There’s a lot of talk lately about money mindset and “blocks” that keep you from achieving the success you want. In this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk with the Queen of Passive Income, Colleen Arneil, about money mindset and how to discover the mind trash that is holding us back. We talked about:
• her path from psychology to money mindset coach
• why we don’t finish the majority of training programs we start
• why money mindset is important even if you think it’s woo-woo
• a few of the most common “money blocks” and why we get stuck in them
• some of the questions to ask to figure out your money blocks
• how to move past negative feelings from pressing financial needs
• how Colleen became the passive income queen
• how to build passive income into our businesses
• what she would say to people who think passive income is “easy”
• selling the transformation that a client gets
• how to you earn your authority (it helps to have a niche)
• the importance of “self care” and how Colleen approaches it
Some pretty good advice in this one. To listen, click the play button below or download it to your favorite podcast app. Want to read it instead? Scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Colleen’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work process, and their habits? Then, steal an idea or two to inspire your own work. That’s what Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 110 as we chat with course creation expert and money mindset coach, Colleen Arneil about how she became the passive income queen, why money mindset is so important, even if you think that it’s a little woo-woo, building passive income into our businesses, and how copywriters can build their authority and expertise.
Kira: Colleen, welcome.
Colleen: Thank you so much for having me.
Kira: We’re glad you’re here. It’s a pleasure to have you here. We’ve worked together in the past. I know so many copywriters really are working on their money mindset. Even if they don’t know they need it, we know that they need it based on the questions they’re asking us on a regular basis. Let’s just jump into your story. How did you end up as a money mindset coach?
Colleen: It’s actually a roundabout way. When I was younger, I always thought I was going to be a psychologist, so I went to university, I did my undergrad, went onto grad school, did my Master’s in clinical. As I was almost done with my PhD, I had this awakening, at least in the traditional sense of being a psychologist, it wasn’t the right path for me. I’d come so far, I just finished out my degree. Then, I launched an e-commerce program online and love customer service, passionate about it. That’s where I started in the online field.
What I noticed as I was taking courses to learn how to market and grow my e-commerce business was there was some people who could teach programs in an amazing way and other people who had so much knowledge, but they just didn’t know how to share that information to actually get people results and help get them transformation. I had spent a lot of years at the university level lecturing and teaching. I just got really inspired to be like, ‘Okay, I need to help people better understand how they can create their curriculums and develop their programs and share their information so that it’s a really positive experience and people get results.’
I transitioned out of my e-com business and that’s how I first came online and was teaching a strategy part. What I noticed was happening was a lot of my students weren’t getting to the end result. Either they were going down a rabbit hole and never finishing their courses or they had a course or they were just not getting out there and selling it. For a long time, I took that on personally as I think a lot of us tend to do. Then, I realized, ‘Oh, this actually isn’t about the program. It’s not about me not showing up and supporting them. It’s that they’re getting in their own way and there’s a lot of fears and beliefs that are tripping up their journey.’ That was when I created my first money mindset program and started to really incorporate a lot more of it in the work that I do.
Rob: Colleen, I’ve heard the statistic that only 4% of people who buy courses actually finish globally. That probably includes a lot of those free courses and that kind of thing. That is a minuscule number of people given how much money people pay for courses. What are those fears and beliefs that are getting in the way of us completing a course or training or university class or whatever that thing is that’s keeping us from doing our work?
Colleen: Yeah, absolutely. What happens is consciously we have this desire for some kind of transformation. Whatever area of our life it happens to be in, right? We know we have a goal. There’s something we want to create. It’s one thing when we set that intention one day and it doesn’t have to appear in three seconds obviously. If we’ve been working towards it for a while, and it’s still not happening, or we’re not able to create consistent progress in that, right? Maybe we step forward, but then we take 10 steps back. That kind of thing. What that usually means is there’s some kind of resistance that’s there. We often talk about money blocks.
Money blocks are basically these subconscious … They don’t hang out in our conscious awareness, but these subconscious beliefs and fears that are tripping up our process of actually making things happen. To give you a few examples of like super common ones. One might be, ‘I have to work hard to make money.’ It’s a really simple one. We’re often taught that as kids. It’s really important to have this strong work ethic and to hustle and apply yourself. On a lot of levels, it sounds like a really positive quality, but you can see how holding that belief could, at the same time, then create this incredible sense of overwhelms and things have to be difficult and you have to be pouring hours and hours and hours in for any money you’re making to be aligned with that belief. That’s one really common belief.
I think another one that comes up for people is people won’t pay for that is another really common one. ‘People won’t pay for that.’ Would anyone really pay for this? That’s also a belief that’s tripping you up, because if you don’t believe that people are going to pay for it, then guess what? You’re going to have that mirrored back to you and people are going to look at you sideways and think, ‘Well, I could just get this information for free.’
