Talking Shop Wrap and Review: Getting Techy With It with Forest Linden and Chris Bleill

Learning and Community

W

elcome to Talking Shop Wrap and Review!

In case you are new here, this is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.Last week on Talking Shop we had the pleasure of chatting with two super fabulous guys, Forest Linden and Chris Bleill of Clarity Lab.

Now last month on Talking Shop we started our tech theme by exploring the ins and outs of SEO. This month we decided to broaden out a bit and talk to these two gentlemen about some of their favorite tech tools and tech rules. Theresa and I are both big fans of Forest and Chris – among the many things they do is review and vet various platforms and software choices (there are so many!) so that us busy entrepreneurs don’t have to sort through everything ourselves.

We knew that these were the guys to cover our A-Z tech needs.

Forest and Chris led out the gate with two really strong observations: the first, from Forest, is that technology is really a language. Viewing technology as a language allows us to do some pretty common sense things: for instance, we can choose the best way to learn the language for us. Some people like to hire a language teacher and learn step by step. Others (like me) function best with a full immersion experience (I learned about technology by building from hand my first website).The second point (made by Chris) is that technology does not equal perfection. As he put it, “this stuff breaks all of the time”. When working with technology – whether it is hardware or software, it is essential to understand (and schedule in) downtime when you, or someone on your team, is learning why – and fixing – the stuff that isn’t working the way it should. In my experience this is really essential to understand, technology can save us time and make things easier in the long run, but there is a learning curve with technology just like anything else and patience does pay off.

Finally, both Chris and Forest went through the big categories that we need to be aware of as we are setting up our online businesses. And while Talking Shop focuses on sacred arts businesses, this information is golden for any online business. Are you ready? Here is the information, straight from the guys themselves:

Category: Website – how and where to create your website.

Category: Hosting – your hosting company is the home your website lives in, there are many and these were some of the faves.

Category: Email Marketing – Email marketing services allow you to create and send out newsletters to your fan base.

Category: All In One Marketing Apps / Membership – These are robust applications for those of you who teach classes or have membership required access areas or programs.

Category: E-Commerce Platforms – E-commerce is a fancy way of saying “how you send and receive money, online” and also how and where you can sell you stuff, whatever that happens to be.

Category: Customer Support – this was new to me but I think it is brilliant, even small businesses can benefit from a dedicated customer support application.

BIG, HUGE, thanks to Forest and Chris for sharing their tech smarts with us! Next month we will take a break from the tech heavy stuff and chat with the one and only Danielle Cohen who will teach us about Creative Photography for Your Business! Yay!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Talking Shop Wrap and Review: SEO Know-How with Liz Lockard

Learning and Community

W

elcome to the latest Talking Shop Wrap and Review.

In case you are new here, this is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.

Last week on Talking Shop we had the pleasure of jamming with the incredibly smart Liz Lockard. Liz is dedicated to bringing in more business to small businesses and one of her primary tools to make that happen is Search Engine Optimization, known more commonly as SEO.

We know that any time we have a technical topic on Talking Shop it can make some of our listeners a wee bit anxious; tech stuff often seems so complicated, hard, and expensive and it is one of those areas where not knowing what you don’t know can become a significant pain point for your business and your bottom line.

Fortunately Theresa, the resident Talking Shop fearless leader and guinea pig had taken a course with this awesome teacher a year or so back that was all about SEO. She had learned a ton and put the lessons into action on her own site with great success. She also raved about the teacher who was a smart lady, able to break down complicated ideas with ease and help her students implement them effectively. The teacher of course was Liz!

When Theresa and I decided that it was time to tackle the SEO monster we knew we wanted Liz in our corner.

Liz started out by explaining one of the biggest benefits of SEO which I had totally overlooked. As it turns out when you create a blog post or a page on your site and you take the steps needed to optimize it for a search engine you have an “evergreen” asset. This means that your page or blog post will rank higher in search engine searches day after day and year after year.

One of the biggest complaints I have heard from people who want to “do” SEO but never get around to it is the time commitment involved. But the fact of the matter is that this is time well spent because the investment you make in SEO is a gift that keeps on giving (unlike say, a Facebook ad or sponsored Tweet).

Another really useful point that Liz made was about key words. One of the primary ways you can optimize a page or post for search engines is by giving that page a key word. Liz explained that often people miss the boat on this opportunity because they think about what they would like the key word to be instead of thinking about what the words are people will type into Google in order to find a specific thing that you offer on your site.

So those of you who create key words for your pages and posts already, make sure that you are thinking about it from the users perspective and those of you who don’t…well, there’s no time like the present!

