The Conscience-Driven Marketer: How to Market Your Business Ethically and Authentically with Tad Hargrave

“The reason marketing feels so bad so often is because instead of going for the truth of is this a fit? We’re taught to go for the close, go for the sale.” 

~ Tad Hargrave


In this episode of The Widest Net Podcast, Pam is joined by Tad Hargrave, a long-time conscious business marketing coach, renowned for his unorthodox and ethical approach to marketing. With a background that includes navigating both manipulative and authentic marketing methods, Tad embarked on a journey of unlearning and redefining marketing practices. His commitment to sustainability and ethical business has led him to become a leading voice in the industry. 


Through his engaging workshops and 16 books and workbooks on marketing, Tad has empowered entrepreneurs to embrace marketing strategies that not only work but also align with their values. With a focus on the belief that marketing can feel good for all involved, Tad’s influence has extended across Canada, the United States, Europe, and online platforms, shaping a community of conscious entrepreneurs and green businesses dedicated to ethical and impactful marketing practices.


Here’s what you can expect from this episode: 

  • Learn how to build trust and loyalty with your audience while staying true to your values
  • Discover how to grow your business in a way that supports the environment and the community
  • Explore the power of bringing people together and creating meaningful connections through engaging workshops and events
  • Uncover impactful methods to promote your business authentically and ethically
  • Streamline your services to ensure the best experience for your clients and customers

Here are the Show Notes.


Here’s the transcript:


Welcome to another episode of The Widest Net Podcast. I’m your host, Pamela Slim, and I’m joined today by my guest, Tad Hargrave. Tad is a hippie who developed a knack for marketing and then learned to be a hippie again. He spent his late teens being schooled in a mixed bag of approaches to sales and marketing.        


Some manipulative and some not. When that career ended, he spent a decade unlearning and unpacking what he’d been through. How had he been swept up into it? Why didn’t those approaches work as well as advertised? Were there ways of marketing that both worked better and felt better to all involved?        


It took him time, but he finally began to find a better way to market. By 2006, he’d become one of the first full time conscious business marketing coaches for hippies and created a business where he could share the understanding he had come to “Marketing could feel good”. You didn’t have to choose between marketing that worked but felt awful or marketing that felt good but got you no clients. Since 2001, he’s been touring his marketing workshops around Canada, the UniTad States, Europe and online, bringing refreshing and unorthodox ideas to conscious entrepreneurs and green businesses that help them grow their organizations and businesses without selling their souls. Instead of charging outrageous amounts, he started doing most of his events on a pay what you can basis.        


He’s the author of 16 books and workbooks on marketing. Tad, welcome to the show. Thank you so much. Well, I am curious. Just right before we started recording, you said you just had come back.        


You probably still have a little bit of jet lag for being on the road for about four months. Were you doing some of the aforementioned workshops and such? Or was it more of an adventure? A bit of both. I did three evenings of story, four evenings of storytelling, and then 13 evening or day long workshops, marketing workshops.        


Was it the same, was it kind of one main workshop that you just did in multiple locations? Yeah, which was very exciting. Getting to do the same workshop over and over again, because that’s when you improve it, that’s when it gets a lot better, is getting to. If you do a workshop once a year, it’s easy to forget the things you want to change for next time and you don’t get the same momentum. So being able to do it 13 times, basically back to back meant that every time I did it, I could experiment with something, change something, move something around.        


So by the end, it was a much stronger workshop and I basically have it under my belt at this point and now, you know, I’m looking forward to touring it in Canada. What’s the essence of it? Basically what you read this idea that marketing can feel good, that it doesn’t have to feel terrible. And I suppose the heart of it is that the reason marketing feels so bad so often is because instead of going for the truth of is this a fit?        


We’re taught to go for the close, go for the sale. And that shift, to me, it’s all there, all the bad feelings and marketing, all the ill will, really comes from this hidden agenda to get people to buy, to get people to do something. And so much of the marketing, there’s a video I was playing at the beginning. It’s this woman marketing coach, fairly mainstream, and she opens with, have you ever wondered how some people can get people to say yes to them all the time? And I said to the group, I said no.        


But I’ve wondered why. I’ve wondered why somebody would even want somebody to say yes all the time.        


That’s not a healthy place to come from where you’re trying to get people to say yes. Because yes all the time means yes, whether or not it’s a fit for them, whether or not that’s really going to help them. So that’s the whole day is exploring that from various angles. I really enjoy that idea. It reminds me of when I was writing, researching for The Widest Net, I did a 23 city tour of the same half day workshop.        


And I did it in four city batches, which was interesting and a bit wild. Where I do Sioux Falls, Fargo, Chicago, Minneapolis, something like that. So just one day, I did a half day so I could go one day between. But there is something so special about actually being in the location. I think you and I both have spent many years online as well, connecting with people, which I enjoy still.        


I still think it’s a miracle that we can work with people all over the world. But there is something really special about seeing people where they are and meeting them where they are, to have that context. And then do you ever find, like I do, that people who might meet in your workshops end up being chummy afterwards? Do you feel like there’s a bit of a community that forms around folks that connect? Yeah, it’s not uncommon at a workshop that somebody says, hey, we should all stay in touch.        


Now, the reality is, I know that most of that will fall apart almost instantly, but there are some people who. Yeah, we met at your workshop and we’ve been meeting ever since. People do want to stay connected. I suppose it’s easy for us to forget when we’re teaching, because we’re so in the world that we’re in, but for whatever we do, we might be in that world. But those people probably feel like they’re the only one in their world that thinks about these things, wonders about these things, reads those kinds of books, has those sorts of conversations, is fascinated by the same topics.        


Their spouse is sick of hearing them talk about it. And so the thought of being able to find other people where they can continue to have those conversations, or from a business context, somebody who can give them reflections. If it’s permaculture, somebody who can come and look at your property with eyes that you can’t. I think intuitively people just understand how valuable that is. So yes, I did notice that quite a bit.        


People wanting to stay in touch, passing around email lists. I have no idea really what happens, with that, afterwards. Sometimes I was brought in by a host, like in Burston, England, up in Norfolk. There was a woman who’s starting a sort of conscious business network. So she was hosting and is going to continue to host events.        


So sometimes the host already has it built in, but otherwise people just feel lonely in a lot of their interests. I agree. I think in thinking about the approach, which I really want to get into your point of view on it, as you said, being somebody, really early on in now we’re referred to as this conscious marketing space that I think people are both overwhelmed and stuck in a myriad of ways sometimes of getting this mix between not being the person who’s just trying to force everybody to say yes to you, that is jarring for all involved, but somebody that is interested and for a whole variety of reasons for impact and income and taking care of their family to have a really viable, sustainable business. So for you, how do you define it? Well, first, just what it means to be a conscious marketer?        


I was thinking about that. As you said, I suppose the idea is that instead of it being unconscious is the contrast, instead of it being sort of default. But as you said it, I heard it this different way for the first time ever of a lot of the marketing tactics out there. They’re very consciously designed with awareness. We are doing this to push this button, to get this person to.        


There’s nothing unconscious about that stuff in terms of awareness level.        


I suppose what it’s getting at is some, maybe not just consciousness, but conscience being at the heart of it.        


It’s not just not doing a default program because yeah, you can be consciously manipulating people, but you can’t manipulate people if you’re driven by your conscience.        


In practice, how does that play into both, which you advise, like you were teaching about in the workshop, and then also how you think about it when you’re reaching out for your own clients, what does the practice look like of a. More conscience driven marketing? Well, fundamentally, it starts with that orientation of, I’m just trying to see if this is a fit, and everything else follows from that. Now, if I’m just trying to see if it’s a fit, what that means is I want to have a very real, honest conversation with somebody. And the thing that will kill any chance of an honest conversation is that they feel pressured.        


I don’t know if you ever tried this before. If you put your hands like this, like in the kind of prayer position now, push as hard as you can with your right hand. Push with your right hand. Yeah. Then grab your left wrist and pull as hard as you can with your pull.        


Your left wrist, pull. So if you’ll notice what happened. Yeah, you notice what happened when you put your hands together to pray and you pushed, your left hand pushed back, even though I didn’t say push back. What might have happened is your left hand just fell away, but your left hand pushed back. When I said, grab your wrist, it locked, and then you slowly dragged it across.        


And that’s what happens in conversations when there’s pressure. So when people perceive pressure, they just push back. Even if that somebody is us, we’re pushing back against ourselves with no instruction to do so. But it’s a very natural, built in thing. And I got this from a fellow, Ari Galper, who has unlocked the game, and he was the first one I heard, this idea of go for the truth, not the sale.        


And what happens is, as soon as people even perceive it doesn’t even have to be really coming from us, but they perceive that there’s pressure. We get into this game, a game in which it’s socially acceptable to lie to salespeople. And if they see us as a salesperson, they’ll just use us for information. They’ll use us for a free coaching session with impunity. They don’t care.        


So I think what we have to do then is just get back to the honest truth. And again, the thing that kills that is pressure. So one of the things, at a practical level, that has to be done. And if you go to YouTube, just Tad Hargrave pressure reducing phrases. I have a couple of videos on this, but it’s very helpful to weave in a lot of these sort of phrases like, hey, no pressure, no hard feelings either way.        


Hey, yes is just as good as a no or no is as good as a yes. Hey, take your time.        


These types of. Yeah, you must be really busy. I don’t know. What do you think? I’m not sure if this is a fit.        


So if I reach out to somebody, there’s a lot of this equivocation. And it was interesting when I was on tour, somebody said, but doesn’t that. She said, women often feel like maybe they have to compensate on the confidence level to be taken seriously. And doesn’t that equivocation of, I don’t know if it’s a fit, come across as a lack of confidence? And I said, no, this comes across as well, largely.        


I think the confidence thing is a racket anyways, because people tend to vacillate between either outrageously undeserved confidence or lack of confidence. Just kind of a shambles. And instead of that, I think we might better aim at just comfort in our own skin. And when somebody’s comfortable in their own skin, they really don’t need to brag. I guarantee.        


If you met Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino at a party and you said, what do you do? They look at you and they know, trying to make it in the film business, they say something like that. They don’t need to brag. So if I reach out to somebody, what doesn’t work is to say, and you can hear it even in the text, there’s a tone of like, hi, my name is Tad Hargrave, and I run marketing for hippies and I offer powerful, effective tools for use. Everybody wants to throw up immediately, but you can read it in that text.        


And as soon as I’m reaching out to somebody, as if, aren’t you lucky that you’re hearing from me? Because you definitely need what I have, people will say, yeah, but that’s my belief in what I’m offering, is that I feel confident that it can help them. And I need to convey that. No, what you need to convey is that you see that they’re a human being and that they’re sovereign and autonomous and that you respect that and that you’re not going to push something. So then if the outreach is like, hey, I’m coming to town, I saw that you have a holistic center.        


I thought some of your practitioners might be interested in this workshop. I don’t know, but I thought I’d send you some info. No pressure at all. I’m sure you’re all really busy. Thanks for the good work you’re doing.        


In the world. Something like that doesn’t trigger the I’m being sold to. It’s just I got this thing, I don’t know if it’s a fit, rather than you need this, and I’m going to empower you now by convincing you, which gets people pushing back or pulling away. So I suppose on a practical level that’s the main thing. But then the other thing is I’m as much as possible doing what I call hub marketing.        


So I’m trying to build connections with people who are already connected to my people and letting them do the marketing. One of the things I’ve been saying, this is how I’ve been closing my workshops, is I’ll have people say, raise your hand if you feel like at some level you should be way better at promoting yourself. Like you’re just no good at self promotion, you should be better at that. Now, almost everybody raise their hand and I just say, you’re all insane. That’s nuts, because look at the evidence.        


And I say, I’m going to say a few things, and the first one, you agree with. Second one, you’re going to not like me a lot. First one, you are fucking terrible at marketing yourself. Can I get an amen? Everybody says amen, so it’s true.        


We can just agree you’re bad at it, you’ve tried, you’re no good at it. I said, but here’s the second one. You will always be terrible at marketing your work. Like, you’re never going to be good at this.        


This is never going to feel just free and easy for you. And that may sound depressing, but what I’m actually suggesting is self promotion is largely kryptonite for humans. It just makes most of us weaken the knees. There’s a group in England, The Happy Startups, who I think you would love their work. They’re a great network in the UK.        


And I asked Carlos and Lawrence who run it, they hosted me in Brighton. I said, hey, do you two want to come up? I just want to give them time to talk about what they did. And Carlos’s response, he stood up, he’s like.        


And I just said to people, at the very end, I said, that’s an appropriate human response to being asked to pitch yourself. It’s just kryptonite. There’s nothing, nobody wants to hear self promotion. Nobody wants to do it. But if there’s kryptonite, there must be a superpower.        


So now what’s the superpower? The superpower is we’re all incredible at promoting other people, we’re so good at it. It is just built in. It comes naturally. And other people will always be better at promoting us than we are at promoting ourselves.        


So then if we just cooperate with that, then what does marketing become? It becomes making it easier for the people who love you to spread the word about you. It means building relationships with the people who are already connected to your people and inviting them to spread the word. Not you just shamelessly promoting yourself. Because I mean, there are some people who are good at just shamelessly constantly promoting themselves and they’re called sociopaths.        


Yeah. What are some of the ways that you do help other people share about you? For me, I was going to say it’s kryptonite, but I feel like it’s not. It’s a learning edge for me where I can get massively uncomfortable when I like. I will promote people all day long.        


It’s one of my favorite things to do. As you said, whenever I want to ask somebody for a referral or help them, it can make me feel uncomfortable, which is on me. I know it’s just my own shit in my head. What are some of the ways aligned with this human centered marketing spirit that you talked about that you can help people spread the word? Well, as you’re saying with referrals, to me, referrals, that’s not self promotion.        


That’s just an extreme humility. That’s a willingness to say to our people, look, I’m helpless and hopeless at promoting myself. I’m no good at it. I don’t want to do it.        


I really struggle with it. I’m so good at promoting others. But like most people, I’m not good at promoting myself. And I really love you as a client, and I figure that birds of a feather tend to flock together, and I’d rather work with people like you. And if you know anyone who I could help, I’d be so grateful.        


And in fact, if you could reach out to them and do the pitch on my behalf, I’d be so grateful because I just have a difficult time with it. So there’s a real humility and willingness to ask for help that I think is so critical. It’s one of the things that I see missing in so many entrepreneurs is we’re taught to be overly self sufficient. And you could change an entrepreneur’s life with just this one exercise. You have to make a list of where they’re stuck and you say, I’m going to set a timer for five minutes.        


During those five minutes, just ask for help on those things because they haven’t. And some of those things have been on their list for years. And I do this fairly frequently in my events, just sneak attacks of a five minute support asking blitz. And really things that people have been stuck on for years, website getting their signature talk done, start moving because they actually ask for help. So that’s one.        


But the other thing is, we’ve got to give people tools. If people are going to spread the word, we got to give them ways to do it. And so a lot of us already have this, but it’s okay. Things like at a practical level, your social media content, your memes, your little videos, your YouTubes, articles, blogs, things that people can share easily. It’s one of the brilliant parts about social media.        


Just click a button and it can be shared to people. Number two, asking people to share it. So you see a lot of times in videos, please click subscribe. But you can also in your video say, please share this. And you might even give people some direction, like could you share this on your social media?        


Or if you’re in a Facebook group or a WhatsApp thread with other entrepreneurs, please share this there so you can be asking for the help of that you also could create. I do Free First Thursdays. So it’s a first Thursday of every month I do a free coaching call. And so that’s the kind of thing my people can also be directing people to. Oh yeah, Tad does this thing.        


You should go check it out and you can learn about them there. In my membership, I email my whole list about the free first Thursdays. But I also, once a year I’ll email my membership and say, could you spread the word about the free first Thursdays? This is one of the best ways for people to hear about my membership. If you’ve enjoyed the membership, if you could hear some cut and paste text and image.        


So I’m making it easy for them to do it, giving them an occasion to spread the word. There’s also, I’ve got my ethical marketing starter kit on my website, and this is something I’ve been thinking about. I’m going to do a webinar on this in the next year. But this idea of starter kits, because I think so many people are, there have been these generations of newsletters and building a following. Yeah, first there was just the paper newsletters that people would send out in the mail and then email came.        


It’s like, oh my, we can save money and send out the same stuff. So people did that, but then everybody had a newsletter first, it was very novel. Oh, I can get an inspiring quote every day in my inbox. How cool is that? And then everybody and their dog has a newsletter.        


Now we get overwhelmed. So now there needs to be some reason to join the newsletter. And two things came from this. One, let’s make our newsletters better. But second, let’s create an incentive, a freebie, that, hey, sign up and get this thing.        


But I think what’s happening now is a lot of the pink spoon samples that people are offering with their email newsletters are just underwhelming. Get this checklist. But the checklist is like one page and you get it. It’s like, oh, God, I already knew this before I got this. This doesn’t actually help me that much.        


So I like the idea of a starter kit of being a very generous. I give my whole day long workshop. The old version of my day long workshop is just given for free as a way to let people know about my point of view. Because it’s so robust and it’s so good, I know that people share it and tell their friends, hey, you should check this out. He’s got this amazingly valuable.        


It’s worth getting on his email list for that type of thing. When I’m doing live workshops, I’ll say, I used to don’t have this much hustle anymore, but when I was young, I had these feedback forms at the end and I would ask people for hubs. I’d say, who else in town should I talk to when I come back as a hub to spread the word? And so then I could reach out to that hub and say, hey, Jimmy, John at my workshop said, I should get in touch with you. So there’s all sorts of ways.        


One of the main things is, how do we make it safe for people to spread the word? Like, here’s an example of how it can backfire. My cousin Jill, I was talking about word of mouth referrals, and she pulled these business cards, three business cards, out of her purse from her esthetician with her name written on the back. And she said, I’ll never give these. Said, what?        


And she said, I said, why? I said, because it has my name on the back. I can see that. She said, so she’s tracking who my friends heard from. So if they come in with the card from me, they’ll see us from Jill and they’re tracking it.        


I say, okay. And that means they’re going to give me some reward, probably. And I said, I don’t understand the problem. This sounds all upside for you? She said no, but my friends will see my name on the back and they’ll know that I’m getting a reward, too, and they’re going to think I’m doing something dishonest and trying to get something for me.        


So I tell people about her all the time, but I’ll never hand out these cards. Yeah. So it’s just so important that we make it safe for people to spread the word in a way that they would feel comfortable doing. And this is where the hey, tell your friends and get $50 can backfire. Because people actually get so uneasy about telling their friends, thinking their friends will find out.        


And what if they find out? Oh my God, they’ll think I’m just a salesperson and I don’t want that. So they zip it. Because the only way to spread the word is that. So the more we can make safe ways for people to check this out and safe things people can send us to, the better.        


You described a number of things in your own business as you talked about activities that you use in order just to keep widening the circle and have more people aware. So one was that monthly call, which I love. Back in my Escape from Cubicle Nation days, I used to do a monthly free call. It’s one of my favorite things for about three years in a row, and it just, I think, ran its natural course in life. But it was so fun and wonderful to be able to have that.        


And knowing back in those early blogging days, I was like, maybe 2008 or something like that, when there just weren’t as many people around. And so I tended to get a lot more emails, individual questions. I don’t think there was even as much content around. No social media yet, really, that it was a wonderful thing to be able to say. I can’t always answer every single question, but I’d love for you to come on this call.        


The other example that you gave is to do webinars. I’m curious, when you are planning your own year long process, first of all, do you plan it? Do you have a clear idea every month of what you’re doing and why and when? Or do you just sort of go with the flow? I was going to say, when you said when you plan your year, I was like, well, that’s a bull.        


That’s why I asked. Yeah, I’m getting better at it. I think it is a good idea to plan, of course, if you’ve got the capacity to, and it’ll give you more capacity if you do.        


So I’m working on that, planning and mapping it out. Because yeah, it’s good to not overwhelm certain chunks of the year, which I’ve done many times. Suddenly, oh my God, I promised I would do all these things at this time and it’s very stressful. So working on it, I recommend know it’s how I ended my retreat in London as I gave everyone 3 hours just to plan their think about the next five years.        


Because I see often people will overburden the next year sort of thinking, well, all my ideas have to happen next year. It’s like, well some of these might happen five years from now, like three years from now. You don’t need to put it all this year. And then within a year people tend to think it all has to happen in the first quarter. So even with that you can, this may be the fourth quarter of the year.        


You’ll start to think about this and yeah, mapping out some rhythm. I think so much of sustainability in business comes down to rhythm. So much of it comes down to finding a way of marketing and a rhythm in it that actually works for you. And so sometimes we find, oh, doing this once a month is too much, but once a quarter is great, once a week is too much, but once a month is great, or once a quarter is too seldom. I got to do this more regularly.        


And that just takes a bit of time and experimentation. But a lot of that can be handled just by really thinking it through. And I recommend just doodling. I mean, get a piece of paper out, just map out the calendar of the year. Start to put things where they belong.        


It’s not so hard. We can do this. So I’ve been slowly getting better at that. But most of it has been reactive. I’m not ashamed of it, but I’m not proud of it.        


It’s been fairly reactive and just.        


It’s one of the big shifts, I think, that entrepreneurs end up having to make or decision that entrepreneurs need to make. Is, is this a business or is this a hobby? Because if it’s a hobby, just flail. Just do what you want to do when you want to do it. But if it’s a business, it’s the difference between living in a tent or living in a log cabin.        


Suddenly there becomes issues of structure and architecture that matter a lot. And planning becomes a much bigger deal. Because most entrepreneurs, especially most hippie entrepreneurs who I work with, generally resent structure as if it’s the enemy of freedom. But actually structure is the thing that gives you in the short term, it is the enemy of freedom because you got to work on the house. You could be doing fun things or going to festivals, but no, you got this house to finish.        


But in the long term, there’s so much freedom that comes from having your own space. And I think a lot of people sit right at the crossroads of that forever, right in the nether regions of liminal space between business and hobby. And it can just be helpful to get off the fence and say, you know what? I’m going to get a job. This is going to be the thing I just do for passion on the side for free, and that’s going to feel better.        


Or I’m going to finally double down and build this house instead of going around in this tent or sort of making half assembled shacks that collapse and cause harm to you and the people inside you. And it never worked that well. Taking it really seriously, there was a metaphor that I heard a number of years ago, about half built bridges. And I say they’re actually 98% built bridges, but the last 2% is too far for you to jump.        


That can be a pattern that I can be into, where I can lean into, almost do a whole bunch of things and almost build a whole bunch of things, but then they end up not completing that last part of it in the Colby index. If you’ve ever jabbled with that, it’s like a high quick start and a very low follow through. I think when I did my 23 city tour, it literally was sitting on my sister’s deck at Lake Almanor. I’m from California, and if you’ve ever been there, beautiful lake up in northern California. And I was like, what am I doing this summer?        


I don’t know, where should I go? And I just posTad a Facebook post like, hey, I’m thinking about traveling around a little bit to workshop some ideas for my new book, where should I go? And I literally took the thread that was on that Facebook post and created a page the next day of the places where I went. So it was about a period of two days. Now, I am a high, quick start, and I do have people that I know in many cities because I had done book tours before.        


But what can be a blessing and a strength can also be a curse. And it’s interesting because in some of the most creative, most intuitive, I don’t know what qualities that you consider hippie, if you have a definition for what a hippie is, but I just tend to think somebody more closely connected with nature, anti capitalist, things like that, hanging around my son. My bonus son is an artist. My husband is a Navajo traditional healer. And we can think.        


Those are two examples of things that are, like, highly connected with intuition and creativity and being present in the moment, which is true. They’re also two things that have a tremendous amount of planning and thoughtfulness and preparation that is involved. And I think we convolute the two, like planning. Structure equals. I’m just grinding fodder for the capitalist grind or something like that.        


Isn’t it funny? Yeah. People think that structure is just western empire showing itself and planning as western empire. Have you seen those squirrels gathering acorns? Way in a.        


When an indigenous medicine person does a sweat lodge, do you think those stones just gathered themselves? You think they just rolled right up there into that pile? Do you think that lodge built itself? Do you think all the enormous amount of prep that has to go into, and do you think they’re freestyling every time? Do you think every time they do a swell?        


I just like, how do I feel today? What structure? How many rounds will we do this time? Maybe seven. That’s a nice number.        


Of course, there’s a tremendous amount of thought. Structure is not the enemy of culture. It’s the incarnation of culture. The civilization has been the destruction of so much of the natural order.        


Yeah, well, I think there are choice points for folks who are listening, because, as you said, there can be nuances I notice in myself and a lot of clients that I work with. I know just for purpose of example, kind of a binary example of a hobby versus a business. There can be nuances in between of significant blocks that one has fears, doubts, insecurities about moving forward. And there can also be a. I think about it like the intersection with your human life, where there can be.        


I remember when the kids were younger, and there just were so many different things to do during the day and just kid stuff and running around. And for me, sometimes it felt liberating, albeit in the short term, to not think about sometimes the big rocks just be really doing the kinds of things that I felt like doing in that moment. But I think for me, having been in business for a long time, I do love to write. I love to connect. So inherently, I actually really love to market in a natural way, in a sharing way.        


It’s the thing that I usually most want to do. But I know it also has been something that’s a detriment of just going by your feeling in the moment or sometimes, like you were saying, where there are times for the support of your business and what it is that you want and what the work itself requires of doing things in order to honor the work and bring the work out where you don’t feel great at every moment when you’re doing it. What is your advice and counsel around that? Where people are just like, I just feel terrible and I feel not myself when I start to take action. Oh, man, that’s a big one.        


I suppose it depends why.        


I’m just feeling lazy and I don’t want to do it, which is an understandable human thing. Yeah, okay. Yeah, we don’t want to. Right? Nobody wants to exercise.        


You’re in bed, it’s cozy. Who wants to get up and go for a walk and who wants to meditate and who wants to really just take a breath when you’re in a conflict? This stuff is hard. It’s hard to have challenging conversations. So there’s that.        


And I don’t know what to say to that other than commiseration. That it’s hard on one hand and we got to grow up at some point. On the other hand, if it’s just like, it’s difficult and there’s a balance of adversity and comfort, I suppose that’s one thing. That’s one thing. And both of them are medicine.        


There’s a time when comfort is right. It’s just the thing. And there’s a time where adversity is a kind of medicine, too. And so what’s needed when. Welcome to the human struggle.        


There’s also, I’ve done a lot of YouTube’s on this, the artist versus the know. There’s this archetype of the artist that just wants to do what they want to do and they’re struck by the muse in the moment and suddenly it’s 03:00 a.m. And you’ve done a whole new website, or you’ve written this amazing piece and you’re so proud of it, and then somebody says, who did you write this for? Where does this fit in your business? I have no idea.        


But you just had to get it up. But then there’s the entrepreneur. And the entrepreneur is just, well, who’s the underserved target market and what’s a need? And I’m going to make something for it. And so at the extreme, the artist can lack self care, isn’t thinking about money at all, is not thinking about their well being.        


They’re just so enthralled of the muse and that can destroy people. People have absolutely just gotten so lost in their passions that they don’t eat, they get evicted because they’re just so caught up in that. I did a video years ago called The Muse Doesn’t Give a Shit About Your Mortgage. Really doesn’t.        


But then there’s the entrepreneur. And the far side of that, you get these cynical, knockoff boilerplate templated rip offs all the time, and there’s no creativity in that. There’s no spark. It’s commercial. Sure, it works, but it crushes your soul.        


But business is a marriage between these two. And that marriage is not easy. It’s rough. But new life can come from it. Beautiful things can come from it.        


And that’s your business. Your business can be the child of the marriage of those two, and that marriage just takes work. But then the third level is that sometimes there are things that are just unethical, and then people feel this resistance to doing. You know, Danny, a colleague of mine had a great point where he said, there’s only really two reasons we get stuck in life. One, we don’t know how to do something.        


It’s a technical thing. How do I upload this video? How do I hold an online summit? It’s technical. The second is, you don’t want to do it.        


And if you don’t want to do it, it’s really worth sitting honestly with that. Okay, I just don’t want to do this. And why is it that I’m just lazy? Maybe I’m just cozy in bed, and I just need to put on my adult pants and get out in the world? Or is it that you’re being asked to do something that goes against your conscience?        


And I see this way too often in the marketing field, where the marketing or sales technique that’s being offered up is unethical, manipulative, and when the people who are being taught it push back, resist, question, they’re basically told, well, that’s a limiting belief that you have. You obviously don’t value yourself and your products and services. This is audio only, but I’m raising my fists in the air. That bugs me so badly. It’s so appalling.        


And so one of my most popular reels I ever did on Instagram was called, What If You Don’t Have a Limiting Belief? What if you have a conscience? Maybe it’s that. And if that’s the case, if that’s the reason you don’t want to do, it’s because it goes against your conscience. It’s just take a breath and think to yourself, maybe, okay, what’s a way I could achieve the same result in a way that feels ethical to me that feels trauma informed, that feels conscience driven, that feels loving and respectful of people.        


How could I do it? And you come up with something, but not if you don’t realize that’s the issue. If you think the issue is your limiting belief, then you will take more of the novocaine for the soul that’s being offered up so that you don’t have to feel how badly you’re hurting people. Very great point. Yes, it is so overused often in limiting belief and gaslighting for a lot of people.        


So I will search that out and share it. The last thing I want to ask is I’m just a training and development nerd at heart for many decades and I’m really fascinated by service and offer structure. So I’m curious for you, having done this for a long time, how do you think about the intelligent design in your own business of creating service offerings? You had mentioned you have a membership. I’m not sure.        


If you work with people one on one, how do you think about a good container that when you do get somebody who says yes, hopefully many somebody’s who want to work with you, how do you ensure that you are delivering great work? Oh boy. Yeah. The whole business model question a few quick things here. One is, when I look at business model, it’s useful to have a few criteria to look at, and there’s called the four S’s.        


One, is this sustainable? Can I keep doing this like I’m doing it forever? Two, is this safe for people to check out from a distance to see whether it’s a fit or not before they work with me? Three, is it simple or is there so many moving pieces? Stuff’s falling through the cracks.        


I’m overwhelmed all the time. I technically don’t know how to do certain things that are required. And fourth, is it satisfying both in terms of the work I do, but also how I do it? Because it’s possible to do something you love in a way that you hate. So those are the four criteria I’d be using structurally for most service providers.        


I would say out of everything I have found, I think the most powerful form of marketing is the signature workshop. The kind of intro workshop, just getting in front of people, sharing your point of view. Hey, if you’re struggling with this problem, this is my take on it. This is how I see it, where 90% of that presentation is sharing your perspective and giving them maybe a little taste of an experience. And then at the end, the pitch, the plug is just you saying, look, if you like this, if you resonate with this.        


Here’s where you get more. So I would urge that my colleague Bradley Morris does amazing work around helping people create and craft their signature workshops,        


But then in terms of the structure, oh man, it’s so tough. Hey, because there’s so many different models, there’s so many different ways you could run a, um, my colleague Caroline Leon, she’s just so big on simplicity. And her thing is one way of generating leads, one way of nurturing those leads, one offer to those leads, one way of making the just how do you make it really simple. Dani Gardner, quiet marketing she wrote this book.        


Her whole business is she sells these tiny courses on her website, basically, and check this out. She made it so that you can’t be on her email list unless you’ve bought something. That’s how she changed it. She’s like, this email list is not for everybody, it’s only for people who’ve paid. So you can imagine what her open rate and click through rate is on their other.        


But it’s a totally different structure. The fundamental thing I’d say is this, when you’re looking at your business model, you’ve got to start with a lifestyle. What’s the lifestyle you want to have? And then build everything around that. Don’t build a business model and then try to think, how do you shoehorn a lifestyle into it?        


You got to start with, how do I want to spend my days? And then you build everything around that. At the premium level, it seems to me there’s a few options. You could do one on one coaching, you could do a mentorship where you have like six to twelve people you work with, very in depth, but they pay you more. You could start a school.        


We’ve seen a lot of versions of this, a year long or a two year long school where there’s a whole curriculum you take people through, you could have a membership where you charge a lot of people less money, there’s less one on one, but there’s more group time, there’s community kind of network built in. They all work, all the structures work. The thing I would urge people to do when they’re looking at their business structure, one look at a lot of models, look at a lot of colleagues, and just how do you structure it? Map it out for me. Draw it out, see if you can, if you can’t find that, see if you can just draw it out yourself.        


What is their business model? Get a number of options, but then just ask yourself, what’s going to work for me what would be fun.        


Some people, even in their marketing, they’re such extroverts and they love going to networking events and other people introverts, that wouldn’t work. And so same with some people. Running a membership would be just overwhelming. But they love working one on one with people. The last piece I would give on this structurally, and this is the most end with the most boring thing, is I call this just your maintenance checklist.        


I realized finally for all these years, most of business is just boring maintenance. It’s just tedium and checklists. And of course, luckily we can hire people to help with this who enjoy this stuff. But when you’re beginning, maybe before you have an assistant, or even when you do, you make a list. What’s all the stuff you need to do every day, every week, every month, once a quarter, once a year.        


Write that out, take an hour, sit down until you can’t think of anything else. Once you’ve done that, go through with every single action. And how much time does each thing take? This boring maintenance, check your email, check your spam folder, post on social media just roughly how much time does it take? And then tally it for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually.        


So then what? You have maybe every day, 2 hours of maintenance every week, 4 hours maintenance every month, 3 hours every year, five days of maintenance. Then the key thing is you have to put that in your calendar. It’s got to then be scheduled as block time in your calendar. You can move it around as you need to, but it’s got to be there because this is where a lot of people screw up on their business model is they build a business model without thinking about the maintenance.        


And then everyone on staff you have has to have those checklists too of all this. Just so there’s some realistic sense of how much time it takes, because the maintenance takes way more time than we think. And when we don’t account for it and we schedule our lives as if there is no maintenance to do. This is a recipe for burnout 100%. And that is not boring to me.        


It’s actually some of the most exciting things. I think it weaves together a number of themes that we talked about of really taking seriously and really embedding a perspective of structure and process and sustainability. And that is like looking ahead and making sure that you have everything allocated. So I appreciate your perspective so much. I’m glad you’re in the world.        


You make me smile when I see you cruise by whatever social media site I’m perusing. Where is the best place for people to find you and connect with you. Probably, my website, everything is available from there. Beautiful. Well, thank you so much for sharing your time.        


And you said now you’re in BC. Are you Canadian? I am Canadian, yeah. From Edmonton, Alberta, living in Duncan, BC temporarily and we’ll see what the next year brings. I love have I don’t know what it is but the last couple of years I have had so many Canadian clients so it is wonderful.        


And I one of these days are going to make a trip to BC in particular so don’t be shocked if you see me in person. If you happen to be staying in place, I’ll come find you better. Well, for those that are listening, be sure to check out the show notes. We will put the link to the starter kit that Tad talked about right there and be sure to rate and share the show. I want to thank my 31 Marketplace production team, La’Vista Jones, Tanika Lothery, Jose Arboleda and our award winning narrator Andia Winslow.        


Until next time, continue getting inspiration to help grow your world changing work at scale. 

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