Guest Post: How to Sell Out Your Conscious Event

by Brenda MacIntyre

When you create an event, it’s really great to have people actually show up for it, right? But sometimes that doesn’t happen. How can you set yourself up for a great turnout at your events?

I’ve been singing for over 30 years and speaking for about 18 years, and in that time, I’ve witnessed and learned some great (and some not-so-great) approaches and I’ve come up with my own ideas as well, to inspire people to come out and enjoy what I have to offer.

I have a regular monthly Drumming, Singing & Tea circle in Toronto. It’s always at the same venue, always on a Monday evening, and always at the same time, unless I’m having a special dinner in which case it’s an hour earlier. I’m not talking about your usual speak-to-sell events, just to be clear. I find those kinds of events manipulative and high pressure. I’m talking about events where you gather with your tribe to bring them an actual experience, with a low-pressure offer (book, CD, course or small program) that you casually mention at the end of your event.

My intention to fill it is less important than you might think, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t manifest well when I give myself artificial meaningless “goals” of how many “butts in seats” (I really hate that term from the coaching world!) I think I have to get to my events.

It’s important to use energetic/spiritual strategies as well as solid marketing methods that work and feel aligned for YOU and your tribe.

Here’s what I know…

1) Grow your tribe and reputation. If you don’t have anyone to sell tickets to, who is going to come? Grow your following and not just in one place. Grow your email list as well as whatever social media platforms you love to use. Letting yourself be seen and heard online and in person goes a long way in event promotion. The best way I do this is by speaking or singing at other people’s events, and just doing good work to help my people. That never goes unnoticed but word of mouth does take time to grow.

TIP: If you don’t have a big following yet, call up your friends or send them an email and ask them to spread the word. See #8 “Word of Mouth” below. Abraham-Hicks started out with very small events and now they get hundreds of people out. That didn’t happen overnight. When I did my first workshops and performances in the 90’s, I used to call people up and then send an email. When your following gets bigger, you won’t have as much time for that personal touch, so do it NOW if you don’t have a huge tribe yet. You know how many people appreciate you reaching out one on one to them? It’s a far cry from those automated voice messages or someone’s assistant calling you to promote their event to you. It just feels better to hear from someone personally. You’re showing your people that you care.

2) Work out your logistics EARLY, and make everything about the event and promotion as easy and low pressure for yourself as possible. Based on how many people I want, and how hard (like, not hard at all!) I want to work at selling tickets, I have chosen a venue for my monthly gatherings that limits seating to only 12 people plus me and 2 volunteers, for most of my events. I have also created an arrangement with the venue that allows for me to still run the event even if I don’t sell lots of tickets, and even to have snacks and tea included for each person. This makes my events appealing and people know they have to sign up in advance if they expect to get a seat. Of course, if you’re trying to sell out an event, you need to set up a way for your attendees to purchase tickets in advance. I always have an early-bird savings and then a different rate for cash at the door if there are any seats remaining.

For larger events, like my annual The Power of Your Spiritual Calling LIVE with a music concert, DJ’ed ecstatic dance, keynote, drumming circle and oracle readings, I need to choose a larger venue and strategize slightly differently. For larger events, it’s good to start promoting a lot earlier and to ask friends and colleagues to help you spread the word, whether informally or by sending out an email or social media. You can make it simple or create a whole affiliate package. You can offer bring-a-friend-for-free to people who are already on your bandwagon as well like Tad did recently for a special private event he hosted in Toronto. That creates more loyalty in the inner circle of your tribe, and it expands your tribe and brings more people to your event easily.

3) Figure out your timeline and start earlier than you think you need to. For my monthly circles, we start promoting the next one immediately after the last one. Also, learn from my mistakes: If you’re promoting a large event, FOCUS your marketing on that event. I made the mistake of having (and promoting) too many events in the same month and that dilutes your marketing efforts, making it harder to sell out your event. When I’m focusing my energy, attention and intention on one event at a time, I get a great turnout.

4) Put your energy all over it. I’m always telling my clients to “put your energy all over it” when writing any copy or talking about your event. People will feel your passion and your passion will drive you, as well as the Universe, to support you in getting people to your event. By the way, make sure your energy is in a good place first. Breathe. Smile. Do whatever it takes to feel good before you write your copy.

5) Don’t try to do it all alone. I’ve done that and it is HARD WORK. Do you want to add more hard work to your plate or make things smooth and easy? Ask friends, family or members of your tribe to volunteer. Delegate promotion techie tasks to a Virtual Assistant. Automate whatever you can online as well. Otherwise, you can burn yourself out.

