Building Your Business http://www.kepler.edu Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:14:26 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb How to Create a Budget for Your Small (Holistic) Business http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/468-create-a-budget http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/468-create-a-budget How to Create a Budget for Your Small (Holistic) Business

Let’s face it, unless you are independently wealthy, if you want to sustain yourself as a holistic, astrological business owner, you have to earn money. Unfortunately, many holistic business owners shy away from financial discussions. In this article, we’re breaking the taboo.

Understand Your Income and Expenses

The first step in creating a financial plan for your business is to understand your sources of income and expenses. You’ll need a list of your sources of income and expenses to begin building your budget. 

Income

Your primary income will come from the services and products sold by your business. For a holistic business, examples of products and services may include:

  • Sessions/Consultations
  • Providing services at special events
  • Workshop or class registration
  • Speakers fees
  • Writing Articles
  • Books
  • Audios/Videos
  • Sales of goods

While calculating your estimated income, if you are a holistic practitioner you’ll soon realize that the number of service hours you can provide is fixed — there are so many hours in a day.  So, if you plan to increase your revenue, you’ll either need to raise your prices, or diversify what you provide by hiring additional staff to provide services, or by selling products.

Expenses

In addition to understanding your business’ income, you must understand the expense side of the ledger.

As the owner of a small business, your business should pay you a salary, your payroll taxes and benefits. Budgeting to pay yourself a salary is essential to the sustainability of your business.

Your business will also have a variety of fixed and variable expenses related to the operations of your business. Common operational expenses for a holistic business include:

  • Advertising (includes website, business cards, paid advertisements, etc.)
  • Auto/Fuel
  • Bank Service Charges
  • Certification/Continuing Education
  • Conferences
  • Dues/Memberships
  • Donations/Contributions
  • Entertainment
  • Insurance
  • Library/Subscriptions
  • Licenses & Permits
  • Loan Interest
  • Maintenance
  • Office Supplies
  • Postage/Shipping
  • Professional Services
  • Rent
  • Taxes (Federal/State/Local)
  • Telephone
  • Travel
  • Utilities
  • Other

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have additional expenses that affect your business balance sheet. These may include:

  • Capital expenses (Computers/software, fixtures/renovation, furniture, office equipment, etc.)
  • Inventory/cost of goods sold
  • Loan principal
  • Owner’s Draw (when the owner withdraws profit from the equity of the company)

Creating a Financial Forecast

Once you’ve mapped out your income and expenses, you’re ready for the next step: estimating your cash flow over time. It takes time to build a business: you’ll need to build your client base, set up your business processes, and develop your marketing campaigns.  In order for your business to succeed, you’ll need to be realistically estimate the speed of the growth of your income, as well as control costs.

If your business is just starting up and your income is still small, you’ll need strategies to reduce your expenses. Cost-cutting measures to consider while you are just starting out:

  • Keep your day job. Work on your business start up as a second job until it’s financially sustainable.
  • Work out of your home, or share office space with a similar holistic business.
  • Use no frills business cards and other marketing materials
  • Lease or buy used furniture and equipment
  • Market to people you know and avoid large advertising expenses.
  • If you sell products, sell on consignment so you don’t have to invest in inventory.
  • Do as much of the work for your business as you can yourself. Hire professionals only when necessary.

Depending on the nature of your business, you’ll want to create a financial plan to cover the first 1-3 years of operations. You may break down your income/expenses on a quarterly or monthly basis, so you can plan for your growth, and track your progress toward meeting your goals.

To help you with your forecasting download the Budget Worksheet excel spreadsheet to help you. Just add and subtract income and expense lines to match your own list.

Set Up and Maintain a Bookkeeping Routine

To manage your small business finances and determine whether you are meeting your income and expense targets, you will need to create an accounting system that allows you to collect, aggregate, report and analyze your financial transactions.

There are numerous software solutions on the market to manage accounting for small businesses.  QuickBooks, one of the most commonly used accounting packages, offers a free version (Simple Start QuickBooks) for new businesses.  There are also online software-as-a-service products such as Kashoo. Take some time to do some internet research to find a product that meets your business needs and budget.

Once you have chosen your accounting platform, you’ll need create a schedule for keeping your business books up-to-date. A simple calendar may include:

  • Weekly – At the end of each week update deposits and expenses, file receipts
  • Monthly – At the end of each month reconcile bank statements and pay monthly bills
  • Quarterly – Check in where you are on budget goals and estimated taxes
  • Yearly – Close out your annual books and pay taxes

If you keep track of your finances as you go along (as opposed to saving everything up until the last minute), you’ll be able to quickly assess how well you are staying on track toward your financial goals, and make adjustments as needed.

Seek Professional Financial Advice

While this advice can help you get started with your business financial planning, it’s no substitute for professional financial advice. There are books available on small business accounting. A bookkeeper or an accountant can advise you on local or state regulations affecting your business, help you set up your financial recordkeeping and advise you on tax schedules.

One of the best ways to find a financial professional is to talk to other members of your holistic profession and ask for a referral. Many cities also have a small business assistance center, which may have a list of bookkeeping/accounting professionals who specialize in small businesses. Business coaches are also another source of referrals for financial professionals.

Even if it is an additional expense, hiring a professional, especially in the start of phase of your business, can help you avoid pitfalls and errors that can cost you far more later down the line.

Questions for Consideration:

  • If you’ve been a holistic business owner for a while, how long did it take you to get your business off the ground? What advice would you give a new holistic business?
  • If you own a business, what financial recordkeeping system to you use? Do you have a special routine? Would you recommend it to others?
  • budget
  • income and expenses
  • holistic business
  • consulting
  • finances
  • business success
  • business development
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    donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Tue, 16 Jul 2013 02:49:58 +0000
    Essential Elements of a Holistic Business Plan http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/458-essential-elements-of-a-holistic-business-plan http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/458-essential-elements-of-a-holistic-business-plan Planning

    A few months ago I heard a holistic practitioner arguing that a business plan is a waste of time. If you don’t need to make money from your business, that’s probably true. But, if you need to earn a living, business planning is one of the most essential ingredients for your success. A business plan outlines what clients and customers want, and how your business will meet those needs in a way that enables you to earn a living. If you can’t answer those questions for yourself, your business is far more likely to fail.

    Most holistic businesses are small shops – you’re either a sole proprietorship or working with just a few staff members. Such small operations don’t need 100-age business plans, but they do need a plan that covers the basics.This article distills the essential ingredients that you’ll need to answer for your holistic business plan. Depending on the nature of your business, you should be able to answer the following questions in 2-5 pages.

    Holistic Business Plan Outline

    Executive Summary

    This is a several paragraph summary of all of the elements of your business plan. This may be first in a presentation of a business plan, but it will be the last part of the plan you write. Finish all of the other sections, then summarize the most important points from each in the executive summary. It will give you a chance to crystalize your plan in your mind into its most essential elements.

    Customers’ Needs

    In this section, you will explore who your customers are, and what needs they have. In order for a business to be successful, it must provide something customers need or want. Who are your customers? How do you know what they want/need? What aspect of that need do your services/products satisfy? We’ve been working on this section together in chapters 1 and 2 of our Adventure, here is where you’ll analyze your customers (your target market) and identify your personal market niche.

    Products and Services

    For most small business owners, this is the easiest section to fill out: what products and services does your business provide? The most important part of the description is how your products and services meet the needs of your customers you identified in the previous section.

    Competition

    Now it’s time to look at what other businesses in your service area provide products/services that address the same customer need. Competitors can be other people, or even other ways of addressing the customer need/want. You need to understand what your competition is, and why your business provides the better solution for the members of your personal market niche. You need to be convinced yourself that you have what those in your market niche are seeking, if you expect them to believe the same thing about you.

    Marketing Strategy

    Your marketing strategy outlines how you will reach out to the members of your market niche and tell them about your products/services. Holistic businesses often seem to have the hardest time with this area; we don’t want to appear to “pushy” or “money grubbing.” But we are all in a helping profession. If your customers can’t find you, you can’t help them! Not only are you not fulfilling your personal mission, your business can’t grow. This section is continually evolving and changing as we learn new ways to reach out to our market niche, and measure the effectiveness of our efforts. We’ll also spend most of our 52-week adventure exploring marketing strategies for holistic businesses – we’ll be sharing ideas with you and you can share ideas with each other.

    Company Structure & Operations Procedures

    Imagine you had to hire someone to take over your business while you took a leave of absence. What would they need to know about how it works? In this section you’ll outline how your business is structured. Just a few of the questions you’ll want to look at include:

    • Who owns your business?
    • What are your qualifications?
    • Do you have employees?
    • What are their qualifications?
    • Do you have an office?
    • What supplies do you need?
    • Do you have physical or online products for sale? How do your track your inventory?
    • What are your hours?
    • How to you schedule clients/customers?
    • How to you track your clients' history?
    • What kind of follow-up do you have in place to keep your clients/customers engaged?
    • How do you do keep track of bookkeeping?
    • Who’s responsible for marketing efforts?

    Financial Summary

    Another critical piece of the puzzle for business success or failure, you must have a budget forecast that outlines how much your business needs to make in order for you to be able to operate it successfully. As a small business owner, you should not only be making enough to pay yourself a salary, but making a profit that you can use to invest in growing your business or in other future endeavors. Your financial plan needs to include in detail:

    • How much do you charge for products/services?
    • How much does it cost you to produce products/services
    • How much do you need to spend on operations (Office space? Marketing? Bookkeeping? Taxes? etc.)
    • Based on how much you charge for services vs. how much they cost to produce, how much do you need to sell in order to break even? To make a profit?
    • If you aren’t selling that much now, how long will it take for you to reach that amount of sales? How much extra would you need to spending on marketing, etc. to reach your goals?
    • If you aren’t reaching your goals, what will you do?

    If you can answer these questions for your own business, your chances for success increase exponentially. Depending on where you are in your process and how much information you need to gather, writing a business plan can take a few hours, a weekend or a month. You may want to go back to the previous weeks of our adventure and review information about your target market and market niche, or spent some time getting your office processes in order. If you would like additional information, the Internet also provides a wealth of other (often free) resources to help you get started.

    Even better, recruit some friends and colleges to serve as a sounding board for your plan. It always helps to have a mastermind of people to help you clarify and strengthen your plan. The clearer your intention, the more likely you will be successful. Perhaps you could trade business plans with a friend and keep each other motivated through the process.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    • Have you written a business plan for your holistic business. Why or why not?
    • Looking over these elements of a business plan, what do you think are the most challenge sections for you? Why? What could you do to make it easier?
    • Who do you know who would discussion your business plan with you? Who do you know who needs to write one of their own?
    • business plan
    • holistic business
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      donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Tue, 04 Jun 2013 14:47:59 +0000
      No Buts Allowed: How to Eliminate Clutter and Increase Productivity http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/453-increase-productivity http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/453-increase-productivity Messy Desk!

      We live in a wondrous moment in history. We have more information at our fingertips than our ancestors could ever imagine. But limitless information is also a curse. Too much information leads to indecision, inability to focus and mental numbness. We’ve all seen the symptoms of information overload time and again in our clients and in ourselves.

      Successful people are those who learn to harness information in a way that propels them toward the fulfillment of their definite chief aim. Last week we discussed the first step in this process: how to clarify your definite chief aim. This week we’ll look at the next step: creating the space in which to manifest your heart’s desire.

      By Axel Herman Haig (1835-1921) (English Wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe creative force is the cosmic “YES!”  Unfortunately too often when someone speaks of their dreams, their story is “Yes, I want to do that, but…”  This “Yes, but..” attitude often stalls our manifestation plans before they even get off the ground.  So this week, we are going to clear the decks of all the pesky “buts” so we can ride the waves of “YES!”

      Don’t multitask. Do one thing.

      In our high-speed world, the temptation to try and do multiple things at once is enormous. But study after study has shown that productivity dramatically decreases when multitasking. The mind flits from one tasking to another, lacking the mental force to accomplish any of them.

      Practice cultivating mindful attention by doing one thing at a time. Start with something simple. For example, when you do the dishes; do the dishes. Don’t think about your grocery lists or tomorrow’s meetings or yesterdays arguments. Just do the dishes. Pay attention to the water, its temperature, the weight of the dishes, the sounds.

      Through practice, you’ll develop you’re powers of concentration, which will serve you in all areas of your life. You’ll also realize that you can recharge your mind in any moment just from being completely present in that moment.  Try it for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

      Love it, Use it or Lose it.

      Clearing out physical clutter can be an act of sympathetic magic for clearing out mental clutter. In order to manifest something new, you need to make space for it to occur. If you don’t love something or use something, why are you wasting energy by holding on to it?  Let it go.

      Set aside some time each day to clear out the physical clutter from your life. Get three boxes, one for “give away/sell,” one for ‘recycle” and one for “trash.” Go through your work places, living spaces even your car.  If you’ve got a lot of clutter, you may need to divide up the project – one room at a time or one hour at a time.

      Hold the intention that by removing the clutter you are making space in your life for something new and you will create a vortex that begins attracting new energies and possibilities that support your goals.

      Everything has a Place, Everything in its Place.

      Now that you’ve gotten rid of the inessentials, it’s time to organize your resources to support the accomplishment of your “definite chief aim.” Books on getting organized and time management boil down to the same advice: create a structure where everything has a place and everything is in its place.

      Why is this structure important? Because it has to do with how we project our clear intentions into the physical world.  Like a tea ceremony in which every action has significance, our everyday space can become infused with intentions which support us toward the achievement of our definite chief aim. Also, the act of showing up at the same place or the same time for something makes it easier to form the habits that carry us along like a river’s current toward our goals.

      Create a workspace devoted to your business, a room or a corner. Look at what tasks you need to perform (email, writing, reading, etc.) and create workstations for these tasks. Your workstation should include all the items you need for the task close at hand, so it supports you in your task.

      The same goes for managing your time. Time is like space, only it manifests sequentially rather than simultaneously. Time-boxing is a system that encourages scheduling your tasks in specific segments of time to maximize efficiency.  Some highlights of the time-boxing method:

      • Set aside quality time to work toward your goals every day.
      • Set time limits for how long you will work on a task. Learn when things are “good enough” and move on to the next item on the list.
      • Eliminate procrastination. If it’s important, just do it. If it’s not, get rid of it.
      • Bundle small tedious tasks together to keep them from interfering with more important tasks
      • Schedule times to read and respond to email and phone calls. Turn off email and your phone during the blocks you’ve assigned to high-importance tasks

      There are many tools available to help you manage your to-do lists and schedule. Because they sync across my iPhone, iPad and laptop, I use Google calendar and OmniFocus. I also use a 31-day tickler file for items that involve paper.  Find something that fits your personal style to help you stay on track.

      Stick to Your Plan

      Once you’ve cleared the decks, and set up the spaces and schedules to work toward your definite chief aim, now you need to work the plan. Each day, outline your chief aims for the day.  Then concentrate on doing those things. You’ll be exercising your mental muscles all the way from inattention, to concentration of effort to manifestation. With each successful completion of a task, you’ll be more adept at mastering the next task.

      When new information or opportunity comes your way, you can use the following rule:

      • If it doesn’t aid you in attaining your “definite chief aim,” toss it.
      • If you can do it in 2 minutes or less, just do it.
      • If it takes longer than 2 minutes, schedule it

      For larger projects that seem insurmountable, break them down into smaller components and tackle them one at a time. If you devote a little time each day, you will eventually achieve your aim.

      In order to stay organized, set aside 15 or 30 minutes each day to check in with yourself. How did you do on your definite chief aims for the day? What adjustments do you need to make? What are your new aims for the coming day? Writing down your goals and your progress is the single best way to guarantee your successful achievement of them.

      Focus on the Positive

      Taming information overload in your life is an ongoing process.  Some days will be more productive than others. Never waste time beating yourself up. Instead maintain a positive outlook and focus on your successes. Make tasks a game, and see how much you can get done. Always reward yourself when you finish a task, meet one of your goals or your milestones.

      Cultivate Balance

      In this 24/7 world of instant communication, we all struggle to keep work and the rest of our lives in their places. If you do some of your work at home, keep work in your workspace. If you’ve got work spread all over your home, you will feel like work is overrunning your life. Same goes for your business hours; make sure you make time for your personal life and stick to it with intention as well. There’s nothing sweeter than playtime savored with your full attention!

      Questions for Discussion

      • What are the “buts” in your life that keep you from saying Yes! to your success?
      • What tools have you found helpful to manage information overload?
      • How do you reward your successes?
      • productivity
      • mindfulness
      • clutter
      • work tips
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        donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Wed, 01 May 2013 23:46:20 +0000
        How to Create Your Holistic Market Niche http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/448-holistic-market-niche http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/448-holistic-market-niche How to Create Your Holistic Market Niche

        We know there are millions of customers searching in the holistic marketplace for ideas, products and services to make their lives healthier, more meaningful and purposeful.  Now let’s start to explore how we as holistic practitioners can tap into this marketplace to build successful and prosperous businesses.

        I’ve recently finished reading “The Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill. Written in 1925, this groundbreaking work is the forerunner to all of today’s popular books on entrepreneurship and the law of attraction. Hill conducted extensive research and interviews with business and industry leaders of his day in order to distill their common traits into 16 key ingredients for success. “Singleness of purpose,” what he also called a “definite chief aim,” tops his list. Hill explains why:

        [Each person] acts always in harmony with the dominating thoughts of his or her mind. Any definite chief aim that is deliberately fixed in the mind and held there, with the determination to realize it, finally saturates the entire subconscious mind until it automatically influences the physical action of the body toward the attainment of the purpose. … The subconscious mind may be likened to a magnet, and when it has been vitalized and thoroughly saturated with any definite purpose it has a decided tendency to attract all that is necessary for the fulfillment of that purpose.

        Hill made it his own definite chief aim to help others uncover their purpose in life and fulfill their potential. He believed our best chance for success in life comes from the pursuit of what we love to do. Consequently, he interviewed thousands of people to help them discover their definite chief aim, asking questions like:

        • What do you love to do?
        • What can do better than anyone else?
        • What makes you unique?
        • Remember a time in your life when you were happy and satisfied. What were you doing?
        • Visualize your ideal life in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. What inspires you most?

        For a holistic business, having a “definite chief aim” goes hand-in-hand with identifying your particular niche market. Says Peter Geisheker in Niche Marketing Strategy: “A niche market is group of consumers or businesses that all have a very specific need or want.” By providing exactly what customers are looking for, demand for products and services naturally follows.

        Laura Lake in Defining Your Niche Market suggests some questions for better understanding your own niche:

        • What is it that your current clients have in common?
        • How do you set yourself apart from the competition?
        • What is different about the services or products that you offer?
        • What are the “extras” that you bring to the market?

        Also consider your geographic area — if your services are hands-on, your niche may be more local. But even if your business can sell worldwide, don’t be afraid to focus narrowly. It gives you a way to concentrate your efforts and meet the maximum number of true potential clients — the ones who are looking for exactly what you offer.

        And now it’s time to write down your niche statement. Your niche statement needs to communicate how what you offer will help improve your clients’ quality of life. It speaks not about what you do, rather about what your clients’ need and how you can help. The distinction may seem subtle, but it makes all the difference in the world to your eventual success.

        Susan Reid in How to Define Your Niche for Your New Business shared a fabulous formula for writing a niche statement.“There are just four things you need to include in your niche statement: your niche, their problem, your solution, your promise. Stated simply, the niche statement formula: niche + problem + solution + promise = success. Here’s what it looks like in more detail:

        I/we work with __________________________(your niche),
        who haven’t/need to ____________________ (their problem).
        If you’re ready to/it’s time to _____________ (your solution),
        I/we can/will ___________________________ (your promise).

        In going through this process, you may discover that you have several market niches for different aspects of your business. That’s normal. But for purposes of this Adventure, I suggest you start with just one.  It will help you harness your power of concentration if you focus your energy on a single, “definite chief aim.” Once you’ve mastered the principles on one aim, you can confidently move on to another.

        Once you’ve written down your clear and concise statement, place it where you can see it. Look at it every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you awaken.  Since your subconscious is more open to suggestion at the threshold between sleep and wakefulness, these two times of the day are the magic moments for impressing your desires deeply into your mind.  Do this every day, and in just a few weeks you’ll begin to see shifts occurring in your life.

        In upcoming articles we’ll begin to formulate a plan to bring your “definite chief aim” into reality, so stay tuned!

        Questions to Consider

        • What is your definite chief aim in life? In business?
        • What is your niche marketing statement for your holistic business?
        • How has focusing on your niche marketing statement  changed your daily routines?
        • professionalism
        • marketplace
        • business success
        • business development
        • holistic business
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          donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:56:35 +0000
          Seeking the Seekers - Discovering the New Age Marketplace http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/446-discover-marketplace http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/446-discover-marketplace Seeking the Seekers - Discovering the New Age Marketplace

          A few weeks ago I attended a social gathering of holistic practitioners. The conversation drifted (as it often does in such groups) to how to “get more clients” and make a sustainable living.

          My companions were compassionate souls who truly want to make a difference in the world. But as I listened, I could hear echoes of the shadow projections and fears of the business. Things like:

          • Holistic services are considered too “woo-woo” and people aren’t interested
          • Practitioners feel like there’s a scarcity of clients, and are afraid to work with other practitioners because they might lose business

          As we embark on the adventure of building a business, let’s start by scouting the terrain. By looking at the latest demographics and psychographics on the people we seek to serve, maybe we can begin to dispel these myths and begin our journey unafraid.

          Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability

          Clients for our holistic businesses fall into what marketers call the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) demographic. LOHAS consumers are searching for alternatives that focus on health and personal development, the environment and social justice. In 2008, the US LOHAS market accounted for 41 million adults (19%), with a total market value of goods and services of approximately $209 billion in 2007.

          LOHAS consumers, called “cultural creatives,” by author Paul H. Ray, tend to see the interconnectedness of life and world events and “demand products of equal quality that are also virtuous.” According to a website dedicated to the LOHAS market:

          [LOHAS Consumers] believe there is commonality that transcends any operational and structural differences. The interconnections between global economies, cultures, environments, and political systems play a large role in the holistic worldview of the typical LOHAS Consumer, but equally important are the interconnections of mind, body and spirit within individuals. This focus on Personal Development, with the ultimate goal of achieving his or her full human potential, is of utmost concern to the LOHAS consumer. The current growth in this market group strongly supports the notion that spirituality is no longer relegated to the New Age periphery but is undeniably migrating to the center of mainstream cultural awareness.

          New Vision of Health

          Members of this demographic are willing to spend their time and money on solutions to increase their quality of life. The Center for Disease control released a study on the use of “complementary and alternative medicine.” In 2002, it found that of American adults:

          • 18.9% have bought natural products
          • 11.6% practice deep breathing exercises
          • 7.6% meditate
          • 7.5% use chiropractic care
          • 5.1% practice yoga
          • 5.0% have had a massage
          • 3.5% use diet-based therapies

          Overall, more than 62% of Americans in 2002 used some “alternative” approach to health, including those who employed prayer and/or positive thinking to improve their personal health.

          Spiritual Seeking

          Cultural creatives are also actively seeking alternative worldviews that reflect their holistic vision and search for meaning. In his book Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion, author Wade Clark Roof, found that approximately 14 percent of baby boomers were in the process of making a dramatic break with traditional American religions. According to the Journal of Religion and Society:

          [Who Roof calls] Metaphysical Believers and Seekers place a radical stress on bodily experiences in their spirituality… Although the majority … were raised as conservative Protestants, they have morphed into a grab bag of religious identities – neo-pagans, Wiccans, goddess worshippers, Zen Buddhists, Theosophists, nature-lovers and New Agers. Many have hyphenated identities, such as eco-spiritualists or vegetarian-Unitarians.

          Studies have also shown that the market for “new age” and “metaphysical” subjects is increasing, especially among younger demographics. According to a 2003 Harris poll:

          • 51% of the public, including 58% of women, and 65% of those aged 25 to 29 but only 27% of those aged 65 and over believe in ghosts.
          • 31% of the public believes in astrology including 36% of women and 43% of those aged 25 to 29 but only 17% of people aged 65 and over, and 25% of men.
          • 27% believe in reincarnation, that they were once another person. This includes 40% of people aged 25 to 29 but only 14% of people aged 65 and over.

          Another study from Religious Tolerance (2006) found that identification with Wicca and other neo-pagan religions is doubling about every 18 months. Growth is particularly obvious among some teenagers, who are rejecting what they feel is autocracy, paternalism, sexism, homophobia, and insensitivity to the environment

          Questions for Consideration

          Look around you…If one in five adults is actively seeking ways to make their lives healthier and more meaningful, why are holistic practitioners afraid to talk about what we do?

          If the market for our products and services totals more than $200 billion and growing, why do we fear that there aren’t enough clients to go around?

          If new age consumers are looking for ways to transform their lives and the world, how can holistic practitioners explain what we do in ways that are meaningful and compelling?

          • professionalism
          • business
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            donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Mon, 01 Apr 2013 18:56:26 +0000
            Yes, You Can Be a Successful Professional Astrologer http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/387-yes-you-can-be-a-successful-professional-astrologer http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/387-yes-you-can-be-a-successful-professional-astrologer Yes, You Can Be a Successful Professional Astrologer

            At every gathering of astrologers I attend, it seems at some point I hear the same laments:

             

            “It’s impossible to make a living as an astrologer.”
            “No one wants to pay for an astrology reading.”
            “Astrology will always be on the fringe of society.”

             

            Why do we say these things so ourselves? What makes us believe it? What are the facts behind these opinions?

            I say to all astrologers – Let’s revolutionize the way we think about what we do.

            So, let’s start with some facts. Did you know:

            • In 2003, approximately 31 percent of adults in the U.S. said they “believe in” astrology – that’s more than 67 million people
            • In 2007, 41 million adults (1 in 5 Americans), purchased goods and services related to a “lifestyle of health, sustainability and holistic vision” with a total market value of approximately $209 billion. By 2011, the market has grown a whopping 69 percent to $355 billion.
            • In 2011, 1,278,400 Americans list on their Facebook profile that they “like” astrology

            Even a casual glance at those statistics should make it clear: there are millions of people around the world interested in astrology. That means millions of potential clients for astrologers and customers for astrology-related products.

             

            Now compare these facts to this:

            • In 2009, The Mountain Astrologer distributed 17,600 copies
            • In 2009, the membership of ISAR, NCGR, AFAN, AFA, CVA, OPA and AYA totaled less than 3,000 combined
            • Fewer than 500 astrologers in the U.S. claim to make astrology their full-time profession.

             

            Do the math. Let’s say each one of those professional astrologers saw an average of 10 clients each week. Assuming no one ever took a vacation even to go to UAC, together, they could see 250,000 clients in a year. That still leaves an untapped market of millions of potential clients.

             

            So, what are we doing wrong?

             

            Over my years observing the astrology community, I’ve noticed that astrologers too easily fall into the traps of vanity and self-pity. 

            • Vanity (our public excuse): “Astrology is awesome, so if I’m not successful it must be because ‘society’ is against astrology.”
            • Self-pity (our secret fear): “I don’t have any clients, so I must not be good enough/deserving enough/etc.”

            But alas, as long as we wallow in either vanity or self-pity, we have no power to change our destiny.

             

            Dare I paraphrase? The fault, dear astrologers, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.

             

            Astrologers need to look at the facts and not our fears. We need to be honest about how we are sabotaging our efforts. We must understand what is needed to make an astrology business successful, and learn how to get it. For example:

            • We need to make a case for astrology in a way that speaks to what people desire
            • We need to package our services and products in a way that appeals to customers desires
            • We need to acquire the knowledge and tools to run small businesses effectively
            • We need to write business plans that plot a roadmap for business success

             

            The solution is simple, though implementing it is not necessarily easy.

             

            If you are up for the challenge, Kepler College is offering a 10-week workshop just for you: “How to Build Your Successful Astrology Business.” Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the professional practice of astrology, chances are you are wrangling with some form of these issues. (Heck, my professional background is in business planning and marketing, and building an astrology practice has been hard work for me too!) 

             

            We've brought together seven of the world’s most successful professional astrologers --  Eric Francis, Adam Gainsburg, Georgia Stathis, Susie Cox, Rick Levine, Benjamin Bernstein and Bob Mulligan. Each has shattered expectations and proven that it is possible to make a full-time living doing astrology.  And they are willing to share the secrets of their success with us.

             

            By the end of the workshop, you will have written a business plan for your own astrology business. You’ll have developed practical business tools you’ll need to prosper. And you’ll be part of a mastermind group that both cheerleads you as well as challenges your assumptions.

             

            If you are ready and committed to becoming a successful professional astrologer, you won’t want to miss this class.

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            donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Sat, 11 Feb 2012 04:04:30 +0000