This post is part of The Edmonton Do Gooder Project, a series of profiles on Edmonton folks doing good in creative ways.

1. What is the good result you are hoping to create?

 I see so many solutions out there to the problems in our world – things like green alternatives and permaculture. But if people don’t know about them, it’s like they don’t exist, and then these good things don’t end up happening. Another piece of it is that if people don’t know about the offerings of the positive change makers, they can’t support them. If they do know about them, they can support them (by buying their products, using their services, etc.) and the change makers can then sustain themselves.

2. What is your approach for making this happen?

What marketing is, basically, is telling people about stuff. Most conscious change makers seem to be sort of allergic to marketing. By offering them a version of it that feels good, comfortable, and do-able, I can help make that connection happen between the amazing solutions they offer and the people who can take advantage of them. In this way, the change makers can reach people who can support them; enable them to both make positive change and to sustain themselves.

I do this in a variety of ways; workshops; one-on-one consulting in person or over the phone; my blog; and online videos.

3. What makes this issue/area the best fit for you personally?

As long as I can remember, I’ve had a really entrepreneurial nature, and I’m a marketing nerd. Early on, I learned a lot of sales skills that felt pushy and gross. I did it anyway, but didn’t sleep well. I spent ten years unpacking that. I was never cut out to do a regular ‘job’, so I had to figure out a way to have the freedom I needed.

I also had a history of activism. I went to a Waldorf school, and my mom distributed homeopathic medicine when I was growing up, so I always had some connection to what you might call the ‘hippy’ community and mindset. Later, I worked for years with Youth for Environmental Sanity. I always connected to that kind of scene.

I started out targeting the green and progressive demographic in my business, and holistic-minded people is who showed up, so that’s sort of evolved into being the group I work with the most. There’s a shared language between those groups, and I feel like I speak it.

4. How will you know if you’re making progress?

I don’t do enough in-depth work with people to track individual results. I am often told, though, that marketing doesn’t feel gross anymore after working with me. It’s no longer arcane. It starts to seem like something they can actually do. My role is to open that door.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

My blog is very popular, with a lot of followers and the respect of colleagues. I also have an email list of over 6,000 addresses without ever having had to push it in an overt way; it’s grown organically. I’ve reached thousands of people live at workshops, as well. Those things feel like successes.

Next up, I have several products on the brink of being ready. I would like to work on doing more distance stuff, like over the phone. It feels like that’s the next level – I’m working on getting the infrastructure to do that, and it’s really exciting.

I keep wondering about scalability. The human interaction between workshop participants is a big part of the benefit. Is there a way for that to be supported without my presence? Can that be a movement?

I’d also like to increase the open rate on my emails – I feel like I could leverage my email list better.

In terms of a mistake I’ve learned from, I know that my workshops were terrible at first. It was almost 100% me lecturing. I started out charging a lot, and I’m not sure if the value was there to justify that. Over time, I’ve made changes to address that. Now, the workshops are 60-70% exercises and group work, and I’ve moved to a pay-what-you-can fee system, as opposed to under- or over-charging for workshops.

 I tried pay-what-you-can for one-on-one services, and it didn’t work – it just didn’t feel right. In a group, it averages out, but with an individual, it can lead to resentment. I’ve learned that it’s important that my business feeds me, rather than draining me.

 There are a million tiny things I’ve done wrong and learned from: I could have developed my informational products sooner, I’ve learned to take a softer approach to helping people niche-market, etc.

 I think you have to be constantly adjusting. The first 5-6 years of my business were about me refining and clarifying my point of view about marketing. The learning and tinkering is ongoing, and that’s a good thing.