TIP: Collaborate with other co-hosts, artists or vendors who also have a following, and have them promote the event too. For my The Power of Your Spiritual Calling LIVE event in 2016, I had Liz Diaz DJ the ecstatic dance portion. Liz is awesome, already has a tribe brimming with her own people and some of mine, and we play well together. In 2015, I had Erica Ross DJ for me. I call her the Dance Goddess. She’s also a dear friend and awesome DJ. So find people to play with, who align with you and have a similar tribe.

6) Ask your Higher Realms Support Team to help bring people to you. Angels, Archangels, your Higher Self, goddesses, gods, God, Creator, Universe, Source, whatever you want to call it, invite them to help you. Never underestimate the power of energy and Spirit.

7) To intend or not to intend? Like I mentioned in #3, when you set up your event structure the way YOU want it so that you have the least possible worries about money loss or no-shows or not getting enough tickets, then your whole being can relax about having to sell out the event. That relaxed, no worries vibe? That will help sell the event! So set your intentions and give them over to your Higher Realms Support Team… and still, do the work you know you need to do.

WARNING: Many coaches will have you do a “bubble chart” or some kind of countdown to your hoped-for number of attendees. I have found that that doesn’t excite me but does the opposite, especially if I don’t see seats being filled as quickly as I had hoped, or if I have created a history of not getting the numbers I wanted. Then I felt like a failure and the energy of that expectation and how I felt created a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I stopped doing those charts and did what I mention above in #3 instead.

8) Do pre-sales or a seat deposit: If you don’t get advance tickets, you can expect that probably more than half of your RSVP’s will not show up. Unfortunate but true. Most people won’t commit to coming out to your event without having to pay in advance, especially if you live in a place that has tons of events unless your event is free. If your event is free, you are likely to attract people who are used to getting things for free or as cheap as possible, so be mindful of your decision around pricing. Use your own website and shopping cart or something like Eventbrite to sell your tickets. I like using my own website because of course, it brings people to my website.

9) Create a Facebook Event page OR page. A word about If you are an official Meetup organizer, and you want to grow your following specifically on Meetup, the Facebook event page needs to lead them to the meetup page. It is more tedious this way, and honestly, I have found that using one or the other is best. Use one and draw everyone on social media to that page for best results.

For Facebook Event pages, invite people in your local area first. Do invitations in rounds. Facebook may block you for “using this feature too fast” if you do your invitations all at once or if you go over something like 100 invitations. Facebook will also penalize you by lowering your invitation limit, so you can’t invite as many people, so be mindful when using this feature. You might want to ask influential friends to invite their friends too.

Whether using Facebook or Meetup, don’t take people’s RSVP’s at face value, except for the “not coming’s.” You will see that often only a small fraction of those who say they’re coming, actually pay in advance and show up. Even if it’s a free event, your attendee numbers most times will not be anywhere near your RSVP numbers. Don’t take it personally.

Most of my sold out events when using Meetup were exceptional (special indigenous venue and content) and also free. If you grow your Meetup following into the thousands, then it can work well for you. I didn’t have the patience for that.

10) Networking. Talk about your event! Talk about it to your friends, family (supportive people only, of course) and whoever you meet. Not in a gross promotional way but rather with the genuine passion and excitement you have about it. No need for flyer-in-your-face marketing, okay? Just talk about it and if people ask for a flyer or your card, give them one – but also get theirs, and ask their permission for you to either add them to your email list or message them about your event(s). Especially talk about your upcoming event at events other than your own where you are a speaker or facilitator. They’ve just seen proof of how awesome you are on stage or in a workshop, so let them know about your next event.

11) Word of Mouth. Tell your most loyal fans FIRST about the event, and ask them to share it. I do that using my Virtual Backstage Pass email list specifically for Toronto events. Invite them first on the event page too if they are on Facebook. Tad does Word of Mouth extremely well, so just pay attention to how he does this so effectively. I learned from the best. ;)

12) Send Email Invitations according to your timeline (usually at least 4 weeks out). This is when I send out my first Backstage Pass email, alerting my most loyal Toronto fans, usually BEFORE I even invite people to the Facebook event page. Then we send out email to the main email list. We also include a small blurb in our monthly newsletter. I like how Tad sends out personal email invitations to a handful of people over Facebook or email. That personal touch goes a long way, above and beyond a mass email to your list. It’s best to do that with people whom you know will be happy to share your event with their friends, and you can ask them to do that. What NOT to do? Please don’t copy/paste a generic “come to my event” message into Facebook or email and pretend it’s a personal message. I just received a couple of Facebook messages like that and they didn’t even say hi or ask me how I’m doing or indicate they even knew what was up in my world. Make it personal! Be real. Have a conversation.

