Posts Tagged ‘Business’

How I Mis-Marketed My Energy Class

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

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My hypothetical friend Rob wants personal growth and counseling skills, so he signs up for a class. One of exercises involves visualizing energy in his body, shifting it from an agitated red to a calm green, and noticing his body becoming calm. When talking with another person, he visualizes that energy floating to them, and they become more calm too.

He doesn’t ever wonder whether the visualizations work by self-suggestion, adjusting his limbic system, posture, and tone, or whether they operate by some real energy that exists outside his mind. He doesn’t have any interest in testing or refining these energy techniques, because it doesn’t matter to him how they work, and they’re not central enough to his life to devote significant time to improving the results. He wanted an easy-to-learn tool to help calm him and his clients, and he got it.

I’m thinking about why people explore energy, so I can improve Energy Geek, both the content and the marketing. I’m seeing two main motivators: Results and curiosity. Rob is motivated by results.

I’m motivated by curiosity. When I was 11, a friend who loved fantasy novels talked about feeling energy from trees. I tried, and I felt a warm tingling. Was that energy or imagination? I have no idea. But I started exploring, stumbled onto a handful of real results, and have been driven to understand energy ever since. I care about results, but I specifically want to understand this thing I’ve been experiencing, what it is and how it works, and I trust that will lead to something useful. Often, when I get a successful result, my main excitement is knowing that I’m on the right track in understanding energy — the specific result is secondary.

Rob wants effective tools for calming himself and his clients. If you have a non-energy-related technique that works better or is easier to learn, awesome, he’ll take it.

I want to understand energy, which hopefully leads to something useful. If you have a non-energy-related technique, I don’t really care, because it doesn’t help me understand energy.

I’ve been viewing my unique quality as a focus on results. After all, concrete, measurable results show me I’m on the right track in understanding energy, so I care a great deal about getting concrete, measurable results. And Rob? He’s totally uninterested in seeing what his energy visualizations actually do. Does he even care about his results?

But I’m realizing: Rob cares about results as much or more than I do. Just different results. And, when every class offers “better results” (from something), that becomes a generic platitude rather than a real differentiator.

Curiosity is the real reason I explore energy. It’s the reason to test specific techniques, to separate out what’s energy and what’s imagination. I need to start from curiosity, and let results be the guidepost, not the destination.

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Designing an Event for Science-Loving Energy Workers

Monday, April 24th, 2017

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“Ever learned an energy technique and wondered if the results were just in your head? I sure have. That’s why Energy Geeks do exercises with placebo controls, so we can get real-world feedback and improve our skills.”

That’s my new pitch for the Energy Geek Meetup. I made it after asking for feedback from attendees, and learning people are more interested in learning energy techniques than in proving to themselves that energy is real. This all has me thinking about what the Energy Geek Meetup is, what we do there, and why we do it, which is what I’m writing about today.

(This will be a meandering post about learning energy and the business side of Healing Lab. If you came for technical guides to energy and magick, maybe skip this one. Also, I’m not an expert at marketing, so much of this will probably be pretty basic.)

Let’s start with the business side. The Energy Geek Meetup is part of my marketing funnel. (That’s a series of steps where people try free and low-cost offerings, come to know and trust your work, and then purchase more expensive products. An article for energy healers recommended 4 stages: Free or $1, then $10-20, then $50-300, then $500+, which is the thing that pays the bills. No idea if this is optimal, but it seems like a reasonable starting point.)

But it’s not enough just to say that it’s part of my funnel — I’ll have at least 3 funnels, for different types of customers:

  • Online practitioner: Blog posts and free energy geek pamphlet, then an e-book, 1-day webinar, multi-month webinar.
  • Client (someone who wants healing sessions): Website (need publications and more testimonials), $10-20 energy assessment / consultation, one session, package of sessions. For in-person, there might be a talk as the first or second step.
  • In-person practitioner: Blog posts, e-book and meetup, 1-day class, multi-month class. (Same content as online — I’ll build them at the same time.)

(Much of this falls in the “coming next year” category. Also, today I’m putting on my marketing / business hat, but most days I wear a “get my ideas out there” hat, and even if you never do a webinar and only read my blog, I’m still excited to be connecting with you.)

Back to the marketing: The Energy Geek Meetup is the 2nd step for practitioners in the bay area, who might someday take a multi-month class to learn to use my techniques in their healing practice.

