Category: Blog


Intuition Encounter – Guided Meditation

Intuition is the concept of being led by an internal compass that leads to your true desires.

What you truly desire is not always what is going to conform to what society thinks you should want or even what you think you want for yourself making it tricky business to “stay the course”. This in itself can make following intuition difficult to trust as it won’t always conform to what you thought you wanted or hoped for.

Those who are brave enough to trust and follow through on the guidance received are never led astray.

Surrendering to something that has your mind sending red alerts on is like standing on the ledge of the bungee cliff and having to make the jump.

Luckily there are lots of techniques that can be used to assist you in living guided by your own intuition.

In this podcast episode I take you through a 25min guided meditation where you will encounter your own intuition.

Remember:

▲ Try to ask open ended questions…

▲ Be in a calm “green light” state before trying to encounter your intuition..

▲ Intuition doesn’t always use words to communicate, if symbols come through to you then identify how you first interpreted it, before the rational mind got involved…what does it mean to you, not what you think it should mean…

▲ write down what came through and create an reminder in your calendar three weeks from now to review…it usually makes more sense with time behind it…

▲ It’s normal to struggle with this your first few goes. It will be difficult for you to discern the cloud of thoughts that is your fears speaking and your own guidance system, but it’s yours for a reason, it can always be accessed with a bit of intention…

 

TRANSCRIPT

I want to take you on a journey with yourself to meet your own intuition, your own internal guidance system, this compass that you are equipped with that will never lead you astray. Once you learn to listen to it, and not only to listen to it, but to action what it says to you. And the last part is probably the trickiest part of embodying this type of way of living, if you will, of being an intentional carer- creator. Because oftentimes, the direction that comes through from your intuition from this really phenomenal piece of technology that you possess is really irrational, it doesn’t make sense. It’s often so out there that the rational mind will easily sweep in and try to discount it, create fears, create doubts. And essentially, most people will end up talking themselves out of whatever intuitive action or insights came to them.

Now, of course, if we do this, it negates the entire point of being guided by this intuitive system. We can’t just pick and choose what it is we want to follow. Because the moment that we decide to disregard whatever action or clarity or message came through from ourselves, what we’re really telling ourselves in that moment is that we don’t really believe that our intuition can guide us in that way. We believe that our conscious or subconscious beliefs are more valid, more credit. And the moment we make that discernment, the moment we get into a heap of trouble, this is where we manically start to fix the ego side of our identity, we fall into anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, depression.

And, uh, we can get really lost and really confused, feel like a victim, we feel like everyone’s letting us down. We find all sorts of excuses and reasons and culprits of why we are a victim to the things that we are a victim for, because we simply don’t want to admit that somewhere along the lines, we just didn’t listen to ourselves. We didn’t trust ourselves enough, and we let our rational mind step in and hold the reins. And now we are where we are in a place of suffering because we are not in step with the creative genius that is us.

And each and every single one of us possesses this genius within us to lead us exactly to where it is we want and learning to dial into the communication of this genius, dial into the commands, if you will, of this genius. Genius (laughs) is essentially your intuition. So this is what I’m referring to when I use this word intution. And on today’s episode, what I want to do is I want to take you down literally, a rabbit hole where you’re going to meet what I like to call a spirit guide. I’ll explain this in a moment as well. So that you can reconnect with your own intuition and begin to allow it to guide you both in your business as well as in your personal life.

Welcome to another episode of The Flow Protocols. My name is Cat Howell, and I’m gonna be your host on today’s definitely [warpee 00:04:17] journey. Today, we’re going to be diving into a guided meditation. I’m gonna take you into an imaginary world in your mind. We’re going to flex that imagination regardless if you believe in intuition if you believe in spirit guides. The very premise of flexing your exers- your imagination in the way that we are about to today is always going to benefit you greatly in life. Now, I’m using the word spirit guide here, which may throw some of you guys off because that’s definitely a sort of new age woowoo type of lingo or word.

But really, it’s just semantics, it’s me keeping it simple. Really, all I’m referring to here is a spirit guide is going to be a visual representation that your imagination is going to create, which will represent your intuition. Basically, it represents your internal communication system. Now, a spirit guide can take many shapes and forms or sizes. For some people, it will show up as an angel. I’ve worked with some clients where they have seen it as Jesus, and they were not even religious, which was interesting. My spirit guide shows up often as a turtle with dreadlocks (laughs) so there’s that. I’ve known people who see spirit guides as animals or balls of energy, or even shapes.

They come in all form, shapes and sizes, because really, they’re just a fictional representation, a symbolic representation of this concept called intuition, this guttural instinct, this guttural compass system, this technology that you are in possession of. And if we liken this technology to a vehicle, it is the smoothest of engines and it purrs like a cat when it gets going. Because this engine is the most powerful way to guide your life. Now, as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s one thing to say that you are going to allow yourself to be guided by your intuition, by this beautiful compass system. But actually, following through on what comes through, or what guidance comes through, is an entirely different matter on its own, and this is where most people trip up.

Because what often comes through when you connect with a spirit guide is going to be very difficult for your rational mind to swallow or to palate whole or to not dissect or think of all the reasons why it can’t happen and the fears and the doubts. Today, we’re not gonna be talking about the follow through, I’m simply going to be taking you through a simple guided meditation. It is one of the ways in which you can reconnect with a spirit guide, AKA your own intuition. The more that you practice these types of exercises, and I definitely encourage you to do this at least once a week, if you are just getting started out and you’re trying to build this muscle of intuition.

And it is easier as you go along. The more you do this, the better you will be at simply accepting and receiving symbols and meanings from those c- conversations or encounters as they are instead of trying to overthink things, and instead of trying to rationalize what it could mean. The moment we begin to overthink things, the moment we begin to dissect or rationalize anything, it’s all garbage from then on. That’s just the, the mind the rational mind that has stepped in. The rational mind has no domain with the intuitive and so therefore, by default, the moment we start to overthink anything, it’s not our intuition anymore. And so it should be discounted as such.

So this is the tricky part of building an intuitive muscle, if you will, the relationship with yourself, is that initially what you will find is that you’ve probably never operated on a level where your mind hasn’t constantly been across everything that you’re doing, and over analyzing everything. So initially, what you may discover is that it feels difficult to interpret or to make anything of what is coming to you. This gets easier every time you practice this. Again, if we liken the exercises of deep focus of the mind, of creative imagination, all these are is like a splits. We’re basically attempting a splits. Usually, if you try to do the splits in one go, in one hit, you’re gonna rip some shit really badly. It’s not recommended.

You kinda got to stretch a bit today, a bit tomorrow, and you probably won’t even notice a difference from stretch to stretch. But if you’re consistent with it and you keep with it, what you’ll notice is after 30 days, you’ve got a split going on. So there’s a huge change from day one to day 30. This is the same thing with any mindset work, any deep focus exercises, anything where we are stretching our imagination. We have to acknowledge that there is going to be a period of stretching required. So don’t get upset if you go through this exercise today and you don’t have a ton of clarity or you haven’t been able to fully tap into your intuition. Keep at it, be consistent, and you will find very quickly, you’ll be able to actually tap into that ability and that skill very easily.

So what I’m going to be doing in a moment is I’m gonna be asking you to relax your body, and we’re going to essentially abandon the physical body, we’re gonna go deep into the subconscious. We’re going to go into a landscape that you are gonna create. I’m going to take you through one of my landscapes that I used to often connect with my spirit guide, to help you in case you need help putting an environment together. But this can look any way that you want. What the spirit guide looks like, what the environment looks like, it actually is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter. All of that is just a function that is there to allow you to interplay with yourself.