The truth is people don’t pay for information. They never do. They pay for a transformation. When you create programs or done-for-you services or coach, or whatever your modality happens to be, what you’re doing is presenting information in a systematic way that is actually designed to support them in taking action to create transformation. That packaged system, people are always going to pay to have them fast-track towards it. If people aren’t willing to pay, then usually it’s a question of how much have you shown them value around that. It’s not, ‘Therefore, I can’t do this because I offered it once and no one wants to buy it.’ That’s a belief that can drive.
There’s a ton. Another last common one is, ‘There’s somebody else doing that so there’s no point in me doing it.’ We might not normally think of that as a money block, but it is. It’s something that trips us up. It gets in our way of confidently taking action to share our message and share our offers, when the reality is there’s room for everyone in this world. We all need to hear a message. Or we all connect differently with different people saying that message so that we can ultimately get to where we want to go.
Kira: These are hitting home for me already, especially the first one. I have to work hard to make money.This is what I’m currently struggling with. What would you say to a copywriter listening who may be struggling with one of those beliefs that you shared? Or maybe all of them, like me. Once we’re aware that we have this belief and it’s hurting us potentially, what can we do to change it?
Colleen: One of the first things I like to go towards is looking at the story that you’re telling yourself. There’s always going to be some kind of reason. When I say it, completely honestly, an excuse. There are often excuses that we make. Some kind of excuse we’re making about why our reality is the way it happens to be. That’s the first place to start is going, ‘Okay. What exactly is it that I’m telling myself about why I feel like I have to work so hard?’ Okay. ‘What evidence do I have in life of maybe when was I rewarded for working hard?’ ‘When was I told that this was a good thing?’ ‘Do I judge people who don’t work hard?’ How are you feeling about people who aren’t working as hard and earning? Because that’s important.
Because whatever we judge, we cannot welcome back into our own world. Super, super important. You want to watch, not because judgements make you a bad person. Just that they’re a golden source of information and you want to take that and leverage that.
The other thing I always say and this is so powerful, but when we’re stuck on a belief or we’re stuck in a pattern … It shows up, those beliefs just show up as usually behavioral patterns is how we can start to recognize them in our day-to-day life because beliefs are intangible, right? When you see yourself in a pattern like that, and you know for example, that you’re overworking, you want to ask yourself what the payoff is. Because ironically, what’s happening is there is a bigger payoff. Right now, you are getting something bigger out of feeling like you need to work hard than that alternate reality of things being easier and more in flow.
At first, that sounds incredibly counterintuitive, like, ‘Colleen, that’s crazy pants. There is no way I would want to choose this space.’ The fact that we are in it and we continue to be in it, just reflects how strongly magnetized we are to it. In psychology world, when we talk about motivating people, when we talk about moving people towards a goal, people are far more motivated to move away from pain than they are to move towards pleasure.
What happens is when you’re stuck in pattern like that, there is not enough of an aversion to your current way of life. There’s a level in which it’s functioning and serving you and working well enough for you that it’s not a strong enough of a repelling that’s going on for you to be super motivated to get away from there and actually moving towards what you want. On the flip side, you can also have there be a lot of things that might happen that you’re worried about when you do have what you want.
Whether it’s working less hard or we’re just talking about maybe having more money, maybe you’re worried your friends are going to judge you about that. ‘Oh, did you hear Kira only works like 15 hours a week and she makes six figures a month?’ Right? What are your friends and family going to think about that? Sometimes we’re worried about the disruptions or judgment or rejection or vulnerability that can come with that success, that on one hand can be really positive, but there’s a lot of other things that can make it feel unsafe.
Rob: Okay, so I’m really interested to dive into this a little bit. Because I’m one of those people who has always thought of money mindset as being maybe a little bit of woo-woo and even though I definitely have feelings about money or hang ups or whatever, I’ve always had them in the background. As I’ve thought about it more and more, I do recognize that some of these things are manifesting themselves in the way that I use money or have money. Is it difficult to save or money scarcity? Based off of hearing my parents argue about money. Those kinds of things.
Are there exercises that we can step through to really identify what are our beliefs about money? How do we overcome them? Is it just like what you’re saying? You just have to look at your circumstances and suss it out that way? Help me get to what my problems are here.
Colleen: Yeah, for sure. I think the first thing is, like you were talking about, whenever we are approaching this, we want to have as much clarity around what our outcome is that we don’t have that we want. There could be a ton of them, right? Start by picking one clear outcome. By that, I mean, it could be, ‘I’m not earning X amount.’ Or it could be, ‘I’m tired of earning, but not having money at the end of the month because it slips through my fingers.’ Or, ‘I’m tired of being in debt.’ Decide what angle for you fits and pick that as a focus that you want to start with.
What you want to ask yourself is why do you believe you don’t have what you want? Okay. Why do you believe you don’t have what you want? Start with that. You can just journal on it. You can write about it. Look at what are you blaming and what are you holding responsible for that? Because a lot of the time, what we do is we explain things a way to factors that are external to ourselves. It’s normal. It’s normal that we all do that. The actual reality is what we’re existing in and what we’re living in in our current reality, in our current world is 100% a reflection of ourselves. We’re the ones who have created it. At first, that can sound a bit like, ‘Colleen, are you blaming me? Are you blaming me for everything in my life?’ I don’t mean it like that.
