What I've learned in 3 years of teaching a course on online audience-growth and business

 This is a picture of a streetcar in Lisbon, it is here because I am nostalgic for Lisbon

This is a picture of a streetcar in Lisbon, it is here because I am nostalgic for Lisbon

What I've learned over 3 years of teaching a course (THRILL) on growing an online audience and business for weird, magical, spiritual people...

... is that there's hard parts. 

So much so that I think about changing the name of THRILL to "how to be messy af and still kill it in online business."


Because there's sticky, dirty, nasty, confronting and scary parts of the process that are absolutely essential for an entrepreneur to figure out, and that have to come from your own deep creative choice.

Parts of the process that no "easy 5-step blueprint!" or "client-getting email swipe files!" can save you from. 

If you're reading this, I figure you've probably been a bit burnt in the past by finding out that not everyone with a glossy Facebook ad with pictures of laptops and pink flowers has meaningful solutions to your business quandaries.

So let's take a closer look at the challenges and the actual way forward.

1) The first hard part is getting clear on exactly what you're offering, and to whom - and the answer to that question is never cut and dry.

It usually involves some deep wrestling with questions of identity, purpose, meaning.

It involves figuring out what "your people" actually want / need from you vs. what your mind tells you it would make you look good to offer...

... and it usually involves an ego death of realizing that there's waaaaay more people "like you" out there than you ever imagined - that you're not *that* unique...

.... and that that's awesome, actually. Because all those people out there who are "like you" spiritually, emotionally - can benefit from the insights and stories you have to share.

2) The second hard part - paradoxically -  is finding the sheer boldness to "put yourself out there" as a person with a vision / message worth paying attention to.

This usually involves confronting some painful internal blocks around visibility / honesty / shame.

And it also includes a big ego death around being willing to just publish (articles, podcasts, youtube videos) without everything being "just right" or "totally figured out." 

We all seem to want to step into the big online platform / business arena with a glossy polish.

I can tell you, my first few websites were incredibly ugly and sometimes I still don't like the ones I have.

It's great to put effort into making something visually inviting - but it's also a bad idea to get so hung up on looking "together" that you don't actually say anything interesting and therefore get zero attention.

3) The third hard part is learning to express your insights / stories / message in a way that others can "get it"....

... which is usually quite different than the way that makes you seem smart or wise or "together."

And it's an unrelenting, messy process of digging your most tender insights out of you and splashing them around the internet.

This is what works to attract people to your services / courses *whom you actually like* by the way.

.... lolz, so now that the time is coming for me to offer THRILL again in January 2018 ---

-- there's a part of my brain that's going "yeeeeeesh, I dunno if I want to tackle this with a group of people again!"

You see, I sometimes get hung up on the false idea that it's *my job* to figure out the answers to all these questions for my course participants, to save them from the creative struggle.

But it's just not.

And what I really need to do is just be willing to be present with folks (including you, perhaps)? as they go through the labor pains of bringing fresh brilliance into the world. 

I can ask probing questions, give penetrating assignments, and offer reflections of what I see...

... but I can never *decide* for another person, and SO MUCH about creating an online persona / business....

... has to do with just  *deciding*, and running with it, and seeing what happens, and then deciding again.

Decide to look bad.

Decide to embarrass yourself.

Decide to do your best and figure it out as you go along.

Decide to ask for what you want and be delighted to hear "no."

Decide to do it wrong.

Decide to be messy as fuck.

Decide to tell the most sensational truths you know.


Posted on November 25, 2017 .

The infinite weirdness of being an online personality


Sometimes I get nostalgic for the days when I was first building my online presence.

Before I had any kind of prominence as a coach or teacher - when I felt fully comfortable being a gigantic bleeding mess all over my Facebook wall.

When I felt comfortable sharing the gory details of my life. 

I'm way less of a gigantic bleeding mess these days - my friends sometimes reflect to me how "together" and "grown up" I am. 

And it's true, I've forged ahead out of spending the first decade of my adult life in poverty and abusive relationships...

... and now after some damn hard work I've got a cozy house and a sweet partner and a fireplace and somedays I do some very adult things like call my accountant - and then I cook and read astrology books on the couch and life is perfect. 

Yet the price of being so "together" and "grown up,"  is a loss of spontaneous expression.

There's so much I would like to relate and describe which would be purely self-indulgent, and these days I'm always so aware of the folks reading my stuff and the need to provide valuable insight, etc., etc., ....

... that I refrain from describing things like: the smirk and dimples on Taia's (my husband's) face and how they drive me crazy - in a good way when we're having fun, and in a sinister way when we're having an argument. 

And a bunch of other stuff like:

The overwhelming joy of dancing to Jesus Christ Superstar at my recent Halloween party

The ache for the divine that swims inside me when I walk down the street on a rainy Pittsburgh November day

The weird feeling I get in the morning when I wake up from dreams of past lovers

How much I worry about my family members struggling with opiate addiction

My on-going infatuation with scarcity and mistrust

The excitement of hearing a friend recite the first of Rilke's Duino Elegies

The timeless beauty of the local sweat lodge ceremonies that I'm lucky to attend

How much time I think about making astrology videos and then not making astrology videos

The way that Stranger Things is a really intense metaphor for the very real collective shadow created by the traumatization of children

How sometimes I miss being in a sex cult - not because the sex was that great (honestly, it wasn't, though the actual Orgasmic Meditation was great) -- but simply because I liked being around people who were so weird and intense and fucked up that they had joined a sex cult!

On and on. 

My point with all this? Not exactly sure, just that I needed to tell you about a few of these tender, specific things in order to shake myself out of my habit of always trying to teach something super-helpful whenever I write.

This is me not being super-helpful. 

I love what I teach - I believe in it with the full depths of my soul - and sometimes I just get worn out on repeating myself.

Like, teaching is great - but I'm acutely aware that there's a giant part of the mystery of magic and transformation that perhaps can't be taught, only yearned for and intuited. 

In any case, thank you for joining me here in my poetic self-indulgence. 

And a wish that - just in case you're in the early stages of building your presence online - please savor your freedom to experiment and to be a big wild bleeding mess...

... because knowing "what works" in terms of online writing / content creation to build a platform for a business -  is a great gift, and also a tad restricting, if only psychologically.  


Posted on November 1, 2017 .

This Is Exactly How I Run a Massively Profitable Online Magic Business

 What if you dropped your blocks to getting big online while being fully yourself? Would that be like smoking jewels and tiny flowers? Yes, yes it would. 

What if you dropped your blocks to getting big online while being fully yourself? Would that be like smoking jewels and tiny flowers? Yes, yes it would. 

I'm guessing that you clicked this essay because you don't 1000% like whatever career situation you've currently got...

.... and that you have the wise and highly understandable wish to create a situation that includes earning $130,000 in a week while you sit on your sofa.

Congratulations, you are in the right place to hear all of my gritty details - I hope they give you a jolt of strength and inspiration for your next endeavor. 

And my sincere condolences on whatever is sucking presently in your work life.  These here are hard and strange times.  

You're showing amazing courage and daring just by reading this and being willing to consider another possibility for yourself.

So now: I'm going to go into the pointy brass tacks of my most recent launch of INFLUENCE: the life-altering course on mastering practical magic. 

It's an amazing 4 year tale of success!

I must admit, I'm not the most dramatic "over night success story" you can find in the internet business world.

Even though the orders for INFLUENCE totaling over $130,000 in value all rolled in in one short week, I assure you that plenty of effort over the last 4 years went into making this glorious recent week happen. 

I've taught INFLUENCE six times, I refined and expanded INFLUENCE with each iteration, and I've been working on building the email list and Facebook presence that I launched to for 4 years.

So this recent 6-figure launch ain't exactly what one could call "passive income." This has been an on-going labor of sheer love and strangeness. 

Here's what I did to create these results:

1) Maintain a win-win platform for myself and others in my field.

With the help of my very wise and gracious assistants Karolina and Rebecca, I maintain a platform called WITCH magazine (badwitch.es) where I create a win-win scenario for magically-inclined authors, coaches, diviners, astrologers, etc. who are seeking to grow their own businesses and audiences.  

You should probably go over to WITCH right now and join the email list using the forms on the site if you haven't already. 

The win-win is this: I publish other folks' excellent essays to my cultivated audience of over 30,000 - and when I do this, the authors of these essays gain clients, customers, and street cred (so: win for them!) and through the popularity of their essays spreading the WITCH mojo around, I gain more people who visit badwitch.es, see the offer to join the WITCH email list and take the plunge to join it (so: win for me!).

My assistant Karolina corresponds with authors, uploads the new essays to the site (badwitch.es) and publishes them on our Facebook page and then my assistant Rebecca publishes the essays to our Pinterest page.  I hope for us to get into Instagram and Youtube soon, and yes I do realize I'm like 10 years behind the cool kids on those. 

(And of course, back when I first started WITCH I did all this uploading and corresponding myself. It took awhile before I was profitable enough to hire assistants.)

Not all win-win platforms, of course, need to be magazines.  Lots of folks who are more disciplined and focused than me have great success doing interview podcasts or youtube shows which operate on the same win-win principles.

So this is my primary advice for someone starting out in the online world: create thyself a win-win situation wherein others in your field help you produce relevant content for your audience, and are rewarded for doing so. 

2) Ran "published post" Facebook ads to the most popular stuff

Just to be clear, I didn't start running Facebook ads until my business already had over $100,000 in yearly revenue.

Facebook ads aren't cheap, and if your business doesn't have the "legs" to get natural traction and attention without the boost of advertising, your advertising budget is likely to be stretched toooooooooo thin.

So before you go investing in Facebook ads, I suggest you work to create the most powerfully organically viral and helpful content that you can. That's what I teach people how to do in THRILL: the course on growing your online audience and getting paid. 

I tried fancier things with Facebook ads - videos, special landing pages, etc. but the method that seems to be most efficient for me is just to create ads that promote the most popular essays of WITCH magazine, and then people see the invite-to-join-the-email-list form that comes with every essay. 

I promote the essays to a specialized audience of people who resemble those who are already subscribed to my list (called a "look-a-like audience") people click the essay, they read it, they like it, they maybe go subscribe to the author's list, they see the offer to join the WITCH email list - and they join the WITCH email list. 

To find out how to create a look-a-like audience, you can follow these instructions here.

When I do ads this way, I tend to spend less than $5 per lead (lead means "someone who has joined my email list") - and considering the life-time monetary value of a lead on my list is about $20 - them there's pretty good numbers.

Note: the extra-monetary value of a lead on my list is the priceless joy of connection. I try to never forget that.

 I'm very honored to receive the attention of the approximately 4000 people a month from my list of 20,000 who as of right now actually open my emails. 

The other 16,000 of you, what the fuck are you doing? lolz, nevermind, carry on with your bad non-email reading selves. 

Thus, my objective of growing the email list with Facebook ads is met very simply and directly by running ads to my platform.

The magazine's most popular essay of all time happens to be one that I wrote three years ago - "10 Traits of Witches."

Yes, the title "10 Traits of Witches" is total, shameless, trashy clickbait worthy of BuzzFeed.  I am aware.

As it happens, myself and everyone else on the planet who has the capacity for self-honesty knows that deep, deep down we all freakin' love total, shameless, trashy clickbait.  

If the essay was titled "Character traits that contribute to others perceiving one as perhaps witchy" - I just don't think it would have done so well. 

I like to think that the actual content of "10 Traits of Witches" transcends mere trashy clickbait and rises up into being a useful, inspirational and affirming text for magical people. 

So that's my general advice for creating content that people love: make sure the title is complete trashy clickbait and the actual meat of the thing is genuinely well-written and helpful. 

Note: these kinds of published post ads that I'm talking about are not the same as "boosted posts."  They're more complex, and involve using the power editor.  And they're totally worth it. 

Why? As I learned from the Facebook genius Claire Pelletreau, "Boosted posts" tend to be shown to people most likely to share and "like" your content, but not most likely to actually click and read it.

It was really weird news to me to find that apparently tons of people share and "like" essays that they have never read, but apparently that's how the world goes. 

When you make ads for published posts in the power editor, you can specify "conversions" to your email list as the metric by which the ad measures it's success. 

This ensures that your ad money is actually going towards finding people to read your stuff and join your list - rather than just "boosting" the ad, which finds people to click "like" and to share the post without reading it, and without converting to your list. 

3. Write like a beast

This is the main bit of secret sauce in my online success.  

'Writing like a beast' entails several things:

1) writing from a sense of deep inner authority and trust in one's own voice 

2) never using the passive tense, always using gripping verbs like, instead of "I was amazed and disoriented by the art show" ---->  "The art show destroyed my sense of reality for a stunning 15-minute plunge into madness."

3) writing short, easily read-able paragraphs - everyone hates an impenetrable wall of text on the internet

4) using varied sentence style to keep attention - a mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences

5) tell relevant stories

6) have a sense of humor

7) have empathy for others at exactly where they're at

4) Sell a product I believe in

As a kid, I was perhaps the world's absolute worst seller of Girl Scout cookies. I would knock on countless doors in my neighborhood, offer Girl Scout cookies, and get shot down.

Usually I would only end up selling about 20 boxes to my immediate family and my parents' friends who got co-erced into buying those packages of highly politically problematic "Samoas."

(("Hmmm, what should we call these delicious short bread cookies with caramel and chocolate and coconut? I know! I know! We should name them after an island people whom our country has colonized and oppressed! MMmmmmmmMmMMMMMmmmm sweet short bread flavored oppression and genocide!"))

Why did I fail so much at selling Girl Scout cookies? How could I fail so much? Almost everyone but the most woke people likes Girl Scout cookies!

But I just couldn't see how the cookies that people could order from me were actually superior to the cookies sold in the regular store.

And, in fact, they were not. There's nothing that makes a Girl Scout thin mint better than a Keebler grasshopper. Literally nothing. 

I had no confidence in my product, so I couldn't sell it with conviction.

But good news: these days I have massive conviction about INFLUENCE.  After teaching it and refining it 6 times and accumulating a stack of over 600 beautiful testimonials about its power....

....I know beyond a doubt that INFLUENCE works to dramatically transform (for the better!) the lives of the majority of I people who take it and apply its principles to their lives.

In short: INFLUENCE is way, way better than Girl Scout cookies.  There is no super-market equivalent to INFLUENCE. 

This means that I know that every time I sell INFLUENCE, I am actually doing a form of public service.

Even charging money for INFLUENCE is a public service - why? Because people (myself included) tend to not take any action on things that are given to them for free, unless it's a matter of life or death.

Meaning: people will follow the totally free advice of 12-step groups, if they fear their narcotics addiction or alcoholism is about to kill them (sometimes). 

People will (sometimes) follow the free advice of the Poison Control Center hotline and drink a bunch of activated charcoal if they think they're about to die from accidentally ingesting rat poison. 

People - generally speaking - will not follow totally free advice designed to increase their skill in a given area or just make their lives better.

I don't know why exactly this should be the case, but it seems to be a bit hard-wired into human behavior in this age of capitalist hegemony where we are very conditioned to believe that only what we pay for has value. 

So just trust: you are actually doing a service when you charge for your work.  The "charging for it" helps to motivate people to actually take it seriously and implement it.

5) Focusing 1000% on my email list

I've mentioned it elsewhere in this essay, but I figure it's worth repeating: the old internet marketing saw that "the money is in the list" is still fully, fully true. 

The money - and the deep heart-felt fulfillment that comes from helping others who are truly interested in the same important stuff you're interested in --- both that money and that fulfillment are in the email list.

Not the social media following - the old-fashioned email list.

It took me a long time to believe this.  For years I focused exclusively on building my social media following.  I thought that building an email list was something only helplessly passe, middle-aged people did.

I thought I was too hip and young and cool for building an email list. 

And then I noticed: I bought things offered to me in my email inbox by folks I had subscribed to way more than I bought anything offered to me on social media.

Why? I don't know. Something about the intimacy and exclusivity of the inbox. Something about wanting to feel my on-going, specific connection to the person I bought from. 

It's just astoundingly, completely true.

The email inbox is still the most intimate means of communication with your audience. 

This is a really deep, sacred thing.

I strive to craft communications to my list that entertain, enlighten, and empower.

I strive to give them information that's directly applicable to their lives right now.

That's not easy, especially in the world of the "occult" where there's so much random weirdness that I could easily ramble on about. 

Over the last month preceeding my launch, I aimed to email my list once-a-week with a sincere letter than they would actually enjoy, and which would serve to change their perspective on their lives, their magic, and the world.

And I guess I succeeded pretty well, because my own email inbox filled up with "thank you!" letters from my subscribers who felt very known and seen and understood by my messages.

That's the beauty of what I like to call "illuminative empathy" -- illuminative empathy is the art of being compassionate with someone in a way that expands their perspective on their situation and gives them new choices, a new way to see themselves, and new horizons to pursue. 

NOTE: I'm opening THRILL: the course on growing your online audience and getting paid -  a course which has rocketed a number of occult entrepreneurs to prominence -   for registration again in January 2018.  Enter your email address in the form below and I'll let you know when THRILL opens for registration. 

Grow your following, exponentially

Enter your most-checked email address below and I'll send you the audio and PDF versions of the in-depth first lesson from THRILL, my acclaimed course on online audience-building and business for coaches, astrologers, and tarot card readers and other magical professionals who work online.

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Posted on October 9, 2017 .

"Should I talk about taboo, dark stuff when writing for my online business?"

 me, writing while wicked in Ubud, Bali

me, writing while wicked in Ubud, Bali

I recently responded to a sincere person who asked a question about whether or not to go ahead and be honest / address taboo subjects in one's online writing to promote a business.

Here's my take:
The key is to own who you are with all your complications and darknesses, 100%.
If you decide to show up and confront yourself and others with all the truth and taboo that's in you, decide that fully and don't stress yourself with the worry that you should make yourself more palatable.

It's a polarising decision to make, and there's a lot of power in polarity.

It's basically a deep altruistic commitment. You're deciding to lay yourself bare for the sake of the liberation of yourself and others. That commitment has consequences, including lots of people hating you / judging you / whatever.

The hate and the judgment of course, are reflections of their own shame. At first it's hard to feel that and the haters might make you upset / get under your skin. After awhile though, it's pretty easy to see - they're projecting.

Of course, in order to see this, you need a penetrating and ecstatically loving, judgment-free examination of your own projections / righteousness / resentment / tendency to want to wallow in the sweet sweet waters of being the victim.

Showing up shamelessly is a big gift to everyone, whether they like it or not.

It can bring you wild success and a ton of energy, too. Because when you're just showing up and being very honest and direct, you don't have to constantly drain yourself and go through the cartwheel nonsense of trying to figure out what people will like, what they will approve of.
It's very fun, it's playing full out. And I don't think doing business for myself / being a public persona is worth doing if it's not fucking gigantically fun.

Otherwise I might as well go get a J-O-B.

Posted on June 3, 2016 .

On the Joys of Being a Charlatan

 Madame Helena Blavatsky, inspiring charlatan and genius witch

Madame Helena Blavatsky, inspiring charlatan and genius witch

Recently, when I commented in reply to a friend's Facebook post, I was met with a jab by a guy in the local Pittsburgh magical community who wanted to drive home to me what a fraud he thinks I am because I've cultivated an online audience and I (horrors) have the audacity to teach courses on practical magic.

(horrors) for money.

(horrors) as a business.

(horror of horrors) as a very successful, location-independent business.

This guy presumes that since I don't do magic his way, I must not know what I'm talking about....

.... and therefore I'm a charlatan, a fake, a greedy, fame-hungry fiend duping people left and right with my mad internet marketing skillz.

I know he meant to insult me and hurt my feelings - and yet - I felt thrilled.

Because here's the thing: a huge part of the way that I got to be in the fortunate place I am today had to do with embracing myself as a witchy charlatan con-woman.

Magic and transformation and worldly power and entrepreneurship are all just confidence games, after all.

They're games that require immense amounts of style and faith (confidence) to play.

So fuck yeah, I'm a charlatan witch.

Among my predecessors?

Queen Elizabeth I, thought by many of her contemporaries to be a pretender with a much weaker claim to the throne of England than her rival, Mary Queen of Scots.... and yet Elizabeth won the hearts and minds of England by using dress and pageantry and portraits to create a magical mythos around herself that identified her with the figure of the beloved Fairy Queen Titania and the Virgin Mother of Christ.  While doing so, Elizabeth also nurtured the greatest flourishing of creativity, art, and innovation that England ever witnessed. 

Madame Helena Blatavasky, founder of the Theosophical Society, who lavishly fictionalized her own biography, and scandalized and electrified the world with staged seances and channeled revelations. She may have rigged the lights and the spirit "voices" but she also opened up the minds of her generation to horizons that their stuffy bourgeouis minds would have never otherwise reached. 

Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, beloved and revered by many, notorious for augmenting her psychic intuition with secrets garnered from New Orleans' elite when they literally "let down their hair" and gossiped to her as she worked for them as a hair dresser.  From the site Strange History: "It has been said that the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans had the power to put a person into or out of City Hall. She nurtured the sick through multiple epidemics, stood on the gallows ministering to the condemned and was accused of causing the deaths, through voodoo, of both a lieutenant governor and a governor. Many condemned her as a witch while others praised her as a saint."

Charlatans. Con Women. Frauds. Pretenders. Fiends. Greedy, manipulative bitches. Fakes. Beloved. Revered. Brilliant. Heroines of their day.

Without the life and legacy of these women and the "marketing tactics" that they used to sell themselves and their magic, the world would be much poorer and dimmer.

In other words, thank you for the wonderful compliments, trolling Facebook dude.

I'll keep being the magnificent charlatan and witch I was born to be.

In Conclusion

Please never let the spectre of trolls or the fear of being an "impostor" or "not enough" keep you from holding your head high and putting your work forth in the world.

Do whatever you've got to do.

Spy while hair dressing. Mythologize your biography. Usurp the throne of England.

Give us a good show. Shock us.

Do whatever you've got to do - because you don't win and the world doesn't win if you commit yourself to playing by the rules of decency invented by well-fed, smug, self-righteous old men.  

If you do that, the world just gets more boring and more sad.

Cheers to your shamelessness, witch.



Posted on May 10, 2016 .

Why witchy magic and entrepreneurship go hand in hand

The other night, as the astute Kelli Richards of the All-Access group was interviewing me for her radio show, she asked me a fantastic question: what do I think magic and entrepreneurship have to do with each other?

The short answer: everything.

The long answer:

First off, kindly realize that every last shred of entrepreneurial mindset advice that you can find, even the glossiest, most mainstream stuff from Tony Robbins to Dale Carnegie to Marie Forleo is just occult wisdom, secularized and watered down so as not to offend the masses.

America, land of capitalism, where the entrepreneur is a vaulted, adored archetype, is a country whose atmosphere and ethos is so steeped in esotericism, it can make your head spin when you become aware of it.

If you doubt me on this point (and I'm not exactly sure why you would, as there's a pyramid with an glowing divine eye on it gazing at you from the back of every dollar bill), go ahead and read Catherine Albanese's excellent work, A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion.

Albanese does a great job of elaborating exactly how metaphysics ("meta" meaning "beyond" and "physics" meaning "the physical world" - in other words, the occult) has permeated every facet of American "secularism" since the beginning of the whole thing.

I read A Republic of Mind and Spirit when I was in grad school getting my PhD in English, studying Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson - both pioneers of the enterprising American spirit and both sophisticated occultists.

Whenever you say the word "occultist" people automatically think "Aleister Crowley" and yawn and call it a day.

But please allow me to remind you - "the occult" simply means the unseen, the unconscious, the underlying principles that shape reality - and both Emerson and Whitman were deep students of it, as are most prominent successful people today - Oprah and Beyonce immediately spring to mind.

Here's a classic - Oprah talking to Jim Carrey about the power of visualization - a long-used technique of magic which they both practice:

Successful entrepreneurship by definition involves taking dangerous forays into the unknown,  having visions, and cultivating a rabid, somewhat insane belief in oneself and one's ability to make that vision manifest: in other words - occultism. 

Whether you work your magic with the simple, folksy, Oprah-ian method of cutting out magazine images and pasting them onto a "vision board" or whether you go in for freaky stuff involving a lot of fire and nudity and mugwort and astrological calculations as I tend to do -- you're still working magic: communicating with your own personal creative unconscious, and with the collective creative unconscious. 

And please always remember: just because a person doesn't identify with the title of witch or occultist doesn't mean that they aren't one. A witch can be a Christian or Buddhist or any other darn thing. Some witches are even imaginative enough to fancy themselves dogmatic materialist scientists.

It takes all sorts. Witchery isn't a religion or a particular belief system: it's a pragmatic way of getting things done, and a state of having united one's will (both conscious and unconscious) towards an aim. 

This can be done with affirmations, honey jars, vision boards, company "team building" exercises, psychedelic drugs, hypersigils, bizarre ancient Greek invocations or by a thousand other means.

Point is: we human beings love magic, and any one who sets out to accomplish daunting feat (like starting a successful business) is going to work the best magic they know, whether they cop to it or not.

My idea is: if we're going to be witches, how about let's just be honest and deliberate and aware about it? How about let's give it some flair and oomph?

There's no need to put a veil of pseudo-scientific pop-pscyhology on magic. Really. The internet has been invented. All secrets are out. The jig is up. Let's get real now, my entrepreneurial friends. 

Also: while the history of American capitalism and esotericism is an intimately intwined one, American capitalism has grossly suffered from a masculinist, imperialist bent that involves denigrating feminine sexual and spiritual power, and the sexual and spiritual power of all "feminized" others: black people, indigenous people, queer people - on and on.

Hint: that's why the word "witch" is still a little bit taboo. Because it's associated with feminine magic and power. That's also why it's urgent that we reclaim witchery, both for ourselves and for the world: a major shift in the exploitation of resources and peoples can only happen when we start valuing and cherishing the feminine again.

In conclusion

All successful entrepreneurs are powerful-ass witches who've managed to bend consensus reality to their will through a process that involves intense initiation, dramatic self-transformation, and massive amounts of faith.

You know, magic.

Posted on May 10, 2016 .

27 things I'm weirdly committed to

 Cillian Murphy in  Peaky Blinders . Big, big commitment there.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders. Big, big commitment there.

1. Bringing about complete liberation from shame and suffering for all beings.

2. Creating mutual lucid dreams for oneiromantic purposes.

3. Knowing the phase and sign that the moon is in, always. 

4. Helping 1 million witches become fully empowered.

5. Appreciating the life, music, art, and writing of one Matthew Stull

6. Drinking Mugwort tea every night.

7. Becoming offensively rich and famous as fuq.

8. Pittsburgh.

9. Hanging out in cemeteries (turns out it wasn't a teenage goth phase after all, mom!)

10. Getting off on every painful part of life.

11. Running up hills.

12. Using a dry-brush for facial exfoliation. Yes, it kinda hurts. Yes, it makes skin glow. ;)

13. Getting the birth chart info of all my friends and watching their transits.

14. Throwing elaborate underground ritual parties.

15. Keeping a magical diary.

16. Thinking up the most esoterically provocative possible tricks to play on people I love.

17. Eating eggplant parmesan with ungodly frequency along with vats of cold-pressed green juice.

18. The memory of Lord Byron.

19. Peter O'Toole and Cillian Murphy. Really I'm a sucker for giant liquid blue eyes.

20. Finding the syncretic threads that weave between all forms and cultures of magic.

21. Men with a lot of Gemini in their charts and a fierce Pluto placement.

22. The god Thoth, to whom I was consecrated as a child vestal virgin in a storefront Rosicrucian temple in the run-down steel town of Carnegie. Yeah. Long story.

23. The Work of Byron Katie. It always shows me things.

24. Becoming fully clairvoyant.

25. The story of Yeshe Tsogyel turning her rapists into Buddhas.

26. The life and works of the queer witch Jesus Christ.

27. Winning at pinball. 


Posted on May 9, 2016 .

How to Make Your First $100 Online as an Occult Entrepreneur

 Whenever I think of occult services entrepreneurship, I think of Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Just do. It's probably the awesome eyeshadow that gets me.

Whenever I think of occult services entrepreneurship, I think of Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Just do. It's probably the awesome eyeshadow that gets me.


Note: what follows pertains to the consultant / coach / teacher / mediapreneur / service-provider type of online occult business, as that's what I've got experience with: I've created a business centered around my practical magic coaching and teaching that brought in $100,000 in revenue in 2015, and is on pace to bring in at least twice that much in 2016.

If your business centers around selling physical products, that's a bit of a different beast, and you probably want to check out advice from someone who does that sort of thing, it ain't me.

Recently I've written about the attitudes and beliefs that go into creating a successful business online - but today I want to get super-pragmatic and specific about the situation for those of us who offer occult services (tarot-reading, astrology, psychic sessions, spiritual or magically-oriented coaching, spellwork, etc). 

I thought about writing a post today that was along the lines of "Behind the Scenes of a $27,000 Launch" - since that's what happened this month in my business with the launch of INFLUENCE: the life-altering course on mastering practical magic.

But I remember when I was first starting out in trying to get a foothold in the world of doing business online, trying to convince myself that working for myself via my laptop was something real that I could truly and actually do, which would actually pay the rent and buy groceries...

...well, back then, when I was just starting out, posts like "Behind the Scenes of a $27,000 Launch"  just sounded super-intimidating and overwhelming and unreal to me.

So while I do indeed want you to get to the point where you're having $27,000 months in your business -  I know that the path to getting you there lies in me helping you get really excited about making $100.

$100 is a significant chunk of cash.

It can buy you a fancy dinner with your sweetheart, more than a week's worth of groceries, a stylin' new outfit (or 10, if you're a thrift-shop addict like me), or pizza for you and your friends. 

$100 is pretty darn rad, and very doable. And it can absolutely change your life. I mean, how wonderful is it to learn that you can create real cash money apart from a J.O.B.? It's pretty much endlessly wonderful. I never tire of it. 

The Joy of Hiring Yourself

After I got out of graduate school for English literature and was flailing around taking shitty freelance resume writing assignments and applying for tons of other "better" jobs that all resoundingly refused to hire me, I had this rather miserable, frustrated thought over and over: "I'm unemployable."

And I was right. You see, employers hire people when they believe that the person they're hiring is going to improve their bottomline in some way.

Also I suck at taking instructions from someone else to fulfill a purpose that's not my own. But we'll talk about that another day when we're waxing philosophical about the entrepreneurial spirit. 

Anyway, point being: with my illustrious work history as a poetry teacher and graduate student behind me I had nothing to show that I could improve any company's bottomline at all, ever.



I mean, think about it: what were potential employers going to see in me? "Oh, this woman really understands Chaucer! Quick, get her on the team! Pay her $50,00 a year with benefits! We need someone who understands old English verb forms, stat!"

Yeah, except no.

I was completely screwed.

In fact, things got so dire, it turned out there was only one person on earth crazy enough to take a wild risk and hire my no-track-record self: me.


Yes, that's right: I hired me to go make me some money. 

Good news: if you're unemployed or stuck in some other kind of lousy work situation, you can hire yourself, too. 

Okay, back to talking about the glories of $100. 

If you get to the place where you're confident that you can make $100 through your online occult services business any ole time - that confidence can eventually grow (sooner than you think!) into the kind of boldness and effectiveness where you know you can make $27,000 in your online business any ole time.

Which, I have to admit, is a pretty freakin' great feeling. 

So, putting yourself on track to make that kind of money while living anywhere in the world you want to and doing work that fulfills you - does that sound appealing?  


 View of rice paddies in Ubud, Bali - where I spent the winter of 2015-2016 hanging out, being cool and working.

View of rice paddies in Ubud, Bali - where I spent the winter of 2015-2016 hanging out, being cool and working.


It's okay if it both sounds appealing and also sounds really corny and douche-y, like some sort of Tim Ferris fantasy that involves cheating at Thai Kickboxing competitions and bragging about how you won by cheating.

You know what?

It is a little corny and douche-y to keep talking about location independence. It's the great Global Digital Nomad Dream, which maybe you're sick of hearing lauded everywhere. Sometimes I get sick of hearing about it.

I'm still talking about though, at the risk of great corniness and douche-y-ness - because - not gonna lie - even if it sounds a bit dumb and cliche to talk about, it's also kind of endlessly awesome to be actually living it, and I want you to have that endless awesomeness, too.

"But Carolyn!" you might object. "We can't all be location-independent occult solopreneurs! What about all the other jobs that there are to do? Who's going to buy the services I sell online if everyone else is doing it?"

Well, first of all: robots are going to do all those jobs very soon. Cars will drive themselves, etc. etc.  And it's not just low-wage jobs that are on the line. IBM's Watson artificial intelligence program is already diagnosing cancer better than doctors can, and arguing cases better than lawyers.

So. Best create another option for yourself, pronto - one that's built around you and your deepest magical gifts, one that a robot can't duplicate, one where you and your human soul and its powers are indispensable to the operation. 

And, second of all: don't you worry. While if you hang around some Facebook groups it can seem like everyone and their mom is an aspiring occult entrepreneur, actually, it's just not true.

Even among the small percentage of people who have the innate talent,  many don't have the dedication, or stomach for it.

So, it may sound a bit cold but here it is: other magical people's commitment to living in denial about the ongoing robot job apocalypse is your opportunity. 

Plus, you don't have to live on Thai beaches and cheat at their kickboxing competitions in order to enjoy the location-independent online business life.

You can stay right where you are, living your life with your friends and family, and just basking in the pleasure of not having to go to any rotten robot job, ever. 

Okay, so now let's get our hands dirty. How are you gonna make your first $100?

Start with one-on-one work.

Why start with one-on-one work?

A lot of smart occultists interested in hiring themselves to go make them money online want to spring directly into teaching virtual courses or selling infoproduct-type-things.

That's understandable, because courses and infoproducts are readily scaleable (i.e., once you get the hang of it, you can bring in an ever-higher volume of customers and therefore more revenue for roughly the same amount of work) while one-on-one work is not scaleable at all.

There's only one of you and only so many hours in the day, so there's a very finite number of people that you can work with one-on-one. 

However, if you're just starting to wiggle your toes in the waters of online audience-building and business, it's much, much easier to create revenue by bringing in clients who pay for one-on-one work than it is to sell courses.

Why? Well, for starters:

a) Offering one-on-one coaching, consulting, mentoring or done-for-you services (like spellwork, energy healing, tarot readings) allows you to get paid to learn the ins and outs of exactly what your clients struggle with and how you can solve their problems.

Doing one-on-one work allows you to figure out what kind of people you most enjoy working with, and it also allows you to figure out who you are best suited to help.

Here's an example from my own life: when I first started out coaching, I thought I would enjoy working with anyone who was into magic.  Turns out that's not true. 

As it happens, I find I most enjoy working with people who are leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in magic.  Probably because I'm a Capricorn sun with Mars-Pluto conjunct in Scorpio: I've got this intense fascination with innovation and power. Go figure.

Still, I never would have fully understood that about myself if I didn't do a lot of one-on-one work in the beginning of my business. One-on-one work allows you to get paid as you figure out this giant existential business question of "who do I most want to serve?" 

b) Overtime, as you do your one-on-one work, you'll find yourself repeating the same things over and over again to various clients. The same suggestions, the same exercises, the same insights. 

You'll be repeating them because you'll find those are the gleaming hunks of wisdom that help your clients experience great results (i.e., great results in whatever arena of life they hired you to get them great results in: healing their intimacy issues, figuring out the best dates for their next business move, uncrossing their luck, improving their dating life, etc. etc. etc.).

And that's wonderful!

Because those things you hear yourself repeating: those are the key things that you have to teach to a larger audience. That's the kind of stuff you can create syllabi around and offer as a course.

Okay, cool, so now that we're in agreement that you're going to start with one-on-one work, you may find yourself wondering:


Q: How the heck am I going to get my first client?

Great question. Here's my answers:


1.  Purchase the service you're selling from at least two or three other people.

This is a crucial and often over-looked step. 

