Three Marketing Lessons to Pull From Rebecca Tracey’s Uncage Your Business Launch

IMG_7407Rebecca Tracey has just launched her Uncage Your Business program and there are three lessons I think it’s worth taking from it that might be able to help you in your next launch.

1) Use Case Studies: Rebecca did three case study interviews with past UYB Grads. You can watch those here.

Whether you sign up or not, you might consider the power of what she’s done as a marketing technique with these case studies by interviewing people a while after they took the course, so you can really see the results they have gotten over the long term (and not just that post-course glow that most testimonials have).

They show an accurate portrait or what someone can expect with her course – real results for a new business owner. Things like getting your first few paying clients, stopping working hourly and creating leveraged programs instead, and finally having the confidence to tell people what you’re doing in your business.

It’s something you might want to consider doing with your own programs to market them.

Note: Case studies like this are so much more powerful than testimonials because they tell a story. Also, I find that Rebecca’s conversational style in these has them land as more real and authentic that something that’s very well produced. The approach is free (just get on Skype and record it) and down to Earth. Testimonials carry 10% of the impact of these.

Another excellent example of this was done by Verge Permaculture who, instead of making a promo video about themselves made a bunch about the grads of their programs. You can watch them here.

2) Let People Spread Out Their Payments. Rebecca just opened up the possibility of a six-pay, meaning you will be able to pay for the program over six installments rather than all at once. You can take advantage of that here.

So many people don’t offer this up to their people and yet, by offering it, you can get a much stronger response. Try it in the next launch of a program you run – give people the opportunity to pay in terms and you may find that you get a lot more sales than you might have.

3) Provide Pink Spoon Content: You can learn more about Rebecca and her take on things in a blog post I just wrote entitled Eight Business Building Thoughts from Rebecca Tracey. This blog post is full of smaller pieces of content that Rebecca has been releasing throughout the launch as a way for people to get to know her without a huge time investment. This is a solid idea.

Another example of this was created on the fly last month, when I recorded a 12-minute walk-and-talk video with Rebecca while I was visiting in Toronto. Click on the image below to see it. It’s entitled “Summer Tour: Day Two – A Late Night Walk With Rebecca Tracey of”


If people have never heard about you before, it’s foolish to expect them to sign up for your program and spend hundreds of dollars with you. Safety is vital in marketing. The more ways you can give for people to safely check you out from a distance the better.

Of course, there are many ways to be strategic about this. Danny Iny has some brilliant ideas about this that you can watch in the video below.


If you’ve been struggling to get yourself out of the gates in your business, Becca’s Uncage Your Business program closes on Friday. You can learn more about it at the link below: 

Note: The link above for her program is an affiliate link. That means that, if you click on it and then sign up, I will get some money for that. It’s a part of what helps sustain my business and allows me to keep offering my live workshops on a pay-what-you-can basis at this point. I’m grateful for it. And I know the uneasy feelings that people have about affiliate deals. If you’d like to learn more about my approach to affiliate deals, you can read that here.

If you click on the link below, it won’t be tracked and I’ll receive no money if you sign up. Either way is fine. I hope you’ll check it out regardless.

Eight Business Building Thoughts from Rebecca Tracey

Rebecca_9202_Cropped_SmallRebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life (pictured right) is one of my dearest colleagues. She’s produced solid, reliable content with an attitude and personality that is unique to her.

She’s getting ready to launch her program Uncage Your Business in a few days and I wanted to do the best possible job at introducing her and her content.

So here are eight, big business-building thoughts from her.

The first six are quick, straight-to-the-bottom-line blog posts (I’ve included some teaser text for each of them but you can click on the links to read more).

The last two are videos that require (and are worth) an email opt-in.

Thought #1: Don’t Make A Website for Your Business Until Your Read This

“Unless your business is super solid and you are crystal clear on what you do, who you work with, and how you do it, any efforts to build a website or come up with a great logo are a massive waste of your time.”

Thought #2: 3 Reason You Need to Be Selling Packages

“If you’re a coach or any other kind of solopreneur who wants to be able to work online, you might have heard me bang on and on about how to create your packages for your business. But after chatting with some people in my free Facebook community, I realized that the idea of packages may be new to you, and not entirely clear.”

Thought #3: Why Choosing A Niche is So Hard (and how to make it easier)

“My take on niche is simple. Forget avatars. Forget ideal client. Forget age ranges and demographics. Focus on PROBLEMS.”

Thought #4: Your Message And Why It Matters

“The only way you will get clients is if they can understand what you do and see that it’s something they need. If you can’t describe it or get all wordy and stay with the higher level stuff, no one will get it and their eyes will gloss over and they will head for the drink table before you even finish your 5 min rambling elevator pitch.”

Thought #5: The Best Way to Get More Clients Quickly

“I’m all about the slow build and taking the time to build something solid and sustainable – but I’m also all about paying your rent and being able to eat and stuff. So here’s what I recommend for getting clients right NOW in your business, while you work on the more sustainable methods in the meantime.”

Thought #6: 3 Ways to Sell More

“We have all seen it (and let’s be honest, we’re all sick of it). The vague, wishy washy, “sounds nice but I’d never buy it” kind of offers. The ones promising you authenticity, your best life and business, that promise to help you thrive, or raise your vibration, or find vitality, or claiming they will help you leap over the hurdles in your business (and life!), help give you energy for new possibilities. And so on. Hell, you might even be sick of your OWN packages and descriptions of your services (you wouldn’t be the only person reading this who feels that way). And being sick of your own work is NOT good for business. So how to we clear away all the clutter and actually create packages that offer results, and then sell those packages in a way that actually speaks to people?”

Thought #7 (12-min video): Why you’re not making any money in your business

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Thought #8 (20 min video): How I Grew My Business Quickly

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If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out her Uncage Your Business program.

The Four Things You Need To Do Before Marketing

If you’re struggling with your marketing, it’s likely because of things that have nothing to do with marketing.

If you can’t seem to make the tactics you’re using to promote yourself work, it’s likely not about the tactics.

In order for your marketing to work, there are things that need to be done first. If marketing is the house, then there are foundations. If marketing is the skin, then there is a skeleton.

When people lack those foundational pieces they struggle in their marketing and can’t complete most of the online marketing courses they sign up for.

I asked my friend Rebecca Tracey of (who has appeared on my blog before) to make a video about this to share with you what she sees as the four biggest things the people need to do before they do any marketing at all. The video is about 14 minutes and it’s well worth your time.

I urge you to check out her program if you’re a coach who is struggling to grow their business. I’ve sent a lot of clients to Rebecca over the years and there’s been nothing but rave reviews. I love this woman dearly and deeply trust her perspective on growing a solid, sustainable business using realistic approaches.

If you’re interested in her program you can learn more at the links below.

Affiliate Link:

Non Affiliate Link:

Five Homepage Case Studies: Directing Them Where They Need To Go

The best guide I’ve ever seen for writing your homepage is Carrie Klassen’s eBook How To Write a Loveable Homepage

And, over the years, one of the biggest questions I’ve gotten about websites and homepages is, “What if I offer three different things? How do I represent this on my site?”

The first thing is that, sometimes, the truth is that you actually need three different websites. If you’re a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker? You need three sites. People would be so confused if they saw those three things being sold on one site.

But if those three things are fairly in line with each other, “I run men’s groups, sell men’s health products and lead men’s adventure weekends,” well then… there’s a clear thread of ‘men’. So, those can all fit on the same site easily and it will make sense to people. 

Remember the old adage, “The confused mind says ‘no’.” 

We don’t want to confuse them.

We want them to hit our site and know not only exactly what it’s about but also if it’s for them. 

Now, that’s a larger question of niche which I won’t get into here, but it’s important.

Assuming you’ve got a clearish niche, you might still have a number of different things you do.

Case Study #1:

Jennifer Summerfeldt is a dear friend of mine who dove into the business world and started creating websites. But, soon, she had so many websites. She didn’t know what to do with them all or how they connected. She felt overwhelmed with what to tell people when she met them or where to direct them. As she described the different websites she had – women’s counselling, birth coaching and postpartum counselling, there was a clear thread of ‘women’s empowerment’. 

I suggested she book and put her three websites onto it in a clear way so that people could land on her site and quickly find the resources that were relevant to them, as if she had a virtual concierge standing there, directing them to whatever was most relevant in the area. Three buttons they could click. Three options.


Case Study #2:

My colleague Rebecca Tracey did a similar thing on her site by naming four particular situations her clients might be in and inviting them to click that box. This is simple and genius.

What this means is that people won’t land on her site and spend three minutes trying to figure out if there’s anything relevant for them there and then leave. If one of those four pieces is relevant to them, they’ll take a next step. 

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Case Study #3:

My colleague Jackie McMillan helps those who are struggling with autism and lays out four very clear options for people to choose on her homepage by naming the four major groups of people with whom she works: parents of autistic children, educators, professionals and spectrum adults.

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Case Study #4: The League of Adventurous Singles

Kira Sabin who runs The League of Adventurous Singles has this on her homepage.

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If you hover your cursor over the three buttons you see these…

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Case Study #5: Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes is a relationship coach and her homepage is a gem of clarity.

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Again, this seems so simple but I see so few websites do this.

Consider your own homepage and how you might make it, visually, more clear.

How could you lay out the main options or pathways they might take in an unmistakably clear way?

If you do this your clients will…

  • Know if your website is for them much more quickly and waste less time.
  • You’ll start getting clients who are pre-filtered and a much better fit for you and waste less of your time.
  • Feel much better about sending people to you site.

Additional Reading About Filtering in Marketing:

The Three Roles of Marketing – There are three roles in marketing: 1) Getting their attention 2) Filtering & Establishing if it’s a fit 3) Lowering the risk of their taking the first step. I see so few businesses doing that second role well.

The Are You Sure Page – This is another example of how you can actually interrupt the purchasing moment to make sure that the only people who buy from you are those for whom your offering will be a good match. This means less refunds, less shitty clients and better word of mouth.

The Niching Nest – This is the basis of any filtering. Do you have a clear niche? If not, start with this.

10 Min Video: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your First Retreat

Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life is one of my dearest friends and colleagues. She’s offering up a new program called Your First Retreat which is designed to help people in the personal growth, coaching, and healing fields nail their first retreat so that it’s fulfilling and profitable.

I asked her if she’d be willing to record a video and do an interview to give people some ideas they could use right away. And she agreed to doing both. I hope they help you out in figuring out how to make your first retreat (or maybe your next one if your first one or two didn’t go so well) a success.

What’s the story of this program/product? What did you notice was missing that had you create it?

After running successful retreats for 4 years in my business, I had people asking me all the time how to do it – and I remember being at that stage, having no idea where to start, being nervous about whether or not I could pull it off, and wasting a lot of time and money learning. I wanted to create an all in one resource for people who want to run retreats and want to save themselves the overwhelm, the lost $$, and the uncertainty, and help them plan transformational retreats without a hitch.

Who, specifically, is this program designed for? 

Anyone who wants to run boutique style retreats with 8-20 people – life coaches, creatives, health coaches and wellness professionals, energy workers etc

They already have a business (even if it’s new-ish!) and want to incorporate retreats into their business model as a new way to connect with clients. They need to already know their niche and have a few paying clients in order to get the most from this course.

Your First Retreat is specifically for people who want to create an amazing experience for their clients while turning a profit, not who are out to make 6 figures form retreats (because that’s not how it works!)

Why is this program relevant to those people? 

Your First Retreat will help alleviate the fear and overwhelm that comes with starting to think about retreat planning, and will help them make sure they create amazing experiences that also turn a profit.

There is SO much to know, and you don’t know what you don’t know when you’re starting the planning process. The course takes the guesswork out of retreats and helps makes sure you don’t make some of the common mistakes that can lead to lost $ and crappy client experiences.

What are the top three blunders you see people making in running retreats?

