Description: Mark Silver brings heart and spirit into business. In our interview, he shares how he approaches teaching and business from a spiritual perspective.
About Mark Silver
Mark is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who has run a distribution business, turned around a struggling non-profit magazine, and worked as a paramedic in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He is the author of seven different in-depth programs and a number of other smaller teachings and classes for entrepreneurs. Together they form a comprehensive entrepreneurial wisdom academy curriculum.
A designated Master Teacher (“muqaddam murrabi“) in his Shaddhilliyya Sufi lineage, Mark is currently studying for his Masters of Divinity with a speciality in Ministry and Sufi Studies.
As a coach, consultant, mentor and spiritual healer, he has facilitated more than 2000 individual sessions with entrepreneurs and has led hundreds of classes, seminars, groups and retreats. His weekly writings and teachings are followed by thousands of people around the globe.
He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Holly, twin sons Sam and David, two cats Rafi and Kira, and all the rain you care to soak up.
Key Points & Takeaways
- Mark’s core belief is that “Every act of business can be an act of love.” Reflect on how you are expressing love and care through your business. Are there aspects of your business you need to change or discard so you can focus more deeply on love?
- We can find the nourishment for our businesses and ourselves where we are, right now. We can find the marketing and business practices that feel beautiful and feel nourishing in and of themselves… so we don’t feel we have to sell our soul or do something that feels wrong to deliver a product or service or teaching or content that is quite beautiful and comes from inspiration. Seek to build your business in complete integrity with how you help and serve people.
- Try thinking about sincerity rather than authenticity. Sincerity is a major part of Sufi teachings: “the most important thing to bring with you is your sincerity… the desire for the truth, no matter what.” By seeking the truth and seeking to be of service, you wind up in authentic expressions of service.
- In his years of teaching, Mark has learned that people need a lot less in content than you may think they need. What feels like a “micro-bite” to us is still a really full meal for the person on the receiving end… we underestimate how long we have spent to learn our topic!
- Repetition and reinforcement are essential parts of the learning process.
- Using examples is key to learning. It’s really hard for the brain to take an underlying abstract principle and apply it to different situations… because we’re so drawn to specific stories and examples. So to help people learn, bring in examples that illustrate many different aspects of what you’re trying to teach.
- Create assignments/exercises for participants in your courses to submit to you. Then look at the depth of learning in the assignments people submit. Are you seeing evidence of positive progress and real-world results? For example, in Mark’s courses he looks for responses such as “Oh, look, that actually worked! I enrolled a client based on this!” or “Suddenly I’m getting many more people responding to my blog posts!”
- A well-organized, easy-to-navigate learning space is key to teaching online. As you set up your online learning space, ask: How do people find things? How do you make it as simple as possible to get right to where you need to go?
- When you first start launching courses, be gentle with yourself. People often have unrealistic expectations regarding what a good turnout is for a course.
- Remember that it takes a long time to build relationship and a long time for people to make big decisions, like investing in a transformational course. The first time you market a course is really marketing for the *next* time you offer it, because people need time to consider and become comfortable with the idea. Be willing to really market your course fully, even if you don’t get amazing signups the very first time: you’re sparking interest, and sowing seeds that will sprout over time.
- Use “resonant pricing” to find the price for your course that feels right for you.
- Get support: find a coach, consultant or mentor you resonate with. Then “go all in” with him or her to get the support you need to grow your business. You’ll get results dramatically faster if you focus on working deeply with one person or company instead of browsing around and trying to pull ideas for many different sources at the same time.
Mark’s 3 principles for heart-centered online teaching
1. Trust your heart.
2. Give way less.
3. Make things simple, and small, and beautiful.
Resources & Links
Get to the the Core of Your Business
Mark has developed a 3 chapter workbook, “Getting to the Core of Your Business,” that will help you change your perspective so you can create a bigger, better business that is also spiritual and ethical.