In the 57th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk with Heather Dominick who coined the term, highly sensitive entrepreneur—a name for business owners who are more sensitive to the demands of start-up and freelance work. During our conversation, we asked her:
• what a “highly sensitive entrepreneur is” and whether it’s a weakness we need to overcome
• how to know if you were born highly sensitive—20% of us are
• whether there’s something wrong with Rob who is highly insensitive
• what being highly sensitive means (and the superpowers HSEs have)
• a few questions you can ask yourself to find out if you’re an HSE
• how to work (or live) with someone who is highly sensitive
• how to approach work (and life) as a highly sensitive entrepreneur
• the importance of processes and systems to support your work as a HSE, and
• how to network as an HSE.
We also asked Heather about the similarities between HSEs and introverts (they’re not the same thing) and how her business has changed since she started approaching things as an HSE. This discussion is a little different from our typical episode but shines a light on a personality type that many copywriters deal with regularly. To listen, click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.
Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes, and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the Club for episode 57, as we chat with business coach and founder of the highly sensitive entrepreneur movement, Heather Dominick, about how personality traits affect business success, what it means to be highly sensitive, how to deal with the sensitive people in our lives, and what this all means for copywriters.
Kira: Heather, welcome!
Rob: Welcome Heather.
Heather: Thank you so much. So happy to be here. So happy to be here with both of you!
Kira: Well, when I first heard of you, it was on Ali Brown’s Glambition Radio interview with you. I was on vacation and somehow randomly stumbled upon that particular interview and I remember being like, oh my goodness! This is me! I had no idea that this was a thing and it was kind of like finding out from Susan Cane that I was an introvert a couple of years back when I was like, oh this makes sense! This all makes sense! And then I forced my husband to listen to the interview again so that he would understand why I am the way I am and so ever since then, I knew that we needed you on this show to really help communicate what this is all about to highly sensitive copywriters and copywriters that maybe aren’t as highly sensitive as well.
Heather: Fantastic! I love that so much. Did your husband listen to the interview that I did with Ali Brown? Did that help?
Kira: It did help. I feel like this is already a couple of months ago, I feel like it’s something that maybe we need to revisit every once in awhile just to be like okay, remember why – this is why I’m doing this this way? So it doesn’t fade away. And I think a great place to start is with your story – just, how you discovered that you’re a highly sensitive person and entrepreneur?
Heather: Sure! Absolutely. I’m so happy to share. Well, I would say first that I’m in my 14th year of being self-employed and in the first half of my self-employment career, I had no idea that I was highly sensitive at all. I didn’t even really know what that term was or what it meant and so, the first half – the first seven or so years of being self-employed – I was able to create some significant success in my business. I had brought my business across the million dollar mark at that point and it came at a very high cost.
I found myself absolutely, completely overwhelmed, overworked, and over-exhausted. And at that time, I was working with a mentor who I’ve come to understand was mismatched for my highly sensitive nature, and you know, she really pushed her clients to create more and the amount of income that her clients were generating was very important to her and what I’ve come to understand since is that that plugged right into what I now have coined and referred to as one of the HSE coping mechanisms, the coping mechanism of pushing, which was definitely my coping mechanism of choice. What that means is that a person who’s highly sensitive will choose a coping mechanism unconsciously to deal with their highly sensitive nature. And someone who tends towards the coping mechanism of pushing—like myself—versus hiding, which is the other coping mechanism, or what I like to say is combo-plattering, which is swaying back and forth between the two, was someone who will tend towards the coping mechanism of pushing, they will get done what a person who is not highly sensitive can get done but again, it will come at a massive cost because it takes a different level of energy.
So, at that point in my business, when again, I had crossed the million dollar mark but it had come at that high cost, I really was thrown into you know, what many spiritual teachers refer to as a dark night of the soul. I really just withdrew from everything at that point except for just continuing to pour the love that I had for my clients you know, into my work with them. But I withdrew from that mentorship, I withdrew from anything and everything on the internet, and I really went deep inside of myself because my question for myself at that time was, what am I doing?! And you know, is this worth it? If this is what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, then I’m not sure I’m up for it. It was in that period of self-discovery that I was brought to Dr. Elaine Aron. And Dr. Elaine Aron is the founding researcher in regards to the aspect of what it is to be a highly sensitive person. And she developed or started that research in the early 90’s and when I discovered Dr Elaine Aron and I took one of her high level assessments and I came to understand what being highly sensitive meant, I wasn’t so surprised that I was highly sensitive, but I was surprised at how highly sensitive I was.