1- Not planning far enough in advance – this will leave you scrambling to find a venue that still has space, rushing to market and fill your retreat, and making the whole process way more stressful than it needs to be. Give yourself 6 months for a local retreat and 12 months for an international retreat to start the planning process

2 – paying too much out of pocket (and then losing money) – You do NOT need to take on the risk of losing money you’ve put down for your retreat. Don’t pay anything yourself – pre-sell your retreat and use that money to lay down any deposits, and be clear about the refund and cancellation policies of your venue before paying anything

3- Packing the itinerary either too tight, or leaving it too loose – how much group + workshop time you include depends on what kind of retreat you are running and what you have promised your participants. For example, a business-focused retreat will have more time together working and coaching, and a more experiential adventure style retreat won’t have as much. Too much packed in will leave people overwhelmed and not able to integrate what they are learning, and too little and people are left wondering why they paid such a premium for this retreat when they could have just gone on any other vacation. Nailing the retreat itinerary is important!

What are your three big ideas around making your first retreat a big success?

1 – Give yourself LOTS of time to market – it’s the hardest part!

2- Don’t plan a retreat too early in your business. You need to have people to market it to in order to fill it! if you can’t think of 5 people who would say YES to it right now, take some time to build your network and/or your email list, and wait before you start planning anything.

3 – Have a clear focus for the retreat – people need to know what this retreat is all about and whether it’s a fit for them, and if you’re not clear on that, they won’t be either. Knowing who the retreat is for, what the purpose is, and having a string mission statement will help make sure you get the right people there with you – and having the right group is what will take your retreat from good to incredible for your participants (and for you!)

Can you share a couple stories of retreats that have gone well and what can be learned from them?

1. My first retreat in Belize was amazing! We had been telling people for a while that we were going to start planning a retreat, so both my and my co-leader’s audience were primed and ready when we launched. This made it easy to sell and we sold out fairly quickly! This taught me that having an audience to sell to is hugely important to make sure you sell out and don’t lose money! This could mean an email list, a super engaged FB group, a local network, or just a lot of colleagues friends, and peers that you can sell to who you KNOW would be interested.

2. My friend Kira ran a retreat in Italy that I attended and it went off without a hitch. It was a life-coaching retreat focused on single women/relationship coaching, but it also had a strong focus on just having FUN on a cool vacation with like minded people (it was called the “Let’s F*cking go to Italy Retreat”). We’d have casual but smart conversations about love and dating after breakfast in the morning (while sipping teas in a beautiful villa in the mountains), and then head out adventuring for the rest of the day. The balance of free time to group time was important here. No one was there to have a heavy coaching session everyday and that was never the purpose of the retreat – but keeping the vibe on point with how it was marketed, everyone knew what to expect and got exactly what they came for. It was great!

Why is this program credible? Why should they trust it or you to help them?

I’ve run my own retreats for 4 years now with huge success, and for this course, I also interviewed 25 other successful retreat leaders to gather their best tips, marketing strategies, and advice, as well as the real scoop on how much profit they have made from their retreats, and blended it all into one easy to use manual that will teach you everything you need to know.

I also include an interview with several other experts to help beef up the course where my expertise was lacking — a lawyer who helps clients with retreat contracts (and as a bonus included one in the course for people to use!); a hotel manager and event coordinator who tells you everything you need to know about booking venues; and a Facebook ads expert who shares some amazing knowledge about how to best use Facebook for selling your retreats.

Who, specifically, is this program not a fit for? 

It’s not suitable for someone who doesn’t have a business or a business idea yet. Retreats rely on you having already built an audience (but I do give tips for getting there is someone is just starting out. But it will not help you figure out what business idea you should start.

It’s also not for someone who wants to run a retreat/travel agency business (ie. multiple retreats a year as their only course of income), or someone who wants to run large, conference-style events.


If you’d like to learn more about Rebecca’s program you can click here (affiliate link) or here (not).


The real reason to do intro workshops (and what this can teach you about the rest of your marketing).

52128490 - speaker giving a talk at business meeting. audience in the conference hall. business and entrepreneurship.

I’m a big fan of the intro workshop – that two to three hour experience that gives people a good taste of who you are and what you do.

In the first seven or so years of my business, these kinds of workshops were my bread and butter. I did them for free and used them as a way to fill up my weekend workshops (which I offered on a Pay What You Can basis). Sometimes I still do them.

The model, though lean, worked well enough and I toured happily for years.

Of course, in the first few years, I was still sorting out what exactly it was that I had to say about marketing. It took me five years for things to really gel. And then I felt it. It all came together. My intros felt more clear, coherent and solid.

Right around that time, people started paying me money for these free workshops.

I would look up surprised as they were filling out a $50 cheque to me, “This is a free workshop.” I’d tell them.

They’d look at me, nod and say, “Uh huh…” and then finish filling out the cheque.

After that point, I began to charge for the intros.

I’ve led dozens if not hundreds of these kinds of intro sessions over the years and so I’m well acquainted with them. Of course, I never went to a workshop on how to do them or structure them. I just mucked about until I landed on something I liked and that made sense.

But it wasn’t until a few months ago when it really clicked for me as to why we even do these intro workshops in the first place.

It’s a good question to ask:

Why bother? What’s the point of doing an intro workshop? How would you know if they were successful? What are we trying to accomplish in doing them?

Well, it’s good to contextualize all of this in a bigger picture of marketing.

I imagine you want to have a sustainable business and fill up your workshops and coaching programs and so you’re doing intro workshops to support that. The intro workshops are a way of getting more clients.

Fair enough.

So let’s step back a bit. There are three things that must be established in your marketing for it to work: relevance, credibility and value.

Relevance means that they see a fit for them.

Credibility means that they trust you.

Value means that they see what you’re offering as a good deal.

In an intro workshop, your workshop title, poster, sales letter etc. is what will establish the relevance. People will look at it and say, “Aha! Yes! A workshop for people with fibromyalgia! That’s for me!” Relevance comes from a clear niche.

If you do your marketing right, they walk into the room with relevance established.

This is why it feels so off when you show up at a live, intro workshop and the first half hour is spent establishing relevance. Or the whole event. I remember I went to one workshop about, in a nutshell, how to make more money.

And the first thing the presenter asked when he came out was, “Who here wants to make more money?” And then proceeded, in a variety of ways to ask that question over the first few minutes and to tell us a lot of stories about how making more money was a really important thing. I sat there baffled. I looked down at the handout which had the name of the workshop written on it and thought, “Why the hell would I be here if it wasn’t because I wanted to learn how to make more money?”

So, the content of your intro workshop is not there to establish relevance primarily.

Some people would suggest that the whole point of an intro workshop is to establish the value of your offer (e.g. “Come to my weekend workshop!”, “Come to my retreat!” or “Sign up for my coaching package.”).

And certainly I’ve been to some of these and you might have too. The intro workshop (or teleseminar) promises a lot but delivers on very little. It’s frustrating. By the end, you realize it’s been a long pitch. You kept thinking the substance and content was about to appear but it never did.

I once hosted a colleague and realized part way through that he was, literally, reading out his sales letter. The same colleague was offering a free eBook in the lead up to a program of his and the eBook, despite having a lovely cover, was, very literally, a sales letter for his program. Even formatted as a sales letter. I shook my head at the bait and switch.

When people come for content but get a commercial they’re bound to feel tricked and upset.

So, no, I don’t think that our intro workshops are primarily about establishing the value of our offers. Who wants to sit through a two hour, covert pitch.

So, what is the point? Well, if it’s not relevance or value, then it must be credibility.

And this is the freeing realization: your intro workshops are there to help people get to know, like and trust you. Your intro workshops are there for people to get a sense of your vibe. They are there for people to see if there’s an alignment between the way they see things and the way you see things. They are there for people to decide if you’re a fit for them. They are there for people to learn about your point of view and see if that makes sense for them.

That’s really about it.

If they like you and resonate with your point of view and then you make a good offer of a program, product or package that is high value, they are likely going to say ‘yes’ to it.

If they do not like you or resonate with your point of view and then you make a good offer of a program, product or package that is high value, they are likely going to say ‘no’ to it.

It’s that simple.

Perhaps this is why so many people in their intro workshops, tele seminars, and sales letters skip this credibility piece (beyond testimonials). They skip sharing their point of view entirely.

I’ve read sales letters that, basically, say,

“Are you struggling with _________ problem? Doesn’t it hurt? Let me tell you my story about how bad it was and then some stories of clients. And shit… doesn’t it cost you a lot to have this unresolved? Here’s how it cost me. And don’t you want _________ result? I mean imagine your life without it! Imagine you died without getting this result. Wouldn’t you feel like an asshole on your death bed. But this result can be yours when you sign up for my package and learn my top secret method.”

The whole sales letter is heavy on relevance and value but there’s so little credibility in it. It’s big on hitting the pain points and painting a picture of how it might be and very low on offering any meaningful take on how that might happen.

Your intro workshops are a form of marketing, that’s true. But the next marketing, in my mind, is educational. It teaches them something.

Am I saying that you should give away all of your content for free?


You couldn’t fit it all into an intro workshop.

I am saying to give all of the context away for free.

Now, ‘all’ might be overstatement.

But you can give people the 30,000 foot view. You can let them know how you see the big picture of it all. You can give them a chance to ask you questions for the 100 foot or 10 foot view on places they’re struggling. You give show them your overall map to help them make sense of why they’re so damned stuck.

If they want to sail from Island A to Island B, you don’t teach them how to build and sail a boat in your intro. You bust out your map and show them the route you’d suggest and make your case for that route instead of others. You first make the case for your point of view, not your programs, products or packages. You don’t market yourself. You market your message.

If you do this, you will engender more trust.

If you do this, people will want to know about your offers.

If you do this, people will be more likely to spend more money with you.

If you do this, people will feel confident in your approach to these issues.

And this doesn’t mean that you need to make massive changes in your marketing.

But consider the subtle difference between these two approaches.

Approach #1: Selling Your Workshop – “If you come to my weekend workshop you’ll learn the following seven things!”

Approach #2: Sharing Your Point of View – “If you want to get ______ result, here are seven things you need to understand.” and then at the end of the workshop, “If that approach and those seven things make sense to you, you might enjoy my weekend workshop because we go deeper into all of those things.” Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life fame has done a brilliant job of this with a free checklist she offers of eight things you need to have in place to get more clients. “The checklist itself,” she says, “is a simple list of all the steps we complete in our Uncage Your Business program, with a note at the end that they can work on this with me live and a link to get on the UYB waitlist.”

It’s a subtle shift in framing but the impact is powerful.

To take it back to my friend who was offering the eBook that was, actually, a sales letter. It was selling his course about how to get more clients through offering discovery sessions. That was the orientation of the ‘eBook’ – making the case for them to spend a lot of money in his program.

I emailed them and suggested that they might make a subtle shift and reorientation towards making the case for his point of view. The whole eBook could have been making the case for a business model in which all of the marketing led people to a one hour ‘discovery session’. That’s a solid point of view. There is a strong case to be made for that. Once he had convinced people of this approach, then he might find them very open to signing up for his program.

I was met with a frosty response.

Ah well.

To sum it up: Make the case for your point of view first (credibility). Make the case for your services, programs, packages and products second (value).

Additional Free Resources:

Video Interview on Point of View Marketing (70 min)

Point of View Marketing Primer Video (10 min)

Products to Consider:

The Workshop Package: A collection of my best resources on filling up your workshops and events.

The Art of the Full House

Point of View Marketing

Don’t Market Yourself. Market Your Message.

TORONTO: MfH Party Attendees


Here’s the list of excellent people who attended the Toronto Networking Potluck hosted by Tad Hargrave on September 14th, 2016 at Temple 23 in Liberty Village. You can use this page to find one another!

Your Host:

TadHargrave2015_sqTad Hargrave is a hippy who developed a knack for marketing (and then learned how to be a hippy again.) For almost a decade, he has been touring his marketing workshops around Canada, bringing refreshing and unorthodox ideas to conscious entrepreneurs and green businesses that help them grow their organizations and businesses (without selling their souls).

Tad does improv comedy semi-professionally, co-runs Edmonton’s progressive community building network, founded,,, and the Jams program of He speaks Scottish Gaelic and helps to run and is also a huge Doctor Who nerd.

