I believe we could learn much more from EACH OTHER, from sharing our honest stories with our fellow creative/spiritual entrepreneurs, than we can learn from the "online business experts".
This is still a VERY new thing, selling coaching/courses/mentoring/healing on the internet.
And there IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO THIS. (As much as the very noisy ads in my social media streams tell me otherwise).
We have SO MUCH freedom and opportunity to create our businesses in our own way.
Last year a lot of my business fell apart. It was a perfect storm of "things that never go wrong" going wrong one after another.
As a result I lost the web traffic I'd built up over 10 years of blogging and working on SEO - Google was sending me thousands of new people every month and then it just dried up.
At the time it was scary, but it ALSO felt like... this is happening for a reason. It felt like now that I've learned everything I've learned I can re-build everything better.
And I did.
I re-built my traffic without paid ads, using Pinterest.
For me, Pinterest is the easiest way to be found by new people right now. Creatives have a HUGE advantage on Pinterest! I mean - once you get going it does not take a lot of time to make dozens of pins.
I am pinning 8-10 times a day. I DO pin my pins multiple times by pinning them to different boards, so I don't need 8-10 totally new pins every day. I also re-pin some content, but honestly I mostly pin my own stuff.
I also make the same pin with different coloured backgrounds, or just make small changes - as I said, once you get going it's very easy to make lots of pins quickly. I use my own photos and sometimes stock photos and mostly use my own drawings. It's creative play time - I just use whatever feels inspiring in the moment.
It is important to use the key words in the descriptions that match what people would be searching for.
I'm not just pinning everything all at once. The pins go out on a schedule, one at a time at peak times. The "re-pins" are always at least 6 day apart from each other (except once in a while when I screw that part up, lol). And twice a day I pin an invitation to sign up for my email list.
Every few months I look at the analytics - just looking at which pins generate the most traffic - and re-pin them or sometimes make more similar pins to those.
This takes some time, but it's pretty EASY to do and it works.
The only thing is you probably can't do all this pinning and re-pinning on your own.
The Tailwind app makes it SUPER EASY - it schedules pins, you decide how much space to put in between "re-pins" when you pin to multiple boards, and gives you easy analytics to know which pins are doing well and should be re-pinned more.
You can try it for free for a mounth here (and I get a discount on my paid Tailwind account if you do). I'm happy to pay for Tailwind - it's WAY cheaper than running ads and helps SO MUCH.
For example, right now this pin is doing amazing, sending a steady stream of new people signing up for my free healing circle.
Pins have a LONG life-cycle. Pins can be found and get popular years later. You never know when a pin will get popular - but the odds of having popular pins go up dramatically when you're making lots of pins!!
You can see what I'm pinning on my Pinterest here.
And having a good search ranking on Pinterest helps you on Google too so I am seeing my Google traffic growing now too.
The numbers are tiny compared to what they used to be... but my conversation rates are SO MUCH HIGHER.
I'm getting a few thousand new people to my website each month, which is not a lot in the internet business world.
But because I am drawing in the RIGHT PEOPLE now more of them get engaged with my work.
And I don't have to pay the extra hosting fees I used to have to pay to have a higher traffic website.
So that's how I got my traffic flow back up. I also made other changes.
When things fell apart I realized to keep my business going I needed to close up all of the "energy leaks"
For example, I looked at WHERE traffic was going, and I turned EVERY one of my popular blog posts into a call to action to join my email list.
This helped keep my list growing even while traffic was stagnant.
I also created more than one "freebie offer" for people on my email list. And I want to create more and more!
Since I am getting Pinterest traffic to specific blog posts/pages, not necessarily to the main page of my website, people are coming *for a specific reason* so I offer a free thing *that helps with that specific thing* and then during the free thing they get to know me and my work and I share how my paid thing can help *with the specific thing they signed up for*.
This is basic marketing stuff. Know your audience and be clear about how you can help them.
In our creative/spiritual/change-you-life kind of work, there is often no "one clear way" that you help people. So it can be hard to use traditional marketing advice.
Having MULTIPLE ways in feels like a really good solution. I learned that from Libby Dickerson. I HIGHLY recommend her book!
In my case: A person who has already made their dreams real and is looking at how to navigate the next level wants to hear something different from a person who is totally stuck making their first dream real. But Dream Book can help them both equally, so having different freebie offers for each of them means I can speak to each of them about the work differently.
Yes this is a LOT of work to set up. But each time you set up a new way in, you've got it for as long as you want to keep using it. And you never know when a pin leading to a freebie will go viral 😉
My goal this year is to keep making new freebies for different problems that my work can solve.
About the money:
Yes, having things fall apart last spring did mean my income dropped quickly.
I had already been in a position for the 2 years before that where I was spending less time on marketing/sales and more time on developing a whole new of offering my work.
I was in a position to do that because I did have more than enough money coming in, and it was REALLY important to me then (I'm talking 2017) to re-evaluate what I was doing and how I was doing it. That re-evaluation led to a LONG creative growth process which led to me re-creating my work.
I needed a LOT of time/space to do that work. I am so grateful that the Creative Dream Circle kept me going... It was easy for me to keep showing up for the people there, doing coaching calls and classes - it was NOT easy for me to keep marketing/selling to have new people joining.
So I pulled back from my public stuff to focus on creating the new stuff. I thought that would take like 6 months and it took 2 years.
Then, when I started to feel ready to go back out into the world, everything fell apart and it felt like I didn't have the same mechanisms in place to BE back out there with my work.
It was a scary place to be!
But I am a SAVER. I had lots of cash savings but I felt afraid/ashamed to rely on them to support me.
And the Creative Dream Circle kept supporting me and I actually didn't need to use my savings until a little later when my business threw me ANOTHER curveball.
Scary as this place was, my intuition was clear: this was an opportunity.
All of the explorations I had been doing LED ME TO THIS. That my next steps were to re-build in a better way.
This leads to the biggest thing that changed while I was re-building my business: my INNER relationship to my work.
In that place of having to re-build this thing that meant the world to me, I did wonder if it was time to just pack it in. I explored a LOT of really dark stuff there. But giving up never felt right, so I kept going.
I see now that that dark scary place was a turning point.
After 2 years of re-evaluating and re-creating how I want to do my work, and then looking at re-building the whole thing... I grew in my sense of TRUST in my work. I grew my trust in myself. I became more committed to my big dreams.
There is this palpable inner shift that I still can't put into words.
And that's the place where I realized - the TWO FREAKING YEARS of re-evaluating and re-creating WERE NOT ENOUGH. I still wasn't there, I still wasn't where I wanted to be with my work.
That's when I saw DREAM BOOK.
Dream Book was an idea I'd started playing with in 2017 and I could never get it to fit in with the Creative Dream Alchemy framework I was creating at the time.
Dream Book needed 6 more months of extreme focus to become what it was supposed to be: a container for the work and also a bridge that meets you where you are and brings you to where you want to be and also an elevator to take you deeper into your process.
Dream Book is not like anything else.
BUT this is coming after TWO YEARS of not focusing on sales and marketing and then a few months focusing on re-building things that fell apart - THIS is where I had to choose: keep working on this new project and dig into my savings to do it or get out there and get my business more visible.
My intuition was clear. Dream Book will pay off.
This is an EVOLUTIONARY LEAP in my work.
During this time I was so frustrated by how much time and work everything took.
But looking back I am amazed I took such a huge leap so quickly.
And ALL OF IT contributed to my growth: things falling apart, learning to re-build, re-evaluating and re-creating my work, needing to summon deeper trust than I knew I had.
This is the DEEP WORK of entrepreneurship. This is beyond money and recognition this is about evolutionary growth.
Before I started my business I already had 4 years of training as a spiritual counsellor, plus a 4 year degree in applied arts, plus numerous trainings in emotional processing and intuitive development PLUS I had been doing my own creativity workshops and meditation circles for about 3 years.
It's not like I started out inexperienced or untrained when I went full time with the Creative Dream Incubator in 2011. It's not like I hadn't already spent a lot of time developing my work.
It's that the growth is never finished.
Where I am now feels so much more stable and secure than I have ever felt. It's a new level.
This was worth digging into my savings for (which I am already starting to replace because as a self employed highly sensitive person who is easily overwhelmed having a cushion of cash is important for my wellbeing).
And now I have something - Dream Book - that I feel 100% sure about. I've also got people emailing me in tears every week to tell me how this is changing their lives.
It feels EASY to keep growing everything now because of how much I believe in my work.
And it feels SOLID and TRUE and all the hard stuff I went through contributed to how clear I feel now.
The online marking gurus keep trying to sell us the easy way. But real growth isn't always easy.
And trying to keep things easy also can keep you from the evolutionary growth that is calling you.
So that's the behind the scenes of what I've been doing these last few years.
I am feeling so excited about 2020 and how I want to SHOW UP in the world with my work. And I'm still working out the details of what that will actually look like.