Last year at some point, I came across a lady named Kris Ward who runs a business called Abundant Yogi. Maybe I felt an affinity because my own business name is one of apparent contradictions too. “Marketing and hippies?? What?”
I’ve been following her stuff for a bit and thought it might be nice to share it with you all.
So many conscious entrepreneurs really struggle with making their business more than just an expensive hobby for them. Kris was in that place and in this blog interview she shares where she is now and some ideas on how you can turn your expensive hobby into a really wonderful, sustainable business you’re thrilled with. And to do it in a way that also creates a wonderful quality of life.
Abundant Yogi is a reaction to all the “yogier than thou” tendencies I saw in the yoga and holistic wellness community, where teachers and service providers within the industry were afraid to promote themselves and their services for fear of looking greedy, too “corporate-y”, or un-yogi-like. I knew this was going on because I played into it for YEARS before I sat myself down one day for a serious BIG-SELF on little-self INTERVENTION.
I got really honest with myself about the lifestyle I wanted and the dreams I had, and I basically just made the decision that I was going to defy the norm and become an “Abundant Yogi” (a phrase that, up until that point, had pretty much been an oxymoron––at least for me and the other yogis I knew).
This decision was a no-brainer for me. I’d been wired like a true entrepreneur since I was a scrawny little 7th grader selling Blow-Pops and Airheads at school for 50 cents a pop and counting my wad of babysitting money over and over in a very joyful yet OCD fashion. My dad always told me I’d have to marry a rich guy or become a business owner because I had such expensive taste. I actually LOVED participating in the exchange of value.
To deny that I loved the game of business as much as I loved being a yogi and wellness coach just so I could be accepted by my ‘spiritual’ community was a big fat lie and super uncomfortable for me. It wasn’t authentic.
So I stopped pretending, relaxed into my desires, and started trusting them a lot more. I sought out and mentored under some really amazing people––entrepreneurs, leaders and coaches who were running multi-million dollar businesses built on integrity and real value. I began modeling them and learned everything I could from them, applying all the parts that felt right to me.
It took a few years but eventually I found my groove and got to the point where I actually felt free from the good opinions of others. At least enough to be myself (potty mouth and all) and “let it all hang out” on my blog and in my videos, courses and newsletters. And once I found that sweet spot, everything just started to flow.
Clients, speaking gigs, money in my bank account, better relationships, more confidence and creativity, the support team I wanted and needed… it all went from being ONE HUGE STRUGGLE (or nonexistent) to being quite fun, exciting, and easily accessible.
And you know how we humans are. The second we have a breakthrough and we discover the “magic formula” to anything, all we want to do is share the good news and bring other people into the same good fortune. So that’s how Abundant Yogi came to be.
I figured surely there were others out there like me (in the yoga community and beyond) who actually LIKED the idea of getting paid to be the real them, truly leaning into their pleasure, passions, and callings, and giving themselves permission to live the lifestyle they choose––for no other reason than that they choose to. That’s what the creative life force within them is called towards. And they choose to answer that calling in an honest way, through doing work that they LOVE that utilizes the best of their unique passions, talents and skills. That, to me, is the essence of lifestyle design.
Who do you work with?
Yoga teachers, Massage Therapists, Coaches, Healers, Wellness Professionals, Artists, Writers…. creative people with a passion to serve and a hankering for the good life.
What are the big three blunders that you see them making in their businesses?
Well they all have to do with Monkey Mind (stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps them stuck instead of taking crucial action) and we go into ALL of these in my free training videos on the Abundant Yogi PhD site:
1) Thinking they’re not ready yet. They still need more training, more credentials, more experience, more testimonials, more fill-in-the-blank in order to really get started and charge what they’re worth (BS! They’re ready. They just have to own their brilliance, take action, focus on serving others instead of protecting themselves from “too much risk”. They’ve got to take responsibility and start being a PRO.)
a2) Thinking it’s all been said before. They have nothing original to add. How are they ever going to compete with all the others in their field? It’s all so saturated! (More BS! There is no such thing a competition when you’re just trying to be the best YOU you can be.)
