Important Changes To My Company In 2017

by Leonie Dawson on January 2, 2017

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Loves,

Happy New Year. Happy Completion of 2016. Happy New Beginning. Happy New Dawn.

It’s time for me to make some shifts to how I run my business.

Boundaries time:

  • I will share exactly what those changes are in this post in great detail.
  • I will share deeply about the reasons behind those changes.
  • I will try to answer as many questions as I think you might have.
  • Please take the time to read this post carefully and thoroughly.
  • If you email us asking about how you will be affected instead of reading this post, we will just send you the link to read this.
  • If you are angry or have complaints or believe I’m a greedy or selfish person for making these changes, you are most welcome to think that. You don’t need to email me to tell me that – I don’t need to know, and I’m frankly not interested. If you aren’t interested in continuing working with me, my Academy or my workbooks because of these new changes, that’s absolutely fine. All you need to do is unsubscribe, not purchase, or not renew your membership. I understand that I am changing the boundaries and ecology of my business environment. It’s up to you to decide if it still resonates and is helpful to you.

So, take some deep, calming breaths. Have a cup of tea. And have a read.

The important changes are this:

  • In 2017, I will be increasing Academy price to $997.
  • I will no longer be offering part payment options.
  • I will no longer be offering “Life Only” access to the Academy.
  • I will no longer be providing printed books to Academy members.
  • I am no longer working towards offering Academy in currencies outside of US dollars.
  • I will be closing Academy Plus option.
  • You can expect to see changes to the workbooks for the 2018 collection.
  • I will closing my Affiliate program.
  • I am opening a third leg of my business. Which seems bonkers, but is actually a wonderful fit for me.

More details:

Price Increase To $997

I will be giving people a month to sign up for the Academy at the current rate of $497 before I double the price. I’ll open up for enrolments at the current price ($497) in Feb or March, and double the rates after that. So you’ll have plenty of time to enrol if you’re called.

If you’ve signed up to the Academy at an early bird price ($99, $197 or $497) you will be able to keep that price for the life of your membership. If you don’t renew and wish to enrol again in the future, you will have to sign up at the new price of $997 a year.

No Payment Plans

I will not be offering payment plans when I do open enrolments. People who want to join will need to be able to invest the full amount of the membership price they signed up at.

For members currently on payment plans (whether that’s 4 months or 12 months), you will need to renew your membership at full price.

To make it easy for you:

Part Paymenters Who Need To Renew At $99 A Year

  • $13.95 a month over 12 months
  • $39.50 a month over 3 months

Part Paymenters Who Need To Renew At $197 A Year

  • $55 a month over 4 months

Part Paymenters Who Need To Renew At $497 A Year

  • $140 a month over 4 months
  • $49.95 a month over 12 months.

If you don’t renew and wish to enrol again in the future, you will have to sign up at the new price of $997 a year.

Books no longer part of Academy membership

I offered the full 2017 printed package of books delivered around the world as a new bonus for Academy members last year.

It was an experiment, and though I loved being able to do that, it is not something I’m able to do continuing forward because of the upcoming changes to how I publish these.

The core focus of the Academy has always been about the value of the courses – I think we are over 117 courses now, plus more added monthly. Those Academy courses are my life’s work, and I’ve always overdelivered with how much content I give to my members. If you don’t believe in the value of that, the Academy is not the right place for you.

I am no longer working towards offering Academy memberships in currencies outside of US dollars.

I have spent over a year and tens of thousands of dollars trying to make this a reality. It’s currently a technical impossibility with different payment processors. I’m sorry – I would have liked to make it happen, but I can’t. Nobody can.

The main currency will continue being US dollars as that is where the majority of our sales are, and it’s more internationally recognised as a currency for other countries than anything else. Less than 25% of our sales are Australian and New Zealand.

I am closing my affiliate program

I will be closing it end of January after the current workbook promotion. I am so grateful for my affiliates, and I’ve loved sharing the abundance and journey with them for so many years.

I sincerely apologise if this isn’t a decision that delights you. I dearly love to delight people.

It’s just time for a shift, and I can’t really explain why… it’s more of a feeling, a gut instinct, an inner knowing.

I need to make shifts so my company feels wonderful and spacious and easy to me again.

I will no longer be offering “Life Only” access to the Academy.

This was an experiment. It doesn’t have enough memberships for me to continue offering it in terms of the additional infrastructure and administration it requires. Current members will continue receiving their resources + new classes for the rest of the membership, but will not be able to renew. You’ll be able to either end your membership, or upgrade to full Life + Biz membership in order to continue. You will be able to get the upgrade at the current price of $497.

You will only have to enrol at the $997 amount if you let your membership lapse.

I will be closing Academy Plus option.

Again, another experiment which adds too much administrative issues and complexity.

I am opening a third leg of my business. Which seems bonkers, but is actually a wonderful fit for me.

I will share more about this soon.

You can expect to see changes to the workbooks for the 2018 collection.

I’ll let you know what they are when I know. I’m exploring all options to see if I will be working with a publishing house, pursuing a different model of distribution, or changing up how many products I offer. I am still very committed to sharing the workbooks with the world.

