A Marketing Challenge

Starting this month, I’ve given myself a marketing challenge.  The goal is to write and market a book on the subject of self-hypnosis as a self-directed, self-managed tool for self-education (learning about yourself from the inside out, so to speak.)

I chose hypnosis as the subject of the book for several reasons:

  1. I studied the subject with the late Charles Tebbetts at his hypnotherapy school in Edmonds, Washington.
  2. At one time I was a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington.  I never practiced because, at the time, I had other professional priorities.
  3. I have used self-hypnosis techniques to manage my Vietnam-era PTSD and stress.
  4. I have also used self-hypnosis as a tool to learn new skills through imagery and imagination.

The book is titled “Self-Hypnosis, A Personal Journey.”  Each chapter will discuss a different technique and, perhaps, a little life philosophy.  Along the way I will also share why I chose self-hypnosis as my form of therapy.

Are the techniques and ideas in the book for everyone?  No, of course not.  Something I share, however, no matter how insignificant it may appear, may just change someone’s life.

Over the next few weeks, I will share some of the ideas in the book through these columns as a way of promoting the book and testing various ways of putting ideas across.  As the book nears completion, I will share my marketing plan and start selling the book.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Ideal Therapeutic Model

In order to understand why I chose self-hypnosis as my main therapeutic process, its necessary to share two things.  The first is the fact that I don’t like taking pills.  My wife has to nearly duct tape me to the floor to get me to take an Aspirin.  I have never fully understood this quirk.  At one time, however, when a nurse tried to give me some pill or another, in nearly bit her fingers.  That, as you can imagine, did not go over well.

The second thing I want to share is the outline of the ideal therapeutic model. 

  1. The doctor and patient agree on the diagnosis.
  2. The doctor and patient agree on the course of treatment.
  3. The treatment has a demonstrated ability to heal and/or manage issue
  4. The course of treatment is temporary and is discarded when healing is complete.

Now, let me show you how this lead me to self-hypnosis as my preferred course of treatment:

  1. The doctor and I did agree that the diagnosis was Vietnam-era PTSD.
  2. The doctor and I DID NOT agree on the course of treatment, which relied on pills of various types.
  3. There was a question on my part about the ability of the drugs to heal the PTSD, or just cover up the symptoms.
  4. Finally, and most important I was told I would be on the drugs for the rest of my life, not the most exciting prospect.

I chose self-hypnosis because I could design the course of treatment, measure its effectiveness and, over the course of time, change and improve it.  I could also set it aside as new solutions presented themselves.

For the record, I still have challenges dealing with crowds, so the therapeutic process is ongoing.  The benefit for me, at least, is I am in control of the self-learning process. 

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Motivation Equals Change

One of my jobs in Vietnam was at a communication center.  I repaired various equipment and, while I may not have been the best technician, I was fast and my repairs lasted.  While there I started smoking, mostly because it was easy to get breaks during the day.  In fact, on some days, I spent more time on breaks than in the repair shop.

When I came back to “the World” I started working at a TV station.  The chief engineer did not smokers because, at least according to him, smoke residue got into the equipment and made it hard to maintain.  At the time I was smoking two packs a day.

After a week on the job he called me into his office and gave me a choice.  Stop smoking or be fired.  I liked the job and the money.  Guess what choice I made.

Change doesn’t take place unless there is a reason to move in a new direction.  In a very real sense, its changing one habit that isn’t appropriate for one that fits the new situation.

I am considering a change.  After nearly sixty years living in the Puget Sound area, I’m faced with the real possibility of moving to a much smaller community in eastern Oregon.  The change brings to mind lots of questions.  How will I make a living?  Will I be able to fit into the community?  Will I be accepted?  Can I deal with a community that doesn’t have all the amenities I’m used to in a larger city?

Most important, how will I have to change how I express myself.  In a large city, I can be somewhat eccentric.  I am also anonymous for the most part.  Living in a smaller community negates those two benefits.  In a smaller community I am definitely visible.  Can I be accepted as a local?

I am reminded of a standing joke on several of the islands, here.  If you want to be considered a “local” wait thirty or forty years.  I’m 72, but my family tends to be long-lived.  I just might make it.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

What Makes A Habit Bad?

