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,
(me & a soul-brother-of-my-childlike-heart, the awesome Nick. years ago. celebrating the arrival of spring.)
I’ve been thinking about
being in the flow
Not just in the hippy dippy sense.
Not in the creative sense.
But in that:
I’m actually in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.
Here’s how I know:
I’m sitting here in the village.
My (darling, beloved) kidliwinks are driving me batty at home at the moment when I try to work.
So I escape up the street. Leave my husbo to tend to them.
I never know what direction these afternoons on my own will take.
Where I will sit. What I will eat. If I’ll get a reading, a healing, a foot massage.
I try and follow my intuition as best as possible.
What feels right? What do I need most now?
Today, the right answer feels like:
Sit at the long wooden bench looking over the rainforest.
Eat japanese food, green smoothie, raw chocolate tart.
Don’t go anywhere else. Just be here now.
Learn and create.
There is a tap on my shoulder.
A smiling woman with silver hair wants to talk.
Her name is Pejuta.
I have been looking for her for two years.
Two years ago we moved here.
I was looking for a women’s circle.
I couldn’t find the right one.
I tried and tried but none felt right.
I kept being told:
Find Pejuta. She’s the one for you.
But I couldn’t find her.
Kept getting one step away only it for not to eventuate.
Then I got sick.
And I heard through the village grapevine she was sick too.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a new healer in the markets.
I got that familiar soul ding.
The ding of:
Take notice. This is the way.
So I rolled up. Told him I’d like to try pulsing.
Gotta be up for trying new things, ya know?
It ended up being profound and powerful.
His presence is like being in front of a zen monk.
He gets to know me. Gets to know that I like to sit at the long wooden table just up the market from him.
And today, when he has an old friend named Pejuta visit, he tells her:
You should go meet Leonie. She’s just up there.
And so she does.
Little coincidences, serendipities, everyday miracles like this.
They’ve been happening more and more lately.
They always tell me I’m on the right path.
That I’ve heard my gut.
That it’s all just working out.
That I’m in the flow.
Yesterday I had a green smoothie craving.
Even though I was supposed to be painting bedrooms.
Took my girls up to the markets.
Sit and wait for my favourite concoction to be made.
A woman approaches, smiles, hugs me.
She’s been reading my work for years, was visiting Kuranda, just wanted to meet me before she left.
She was just about to get into her car to drive home.
We were both gigglesy at the joy of everyday miracles.
I had the biggest grin:
The right place, the right time, the right people, the right thing.
Some days, me and Chris like to laugh.
If we’re walking around, bumping into things, getting lost, dropping things…
We’re not in the flow. Gotta jump back into it.
And we’ll jump around the house sideways like loons
until we feel like we’re back in the flow.
As though goodness and everyday miracles are just a metre ahead or to the side of us.
That’s what it feels like.
Some days we manage the leap.
Some days we don’t.
We keep leaping anyway.
Ever feel like that?
Big love, and everyday miracles,
Once upon a time, waaaaaay back in 2004, I started doing a little kooky hobby called… blogging.
It felt like the stone ages in blogging years.
How was I to know at the time that it would end up becoming so widespread and popular?
And how was I to know it would end up becoming the driver, the creator of my beautiful business which has brought so much abundance, possibilities & connections?
I never EVER thought it would be my job – much less my family’s income!
It’s felt like just an instant and an age all in one.
I am so very, very grateful for blogging and all it has brought me. It has its own kookiness, and its own challenges, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else on earth.
I wanted to celebrate a decade in big, momentous style.
And this is what I came up with.
50 LESSONS FROM A DECADE OF BLOGGING
This is one of my very first websites looked like. That “JOURNAL” section meant Blog, because it was the olden days.
1. START. START NOW. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S PERFECT.
I started blogging ten years ago in August 2004.
I started using a free blog from Blogspot because that was the easiest I could wrap my brain around.
It looked pretty ugly, honestly.
And have you read my first blog post?
It is the most ridiculous quote from good ole Gwynny Paltrow. One that didn’t have much meaning to me.
It was just a copy and paste, a test to press PUBLISH and see if it could be done.
I didn’t wait for perfection. I didn’t wait to know it all.
I just did what I could.
I talk to wayyyyy too many people who want to know the “secrets” of becoming a successful blogger. How they have so many dreams and ideas inside them. But they need to know the whole journey, the map ahead. And they haven’t even pressed PUBLISH on their first blog post yet.
There’s nothing I can tell you to fix this problem except:
I can’t tell you anything to help you grow until you start right now and press publish.