(You can still buy the 2017 collection in full here.)

My Reasons Why:

The short answer:

I have made huge mistakes when I deviated from my own intention and vision and listened to OPO (Other People’s Opinions). I am bringing everything back in alignment and simplifying it back to its original power and vision.

The much longer answer:

As many of you know, I’ve been suffering from burnout for quite some time. My business has been on a very fast growth trajectory, and it’s been wonderful, stressful, overwhelming and a huge amount of work.

I’m no longer willing to continue sacrificing my physical, emotional or spiritual health, my creativity and my family to continue on down this route.

I’m at a crossroads, and needed to decide to either close down all my existing business structures and do something else, or significantly change and update my business model so it once more fits with me, my spirit and my body, my family and my desire for a life well lived.

I have decided to go this second route – I have adored so deeply this journey, and want to see what can be shaped and created within new boundaries for both the Academy and workbooks.

Academy changes

The Academy started in 2010… I’ve been doing this for over six years now!

Over the past six years, it’s grown increasingly more complicated and hugely more expensive to administer. I am simplifying it back down to its purest form and intention.

I was in a place where I wanted to help as many people as possible, and making it as cheap as possible for it to be as accessible as possible. I’ve fulfilled that particular soul contract to do that until it no longer felt good to my body or spirit. Now I am only willing to help people who are really ready to help themselves.

I’m streamlining the membership levels/options back to being simple so that it both resonates energetically, is less confusing, and cuts down on administrative costs.

Please note: Apart from this, there will be no change to Academy delivery:

  • Courses (both life and business) will stay available to Academy members
  • Courses (both life and business) will continue being created
  • Monthly coaching calls will continue happening.
  • The Shining Academy Conference/Retreat is still happening NEXT MONTH! I am so excited! At this stage I’m not sure if I’ll do one in 2018 or not… so if you want to see me live, best come next month!

Workbook changes

I created the workbooks in the space of 3 days over Christmas 2009 after I wanted to give myself the gift of a goals planner/workbook that was colourful and more feminine, creative & spiritual than anything else out there. It was a way for me to send a love letter to myself in the future – I was pregnant with my first child and knew deep inside that a train was coming for me and there was no way to prevent the collision. I was right – my initiation into motherhood and the two years that followed were some of the most excruciating of my life with post-natal depression, the separation of my parents, the subsequent implosion of my family of origin, and a marriage that survived it all by the skin of its teeth.

My workbooks were my own life raft for me when I was lost as sea, clinging to the vision of what I knew my life was meant to be.

Sharing them with the world in December 2009 was an afterthought. I figured if I was desiring something like that, that maybe other women did too. I thought if maybe 10 other women bought it that would be fun. 100 seemed far stretched but a fun goal to aim for. I launched, and the Twittersphere lit up. There was nothing else like it on the market at the time – there’s about a billion copycat products now – but then it was revolutionary and people were clamouring. Within a month, I’d sold a thousand. Back then, I just sold it as a downloadable PDF – it was easy and relatively simple to pull off. I did everything myself.

I continued sharing them each year, and the sales kept growing. In 2014, I made a Print on Demand version on Amazon through Createspace. It was so awesome to see it “in print” and people loved the physical copy. I did run into some issues with that platform though – most of all, the level of print customisations was very limited. Totally fine for a standard novel or paperback style book, but I wanted to offer spiral bound which made way more sense for the workbooks.

So in 2015 we began to self-publishing by printing books in China using Imago printing and partnering with 3 distribution houses in the UK, US and Aus. The vast majority of self-publishers will only use one, but I wanted to make shipping as fast and cheap as I could for our customers spread out across the globe. Doing this greatly increased our shipping costs, distribution costs and the complexity of the set up. Then I needed to find tech contractors who could build the shopping cart for the products and have it integrate with all 3 distribution houses, our CRM software (Infusionsoft) and our payment software. Then I needed to hire a stack of customer service staff to keep up with the tsunami of emails for customers each day.

For the 2016 collection I made it even more complex by adding three more products to the range. It seems like such a small number, but it added hugely to my workload, as well as design and printing costs, the complexity of our shopping carts and infrastructure.

By the time we reached the 2017 collection, I’d sold nearly 120,000 with another 160,000 being used by charities with their clients. In 2017, I’ve printed 80,000 products, financed it all myself at a cost of $250,000 plus $250,000 in production and staffing costs.

What took me three days in 2009 now takes me more than a year to do the same. While it was still 2016, I’m selling 2017 collection and I’m working on 2018 collection all at once. Organising and managing all the design, printing and distribution myself feels relentless.

Add to that a quickly growing team and a disastrous run of staffing, it’s meant I have spent the vast, vast majority of my time managing logistics and a team. My conversations with my husband (and co-director) of the company stopped being about our dreams and became all about trouble-shooting the latest headache/heartache. I’ve spent all my time putting out fire after fire, managing staffing dramas and being the CEO of a multi-million dollar company with two 7 figure brands.

So much so that I’ve had remarkably little time to do what I actually love – which is to create.

I was not born to be a manager or a CEO. I was born to create, share and live a good life.

I’ve had so many years in this business when I’ve woken up barely being able to believe my luck that I got to do this as a job and earn a shit tonne of money as I did it. Increasingly over the last couple of years, I’ve stopped feeling that way. I can’t tell you how many times I wrote in my journal “I am so DONE! I don’t want to do this anymore! I can’t keep doing this… it is hurting my heart and my spirit and my body and my family.”

I couldn’t take time off anymore. I felt constantly on edge. My health has suffered – badly. My immune system is broken from hyperemesis gravidarum nearly three years ago and still doesn’t seem to be recovering. I feel in an endless cycle of burnout. I started working more time to try and fix everything. I stopped feeling like I loved the shit out of my life. My kids noticed. Starry has heard our conversations and tells me she will come to work with me because she knows I need help and that I’ve had staffing problems (she’s heard me talk to her daddy bear about them) and that I’m so busy I can’t play anymore.

Meanwhile my children’s legs lengthen and they graduate from kindergarten and their faces change and I’m not being the mama I want to be, the mama I have been, the mama I want to be again.

It’s just not fun anymore.

And that may seem contrite – that sometimes things AREN’T fun… but for me, fun is my guiding light. It’s my natural state of being. I know I’m in the right place, at home in my soul, doing the right thing when I’m having FUN.

I’ve never been money orientated. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a shit attitude towards money. I love its guts! I think it can be a source for doing wonderful things in the world!

It’s just not my guiding light above all others. I started out with building a business because I loved my art and writing and womens circles so much I wanted to share them with the world. I began growing it to make it my sole income when pregnant with my first child so that me and my husband could quit our jobs, live anywhere we wanted to and spend our time as a family.

Those two things – my creativity and my family – they are my North Star. They are my Big Why.

So I’m in this place now where I need to make changes, in order to put things right in my world. In order for it all to be in right alignment again.

I keep thinking about this quote:

“Growth for the sake of growth is cancer.”

I’m not interested in more business growth. I’m not interested in doubling my business again and hitting the next income goal. Frankly, I’ve got more than enough of it. What I need now is my life and my health and my art.

I’m not making this decision driven by dollars. I tried that mode of being the last few years, and as I knew it wouldn’t all along, it didn’t bring me joy. It was just more running on the hamster wheel, more hustling for worthiness through an abstract goal. I tried out being a CEO and a people-manager. My ambitious achiever self wanted to experience what it was all like to get bigger and bigger and bigger. It felt hollow. It felt not enough. It felt like I was barking up the wrong tree.

So I’m here.

My business has grown by leaps and bounds in all directions.

It’s time to realign it all back for it to serve its greatest goals… to be a vehicle to share my gifts with the world, and to support me and my family.

I talk to the angel of my business.

She tells me:

Leonie, you were never meant to suffer for your business.

And I sob.

I know she is right.

I tried to be all things to everyone. I tried out being that big flash CEO with a big team. I tried being a superhero and doing everything. I tried being as ultra-generous as I could. I tried.

And I’m all beat up and burnt out and bruised.

And I’m not doing that anymore.

It’s time.

I’m simplifying everything back down. Outsourcing. Clarifying. Aligning everything back to my intention.

Making it what it needs to be to support me, my family and my health.

Dreaming it into a new dream.

I understand…

I understand this may not resonate with you.

I understand you may not understand my decisions.

It’s okay, dearest, you don’t have to.

I understand if you don’t feel you fit in the new ecology in my business anymore.

It’s okay, dearest, you don’t have to. Do what is right and good for you.

I’m like the Madonna of Business Reinvention…

This isn’t the first change I’ve made in my business.

As I’ve grown as a soul, a woman, a mother and a business owner, so too do I need to update my business and offerings to fit me again. I’ve written about it before here. And here. And here. And here.

I’ve reinvented again and again and again.

And yet… so many things are constants. I’ve been blogging continuously since 2004. I’ve been producing and sharing the workbooks since 2009. I’ve been running the Academy since 2010. These are lifetimes in online business years!

I’m a writer, artist, teacher, helper, lover of people.

And that’s what I will always be, and always do.

Some things change, but most things stay the same.

Again, boundaries:

  • I’ve shared exactly what these changes are in this post in great detail.
  • I’ve shared deeply about the reasons behind those changes.
  • I’ve answered as many questions as I can.
  • Please take the time to re-read this post carefully and thoroughly if you need further clarity.
  • If you email us asking about how you will be affected instead of reading this post, we will send you the link to read this.
  • If you are angry or have complaints or believe I’m a greedy or selfish person for making these changes, you are most welcome to think that. You don’t need to email me to tell me that – I don’t need to know, and I’m frankly not interested. If you aren’t interested in continuing working with me, my Academy or my books because of these new changes, that’s absolutely fine. All you need to do is unsubscribe, not purchase, or not renew your membership.

There’s only one person in the world I’ve ever needed to please, ever needed to understand.

She’s standing right before me in the mirror.

She says:

This is what I need. This is what I can do. This is what I can’t do anymore.

And I nod and I say:

Yes.

Big love,