3) Thinking that marketing sucks or doesn’t “work” in their field or with their market. Their market is “different”. Marketing “backfires” with yogis / spiritual folk / hippies / health nuts / holistic minded peeps. (Triple BS! Marketing is simply good leadership. It helps people who are looking for what you have to offer to actually FIND you and take full advantage of what you have, so they can get the relief / results they want.)
What’s your understanding of what’s underneath those challenges for you?
Fear. We think we have to wait until it’s gone before we move. Actually we have to act in spite of it.
It’s when we take risks, step outside of our comfort zone, and courageously focus on helping others get their needs met that we actually realize how powerful we are and how much value we have to share. It’s in seeing ourselves take this action that the confidence comes, the rewards come, and the fear falls away.
What are the three most important marketing tools or tactics that you would give to any practitioner looking to grow their business?
1) Be unabashedly, unreasonably, unapologetically YOU. If you try to be anyone/anything other than the real you (in your marketing, your communications, classes, sessions, services, etc.), you’ll attract people that want more of the fake you. And you’ll always have to do that song and dance in order to keep them happy. That’s no fun at all. They’ll make you miserable and you’ll resent them for it, so everyone will pay for it in the long run.
2) Don’t be afraid to go narrow and strong in your niche. Boil what you do down to a kernel. (Ex: I just helped one of my clients narrow her “What do you do?” speech down to: “I’m a bedroom joyologist. I help women feel sexy and empowered in and out of the bedroom no matter what.” It was more tough than you probably realize for her to whittle it down to that very precise statement because she was afraid of being too narrow or excluding too many people. But you really can’t be too narrow. What is the saying?? “She who chases two rabbits catches none.”
Your market wants to feel like you know them, get them, understand their problems, irrational passions, fears and dreams. How can you speak their unique language and describe every aspect of their experience to them if you try to go too broad and speak to everyone? Zoom in on ONE tiny group and spoil them ROTTEN with super valuable content on a regular basis to create bonding, trust and even a sense of reciprocity. They’ll want to give you more business because you’ve helped them so much!
3) We often hear so much about how we should “show our expertise, but also show our vulnerability”. And this is true. People want to know that you’ve been where they are, you understand what they’re going through. So for sure, don’t be afraid to reveal some of your own struggles. BUT, for heaven’s sake, never reveal them if you’re right in the middle of them!! People have enough problems. They don’t need the weight of having YOURS dumped on them too. Wait until you’ve found resolution before you share your challenges so you can teach from a new place of clarity and even offer some insights as to how to avoid or get out of a similar sticky situation.
If you could sit a practitioner down and say, ‘look, do these three things every week and your business will double in a year’, what would they be?
1) Create a valuable piece of content that offers relevant tips, tools and insights that will help your people get results in advance, even before they ever pay you a penny. Include at the end of that piece of content a simple and clear call to action that allows people to get on your mailing list for more helpful goodies.
2) Share each piece of content on your own blog, on other people’s blogs, via social media, etc. Turn a written piece into an audio piece, a video, a little handout, a tweet, a Facebook post, a nugget you can share with your clients/classes/students. Repurpose your content however you can and spread it around generously.
3) As your list of potential clients/customers/students grows, offer them opportunities to get more of your help/products/services so they can get the results they’re looking for. Create packages and programs that will move them further down the path they want to go. Over time, create an entire curriculum or family of products/services that they can choose from so that they’re always progressing forward and taking the next step into their own growth/freedom/transformation via YOUR offerings.
*BONUS: Take the time to write out testimonials for your satisfied customers and clients. Tell them you’ve taken the liberty of writing one for them and ask them to please edit it so that it feels true and authentic to them. These will provide valuable social proof and peace of mind for those who want what you have, but may be holding back or stuck on the fence because of their own skepticism or limiting beliefs.
Why does it feels so scary and gross for most practitioners when they think about growing their business, getting their name out there etc?
It’s just resistance. It’s our thoughts spinning out. We don’t have to believe them or even pay attention to them.
The more passionate we are about something the more we’ll tend to bump up against resistance, most of which is self-created and self-perpetuated. It’s a defense mechanism that paralyzes us and keeps us from taking too much risk and going for what we really really want.
