Podcast (Ep. 3, Part II of II): Valuing professional work that springs from natural gifts

Transcript of The Mindstream Podcast, Episode 3 (Part II of II), available on Apple and Google stores, Spotify, and more.

Welcome to The Mindstream Podcast, exploring the facts and the stories around mind-body-spirit pathways to greater health and happiness. I'm your host, Liza Horan.

Welcome back to Episode 3. This is Part II. (Part I is here.) In Episode 3 of The Mindstream Podcast, we're discussing the money mindset of professionals who draw on their natural gifts as a vocation, like healers and creatives -- those for whom the value of the goods and services they generate are initiated by tapping into their own natural, or some might say supernatural, abilities and expressing them for the benefit of others.

To gain some insight on the money mindset of the participants Mindstream’s event for National Freelancers Day, we surveyed the panelists and the attendees of the event. Seventy-five per cent (75%) of the participants are self-employed for all of their work and the rest for some of their work.

The big headlines of this research show that the self-employed professionals who are driven from within feel fully on mission; they feel called to their work. They feel confident about what they do and how they're doing it. However, when it comes to the commercialisation of their work there are mixed feelings.

Let me take you through some of their answers:

  • As much as the participants felt that their work was needed, unique and cherished by others. They also reported that it was misunderstood and undervalued;
  • There was an exact split down the middle when asked if you feel uncomfortable about valuing your work in monetary terms;
  • Most people at least sometimes feel uncomfortable talking money with potential or existing customers; and
  • Most people say, I feel I have to explain the value of my work to clients to justify the pricing.

This is very interesting because this is two-fold: This is partly about self-belief and making educated decisions about how you position yourself, and the products and services you provide, but it's also a matter of the market understanding what you do and valuing that.

Professionals are trying to find their way and, it seems, the market is trying to find its way, as well.

I’m going to share with you some of the questions and thoughts that the participants in this survey shared.

“Clients often don't realise that the price includes the route I've taken to gaining the skills I used to create their work -- not just the time I take doing it.”

“The idea that gifts from God should not be charged for, as they are gifts not earned.”

“Sometimes I feel asking for money for my natural gifts uncomfortable. I sometimes worry about being judged as charging unfairly.”

“How to convince potential clients to pay for something that is new or something that is not familiar and obviously valuable.”

You can find the full results of this survey by going to MindstreamConnect.com/podcast.

Host Liza Horan with panelists Adam Brewster, Rose Strang, Clairey Colston, and David Thomas Wright.
Host Liza Horan with panelists Adam Brewster, Rose Strang, Clairey Colston, and David Thomas Wright.

[3:47] Now let's join the conversation again with my fabulous panelists Clairey Colston, Adam Brewster and David Thomas Wright. [View video interview with Rose Strang.] Let's hear about their money mindsets.

Panelist Clairey Colston: At the moment where I am is literally in the space of taking risks and being bold and being courageous and asking, literally. For the past couple of years now I've been working with Edinburgh city council, the government, police; and I've been involved in projects with them. And I’ve been being paid for the work that I do but not to a considerable amount to be able to sustain me fully in my life and in my choices. So now it's really the mindset that I've been working around this and the belief and the confidence in myself and in my work has now brought me to the stage where I'm now actively pursuing work in commercial businesses, rather than individuals or small groups; charities, schools, for example, who don’t necessarily pay a lot of money. So now it's really stepping into that space of standing up for myself and standing up for my work and knowing the value and seeking out those who can pay for that. So that is literally where I am in this space just now. And it’s really exciting, but it does call on a lot of bravery and a lot of courage.

Even just earlier today when I was sitting waiting for (this event) to begin, I was at the back having snacks and there was a group -- a table of gentlemen -- and they were having their beers and I heard them talking. The gentleman said, “This business of ours, you know, we’re the greatest we do the greatest work! Tell me anyone that compares to us!” And nobody was saying anything. “Exactly! Nobody compares to us. We’re the best in the business and it's just you guys…you just don't believe in yourselves! You don't have the confidence to go for this.”

As I was overhearing it, I was thinking, Is this an opportunity for me to just step over and say, “Hi, I overheard that you were having difficulties with your self-belief and confidence.”

[Laughter]

So, I thought, Should I go for it? And then I thought, Well, the thought is there, so go!

So, literally, I stood up and went right over to the table and said, “Hi, my name is Clairey, and I couldn't help but overhear your conversation.” The guy started laughing and he was actually, “He's always saying this, but we're not actually a business: We’re the physics lecturers at the University department!”

[Laughter]

So, I was, like, “Well, my name’s Clairey anyway and this is just what I do. And so I ended up just getting into a conversation with them, but after I had left and went and sat back down, that was almost like a level-up in myself of seeing an opportunity, knowing that I can provide value there, and having the courage to actually step out and say, “Hey, I can help you with this. I overheard you had a problem.” And so I feel like that is the space that I’m moving into and I feel like that is definitely something that helps.

[6:50] Host Liza Horan: That's so great! Sometimes it's a “fake it ‘til you make it” (strategy). I mean, there's a certain value in naivete. And when you were that 16-year-old, David: “I don't know enough to be worried about it.” I think if we could somehow tap into that and hold onto that, sometimes it will just give us the ability to be bold. So, David, over to you.

Panelist David Thomas Wright: This made me think about boundaries, as well, because money is a boundary and money is a necessary boundary when you are doing something which is almost like an emotional exchange. Coaching, for example, or giving people readings. So we can think about different amounts in different values, and what those mean and what those mean to individuals, but the act of charging at all happened because I was a teenager and I was giving readings in my parents’ spare room. And it started off as friends and then it was friends of friends, then friends of friends of friends. So, I was, like, there has to be a boundary here somewhere. Money was that boundary so that people would respect my time and my space. Because people responded so well to the work, I could have had people ringing up all the time asking me for guidance or asking me for advice. And, it's like, Where do you draw the line?

So the line is money; or, money is a boundary.

I've learned a huge amount about boundaries in the work that I do because I feel that although I’ve studied conventional coaching methods, et cetera, that I’ve cultivated my own style of working. And it was a bit like Goldilocks and the kind of three bowls of porridge: That's not quite rightAnd that’s not quite right…

And then the invitation is to communicate to people in a way which is going to galvanise them. So, as you were saying, to make sales. But also, although I respect the budgets -- especially repeat clients, loyal clients -- the issue wasn't so much that they're asking me to do things for cheaper, but they were kind of saying, “Can you do like something bite-size?” And that sometimes happens. So, again, in what we would call a “reading,” some people do 15-minute readings or they do 30-minute readings, and I don't even like the word “reading” because it sounds really passive and it doesn't sound interactive.

[9:11] Someone said to me, “Well, you could make more money if you just kind of did 30 minutes and charged more for the 30-minute readings and then you got more people coming in.”

Yeah, but I don’t want to do that because it's shrinking the value of it more and more and more. And what I found is, when there was less time with the client, that they were going back into wanting me to be kind of like a gypsy fortune-teller rather than, Can we dig a bit deeper, please?

And that's all I've ever wanted to do: Can we really get to the nitty-gritty of what is really going on, which isn't about needing someone to tell you what your future is. It's not about thinking about how you're perceived by the people, but it's about How do you see your own life mapping out and what is your vision?

So having more time and needing more time with people inevitably needs a greater monetary exchange, and that's what I just learned to accept. There are many different ways, shapes and forms -- especially in the coaching space online. And some of the messaging I've heard online, for example, is that “bigger is better.” As in you're placing more value on your work the more you charge, which I don’t think is true at all.

Because if you go outside of what you think is your comfort zone, then you spend all of your time in some way over-serving and trying to justify that higher price point. And I've seen people just completely, tirelessly just churning out content, content, content, content, and what I sense in it is they're not comfortable with the price point and they think they have to justify that by giving free this, free that.

