More clients. Bigger email list. More bottoms in chairs at your live events. I’m hearing “More” pretty darn often in the spiritual entrepreneur world …
So I’m writing this post to take a stand for depth and enoughness. And because I want to share a different business model, one I use to earn plenty of money without having to constantly chase More.
More as the Traditional Business Model
The sneaky thing about “More” as your business model is that it’s built on the foundation of Not Enough. Long before the world of websites and internet marketing, the Buddhists came up with the concept of “The Hungary Ghost.” And I think it helps shed light on where extreme More leads. Here’s what About.com says:
“Hungry ghosts are pitiable creatures with huge, empty stomachs. They have pinhole mouths, and their necks are so thin they cannot swallow, so they remain hungry … Hungry ghosts are also associated with addiction, obsession and compulsion.” About.com
These days, many spiritual entrepreneurs are being coached to focus on creating bigger email lists, more large group programs and more urgency in their marketing – with much less attention to the transformative aspect of their work. The thing is, this approach often does lead to short term growth. But it’s like using strong synthetic fertilizes and pesticides in the garden. You get large immediate gains while depleting soil depth and fertility over the long haul.
In other words, because people are getting tired of urgency, More isn’t working like it used to. So some coaches suggest even more intensity. Which is leading to more fatigue and cynicism. And I think this cycle is only going to increase.
A Depth Based Business Model
Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve been exploring a different business model. I call it the Wisdom Based Consultancy. And it’s working very well in my business.
What the heck is a Wisdom Based Consultancy? Think of the compassionate family doctor of days past. Patients didn’t take a one day workshop with her and expect to be healthy for the rest of their lives. Instead, they had a longstanding relationship with her. This included regular checkups with more frequent appointments at poignant moments like illness or a pregnancy.
In the of era managed care and pressure from insurance companies, the independant family doctor is becoming rare. The economics just don’t make sense. In medicine, like many fields, the general trend is towards more, bigger, faster.
And then there’s Isis Medicine. Located in Santa Fe (where I live), this small family practice is thriving. In fact, it’s hard to get in as a new patient despite the fact that they charge more. They are a good example of a Wisdom Based Consultancy. For example, here’s how they describe themselves on their website:
Like the goddess Isis, here at Isis Medicine, we aim to provide professional, quality care to individuals and families grounded in the principles of nature and nurturing but informed by a plethora of disciplines ranging from mainstream medicine, to alternative medicine and everything in-between.
Being this kind of business means depth of connection and a strong financial foundation are built into the model. To me, that’s a really, really juicy combination. 🙂
3 Foundations of a Wisdom Based Consultancy
1) Willingness to listen and engage deeply. The Isis website says, “our primary objective as your healthcare provider is to involve you in a decision-making processes that will lead you on the path to maintain good health.” To do this takes a bit of patience. Taking the time to listen and being willing to partner with your clients greatly increases the value of your work. Many people will pay extra for this. Those are the type of clients this model is a good match for.
2) Ability to find action steps that fit the clients worldview. You don’t have to believe in acupuncture to be a patient at Isis Medicine. But it if has been helpful to you (or you think it might be), they will work it into your treatment plan. Same with yoga, meditation, and herbs. They don’t have a cookie cutter 5 step plan that everyone follows. It’s customized to the individual and the situation at hand.
3) Honesty and maturity about how long change takes. There are no miracle diet pills dispensed at Isis Medicine. Instead, they educate you about the change process. How long it takes. What factors increase success as well as what tends to contribute to people getting off track. I recall the day that I really “got” that the average client coming into my business had goals that would likely take them 18-24 months to reach. And I began to get honest about that. That changed everything!
So there it is, the Wisdom Based Consultancy model. Which parts of it are resonating for you? How is it similar or different than the business model you use? What questions do you have? I’d love to hear about it in the form of a comment below!