3 days left + a cautionary tale…

by Leonie Dawson on September 27, 2016


Hey lovely,

Just a wee note to remind you there are just 3 days left to join the Shining Academy before the doors close for the year.

That’s the real message, up there. But you know there’s always more here. More to tell, more to say, rambles + deep soul sharings to have.

Get a cup of tea, love.
Let’s go deep.

But first… housekeeping…

If you don’t have much time, make sure you take note…

The Shining Academy is closing September 30! And it won’t open for new enrolments again until sometime in 2017.

When you join the Academy, you get:

  • Close to $30,000 in value (!!!!!)
  • Mastermind of thousands of women across the globe
  • Monthly group coaching calls (valued at $1,000 an hour!)
  • 112 courses (and counting!)
  • $2000+ worth of discounts
  • The full 2017 workbook collection delivered to your door free of charge (valued at $150+!!!)
  • All for one incredibly generous price

Jump in NOW to transform your life and biz!

And a couple questions answered:

? Are we going to open to new members again soon?

No. We won’t be opening again for at LEAST another 6 months. Doing limited-time intakes allows us to look after our gorgeous members beautifully + concentrate on creating all the goodness for the Academy that it’s known for.
I pour my heart + soul into the Academy, everything I create, everything I do is geared towards helping our members create the abundant biz + wildly creative, soulful life of their dreams.

? Why should I learn from you?

Good question. I think it’s a really smart, sensible one to ask.

Let’s face it, “business coaches” – especially online – are a dime a dozen these days.

And frankly, they scare the bloody bejeebus out of me. I can be so naive at times – I think everyone is telling the truth.
I’ve been around the traps long enough to know that’s not actually the case. I see so much crappy, sly marketing strategies being used. So much smoke + mirrors.

I’ve seen “business coaches” advertise their million dollar successes while behind the scenes their business is imploding, is near bankruptcy or nowhere near what they say they are doing.

That does NOT sit well with me. AT ALL. That doesn’t feel okay on any level.

We need to have full transparency. To know whether someone can teach us or not.

I tell you my results, so you can know exactly if I’m someone who has done what you want to do.


  • Earned over $5m since 2009 in my business.
  • Created crazy high profit margins
  • Built a loyal fan base of 75 000 on my mailing list and 250 000 across social media
  • Been a finalist for Australian Business Woman of the Year and Ausmumpreneur of the Year.

What’s more, I’ve done it my own way, in full integrity with my values:

  • I’ve worked only part-time hours. I work a maximum of 20 hours a week – for many years it was only 10 hours a week!!! My family is my priority.
  • I put my money where my mouth is, and have devoted large chunks of profit to charities, including the wondrous work of Kiva, where I’m one of the top 1% of lenders in the world.
  • I’ve created success without losing or compromising or beige-ing ME. I’m still completely, unabashedly a wild, wacky, swearing, artsy hippy. I didn’t want to be successful being anything but Leonie, because being Leonie is basically the most fun thing in the world for me!!!

We interrupt this rambling with a not-so-subliminal message:

But enough about me… what about YOU?

If I know anything…

I know that you are someone who truly, utterly believes in what you are doing.

That you want to be doing something MORE with your life.

That you want to feel totally on soul purpose every single day of your life.

And though you aren’t money focussed, you know you need to actually earn abundance in order for you to live and maybe buy some art supplies or piles of books or ridiculous unicorn costumes from time to time.

Maybe you want to become your family’s breadwinner so your sweet bloke to be able to leave his job.

Maybe you want money to be able to give your kids some beautiful opportunities and education.

Money can be such an incredible source for good.

And I know we, as women, can be soooo scared of it.

We don’t always know how to make it.

We can have so many fears wrapped up around it.

We don’t know how to manage it and keep it.

Business and money and marketing feels SO SCARY.

Especially when really… you just want to be able to do your work in the world.

You just want to help people.

You have gifts. You know you are meant to be doing something.

You know… the way I see YOU… is that you are an earth angel.

You’ve been sent here on a divine mission.

You’ve been given gifts to help other people.

And maybe you don’t know exactly what they are yet.

But you have something inside you that is calling you forward, whispering that YES there is a bigger way a better way something more.

Honestly, that was me nine or so years ago.

Sitting in my cubicle, being pulled forth by my destiny. It felt sore + angsty + painful. I KNEW I was supposed to be doing something else with my life. And I had NO bloody idea how to make that happen. Money and business and marketing seemed crazy impossible to me.

I just wanted to share my gifts, you know? I didn’t want to have to do all that icky stuff you know? I just wanted to serve. And be alight. And help other people. And I couldn’t work out how I could ever make that happen. All I wanted was to make $30k a year so I could think about quitting my cubicle job.
And maybe that’s you right now. You just want to be able to replace your income. Or you want to take your blooming business to the next level. You’re trying to crack the six figure mark. Or the seven figure mark.

The thing is… the yearning is still the same.

The pull to your destiny.
The knowing that you need to be helping more.
The truth of it is, is that you ARE.
This world needs you.
It NEEDS your gifts.

It needs ALL of YOU, you alight, living your dreams and life and passions, to help everyone else wake up and heal and see all the magnificent possibilities awaiting them.

The world needs YOU to step up and be a creator of your dreams and an incredible custodian of money.

When WE… we as spirited, sensitive, passionate women… we step up into our power… we change the destiny of ourselves, our family, our community and our worlds.

We’re the ones that will fix this broken, aching planet.

All those souls that hurt. All the animals, land and hearts that need care. We are the mothers of the planet. This is our time.

Nine years ago, I had fucking no idea what I was doing.

I decided, obstinate, determined little mofo I am, that I would find out… exactly what i needed to do to help everyone that I was born to help. And I did. I cracked the code.

That year, I earned $30k. The next year I doubled to $60k. Then $120k. Then again + again + again. Until I’ve got a multi-million dollar company.

More financial freedom than I ever could imagine.

The potential to make a real difference in the lives of my family, community, staff, and the world. It means I can take on fun little side-projects like donating hundreds of thousands of copies of my workbooks to charities around the world. It means building a school in West Ghana through Pencils of Promise, it means building a library in Vietnam through Room to Read. It means I can take any idea I have + make it REAL in the world.

I’ve learned how to birth BIG fucking dreams. And I’ve learned how to market them, and craft a sacred business vessel around them. To make it sustainable. To get it to reach all the people that need it. And do good everywhere every step of the way.

Honestly… it’s a bit breathtaking sometimes.

I look at where this incredible spiritual journey has taken me… how this business has allowed me and my family to bloom… all the gifts and love it has born.

This is the way business was meant to be.

You know me by now… probably.

You know that I’m an open book. I get where you are. I get the aching. I get where you want to go. I’ve been there, and I’ve done it, and I’m out the other side. And I sincerely, deeply want to help you. I want you to be living your soul purpose.

I want you to be helping every person you are destined to help in this world.

I want you to be receiving plenty of abundance for it. I want you to be your most fullest expression of you, your biggest destiny come alive. I want your dreams to be born. I know what it takes. I know it, because I’ve done it. And honestly? My mission is to help YOU.

I look at what I’ve created with the Academy and really it’s an earth angel incubator. It’s the place for all the big dreamers to come together and be supported and held and nourished and taught and helped and guided and given what they need in order to emerge even bigger into the world. I could have made the Academy SO much more expensive than what it is.

But I don’t. I don’t because I want to help as much and as many as I can. We need you. This world needs you. I would love to help. Please, for the love of wild donkeys, let me gosh darn help you.

We interrupt this rambling with a not-so-subliminal message:

Why don’t I give it away for free?

Lots of reasons.

Firstly: that’s not sustainable. I hire a team of full time staff to make the Academy as powerful and wonderful as possible.

Secondly: YOU have to be invested in it. If this was a free resource, would you be as invested in actually implementing it? I very much doubt it. It is an energy exchange to join the Academy. One you need to commit to, and one that is important to commit to. One I make as overly generous as possible for you.

You’ll get close to $30 000 worth of programs, plus so much more… at anincredibly affordable price.

The Academy has been my dream, my creation for the last six years. I love my staff that support the Academy and its members so beautifully. I love the tribe that has gathered there. I love how many members have been there for the whole six years because their lives and businesses have been so irrevocably changed + made better for it.

I know it works. My clients have proven that. Implement it + see for yourself!

This isn’t a magic pill. But it certainly is magical. One that requires your commitment, transformation, and your beautiful soul. If you’d like to read the inspiring stories of other women who’ve been apart of the Academy + had huge results from it, you can read them here.

I’m grateful for every step of this…

and I want to do more.

I want to send you a giant lovebeam from my heart to yours.
If you’re sitting on the fence.
If you’re trying to decide.
If you wonder.
Please. I know we can help.

I am devoted to it. I pour my life’s work into making sure of it.

You can’t do this journey alone. You don’t HAVE to do it alone anymore.

We’re here.

We creative souls, we business owners, we dreamers…
We think we’re alone in the world.
We think we have to make it all up as we go.
We think it’s too hard, too much.
It doesn’t have to be that way.

