

They are 30-60 years old, more often female (not always), middle class (low to high middle), U.S. or Canadian.  They are already open to the idea of energy and distance healing.  They lean toward green practices, liberal politics and healthy lifestyles, if often moderately so.  They are often artistic, or healers themselves, energy or traditional (nurses, counselors).  They resonate with my website imagery—forest waterfalls, Kwan Yin—and appreciate the quiet space in the middle of their busy lives.  They like me.

Particularly interesting to me was that people I didn’t know were referring clients.  But because I didn’t know them, I really didn’t know why.   I appreciated the trust, and after investigating, found these people were other healers who “figured they needed to call in bigger guns for this case.”  While honored, what could I do about this?  How could I help people who were a good fit find me?  Particularly since almost all clients are referrals–even though I frequently don’t know the source. 

At the same time, I had begun drafting my book, “Getting Unstuck:  Healing your Life,” pulling together what I had learned and preached about getting practical results even in seemingly difficult circumstances. As I recorded my thoughts and experience systematically, I also found the process clarifying those thoughts, then sparking new thoughts, and then pushing me into completely new areas of growth and experience, building the book into something much more than it was when I sat down to write it.  This process was no exception.  How would I find these strangers whom I love and who love me and what I offer?  That’s how I saw the job of niching.  What would resonate authentically with both me and my clients?

“Your deepest wounds are your truest niche.”  What had I been through? A few things came up that I had long pushed aside. Some old hurts from my early days as a musician. Some struggles emotionally. A lot of things I’d already laid out in “Getting Unstuck,” the things that brought me to the life I enjoy today. But not yet that passion, that drive, that “Yes! That’s who I serve! I love this!” And from my own book—I wasn’t going to do less than find that passion. But how?   I looked to my own interests and passions, particularly healing (of course), music, hiking, my passive solar house, but I just wasn’t seeing it.  I didn’t want to just arbitrarily pluck out a group.  How was what I did for these people any different than if they were spiritually conscious lumberjacks?  I struggled.  I reworded.  I started over.  Healing for Musicians.  Healing for Hikers.  Healing for ?????  Green Home Owners?   Local produce producers?  Every attempt to nail it down seemed to slip back out to serving the people in my large circle, all the people I was already seeing.  It was healing work.  So how to niche it authentically? 

Why this niche? What’s the story here? What can you say about your personal connection to this niche? Were you once in a similar boat? What made you think you had something to offer here?

For a while, people from Alex Baisley to my own Master Mind group had been telling me I should focus on healing for healers. My clients, many of them healers, were telling me this. Other clients came referred from still other healers. And I certainly could relate to many of the struggles they faced. The other people in Tad’s course were telling me the same thing now.

But. I just wasn’t seeing it.

Until one of the people in the course, watching me go through my open and vulnerable process, spoke up, sharing her own vulnerability. A healer herself, she shared what she sometimes felt inside, how she struggled, and how she looked at other healers and wished she felt more intuitive, more connected, more confident. How could she do this? I realized I knew how, and could help—this was already part of my healing work. Then other healers in the group added their thoughts. I was seeing it finally. This was something I couldn’t offer spiritually conscious lumberjacks. This was something specifically energy healers needed. And I could help. I wanted to help. I was excited about helping.

Healing for healers.

I got it.

I saw.

For quite a while, I hesitated to start a formal healing practice, because for years and years I’ve watched healers, massage therapists, and a host of other holistic practitioners struggle and wait and hope in vain.  Meanwhile, I had run successful businesses, from a consortium of musicians acting as a label to my own business consulting practice, and managed half a dozen others from non-profits to private sector enterprises.   I knew I needed a better business model, so waited quite a while before Tad’s “Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners” drew me a map to move beyond working with friends of friends when asked.   Kwan Yin Healing was born to serve, though, not only my own clients, but to help show, over time, others how they might construct their own dreams and reconnect their lives in practical, sustainable ways.  That absolutely applies to healers.  And now I could see a two way street.

The practice of Reconnection started when Eric Pearl was told that as a healer, it was something he needed.  When I mentioned this and explained the process of connecting meridian lines to the larger universal grid, a few people in Tad’s course said that this really landed for them.  They could see the need.  Also, I had months ago considered adding a discussion forum to my website, but hesitated because I didn’t want it to sit there idle.  

Now I could see that, while doing The Reconnection was the important service I offered healers, I could offer much more, a more targeted package of support and tools to help them on their personal journeys as well as their path as healers. 

A “Healing for Healers” forum opened the conversation for us all. 

I can now talk to people I haven’t met, learn about their struggles and needs, offer help and support, as well as offer that safe space for healers to help healers, to affirm their experiences, to guide and listen and encourage.  I wouldn’t have to work in the dark anymore, guessing what people would want and need.

What’s the response been to this so far from the people you’ve shared it with?

They.  love.  it.   The forum is still new, and in the first few months, with no advertising, attracted a few dozen users and over 700 views: and check the growing use as well.   Others share that they like the idea, but haven’t gotten around to visiting.  As it grows, it will be nice to watch conversations grow among the users’ interests.  But it’s also instructive to listen to what’s merely bubbling.  People have time for what really resonates, so I know I have interest and potential here, and now will continue to explore to find what hits for healers. 

My blog is a few months old as well, and that too is an important resource for healers.  But in a blog, even with readers’ comments, it’s the author speaking to the crowd.  Healing for Healers is the individuals in the crowd speaking for themselves–their needs, their concerns, their interests, as they see it.  That participation and involved community is what I’m building for Healing for Healers

I’ve looked at several healing “discussions” on various sites, and they are generally “Look at me and contact me for a session.”  Not helpful at all, just a posting of essentially ads.  This is the opposite.  It’s a online coffee shop for healers.  If someone wants a session, they know where I am.   That’s not the point–the idea here is to provide a useful service, and for free.   It costs me a little (to prevent adding ads), but the value of the conversation far outweighs the cost for me.  And it fulfills my objectives of being truly of service, of serving as a useful hub, and of letting people get to know me.  

When I managed a New Age book store years ago, we were continually promoting other people.  Why?  The more people interested in what we did, the better.  That other people did it too wasn’t the point.  They knew us and what we offered.  And we got to know them very well.  That’s the goal here—I want to know these people and what’s going on for them.  And I want them to know other people care and can help.

How are you planning to reach this crowd? Any sense of the best hubs right now?

The main hubs used to be new age bookstores–including one I managed back in the 80s, Seven Rays Book Store, but now they’ve gone out of business, and the closest one to me is in Woodstock, over three hours away.  Perhaps there’s some way I can start to build relationships with such places virtually.  Or do a workshop once in a while on site.  But I’m thinking times have changed, and it’s time to do something different.

I’ve learned generating web traffic is pretty easy;  qualified traffic is another matter.  I’ve dabbled in Google Ads, LinkedIn, and Facebook, all of which weren’t all that helpful the first times I used them, particularly because I was targeting everyone. 

In November, I did an informational Q&A teleseminar — the replay link is on my website – — even though my first two attempts at teleseminars fell flat.  This time, though, I specifically marketed to healers.  Since the LinkedIn market was small, and since I haven’t figured out yet how to zoom in on healers using Google Ads, I went with a few Facebook ads specifically for healers.  I also sent a press release. 

What happened? 

  • The press release was picked up coast to coast in over 100 news outlets from the Boston Globe to the San Francisco chronicle. 
  • My new email list tripled. 
  • My page jumped from obscure to page six on Google searches (I’m working on page one). 
  • 47 people opted-in to the teleseminar, a dozen listened live (where they also got a group healing), and a dozen more followed up with the replay later.  
  • And I worked with ten new clients over the next two weeks, and got great new testimonials and even video footage of a woman who had a year-long neck injury from an auto accident healed…to the subsequent amazement of her chiropractor, who reported that her neck (C1) had somehow shifted back into alignment. Were all these people healers?  No.  But marketing to healers gave *everyone* a clearer idea of who I was and what I did.  It was far more compelling.  Niching rocks.
  • I’m also finding that some of the marketing groups I’m in are excellent hubs for healers.  They see what I’m doing, and because it’s different, I stand out.  Then they see continual new and interesting activity—and they’re curious, want to know more.  Then they ask about working with me on a project.  As one healer put it, “I love what you’re doing—it’s so paradigm shifty, and I’d love to be part of it.” 

And that’s the goal.  Paradigm shifty.  And not just healers—I’m regularly getting questions about my marketing from a range of entrepreneurs, holistic and conventional, intrigued by the difference and with the success of my slow marketing technique.  Being gently but fearlessly authentic is bringing in new relationships, and with them, new potential hubs.   And maybe a new niche—Paradigm Shifters!  Wherever Paradigm Shifters congregate, I’ve got potential hubs.  After all, part of my Why is changing the world.  Getting to know other Change Makers is a joy—and a hub.

What did you learn about niching along the way?

Niching is a process of coming face to face with yourself, and as we’ve lived our lives so far to arrive at our current perceived limitations, that’s not easy to do.  Notice that my friends identified my niche long before I finally got it.  They can see from the outside. 

So much of building a business, even a holistic one, is about old fear-based approaches.   Stopping to consider new paradigms, from as simple as “You aren’t going to help everyone, and if you get honest, you wouldn’t even want that,” considering who are the ideal clients, and who are the no-thank-you clients, to moving away from “what I have to do to be successful” to asking what you really want to do, and with whom, and why, and making those consideration the basis of business, of truly focusing on whom you can best serve, is going to create a far more sustainable, enjoyable, and helpful practice that can then be the focus of practical business models worth pursuing.    And it will be authentic. 

And it’s so amazing—when I focus on my niche, instead of trying to reach everybody, EVERYBODY is suddenly interested, not just my niche.

Focusing on a niche is simply (1) more compelling, and (2) compels me to get more specific and clear about what I do, what I offer, why I offer it, how it works, and rings so true, so authentically, that people don’t *need* to “get” me to become clients.   The average client hasn’t read the bulk of my web site (according to Google Analytics).  But they continually tell me they LOVE my site.   Why?  They love how it feels, and they like the feeling they get from me, and decide to take the jump and work with me.  It’s real, and they can tell, from the inside out.

What are your next steps in exploring this niche? Any project ideas?

Yes!  “Healers’ Voices” begins in January 2013, and already got nine very interesting and diverse people have signed on

  • Erik Carlson of “A Time to Heal” (massage and holistic healing),
  • Myriam Haar of “Powerful You” (NLP/Life Coaching),
  • Marina Ormes of “Astrology Heals” (Evolutionary Astrologer and Holistic Nurse—who’s niche is “visionary healers”),
  • Carol Ann Barrows (Qigong Instructor),
  • James Burkhart of “SomaHealing” (Amazon herbs),
  • Delia Yeager (Clairvoyant, healing circles),
  • Carla Forsyth (Transference Healing/Heartself Healing),
  • Lauren Worsh of “The Art of Spiritual Embodiment” (on the Law of Attraction), and
  • Lure Wishes…from the Tasmanian wilderness! 

More to come, I’m sure—I’ve only been promoting this a week so far.  I’ll be sending an announcement with the series details in early January.  Each participant will be hanging out to ask questions on the Healing for Healers forum during a specific time, and/or offering a guest blog, and/or doing a recorded interview.   The project is open-ended, so sign on, healers!

I’ll continue adding to my blog, which also serves my niche—I’ve explored Gregg Braden and Shin-ichiro Terayama so far, as well as self-healing and perhaps the start of a Hiking for Healers niche. 

Much more to come. 

I’ll also set up an online book store and music store connected to Amazon.  One of the best parts of Seven Rays Book Store for me and our customers was recommending books and music, and I can readily offer that online here, with descriptions of the individual recommendations.   I’m sure others will offer their recommendations too.  I’d like it to be a comfortable, rewarding place so that when healers (or anyone else) looking for a new read or new music, they’ll think to stop by and see what’s new at Kwan Yin Healing.  Blog posts can delve into some of this as well, of course, and perhaps book discussions will get going on the forum–that’s one of the suggestions that came from one of the healers.  I like it.  I’d like to see Kwan Yin Healing become a hub.

What would you say were the top three lessons you learned about niching from going through the six week Niching for Hippies program?

First, look at who is already coming to you.  Notice now those interactions play out.  For whatever reason, my clients trust me before they get here, and they’ve already decided to enroll in something.  I’ve never had a conversation about cost, with anyone–they just pay.  That’s unusual, so I can look to uncovering both why that is so I can do it better, and to turning my efforts to the areas that aren’t yet up to speed–better clarity, better programs, better visibility in my case–but first recognizing that none of that would matter if I didn’t first decide who I was attempting to reach.  More traffic to my site isn’t needed, as I’m largely a one on one provider.  What I needed was better qualified traffic, and for that, I needed to get clear about niche. 

Second, start with hubs.  I watched two excellent workshops pass by with insignificant enrollment, because I left that step for last.  No.  Where will you find these people?  And if your niche starts with the word “people,” it’s too broad, no matter how you qualify it next.  Pick a group that has a name they call themselves.  Period.  It can change, but if you can’t name them, you can’t find them.   Take a subset of who you’d like to reach if need be–you can’t see everyone at once anyway, so knock them off one by one.  See what works.  Stick with the ones that do and that you love.

And finally, there is NO substitute for talking to your niche.  None.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nadda.   At first that can be difficult, but in my case, my niche themselves stepped forward finally and talked to me about becoming my niche.  Now I was having that conversation.  Now they were telling me what they needed.  I knew where to find them.  And they loved being able to talk about these needs. Presto. So simple. My niche project was born—a discussion forum for healers. A safe, honest, open, compelling discussion with like-minded practitioners sharing a common set of needs. Healing for Healers.  From that discussion, oh the possibilities!  There’s still my main work, reconnecting their energy to source, a reconnection every healer needs and should experience.  But first, we can build a relationship.  That’s worth all of it right there.  People who love each other, hanging out together and helping each other.  That’s the heart of Healing for Healers.  And that’s the heart of a Niche.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I’m looking forward to developing two other potential niches.

  • Healing for Hikers might evolve into retreats or pilgrimages into the wilderness, checking into the primal peace that most people rarely experience, let alone know is part of our earth and existence.   I also developed my new self-healing thoughts and techniques practically on long hikes in the mountains, releasing aches and pains without bringing them home.   I blogged about this daily in October in “A Wilderness Hike” series — —  with awesome pictures from my Adirondack adventures in the High Peaks.  I’d love to hear hikers’ thoughts, ideas, suggestions.   How can I help?  What do you need?  What would you like to see?
  • Healing for Musicians could go in so many directions.  I’m an accomplished professional musician (classical, jazz, rock, folk, new age) and have recorded many times, including my own albums (which I’ll eventually digitize and put on my site).   I’ve also a strong background in esoteric music and healing, from ancient times and cultures to world practices.  I’m not sure where this will go, but there’s certainly potential.  Again, I’d love to hear from musicians–how may I best serve?

Something fantastic will evolve, I’m sure.   I’m also sure those best incredible ideas will come from hikers, musicians, and healers themselves.    And I’m sure I will fall in love with those authentic areas in which we can share.  

Mostly, I find that, instead of complicating “what I do,” niching has simplified and clarified my work. 

If I’m talking to healers, I can tell them I do healing for healers, starting with challenges healers face and how I help.   If I’m talking to people interested already in Reconnective Healing or The Reconnection, my approach immediately distinguishes me from the sea of generic practitioners.  One client drove four hours and stayed overnight to have The Reconnection done, even though she has a qualified practitioner in her own town. 

Her web site is all about her,” she told me, “while yours is all about the work and how it started and how it works.”  She felt I was a better fit.  Or if I’m talking about wilderness and healing, I already have resources ready to offer.

With this comes even more confidence.  I used to dread those awkward “So what do you do” questions from people unlikely to “get” it or want it.  Now I calmly tell them, “I’m a New Age hippie, and I do New Age hippie things.”  That they get, right away.  If uninterested they nod and change the subject;  if intrigued, they open the door to the conversation and show me which aspects intrigue them. 

Honestly, a niche is in no way a constraint.  It’s you, authentic and freed.  And it shows others the way in to you, what you do, why you do it, and how it fits their own lives.

It is itself healing.


My Thoughts on This Case Study:

Clarify in on the journey (i.e. the problem that’s being solved and the result that’s being offered). When I read over Tim’s answers to the first two questions about the problem he solves and the results he offers . . . there were a lot of words. It felt a bit overwhelming. Developing a marketing message and clear platform is often a lot like cleaning your bedroom. It often gets worse before it gets better. It gets messy because you’re pulling everything out to reconsider and piling it on your bed to decide what to do with it. And, if you stop there, you’re far worse off than you were, but it you push through that ‘groan zone’ and ‘messy middle’ your room ends up so much cleaner and more uplifting to be in. Tim is well on his way.

The next level is can you sum up the problem in seven words or less. And the result too. When you get to the heart of it, it’s usually really simple. People are craving better sleep, better dating, better sex, more money, to feel healthier etc.

In Tim’s case what jumped out were these phrases:

  • The Problem: Self Doubt. “They wonder sometimes how they can heal others when they’re struggling with healing their own doubts, fears, and limitations.”
  • The Result: Confidence. “They can then practice authentically and confidently as healers”

It seems like the main journey he helps healers on is that journey. I could be wrong, but that’s what felt clearest and jumped out to me.

Whatever it ends up being, he should be able to sum it up in a single sentence or two, “You know healers often struggle with ______? Well, I help them get _________.”

If I were to take a crack at this for him it would be this: “You know how a lot of healers wonder sometimes how they can heal others when they’re struggling with healing their own doubts, fears, and limitations? Well, I help get to a place where they can practice authentically and confidently (even when their own life isn’t ‘perfect’).

You want to make sure you’re naming a struggle and a craving that, when someone in your target market hears it, they identify with it instantly.

The clearer the journey, the easier everything else is.

Blogging regularly. My colleague Marisa Murgatroyd has some brilliant things to say about blogging. But there’s no doubt that regular blogging has done me well in building up the ‘know, like & trust’ factor with my following. Blogging can help people learn about you from a safe distance. It’s a pink spoon. A free sample of what you have to offer. It helps you to articulate (and your following to understand) you point of view. That’s vital for building trust.

Clarify the rest of his platform. Right now, Tim’s got a fairly clear niche. It’s a fairly clear journey from the Island A of Self Doubt to the Island B of Confidence.

What’s not clear is what his point of view is about that journey. I want to know his sense of the steps, the process, the elements needed to make the journey. I want a clear sense of his ‘take’ on the journey and the blunders he sees healers making when they try it on their own. What are the myths surrounding the journey and what’s the truth?

I’d love to have him give me a metaphor for what the journey is like that could sum it up simply.

Clarity is power.