We’re going to set an intention of something that we would like clarity around in our lives. So if there’s dysfunction happening in your business or in your life right now, maybe you want some clarity, some guidance, some answers. I want you to start thinking about what it is that you want to put forth in front of your spirit guide. Now, to avoid, to make sure that we’re not pulling the ego into these conversations, because again, as soon as the ego is involved in any of this, it’s all garbage. That that anything that we channel through in that moment is just gonna be rubbish. So to avoid that situation, we want to keep our questions open-ended. So don’t ask yes or no questions or don’t ask, “Is it Tom or is it Mike that I should marry?”

Ask open-ended questions. So usually, that’s your five, fives. Like, how can I better serve this community? Or how can I show up more fully? Or how can I gain more presence? Th- that is an example of an open-ended question. And usually, these questions will keep the ego out of the picture. So start to think about what it is that you would like to put in front of your spirit guide, what clarity or purpose that you would like guidance around. When you meet your spirit guide, and you get direction or you get a communication cycle, whatever that is, whatever first comes through is your intuition. Anything after that, where you’re dissecting or interpreting or trying to rationalize that, again, is gonna be your rational mind.

So this is going to be an exercise as well in practicing how we discern from intuition, which is what comes to us right away, versus when we’re just digging through things, and the rational analytical mind is now in the picture running the show. Oftentimes, what comes through may not make a lot of sense to you. It might seem really cryptic, and this is super normal. So what we’re gonna do, right after I bring you back into your body, is you’re going to write down exactly everything that came through in that encounter. And you’re going to set a timer on your calendar an, a reminder in your calendar from three weeks from t- from now, where you’re going to read back to yourself what it was that you wrote during that encounter.

And usually, it’ll make a lot more sense with a bit of time behind you. So oftentimes, what comes through during a spirit guide encounter is really irrational, it’s really out there, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s very ahe- it gro- … Your soul is expanding faster than your rational mind can keep up. So some of the communications that are coming through may not fit in with your life right this moment. But you’re gonna set an alarm on your phone, and in three weeks’ time, you’ll read back what you wrote today. And usually, it’s pretty eerily accurate by then or it makes a lot more sense. And this is where it gets really fun when you touch base with yourself three weeks later, and connect again with that communication that came through.

Again, when the communication comes through just whatever first lands, that’s the intuition. That’s the piece that we need to note, okay? So what we’re gonna do in the beginning part of this guided meditation is I’m going to be asking you to settle yourself into what I call a green light emotional state. A green light emotional state is just a state that doesn’t have tension attached to it. We either feel good or we don’t feel good, right? Aside from indifference, that kind sits in the, the middle there, you know if you feel good, you know if you feel, feel bad. If we try to tap into intuitive messages while we are in red light emotional states, there’s a reason they’re called red light. Red light, stop. Stop. Anything that comes through is garbage. It’s your rational mind, it’s your ego. It’s never your intuition when you are in a red light, emotional state.

Green light, go (laughs). So the first part of the meditation, we’re just going to be doing some breath work for a few minutes, the aim is going to be to totally relax the nervous system, to relieve the tension, to relieve the stress in the body so we can place ourselves in a green light emotional state. This could just be calmness, it could even be easy, secure. It could be playful, it could be curious, anything like that is fine. I’m not asking you to be super joyful or anything like that but we just want to let go of any tension if you’re in a really bad stressed out anxious place right now. And as you go through the meditation, you cannot seem to shake that, I invite you to just stop the meditation or keep doing the meditation for another purpose.

You can still meet your spirit guide, but I just wouldn’t necessarily take everything that comes through during that encounter, uh, verbatim because when you’re in a red light state, red light, we don’t really listen to the intui- … We’re not connected with our intui- intuitive powers when we are in a red light emotional state. It doesn’t happen, not possible. So we want to make sure that we, we disconnect and get back into a gree- green light before we try to really decipher messages from our own internal guidance system. So with that being said, I invite you now to get comfortable in your chair or wherever you are right now. You can do this sitting upright, you can find a place to lie down.

I often love to meditate lying down even though it goes against all recommendations for meditation. I do mine in the morning so that I don’t fall asleep. Otherwise, I do fall asleep if it’s during the day. But find a comfortable position where you can let go of the tension in your body. And I want you to close your eyes. I want you to picture your body lying down on a beach, on warm soft sand. And there’s a tide coming up to meet your body, waves lapping softly. I want you to hear them. Place yourself on that beach. Know that you are so safe on this beach. There’s nothing that can harm you. The water is also warm as it comes up to touch your thighs and your toes and your hips and your fingertips.

And just relax. Imagine as you’re relaxing your body, the sand is taking the pressure from all those sore heavy points of your body, the back of your neck, your shoulder blades, the nape of your back, your calves, softly folding into the sand as the waves come up and gently touch you. And I want you to take a deep breath and imagine that you’re taking a breath from the bottom of your lungs and then almost as if you’re breathing through a straw sucking the air up through the top of your lungs, filling your belly with air all the way through to the top of your lungs, and hold the breath at the top. Hold that breath. Imagine this energy circulating around in your lungs. This energy of air that is so abundant everywhere that you are always serving you always looking after you. Always accessible for you in every single breath.

Let the breath go. Imagine as you let it go, a wave going back into the ocean. And as you breathe it out, tension being breathed out into the air and released into the waves, into the oceans, swept away by nature. Take another deep breath in. Fill the bottom of your lungs with air all the way to the top and hold that breath. Imagine energy that you are pulling from the top of your head and the bottom of your feet connected to Earth. Grounded, able to tap into a source beyond yourself. Release the breath, and as you do, release the tension in your body, imagine it being swept away by the waves. Imagine yourself getting softer in the sand.

Let the tension go from your eyes, from your jaw from your fingers, your hands. Feel yourself easing into the sand, calm your nervous system. You are safe. Take another deep breath in, and hold it at the top. Hold it, and let it go. And imagine the wave taking away your tensions. Now, I want you to imagine going inside of your body now, inside the cavern of your body, and that there is a door in front of you. I want you to go through the door and you’re going to enter into a new landscape on the other side. We’re leaving your physical body behind as if it’s a machine. We’re stepping out of the machine for a moment as we walk through the door. Know that your body is safe, it is looked after, and it is waiting for you. There’s nothing to worry about.

Step through that door. What do you see? Where are you? Look around. This is a world that your mind, your imagination has made up for you. It is the world where you feel safe. It is a world of bounded mysteries and magic, what’s happening around you. Imagine that you s- hear the sound of running water, a stream or a river not far off. Start to walk through it. Now, as you do, you start to walk through some trees almost like a jungle under bush. As you push the leaves aside, move towards the water. The air is warm, and there’s almost something shimmering in the air in the patterns of light, something ethereal about this world, something not of this world.

You see a big palm tree ahead of you and you push its ferns out of the way, and on the other side you see a clearing, it’s a river bank or stream. It’s the bank of a stream, grassy, mossy bank, dappled in sunlight, warm. Go sit on the edge of the bank and place your toes in the water. Notice how the water feels comfortable on your skin, feels refreshing. What color is the water? How clear is it? Place your attention on the stream, on your surroundings. I want you to slip into the water knowing that there’s nothing in there that can harm you whatsoever, and float on your back. Let yourself go downstream. You’re looking up at the sky, at the belly of the sky, what do you see? The canopy of trees. What do you see in the sky?

Imagine yourself relaxing back into that water, being taking along by the flow of the current, trusting in this current, surrendering to this current. Not resisting or fighting it, it envelopes you. Take some deep breaths. And again, relax into the stream, surrender. Before long, the stream takes you into the opening of a cave. Start to swim into the cave, and as you do, the sky disappears. It’s darker in here. But again, you still feel very safe. It’s quieter in here. Maybe you can hear the sound, the little echoes of the ripples that you’re causing in the water. You look up and you see millions and millions of dotted sparkling points like stars in the night on the cave ceiling. It feels like you’ve entered another world.

