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I need advice about promoting a spiritual workshop

  • krismagi

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2011
    Posts: 5

    Hi there! This is not a spam message but a genuine request for help.

    I live in Bangkok and I am a Brit. My life over the last 5 years has been one big geographical journey (UK-West Africa - India -Thailand) and a huge spiritual one too. I have devised a concept called the Life Explorer workshop - 2 days priced at $149/person (Link) aimed at travellers through Bangkok.

    I really want to do this thing but all my efforts so far have not made much impression! Blogging, website etc etc. I have decided that I need to be visible in places where travellers are most likely to see me!

    Any ideas? I will be very grateful for any observations as my imagination has just hit a brick wall!

    #1 Posted: 6/9/2011 - 22:16

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  • KirstyB

    Click here to learn more about KirstyB
    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2008
    Location Global Village
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    Haha; sounds like the kind of thing I need to attend! I'm certainly no expert but one of my first thoughts was is the target audience for something like this really backpackers quickly passing through Bangkok or more long term/frequent travellers, expats and nomads. IE people that have got to the point in their lives where they may feel the need for a bit of direction rather than the majority of young travellers who are just looking for directions to the next bar or beach (I said MAJORITY, I know this doesn’t apply to everyone under 25!). Also not sure if many backpackers who are usually on a tight budget would see it as a priority spend over other activities they may not get the opportunity to do again.

    Have you tried good old-fashioned leaflet drops and notice boards? Not just in Bangkok but other cities which give people the opportunity to buildit into their plans. Not only guesthouses but restaurants, yoga centres and other more spiritually based places. What about contacting spiritual type organisations based overseas or websites (don’t ask me which ones!) which maybe willing to circulate your information?

    #2 Posted: 6/9/2011 - 22:51

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 928
    Total reviews: 14

    Hmm, looks interesting. To me, something like this is all about your personal credibility and experience as a spiritual teacher/guide. If you're the main teacher of the course you might consider adding bio info about yourself to your website, explaining your spiritual journey and, to be blunt, what gives you the right to tell people "who they really are." For example, where specifically have you trained? What spiritual traditions have you become intimate with? What spiritual teachers have you trained with and for how long? What types of spiritual retreats have you done and for how long? What philosophies or scriptures have you studied to the point of exhaustion? These are the types of things that I would want to know about a spiritual guide before handing them $150 for a 2 day course.

    So, my first impression is that your website lacks specific information. Given the info you've provided, I personally couldn't see myself spending $150 for just 2 days on something so ambiguous. Keep in mind, meditation retreats and the like are readily available in Thailand for donations only, or for relatively small fees. Take for instance Wat Suan Mokkh in Southern Thailand... They offer 10 day retreats in the tradition of Ajahn Buddhadasa for less than 500 baht/day I believe, and that's on the expensive side of things. Now Buddhadasa, HE had credibility, born from decades of practice and study.

    $150 is no small amount of money, especially for Thailand, and I personally am weary of individuals with no ties to established spiritual organizations that are literally trying to sell the wisdom they possess, or at least believe they possess.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, just giving my honest opinion based on the link you provided and what you wrote in your post.

    #3 Posted: 7/9/2011 - 08:32

  • krismagi

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2011
    Posts: 5

    Thank you both for your valuable insights and the points that you have made.

    I will certainly look at the websites and the bio information again. The workshops are aimed at travellers passing through Bangkok rather than Thai's as it is usually these people who are seeking answers to questions about their lives.

    The workshop is based on my recent life history and what I have learned especially in India where I studied and worked with Jains and Hindus. Since my wife died in 2006, I have been transformed as a person and I have come from a non spiritual place. In fact, I was a total materialist. Through a series of events and synchronicities these last 5 years, I am aware of my clairvoyance, ability to heal strangers through distance healing and effect of fate and destiny and how that governs our lives.

    I am an innovator as I was in my previous professional life. I look at spiritual matters from a very different perspective as a result. I do not subscribe to formal religious practices although I respect them, for example. There are too many spiritual gurus who have nothing practical to say to people who are looking for fresh meaning about their lives so the fact that I am not an experienced/qualified teacher, I feel is a bonus. I come with no philosophical baggage or prejudices.

    The power in what I am attempting to do comes from having been an 'ordinary' guy who suddenly discovered that Life is not what it seems or appears to be. The concepts that I will be introducing in the workshop will be practical and of use to people not packaged up in complicated language. In 2 days, I hope to be able to give people a very fresh insight on Life.

    At the age of 62, I have nothing to prove anymore which gives me the freedom to be a spiritual warrior and to inspire others to find their Life Mission too.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment and I value your thoughts immensely.

    #4 Posted: 7/9/2011 - 13:59

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 928
    Total reviews: 14

    Kris,

    That's a very compelling story, and I now have an understanding of where you're coming from. I think if you put an elaboration of exactly what you just said on your website you may have more luck gaining interest. I myself might be interested when I'm next in Bangkok, but I still find the $150 price tag to be steep.

    Best of luck,

    DL

    #5 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 10:31

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    See if I can add something:

    - I don't see what you get for the $150. A spiritual workshop sounds too vague for me. Do you put a schedule in the advertisement? Themes, work method, practical tips and so on. Strangely enough free/included lunches and snack are important for people also. $150 to hear your life story is not very appealing (to me at least).

    - Did you already have customers? If yes, did you get positive feedback? A lot of people tend to forget that in order to sell well and continue on long term basis, their product needs to be good and that tends to be forgotten in the advertisement drive. Return customers are always a good sign.

    - If you didn't have customers yet, try to give a few free workshops. Internet and such are great but don't forget the power of word-of-mouth advertising. If your workshop is good and good value for money the word will spread quickly. Make some questionairs for the participants of the free workshops to find out what you can improve.

    - NGOs are a market as well. Try to approach some of them as well.

    Good luck

    #6 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 11:16

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2405
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    Like the others, I'm more than a bit hung up on the $150 price tag as well. That's about what I'd spend for nearly an entire week in up-country Thailand on holiday. Is there a particular reason you believe what you have to share is worth exactly $150?

    Perhaps you'd like to think more about who is your intended audience. Are they likely to be coming through Bangkok? In my experience, you are more likely to encounter the types of folks who might be attracted to your course in places like Chiang Mai and the gulf islands, where they'd be taking Thai massage or meditation courses or Nong Khai where they'd be hanging out on the little backpacker ghetto adjacent to the Mut Mee Guest House.

    In other words, are you specifically tied to Bangkok?

    Venue is also an important part of the picture in my mind, and I'm not sure the Landmark Hot el sets the picture of a place that facilitates insight and spiritual enlightenment. Are there other venues, perhaps something funkier, that would work for you as well?

    Is there a reason you are specifically trying to teach these classes in Thailand? I ask because I've seen these seminars in places like the Esalen Institute or Harbin Hot Springs in California, where there is a ready-made group of people already interested in such things. Plus, the crowd that frequents those places would think $150 for a 2-day seminar is cheap.

    Selling enlightenment over the internet is going to be a tough nut to crack. As the others have mentioned, from the website you linked, there isn't any way for me to know if the course might be what I am seeking, if it is legitimate, or even if there will even be a course at all.

    I hope that helps. Good luck.

    #7 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 11:47

  • krismagi

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2011
    Posts: 5

    OK - great feedback!

    Lets distill the points:

    - the workshop maybe needs a different title, perhaps, retreat is more appropriate
    - a clearer statement on what is in the program (this is not my Life Story but I have had some remarkable experiences which illustrate the course content)
    - the pricing maybe too steep (but the pricing was related to location costs)
    - location could be an issue - I will definitely look at different locations in the south and near to chiang mai (strangely I was offered a small farm as a location that has been renovated)
    - more bio information (that is not a problem! lol!)

    Once again, thank you for your comments and suggestions. If you are interested then come along!

    Christopher

    #8 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 15:32

  • Geezy

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2009
    Posts: 48

    Hi Kris,

    I must admit your workshop sounds very interesting. Its a pity your workshop is on those dates. I am actually flying out to Bangkok on 1st October for 3 weeks and heading up to Chiang Mai. If your around anytime let me know as the synchronisity of this message is to good to perfect to pass up. Us Lightworkers must cross paths from time to time :-)

    Geezy

    #9 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 20:05

  • krismagi

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2011
    Posts: 5

    Hi @Geezy

    Mail me at bealifeexplorer@gmail.com and we can chat privately.

    This also applied to anyone else who wishes to explore options as the workshop schedule will take shape over the next 7 days as I get my head into order!

    If you are on Facebook please connect with me at Facebook - Life Explorer

    #10 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 20:23

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2405
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    as this thread transitions into genuine spam, i'm still bothered by the idea of having to pay money to hear what someone has to say. i've had many amazing life experiences too, but i'd willingly share them over a beer for free with anyone foolish enough to listen. it is arrogant to think that your wisdom is so great that people should pay to hear it, which is fine, as long as you have the goods to back it up. but so far it seems that this workshop is more about you than anyone else. siddhartha, as far as i understand, never charged money to share the insights he gained under the bodhi tree. if helping others gain enlightenment is the goal, then why are you charging money at all?

    the other issue here is age. i just can't see that 20-something backpackers are going to take a break from their holiday to listen to the wisdom of someone who represents their grandparents generation. as i mentioned above, if you really wish to do this, and you sincerely believe you have something genuine to offer, think through who your audience might be, where you might find them, and under what conditions they would wish to study, because the landmark hotel in bangkok isn't it.

    perhaps that farmstay near chiang mai where optional participation in discussions is a start. that could give people a concrete value (bed, food, chance to experience life on a thai farm) and the discussions would be the added draw. if you really have something to say, then this would give you a chance to demonstrate it and build your reputation from there. good luck.

    #11 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 21:55

  • krismagi

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2011
    Posts: 5

    @Exacto - I am sorry if you think this thread is spam as it is not. I have received very valuable feedback which I will act upon.

    If anyone else reads this thread please email me with your comments privately to the email address that is listed in the thread. As far as I am concerned the thread is now closed. Thank you.

    I have no wish to offend anyone.

    #12 Posted: 8/9/2011 - 22:30

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2405
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    right back at you kris. i wasn't offened and didn't intend to offend you either, but rather to challenge your perceptions. you did ask after all, and i suspect that your seminar does something similar; challenge perceptions.

    if you haven't yet, you might benefit from reading "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda. i've seen copies of it in english-language bookshops in Bangkok. it details the story of how it took decades for this yogi to build a viable ministry teaching eastern religious concepts to westerners. it may have some ideas that help you as you create your workshops. and again, good luck.

    #13 Posted: 9/9/2011 - 03:21

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    I'm not much of a spiratual person, so afraid I can't be much help on this one.

    #14 Posted: 9/9/2011 - 19:19

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