Tad currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta (traditionally known, in the local indigenous language of the Cree, as Amiskwaciy (Beaver Hill) and later Amiskwaciwaskihegan (Beaver Hill House)) and his ancestors come primarily from Scotland with some from the Ukraine as well. He is drawn to conversations around politics, history, ancestry, healing and how those all intersect.

You can learn more about Tad and his work at and




HeadshotAllison Greenbaum

I’m a free spirit who loves to learn, travel and dance. I take clients on a healing journey incorporating various tools and techniques that presence, balance and restore the mind and body on physical and energetic levels. My designations include Holistic Health Practitioner specializing in massage (Honours), Integrative Nutrition Health/Life Coach (Honours), Reiki Master, MPS Pain Therapy Practitioner, Axiatonal Alignment Practitioner and Social Worker.



20140309_225606Angela Allain

Angela Allain is a graduate of ICT Northumberland College (2009), with training in various massage styles and techniques, including: Therapeutic/Deep Tissue; Myofascial; Trigger Point Release; Hot Stone; Relaxation; Thai Yoga; Suikodo; and Manual Lymph Drainage. Additionally, she has studied Peripheral Joint Mobilizations, stretching, and strengthening techniques. Angela’s interest in holistic therapies began at a young age. She was repeatedly told from the age of 12 onward that she had a natural inclination towards massage and was encouraged to pursue massage therapy as her career. As she worked toward that goal, she began to take additional training in the health field, including becoming a Reiki practitioner (completed in 2002), working her way up to Reiki Master/Teacher, (2010), as well as becoming a Certified Ear Candler (2007) and, most recently, a certified Iridologist (2016). Angela walks the talk, living a healthy lifestyle by eating organic and raw foods, practicing Yoga, Belly Dancing, swimming, biking, Kung Fu, and going to the gym regularly. She worked in health food stores for over 4 years, receiving on-the-job training in nutrition as well as attending industry conferences, and now facilitates holistic healing workshops on the following topics: Intro. to the Healing Arts; Raw Food and Nutrition; How helping heal the planet helps to heal you; Meditation, Deep breathing; and Yoga; Belly Dancing Basics; Reiki and Vibrational Medicine; and Massage therapy. For other holistic health practitioners, she also teaches Networking Ninja: The Art of Meeting People. She plans to continue to expand her education by adding the following modalities to her offerings: Cranial Sacral therapy, Colour and Sound therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs), as well as going deeper into massage training with specializations in Myofascial, Thai Yoga massages and Trigger Point Release. She is currently enrolled in studies for Iridology. Why choose Angela? She treats the individual, not the symptoms or the condition. She wants to give YOU the best treatment for YOUR best interest and healing.



Anna James

I’m an entrepreneur living in Toronto. I’m currently working with partners to launch a conscious services marketplace called Elixir.



Anna P

My background is in the social services, then psychotherapy. I am currently planning to change direction a bit, and start a practice offering Reiki Sessions and Intuitive Readings. I will initially be offering free sessions, so let me know if you’re interested, and please don’t judge too harshly ; ) All I will need back from you is your honest feedback : ) I’m dreaming of learning how to build my own log cabin, and am excited to see everyone on the 14th.



image3Annie Bowker

I am a yogi and life coach and have just started a masters degree in psychology! My vision is to serve the Oakville community and develop a family of peeps who can join events, workshops and retreats to help them feel more connected to themselves to the greater community and to the planet. I am also an expert at writing run-on sentences.



AyanPhotoshoot10_2Ayan Mukherjee

Ayan Mukherjee is a holistic psychotherapist and life coach, living and practicing out of Toronto, Canada. He is passionate about eradicating the stigma surrounding mental and emotional health, especially amongst men. He also labels himself as a data analyst, writer, grounded spiritualist, amateur musician and a connoisseur of new, life-affirming experiences.



© 2015 Ian G McIntosh. All Rights Reserved

Brenda MacIntyre

My journey in a nutshell: Painfully shy visionary child. Rap artist in the 80’s. Reggae singer in the 90’s. Way too many dark nights of the soul. Indigenous wisdom keeper in the 2000’s. I’m Brenda MacIntyre and my First Nations spirit name is Medicine Song Woman. I’m the author and artist of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards™ & Music, and I am the Living Your Truth Out Loud Mentor. I’m also a Juno Award-winning singer, speaker, hand drummer and indigenous wisdom-keeper. I have been blessed to share my leadership and soul nationally on stage and in the media, like MuchMusic, APTN, CTV, CP24, Global and CityTV’s Breakfast Television, as well as CBC Radio. In January 2016, my 29 year old son was murdered, causing me to question my entire belief system and after several months of healing, step even more deeply into my purpose. Now, I’m dedicated to helping visionary women to stop holding back, tap into the power of their voice and spiritual calling, and create success out of the mess of REAL life. My current major project: Writing a book to help other women who have experienced or are experiencing loss, trauma or dark nights of the soul to navigate the pain and grief, so they can re-create their identity and live into a renewed sense of purpose.



head-shot-72dpiCaro Cloutier

I am heart -based entrepreneur that works with people who struggle with feelings of anxiety, grief, unhappiness. I help them dissolve the blocks and discover calmness, hope and happiness. My background as an expressive arts therapist, Brain Breath Training, Energy Psychology and Shamanic Practitioner fuels body based, experiential group gatherings. My monthly Full Moon Chocolate Reading Activations & Fire Ceremonies are fun-filled, energy boosting, heart opening and community bonding experiences. I am launching a training in Energy Practices that includes the transmission of Munay-Ki Rites. These Peruvian-based Rites transform and upgrade your luminous energy field, heal past-karmic & genetic wounds or programs and false beliefs you inherited. They give you more awareness and more options than the karmic loops people get stuck into.



LizzleHizzleChris Assaad

Hey friends! I’m a singer/songwriter from Toronto, Canada. I would also describe myself as a storyteller, a soul adventurer, creative firestarter and dream catcher. I left a promising career in law several years ago to follow my heART and pursue a career in music. Since then, I’ve been on a crazy amazing rollercoaster ride and adventure. I’ve traveled the globe sharing my music and I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a new album that I can’t wait to bring to the world! I also have a passion for supporting others on their creative and spiritual paths. As a facilitator, I work one on one with clients, offering my services as a champion and guide, as well as in group settings designed with a focus on helping participants FREE their voices and find their authentic self-expression in any medium. I love Tad’s gatherings and look forward to meeting you all and to bringing my amazing partner, Emily into the mix. See you soon!



Africa, Plan CanadaDanielle Binns

Danielle Binns is a Certified Nutritionist & Picky Eating Expert. More importantly, she’s a mom who gets it. Motherhood is difficult in its own right. Yet, when your child doesn’t eat well, mom’s naturally worry. Danielle’s first daughter was an extremely picky eater and mealtimes were a constant stress. Today her daughter is thriving and one of the most adventurous kids at the dinner table.With qualifications in Holistic Nutrition and Children’s Feeding, Danielle knows firsthand how to transform picky eaters into healthy eaters. Her evidence-based strategies and “Picky Eater Protocol” changed mealtimes forever for many families, including her own. Danielle also has a special place in her heart for ‘little ones’ who are underweight – like her daughter – and offers programs to help them thrive. Understanding the stress that comes with raising a picky eater, she is equally committed to helping moms achieve health and happiness. So they too can start seeing motherhood in a bright and colourful way.



djDavid Jurasek

Deeply fulfilled and a bit overfull with three great passions over the last decade: 1. Helping kids with LD/MH (Learning Disabilities and Mental Health issues) to master their moods and learn life skills through a therapeutic martial arts program (Integra Young Warriors). 2. Leading an theatre community (Inspired Playback Theatre) which teaches empathic improv and plays back the real-life stories of people who are often unrecognized (seniors, activists, sex offenders, at-risk youth). 3. Helping men to evolve in their most intimate relationships (called “Powerful And Loving”) through knowledge, skills, community, and healing of their own relational wounds.



10543581_718942651551488_4404128323034784175_oEmily Cleland

Hey All! My name is Emily and I’m very happy to be joining you next week for an amazing potluck! I’ve been on my personal journey back to Self for the last 11 years, learning, exploring, transforming, healing etc. Over that time I’ve studied different modalities in the Healing Arts and now have formed my own unique brand of work that is still in the moulding process now after a heavy year of transformation. I do Intuitive Guidance and Akashic Records work with clients and I like to share my journey by writing blog articles that I post on my website (currently being updated). I have a strong connection to Gaia although I’ve always known I’m not from here (if ya know what I mean ;) My passion is helping people feel Seen and Loved exactly as they are and being a guiding Light back to Source. I have a deep thirst for knowledge and am always looking forward to interesting conversations with fellow Truth Seekers and passionate Justice upholders. All people interest me. I’m committed to living a life of constant evolution, unconditional Love, Peacefulness, Grace & Inner Authority. One of my favourite things in life is listening to really powerful, uplifting and inspiring music. Lucky for me! I met the Love of my Life (Chris Assaad) who happens to be an amazing musician (and Man) and embodies all of these qualities (+more) … woot woot! Okay, see you next week!



Headshot.Emma-RohmannEmma Rohmann

I’m a green living and corporate sustainability consultant. (Cue the “WTF is that?!”) Through my business Green at Home, I help families create healthier, greener homes, simply. I share fact-based information and create strategies that fit with my clients’ lifestyle and goals – free from judgement and shame. I’m also an environmental engineer and do some freelancing with corporate real estate clients on their green building and sustainability strategies. Since leaving the corporate world, I’ve found my tribe and now co-lead a networking and support group for fellow mom entrepreneurs, Mamas & Co. I’ve got two spunky kids that keep me focused on creating a better world. I am excited to meet everyone!



image2Erica Ross






IMG_1918Erin Griffin

Art Therapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Toronto and Burlington. Trying to figure it all out and having fun doing it (also falling flat on my face from time to time). Spreading the good word of self-compassion, curiosity, courage, self-understanding and authenticity.



meGisela McKay







Gregory Bonser

I’ve been working on improving the built environment (minimizing it’s impact on the natural environment) since the late 1990s. I’m currently running a data driven energy management firm that reduces energy and water use in commercial buildings. I also like to play music and dance!



blink-cortemadera-color-2014-05-16-22-35-26-200-127893-fullHelen Pach Goldstien

I am a serial entrepreneur and proud of it…From real estate agent to yoga and meditation teacher, to owner of The Yoga Studio, to teaching wellness in the workplace, to an on line course teaching wellness practitioners how to teach in the workplace, to BuddhaGroove (parties for people like us) to I Make My Day: a series of very short videos which I hope will make our world a better place (launching soon). Please check in for updates. I am still trying to figure out what I am going to do when I grow up.



CAT6041Ïariel d’Harmony

Hello conscious community kooks and sacred creators, I’m Ïariel (iâr-iell), a Mindful Interior Design Consultant, healer and Principal of Sage Palette Design. I make your space workable by writing with you a transformational guide to use while you sway into your personal or business space with peace amidst chaos come clean. Imagine the simplicity of your favourite tea in hand the moment you walk in, ample room in the foyer to drop into warrior pose to start your day, the power of negative ions that snake plant provides, placed where two rooms meet, cutting the chip on your shoulder like a noble sword. This is how my business cares for you. I’m looking to reach spaces that have a set budget, know what they want and can follow through on professional advice provided using Feng Shui, Vastu and even permaculture principles. As an Advisory member with the Inner Arts Collective, I help run the building by physically and energetically contributing. I pay rent and advise on crucial needs so we can enroll more members in this community dream. I am now taking more care to tend to my own business and nurture it the way I have been doing so for Inner Arts Collective. Sage Palette Design will ask: Do you want to Create the new Earth by using renewable source energy? Want to ignite your dream come true through effective patterns and routine? Ready to Upcycle that old oak dresser from your great grandfather Harold? Will you keep your space in balance with the elements to prevent leaks, fires etc? Need beautiful expertly chosen paint colours? Do you need physical and energetic space clearing and am I catching you wanting healing on your way through this transformation? I’m also an avid cyclist and I like making kombucha, sometimes singing to my scobies.



building-soul-profile-pic-2-smallIngrid Cryns

I do a few things that I have synthesized into a body work called ‘earth soul’ ( earth soul inspires and empowers people to live healthier and soul-filled lives in alignment with a conscious and thriving Earth.  I am a passionate advocate of how to integrate Self-sufficient living, Natural Building and Body Mind Soul Healing. I offer workshops, Mentorship programs, Earth Living Coaching, Earth Soul integration Sessions, Architectural Design & permit drawings as well as Body Soul Psychotherapy.

The primary branch of work that I’m focused on, within the ‘earth soul’ tree at the moment is my ‘Building Soul’ work ( This is my body-oriented psychotherapy practice where I work quite deeply with the relationship between the body, mind & soul. I help people who are lost, confused, stressed, stuck, in despair or feel hopeless to heal and get more connected with their authentic self. I am a Clinical Member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists (OSP) and a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist (CBT), and I have insurance coverage with most benefit plans and have office space in downtown Toronto, Newmarket as well as in my home north east of Newmarket.  I work with the body and mind in a way that includes teaching you how to listen to your body’s innate wisdom as well as how to enhance your own intuition and authentic soul-self connection. I have a specialty in trauma work, affect regulation, attachment & relationship issues, spiritual emergencies and so much more!  I work with women, men and couples. People gain greater self-acceptance, grow a deeper understanding of themselves, learn how to resolve their core issues and create more satisfying relationships. I use Bioenergetic Analysis and body-based trauma work, Self, Relational & Object-Relations psychodynamic theories, Psychodrama, Gestalt, Jungian dream & archetypal work, sound, energy work, dowsing and more. I also do webinars, presentations and workshops.

The secondary branch of my work is as an Eco-Architect ( doing design & permit drawings as well as teach people how to build with natural materials (straw bale, clay plasters, etc.) or live more self-sufficiently in a series of workshops.

Recently single again, I do all of this at my hobby farm. in a hamlet called Zephyr, north east of Newmarket, called ‘Soma Soul Eco Farm‘, where I have 6 beehives, a large number of meat & lay chickens, a huge vegetable garden, a large greenhouse full of tomato plants, a young fruit & nut orchard, a lavender crop, mushroom logs, 2 large ponds, forest, fields and gorgeous perennial flower gardens. Here I teach workshops, through the earthsoul.caportal, on Homesteading, Tiny House Building, Eco-conscious Living, Natural Building Design, Community Living & Design, Healing and Soul Evolution, The World Beyond the Physical, etc.  The farm and property is a real sanctuary and I am currently renovating the coach house to be a 1 bedroom apartment for rent in a few months from now. Please contact me for more information at or 866-888-7662



Jackie Shawn



Jean Robertson

Specializing in systems thinking, community development, and group facilitation, I am a self-described freelance person. Pasr projects include The Waterloo Mayor’s Forum Series on Building Resilient Communities (2011), The Democracy Cafe for FairVote Canada and Transition KW (2011), and organizational facilitation and mentoring for Queen St. Yoga in Kitchener, Ontario (2012). By the time I’m 90: I’m expecting to have participated in a global-scale cultural transition to a new way of working, living, and thriving together. Current work is happening in The Upstart Collaboratory for Collaborative Culture Designing and the Grassroots Zen Centre for Organizational and Community Awakening.



image2Jeffery McLean

Hello to all you bright and beautiful people, My name is Jeffrey David, JD for short. I live, work and play in the GTA as a therapist specializing in both family and individual therapy. I am also completing a Masters in Divinity and counseling. I have been running a small company for the past 30 years where I currently work part time as a general contractor. I facilitate a group based on a course in miracles and co-facilitate a men’s group. I love improv and hope to continue my training in that later this year. I am also working on getting my private pilots license. Look forward to meeting all your wonderful people soon!



Joyanne Howell

Social business builder. I’m creating a social business that teaches technology to women and children.



JHWANG-Profile-PhotoJulie Hwang

Hi I’m Julie and I help practitioners work together in an effective, efficient and equitable manner to help their patients achieve their best possible health outcomes. Through building robust communities and creative business models, we are changing access and delivery of health care towards a patient-centred, integrative, trauma-informed and sustainable model. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have a private practice in downtown Toronto and have started a collaborative group of practitioners focused on developing trauma-informed model of health care. I’m also starting a dispensary for practitioners. As the Executive Director of the Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN), we envision a world where environmental health is integral and one and the same as personal health. Our organization does connects people to vital tools and information on environmental links to personal health. As an research advocate, I sit on the leadership team of the Institute of Green and Open Sciences, a non-profit focused on “green” science practices. I’ve done clinical research on epilepsy, and shared some presentations on naturopathic medicine and neurological conditions internationally. I’m looking to keep this up. Through previous work in web marketing and corporate wellness in the corporate sector, I’ve been able to witness first hand the incredible passion and resolve of entrepreneurs. I’m working on how to apply some best practices from that world to the benefit my fellow independent holistic health practitioners.



Kathryn-MeisnerKathryn Meisner

Hey there, I’m Kathryn – a career and salary negotiation coach. I help people find and land the job that’s right for them without relying on resumes and gross networking. I do this through online courses and one-on-one services. My secret mission is to help people get more of what they want in their careers and to help them GET PAID.



img_0030Lauren Stein 

Trained as an Expressive Arts Therapist at EGS and in Toronto, this fall I will begin working at ADHD Interruppted in Guelph, seeing adults and couples with ADHD and/or Asperger’s. My specialty is improvisational theatre and I love helping people express themselves, gain new insights, and develop social skills. As an artist, I perform improv, theatre, clowning, story-telling, and public speaking. I also teach all of these skills at corporations and in public through Laurentina’s Improv Club. Recently I’ve begun training as a Hebrew Priestess.



LB_Profile-ProfLaurie Burdon

I run my own practice doing reiki, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Coaching, and Grief Recovery Method for people recovering from loss, particularly of companion animals. I’m interested in helping people through transitional periods in their lives using all of these tools, as well as others which I’m learning and developing (relational clearing and animal communication.) I’m also an artist, and am developing my ceramic sculpture practice, and I also consult in the fields of program evaluation and planning.



Lea-Ann-Mallett-Photo-CroppedLee Ann Mallett

I work with people who want to kick themselves into action to get moving on a beautiful project or to address a challenge that has been waiting in the wings. As an activist and a coach, I have a superpower of being able to inspire my clients to take action while feeling really great about themselves. My clients include entrepreneurs setting up new businesses or re-orienting their current businesses, people in life transitions and mission-driven leaders who want to increase their impact while continuing to feel inspired by their work. I am also a good dancer, a midlife mom and am quite funny. And I also love public speaking, writing and capturing images of the beauty of everyday life.



Liane Daiter

My name is Liane – Occupational Therapist by day, greeting card artist by night. I value kindness and I am passionate about mental health. I started With Love Compassion Cards in an effort to normalize conversations about mental health and encourage people to reach out to one another.



avatar-spring-2016-roughlySQMalcolm Ocean

Malcolm is working on upgrading people to be more effective at tackling humanity’s greatest challenges over the coming century. The main projects he’s working on towards that at the moment are Complice, which is a web app that helps people actualize their goals, and the Upstart Collaboratory, a project based in Waterloo which is working on understanding what core mindset shifts are necessary for producing reliable trust and collaboration. This huge project requires fundamental changes in the way that we think about ourselves, each other, our decisions, and our thinking itself.



img_3155-2Marianne Beacon

Hello All, I have been studying (and practicing) for so long in a few modalities, but I think I have been caught in the spiral of ‘perpetual student’. My areas are Herbalism, Bowen therapy, Reiki and I did 3 years in Transpersonal Psychotherapy (but I won’t be a registered psychotherapist.) So, this is my year to come out of hiding, and really offer my gifts and skills to my community. I am excited to use what I learned from Tad’s workshop, and looking forward to meeting (and re-meeting) you all on the 14th.



CAT5280Melanie-Dawn Ollenberg

I’m a down-to-earth change agent who, like all of you, is trying to make a difference. A Scorpio in 7 planets, my sandbox is in challenging and creating structures, exploring psycho-spiritual / metaphysics in healing, or building train tracks with my 3 yr old (I think I enjoy building them more than he does!) When I look at what brought me here, I’d say my counterculture roots were catalyzed by my Health Science degree, propelling me into 20 years of client-driven system improvement work across Canada: Community healing & development; program design; and human rights advocacy. Over time though, I became a bit jaded (*surprise) by working within the health system, and compelled to move more deeply into my palmistry and healing practice – especially after becoming a mother. Continuing my commitment to work outside the box, I owned my gifts as a reader & healer, and worked on applying what I learned within the health system to strengthen non-traditional healing communities. I now have one foot grounded in my private practice as a Palmist & Reiki Master (Owner of Kore Changes), and the other foot in creating collaborative spaces and structures for the healing arts (Managing Partner of pwyc studio Yoga Village & Co-Founder of Inner Arts Collective, a coworking space for wellness practitioners). A perpetual optimist, I am really excited by the idea of intentional, socially minded individuals collaborating across disciplines to create a better future – and look forward to meeting you!



13226978_10154314998612249_848943484471560909_nMontina Hussey

A Toronto Visual Artist, Montina is a powerful emotional interpreter and is completely unabashed about revealing the gore of feelings. She is unafraid to search every dark corner within her and then vocalize an empathic discovery to her audience. Her painted knotted forms are the politics of repression being coddled and loved. This symbolizes the relationship one must have with their unvented sorrow. She asks the viewer to surrender to the full play of what is ordinarily called the terror of the unknown. When you face these esoteric corners, the self splinters, and an ecstatic sense of freedom erupts. Her art practice is the stage between the unveiling and the freedom. She holds the belief that we can call up the past and direct it into a healing experience and painting can act as an antenna to transport these energies into reality. We can reach our potential of being self-actualized figures of light by facing our ancient darkness and regressed past life weight, in hope to create a pure platform for the future generations. Her goal is to invite extraordinary heuristic and transformative evolutionary potential for the individual.



IMG_20160817_180900Nathalie Delorme

I am an aspiring entrepreneur working on creating my own business offering healing services. Currently I am a Reiki level 1 practitioner, and am completing a Spiritual Coach Training course, though these are only the first of many modalities I will add to my repertoire. I’m passionate about healing, health and wellness, personal growth, and consciousness. I’m constantly seeking to push my boundaries, walk my own healing path, and live as closely as possible in alignment with my higher self. I’m also seeking like-minded people to connect and network with (and I’m sure this event will deliver!)



donnabrownRamona Ng

I’m a Certified CranioSacral Therapist and I partner with people who are on a committed journey towards health. Many of my clients show up desperate, having “tried everything.” CranioSacral Therapy works in such a different paradigm of transformation that they are often surprised to achieve results quickly. Together, we work together with their tissues to encourage and support permanent healing.



IMG_7407Rebecca Tracey

This summer I’ve mostly been rock climbing, hiking, and roadtripping with my dog Rhubarb… but when I am working, I work with solopreneur, service-based businesses (think life coaches, nutritionists etc) who want to be able to work solely from the comfort of their laptop with no pants on, as all workdays should be.



03Rene Suarez

Rene is an autodidactic polymath who spent half-a-decade re-skilling himself while living in off-grid forest communities, eco-villages and other intentional communities in faraway continents. For a glimpse of his journey, picture living in a simple forest hut without electricity or plumbing for 3 years, cooking by firewood every day, growing food, building their home out of local materials, making soap, and learning other ways of living in harmony with nature. Since 2014, Rene and his wife Richa returned to Ontario to share their knowledge and skills of sustainable, holistic livelihood through their nonprofit organization, Skillseed. “Seeding skills for social change” encapsulates their mission of supporting DIY-based activities, organizations and products that share life-sustaining skills to improve grassroots community capacity, ecological stewardship, and health empowerment. Skillseed’s main project is Make it Natural, which is a growing collective of DIY personal care enthusiasts who share the vision of “Soap Sovereignty” – in other words, the decommodification of personal care products. They envision a Toronto where every neighborhood has a soapmaker, where people teach their children their family toothpaste recipe, and children grow with intimate relationships with the plants in their environment that help create recipes like shampoo, laundry detergent, or cosmetics. To this end, they have invented Soap Gardens. Soap Gardens are developed at their prototype Soap Farm at York University. Soap Gardens are ornamental groupings of plants that attract pollinators, improve native biodiversity, heal poor soils, and yield ingredients for personal care recipes. Soap Gardens may one day be commonplace in South Ontario, and will serve as a critical component of their broader mission of helping reduce people’s dependence on toxic products from globally-destructive industries, to help reconnect people with their environments, to improve urban/suburban/rural ecosystems, and to develop resilience in local communities. They are currently pioneering a homestead community and permaculture forest near Orangeville in collaboration with Bee City Canada, to create a pollinator habitat and pollinator education center. The project also serves as broad-skill DIY training for 3 dedicated volunteers. Their off-grid adventure is broadcasted live on snapchat (user code: rethinkdirty).



Russell-Touched-Up-1Russel Scott

Russell Scott is one of the new generations of “no dogma spiritual teachers” and is the author of the acclaimed book: “Awakening the Guru in You”. He is a former radio talk show host for A2Zen Radio and has led hundreds of retreats internationally for the past 30 years. As a successful director of the Ecology Retreat Centre in Ontario, Canada he pioneered highly popular programs in green building, sustainable living and spiritual awakening. In his one-to-one and group programs, he’s helped 1000’s of people who have lost their hearts in life break through past limitations so that they can walk in the beauty, authenticity and magnificence of their true selves. He gets great joy watching participants on his retreats fall off their chairs and ass-ending in paroxysms of laughter when they experience who they really are.



SaraSarah Downing

I created and run The Village Healing Centre on Roncesvalles. It is home to 40 plus practitioners in the health and wellness industry. I also created and run Yoga Village, which is in the same building on Roncy. We are Toronto’s only pay-what-you-choose studio and we have a beautiful large space with bright windows and wood floors. We have a full schedule of amazing teachers offering yoga as well as Groove and Qi Gong. I teach DBT skills to parents of children with BPD/emotion dis-regulation. I have three grown daughters and a little trailer out in the countryside. My newest project and love is roadkill taxidermy!



dsc_0080Shannon Lee Simmons

Shannon is a Certified Financial Planner and founder of the New School of Finance. Simmons is widely recognized as a trailblazer in the Canadian financial planning industry and an expert in Millennial personal finances and money in the digital world. She was named one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30,  the 2014 Notable Award for Best In Finance and New School of Finance recently won the 2016 Wealth Professional Award for Digital Innovation. She is a regular financial expert in the media and has a monthly column for Globe and Mail personal finance section.


10694258_369657406517562_5371275723190909632_oShayla Garland

I am a Naturopathic Doctor, passionately practising in both Toronto and Uxbridge. I got into Naturopathic Medicine because, at 15 years old, I discovered the art and instantly resonated with everything about it, most of all the goal to address root cause of illness (as opposed to symptom palliation). I also love to cook and paint, and have travelled extensively. Meeting lovely new people brings me great joy!



downloadSonja Seiler

I’m Sonja – founder of Nurture: A Retreat, a nourishing weekend self care & creativity retreat for women who are creative &/or holistic entrepreneurs that find themselves on the bottom of their own priority lists and want to change that. It’s a weekend of reflection, inspiration, creativity, fellowship with like-minded women and really good food. Food is one of my favourite creative languages – there is nothing I love more than feeding people who are building something (be it a house, a business or themselves). Gathering around a harvest table laden with hearty, organic, local seasonal abundance, cooked with love and talking about the important things in life is what lights my heart up. Oh, and butter. You can also get to my heart via butter. I eat it like cheese.



DSC_0668Stacy Chang-Christoforou

I call myself a Conscious Lifestyle Coach and my goal is to assist others in getting to know themselves better (self awareness, personal goals, blockages, etc) in order to live more a fulfilling life. I recently completed my life coaching program in, Toronto, through The Centre of Applied Neuroscience. I also facilitate guided group mindfulness meditations. I am currently still working my corporate government job but am making the transition to work with others one on one and host retreats full time, upon my return from my upcoming trip to India this fall.



MeSusheela Ramachandran 

My name is Susheela Ramachandran and my main practice is being an intuitive guide and healer. My mission is to help people wake up to their wholeness and gifts so they can live as their divine expression and reconnect them to the Earth to inspire environmental stewardship. I currently run an intuitive practice where I offer readings, coaching and energy healing. I am in the process of creating and offering workshops and gatherings to further my mission and am looking to work with more children. I have a very “mama” feminine goddess-y energy about me and love to sing, write, dance, practice yoga and spend time with amazing people. I am obsessed with food, all forms of art, my dog and beauty. I have travelled across the world and have a special connection with India and Greece.



suz-bio-shotSuzanne Sherkin

I started my company, Highborn Communications, to help people in workplaces create more harmonious, productive spaces. I do this by giving people skills and strategies in communication and conflict resolution. And now that one of my adult children is transgender, I bring this insight and understanding to the workplace too, to support gender diverse safe spaces. I’m a Qualified Mediator, Facilitator and Public Speaker.




12172007_10154148091561840_513541418_oTanya Dunn

Hello Tribe! I’m happy to re-connect. I have been a little busy this year with 3 moves in 3 months. Newly settling into life with my fiance in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood is wonderful for me after helping my son and aunt settle into their new apartments. In my spare time when I was not seeing clients for Aromatherapy Lymphatic Drainage Massages at Anarres Natural Health Apothecary, I was purging, packing, unpacking, organizing, cleaning…ah, you get the picture! Currently, I am further exercising my artisan and mad scientist skills as an Aromatherapist and Natural Health Practitioner. You will find me outdoors harvesting crab apples for preserving and herbs for tincturing to use this winter. Indoors in the lab, I am honing formulas and making all natural bath, beauty and body products. My ever growing product line is launching in November 2016 at local community sales in Riverdale. Pssst…let me know if you want to know where the best crab apples are to pick! And you can certainly borrow my food mill! Happy Harvest to all! Tanya



ttfherbheadTracey TieF

Tracey TieF is a Certified Natural Health Practitioner who operates Anarres Natural Health Apothecary at Dovercourt & Bloor in downtown Toronto, Ontario. She carries on a family tradition in the healing arts and has an extensive background in physical and botanical therapies.Tracey has a passion for natural oils, butters, herbs and essences, and mission for teaching people how to use these to take care of themselves and the planet. Tracey also offers hypnotherapy for health and guided meditation in her health practice and through the Dance Our Way Home women’s dance practice.



Twyla Kowalenko

Fostering personal growth and interpersonal connection (for myself and others!) underlies all the various things I do – from PhD and running a non-profit and daycare coop to facilitating dance/movement, shamanic training, foraging, creating and mothering. Life feels full but I have a lot of gratitude to be able to do the work I do and have the amazing opportunities to keep growing and learning. I love having deep and meaningful connections and conversations and being real, authentic and honest is critical for me.



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Rant Examples

Eight blog post rants worth checking out:

Is It Possible to Financially Harm a Client? by Mark Silver

Addicted to Breakthroughs by Mark Silver

My Prediction of the HUGE ‘Launch Bubble’ That’s Coming Fast… and How to Surpass It… – by Ali Brown

Life Coaches, Don’t Quit Your Day Job (What They Don’t Tell You in Life Coaching School) – Rebecca Tracey

Before You Quit Your Job – Morgana Rae

It’s not your abundance mentality, it’s your crappy copy (and 8 other reasons why your business is stuck) – by Makenna Johnston

Can We Quit the B-S Marketing? An Easier Way to Honest Marketing – by Tova Payne

Statement to the Court Upon My Unjust Arrest – by Leah Henderson

Is it wrong to get paid to care? – by Corrina Gordon Barnes

Authentic Networking – by Lisa Barber

Thirty-two video rants worth checking out:

Watch these all. You will feel uplifted and emboldened by them. They all have different styles which is part of what I’m wanting you to see so you can understand all of the different ways your rants could look.

Rants in Politics:

Elizabeth Warren goes off about the debt crisis and fair taxation.

Australian Prime Minister Gillard lets loose on the leader of the opposition for his blatant and long practiced mysoginy. What I love about this rant is that it’s clearly not scripted. She had some points set out to make and then just let loose.

Hillary Clinton gives an incredibly well measured response to a question on birth control where you can feel her entire life of real world experience coming to bear and all rushing to form themselves into words. You can feel the long line up of examples forming inside of her as she builds momentum in this and yet, somehow, keeps it together.

Rants in Comedy:

Bill Hicks famous rant (NSFW) about marketing and marketers. This is one of my favourite rants of all time. Eloquent. Well thought out and full of emotion.

George Carlin, much of whose career was based in rants, delivers this incredible three minute of lucid, angry brilliance.

Louis CK goes off about why he hates cell phones. But the beauty of what he’s offering here is a deeply personal and intimate look at what it means to be human and how we distract ourselves from this constantly. It’s funny, but it’s also a plea for humanity.

Louis CK’s stand up style, much like George Carlin’s, has a rant like quality. In this one, he imagines how God might rant at us if he were to come back to Earth and see what we’d done to it. This particular rant resonated so much that someone decided to animate it.

I couldn’t do this without throwing in this third Louis CK clip (which was how many people heard of him first) where he ranted about how incredibly spoiled and entitled this culture has becomes.

Lewis Black is one of my favourite ranters who channels his anger at the bullshit in the world into something well worth watching as he articulates many of our deepest held frustrations for us.

Jim Jeffries goes on a rant about gun control in his comedy show. A brilliant use of comedy to get a point across and to address a real problem of gun control by pointing out the inconsistencies and hypocrisies in the arguments against it.

Rants in The News:

Rachel Maddow crushes it in her post election rant. I love the rhythm and momentum that this rant builds as it goes. Like a steady drum she keeps beating as she builds her case point by point.

Nobody in Canada rants better than Rick Mercer as they make up a regular feature of his show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. What I love about Rick’s rants are the momentum they have as he’s always walking when he does them and he’ll physically stop to make a point.

Kanye West’s propensity to go off script can sometimes be seen as self serving but, in this moment, he just lets loose and starts telling the truth as he sees it. This video, as many good rants are, was shared incredibly widely. Out of all the rants I’m sharing, this one might be the most spontaneous and unscripted.

Dylan Ratigan goes off and will not be stopped. He breaks decorum of his show, interrupts everyone and can’t seem to stop himself. Agree or disagree with him there was nothing contrived about this rant. It was not a carefully calculated Ezra Levant style meltdown. It was a very real frustration boiling over.

Rants on Fake News and Talkshows:

Bill Maher has built a career on rants. The ‘New Rule’ portion of his show is a well constructed, well thought out rant on a particular topic where he punches up and skewers the wealthy for their hypocrisy on drug policy.

Jon Stewart often goes on rants on his show. This one moved me because it was so incredibly honest. The footage of the murder of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD had just come out and Stewart was beside himself with dismay at the appalling and unbelievable injustice.

Spoken Word Rants:

The following spoken word poem is scripted. Every word. And yet, it’s a rant. It drips with real emotion, swells and builds. It is a plea for something as must good rants are. You can feel the poem bursting out of her as she opens herself with incredible vulnerability.

Another example of the power of spoken word, poetry and excellent video editing to express a rant eloquently. This is a personal expression of feelings on a topic which many would share. This video was shared widely.

Through spoken word, Prince Ea expresses his despair and hope in the world but then brings something beautiful towards the end. This rants is the shroud of sadness that protects something beautiful inside it. This rant is a passionate plea.

Prince Ea goes on a poetic rant about cell phones.

Evalyn Parry, one of my favourite Canadian singer/songwriters, delivers this beautiful spoken word piece as an ode to lift up all of those she sees making the world better in the face of all the opposition she knows they experience.

Climbing Poetree is an incredible poetic duo whose spoken word pieces are some of the finest and most eloquent rants I’ve ever experienced.

This poetic, moving, surging and heartfelt rant for the hope of something better by Andrea Gibson brings tears to my eyes every time.

A powerful piece by Katie Makkai in response to a life telling her she wasn’t. beautiful. enough.

Rants on TV or in The Movies:

This is a little micro rant on bankers a game show by David Mitchell who’s a brilliant British comedian. What I love about it is that he can’t seem to stop himself. He interrupts the proceedings with it.

In the movie, A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s character is goaded into going on a rant that ends up with him (spoiler alert) admitting his guilt. But how much better is it with this young man in a tub doing it? Nailed it kid.

I disagree with where the following one comes from politically and the amount of history it leaves out (e.g. slavery and genocide in the United States), but it’s a great example of a rant…

Rants By My Colleagues:

My colleague Jay Fiset of Calgary went on a rant about his frustrations with the personal growth industry .

I was just in Thailand and I stayed at an organic farm and sustainability center called Pun Pun. It was run by a fellow named Jon and his wife Peggy. Below is a 15 minute video of Jon sharing the philosophy of his center. It’s a beautiful example of a well articulated point of view and clear sense of why. And I think it might just inspire and warm your heart.

Rants by Celebrities:

Actor Tyrese Gibson goes on a rant about responsibility to the people following him about them. He expresses how tired he is of their whining and complaining. It’s a beautiful, tough love rant.

In this famous interview on BBC, Russell Brand gives some incredible well tempered, rant-like answers. What I love about Russell’s style is the incredible lucidity but also the pacing, tempo and rhythm of it.

 Jenna Marbles, who is amazing, goes on a rant about the whole ‘nice guys finish last’ idea. Extremely NSFW.

Vandana Shiva is one of the most remarkable and wonderful people I know. In this interview she goes off about Monsanto. This kind of rant is driven by a passion for exposing the lies and false causes of real troubles.


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Guest Post: The Background of Your Website That No One Talks About But Everyone Feels

I’ve connected with Tim Gray a few times over the years, and always gotten the loveliest vibe from him. We got into a conversation about websites and it turned out he had some things to say which I thought were important enough that I wanted to share them with you all.

This notion of the unspoken messages dominating the conversation is so important. It’s what underwrites my recent posts Stop Wasting People’s Time: The Incredible Cost of Being Fuzzy and How to Approach Hubs and Potential Clients Cold.


macbook-2What do you see as the purpose of having a website?

It’s the hub of your online world. All your social media and whatnot connect to it. And it’s the only online place where you can completely control what you say and how it’s presented.

This feels key. Especially in a time where people are getting increasingly frustrated with Facebook and other social media outlets for constantly changing their rules and making it harder to reach people (without paying money to them to boost your posts or pay for ads). We’re just not in control of what Facebook or other tools do but we are in control of our website.

Exactly. So the website’s purpose is to be your representative. When you’re not there in person, it shows people who you are and what you do, and acts as the concierge showing them where your stuff is.

It’s a place for your community to come back to and feel on familiar ground. It’s also a non-scary way for people to see if they’re interested in you before they break cover.

Websites = Safety

I think that’s so important. The notion of safety in marketing is often ignored or overlooked. People often push harder, shout louder and try to generate more hype when they might actually be better served in making it safer to approach them. And I think you’re right. The website plays this function perhaps more than anything else in your business.

What do you see as the top three mistakes people make with their website?

  1. Not showing up, or showing up but not giving out the right authentic message.
  2. Not taking account of the perspective of their audience, so they don’t give people what they want and need to engage with the site.
  3. Not putting attention into the practicalities of writing and design – which are what give your visitors whatever impressions they get.

You say that, “a lot of websites don’t pay attention to these ideas. Even sites that are counted successful, by people who ought to know what they’re doing. They miss out on connection with visitors that they could have had”. Could you say more about that?

People come to your site genuinely interested in something they think you might have. But they know to protect their time and processing capacity by not spending too long on wrong turnings, so they’re alert for alarm signals. If it seems like they have to put a lot of work in and not get much back, they’ll be off.

If you want them to stay and build a connection, you have to pay attention to the psychology and the user experience.

But our minds love to take shortcuts. People get caught in their own perspective, start taking things for granted, and bits of serving their audience get lost. We get caught up in doing things and forget to make reality checks.

Sites with a high profile are still run by humans. It’s easy to get enthusiastic about shiny whizzy things and forget the basics.

Look at your website through their eyes. 

What do you see as the most common ‘shiny whizzy things’ on websites?

Things like image sliders that take up most of the first screenful. Autoplaying videos. Festooning a page with ads, and having things popping up while the visitor is trying to read. Or just filling the page with lots of blocks of information. Floating social media sharing bars that cover the article text. It’s the old ‘interruption marketing’ mindset that won’t let go.

So, you visit their site and get frustrated because parts of the experience are bad or you can’t find answers to your questions. And that frustration becomes part of their brand for you.

Don’t let ‘they have a frustrating website’ be what you’re known for. 

That’s so real.

What I’m saying is that everyone has the opportunity to avoid those problems by understanding the foundations. That isn’t even techy stuff: it’s about how you plan your site and set it out so that you serve your users.

You speak about people having a message. What is a message in your mind?

It became one of my big building block terms after clicking together with my long-ago physics education. It was probably in the shower!

In physics there are vectors, which are quantities with direction, like velocity. A message is information with direction. It’s a story with places to go and people to see.

I like that.

You’re not just saying it: you want it to do something. That means just sitting in a corner for reference isn’t enough. You care about it reaching people and having an effect when it does.

We often talk about a message as a person’s unique contribution to the world, grown from their experiences and insights. It bubbles together and makes connections and eventually wants to come out.

It makes me think of seeds and how they are the condensed information of the lifetime of not only the plant they came from but all of the ancestors of that plant. And that information doesn’t just want to lie dormant in the seed and rot but to be planted and grow. It wants to do something very particular.

Yes, that relates to everything from personal story work to the hero’s journey to the idea of what you’re born to do. You can put it in different ways. You know, being a giant so people can stand on your shoulders rather than having to work it all out from scratch.

You can also talk about messages in a smaller way, as signals people pick up and process.

One of the ideas I talk about is foreground and background messages. Foreground messages are the things you think you’re telling people, like: “My yoga classes have these five health benefits.”

Background messages are what they’re picking up about you, usually more quickly and powerfully. Like, ‘Friendly person who takes people as they are’ or ‘Expert who pushes people to technical mastery’. It’s important to take charge of those background messages and recognise that they’re part of what you’re saying to people. You can’t choose not to project anything!

background > foreground

Right. So if you went on a date, the foreground messages you give off might be, “Yes, I’m a very successful business man and I make lots of money. Did I tell you the funny story about that time Barack Obama and I went fishing?” but the sub communications might be, “I’m insecure and desperately needing your approval.” And you’re suggesting that those implicit, unspoken messages might actually have more impact than the ones you’re trying so hard to explicitly lay out.

Yes. That’s the more familiar version of how it works face to face. I think those subconscious detective processes are still working when we read your writing.

You say, “Too often these messages get lost in the background noise and don’t make the difference they could have”. Lost in the background noise of the marketplace? Their own website? Both?

The world, actually. It frustrates me that humanity isn’t further on in making a better world. Why are we still looking at the same problems as twenty years ago?

I’m gradually understanding more about the reasons for that. And one big part of it is that people who have the jigsaw pieces of the good stuff have not been good at communicating and persuading. We haven’t had the skills. In the meantime, the people with the bad old messages have done pretty well by being loud and persistent.

Yes. Instead of us helping green things seem normal, they’ve been better at making normal things seem green.

But you’re right, part of that is the marketplace and part of it is their own website. It’s easy to not be visible even when people are looking in your direction.

Huh. Good point.

It’s about knowing what you want to say, and who you want to show yourself to be, and how to use words and visual design to make that happen. Because then you can connect with your audience and make a difference.

Goodness knows, this can be hard, with obstacles inside yourself and in the practicalities. It’s certainly an ongoing journey for me.  

Earlier you spoke about the importance of showing up “in person on your site”. What is this and why does it matter so much?

This is the whole big piece about the way marketing has changed and is changing. Terms fly around like ‘relationship marketing’ and ‘personal branding’ and ‘story’.

People want to connect with people. I’ll buy my soy milk from the supermarket, but for coaching or training I want to know who I’m dealing with. What sort of person are they? What are their values? Will we get on? Will their style be a good fit?

People want to connect with people. 

This is everything to me. I think people tend to see marketing as being about convincing people to ‘say yes’ but I see it as about getting to the truth of if there’s a good fit. But this asks a lot of us. It asks us to be vulnerable and open ourselves to a lot of rejection.

It certainly means there are different skills involved: maybe not what we used to think marketing was. And it means personal development is part of it.

But you can turn this around too. It means people with different skills come to the forefront: people who have done the personal development and are good at connecting with people and building community can make a big difference. Sometimes those people have significant internal obstacle that they need to work through so they can show up.

It’s become a bit of a cliche, but still true: we’re within a few clicks of lots of people who can offer your product, service or ideas. So we choose based on who we think we like most.

Right. Or trust the most. Respect the most. Feel the most aligned with.

Exactly. When people visit your site, they want to see you there. The most obvious example is to have a good ‘About’ page where they can learn a bit about you. But you also want to show up in the way you write, the way you present it, the things you choose to talk about.

Too often, people hide out. This may be a particular problem in a culture like we’ve got here in Britain, where people are trained to fit in and not make a fuss. And most people have seen examples of marketing that’s shouty and in your face, and they don’t want to be like that.

And you don’t have to be shouty. But it’s also a bit off if people come round to see you and you’re hiding in the cupboard. You can be politely brilliant!

Make yourself visible on your website.

Ha. I like that. I speak about this a lot in my marketing workshops. This dynamic of either collapsing or posturing.

So, what are three simple things that people can do to make their websites better right away?

Well, these are three things to check, because if you’re getting them wrong you’ll be turning people off.

  1. As we’ve just been talking about it, have an ‘About’ page that visitors can find easily. Use it to introduce yourself as a human being. What’s important to you, what do you like to spend time doing, what has been the journey of your life? Just a few paragraphs about key points, with a nice photo.
  1. On your home page, on the first screenful a new visitor sees, can they tell what the site’s about? It sounds silly, but people get it wrong often, and it’s because they don’t put themselves in the visitor’s shoes.
  1. A pleasant reading experience depends on lots of things about layout, colour and how to write for the web. But for a specific part of it, one of my bugbears is that so many sites have text that’s too small to read comfortably. So check yours, ideally on a couple of different devices. Maybe get opinions from people with different eyesight. If necessary, change your design or theme.

I should say, getting your site really good is a learning process. It certainly is for me. I sometimes say it changes at the speed of perspective, as I try different things and later see more clearly what’s good or bad about them.

Can you give three examples of websites you love and say a bit about why you love them so much?

I find this one difficult, because my brain insists on telling me how things could be better. Let me give examples of sites getting particular things right that I’ve looked at recently.

Henneke Duistermaat’s made a big impression on me the other day for the freebie sign-up on the home page. The more I look at it, the stronger it is.

I quite like by your friends Mark Silver & co. They’ve got the language and the visuals working together, for a feel of hearth and home and simplicity. Though the design has that American magazine feel – probably comforting to a US audience but niggles my European sensibilities!

Lisa Barber’s site at is great for the graphics (by Lisa McLoughlin – I know both of them from t’internet) and the way she talks to the reader. It creates a really cohesive vibe of specialist marketing knowledge delivered in a sensitive and understanding way for small helping businesses.

Those are great examples. I’d add Carrie Klassen of for her very clear visual aesthetic and clear voice in how she writes. It’s charming and kind. I also love Michael Margolis’ site because it’s so clean and clear. You know exactly what it’s about when you arrive. And Rebecca Tracey has done an incredible thing with her site At the very top of the site she invites you to choose from one of four boxes to immediately direct you to whatever services are most likely to be of use to you.

Those are good too. I noticed Get Storied had a redesign recently, and the vibe made a huge shift from home-grown to professional, bordering on corporate.

Uncaged’s filtering visitors to different content is well done. People will arrive with different questions in mind. But also, the whole front page is a strong audience filter: smart-talking, occasionally sweary, zappy visuals. Most people will know whether they’re drawn in or put off. (That “no pants” thing is different over here, you know…)

Pink Elephant is almost the opposite, with a more traditional and ‘quieter’ design, but covering similar topics.

When you’re browsing the web and sites or pages make you feel a certain way, it’s worth thinking about why that is. It’s not magic. You can learn to get better at it, a step at a time.


Tim Gray 8728 2x3in web 200Tim Gray is a writer, finer world advocate and geek living in Nottingham, UK.

He helps people who are working on their corner of a better world to connect with their audience through their writing and how they present it in channels like websites, documents and ebooks.

You can find Tim at

There’s a short free guide about writing for the web to turn visitors into readers.

If you’d like to follow up the issues in this interview, take a look at Tim’s e-course ‘Website Foundations for Stories in Action’.




Five decisions I’ve made about the tricky business of affiliate marketing.

money-changing-hands-crop-1200x675Over the years, I have promoted a number of my colleagues.

Sometimes I have done that as an affiliate (I was paid something for anyone who signed up) and sometimes I’ve done it without receiving any money. It’s been a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B.

For the most part, it’s felt good. And from time to time it’s felt other than good to be promoting.

I thought I’d share with you what I’ve come up with in case it’s of some use to you in the future when you find something worthy of promoting and have the opportunity to be an affiliate for it.

The parts that have felt good:

  • I can’t do everything. There are so many aspects of business in which I have no expertise (and have no interest in becoming an expert). So I get to share content that is relevant and trustworthy to my people, thus saving them a lot of time in trying to sift through the mountain of information that’s out there on the internet. I’d be a fool to think i know everything and selfish not to point people to the best resources I know about. I recently had a moment where someone booked a half day session with me to look at their packages. I suggested that, before our time, they check out Rebecca Tracey’s program Hey! Nice Package! A few days later I got a sheepish email letting me know they were cancelling the session with me because her program had worked so well for them. I was thrilled.
  • It’s helped to financially sustain me. Up until this point, I haven’t had many of my own online programs or products. I don’t work with people one on one very much and touring is exhausting. Having the extra income from affiliate deals has meant the world to me – especially give the fact that the vast majority of my efforts over the past decade have gone not into creating products but free content for people. I have over 600 blog posts up right now and my guess is that there are likely about 5000 pages of content there. For free.

The parts that didn’t feel good:

  • Financial fuzziness. When I first started sending out affiliate emails about colleagues it always felt a little off, like I was being sneaky or something. The link in the email was an affiliate link but I wasn’t saying it. Some people would understand that it was. Others would have no idea. Would it change how they felt if they knew? Was it worth explaining it to them or was that my own neuroses about it? It didn’t feel right not to say something but I also wasn’t sure how to talk about it without it feeling weird.
  • It’s all ‘Six Figure’ this and ‘Seven Figure’ that. I’ve had to say ‘no’ to some colleagues I otherwise adore because the levels of glitz, glam and ‘get rich quick’ was too much.
  • Hype. I’ve looked at some of the sales letters for programs I’ve been asked to promote and cringed at the level of hype I’ve seen.
  • Low value free content. I’ve promoted so many colleagues whose promo calls, webinars and content were hyped up as so useful only to find they had almost no content in them at all but were mostly a pitch to buy the rest of their stuff. This has been heartbreaking. I just trusted it would be good and then I read it and my heart sank, ‘This is utter shit…’ I thought. ‘I can’t believe I promoted this…’
  • The Launch Formula. Almost every affiliate promo I have done is for a ‘launch’. A launch means that the product or program is only available for a limited time. Sometimes this scarcity is legit (e.g. you’re running a group program and it only has 100 spots and you only do it once per year) and sometimes it’s bullshit (e.g. ‘Only 200 copies of this ebook!’). Regardless of the veracity of the scarcity, it means that it’s a time sensitive situation. I need to share it in a certain window of time. The other model is the ‘evergreen’ model in which a product or program is available forever and whenever. I personally prefer it when colleagues have evergreen, home study versions of their materials as well because sometimes I want to refer people to them and… there’s no way to do so. I have to wait until the next launch. Launches make everything so urgent (which is why they work) but, because of this, they feel like more pressure.
  • Unsubscribes. The reality is that people unsubscribe from my email list with every email I send out. Every time. If the email if free, useful content then less people. If it’s a pitch for my own stuff then more people. If it’s an affiliate pitch, then more people still. That’s just the reality.
  • It’s not useful. This is a whole other level of heartbreak. Sometimes I have found out that what I am promoting is actually no good at all. Sometimes it’s good content but bad context. What they’re teaching is sound, practical and useful but the way they’re doing it is schmarmy or salesy or hyped up. Sometimes the content is good but the course is structured poorly and tries to cover too much and so it’s way too much too fast and students are made to feel like failures.
  • Sending so many emails. Many of my colleagues, when launching a product or a program, asked me, as an affiliate, to send out a lot of emails. I’d tell them I couldn’t send out all of the ones they wanted and would usually send out half the amount others did but it still felt like a lot. But, this was the inner conflict for me: in the course of their promo they were often providing a lot of very real, tangible value. Perhaps they were offering a book, a white paper, a series of educational videos or webinars. I wanted to make sure people knew about them because, hey, free value! But… so many emails from me and about things that aren’t my own. People joined my email list to hear my thoughts, not to be promoted to multiple times about someone they’ve never heard of.
  • So many emails from other affiliates. Over the years, I began to realize that many of the people on my list were also on lists of other colleagues promoting the same things. This meant that some people on my list might get three or four people all sending out multiple emails promoting the same thing. Oh man. So many emails.
  • So many emails from the person I’m promoting. This was a straw that broke this camel’s back. I finally realized that not only were the people on my list getting multiple emails from me. Not only were they getting multiple emails from colleagues about it but they were also getting multiple emails (often quite a lot) from the person I was promoting. So. Many. Emails. The people on my list were getting it from every side.

And then there was the negative feedback…

This has been one of the hardest pills to swallow.

Sometimes I would promote colleagues whose work I believed in but whose selling tactics were… not the ones I’d choose to use. I once asked me list for feedback on the people I’d promoted as affiliates. Here are some of the negative responses I got…

  • “Checked them out – not so helpful, and at times offensive. As a group they seem to be one step removed from your hippy marketing as communication, non-gross vibe – and some of them were so close to the usual vomit marketing stuff I came very close to opting off your list. The worst was the guy – already blanked out his name – talking about how to convince your clients they deserve to pay – they owe it to themselves to pay the high prices for things and how they could afford them. His example was a story about someone who decided she could give up her 2 starbucks a day and walk or ride a bike to work. That’s all well and good for people who are spending excess that way, but for people who are struggling just to pay for groceries, it’s offensive. It’s cruel. I don’t want to study from someone who is teaching people to treat prospective clients this way. People who are doing great work deserve to be paid well, and when prospects are in a position to be able to afford the products and services, that’s awesome. What bothers me is when they try to get that money from people who don’t have – encourage people to use their credit cards and go into debt to purchase the product or service, and then when the client doesn’t get the promised results and struggles to pay off that charge the marketer is either no where to be found or has the audacity to try to sell them something else.”
  • “The next lead of yours that I followed was _______. I wish I hadn’t. Her sales page and videos were so compelling, and I was in so vulnerable a state at the time, that I spent $1000 on her 3-day “virtual retreat” on marketing. She was very knowledgeable and very successful at what she does, which is sucking vulnerable people like me into committing impulsively to spend large amounts of money on her product – which is a too-fast-paced course in wording and structuring sales pages (better known as “squeeze pages” as I have subsequently learned) and videos that result in maximum income for the seller of “leveraged” online “info products”. Her written course materials are very brief (3 documents of about 20-30 pages each). Most of her material is delivered online as live and recorded audio. About half of that is “group coaching” where she has a series of 10 minute chats with other students about their sales page wording and content. I got on once, and she helped me a small bit. Her teachings on niche are much weaker than yours, and her section on technology amounts to recommending the friends she has outsourced her technology to.”
  • “I checked out ______. I got on his mailing list, and came to the conclusion that his program might be a fit for me at some time in the future, but not now. So I clicked a link at the bottom of one of his emails that said “if you want to get a lot less email from me, click here”. When I still kept getting an email every day from him, I complained, but they kept coming. On the last day before the program closed, I got two emails, and I sent another bitter complaint. Obnoxious marketing practices.”
  • “Thanks Tad for asking about the promotions…the first time I signed up with you I checked out Jane Doe. That was useful. I did not sign up as I was going away for an extened period of time. From then on her stuff was self promoting and going down hill and affliate marketing news. I checked out your other “colleagues” and even more self promoting, salesy…a person can use the words, socially conscious entreprenuers , soul centered this or that like Kraft can use All Natural or gasoline companies can talk about mother earth and green wash. It is all upselling. I wondered what has happened to my sweet lad Tad…has he completlely Jane Doe’d himself…Is my friend hungry? Does he need money? Does pay what you want not work? For a bit I was getting so many collegue things from you I was opening them up and checking them out and getting sick to my stomach. But because I respect you, I would keep opening them and find nothing but increase your revenues to 6 figures promises(with huge disclaimers at the end of course). The cynic in me thought, Hey why stop at six- figures, why not promise seven figures and low and behold, the next day, there it was, increase my revnues to 7 figure and now 7 is the new number. Lately I have been getting so many “collegue” letters from you that I have considered hitting the unsuscribe button because I thought you were out of business and into affliate marketing. I like your stuff. One day after having opened an affliate thing from you I got so sad…I went looking for an early Tad Hargrave youtube…I sighed…happy to see the earnest young man…eager, compassionate and so trusting in himself and the world. Don’t let the John Doe’s or anyone like him rob you of your light.”

Five affiliate marketing decisions I’ve made:

A few months ago, while promoting someone I really admire, I began to sat with all of this, the upsides and downsides more seriously in an attempt to find some reconciliation of it all.

I hope the following learnings might be of some use to you in the future.

Affiliate Decision #1 – Giving the non-affiliate link:

This has been my policy for years now.

The nub of it is this: when you send out an email promoting someone using an affiliate link, then include, usually in the p.s. an explanation that the link above is an affiliate link and that, if that feels off in any way, there is a non-affiliate link they can click below.

Like so many good things I do, I do them because someone else did it to me and I noticed how good it felt. I can’t remember when or who but there it was. I was reading an email from them in which they were promoting someone and, at the end, they told me, “Hey! This is an affiliate thing, click the link below if you don’t like it and I won’t get any money.”

It was so refreshing. I felt respected. And I noticed, compellingly, that I was actually more happy to click on the affiliate link to make sure they got the money. Ever since using this approach, I have felt a world better and gotten emails like the below one telling me that they felt just as I did when I got my first email like this.

One good fellow said, “Congratulations on your transparency about the affiliation, and your providing of the alternate link. Although I am not doing anything with your stuff right now because I am drowning in developing a new website (plus teaching college). However, the likelihood that I will not delete your emails and will actually read them when I get through the next 2-3 weeks has increased exponentially.”

Another lady said, “I really appreciate your transparency at the bottom (in your P.S.), nice! Thanks for the openness. P.S. I forwarded your email to someone who may be interested. He appreciated that P.S. too. :)

But one time I got some feedback from someone on my list of a way I did it that didn’t totally land for him. I was grateful for his honesty.

“Hey…I really like your stuff, the content, and your ethos. Refreshing mix of marketing and community values.

Just one thing, feedback. I have NO problem with you doing the affiliate thing. Why not, its all part of the mutual benefit. I really appreciate your disclosure of it.

But theres just a bit of cringe factor in the way you do it…like you can’t quite own it. Hey dude:

p.p.s. Full Disclosure: This is an affiliate arrangement with George meaning I’ll make some amount of money (I actually haven’t checked how much) for everyone who signs up from the call. And it’s not why I’m promoting it. I hope you’ll dig it.

