Thursday, May 31, 2007

Passive Income for Mediators- Oh yeah!

If this turns into a marketing rant, we can thank Geoff Sharp over at Mediator blah blah for his recent post on passive income in which he gently reminded me to talk about ways to eliminate the drugery of time-based practice,create a lasting legacy and earn more.

I posted a comment on his blog and promised to continue here. As I was saying:

Mediators absolutely can create passive revenue, and easily at that.

The $64K question, of course is: how? Mediators can generate consistent income that supplements their ‘traditional’ practice by adapting the strategies and tactics of online marketing.

Did you know that information market is booming? Three of the top non-fiction bestsellers are information based products. The beauty, of course, is that once you create information products it’s like the energizer bunny- it keeps going and going, producing an income stream that doesn’t require you!

You can probably tell I’m pretty excited by this notion. Multiple income streams part of the foundation of and I’ve spend a lot of time studying what works for mediators.

First, we need to examine our assumptions, much like we ask parties to do in mediation. Is there a way to help people in advance of getting them to the table? Is mediation the only product we have to offer? Absolutely not.

Mediators have an abundance of knowledge and skills to share with people who want help even before they get to mediation. We can 'unbundling' our
mediation expertise into smaller chucks of information that prospective clients can consume. (I talk more about unbundling on my monthly free marketing call.)

This post has grown so long I think I’ll continue it over at my blog, Thanks Geoff for being my inspiration once again.

Finishing that thought...unbundling

When I say unbundling I mean, repackaging the knowledge we possess about problem-solving and negotiation into marketable information products. Information products are the fastest, most profitable segment of online sales. Don't believe me? Check out all the ebooks on Amazon and Ebay.

Mediators who want to give lasting value should consider developing a product funnel. The funnel starts with products like low risk/good value articles or top ten lists that enable the user to 'sample' the mediator. It ends with an actual mediation which is the best use of a mediator's precious time.

Each product in between enhances the users knowledge/skills while increasing their trust of and familiarity with the mediator and mediation itself. Oh, and these products put a bit of cash in the mediator's pocket, too. If you had one info product priced at 19.99 that sold one per day online, you'd gross about $7300 annually in addition to your practice revenues. Add more products and you see where I'm going.

Once you learn the fundamentals-niche development, becoming known- that we teach at, it's simple to start developing a product. I'm working on a new audio/workbook product now. I expect to have it tested, completed, and on the market in 45-60 days. If all goes well, I forecast the product will generate around $24K this year.

Next Monthly Marketing Call

Everyone is invited to join me on my next 60 minute call on June 14th at 12:30 p.m. EDT. It's free so you can 'sample' my simple 3 step process for building a profitable, multiple stream practice. Send a blank email to to sign up.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

PS I'm off to Oakland, CA next week for the first live Breakthrough Summit. I can't wait to see what magic happens when we all get into the room. You can be there, too.
Sign up!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Are You a Self-Starter?

When I was nine I was fascinated with my Dad's woodworking shop. It was filled with all sorts of creations in various stages of completion. I loved listening to my father explain how things worked and seeing him be inspired by it all. He sent me off to college with a hand-made upholstered chair so I'd always have a place to rest and be cuddled. He was my role model for the joys of starting, building, creating. What he didn't do was finish things.

Being Creative
"The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation, lasts."Henry Moore

The creative process is a wonderful thing. It's joyous and intoxicating for me. Anyone who knows me, knows I"m full of it-creativity and ideas-that is. I love starting on a new idea, feeling the rush of adrenaline that accompanies the thought of all those possibilities. Yummy!

Yet, creativity has a dark side.

Are you a Never-Finisher?

Just like my dad I'm a great self-starter, creative force and also a 'never-finisher'. That means I sometimes have so many good ideas going at once that I can't finish just one. Sounds good, right? Sometimes, it's not. Sometimes a bounty of ideas is really a way of delaying action or distracting oneself away from fear of success.


Good ideas abound, but before you take up the next one ask yourself: Why am I pursuing this? Is the timing good? Am I diluting the energies I could be spending to complete a current project? Am I avoiding what I perceive as a weakness in my or a challenge by starting something new?

Tough questions to answer. I know I answer them myself. Why? Because I can't complete my greatest creation- my life- without discovering myself.

What does this mean to you? Think about whether you're a 'self-starter/never-finisher' and why.

Inquire of yourself whether you want to change and how to do it. It might be that the only thing keeping you from having the mediation practice of your dreams is you.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Let's Stay Together: Marital Mediation Practice

An attorney in Chicago recently posted a billboard that says, 'Life is short. Get a Divorce'. Certainly that resonates with some people, but Laurie Israel finds that some married couples are searching for new ways to stay together.

Laurie, an attorney and divorce mediator in Brookline, MA, expanded her practice to include 'mediation to stay married' and shared her experiences during a recent teleseminar, Building a Marital Mediation Practice. Here are a few of Laurie's insights for creating this type of practice:

  • Be passionate about the types of problems you want to assist couples to resolve

  • Being married or divorced isn't a pre-requisite but it builds understanding and awareness

  • Surround yourself with responsible practitioners like mental health professionals, attorneys who can supplement/compliment your expertise

  • Market by writing articles and speaking as much as you can. You never know where new clients will come from

The discussion was far-reaching and included Laurie's philosophy of 'mediating in the shadow of the law'. The audio recording of the call is available on in the Marketplace.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


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Friday, May 18, 2007

"The Secret" is Out

It's absolutely no secret that mediators and other ADR professionals struggle to market and grow practices. These folks report being distracted by their 'day' jobs; fearful of rejection or failure and doubtful that there is enough work to go around. They feel dejected, and frankly, I concur. Just writing those words put me in an awfully negative mind state. Bet you don't feel great now either.

Eliminating Fear

What would it be like if you could eliminate any fear of failure? What would your practice, your life, your world be like if intention could make it so? Very provocative questions yet answering them could lead you to making your dearest dreams come true. How can you live your intentions? Discover 'The Secret'.

Rhonda Byrne's Secret

If you haven't heard someone talk about the Secret lately, that's amazing because it's been everywhere. Basically, the Secret is a discussion of the law of attractions, which states that our thoughts attract what we think about-good or bad- into our lives. Here's a more detailed explanation.

My Confession

I think of myself as a divine combination of spiritual being and skeptical businesswoman so you know I struggled with the concepts in the Secret. I debated whether to blog about it at all. Until I realized that, in true mediator fashion, that you can decide for yourself what's best for you. By sharing, I'm simply making space for you to consider another way of being in the world. You decide.

Driving in the Dark

I urge you to check this out. What I found most compelling is how many times I've invoked this gift without truly realizing it. My belief that the world is a good place filled with abundance and possibility has brought so many wonderful opportunities to me. I wish the same for you.

Feeling skeptical still? That's ok. Consider this idea from the movie which really cemented things for me: driving in the dark.

Remember a time when you drove in the dark on an unlit road. Your headlines were the only source of light to illuminate your way and you couldn't see further than their reach. I'm guessing you knew that the road was still there and that you'd eventually reach your destination.

Same thing with intention. We may not be able to 'see' how our dreams will manifest into reality but we can hold onto the knowledge that they will appear- just like the next stretch of road- and act on that belief. Thoughts do become action.

What does this mean to you? Get the audio (it's available in bookstores and and give a listen. Worse that can happen is that you won't like itl. The best- you can transform your entire life!

Try. Fail. Intend. Grow!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why Can't Mediators Share?

Sure, this title is a play on the old question: 'Why Can't Johnny Read?', but the desire for a sincere answer is real.

When Laurie Israel of shared how welcoming John Fiske of Divorce Mediation Training has been to her as she builds her marital mediation practice, it awakened a memory for me and revived a question. (More soon on the terrific teleseminar with Laurie).

The Opener of Doors

"Be the opener of doors for such as come after you." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Years ago when I was a newbie mediator considering divorce mediation as a career, John Fiske welcomed me into his office and into the field providing a wealth of information, and most importantly, encouragement. He informed my career in many ways but the most endearing gift he offered was the idea that I should always try to help others in the field. I've done just that over the years and can honestly say I've been the one helped the most.

Why Can't Mediators Collaborate with Each Other?

So, here's the quandry: Mediators often encourage parties to collaborate, yet we don't share referrals, information and resources with each other? Why don't we work together to 'expand the marketplace pie'? Why do we continue to see each other as competitors?

It's a strange paradox that is difficult to understand. Sometimes, I wonder whether this barrier is caused by a collective identity crisis. Perhaps mediators who lack the imagination to see and value their skills in new ways cling to being labelled in the traditional ways (family, divorce, workplace, commercial) so new additions to those already tight niches seem threatening. Hence, the turf wars, cold shoulders, and very little growth for the field.

Wouldn't it be great if we could take a page from our own book and brainstorm new ways to serve peace and our communities? I firmly believe that creating niche practices is the most effective way to do that and make a good living.

What does this mean to you? Don't let skepticism or fear prevent you from reaching out to mediators and organizations in the field. Actively seek ways to collaborate and share referrals. Be the opener of doors for those who come after you and those who stand besides you.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared" Buddha

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Monday, May 07, 2007

Mediators and Justice?

Vicki Pynchon who pens Settle It Now asks a very thought-provoking question:

Are we in the business of delivering justice as part of our resolution services?

This is part of her justice survey which I recently took.

It was intriguing to think that my answer changed depending on which perspective I answered from: as a mediator or as a user of mediation (I've been both).

Take the survey and come back and tell me what you think.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


PS Building a Marital Mediation Practice on May 14th at 1 p.m. EST is filling up fast. Grab your seat.