End of Feb I ran a 2 day conference for my Academy members.
It ended up going incredibly well, with hugely positive feedback, with lots of people sharing that it was a truly world-class event.
It was run seamlessly, and I thought I would share with you some hints and tips on running a powerful & beautifully-run event.
Get an event manager
That right there is the number one reason why our event ran smoothly, on time & was quite the joyful experience.
Sonya my COO was our events manager. She had lots of experience in running events in the past.
As a teacher, you do NOT want to be managing the event, logistics, contractors, registration & all the myriad event kerfuffles that pop up.
You should be focussing totally on teaching.
Because of the size of the conference, our events manager also had an assistant to work our attendee registration desk, get speakers miked up, help with stuffing gift bags, do event set up and clean up, and even pat my head and sing “Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty” to me. MWAHAHAHAHA. #priorities
Create a run sheet
Sone had our event timed down to the last minute, and she ran it on time like a damn pro.
Nobody likes for events to run over time.
Nobody likes for speakers to drone on and onnnnnn and cut into lunch time.
SERIOUSLY. I WILL GET SO HANGRY I WILL CUT A BITCH.
Even if you like to be a fluid teacher (like me), it’s so important to have structure around your day to make sure you keep your attendees’ needs taken care of. They need water, food, toilet breaks & clear-the-head breaks.
At least a month out from running the event, Sonya had bedded down our event run sheet, including the all-important rest breaks. We had the run sheet plastered everywhere for speakers to see, and Sonya gave us the wind up hand signals when it was time to end sessions.
You can also have monitors on stage to give you countdown times as well.
Brand your space with roll banners
When it comes to creating an event, it can really help to “brand” your event by using signage.
We ordered three wide pop-up banners in addition to one I already had.
It turned an otherwise normal looking space into a very “Leonie” looking one.
During one of those late night internet shopping sessions that I am apt to do, I bought a large Instagram selfie stand.
Totally worth it and totally awesome.
We had gift bags printed up in advance through Grenada Promotions.
We included in them:
We also let all of our Academy members send in gift vouchers, discount vouchers & goodies.
Some of the most gorgeous gifts in there were:
Everything had to be sent to me before the conference began, and our team stuffed the bags the day before the conference.
Our staff running the retreat all wore uniforms so our attendees knew who to turn to for help.
We got some polo shirts printed up with a unicorn.
Because DERRRRRP. #required
Outfits & Hair
I think I got this shirt at a shop somewhere three years ago. Skirt from Tantrika two years ago.
As far as outfits go, my style statement would be:
Comfort, comfort, comfort.
I changed clothes during lunch every day just so I didn’t feel like a sweatyballsack all day.
I didn’t get my hair blow dried or shit like that because it honestly seemed like too much shit to deal with. Maybe I will in the future. Or maybe I’ll just keep doing the mermaid.
Mermaid flapper dress. Found it at one of those women’s dress shops. Maybe suzanne grae? I don’t know. It was in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome. I bought it for the Australian Business Woman of the Year awards night.
Worn with Boody bamboo leggings. And a cardigan from Kmart. I think.
Gawd I’m an amazzzzing fashion blahhhgerrrrrrrrrrrr.
Top from Just Gorgeous Kuranda. Skirt by one of our Academy members Sunny Daisy Tie Dye (who was there! at the event! and we wore matching clothes on the regular!) SQUEEEEE!
This outfit I did buy especially for the event! Me & my darling women’s circle mentor Deb went for a ROOOOAD TRIPPPPPP to Bird’s Nest boutique store (they are an amazing online clothes shop that started in a small town not far from me). This dress was from the Globetrotter by Ruby Yaya range.
Totally stunning dress. I should say – the whole range IS polyester.
I was super wary of it – I tend to wear all-natural fabrics. I was worried I’d get too sweaty or staticy in this dress. But it ended up being quite comfortable to wear. So… WINNAH!