So why don’t we WANT to go after what we really really want with 100% passion, commitment and gusto? Because what happens when we eff it up? What do we have LEFT when we’ve put everything we’ve got into what is MOST important to us and it just FLOPS?? We have nothing!
This is how Monkey Mind works. It’s at work ’round the clock clinging to approval, control and security. But it’s not even focused on what is REAL. It’s projecting into the future about what may or may not happen. Either way, it’s so scary to even fathom that it would rather choose to play small and just half-ass things instead. “At least if I don’t commit 100%, I won’t have to lose everything. I’ll just lose a little bit.”
But that’s just not living.
I guess that’s okay for some people but I’d rather be a dog and live fat, lazy and happy than do that.
If I’m going to be a human and have a mind, body and spirit like this, I’m going to uncover what’s possible for me because I have to answer that call from within.
For others who want that, bring it. You know where to find us. 🙂
Can you share three success stories from some of your clients? I’m curious to hear about what it’s like to work with you.
1) Well I already told you about one––my ‘bedroom joyologist’. She coaches women, live and over the phone, on how to feel sexy and confident in and out of the bedroom. She was a former model. When she moved on from that she didn’t know what to do next. For months she just took naps because she was lacking direction. She couldn’t figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. So we did some work on lifestyle design to get her honest with herself again on what really made her tick. Today, just a few months later, she’s rocking and rolling with her own personal brand, getting testimonials left and right, spicing up many a sex lives and giving women all over the US and Canada the tools they need to feel sexy and confident in their own skin. That’s priceless. And my client is happier than ever.
2) Then I have another client who is the mama of two darling twin babies. Like me, she works with yogis who need serious help in the business and marketing arena. When she came to me she was stuck. She didn’t know how to be a mom AND make any money in business. It was pretty much one or the other. Once again, in just a few short months, she’s up and running, doing big launches, enrolling new clients every week, attracting sometimes 80+ new leads/potential clients to her website per day… and all of this without giving up any mommy time. She put herself and her own lifestyle needs first, then we redesigned her business to SUPPORT and uphold that lifestyle––not take away from it. All of my courses teach this to some degree.
We just upgraded her systems and tweaked her pricing, packages, coaching methods and schedule so it would be possible to juggle being a mom of twin babies AND a rockin’ business coach for yoga teachers.
3) Third, I’ll tell you about my client in Alaska who trains and certifies yoga teachers and also uses yoga as a healing platform for women who have suffered through sexual abuse and other trauma. She’s a character! She’s always been quite the taskmaster so getting things done wasn’t a problem. However getting them done with joy and ease, while attracting ONLY those clients who she adored working with, rather than clients who drained her energy, THAT didn’t come so easily. After working with me privately as well as going through my virtual programs, she’s a completely different woman. I see her in action now and she’s just graceful. There’s no more forcing, only allowing. She trusts herself so much more and she’s more in her feminine. She gives herself what she needs, without guilt or drama and get’s twice as much done with less stress. But above all that, the biggest change I’ve seen in her so far, is going from operating in what I’d call a FOG (albeit a very optimistic one), to operating from a place of extreme clarity of desire, grounded in who she is and what she’s here to do, and moving into momentum now with very clear priorities and intentions. Again, I think that’s priceless.
What would you say is the core focus of your work?
The focus isn’t so much on giving these women NEW businesses.
We just needed to tweak their businesses so that their preferred LIFESTYLE came first, and so that the clients they worked with and the work they do could be an absolute JOY, not a drag. We had them STOP doing what wasn’t fun and profitable, and start charging more for the work that they DID love doing; coaching, teaching, etc. And we repackaged their programs and upgraded their offers to make them irresistible to their ideal clients. My Alaska client is still a yoga teacher trainer and a yoga therapist for survivors of sexual abuse, but now she’s doing national launches instead of just working within the teeniny close-knit community where she lives.
I’m so proud of all of these women. Each of them is doing the work that they needed to do to finally get out of their own way and start living life by design.
Thanks, Tad, for the opportunity to share. I appreciate you spreading the word and sharing the Monkey Mind Makeover and Lifestyle Design Plan with everyone here. This is seriously transformational material and it’s my intention for many people’s lives and businesses to be upgraded and liberated as a result finding it.
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