Ok, heres the critique. Firstly, you bend over backwards to make it clear you don’t really care about the money, and you are just doing it cause you want to support him and us.

Drop it, please. Your casual (don’t know how much I will make) sounds weak, and defensive.

Secondly, its a muddy mix of self interest and generosity. You are trying to separate out the two by the disclosure, but the way you put it actually is confusing. Again, its kind of defensive around your self interest. There IS,somewhere, your own profit (if not money, then your own career) motive in your promoting him. Maybe only .1%, but so what. It IS partly why you are promoting him. By somehow trying to make it less, you sound like you are trying to make it go away, rather than what you are ostensibly doing, which is owning it.

Hey, I do the same thing in my representations about my generosity. My wife, who knows me so well, always pulls a face and asks, yeah, but whats the cost?

So, small point, but hey, don’t like to see you marr your marvellous work.

So, my suggestion:

• Transparency statement: when George profits, so do I. I love it – I get to promote people I think are excellent, like George. If you like him as well, hee gets more business, you get a benefit. And I get a kickback :-) Everyone wins.

Well, thats a playful version. A straighter version:

• Transparency statement: if you like George’s products its win-win-win. You benefit, George’s work grows, and I get a percentage as an affiliate.

All the best.”

So what exact wording might you use?

Here’s an example of the kind of thing I’ve come to over the years,

p.s. I have been incredibly impressed with the nuts and bolts, practical nature of Marisa’s work and have learned something from every conversation with her I’ve had. And clients I’ve sent her way have thanked me. The above link is an affiliate link, meaning you signing up with her also supports me financially. If that doesn’t feel right for you for any reason, you can click on the following link and it will take you to the same page but I won’t be tracked as an affiliate.

Whichever link you click, I urge you to check out her brilliant work.

Note: In many countries you are legally obligated to let people know if it is an affiliate link or not in any of your promotions.

Affiliate Decision #2 – Personalize.

When you agree to become an affiliate for someone you’ll get some swipe copy from them. Meaning, if they’re smart, they will send you some prewritten sales copy to promote their stuff.

In my experience, as a result of it being difficult to write about one’s self objectively and a lack of understanding of how to write sales copy without hype, it’s not usually that good or useful to me beyond giving me the raw material I need to work with to write something of my own.

One of my colleagues wrote me his thoughts on this whole tangled mess of affiliate marketing,

“I think the subject of endorsing is one that is on a lot of people’s minds as we see more and more affiliate marketing between people. It’s funny – sometimes I find I don’t like the feel of it, and sometimes I do. When you do it, I like it. When John Doe does it, I don’t seem to. And I have no idea why. No idea. Like anything, my guess is that it is not this ‘activity’ that’s the problem ever, but how it is handled and communicated. For some reason, just off the top of my head – I notice that I love how you write about other people.

It always comes from your perspective, and why you feel it’s important. Though it’s more work for you, this feels great! It’s different entirely than the emails that are clearly written by someone else, or just come across super hypey – which I do find is more the norm. If I’m on someone’s list, I prefer to have the feeling that the endorsement (commission or not does not matter to me) is coming with a clear feeling as to why it’s important for ‘me’, and how it fits into my being on the person’s list. Relevance.

Maybe I like it when it’s communicated with the feeling that the endorsee is really doing this for ‘me’ and can clearly explain why. In that case, I am fine with there being a commission involved – I like it even – and I think that most people are. If I join Mailchimp or a John Doe program b/c of someone’s recommendation, I love using their affiliate link to do it. Makes me feel good that they are getting a commission for it. It’s like ‘thank you for telling me!’

Maybe my underlying feeling is that I love it when people earn great money from their own work and JV commissions, but my expectation is always the feeling like they have my best interests in mind when they speak, lead, endorse. And it’s ok with me if unsure as to the value for me, to change the wording to reflect that – like you have done in the past. ‘This *could* be very interesting for you’. That works just fine for me – again it’s all in the communication.

But many lists I’m on I can sense another way of endorsing – where there just isn’t the same level of care for ‘me’ communicated in the message. And this feels emotionally not as nice. I find I get a low level annoyance happening with this. You’re one of the very few that I’ve never had that feeling about, ever. Not that I’m so difficult to please, I don’t get tied up in knots about it, I just choose to ignore many other ‘teachers’ when they do these more flippant feeling JV endorsements. I put up with it, and then resume my interest when they get back to ‘leading me’.”

So, it will feel better to people if you personalize it.

As my own understanding of marketing has evolved, I’ve found the swipe copy to be less and less useful because it’s written to get people to say ‘yes’ rather than to help them understand if it’s a fit for them or not.

To deal with this, I have, as of today, created a form I will be asking all future colleagues to fill out if they want me to be an affiliate for them. Feel free to copy this.

Affiliate Decision #3 – One email policy:

This is my most recent learning.

From now on, if a colleague asks me to promote them and it feels like a fit to me, I will only send one email out about it (with a good possibility of sending a reminder to those who clicked on the link in the email a day or two before the end of the promotion if I don’t get any negative feedback from their promo).

After wrestling with this for years, I was reminded about how Jay Abraham promoted the first major marketing workshop I ever attended.

His initial email said, in essence,

“I’ve got this amazing seminar coming up. I’d love for you to come. But of course I think it’s amazing. It’s my program. So here’s my proposition. I’d like to get your permission to market this program to you and make my case for why it will be in your best interests to attend it. And, during the course of that promotion, I will give away more free content than most people give away during their actual seminars.”

He was, in essence, asking for people’s permission to market to them.

It was a brilliant approach during which he genuinely gave away an incredible amount of value.

What I loved about it was how respectful it was (if you didn’t opt in to be marketed to that was the last you ever heard of it) and, if you did, you got a bushel full of useful marketing tips. And it was so direct. No beating around the bush.

And so, just a few weeks ago, it dawned on me that this was how I was going to approach affiliate promotions for the foreseeable future.

Instead of sending out four emails during the course of a promotion, I will send one.

Instead of telling my list about every free piece of launch content they’re offering, I will tell them about all of them in advance and encourage them to give their permission to be marketed to by the person in question. I will make my best case for the program and be as clear as I can about who it’s a fit for and who it’s not a fit for.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a relief this feels like to me.

What it means is that I will earn less money from affiliate deals and likely be less attractive to colleagues. It will mean I likely don’t grace the promotional leaderboards (where they keep track of whose made the most sales) with the nimble agility I used to but… it will also mean less clutter in your email inbox. It will also mean me feeling more peace in my heart about this whole thing.

Examples of the single emails:

Jesse and Sharla’s Client Attraction Mastery Home Study Course: Said someone of this email, “I can’t help but to send you a note to say thank you for putting this email together. It’s the best affiliate marketing promotional email I’ve ever seen! It’s done with so much heart, I’m amazed. Thank you for being a shining example of how to do AM with authenticity. While I don’t think I’ll get this product now, if I ever do, I’ll definitely get it through your link even though some other people I follow are also promoting this.



Affiliate Decision #4 – Disclaimers:

Finding someone to promote who you are 100% behind is rare.

Sometimes you’ll love them personally.

Sometimes you’ll love their style.

Sometimes you’ll love their content.

Sometimes you’ll love how they market themselves.

Rarely will you find someone where all of those are true. Very seldom will you find an utterly perfect fit.That’s just how it is.

But, when it’s not perfect, it can be good to speak to that directly in your sales copy.

This can mean…

  • letting people know you’ve never met them in person.
  • using the word ‘colleague’ instead of ‘friend’ in your sales copy.
  • bluntly stating where and how you disagree with them. I recall reading a book review that said, “I think most of this book is garbage but it’s worth 1000 times the price of the book for the content in chapter three.”

A client once wrote me and said of this very topic,

“I do think, also, that those of us who consider you a mentor understand full well that we will be dealing with different businesses and personalities. Maybe a simple stock sentence to that effect might help. You’re much better at that sort of wording than me, but something like: ‘you’re used to me, and I’m ‘this way’… I will promote people I feel have a really important piece to share on ‘something’, it’s something that I can’t do very well for you, even though I’d love to… and know that these works come in various personality packages… This brings an unexpected gift. It helps us navigate how we want to show up in the business world. Of course my way isn’t the only way. As a matter of fact, while you are learning from their particular genius, thank them for this, and also notice how they are doing business, notice how they are doing their intros, their content, etc. and as well as taking in the genius of what they’re great at, notice what you will do differently to find the way of doing *your* business. We are all trying to figure out just how to package and deliver the gifts that we have, and these people will help you see how they’ve done it. Notice what works for you…”

Affiliate Decision #5 – The Optional Follow Up Email:

I credit Danny Iny with this idea and it’s likely one I will use a lot.

I’ve often sent reminder emails about a deadline on a colleagues program the day or so before it’s over. And I’ve often been grateful, as forgetful and busy as I can be, to receive such emails.

But, Danny pointed out that, instead of emailing your whole list with the reminder, you can, using most online email programs, identify who clicked on the link inside it and email only those people since they were the ones who expressed some clear interest. So, instead of 10,000 people getting the reminder, only maybe 300 people do.

Less clutter for everyone and a friendly reminder to everyone else.

I hope these learnings have been useful to you. I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning yourself.

Bonus Thoughts:

Blog Posts: A few times, I’ve wanted to share my colleagues work for their evergreen products and so I interviewed them for my blog about their thoughts on the topic. This felt better than just emailing a straight up promo for their product because the people on my list were getting some immediate value and the affiliate code was embedded in the blog post. In these cases, I’ve not bothered to give the non-affiliate link since the trust of the email wasn’t about getting them to sign up for anything. It should be noted that, in the short term, this approach will not get as many sales but the blog post can be recycled over and over via social media and, if you structure your website right, you can guide people to it from other blog posts and link to it in future emails.

I did this with Rebecca Tracey about her brilliant work on helping people create packages for their work and with Carrie Klassen about her genius ebook on how to write a lovable homepage.

Resources Page: For evergreen products, you can also create a Resources Page on your website where you give links to useful resources, affiliate and otherwise, that your clients might find of interest.

Feedback I’ve Gotten from this Post:

In addition to the comments below, here’s what people have been telling me about their thoughts from this blog post.

  • “I think you’ve nailed the affiliate link thing. You disclose, you offer an alternative, non affiliate link, and most importantly for me, you only send the one email about it. I trust you, and you’ve stayed in my inbox, when I’ve been culling others like mad.:)”
  • “THANK YOU for this well thought out blog post. I have loved you for years and have gone through ups and downs in my feelings about the JV emails I was getting from you (and from other “colleagues” promoting the same “good friend”). I can hear the struggle you have gone through and I appreciate you for grappling with all of it to come to what feels right for you. Through all of it, I have never wanted to unsubscribe from your email list (though I came close twice) because you were the person whose programs I knew and trusted. I always appreciated your transparency with the affiliate link. And of course I am always happy to click on your link to benefit you as I have received so much benefit from you. Thanks most of all because I had developed such a bad taste for JV programs that I had vowed never to participate in them or market myself that way when I developed online programs. Reading through your thoughts has made me reconsider this point of view. I hope this works well for you and that less people unsubscribe from your list. I know that the times I considered it, it was not just because of the JV content, I was at a point where life was overwhelming and email seemed like a small thing I could control.”
  • “I’ve been thinking about how affiliates could be part of my business plan & how I want and don’t want to go about doing it. I’ve certainly been glad for your shares. Danny Iny had great free content, but I didn’t buy his product. Carrie Klassen I bought into and really enjoyed. Timing and price point had a lot to do with both of those decisions. I’ve noticed that you give the non-affiliate link and I like it so much I’ll copy that practice. I also really appreciate the One Email Policy. So. Many. Emails. Thank you for not clogging my Inbox.”

Other great posts on this topic:

Steve Mattus of Heart of Business has written a wonderful piece on this called Getting Tangled Using Affiliate Links.

George Kao shares his thoughts on why he’s stopped doing affiliate marketing here.

Honesty in Search Results: Why We Decided Not to Offer an Affiliate Program

My Stance on Affiliate Marketing – Julie Wolk