And then what I did was I took another one of Dr. Aron’s assessments and I brought it into a high level group of 25 women entrepreneurs that I was working with at the time and lo and behold, every single woman in that room was also highly sensitive. What was really surprising about that was not so much that they were highly sensitive, because I’m a real believer – and one of the foundational principles that I teach – in your ideal client being a version of you. But what was interesting is that not one woman wanted to be highly sensitive. They really saw it as a weakness. That was really my first indication that something was up here. That’s really what dove me into my own extensive research about not only what it means to be highly sensitive, but what does it mean to be highly sensitive as a person who’s called to be self-employed?
That is really what began my journey and all of the teachings and trainings and tools that I’ve developed since then to support those of us who are highly sensitive who are called to be self-employed so that we can do what it takes to be self-employed but in a way that really matches who we are so that we don’t have to go into those coping mechanisms of pushing or hiding or combo-plattering, but can actually really be at peace within our business while also creating prosperity.
And that’s the scoop!
Rob: There’s a lot to unpack there. My first question is, of course, going to be how do we know if we’re highly sensitive? But I’m almost wondering if this is a man/woman thing? Does this skew one way heavily to another? How do we know if we are?
Heather: That’s an awesome, awesome question.
So first of all, it’s not gender-defined and I also always like to say that if you are highly sensitive, you were born into the world this way. And the basic description or definition of what it means to be highly sensitive is that your nervous system is wired differently than someone who is not highly sensitive. And according to Dr. Elaine Aron there is 20% of us in the population globally who are born into the world highly sensitive. What it means that your nervous system is wired differently is that, for example, something that might not even be stimulating to someone who isn’t highly sensitive like say, maybe loud noises. Right? Like, going to a rock concert. But someone who is highly sensitive is going to take that barely stimulating sensation for an 80%’er and their system is going to register it as extremely stimulating, if not absolutely bowl you over stimulating. So it’s not male or female.
However, because of the way that our culture has been created and is understood, it takes a lot more for a man to admit or come to an understanding that he’s highly sensitive. How can you tell if you’re highly sensitive? Well, one of the first ways is to take an assessment that was developed by Dr. Elaine Aron or, if you’re a person who is self-employed, to take the assessment that I developed with Dr. Elaine Aron that helps you understand if you are a highly sensitive entrepreneur.
Rob: Is this something that manifests in different parts of our lives? For example, you know, I might go to a movie and get a little teary eyed at the end, or I might listen to Pavarotti sing Caruso and it’s really sort of overwhelming, but then at work, I’ve made people cry at work and didn’t feel bad about it.
Kira: Wait, what?! You’ve made people cry at work, Rob? (laughs)
Rob: I’m gonna flat out come out and say I think I’m highly insensitive, but then I do see times in my life when I’m sensitive to some things. So does it manifest differently in different parts of your life? At work vs. personal.
Heather: No, I’m smiling.
Rob: So I’m faking it in the movies and I’m full-on insensitive.
Heather: No, you’re not faking it. I’m smiling because I’m so appreciate this approach! First of all, there’s a difference between being sensitive and being highly sensitive, in the same way that there’s a difference between being highly sensitive and being introverted. Not one equals the other. So, for example, my husband is not highly sensitive, but he’s a sensitive man. So it sounds like for yourself, Rob, when you go to the movies, that’s a sensitive moment for you. But from the rest of what you’re describing, is that you’re not highly sensitive.
So again this comes back to it being literally a biological wiring of your nervous system versus something that is simply emotional. It can’t be compartmentalized because you are who you are. I so appreciate your question because that comes up a lot for people who are HSE’s, and that’s really where the coping mechanism comes in is because most highly sensitive have not been taught how to manage their highly sensitive nature, so they’ve developed these coping mechanisms to try to be able to you know, survive if not at least manage in a world that tends to be designed for those who are not highly sensitive. Does that help?
Rob: So it’s normal that I cried when Terminator the robot gets melted into a vat of whatever, but I’m still mean at work… I get it. (laughs)
Heather: Well… I didn’t say normal… but (laughs) I’d say acceptable.
Rob: Fair enough.
Kira: I think we should talk about why Rob is making people cry at work and dive into that! (laughs) Maybe that’s for another time. So, I would love to hear more about, for people who might be listening and not highly sensitive, and maybe even rolling their eyes at the labels, because many of us kind of cling to these labels as I did when I first heard you. Like, thank goodness, I finally understand – I have this label! But what would you say to anyone feeling that way or thinking that way about why this is important for all of us to understand? Especially as copywriters and entrepreneurs – why is this important for both parties?
Heather: First, I would say, it’s probably valuable to speak to what I’ve created and refer as Your HSE Shadow and your HSE Strengths. So I’ve really identified twelve top shadows and twelve top strengths, and I’m not going to go into all of those, but it’s helpful to just understand the differentiation because again, very similar to those initial twenty five women that I gave the assessment to, when you’re looking at the language of highly sensitive and seeing it as a label, that can be detrimental. Right? Because your mind will immediately associate meaning. So, again, if we go back to the understanding that highly sensitive just means that your nervous system is wired differently than someone who’s not highly sensitive, then how that can show up in a shadow-side, meaning when you haven’t really learned how to manage these abilities, then for example, an HSE shadow is overwhelm. An HSE will tend to get overwhelmed that much more quickly than someone who’s not highly sensitive. Another HSE shadow is over-protection, where a highly sensitive will work really hard to kind of try to protect themselves so that they don’t get overwhelmed. And again, that’s where the coping mechanisms come in. Another shadow is people-pleasing. Because a person who is highly sensitive has the ability to really be able to intuit what’s going on for another person, they can fall into what I refer to as a chameleon state, where you can kind of match yourself to whoever you’re with to try to just make them happy. It’s a really people-pleasing nature. And then on the flipside, when you do learn how to manage your abilities, your highly sensitive abilities are absolutely strengths that can really support you, one, in your calling to be self employed, and two, just in your life in general.
You really need to know, though, how to be able to manage the energy so that you are showing up in strengths and I even like to say that when you really get these strengths working for you, they’re kind of like super-powers. They’re really at your disposal in a way that is not available for the other 80%. Someone who’s not sensitive. So for example, an HSE strength, is that we are extremely intuitive. Another is that we’re also very empathic and another is that we’re really deep listeners. We can hear things literally between the lines, or deep within the energy, that’s gonna go right over the head of an 80%’er.
So, back to your question of how to really be able to use this within being self-employed, whether you are or aren’t highly sensitive, or even within the workplace – it sounds like you might be asking … for example, a person who is self-employed, most highly sensitives are attracted to roles that fall within what Dr. Elaine Aron refers to as being a royal advisor.
We are here, literally brought to the planet, to basically be able to create balance and keep the peace, versus the other 80% that Dr. Elaine Aron refers to as the warrior kings and queens. I added the queen. (laughs) So, what’s a royal adviser? That is someone who is a coach, right? Or a therapist. Or, anyone who falls within the healing arts or healing practitioners. You’re a massage therapist, you’re reiki practitioner, you’re a nutritionist, or a creative entrepreneur, which – copywriting, in my opinion, would really fall into. Right? So we can take those HSE strengths and we are then excellent coaches – amazing healing practitioners, and very talented creative entrepreneurs.
For someone who is not highly sensitive, they’re going to approach the field of coaching very differently. I’m not going to go off on this, but it is kind of a crow in my side or whatever that phrase is. Let me say this: a lot of warrior kings and queens who have entered into the coaching industry are really not offering coaching. They’re just offering really excellent internet marketing or info-marketing. And that’s very different than the approach of someone who is a really excellent coach and really excellent at deeply listening and really being able to intuit and really be able to support their client in an empathic way.
