How I do my business + why

JL_CreativeJoy

I was so chuffed Racheal from The Yogipreneur asked me to join the ❤ Your Community Blog Tour. I don’t write enough about my business, and that kind of knowledge is so useful, both for those of you signing up for TeachNow and for anyone who wants to serve by sharing their ideas and expertise.

Yesterday Katie Den Ouden shared smart advice and tomorrow you’ll enjoy the always wonderful Anna Guest-Jelly’s post.

AND NOW FOR my philosophy of community building with a tad of marketing advice mixed in::

1: Serve the people you want to serve

Desperation does not build a business or a social change movement. Respectful give and take does. Love your people unabashedly, and love yourself and your desires, too.

Forget serving people whom you think you should serve or the people you assume will let you serve them. Please serve the people you love and admire.

Give generous tastes of what you offer – I always lead a free class for whatever course I’m teaching – but then ask for the customer or the donation or whatever is you want. Claim your desires.

2: Create strong boundaries

It’s not about giving until you are a dry husk, it’s about savoring & serving the community building process: give and take. Feed and be fed.

I always cringed with I read interviews with all those wunderkind internet figures who inevitably say, “I answer all my emails personally.” I don’t. I treasure them, but if I answered them all, I would never create anything new. Think boundaries that work for you, not rules.

3: Be patient

I know you hate me for saying that. But honestly there is no secret to creating a huge following. Ask yourself, “Since failure is fantastic (because I get to learn) and I trust myself to handle what life brings, what do I want to do first to build my community?”

Notice the word “first” in that last question. Building a community takes time and consistency. Scale up slowly. So many movements and businesses fail because the founder never slows down before she speeds up.

4: If you can serve one person, rejoice

Yes, you want and maybe need bigger numbers to make your rent, but if you judge yourself or your community for being small, you will overlook the perfect places to grow. Look at the people right in front of you with care and deep attention rather than over their heads hoping to spot the bigger community you crave. Serve here now.

5: Your favorite community building platform might not be your most successful

I adore teaching, and most of all I adore teaching live at my retreats, but they are too labor intensive to fill and teach more than a few times a year. So I teach online more often. And it works better for the majority of my community because they can’t always travel. So to serve and earn, I do both. It’s not about perfection, it’s about sustainable service.

6: Your community’s favorite platform might not be yours

I’ve created a number of large, profitable online communities that I eventually closed because I wanted to explore new projects. But I alienated people in closing these communities. Be as graceful and honest as you can when a new mission calls.

7: I’m an introvert

I get drained if I spend too much time on social media and need to unplug, sometimes for days and even weeks at a time. I do schedule content when I disappear, but I also embrace my communication style and wear it proudly. My bigger mission is to have a whole life and to model that for my community.

8: I’m still learning to write

Writing is my first love and I struggle mightily to write well. I take writing classes, I read critically, I teach writing, all in service to becoming a better writer. Even though I published my first book 22 years ago. I am a very slow learner, but I want this, so I keep working at it.

9: Marketing your offers is personal growth on steroids

When I want to yell, “Just take my class, just coach with me, it will be incredible,” or “Just support 350.org, they are doing great work,” I remind myself that’s not true. I am not the right fit for everybody and neither are you. My causes might not be your causes. Community building and marketing are as much about owning your gifts and your shadow as it is about figuring out whom you want to serve and how to effectively communicate with them.

Marketing to your community is a practice in owning who you are and what you know, and in owning who you aren’t and what you don’t know. When you stop trying to be somebody you aren’t and then you stop being defensive for not being that person, marketing gets a whole lot more fun. Sometimes.

Marketing is also great training in not taking anything personally.

I look forward to answering your questions in the comments and I sure hope you’ll join the TeachNow community for a free class tomorrow on Dissolving the Obstacles to Teaching and Increasing Your Triple Bottom Line of Teaching. If you’ve always wanted to teach or you struggle with teaching in ways that are profitable and sustainable, join me.

Thanks, Racheal, for asking me to reflect on this!

Love,

Jen

FBBlogTour

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Laura Fisher - April 2, 2014

Thank you Jennifer for this wonderful second day of the blog tour!

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Laura Fisher - April 2, 2014

I love Point 4! As a local yoga teacher, I informally mentor new teachers in the area and so often people are worried about what to do if just one student turns up to class and often I hear about teachers who cancel class if only one person shows and my advice is just the same, honor that one person and teach them with all your heart and soul – you never know next week they might bring a friend. Point 7 I thank you for – from one introvert to another!

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    jenlouden - April 2, 2014

    thanks Laura, learned the hard way when only one or two people would show up for a book signing!

    Reply
Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef - April 2, 2014

Deeper words of wisdom were never shared. Thanks for being you, Jen!