13) Regular Social Media Posts and Engagement. Post wherever your people are hanging out. Do a mix of auto-posts and personal posts. Note: If you post nothing but promotional posts on any social media platform, you will turn your tribe right off. Don’t do it! It’s about being social, so socialize with your tribe. Engage them in conversation regularly. Then when you go to promote something, they’ll be more likely to pay attention, like, comment and share it.

TIP: This may sound funny but “like” your own Facebook posts. Liking your post will give it more weight in the eyes of Facebook’s algorithms, so it will be shown to more people right away, rather than sitting there lifeless and not getting seen.

14) Last but not least, be someone you’d like to hang out with! When you show up in real life, on social media, over the phone, on Facetime or wherever as someone who is fun and interesting to be around and learn from, people will want to be in your energy. When you do that in places where your tribe hangs out, you will attract people who are aligned with you and they will happily come out to your events.

brenda-macintyre-9962-squareABOUT THE AUTHOR

Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre, author and artist of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards™ & Music, is a Juno Award-winning singer, speaker, indigenous drummer and wisdom-keeper, and Living Your Truth Out Loud Mentor. Brenda has shared her leadership and soul nationally on stage and in the media, such as MuchMusic, APTN, CTV, CP24, Global and CityTV’s Breakfast Television, as well as CBC Radio. Having experienced major loss, multiple dark nights of the soul, and fear of being seen and heard, she is passionate about helping women to stop holding back, share the power of their gifts, and create success out of the mess of REAL life.

You can connect with Brenda MacIntyre here: 


The Israeli Dutch Man’s Amazing Shrinking Business Workshop

m2q4sAxFA few weeks ago, I had lunch with the good Govert van Ginkel, a fine facilitator and practitioner of goodwill amongst people through his workshops and one on one work.

He told me the story of a Business Bootcamp he attended in Holland last year.

It was led by an Israeli man who had moved to Holland twenty years before.

Holland has about 16 million people and a full million of them have had to become independent contractors, without pensions or benefits, due to the economy and layoffs.

Seeing this, this fellow decided this might be a group of people in need of help from the kind of business workshops he did.

And so Govert saw this workshop flash across his Facebook over and over again until he finally decided to sign up. It was a full weekend workshop, including lunch and snacks. He was charging $65. Govert knew that this would barely make the man anything.

In the end, the man got 1,000 people signed up. So that’s $65,000. But, once you take out the cost of the venue, materials, food and time put into it… it’s money but it’s not as much as it might seem at first glance.

By the end of the weekend, there were only about 400 people left. This might seem like a story of an embarrassing failure but it’s actually the story of a strange kind of business success.

Govert told me that, when they’d come back from every break, there would be fewer chairs. Numbers were being tracked and paid attention to. So, it never felt like the numbers were dwindling. There was never that deflating feeling even though it was clear there were fewer people.

The trainer pointed out that a big mistake people made in sales were to meet strangers and try to sell them, but that this missed two steps. That the first step was, yes, to meet strangers but then to become friends with them, to foster some kind of trust between you and then to sell to them and then, finally, to invite them to be ambassadors of your work. He was advocating a sort of slow marketing of the kind Robert Middleton outlines in his Marketing Ball metaphor.

At one point, he was challenged as to why he was leading the workshop in English and not Dutch. Hadn’t he learned the language? He expressed that he had but that, when he spoke Dutch, because of his accent, people thought it was ‘cute’ and he felt like that diminished his stature and authority as a professional. I imagine some people didn’t like that answer and others of his answers.

But he wasn’t there asking for people’s vote.

He wasn’t going for approval from anyone.

He was sharing himself and giving every bit of value he could that weekend knowing that his style and approach wouldn’t be for everyone. He was willing to have his personality and content get a polarized response. He was willing to be rejected. He knew that the 400 people left at the end of his workshop would be there because they liked him and what he had to say. He knew that they would be the most likely people to say ‘yes’ to his offer of coaching packages at the end of the workshop.

It’s a different way of looking at things. Most people would look at more than half the people leaving the workshop early as a sign of failure. But what if it was a strange sort of success?

He realized that marketing is about filtering, not seduction.

And so he began with generosity. He offered a full weekend to people at a bargain price. He did it knowing he might lose money on the front end. He did that instead of trying to sell a bunch of strangers into an expensive weekend workshop. He allowed for slowness by creating a space for people to get to know him and see if it was a fit for them.

NOTE: This blog post is not an endorsement for this man or his content (neither of which I know). I am not suggesting I would be aligned with the marketing approaches he teaches in his workshops or his style. I am not suggesting I wouldn’t be either. 

How Do I Fill Up My Weekend Workshop or Retreat Last Minute? 21 Practical Ideas


This post has been turned into a much expanded new eBook called The Art of the Full House which you can check out at the link below:

The Art of the Full House


Protected: Case Study: Making The Offer

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Chat Transcript: Asking People to Come to Your Workshops

invitation_envelopeA few weeks ago, I was trying to fill up a marketing workshop I was hosting in Edmonton with my colleague Mark Silver.

Numbers were lower than I wanted and so, instead of just relying on the facebook event, email lists and such, I decided to do some personal outreach to key people I thought might want to come. Honestly, I tend to avoid this because it can take so much time. If I can fill a workshop by sending out a few emails, I’d rather do that. But, in this case, it wasn’t happening. One of the people I messaged on facebook was someone we’ll call Jane Doe. I wanted to share the conversation we had (irrelevant bits deleted) because I thought it was telling. It shows how a very direct approach to marketing and sales can actually feel really good.

Sometimes an old fashioned, personal invitation goes a long way.

Tad: Jane, can you come to this? i think you might dig it and I would personally love it if you were there. not 100% sure its a fit for your situation but i think it might be. – The Mr. X Experience a one time only, three part experience for conscious entrepreneurs serious about growing their businesses Hey there, On Sept 23-24th, 2014 in Edmonton, I will be hosting the most unusual marketing workshop I’ve ever hosted. And, before you decide if you want to come, I’m go…

Jane: you might be right…i will have a look

Tad: coooool

Jane: it’s s tuesday-wednesday thing? I’m just checking to see if i can get someone else to get my kid to footballtues-wed are practice days

Tad: Mr. X is Mark Silver. Have you heard of him?

Jane: no but even his name feels good and i feel good about you, Tad. one of my friends took one of your marketing for hippies courses and really liked where you were coming from she said you were very real and it was a great workshop

Tad: so glad check out his site! i think you’d love him so much

Jane: thanks Tad, I’m going to recommend this to my co-workers one of them is just starting her business so its perfect timing

Tad: thanks so much!

Jane: k. i signed up. thanks for the heads up. see. this is what i like about you…you can send a message selling something…and it doesn’t feel like pressure…it feels like you are doing mefavourvor…thats how i want my marketing to feel

Tad: I’m glad it felt good. and so happy you can make it. is there anyone else you can think of who should be there? i feel like i’ve invited all of the usual suspects but i know there are scenes within scenes i know nothing about.

Jane: i will spread the word to ppl i know will be interested

Tad: thank you so much! huge help. oh boy. so excited. it’s mark and my first time meeting in person. so many skypes. and now i get to introduce him to my community who i love so much.

Jane: by the sounds of it…the community loves you back

Tad: #mutualadmirationsociety

Jane: :-)

fast marketing vs. slow marketing

Three months ago, I wrote a blog post called Slow Marketing.

It was all about how it’s okay (even important) to slow down our marketing.

This is a wonderful philosophy but what if you need money yesterday? What if you’re so broke and you can’t afford rent? All of a sudden, the slow approach while philosophically satisfying, doesn’t cut the mustard. So, what do you do when you resonate with a slow approach but you need fast results?

This was a question in my mind when I got on skype with my colleague George Huang (pictured left) of Years ago, George created an income of over $10,000/month in 73 days.

And he did it without most of the things we’re told we need to have.

Note: I’ll be releasing the eye opening transcript of this call for sale soon (at a very affordable price I think you’ll like a lot).

To be clear, he did it without a big list, a Web site or a blog, a bunch of social proof and client success stories, a business card, referral sources and huge hubs, social media, an ethical bribe or free gift, a huge sales funnel with ten levels to it, a million ways to market himself or a business plan.

What did he do?

He did what all of us need to do when we need results fast. He focused and he hustled.

