Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yes, Multiple Streams of Income are Possible.

How wonderful that the discussion of multiple streams of income for mediators is growing. Geoff Sharp of Mediator blah blah asked me to write about it and now Kristina Haymes has jumped into the conversation. Regardless of whether you think creating Multiple Streams of Mediation Income (MSOMI) is worthwhile or even do-able, simply exploring the possibilities will be beneficial for our profession.

Let's take a closer look

Kristina, an entrepreneur-at-heart like me, correctly points out that there are actually two ways to have multiple income streams: directly from service delivery and passively from information products. Just as we learn in training as mediators, the most successful entrepreneurs will be the ones that learn how to best balance and use both types of income generation.

Streams from Service Delivery

Most mediators I know already have practices that combine several different conflict resolution skills, i.e. mediation, facilitation, training, including me. Although folks tend to be apologetic about it ("I'm doing a bit of this and that"), this strategy has worked for me and for others.

I coach the folks in my membership to be more strategic about multiple streams, rather than happenstance. Unbundling mediation services by separating out the individual skills and applying said skills to solve consumer problems IS a valid way of using a service model to create a new revenue stream.

One example is conflict coaching, which allows mediators to be helpful to people who have a 'do it yourself' approach to resolving conflict. Some workplace consumers need a mediator to assist them in preparing for difficult conversations like progressive discipline or performance evaluation. I've worked with middle managers in companies like Fleet and Polaroid in that capacity very successfully. It wasn't mediation but it was revenue earned and a chance to do more later. And, I'm sure there are opportunities in other industries/sectors like the non-profit world to do the same. Check out Cinnie Nobles work as a conflict coach at

Streams of Passive Income

Here's where things get interesting. I am passionate about getting mediators to use their expertise to educate the market and build revenue. It represents a well-tested strategy from the business world for creating wealth that can be translated for our use.
Your knowledge, expertise, experience can be captured and shared with others. What prevent mediators from using this technique are lingering negative beliefs and assumptions.

Mediation - old way or the high way

Too often we mediators think that our value lies only at the mediating table. Not true. By writing and publishing information products we can assist people earlier; develop greater acceptance of mediation as a problem-solving tool; and grow the market for all of us.

Far, far too often we mediators think we should give our services away. While I favor having a robust pro bono policy that allows you to serve your community, I don't believe our services should be free. The old saying, 'you get what you pay for' remains true in the minds of many consumers.

Wouldn't it be great if we gave ourselves a gift - permission to try something different. I choose to believe that if we as mediators gave up our negative projections about growing our businesses (people won't like me; someone will think I'm crass; I'll look greedy; it won't work anyway) and became students of business we'd stop looking at the 12% of our population each year that burnout.

Understanding the Product Funnel

The product funnel is simple a series of information products: audios, ebooks,etc that increase in price, value and complexity. My funnel looks like a V, with the broadest part being my free offerings and the bottom consists of my high end product: me.

Products at the top are lead generation tools that are an exchange of value. You provide useful information to the reader and you receive an email address and permission to communicate in return. Those who understand the principles of multiple income streams know that email address is plenty valuable because it could result in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars in revenue over the course of a client lifetime.

Just as we suggest using I statements as a proactive way to teach others how to treat us, we as mediators can use information products to teach consumers about our process and value.

Information Products are an End and a Means

Info products are the 'Energizer bunnies' of marketing because they have so many formats, uses and don't require your direct participation beyond creating a high quality product. How efficient! You create a product once it becomes your emissary, 24/7, spreading the word and earning a bit of cash (pennies turn into dollars, right). A product funnel of info products can be an ends (creates income) or a means (leads to income as mediator) or both.

A well written ebook can introduce you to your niche market in a way that doesn't intrude but builds trust and credibility. You have an exchange in value and, hopefully, your reader will look to you for the next bit of insight.

Your product funnel - ebook, ecourse, negotiation aids, and etc - can also chauffeur your readers from unconsciously incapable to being capable of achieving their goals. Or, maybe they can't and seek you out, a trusted adviser. Either way, isn't that why we mediators love our work...because we empower people? Either way, won't your practice bloom?

Info Products are In-Big Time

Here are a few figures that might challenge the notion that you can't generate sufficient income from educational products.

The self help industry generates $9.6 billion a year. Coaching accounts for $2.4 billion a year and is growing. People want just-in-time, specific, 'I'll do it myself' answers to their problems and they want them now. Imagine what would happen to your mediation practice if you captured even a small fraction of that market.

Conflict books might not sell well. That's because they're written by conflict resolvers using jargon primarily for other conflict resolvers. Would it surprise you to know that Getting to Yes is a perennial favorite on the and NY Times bestseller lists? Why? Because it's written for the end user- the client. (More on creating a book)

Think about what happened to coffee. Coffee is no longer the cheap stuff that keeps you up; it's a personalized experience that people willingly pay $5 for. Mediation and related services could be the next 'it' if we collectively work towards that goal.

Caution: Everything Ain’t for Everybody

Using a multiple stream, online, niche marketing approach is not for everyone. Succeeding with this concept requires a high degree of patience, discipline, creativity, focus, courage and the ability to deal with ambiguity. It doesn't seem coincidental that successful mediators share those qualities.

Early on I practiced divorce mediation. It wasn’t long before I discovered it didn’t suit my temperament or skills. It didn’t fit so I changed. Consider taking the same approaching to trying a multiple streams approach. Try it before deciding it’s not for you.

More to Say

This post is getting longer than the tax code so I'll end here. I've posted a longer article on that addresses more issues like publishing online.
This is a rich conversation which I hope inspires others to add their views.

For sure, my decision to focus the July 21th Breakthrough Summit on information products is a good one. It'll give attendees another chance to explore and discuss the idea of (and plan for) creating the life and income you want in a non-conventional way.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



Monday, June 25, 2007

I love Green, Part 2

Hopefully now you've had a look at The Green, programming at the Sundance Channel or read my last green post so this will make some sense.The other show I adore is Eco-biz, which features entrepreneurs who have taken on the green challenge in amazing ways.

I love Terracycle
which was founded by two young upstarts, Tom Szaky and Jon Beyers who dared to find a better way to use trash. Every part of their product is made from trash. Terracycle transforms soda bottles that would normally find their way into a landfill into containers for fertilizer which started out as poop. Genius! (and apparently scary for the Scott company that is now suing Terracycle.)

My inner geek loves this stuff, but I'll stop ranting. What I wanted to explore was how can mediation work with other industries in such an integrated way.

All it takes is for some, or even one, of us mediators to make some new breakthroughs about how either mediation itself(or it's parts unbundled) can better serve the world. I kinda like what George Bernard Shaw had to say:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man."

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



Top 5 Reasons Mediators Don't Get Pricing and Marketing

I love mavericks, and not just because I am one. Mavericks see the world in a different way and are brave enough to say to out loud.

So today I salute Chris Marston, a Boston lawyer/change agent who pens a blog called Inside the Firm of the Future. Chris is shaking up the stodgy world of lawyers with the 'crazy' notion of lawyers solving their clients problems in a responsive, practical, cost-efficient way. Gasp!

A recent post of his really caught my eye for its candor. I thought I'd try thesame here.

5 Reasons Why Mediators Don't Get it When It Comes to Pricing and Marketing

  1. Fail to Understand the Market is not Monolithic
    Somehow mediators fell into the trap of defining their practices with elephant-sized brushstrokes. I read directories and see mediators declaring I do family or employment mediation. Yes, and so what? The average consumer isn't looking for a general type of mediator. He or she is searching for the solution to a fairly specific problem like negotiating discipline styles between divorced parents or creating meaningful separation package for a high level executive. It's a Starbucks world folks. Mediators who recognize the value of dominating a narrow niche by solving a short list of specific concerns will be successful.

  2. Reject your 'Inner Businessperson'
    Whether you think your practice is a blessing (like I do) or a calling, it's also a business. It's essential to follow the basics of business operation. Have a business plan. Decide how much you're willing to invest. It's amazing how many mediators have been plugging away year after year to build a practice with no real idea of how much of their money (direct and indirect expenses) they have already committed. Most of all you have to be willing to market.

  3. Insist on a 'One Size Fits All' Approach
    Yes, each mediation is unique. But guess what? Not every person who needs the help of a mediator wants or needs mediation. Yet, that's the primary product most mediators offer to the market. Unbundle your practice into separate services, create knowledge products at a variety of price points and generally look for ways contribute other than with a conventional mediation. The public will thank you and so will your bank account.

  4. Confuse Work for Free with a Marketing Strategy
    What's the definition of insanity? According to Einstein, it's doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Mediators still maintain the fantasy that giving away their time for free or very low cost will lead to paying work. While it might work some of the time, is that the client you want, a bargain hunter? Mediators should use pro bono policies to control how much time and money they donate. Then free service becomes an informed, strategic decision designed to lead to more work rather than wishful thinking.

  5. Fear of Pricing for Value
    Parties will often say how much the mediation process meant to them. They thank us for giving them hope and peace of mind, which are both priceless. So, why don't mediator rates reflect that value? Because we're afraid. Afraid of what others might say or think (greedy, crass, uncaring)...afraid of the messages we send ourselves (I didn't do much except listen; I don't deserve that much). Claim your worth. No one else can do it for you.

    Bonus: Suffer from a Huge Inferiority Complex
    Who knows whether it's the lack of uniform credentialing or the fact that some of us are not lawyers that keeps mediators stuck. Some of us suffer from low self-esteem. Do whatever you need to do to bolster your confidence.

Sure, I know folks will disagree. I'm eager to read your comments and thoughts.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow

PS Tessa Stowe shares her secrets for getting business clients this Monday at 5 p.m.Register now so you don't miss out.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Co-Mediation like a Cool Jazz Duo

It's true that everything is everything.

Visiting the Healsburg Jazz Festival this past June ( a little treat after the Oakland Summit), I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing Julian Lage and Taylor Eigsti perform as the opening act for Jim Hall and Dave Holland. It was a gloriously rich and diverse concert that left me thinking about the improvising and collaboration that happens when we sit down with a fellow mediator to work.

A bit of background

Jim Hall is the foremost pioneer in jazz guitar; he invented a kind of harmonic style of play that was, and still is, unique. Julian Lage, a child prodigy on jazz guitar, seems to be Jim's heir apparent. His playing was joyful yet reverent and brought such freshness and excitement to old jazz standards.

Dave Holland is recognized as one of the finest bass performers in the world. And, I'd add a very nice man who was willing to chat with my husband, Peter, a jazz vibraphonist, in a chance meeting. I enjoyed his work for the same reason I enjoyed Taylor Eigsti, a phenomenal pianist and another child prodigy. Each is masterful at being present but not overwhelming, blending in yet being distinct in his contribution.

What's this got to do with mediation?

For some, maybe nothing. For me, I was taken with how each of the duos played off each other, playfully daring the other to 'top that'. They truly enjoyed themselves playing together, so much so I hesitate to call it working. Best of all, they liked and respected each other.

I've had the good fortune to mediate with some amazing practitioners over the years. I wish every reader the same experiences to grow and hone your craft. Most of us in practice tend to do solo work. I strongly encourage you to find ways to put a bit of co-mediation back into your life. The music will be richer for it.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


PS I'll announce the Website Makeover contest rules this Friday!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Best Marketing Advice

There's absolutely no shortage of marketing advice on the internet. However, every now and again I run across a piece that resonates with me.

Recently, Monikah Ogando of The Entrepreneur's Explosion Coach shared the best piece marketing advice she ever received. And now I pass it along to you.

Marketing is communicating about your products and services frequently and consistently enough that selling them becomes superfluous.

Let me say that louder:


Enuf said.

The Meme Continutes...

I can't say enough about the thoughtful and unique response that Paula Lawhon gave to my meme challenge. Paula is an attorney-mediator in San Fran who pens SFMediation: A Better Solution. Her blog does an excellent job of demystifying the mediation process for laypersons and lawyers alike.

The question- can mediation go green?- is very open to interpretation and I love where folks are going. Look for Diane Levin and Justin Patten to put their respective spin on things soon!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

PS Sorry for the short posts of late. I'm consumed with this really cool new program that I hope to release in July. Trouble is every time I think I'm close to done, a new 'must-add' idea pops in my head. If I blow the launch deadline, you'll know why.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Love Green- Meme

Talk about getting off to a good start...Whew, Vicki's post blew my doors off- what passion! Read it yourself.

I've said time and again that I started, in part, because the world couldn't afford to lose a single peacemaker simply because s/he couldn't make a livable wage. So you know I agree with Vicki and Ken Cloke when they suggest that mediators may save the world by teaching it how employ empathy and compassion.

Gee, I can't wait for Justin Patten, Paula Lowhon and Jan Schau to toss in their thoughts, too.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Love Green, Part 1

I love The Green. What is it? The Green is the first regular programming devoted to the environment, brought to us by Robert Redford and it's magnificent TV (or should I say cable)

I regularly enjoy one of it's premier shows, Big Ideas for a Small Planet

The Green represents bold,innovative programming that is so smart in so many very cool ways I gotta share. Why? Because somewhere there are glimmers of ideas that we can translate to our own uses. Maybe conflict has a chance; nobody wanted to talk about global warming at first either.

I'm fascinated with the notion that:

  1. the programming takes misunderstood concepts about being green and global warming and makes them entertaining, educational and downright sexy.

  2. it promotes being proactive without resorting to scare tactics and fear-based marketing. I'm motivated to change my behaviors because it's good for the planet; it's great business and it's so darned hip!

  3. it inspires me to consider how I can personally make a difference (woven grocery bags for me)

  4. it normalizes a distant idea that one could easily avoid and personalizes it so that I can specifically see how global warming impacts my life and the value of being green.

I could go on, and I will in the companion post, I Love Green, Part 2. Eco-businesses definitely have something to teach us.

What does this mean to you? First, start watching the show. Really,you won't be disappointed; I promise you. Second, after a few episodes start thinking of how to 'green your mediation practice'.

Maybe I'll start a new meme and invite some of my favorite bloggers to ponder that question in their blogs. Oh Diane, Geoff and Vicki...

Try. Fail.Learn and Grow!



Monday, June 11, 2007

Summertime Pursuits

Typically, my lazy summer thoughts drift to sipping brewski's, barbecue and naps in the sun, but this year is different. I'm inspired by the HOT calendar of teleseminars.

The theme for July is independence, of course. We'll feature calls that give you freedom from worry on a variety of topics. Lisa Wells of will give use some website dos and don'ts. She has a terrific one-stop package for mediators who want a professional website with more traffic, less bother. Tell her I sent you!

August is all about writing articles-my preferred method for getting known. Don't miss the series with Linda Dessau, a top-notch writer who offers two great tools for would-be writers. Her Power-Edit gives you 30 minutes of article polishing suggestions for only $37.50- that's means you can get started today. If you prefer, try her You Talk, I Write programs which makes writing as easy as having a conversation.

Check out the calendar on my homepage for more details and to sign up!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Friday, June 08, 2007

Kindergarten Paste in your Future

You don't need a Ouija board to see into the future.

I love the idea of vision boards ever since reading the Authentic Self series by Sarah Ban Breathnach (which I highly recommend). Seeing your desires visually each day encourages your mind to work towards bringing them into your daily reality.

Kindergarten Paste

You create a vision board selecting images that represent your dreams and desires and placing them on a board. There are many ways to accomplish this joyous task.

Frankly, I still like cutting and pasting. Many of my facilitation clients initially baulk at sitting down with safety scissors and a stake of magazines only to be thrilled later about the innovative ideas that emerge. If it works for you, sit with your pile and slowly let the images on the page spark inspiration for you.

There's something meditative about the process of slowly cutting around pictures and words that releases our imaginations.

Go Virtual

Not a paste kinda person? OK, let's go digital. Here is an inspiring website, courtesy of Kathy Mallary of the Inspired Market-her.

  1. - The Dream Manifestation Wizard is a software program that you download and run on your own computer. You can customize the images and affirmations provided in the included library or use your own.

Your Business Vision

I know it feels like there's little time for frivolities when you're so busy. But, here's the thing: nothing works if you skip this step!

Having a tremendously exciting, completely passionate vision of what your business will bring into your life is the driver that keeps you motivated to success. I know that the very thought of my Glidehouse in the Cali redwoods or driving my Tesla, electric sports car, or going on safari with my children definitely propel me out of bed.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Monday, June 04, 2007

Ain't Necessarily So...

I love feedback. I'm especially grateful to Vicki Pynchon who pens the SCMA blog for her comment on mediators collaborating. (see May 15 post).

Here's my take

As I remarked in my return comment, I have experienced a sense of fear, mistrust and less than friendly behavior from other mediators. Of course, that's unfortunate. What's worse, I think, is the general lack of awareness of what we can do for each other on a daily basis. Let me give you an example or two.

Several times a month I get requests either to conduct mediation training or to recommend a program. Even though I can boast of training about a thousand people in mediation over the years and am certainly capable of doing the work, I choose to send it along to two non-profit groups I know. Why?

I respect their work tremendously and want to actively support their continued existence. And I no longer do training. It's not my niche anymore so taking the work would be bad for my business. My energies are better spent on my core niche- online marketing for mediators- rather than chasing short term revenues. Yet, I hear mediators often say they'll do whatever comes across their desk. Does that help the profession or the client? I don't think so.

Another example of choosing to share is when I'm interviewed by the media. Each time I've been featured by a major business publication like Inc, I've chosen to direct the reporter to others in the field who would add value to the story. It's a win-win for everyone: the reporter has less research; another practice gets press; and the profession gains more credibility. Not hard to do, but besides ADR bloggers like Vicki, Diane, Geoff and Anthony, I don't see much of that happening.

Prove me wrong

I hear my experience echoed back to me from others in the field in this country and internationally. But, I'd like to be wrong. So, if you've had great experiences of being mentored or collaborating, please share them in the comments. We all could benefit from more ideas of how to help each other. United we stand, divided we fall.

Try. Fail. SHARE. Grow!


Breakthrough Summit- June 8th!

Time to take that step! If you want the practice of your dreams- plenty of clients, meaningful work and a comfortable wage, you'll benefit from the Breakthrough Summit.

It's designed to be a hands-on workshop that digs deeper my simple 3 step process for creating a sustainable, profitable practice. You'll leave with more ideas and a roadmap to guide you.

Space is limited and we've had a great response, so don't wait any longer.

Join us at Preservation Park in Oakland, CA on June 8th from 9-12 noon PST.

See you in the sunshine!