So, again, it is kind of subjective, but I think that on the conversation about money (where) there is a healthy boundary, it just makes it clearer because that I do I don't do it for friends anymore. They don't ask me. I've had family members and friends want me to do that work and I've not said, “Give me the money then” or anything like that, but that they've offered that because in that time I am not their brother, I'm not their friend; I'm doing something else. And money can create that boundary.

And I’ve had people say to me, “I can't believe you charged your friends!” But I've got friends who produce their own soap, who produce their own arts and crafts, and I buy from those friends -- not just because they're my mates and I want them to do well, but I actually really like what they produce as a piece of art, and I would not dream of saying, “You just give me a free sample of your soap for free, or a free this or a free that.”

I think sometimes, if it's an emotionally driven form of work, then people think it's kind of trivial or think it's a hobby or they think it's something like friendship. And it's not. So the money boundary helps you to differentiate that a little bit.

[11:57] I've changed my mind about what I feel I need to be doing as a solitary business person who wants to build online. We all know that creative energy requires a lot from you, and I think that is the same … a lot of people don't understand this because it's kind of like, Well, hard work is when you go down the pits -- I don't know where that came from … I was channeling that …

[Laughter]

… as opposed to: Actually, it's exhausting to coach people or – let’s not call it “exhausting.” It's “expending energy” in coaching people or creating a beautiful painting or something like that, and you expending a lot of energy. And then as solo business people [we] are expected to blast all this energy into the marketing of that. And that's why we burn out -- because it's just not sustainable. And I think that a lot of messaging -- I don't know how you guys feel – but a lot of messaging I've seen is that it is possible and reasonably sustainable to be doing creatively charged work within itself and then having the kind of [marketing] activity that Virgin Media would have, but you're just sat there on your own in the living room. So I've changed my own sort of view of that.

Panelist Clairey Colston: Just like to share in terms of what you're saying here. One thing that helped me, like you’re saying, was really taking money away from being an emotional issue -- making about you -- and putting it on the service, putting it on your vision -- what you're actually creating, so that the money is not about you, it's about what's being created and it serves what's being created.

Like you were talking about friends that makes soaps or make art and you’d paid them for that. It costs money to make. The soaps, the art cost money to make. There are materials involved. There's time involved. There’s resources involved. All of that costs money, and when you think about the pricing for things, is to cover the resources of creation. I think when people make money about themselves they see it as them as the end goal, when really it’s the service that's the end goal.

So if you make the money about serving -- I need the money to be able to use these resources to create this thing in order to serve -- the money is no longer a personal issue and it's now, This is how much it costs to be able to create that. Then that's just the way that it is, rather than making it about me or about my value or whether I'm good enough. That's actually what's being created.

Taking it away from being an emotional issue and back to a service-based issue. It brings you back to recognising that you are a creator: You are creating something and that costs time, energy and resources and that they are your most valuable asset.

[14:45] Host Liza Horan: I'm going to add another one to that list and that is experience. “Well, this is what I charged when I was 25, but this is what I charge when I'm 40.” And, Rose, when I interviewed you said, “Yes, I went to school and, yes, I started painting at this age, but as I continue doing it I inevitably become a better painter.”

And this is true for everything that we all do: We live and learn and we're getting better.

Attendee: Can I tell you a story? Most of you have probably heard this story, but it's the story of the guy who came to fix the boiler: Great big old house and a great big old boiler, all rusty and terrible. And it's broken down. And the fixer comes in, walks around the boiler once. Looks at it, takes a wee hammer -- just a wee one – and taps the boiler. And it comes to life and starts working perfectly again.

And then he gives the owner of the house the invoice and it says £1,000. The guy’s shocked, and he wants a better invoice that’s itemised. “Where the hell did this thousand pounds come from?”

[15:48] And then he gets an itemised invoice in the mail and it says:
£10    Tapping the boiler with a hammer
£990  Knowing where the tap the boiler with the hammer

So I think this is what you're talking about!