When you need income and clients fast you need to laser in on one project + one marketing method and work it.

George printed out a little poster for a workshop he was planning. And, after wasting a month on trying to get clients with free consultations (which he didn’t know how to do properly) and then two more weeks on a website and blog he went to every morning business networking meeting he could. Each participant had one minute to introduce themselves and he stood up with his little poster and plugged the workshop. He got 19 people to go to his workshop (some for free others paying $25).

At the workshop, he offered a free session to anyone who resonated with his perspective. 13 people took him up on that and then four people became private clients at $1,500 a month. Within 73 days of conceiving of that event, he had seven private clients at $1,500 a month. That adds up in U.S. dollars to $10,500 a month.

This entirely echoes my own experience of creating a lot of money fast. Pick one thing and work it.

When you need money and clients fast what you most need to do is pick a single project focused on a single niche and work it hard.

Once you’ve got the basic project, divide it into steps.

In his case there were three steps . . .

step #1: fill the workshop by using a marketing strategy that played to his strengths. Do you love speaking? Do that. Networking? Do that. Writing? Do that. Don’t worry about doing everything. Just get out there.

step #2: lead the workshop. Give people lots of value and a clear sense of what your point of view is. Let them meet you and get a sense of who you are and how you see things.

step #3: lead the free sessions and, where it felt like a fit, offer his monthly coaching package. Creating a compelling ‘free session’ can be powerful if you avoid the three big mistakes most people make (although George does exclusively paid intro sessions now and can teach you how). You can use that free consultation to figure out (on both sides) if it feels like a fit to explore working together in a more committed way.

Come up with some sort of ongoing package. Some people will do a series of six sessions. Others will set up an annual contract for 12 sessions, one per month. Others will set up an ongoing monthly session with no end date. But invite them to make a larger commitment to their journey and offer your help on it. It’s okay if they say ‘no’ to you. They might just say yes.

But  this whole model would have been a huge waste of time and money if George had left out step three.

Most service providers get stuck in a cycle of Step One and Step Two and then end up broke.

Figure out what you can offer than will bring more financial sustainability into your life and more value and progress into theirs.

Slow Marketing is the long game (and there are three big things you need to do to build that up). But Fast Marketing is the short game – and, being real, sometimes you need to learn how to play it. You need to learn how to drive the golf ball long, but also how to putt. It’s not the tortoise vs. the hare – it’s the tortoise AND the hare.

Let me restate something: he did this without a big list, a Web site or a blog, a bunch of social proof and client success stories, a business card, referral sources and huge hubs, social media, an ethical bribe or free gift, a huge sales funnel with ten levels to it, a million ways to market himself or a business plan.

Let me put this another way: those things are all useful in the long game but irrelevant for your short game.

Stated another way still: focusing on those things will, very likely, not bring you any money in the short term.

If you need money fast, stop trying to grow your business as a whole for a bit (put only 10% of your efforts there) and start focusing 90% of your efforts on the most lucrative and exciting possible project.

Slow marketing is designing and building your dream home. Fast marketing is building one of the rooms in it.

And then, when you’ve got some financial space from the amazing success of your project, slow down and go back to work on your foundation. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

music is a weapon

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

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

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

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

One of the main things that Music is a Weapon does is bike powered parties. The target market we explored was working with music festivals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine how this might work . . .

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

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

You have to check this out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will definitely be bringing them back next year.

It’s not about the boat.

It’s not about the bikes.

It’s about Island B.

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

case study: grocery shopping tour

Victoria Laine does a simple thing that most entrepreneurs could do but never think of.

She hosts tours.

Now, she does tours of grocery stores. But maybe you could host a tour of strawbale homes. Maybe you could host a tour of gluten free options in your neighbourhood. A medicinal plant walk. A pub crawl with a theme related to your work. Maybe you could host a tour of all the strawbale homes in your community (even if you’re not a strawbale expert yourself). So many businesses could do this easily.

Tours get you away from your computer, connect you with potential clients, help build your credibility and might also help the people or businesses you’re taking your tours to.


What is the name of your project?

Grocery Shopping Tours – Victoria Laine Nutrition & Yoga

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

I’ve had a fascination with food since I was a teen.

Watching other females in my life continually on yoyo diets, I developed an unhealthy relationship with food, obsessed with calorie counting and eventually an eating disordered pattern. Fortunately I overcame the eating disorder and grew to appreciate and have confidence in my body, which I credit to a better understanding of nutrition and a regular yoga practice.

