For the past seven or so years we’ve operated my company on this strategy: that visibility lifts the ship, that exposure translates into dollars. Land the publicity…magazines, shows, interviews; do the podcasts, run Facebook ads. Grow the list. That’s a solid, proven strategy. It works. It got me here. Some of it was a ton of fun with amazing results. Too much of it was too expensive (time, energy, money). Parts were exhausting.
Variety. Experience. LIFE. Dispassionate living gets you one result: meh.
The “What would I have done differently?” question isn’t that inspiring for me. It can shed some light, but I’m more present- and future-focused. If I look back, there are too many variables to factor…the market, the people involved, lessons my Soul needed to learn, naïvete, ego, the weather. Coulda woulda shoulda. I approach most things as an experiment. That doesn’t mean I don’t get my hopes up (high), but mostly I just think, “Could go either way, let’s try it and see.” After various wins and losses here’s my ultra deep wisdom: The odds are 50/50.
BURN DOWN THE BARN…SO YOU CAN SEE THE MOON
In the middle of 2017 we wrapped a major book campaign for a book we self-published; we did the biggest print run ever for our Day Planners (Ya! We sell out every year!). Between White Hot Truth and planners, we printed and shipped about 100,000 units. We made every eco-friendly choice (sometimes at double expense). The production and campaign costs topped seven figures. We were cutting it close for our monthly ops budget. Calculated risk.
Team D was cooking up funnel marketing tactics. We needed to hustle. (We decided to abandon this strategy in the end. It’s just not my style for engaging.) I was writing blog posts in airport terminals; I hadn’t been on a team call in ages; and it was looking like we might only break-even by the end of our fiscal…we could run out of cash—sobering after consecutive growth years. In addition to the fortune we spent on production and marketing, we were entrenched in costly tech systems. We got hosed by an immoral and incompetent service provider and it got litigious. The company was carrying taxes in two countries (I’m a Canadian citizen/resident. 70% of our customers and half of my team in the US).
I did twenty-four cities for gigs, media, or film production. I was tired. Like, legit tired. By the end of the year I’d contracted mono. Mono is no joke. The brain fog and body pain is for reals. At the worst point, a flight of stairs felt like a mountain.
A number of us on our team of nine incredibles had profound life challenges last year. And ya know, 2017 felt like the world was falling the fuck apart. We felt all of it. World pain, each other’s pain, our own pain. We bandaged each other up with pep talks and shared resources. Like all great teams, we covered for each other and kept the life force pumping. And laughing. We always find the laugh. Worst days ever…still laughing.
I started to think, “Hunh, if I sell my car, can I take a month off because I really need a month off. Maybe I can get my kid to ship Truthbomb Decks from our basement, and I’ll just write a few blogs now and then.” Child labour and simplicity. Sounded good. Thankfully, none of that had to happen.
THE BAD NEWS BEARS FTW
How that chapter ends is the new beginning. We did some slash n’ burn changes to tech and org systems, and we kept showing up for our people—readers and collaborators. Our marketing stayed steady and sincere. And like the Bad News Bears, we slid ‘cross homebase and ended up having our highest grossing year ever.
To get there (and beyond) we had to tear it all apart. Scrappy time.
We wrestled with confusion (where ARE we going?) and discomfort (what’ve we been resenting?) and we got microscopically real about what felt heavy and what felt light—because feelings first, then strategy.
I conferred with my really smart coaching neighbours. Speed-dialed my savvy friend. Talked to my shrink. Turned to one of my favourite wisdom keepers. It took four months of jam sessions between myself, Angie (Creative & Marketing Director, we’ve been together for 8 years) and Vic (President of DL Inc). There were some supercharged voice memos. There were earnest questions and soft hearts. There were phone meetings where I just had to stop from fatigue and frustration, “I need to get my head clear, let’s talk in an hour.” And we’d get back at it. And great ideas would happen. And the jokes. The old way was crumbling, wisdom was rising, we were creating a new ideal. It was so fucking satisfying. We were vibrating with relief and excitement.
Essentially, I turned to my crew and said, Okay, let’s go home now. Not with regrets, but with our winnings, and just a few bruises. We’d been on a major expedition the past few years. We found some treasures. And we are taking them to the next destination: to even deeper creativity and love. Home.
. . . . . . .
HERE AND NOW: We feed the people who come to us for Soul food.
We’ve flipped our focus inward. We focus on serving only the tribe—the people who have showed up because they resonate. We’re not expanding heaps of resources to convert people and grow the list. The people who I can be of most help to keep showing up. (Self-selection. Resonance.) If I do a great job of serving them, then growth happens. So, growth—defined as financial profit or audience-building, is the organic bonus of serving the Tribe. We still very much want to grow, but it’s secondary. The bonus.
If you focus only on your Tribe, then you’ll have to keep things fresh for them. In this case, you earn with ongoing creation. This model works better for me because I’m an obsessive maker, a change-thriving Gemini, and I’m a Starter (I finish things because I’m a grown up, but I’m most useful in the visionary stage). The more consistently I create, the better I feel. I don’t need to hit zeniths of perfection or legacy-making with my work. I’m happy making really good things, on a regular basis.