[Laughter, applause]

Host Liza Horan: We brought up a couple of different themes here. The one of the boundaries is so important. The one about how you have to recognise the value of your product and service. I like the objectification like that you highlighted here, and also it’s, “What is the win for the recipient? How is it going to affect them?”

About articulating the value, you reminded me of testimonials. When you have customers’ reviews or something like this they speak volumes. Word-of-mouth is the No. 1 referral. It's always been, it still is. So capturing those testimonials and reviews is so important.

And you mentioned marketing earlier. Marketing is one part of strategic communications. It’s about telling your story. And today the mass medium is the Internet, and if you can't be found by Google, you do not exist; you have no mindshare. So that's why creating content [like] doing blogs are going to increase your SEO. There's a fine balance between overexposure and getting found and spending time creating this content -- which is not flipping a switch; it does draw on your own natural resources.

[17:23] I'd like to turn it over to all of you with any pointed questions or scenarios.

Attendee: Thank you to the panel for a very interesting and informative discussion tonight. I think I've come at the right time in my journey, so it's been really useful. This might be a question for Claire, just based more on what David said earlier, but you may well have insight.

I wondered if you had any experience of early on, when you were starting to create what you wanted to get out into the schools, for example, of basically giving some of your content away for free or piloting for free or a much reduced rate. Was that something you did? How did you approach it? How did you approach then moving from that stage to charging for the whole entirely?

Panelist Clairey Colston: Thank you so much. One of the first things I did was volunteer. I actually volunteered in the schools. I had been sharing with a lot of my friends about what I had discovered, how I wanted to use this, how I really wanted to help children and parents, and so there was a lot of my friends who knew what my intention was.

And it was through one of these friends, Lily, who had messaged me and she said, “Claire, I see this thing on the council (website), they’re looking for people who are interested in doing this thing.” It was everything that I've been talking to her about, and I jumped on it, literally, and had said to them, “Use me. This is this is something that I want to do. I haven't had any experience in it before, but I have a deep passion for it.”

And so I went along, had an interview with them and they were like, “Oh, my gosh, you’re exactly what we've been looking for!” And I was like, “Perfect! Just use me.”

So I volunteered with them for about a year. When I was with them I was also talking about all the ideas, the books, the things that I was creating and that's where the opportunity came available when the one of the ladies whom I was working with had read the transcript for my book and had said, “We've been looking for a book like this. We can’t actually find one in the marketplace. Can you create that for us?”

And that was another opportunity for me to be, like, Yes! And then I was like, How do I create a book?

I'm so from that I obviously learned how to publish books and then set up the company and everything just evolved from that. But talking about what I'm doing, what I'm planning on doing, what I want to do to as many people as possible.

And having them sort of do the work so that as soon as they’ve seen an opportunity, I came to mind and they brought that to me. And that's how I find most of the work that goes around, like you said, word-of-mouth; people talk.

And they remember it, as well. So very early on, yes, I had done volunteer work to begin with, but that went on to being paid to be a mentor for other volunteers that came on board, as well, and then more book sales had spread beyond just Edinburgh -- it was across the UK [with] distribution companies picking up the book, as well. I feel like there was a lot of value in that because I was spreading the message I was talking about, what I was doing.

Panelist Adam Brewster: Just to add a little thing to that I did, for quite a while I think, called “Free Fridays,” where I was doing animations for charities or good causes. And that allowed me to obviously give something back, but also to develop my business in terms that I was doing something that was interesting. We got people to submit ideas of projects. I had an element of choice in what I was going to do, what I thought was worth doing in terms of their ideas as well as their needs. And that was a good thing that just got a lot of good vibes and a lot of goodwill from people, so that sort of led onto other things.

Panelist David Thomas Wright: I feel that there can be value to volunteering or giving things for free, so I know I talked about the value of pricing, but that sometimes it is about the experience and gaining experience within yourself which -- if you’re training or you're branching out – isn’t in an academic or classroom environment, but is kind of out there in the real world. Also, because I'm a big fan of manifesting -- Law of Attraction, that's a passion of mine, that subject -- that I sometimes think by doing it and not preparing for it; that you're more in it and you're acting “as if” [it’s real]. And that is more magnetic than if you were singing into your hairbrush in front of the mirror.

So the way that I think about it is singing into the hairbrush – or the equivalent of whatever you do in your business -- even if you were then singing to like two people in the village hall, that’s more resonant, I think, if you're into Law of Attraction and manifesting, it's more “attract-ive.”

But also you are getting the satisfaction of being in that moment. You're not preparing for it. You're not training for it. You’re doing it to hone your craft. And if you do have that time and that energy, it isn't wrong to volunteer or to not ask for an exchange of money.

I think it's important to consider exchange of energy, which doesn’t always have to be money. And, you know, that could be a skills exchange, which I have done many, many times. They are speaking events. There's one that I did last year. Again, people said, “You should have charged for this,” because it was about instilling self-belief in people who identify as psychic and worked as psychics.” But for me, although it was a free event, I got so much from it in terms of practicing because I think it's ever-evolving: Practicing speaking about your passion.

So whether you call it your elevator pitch or how you describe your work or a signature talk that you do. There is value in doing that. People come to the networking event here and they will speak for free to the crowd because it might have some opportunity for them and attract paid work, but they’re also getting the opportunity to further define their message. My kind of subtitle, my strapline, my 5-minute elevator pitch – that’s always changing. And I want it to be ever-changing because how I define my work and who I feel I'm speaking to is an evolution.

So the practice of that -- it's wonderful because it makes you feel like you're in it not just preparing or thinking about it. Or takes it from being over there into reality, even if that’s not money in the bank as yet.

Host Liza Horan: Okay, great. Who’s next? Somebody have a question, scenario, situation you like to bring forth?

[23:48] Attendee: If you work alone, how important are the relationships that you build outside the work that you do?

Panelist Clairey Colston: I've been looking forward to actually talking about this because this is one thing that I feel is very valuable -- especially when it comes to being a freelancer and being a creative -- is collaborating with other people. Like Liza was saying earlier on, when you are freelance you tend to wear all of the hats, you tend to do all of the stuff, and you can exhaust yourself and burn out from doing everything. So when you are on a team, when you have people who have multiple skills, and you can come together and collaborate with one another, you can create things, you can make things happen that you wouldn't have been able to do on your own.

And so the relationships are extremely important when it comes to building the business, building your success, growing in yourself, and developing, and everything you've come to give and come to create. It's the one thing that I would say -- if there was anything I was to leave this evening -- it would be to build and collaborate with people, and share your skills with one another, and help each other out.

I think sometimes when it comes to like creativity and corporate, there's this idea in business of competing against one another that I think is just completely wrong -- is completely not the way to go about building business and creating. And I really think that comes from collaborating with one another, and trusting one another and helping one another to succeed, so I feel relationships are paramount. They’re so important for success and I would deeply encourage that.

Panelist Adam Brewster: Once you lock yourself in that cupboard to start with, you're just there by yourself and you’re operating in this vacuum and you need to interact with other people just for your own mental benefit. If all you are is yourself, you’re going to start doing weird stuff.

[Laughter]

And that happened to me. I suddenly realised I was doing all this “weird stuff.” And the collaboration thing, as Claire mentioned, is exactly what you need to be doing, as well, but also just to get out and realise that you're still in the world because locking yourself in the cupboard isn't healthy.

Panelist David Thomas Wright: Just to add to that, I was talking to Katie (attendee) about this actually in the break, that marketing locally or networking locally -- whatever you want to call that -- is so important because although the Internet gives us so much freedom and a lot of democracy now, to bring forward different ideas and different forms of business and different forms of service, to actually just see the whites of peoples’ eyes is just so nice, especially if you are a solo worker. I know a lot of people are choosing to work in hot-desking and collaborative spaces now for that reason. And before when I was talking about very complex online marketing strategies and how it’s kind of like being on a treadmill and not feeling like you’re getting anywhere is not just about whether it's generating the money but also feeling like you're gaining progress: Are you reaching out? Is someone reaching back to you?

I totally agree with Clairey that there is no such thing as competition. I don't believe in it. I believe there is room for everyone. I've had people say to me, “You shouldn't collaborate with that person because that target audience is very similar to yours,” and “What's the benefit?”

It’s a load of rubbish. If you think about the main coffee house chains in this country they all essentially do the same sort of thing, but they all have their own distinct audience and they all survive. And all the fast food restaurants are all essentially the same. When I went to America for the first time last year, so many fast food restaurants -- all coexisting -- who do very, very, very similar things, and what’s the real difference?

And it is the emotional experience -- you can call it “brand” -- but the emotional experience that you get when you go in there.

This kind of work and freelancing and everything we talk about today is about celebrating uniqueness: There is only one of you. And it is literally impossible for you to have competition because no one else is you.

I’ve had friends who have been crippled by this -- by comparison -- and looking at what other people are doing online and stuff like that. And, actually, if you can just attune to it -- this is what intuition is about: attuning to your own values and what you have to give to the world -- then concepts of competition will just disappear because this is an abundant world and there is more than enough for everybody.

Don't keep saying that the pot is limited or the pie is limited and someone else is getting a bigger slice than you because that won’t help your money mindset at all.

[28:27] Host Liza Horan: So well said, David, thank you! You highlighted the difference between coming from a place of fear or lack, versus coming from a place of ‘there's enough for everybody’ and love. And what we've just heard is about listening to your own voice, living your own truth, giving energy to that voice. Objectifying the work you do -- the service you do -- from who you are – that’s such wisdom. Community and collaboration and being open.

Never forget you’re running a business. This is where the guilt must go. We gotta believe it first!

Thanks to all of you for coming. Thank you very much to my panelists, Rose, Clairey, Adam, and David.

Thank you very much.

[Applause]

[29:18] We can learn from the journeys of our panellists. The biggest takeaways are that there is an internal process to valuing our work and an external process. It's a matter of research, perhaps digging deep, and understanding how we feel about our proposition and then placing that in an accessible way to the market.

Perhaps we all share a responsibility to educate the market as to what goes into the services, products, professional development, and the value proposition of non-commodity work. The value of intuitively and creatively led professional work needs to be understood, recognised and respected.

I hope this has been an insightful discussion and helpful for your own efforts.

Please visit MindstreamConnect.com/podcast to find the transcript, the accompanying presentation on SlideShare, and also the resources for independent professionals (and photo gallery).

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Have you subscribed to The Mindstream Podcast yet?

It's a great time to do so! We’ll be looking at the wellness movement in Scotland, the UK and beyond. We’ve got episodes coming up with interviews with Linda Hamilton Parker of Holistic Scotland and Lauren Armes of Welltodo Global. The Mindstream Podcast is free to subscribe to. You can find through your Apple or Google stores, Spotify, and any number of podcast players.

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The Mindstream Podcast is put on by MindstreamConnect.com. Please visit our website and sign up for our monthly newsletter. You'll also find our social links on there. We're on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you for listening. This is Liza Horan, signing off with love and light.

Music

[31:52] Ends

BONUS CONTENT

• SlideShare: View the presentation that accompanied the panel discussion event. 
• Blog:
Top 10 "money mindset" insights from creative and intuitive professionals
• Photo Gallery of Mindstream's event for National Freelancers Day (20 June 2019), exploring the money mindset of self-employed professionals whose work is creatively and intuitively led.

Edinburgh solopreneurs (l-r): Clairey Colston, Liza Horan, David Thomas Wright, Rose Strang, and Adam Brewster.
Edinburgh solopreneurs (l-r): Clairey Colston, Liza Horan, David Thomas Wright, Rose Strang, and Adam Brewster.

 

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