There’s a presence with you in this cave, and it’s your spirit guide. I want you to step into some stones on a ledge on the cave, out of the water where you are greeted by your spirit guide. What does it look like? Don’t fight it. Don’t resist it. Don’t overthink it. What comes to you immediately? Your spirit guide tells you they’ve been waiting for you. They’ve been expecting you. What is it that you want to ask? We’re gonna take some deep breaths. And as we do, place your intention and your focus on the question that you have. Breathe in and breathe out. And as you breathe in and breathe out, imagine your spirit guide working with a source of energy that builds in power, that builds and intensity. It’s working with your intention. It’s working with your question.

Take another deep breath in, and out, and ask your question. Now, imagine your spirit guide working with this energy in front of it, brewing it. Maybe it’s an a ball. Maybe the energy is in an air, it doesn’t matter. Picture this energy with your intentions with the clarity that you require from your guide. And imagine your guide pouring this energy into a cup or touching you on the forehead and transferring the guidance that you need. What comes through? What is being said to you? Immediately what comes through, don’t overthink it. Don’t rationalize it, what has been the message that has come through. Sometimes there’s no message. That’s okay, don’t get frustrated.

Imagine this energy that is now a part of you coursing through your veins, through the back of your throat, the back of your eyes, down your shoulders, and to your fingertips and your thighs. This wisdom buzzling, bubbling through your body. Your spirit guide wants you to know that it is always there for you. It is always accessible to you. It will always guide you to exactly what you desire, and it will never abandon or lead you astray. I want you to step back into the river, and again, allow yourself to go with the current saying farewell to your guide. You will meet them again. Thank them, give gratitude, and go back into the current of the river of the stream.

Now, in possession of this new wisdom, go back to the bank or find another bank to exit the stream, to step out of the river. And in front of you is another door, the door back into your body. We’re going to step through this door now, and go back into the sense of reality. If you need to take another look around, do so now. This is your place, this is safe. This is a place you can always come back to whenever you want. Whenever you have questions or you need guidance, or you need to reconnect with your creative powers, this place is your home. And when you’re ready, step through that door back into your body. Start to wiggle your toes and your fingers, maybe your shoulders, and ease yourself back into this world, into the space and time. Once you have, open your eyes and write down what came through to you.

So this was one example of an intuitive spirit guide encounter meditation. I know it pretty, probably sounds really crazy and out there, especially if you have a Western schooling background. But I promise you there’s nothing woowoo about this. We’re simply spending time to intentionally place our focus on a part of ourselves that is very, very wise beyond ourselves, our creative genius. We are spending time to intentionally connect with this genius within us, which we all possess. And we are using spirit guides as a symbolic representation to assist us to communicate and create that dialogue between ourselves.

Again, it’s not really woowoo, it’s just us using a powerful tool called our imagination to help us connect with ourselves, which is healthy any way you slice it, any way you connect with them. So the key here is that if there was action that came through to you from your guide, so if you were compelled or if there was a message to do something, specifically, you must act this out, you must do this. When we do not do this, the moment we do not do this, is the moment we tell ourselves, our belief systems are more viable and trustworthy than our internal genius. And the moment we disconnect from our internal genius, whoo, the moment we slip down those red light emotions very, very quickly, we become confused, we lose our way we become anxious.

And then we’re looking at all sorts of excuses and reasons why we are where we are, not recognizing fully that it was us all along who created that discord. So it’s very important, I cannot stress this enough, very, very important that you follow through on whatever came through during that communication cycle with yourself, your spirit guide. If nothing came through, that’s okay. Nothing is something. And oftentimes, the, it’s not uncommon that the first few times you roll through this, it’s a little bit rusty, your imagination is a little bit rusty. You probably haven’t been using it a lot for creatively challenging ways. That’s okay.

The more you practice this, the easier it will become, the more you’ll be able to easily slip into this world that you create and tune into these intuitive powers. I will roll through some more guided meditations using specific examples of my own worlds that I have created, which are really out there but just so fun. And I just love going into them anytime I’m really stressed or in a lot of fear. I take myself there kind of like a kid would for a tree house or their favorite place to hang out. And it has done wonders in my business and in my personal life in guiding me and keeping me sane, really, for lack of a better word.

So thank you so much for joining me on this somewhat different episode of The Flow Protocols. This was a sample of an intuitive spirit guide meditation session. If you would like to go deeper with some of these concepts and ideas, join me inside of the free Facebook group, The Flow Protocols. You can also find me on Instagram, @theflowprotocols, and on YouTube. And I hope … By the way, don’t forget to read up on whatever came through. Leave some feedback if it feels aligned to you. I really, really appreciate it. And also, if you feel like somebody would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share and let me know how you get on with your own spirit guide.

What came through? What did you see? What did you hear? What was the message? Share, share, share as accountability. I love hearing this stuff. It’s crazy how life unfolds and unpacks all of her best abundance and mysteries and synchronicities and opportunities when you begin to live your life intuitively and to be guided by this compass, this genius within yourself. Not many people will do this because it requires intentional overriding of the rational mind, which is a tricky thing to do. But for those who dare embark on this journey, ah, the treasures are endless, endlessly abundant. So thank you so much for tuning in for another episode. I’ll see you guys on the next one.

Rituals Demystified

RITUALS DEMYSTIFIED

Since sharing my recent post on the occult, I wanted to illustrate an example of what a magic ritual looks like to satiate the curiosity and dispel any fears.

 

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A post shared by Cat Howell (@cathowell)

In the picture above is a blue candle, a knife and a small token from nature. ⁣
I often use flowers or branches or involve nature in most of my rituals because I have found her energy to be especially calming to me and beautiful to work with. Every time I am in nature I feel reconnected to myself. This is probably the most “woo woo” part of the ritual. ⁣

Step 1  

I will usually spend some time lighting Palo Incense and sweeping this across the room. I do it because it is a way for me to get my head in the game. It’s basically setting the mood for the scene. ⁣

Step 2

I will inscribe my intention into the candle. Perhaps I want to slip into the perspective of a desired end result, or maybe just take my mind somewhere calm and safe for a while.⁣ I have different worlds in my imagination I can slip into. I know that sounds crazy but isn’t it sad that most adults have lost the capacity to imagine?

Step 3

I burn the candle, sit across from it and meditate on the intention while I watch the flame. The flame allows me to keep my focus.⁣
I work simply with the energy of nature and my own mind and using rituals as a way to create a tactile meditative experience.⁣
There is no spirit or demon worshipping.
The reality is that the rituals and spells hold no magic themselves, everything has to do with you
Ask yourself,,,When’s the last time you sat in silence with yourself for half and hour? What about an hour? ⁣
Did you know that doing this will literally change your life?⁣
It’s mind bending once you channel your thoughts towards things that are authentically in integrity to you how you can unlock a deeper sense of well-being. ⁣
Magic!⁣
Magic ritual blue candle spell
The reality is that the rituals and spells hold no magic themselves, everything has to do with you. ⁣
If you are open minded to these ideas and seek activities that can garner more participation from your mind then give it a go, it’s not complicated and you’ll likely benefit greatly as have I.
PS – they are incredibly useful to helping to foster focus and meditation in young children who (like many entrepreneurs) struggle to sit still for long periods.
They are now a normal part of my week, it may be strange to some but it’s magic to me.
If you’d like to check out the video of how I did this ritual – join the free Flow Protocols Facebook Group – click here.

Using the Occult for Deep Focus

Yesterday I made a post about my fascination in the occult on Facebook and – perhaps unsurprisingly – it caused a stir with many people advising me I needed to find Jesus or that science and data are the only truths.

While this only cemented my point that we tend to crush ideas that don’t confirm to our own I wanted to clarify how I define the occult and why it is that I believe it is a beneficial practice.

To me I see the occult is a simple and effective way to achieve deep states of intentional focus.

The human mind is untapped potential, and there is little question that beliefs and perceptions determine the fringe at which reality is experienced.

Any tool that can assist an individual to create new thought patterns or beliefs that are useful to them, should logically be integrated.

This is not about being a witch in front of a cauldron casting evil spells on people (on the contrary, when I know a loved one or friend is in need I will think of them thriving, feeling, well. This is no different to prayer in many ways), this is about training the mind to become an active participant in thought patterns.

While you can achieve this through religion or reiki or crystals or dancing naked outside or what not, the reason I like the occult practices specifically, is because it incorporates rituals.

 

The Occult is simply a method of achieving deep and intentional focus of thoughts through the use of rituals. It is about intention, visualisation, and focus and it draws on the psychological pull of rituals to place individuals into these states with ease. 

And what I have observed is that across all cultures and borders, species wide – humans love rituals and incorporate them into everything we do – from marriage, to new years, to deaths!

Our ancestors used them and we continue to subscribe to even the most ridiculous ones – like diamond rings for engagements to crossing ourselves to ward off danger.  They help us to quell anxieties, bond, and give us a sense of meaning.

I have found rituals especially beneficial in getting my busy mind to settle into focused thought patterns – something I would otherwise struggle with.  I achieve something similar when I meditate but I find rituals are slightly more fun then meditation and are ESPECIALLY handy if you are a kinaesthetic or visual learner.

So to me “magic” works not because there’s anything woo woo about it but because it essentially intentionally focuses your mind even but for a moment by using the power of rituals.

And when you learn to focus your thoughts in such a way and you are in integrity and have love for others, everybody benefits.

When we soften to these ideas, and accept that science and faith are both just trying to make meaning of the magic that is life, we can begin to unlock the parts of ourselves we have perhaps been led to fear or have lost in the texts of time.

For more on this discussion check out The Flow Protocols podcast – Using the Occult for Deep Focus click here to listen 

Success if Relative

Money and success are all relative
And therefore, at every level you will encounter:
Ego flares
Fears
Doubts
Insecurities
At every level you will be invited to break past new limiting beliefs
And so the inner work is ongoing
Mindset is never set and forget
There will always be integration required
But you get better at it
Faster
At learning to understand and communicate with yourself
The ego flares get easier to step over
The doubts get easier to park
The fears become less scary
Choosing to intentionally create the life you desire
Requires you to show up in equal parts
To commit to conscious transformation
And push past thoughts and ideas you’ve held on to
Maybe for years, perhaps even a lifetime
A shift in mindset. A new belief set.
And these shifts, these frontiers where beliefs cross, is always a scary place,
It’s the unknown and full of discomfort.
But as you learn to know yourself
You can begin to lean in
And the beliefs become easier to overcome
You use the tension as the roadmap to the door
Conscious transformation
The only way to keep the soul topped up and truly satisfied.
x Cat

The Mirror of Reality

At one stage in my life I found myself encountering a stubborn revenue plateau in my business.  It lasted for about two years and during this time, no matter what I threw at it – no matter what funnel or offer or agency or contractor I hired – nothing worked to shift the dial.  I didn’t realise it then I was stuck in the mirror of reality. 

It was the most frustrating thing, but now with the grace of time, I can see why it happened just so, it is so very obvious.  

You see, at that time I had been starting to feel creatively trapped by my business. I wanted a new challenge, truthfully I wanted to talk to entrepreneurs about mindset but my entire career and identity had been built around media buying and I felt like an imposter so I denied myself the exploration of this new desire.  I was afraid that if I suddenly left the business I had spent so many years growing up that I would become a failure, that I would lose it all, and that I would not be able to support myself financially. 

It seems silly to read these thoughts back now, but back then they were paralysing and they kept me stuck. 

And I grew very unhappy.  My confidence began to plummet, and the revenues shrunk.  

The more I stayed, the more fearful I became, defensive, cynical.  And the more my life started to unravel. Launches would turn into false starters, payroll was a stressful stretch each month.  Employees started to leave and I took this on as a betrayal, and the more betrayed I felt, the more a cascade of more betrayals took root.  It was just one giant shit show. 

It took for someone to tell me in passing one day that when they experienced their existential crisis, they had realised all the bad things happening were really just mirrors of themselves, for me to finally connect with this truth again. 

I had already known this to be true with attracting money.  Back in 2017 when my agency took off, it was because I began doing mindset work where I embodied wealth and success – the whole premise being that this would then be reflected back to me. And reflect back to me it did!

I realised then and there with a sinking, light bulb moment so to speak, that I had been chasing and pushing against my reality in search of creative freedom and fulfilment – and the more I did this, the more disconnected and depressed I began.  All the while, the feeling of purpose and enthusiasm was within me all along, and that if I could teach myself this state again – unconditional to what my business or role in the business was – then my actions and behaviours would also begin to reflect those of an inspired and enthusiastic individual and therefore reality would mirror this back.  

 

Mechanics of Mirroring 

________________________________________________________________________

Reality as a mirror may sound far fetched a woo woo but it’s really common sense. 

Think about it this way: when you feel fulfilled and purposeful, you show up differently in your personal life, in your business and relationships than when you feel unworthy, fearful, and doubtful.  True or true?  

The entrepreneur that thinks they are doomed to fail will have far less chances of success than the one who believes that it is possible and that they will succeed.  

 The founder who believes money comes with sacrifice will be far less likely to be able to attain wealth without subscribing to a hero’s journey or burnout than the one who believes money can and should be made with ease. 

Similarly, the moment a CEO begins to question themselves or the business on a regular and ongoing basis is the moment that that business is in deep trouble. 

The mirror of reality

 

Why is this important to grasp? Well, if reality is a mirror, then to make our internal state of wellbeing conditional on outside circumstances is asking for trouble.  It also explains why we find ourselves stuck in cycles and disruptive patterns. 

 

The entrepreneur that thinks they will succeed will possess resilience, and therefore they will succeed…

 

And so, if we wish to change our realities, we MUST shift our internal compass first.  

We must develop the ability to feel worthy, abundant, successful, joyful, and well WITHOUT strings attached.  To love ourselves unconditionally of the outside world. 

 

Unconditional Love 

________________________________________________________________________

 

When we feel tension in our state it is always because we are stopping the flow of love to ourselves, caused by a limited perspective or thought pattern.  

We have made that part of ourselves conditional on the outside and the tension is our internal compass telling us that we have veered off course from where we truly desire to be.  The tension is the awareness of the gap in perspective from where you are to where you want to be. 

What’s interesting here is that we would never do this to a loved one.  We give unconditional love to our children – they could become serial killers and we would still love them. We expect unconditional love from our partners – that they will stand by our side no matter the circumstances. 

But when it comes to ourselves, well all of a sudden, that’s not how life works.  Our love for ourselves DOES come with fine print and strings attached. 

When we heal this relationship with ourselves, AND marry this with a desire, we grow and expand in ways beyond what we could even have imagined for ourselves. 

WANT MORE – Catch this exclusive training I ran where I go into a lot more detail around this. Click here to watch

My one year ‘mental breakdown’ Anniversary

Almost one year today marks my mental breakdown.

The day I walked into my high loft ceiling inner-city office (that was always more of an ego play than a necessity) and through puffed cheeks and eyes told my team I was resigning as CEO effective as of immediately.

I was prepared to lose my business in that moment, as difficult as the idea was to swallow, it had come to be a matter of life or death. I was on the verge of killing myself, I needed a change of skin ASAP.

With only the perspective that the gift of time can give I can now appreciate this heart wrenching and difficult stage of my life. I can hand on heart say that – were it not for the depression – I wouldn’t be where I am today, which is now the complete opposite: joyful, fulfilled excited again and purposeful.

I can also see now why I had the dark thoughts I had. That I was living in a state of fear, my soul was no longer fulfilled by what I was doing but yet my mind was rationalising everything and telling me to stay. I was depending on my external environment to validate my internal state and was getting shit whipped by life in the process. I had it all twisted. The more I ignored it the more I sped myself straight into a proverbial wall at eighty miles per hour.

And so, in a drastic move my nervous system took things into its own hands and drove me to my knees.

I was one of the lucky ones who was unsuccessful in my suicide attempts. I barely scraped by with my life.

It never had to get that far. If only I had just listened sooner.

I want to take this moment to give gratitude and thanks to the people that supported me through this difficult stage. To the team at Eight Loop and our online communities who banded together to give me the space I needed, to mama Brooke and Kirsty and Charlotte and my lil sis who took turns babysitting me on suicide watch. To Tim for being the first person I felt comfortable telling about how bad things really were. To Guy who gave me perspective. Alyssa and Sergei for the trips! My mum for the late night calls. To my two business partners Justin and Brandon – it is no coincidence that the depression began to shift the moment you came into my life in the way you did. To my ex husband who withstood the psychological abuse I threw his way.

The list goes on and on, and in many ways, helps to shine a light on the success of my recovery.

A year on, I have found my smile again and fuck does it feel good! I’m excited for what life has to bring and am almost in shock that I ever considered doing the things I once considered doing to myself.

If you are experiencing a difficult or dark time in your life, tell someone ASAP, do not martyr yourself in silence. If you don’t have anyone, reach out to me.

Know that better times will come, I can promise you this – physics demands that love and light always follows strife x

The Alchemy of Jealousy

The Alchemy of Jealousy

The science behind why we feel jealous and how to understand what it’s really trying to tell us

 

I’m ashamed to admit this but I recently had a friend come to me and share some exciting news and my first (internal) reaction was to feel a pang of jealousy.  Of course I wanted her to be happy and successful, and yet, I couldn’t help but feel envious, I hid this, of course, and fronted an excited smile instead.  The attitude of jealousy is off putting to admit to and I chastised myself for my reaction.

When I asked on my Facebook page if there was a time and place for jealousy the responses were more or less towards the sentiment that jealousy and envy were best left at the door.

The Tao Ching warns of envy and jealousy:

Tao Te Ching 3

                Not exalting the gifted prevents quarrelling. Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.

                The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.

                If men lack knowledge and desire, then clever people will not try to interfere.

                If nothing is done, then all will be well.

To believe yourself deserving of what another possesses is unrealistic

 

I was pretty much of the same opinion about the emotions of jealousy and envy – that both served no purpose other than to let you know you strayed off course internally.

In a previous relationship I felt jealous of my partner.  I was so ashamed of feeling this way because in my mind all this showed was my own insecurities so I suppressed everything deep down and shamed myself for the lack in character.

I suppressed any feelings of jealousy I felt of my partner in a previous relationship I was in.  Jealousy, in my eyes was a sign of insecurity.

But then I heard Dr Robert Leahy on The Psychologist Today podcast describe a study that showed that “couples who illustrate jealousy are more likely to stay together. And that got me to thinking – it’s relatively easy for us to admit to feelings of anger towards others, even depression, but to hear someone admit of their jealousy or envy is a rare thing in this world. And yet we all experience it, even the little babies at eight months old.

So what gives with jealousy? Is there a purpose for it and if so, how can we better understand it to help us improve our own wellbeing and relationships?

 

The Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

 

While both emotions are defined as passionate and intense, they differ  in the sense that jealousy is directed at a real or imagined third party – for example, jealousy over a person that has captured your lover’s eye – and envy is towards an aspiration or desired state of being.  It is possible to experience both emotions toward friends, peers, romantically, family and the emotions are universal with jealousy being observed in babies as young as eight months old and even animals display the behaviour (dogs are the most jealous followed by horses and then cats, in case you’re curious).

The green eye, as these emotions are sometimes referred to, has been the culprit of many wars and is the leading cause of death in homicides between couples.

I can personally attest to feeling jealous from a very young age of my younger sister.  Innately I must have understood on some deep biological level that this little squirming grub of a human was competing for my parent’s attention and affection.  As I got older I was envious of her beauty and ease of nature.  Obviously, I never openly admitted these emotions to anyone.

Though tried as I might to live the Taoist way and let it sliddddeee, jealousy would nip me in the butt when I would least expect it sometimes.

In my misunderstanding of the emotion I worked shame on myself as the number one defence against it.

Soon, I found myself stuck in a sordid self perpetuating cycle where the more I felt jealous, the more shame I felt, the shittier life was and the more scenarios came into my reality to make me feel even more jealous. My environment was exacerbating the whole scenario and the more that I was allowing this to frustrate me and cause me shame the more and more it happened. At the peak of my mental hiatus I was experiencing jealousy on the daily.

What I would soon come to realise is that the emotion of jealousy is actually a beautifully giving one when we understand what it it really saying to us.

 

The Benefits of Jealousy

 

The Biological Perks

 

While it’s definitely a hard life if you’re name is Jealousy, it’s not all bad, according to a key evolutionary theory coined the ‘Parental Investment Theory’ by Robert Trivers in 1972, jealousy serves a purpose in helping to keep bonded pairs during during the gestation period of their offspring.  For the females, they want to ensure that they get the strongest male and that this male is able to provide his attention and protection to herself and her offspring, any competing females of his attention impinges on this goal. Vice versa, jealousy helps to serve the males in ensuring paternity of his offspring.

Evolution is about competition and survival, jealousy – it would appear – helps to protect the gene pool.

Of course, times have changed. We’re no longer cavemen bonking each other over the heads. One for he perks of being a human is we can rise above or biology.

So does jealousy still serve a purpose in the post-modern world?

 

Jealousy as a Bonding Mechanism

 

Here’s an interesting question, if your partner told you that you were free to sleep with and date anyone you choose and that this wouldn’t bother them in the least would this excite you or make you feel like your partner no longer cared?

Behaviourally, jealousy seems to serve the purpose of screening for ambivalence. When a partner expresses jealousy,

jealousy as a bonding mechanism between couples

 

Democracy & Jealousy

 

 

Jealousy as a Compass

 

I struggled with the cycle of negative emotions that came with feeling shame around my feelings of jealousy until I came across some teachings from a law of attraction guru Abraham Hicks. I’ve been following Abraham for a couple of years now and her work has truly transformed my life. She talks of emotions as a compass to our own relationship with source.  And that – while the point is never to not feel any of the negative or “bad” emotions ever agains as this would mean no more expansion or growth (and the end of life), but rather that these emotions don’t rule our lives.  It’s about understanding that you have a sophisticated compass within you and then interpreting what it’s trying to tell you to make meaningful changes towards the expansion you seek. To to point of jealousy, she explains that there are really two conversations to be had:

  1. what is wanted, and
  2. the lack of what is wanted

It struck a chord. I began to understand that the jealousy was signalling to me what I actually desired (whatever it was I was feeling jealous over), and that instead of self shaming myself for wanting these things I needed to acknowledge the desire.

Then there’s the lack of what is wanted, this is what hurts, this is where the suffering pit in the stomach feeling of jealousy sits.  The focus of the gap between what is desired and what is reality.

For example, if you have been trying to conceive a baby and then suddenly hear news that your friend is pregnant, it’s natural to feel a sense of envy. This further reinforces the desire that you hold.  There is nothing wrong in the desire itself, but where we go wrong is how we stack up our entire happiness on the outcomes.

So basically, jealousy is pointing out to you a desired outcomes/thing/experience/feeling that perhaps you may not have even been aware of before.  The suffering part of the jealousy is when focus is kept on the current state you are in vs desired and the gap between the two.  Somewhere in that gap is a narrative that will sound a little like “it will never happen to me,” “I won’t ever be so lucky.” etc.

And herein why jealousy and envy feel so bad when they hit.

 

How to Reframe Narratives of Jealousy or Envy

 

One of the bigger issues about jealousy is the shame and blame we throw around when the emotion is expressed by ourselves or others.

In romantic relationships, we become defensive and offended when our partners express jealousy, in dealing with moments of envy, we torment ourselves for feeling the way we feel instead of actually giving ourselves compassion in the moment we need it most.

If focus shapes behaviours and decisions then whatever is focused on can only ever amplify according to observer-based laws of quantum physics. Once you place your focus on the lack of something you are making the love to yourself conditional on some outcome or experience to occur in order to feel some type of way.  The reality is it won’t even matter what that thing is or how menial or special it may be, the material world will never satiate a spiritual thirst. If you don’t figure out how to make that love conditional, you’re going to feel pretty insecure and that’s going lead to experiencing lots more jealousy. Round and round it goes, until one day you drive yourself so deep into the ground you have no choice but to face the music.

But this is where the magic of Jealousy comes in – it’s here to prevent you from having to chase your tail and to address the bugged lines of code before you hit the wall.

 

 

The Alchemy of Jealousy – Using Sexual Gnosis for Manifestation

 

“Just add it to the wank bank!” Those are the words that came out of my mouth on a video I posted to Instagram back in 2018. What I was referring to was objects of desire, not necessarily of the sexual sorts but rather the vision board sorts. It makes me cringe to hear my shrill younger voice say those words but the concept has served me well through the years, it’s a bit weird though so bear with me.

Sexual

A “wank bank”, for those of you that are wondering, is basically an imaginary reference file used to arrange visual cues that you will use to either achieve or during states of sexual arousal.

The reality is that there is a time and place for jealousy and if you can have fun with your new desire of expansion then jealousy can be used as a powerful motivator to get you aligned with the desire.

The reason wank banks are so effective as a subconscious reprogramming tool is because when you are in a deep state of arousal or orgasm your brain is being flushed by dopamine and activations in the pre-frontal cortex allow you to more easily access altered-states of consciousness.  The wank bank is used as a fun way to store those visual cues of desire and during a state of orgasm those cues are thought about. It helps if you can visually see it, even if just printed, during the state of gnosis so for this reason masturbation often makes this more convenient.

(It may help to watch the video below to understand the concept better).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cat Howell (@cathowell)

 

Final Thoughts

 

Jealousy is a giving and beautiful emotion when we understand that it’s really telling us to give ourselves a bit more of our own love. When we experience it, consider it an opportunity to re-examine whatever conversation is happening in your mind at that time that may need re-framing. Don’t beat yourself up for it.  Take a deep breath and allow yourself to practice the act of changing the way you feel about the situation.

Chastising ourselves or our partners for feeling jealous will only further the insecurities. We suppress it and then feel shame.  We feel bad about feeling bad and round it round it goes.

When a partner expresses jealousy towards us our natural reaction is to admonish and shame the feeling of jealousy, well of course all this does is fuel the insecurities even more and flames the jealousy.

Instead what we need, says Robert Leahy, is more compassion and normalisation of the emotion fo jealousy and envy.

“Have compassion towards yourself when you express it.”

If all fails, add it to the wank bank. 

 

 

 

Why I Walked Away from a $20M Business

Three months ago I had what could only be best described as a mental breakdown.

After seven solid years of focusing all my energies on the growth of my business, everything sort of caught up with me and I reached a point where I couldn’t even get out of bed.

I couldn’t see it at the time, but the reality is that I was making myself busy for the sake of being busy.

This may sound strange to some, but growing up – like many – I was raised with the idea that success could only come on the back of hard work and that money was for the lucky or well connected.

After a lot of work on my mindset, I finally cracked the money game but deep down inside, there was still an idea in my head that I needed to slave away in my business – regardless of the role – in order to be deserving of that success.

So I hustled away and it all went pear shaped.

I made a decision at that stage that, for the sake of my own well being, I needed to step down as CEO and take some time off. I walked away from a $20M business and it felt like the most insane idea ever.

I couldn’t see it at the time, but the reality is that I was making myself busy for the sake of being busy.

I was prepared to lose it all and I felt disheartened that all my hard work would be laid to waste because of a war that was essentially being waged in my head.

Except, it didn’t.

My team stepped up and took control of the reigns.

Revenues stayed exactly the same.

I was both shocked and relieved. Here I had been all along thinking that I was the secret sauce to my business and that I could never be replaced.

The truth is, I got into business so that I could not only have the financial freedom but also the freedom of time. I pushed through the face plants and failures so that one day I could have something that would run without needing me. That had always been the goal, I just struggled to accept that it was possible.

In a way, the meltdown was the push needed to force me into the level of expansion I had always sought. Faster than a kid declining an incoming call I found myself suddenly with the breathing space needed to heal.

Even better, I soon found that our client base and students were also thriving in the wake of my absence, hitting revenue figures that would make some choke on their morning cereal.

The point of all of this is: chasing the dollars is fun, it’s rewarding, but there is no joy in having a six figure income when you’re burnt out and on the verge of self sabotage.

Sustainable success happens when you build something that provides you not only with fluidity in your financial status, but also in your ability to choose your role, workload, and responsibilities. That is ultimate freedom.

The truth is, I got into business so that I could not only have the financial freedom but also the freedom of time.

And foundational to all of this is your own belief system around what you are deserving of and able to create for yourself and the right team and processes in place to allow you to move inside your business like the impulsive entrepreneur you likely are.

That’s it.

Easier said than done right?

The problem is most of us are masters at trying to reinvent the wheel. Masters at making excuses for our circumstances and masters at trying to change matter with matter (sweat equity).

I understand the world is going through a bit of a crises right now, I understand these are uncertain times for many and panic and fear may be making you feel like you should just be grateful for whatever scrapes you can get… but take a closer look and you will see entire industries that are thriving, entrepreneurs creating their own economies, agencies booming.

Perhaps, the recent global events have served to push you towards more clarity in the same way my mind drove me to the verges of sanity in order to find stability.

If so, then treat this as your big break. To create the version of success that you always dreamed of.

Success IS NOT a direct correlation to the amount of pain and sweat you invest. Time is relative and only really needed if hustling is your main ingredient.

With the right processes & systems and enough conscious awareness around the possibilities of what can be created, creating freedom (whatever that may mean for you) – even during uncertain times – is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

It doesn’t require massive overheads or a big team. It doesn’t require a trade off of your younger years. It doesn’t require an investment of pain and blood.

A very difficult concept for most of us to accept.

Working smarter, not harder.

This is what I have always preached, and finally, in the most unusual of ways, have been forced into embodying.

If you’ve made it this far then it’s likely that you have some of your own blockages happening in your business.

Maybe you’ve spent years paddling away furiously and yet feel like you’re hardly making any progress.

Maybe it feels like your business is sucking you financially and mentally – for every new client you take on, you lose two.

Maybe you’re stressed about expenses and feel like you’re fixing all the work of a team that was supposed to help you.

If so, then know that I understand all of these frustrations – I’ve been through each one (sometimes multiple times) through the years.

It’s easy to overcomplicate things and to feel defeated by it all when you’re in the throes of it.

But it’s not rocket science.

A marriage of conscious intention and the right system (truthfully, if you nail the first part, it really doesn’t matter what kind of system you have, which is why all and any kind of business model or agency structure can work or fail).

And so here I am popping my head out from hibernation to share with you and hopefully impart some hope – whatever move you choose to make next – that even hardships can be turned into blessings.

Through the years my team and I developed a training and support program for agency owners specifically designed to help those spinning their wheels reclaim control.

Exploring things such as:

– How to run a highly profitably business with a small team and keep your overheads low…

– How to attract high paying and high quality clients and how to make sure you’re agency stands out amongst the hundreds of thousands of other marketers and service providers flooding the space…

– How to prepare your business for a buyout, mental breakdown, or mini retirement (whatever tickles you)…

– How to reduce your software expenses each month and deliver exceptional service without a million tools you need to subscribe to…

And especially…

– How to get from point A to point B by tapping into a part of your mind that knows no boundaries

And while I won’t be holding your hand through this process (I am honoring this new space I have created in my life), my team have worked with over 700 agency owners since 2017 and are the best in the world to get you there.

To find out more and see if this is right for you, the next step is to speak to my team to discuss your bottlenecks and goals – from there we’ll able to assess if we’re a good fit and if you’re even ready to hear the kinds of things we’re all about.

This isn’t another plug and play get rich quick scheme full of smokescreens and pirouettes, this is about creating a business that serves you, not the other way around.

To find out more and register your interest, click here: https://agencyfunnels.eightloopsocial.com

Here’s to your success

Cat

 

Secrets of A $1.6M Revenue Agency

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a seven-figure agency?  The staff and team pulling the levers and the organizational structure and strategies driving growth?

 

I know when I first started out as a freelancer back in 2013, there was virtually nothing online about the topic. I had to figure everything out for my own and this meant I made some pretty epic and expensive blunders along the way.  Was I meant to hire before cash flow could sustain it or wait till I had enough clients and then hire quickly? How did the big boys land the million-dollar contracts and what sort of margins should I be working towards?

With the boom of the internet and pure online markets, it’s been a gold rush for agencies and now the opposite can be said – there is almost too much information online about how to grow this type of business that it can be overwhelming.  Not surprisingly, most of this information comes from “gurus” who have never actually built or managed agencies themselves – leading many down a costly road of misguided advice.

So for the curious who care to know what the set up of a seven-figure agency looks like,  I wanted to take a moment to share some insights that I wished I had gleamed during the formative years of my business in the hopes to help give you clarity on how to structure and grow the machine that is your business.

Some important distinctions:

  • You don’t need investors or large startup capital to make this work (although disclaimer, growing business will always require an investment of either time or money, the benefit of a service-based business is that you only really need $5K-$10K to get yourself going as long as you’re willing to reinvest profits back into your business)
  • You don’t need inside connections or a huge audience
  • Your agency is a gateway to other ventures. For example, if you start working with eCommerce clients it will probably make sense for you to invest in your own ecom shop and use your own strengths and internal resources to grow another income stream for yourself.

Here’s what I’ cover in the below:

  • The organisational structure of our agency and the team behind it…
  • Core viable final products, and how these are costed…
  • How leads and referrals are generated and tips to keeping clients on for longer…

At the core – growing to seven figures isn’t very complicated, it actually boils down to three key parts.  The beauty in this “keep it simple” system is that you don’t need to incur massive staff overheads, you won’t be required to micro-manage every aspect of your business and you will be able to position yourself in a way where you never have to get into process wars with other agencies again.

 

Overview of Eight Loop

Ok so before I dig into the juicy stuff, a quick intro of Eight Loop (my agency).  I founded the agency in 2014 and initially, I was offering all kinds of services – from social media content through blogging and email marketing and Facebook ads.  This lead to burnout and I quickly realized this wasn’t going to work so I refined our core offer towards Facebook ads.  Through the years we have changed our niche from coaches to ecom and now specialize in building out marketing systems for other agencies.

Another big mistake I made at the beginning was to fall pry to the desire of having a big team and office for the sake of having a big team and office – call i9t ego and pride.  I quickly realized this was going to make me bankrupt and – in light of the pandemic and current economic conditions – many agencies have come to appreciate that running a small and lean ship is far less stressful than having massive overheads.  This, of course, is only possible if you refine your service offer and positioning.

 

Our Team & Structure

We currently turn around $130K/mth in revenue and work with about 20 clients max at any one time. 

Surprisingly, we only have THREE core offers in the agency:  a done for you funnel and lead generation ad campaign management. We offer additional bolt on services such as promotional video creations and email nurture sequences but these only represent a small fraction of our revenues and some of this is outsourced externally.  We also work with brands (usually lead generation or awareness campaigns) but this is only 5% of our client base.

Although we are based in NZ – local clients only represent 2-3% of our client base.  Most of our clientele is overseas and the average lifetime value of a client is about $9,000. International clients and deals from even the most remote place on earth.  So the thought of – “my town or city is too small” is no longer a viable excuse.

We have five key team members behind the agency:  an account manager, a business developer (sales), funnel builder, media buyer, and copywriter.  As we grow of if sales are up we have trained account managers and copywriters we bring on to support as required on a client per client basis. This keeps our overheads low. 

 

How to Avoid Micro-Management

This is something that took me a very long time to crack! I am a perfectionist at heart and couldn’t figure out how to hand over the production of services without getting anxious over quality or needing to come in and fix everything (doubling up my workload!). It all came down to processes.

I used to hate processes and systems – “I’m a creative, the strategies I come up with are intuitive and can’t be taught” is maybe a line you’ve used yourself.

This type of thought pattern is the fastest way to burnout and bankruptcy.  You will never be able to scale your revenues if you are keeping yourself as the main person behind the production side of your service offer.  Think about it – there’s only one of you, how many clients can you realistically look after before you start to lose the plot.

The good news – processes are VERY easy to build once you refine your core offer and positioning.  And when you have solid processes in place, the scale can be achieved very rapidly without it doubling down your own workload and stress on your plate.

 

The Final Piece

Finally, the most important part of any business is arguably it’s the ability to generate new business.  Your leads and clients are the life-blood of your business and if you’re like most agencies out there you’re likely completely dependant on referrals or word of mouth and this is essentially stunting your ability to grow at the rate that you would like to.

After running lead generation campaigns for clients in the agency I began to realize that I too could automate my marketing.  Instead of having to attend conference after conference or have to cold call or harass people on LinkedIn I figured out a way to drive interested prospects straight into my calendar using paid ads to drive interest into an online funnel.

These would be highly qualified and vetted leads in the market for the services we offered. 

What I never expected was just how quickly and effective this strategy would be for growth. Within two months of automating the agency’s lead generation we had scaled from $10K revenues to $100K/mths. 

To this day, this continues to be our main and most reliable source of lead generation for the agency. 

Now, cracking one of these funnels isn’t as easy as it sounds – and maybe you yourself have experienced the frustration of spending thousands with little to nothing to show for it.

The key comes down to your positioning and messaging as well as the UX of your funnel and quality of the traffic you’re buying. If any one of these parts is off the whole thing is broken.

Another big issue we encounter when agencies try to run their own funnels and fail is that they are often too close to the source. When it’s your client ads and campaigns you crush it, and yet, when it’s your own it’s like nothing works. This is really common and is the same phenomenon of a writer trying to edit their own copy – they are too close to see the spelling mistakes and their brain fills in the gaps. 

 

RECAP

Ok, so as a recap, here are the three essential parts of a seven-figure agency:

  1. Having the right team and organizational structure
  2. Positioning yourself around a core offer(s) and building processes around these
  3. Having a reliable and consistent way to generate leads

With these three things in place, growing to seven figures no longer becomes rocket science or luck of the draw and you’ll be able to:

  • Increase your profit margins, reduce your workload, AND pay yourself more…
  • Retain clients for longer and generate more testimonials and happy customers…
  • No longer need to rely on word of mouth and be able to put a plan in place for growth…

If you’ve made it this far hopefully its because all of this is making sense to you and resonates.  Likewise, it’s probably because you yourself are hungry to grow your business and ready to start implementing systems that are actually proven and tested by agencies. 

Over the years, my team and I have helped over 700 agencies and freelancers implement the exact same system above by:

  • Refining your core offer(s) and pricing these correctly
  • Building processes to guarantee quality for each and every client (without you needing to micro-manage everything)
  • Nailing your messaging and positioning
  • Closing your leads and sales calls scripts & processes
  • Your lead generation pipeline and automating your marketing with paid ads and funnels

All of this for less than the cost of building your own agency website!

So instead of trying to continue to trial and error everything on your own, spending thousands of recruiting the wrong staff or team members and tanking thousands on lead generation efforts get a structure and marketing system in place for your growth to take you into the future!

To find out more about the system and if it’s a good fit request your free discovery call today: https://agencyfunnels.eightloopsocial.com/form-application

Cat

How to Find & Hire your FB Ad Unicorn or Contractor!

How to Find & Hire a great facebook ads specialist!

 

You thought trying to crack the sales game was the hardest part about building your business or agency until you had to hire Facebook ads specialist to manage the campaigns and funnels!

The experience can only be likened to trying to hit a miniature horse target using a blank BB gun at a rundown amusement park – exhausting and frustrating.

Hire the wrong person – and it can take you under.  Get the right manpower in – and your business can soar to new heights.

Over the past three years, we’ve hired over 16 FB marketers for our businesses (one of them an ad agency) and for our clients as well.

And I’ll admit one thing – I hate hiring. And I suck at it.  I usually hire based on gut instinct or will go and recruit friends, which doesn’t always pan out for me.

I’ve learned the hard and expensive way that there’s a right way to hire and a wrong way to find your unicorn. I also have yet to meet another business owner that has gone through the experience of having to hire as many FB Marketers as I have – and so, in a bid to help you avoid the expensive growing pains, I’m sharing with you the unique process we’ve developed inside our agency to ensure we find and bring in top talent.

As a preface, here is usually what we look for to hire facebook ads specialists (I’ll go into this a bit more in when I explain Phase 1 of the process):

  • Has drive and initiative
  • Resourceful
  • A creative eye and ability to pull strong copy together (although not always necessary as this can be outsourced)
  • Ability to interpret data in a strategic and meaningful way and communicate this back to a wider team
  • Thorough understanding and experience of the FB ads platform
  • Aligned with our company culture and values

If they have proven results in the given niche – even better!

But you can see why we call them unicorns now! 

The Unique “FB Unicorn” Recruiting Process

The process to hire Facebook ads specialist below is basically broken down into five phases, I’ve explored lots of different tacts through the years (including the “gut feeling” hiring process and the DISC profiling etc), this one – so far – has been foolproof. You’ll see why.

Here’s an overview of the “hire Facebook ads specialist” process (note this applies regardless if it’s for a contractor or in-house marketer you’re after. You could also use this process for different digital marketing specifies but would just need to edit phases 3 and 4).

Recruitment Phases:

 

Phase 1 – Talent Awareness

Phase 2 – First Assessment

Phase 3 – Second Assessment

Phase 4 – Third Assessment

Phase 5 – Phone/In-Person Interview

There are really two main things that happen in this phase of hiring Facebook ads specialist: first, you are identifying what your specific needs are and the outcome you want from a recruit and putting this into a job description.  Getting clear on salary or compensation is important here too.

As a general rule of thumb – an experienced FB marketer will command roughly $70-$100K salary.  If you’re looking for to hire facebook ads specialists as contractors, it can be anywhere from $1,500/mth-$10,000/mth depending on experience and skillset required and your spending. If you’re an agency contracting for an account, budget 25% of the account fee towards your contractor costs.

The second part of this phase is where you place your job in front of skilled talent.  This is oftentimes where most people struggle as – unless you already have connections or peers to refer you to marketers, it can feel like the Wild West out there (you can read more about hiring from the client perspective here).

Posting to relevant FB Groups and local job sites are just two of the ways to gain traction.  Likewise, you can use this free directory to get matched with pre-screened Facebook marketers based on your budget, niche and needs: https://digitaldistillery.com/directory/

Phase 2 – First Assessment:

 

This part ties into the first phase in that – part of the job description asks that candidate complete a short survey.  The purpose of this is two-fold:

  1. Who reads instructions properly (you’d be surprised who many don’t)
  2. Identifying marketers with basic competence and understanding

The survey can be created in Google Forms and essentially asks them questions about ads, campaigns, and even hypothetical case studies they need to advise on.

If you’re unsure about potential questions, I’ve posted a few examples below.

Phase 3 – Second Assessment:

 

Most people stop at the first assessment when screening candidates and then hire based on a phone interview.  But one thing I learned the hard way is that being book smart is completely different from being actually good.

There are a lot of marketers out there that can dot all the I’s of FB ads on par, but when it comes to implementation – fall flat on their faces.

And here’s the truth, being a good FB marketer requires that one is skilled at:

  • The technical platform side of things
  • Creative and copyrighting
  • Data analyst able to optimize

These require fundamentally different parts of the brain – which is why the industry often has a saying when searching for a good FB marketer that you’re “looking for a unicorn”.

The second assessment aims to filter out those that can interpret data properly from those that can’t find the broken pixel in a haystack!

As part of this assessment, get each candidate that passed the first round (usually about 20 in this stage) to sign an NDA.  From there, give them access to an ad account and ask them to provide feedback.  This is unpaid.

Keep an eye out on how long it takes candidates to complete this task, who seems eager and hungry, and who requires chasing up (if you need to chase up btw this normally disqualifies them).

Phase 4 – Third Assessment

 

This final technical assessment is the reason our requirement process works so well.  What we do in this phase is we require our finalists (normally about 4 at this stage) to run campaigns on the account for a one week duration.

This will allow you to see how they work (ie: their naming conventions, how they optimise, how they build out creative).  While you shouldn’t really expect results in terms of sales or leads from a one week test, you can still get a great gauge on your talent pool and will begin to spot the stars that really know their stuff.

Just create a new ad account for each candidate and duplicate the funnel so they each have their own pixels and funnels to work with.

The reason you wouldn’t just run this assessment right from the get-go is that – for obvious reasons – you need to dedicate ad spend here for them to run the test (we normally allocate $500 each) – if you have a huge pool of 20 potential candidates, this becomes a costly exercise.

Again, this is usually unpaid although sometimes we do offer $500 payment to each candidate for the week so that they each take it seriously (you’ll find if you don’t pay only about half will complete this stage – which some would argue isn’t a bad thing as separates those that really want it from those that don’t).

Phase 5 – Phone/In-Person Interview

 

By this stage, you will have a very clear preference towards a couple of candidates.  Now is the time to get on calls and make a pick.  Oftentimes, this will come down entirely to company culture and who you best “vibe” with – and, after all this assessment – it’s actually ok to let your gut do all the talking here.

We’ve found ourselves in a position before where we couldn’t decide between two finalists and hired them both!

As you can see, the process is extremely rigorous but – while it may seem like it will take you a lot more time it actually saves you time as you immediately cut down phone interview time.

Take your recruitment process seriously and dedicate the time required to it – hiring the wrong person can take your business under, hiring the right person can grow it exponentially!

 

Your Turn!

Get matched with up to three FB Marketers based on your budgets, needs and niche (free service):  https://goo.gl/forms/3q0wimG7mMJac8fg2