Episode 13: Building Name Recognition with Eric Maisel, Creativity Coach
Building Name Recognition with Eric Maisel, Creativity Coach
Announcer: This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com.
Jason McClain: Welcome to Coaching the Life Coach. I'm Jason McClain your host and
guide in the 21st century marketplace. I'm here with Eric Maisel. And Eric actually has a list of over 30 books. You are in for quite a treat. We're gonna talk about all sorts of ways in which you can build your business, build your name recognition and we're gonna talk about, a little about unlocking your creativity.
Eric Maisel: The fact that we can only hold three things or five things or nine things in our head, and you can't hold the hundreds of creativity coaches out there in your head as if you were the Yellow Pages. You're only gonna hold one or two names and I would like my name to be one of those. And something like an ebook or an mp3 download- if you've given a workshop and you've turned that workshop into an mp3 download- these are smart passive income devices. A lot of "would be" creative people aren't even sure if they have any good ideas or any creativity, and they feel like failures or disappointed in themselves. Of course they have this feeling that they have no ideas, but in fact it's almost always that their mind is too noisy. So one of the most important- on the level of technique or strategy, one of the most important changes that a person needs to make from my point of view is to get their creating on the top of their "To Do List"; which means getting up that hour earlier and actually getting to it, rather than putting it off.
Jason McClain: So welcome to the show Eric. Thanks for coming.
Eric Maisel: Thank you so much for having me.
Jason McClain: And first, let's just get into this, this idea. Um, what would you say has made you so successful? What's the most important principle over the years?
Eric Maisel: Well there are probably many. Some of them are like tenacity, and resilience and just staying in the trenches-
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: For 30 years. That's part of it. But also I'm savvy enough to know that it's a competitive marketplace and so I need to stand out from other coaches, other writers, other therapists since I am all of those things. And so that's the way I've been thinking, is that I need to distinguish myself and separate myself from others.
Jason McClain: And so, uh, so a couple of things come to mind. One is building a brand. One is name recognition. One is brand recognition. Can you talk about why that's important? Other than just distinguishing yourself from other people in the "helping" industries, but why is that so important to people building their practices?
Eric Maisel: Well, the whole idea of name recognition is that because we have limited mental space, all of us, to hold a million different names, ideas and what have you. When we think coach- or creativity coach which is what I do- when you think creativity coach you want the person out there to land on your name. So that's why name recognition is so important. It's just really about the fact that we can only hold three things or five things or nine things in our head, and you can't hold the hundreds of creativity coaches out there in your head as if you were the Yellow Pages. You're only gonna hold one or two names and I would like my name to be one of those.
Jason McClain: [laughter] Well, I think that's clear. On top of mind, as they say, huh?
And so I'm curious Eric, how, how specifically have you built name recognition over the years? And how can others do that step-by-step?
Eric Maisel: Well I think there are certain, especially sensible things to do. One is, with all of the websites out there and with all of the print media out there, getting a column for yourself is one of the smart ideas. It's not so hard to do because so much content is needed. And as soon as you get to say that you're a columnist, you know that's obviously one of the things that resonates with people and makes you sound like a professional and someone that they want to come to. Obviously if you can publish beyond columns- if you can publish articles and books that starts to build your name recognition. If you present- even for free- at conferences that builds your name recognition. There're probably half a dozen or eight or ten really sensible, natural sounding things that anybody can do to start to build their name recognition.
Jason McClain: And what does it make possible, in someone's practice or in their business, if they begin to do that? And maybe you could speak a little bit more about- because there's a lot of technologies out there. It's like every single one of us has our own, our own press. You know with blogging and all those new technologies that are out there. So what does it make possible in someone's business? And maybe if you can give us one- a little bit more tangible example of how you have done that. If you could talk about speaking in terms of name recognition.
Eric Maisel: I think one of the things that it does- I think most coaches I would say probably don't garner the largest amount of their revenue from seeing clients. Some do, but many have to cobble together a life. And one of the things that name recognition does is it makes you look like an expert, actually be an expert.
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: And then you can do- you can do trainings and classes and groups, and the other kinds of things that come- that are additional to- doing individual work and that are often the major sources of income for people. I do cyber space email based trainings. I've done them for many years now. They're very successful. I have probably 40 or 50 or 60 trainees at any given second working in cyber space all over the world. And that's a major revenue source. And also they then promulgate your name further a field and then they say they were trained by you. And each time someone says they're trained by you, that helps you.
Jason McClain: I'd like to drill down a little bit on that. So cyber space or email based trainings … Can you speak a little bit about the freedom that passive income can give you, once you get out of the cobbling together and scrambling for clients and worrying about getting paid by the hour and all those things. Can you talk about a little bit of how to leverage that?
Eric Maisel: Yeah, the trainings I wouldn't call passive 'cause it's interactive and work. But one of the things I do that amounts to passive income is to have an ebook on my site that is frequently downloaded. If you have a site with traffic and you have something to say, and you turn that into an ebook, that becomes an excellent passive income. For your listeners who understand the difference between a book and an ebook- for an author a book might make you a dollar or two dollars each time it's sold. Whereas an ebook you get to keep whatever you're charging, pretty much 100 percent or 98 percent of it. And that can become a significant passive income but only if you're getting traffic to your site. If no one's coming no one will download the book. But if people are coming, they tend to want to take away- they tend to want to take away something from your site. And something like an ebook or an mp3 download- if you've given a workshop and you've turned that workshop into an mp3 download- these are smart passive income devices.
Jason McClain: Excellent. Thanks so much for that. We're gonna take a short break to support our sponsors. You're listening to Coaching the Life Coach. I'm your host Jason McClain here with Eric Maisel, creativity coach. And we'll be right back.
Jason McClain: Welcome back to Coaching the Life Coach. I'm Jason McClain. We're here speaking with Eric Maisel. Before the break we were talking about building name recognition and I would love to hear just what you're focused on right now. Could you speak a little bit about the creativity coaching and what that is?
Eric Maisel: Yeah. I'm a licensed therapist and I started out as a therapist many years ago.
And then I wanted to segway out of that. I was working only with creative performing artists. I didn't think they were crazy, I thought they had the regular problems of living that people have. Coaching was becoming popular at that moment, so I crafted this specialty of creativity coaching and began working with my creative and performing clients as a coach. Ah, probably founded the profession, although I'm not quite sure about that, but it seems like it to me.
Jason McClain: [laughter] Let's say you did.
Eric Maisel: Let's say I did!
Eric Maisel: And I've been doing this now for oh, more than 15 years. It's my specialty.
Behind the scenes I've helped form the Creativity Coaches Association. I've probably trained, well between 400 and 500 creativity coaches over the last three or four years. I work with clients only by phone because (a) they're all over the place and (b) I don't really feel the need to maintain an office. Before I worked with phone only, I would see people in the local café which was perfect for a creative client. They understood that that was probably the best way to get their coaching was right in a café with a good cup of coffee. But now, I only-
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: Do it by phone and this has been my specialty. I've done perhaps 15 books in this field; different aspects of the creative life, whether it's creativity and depression or creativity and anxiety. I have a book coming out next year about creativity and addictions. So as I work with clients I understand more about the creative process and have more to say.
Jason McClain: Could you speak to- a little bit more about your understanding of the creative process, because there's … I know myself, being a, what we're calling a "solo-preneur" these days, you've gotta get into a certain zone. And there's so many things that are really demanding. And, there's so few things that you can really hand off to an assistant, because you are the business in a sense. And many of our listeners, they are the business. So could you speak to a little bit about that creative process and how to unlock that?
Eric Maisel: Yeah, obviously there are many, many things to say but I think that among the most important are maybe the following couple. One is we have to get our mind quieter than it tends to be. We're racing along and so is our mind. And your listeners I'm sure know from Buddhism the idea of "monkey mind" and just a nattering mind that's going on. So what I teach clients- and what I teach my coaches to teach their clients- is that the first step in the creative process, it sounds odd, but the first step is to have people get- learn some techniques for getting their mind quieter. A lot of "would be" creative people aren't even sure if they have any good ideas or any creativity. And they feel like failures or disappointed in themselves because they have this feeling that they have no ideas. But in fact it's almost always that their mind is too noisy and if they can get their mind quiet enough then the ideas would percolate. And suddenly they would realize that they had them all along. So that's (a) about quieting the mind. Second is a really practical one, and that is that I suggest to clients that they do their creating first thing in the morning. For a variety of reasons but it's really hard to have any neurons left at the ends of the kinds of days we spend, and to imagine that you can get to your novel or your painting or your anything after your day job is really unlikely. So one of the most important- on the level of technique or strategy- one of the most important changes that a person needs to make from my point of view is to get their creating on the top of their "To Do" list; which means getting up that hour earlier and actually getting to it, rather than putting it off.
Jason McClain: That's fantastic, thank you. Thank you. If they take those steps and they implement those, those things, what does it make possible in their lives in terms of increased productivity while harnessing their creativity?
Eric Maisel: Well the first thing it does is it relieves their insipient depression. Because most "would be" creative people are disappointed to the level of depression, that they’re not getting their creating done. They had this dream for themselves. They fell in love with writing or imagery or music- at the age of five or six or seven- and they always thought they had it in them to do that sort of thing. And because they're not getting it done they live with this low level depression. I did a whole book on this called The Van Gogh Blues, which is about creativity and this low level depression that so many creative people live with. Because they're not making use of their resources, not manifesting their potential and that makes them unhappy. So the biggest thing that getting back to your creativity does, is it improves your mental health.
Jason McClain: Ah thanks … I've … I'm going to say that's important. [laughter] So if I could re-language that, if I may, it sounds as though you're saying it's their deepest spirit.
Like they're really in touch with that and because it's not being expressed there's some part of them that's just not fully alive. And so they do this slow, low level despair … and sometimes high grade despair. Does that make sense?
Eric Maisel: Absolutely.
Jason McClain: Great, thank you. Thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to say about creativity coaching or the creative process?
Eric Maisel: No, I could do it for hours and hours and hours, though not for a few seconds. So-
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: I'll let it stand there.
Jason McClain: [laughter] Great, thanks Eric. I'm Jason McClain your host on Coaching the Life Coach. I'm here with Eric Maisel speaking about Creativity Coaching and building name recognition. And we're going to take a short break to support our sponsors, and we'll be right back.
Jason McClain: Welcome back to Coaching the Life Coach. Before the break we were speaking about Creativity Coaching. Now I'd just love to- Eric I'd just love to ask you about a marketing strategy that you would recommend that coaches, or practioners of any sort, implement to increase their success. What would that be?
Eric Maisel: Well probably the most important one is getting your newsletter out and getting newsletter subscribers. Usually that’s associated with having a website. And I think that's smart of course to have a website presence and have a clear, easy way on your website for people to subscribe to your newsletter. If you're worried about producing your newsletter- actually you don't have to produce it until you have enough subscribers that you feel compelled to produce it …
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: So you can sort of keep quiet to your newsletter base as it begins to grow. Then when it hits some number that seems attractive to you- 100 or 200 or 1000 whatever the number is- then you start to send out your first newsletter. The obvious benefits of having a newsletter and a subscriber base, is that anything you do is going to have only a certain conversion rate. Not everything you do is going to be of interest to everybody who knows you or everybody you're in touch with. So if you have a new workshop maybe that's of interest to 1 percent or 2 percent of the people you know. And obviously if you have 10,000 people on your list that 1 percent fills us a workshop. But if you have 100 people on your list that 1 percent doesn't fill up a workshop. So it's actually a simple numbers game in a certain sense. The larger your subscriber base to your newsletter, the better chance you have of filling up anything you want to try.
Jason McClain: Great. You know one of the distinctions I love is the idea that who determines the value in the marketplace? Of course it's not me. It's not me going "Oh, I've got this really great idea, everybody should love this workshop." Could you speak a little bit about surveying people before you release a product or before you release an event?
Eric Maisel: Yeah, I don't do anything as formal as surveying, although I have that kind of polling capability with my newsletter. I could sort of have opinion polls, but what I do is I try fliers. I'll say the straightforward thing, "I'm thinking about doing "x" and is there any interest out there? I'm thinking about doing a workshop in Paris about this, you know, who wants to come to Paris July 2008?" And if 30 people email me that means that I can probably fill up a workshop of 10 or 15 people. And if two people email me, then either I didn't really say it well, or people are finding it hard to contemplate the idea of flying to Paris, or whatever. So I will float these ideas without attachment, in a very sort of logistic way, of not even hoping that a lot of people will come forward. But, just to try it out to see where the interest really is. And also when you do that, people when they email you back will say "Well, I can't really come to Paris, but I'm happy to come to Munich." They'll give you information about what's actually of interest to them and then you can use that information to figure out what the real product is.
Jason McClain: Yes, excellent. Thank you so much, and I wanna- I wanna back up. I wanna drill down. You talk about attachment. You mentioned Buddhism a couple of times, and one of my favorite things is the idea of dis-identifying from objects in your awareness, which is pretty much everything that we spend our lives chasing in the western world, if we don't have training of the mind. It could be our finances, it could be our business, it could be ... And somebody might spend a tremendous amount of time investing themselves- their very soul- in developing a product, or developing a book or developing an idea. They get tremendously excited about it but nobody's really interested in it, [laughter] except for them. Could you speak to how to manage the sensations around that kind of attachment to something you've invested so much in?
Eric Maisel: Yeah, that's a great question. I'm often asked about- when I'm asked how many books I've written I always want to say that I've written 45 and had 30 published. Namely, that I have 15 manuscripts sitting around that are perfectly splendid but that aren't published.
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: And you- one has to learn how to let go of the idea that everything one does will work or ought to work. That's actually the antithesis of the creative process. To be a creative person you have to buy into- not on an intellectual level but on a visceral level- that you're going to make big mistakes and messes, and that not everything you do is going to work. I have a new book out called Ten Zen Seconds which is about marrying a long deep breath with a good thought. And one of the 12 thoughts that I teach in the book is I expect nothing; which isn't to say you aren't to have ambitions and goals and dreams and everything else like that, but you don't want to have an expectation of outcomes. It's a very big difference. It's a subtle difference but it's an enormous difference. And people actually need to learn the difference for their own emotional health.
Jason McClain: Could you speak a little bit about that subtlety. Cuz, I love that line and could you speak to that line, that sort of line (for emphasis)?
Eric Maisel: Yeah. I think I can. Maybe the following example will work. If you have a one week vacation and you've set up that vacation in a place where the sun shines 360 days a year. As a statistical matter, you should get sun when you get there, but you might hit a rainy day. And if you were holding the expectation that you can't have a good time without sun, then you have a ruined vacation for no other reason that you were banking on a statistic. Whereas if you were not holding that expectation, you just come and then you do the fun things in the rain or the fun things in the sun, depending on what you get. And the fact that you were needing the sun to shine is probably a statement about how the other 51 weeks of your life aren't working. You've over invested in this week and the necessity of their being sun and that should be a marker for you, a piece of information about the problems you're having in the rest of your life.
Jason McClain: Ah, two quotes come to mind. One is that "How you do one thing is how you do everything." Ah, and another one is "Disappointment requires adequate preparation." [laughter] So back to building your newsletter base. You've talked a little bit about how. You've gotta have traffic to your website; you've gotta have it easily accessible for people. Probably helps to have some sort of give away or ebook so that, you know … you can get this free- maybe it's a very short ebook- but you get this free thing if you sign up for the newsletter or maybe just interest if there ... But it's easy; it's obvious on the website. What does it make possible in people's business when they start to build that list and they get into 1000 or 10,000 or what have you?
Eric Maisel: Many different things start to happen. Most coaches also would love to write because they're creative people probably, at heart. And so they have this book or article or what have you, here in the back of their mind. By sending out this newsletter and by having the number of people grow in the newsletter, you're gonna start to get responses from people. So if what you put on your newsletter is your three step or five step program for "x", people are going to start to write back to you about "Well, I tried your three step program and it's really four steps and the second step ah, doesn't work very well."
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: See, you start to get information and that then becomes the meat of a good book. And you can- a reader can tell the difference in the marketplace between a book that has those- that has that kind of energy behind it and where the author has been in contact with real people, versus a book where the ideas have just come out of the author's head. So the newsletter provides feedback from real readers, which can produce a book, which then builds your platform and your name recognition even more.
Jason McClain: Dan Kennedy, who does Mastermind Marketing groups- I'm sure you're familiar with Dan Kennedy … If you go to Dan Kennedy's website, all it is, is a newsletter sign up form. [laughter] There's almost nothing else there. He's just intent on building his list. So thanks, thanks for your insight and your wisdom. Um and I'm curious- so we're about to wrap up but I have a few more questions for you. Eric where are you geographically? What services or courses do you provide? How can people reach you? Those things.
Eric Maisel: I'm in San Francisco. Ah, my website is: ericmaisel.com. That's M-a-i-s-e-l and all my services are listed there. Also I have a website for my new book, Ten Zen Seconds, which is smartly enough called tenzenseconds.com.
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: And it's a beautiful website. It's the new website so it's got the bells and whistles and I would actually recommend people go there just for the visuals. I offer all kinds of trainings email based so you can be anywhere in the world. I offer an introduction into Creativity coaching training; a coaching visual artist training; a coaching writers training and a coaching performers training. And all of those trainings have two tracks. You can take them as a coach, coaching other people, or you can take them as a writer, or a visual artist or performer and learn how to coach yourself. So those are the primary trainings I do. I do lots of workshops all over the country and the world. I'm going to Canada for a week workshop. I'm doing one in Paris. I go where I'm invited and I go where I can make it work. And other than that I do a lot of writing. I have a monthly column in Art Calendar magazine called Coaching the Artist Within and I have a two minute radio segment on Art of a Song Creativity Radio which can be heard on about 100 different stations. And it's a great radio program especially if you love music.
Jason McClain: Well, thank you Eric. And before I ask you one more question, ah one really juicy question, I just wanna point people to the website of course for Personal Life Media, personallifemedia.com. There's two "l's" in Personal Life Media. You can reach me, your host Jason McClain at [email protected] to ask me any questions about this episode or any other episodes. And to have transcripts of this show, or any other shows on the Personal Life Media network, again personllifemedia.com. And Eric, one more time, Ten Zen Seconds is that 1-0 or t-e-n-z-e-n? Tenzenseconds.com. Great. Can people sign up for your newsletter through that? Ah, he's nodding "Yes!" OK.
Eric Maisel: [laughter]
Jason McClain: [laughter]
Eric Maisel: This was silent radio.
Jason McClain: [laughter] That's right, that's right. Ah, so I just have one more question for you and that is: If you were to leave people with one organizing principle, one really significant distinction that would make a difference in their lives, in their business and their relationships today, what would that be?
Eric Maisel: Well, we have the model really for thousands of years but it also came back very strongly in the '50s and '60's and '70's, of seeking meaning; the idea of being a seeker. I think it's time to move beyond that idea and to move to the idea that I call "making meaning" rather than seeking meaning. Because I think we actually know our most cherished principles pretty well. We know what we want to stand for, and then we just have to manifest what we want to stand for; in the next minute, in the next hour, in the next day, in the next month. And I think this movement from seeking meaning or not being sure where meaning resides, to actively making meaning to passionately making meaning is a big step, in a persons both mental health and in the ability to get work done. Especially coaching work or any professional work where you're trying to build a practice or be an entrepreneur, you have to make your own meaning.
Jason McClain: Excellent. Thank you for that. And what that means, is it's the end of our show! So thanks for listening. Again Eric Maisel, thank you so much for joining us Eric. TenZenSeconds.com. Spelled out t-e n-z-e-n, seconds as in divisions of minutes.
I'm Jason McClain your host and your guide in the 21st century marketplace. I'll talk to you next week.
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