Join us.

We would love to have you with us in the Academy.

It doesn’t have to be so hard. It doesn’t have to be so lonely. It doesn’t have to be so impossible.

The Academy’s here to help YOU.


All my love,


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Save The Date 1



We’re starting to pull things together for our 2nd annual Shining Biz and Life conference… book in the date!

Four five important things to share:

1.  I will NOT be doing any other live events or speaking gigs or meet-and-greets outside of this annual conference going forward. This is your ONLY chance to see me! I’m limiting live events to just this conference for a number of reasons including healing burnout.

Save The Date 3

2. We will be LIVE STREAMING the conference... so even if you aren’t flying in, book out your weekend anyway and watch from home!

The conference live stream is available exclusively to Academy members… and it will be FREE to them (because, as always, I like to wildly spoil them)

But if you can come, you defo should… the live element is just INCREDIBLE!

retreat group

3. Tickets are ONLY for Academy members, and as usual, they are a huuuuuge discount for them — only $200 for the 2 day conference.

It is NOT a profit-making event for us, the $200 covers catering and venue. There are no upsells, there is no hard sells, there is no soft sells… it’s all just pure content + connection!!!!

Despite the low-end price… it is a high-end, top-quality event… we got solid 9 + 10 star reviews from all our participants last year, with many of them saying it was absolutely world-class and the best conference they’d ever attended, including internationally! HOORAY!

(We had people fly in from Scotland + the US last time! Amazing!)

4. Conference video and audio recordings and slides and worksheets will be available afterwards – but ONLY for Academy members. And of course – it will be FREE with their membership.


5. It will be two gloriously full days of business-building workshops intermingled with yoga and meditation. Plus you’ll be meeting some truly incredible souls… I know many peeps from last year’s event met their BFF’s! It was truly an uplevelling event… people left feeling so inspired and ready to take on the world with their goals and businesses.

Spiral Line

I’m so excited already!

Book it in your calendars, dearests… and I’ll see you there!

And if you’re not an Academy member yet… holy dooley girl, what on earth are you waiting for? It’s all there, inside, waiting there for you!!!! (Including the full recordings from our conference this year!!!!!)


I can’t wait to see what magic we create together!

Big love,

Spiral Line

Testimonials - LDI2016

Behind The Scenes: How To Create A Pro Sales Video!

by Leonie Dawson on September 26, 2016


Hi poppets,

Well… your reaction to my new Academy video (aka most ridiculous video ever made!) was really lovely and excitable… and ya’ll asked lots of questions… so I thought I’d make good on my promise to talk about how to create a video like that.

Might be helpful for you if you’re planning on doing your own.

Also might just be interesting as a behind the scenes!

Warning: this is a bit of a long one! I’ve tried to include as many details + systems + screenshots as I can to make it as useful for you as possible!

First Up: Find The Right Videographer

So… I might be a hippy, but I’m an anal one.

I like to make my decision using a spreadsheet.

So, I have spreadsheets pre-set up for different local providers (i.e. videographers, photographers, designers)… when I find someone I like the work of, I pop them in my spreadsheet.

I’ve used this spreadsheet so many times now for different things!

When it comes to a new project, I set up columns for the different parameters of the project and questions I need to ask:

  • Are they available in the time I need?
  • How fast is their turnaround time?
  • Do they have an aesthetic/visual style that aligns with what I’m wanting to create?
  • Are they within budget?
  • Do they come recommended by a business associate or company you’re already connected with?
  • Do they specialise in the kind of video you want to create?
  • Are they switched on, professional, lovely to work with (you can tell a lot from phone calls!)

For the Academy sales video, we had a super tight deadline.

We’d just raced out of one project (the workbook pre-order sale) and had three weeks to pull off a videoshoot and publish it, along with all the other marketing materials, sales page & set up we needed to make happen.

Mel, my Project Manager, did the ring around based off my spreadsheet and started to populate answers. As you can tell – their availability was the first question we asked and most weren’t.

You can also tell a lot from a phone call about whether they are going to be the right fit.

There was one dude who was grumpy and rude on the phone, and asked if I was going to be a pain to work with. We really wanted to make sure we found a company that was happy and lovely to work with. It would be a total mood-killer and a wreck of a day if I had to spend it with grumpy fucktards! When I left the public service + created my company, I decided that I really didn’t want to work with anyone anymore who were less than lovely and joyful and helpful… because I didn’t have to! I’ve got my own Unicorn Utopia here… why would I put up with an Eeyore moping about?


Who we ended up was with Screencraft.

They could fit us in with our tight deadline, had tonnes of experience, had a visual style I liked, and were just lovely to work with.

Should you just use a photographer instead of a videographer?

This is definitely up to you.

I’ve used a photographer in the past to capture videos.

For example, we had the amazing Tracy Lee do the photographs for our 2016 workbooks, and we managed to pull off a video shoot for it as well all in the same day. We then edited it together ourselves, and I was really happy with the video for it!

This time I wanted to see what it was like to do it with a full video crew.

I wanted to get more shots done, more audio quality, and just see what the difference was.

Here’s the pro video crew one so you can do comparisons.

It’s a step up in quality… there’s a LOT of preparation time put into it (as you’ll soon find out), and a big team to pull it off. A big step up in cost, but I was at the right stage of business to be doing that.

I will definitely be doing more pro videos with with Screencraft in the future!

Next stage: Tell ’em what you want

Depending on the agency, you’ll need to fill out some kind of briefing to give them as much information as possible.

You might also do this step at the videographer selection stage in order to get quotes for the work you want to have happen, and compare prices.

You’ll need to decide if:

  • You want them to edit it afterwards (this adds significantly to cost, but unless you are video-edit savvy already, is probably worth it!)
  • How long the final piece will be
  • How much editing you want to have happen – if it’s only going to be a straight to camera piece, if it will have some other shots interwoven, if you want animation to happen in the video, if it is going to be fast-moving with lots of different shots.

I thought it might be helpful to actually show you the brief I made!


Ready for your FREE copy of my video brief?!!!


Shot List

Once we’d shared the script and details with Screencraft, we started brainstorming with them on how the video would look for different parts of it.

The script was divided into sections and put into a spreadsheet.

Then for each section, we brainstormed the video shots, animations and illustrations we would need for each part.

This is part of the spreadsheet below:


The last column is the script, the other columns are the video shots and assets we needed to edit it together.


We decided to do the shot at two different places:

  • Mel’s house (because my house has children and children are fucking nuts. Adorable, but insane.) If you are doing speaking parts in the video, you will probably need to do them in a controlled sound location (i.e. inside in a private space).
  • Weston Park. I chose Weston Park because in a really short distance (150 metres) there’s three distinct backdrops – a lake, a cafe and a forest. It’s also very quiet (especially on weekdays).

Props list


At the same time as I wrote the script, I created a spreadsheet of props that I would need so that I didn’t have to think of them later. I assigned who would be responsible for them. The day before the shoot, I printed it out and marked them off one by one as I put them in our van. It’s at this point, I was pretty bloody glad I drive a mum-van… those shagging wagons can fit SO MUCH shit in them!

Helpful hint: I took two suitcases, and tried to divide up stuff into the two different locations they would need to be used in.

Helpful hint #2: I assigned Mel to buy snacks + drinks for the day. I gave her a list and sent her to the health food store. So needed throughout the day!

Last-minute location change

The day before the shoot, I had a long time with our producer from Screencraft and realised we needed to do a location change. Inside shoots need a lot of house length to create depth within the set. And I knew we were going to get totally  crammed at Mel’s place.

So I decided to hire an apartment that had the kind of dimensions we needed.

I called around a couple of places.

I should note – some apartments I’d hired in the past for staying in, or using for day-long business meetings – were NOT happy with being hired for videoshoots. Even when I promised them that it was NOT for porn purposes! Ha!


I eventually found a great waterfront apartment through Nagee Apartments, and made sure I double-checked they were fine with videoshoots.

Of course, last minute location shoots are NOT the best choice…

the night before was an almighty clusterfuck as we rearranged all our suppliers again to make sure they had the right address.

So… think about location in advance! Heed my mistakes!

Which reminds me… need to book in for our next videoshoot!




Now, I’ve been staunchly anti-hair for a long time.

Until last year when I totally forgot about my hair and ended up with SUPER messy wild hair at last year’s photoshoot.

I’d spent a LOT of time and cash on that shoot… and when I saw the shots I was like “Yeah super funnnnn! But… oh dear… not a great hair day!” And decided if I was going to invest cash in again, I would get someone in to do my hair for me so I didn’t have to worry about it myself. Or have to do the sweaty standing in the bathroom, blind without my glasses, blindly putting on mascara so I didn’t look like a white apparition with camera lights on. Let someone else take care of it!

Because of my brilliant last-minute location change, we lost the makeup and hair team we had organised in advance, so we had a last minute scramble at 8pm at night trying to find someone for 8am the next morning!

Luckily, Mel has an amazing network of lovely people she’s fostered connections with over the years, and called in an old staff member who had since become a hair and make-up artist!

Sandy was awesome – highly recommend her. And she’s already booked in for our next one!

How The Day Went Down

I packaged everything from the props list into the van the day before.


We were scheduled to start shooting at 9am, so I was out the door by 7am, found the apartment, and found Mel, Sandy our makeup/hair artist and Alyssa our set designer waiting out front.

We hauled all our stuff up to the apartment, and Alyssa immediately set to work rearranging furniture and setting up backdrops for the videoshoot.

Sandy got started on hair and makeup. When she asked me what I wanted to look like, I said “Like me… but TV Leonie!” Hahaha!

I think she succeeded.





Clothes & Jewellery:

I brought about 12 changes of clothes all up, and while I originally thought it would be overkill, it ended up being SUPER helpful. Whenever we changed scene, I would change clothes… it just helped make everything look fresh and create visual difference in the video.

I have a huge collection of costume jewellery that I bought specifically for video and photo shoots and speaking gigs – I like things that are super bold and vibrant. They tend to not fade into the distance as much as smaller pieces. Plus, ya know, nothing about me is subtle! Ha! #onbrand

Handy tip:

A lot of costume changes were done on the fly outside. I wore black leggings and a black crop top under everything so it was super easy for me to get changed in public and give no fucks.

Set Designer

I had in mind what I wanted our different sets to look like through the day, and realised the day before the shoot (just call me Last Minute Leonie) that I wouldn’t actually be able to do it all.

Instead I had a mad scramble through my contacts list, and called Lisa Lamaitre (creator of Canberra Wise Women and Canberra Wellness Hub – two places I spoke at this year) to see if she knew anyone.

As always, she did, because she’s brilliant like that!


At ridiculously late notice, we had the amazing Alyssa Johnson who did the set design for Sammy J’s Playground Politics show!!! She was fantastic and was able to create scenes like this, while I was too busy running around the park half-naked getting into my next outfit for the next shot.

Shooting Direct-To-Camera

Once the film crew had arrived and set-up we did about 3 hours of shooting direct-to-camera with voice.

This means I was looking at the camera as I spoke, and they were recording my voice that would end up being used for the whole video, including over the top of everything else we shot that day.


Me, sound dude + set designer! Awww yissss!

To achieve this, we used a teleprompter. It was my first time using one and it was really fucking cool!

On top of the producer, sound guy and camera guy, there was a teleprompter guy who controlled the speed as I spoke.

Food, Water + Breaks

Mel was my Project Manager/Personal Assistant for the shoot (as well as for the rest of my life! Ha!)

I gave her really clear instructions on the Care + Feeding of Leonie before the day.

I know from experience that when I’m in the moment, I forget to look after myself. I get really excitable and want to do and achieve everything. I want to talk to everybody and help everybody and be all things to all people.

I told her I needed her to manage me by:

  • getting me to take breathers whenever I could – I function better and longer when I fill my well with little moments of quiet. Between takes when they were resetting things up, she’d usher me into the bedroom and close the door and tell me to take five minutes to lay down. It was SO helpful.
  • telling me to use the bathroom. I forget!
  • force-feeding me as much water and food as she could. I usually don’t forget these things, but when I’m in performer mode, forgettttttt about it! 

Getting her to do this ended up being brilliant. I didn’t crash and burn by the end of the day, so I count that as a WIN!



On location shoot

After the direct-to-camera shoot in the apartment, we grabbed lunch, then headed to Weston Park for the location shoot.

Here we recorded take after take of me climbing trees, drinking hot chocolate in a cafe, pretending to do Skype calls, setting up a painting camp and walking through the forest.

I sent out a last minute call on FB to my local mates to ask if anyone was free to be in the video, and luckily a bunch of them were!


Baby J stole the day with his bear outfit and chubby baby cheeeeeeeks for daaaaaaays.

In return, I gave them my ever lasting love… and promise of dinner… which reeeeeminds me… NEED TO ORGANISE THAT NOW! Thanks blog post, you’ve reminded me of so much!

We did the final shots for the video just as the sun was setting…

Here’s the crew as we wearily headed out to the carpark…

16-nine-hour-photoshoot-down (1)

Eight hours of shooting and weeks of planning to create these eight minutes:

A huge effort… but well worth it I think!

I so hope this post has been useful to you.

I know when I first started creating pro videos I was COMPLETELY bloody overwhelmed at everything I had to do… hopefully the resources + insights I shared here will help you create yours!

Big love,

P.S. In the ancient wisdom of Confucius:


Testimonials - LDI2016