What I mean it from the perspective of is when we have an awareness around our ability to take responsibility. That’s the difference: responsibility versus blame. Where we can take that responsibility. All of a sudden, it’s like we’re taking over the wheel of the bus, instead of the bus being chauffeured by our subconscious. We’re going to take that wheel. When we do that, we step back into our own power. You want to look at the ways in which, right now, you’re actually trying to offload or explain away, that story you’re telling yourself about why you don’t have what you want. Look at that.
The other really big thing that I would say to do as well is think about the version of you that has what it is that you want, so that is debt-free or that has a ton of savings in the bank or that is earning 10K a month, 100K a month. Whatever your goals are. I want you to get crystal clear on who they are as a person. Because the harsh reality is they are not who you are right now. Sometimes people think, ‘I don’t want to change. I don’t want to change who I am.’ I’m not saying you become some devil reincarnate version of yourself. This is not about becoming evil or becoming any of those stereotypes that a lot of people have around people who have money. It’s about being yourself, but it’s about being a higher version of yourself. We need to think about this person who has what we want, how does he or she show up daily? What do they do? How are they feeling? How are they acting? Because it’s not the way you are showing up right now or you would have what you want.
You need to get clear on what that person is about, how that contrasts with how you’re showing up right now, and get more into the being state. That’s the thing with mindset is so much of the time in the business world, we’re stuck in the action, in the doing, in the strategy, in the tactics. We need that. We need that for sure. I always say that’s 15% of our success. The 85% actually comes from the being. There’s a difference in us being in this state of that person who has the things that we are wanting to achieve. When we then take inspired action from that higher level being place, that’s when things start to shift, because that’s when you start to act differently than you keep acting right now.
Rob: Okay. I’m hogging the mic here just a little bit, but I just want to make sure that I totally understand this. That first part, when I’m really questioning my beliefs and I’m journaling, and the answers are things like, ‘My partner spends too much’ or ‘My kids are too expensive’. Those are the kinds of answers …
Kira: Are you talking about me as your partner?
Rob: Well, maybe I shouldn’t …
Kira: I do. I do spend too much.
Rob: Those are the kinds of answers where I’m basically blaming outside of myself and I need to focus more on things like, ‘I’m not earning enough’ or ‘I need to be thinking more strategically about my business?’ Is that really the way I should be, at least on the first part, directing my thoughts?
Colleen: Yeah, exactly. There’s a lot of power in just becoming aware. When we make something about someone else, we feel powerless is the big piece, right? We feel like, ‘Well, we can’t change that. I can’t change the fact that I have kids and they cost money.’ Or ‘How am I supposed to tell my partner that they can’t spend X amount of dollars on whatever each month?’ That’s going to create arguments. As soon as we start to offload that origin of the problem to something else, we give away our power. The idea is we want to look at it going, ‘Okay, yeah. There may be these different factors around us, but when we focus on ourselves as a change agent, then things in our world start to shift.’ Obviously, it’s not like kids are all of a sudden not going to cost money, but maybe if you believe that kids cost so much money, you’re actually manifesting situations like your kids losing stuff all the time. Or I don’t know that doesn’t need to be happening, but maybe there’s ways that more expenses are coming up because of that belief that might otherwise need to be … Or maybe you would manifest something cool like someone donates a whole bunch of clothes to you or something that are in great condition so you just saved a whole bunch on a fall wardrobe or summer wardrobe or whatever.
There’s lots of things that when you aren’t holding that belief, that could shift as well. What we want to do is just go within and go, ‘How am I actually responsible for creating this situation?’ Get it all out. Release and acknowledge what you’re believing now, but also go, ‘What’s my role in this? What’s my part in this?’
Rob: Okay. Good. Yeah.
Kira: Rob, do you have more questions? I feel like …
Rob: The next.
Kira: You’re trying to figure this out. I want you to figure …
Rob: No, I’m just sort of … I get exactly what you’re saying. I think that’s really helpful. As I think about how I would do it, you start to blame very easily, ‘Oh, well, my parents made me this way.’ Or ‘The job that I have doesn’t allow me to do this.’ We see this in our group a lot where people feel like they’re trapped by their circumstances. Or they’re in a financial situation, which very honestly, is bleak in some ways. It’s not just for me, but I can see people struggling with that and saying, ‘Oh, yeah. I want to manifest a rent check here, but I still have to go to work. I’m working 12 hours at the McJob and I’m not making enough.’ I can see a lot of those very real-world problems feeling insurmountable.