(Wow. Being new to marketing, I haven’t done a lot to define who my customers are, and I hadn’t intended to explore that in this post. But what I just wrote feels fairly good and precise. And making that unexpected progress has me feeling excited about marketing.)

What about people just starting out with energy? Are they my target customer? They aren’t practitioners yet, but someday might be. I think yes, that’s part of my market, but not the focus. I’d been planning to include a 10-15 minute intro at each meetup for people new to energy, along with a special beginner exercise. (That way beginners have something to do, they can learn together and join the community, but experienced folks don’t get stuck doing beginner exercises.)

I’ve also been thinking about the exercises. Do I want to have each event be a one-off, with a totally different exercise each time? That sounds… Like a lot of work, not that fulfilling, actually. I could never do anything besides beginner stuff, because I wouldn’t know that anyone knew the previous material.

Maybe a series of exercises, like I would have in an energy fundamentals class, that people can work through at their own pace. That way, everyone could find the right spot for themselves, and an experienced practitioner might run through the first few exercises quickly before finding something they can learn. And I could re-use that series of exercises in a class or webinar.

What would those exercises look like? I’ve discussed some before, and I’ll probably add exercises to feel the different energy signatures of different parts of the body (different tissues, organs, etc), and maybe more as we go.

This introduces a new problem: If different people are doing different exercises, how do I communicate the exercises? I don’t want to demo all 5-10 exercises every time, that would take a lot of time and be boring for regular attendees. What about a handout, like a little pamphlet? One exercise per page, essentially what’s already in my blog posts, plus a space to record results. Then I demo one exercise per meetup, rotate through them, and point everyone to the handouts. (Then I work with newcomers a bit.) And I can also use the pamphlet for my classes, and as something people can download from Healing Lab (with the option to sign up for a mailing list).

So this is really becoming a facilitated practice space, where attendees get to pick their exercises. Which feels like what this should be — a practice space, rather than a class.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I think about marketing and events. Feedback (especially from experienced marketers) is welcome. And we’ll be back to “how to do energy” posts next week.

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What if Your School Guidance Counselor had Recommended Energy Healing?

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

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I graduated high school in 1998. I’d loved energy since 5th grade, but how did a person make money doing that? There were no jobs. There were books and training courses, but no way to know which were worth the investment. I didn’t seriously consider energy healing as a career path, but if I had, it would have looked risky and uncertain. Instead, I went to college, learned computer science, got a safe job that I could enjoy enough, even if it took hours and years away from the study that truly called to me.

But what if there had been salaried positions for energy healers?

The job requirements would list courses, certifications, and other programs. And that’s not just an energy healer saying, “I like these courses” — it’s a company saying, “We find these courses to be useful for new hires, and seek out people who have taken them.” And knowing there’s a job waiting, I would have felt good investing time and money in those requirements.

Fresh out of those training programs, I would have joined that company, worked under experienced energy healers and researchers, and been assigned projects and cases suited to my skill level. I might have started by giving healing sessions in the techniques I was already certified in, then learned more techniques on the job, and eventually developed new techniques for others to use.

I imagine the company funding energy healing research, both developing new energy healing techniques, and performing placebo-controlled trials to demonstrate their effectiveness. Maybe there would even be research-focused positions, where we pick a particular health condition that no one knows how to help, only see people with that condition, and work to develop techniques for them. I think I would enjoy a role like that.

Other people might go into management, mentoring a team of energy healers, or marketing or training or any of the other roles that most companies need. I imagine those folks would be interested in energy healing too, but just don’t want to make it their full time job.

Eventually, I might leave the company, start a solo practice, develop my own techniques. If I did, I’d probably maintain a certification in their system of healing, paying an annual fee and taking their training courses, so I could keep using their ethereal software and learn their latest techniques. Or maybe I’d stay, lead a team of researchers working on life extension, or on using energy to enhance cognitive function.

And what about you? How might your life be different if there were energy healing jobs when you graduated high school?

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Help Me Name My System of Healing

Monday, December 19th, 2016

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I’m trying to name my system of energy healing. Could you help me?

You read my blog. You know I’m about placebo-controlled testing, understanding why energy and healing and everything else operate the way they do, and using those insights to engineer new techniques. I’m looking for a name that aligns with all that.

Let’s talk about market research. There seem to be 3 ways of naming systems of healing:

  • Generic-ish names: Healing touch, therapeutic touch, energetic restructuring, energy modulation.
  • Founder-focused: Eden Energy, by Barbara Eden.
  • Branded: Reiki, Quantum Touch, Vortex Energy, Polarity Therapy

(This is also related to medical intuitive services, but those seem to be fairly generic names, or just “Joe Smith, Medical Intuitive.”)