However I was suffering with allergies, asthma, arthritic pain, depression, and digestive problems all unknowingly related to my food choices. Reading nutrition books, consulting naturopathic doctors and a holistic nutritionist, I overcame my health challenges and felt the best I’d ever felt. My experiences inspired me to want to help others who were unnecessarily suffering.

Health starts with the choices we make in the grocery store. Even before completing nutrition school over 10 years ago, I learned a lot about the power of foods. Sleuthing through grocery store isles reading labels, and investigating the nutritional benefit of unfamiliar foods had become somewhat of a hobby.

When Organic Roots Food Market and Restaurant opened in Edmonton I was hired to develop the first menu and to provide grocery tours and whole-food vegetarian demos. Both were well attended because of a growing awareness in our community of how important our food choices are to our body and to the earth.

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

The tour starts out in the produce area where I highlight the disease-fighting benefits of specific fruits and veggies, and how to include them.

I introduce less familiar vegetables and fruits to help participants expand their whole-food horizons. I present information about organically grown vs conventionally grown foods to help participants to make the most do-able choices for their individual budget.

We discuss strategies for saving money while improving their health and have fun sharing ideas and experience. Then we move to the inside isles to discover more unfamiliar foods or familiar foods that can be used in new refreshing ways. I cover information about ethical, sustainable food choices to help people make conscious choices. I provide them with recipes and a few helpful handouts.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

These grocery tours are not for those who are satisfied with their daily food choices and do not see any room for improvement. They are most useful for those who want help to make more conscious choices or who are are struggling to deal with the overwhelm of too many choices. They are looking to find strategies to make the healthiest food shopping and eating simple, delicious, and do-able.

What’s the response been so far to the tours? What kind of numbers do you get per tour?

I limit the tours to 12 people so that everyone can hear what I’m saying and its a more intimate group…and so that we don’t disturb shoppers! The two tours I did in the spring were full, and I didn’t offer them in the summer season. The September tours have just been announced, and I expect a great response, so I’d encourage registration sooner than later due to limited space.

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

At it’s heart my business is about doing what i can for the betterment of the world by serving others who need support, or are looking for inspiration, understanding, or encouragement.

I’ve been so fortunate to learn from wise, inspirational teachers, leaders, and authors such as John Robbins, T. Collin Campbell, Jane Goodall, Jonathan Safran Foer, Guy Dauncy, Brenda Davis, Michael Pollan, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Rachel Carson, and so forth…so many influential people who have given me clarity of purpose.

My tag line (Maureen is still working on adding it to my website) is Quick-Fix Solutions for Busy Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat-Lovers too!

While I don’t think there is a quick-fix solution for problems associated with factory farms and CFOs (confined feeding operations), genetically modified foods, the pain endured by immigrant workers, and other tragic issues of modern food production, I do think as individuals we have the power to make positive changes quickly to be a part of the bigger solution.

What I’ve come to learn from authors and speakers who promote healthy sustainable food choices is that as humans we are generally self-focused, so the primary reason most people will initially shift to a plant-based or plant-strong diet is because they want better health.

That being the case I have the opportunity as a nutritionist to influence others to become aware of the ethical, moral, and environmental issues connected to their daily food choices. Part of how I do that is using  quoted words of the renowned and respected authors, and by introducing my clients and students to books and documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, as well as EarthSave newsletters, local groups like VOA and E-Sage, etc…so they can make more informed decisions.

I also tell them about Earths General store and other great local resources like farmers markets. And I love that clients and students love to share their latest ah-ha moments and resources with me, enabling me to share with others.

After they do the tour – are there options for them to hire you or work with you? What happens next for them? How do the tours fit in the bigger business strategy?

The tours are about giving people a value packed two hours with stuff to take home to keep them motivated to continue their healthier eating quest.

It’s also a chance for people to check me out to see if they might want to join one of the webinar programs I will be offering or work with me privately in 1-1 nutrition coaching which they can contact me about on the website under the 1-1 private Blissful Belly program.

I also offer free 20 minute consultations to allow people to see if I might be a good fit for their needs, and so i can give them a few getting started strategies. They can apply for the complimentary 20 minute consultation on my website.

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

MailChimp mailout to website registration, I’ve set up a Facebook page and am learning how to use it (looking for help with this) and other social media to help get the word out about this and the other new programs I’ll be offering in the near future.  I’ll be blogging soon! I’m relaunching my business with a web based model so clients and students can save time and reduce their impact on the environment by calling in on Skype, FaceTime or Phone.

