Why Your Creative or Healing Business is Not Growing

WhyBizNotGrowing

Many of my mentoring clients are creative and/or healing professionals who feel spiritually *called* to their work—it feels like their life’s purpose. They are drawn to me because they want to find a way to do their heart work while also making a good living.

Creative and healing professionals often have their craft at the forefront of their business radar—none would have considered opening their doors if they didn’t feel they offered a valuable service. In fact, the number one reason creative and healing professionals do not officially start their businesses is a fear that they are ‘not good enough, yet’.

These professionals spend an enormous amount of time making sure they have something of value to offer, and constantly improving those offerings.

What often takes a back seat to the honing of their craft or skill, though, is the actual Sales and Marketing for their business. It’s true. S&M (Sales and Marketing) are often viewed as torturous. Not only do these skills not come easy to these professionals, there are often a lot of bad-feeling stories and judgment wrapped around the idea of sales and marketing, as well as other essential business success functions like hiring a support team. I’m talking about the kind of bad-feeling stories and judgment that keeps people stuck where they are, never able to move forward.

When Our Stories And Judgments Hold Us In Limbo
Amy (name changed for privacy) feels called to her work as a massage therapist who incorporates sound healing, and often refers to it as her ‘heart work’. Performing her work fulfills her deeply and she cannot see herself NOT doing this work.

However, Amy has been struggling for the last few years to get her business off the ground and actually growing. See if you can tell from Amy’s stories why her business is not growing…

• “I hate having to sell or promote my business.”
• “UGH…Marketing feels like busy work—so much to do, for no results.”
• “No one can afford my fees—and I cannot afford to drop my fees any farther.”
• “It’s pretty much impossible to make a living doing my heart work!”
• “I highly doubt people making money doing this work are ethical. I don’t know how they can possibly be making any money!”
• “I’m not willing to be a sell-out like others, in order to be successful in my work.”

In addition to focusing on what she hates about her business, Amy has already decided people cannot afford her services, and she negatively judges others who manage to make money in her field.

These stories and judgments are woven into nearly every conversation Amy has, and despite understanding the power of energy, these are also woven into Amy’s own mental self-talk. In fact, her stories are now so embedded into her being (she’s been telling them so long), the minute she sees her business cards or equipment, she physically feels the negative impact in her body.

Professional colleagues who encounter Amy find themselves feeling drained after speaking with her, so they make excuses not to interact. No one is mentioning her business to potential clients.

Family and friends, who say they want to support Amy, instead, find themselves commiserating with just how *difficult* it must be to start and run a successful business. This only reinforces what Amy already believes to be true.

Creative and healing professionals who have both an inner calling to do their life’s work while simultaneously holding bad-feeling stories and judgments that prevent them from growing their business or being financially successful are their own worst enemies.

That disconnect between their calling and their stories/judgments that undermines their calling creates energetic resistance, keeping business growth and success forever at bay in a state of suspension. Never growing. Never thriving. Always pain-filled. Frustrating. Exhausting.

Sound familiar?

It Matters How You Start and Nurture Your Business
When I began working with Amy, I helped her see how she had actually started her business with the doubt, bad-feeling stories and judgments in place. Then, when her business began to reflect those stories and judgments back to her, she labeled what she observed as the ‘reality’ of her failing business.

Once she had observed and labeled the failure, she was never able to imagine something better because ‘reality’ (aka ‘what is’) was always staring her in the face. She literally set the groundwork for her business to fail before she started and then she nurtured the failure, not the success.

Whenever Amy had tried to set her observed ‘reality’ aside for a moment, to imagine something better for her business, she had plenty of people around her happy to remind her of ‘reality’. Her husband and parents, attempting to be helpful, were particularly relentless in suggesting that Amy give up on her dream, and just get a reliable 9-to-5 job. (For the record, not following your heart work is soul-crushing, and a fast-track to depression and loss of self-esteem.)

Abraham-Hicks often talks about the importance of only focusing on ‘what is’ if we ENJOY ‘what is’. Otherwise, they tell us we have to be willing to look beyond it in order to grow:

As others insist that you look at “reality,” they are influencing you to be rooted to this spot like a tree. As long as you are seeing only what-is, you cannot grow beyond it. You must be allowed to see what you want to see if you will ever attract what you want to see. Attention to what-is only creates more of what-is.

(excerpt, The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham, pg 190)

Looking beyond ‘what-is’ is a skill well worth developing as a business owner. Successful business owners know this. Children practice this every day as they play using their imaginations. They suspend their disbelief that their playmate is not really a cowboy and they are not really a pirate. They toss a piece of fabric around their backs and call it a cape, and strike the Super Man pose with true conviction.

In that moment…they ARE what they imagine themselves to be. They FEEL the power of their imaginations, and they revel in the joy of it.

As adults, we can benefit greatly from brushing off our childhood skills of suspending disbelief and imagining something fun in our professional life.