I’ve been using a generic-ish name for a while, “Direct Biofield Healing.” But it’s a mouthful, and I’ve learned that energy healing researchers try to keep the term “biofield healing” reserved for scientific papers, not used in any one brand. I want to ally with those researchers, so I want to pick a name that won’t annoy them.

Another option is Sententia Energetics. I don’t love it, but it’s not a bad backup. But if you particularly like Sententia Energetics, please let me know.

My company is Healing Lab, so I was using “Healing Lab Method” for a while. But again, it’s a mouthful, and I want Healing Lab to be able to research any system of healing, not just mine. I’d like my system to be its own thing, separate from Healing Lab.

A few more names I thought of:

  • Aura Engineering (I kind of like this one)
  • Data-Driven Healing (probably too generic)
  • Insight Energetics (too corporate)
  • Energy Geek Healing (another good one)

A friend suggested using Latin. For example, “light movement” becomes “lumen momen” or “lumomen.”

More on what I’m about: I seek to understand everything, particularly things that are currently ineffable. That leads me to the scientific exploration of the biofield. I just happen to make healing techniques.

I think I’m looking for something branded, a metaphor rather than a description. Like how Amazon has nothing to do with the rainforest, but it does contain a huge diversity of things. Or Apple has nothing to do with fruit, but has the connection to knowledge and insight.

So please help me brainstorm. Concrete nouns that relate metaphorically to science, insight, and discovery, words that could be put in front of “energy” or “healing.”

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How Resistance Guides My Work

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

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Sometimes, the hardest part of the work isn’t the work, it’s the resistance.

This is probably true of anything we create. For me right now, that’s Healing Lab, the company I’m starting to research energy healing.

Sometimes I think, “If only I could plow through tasks for eight hours a day, this business would have been up and running months ago.” But I can’t, because each task brings up resistance: The vision that’s big and intimidating, the events I’m afraid no one will like, the fear that none of this will work, that it’ll all be wasted effort.

Each day, more than half my effort goes into working through resistance.

And writing this, I realized: That’s the point of this year. To work through the resistance, to become comfortable sharing the vision and organizing the events and doing the work.

I’ve been focusing on the output (like website, classes, studies) and wishing I could do more of them in a day. But measuring the total number of tasks is the wrong metric, it pushes me toward easier tasks, and pushes me to brush off the resistance rather than addressing it. Much better to measure the number of emotionally difficult tasks I worked through, the insights I had and the amount of resistance I resolved. Harder to measure, but far more important.

(And a possible misinterpretation I want to avoid: It’s still important to finish tasks. Each task brings up resistance. To sit at home, not finishing tasks, just congratulating ourselves for thinking about resistance — that doesn’t actually bring up the resistance we need to work through. This is still about doing the work, it’s just about accepting a slower pace as we work through resistance.)

I’m going to break the fourth wall now. This short post took me four hours to write. But writing it (and the pages of early drafts) caused me to look at my resistance, and my desire to complete more tasks, and to recognize my real work. These sentences were hard because they were part of accepting this process, instead of punishing myself for it. And recognizing that, saying, “That’s what I accomplished today,” I feel much more at peace with the pace of starting this business.

It also has me ask, “Which tasks feel hardest right now?” Because that’s the one with the most resistance. That’s the one to focus on.

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Overcoming Overwhelmed-ness

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

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Whether you do energy healing research, or magick, or entrepreneurship, we all create new paths. This week, my path with Healing Lab got jostled, and I want to share how I got through being daunted and found a vision I’m even more excited about.

This week, Dr. Melinda Connor spoke with me about Healing Lab. She researches energy healing at Akamai University in Arizona, has published books and papers on the subject, is more or less doing what I want to be doing. A few notes from our conversation:

  • Publishing a double-blind study requires a bunch of hoops. It’s not something I can do alone.
  • There are already studies comparable to what I had planned to do. It’s not wrong to do more similar studies, but it’s probably not the highest-impact place to focus.
  • Despite all that, she was genuinely encouraging. She wasn’t trying to rain on my parade — it’s more like, there was already a bunch of rain on the way, and she was the one to point it out.

I spent 24 hours feeling daunted. Too big, too difficult, why bother… Three ideas helped me work through it:

  • Everything is harder than we expect. Sometimes it’s 100x harder, and maybe we give up. But this one is 10x harder. I can work with that.
  • The fact that people are already doing similar work is good, it means it’s possible. It means that, if I want to, I can follow their path.
  • Other people are doing some of the projects I’d planned (like double-blind trials), and they’re better at those skills than I am. That’s OK. It lets me focus on what I’m best at. All I have to do is figure out what that is.

When I daydream about Healing Lab, it’s not running trials or speaking at conferences. I daydream about developing new techniques for energy healing, sensing the biofield, or communicating with spirits (and maybe humans). Engineering, along with developing the scientific models to support it. That’s what I’m uniquely good at.

It’s also what we need. Because we’ve been researching and publishing about energy healing for decades, and it’s still drowning in stigma. But if we had techniques that produced even more obvious results, things that were even harder to dismiss or deny, that might move the needle on acceptance.

I’m going to use the word “engineering” for creating new techniques, and “publishing” for doing double-blind trials to demonstrate that those techniques work.

The rest of the path became obvious: Engineer the techniques, publish enough to convince other energy researchers that the techniques work and are worth studying, then collaborate on the really definitive publications. So instead of being 50% engineering and 50% publication, now I’m envisioning maybe 75% engineering, 25% publication — a shift in focus that feels relaxing and liberating, more aligned with my skills and interests.

(And the next step is still the same: Publish some case studies to prove I’m serious.)

Jostles aren’t bad. Being daunted isn’t bad. These are things that happen. And if you’re lucky, you’ll emerge with an even better plan.


This is the last week of the double-blind sigil experiment. It’s a great way to build confidence in your skills. Please try it. (If you already tried one sigil, please try the other.)

I’m teaching Beyond Tantra: Intermediate Erotic Energy Techniques this Thursday, 7pm at Wicked Grounds in San Francisco.

And Dr. Connor wants to connect with other energy healing researchers. She gave me great info and sincere encouragement, and I’m very glad I reached out to her. I’m not posting her email because I don’t want spambots to bother her, but if you’re doing research in energy healing and want some input, drop me a line and I’ll connect you. (And I’d be happy to talk with you too.)

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How I Designed a Life Around Healing

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

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Often called “work-life balance,” today I’m reflecting on how I’ve designed a life and career to support my healing work and magick.

It’s Not a Balance

Balance implies that both are equally important. They’re not. I want to tip the scales toward life and passion as much as possible.

I work to support the life I want. I’m not trying to balance anything.

Choose Lifestyle, Not Salary

At some point in every career, the person has done good work, is valued by their colleagues and employer, and has the social capital to make a request.

Don’t spend that capital on a promotion. Instead, spend it on lifestyle.

For me, that was consulting. In 2010, I changed from full-time work to consulting, getting paid well when I work, but making nothing when I don’t. If my goal were to maximize my yearly income, this would be a problem. But my goal is to work a few months a year, earn enough to support myself comfortably, and spend the rest of the time on other projects. Consulting is perfect for this.

Your lifestyle option might look different. It might be working from home (where you take 2 hours every morning for your own project), or some other sort of freelance work. But if you want to work on your passion, choose lifestyle over promotion.

Live Frugally

One related choice: I live in a studio apartment. It’s enough space for me, and it keeps my costs down, which gives me more freedom in designing the rest of my life.

Why cut back on the apartment, rather than dining out or other luxuries? Because I can easily save $500/mo by living in a small apartment, and it doesn’t really affect my life. But to save that kind of money on food, I’d be eating nothing but microwave ramen.

You might choose another way to live frugally. But the point is, spending less than I could creates flexibility in my life, which gives me options for designing a lifestyle with time and space for what I care about.

Create Your Art

With no one to tell me to work, and no one to report to, it’s so easy to skip a day. Especially when I hit resistance. (That’s why I write about resistance so much.) Then it’s easy to skip two days, and more.

I find it helpful to remind myself that this time is limited, that another consulting project will come along soon, and that I’m purchasing these days of creativity with days of work I’d rather not do. Because, when designing a life that allows healing or magick or art, the real challenge is actually doing that creative work.

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How Money Improves Art

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

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If you speak at an event, should you expect to be paid? To at least have free admission? Taylor Ellwood started a good discussion, and others have interesting additions.

For me, this is part of a bigger discussion about money and art. Here’s where I stand:

Do what’s best for your art.

Usually, money improves your art. (Why? Keep reading.)

It’s scary. Do it anyway.

