Carolyn Elliott takes the JobShadow interview about here career coaching creative and talented people. You can find her on her website below and on her Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.
I’m a coach for magic people and with that comes being a speaker, author, and teacher. Also, I play dress-up and dance and sing and laugh a lot. I only believe in growing up as little as it takes to pass in the muggle world when I need to.
How would you describe what you do?
I battle the Big Boring Nothing of conventional, alienated society by lighting up and empowering magic people. In other words, I work with people who are especially sensitive, imaginative, and creative (i.e., magic) to help them feel liberated and happy, realize their desires, and move through any blocks or fears they may have as they work towards their goals.
What does your work entail?
My work entails doing a lot of outreach to find and connect with the people who want and need my help. I maintain a blog (www.awesomeyourlife.com), I run a giant (over 7000 members) free Facebook group for magic people (The Dreamer’s Tantra – feel free to visit us and hit “request to join” if you self-identify as magical), I write for online magazines like Elephant Journal, Reality Sandwich, Shareable, and Rebelle Society.
I’ve also authored a book based on my work with my students and my clients called Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path for Freeing Your Creativity and Manifesting Your Dreams. The book came out in September 2013 from North Atlantic / Random House and it’s available now on Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. It’s seriously good book with rave reviews – so I highly recommend checking it out if you want your level of joy and inspiration to explode through the roof. My work also entails talking to people from all over the world on the phone (that’s how I do my coaching), listening with deep attention and intuition, and asking them the kind of penetrating questions that can move them forward towards their desires and freedom.
I also give folks assignments and meditations to do inbetween our talking sessions together.
I’m constantly researching, learning, seeking out training for myself, and working on my own issues. In order to be of benefit to other magic people, I have to keep my own magic bright and strong. The help that I share with other people comes directly from the transformations I’ve learned to do in my own life.
What’s a typical work week like?
These days: I wake up around 9 am, meditate and set my intentions for the day, check my schedule (usually I have two or three client calls or Exploratory Sessions [sales conversations with potential clients] in a day. In between calls I might spend some time interacting with folks in the Dreamer’s Tantra Facebook group, work on an essay for my blog or for another magazine, make a video for the Dreamer’s Tantra, answer emails, and plan the next steps for my business.
Most of the time what I do doesn’t feel like “work” at all – it feels like exactly the kind of play I want to be doing.
How did you get started?
I got started just by realizing that folks in my life were constantly asking me for advice and valuing that advice. And then I gradually acknowledged that probably a lot of people could benefit from working with me, that I had a ton to give – and that in order to make offering such help sustainable, I would need to earn a living from it.
So I started out by researching how other coaches operate – reading other blogs, just learning as much as I could. Folks like Martha Beck and Havi Brooks inspired me a lot. Then I started my own blog, and through my own blog (Awesome Your Life) I got ideas for writing a book. Along the way I’ve had to learn to do a ton of technical interweb stuff that isn’t always my favorite, but hey – it’s got to be done.
What do you like about what you do?
I love connecting with people and seeing them blossom.
What do you dislike?
Sometimes it can be overwhelming, the amount of people that I interact with online. I have to set clear and strong boundaries with folks, which can be tough. Also the technical stuff (setting up payment buttons and sales pages) can be a teeny bit of a drag.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated? (salaried, hourly, commission, bonuses, etc)
My coaching clients pay me by the hour – I currently ask for them to commit to doing 6 sessions with me over 6 weeks, at a rate of $100 per session. I also ask that to solidify their commitment, they pay for the sessions in advance. I use PayPal invoice to accept payments.
How much do you make?
Right now I’m just learning how to really do all of the outreach and sales stuff that needs to happen, and I’m making about $2000 this month. I anticipate that I’ll earn more soon as I refine some of my approaches and launch a new subscription group that I’m starting for magic people who want support in working on their creative projects.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
Coaching is a non-regulated field, so really all it takes is gumption. I happen to have a PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies. The biggest skills that coaching work requires are intuition, compassion, communication, self-knowledge, and courage. It’s all about learning to deeply see the potential that lies in people, get them turned on about it, and being fully present with them beyond your own judgments and fears. Also to make it a business you’ve got to hone your writing, video-making, marketing and sales skills.
What is most challenging about what you do?
For me the biggest challenge is the sales process and learning to charge what I’m worth. I’ve been gradually raising my rates over the past year and will likely raise them more soon. I’m a naturally generous person and my impulse is just to give away everything I have for free. I’ve learned though that that kind of giving is just unsustainable – I end up depleted. And I’ve also found that there’s a beautiful energetic exchange that can happen when I let people invest money in their work with me – often the process then becomes more real to them, and they get willing to do more work for their part in the transformation.
What is most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing is hearing a client tell me that their life is completely turning around and becoming way more thrilling and fun and fulfilling through the work that we’re doing together.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Start a blog. Write essays or create videos designed to help the kind of people you want to work with. Create a place where the kind of people you want to work with can find you and play with you on the internet – Facebook groups are pretty great for that. Twitter can work, too. Show people simple, brilliant ideas that they can use today to immediately improve how they’re feeling and living – and they’ll begin to be willing to trust your insight on deeper topics in their lives.
How much time off do you get/take?
Since I’m self-employed, I can take off whenever I want – it just means I might miss out on business that I would otherwise gather if I worked that day. I usually do stuff related to my business 7 days a week – but I’m quite leisurely about it and most of it is just fun.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
I haven’t encountered any misconceptions – mostly folks are just curious when I tell them what I do – so I get to tell them all about it.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Soon, I’m going to start a smaller, more focused subscription group for magic people. My Dreamer’s Tantra group is fabulous, but it’s a bit non-intimate now that it’s swelled to thousands of members. I’m excited about the prospect of creating resources and classes and coaching circles for the folks in the new subscription group.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
Basically that it’s just awesome – and if you’re a wise, compassionate person you don’t have to go to school to become a therapist or a counselor in order to be empowered to help people. You don’t need an outside authority to tell you your work with others is valuable. You can claim that value for yourself - your own experience is your authority. Just share it and you’ll free other people.