It’s common to associate “marketing” with intrusive advertisements or manipulative engagements. This unpleasant association makes “marketing with soul” sound like an oxymoron. In past newsletters, I’ve talked about how social innovators use social media to advance their work in the world. This is a different kind of marketing that resonates rather than dissonates with our soul’s work. This kind of marketing creates the “opportunities for grace” where our calling meets the world’s needs.
For years I lived with the mindset that following my calling was good, while promoting myself was bad. While not identical with self-promotion, promoting my work also fell into the “bad” category. After all, if I followed my calling faithfully, wouldn’t people flock to my workshops, retreats, and programs? If I offered quality work, I shouldn’t have to promote myself, right?
Wrong. Especially after the financial crisis of 2008, when layoffs and cuts in training budgets occurred, I found that this mindset wasn’t serving me well. People needed to choose carefully where to invest the little money they had. As one who helps leaders and organizations live out their deepest values, I had to demonstrate to potential clients how their working with me would be worthwhile.
A small discernment group from my faith community met with me to help me find my way. The dialogue went something like this:
Group member: “Do you have a passion for the transforming work you do with leaders and organizations?”
Group member: “You teach, write, and speak about this, right?”
Group member: “How will people know about your books and programs if you don’t tell them? Aren’t you the best one to convey the message?”
Me: “Hmmm. . .”
Many people had found out about my work by word of mouth. At the same time, I realized a larger audience could be served by my work. And if I wanted to have a bigger impact on the leaders and organizations of the world, I needed to let them know what I had to offer. I didn’t feel comfortable with the “hard sell” approach. Yet I knew that sitting back and doing nothing wouldn’t serve me or my potential clients. I taught my clients how to lead from within. Might it be possible for me to market from within?
After stumbling along for a few years, I encountered Ryan Eliason and his “soulful” marketing. Ryan specializes in helping social entrepreneurs, those who feel called to make a difference in the world, and who want to make a living while they’re at it. I participated in Ryan’s free training, then in his longer program. And I learned how to market from within. Now I feel comfortable with marketing. It seems seamless with the rest of my work. And I easily find clients who are a good fit for my work.
While I had to translate some of Ryan’s language to fit me and my work, I found his principles sound. For anyone out there like me, I recommend Ryan’s work. Ryan’s next free training starts February 11, and he is offering a free copy of his new book, The 10 Best Ways to Get Paid for Changing the World to those who register for it.
Marketing from within is possible. When all aspects of our work are in alignment with our deepest values, work flows easily. Whether, like me, you need to learn more about marketing from within or whether you already practice it, marketing from within is an integral part of any soulful enterprise.