Venue and Catering: The Abbey, Canberra
I cannot say enough good things about The Abbey. They were an absolute joy to work with and took care of us so well.
Plus, the space is fucking next level beautiful. Absolutely STUNNING, with an incredible energy.
Photographers: Tracy Lee Photography
I’d used Tracy before for our 2016 workbook collection photoshoot and adored her. She was an easy choice, and she did a beautiful job of all our event photography.
We hired in a professional videographer crew to record the whole event for our Academy members. Unfortunately due to their lack of customer service I’m not able to recommend them.
Audio: Infinite Light and Sound
Infinite supplied all audio gear and our projector, and provided audio technicians to manage sound throughout the whole event. They were fantastic and did a great job.
Some more big lessons I learned from running this conference!
You don’t have to teach it all yourself
I’ve held off from running a large-scale conference in the past because I didn’t want to teach by myself for two days straight. I’ve got a pretty weak throat that konks out pretty quickly while talking.
This time around, to make it doable for me, I had a co-presenter on stage with me at all times, and I also invited extra guest teachers who I knew and loved and respected to share their wisdom as well.
Denise Duffield-Thomas taught an awesome session on abundance and money blocks. I’ve known DDT for four years now – she attended a retreat I ran in the rainforest, and we’ve been business-sisters & mastermind-buddies ever since. This woman walks her talk like nothing else… in all the time I’ve known her, and as close-up as I have, she has been impeccable and authentic and always, always brilliant. I believe she is hands-down the best teacher on law of attraction in the world, and brings love, warmth & realness to the work of manifesting. If you haven’t already, you should be reading her books & applying her principles because HOT DAMN THEY WORK.
(Little known fact… we decided to have a “Conception Competition” to see how fast we could get pregnant. She beat me by six days! Ha! Our daughters Beth & Willow were in the womb together… it was especially sweet when they finally got to meet in real life. We reckon they were friends on the other side and decided to jump in on the two of us.)
Check out Denise’s session here!
Kerry Rowett (my favourite kinesiologist) taught some powerful energetic practices to help you get over your stucknesses, align to your goals and create them faster. Kerry was another old coaching client of mine from four years ago who I loved working with to help her business grow. She is such an earth angel with bright, clear energy and a real gift. I started using her (and even sending staff to her) to clear blocks & achieve goals. It was so lovely to meet her in person for the first time after knowing her online for so long!
See Kerry’s session here!
Gini Eagle, my dear friend, came in to lead yoga at the beginning of each day for everyone to start feeling refreshed and energised and grounded in their bodies. I’ve know and loved Gini for years, and we’ve shared some truly special, sacred moments together, especially out at her Ingelara Retreat. She was my reiki master that led me through my reiki attunements during a truly magical weekend. She has the most beautiful energy and I am SO glad that I got to share her with all our attendees.
Melissa Prince led a meditation, and also held a sacred women’s circle for our conference attendees during the evening. Mel is a magical human being with a lot of love and integrity in leading women’s work, and I was overjoyed that she flew over the country to teach. And I love that she was able to include elements into the conference that I would have led but just couldn’t because there’s only so much physical energy I have. I love that our women still got to experience that energy, that it didn’t need to run off all my own energy and that Mel could do it instead!
It was a win for everyone involved!
Fill your own well with body work
The night before the conference, I heard from an acupuncturist/body worker Indira from Sacred Health letting me know she’d be happy to do a session for me before I went on stage the next morning. I said HECK YEAHHHHHHH! It helped me so very much to ground and fill up my own well before I went on stage. I got her to come back the following morning for more because I found it so useful. A definite energy booster!
I’ll definitely look at having some kind of bodyworker backstage from now on.
I’ve learned the hard way before that as much as I want to do EVERYTHING and be involved in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT for EVERY SINGLE PERSON, it’s really not the best way for me to hold energy.
I NEED to have time and space and rest away from people to refuel my energy when I’m not on stage.
I decided to sleep at home (only 30 minutes drive away) during the event. I had other staff stay onsite to manage everything. It was actually wonderful and grounding to be able to drive home, have dinner with husby and kids, lay on the couch and just have normal routine at night. It definitely helped my energy levels as an introvert.
When I was at the conference, I made sure I had a longer session of rest over the lunch break, and either took a nap in the green room or went to one of my team’s hotel rooms just to chill in the quiet.
My energy levels were actually pretty great at the end of the two days which I was surprised by – but it goes to show that a little bit of structure and support can go a LONG way!
All in all, I’m really proud of what we were able to achieve, and ecstatic at the feedback we got from attendees!
I will be running the Shining Academy conference again next year in Canberra for all our Academy members. I’d like to make this an annual event, it’s such a beautiful thing to meet face-to-face and connect heart-to-heart.
At this stage, I won’t be running large-scale conferences like this outside of Canberra. So if you’re wanting to come, you’ll need to come to my beautiful city. Distance is no excuse – we had attendees from Scotland & USA. And we’ll release dates as soon as we can so you can get it all booked into your calendars!
I so hope this post has been useful for you in planning your events!
I’ve definitely made mistakes over the years when I haven’t created enough structure and support around live events. I’m so delighted with the flow of what we could achieve together this year… and am delighted to look at ways we can bring even more magic in for future events!
May all your events be a beautiful container of your wisdom and love.
So much love and joy and awkwardly long cuddles,
WELL! Fuck a duck!
Look at me getting out and about!
The hermit is outta the hills and gettin’ out in the world!
I’ll be the keynote speaker at TWO events in Canberra in the next few weeks!
13 April: Canberra Business in Heels
19 April: Canberra Wellness Hub
At both events, I’ll be speaking honestly about the journey of building a multi-million dollar company, how I’ve become a best-selling author, the mistakes I see business owners making + I’ll also doing Q&A sessions.
Come see me! Come play! Come have inappropriately long cuddles!
See you there… my arms will be waiting… HA!
The late bird catches the worm…
We’re giving you a free ticket to our webinar!!!
“How To Use Masterminds To Accelerate Your Biz: The Do’s + Don’ts You Need To Know”
I have been a part of masterminds for about 7 years. I honestly count them as being essential to my success. I absolutely would NOT have gotten as far and as fast as I have without them.
They are the places I’ve gotten:
- free business advice
- brainstorming when my brain just wouldn’t function anymore
- support so I don’t feel so damn alone on this crazy journey
- referrals of clients
- some of my best joint venture partners
- fantastic testimonials
- referrals to contractors + software
I’ve been part of great ones. Crap ones. Paid ones. Free ones. During this call, I’ll tell you all I have learned in the last 7 years. What works. What doesn’t. And how to get the mastermind you need to go faster and further in your business.
During the call you’ll learn:
- Exactly how to grow your business exponentially using masterminds.
- How to get the most out of any mastermind (paid or free) instead of it just being a big old waste of your time.
- When masterminds go bad: When you need to exit + how to do it gracefully.
- The systems + structures you need in your mastermind in order for it to work.
- The hidden mastermind habits of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs.
CLICK HERE TO GET THIS FREE BIZ TRAINING!
Tuesday, September 29th – 2:30pm US PT
Wednesday, September 30th – 7:30am AUS ET
Will it be recorded?
Yes! You will get it as long as you have registered for free here.
See you there, care bear!
Can’t wait to share what I know!
Big love and light,
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Maybe you don’t know this already — but we have an incredible affiliate program to thank all our loyal supporters who want to share the word along about the work that we do.
As an affiliate, all you need to do is tell your friends, family + audience about us and the Academy – and we’ll send you whopping 50% of the membership fee as a very special THANK YOU.
We send THOUSANDS of dollars out every single month. In the last year alone, we’ve paid our wonderful affiliates a massive $75 000!
And for the next two weeks… we’re making it even more divinely delicious!!!
Our Shining September sale is going great guns — and we’re having so much fun that I wanted to share the abundance along to all of you as well!
So, here’s what we’re doing:
The Big Shining September Affiliate Competition!!!
Okay, here are the details… The TOP 3 affiliates with the most sales in the month of September will win:
- 2 hours of coaching with Grant and Leonie (worth $3000)
- 1 hour of coaching with Grant and Leonie (worth $1500)
- 10 of Leonie’s favourite business books (worth $200)
Become an affiliate + start receiving abundance
It’s absolutely FREE to become an affiliate! Let us lavash you with abundance!
Get registered right here!
Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you straight away.
All my love,
I remember right after high school I worked on a building project. We were nailing up cedar siding. I had done a lot of framing, the parts of building that never really get seen, but this job was different. The nails and the siding would be seen, visible, forever. It was my first experience where swinging the hammer wasn’t just about strength, but accuracy was important. No one wants big dings in their siding.
I have a friend who is a modern-day metalsmith of sorts. He takes dents out of cars. His forearms are ripped with sinewy muscles from twisting his tools all day, lifting little dings and dents. He says it isn’t hard to move the metal, it’s hard not to move it too far. His most important tools are a bright light that shines on the surface and his eyes to watch. He can always spot the amateur’s work because the innies become outies. They don’t know when to stop.
In the mountain town where I live, there are lots of ways to tear up a shoulder or a knee. A friend of mine works in the operating room sometimes and he told me about a doctor trying to remove a pin from a leg. For thirty minutes the operating room reverberated as the surgeon used a slide hammer to try to dislodge the metal. So much force required, on something so fragile – a body.
So what ties all these tales together?
It’s this balancing act of strength and skill that each of these real-world tasks require. Wood doesn’t give to a nail lightly, it has to be driven in. But there’s a risk that you miss and mar the surface you’re creating.
And metal is strong and don’t like to get pushed around, but watching a dent disappear is a pretty amazing process – realizing that it’s the skill of ‘just the right touch’ that makes the work awe-inspiring. I would just poke the tool right through the metal – boom, oops. Now how do we fix that?
And the pin, in a bone, that won’t come out? That one is hard for me to imagine. The whole story is a little far-fetched. That we can repair broken bones, that the miracle of healing can be facilitated, supported, and that even healing can require force and strength, but not too much. You don’t want to shatter something else in the process.
These stories of real work fascinate me.
I see a transfer into the world of virtual work, of relationships and leadership. So much work takes strength, and yet the skill is in not hitting too hard. Us entrepreneur types are strong, that’s what gives us the guts to face the world and live our dream so visibly. But that same strength has a risk. You might mar the wood. You might go too far.
Part of having strength is a responsibility to use it well. A responsibility to know that you have it. To know how hard you’re hitting and where. To stop before there’s a mark – on the wood, in the metal, on a soul.
While we’re building our business, our family, our team, there’s a time for the gift of strength.
Work takes strength, takes power, takes force. But if the only force we have is adolescent me driving the nail with all the power one can muster, it’s the wrong kind of force.
We need skillful force. Mature strength. Surgeon’s hands.
It takes time to learn it, and time to master it.
But it is time well spent.
Blessings on your journey,
Editor’s Note from Leonie:
Grant said to me a couple of things in the manager-mistake-mending process that stuck with me, and that this story enunciates so well.
Firstly, he said:
I don’t think you quite realise how strong you appear. You seem so assured of yourself, so certain, so forceful with your will. I don’t know how to argue against that sometimes. I don’t think you realise how you appear.
And I had to take a moment to let it soak in.
He was right. I had no idea. I’m so used to being Leonie The Force of Nature that I don’t realise how it affects other people, especially my staff. And if I want to create a culture of support + stability within my company, I need to temper some of my wilder ways in certain places. I’m not going to eradicate it at all – heck, my wildish nature is a part of me, my creativity + my joy. But it is best served in the creative places, not the managing one.
Secondly, he said:
You, as the CEO, and as the company owner has the greater power in this situation. That’s not a judgment, it’s just what is. That’s how business works. You are powerful, and you need to understand and wield that power well.
Hiro elaborated more:
Leonie, as you grow, and as your company grows, you cultivate more power + influence. And you need to be conscious of the strength of that, and how you use it. For every action there is a reaction. Everything you do causes a greater effect now. You have the responsibility to learn how to hold it + use it well.
What a blessing to learn all this, hey?
My response to both of them was:
Well. FUCK! Why didn’t anyone tell me this in school? Shit! Okay! I’ll learn it now!
And we all laughed and laughed and laughed.
Because it’s hard and yet it’s bloody hilarious really. All this learning + growing + getting over another chunk of your own stuff. Healing + blooming even more into yourself.
It’s the good work to do.
I should mention too – it’s not just me that’s getting my ass kicked into growing here. Ha! Grant will share his own lessons along the way too. That’s the beauty of surrounding yourself with other conscious, growing, evolving people – you have no choice but to up your own game too.
Love, the eternal student,
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A rad question answered for you today.
I suspect it’s something you’ve contemplated.
How on earth can we reinvent our businesses without losing clients?
As passionate, inspired, enthusiastic, creative women… we grow, evolve and learn new things.
Parts that used to fit us no longer do. The old way of doing business no longer appeals to us.
We feel called to something new.
A business reinvention.
How do we do it without dropping the momentum we’ve already gained?
To be more specific, the gorgeous Jacqueline asks:
So, my question has to do with reinvention. I took a long time to find my voice, to find out that thing I’m here to do that I do better than anybody else in the whole wide world. So, now that I’ve found it, my question is, how did you bring your tribe along with you as you unfold something new? Because obviously I’m the one evolving, and I’ve watched you do it, and I just wondered your thought process. Because you went from Goddess Guidebook to Leonie Dawson, and you’ve evolved and you’ve brought your whole tribe with you, and I really do want to do that. Is there a way to make it more gentle?
There absolutely is a way to make the process more gentle.
I should know.
I’m like the Madonna of website reinventions.
Well not exactly that, but in ten years, there absolooodely has been a heck of a lot of change.
For those who haven’t been around the Leonie world for as long as Jacqueline has, I’ve had many iterations of my business, my website name and even my personal name.
- I’ve gone from turquoisejourney.blogspot.com to leonielife.com to goddessguidebook.com to goddessleonie.com to leoniedawson.com.
- I’ve definitely grown and evolved, and as it’s happened, my offerings have grown and evolved over the last ten years of blogging and of creating a business.
- I used to do only meditation, creativity, spirituality stuff and now I talk about business and marketing as well.
- I used to offer programs that I no longer do.
- I’ve rebranded offerings.
- I’ve changed and my business has changed.
And I’ve managed to do it whilst continuing to grow my business and my mailing list.
So here’s the process I recommend of how to make the change and reinvent your business without losing all your gorgeous clients.
The first step is this one – and it’s a really important one – make sure you freak the fuck out about it.
Think through all your biggest fears:
“Oh God, I’m just going to wreck my business.”
“Everybody is going to hate me me.”
“I don’t understand why I’m doing this and why I have to grow, and I should just stay the exact same because I’ve had some success with this, and I’m terrified of having to build up again. I’m terrified of having to change my whole business model.”
It’s really important to recognise that fear does come up, and it’s okay and it’s a totally natural and normal part of that process. Everybody freaks the fuck out to begin with when deciding to grow and change and make that transformation in their business.
My next stage is for you to become at peace with it first before you share it.
Don’t share it before you feel solid with your plan and know the way.
This is something that I see other people do from time to time – they say “Okay, I’m changing my business,” but they’re bringing their fear and their excess energy along with it, and people react off that. And then of course it hits your buttons and then it’s hitting the tribe’s buttons and it just creates this big, energetic kaboom and it’s not super pleasant and it can be a little bit traumatic for people, and it can be traumatic for you.
So what I would suggest doing is, using whatever tools that you like to use to get clear with yourself.
Here’s some ways to get that clarity + groundedness within yourself:
- Talk it through with your support team to get their support
- A trusted business or life coach
- Your favourite energy healer/counsellor – I always use Hiro Boga
- Kinesiology can be incredibly helpful (Kerry Rowett is wonderful)
You need to have your tools and support people that you can turn to in these situations. So whenever you are stuck or in need, you know exactly what to pluck from your toolbelt. Look for support in the right places. We don’t need to stay stuck forever. We’re meant to help each other along on this journey!
So use those tools until you feel so strong and clear in your energy about what you’re doing next and why you are doing it.
You need to be their loving, present, unshakeable guide and leader through this change process. You need to be able to not get triggered yourself and just know what it is you want to do, and know that you’re going to be able to do it.
Get super clear and at peace and really confident and strong in your direction before you start sharing it with your tribe.
So, a quick recap: First stage: freak the fuck out, Second stage: get really clear with your stuff and feel really good and clear about it yourself.
So the next stage would then start sharing the next vision with your tribe.
If you’re going to do a business name change, if you’re going to do a whole change of direction, you can put up a great blog post, sharing exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and of course share it with your mailing list, share it with your social media tribe, and try and answers peoples’ questions as much as you can to give them that feeling of safety.
Be clear about what it means for them and what it DOESN’T mean for them.
Tell them what will stay the same. Tell them exactly what will change.
This will help them allay any fears or calamities and come with you on that journey.
You don’t even have to have a huge coming-out ceremony of what you’re doing next. You can just start incorporating that into your free content – whether it’s your blog, social media, free seminars -start weaving in the new messages of what you’re going to share.
Once you’ve created some groundswell, you can create new offerings about what you want to do next.
Not every single person who’s followed you up until now will resonate with the next direction of your business, and that’s okay.
Just trust that they’re going to find the teacher that they’re wanting with somebody else then.
I regard it as the 10%. Whenever I make a change, I will lose 10% of my tribe. 10% won’t resonate. 90% will, but 10% won’t. And that’s absolutely okay.
And the way that I’ve seen it is that, I cannot stay the same person that I was ten years ago. It is 100% impossible.
Of course, there are people out there who really wish that I could be the same person I was ten years ago, and I’m just not. I’ve had ten years of experience and journeys and I’ve been learning so much about business and getting so passionate about all these different things, and of course wanting to share it with the world. So I can’t stop myself from that natural evolution.
So I accept that I will change. That most of my tribe will resonate with the change and some won’t.
And be totally at peace with losing the 10% (FWIW: The actual number might be less or more than 10%. That’s just how I see it in my head.)
Honestly, a major change in my life came when I chose to surround myself with passionate, spirited women who were entrepreneurs as well.
Because when I came up against the hard stuff, I could go to them. Share what was in my heart.
And hear the answers:
Yes, this is normal.
I’ve been through this too.
It’s going to be okay.
Please know that no one can keep doing the exact same thing and saying the exact same thing as they did five or ten years ago. It’s totally unrealistic to expect that of ourselves and others.
The whole point of being on this earth is to grow and find new passions and learn even more about ourselves and this beautiful spinning globe we call home.
It’s okay to change. In fact, it’s exactly how it should be.
I’m sending you love through your transformation
Transforming your business and soul purpose into its next evolution can be as scary as all get out.
I know. I’ve been there. Had that panic attack. Written that cranky journal message of “GOD, WHY THE EFF DO YOU WANT ME TO CHANGE? IT’S TOO HARD!”
But as in the sentiment of Anais Nin, to not bloom would be the greatest ache of all.
So you gather up your courage. You set your vision.
You squeeze through the eye of the needle, and you come out the other side.
And ahhhh, there it is.
The new land you glimpsed from your rocking boat.
The one that fits your skin even better than before.
This is who you are now.
This is who you are meant to be.
Everything is on its right path.
All my love to you through the rolling waves of change,