Being joyful has turned out to be the best marketing ever.

8 years ago I accidentally started a business that has kept me self employed steadily.

When I started, I didn’t know dick about business. I wasn’t trying to get rich. I just wanted to do something every day that didn’t make me hate myself and my life. I accomplished that fairly quickly and it was the first in a series of events that would help me realize what a powerful force I am in creating the life I want.

The best part? Most of it came naturally.

If you read anything about business and marketing, it will tell you that personal relationships are key. Being innovative, creative and on top of your market are so important. And we must not forget to be likeable, relateable and memorable to help ourselves stand out from all the others trying to do the same thing that we are.

Personal relationships came effortlessly because once I found my purpose I wanted to be around other people who were passionate about the same things so that we could bond, share ideas and continue to inspire each other.

Being creative came easy because I was constantly inspired by the work I was doing and the people I was meeting. Staying on top of my market is a given because birth work is a very social field. I am what I do, there’s no separation so reading studies, articles, books and blogs about anything related to my field is not a chore.

I think it’s safe to assume that I’m memorable, relateable and likeable, though I’m sure I’ve triggered and pissed off more than a few people along the way. If you are vulnerable and authentic – people will usually relate to you. Our thoughts, problems and human experience in general can seem so unique until we share them and realize that lots of other people know exactly what we’re talking about. If you can keep a sense of humor while speaking your truth, you will surely be likeable and memorable. I don’t put up a front or wear a different hat when I’m meeting a client or networking with other professionals. Who I am in life is who I am in my business. I don’t assume what others want or need. I am just me.

The point of this post, and what inspired me to write are two separate instances where my joy was what made me stand out. If you’re reading this you probably already know: I love placentas. Some of them bring me to me knees in tears for the sheer power that they hold. Some of them I spend hours posing and photographing. All of them bring me joy.

I picked up a placenta shortly after a birth and one of the birth attendants I happened to know, though not very well. We stood around chatting for a few minutes and she said, “I just have to tell you that people are talking about you and your joy for  placentas. You are becoming known as someone who really honors and loves them.”

Recently I received a call from a colleague who had just finished at a birth and had a mom who, at the last minute, saved her placenta and wanted it encapsulated. This colleague of mine was on the opposite side of town and dropped the placenta off to me. I asked her, “Why me?”.  I asked this out of sheer curiosity because I know there are were other people she knows that do this work, and those people were a lot closer. I wondered if she just couldn’t get a hold of anybody else, or if maybe she thought I needed the money or something.  Her answer surprised me. She said, “Because I know how much joy they bring you. And the thought of this placenta being infused with such love made it a no brainer.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have a website and business cards. Occasionally I’ll donate a gift certificate or contribute materials for marketing grab bags. But the biggest avenue for receiving business has been my personal relationships and involvement in the community, both in person and across the interwebs. And it turns out: being unapologetic and joyful has turned out to be the best marketing ever.

 

11 Things You Maybe Didn’t Know About Me

1. After I poop, I wipe a couple of times, and then on the last pass I spit on the toilet paper and press the paper against my bee hole predominantly with my middle finger, so that my middle finger sort of dips into my bee hole and gets the last little bit of anything……wait. Doesn’t everyone do this?

2. One of my biggest pet peeves are processed vegan/vegetarian food products – they’re just water & gross oils + a bunch of artificial thickeners and stabilizers. Or toxic soy mush fake meat crap. This is worse to me than regular processed foods, because vegan/vegetarian processed food is marketed as the healthiest shit ever. And it’s so not. Just eat real food. Most vegan diets are way worse than mine, and I eat everything, just in whole form (raw milk, meat, nuts, produce, etc.)
3. Sometimes I spend large amounts of time photographing placentas, both in their raw state, and after I’ve made them into capsules. With the finished products in particular – capsules, cord, amnion, etc. – I will stage them with back drops & proper lighting and I’ll arrange them in all kinds of different set ups sometimes taking 100+ photos at a time.
4. I am very sensitive to my environment – improper lighting, unpleasant scents and smells, sounds, bad music or T.V., clutter, etc.
5. I clean when I am stressed and it always makes me feel better. Cleaning is a guarantee that I can accomplish something and have a physical result.
6. I am really, really good at being alone. I treasure any alone time that I get. I could spend a week home alone, not see a soul, never leave the house and it would be the best thing ever.
7. I hate anything that involves going uphill. Even if it’s as simple as being on my bike on a road with the slightest of inclines. I hate stairs. I hate hiking. It all sucks to me.
8. I LOVE buffets. The Whole Foods salad bar is my favorite. Or the buffet at the Wynn in Vegas.
9. If I have to buy a plane ticket to travel somewhere, I can’t fathom being away for less than two weeks. If I’m crossing an ocean, then at least three or four.
10. I first met my boyfriend when I was 13 and he was 22. We didn’t get together until I was 25 and he was 34.
11. Just about every night I’ll rub my finger on my vagina because I love how it smells. I always always try to get my boyfriend to smell it too, but he won’t. He likes smelling it in a sexual context, but not in general. I love smelling it all the goddamn time.

Pissing In strange places

As I sit here, about to head home after 6 weeks away, I’m reflecting on two common themes from this trip: pissing in weird places and sleeping in weird places.

I have pissed:
-in a hotel room sink in Vernazza
-in Tupperware in London
-In a cashew jar in London
-on the lawn of a fancy hotel, Guerilla style, in Milan
-in a drinking glass that I periodically dumped into the grass outside my sleeping quarters in London
-in a home made tin foil funnel feeding into a kombucha bottle in the back of a four runner in a train station parking lot (attempted, but failed)

I have slept:
-on a futon in Brooklyn
-on a bed in Manchester
-on a boat floating on the Thames river
-on a sectional couch in Greenwich
-in a loft bed in Rome
-in a 300 year old stone wall apartment in Tuscany
-on a foam pad in Copenhagen
-a futon identical to mine in Germany
-in a “tool shed” in London
-on a sofa bed nest in new haven

We have experienced such amazing things on this trip, the most important and memorable being all of the relationships we formed, and the open arm welcomes we got everywhere we stayed. It was very humbling. The kindness we received is unforgettable.

Huge thanks to all of the people who made this trip possible – it was a group effort!

-Todd, for taking us to the airport
-Matt, for letting us crash at his apartment in NYC
-James, for giving us his bed and showing us the best time ever in Manchester
-Sally, for letting us couch surf in London
-Alexandra and Paolo, for taking us in like family in Tuscany
-Klaus and Viktor for showing us around Copenhagen and housing us
-Our beautiful German friends for pampering us in Wettenburg
-Sarah, for giving us her bed in Stockholm, sharing her box of wine, and giving us her bus pass
-Melissa, for the nest, the great company, and the naughty professor Tumblr page
-Prikryl, for driving us to Boston, for finding Twisted Fork, for the book, and for being all around the most delightful, genuine person ever.
-Marissa and Anthony for taking us in on our last night!
-roomies for taking care of the birdies
-Denise, for taking us home from the airport
-Stacie, for picking up and starting a placenta for me!