YOU CASH OR ZEPPELIN?
When it comes to creative production, some of us are Johnny Cash. He put out a whopping 96 records in his career. And until Cash reached icon status, his country western audience was the tribe. All the way through, he just kept…making.
Some of us are more like Led Zeppelin. They did nine, complex albums. They made fewer things, more slowly, selling it wide over time.
Both ways of making and delivering can be soulful and profitable. Prolific or exclusive, tribe or masses, deep or wide…it’s your business manifesto to write.
SO! This brings us to Team D’s Manifesto for Conscious Business, which you can read below. This is the third revision it’s had over the course of six years. Every single word in the manifesto is intentional and in order of priority.
We turned this into a how-to guide for you. JUICY, ESSENTIAL questions that I think you’ll want to ask yourself, and maybe your team. Manifesto away!
You can download it HERE. It’s free. (Because ABUNDANCE is one of our core company values.)
We of Team D hope this helps you build something that fits the shape of your Soul. The odds are 50/50. Could go either way. Try it and see.
Only ever Love,
TEAM DANIELLE BUSINESS MANIFESTO 3.0
We support the Seekers…by creating multimedia tools for consciousness + spiritual activism. We broadcast Light.
- Seekers = on a holistic spiritual path; with the “eyes to see and ears to hear”. OUR TRIBE.
- Broadcast = multimedia publishing of our work + selective others’.
- Spiritual activism = using Universal Truth and compassion to create social change.
OUR HEDGEHOG (via Good To Great by Jim Collins)
We are most passionate about: Spiritual activism—supporting people to use Universal Truth and compassion to create social change.
Our economic engine: multimedia tools for consciousness that deeply resonate with women.
We can be the best in the world at: beautiful broadcasting (delivery + marketing) of online consciousness content that supports our Tribe.
- SOUL SERVICE
We exist to raise consciousness. We seek universal Truth and share what we find, always with Love. We trust in our ability to help people wake up and heal. We honour the ancient Sacred and apply it to modernity.
The business is a vehicle to: 1) Serve the planet by offering up our spiritual values. 2) Take care of each other…to nourish the Team.
We make soulful art. We constantly try to convey deep life principles and practices in accessible ways. Heart, then hustle.
Creativity is Queen: all operational systems support our creative needs for expressiveness, fluidity, and prolificness. Editorial drives execution: the philosophical point of our art—from a post, to a course, to a printed product, is carried through to the design, marketing and commerce.
We protect our creative sovereignty. We choose. We prefer ownership and creative and financial control.
We believe in the healing power of beauty and that it’s a beacon for our Tribe.
We will never stop making art.
We serve and work with Tribe—our customers, vendors, creative collaborators. We feed the people who come to us for Soul food.
We make what we’re inspired to make, and take really good care of the people who show up to get it. We don’t push or manipulate to sell. We radiate and invite. We inform and inspire. We follow enthusiasm, go where the love is. We work with people we reeeally like on causes that are close to our hearts. We put trust before cover-our-ass policies. We focus on and nurture relationships.
We endeavour to do The Right Thing. We won’t always get it right but we will endeavor, EVERY TIME—with Love and empathy.
We are loving and respectful—to ourselves, one another, the people we serve and collaborate with. We support each other to generate our joy, our Core Desired Feelings. We go out of our way for a laugh and to really listen. We’re low drama and forward-facing (which helps us pivot back to service and Love when things get rough.)
Feminism. Embodiment of the Sacred Divine Feminine is a key expression of our Soul Service and loving kindness. We promote this Truth: Respect women and you heal and uplift the world.
Our feminism extends to respecting Mother Earth. We choose resources and methodologies that are gentle on the ecosystem.
We believe in an abundant universe… endless goodness and prosperity. We believe in our deep wells of personal and group strength. It’s our joy to be generous with all of our resources.
Business growth—defined as increasing profit and platform—is an organic benefit of Soul Service and nurturing the Tribe. We honour the power of money to create ease, delight, and positive change. We stay well as a business and individuals by choosing quality and avoiding excessiveness.
We share. We share information and wisdom, publicly and privately. We give a lot for free, happily. We share our platform to promote Real Deal content creators and causes for social good. We stand for the value and efficacy of what we produce. We build smart philanthropy into our offerings. We nourish healthy lifestyles for our team. We empower our Tribe to be Givers.
OUR PURPOSE FOR MONEY
For each of us on the team to be well. Healthy lifestyles (great nutrition, mental + spiritual support systems), time freedom, fun retreats/treats, quality things, supporting our friends, families, and communities.
Creative excellence. Make effectual things for our Tribe. Work with A+ people, resources, and materials.
To be a self-sustaining business.
Philanthropy. Fund world-healing causes related to women & girls, water, and disaster relief.
Stir the conscious business revolution. Please send this around. xo
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Photo credit: Catherine Just