When you go through the buying process of purchasing someone else's coaching / spellwork / astrology / energy work  / (or whatever kind of service it is you're going to be selling), you learn how other people do it, how they sell, how they deliver, how they handle customer service. 

You learn what feels good to you, and what doesn't feel good.

Also: you practice valuing what you're selling.

If you hope to sell coaching services, for example, and you've never paid a coach, you're sending a strong message to  your own unconscious mind that coaching isn't worth investing in and coaches don't deserve to be paid. 

And that message to your unconscious mind will be a giant stumbling block to you as you go out and try to gain clients.

So, first things first: go find a coach you like and pay that coach well for her services. Start getting in the habit of holding and acting upon the belief "coaching is very valuable and worth paying for."

Take special note of what kind of wonderful results emerge in your own life as a result of you investing in coaching. For me personally, when I invested in being mentored by Christina Berkeley, I was able to make 5 times as much money in my business as I ever had before (I went from making around $20,000 a year to $100,000.)

Furthermore, within this process you learn how someone else goes about having a sales conversation with you. 

Which brings me to my second point....


2. Drop any aversion you may have to sales conversations

Some occultists imagine that  "online business" is synonymous with "not having to deal with real people" and they seem to want rather cozy activities like blogging and making fun social media images (marketing!) to spare them from ever having to have a sales conversation.

In my experience that's not a very tenable strategy. 

Yes, you can get people to buy your services via well-done email marketing and sales pages and whatnot - and by some interesting karmic law, I've found it's likely that you won't be able to get those to work for you....


.... until you've built up your presence and your confidence and your mojo by putting your real ass on the real line in real sales conversations with real human beings


Business involves sales. Period, end of story. No sales, no revenue, no profits, no business.

Since you've just hired yourself....  guess what?

You're now your own #1 salesperson! 

Welcome to the hustle. 


3. Have sales conversations. As many as it takes.

I know that the term "sales conversation" can sound a bit intimidating, or like you're trying to close deals on vacuum cleaners, but actually a "sales conversation" is just a conversation where you get to know your potential client and what they want, your potential client gets to know you and your services, and at the end of the talk you mutually decide whether or not to work together.

The only scary part really is the possibility that your potential client will say "no thanks."

I know rejection isn't pleasant, but as you've probably noticed, many things here on planet Earth are not pleasant. 

I suggest that you start getting excited about experiencing unpleasant rejection in sales conversations, because it's only through experiencing the sensational discomfort of hearing "no" that you eventually get to hear lots of "yes"es that build your business.


Don't know how to find potential clients to have sales conversations with? Don't know how to have sales conversations?

That's cool - most of us magical weirdoes don't when we're just starting out. So I made a quick-start guide to finding potential clients and having sales conversations for occult entrepreneurs.

You can grab it by entering your email in the form below.

Sales. Made less scary.

Enter your name and email to grab my Quick-start Guide to Sales Conversations for Occult Entrepreneurs.



Rinse, repeat.

... Do this enough times (probably won't take more than 5 at the most).... and you'll have made your first $100 online!


In Conclusion

So today we learned that one-on-one work is the fastest route to revenue for your online occult business, and that you'll probably have to get comfy with doing consultations / sales conversations to make that revenue happen.

What I want you to do next is go out and put this into practice.

That $100 ain't gonna fall from the sky, honey. Go earn it. 

And again, if you want a bit of help in learning how to have sales conversations, I invite you to enter your email in the form above  to receive my quick start guide on the subject.







Posted on March 7, 2016 .

Why teaching involves selling


Weird thing about learning: we humans don’t do it unless we want to.

If, like me, you’re someone who makes a living (or aspires to do so) by teaching things online (an “infopreneur” or a “mediapreneur” or whatever you want to call it), you might be subject to a common delusion.

It’s one I harbored for a long while. 

The delusion is this: that if you give people information and solutions, they’ll be grateful to you and see you as an expert. 

I mean, that’s “providing value,” right?

Yeah, not really though.

I mean, it would be providing value if the folks you were addressing happened to be actively, deeply hungry for exactly the information that you’re providing.

There’s a bit of a problem, though: information is overabundant nowadays. The sheer delivery of information is not what we want from teachers.

What do we want then?

We want someone to stimulate our appetite to learn. Attention is the rarest commodity on earth right now. Our attention is hugely fragmented. 

An excellent teacher is someone who gives us the motivation to concentrate our attention, who shows us why we should learn a concept. 

In other words, to teach something well, you’ve got to sell it to your students.

The best teaching creates a vivid experience for your students that shows them why the subject at hand matters hugely to them, why it's relevant to their already-existing desires and goals.

If you can create this kind of vivid experience of the realization of relevance for someone, that means you've successfully lit a fire under their ass that will drive them to go out and absorb the necessary information.

Until you've lit that fire under someone's ass though, all your piles of information are very, very easily ignorable.  They're actually a burden and a nuisance.

So, before you lay on your info, take the time to lead your audience through an experience that will stamp the consequence of your material onto the very fabric of their souls forever. Sell it to them. They'll thank you for it. 

Here's to you setting asses aflame in everything you do ;)



Posted on February 15, 2016 .

7 shocking truths that made me $18,000 this month via the internet

Happily, this month I took on enough client contracts to add up to eighteen thousand fat filthy good American dollars. 

I’m booked solid. It feels great.

I’m not announcing this just to brag (only partially to brag!)

I’m letting you know this because for a long time I really, really was not successful with money or career stuff at all. And I was miserably baffled as to how anyone could figure it out, ever. 

I used to read fatuous self-congratulatory articles like this one where people talked about making serious cash whilst working from their laptop in Bali and I would think things like:

 “Yeah, but you’re only able to do that because you’re an asshole and somehow all the other assholes in this godforsaken assholic world want to buy things from you.”

Turns out that’s what’s known in the entrepreneurial world as “not a winning mindset,” folks. 

So to help you avoid staying stuck in such a confused state of mind like I did for a long time, I want to share with you some shocking truths I’ve learned about what it actually takes to make the transition from broke to balling.

And by the way — just so you know, I am indeed an asshole often in my life.

I strive to always make amends and do better, but I’ve fallen short plenty of times. So if you’re looking for an asshole working from hot, exotic places to hate on, congrats! You just found me. 

Hi! I’m Carolyn Elliott!

 This is an "I just made $18,000 from my bed!" face.

This is an "I just made $18,000 from my bed!" face.

But first — just how unsuccessful was I?

Well, in 2013, I spent a year sleeping on friends’ couches and eating food from food banks to survive. 

Yup, I was homeless, and earning about $500 a month doing various freelance writing gigs. Not. Fun. 

And that was just the low point of a whole decade spent living below the poverty level as a writer and teacher. 

One December I nearly died of a stupid tooth infection because I didn’t have health insurance or the money to pay a dentist. 

Okay, enough bummer facts about how damn poor I was — onto the shocking truths I had to gradually accept which led to me being able to make $18,000 in one month as a solo entrepreneur. 

1. The internet does not give a fuck what your credentials are

I happen to have a lot of credentials. I’ve got a doctorate in Critical and Cultural studies, and a Master’s Degree in English, and a Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing. 

And exactly no one gives two fucks about this when I’m selling products and services on the internet.

It’s the Wild West out here, folks. 

 I'll be your guide.

I'll be your guide.

The only thing that matters before someone hands you their money is whether or not they personally trust you to get the job done the way they want it done.

Whether that “job” is helping them sort out their love lives, reading their tarot cards, designing their book cover  — or — in my case — teaching them how to write for the social web, grow their audience, and get paid…. 

…. what it is just doesn’t matter. All that matters is: do they trust you?

And credentials are just not the key to earning that trust.

I emphasize this because sometimes when I’m talking to friends in my hometown and telling about how not-all-that-hard it is to build a presence and sell stuff online and how I could show them how to do it too and OMG then they could come hang out with me in Bali and it would be so fun! they say nutty things to me like:

“Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have a doctorate like you!”

And I’m like, “What? Probably only 10% of the people who become my clients or customers even know that I have a doctorate. They don’t care.”

Saying “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have a doctorate like you!” is like saying “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have an obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch like you!”

Because while it’s true I have both a doctorate and a hardcore obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch, neither of these are actually at all relevant to my success in getting people to trust me online. 

A fan video of the BBC's Sherlock (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Moriarty set to "SAIL" - this is the kind of greatness the internet produces.


So what is relevant?

Showing up. Letting people see and hear and feel you in various ways: writing, photos, videos, podcasts. 

Sharing what you know and what you believe and how you’ve messed up.

Reliably and excellently delivering what you offer to the first people who take a chance on you, so then you have glowing testimonials to share.

That’s how you build trust. And it takes time, but it’s very do-able.

The Wild West of the internet is rather amazing because it actually helps the process of business become more similar to how it used to be in villages and small towns:

You serve a community; as you serve them well that community learns to trust you and they gladly vouch for you, and then new people who come into “town” readily decide to trust you because they can see there’s already whole community of people trusting you, so you must be alright. 

It’s a virtuous cycle. 

2. Most solo entrepreneurs under-charge because they have a codependent relationship with the world

I’ve been in recovery from heroin addiction for 12 years, so I know a few things about addiction and codependent relationships.

In a classic relationship pattern between a using addict and their codependent partner, the addict will go out, use drugs (or gamble, or max out credit cards, or go to prostitutes, or whatever), create scary consequences (DUIs, STDs, the whole alphabet soup of life’s horrors), lie about it, and refuse to accept real responsibility for their actions.

Meanwhile, the addict’s codependent partner will hustle hard to try to cover over the addict’s transgressions, and will try to manipulate the addict into behaving better.

The dynamic in such a relationship isn’t intimacy. 

It’s more like something really messed-up that might happen in a duet between Rihanna and Eminem.

Both partners in such a pattern are avoiding intimacy with themselves (the addict avoids self-intimacy through her obsession with the drug, the codependent avoids self-intimacy through his obsession with the addict), with each other, and with the world. 

The relationship is based on control and violence (emotional, verbal, financial - if not physical.)

In lieu of real intimacy, both partners accept the drama of chasing the fleeting high of feeling in control. They’re co-dependent because they’re collaborating in their dependency on seeking something to help them avoid themselves. 

Most of us good-hearted, spiritually-inclined people interested in building a business online tend to become the world’s codependent bitch.

All of society is the addict in this relationship. The addict does what the addict will always do: take.

As codependents, we’ll let the addict take and take and take from us endlessly because we’re afraid of the addict leaving us. We don’t want to be alone, because then we would have no one to distract us from ourselves.

So we manipulate the addict into staying with us. We take responsibility for things that aren’t actually ours to be responsible for.

We’ll do anything for her. We want her approval, we want her love, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the semblance of that.

This means: we devalue ourselves and exhaust ourselves in hopes of making her like us.

We ask for much less than would leave us feeling well-compensated, and sometimes we feel guilty about charging anything at all.

We try to make ourselves responsible for protecting the world (our audience and potential customers) from feeling the intense sensation of real intimacy with us and who we are and what we’re worth. 

So I challenge you: end your codependent, dysfunctional relationship with the world.

Stop trying to manipulate the world into liking you and staying with you by devaluing yourself and working too hard.

3. A spine is the most attractive thing in the universe.

Decide in your heart that you deserve to be well paid for what you do, and that you don’t care whether or not society (the addict) likes you.  

When you do this, a funny thing happens: you become radically more attractive (having a spine is wildly attractive) and people start to be happy to pay you what you ask…

…. because you’re no longer projecting a weird graspy energy of “Do you like me? Is it okay that I’m charging this much? Do you approve of me? Do you love me? Do you think you could love me?”

Once I realized that by charging cheap prices for my services I was actually participating in this yucky codependent approval-seeking dynamic with the whole damn world, I was able to stop, and start fearlessly charging prices for my services that actually nourish me.

Doing this is scary, because it means being intimate with myself: I have to become intimately, fully aware of who I am and what I actually need in order to do my best work. 

Then, rather painfully (it goes against all my addict and codependent instincts) I have to stand solid in the truth of that self-intimacy and self-worth.

Standing solid in the truth of this self-intimacy and self-worth is exactly the scary thing that most of us spend our whole lives avoiding. 

So when you find the courage to master it, you become a radiant beacon, and you’ll never lack for clients or customers or networking opportunities. 

If you have a sense you might need to learn this lesson, definitely watch the Legend of Old Gregg.

While Old Gregg’s sea-dwelling trans identity and love of Bailey’s Irish Cream is wonderful, his codependent-style neediness and kidnapping is an ineffective strategy for getting the love he wants. 

Do you love me? Do you think you could love me?


Learning how to step out of the cycle of avoiding intimacy with ourselves is something I cover in INFLUENCE: the life-altering course on mastering practical magic. 

Click here to visit my magazine, WITCH, which has opt-in forms where you can enter your email and get a sneak preview of what INFLUENCE is like while getting on the waiting list to be alerted when it next opens. 

4. You’re just pretending like you don’t know exactly how to make a fuck ton of money.

I hear this all the time: “I would love to work online for myself, I just don’t know what I would sell or who I would sell it to.”


Yeah, you do. You know.

You know precisely what you would sell and who you would sell it to. Deep down, you even know just how to rapidly win the attention of all those people who would be your best clients and customers.

And as you’re reading these words from me right now, you’re feeling the stirrings of that. Of that part of you that knows.

What’s that you say? “Oh, but Carolyn, no, I really don’t, I’m confused.”

Well, I don’t believe you.

I believe you do know, but you just aren’t willing at this moment to fully let yourself know that you know.

That may sound a bit like crazy talk, but think about it for a second.

There’s a part of you who already knows all the answers to this sticky, fiddly, mess of growing an online audience and launching a business. 

You just habitually don’t listen to that part of you, because you’ve got better things to do, like maintain your codependent relationship with the world, win people’s approval (quick reminder: approval never paid anyone’s bills in a way that wasn’t soul-sucking) and worry about your lack of credentials. 

So I suggest you get busy on the project of allowing yourself to know that you know. 

Start listening to that part of you who you usually silence because she’s full of inconvenient truths. 

5. You have to get acquainted with your own golden secrets.

Your “golden secrets” are the inconvenient truths that you’ve locked away in your unconscious mind because they scare you.

These secrets are part of what Jung called “the golden shadow” — the amazing qualities and knowledges in our own being that we repress and project onto others because we feel we don’t deserve to fully own them ourselves. 

How to get in touch with your golden secrets? Here’s one quick exercise that has helped me:

Open up your journal. Fill in the blank at the end of these statements:

“This is what I secretly know about exactly how to create a fun, very profitable business online that I absolutely do not want to let myself know that I know __________________________________” 

“This is what I secretly know about exactly what audience I would serve that I absolutely do not want to let myself know that I know_______________________________________________________”

“This is what I secretly know about exactly what I would sell that I absolutely do not want to let myself know that I know_____________________________________________________.”

Letting ourselves know that we know exactly how to wildly succeed is something we humans rigorously avoid because the act of consciously owning that kind of knowledge brings with it a painful disruption to our current identities as people who don’t know and who aren’t wildly successful.

Identity is the most precious thing to human beings. 

Above all else we hate to have our identities fundamentally challenged. We fight wars over our identities all the time, that’s how important they are to us. More important than life itself. 

We would rather die than profoundly change who we believe ourselves to be.

And yet, alas, that fundamental, disorienting, painful change in identity is exactly what needs to happen to morph into someone who experiences wild, consistent, fulfilling success. 

You know who wasn’t afraid of making profound, dramatic, public changes to his identity? Saint David Bowie. That’s who. 


6. Yes, you have to dirty yourself with learning to have sales conversations.

I belong to a lot of entrepreneurship groups on Facebook, and I see folks in there all the time whose plan is to “attract clients” with marketing alone.

In my experience, clients aren’t attracted. Leads are attracted. Clients are made.

And clients are only made in sales conversations, which it seems to me that not a lot of aspiring solo entrepreneurs know how to have. 

When I was a kid, my dad sold long-term-care health insurance from an office in the attic of our house. He had stacks of books with lurid titles like Instant Hypnotic Sales and Sell to Win!

Because I chronically read everything in sight, I read my dad’s books, and a part of me was fascinated (it’s possible to influence people! with words! to get money!) — while another part of me was disgusted. 

Alec Baldwin getting all scary-intense about sales in Glengarry Glen Ross, set to a funky beat 

I hated the idea of selling. Hated it. Mostly because it was so vulnerable — asking someone to buy something from you! As if you were a K-Mart! The horror!

My hatred and fear of selling was evident, too: at 11 years old, I was a dedicated Girl Scout and I also sucked at selling Girl Scout cookies.

You know what? It’s hard to suck at selling Girl Scout cookies. People love cookies, and they love to buy them from Girl Scouts, because the goodness of the cause off-sets the guilt of gobbling up the cookies. It’s a win-win.

And still, I sucked at selling Girl Scout cookies.

 I just hated the exposed feeling of asking to someone to buy something from me. Every time I did it I felt like I was putting my worth as a human being up for judgment.

At twenty years old, when I signed up to go get a PhD in English it was part of a campaign I was on to avoid soiling myself with the filth of commerce and the vulnerability of sales and business.

I wanted to live far, far above the fray of the market-oriented world, aloof and safe and clean in an ivory tower of pure gleaming ideas.

I gradually realized that the world of academia was just as filthy and market-driven as any other corner of the world. Not only that, but it dawned on me that my intellect was the chief resource that the gleaming ivory tower was designed to ruthlessly exploit.

And I refuse to live my life as someone’s exploited resource.

So I decided that if I was going to get filthy no matter what, I might as well go get filthy and rich at the same time. 

"Gettin' paid is her forte." - not at all true of me until quite recently. ;)

Which meant I had to humble myself and learn how to have sales conversations.

 And I did. I paid thousands of dollars to have people who were great at it teach me how to do it.

Now it’s weird: these days I have a 90% conversion rate in sales conversations. That means that 90% of the people I have exploratory sales conversations with end up buying my services.

Of course that very high conversion rate is a combination of a few things: 

  1. What I’m selling is amazing and I believe fully in its effectiveness 
  2. I do market (mostly writing essays) which draws in leads.
  3. I’ve won the trust of a community (mostly by writing essays, and a little bit with videos and podcasts) so people in my community are willing to apply to be considered for conversations with me.
  4. I’m very selective about who I talk to — my criteria is I only talk to people whose applications genuinely energize me. 
  5. I genuinely do not care whether I make the sale or not — I show up for the joy of the process — and it took a lot of inner work for me to get to that place.
  6. I treat every sales conversation as an opportunity to give the person I’m talking to the full experience of what having my liberated, non-attached attention on them is like. 

And my attention is exquisite.

Exquisite attention is the rarest commodity in the world today — and if you doubt that, think back to when was the last time someone put their total concentration on you with no agenda at all but to see you fully, playfully, and compassionately?

So, point being: sales conversations. You have to learn how to have them. 

And exactly how to have them excellently well is something I’ll be covering in the next round of THRILL: the masterclass on writing for the social web, building your business, and getting paid. 

You can sign up using the email opt-in forms on this here website to be notified when THRILL next opens for registration.

In the meantime, here’s a tip: the fastest way to get excited about doing sales when you’re naturally scared of it is to make believe you’re a gangster.

7. It’s really and truly okay to hire a mentor.

I always thought that only pathetic people would have to hire a mentor.

Like, isn’t a mentor supposed to be someone who just appears to guide you, Obi Wan-style, drawn by your obvious and fated amazingness?

And if you haven’t attracted a powerful mentor already, probably that means you’re not destined for great adventure and you’re not all that amazing and actually you should just sit the fuck down and go back to focusing on your lousy day job, right?

Well, no. Not at all. 

Like a lot of mean and useless things my brain likes to tell me, this line of thinking is not in any way true or helpful.

To start with, traditionally mentors were always paid. The very word, “mentor” comes from a character named Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey, who was a friend of King Odysseus, and the paid tutor of his son, Telemachus. 

Basically, if you were the King’s son, a mentor was given to you. And if you weren’t the King’s son?

Well, in Ancient Greece, if you were a hot teenage boy without royal connections you could still find a wise, helpful mentor — who expected to have sex with you in return for his time and excellent advice.

Which if you think about it, really is just another form of “payment,” although of a more intimate sort, is it not?


Point being, successful and busy people in the world of online business who aren’t already on your family’s payroll are unlikely to take time to tutor you unless you pay them (or maybe you can find one to have sex with, if that’s your thing?), and that’s actually great.

It means you don’t have to sit around waiting for some Obi Wan to hologram himself into your life. 

Instead, you can look around, decide who you want to learn from, reach out to that person, and hire them.

I did this when I hired my coach and mentor Christina Berkeley early in 2015 — and I ended up making five times more money in 2015 than I had ever made in any previous year in my life. That’s right — it was a leap from making $20,000 a year to $100,000. 

So that’s why I’m happy to offer the service of coaching and mentoring today myself — I know first hand just how incredibly valuable it is.

In Conclusion

If you’re currently plotting an escape from whatever treadmill you’re on (corporate, academic, or just the hard grind of unemployment), I wish you the very best of luck.

I want you to know that it’s possible to make a wonderful living working for yourself online.

The process of growing into being the kind of person who has an audience of thousands is a giant adventure that can beautifully, painfully stretch and grow every facet of your being — emotional, physical, spiritual. 

Because I’m so grateful for the life I have today and I want lots of other people to be able to learn exactly how to make a similar leap, I offer THRILL: a masterclass on writing for the social web, building your business, and getting paid.

You can click here to get on the waiting list for the course, which only opens for registration a few times a year. 


featured image: from aforestfrolic.com, found on Flickr Creative Commons.

Posted on February 4, 2016 .