Brain science has already proven that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between our real observations, our memories, or our imagination. The subconscious is moving forward, choosing opportunities and experiences based on how you feel. If you start a business with stories of doubt, fear, and judgment of those who are successful, the feeling is probably not very good—and neither will be the results.

Getting Help To Succeed
Amy hired me when she needed someone dedicated to seeing her succeed, willing to guide her through the maze to turn her business around from the ground up. First, she had to consciously choose to wipe the slate clean on her business, create her business anew from a better-feeling place while releasing her judgments. Then, she had to be willing to actively nurture her own success as one would lovingly tend a garden. As a result, Amy discovered a new-found interest in sales and marketing on her own terms, in a way that was fun and invigorating for her. The result is a thriving business with a lot less frustration, and a MUCH happier business owner!

What are you willing to do to grow your creative or healing business? Share your better-feeling stories in the comments below…

Image credit: Ion Chiosea

Crafting Your JOY List

So…you’ve decided what you truly desire. With your clear vision, you’ve set your intent, connected your mental image with the related heart-felt emotion, and can feel that your request has been granted.

Now what?

Well, now it’s up to the Universe to deliver it to you. The trouble is, often whether or not you have wanted something (person, thing, or experience) for a long time, or you really-reeeaaallly-REEEAAALLY NEEEED it as soon as possible, there is often such a strong emotional charge to receiving that we are actually unconsciously blocking the very thing we say we want.

That emotional charge is sometimes referred to as resistance. It comes in a variety of flavors, including but not limited to: neediness, anxiety, worry, frustration, irritation, and flat-out desperation. At worst, you begin immediately assuming that what you want is impossible, which triggers a feeling of heartache.

Buddhists suggest that you ‘let go of the attachment to the desire’. While I understand the concept they are advocating, I personally find it *very difficult* to suddenly stop wanting the very thing that I really-reeeaaallly-REEEAAALLY believe I want or need. To me, it’s like saying, you know that itch that’s driving you crazy~the one that is driving you WILD right now? Don’t scratch it. Whatever you do, DON’T scratch that itch!

Being OK with NOT getting something you really want, or worse, are in dire NEED of, is a huge mental shift. While I do believe it’s doable, I leave that particular technique to those more evolved souls who rival Christ Jesus and Buddha.

In my experience, at my level of consciousness, it’s a WHOLE lot easier and more efficient to just go do something FUN! Seriously. When you are doing something fun, you are usually more relaxed, breathing deeper, maybe even smiling or laughing, and you almost always are thinking about something else besides your worries and fears. As you relax, breathe, smile and laugh, you are also raising your vibration…all of which contribute to manifesting faster!

As I explained in my article, Getting Out of the How Business, I needed the help of my kitty cat to shift my energy into a better feeling place. It was worth that shift: Hours later, my desire showed up. We often need help to step into a better feeling place, and if you know this, you’ll feel better about seeking that help.

To facilitate this, I have created my own JOY LIST~ my ever-evolving go-to list of experiences that I know always lift me up when I need a little help in feeling better.

My list looks like this:
> Hang out with my kitty cats (any beloved pet will do nicely)

A friends puppy with the stuff toy I bought for him.

A friend’s puppy with the little stuffed hedgehog toy I bought for him.

> Spend time with children or loved ones (who are in a good mood and won’t discuss my creation process)

> Doing something with friends, like go for a drive or watch a movie (making a point not to discuss my creation process)

> Get out into nature (go for a walk or hike, picnic in a nearby park)

> Certain music (including *singing* certain songs like Zippity-Doo-Dah or I Can See Clearly Now)

> Exercise (moving my body’s energy)

> Other creative endeavors I enjoy: painting, drawing, baking, etc.

Don’t have a pet? Visit sites like Catster.com & Dogster.com for a quick pet-video fix.

These are in no particular order, although I find hanging out with my pets to be very effective mood shifter. It’s important to remember you are getting your mind off your desire, as you would if you *knew* what you wanted was already a done deal. I don’t have to do all of the things on the list at the same time. Each one of them does the job, depending on how I am feeling.

Once I’ve relaxed and feel better, and depending on the day or time, I often get inspired ideas to take action. Sometimes that means taking a nap (how’s THAT for inspired action!?!). It’s amazing how many times I have woken up from a nap to discover that what I wanted had manifested perfectly while I was napping!

Have you crafted a JOY LIST? If not, write one out and put it near your computer or bathroom mirror so you’ll know where to find it when you need it.

Already have a list? What’s on your JOY LIST? It’s your turn to share your stories and comments below

Allowing Success

You’ve told everyone about your intentions, and set about taking actions to make your success a reality.

Instead of experiencing the success you’ve envisioned, things seem to be falling apart.

No matter what you do, nothing is working. Your energy for following your dream is fading and fast!

What’s Really Going On?

allowing successWhether your idea of success is personal (weight loss, relationships, ending an addiction, etc.) or professional (getting a job, being promoted, starting or growing a business, etc.), one of the key factors in experiencing success is ‘allowing’ that success to happen.

“What are you talking about, Nancy? Of COURSE I am allowing my success! Why wouldn’t I allow my own success?

Indeed, a very good question to ask: Why wouldn’t you allow your own success? Being successful can mean a lot of things, all of which involve CHANGE.

For starters, success changes how others see you, and more importantly, how you see yourself! If your internal view of self, your self-image, does not support the direction that success will take you, you are likely sabotaging your opportunities.

If success is far greater than your community (or tribe) is used to seeing, you may fear being evicted from that circle of connection and may sabotage your opportunities. When I began making more money than the majority of my friends, it was clear that they felt uncomfortable not being able to afford the activities that I suggested. It challenged those in my circle who were not successful, and they made it clear that they did not like it. I no longer include those people in my circle.

Success as you envision it may change you faster, or more, than you are currently prepared to experience. You are expected to let go of the familiar and embrace the unknown. For some people, this is exciting and welcome. For others, this possibility is so scary that they subconsciously don’t want to see their efforts come to fruition. I say subconsciously because they *appear* to be taking appropriate actions, but never seem to *catch a break*. For the rest of the world, it appears as if they have just had a very hard life. They are, in fact, creating experiences (as we all do) that ensure their failure despite the numerous actions taken.

Self-sabotage can take many forms…

A. Focusing our attention toward inevitable failure versus expecting great results. We lower our vibration by running negative self-talk and images of previous failures so much that it becomes automatic and unconscious. This vibration naturally attracts results that match.

B. Setting goals that really aren’t ours—they belong to people we look up to—and we pursue them in the hopes of receiving approval from others. However, our hearts are not in the goal, the process, or the journey, so our actions fall flat.

C. Being unable or unwilling to take appropriate actions. By insisting on more research, more testing, more processing, we are forever preoccupied with the discovery process and never seem to have time to take the project further. Our plans stall, waiting for us to get clear about what we really want.

D. Failing to create a supportive environment for ourselves. We refuse to let go of behaviors that prevent us from succeeding. Rather than confront a dysfunctional habit, we try to incorporate it and never seem to gain traction. We hang around people who complain, blame, and find fault with others success. There’s never enough space, time, resources to accomplish our goals.

E. Undermining our relationships with the very people we rely upon to succeed: Vendors, Employees, Contractors, Colleagues, and Partners. By picking fights any point of contention will do with the people we rely upon to accomplish our goals, then we have a convenient excuse for not being able to move forward.

There are probably more…these are just the ones that come to mind.

Shortly after I started my business in 1994, I invited a fellow Chamber of Commerce member to join me on a large project. I felt sorry for her because of all the struggles she had in growing her business and I believed she was a good person. What happened next shocked me: She systematically began fighting and alienating everyone in the project, including me! Then, she’d ask for advice and promptly attack anyone who offered suggestions. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and my contacts in the project were contacting me separately to say they were really not impressed with her.

Now, when I look back, I can see: This gal had a very poor self-image, generated a lot of destructive self-talk, and subconsciously went about ensuring her failure. To add insult to injury, she constantly talked about her problems and beat herself up over these failures which created a vicious cycle. It would have been shocking IF she had been successful in business!

Whether your current self-image is not keeping pace with your desire for success, you are afraid of change, or your capacity for change is not where it needs to be, that doesn’t have to remain your fate. We all have the capacity to grow and improve.

To prepare yourself for the growth and improvement success will bring,  consider these tips:

1. Start with self-love. Louise Hay, founder of HayHouse Publishing and author of You Can Heal Your Life, discovered there is no problem or issue, personal or professional, that cannot be resolved with self-love. Love is the greatest force in the Universe, capable of healing, growing, and teaching all who come in contact. As you love yourself more, you send a message to the Universe, and you open up to compassion for self and others. If your efforts fail, you speak lovingly to yourself as you get back up and move forward. When others fail around you, the compassion flows forth from your heart.

What action can you take today to be more loving to yourself?

2. Before taking action, line up your energy. Center your energy with regular meditation. Even 5 minutes every morning or night can make a difference. Make sure your self-talk and attitudes reflect the success you are seeking. Replace old self-talk and tapes with new positive affirmations that are better aligned with the new version of yourself. Envision the outcome often enough that you begin to feel as if it has *already happened*. As you meditate, affirm, and vision your success into being, you will naturally be guided to inspired actions. This way, every action you take counts and is far more effective.

How can you begin lining up your energy?

3. Set yourself up for success. As you are making efforts to love yourself and line up your energy, take stock of how your current environment supports you or fails to support you in moving forward. Clear out clutter. Prepare space to work and to live. Make room physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Be conscious about letting go of what isn’t working, and be clear with yourself why it isn’t working. Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. If you are self-employed or a freelancer, you’ll find support in a Mastermind group. If you need help, ask for it. If you don’t know who to ask, ask the Universe to help (journal, pray, meditate). Answers, solutions, people, and opportunities will always be revealed to one who asks.

What can you do today to begin setting yourself up for success?

Have you prepared yourself for allowing success? How did you do it? Share your observations, comments, and suggestions so others may learn from you.

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