Your Art

Art isn’t just painting and writing. Art is whatever creative work you do: Energy healing, ritual, teaching, event promotion, engineering, computer programming. Whatever you bring to the world, that’s your art.

Do what’s best for bringing that art into the world.


Money refines artistic vision.

Yes, really. Free speakers can be mediocre. But if you expect someone to pay, you need to be compelling.

So decide to be paid. Then do the work to get there: Read and take classes on speaking. Practice, at free venues and toastmasters and wherever you can. (“I’ll speak at your event for free, but I need a recording of my talk so I can review it and improve.”) Write, to learn to explain your ideas and to build your resume.

Those are all hard and scary. Deciding to make money forces you to face them. That’s the point.

These days, my art is Healing Lab. I want to be paid to develop new healing techniques. And getting serious about money has been excellent:

Before I was serious about money, I thought about doing healing sessions some friends, getting some referrals, building up a small practice. Unremarkable.

Then I embraced my goal: To develop high-price healing techniques for people with serious conditions. And realizing that, the path changed. I’m focused on publishing double-blind studies to demonstrate my techniques. I’m focused on refining healing techniques through case studies, so I feel confident publishing and selling them. And I’m practicing explaining my system of healing, in writing, and among friends, and among strangers at toastmasters and other venues. All of that is hard and scary. But all of it is necessary.

It’s Scary. Do It Anyway

Whatever your art, getting good is scary.

At a minimum, it requires honestly assessing where you are right now. Every time I’ve done that, I’ve been less good than I thought I was. And I’ve repeated a mantra:

I’d rather become good tomorrow, than believe I’m good today. Recognizing a weakness doesn’t make it any worse. I’ve gotten this far with those weaknesses, so fixing them will take me even farther.

(Money forces an honest assessment of how good you are. That’s the point.)

Getting good also forces you to face your limits. Can you become so good at public speaking that people will pay for it? (Answer: Yes, but it’ll take 10,000 hours of focused work.)

Can I develop healing techniques so obvious and reliable, I can demonstrate it to university researchers, doctors, and investors? I don’t know. But I’m committed to doing it anyway.

(Why don’t I say “I’m going to try?” Because my goal isn’t to have tried. My goal is to succeed. Good post on LessWrong.)

Getting good is scary. Do it anyway.

Artistic Vision

What about visionary art? Doesn’t money poison that?

I’m not qualified to say. But I want to share two images. Before Picasso did this:


He did this:


The first step is getting good. The visionary art comes after.

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Building a Company: The Dreamer’s We

Monday, December 21st, 2015

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Asch_experimentIn 1951, Solomon Asch did a now-famous study on conformity. Eight people were asked, “Tell me which of the lines, A B or C, is the same length as the reference line.” Except 7 of those 8 people were part of the experiment. They confidently lied, saying the answer was B. And 36% of subjects went along, agreeing with the crowd instead of their own vision.

In advocating for magick and biofield healing, we are all part of an Asch conformity experiment.

But there’s a second result, less-known but just as powerful: If a single other person disagreed with the mob, subjects trusted their vision and spoke their truth. Humans don’t need to be a majority, we just can’t be alone.

As I start Healing Lab, I find myself saying, “We’re developing new healing techniques. We’re preparing for double-blind studies.” But who is this we? Right now, Healing Lab is just me.

It isn’t the royal we, where a king sweeps his subjects into his pronoun. I don’t have subjects. And if Healing Lab were five people, saying “we” would be correct.

(It also isn’t the manager’s we, which means you, as in, “We need to update the spreadsheet.”)

I’m calling this the “dreamer’s we.” Speaking for the organization I’ll build one day, rather than the organization I have now. Like having that ally in Asch’s conformity experiment, this “we” makes it easier to trust my vision and speak my truth.

What would you do with the support of a team? How much of that can you do today?

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Good Wrong Answers

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

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Worthwhile work is rarely about being right.

Being right implies there’s one answer. That happens in school, where your job is to find the teacher’s answer. But it rarely happens in life.

A good answer? Happens all the time.

I’m starting Healing Lab, and as I consider business models, legal protections, and whether to focus on selling healing sessions or publishing research, I keep reminding myself: There is no right answer. There are many good answers. And often, the space between best and second-best is minuscule.

Avoid wrong answers. Avoid over-optimized answers that succeed brilliantly if you’re lucky and fail if you’re not (and try to find gratitude for lawyers who point out those failures). Avoid catastrophe. And then get moving.

Decision paralysis is an answer too. Rarely a good one.

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