Colleen: Yes. Yes, exactly. In those moments, it is hard when you’re that much in that place in that intensity of need and struggle. The best thing you can do when you’re entrenched in that space is try to focus on feeling good. This is one of the things that I practice daily in my life is, ‘Okay, in this moment, how am I feeling?’ Starting to become hyper aware as you move through the day, at any given moment. You could even start setting an alarm like every couple of hours at first to just check in and be like, ‘How am I feeling right now? How am I feeling right now?’ The reason I focus on this is our emotional state is just a reflection of basically our own current energetic vibration. When we want good things to happen to us, good things are positive, and in order to call those things in, we need to be what we call in alignment with them. If we are on … It’s kind of like a radio station. If we are not on … If we’re on the 80s station and we’re freaking out that the Beatles aren’t playing, it’s because we’re on the wrong frequency and we need to shift our frequency to be able to receive the Beatles music.
What we want to do similarly is oftentimes, it becomes this snowball effect of when things are bad, it feels heavy. It feels hopeless. We’re worried. We’re scared. There’s all these kinds of emotions that come up. The more that we stay in that emotion, the more that we start to attract more and more lack and more and more of what we don’t want. What we want to try and start doing is becoming aware of how are we feeling right now. Then, doing what we can to just reach for a slightly better feeling thought or do something that’s going to just slightly raise our vibration. It could be anything. Like something like putting on a song that you love to hear. Like petting an animal. Going for a walk outside. Having a bubble bath. It’s different for everyone what feels good. Making a conscious choice in that moment to say, ‘I am going to step away from this feeling.’
The other thing you can do as well is that feeling state comes about basically because of our beliefs and thoughts. Beliefs lead to the thoughts we have, which lead to our feelings, which lead to how we act. That creates our outcomes. If we want a different outcome, we know we need to act different. We can’t just willpower our way through it, because we all know how that works in life. It works for a little bit and then we fall off the wagon. What we need to do is work backwards more. We got to go, ‘Okay, how do we act different?’ Well, we need to feel different.
If we feel different, we do different things. Think about it. If you’re in a good mood, you’re driving down the road. You don’t have a problem letting that guy in who’s trying to enter in from the parking lot. You’re happy to let him in. If you’re in a wound-up mood, you may not even notice him in the first place or you might think, ‘Dude, seriously I don’t have time for this. You wait your turn.’ Totally changes how we respond based on how we are feeling. Then, one step back from that feeling is going to be your thoughts and then your beliefs. Watch. If you catch yourself in a feeling state that isn’t positive, go, ‘Where was my mind just at? What was I thinking about? What was I running through my head?’ Because that’s a choice. We may not be able to necessary choose the first thought that pops into our head, but we can choose whether we continue to focus on that or whether we choose to shift away from that.
Kira: Okay. I have some new questions I still want to ask you. I’m thinking what’s at stake here for people, again, who might still think it’s woo-woo? Or they just don’t get how this affects us as business owners. Can you think of some examples from your program? Or just colleagues that you’ve met to share kind of what happens if you ignore this or if you don’t tackle it? Then, what happens if you do handle it and you deal with these money blocks?
Colleen: Yeah, for sure. Oftentimes, what I find really helpful for people to kind of be more open to the idea that this mindset is a thing is to look at the common behavioral ways that these mindset issues are manifesting. I always say, ‘Are you a big procrastinator?’ If you are procrastinating all the time, you keep intending to make something happen or, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen next week’ or ‘I’m going to get around to that.’ That is a sign that at its core, there are money blocks. If you are caught up in comparison-itis, ‘My stuff’s not as good’ or ‘They have a million followers’ or ‘Why would anyone choose me when they can pick that person who knows more? They’re more of an expert.’ When you’re caught up in comparison-itis, the reason you’re there and you’re focusing on that, that is a reflection of a mindset issue.
When you are caught up in distraction, as entrepreneurs, we’re endlessly passionate and multi-passionate. Yes, we can have a zillion ideas, but that doesn’t mean we act on those zillion ideas and go in a million different directions at one time. When we have trouble maintaining that focus and not going all over the map, that’s a sign that there’s mindset issues at play.
Another big common one as well is when you are learning, but not implementing. We can become learning junkies. Think about it. How many opt-ins … You are not alone if you’ve done this, I’m raising my hand over here. How many opt-ins have you opted in for from Facebook or wherever and you never even opened the email in your inbox and you have no idea who some of these random people are whose names appear and you just … Maybe you buy programs and you don’t even log in or you log in once and then you don’t really go through it. Or maybe you’re the person who watches it all the way through, but then you don’t actually take action on it. Why does that happen?
All of those are because there are mindset issues at the core. I just want to say that at first, because sometimes that helps people go, ‘Oh, my gosh. I do those things.’ It’s like, yep, ‘You know why you’re doing them? It’s because of mindset.’ All the strategy in the world isn’t going to fix those challenges. You can try. A lot of people will do that. They’ll keep buying strategy after strategy after strategy program. In a level, that’s wonderful, because we can always learn something new and something different from another person for sure. Then, they’re going to start to become more defeated, because they’re like, ‘It’s still not working.’ They’re like, ‘Why do these other people who have testimonials for this program get these results and I don’t?’ It’s like, ‘Well, just because they have that 85% mindset piece that’s working for them more with the strategy.’
That’s just a little brief overview I wanted to give, because sometimes that can help people understand more. Because mindset is so intangible, and that is the piece that I think is the biggest barrier for people is when it is intangible. How do we know this is a problem? Look at those behaviors. If you’re doing those, you want to be looking at your mindset.
In terms of what’s going to happen whether you do or you don’t work on it, well if you don’t work on the mindset, you’re just going to get more of what you have. You can increase a little bit. I’m not saying you’re going to be entirely stagnant in life, because we aren’t by nature that way, a lot of us. What’s going to happen is you’re going to hit ceilings, right? You’re going to be like … You’ll catch yourself saying this: ‘I just can’t seem to. I just can’t seem to no matter what I do. This doesn’t happen.’ When we use that language, it’s actually a sign that we’re kind of in victim mode. Not because we’re trying to be victims, but it’s just a language of feeling helpless, instead of a language of feeling empowered. That’s coming about because we feel like we’ve done all the things and it’s not happening. We start to feel hopeless. It’s just all the things hasn’t been the mindset piece.
If you just keep going, you’re going to get more of what you have in a little bit of a range restriction up or down. If you work on your mindset and there’s a lot of deep work we can do on really identifying the core roots of these different blocks, which ones are relevant for you. How to process them and clear them. How to shift those and replace them. How to get more in alignment. When you do more of that work, then what ultimately winds up happening is you can step higher into creating those shifts and changes so that you show up differently.
For example, it could be those moments where you feel like if you’re low vibration and you know you’ve got to write this blog post and oh my gosh, it’s not coming together. You don’t know what to write on and it’s difficult and it’s hard. How could you ever scale because it takes three days to get this thing done? Versus when you work on releasing a lot of the blocks and the fears, you might be able to pound that out in a couple hours. All of a sudden, it actually feels more fun instead of like a burden.
The transformations can be massive. I’ve had students go from never having clients at all to having a 10K month. I’ve had people go from being stuck at one income level to consistently being able to learn at another level. Other people feeling actually confident and capable about charging the rates they’re charging and not feeling apologetic about it and being able to step out and make offers … The cool part too is that when we work on our mindset, it has a ripple effect across all of our life, because anything that manifests in our business is probably manifesting similarly in other areas of our life too.
As we work on these beliefs, it’s not just the benefits that we’ll see start showing up in business, you’ll get a ripple effect throughout everywhere.
Kira: I’d love to hear more about specific examples about the work that you’ve done in your own life and your business. Because I know you, so I know the journey that you’ve taken and how you’ve evolved. Even financially, how you’ve had some amazing months. You continue to work on your money mindset. Can you share a couple examples? Especially from earlier on, because I think it’ll be more relatable. What you did and the struggle you had and then the result.
Colleen: Yeah, for sure. When I started, like I mentioned, I had that e-commerce business. It was my first online venture. This is something that’s important, because I see this pattern a lot. I was in academia before. In academia, it was like I was the golden child. Everything felt easy and attainable to accomplish and to nail and to do well at. Then, I came into this entrepreneurial world and it was like success in terms of money felt completely elusive. If any of you are like that where you have felt in the more traditional scholastic or training model you’ve been successful and then are like, ‘What the heck is happening?’ That’s normal. It’s because it’s a very different focus. It’s a very different way that we are achieving and a different sense of vulnerability around how we are creating that success. That’s normal for stuff if that happens for you.
What happened for me was I started this e-commerce business. I was able to get it to the point where it was making money. I felt like on paper, in terms of the revenue, it was doing well. The rest of the business was just in complete shambles. I was so embarrassed and so ashamed, but I had no money ever at the end of the month. Not only did I have no money, I was $30,000 in debt from this business. It was like I would try and bail myself out. Then, I might climb a little bit and then I would just wind back up in the exact same place.
I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand what was happening, why this was the case. I was embarrassed, because I was like, ‘I’m highly educated and apparently, I can’t do this. What’s wrong with me?’ I finally realized, ‘Oh, my gosh … Sometimes it’s funny. We’re so close to our own world, we often don’t see things. That’s why we often need that guidance to help point things out to us. I was like, ‘This is mindset.’ I started to work with a couple coaches and on some programs related to mindset.
It was literally transformational. I went from right when I had started this new business of teaching strategy online, I went from a $3,000 month to my next month was $24,000. I was like, ‘What?’ Right? Then, of course, what happened after that is the elastic band effect where my inner psyche freaked out. I rebounded back, which is also normal and can often happen.
I went through this process of just it wasn’t a case where it was like hang up my shingle and just bring in the cash. There was a lot of journey to that, but what I continued to focus on over and over and over again was my mindset. This is the thing. A lot of people will feel like, ‘Well, I don’t need to work on my mindset because I am earning money.’ I’m like, ‘Well, are you earning as much money as you want to earn?’ Because these money blocks and these challenges that we start to encounter, they affect us at every stage of our business, whether it’s making your first dollar online or it’s taking you into a six-figure business to seven-figure and beyond. There’s always going to be … Every time you are reaching for a new level, probably still some kind of unprocessed resistance that’s there that we need to uncover, unpack, explore, process, heal. Then, through that releasing, we can become more in alignment with receiving it.