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

Great question Tad! I’ve learned that to truly support people you have to meet them where they are at, and start from there.

I’ve learned that while my suggestions or recommendations may be helpful, what is most influential is what I do – when people see me doing my best to walk my talk. And I’ve learned that people are doing their best and need a new or different awareness to make better choices but that even when they do form new ideals they can still struggle with the logistics of their choices.

So my role of assisting people to put their goals into action is what I see as most valuable, which is why I enjoy seeing their excitement grow in the tours and the classes.

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

Grocery Tour participants, readers of my first book (Health By Chocolate) and others, may also be interested to know about the new book and programs I’ve developed in response to the growing desire for helpful resources that make conscious eating easier.

My newest book, Real Life Vegan Quick-Fix Solutions: 10 Weeks of Whole-Food Fusion Meals with Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, and Meat-Lover Variations includes downloadable grocery lists, reliable recipes, how to set up a whole-foods kitchen, whole-foods assessment chart, and much more.

My Blissful Belly program is growing in popularity and I’m almost finished developing 2 new webinar courses called 21 Day Vibrant Vegan JumpStart program, and WholeFood Nutrition Made Easy. I’m so excited for all of these offerings as they allow interaction and enjoyable learning in the comfort of their own home (from anywhere in the world where time zones jive), saving participants time, and reducing their environmental footprint.

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

Anyone interesting in finding out more can go to: to learn more about nutrition coaching, classes, programs, and books. If they’re looking for a speaker or workshop leader they are welcome to contact me on the site. If they are looking for a copy of Health By Chocolate they can find it at Greenwood Books, Audreys Bookstore, Earths General Store, and other locations in Edmonton, or the major bookstores elsewhere.

Real Life Vegan Quick-Fix Solutions will be available in print and eBook. Victoria

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you Tad for helping get the word out! I’m very grateful.


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

case study: release your dragon spirit

A few months ago, I attended the Spiritual Marketing Quest. It’s one of the best marketing workshops I’ve ever been to – as this story will attest to.

At a certain point, a woman named Holly Tse (pictured below) stood up and shared an idea that gave everyone goosebumps. It was a project idea that tied both into her most personal wounds but also the cultural wounds she’d inherited and allowed her to transform those wounds into her gift for the world. Such a perfect example of authentic niching and becoming a hub.

I asked her if she’d be okay talking about where it’s at right now – even though she’s just starting and she was kind enough to say yes.


What is the name of your project?

The Lotus Blossoming Telesummit

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

In May 2011, I attended a conference called the Spiritual Marketing Quest. It was about finding your core audience and developing your message. Basically I wanted to know who am I here to help? I knew I had a burning desire to make an impact and to help uplift others, but I just didn’t know exactly how or who.

I went on the Quest to gain insights for my reflexology practice and instead left with an epiphany that I was meant to lead a movement to empower Asian women. Growing up Asian, I always felt like I had to squelch my own voice in order to fit in and do the right thing. I realized that this experience was shared by many Asians, especially women and I felt a burning passion to help others find their inner voice, or as I call it, to release their inner Dragon Spirit.

At the Quest, my inner voice urged me to create an online telesummit that would feature Asian women who own their power as speakers. That was on May 15th. In less than 6 weeks, I organized the entire event from scratch–everything from recruiting speakers to building the website.

As a full-time mom to a toddler, I had just two hours each evening to work on the event (and do laundry, wash dishes, prep meals, spend time with her husband and friends, and find some “me time” too). As my son would say, “Wow!”

I felt like I was being guided by a force greater than myself to create the Lotus Blossoming Telesummit. I followed my heart and it allowed me to make this event happen in such a short time with ease and grace.

what does the term ‘dragon spirit’ mean to you and where does it come from culturally?

Dragon Spirit is the inner voice inside that loves adventure, exploration and learning. It also happens to be the part of you that is all knowing and uber-wise :).

There is not a cultural reference for it.  I went to the Quest and as we were filling out the worksheets, I had a block on one of the questions, which was, “What is the name of your product or service?”  That evening, I meditated and channelled my Higher Self and was surprised when I felt compelled to speak out loud. In an ethereal other-world voice, I answered myself and said, “Release your Dragon Spirit”.  As soon as I said it, I knew I had found my voice.

what was it about growing up asian that had you feeling like your voice was squelched? in your community what was ‘the right thing’ to do? and what had you realized it might be a cultural wound vs. just a personal one?

When I was six years old, my teacher asked the class to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. While all the other kids wrote things like “fireman” and “princess”, I wrote that I wanted to be a “l-o-y-e-r”. When the teacher handed me back my paper and corrected the spelling, I totally thought she had it wrong. There was no way that loyer could be spelled, “lawyer”.

And so it was, that while my mom was nowhere near the Tiger Mom of recent lore, she did believe in guiding her children to professions that she thought would lead them to happiness and success in life. Personal interests and passions were to be set aside in order to “put food on the table”.

There’s a Japanese saying that the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. And while I’m a second generation Chinese-Canadian (currently living in California), I often felt that this proverb applied to me while growing up, especially when it came to expressing my emotions and desires.  It’s very important to save face, not show the world your problems and to fit in with the community rather than stand out as an individual.

Ironically, I grew up in a predominantly WASP neighbourhood so there was no way that I could possibly fit in since we stuck out as the only Chinese family around.

What’s the response been to this so far?

I’ll be flat out honest.  There are just over 50 people registered right now from around the world.  I need help getting the word out.  Because I chose to manifest this so quickly, I did not give my speakers enough time to promote the event.  The “power-hitters” are speaking towards the end of the telesummit and are mailing in the next week or two.

When I share the event with people, the response is magical.  They light up and want to be a part of it.  It has led me to new friendships that I know will last a lifetime.  And it also created a new business model for me where I learned that I am here to guide women to find the next steps for their businesses.  I create a space where they can connect with their own Dragon Spirits to learn, know feel and experience what it is they should do next in order to expand their businesses with ease and grace and fast.

I just got a download that there are two more things I should write you.  Will do my best to do so w/ my 2 yr old in my lap now.

Since you position your blogs with the voice of sharing lessons that others can learn from, here is the key lesson:

Even though you may have a judgment beforehand of what success is supposed to look like when you embark on a new venture, the universe may deliver it to you in a completely different form.  Follow through on the course and the next step in your path will illuminate naturally for you.  I did not know what would come of the Telesummit.  I heard of others who added thousands of people to their lists and I *thought* that’s what my goal should be, even though I had no clue what I would do with a list of thousands of people.

Fortunately, my Dragon Spirit prevailed and told me that this was just one step along my path and that if I continued following the path, it would lead me to where I wanted to go.  And so it did.  While speaking with one of the speakers for the telesummit, I shared with her how I had experienced past lives.  She said she had tried to do so herself it in the past, but hadn’t been able to do so.  My Dragon Spirit (DS) told me to tell her that I was supposed to help her do this even though I’d never done this before.  Spontaneously, we began to explore our past life connection and she did experience a past life and received a message about the next evolution of her business.

After our conversation, I felt such love and light.  My DS told me that this was what I was meant to do and that I should offer Dragon Spirit guided sessions to 5 people for free.  Each session brought clarity to me and the person I was working with.  A pattern started to emerge.  On my 4th session, everything aligned perfectly.  Both parties had amazing breakthroughs and not only that, my client told me she had 6 friends who would love a session.  I felt a tremendous connection with Source Energy when she said this because two days prior, my DS had told me that I would lead monthly Dragon Spirit group “pods” and that each pod would have exactly 6 people.  I just got my first pod!

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

1. Identify the energy that you want to share when you are marketing as opposed to sales or marketing numbers. When you reach out with an authentic energy to uplift others, they respond.

2. Be open and vulnerable in your communications. Writing with your authentic voice is much more effective and easier to do than coming up with the “right” headline or marketing lingo.

3. Ask your inner Dragon Spirit! Meditate and then ask yourself out loud what to do next.

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

1. Follow and TRUST your heart.

2. Have a personal goal in mind that is not about what you can do for others, but what you are doing for yourself. For me, I wanted to make new friends who shared similar passions and interests as me. (And I did!)

3. Only act when you are in a space of feeling good.

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

During the creation of the Lotus Blossoming Telesummit, I discovered that not only could I channel my Dragon Spirit for myself, I could create a space for others to do the same and that we could do this over the phone. I’m excited that this creates a whole new way for me to be of service to others. An online “Release Your Dragon Spirit” workshop is in the works and I now offer personal Dragon Spirit guided sessions.


For more information on this telesummit just go to:



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

Protected: the backstage pass: a simple idea to get people super interested in your workshops

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: