sell more of your work Archives - Page 3 of 11 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

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Why you don’t want to be ‘failure-proof.’ Promise.

I was on Facebook for a second and saw the ad: ‘Failure-Proof Your Launch!’

Then I laughed so loud that I startled the dog from her sunny little nap beside me.

Failure isn’t something you can ‘proof’ against, like making sure your babies don’t eat those laundry packs or making sure your teens aren’t snorting cocaine in the bathroom while you’re in the next room making dinner.

You can’t ‘failure-proof’ your business, period.

Further, your biggest ‘failure’ might be the source of more goodness in your life than you could possibly imagine.

My biggest success/failure (maybe the term is ‘life lesson?’) was revealed to me in a vision that arrived complete with a sunrise ferris wheel, large-scale paint twister, and a handful of speakers I’d move the world to see throw down their wisdom on stage.

I assumed, since this vision came so clearly and with enough force to bring me to my knees weeping in the shower one morning, that the vision ALSO meant I’d gotten a pass.

The pass went something like:

This will be wildly successful, guaranteed!
My best friend can quit her job to bring this into the world together and it will work out, guaranteed!
This one event will pay the year’s bills if we just stay faithful enough to what I had seen, guaranteed!


Wrong, wrong, and so so SO wrong. (You know where this is going, right?)

We sold 20% of the available spaces.
She returned to her job within the year.
I lost more than forty grand in the final total. (Insert frowning accountant face here, yo.)


Would I change it?
Would I take all the struggle away and use my flux capacitor to go back and make that giant profit and trade in the lessons I’ve learned in the past two years?

Oh hell no.

The real risk would have been letting that magical knee-weakening vision go.
It would have been giving up halfway through, when things got tough and I wanted to refund everyone’s money.
It would have been underpaying my people, or calling in favors, or skimping out on my debts.
It would have been staying in a relationship that was suffocating me .00005% a day — oh so imperceptibly — for the next few decades instead of leaving when my heart gave the signal.

It’s only in the past few months that I’ve recovered enough sensibility and fortitude to take another big, true risk. This time, a book of poetry.

All the Selves I Used to Be, my collection of 69 poems written from 1999 to the present, and is available right here.

It’s not meant to make millions or to be a New York Times bestseller —
though of course those things would be lovely —
it’s meant to show you who I used to be,
because I’ll bet you’ve been a few of these selves, too.

It’s meant to call from your heart to mine, often in life’s most tricky moments, and whisper that you’re not alone. (Also to make you laugh just enough to keep reading.)

Here’s to taking risks, my friend.

May you know the magic of seeing the vision,
and may you find the courage to bring it to life,
consequences be damned.

P.S.  May you also…buy the book. (In digital form here.)

The excruciating pain of asking for what you want

There’s an endless, always-growing stream of advice coming at you all the time when it comes to selling your products.

There are even MORE endless strategies you can employ to move products, but those strategies often ignore the thing behind the thing: selling your thing is hard. WAY more difficult than making your thing, shipping your thing, or selling other people’s things.

Selling boils down to the excruciating pain of asking for what you want.

It’s the art of taking this careful, delicate creature you’ve birthed as part of your business and asking people if they want it. (Over and over and over until you’re sure your friends will abandon you and you’ve managed to annoy the entire tri-state region with your promotions.)

Hearing the word “no” or being ignored is 100% guaranteed to be part of the selling equation.

Thus, it’s painful. Not everyone on Earth will want to buy the thing you’re making, or will make, or could dream of making.

The good news is, that’s true for everyone around you, too. No one human or company gets to have their work purchased and adored by all other humans. Everyone who’s selling anything hears “no” more than yes, faces the vulnerability of making things people won’t want, and keeps going. EVERYONE.

The art of selling is getting comfortable with what you’re bringing to the world and then asking people to buy it, no matter how many times you’ll hear the word “no” as part of the process.

Let’s dive deeper into this topic in this week’s episode of That’s What She Said. As always, I’ve got a few killer questions that just might help you do the important yet vulnerable, excruciating yet rewarding work of selling your wares to the world.

P.S. From here, pop on over to part 2 of the 4-part Crash Course in Sales!

Money blocks are complicated. Here’s why.

Once, a few years ago, I took one of those Heal Your Money Blocks classes because I was sure that I was pretty much money-broken. Later, I found out that my business had made more money in the previous year than the teacher’s had when she penned one of those tell-all, trendy-to-be-transparent essays about her income.

So um…I guess my money wasn’t blocked? Because I was making more than the teacher? But I didn’t FEEL like I had enough, ever…?

Dealing with money stuff — issues, blocks, concerns, patterns — is never as simple as when you ask someone to be your friend via a handwritten note in third grade.

Do you want to be my money block? Circle yes or no.

It’s actually a really tricky, sometimes sticky situation. (That’s what she said.)

…and we humans really want simple solutions to tricky situations.

Like when you have a sore throat, but really you have the flu, but really you have the flu because you’ve been sleeping for five hours a week for the last three weeks. Cough drops are a simple solution, sure, but the bigger deep down why-are-you-only-sleeping-for-five-hours-a-week stuff isn’t so simple.

Treating a money block is like treating a cough. Cough drops will take care of the symptom, but no mantra or affirmation is going to take the place of doing the work covered in today’s podcast.

Where you don’t allow money into your life, there are eight other things I’ll bet you don’t let into your life fully, and the implications of those elements go way further than whether or not you get paid fairly for your work.

If you dig it, you can listen to all the other That’s What She Said episodes right here, friend! ::mwah::

P.S. What if you stopped resenting money?

30-second sales tweaks that don’t suck (and make all the difference)

When it comes to the world of selling our work, we can focus on making big-picture financial goals, the advice of endless(ly dull) business books, and implementing complicated strategies until the end of our days.

But even if you’ve got the right tools in place, the right pricing in your business, and the appropriately weird marketing jiving with your peeps, there are tiny tweaks that can make the difference between making the sale and ending up penniless in a moldy apartment, curled up with only your Ramen and Netflix for company.

Attitude tweaks, simple reframes of everyday situations, and offering fewer, fewer — always fewer — options to your peeps can go a long way toward making the sales that fluff your bank account with more than enough money for ramen, Netflix, and the rent every month.

+ First: ditch the question marks when you talk about pricing.

Question marks never inspire confidence.

“It’s three hundred dollars?” leads to endless haggling.

“It’s three hundred dollars.” makes the sale.  (And yes I know that’s grammatically far from correct but dammit, the period makes the point.)

If you can’t say your pricing with absolute certainty, practice in front of the mirror. Say your pricing aloud to your pets, your plants, your kids, and Siri. I don’t care who you practice with, but practice. You’ll notice a big decrease in haggling, negotiating, and generally trying to talk down your pricing.

+ Next. Give up on being offended by people asking for discounts.

You can freak out every time someone asks for a discount, a special, or a deal. OR you can accept that they’re just asking. They ask, you say “no” or tell ’em about your latest promo, and you move on.

They are not demanding one of your kidneys for their ailing grandparent or forcing you to offer your work at much less than its true value in the world. They’re simply asking.

The world does not have to value every single thing you put into the world. YOU DO.

You value your work by creating and then consistently maintaining your pricing despite the relative merits of the person who’s asking, how persuasive he or she happens to be, and whether or not they happen to have a really compelling sob story on tap at the moment.

+ Pare it down.

Ever been in the Target late at night, looking for a simple thing like toothpaste, and faced the wall of 97 toothpastes with absolute dread? Me, too.

Piling choices onto more choices makes even your most loyal clients stumble around your shop or your service menu like lost sheep.

Where you’re offering 8 options, can you get it down to 5?

Where there are 5 options, can you get it down to 3?

Feeling bold? You do the one thing, the one thing, and only the one thing. Slash the other stuff from your store.

When it comes to coaching with me, you can be dominatrixed or get dominatrixed or enjoy dominatrixing! Hint: those are all the same link. 😉

+ Throw out/delete/give the finger to that one product or service.

The one that doesn’t sell.

The one you can’t stand.

The one you added when it seemed like a good idea, but you stare at it like it’s a pile of dog poo every time you see it offered on your website.

Gone. Done. BOOM.

No angst, no drama, no consulting the interwebs and 3,422 of your peers in that one Facebook group before you cut it loose. It frees up energy for the stuff you really, really love.

+ Give your peeps a time limit.

Offers that never expire fail to inspire the clicking of the “buy” button — and for good reason. There’s no sense of urgency, and we can always get it later. Only ‘later’ never comes, and you still have to buy your ramen and watch your Netflix and pay your rent, yes?

Give a client who’s on the fence 24 hours, 3 days, or 1 week to act.

Whatever the time frame, it’s much more likely to work than making an open-ended offer that’s good for the next year and a half. By then, a major appliance will have broken down, her kids will have had a medical emergency that emptied the bank account, and she’ll have completely forgotten that she ever wanted your goodies in the first place.

People buy when they a.) can’t handle not having something any longer — the rarest of occasions — or b.) when they’re up against a deadline.

The sale ends tomorrow. The promo code expires in an hour. They’re going to run out of your size in that fabulous sweater. Christmas is coming. Her birthday is next week.

Deadlines motivate your peeps to buy like teasing them with products, lovingly offering them services, and giving them all the time in the world simply can’t.

For further reading: 5 reasons your latest promo fell flat.

+ Limit quantities.

We want what we can’t have. When there are 27,000 of a thing, we’re much less likely to buy it now than where there are 2.7 of the thing.

Small batches, tiny quantities, limited time offers.

Timed shop updates.

3 or 4 spots on the calendar opened up at a time.

Keeping your products small batch and artisanal like a model hipster citizen requires no further effort on your part, but it’s much more likely to get your peeps buying than when you seem to offer unlimited quantities of your wares.

+ Hold a flash sale.

One graphic and one promo code, valid for 24 hours. For no good reason.

Post everywhere. Done.

(Psst! Here’s how to hold a sale without breaking your brand.)

+ Do the thing you’ve been avoiding.

Better yet — do the thing you’ve been avoiding for more than six months.

Yah yah, you KNOW you have to talk to her about that cross promotion, or hold that event you’ve been talking about for months, or reach out and follow up with every client who’s inquired about your services in the past six months. But…it’s so much easier to curl up with a screen and ignore the world!

I know. I know it’s easier to “work” by playing on Facebook, answering e-mails, and fulfilling only those orders that come in without regard for garnering any more orders. But the thing you’ve been avoiding? Do it.  (Also this takes more than 30 seconds but sending the first e-mail or text to get the ball rolling can, arguably, be done that quickly.)

Your future self — who’s currently sipping a lovely artisan beverage at the new place in town while fulfilling a record number of orders — thanks you for putting in the effort.

+ Keep going.

So your last sale didn’t work, or no one bought, or you only sold 3 of that thing and you have 300 in your garage? Cool. No one else on the planet knows that.

There’s no need to pretend that a worldwide text bulletin letting people know that you’re a Grade A Big Time Failure has been sent to billions of people.

Pick yourself up, make one of the sales tweaks offered here, and keep going.

Find a way in. Keep on keeping on, my friend. You’re more amazing than you know.

P.S.  Go ahead and do it wrong.

The trouble with mentors and the problem with bullet points.

Today, an uncomfortable topic. Mentors, and when their voices in your head kinda sorta totally take over and hijack your ways of being in the world, and then the awkward fight to get the voices in your head to be your own again. Eeeeesh.

There are mentors I’ve paid to engage with, mentors I’ve only viewed from a distance via internet-y means, and brilliant peers I’ve spent a great deal of time in the company of, and all of them are reflected in what follows.

This isn’t an indictment of any one individual or group of individuals. I’ve been just as influenced by a number of online gurus whom I’ve never met as I have been by some individuals I’ve spent a shit-ton of time with, and I’m guessing that you’re the same way. Only we as individuals can know the measure of our influencers — and most people wouldn’t suspect the vast array of them.

Now. The trouble with mentors.

I’ve spent many, many thousands of dollars learning to communicate more clearly in business. I’ve learned to write sales pages and otherwise do the work of getting people to buy stuff, over and over: for virtual products, for real-life physical products and events, for others as a ghostwriter, and for myself as well.

It’s true, money loves clarity. The more clearly you can articulate what it is you can do for people, the more money you’re likely to make in business.

But sometimes simple clarity isn’t the answer. (Or it’s the part of the answer that gets wildly twisted in the name of sales.)

Sometimes there are no bullet points and no testimonials for the unique, wildly diverse, and ultimately meaningful experience you have when you work with me, or with people like me: people committed to helping you follow the thin strands of your deepest truths all the way to their seemingly terrifying ends.

Sometimes all I can promise is that we’ll show up and see what happens. That I’ll be kind and empathetic when things fall apart.  That I’ll remind you of who you are when  you forget.

Sometimes my promises are vague because I’m more interested in going exploring than in telling you what to do or how to do it or how all this will ultimately lead to six-figure sales.

I’m here to help you listen to yourself, which means I don’t know the answers until you do. (A multi-billion dollar business, this is not.)

Deep, intense, and personal work doesn’t lend itself to “you will learn” bullet points that can be summed up in 12 distinct lines, complete with video and segment-by-segment modules or learning pods or whatever they’re being called these days.

Because when I’m at my best, I’m not selling; I’m listening.

Listening is the hallmark of any good mentor, teacher, guru, coach, friend, or human. It’s also the first thing to go when we decide we know what people want, when they want it, and whether or not we can deliver it.

It’s my job to be led by my years of educational training (hello, Education degree), my teacher’s instincts (hello, years of classroom experience), my intuition (hello, priestess training I took that one year), and my knowledge of the individual I’m talking to in order to deliver exactly what has to be said to help in real time.

It’s my job to steer the ship toward doing the work. For every person in the group, even when those people are hiding or don’t want to show up or come to me somewhat battered and a little bit broken.

What happens during the entire 69-day process can only be diminished by being beaten into submission in the form of bullet points and done-for-you steps and easily-comprehended, boiled-down-to-basics type presentations.

But lately.

The bigger and deeper work I’m being called to requires greater attention. It requires picking up the energetic thread of each human who’s giving me the gift of his or her presence in class and then listening closely.

She is writing a book about her years as a stripper and is terrified to be seen. Ask her to share.
She is writing about her experiences and is are too grief-stricken to do much more than cry. Give her space and love.
She is trying not to deny her joy and her fun and her laughter any longer. Let her be. And ask for photos when she misses class.

I’ve got to listen, to take in the full extent of what’s going on, and to respond accordingly.

That means my bullet-pointed ‘marketing speak’ looks a lot like:

I’ll help you listen to yourself and your feels. You might feel the whole world of emotions swallow you up, show you new insights, and put you gently back down to begin living all over again, with new eyes. (And then again, you might not.)

I’ll work with you one-on-one to help make a list of achievable, totally realistic yet challenging goals, then make sure you achieve them.

If you need the heavy-handed argument, the endless convincing, the 8-part video series, or the arm twisting to join, I’d rather not work with you right now.

Not because I don’t see value in working with you, but because I’m not willing to use the endless and relentless, ever-so-slightly manipulative tactics it’s taken me a number of years to unlearn.

I’m not willing to use all the marketing weapons in my arsenal to get you to buy shit I know you don’t need or to convince you to get on board with an experience you don’t really want. I’m not willing to make you feel guilty for not buying what I’ve got to offer.

I’m really, really not interested in selling you on something that you aren’t jumping up and down to get.

Maybe it’s just me.
Maybe I suck at selling or marketing or whatever it is we’re calling the long-form sales page these days.
Maybe I’m evolving.
Maybe I’m tired.

But dammit, I am not willing to be a glossy, perfection-porned-out creature selling you a lifestyle you feel like you SHOULD want but really don’t.

If you don’t want one-on-one help, cool. Then you don’t want anything I’ve got for sale right now.

I am, strangely, okay with that.

::deep breath::

Here’s a bullet-pointed list (ha! Please tell me you get the joke!) of all the things I’ve had to figure out, slowly and painfully, in order to be okay with sharing these offerings and this particular piece of writing:

+ how to sell WITHOUT ANY MOTHERFLIPPING VIDEO, even though it converts better and blah blah blah yah no.
+ how to tell you what I’m offering without hiding behind why you “need” it or the 7,423 results you’ll get from buying (More money!  Better clients!  Increased usage of the hashtag #blessed!)
+ how to write clearly without exaggerating the effects of what my offerings can do to your life (i.e. “I found my purpose and made an additional $40,000 and love my life more!” because even if that was true for one person, it won’t be true for everyone who comes along)
+ how to hold space for people without calling myself pretentious for calling it ‘holding space’ — because it IS a physical act, and I’m damn good at it. I will hold the shit out of you.
+ how to stop pretending I don’t care if you buy — because I do — but not enough to force your hand (BUY NOW OHMIGOD PLEASE THE KITTENS ARE DYING IF YOU DON’T HIT THE BUTTON RIGHT NOW — ALSO THERE’S ONLY ONE LEFT EVEN THOUGH THIS IS A VIRTUAL PRODUCT)
+ how to evolve in my business, and as a human, without feeling guilty for making it up as I go along. Because hey, we’re all making it up as we go along. Some just make it more obvious than others.

With deep love and appreciation for everyone who’s ever helped me to grow in business, and in life — I welcome the next phase. With 90% fewer bullet points, with so much love, and with an open heart for holding close whatever comes.

Thank you for teaching me in the best way you knew how.

I’ll take over from here.


P.S. I sent this to my best friend to ask if it felt bitter or gross and she replied, “Doesn’t feel bitter or heavy. Feels like, ‘I’m tired of trying to sell you shit and please just listen to your heart about whether or not to buy this thing. If you need bullet points and certainty and aren’t ok with us just figuring out what you need together, then we’re not a good fit.'”

Yes. That. Exactly. It’s all open-ended magic.