Join Leela Sinha in a fascinating and far-reaching conversation with Lauren Elizabeth of Lauren Elizabeth Coaching.
Lauren is a pleasure-centered marketing coach & business mentor. She helps purpose-driven coaches, healers and creative business owners prioritize pleasure at every level of their business so they can grow their impact & their income without the oppressive marketing practices & hyper-capitalist business bullshit.
Recorded October 5, 2022.
Notes and Full Transcript here:
Leela Sinha 0:02
Hi everyone, and welcome to Power Pivot. This is one of our bonus episodes, I get to interview someone fabulous. And today's fabulous guest is Lauren Elizabeth. She is a marketing consultant, I think she's shrugging at me. And what she does is she focuses on pleasure. Now those of you who've been with me for a long time know that I have a website called Body of Pleasure. And that pleasure has been at the center of my work for a long time, even though it's not something I lead with anymore, but she does. And I was super excited to see her doing it. And so I am super excited to bring you together today to give you the opportunity to get to know her a little bit. And as you all know, I'm not a big fan of like pre written bios. So I'm gonna let her introduce herself. Welcome, Lauren.
Lauren Elizabeth 0:54
Thank you so much, Leela, I'm so excited to be here. Ah, yeah, marketing consultant, coach, business mentor, I have been building and growing online businesses, for myself and for my clients for about seven years now. And, you know, when I first got into the online space, it was all about funnels, and, you know, urgency and blinky timers, and the emails about how long until the program closes. But it's an evergreen program. So like, there really is no timeline. And it just
Leela Sinha 1:34
just want to recognize that Lauren is like dancing this story out as she's talking.
Lauren Elizabeth 1:40
Yeah, it just didn't feel good to me. And, you know, I have signed up, for course, after course, looking for a way to- when I first got into coaching, I wasn't teaching marketing, I was really helping people come into their own authentic expression, helping people tap in with their own physical cycles and working with the seasons. And by that nature of like the nature of that work, it just didn't make sense to be like, squeezing myself into these marketing boxes. So I spent a few years really 2018 2019 and 2020, really digging into what it could look like to show up as my full self online, to let people see the more messy side of me as a human. And to let that be part of my marketing. And, you know, I think in our conversation that we had recently I said, I was born a hedonist. And then I learned through years and years of social programming, that seeking pleasure made me lazy, made me slutty, it made me dirty, right, there was all of these like negative social and cultural associations with seeking pleasure. And also, I see business as such a powerful way for creating change in our communities and in the culture that we live in. And so I had to figure out, like, how do I bring this pleasure-centered version of myself, this part of me that wants to have time and space to just enjoy my life? How do I bring that into my business? How do I bring that into my marketing? And what does it look like to balance the pleasure piece of my work with the purpose piece of my work? And so really, you know, starting in 2020, but really in 2021, and then this year, I've really focused on supporting my clients in creating marketing strategies and shaping their offers, you know, looking at pricing through this pleasure centered lens. How do we as business owners feel good marketing our business, sharing our body of work with the world? And also how do we honor the desires and the pleasure and the joy of the people that we are working with? And it's really, it's really just been so interesting to see the vast spectrum of pleasure, and how it's different for every single one of us. And really, I just feel so lucky that I get to be exploring pleasure and marketing with these brilliant humans that are in my spaces.
Leela Sinha 4:44
Thank you. So when you change- like when you were like Okay, enough with this, like, false-front kind of marketing, we're going to bring some reality into this space. Was that part of the kind of "authenticity"- I'm making air quotes- authenticity trend?
Lauren Elizabeth 5:06
You know, so this is something that I've kind of struggled with is like, I felt like I never really fit in into the spaces that I was in.
Leela Sinha 5:15
Oh my god, that's a shame.
Lauren Elizabeth 5:17
And so I was like, I'm not enough of this for these people. I'm not enough of this for these people, and the authenticity
Leela Sinha 5:25
-I'm too damn much of this for other people....
Lauren Elizabeth 5:27
Yeah, the authenticity trend. It felt like, it actually made it harder for like, when I was like, Oh, we're supposed to be authentic. I was like, wait a minute, does that mean that what I've been isn't authentic? Oh, well, then I need to get more clear on who I am. And it almost confused me a little bit more this like authenticity trend. But like, really what it was, for me was recognizing that when I was trying to keep it all together, when I was trying to be the professional version that I thought I had to be to be a successful business owner. It never, it didn't connect. And I actually I think about it, this is a story that I've told often, is that when I first got into coaching, and I was doing, you know, live trainings online, or doing videos, I used to talk in this very sweet, smooth voice. And then people would get on calls with me and be like, wait a minute, like, you are not the person that I thought you were. And I realized, like, oh, I need to figure out how I can feel safe, and how I can feel comfortable bringing the sort of like sassy Big Sister vibes. Not in the name of like, being authentic, but like, in the name of being myself. And really, you know, kind of this is maybe like a tangent here. But one of the key pieces of pleasure is consent.
Leela Sinha 7:04
Lauren Elizabeth 7:04
And if the way that I'm showing up online is not the same that I am showing up in my more intimate spaces, you know, in my client sessions in my group calls, right, I'm not really giving people the opportunity to consent to being in my spaces. And so while authenticity, showing up as our true selves, was very trendy, and it it actually was kind of confusing for me, figuring out how to show up that way for myself, not only was it better for my business, but it actually allowed me to embody this value of consent in my business. I don't know if I answered your question.
Leela Sinha 7:46
Yeah, you did. You did. And actually, you've given a great like- consent is so important. And I came of age, like in the middle of the evolution of consent culture. And in the middle of that time, when we were moving from like, just running up and hugging someone to stopping and asking if people wanted a hug, like that was my high school and early college years. And, and with this conversation about consent, there was ,and still is, this kind of parallel conversation about power. Right, because consent assumes, in order to consent, you have to have the power to say no, in order to consent, you have to have alternatives, which means that you have options, which means that you have the resources to have options. And in various parts of our lives, it shows up in various ways, right? But but I'm thinking about this in terms of how we show up online and how we present ourselves. And what we're inviting people to consent to be part of. And the way that as business owners, if folks who listen to this podcast a lot have heard me talk on and on about, like, as a business owner, you have power, you have power, you have power, even if it's just in your little tiny microcosm of the world, you still have power, and you can change what is normative, you can change what people expect of the world, by treating them better, you can teach them that they have a right to be treated better, you can give them the experience of being treated better, you can change what they then expect to the next person they interact with.
Lauren Elizabeth 9:18
Leela Sinha 9:20
and this consent thing is so rich, they're like, I feel like I could do a whole, you know, 10 minute podcast episode on it. But But what I'm interested in asking you is like, how do you, how do you handle the power that your business gives you? Around this consent? Like the consent piece sounds really important to the way that you think about your business. How do you how do you handle the consent and the power in a way that's ethical? Like what are the things that you do to make sure that you stay ethical? And this isn't like a challenge to your ethics at all? This is the question I asked a lot of people because this is one of those major Questions we have to wrestle with: as we increase our power, how do we handle it?Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, so I think for me, consent really is about a few things like the first is just being really transparent with my people. I really value transparency. And so you know, just like practically some of the things that I do is like at the beginning of a masterclass or a workshop, if I'm going to pitch something at the end of the workshop, I tell folks up front, hey, thanks for coming to this workshop, at the end, I'm going to talk about this new container. If you know it's not a good fit, or if you're not interested, don't worry about sticking around. But just so you know, I'm going to be talking about that at the end. I also, for folks who are on my email list, when I announce a new container, I also send out an email that lets people opt out of those particular emails, right. So those are just some of the practical things that I'm doing in my marketing, to bring a little bit more consent into these relationships. Because, yeah, if you think about, like, this idea of a funnel, like just kind of grosses me out, it's like a slide. And it's like, I want to be real that like, if you have an email list, and you are sharing free value, and you have paid offers, right? The concept of a funnel, it still exists in your business, right? And language really matters. And so when I think of a funnel, I think of like slipping down on the edge, and then just like falling uncontrollably into this hole, where the only option is to shell out $10,000 for a program that I may or may not actually need.Leela Sinha:
It sounds like the worst pitcher plant ever.Lauren Elizabeth:
Totally. And so, you know, I want folks who- like the people that I'm working with, I want them to be making deeply informed decisions about investing in themselves through my offers, right? Like, we've all- I won't say we've all- I have definitely, and I know many of my clients, just through conversations that we've had, have invested in containers thought that they were going to be different thought they were going to be the thing that solves the problem. And then ultimately, it didn't turn out to be a good fit.Leela Sinha:
I know I've done that.Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, and I think, you know, as consumers, it's our it is our responsibility to do our due diligence and to take some time to research the people that we're purchasing from, like, there is some consumer responsibility. But I think, you know, if we follow that same line of thought, then it is individual family's responsibility to solve the recycling issue and to, you know, solve the climate crisis. And like, No, we need to be looking to these organizations that have more power, to be creating systems and to take responsibility for the impact of their offers. So, you know, we can talk about this power at a high level, right, like massive corporations who aren't taking responsibility for the impact of their products and their work. But then I think when we zoom back towards the coaching industry, or healers or service providers, we do have a responsibility to be transparent, and to be honest about how our work works. And something that I see a lot of, and it's still something that I'm sort of navigating myself is like testimonials, and like only sharing the most flowery, beautiful, like miracle testimonials. And like not being honest about the fact that some of the people who work with me, don't get the exact results that they think- that they thought they were going to get. That doesn't mean they didn't learn something, it doesn't mean that they didn't grow, it doesn't mean that they didn't get value. It just means that things don't always work out the way that we think or the way that we hope and what works for one person isn't going to necessarily work for someone else. And I'm, I try to be really transparent with that. And I'm a human and I acknowledge that like, sometimes it's hard to like hold all of this when we're trying to make enough money to survive in this hyper-capitalist system. And so yeah, it's, it's, I think, part of the thing that I want to be sharing with my work and with, like, part of my marketing strategy is to admit my imperfections, and to normalize the fact that like, we're all just figuring it out.Leela Sinha:
And really to invite people into this practice of not making ourselves wrong, when we do have a misstep, or when we do something that like maybe doesn't feel right. Can we trust ourselves to clean up and repair any messes that are made in our containers? That's what leadership is. That's what I want to be doing with the power that I have in my business. And like, yeah, it's a process of learning for sure.Leela Sinha:
Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think, I think that globally, we're going through a kind of a much larger process of cleanup, where, where we had for a while this idea that we wanted our figureheads and our leaders to look perfect. And then like in England for a long time, there was a kind of a tacit rule that, that you just didn't dig dirt on the royal family. You just like, that's, we don't do that to people. Because that's not their job. Right, their job is to be publicly, whatever. But if it's hidden, leave it hidden. They're trying to hide it, there's a reason. And, and now we're moving into this. And this is true in like clergy spaces too where it used to be the that the clergy were supposed to be like this impervious facade of perfection. And now it's like, we've got to be able to talk about the challenges and the problems and the reasons that things don't work and the wobbly table legs and the missing stairs, in communities and- missing stairs. I just want to explain what I just said, missing stair in, in a lot of, especially sex-positive and sexuality-oriented communities is shorthand for somebody that everybody in the community knows is a problem. But nobody has actually said it publicly. And so it's just kind of this whisper network thing. And new people to the community often fall on the missing stair before they find out the missing stair is the missing stair. And then, and then they become part of this kind of whisper network. And so people continue to get injured by this person in the community because the community hasn't figured out how to set a boundary around that person's presence or behavior. So so we end up with, and this is true in the business world, too, right? How many people out there were like, well, it's not polite to drag someone in public. And honestly, I don't really, I don't really have any use for dragging people in public. I don't think that's a particularly effective means to change. But I also think that sometimes there are repeated injuries, and people don't want to talk about those injuries, because they're ashamed because they feel like it's their fault. Because whatever and, and A; that feels like crap. And B; it doesn't allow us to be in integrity.Lauren Elizabeth:
Um, yeah, one of my mentors, someone who I've trained with around copywriting, Kelly Diels, who is a feminist and culture building, creative marketer, genius, human, really doing magical work and blending politics and business. And she says that we should name patterns and not people. And she has like, very rigorous rules for herself around when she actually will name a particular person and the problems that they are creating within an industry, within relationships. And it's often like a power measurement, like how much, like, am I going to be harming this person's livelihood if I name this? Or if they if I name them specifically? I don't need to go into all the details of her sort of rules. But that always stuck with me is like, can I educate my people on the patterns that are problematic? Rather than pointing to an individual who likely is just replicating what they were taught? And that person who taught them was just replicating what they were taught? And it's like, yes, we need to be responsible. Yes, we need to, again, do our due diligence around understanding how our power impacts the people we engage with. And also like, I can't blame myself for all of capitalism and all of white supremacy. Because I have lived in that system and I have perpetuated it. can I take responsibility over that? How I've internalized it? And can I admit to where I've made mistakes? Absolutely. Can I aim to do better? Absolutely. But I love this idea of naming patterns and educating our people so that they are now aware of like, oh, I need to be looking out for these kinds of behaviors. In coaches. I need to be looking out for these kinds of behaviors. In politicians. I need to be looking for people who are putting on this facade of perfection. Because like, we know that no human is without flaw. And so I appreciate what you're saying around this shift that we're seeing in society where I think as it used to be like the people who are on the pedestals, we want to keep them on the pedestals. And everyone else just gets to fight for scraps. Like now, I think we are seeing this shift to people wanting to relate to other people. And part of that is being willing to point out a flaw and not immediately be met with silencing or cancelling for pointing out something that doesn't feel right.Leela Sinha:
So how do you? How do you distinguish between what would be right or appropriate or good to share as an individual? And what would be right or good or appropriate to share as a leader or business owner or public figure? Because I feel like there's a difference?Lauren Elizabeth:
Sure, yeah. I would love to say that, like, I show up as an individual, very similarly to the way that I show up in my business and as a leader in my business. And I think where the difference is, is like- this is a really excellent question. I think that like, you know, if I'm in a, if you and I are having a conversation, and you're like, oh, you know, I know that you've worked with so and so. And I'm thinking about signing up for this program. You know, what was your experience? As an individual, I'm going to be honest with you about my experience. You know, if I was harmed, or if I witnessed harm, or if I felt unsafe, I feel like as an individual, I would share that with you. I don't know that I would use my business platform, similarly to what you said, I have no interest really in dragging individual people. However, I do think that there is a responsibility to like I said, name these patterns. And if someone asks me about the specifics, for me, it's really about like, it goes back to this, like, I don't want to be causing harm to people who are just replicating what they've been taught, you know? And so, yeah, this is a really interesting question. And I think that what it comes down to is being honest, in individual conversations, being honest, when someone is asking for my personal experience, and not using my business as a platform to harm other business owners.Leela Sinha:
And how about how about your own stuff? Like, when I was in seminary, what they strongly suggested that we do is if if some if we had experienced some kind of personal injury or personal, like a difficult experience, we wanted to use it in a sermon that we not use it right away. Because when it's super raw, you might say stuff that you wouldn't say after you've like composted that for a while.Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, totally.Leela Sinha:
And, and figuring that out, I think is a lifetime process. Like, I don't think anybody is ever perfect at it. But, but I think that that's one of the things that I often see in business owners for like- almost all sizes, until you get to the size where you have, like a publicity person vetting everything that comes out of your mouth in public. We, I think that we see this a lot with people having a bad day or a bad experience, especially if they're the recipient of some negative feedback publicly. And then their immediate response because they feel like they have to have one is, is maybe a little more raw than woud be useful. And it often shifts the entire public perception of someone's business.Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah. So I am like very much a verbal processor. And so one of the lessons I've had to learn in my business is like when shit hits the fan, like, I don't need to immediately be turning that into business lessons for my people. I don't immediately need to be teaching on that. Right. And I think that honestly, you know, not to like plug, ethical coaching, but this is why having a coach or a therapist or someone who you can go to and process with, is so important. Because, you know, in the times in my business where I haven't had that kind of support, and I've been in my own processing around it- especially the way that social media is set up, it almost feels like- and this is like, even gross to think about, but like, if I go post some, like ranty, you know, like you said, raw, maybe less useful thing, on social media, it's gonna get a lot of likes. It's gonna get a lot of engagement, it's gonna- And like, maybe that's a good thing. And it actually makes me feel good to be seen in that way. And also, like, that's not necessarily- as a coach, it's not my job to be spewing the, like unprocessed stuff onto my people, onto the audience, the people who are reading my content. And so I think there's, you're right, that there is like this fine line of like, bringing our whole selves into our businesses. And like letting ourselves be seen in the messiness, right, again, air quotes, "messiness". And also, like, knowing when something has been processed enough to share in a way that is valuable. You know, and that even just like brings up, right, I think one of the things I talk about a lot with my with my people is like, we get to be vulnerable, but we don't have to curate our vulnerability. And so like, Yeah, that does bring up a question like, What is that curating vulnerability? is like not sharing my... like, the raw, unprocessed emotions is that curation of like, who I am online? And like, maybe, and....Leela Sinha:
I think that's sometimes appropriate? Like, I think it's okay, you know, one of the very first business coaches I worked with is Mark Silver, who I absolutely love, love, love. Cannot work with him, because his style is way too expansive for me. But every time I get an expansive, who wants the same kind of philosophical underpinnings that I have, but with a very different approach, I sent them to Mark. And he, at least at that time, I don't know if he's still doing this. He talked extensively about the role of the veil. And the way that like, it allows you to decide who gets to see your whole self. And I think that's okay. Like, I think that social media makes money off of us making risky decisions online. Because risk brings up all that biochemistry that invites people to engage and gets people excited and gets people involved and keeps them there watching, reading. But it's okay to decide that social media is not a place where you want to take that level of risk.Lauren Elizabeth:
It's okay to decide that like, I want to be real, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to be vulnerable. I don't want to be vulnerable with all of Twitter. The only thing that I'm going to put on Twitter, are things that I don't feel particularly vulnerable about. Because if I feel vulnerable, enough about them, that some kind of weird firestorm over them is going to make me shut down, I'm probably not going to put them on Twitter.Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think too, like, this is really interesting. And again, why having spaces where we do feel safe to bring it and where we like, at least for myself, as someone who needs that external processing- like if I, you know, if I don't have spaces that I'm a part of, people who understand the realms that I'm working in, if I don't have spaces like that, where I can go and share and process, then I ended up dumping it all on my partner, or all on my best friend, who are both like, Okay, thank you, I'm glad to support you. And also, like, we've been talking about this now for five days, and like,Leela Sinha:
will you please get another container, please?Lauren Elizabeth:
Please? And, and so I think that, you know, I love what you said about I don't want to be vulnerable on Twitter, with everyone on Twitter, and I'm like, okay, yeah, as a leader, I have a responsibility to my people to show up in my values. And like sometimes, like I said, when shit hits the fan, I need to put my values aside for a second and like, just be a human. And I wouldn't show that to a stranger on the street necessarily, right like I wouldn't like be putting I wouldn't be like putting myself in a Macy's window to process my pain and trauma so then why would I be doing that on social media? And I love this distinction between being real and being super vulnerable. And on a platform where literally billions of people can witness,Leela Sinha:
right they have access, like you don't know, which people are gonna walk by your Macy's window, some of them are probably going to be very nice, a lot of them are probably not. And, and a lot of them, you know, potentially are going to be more excited by you being like, all bloody and smeary on the window, than if you're just, you know, sitting there drinking some tea. But to me being able to say, I am being in my values, because because you just said that you like, have to put your values aside so that you can be real, like, be vulnerable. And, and to me, my values include, being discerning about where I share what, and knowing who I'm talking to, and understanding the limits and the consent of my audience, right. My audience- they didn't show up to see every single last drop of blood come out of my veins. They're not into gore. And I don't want to cultivate an audience that is. Because an audience that is, is eventually going to come for my blood.Lauren Elizabeth:
Hmm, yeah, I just had a pause there that is, and I think that that's yeah, you like very, very much struck me with that. I'm, I'm feeling like there's, there's this thing in the coaching industry specifically that like kind of rubs me the wrong way. But I think that it's somewhat connected to this. What you're sharing here is like, there's this thing about how like, if you only- because I when I in, in marketing, specifically, I talk about leading with pleasure and desires, rather than doubling down on pain points, right?Leela Sinha:
I love your I see your short video, short form videos come across my feed periodically, and I'm like, Oh, yay.Lauren Elizabeth:
Thank you. And I think that like that's, you know, by doubling down on pain, we are making people feel responsible for the obstacles and the experiences that have been projected onto them by an unjust system. And so yes, it's important to understand the pain, but I'm not going to like pour salt and like, rub that into the wound as a part of my marketing. But I hear some people saying like, don't, don't use pain points. Because then you will attract people who are obsessed with their own pain, or you'll attract people who are you know- and like, all of that kind of like, makes me feel like, -blech-Leela Sinha:
I'm making skeptical faces.Lauren Elizabeth:
But but there is this piece of like, if I am a vulnerable bloody mess on the internet all the time, then I am I cultivating an audience of people who are craving that sort of vul- like, yeah, vulnerable, bloody painfulness, from me. And do those people really want a pleasure centered business? Or do they just like, like to watch the drama unfold?Leela Sinha:
I mean, they might. I think that one of the interesting things about working with pleasure so deeply and power, honestly, is that a lot of the people who come to this work, really do want something different. They're living in an experience where something external or internal is looping them through that pain situation over and over again. And they would like it to please stop. But as we all know, or as many of us know, because I talk about it all the time. Everybody must know it. Neuronal pathways get driven in deep, they get ground in deep, and it's a really hard process. I don't talk about this very often. But when I was growing up, and for most of my young adulthood- I guess I can say that like it's in the past now, because I'm 47- I lived with daily chronic anxiety and depression. And nothing really helped. And then one day, I went to see a naturopathic doctor to help get treatment for something else, a different health issue. And she said to me, it doesn't matter if we can solve this health issue or not if you're dead. So the first thing we have to do is address your depression. Fair enough. So she did all of her research. She did a three-hour intake and then she came back and she said, "Okay, I've got a homeopathic medicine, I'd like you to try homeopathic remedy." And I had never done homeopathy before. I didn't really believe in it. I was very skeptical. My father's a chemical engineer, my mom's a mathematician, my brother has a degree in AI. Like this- I am the weirdo in my family. And also like, this was even a little out there for me. I was like, I don't understand how this can be working. Don't tell my grandmother, she believes in homeopathy. But anyway, she gave me this remedy. And I tried the first one and she told me like, if we need to stop this is not like a regular psychoactive drug, we can just like you just have to eat a strong mint or coffee. And then it'll stop it. Stop the action. And then you can we can like clear out your system and start over within the week. And I was like, Oh, well, then that makes this low stakes, no brainer. I'll try it. And I took the first remedy. And it drove me into one of the worst episodes of depression I've ever had in my life. And I was like, well, it works. Like it was very convincing. Because I went from fine to terrible. And then she was like, and I contacted her. And after a few days, she's like, Okay, I don't even care if this is a healing crisis, this is too much risk to be taking, like, stop it, go eat some mint, or drink some coffee, and we'll try something else. She gave me something else. And it worked. literally overnight. It was a three dose thing where I took it like morning and evening and morning. And by evening of the second day, the depression that I had lived with most of my life was just missing. It was like somebody had come into that room in my brain and just cleared out all the furniture, everything. And I didn't know how to work with an undepressed brain. I didn't have any neuronal pathways for maneuvering an undepressed brain and I had to learn it. I had to learn it from scratch, I looked at one of my close friends and I said it's gone. It's just gone. What, what- who am I without my depression? So I feel like when people come to this work, and they're like, I want more pleasure, I want more power, I want.... I think that that's genuine. And I think that we cultivate the way that people are with us, especially as public figures, by what we offer, and by how we respond to what what we're offered in return.Lauren Elizabeth:
Thank you for sharing that story. And yeah, I totally agree about like coming to pleasure, and I think that like what's so interesting is kind of like the opposite of the story that you just shared is like folks have- A lot of the people who come to me are like, deep in this like purpose work of like, this is the work, they know that their skill set is going to completely transform the people who they're here to work with.Leela Sinha:
And they're so in it, that they have forgotten to care about themselves. They don't have a skill set for putting pleasure into all of these layers of their work. And so it's like they have a room in their house that has no furniture. And they're like, I don't know how to utilize this space. And so like this, bringing pleasure in, it can feel very foreign and like talking about neural pathways, it can feel very unsafe. Yeah, to just experience pleasure in the body. Right. And especially, you know, a lot of my conversations around pleasure are like not talking about the sexual aspect of pleasure-Leela Sinha:
Pleasure is so much more than that.Lauren Elizabeth:
Oh, it's so much more than that. And I think that that's kind of one of the things that sort of distinguishes my work from a lot of the other people who are talking about pleasure and business is- I am very much a fan of sexual pleasure, but it's not the foundation of pleasure for me. There's so much more to it. And a lot of the people who I have found are desire desiring to work with me, but are resisting it, is because they have a history of sexual trauma. They have a history of pleasure being used against them. And so there is this process of like, how do we start small, what is the smallest dose of pleasure that we can feel safe in and that's going to look so different for everybody. But I love this analogy of like a room being cleared out. And all of a sudden there's nothing in there. Because I think for a lot of my people the opposite is true. There's this room in their house that was made for pleasure. And the door is locked and peeking through the keyhole, there's like literally nothing in there or it's all covered in dusty sheets, you know? And the work is how do we, you know, again, I'm not a therapist, I'm not trained in healing modalities that make me feel comfortable to be like digging into sexual trauma with people. And also talking about the pleasure that we feel by putting our feet in the sand, or the pleasure that we feel by like sipping a warm cup of coffee in the morning, that can activate the pain and trauma that we have felt associated with other experiences of pleasure. It's just it's such an interesting realm to be working in and to be connecting it with marketing. A lot of people just look at me with like, the big question mark about their head like huh?Leela Sinha:
So what do you think it is that makes marketing so painful?Lauren Elizabeth:
Well, marketing is nervous system work, like marketing is inviting us to take up space, and to like really own how good we are at a particular thing. And like society, unless you are a very particular, unless you hold very particular identities, we are not supposed to take up space. And as a fat woman, my whole life, I've been like, how do I get this thing smaller? How do I shrink my body? How do I how do I take up less space? And so for me marketing and like, being loud and being seen, is, was, has been, and occasionally still is, going against all of that programming.Leela Sinha:
You know, and so I think it's painful because it's an invitation for us, as the marketers, to step outside what we've been told we're allowed to be by the dominant culture: loud and owning how brilliant we are, taking up space, being a little bit messy in front of people who might pay us money, asking people to pay us for things that come naturally to us. Right, one of the things that a lot of my clients who are in, like more healer roles, they have this narrative that they shouldn't charge for their work, because healers should just give healing. AndLeela Sinha:
capitalism makes that really hard, though.Lauren Elizabeth:
Capitalism makes it really hard. I mean, I don't think it's necessarily wrong to say that healing should be freely available. But in order for that to happen, and for your healers to thrive, there has to be some provision for your healers sustenance. And in capitalism, that's money.Lauren Elizabeth:
Absolutely. Yeah. And it's like, that's one of the things that I have to do, I end up talking about a lot is like, Okay, well, how do we make receiving money for your work feel pleasurable, because for all of these years, you have felt shame around that? What allows it to feel good to receive money? What allows it to feel good to say like, I want this much money to provide this service? And-Leela Sinha:
such a great question to be asking. I think for me so often, it's like, there's so much pain and struggle associated with spending money with being able to pay someone else to do things, that if I'm not really careful, I project that on to everybody that I'm asking to pay me.Lauren Elizabeth:
Mm hmm.Leela Sinha:
And so it's this cycle of like,Lauren Elizabeth:
I imagine. And, you know, empathy and blah, blah, blah, I imagine that it is painful for this person to spend this money, that they would rather not spend this money, but they need what I'm offering so much, that they're going to have to spend the money that they would rather not spend. Instead of recognizing that for a lot of people. It's a pleasure to be able to pay someone well to do something that they're good at, on your behalf.Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, yeah. And I think too, right, there's this. There is a dynamic that I think is important that like, for people who don't have that pain and struggle associated with spending, typically, it's because they... have more resources. And so it's like, how do we position ourselves to serve the people who have the resources to pay us? And also how do we not exclude the people who don't have the resources? Like what does it look like to create a strategy in our businesses, that allows us to serve the people who are happy and willing to pay us whatever we are charging, without leaving behind the folks who do not have resources? Or are their resources are being invested in other spaces specifically so that they can survive. Right? Like, what does that look like? And there are different models that we can bring in, you know, I know a couple of people who like for every, four full-price programs they sell, they give one away for free. Or they do sliding scale, and the higher- the highest payment, like goes into a scholarship fund, right? There's like lots of things that we can do. And also like there is this need for all of us to be well resourced. And so like, how do we do that? How do we- how do we have the resources that we need and create those resources for ourselves, in our businesses, without leaving behind a very large portion of our audience?Leela Sinha:
And on the other side, I think there's a lot of, I don't know, it's, there's, there's this particular kind of built in classism, when people are hiring individuals, solopreneur, like small, tiny businesses, where a lot of folks will judge the skill level of a practitioner on the amount of money that they have, or they seem to have. Or the number of clients that they have or seem to have. And so how do we, as a community of business owners, break that? How do we start honoring and celebrating and lifting up practitioners, regardless of how much money they're making right now? And instead, uplift people, and celebrate people and recommend people and trust people? Because I think there's a trust component to that people like, well, I can trust you, other people trusted you. Social proof is a thing. Yes. But also, how do we trust people based on, on who they are, what they bring to the table, the fact that what they're bringing is novel, the fact that their life experiences is different from people. I was just in a Twitter thread, I don't know an hour ago, where somebody was saying, Listen, the reason that that white guy from Stanford gets VC funding more easily than an underrepresented minority bootstrapper is because the white guy from Stanford has a network that already trusts and believes in him. And that network is supporting his application when he goes to the VC firm asks for more money. And I said, Yeah, and your network, even when you're starting a solopreneur business, like the people who know and trust you are going to be your first referrers, and possibly your first clients. So if you don't know anybody who will buy from you, and you don't know anybody who will talk about you, it will take you a lot longer, it will be harder. How do we change that?Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, yeah, that is the question. And I think too, like one of that just goes, one of the things that I spent a lot of time thinking about for myself is how do I leverage the privilege that I have? Without using my privilege to signal that I'm trustworthy enough? Does that make sense?Leela Sinha:
Like, you don't want to virtue signal, but you do want to use it?Lauren Elizabeth:
Right? I want to use my privilege to create change, right? I, you know, I would not be where I am in my business without the support of my family without the support of my husband, like I have gotten through very low revenue months, because I had support. And like, and I want to be using my business as a channel to support people who are in similar positions. And also, I don't want to be like, I think of, you know, and I don't, I'm not holding this against the people who do use this, but like the folks who like are bathing in money in their branding photos, even if it is real cash, you know, because a lot of those a lot of those photos are like money that they ordered off Amazon. It's not real. Just in case you're wondering. And how do I talk about building successful businesses? And how do I talk about taking these like intentional steps to create sustainability in our work without using, and sort of like, rubbing my privilege in people's faces, because no one has the exact lived experience I have. And so by saying, like, do it my way, and you can have my life like, that just doesn't work.Leela Sinha:
And I think that that's where this like, this pleasure centered approach to marketing is so interesting, because like, I can't create a 10 step formula,Leela Sinha:
Because everyone's pleasure is going to be different. And so I'm having to do constantly learn how to hold the nuance of, you know, yes, I know that if we weave pleasure into your offers, and if we make the logistics of your business pleasurable to you, I know that it's going to work in the long run. But I don't know what those logistics look like until I get on a call with you. And until like, I can't tell you how to run a pleasure based business. You have to decide that, but I'm here to help you figure out what that looks like and to iterate on that. But yeah, to come back to your question of like, how do we, as a collective of business owners, how do we shift this narrative? From, you know, we can only trust the people who have money and resources now? I don't know. One of the things that I do is, you know, I don't use income, as like a claim, particularly. Occasionally, I'll talk about like, if one of my clients just had like, an amazing thing, like, I will say, like, Oh, my God, one of my clients made a thoudand dollars in 24 hours, as a celebration of them.Leela Sinha:
Sure, of course.Lauren Elizabeth:
And I'm not trying to be like, "I'm gonna help you get to seven figures in six weeks." And like, as I'm saying, this, I'm like, But wait a minute, I do talk about helping people get to consistent 5k Cash months. And so it really is this. There is so much nuance in this work. And I don't have the answer to that question. It's a good one, how do we change this norm of only celebrating and uplifting the people who have already made it?Leela Sinha:
I think for me, it's really about like, if I have, if I have an audience that's listening, the people that I want to be talking to, in public, referencing, referring to, quoting, like lifting up as an authority, are the people who have skill and knowledge and talent, who are good at what they do. Who are, you know, brilliant artists, or musicians, or coaches, or consultants, or thinkers, or writers or whatever. And I don't care how much money they're making, or how many clients they have. If I've talked to someone and they're brilliant, I want to share that person, I want to lift them up, I want to, I want to put them in the spotlight. If they want, obviously, if they want to be in the spotlight. And that doesn't mean that I don't also lift up people who are doing tremendous, tremendous, you know, financially or numerically like volumes of work. Like that's, that's great. I want to see especially everybody who isn't that one demographic that's always succeeding. I want, I want to make that visible, I want representation. But I also want to say, "Hey, have you heard of this person?" Because that's how people get famous. That's how people get known. That's how people get hired is because somebody else said, "Hey, have you heard of this person?"Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think too, one of the other things that we can do. I'm just thinking, like, practically, what are the things I can- what's something that I can hop off this call and implement right away? And it's normalizing and celebrating results that aren't financial. Right? Yes, I can celebrate that my client made a thousand dollars in 24 hours. And also I can celebrate that they wobbled super hard. And we're thinking about burning their business down and used the nervous system regulation tools that we've been working on together to like, come back to center and remember why they're here. And that like in less than 24 hours, they went from here to here to here. And they did it on their own.Leela Sinha:
They went from up to down to up for people who are listeningLauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, of course, no one can see me. Thank you. Yeah. From the peak of the mountain feeling so great to down in the pits of wanting to burn everything down to back to a place of feeling like oh, "I actually can do this. And I know how to do this." Because the wobbles are normal. We all go through it. And I think that that doesn't really get talked about and having a skill set to move through that is just as valuable, or it's, it's what is a lot going to allow us to get to those financial goals that we set for ourselves. And so yeah, I think that one of the things that I do try to talk about outside of the money. When I'm talking about teaching people how to do marketing is like, I'm also going to teach you how to like be with those uncomfortable moments during the launch when things aren't going as planned. Those are valuable skills. I'm not just going to help you get to 5k Cash months,Leela Sinha:
and I'm not going to be mad at you if you don't.Lauren Elizabeth:
I'm definitely not going to be mad at you if you don't. And I'm not going to promise that.Leela Sinha:
Right. Like that's the goal that I'm helping people work towards. But like, I cannot promise that the timeline that works for me or the timeline, and that has worked for 100% of my clients is going to work for that next person.Leela Sinha:
And I think that it's just conversations like this, where we're acknowledging that money is only one form of value. And like a very crucial one in the system that we live in, is like how we're going to change this narrative around like money being the only marker of success or trustworthiness.Leela Sinha:
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We are running short on time, I could talk to you forever.Lauren Elizabeth:
Maybe a round two?Leela Sinha:
Absolutely. But I do want to give you a minute to leave our listeners with any last thoughts. And then I'll give you a moment to pitch your stuff and and let us know where we can find more of you.Lauren Elizabeth:
Yeah, thank you so much. So for those of you who have been tuning in with us today, thank you for listening to me ramble about marketing and pleasure. And the one thing that I always say is that we, as business owners, as creatives as service providers, we get to have offers and products out in the world that totally turn us on and light us up. And those offers also get to deliver massive value to our people. We do not have to choose between serving ourselves and serving the people that we're here to support. I think that so often people think that it's like, yeah, either I'm delivering massive value and supporting my people, and I'm struggling, or I prioritize my own joy, and everyone else is just, yeah, not feeling it. And like we get to have both. Pleasure, our pleasure, gets to overlap with our people's pleasure. And like that whole thing around niching down. This is where the real juice is, it's not you don't need to find the most profitable niche, you need to just find the people whose desires and pleasure overlap with yours. And that's really where the gold is in our work. So if you are interested in learning more about marketing and pleasure, and how to bring more joy and playfulness into your business, I would love to connect with you. I spend most of my time on Instagram. So you can follow me over there @lauren.elizabeth.coaching. I'll drop the link for Leela to put in the show notes. And you can sign up, for I send a weekly email talking about pleasure and business and how we can grow our revenue and increase our impact in the work that we're doing. And I would love to drop that into your inbox every day so you can head- or not every day! I'm not sending emails every day people, just sending those like about once a week, you can head on over to my website at laurenelizabethcoaching.com and sign up for my newsletter and stay up to date on offers and how we can work together. Thank you all so much for tuning in and Leela. Thanks for having me today.Leela Sinha:
Thank you so much for being here. It's been a pleasure.