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    jenlouden - April 2, 2014

    ha! but thanks for being here with me, you are always a bright light in my world.

    Reply
Donna Davies Brackett - April 2, 2014

A delight for my soul as usual Jen. I love how real you are in your writing – and how you come from a place of service and learning. Love it. You inspire me. Thank you for that gift.
I’m excited for tomorrow’s class and all of TeachNow. 🙂

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    jenlouden - April 2, 2014

    goodie!!

    Reply
Guest - April 2, 2014

Oh Jen, I am so thrilled I have the privilege to be a blog tour sister with you and back-to-back days at that! 🙂 I grinned huge at the insight about marketing is a practice in owning who you are and what you know AND in owning who you aren’t and what you don’t know. This used to be a huge struggle for me, but the saying “you can be the juiciest, ripest, most delicious peach in the world, and there are still going to be people who hate peaches” shifted my mindset in an instant and gave me the wisdom to just do me, authentically and owning it. Thank you for reinforcing it yet again and for these juicy nuggets of wisdom! xo

Marketing
to your community is a practice in owning who you are and what you
know, and in owning who you aren’t and what you don’t know. When you
stop trying to be somebody you aren’t and then you stop being defensive
for not being that person, marketing gets a whole lot more fun.
Sometimes. – See more at:
http://jenniferlouden.com/business/#sthash.TCVwN5s0.dpuf
Marketing
to your community is a practice in owning who you are and what you
know, and in owning who you aren’t and what you don’t know. When you
stop trying to be somebody you aren’t and then you stop being defensive
for not being that person, marketing gets a whole lot more fun.
Sometimes. – See more at:
http://jenniferlouden.com/business/#sthash.TCVwN5s0.dpuf
Marketing
to your community is a practice in owning who you are and what you
know, and in owning who you aren’t and what you don’t know. When you
stop trying to be somebody you aren’t and then you stop being defensive
for not being that person, marketing gets a whole lot more fun.
Sometimes. – See more at:
http://jenniferlouden.com/business/#sthash.TCVwN5s0.dpuf

Reply
Katie Den Ouden - April 2, 2014

Oh Jen, I am so thrilled I have the privilege to be a blog tour sister with you and back-to-back days at that! 🙂 I grinned huge at the insight about marketing is a practice in owning who you are and what you know AND in owning who you aren’t and what you don’t know. This used to be a huge struggle for me, but the saying “you can be the juiciest, ripest, most delicious peach in the world, and there are still going to be people who hate peaches” shifted my mindset in an instant and gave me the wisdom to just do me, authentically and owning it. Thank you for reinforcing it yet again and for these juicy nuggets of wisdom! xo

Reply
    jenlouden - April 2, 2014

    love the peach comment and thrilled to meet you!!

    Reply
littlewing - April 2, 2014

When you stop trying to be somebody you aren’t and then you stop being defensive for not being that person, marketing gets a whole lot more fun.

You could easily swap out “marketing” and replace it with life.

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    jenlouden - April 2, 2014

    yes ma’am!

    Reply
Cortnee Loren Brown - April 3, 2014

Thank you for this list, Jen! I especially connected to and needed to hear number four right now. I think I rejoice for a second when that one person steps into my community or service, but then almost immediately my mind is searching for the next. I now commit to staying in that state of excitement and celebration always – so much more attractive!

Once again Miss Rachel introduces me to someone amazing 🙂

Reply
    jenlouden - April 4, 2014

    thanks for visiting Cortnee!

    Reply
Flecks #19 | Live Wonderstruck - April 4, 2014

[…] How I Do My Business + Why by Jennifer Louden. She talks about boundaries, serving, platforms, and more. Her tips are short and honest. I love that. […]

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Musings & Meanderings: Gearing Up & Letting Go - April 4, 2014

[…] rest of Jen Louden’s post on “How I Do My Business and Why” is just as rich as the paragraph I quoted […]

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Intuitive Leadership Coach - April 4, 2014

I really enjoyed your post for the blog tour Jennifer. I especially hear ya’ when you say “Marketing your offers is personal growth on steroids”. A fantastic reminder to stay true to who I am AND who I truly want to serve.

Namaste,

Caroline
XO

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    jenlouden - April 4, 2014

    thanks Caroline!!

    Reply
Lisa J. Paul-Patzke - April 8, 2014

Thank you for helping me feel that I am doing a wonderful job. I have been teaching Gentle Yoga for 2 years. I average 3 to 8 people in my class and do wish it would grow. The but is that the people I serve have had transformations through our practice. My belief is that if you build it they will come. Number 4 keeps me coming back to the mat and teach. Namaste, Lisa

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