plenitude: the new economics of true wealth

I was in Vancouver a few weeks ago and my friend Jackie told me about a new book she was reading called ‘True Wealth.’ (originally titled ‘Plenitude’) She gave me the basic run down and I loved the messaged.

So I emailed the author and she kindly sent me an excerpt to share with you. Thanks Juliet.

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Excerpt from Chapter One

INTRODUCTION

Global capitalism shattered in 2008.

The financial system came frighteningly close to a total collapse and was saved only by government guarantees and massive injections of cash. An astounding $50 trillion of wealth was erased globally. Economic pain drove people into the streets around the world, from Iceland to Greece, Egypt to China.

Since then, the global economy has been rescued, but it hasn’t been fixed.

That will require fundamental changes.

Climate destabilization, economic meltdown, and the escalation of food and energy prices are warning signs from a highly stressed planet. Ecologists have defined a number of safe operating zones for the earth’s complex systems and are finding that human activities have already led us outside a number of them. But the mainstream conversation has been stalled by fatalism. We’re better at identifying what can’t be done than what we need to accomplish.

There is a way forward, and I call it plenitude.

The word calls attention to the inherent bounty of nature that we need to recover. It directs us to the chance to be rich in the things that matter to us most, and the wealth that is available in our relations with one another. Plenitude involves very different ways of living than those encouraged by the maxims that have dominated the discourse for the last twenty-five years. It puts ecological and social functioning at its core, but it is not a paradigm of sacrifice.

To the contrary, it involves a way of life that will yield more well-being than sticking to business as usual, which has led both the natural and economic environments into decline.

The version of plenitude that I describe here is addressed in large part to inhabitants of wealthy countries and wealthy inhabitants of poor ones. But most, although not all, of the principles of plenitude and the economics underlying it are also relevant for lower-income households in poor countries. In its general outlines, if not specifics, it’s a widely applicable vision of economic life.

Plenitude is also about transition. Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Creating a sustainable economy will take decades, and this is a strategy for prospering during that shift. The beauty of the approach is that it is available right now. It does not require waiting for the clean-tech paradigm to triumph. It doesn’t require getting government on board immediately.

Anyone can get started, and many are.

It was the right way to go before the economic collapse, in part because it predicted a worsening landscape. It makes even more sense in a period of slow growth or stagnation. As individuals take up the principles of plenitude, they are not merely adopting a private response to what is perforce a collective problem.

Rather, they are pioneers of the micro (individual-level) activity that is necessary to create the macro (system-wide) equilibrium, to correct an economy that is badly out of balance.

That balance won’t develop automatically. All large-scale transformation requires collective arrangements to succeed. We need environmental accounting, a mechanism to reduce carbon emissions, and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. We need new labor-market policies. We need to reform our health care, education, and retirement security systems. But while we work for those changes, here’s a vision for a way to live that respects the awesome place we call earth and all who live upon it.

The Fundamentals of Plenitude

From the perspective of the individual, there are four principles of plenitude.

Principle #1: Work Less

The first is a new allocation of time. For decades, Americans have devoted an increasing fraction of their time and money to the market—working longer hours, filling leisure time with activities that require more income per unit of time, and buying, rather than making, more of what they consume.

It’s time to reverse this trend and diversify out of the market.

This doesn’t just mean the stock market, although its recent volatility suggests that’s one market to which this point applies in spades. Today’s smart strategy for many, if not most, households will be to begin a shift away from the formal and centralized sets of institutions and arrangements that are called the market. By “the market” I mean business-as-usual (BAU) economic activity.

BAU is a term that came out of the climate discourse to indicate what would happen if we didn’t address rising emissions. Here I use it to indicate the continuation of the current economic rules, practices, growth trajectory, and ecological consequences of production and consumption.

It especially refers to the large corporate entities that dominate the market and are heavily invested in it. For individuals, relying less on the market spreads risk and creates multiple sources of income and support, as well as new ways of procuring consumption goods.

Concretely, what this means is a moderation in hours of work. For time-stressed households with adequate incomes, it likely means making trade-offs of income for time.

Reclaiming time frees up resources to invest in ecologically restorative activities and creates the opportunity to replenish the human connections that were depleted in the boom years. Of course, millions have had an altered equation of time and money painfully thrust upon them through unemployment or other losses of income.

For that group, which already has a surfeit of time and not enough money, the advice involves moving forward with plans that are less centered on full-time employment in the BAU economy and more oriented to the emergent sustainability sector, which includes both businesses and the parallel economy developing amid the wreckage of the collapse.

This encompasses areas such as household food cultivation, home construction and renovation, and community initiatives such as barter and bulk buying.

Principle #2: Self Provision

This brings us to the second principle of plenitude, which is to diversify from the BAU market and “self-provision,” or make, grow, or do things for oneself. Indeed, the rationale for working fewer hours in the market is not only, or even primarily, about reducing stress in daily life (although that is certainly important). Recovering one’s time also makes self-provisioning possible and reveals a liberating truth: The less one has to buy, the less one is required to earn.

The downturn has accelerated what was already a robust rediscovery of doing for oneself among sustainability pioneers. Plenitude aspires to transform self-provisioning from a marginal craft movement into something economically significant. That requires raising the productivity of the hours spent in these activities. As I argue later in the book, new agricultural knowledge and the invention of small-scale smart machines make it possible to turn household provisioning into a high-productivity—and economically viable—use of time.

These ideas reverse the direction most households have taken in recent decades and contradict what modern economics preaches, which is that specialization, in one skill or one job, is efficient. Specialization may have made sense when the market was offering better returns. Even as wages stagnated, ultra-cheap consumer goods were hard to turn down. Today, in a world of ecological and economic uncertainty and distress, putting all one’s eggs in the basket of the capitalist market looks like a more dubious proposition.

Principle #3 – True Materialism

The third principle of plenitude is “true materialism,” an environmentally aware approach to consumption. In the United States, the speed of acquiring and discarding products accelerated dramatically before the crash. Consumers knew relatively little about where purchases came from and the ecological impacts of their production, use, and disposal. But many people do care, and want to lighten the footprint of their spending.

Perhaps surprisingly, the route to lower impact does not require putting on a hair shirt. Nor does it entail making consumption less important. Indeed, the plenitude consumer is likely passionate about consuming, and deliberate in the creation of a rich, materially bountiful life.

We don’t need to be less materialist, as the standard formulation would have it, but more so.

For it is only when we take the materiality of the world seriously that we can appreciate and preserve the resources on which spending depends. Living sustainably does mean we can’t reproduce a lifestyle of gas-guzzlers, expansive square footage per person, bottled water, and outsize paper consumption. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have fabulous clothes, low-impact electronic gadgetry, great local food, and a more leisurely mode of travel.

Plenitude means that you will actually have time to take the slow boat to China if that appeals.

Principle #4 – Build Community

The final principle is the need to restore investments in one another and our communities. While social bonds are not typically thought of in economic terms, these connections, which scholars call social capital, are a form of wealth that is every bit as important as money or material goods. Especially in times of distress, people survive and thrive by doing for one another. Interpersonal flows of money, goods, and labor are a parallel system of exchange and savings.

One casualty of an intense market orientation is that community has gotten thinner and human ties weaker. People haven’t had enough time to invest in social connection outside their primary families. By recovering hours, individuals are freed up to fortify their social networks.

These, then, are the individual principles of plenitude: work and spend less, create and connect more. In turn they yield ecological benefits—emit and degrade less—and human ones—enjoy and thrive more.

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You can also enjoy a video of her lecture on Plenitude here:

 

 

Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years, in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women’s Studies. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts.

Her most recent book is Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth (The Penguin Press 2010). She is also author of the national best-seller, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (Basic Books, 1992) and The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (Basic Books, 1998). The Overworked American appeared on the best-seller lists of The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe as well as the annual best books list for The New York Times, Business Week and other publications. The book is widely credited for influencing the national debate on work and family.  The Overspent American was also made into a video of the same name, by the Media Education Foundation (September 2003).

use gmail? overwhelmed with too many emails? best. app. ever.

Do you use Gmail?

This might be the most useful app ever created for email overwhelm.

Seriously.

This little app (which is 100% free I might add) just let me cut my gmail inbox in half by scheduling emails to vanish and then reappear on the date I want to deal with them. So good!

I’m almost weeping it’s so beautiful. Go to this link and watch the little video. See if you don’t cry too.

http://www.boomeranggmail.com/

I know this isn’t about marketing but I just had to share it.

slow marketing

I’m in Vancouver sitting at yet another favourite hang out spot here – Eternal Abundance (full of raw vegan goodness, comfy chairs, high ceilings and lots of natural light). I love places like this.

I just finished my weekend workshop in Vancouver (and Victoria the weekend before that). You can see photos here.

And something clicked for me this weekend. I’m calling it ‘Slow Marketing’. You’ve likely heard about the Slow Food movement (from which I borrow this colourful snail) and Carol Honore’s book In Praise of Slow.

And, for some reason, I’d never considered how that might apply to marketing.

But, over the weekend, I was sharing how marketing is like baseball and that we can’t ‘skip bases’ in building our relationships with people. First there needs to be clarity, then trust, then some excitement . . . and then a commitment. It can take time to build relationships with our clients. Some things can’t be rushed.

And one woman expressed her thanks, ‘I’d never considered that before.’  Something about knowing that it was okay to go slow felt confirming of her best instincts and affirming that she hadn’t failed just because she’d not gotten immediate results.

Most marketing we see is so fast.

Lynn Serafinn wrote a beautiful book called The Seven Graces of Marketing where she contrasts the common place sins of marketing with the potential graces of marketing. One of the sins she talks about is scarcity. And so much marketing is based on creating a sense of scarcity, ‘act now while supplies last’. We see seminars full of people rushing to the back of the room to sign up for a next level workshop they don’t fully understand and can’t entirely afford (and that may or may not be a fit).

So much rushing.

And it seems to work. But what you don’t end up seeing is the huge numbers of people who get ‘buyers remorse’ and cancel their participation in the programs. Or go to it and then ask for a refund because it wasn’t a fit (and then become extremely bitter when they can’t get a refund). What we sometimes fail to notice is the cynicism these tactics create in the marketplace. And the low level panic we all live in.

I remember when I first started in sales, it certainly wasn’t something I knew. I was cold calling people and trying to pressure them into making decisions. It was all I knew how to do. I thought you had to do that. Of course, it was all under the auspices of empowering them. But pressure is pressure. And it was all so fast moving. It wasn’t until years later that I began to learn that by slowing my marketing down it worked better.

It’s like irrigating a field, the slower you drip in the water the deeper it goes.

But so much marketing is so fast. It’s ‘buy now’ and ‘closing people’ and ‘converting prospects’ and creating ‘irresistible offers’. It’s ‘double your income in 30 days’ and ‘lose 50 pounds overnight!’

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people express shock that I’ve not written a book yet or developed more ‘advanced level’ seminars. But I knew I wasn’t ready yet – I was still cooking. I knew I was still figuring out what I wanted to say. And I knew that, eventually, something would click and I’d be ready and that things would flow fast.

I remember being told about the Chinese bamboo tree. You plant it and you don’t see anything grow for five years. Even though you’re doing everything right. And then, in the 5th year, it grows ninety feet in ninety days. Some of us are like that.

It’s the tortoise, not the hare.

Martin Luther (the founder of Lutheranism) used to meet with important people and had an aide who would help him organize these things. One day, his aide looked in awe at the number of important meetings and things he had to do and said to Martin Luther, “Tomorrow is so busy that I suppose you will only be able to spend half an hour in meditation instead of your usual hour.” And Luther responded, “No. Tomorrow is so important I will spend two hours in meditation.”

The higher the stakes feel, the more tempting it is to move fast . . . and the more important it is to slow things down.

Panic is not a business strategy.

What would happen if we all. slowed. down. our marketing?

Here’s what Slow Marketing means for me . . .

To me this means that even figuring out our core platform and finding our voice takes time. It’s like making tea and sometimes we just need to steep for a while in figuring out what we’re all about.

It means that we can accept that sometimes it will take a while to build trust with people we’ve just met.

It means that instead of pressuring people to buy right now, we encourage them to sleep on it and sit with it to make sure it’s really a fit (so that any clients we get are solid and long term).

It means that when we sit with a client to explore going to the next level with us – we really sit with them. We take them in. We receive what they have to say. We pause before responding.

And that means that we really take time to sit with what kinds of clients are actually a perfect fit for us.

It means we remember that, in terms of relationships with clients, forever matters more than today.

It means that we’re okay being an apprentice for a time. We’re okay learning the ropes and not needing to be ‘discovered’ and famous tomorrow.

It means that we don’t rush to write our book, create our products but slow down a bit so we can focus on crafting what we do to make it even better so that it really helps people more. We work on building our boat instead of trying to swim people from one island to another on our back. We build up the systems and checklists in our business that help us relax and know that we’ll be prepared for things as they come.

It means we don’t just accept that we sometimes need to slow down, but that we enjoy it. We relish in it.

It means it might be okay (even wonderful!) for us to have a day job while we build our business up.

It means that we acknowledge and honour each potential client’s unique right timing to work with us (or not).

It means we slow ourselves down, get still inside and let go of the panic that comes from posturing or collapsing. That we create space in our lives where we can and listen to our intuition.

It means we let emails to our list sit overnight instead of sending them out immediately.

It means we run our marketing ideas by friends and colleagues before trotting them out to the market place. We let things sit.

It means we plan further ahead to give ourselves time.

It means that we get really good at finding ways to make our business safe to approach for people and easy to buy from us. We give them lots of ways to sample what we do for free, from a distance. We do what we can to reduce the risk for people.

It means we slow down our conversations with potential clients and really listen. Instead of pushing, we lean back. Instead of starting to give advice, we get more curious about their situation. Instead of skipping over a challenge, we go deeply into exploring it.

It means that we focus on building and deepening our relationship to key hubs and community leaders instead of trying to reach our clients cold.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what ‘Slow Marketing’ means for you. You can write them in the comments below. But no rush.

guest post: learning webs

I was in Thailand a month ago, chatting with my friend Shilpa Jain.

We were talking about how people learn things.

And she shared this idea of a learning web. And how there are different ways we can learn things.

As she spoke, my mind immediately raced to the relevance for business.

Learning Webs – Back to the Source

by Shilpa Jain

I’ve been working in the field of ‘alternatives’ to education for a long while now – really since I was  a young’un, running around my neighborhood, inventing my own games and art, reading books of my choice, etc. 

Though by its own measures, I did “well” in traditional public school (by which I mean, I got good grades), I never really liked school – its competitions, its limits, its labels, its random subjects disconnected from real life and real issues. 

As I got older and started learning more about the historic roots of the education system and its impacts on diverse communities over the world, I realized that my personal dislike was well-founded.  This system has been wreaking havoc on individuals and communities for a couple centuries now. 

And it’s time to stop.

Mostly, people agree on the ills of schooling.  They know it’s cutting kids off from interactions with their families and neighbors; from a sacred connection with Mother Nature; from their own bodies, hands and spirits.  And, they know it’s a rat race, and a lot of people suffer from the labels and competition imposed through schooling. 

AND, they know that it’s not helping in solving the problems we are up against – but, instead, is actually feeding them by producing more capitalistic, obedient and submissive consumers… 

But when it comes to other possibilities, people are often at a loss.  There is the endless call for ‘reforming public education’ – which for many folks means a ‘better’ version of the same thing: just smaller classrooms, better trained teachers, more technology, better textbooks, etc. 

Others are experimenting with charter schools, democratic schools, free schools – or homeschooling cooperatives, unschooling, natural learning communities….   Despite their creativity and the numerous generative possibilities they are opening up, they are usually called ‘elitist’ and dismissed on the grounds of being inapplicable to the ‘majority’.  Which is unfortunate.

I want to add a little more to this conversation in my own support of self-designed and community-supported learning:  learning webs.   

A few months ago, I was invited to host a workshop for an innovative educational experiment in Puerto Rico called Nuestra Escuela (Our School).  They are built on a mission of love.  They are committed to throwing out labels of ‘juvenile delinquent’, ‘at-risk’, ‘dropout’, ‘failure’, etc. and instead embracing the brilliance, creativity and potential of the young people (ages roughly 13-18) in their communities. 

They asked me to help support them with thinking about how to nuture deep learning and collaboration in Nuestra Escuela – something that would align with their mission and vision.

I started reflecting on the answers to the question, “What is one of the most meaningful learning experiences you have had?”  I, and the community I worked with in India, Shikshantar asked this question a lot, as we were working to generate alternatives to the education system. 

Invariably, the kinds of answers people gave had to do with one (or more) of these six relationships/opportunities:

1.     mentors – someone who inspires you, who can guide you, who gives meaningful support to you in times that matter

2.     experiments – personal and collective – little challenges that you give yourself, or that you agree to do with a group, to stretch yourself, come closer to your spirit and truth, and to live in greater alignment with your values

3.     apprenticeships/internships – longer-term commitments to deeply learn something that matters to you, usually with folks who have some kind of expertise in the field

4.     travel: journeys and visits – going to interact with people and places where what you want to learn is happening; the journey itself is often part of the learning experience

5.     self-study: looking at books, films, websites, etc. that delve into the different aspects of your interest area

6.     reflection: writing, journaling, creative expression of some kind, to digest what you’re learning, capture your understandings, and reflect them to others who can give you feedback as well

I like to image these six things as spokes coming off of a center point – which is where you put your question or the subject you want to learn.  It could be anything from ‘organic farming’, to ‘indigenous history’, to ‘how can I have a healthy relationship with my partner?’, to ‘how can I become less angry and more patient?’ 

After you have a sense of what you want, and that can be a group or collective decision too, you generate the mentors, experiments, apprenticeships, travel, self-study and reflection that can help you learn it. 

As our friends at the Berkana Institute say, “Start anywhere. Follow it everywhere.”  That’s how you grow your learning web – by being as curious as you can be and committing to learning as much as you can.  If you remember that everyone is a source/resource, with lots to share in terms of experiences, ideas, stories, and questions, there is simply an endless supply of possibilities.

There is no limit to the number and diversity of personal and collective learning webs that can be generated. It only depends on what you can balance and handle.  And, as they say in Open Space, “Be prepared to be surprised!” 

Learning webs can lead you to amazing aha!’s, wonderful relationships, and many other things that you couldn’t have known when you started.  They knit you back to the real world and to the web of life. They encourage compassion, communication, complexity and commitment.  They enliven your imagination and root you with purpose.

Most importantly, they return the power of learning to the source: you and your collectivities.  And, for me, when we harvest the power of our individual and collective wisdom, well, we’ve found what we need to build a world that works for all beings.

My reflections on this:

  • are you stuck trying to teach your content to your clients using only one strand of the learning web? What might happen if instead of doing the traditional teleseminars and workshops you were to support people in learning in other ways? Is it possible that we get so stuck on ‘giving info’ that we don’t pay enough attention to their learning?
  • if you’re stuck trying to learn something, might another approach to learning work better for you?
  • are you relying only on high priced seminars and marketing gurus for your answers when the wisdom might be right there in your own community?

 What are your thoughts? Write them below in the comments.

is the laptop lifestyle for you?

My dear colleague Heather Gray (pictured here) recorded this short video last year. It’s about ten minutes long and is a great primer to see if working, living and playing on your own terms is really for you.

She makes quite the compelling case. If you’re wanting to get online and on the fence about the whole online marketing thing – give this video a watch. I think you’ll find it immensely clarifying and confirming.

 

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.

the extinction of downtime

I am likely the last person to be talking about downtime. I seem to be on the computer often (and late). But this post reminds me of the importance of spaciousness. I thought you might enjoy it as much as I did.

Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction. Our cars now have mobile phone integration and a thousand satellite radio stations. When walking from one place to another, we have our devices streaming data from dozens of sources. Even at our bedside, we now have our iPads with heaps of digital apps and the world’s information at our fingertips.
To Read More CLICK HERE.
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Are you Marketing in a Box?

In my email recently, I got a newsletter from Maggie Ostara who’s work I’ve just started following. And I think she really nails this whole conversation about niche and the ways that entrepreneurs seem to just fall into ‘the way it’s always been done’. Below is her article . . .

 

I have a new client who calls himself a personal trainer.

Now the thing is, what this guy does is SOOO much more and so much more cool and important than whatever I think of when I hear the words “personal trainer.”

Okay, yeah, so that’s what he was officially trained in–that’s the box he was given by the people who certified him. But get this–he does not like the gym! In fact, he is against people going to the gym. He thinks people hurt themselves at the gym.

But when people call him, because he’s a personal trainer, they ask him where his gym is.

Get the contradiction?

Do you see how that label, that box, does not suit him, and in fact is probably hurting his sales and marketing?

Not only this, but if he markets to people who are looking for fitness, he’s got an upstream flow to battle.

What I mean by that is that people who are looking for fitness are expecting certain things. They expect a gym. They expect to work out, to lose weight, to get stronger. There’s nothing wrong with all that. Except that the main stream ways of doing those things actually hurt your body a lot.

So my client actually helps people relate to their bodies, and learn to move, in entirely new ways that build flexibility, mobility, inner strength and stability. And as a consequence, they gain confidence, they look better, they have more vitality, stamina, a broad perspective, more drive.

Can you see how what he’s offering, positioned differently, outside the box, could make his business entirely different?

See, I know all of you out there spend too much time at your computers and on the phone, sitting. Sitting, sitting, sitting. You and everyone else these days. And as busy entrepreneurs, could you use a simple practice that would help you look better, feel more vitality, give you more confidence, ease your body aches and bring you more stamina? Well hell yeah, as my coach would say.

What if my client were to get more in touch with what you are really looking for–you want to look good when you’re on stage or for your photos and network meetings (or those snapshots that keep showing up on Facebook), right?

You want to feel good without having to go to the gym. I know I do–I hate the gym. I would never go look for a personal trainer–yuck. But what this guy does, so man, yes I want that.

But in his box, if he weren’t my client, I would never find him, and he wouldn’t find me because he’s not marketing to me. He’s in the box he was certified into.

Can you see that?

As soon as he steps outside that box, and starts really looking at all of the people who need what he offers, and gets in touch with what they want, wow a whole new world opens up.

Where are you in a box in your marketing? Are you just thinking of people to market to who are like you? I see healers only market to each other–it’s crazy! Do you know how many people out there need the services of healers, coaches, and yes, leading edge personal trainers? Millions and I am not kidding.

But if all you ever do is to talk to other healers, coaches and personal trainers you are living inside a box.

This is a comfort zone issue, isn’t it? Because you know people who are in the box with you. You speak the same language. You have agreements about what is important. But let me ask you, how big a contribution are you really making if you are just talking with people like yourself, if you just use your specialized language. Do you want your village to be monolingual or multi-lingual? I may only know English, baby, but I am multi-lingual English! And it’s more fun that way. Reach out, find out what people outside your box want and need? Listen. Communicate.

And you know what, when you do that, you can make WAY more money, too.

Way more.

Because you create specialized solutions for people in a different industry where they need and want what you’ve got but they don’t entirely know it yet–and you can show them how you are the solution to the problem that is making them miserable, or stressed, or sick, or broke–you have got an out-of-the-box breakthrough happening. And that means more money for you. Give it a try–and make sure you hit reply and tell me how it goes!

Maggie Ostara, PhD is a Soul Healer and Strategic Marketing Expert. She draws on her many years as a successful business owner to support healers, teachers, and coaches to get their work out to the world, and make their contribution to the New World Age now emerging.

She combines a strong intellectual background with intuition and body wisdom for a grounded, powerful, expansive, nurturing and insightful way of facilitating your business and spiritual growth. Her credentials include being a multiple-published author,Certified Clarity Breathwork trainer and practitioner, a qualified Awakening Your Light Body teacher, former Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Columbia University in New York.

Do you love what you do, but hates marketing and sales?  Learn an entirely new way of marketing called “Creating Money by Creating Community” with Maggie’s free teleseminar available at www.soulsignaturemarketing.com

 

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.

 

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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/

 

 

part time entrepreneurs rejoice!

I just came across a very cool business network called IAMPTE that’s coming from a very different point of view in business – ‘it’s okay to be a part time entrepreneur!

As I learned about it from Calgary based founder Kim Page Gluckie (pictured right), it struck me the immense pressure most entrepreneurs feel to make it big, build their empire and go full time. As if to not do that would be to fail.

The main things I want you to focus on here is the text book example she’s giving you about niche marketing, becoming a hub.

We did a little interview and I think what she has to share has a lot of important things to say about quality of life for entrepreneurs.

 

What is IAMPTE?

IAMPTE is the world’s first (well, actually only) organization that champions, advocates and supports motivated part-time entrepreneurs. It is a hub that connects the right people and information suited specifically to those with limited time and limited funds because of their part-time status, but recognizing they are limited in their enthusiasm or opportunity.

How did it start? What was the need you saw in the world that spurned this?

It started as I recognized that work from home dads, soon-to-retire employees and students creating their own businesses had all the same challenges as mom entrepreneurs, but without a support system that really resonated.

It also came from many conversations with clients over how much time they wasted or money they wasted making really poor business decisions because they just didn’t know who to trust and they didn’t know who to ask – the need I saw was evident in the tears shed in these conversations and more times than I can count hearing the words “I didn’t know what to do until I met you, I was going to quit trying”.

They do trust me to give sensible, affordable advice. I attract other trustworthy experts and felt I needed to take a leap to bring the right information together with the right people into a hub of knowledge and information sharing that makes sense for people who are really motivated to succeed, even if they are growing their business “on the side” of the rest of their life.

The real clincher for me though was when I went to pay $700 to renew my annual membership in the recognized international association for my marketing communications discipline and just couldn’t do it. It was far too expensive for how little it resonated with my actual business life. At that moment I realized there is no structured, information based organization available to me at all. So I created one. At a price I could afford.

What’s your vision for your members? What is it you’re working to help them achieve?

My vision for members to help them create a realistic view of what success looks like for them individually based on a blend of what they want to achieve in their business and the reason they are choosing to be part-time – which is usually a values decision (other commitments they won’t give up). And then, my vision is to give them access to a very specific set of tools, information and practical steps to act on that make sense to the part-time entrepreneur who really has little time or money to make mistakes. I want them to stop wasting their money on programs and strategies suited to entrepreneurs who have committed full time to their pursuit, and to understand that profitability comes from not what they spend, but rather what they do that fits them and nobody else.

What makes this different from other business networks?

This is different from other networks because its core premise is teaching over networking – and I’ve spent time finding exactly the right experts with the exact right knowledge that PTEs need who are donating customized articles and information because they believe in this mission as much as I do. Networking and supporting each other is an organic side effect of IAMPTE that is already truly amazing… it is literally changing people’s business lives. But it stems from access to trusted advice that can be acted on immediately in any realm of online or traditional marketing.

How are you marketing this right now? What have you been finding works best?

While I am the founder and owner of IAMPTE, there are 16 other experts in the community donating their expertise with exclusive content and their time to promote the organization through their networks. Most of the sharing about our organization has been through social media, with equal response on Facebook (www.facebook.com/iampte) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/iampte).

We just launched in February so there are many marketing plans not yet rolled out, and evaluation that hasn’t happened yet. Part of our ongoing strategy will be traditional and grassroots. We will be launching chapters and holding live workshop-style meetings yet this Spring in three cities. I anticipate that our core membership will grow from the live communities, and those relationships will be nurtured in the online communities.

How do you make money at this? Or what’s the plan?

IAMPTE is a paid membership organization at an affordable $199, with an affiliate program of 5% for anyone who signs up and posts an attractive badge claiming to BE or SUPPORT PTEs on their website.

While this organization is part of my business, and it is intended to generate revenue for me personally, it is also an opportunity for me to align with charitable causes that have similar values such as Kiva.org, to which we’ve already topped up two loans, and Calgary’s Making Changes to which we are donating a special gift at YYCTwestival.

The plan is also to invite community leaders with business knowledge to become chapter leaders – those leaders have opportunity to earn 80% profits from events they run in their own cities. It’s a very sharing model. IAMPTE complements my core business at MPowered Marketing. As an expert, like the other experts, it is a platform to showcase my small business marketing talents to support my marketing training, speaking and consulting business.

What’s your take on why so many part-time entrepreneurs fail?

I’m not convinced more part-time entrepreneurs fail than full time.

In fact, when factoring the direct selling industries (I consider home party consultants who are earning a living to be entrepreneurial in their own success-driven ways), part-time entrepreneurs may be more successful as a category.

But I do have some ideas on where any entrepreneurial “failure” stems from.

First, they have a clever idea but didn’t realize they had to become sensible business people and smart marketers themselves in order to actually succeed.

Second, they compare themselves endlessly to the success of others or how successful they think they should be – without pausing to define what success actually looks like and the steps to get there.

Third, they waste so much money making poor decisions based on the wrong advice or by “winging it” that they end up heartbroken – and often scared to keep going because they used the grocery money as startup cash and can’t afford more mistakes. And finally, not unique to part-time entrepreneurs, they aren’t passionate enough about what they are doing to see it through.

It seems like a lot of people feel like they either need to be a FULL time entrepreneur or nothing. Like being part time = failure – what’s your take on that?

Nobody can define what failure is or success is but the person in their own shoes.

There are “business experts” who would say if you don’t go all in, you can’t win.

I started my first company the day after a female, childless media mogul who I’d previously admired told me in answer to a question “women running businesses while raising families cannot succeed”. It made me so angry I was shaking. I have been proving her wrong personally every day since then, and have found myself surrounded by men and women who are succeeding part-time like me. But again… define fail?

IAMPTE has a wholistic view of what success is. Making profit while also being a good employee, parent, volunteer or student is success. Part-time success simply takes longer for most… which actually has business advantages… if someone can envision their success on a 3 year or 5 year roadmap, it helps overlook the small ‘f’ failures or mistakes and build on them. Part-time in business = whole life success in my opinion. Also in my experience.

9) What are top three keys to success for part-time entrepreneurs?

First: Spending money with a trusted expert to create a professional presence. Even $500 on a great logo plus a Facebook page creates a professional presence over a DIY Blogger page. Ideally, spending $2500-$5000 on a brand development process + logo + web design is enough to look like the professional they intend to be. Often, that is all they need to spend for an entire year if they are savvy about building their business beyond that.

Second: Defining what success actually means in order to avoid becoming defeated by comparisons to full time entrepreneurs doing the same thing, and to be able to recognize success from a whole life point of view. Success for most part-time entrepreneurs has to have a monetary goal with it, but more so, it’s aligned with values – making a difference, role modeling, educating, having personal freedom, feeling joy in their work. Really taking time to review this frequently helps stay passionate and committed when business gets hard – and it does often when you are a PTE in the first 3 to 5 years.

Third: Becoming a business/marketing expert for their own business is essential. They must become confident in their ability to make good decisions for their business so they can be responsive to the right opportunities, create/seek out the right opportunities, and save money for when expert help is actually required. This is why I teach marketing, even while consulting. PTEs cannot and should not take every course available nor should they hire every recommended expert. Even if they have the cash flow to afford it, they don’t have the time. There is a time and a place for hiring expert help, and they need to be pragmatic about when and who that is (like professional visual brand)… but even when hiring help, they must approach it as if they are learning it to do the work themselves.

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For more information on IAMPTE – check out their website at: http://iampte.com/

 

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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/

 


alex baisley and the two barbers

Last weekend, I was in Canmore at the launch event for the Evolutionary Business Council and, in the last half hour, my friend Alex Baisley was asked to share a few words with the whole group about building a ‘lifestyle business’.

At the end of his sharing, he got a huge standing ovation from people and was swamped by the participants (many of whom were, themselves, high level authors, speakers and consultants).

There are so many workshops telling you to ‘do what you love’. But, in my experience, that can be a major mistake.

Why?

Because there’s something that matters every bit as much as what we do – and that’s ‘how’ we do it – our lifestyle.

Alex Baisley makes this clear with his story The Two Barbers.

(I took this on my iphone so the sound isn’t great and it’s a bit shaky – but i think the story is worth it).

If you like what you hear – go and check out his website:

www.bigdreamprogram.com

 

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.

 

the anxiety of business

Sometimes business can feel like we’re out on a limb. And, we may not be crazy for feeling that way. I just learned this from my friend Mark Anielski – author of The Economics of Happiness:

Did you know that the etymological roots of the word business are:

O.E. bisignes (Northumbrian) “care, anxiety, occupation,” from bisig “careful, anxious, busy, occupied, diligent” (see busy) + -ness. Sense of “work, occupation” is first recorded late 14c. Sense of “trade, commercial engagements” is first attested 1727. Modern two-syllable pronunciation is 17c. Business card first attested 1840; business letter from 1766
Interesting to note that being anxious is one of these characteristics of bisgnes or busi-ness!

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