A final (and really useful) point that Liz made? SEO does not have to be painful! If you have a site hosted on WordPress there are several good SEO plug-ins to choose from; the favorite of most people is Yoast. Snagging an SEO plug-in and making sure your site is connected to Google Analytics are the two essential steps that can really help you optimize your site in a painless way and play the long game with your business.

I hope you enjoyed checking out the highlights from our show. You can listen to the entire show here. We also invite you to join in for our next show which will continue our coverage of the intersection between technology and your Sacred Arts business: Getting Techy With It with Forest Linden and Chris Bleill

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Talking Shop Wrap and Review: Secrets to Writing a Perfect Speech with Dr. Michelle Mazur

Learning and Community

W

elcome to a brand new series: Talking Shop Wrap and Review.

This is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.

This past week on Talking Shop we hosted the wonderful Dr. Michelle Mazur. This was Dr. Michelle’s second visit to Talking Shop and this time our topic was all about Speeches – how to write them, pitch them, and nail them.

Theresa and I create our show topics and put together our guest list a year in advance – often our guests are busy and popular because they are at the top of the game in their industry – so we want to make sure we give them plenty of time to pencil us into their planners!

Of course before we invite the guests we come up with the topics, and the topic of how to give a great speech was one that we had been itching to do for so long. We both really believe that the world needs to hear your unique voice and perspective AND we know that getting up in front of an audience and nailing a speech is something that makes many of our fellow sacred artists tremble in their boots. That meant it was the PERFECT topic for our show.

Once we knew we were going to talk about speeches we also knew we had to have Dr. Michelle back! Her primary focus is public speaking and speeches that place you, as she says, in a category of one.

We were extra excited because Theresa and I both have speaking engagements this year…I’ll be leading a Sacred Arts Sojourn in Santa Fe and later this Autumn speaking at St. Johns College and Theresa continues to speak and teach as she promotes her awesome book.

One of the big points that Dr. Michelle made right away is that a successful speech has a single main idea to drive home and no more than three supporting points to emphasize that core message.

This totally took me back to my debate days when we were taught to craft three main arguments to support our case, whatever that happened to be. It was also really welcome news for some of our audience members who can easily feel flummoxed by the question: where to begin??? Answer: Start with one idea.

Dr. Michelle also pointed out that contrary to what most people think and do, when you craft your speech the introduction and conclusion are the LAST parts that you craft. Do all of the body work and then circle back around to create an unforgettable opening and closing.

A final point that really stuck with me? Treat your speech as an offering, an extension of your business, not this weird “extra” thing that gets its own category. Treating your speech like a business means that you will figure out really basic questions up front (like how will you be paid) but also apply the professional standards you have to the entire process from start to finish.

We all agreed, for instance, that the minimum amount of time to give to speech preparation is a month, with Dr. Michelle advising at least three. That kind of time allotment is something most of us would assume going in when crafting a new offering but not necessarily what we would give ourselves to create a killer speech.

Of course, these are just a few of the highlights from our show. You can listen to the entire show here. We also invite you to join in for our next show which will cover a very important (but intimidating) topic: Search Engine Optimization with Liz Lockard.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Working Between the Worlds: Why You Should Charge for Sacred Arts Work

Learning and Community

H

ola Sacred Artists and Soulful Seekers, today in our Working Between the Worlds series we are going to talk about a very sticky intersection – the one where services in the Sacred Arts meet the requirement to be paid.

When I heeded the call to don the Fool’s cap and go into the Sacred Arts I had not really thought about the perceived conflict between fair payment in exchange for spiritual work – it certainly was not present in any of the actual sacred arts traditions I had grown up with – but a few months and social media streams later I discovered that it was strongly held by many people.

There is a pervasive idea that because one’s work is “spiritual” or “soulful” it should be free. Nope. Click to Tweet

I also discovered during business mentoring that many of my clients who dreamed of starting their own Sacred Arts business (and had great talent and ability to do so) were paralyzed by the idea that they really couldn’t and really shouldn’t charge any money for spiritual services.

People have their own ideas and money, worth, and value and while I’m interested in those areas that’s not what I am want to address today. I want to address the question of why we do charge for sacred arts work.

Now, to some degree the answer is pretty cut and dried: when you render a service, in the marketplace, you expect to be fairly compensated. We could stop there. But the deeper answer is relevant to all soulful seekers.

That answer? Right relationship.

As I was taught when someone requests that you assist them by providing a tarot reading, an astrological analysis, a ritual or a ceremony they are asking for your time, energy, expertise, and resources. You can choose whether or not to share those but if you do then there must be some kind of exchange.

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t have to be a financial exchange (I know a handful of sacred artists who get most of their payment in the form of fresh veggies and chicken eggs) but the exchange must happen. Not because strings are always attached and not because this is a tit for tat transaction but rather because when it comes to magic, the fair and equal exchange is what moves us from occupying a passive role in the situation to becoming an active agent and participant in creating better outcomes for ourselves.

This fair exchange reminds and roots us in our own native power to transform and improve an aspect of life that has, up to this point, left us feeling hopeless and fatalistic. In this framework, the Sacred Artist, is no longer the All Great and Powerful Magician, casting magical spells for delight and success; rather, the Sacred Artist is in a partnership with their client, working together, for a better outcome.

Depending on the kind of work you do and the role you see that work occupying in your overall life, this may or may not be about money. But no matter what role your Sacred Arts interests play in your overall life, the exchange is always about more than money.

Case in point: I take on pro-bono clients every year. They are mostly men who are in prison and locked institutions. This is a group that I feel called to serve and it is a group I have been called on to serve as well.

Because they are pro-bono clients, I receive no money from my efforts on their behalf. But once the work has been done, the blessings have been said, and the talismans have been made I DO require them to make an exchange – usually with a not for profit and/or religious organization.

This can be an exchange of money, time, sweat equity – it is up to each individual. But the exchange must occur because the magic that goes deep down and all the way to the root of an issue?

That kind of magic demands that we all work from a place of sovereignty and self-mastery, no one person above the other but all hands on deck, working at different tasks and degrees, but nevertheless, working together.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Working Between the Worlds: How to Play the Long Game

Learning and Community

W

orking Between the Worlds Wednesdays is a new series at Canto where I will occasionally (always on a Wednesday) discuss various points that I think are essential for the professional sacred artist to keep in mind if they want to have a successful and sustainable business.

 

It is easy to get work if you have an online presence of any kind and have written a bit about what exactly it is that you do and why you do it, and have a button somewhere on your site that people can push and that, when pushed, will send money to a bank account that (hopefully) is attached to your name and social security number.

I know that this is unpopular to say but it really is true – getting work is not the trick.

Keeping the work and continuing to work year after year is the real challenge.

This is especially true in the realm of sacred arts and never more true than right now. Businesses open on every virtual corner only to be shuttered 3 months, 6 months, 12 months later.

In some cases this is completely fine because it turns out that the individuals’ who started their businesses did not really ever want to have a sacred arts business – they just thought that was what everyone was doing right now, or they wanted to experiment and decided at the end of the day it wasn’t for them, or they discovered that they wanted to practice only for themselves and their families. All good.

But for the person who genuinely does feel called to work professionally in the sacred arts and cannot seem to get the traction needed to make a real go of it? Not so good.

In the age of the internet it is easy to play the short game: easy to set up a sleek looking site on WordPress or SquareSpace, easy to start blogging, easy to create the social media accounts and take cute instagram photos and write some witty tweets. It takes time, thought, and planning, but none of it is really that hard to do.

The long game is not easy. It requires you to create a business that grows year after year, to develop relationships with your community that are sincere and earnest, to offer services and programs that are not cookie-cutter anything but truly artful, one of a kind, and compelling — just as you are. Those things also take time and energy but they require more…more attention, more excellence, and more love.

Wendell Berry, quoting famous author and teacher of authors Wallace Stegner, in his lecture “It All Turns on Affection” says it this way:

He (Stegner) thought rightly that we Americans, by inclination at least, have been divided into two kinds: “boomers” and “stickers.”

Boomers, he said, are “those who pillage and run,” who want “to make a killing and end up on Easy Street,” whereas stickers are “those who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.”2

“Boomer” names a kind of person and a kind of ambition that is the major theme, so far, of the history of the European races in our country. “Sticker” names a kind of person and also a desire that is, so far, a minor theme of that history, but a theme persistent enough to remain significant and to offer, still, a significant hope.

The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power.

…Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.

 

This is to say that for the long game of anything – your business, your relationship, your studies, the first motivation must be one of love; a deep, abiding love that sticks when the times are lean and sticks when the times are fat in equal measure.

So for your business and your work in the sacred arts specifically what, practically, does that love look like?

Neil Gaiman has some good advice on the topic that he gave to artists in 2012 and that absolutely applies to the sacred arts.

People keep working, in a freelance world, and more and more of today’s world is freelance, because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They’ll forgive the lateness of the work if it’s good, and if they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as the others if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

 

So, what is the secret of success for those who want to play the long game? Wendell and Neil gave it to us but let’s recap:

1.) Let your motivation be one of love and care, that way you can stick with it.

2.) Do good work.

3.) Be easy to get along with (another side effect of being motivated by love and affection).

4.) Be timely in your delivery of your good work.

Show up when you say you will. Do what you say you are going to do. Be kind to others and be on time. Care about your people and care about your work. That’s how you stick with it.

That’s how you play the long game.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.