Rob: So, I want to back up just a little bit. You mentioned that to find out if we’re an HSE, that we need to take a survey and without going into the entire survey, are there like a top two or three questions that we can ask ourselves and if the answers are yes, then maybe we should take the entire survey and if the answers are no, you can meet Rob for a drink later? We shouldn’t worry about it, is what I’m thinking. What are those questions?
Heather: (laughs) First of all, it’s not a survey, it’s more of an assessment or a quiz, and also there’s nothing to worry about if you are highly sensitive. So a couple of those questions would be do you react deeply to subtleties within your environment? Meaning, do you really notice if the temperature is off, if sound is loud, if there’s an extreme smell? That would be one question. Another is, do you get overwhelmed easily or do you get overstimulated easily? And another question might be, do you find yourself often tending towards procrastination in name of perfectionism? Those are some examples.
Rob: Okay, so, if we’ve answered those, we ought to look into it more and if we say no, we’re not any of those things, then we’re something else.
Heather: Yes, (laughs) you’re probably not highly sensitive. But I will say that when you take the HSE quiz that I offer, not only will the quiz let you know if you’re highly sensitive, but it will let you know if you are somewhat highly sensitive, super highly sensitive, or like me, super uber highly sensitive. And then you’ll receive a free success guide that will help you begin to understand how to work with that information.
Kira: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I was highly uber sensitive when I took the quiz. So, when I hear all of this, you know, how you can flip your shadows into your strengths, it all sounds great to me. I’m like ooooh, I want this, I want this, I want this – but, actually getting there is the hard part so I’d be curious to know just what this looked like in your business once you realized that you were highly sensitive; what changes you had to make in order to turn those shadows into strengths.
Heather: Yeah, it’s a great question and it’s really the base of everything. You know, that I teach in my mentoring programs. And I really appreciate that you recognized and acknowledged that it’s a process. That’s what a lot of HSE’s bump up against – they get to a place where they understand that they’re highly sensitive, but then there comes in a lot of resistance when it comes to the process of retraining how to manage their sensitive abilities. Which, makes sense! Because again, most of us have been doing it one way, you know, most of our lives! And that’s for most of us who are self-employed, a pretty long time! You know, at least 20 or some-odd years. AGain, that’s where the coping mechanisms come in and you have to kind of detangle those coping mechanisms. And that was really the process that I started for myself.
So, first I had to you know, really get clear to understand what does this mean, that I’m highly sensitive? And now, how can I approach everything that’s absolutely necessary in my business? How do I approach selling, for example? How do I approach marketing? How do I approach operations? In a way that are really designed to use my strengths rather than throw me into my shadows. So I had to go really deep with some reconfiguring and being able to see things differently. And so just as a quick little addition, forward slash side note here, that’s really where my work with a course in miracles came into my experience and my process. So I’ve been a student of a course in miracles, which is a psychological and spiritual curriculum for over thirty years now, and the real essence of that teaching is that the definition of a miracle is a shift in perception.
And so, my business is named “A Course In Business Miracles” Because that’s what’s really needed for a highly sensitive to be able to be financially successful – a shift in perception. They need to be able to first learn how to look at themselves differently, and not see themselves as weak and not see themselves as less than, and then they need to be able to have a shift in perception and how they approach their business to look at, again, selling, marketing, selling, operations, differently.
Then, to be able to create a shift in perception about how it is that they’re meant to show up and to be in all of the role aspects that are needed as a person who is self-employed. So again, that’s everything that we go through in the Business Miracles Mentoring Programs, is the inner part is a retraining of the mind in terms of how you approach yourself, how you approach your business, how you approach your life, and then the practical application of a specific process, tools, and systems to really support the HSE in being able to be in their strengths.
Rob: Heather, I want to ask if there are certain things that those of us who may not be highly sensitive or might even be highly insensitive ought to be doing differently in dealing with a business partner or a spouse or a child who is highly sensitive.
Heather: So, the first part is really just the willingness. To be willing to recognize that not everyone is like you. And that’s really for all of us. But, we can again, boil it down to those of us who are highly sensitive and those who are not. For example, you know, as a person who is not highly sensitive, you might be able to work in an open cubicle environment and you can put your headphones in and you can be rocking out to some music and you’ll be so super productive and you’ll get things done. That type of environment would completely just wash out a person who is highly sensitive. They would not be able to focus and they would not be able to be as productive. But that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them, it just means that they just need someone different in order to be able to produce a level of high and effective and efficient productivity. And so, again, first, just the willingness to consider the possibility that not everyone is like you. The second step would be, be willing to work with your colleagues, your co-workers, your employees, to find out how they work best. Are they highly sensitive? Are they not highly sensitive? First and foremost. You know, the focus of this interview.
But even from there, there’s all different types of learners, ways that people process information. For Example, one of the things that i do with my team is that I have them take a collaborative intelligence assessment that helps all of us understand how does each person on the team process information? And there’s those of us who our first go-to is auditory, some of us is visual, some of us are kinesthetic. And that can be really helpful, because you don’t then expect someone who processes information kinesthetically first – you don’t expect them to be able to just hear something and then be able to work with it. So, those are then the next steps. Right? Once you’re willing and then once you find out, and then to actually take the steps to set up the working environment so that you are honoring how each individual works differently. And it sounds easy, but I’ll say probably where most people get caught, is step number one. Just that willingness to consider the possibility that not everyone is like you.
Kira: And, how do we start – how do we create this shift in perception—if we’re highly sensitive? How do we start—if I want to start today and just start making some slow changes—what could I do on my own to work towards that?
Heather: I would say, first, you know, take the assessment, right? And look at your score, so that you do have a sense and again, if you’re taking the assessment that I’ve created, are you somewhat, are you super, are you super uber, and then begin to understand for yourself you know, what does that mean specifically for me?
How does my highly sensitive nature – how is that really showing up in regards to shadows? For example, first and foremost, where do I shut down? Where do I tend to take myself out? Where am I kicking into the coping mechanisms of pushing and hiding? So those would be the first to kind of just unpack how this is currently showing up for you.
And then, the second, is to you know, begin to use tools like those that I’ve created or anything that you design for yourself, to begin to manage those shadows. So, that requires first and foremost that you’re not willing to just accept them. That’s a very important piece because the work that i do in the Business Miracles Mentoring Programs, are in no way about enabling our highly sensitive abilities, or playing into being highly sensitive as a victim. Absolutely not. It’s the exact opposite—it’s a process of empowerment—it’s a process of transformation. But in that second step, right? Like after you’ve gotten clear about how this is showing up for you and then you’re really beginning to look at how you want to begin do you know, use some tools to begin the process of reconfiguring, reengineering, you know, the way that you’re showing up, part of that is to be willing to accept that it’s okay that you are different.
If I was teaching right now, I would say to everybody, write that down. (laughs)
That’s really the key place. Because so many of us have been trained for so long by our culture and society to believe that it’s not okay that we’re different and again, that’s where the coping mechanisms come in. And once you’ve come to that place that you can accept that you’re different, you can begin to work with tools to do things differently, and then the next piece is really about being able to begin to communicate with those around you about your difference and what you need.
Again, to be able to communicate that from a place of empowerment, from a place of you know, acceptance of yourself and of others, and not from a place of victimhood or entitlement. But really, you know, again, from that—I like to refer to it as a regal queen place. You know, you’re strong, you’re grounded, you’re confident, and then you’re able to really know yourself, accept yourself, and communicate what you need from that place.
Rob: Heather, I want to ask the opposite of my last question. I imagine that there are lot of copywriters who are highly sensitive that are working directly with entrepreneurs who may not be sensitive at all. I wonder if there are things that they need to be doing differently in dealing with people who are not sensitive beyond communicating that they are highly sensitive.
Heather: I appreciate this question so much because most likely, what is currently happening in that scenario is what happens for most highly sensitives in most areas, all areas, of their life. Which is, when they are working from their shadows, they will turn themselves into a pretzel, again, really kicking into particularly the coping mechanism of pushing, to get the job done, for a non-highly sensitive in the way that the non-highly sensitive wants it done. And what will happen is that that will completely shut down—implode, burnout—the highly sensitive. And that’s why you know, many highly sensitives don’t succeed in being self-employed. That tends to fall into two categories. People who come to my programs. One is the person who hasn’t even started self employment yet because they’re like, so terrified, and then the other is someone who has really made their business work, but you know, they’re on the edge of burnout or they’re already there. So what you want to do instead is again, going through those steps, you know, that I had just shared with Kira, right? First knowing yourself as a person who is highly sensitive, accepting yourself as a person who is highly sensitive, and then being able to use tools and trainings and teachings to help yourself be able to communicate what you need.
It’s those last two pieces that are imperative for this situation that you just described.
For example, a person who is highly sensitive and is working from their strengths as a copywriter, they want to be able to communicate first and foremost, the value of how they work and what they’re able to create, and then what they need in order to be able to get that done.
That is where a keyword for highly sensitives comes in and that is: boundaries. That is the exact opposite of a highly sensitive who’s working in their shadows, turning themselves into a pretzel, chameleoning themselves to match what a non highly sensitive needs. So, I could easily say like, I’m an excellent copywriter. I will be able to create for you and produce for you, copy that will absolutely be attracting your ideal client. I can even confidently say that we’re going to put together this sales page and we’re going to be converting 80% of the people who land on the page. But here’s how I work and here’s what I need to get it done. I’ll work in this time-frame, I’ll do check-ins at this time, please don’t contact me anytime in between, I’ll make sure that I’m following through, you’ll get updates at this time, we’ll have it done at this point. Just as a very general off the top of my head example.
Rob: And how would that person respond if the answer is, cowboy up, get to work? However we would respond as those of us who are not so sensitive.
Heather: (laughs) Well, I don’t know what cowboy up means (laughs)…
Rob: Suck it up, or pull it together—you know, somebody who isn’t being very empathetic is what i’m saying, towards those needs. Is there a way to respond?
Heather: The response would be that you would return to holding your boundaries, right? So if you work off of what I modeled, I didn’t in any way model—oh my God it’s so hard for me to create copy, just don’t bother me, i really just need quiet space—but I communicated I’ll get the job done, this is how I’ll do it, these are the check-ins so I’m making sure that I’m communicating with you, and I can tell you it will be done by this date.
If somebody comes back and says, well that’s not gonna work for me because I need to be able to check in with you whenever I can and I changed my mind and I just need what I need when I need it, and then the response would be absolutely, I hear what you’re saying, and I want to tell you in order to be able to produce my most effective work, which is extremely effective and here are some testimonials to back it up, this is how I need to work. So, I can tell you we will absolutely get that final result for you, but this is the way that it’s going to unfold.
Rob: Love it.
Kira: Yeah, this is so interesting because I have struggled with boundaries, gotten better, but a lot of the copywriters that Rob and I have worked with in our Accelerator Program also struggle with boundaries and it seems like the best way to deal with it is by creating some type of process so it’s concrete and you’re going to each client every single time with the same process so it feels like you have a foundation and some boundaries, even when you struggle with this. But I’m also just wondering, what does it look like for a copywriter who might just be starting out, does not have those boundaries in place, is highly sensitive – would you recommend that they just kind of increase the boundaries with each project? I have a hard time imagining this new copywriter would make any drastic changes because of a bad experience. It seems like it would have to just be a very gradual process.
Heather: Well, I really appreciate that you just instinctively—probably because you’re highly sensitive—spoke to the importance of processes and systems because that’s really just so much of what I teach and the foundational principle trainings of my 6 month mentoring program. Both inner and outer processes and systems. But you’re exactly right—having those processes and having those systems will really support the highly sensitive entrepreneur in really being able to effectively communicate. That’s why I teach what I refer to as Your Unique Serving System. So you’re effectively communicating a process about how you work, and how you deliver the service that you’re here to deliver. And then setting up systems that support being able to deliver what you’re saying you’ll deliver. So, you’re literally creating a frame for yourself so that you’re not going into those shadows of overwhelm, procrastination, perfectionism, over-protection, etc.
Now, speaking to the second part of your question is where inner processes and systems come in. And that is also what I teach in my foundational principle trainings for exactly that reason. It is literally foundational principle training number one is what I refer to as energy management, where I teach you specific, tangible tools to help you be able to manage your nervous system, to be able to manage your energy, to be able to manage your emotions. So when it comes to that new copywriter, and learning how to set boundaries, you know, ideally they’re receiving the training like the one that I provide so that they’re learning how to manage themselves.
It doesn’t have to be a trial by error, which is what I hear you describing, right? Which is kind of you chaotically enter into like a first you know, project and it just is like crazy and overwhelming and then ahhhhhh! how do I learn from this? But that is what happens to a lot of HSE’s but there is an alternative and that is everything that I teach. That is everything that I’m about. Being self-employed does not need to be torturous.
Kira: And I’d love to even shift a bit too, for those same new copywriters, you know, they’re trying to find new clients, they need to market themselves, which is often hard for many of us, how can they use their HSE powers, their superpowers, to really market effectively?
Heather: That’s a great, great question. And again, just so much of what I teach, and let me also say that everything that’s in my foundational principle trainings has come from my own experience and it came from the experience of entering into being self employed. Now, like I said at the beginning of this interview, I didn’t know that i was highly sensitive, but of course, I was, so everything I was designing for myself to be able to you know, cope with being self-employed, was really, I was designing it to be able to you know, manage my highly sensitive nature. So, you know, one of the things when it comes to marketing and using your HSE strengths, your HSE superpowers, is you know, I always say this and most HSE’s are like their first reaction is, (gasps) No! And that is: Networking!
When you approach for example, networking, understanding that you’re highly sensitive, not approaching networking in the way that it’s taught for those who are not highly sensitive, but as a person who is highly sensitive, we do really well with intimate relationships. For most of us who are highly sensitive, if you did a survey, you would probably find out that most highly sensitives have a smaller amount of significant friendships, versus a large amount of more general acquaintances. So networking is a place where we can show up as a person who is highly sensitive, not from the direction of trying to work the room, not from the direction of trying to pitch ourselves, but from the direction and intention of creating one, maybe two or three, deep connections. And what happens when a highly sensitive approaches networking in that way, as well as with some other aspects that I teach about networking, is one—your presence in the room is refreshing because you’re showing up differently because you are – two, you’re using your HSE strengths, like your ability to listen deeply, think deeply, feel deeply, to make a genuine connection, hear what a person needs, or be able to communicate genuinely in a grounded way about how your service solves a certain problem. And to be able to hear if someone that you’re talking to needs what you have or knows someone who needs what you have, and you can make a real solid connection that then you can follow up with, and can very easily and you know, in my experience with those that I teach, literally like 8 times out of 10, turn into some form of business, that then, just all of the countless unnecessary disconnected business cards being thrown at you kind of just falls away. And you’re able to just really focus in on the most needed, effective, source of connection and then again, following the steps to create and move that into solid business. So that’s just one example.
But I think what’s important to highlight there, is that when I share that networking is a very effective form of marketing for highly sensitives, most highly sensitives’ reaction is, don’t make me do that. Because they have been trained or heard or assumed that it’s going to have to be something that’s so incredibly painful and uncomfortable for them.
And number one, it doesn’t to be, and number two, what often tends to happen is that HSE’s tend to try to find forms of marketing where they don’t actually have to be seen. And what that turns into is a lot of wasted time and energy that tends to not turn into business, meaning like, a lot of time spent online and you know, trying to like, throw up amazing websites or you know, do crazy social media, you know, all of that just creates a disconnected effect.
That’s just one example.
Rob: Heather, I just have one more question for you and it feels like in listening to you describe that process that there’s a lot of crossover between highly sensitives and introverts. What are the differences, or are they very much the same?
Heather: That’s a great question. They’re definitely not the same, so you can absolutely have someone who’s highly sensitive who’s not introverted and you can have someone who’s introverted who’s not highly sensitive.
Again, just going back to the definition and the description of what it meant to be highly sensitive, it’s how your nervous system is wired. So that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re introverted by nature. Without going into it too much, you might, as a highly sensitive, have another aspect of being highly sensitive which is a high sensation seeker, which you actually really like to do extroverted activities, it’s just about again, approaching it in a different way so that it doesn’t create over-stimulation. Or, you could again have someone who’s introverted, which if we go to the basic definition of being introverted, it’s basically that any kind of you know, extroverted activities take a lot of energy from you and you need to replenish yourself in another way, versus someone who is extroverted who will get filled up from those activities.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re highly sensitive. Doesn’t mean that your system necessarily is wired differently. So there could be crossovers, but it’s not a definite.
Kira: Before we wrap, I think it’s really easy like you said for us to make excuses for maybe not scaling our business or really turning our business into what we always dreamed about because we’re highly sensitive. And of course, you’re all about empowerment so I think it would be great to end on really a look at your business, if you don’t mind just sharing what does your business look like today, as far as how you’ve structured it? And that may also lead into the ways that anyone listening may be able to work with you if they’re highly sensitive and interested?
Heather: Sure! Today, I have a million dollar plus business and it looks and feels so much differently than you know, seven years ago when I was really in that pushing and shadow place and dark night of the soul. So, first and foremost, an important part of my work and just the journey for an HSE in general, is the process of getting really clear about what you want your business to look like. Then, really going back to those three steps that I shared with you earlier, Kira, is accepting that. And that’s really significant part of the process for HSE’s and the reason is, is that it can be so easy to get caught up in the other 80% and trainings that are delivered for the other 80% when it comes to business building and you know, the entrepreneurial journey and that’s definitely where I was when I was in the dark night of the soul. It was kind of like, if you weren’t bringing your business to the million dollar mark, like, there was something wrong with you. Like that’s what you do. And you try to reach as many people as possible, get as many people as possible, make as many sales as possible but when you really go through the process of being willing to get clear about what’s important to you, and what do you want and you need, and what are your values as an HSE, not every HSE is meant to have a million dollar business. And there is nothing wrong with that. I have a lot of people in my business miracles programs who they’ve chosen to have a business that’s really just about working in person. They’re barely even online. And they have a solid financially successful, sustainable business that supports a lifestyle that they just feel good about and are happy – what else do we really need? Right?
So that’s the first part is really getting clear and I had to do that for myself and when I did that and I got clear – I didn’t get clear that I was meant to have a million dollar business or that it was about a million dollar business – what i got clear about is that I have a message and I have trainings and teachings and tools that I have developed that are really, really life changing and business-altering for people who are highly sensitive and are called to be self-employed. So, my calling is to deliver that to as many HSE’s who need it and who want it and who are available to receive it and so what that has looked like, is a larger scale. What I have then chosen to put in place in order to be able to answer that call, is a team that I feel really good about working with that we as a team are microcosm of the community that we serve and represent – the Business Miracles Community – and that we have a real shared, harmonious approach to how we deliver these teachings that we all believe in. From a front-end and a back-end.
And that has then enabled me to have a schedule that really works for me so, for example, I pretty much don’t do anything before 11am, and I’m pretty much done at 4pm. And that is every other week. And on alternate weeks, I’m in a space of deep study and learning and creating of content and writing and materials. Just as an example of what that looks like currently for me. However, I would never, ever expect or try to enforce that that is what any other HSE needs to do or is meant to do. And so again, we’re back to the first step of what is it meant to look like for you? Can you accept that and then can you begin to take the actions to create it?
Rob: Heather, this has been awesome. I think Kira probably reached out to you so that I could learn how to communicate better with her. (laughs)
Heather: Good for Kira! (laughs)
Rob: But it’s also going to help with some other highly sensitives in my life. But, having said that, if somebody wanted to connect with you, learn more about you, where would they find you online?
Heather: Sure! Take the quiz! Right? Find out if you are highly sensitive and if you are a highly sensitive who’s meant to be an entrepreneur and you can find that hsequiz.com and like I said, after you take that quiz you’ll find out if you’re somewhat super, or super uber, and you’ll be delivered a success guide that will help you get started and if you are and you’re looking for help and support, we’ll take the next steps from there.
Kira: Thank you, Heather!
Rob: That’s great. Thank you very much for spending time with us!
Like what you've seen so far?
There's plenty more where that came from. Sign up for The Copywriter Club newsletter today and we'll send you the unpublished Doberman Dan interview (plus two other awesome resources) in addition to regular updates about what's going on in the club.
You won't find this on iTunes, Stitcher or anywhere else. The only way to get this "secret" mp3 and transcript is to drop your email in the box and hit "gimme!".