I’ve been reading websites by hypnotherapists, lately.  Almost all of them make some reference to “bad habits” but they don’t explain what makes them bad.  Is smoking bad?  From the point of view of how it impacts personal health, I could say yes.  Is drinking coffee black a bad habit?  I like black coffee and, aside from a caffeine rush, I see it as a good habit.

A bad habit is something we do that negatively impacts the quality of our lives.  At some point, however, the habit was a good thing because it helped us cope with a life experience or challenge.  As we age, however, we outgrow things from our past.

As a personal example, before going to Vietnam, I coped with the stresses of my life by working sixteen-hour days and drowning myself in work.  After Vietnam I developed a love affair with Vodka and Rum.  After giving up alcohol, I became a corporate employee.  At 62 I did the best I could to retire, but ended up working in a hotel.

The point is, as I moved through my life, I developed new habits to cope with each new experience and, where I could, I let some of my old habits go because they weren’t appropriate for what I was doing.  I guess I’m heavy into self-development and personal evolution.

Some habits, however, tend to be persistent.  I have a friend who moves every few years because things will be better in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bangkok, China.  Once he gets to his new home everything is great.  A year or two later, however, the stuff he was running from starts to surface and yet another move is planned.  I know the cause because we’ve had long conversations about it, but he isn’t ready to face the cause and resolve it.  (To change a habit, especially when it negatively impacts a lifestyle, its necessary to confront and resolve the cause or nothing changes).

I bring this up because I’ve used self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy techniques throughout my life to make changes.  In fact, I even studied to be a hypnotherapist and was registered to practice in Washington state.  I never practiced because, at the time, I was working in the corporate world and had other priorities.

Now, at this point in my life, I may return to the practice of hypnotherapy, teaching self-hypnosis techniques and skills.  I haven’t made a clear decision to follow through, yet, but it is a point of consideration.  Darn, time to change habits again!

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Small Business Is Best

Why are brick and mortar stores closing?  What’s going on?  What’s changing?  Why are CEOs earning 500-700 times the salary of most other employees, especially when they aren’t able to keep their companies in business?

Part of the reason just might be priorities.  Sometime around 1970 the focus changed from building business relationships and sharing with the wealth with employees to maximizing the stock price.  The product, whether it was cars, clothing, or other goods, while a concern, was less important than the stock price.

Another reason is borrowing.  Most companies are not able to meet their day-to-day expenses without some form of borrowed cash, which they then have to pay back.  The result is a cut, slice and dice mentality that usually manifests around Christmas (a joyous occasion enhanced by the fact you’ve just been let go.)

As some old friends from Vegas used to say “Hey, its only business, ya understand.”

Running a small business has many of the same challenges.  The benefit is fun.  Its more fun to work hard at building and sustaining a customer base, developing a relationship within the community and experiencing the rewards, personal, professional and financial of your efforts.

When the company can be started debt-free and, through effective money management, kept debt-free its possible to keep the business open and competitive during times of (inevitable) economic readjustments.  It may even be possible to acquire customers from those companies that downsize or close.  Believe or not, its small businesses that are the economic glue that keeps the economy humming.  People like you and me selling products and services to our friends and neighbors.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Books As A Loss-Leader for Something Else

A book, from a marketing point of view, is a loss-leader.  In other words, it opens doors for other products like workshops, seminars, lectures, book signings, and a whole host of other money-making opportunities.  Depending on the story, the book can also lead to that sale of play, movie and television rights – rare, but it does happen if the story has a strong emotional connection to its readers (the Harry Potter series comes to mind.)

Its rare that an author makes a living on royalties from book sales alone.  Most authors sell an average of 500 books and even if its self-published with a royalty of $17 (70% of the gross cover price of $25) at 500 sales that’s only $8,750 or so.  The actual return to the author may actually be around $3.75 (or less) for a whopping $1,875.

Even more rare is reaching best seller status.  Using some of the numbers in the previous paragraph, an author who sells 35,000 books, may realize a return of $122,500 ($3.75/book.)  Selling that many books, depending on the story, can lead to movie deals and more.

Why am I brining this up?  As I said earlier, I want to write fiction and find a way to make a living doing it.  I have no illusions that I will write a best seller or end up with a movie deal.  I won’t even try to focus in that direction.  I will concentrate on creating relatable characters with challenging plots and sell the stories to a market that wants to explore along with me.

Along the way, I will create side projects and products that will give me the financial resources necessary to make my dreams come true.  More on this in later columns.  Stay tuned.  Let’s learn something together.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC