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case study: hidden gems

I met Mark Volmer, of Hidden Gem Healing in 2011 at some point. And I had the experience of instantly liking and trusting him. There’s something about people who are so comfortable in their own skin (not posturing or collapsing) that it has us all relax.

He ended up coming to one of my weekend workshops and he shared his fascination with the idea that what most holistic practitioners need is to bring more of themselves into their practice. I speak about this often in workshops when I talk about the six things your business can be known for. But I was so fascinated by his point of view on this piece because I feel like it relates so strongly to the notion of niche marketing which I’ve written so much about recently. Especially as it relates to this notion of niching from the inside-out.


What is the name of your project?

Hidden Gem Healing

What’s the response been so far?


I’ve been brought me to tears on numerous occasions after hearing feedback from others. From my vantage point, I can’t think of many things more rewarding than seeing other holistic practitioners realize they’re already an expert and then setting about sharing their unique gifts with the world. I love it!

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

TO be entirely honest, this came about through my own frustrations.

During my educational career, there seemed to be this belief system that stated: “You won’t be a good acupuncturist/healer until you’ve practiced for 10 years and taken a number of continuing education workshops. I observed myself and nearly all of my classmates on an insatiable quest to acquire more knowledge through books, workshops, lectures, and the like.

Constantly reaching outside of ourselves.

Enter Hidden Gem Healing.

I believe that each one of our incredibly unique lives has been an ideal training ground. Based on your own particular set of experiences, beliefs, values, dreams, etc. you’re positioned to be an incredible resource to a very specific group of people. My job comes down to lending assistance in seeing how the seemingly unrelated events in your life cultivated a deep wisdom within. Through this, i feel one gets empowered – no longer is there a reaching outside for information – you already know.

It’s so beautiful to witness.

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

At the present moment, I’ve divided my offerings to address many of the weaknesses I found within my own practice. The intro workshop really helps paint a stunning picture of how your life is of such great learning for others.

From the intro evening, we can dive more in-depth with 1-on-1 session which I feel really help uncover those gems hidden within. I also offer sessions to personalize the intake forms practitioners use. Adjusting the form to be in alignment with your practice and beliefs. As well, unique ways to follow up with clients that feel super resonant with you.

A small example of something we might work with: Intake forms.

Intake forms are SO bland!

They seem to be a reflection of our schooling but so far from an extension of our personal beliefs on healing.

These forms can easily become a wonderful tool to be used in the healing equation. If I was to use myself as an example, a question I love is: what does perfect health look like to you? So often i find we don’t even know what our ideal picture of health looks like; which of course makes it rather hard to navigate to that destination. My friend Jana loves to ask: ” What would you treating yourself look like? How would the treatments progress?” This question is so beautiful – puts the client right into the driver seat.

Another colleague asks: “What activity really connects you with yourself?” “What is the feeling that comes up during this activity?”

After gathering the info from the above questions, she asks: ” Is that the same feeling you’d have when you’re feeling healthy?”

So cool.

When I got asked that question it was a total realization for me. I never connected the dots  – the feeling of freedom I got from being outside was also the feeling I was lacking when i wasn’t feeling healthy.

To summarize, I would say that in addition to a client’s health history and current/past signs and symptoms, a personalized intake can really build boat-loads of trust and confidence. With these two key ingredients, I’d say we have a beautiful recipe for taking treatments to those ever elusive “deep” levels.

Here’s a story:

A colleague of mine in the acupuncture world has just recently set about a project that has me so excited to see it being shared.

Kelsey has had Chron’s disease for about ten years – a gastrointestinal malady that has the medical community rather stumped. She certainly isn’t claiming to have a cure, but, she does have a TON of first hand experience on the subject.

Her current venture involves setting up a bi-weekly blog post detailing weekly experiences.

Specifically, her objective and subjective changes noticed while trying different remedies. Currently she is detailing her experiences with acupuncture and chinese herbals. In addition – the piece I totally love – she is including a recording of how her emotions tie into the symptoms.

Personally, I love this facet of medicine, I think its a missing piece of our medical system. Kelsey’s plan is to offer the information on her blog freely to those afflicted with chron’s. Using the blog as a form of marketing for her acupuncture practice; a practice that is focused on treating those with gastrointestinal disorders.

Another story:

A massage therapist I’ve worked with has started sailing her practice in a direction that I feel will be of such benefit to many people. She sees massage therapy as a modality that clients come to even when they’re not sick/injured – preventative medicine if you will. This puts her in a position to get a very strong objective sense of a person’s overall health; usually before any serious illness has occurred. This is different than most practitioners who usually see clients only when something is out of balance; making it rather tricky to get an objective perspective on their health.  
Upon doing the workshop together, she found that one of her hidden gems was socializing – for her, getting to know and interact with people is a form of healing – especially other holistic practitioners. She has now taken her massage practice and combined it with her love of socializing to offer a product that I feel is totally unique.
Her platform is this: a massage therapist who knows the city’s holistic practitioner community so well, that should you require any treatment beyond massage, she’ll know exactly who to recommend and why.
I love this!
Clients who would normally never go see a practitioner of reiki, shamanism, osteopathy, etc. (most likely because they don’t know these modalities exist) are now doing so because of a trusting recommendation. It’s so cool observing how this idea satiates her need for interacting with new people and directs clients down a path of healing that they would have unlikely ever experienced without her referrals.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

In the broad sense, holistic practitioners.

If we’re to focus in a little more, I’d say these practitioners are feeling a little burnt out or tired. As though they’ve had a little drop in the inspiration they had upon starting their career.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?

In the beginning, I had never done anything like this ever before. I figured I’d be working in a clinic as an acupuncturist. This was a whole new world. I was like the little mermaid. Needless to say, the first bit of promoting had my stomach in knots. I used email marketing and facebook invites/groups to get the ball rolling. That, and a lot of hoping.

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

Now, I seem to be in an entirely different relationship with marketing. It no longer feels like a separate entity from my business. I think this is in part due to the way i go about it. The number 1 way for me is sitting down for tea with another holistic practitioner. We have a delightful conversation that has nothing to do with selling – I revel in the experiences. Using specific hubs Has been of greatest benefit to finding these individuals eager to have tea with. In addition, i would say that my website and keeping in email contact have also worked well as marketing tools.

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

#1 – Everyone is SO damn amazing: It inspires the hell out of me when others share their healing gifts and how they plan on offering it to the world.

#2 – Humility: I don’t have the answers. Often all i need to do is listen and reflect back what i hear – I think this is part of the secret!

#3 – Acceptance: An inner knowing that everyone needs to be right where they’re at. I find this frees me from trying to do or change things.

At it’s heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

Ultimately this comes down to wisdom. At the heart of these teachings, this is about remembering you already know. Knowledge is great and I feel has its definite place, but the deep inner wisdom you posses from first hand experience is of far greater importance.

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

I reckon the best bet would be to check out my website: http://hiddengemhealing.com/

There you can find my contact info and get a much more detailed description of what it is I do.


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

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