Rob: Good stuff. Okay. Can I switch our conversation just a little bit away from the money mindset? I guess it’s still money mindset stuff, but I want to talk a little bit more about passive income. Colleen, you’ve been called the passive income queen. There are a lot of people in our audience that would like to have some kind of passive income in their life, whether it’s related to copywriting or something else. Talk a little bit about why it’s important and how we can create these kinds of opportunities for ourselves.
Colleen: Yeah, for sure. What happens for a lot of people is we start out in our businesses and we do done-for-you services or coaching in a more one-to-one model. I truly believe that is the best place to start for a lot of reasons. What will happen as you start to grow and scale that business, you start to feel like you’re on the hamster wheel. You start to reach an income threshold. You maybe start to feel overwhelmed because maybe you’re trying to take on more clients to try and increase the income or trying to raise your prices, but if you have blocks around how much you’re charging, then that can backfire on you. You want to over-deliver and you can just cycle into all of these challenges.
Once you’ve got that a certain baseline of income established, what you want to start doing is moving into a more leveraged model. It doesn’t mean you necessarily have to give up the done-for-you or one-on-one. If you want to, you can. It’s really a personal choice. You want to start building in that leveraged model. The way to do that is basically through your online courses. They can be self-study programs or they can be leveraged, higher level group programs where you can still be involved giving a lot of support through live calls or Facebook groups. Ultimately, the training component and module has been filmed and delivered. Your amount of time that you need to put in after you have created that product is very minimal relative to the number of people that you can support and help through that.
Kira: Colleen, what would you say to people who feel like passive income, just that it is easy to get that, because I feel like it is dreamy and so many online entrepreneurs want that. The reality is it’s not really passive. It takes a lot of effort and it takes a platform to build that. What would you say to someone who’s thinking about it as more of a reality check before they move in that direction?
Colleen: Yeah, for sure. I always say try and have, like I was just mentioning, a stable baseline income first, so you’re not in panic mode. Because whenever we’re operating, again, from a place of panic or desperation, that vibration is going to throw the whole process off kilter. I often find for people when … Don’t even probably try to think too much about it unless you’re in a position where you’re feeling financially okay. Because the reality of it is, it’s going to take some time to scale it and get it up and running. The amount of money that you can bring in from one-on-one or done-for-you with less clients is going to be faster than selling your programs. That’s why I suggest that. It’s not that I don’t love programs, I do. It’s just logistically when you’re wanting to get that momentum and that confidence from that momentum, it’s going to be easier when you start and then scale.
Even when you’re starting from that place of having, ‘Okay, I’m making some money. I’m not panicked about making rent, I’m okay.’ You need to understand that it has to be hard, but there are more moving parts to it. Selling these programs, when you’re selling one-on-one, you can hop on a call with someone or you can be connecting in a group and have a quick Messenger chat and someone hires you. When you’re selling one-on-one, it tends to be a little bit more hands off. You might be doing a webinar, like a live webinar or a live challenge series, but it’s a little bit different than that personal conversation that you usually have to close a one-on-one offer.
Because of that, you need to have more elements dialed in. Your messaging has to be nailed. You have to be so clear of those … Copywriters know all this, but the pains and the desires and where people want to be and how to position that towards their struggles and be that transformation that they want. All of that stuff needs to be dialed in on another level. You also need to be in a position with your mindset where you’re not going to internalize the … I’m going to call them failures, because I always say, ‘The only thing a failure is feeling your way forward.’ It’s just information about how to get where you want to get. The challenge is a lot of people make that mean something about them. If they launch a course and they have these Facebook ads and they’re like, ‘My Facebook ads didn’t work, and no one opted in. The people who did, no one bought my course. It sucks. No one wants this. No one ever wants anything I want.’
When we take that emotion on, it’s going to be challenging. What we need to be able to do is step back from that and objectively go, ‘Okay, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. Let’s look at why. Let’s look at where the leaky holes were. Let’s look where things were breaking down. Then, let’s go in and fix that.’ It’s very much an iterative process. Even those of us who are super established or super experienced in creating those programs and launching those funnels, what you don’t see or what you don’t hear a lot of people talk about is that behind the scenes, it is a constant iterative process of testing and tweaking and adjusting and trying new things. It’s not like hit a home run out of the park because you’ve done it before. It’s almost always going to have that process to it. That’s okay. It doesn’t say anything about your worth or your value or your anything, but you need to be able to have the time and the space to allow that to get dialed in so you get to the place where you are earning that leveraged income.
Kira: Yeah, you mentioned something earlier that really stood out to me. So many copywriters struggle to charge what they really want to charge ideally for their services. You mentioned that we really need to sell the transformation when we sell our services. Maybe we’re selling the wrong thing. We’re like, ‘Here is website copy.’ Really, we need to sell the transformation that a client will feel. Do you have any advice for us to help us really focus on that transformation?
Colleen: Yeah, this is huge. Because it’s honestly like with my course creation students or even students of mine that are creating coaching offers for packages, there is this intrinsic pull to focus on process and the way that we help people. It makes sense because we are passionate about what we do, so we kind of want to shout about it from the rooftops. The reality is you need to solve a specific problem. People have a problem, okay? Really what it is, is about positioning.
To give you an example, I’m just going to use meditation, because it’s an obvious one here. It’s like, okay, meditation is not a problem, it’s a process. It’s a topic. Healthy eating. That’s not a problem. It’s a topic. It’s a process. When we think about this, what do people wake up at night saying? What’s really behind that? Do they wake up at night saying, ‘Oh, my gosh. I need to meditate.’ Or ‘Oh, my gosh. I need to eat healthy.’ Or ‘Oh, my gosh. I need website copy.’ I mean, they might because they think they need a website, but why do they think they need a website? Why, because ‘Oh, my god. I don’t have clients.’ What’s the core problem?
The problem is feeling like they’re not visible and they don’t have clients, right? When we make our offers, they’ve got to be positioned around that problem and pain and then the specific transformation. Your process is what’s going to create the transformation. I’m not saying you don’t need it, because of course, that’s what’s going to take them from A to Z, but when you present it and talk about it and structure it, you have got to come at it from this is their problem. This is the transformation they want. As much as possible, I always say talk about those two, because people don’t really care that much about your process. They just care that you get where they’re at and you understand where they want to be and what they want.
Rob: It feels to me as part of the solution of those kinds of situations is that people aren’t well-known enough for what they do. If you don’t have clients coming in the door, it’s because we’re not necessarily seen as experts in what we’re doing. Are there things that we can be doing to build our own credibility and authority in the space that we work in so that that problem solves itself?
Colleen: It’s funny, because that is one of the things that I always tell people when they’re like, ‘How do I stand out from the competition?’ I’m like, ‘You earn your authority by resonating’ is basically the term I like to use. When you resonate with people, it’s like you can empathize with where they are and you have a crystal clear vision of where they’re going.
One of the challenges that a lot of people wind up with that is they’re focused too broadly in their niching and in their audience of who they want to serve. It becomes very difficult to paint those very vivid pictures. That’s one thing. It sounds funny, but ultimately authority is people listening to you, right? That’s one way we have authority. People are going to listen to you when you speak to them in a way that makes them stop and listen. The way to make them stop and listen is to be like, ‘I 100% get where you are. It’s here, here, here, and here. This is the transformation you want.’ That’s one thing to really keep in mind.
The other big thing, I would say, is when we talk about struggling with our authority. There’s this inherent sense that we’re judging our process or we’re feeling like this isn’t coming together how we want. I always go, ‘What are you making it mean?’ In your journey to wanting to create authority and wanting to be better, what are you making it mean right now that you aren’t there? What are you telling yourself it means? When you post on … Someone’s like, ‘Oh, I need a copywriter for this.’ Maybe you post something and say, ‘Oh, I would be amazing. I do this.’ Then, you see 10 other people recommend someone else and you feel like someone just poked all the air of your balloons, right? Maybe that person doesn’t hire you.
What are you making that mean? Are you taking away from that moment, ‘Well, I’m not as good?’ Or ‘No one would ever hire me because there’s someone else more experienced out there?’ You’ve got to watch for that. It’s this ironic way I’m saying this, because we undermine our own authority a lot of the times is kind of what I’m getting at. When we stop doing that is when we can actually step into authority. Because if we’re undermining our own authority that way mentally, then that’s what’s going to get reflected back to us. We’re not going to be attracting those people around us viewing us with authority.
It’s not really just about thinking positive. I know sometimes a lot of people get caught up in self-development, like, ‘Oh, just think positive.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, no.’ Yes, it’s an important piece, but it’s a piece of it. It’s an oversimplification really. Basically, what we want to do is watch those patterns, watch those tendencies. Then, we want to process, heal, and release so we can shift out of that. That’s a big reason.
A lot of people, a lot of us, are just undermining our authority in ways we don’t realize we’re doing. Energetically, everything is energy in this world, I always say that what physically manifests around us is a reflection of what’s going on in our inner world. If we cannot for the life of us seem to get traction with other people wanting to view us as worthwhile, chances are it’s because we’re not viewing ourselves as that.
Kira: Wow. Okay. I love that so much. Energetically speaking, we have alluded to this already, but I want to hear specific examples of how you take care of yourself and raise your vibration. What do you do regularly in your day, in your week, to help keep you high energetically? Because you’ve got this all together. Listening to you, it’s like, ‘Oh, she’s got it figured out.’ You’re human and you deal with this and you probably have bad days too.
Colleen: Oh, my gosh, of course. Of course, yeah. I have good days and bad days too. Working with your mindset is kind of like going to the gym. It’s a routine. It’s not something you do once and you’re like, ‘Boom, baby, I’m done.’ It’s like if you want the chiseled abs or you want to look a certain way, you got to keep going to the gym. If you want to keep moving forward and you want to keep up leveling, you have to keep working on your mindset. It’s not always easy and not always pretty, because a lot of the times, what we’re going into and what we’re working with can be kind of dark and upsetting.
For me, on a daily basis, it varies. I always say daily and I’m like … You can’t see me, but I’m like quotes in the air. I’m like ‘daily’. Because the reality is everyone, I’m human. Not everything happens daily. Sometimes that’s intentional of feeling like I need a bit of a space just to do more self-care instead of active mindset work. There’s other times where it’s just me falling into my excuses or my own resistance for not doing the mindset work. It happens.
Most days, what I will do is have … First off, when I wake up in the morning, I will run through some kind of gratitude, appreciation list. Just to ensure that my first initial grounding and meeting of the day isn’t reaching for my phone to check a gazillion emails. It’s literally being in that vibration of being appreciative. It can be simple. It can be like, ‘I have air to breathe. These blankets are cuddly around me.’ It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be profound. Sometimes people think gratitude stuff has to be profound. It’s all profound. Whatever we have, we can appreciate.
I’ll usually start off with just something simple like that. Then, when I get back from taking my son to school, what I will normally do is have a journal prompt. Sometimes the journal prompts I have, I work with mindset coaches too, so sometimes they’ve given me mindset journal prompts to be working on. I will just journal this out by hand, in a book. Then, based on what comes up, I do a lot of EFT tapping.
For people who might be listening that might be like, ‘What is EFT tapping?’ It’s basically modeled after … A lot of people are familiar with acupuncture. It’s kind of like tapping on certain acupressure points around the face and the upper torso area. There’s a bunch of different ones. Basically how EFT works is that when we activate an emotion or a memory that, for example, is maybe negative or we’re distressed or worried about, and we are tapping while we are talking through it and living out that emotion, that tapping, those acupressure point tapping, it sends a neutralizing signal to the brain. It starts to release and neutralize the strangle hold that that emotion and memory and belief is having over us.
I use that tool a lot to kind of work as a release mechanism to just sort of process and take the edge off. A lot of my clients … It’s really quick. They come into my program and they’ll be like, ‘I don’t know about this, Colleen.’ Then, they do it and they’re like, ‘Wow. I can feel the difference. It really works.’ I’m like, ‘Yep.’ You don’t need to believe whether it’s going to work or not for it to have an effect. I always just sort of say, ‘Be open to trying it. Because why wouldn’t you be?’ Why not? If someone told you there was something that could potentially help you, why wouldn’t you try that tool? As long as it’s not going to harm you.
EFT tapping with the journaling is probably the big thing. The other thing I do, like I was mentioning earlier is I try to be really militant about monitoring my emotional state and where my thoughts have been. I even take it one step further now where I become more boundaried. For example, with my lovely husband who sometimes likes to tell stories of, ‘You won’t believe what happened and this person did this.’ It’s sort of like I’m like, ‘Okay.’ I know he wants to be heard, however, do we need to keep telling this story for 10 minutes? You know what I mean? We can get caught in these patterns. I also actively work on helping him feel understood and heard, but also being boundaried around, ‘Now, we need to stop talking about this’ because … I say it very lovingly, but it’s because we want to be boundaried around how not only how we’re being in our own energy, but how we’re also noticing and responding to the energy of the people that are around us and in our world.
Like I say, obviously being empathic and understanding of their journey, but also helping them potentially identify and see ways that they might be … Like I sort of say, we may not choose the first thought, but we can choose to keep talking about it. If that story isn’t one that makes us feel good, why are we telling it? What is the purpose of that telling that story again and again? A lot of times, for a lot of us, we’re just addicted a bit … I don’t always like that word, but that’s what it feels like. This strong, magnetic pull towards, on some levels, a certain amount of drama, right? It’s just part and parcel of what we’ve experienced and we’re in pattern about it. When we start to recognize pattern, we’re like, ‘Oh, I’m in pattern again’, ‘Oh, I’m doing that again’, that’s when we can start to step out of it.
Rob: Holy cow, you’ve given us a ton of stuff to think about here, Colleen, from money mindset and not money mindset, but so much stuff. I’m imagining that there may be a few people listening that may have additional questions or want to connect with you in some other way. Where can they find out more about you and get on your email lists and all of that?
Colleen: Absolutely. ColleenArneil.com is my website. I have information there and trainings there and all kinds of good stuff, so you’re more than welcome to check that out anytime.
Kira: Specifically, if they want help with money mindset, you have a program they can jump into, right?
Colleen: Yes. Absolutely. I have a money mindset reboot program that I love very much. You can get information on that as well on my website.
Kira: Thank you so much, Colleen. I’ve already chatted with you several times about this, but I feel like I always learn so much from you. It’s just a pleasure having you here. Thank you.
Colleen: Well, thank you so much for having me.
Rob: You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available on iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit TheCopywriterClub.com. We’ll see you next episode.
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