As Tim expands out, there’s a need to keep rooting deeper in clarity. Right now his platform is getting clearer but his container is a bit weak. A common error is to get the inklings of a platform and then want to promote it high and wide, but I would tend to encourage a bit more slowness and developing the business a little bit to be ready for it. It would be like getting the idea for a theme party and then inviting everyone over to your house that night before you’ve had a chance to tidy (let alone decorate) when it would be just as easy to do it the next week.

Redo his website for this niche of healers. Right now, I’d give his website about 30%. It feels a bit cluttered. My sense is that he’s well outgrown his website and needs to upgrade so that the external perception of his work matches the internal reality. I was in a similar place for years where I came to hate my old website but, until I met Jaime Almond, felt trapped. If you’re in that boat, get help. But, in addition to a general upgrade and makeover, I would love to see the homepage and his bio (and website in general hone in this niche of healing for healers because, right now, that doesn’t jump out to me.

He started with a niche project which is brilliant.  Instead of jumping into a website redo, he started with creating a forum as a part of his existing website to experiment. Brilliant. Start small. Start with a niche project that can allow you to see if the niche really feels right. He’ll know when he’s ready to take the next step. But it’s far better to go a bit more slowly than you need than too fast where you over commit to something you aren’t really ready for that doesn’t feel like a fit.

I’m a New Age hippie, and I do New Age hippie things.” – I love this. This might just be one of my favourite ways of introducing oneself I’ve ever heard. It’s so honest, self effacing yet composed and such a clear filter. It’s funny and will evoke either a leaning in response or a leaning out response. It’s a good reminder to see if you can find a ‘hook’ when you introduce yourself. Sometimes that will come from an oxymoron, sometimes from something like this. I think what I love about it is that it makes it clear that he doesn’t take himself too seriously – there’s a humility there. Arrogance is not attractive.

More Content:  In addition to blogging, there are more forms of content. The Healers’ Voices is a great idea. It reminds me of the Soul Filled Cafe idea that my colleague Heather Gray has used to successfully grow her practice. Doing interviews (audio, video or transcripts) and then offering those as downloads (free or paid) would be a great way to build things.

Develop a Signature Talk: While his work may not end up being a fit for TED talks, I would love to see Tim hone his message down to a twenty minute talk he could put up on his site. I’ve been thinking about this a lot for clients of mine – developing a ‘signature talk’ that communicates the heart of what you have to others.

Free Offer: I would love to see Tim’s site offer a ‘free gift‘ to anyone who signs up on his email list. Something targeted directly towards healers. It can make a dramatic, positive difference in who opts in to your email list.


niche case study: birthing your sacred work

Tomar is such a wonderful down to Earth woman who’s so inspired about helping to shift things in the world in a positive direction. She participated in my last Niching for Hippies program and we got along like two peas in a pod because of our mutual distaste for overly hyped and pushy marketing.

Basically, Tomar works as a life coach. But that’s just the ‘boat’ that she uses to get her clients on their journey from Island A (where they have problems they don’t like) to Island B (where they get the solutions they crave). And there are so many ‘life coaches’ out there. So many. And no one really wants ‘life coaching’ anyway. They want help in getting from where they are to where they want to be (even if that means from ‘I’m fuzzy and confused’ to ‘I’m clear about what I want’).

So, Tomar narrowed in on her niche to women. But not just any women, women past 4o. And not just any women past 40 – women past 40 who want to make a big difference in the world. And not just any kind of a difference. From conversations with her I know there’s a tone and flavour to it. It’s about sacred work. It’s aligned with the writings of authors like Barbara Marx Hubbard. Sometimes that can be a really vital piece of figuring out who’s a fit – the vibe, the shared tone and values. It’s a handy question to ask, ‘What authors do they like?’ It can tell you a lot about who they are and what kind of wording to use and where to find them.


Name: Tomar Levine

What is the niche you’ve come up with? Who is it? What are the problems they struggle with?

Transformationally-inspired women past 40 who feel called to make a difference in the world and contribute to the global awakening.

They long to find their own sacred work, something they can devote their lives to that makes a real contribution. But they have difficulty getting their gifts into the world. They often lack confidence in the value of what they have to offer, and/or don’t know how to create a business. They may have been stuck and dissatisfied for years, but are determined to break through that now. They can no longer stand the pain of ignoring this inner prompting and are afraid of “dying with their music still in them.” They are determined to finally live their purpose.

What’s the result you are helping them to achieve?

I help them identify their purpose, connect to their passion so it fully lights them up, clarify and then “package” their gifts, clear their inner blocks, and lay the foundations of a solid plan, so they can create a thriving business that helps change the world.

How was the process of coming to this niche for you? Was it hard? Easy? A struggle? Something you’d already been working on?

It was something I had already been working on. This process was more a refining and confirmation. The hardest part for me was distinguishing between my “big circle” and “little circles” and defining my niche as specific enough.

Why this niche? What’s the story here? What can you say about your personal connection to this niche? Were you once in a similar boat? What made you think you had something to offer here?

The Big Why of this niche is really the Big Why of my life. What I really care about is finding my own sacred work so I can contribute to global awakening. It’s taken me a long time, I’ve tried many paths, I’ve lacked confidence in myself, and I’ve been very frustrated even to despair. So yes, the story of this niche is my story.

But it’s not just a problem I can identify with and therefore help. The real “story” here is that this is the essence of what I care about in life and believe is most important right now. One way I can contribute to the global shift is by freeing others to make their contribution. Especially women, especially those souls who have so much to give that the world needs right now.

What’s the response been to this so far from the people you’ve shared it with?

Amazing. The people who respond – including several in our class – respond really strongly, recognize themselves and seem to feel as passionately about it as I do. This has been very encouraging.

How are you planning to reach this crowd? Any sense of the best hubs right now?

I’m going to invite people to a series of free teleseminars, starting with my own list and posting on Facebook, including several groups I’m part of. After that I’ll approach coaches, mentors, and practitioners who reach an audience of spiritual women and entrepreneurs and ask them to host my call.

Actually, I am aware of a number of very successful mentors who appeal to exactly this group, so I know there’s a lot of my ideal prospects on the Internet. I’m also aware of many who belong to the Shift Network, and have been involved in some of the same groups I have. I’m hoping that by offering a series of free calls, and using powerful, evocative language, I will start to attract “my” people.

What did you learn about niching along the way?

I learned so much about niching. I’d never heard the concept of Big and Little Circles before – that’s so brilliant. I got even clearer on the concept of the “journey,” and the importance of putting the emphasis on that. And really, that niching – defining who you help, how, and with what – is the first step of creating your business.

What are your next steps in exploring this niche? Any project ideas?

I am starting with the free teleseminars, from which I’ll invite people to have a free consult with me, and then invite them into my coaching programs and VIP Days, which I’m still refining. I also expect to turn the same content into a six-week class down the line a ways. It all centers on “Birthing Your Sacred Work.” (I bought that domain.) My website is virtually finished and this class helped me nail the language I needed for reaching out to my prospects. This whole process helped me get more courageous in how I’m expressing myself, not holding back.

What would you say were the top three lessons you learned about niching from going through the six week Niching for Hippies program?
1) It’s worth taking the time to go deep with this process.

2) The more you explore yourself – your wounds, your gifts, your passions – the easier it is to find your right niche. And . . .

3) If you can find a niche that really comes from your inner self, isn’t chosen for a strictly strategic reason, the happier you’ll be, and most likely the more successful as well.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I am so grateful for having found this class, to have had the chance to work closely with you, and to have been part of this amazing community of passionate, committed fellow-seekers. This has been totally absorbing, fun, and richly rewarding.

Marketing for Hippies is the antidote I’ve needed, for all that I find objectionable in the marketing/coaching world. Thanks for being your generous, genuine, totally original, totally dedicated and pure-hearted self. What you are doing is such a gift to us all!


What I Might Do If I Were Her:

Niche Tighter - I think she’s done a wonderful job on niching and my guess is that there are still some subgroups within this group that are big enough to be profitable. I’m not sure which direction to go with that but her current niche is verging on the side of ‘Big Circle‘ for me – meaning it’s really broad. The more narrowly we niche, the easier it will be to find hubs. Although, hubs like The Shift Network are a great start.

Offer follow up to retreats for these women – If she finds people who are leading retreats for these women she might approach the workshop leaders and say to them, ‘How would you like it if I offered follow up and integration sessions with these women to help them take the next steps.’ I imagine there are a lot of workshop leaders who really don’t offer their own follow up and might be thrilled to see that happen. Of course, she could sweeten the pot immensely by creating a business arrangement where the workshop leader gets a generous cut on business she gets from it.

I have a friend Dev Aujla whose project specialized in doing follow up from youth conferences. The poor conference coordinators had no capacity to do follow up support for the inspired young people but they knew it was needed.

Blog! – Blogging could be a very powerful tool for Tomar to get known and create a solid container to receive this women. What most people misunderstand about blogging is that you don’t have to write everything yourself. You don’t have to be a content creator. You can also be a content curator. She could find TED Talks, videos, articles etc. from other sources to share. She could interview the authors who most inspire these women. Her blog could become a hub for the kind and vibe of info that these women would most love.

Speak at conferences. Speaking is a powerful way to get known. If she could identify the kinds of conferences these women go to and start speaking at them – even the smaller local ones and build up it can help a lot. But she could also do what my colleague Teresa de Grosbois did and host big name speakers to come into town for a speaking gig and be the ‘opening act’ for them. It was a brilliant move that instantly elevated her status in Calgary.

Clarify her point of view. She’s promising to help these women get from a place of wanting to make a difference to actually making a difference. But why should anyone believe her? Could just be hype. So, while the promise is relevant and enticing it’s not credible until people begin to understand your ‘system’ – the steps you take people through to help them predictably arrive in the same place. If you have no system, no set up steps, no map . . . then why on Earth should be people trust you? Having a clearly articulated and easy to understand point of view is vital. In fact, most successes I can think of are successful due to this. You can check out a beginning list of fifty real life examples I have here. No one is going to pay a lot of money to sign up for a high end coaching program if they don’t really get and understand your system.

Who can she outsource the other parts to that she doesn’t want to do? In talking with Tomar, I came to understand that she’s excited to get these women going but she doesn’t want to have to become an expert in the nitty gritty of marketing and business administration. She wants to help these women find a vision, create a basic structure and then pass them on to others who can help them take the next steps. Finding the partners she can direct people to when she’s done her piece could be a source of income but also will free her up to really focus on the parts she does best.

Find hubs that aren’t other coaches. There are a lot of coaches out there focusing on the very market that Tomar is. And, while they’re reaching the same people, they’re unlikely to want to send business her way as they might see that as taking business away from them. So, finding other websites, blogs, online forums, authors, groups and events where she can connect to these women is vital. If she likes going to conferences and gatherings, there are things like the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Humanity Unites Brilliance, Humanity’s Team and many more that are started around the work of authors whom her ideal clients might be into.


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

mini case study – slow marketing really works

How would you like it if clients loved you so much they drove three or four hours to see you?

They will if it feels like it’s a fit.

I just got this note from a client of mine, Tim Emerson. And it reminded me of the importance of the slow marketing approach and how effective it can be in building trust with people over time. And how, even when Tim is clear that his website needs work, it is still helping him get clients. Sometimes, marketing can feel overwhelming and like if you don’t do it all then it won’t help. To me the best part of building your website is that, once it’s up, it’s basically good for the next year or so (and is working for you while you sleep).

“As much as my web site needs (and will get) a redesign (as I have time…in progress), I got a lesson from a client this morning. She drove here yesterday from her home town (got a room for the night) for a $333.00 Reconnection (she has been a distance healing client for a while), even though there’s someone in her town who could do this for her. “Her web site is all about her, and then just ‘here’s the session information.’ Your web site isn’t about you really–it’s about the experience. You give credit to Eric Pearl for developing it, and post his and Lynn McTaggart’s books; I watched all the videos–and I like to travel, so it was worth the extra money to come and do this with you.”

Bam. Yay for the journey, and yay for pink spoons, even when I can’t see that people are using them. Clients who pass local practitioners by to work with me, via distance or four-hour drive. Yay for starting to make my web site a hub for people, even with all of its current faults (“sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good”). Guess where I learned all that, Tad Hargrave???? :) In other terms — ONE CLIENT alone (not to mention all the others) more than covered the cost of “Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners.” I’m a happy client.”

three marketing lessons from the man behind mother earth news

Bryan Welsh is likely not someone you’ve heard of. But if you’ve ever read Mother Earth News, Utne, Natural Home & Garden, The Herb Companion, Grit or The Farm Collector – then you’ve read one of the magazines his company Ogden Publications owns.

And, last night, I had the pleasure of seeing him speak at the Social Venture Institute at the Hollyhock Center on Cortes Island, BC. His presentation felt like a mix of Mark Twain, farmer and media mogul – relaxed, charming, engaging story telling.

Brian grew up doing farming as a young man and then worked in every possible role in the small town newspaper business – eventually becoming the owner of many of the most important progressive magazines worldwide.

And he had some real gems from a business and marketing perspective that I just had to share.

Lesson #1: Abstract vs. Practical Point of View

He felt that Mother Earth News did so well because it had always been about ‘cool stuff you could do.’ vs. just ideas, a critique of the dominant culture and the economy. That struck me. He pointed out that, economically, media properties that are about ‘ideas’ tend not to be as consistent money makers. Mother Earth News does much better than Utne.  People just don’t want to pay a lot of money to hear your ideas. It’s a hard business model.

I talk a lot about point of view in marketing and how important your perspective is.

But his sharing reminded me that point of view is almost always more clear and compelling when it’s infused into things rather than when it’s just talked about abstractly.

It’s one thing to talk about the principles of being a loving parent (e.g. be respectful, be kind, be loving etc) but it’s far more useful (for a parent) to have ‘here are five ways you can deal with your child not cleaning their room in a kind, respectful and loving way’.

It’s one thing to talk about the importance of honesty and integrity in marketing. It’s another thing to say, ‘here’s a five step process to filling your workshops with honesty and integrity.’

It’s one thing to say be sustainable and eco friendly in your lifestyle. It’s another to say, ‘here’s how to make natural cleaners with all natural household ingredients.’

It’s okay to talk abstractly, but make sure you give a lot of real world examples. Have your point of view show up in your practical, how-to info and you’ll have fans for life.

Lesson #2: Free Random Info Isn’t That Useful

We live in a day of free information. You want to know how to do anything, someone has an entire blog dedicated just to doing that. 100 people have created youtube videos on how to do it. And it’s all free.

Of course, the immediate challenge that arises is . . . who do you trust? What if there are conflicting opinions on how to get the job done? Holy overwhelm.

Brian pointed out that, ‘Information from a recognized source, in a voice you’re familiar with, values you understand on subjects you’re passionate about has more value than random free information you can find in abundance online.’

But let’s break that down.

  • recognized and trusted source: sometimes this comes from just sticking around for a while, building your relationship of trust with your following. They come to know, like and trust you. You become a trusted advisor because you’re such a generosity based business, you offer so much free content, you make it safe for your clients to get to know you. You showcase lots of case studies and examples of your work to demonstrate your expertise. And the easiest way to become a trusted source is to hone in on a particular niche.
  • a voice you’re familiar with and enjoy: this question of having a particular voice is powerful. When we say ‘voice’ we’re not talking about how it sounds when you speak but about the particular vibe, point of view and tone of your expression. Some people speak in a very conservative voice, some have a sexy voice, some have a politically radical voice, some have a quirky and fun voice. And people will be drawn to you based on your voice. Not just what you say but how you say it. The more you find your voice, the more you’ll attract clients who love you and are drawn to you just because you’re the way you are.
  • values you understand and resonate with: some times it’s so confusing why some people believe things. I don’t get the values of a white supremist. It makes no sense to me. If someone was a political conservative they might not get my hippie values. They’d look at how I do things and what’s important to me and shake their head.  It’s so wonderful to walk into a cafe and see how it embodies your values. For me, when I see fair trade coffee, local and organic food etc. I ‘get’ it. I understand those values. I resonate with those. When I see that a business embodies a bigger cause than just money that I also am aligned with I’m so much more likely to buy because, by supporting them, I am helping to further the cause I’m passionate about too. People don’t just buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Stop trying to change minds and focus on the people who resonate with your values.
  • on subjects you’re passionate about: again, abstract points of view aren’t that compelling for people. But points of view on subjects I’m passionate about? I’m super interested in (if they’re from a recognized and trusted source, in a voice I’m familiar with and enjoy). Those topics might be nerdy and they might be about pressing problems I want to solve or how to get results I’m craving.

It’s not enough just to talk about subjects people are passionate about. You need to build your credibility, develop your particular voice and clarify your value.

Lesson #3: Berries. Don’t put pictures of berries on magazine covers. Peoplle dont’ buy them. Any other fruit or vegetable can work. But people don’t like berries. #nowyouknow

Are you ready for the spotlight? An interview with PR genius Nancy Juetten

A lot of people want to get discovered.

They dream of speaking on big stages to tens of thousands of people. They dream of being on Oprah. They dream of having a best selling book.

My frank opinion is that 99% of these people are not ready for that kind of spotlight.

To be even more frank, most people are barely ready for their aquaintances to discover what they do.

To be as frank as I can be, most people, instead of bemoaning their obscurity, should be profoundly and truly grateful for it because they are not ready for the next level yet. They are not ready for the kind of web traffic, attention and the glare of the spotlight yet. If they were to be discovered it could be a minor disaster. Like meeting the person of your dreams a few years too soon. Like getting on a really importance stage without a speech prepared. Going on Oprah with no website set up yet.

I’ve seen a lot of these squandered opportunities in my day.

But if you feel called to step up to the next level of being discovered – it’s hard for me to think of anyone better for the job than Nancy Juetten. Nancy is sweet but no nonsense PR whiz. She will always give it to you straight how ready you are. She’s got a new program coming out soon and so I thought I’d interview her on the topic and ask her a bunch of questions I’ve been meaning to ask for a while. 

Her answers don’t disappoint but were incredibly specific and to the point. This is some straight marketing ‘real talk’.

If you’re introverted by nature but still feel called to take the next step in getting out there give this a read. You’ll find encouragement, direction, candor and some immediately actionable things you can do to be ready for when opportunity comes knocking.

And make sure to check out her free call on September 18th if her answers resonate with you. Just click here for more info.


Tad:  You help people get more high visibility gigs. You help people get discovered. How do you do this?

Nancy: When my clients discover the beautiful intersection between who they are here to serve and what makes them the best available talent to bring about the relief or the benefit, something magical happens.   It’s like there is wind infused beneath their wings.  Their confidence grows.  Their message resonates with more of the right people.   Opportunities come knocking, and they have the confidence to seek out more of the perfect opportunities to serve their lead generation efforts.

Tad:  Why do you think so many people with a lot to offer languish in obscurity?

Nancy:   Oh Tad, I could write a sonnet about the languishing in obscurity bonnet!  Part of the challenge for a great many people is that they struggle with what some may refer to as shameless self-promotion.  They feel too humble to call attention to their gifts and talents.  Some are simply allergic to this effort entirely and would rather hire out the task to someone else.  

The trouble with this is that far too few folks have the budget or the resources to do this in a big way, so their messages may not get heard.   What I often say is that no one cares more about your success than you do.  How much of your success are you truly willing to delegate to someone else, especially when the message matters so much?   Ever since the Great Recession, I have been advocating for self-employed business professionals to learn these essential skills so they need never have to be beholden to expensive publicists or copywriters ever again.  I still believe that in my bones, now more than ever.

Tad: What are the big blunders people make that keep them from being discovered?


  • Not being clear about the specific “wow” or benefit they provide.
  • Hiding under a bushel basket and hoping the right people will find them.
  • Not being ready when opportunity knocks.   There is a whole lot of hoping, wishing and praying going on that the right client or person of influence will call tomorrow or one day soon.  But if he or she actually did call, would you have clarity around the specific ways you can serve that person?  Are your programs and packages ready to share at a moment’s notice?   Do you have a signature talk that you are ready to share by teleseminar, webinar, or live when the next coveted invitation comes your way?   There are a great many people who are “winging it” and not flying very high as a result.   Being ready to welcome opportunity is a huge piece toward being in great position to say YES and step through the doors to opportunity gracefully.

Tad:   Imagine you’re a high profile hub, and I’m approaching you to give me a spot on your stage or to get an article written in your magazine.  What are you looking for in me to know if you want to support me or not? What do these mega hubs look for?

Nancy:   This is a very good question.  

Let’s say you want your expertise showcased via an influential podcast that reaches 50,000 people who are precisely the right people who can benefit from your expertise or guidance.  

My first recommendation would be to listen to prior podcasts to find out the approach the host takes with the interviews.  Have enough interest in the program to pay attention to it so you can frame your own expertise to be a perfect fit for that audience.  

When you make your approach to the person who makes those decisions (you can likely find his or her name noted on the “contact us” section of the website), you can say that you have listened to several of their most recent podcasts and know they love to empower their listeners to achieve a specific result.   And, you also have a specific area of expertise that can guide them along that journey in a refreshing way that will turn their heads and cause them to think differently about a particular issue or concern they are facing in their businesses.   

As a direct result of listening to you, they will learn three essential tips and techniques to do exactly that.   Over the last decade, you have finely honed these skills in service to an audience very much like theirs and earned rave reviews.  In fact, your most recent (ebook, program, or best-seller) just (won an award, sold out for the 10th time, or some other important, measurable accomplishment) to prove that point.  

And, since this (emerging trend, upcoming election, or other timely and relevant situation) is top of mind right now, you were thinking that this topic might be of service to the audience, now more than ever.

Tad, getting your expertise showcased in the media that matter for your message is really about presenting your expertise in such a way that it is timely, newsworthy, relevant, interesting, and worth talking about.  

Think first how you can serve the audience, and tailor your comments and approach to be a perfect fit. 

It’s really all about service to the audience.  And it’s also important to be clear about what you want the listeners to DO as a direct result of hearing your message.   This is among the biggest mistakes folks make when they are interviewed that can be addressed with some thoughtful advance planning.

Tad:   I often tell clients that when you play it small there’s not much heat on you, but when you enter the big time, all of a sudden there’s so much more scrutiny.  What changes as you get more discovered? What do people look at? Look for?

Nancy:   When you step onto a bigger stage and get known for what you do, you welcome an entirely new set of opportunities and challenges.    On the one hand, folks who are wishing for this level of notoriety are thinking that these are precisely the kinds of challenges they want, and they want them YESTERDAY.    As for me, I am gaining some experience with this in my own life and business.   I have absolutely gotten known in a much bigger way these last two years in particular.   And, because I describe myself as an introvert, I would not be telling the truth if I told you every day is wine and roses for me.  

  • As your influence grows, people have higher expectations of you.  
  • They may make harsh judgments without adequate insight or information.
  • When you show up at big events, people recognize you before you recognize them.   If you pride yourself on remembering names, faces, and details, this can be a bit uncomfortable.
  • If you attend a lot of live events and get photographed a lot, your wardrobe gets worn out pretty fast.   I have a favorite blue silk dress.  And I hesitate to wear it because I fear that folks are going to wonder why I don’t wear something else.   I realize this may sound ridiculous, but it does cross my mind.
  • More joint venture invitations come your way than you can possibly engage in.   Learning to say YES to the right opportunities and NO to those that aren’t a fit is something that takes some practice, trial and error, and experience.
  • You absolutely have to remember to take care not to inhale your own fumes.  You have to remain humble and keep moving forward in service to your clients and your mission and never get complacent about your brand or reputation. How you do anything is how you do everything.

Tad:  One of the things I love about your work is that you have such a focus on helping people not only get discovered but get ready to be discovered. It seems like so many people blow big opportunities because they’re so ill prepared. Where do you see that most want to be experts, and yet they aren’t prepared when they need to be?

Nancy:   I know a great many people who want to be professional speakers.   And, yet, when I visit their websites, I can’t find their speaker sheets, speaker videos, or raving testimonials from audience members or meeting planners to make it an easy YES decision for the right person to engage.   This a among the most common mistakes I notice.

Another is that experts want media attention, but they don’t make it easy for the media to find out their qualifications.   Truly, if you want to do a lot of media interviews, you should make it easy for reporters, bloggers, and other people of influence to do their homework about you. 

That means offering a variety of bios of varying length in the “about me” or “media section” of your website or blog.  For media interviews, I recommend writing these in the “third person” so any host, reporter, or broadcast journalist can read the words as presented without having to transform your “first person” story into one that can be easily read as an introduction.  

What is the back story about your journey to success?   Make it easy to find so you can have confidence that the story will be correct in the re-telling – no matter who shares it.

Tad:  A big focus for you is guiding people to create winning bios. I think your workbook Bye Bye Boring Bio is one of the best marketing workbooks I’ve ever seen. Why does this matter so much? Help draw the connection for us between your ‘about me’ page on your website and your level of success? Why is this so important?

Nancy:   When folks land on your home page, they are looking for a solution to a problem them have.  Hopefully, they are serious enough about the problem at hand that they are willing to invest into a solution to benefit from the relief.   If someone perfect lands on your site and likes what they read enough to lean in and want to know more, chances are they are going to want to know about the person whose name is on the door. 

If they land on your “about me” page and can’t find enough juice to make them get to that ‘know-like-trust’ place fast, they may not be inclined to send you an email, pick up the phone, or ask for a meeting.  

The story you tell about yourself should relate to the important work you do in service to a specific audience of people who benefit mightily as a direct result of your skills, gifts, and expertise.   If you waste the space on your “about me” page by sharing irrelevant information or “blah-blah-blah” boring information that doesn’t engage the reader in the least bit, you are wasting precious real estate that could otherwise be applied toward guiding website visitors to become buyers, fans, followers, and referral sources.   

Always ask yourself this important question:  What do you want your website or blog visitors TO DO as a direct result of visiting your site?

  • Do you want them to call you for a consultation?  If so, offer your phone number on the home page.
  • Do you want them to opt in to enjoy a free gift that will enhance their lives or businesses and give you the opportunity to stay in touch over time and extend relevant offers as it makes sense?  If so, offer a compelling free gift in exchange for an email opt in.
  • Do you want people to hire you on the spot as a speaker, consultant, or service provider?   If so, say so.  

So often, I notice that many website owners forget to ask this question and offer way too many choices that really don’t serve the objective that matters most.  Often it is because they never asked that initial and most important question.

Tad:  If the average ‘expert’ was put on Oprah’s show tomorrow – my sense is that most of them would totally squander that experience because they weren’t ready. Could you lay out, being real, what you think would happen to an average client before they worked with someone like you in that situation and what might happen after?

Nancy: Someone truly serious about being invited to the Oprah show tomorrow would:

  • Have a fabulous outfit that fits like a glove set aside in her closet.   There is no waiting to lose that final ten pounds.  The clothes fits perfectly and look fabulous right now.  And, jewel tones are preferred by Oprah’s producers, so take that to heart as you plan what to wear.
  • The website is set up to handle traffic of consequence without shutting down.
  • The “about us” page of the site showcases fabulous headshots of professional quality, images of the product or book, and bios of varying length.
  • The expert has ten compelling questions that she loves to be asked and to answer to guide any producer to create a fabulous program in service to the Oprah show audience.
  • Have practiced her talking points on video to identify any message stumbling blocks and transform them into messaging brilliance.
  • “Not go promo” during the interview.    Be generous, be real, be you.
  • Have watched herself on video to see if she has any nervous habits that show up as visual distractions.   Not long ago, Kirsty Ally was on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.  She was sitting on her hands.  Ellen asked her why.  She said, “My friends and family have told me I play with my hair during interviews, and it is very distracting to them.”   So, she sat on her hands during this interview, and Ellen was having some fun with her to get her to release her hands during the conversation.    She had some fun with this, but not everyone is comfortable in this kind of interview scenario.
  • Remember that as soon as she steps foot into the studio, she is ON.  Be on time, be gracious, be articulate.  Don’t swear.  Don’t speak without purpose.  Remember how you want to be known, and make sure every word and move you make reinforces that.

There are plenty of other suggestions, but this is a good start.

Tad:  You say, ‘it’s your story, tell it well’. Why does this matter? What is the role and importance of our stories in marketing?

Nancy: If you don’t tell your story well, it won’t land and position you to make the impact or difference you are here to make.   A confused mind never buys, recommends, or takes action.

If you fail to make a case for why you are the perfect athlete to deliver the impact, you may not earn the engagement to make your difference or the income that is associated with it.  

If your ideal clients cannot come to a place of “know-like-trust” so they can whip out their wallets and engage, you are forever stuck at the front door.

In the work you do with guiding clients to declare their niches, you know that out of our deepest wounds calls forth our greatest gifts to share.  Jeffrey Van Dyk was first to share this with me, and I’ve never forgotten those words.  

Believing this to be truth for just about everyone, when you share the origins of the gifts you are here to share, you let your clients know this journey is not just one that you travel for food, clothing, and shelter.  It’s a journey you have been traveling all your life.  It’s an important journey with profound rewards and results to offer.   That is beautiful, magnetic, and powerful.

Tad:   You are sharing a Bye-Bye Boring Bio – Hello Opportunity free call on September 18th at 3 p.m. PST.  If folks want to tune in, can you make it easy for them?

Nancy:  Absolutely.  Here is the link to enjoy this call. And if folks want to gain immediate access to the first chapter of Bye-Bye Boring Bio as my gift, they can.  Just visit

Nancy “Broadcast Your Brilliance” Juetten is a storyteller, workshop leader, and Bye-Bye Boring Bio PLUS! author who shows mission-driven experts how to get seen, heard, celebrated, and COMPEN$ATED for their expert status. Nancy created Bye-Bye Boring Bio PLUS! to guide service professionals, speakers, authors, coaches, and those serious about earning expert status to get ready, get known, and get paid. Leading the Broadcast Your Brilliance Webinar Series and working one-on-one with clients in her Get Known to Get Paid™ Private Mentoring Program are among the most popular ways clients engage to welcome these benefits.  An award-winning copywriter with 12 years of success running her own profitable six-figure business, Nancy has been interviewed in connection with her storytelling and publicity expertise by CNN Radio, National Public Radio, the ABC Radio Network and by engaging and talented radio talk show hosts and information gurus from across America and the world. Nancy’s essential advice is this: “It’s your story. Tell it well.”   To learn about the upcoming Broadcast Your Brilliance Webinar Series and say bey-bye to YOUR boring bio as soon as possible, visit today.

Nancy “Broadcast Your Brilliance” Juetten, 425-641-5214,

Publicity Expert Nancy Juetten is Your Get Known to Get Paid™ Mentorand a Contributing Author to the NEW National Speakers Association Book for Sale at Amazon – Speak More! Marketing Strategies to Get More Speaking Business.

Whether you love the spotlight or are just finding the courage to step out and shine, you will Get Known to Get Paid for your expert status by telling a story all your own. If you are serious about taking big steps forward to Get Ready, Get Known, and Get Paid with Nancy’s expert guidance, check out the Get Known to Get Paid PRIVATE Mentoring Program and apply for your place today.



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