After that it’s all just optimising and tweaking.
You have to hit the gravel and press publish to begin that journey.
2. LEARN AS YOU GO
I knew nothing about coding or websites or design when I first started.
Didn’t know WordPress, e-junkie, Adobe Photoshop, how to use a Mac computer… any software or websites really.
At that point, all I knew was the basics of Microsoft Word and Excel.
Ten years on, I’m pretty competent at lots and lots of things.
Because as each little project came up that needed that next piece of knowledge, I’d stick my head in and learn it.
I’d stay up late at night before heading off to my cubicle job to play with my template, watch Youtube videos on how to edit and upload Youtube videos (the irony), madly google search every time I broke something in my website code (which was a LOT) and gradually work out html from there.
EVERYTHING is learnable. Even if you weren’t born with that knowledge (hint: no one is).
3. BLOGGING IS POWERFUL FOR YOUR BIZ FOR A BUNCH OF REASONS
You can use your blog to:
- answer questions people have
- teach them why your products/services are important & demonstrate how it will help them
- educate them about why they should invest
- build trust in you and your business
- show the behind-the-scenes of the company
- create a story that is powerful and loved by your people.
4. THERE ARE 3 POWERFUL CHANGES YOUR BLOG CAN BRING
Your blog can become
the linchpin, the sanctuary, the place where:
prospects are turned into customers
customers are turned into raving fans
a community is born.
5. DO IT YOUR WAY
I always get asked:
How much should you blog?
The answer is:
How much do you want to? What serves your audience?
I used to try and blog once a day.
It nearly killed me. I know it totally works for other people.
It doesn’t work for me though. I’m just not built for that kind of speed.
I prefer writing longer more intensive articles.
I have my own publishing deadline in my head:
One must be written a week.
If I fall out of that habit, it could turn into months before I published again.
But everyone does it differently:
- Design Mom posts once a day at least – she used to publish multiple times a day.
- Viper Chill posts once a month.
You have to work out a rhythm that works for you and serves your overall goal (i.e. if it is a marketing channel for your business).
Oh, and make sure you press PUBLISH.
6. YOU ARE NOT YOUR BLOG
Your identity is YOU.
You are not your blog.
You have a whole big beautiful world and life that is not your blog.
Your blog (and anyone else’s for that matter) is not an accurate description of your life, value or worth.
7. KNOW WHAT METRICS ARE IMPORTANT. IGNORE THE REST.
I used to think I could work out my blog’s value by counting how many comments my blog got.
I used to think it was super important to have as many RSS subscribers as possible.
I used to think page views was an accurate depiction of success.
UNLESS you are running a blog as a magazine/advertising model (i.e. get as many readers as possible to sell as much advertising as possible)… those are incorrect metrics to work out whether your blog is successful.
The metric you should be looking at is how many people you can get on your mailing list.
Your mailing list is where the gold is in your business.
Your blog should be channelling peeps onto your mailing list.
Count that metric. That’s the important one.
8. DEVELOP YOUR VOICE. STOP LISTENING TO OTHER VOICES WHEN IT INTERFERES WITH YOUR OWN.
Everyone does it.
Starts reading successful bloggers and then unwittingly/unintentionally/unconsciously or semi-consciously begin copying that voice because they think that’s what will lead them to success.
There’s only one person who can speak like Danielle Laporte, Seth Godin, Havi Brooks, Alex Franzen.
Let them speak like them.
Let spirit speak through YOU in the only way YOU can say it.
We need your voice.
We deserve your voice.
How to develop your voice:
Write to make yourself cry. Or laugh.
Write to amuse yourself, tickle your funny bone.
Write and find the thing that feels most true to you.
If you find yourself wavering in the direction of other’s voices, turn the volume off.
Until you can write like you.
(You might discover that you don’t need to read other bloggers for “inspiration” at all. Don’t need to keep tabs on what they are doing so you can replicate their success. Just carve your own niche, and own it like a queen.)
9. BLOGGING CAN TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS (AND YOU)
I’ve been blogging since 2004. It was the thing that really started my business. I started sharing my writings and art online as a creative outlet for myself. I was astonished when I discovered other people (besides my best friend) read my blog. Through the process of blogging and feedback from my small but growing circle of followers, I started finding my own voice and what I wanted to share with the world. My offerings organically evolved from that process.
I began using my blog to:
- Promote my offerings
- Direct people onto my mailing list (I’m at about 50 000 people.)
- Find my peeps
- Allow them to build trust in me by being able to sample my stuff for free
- Build lasting connections (I’m amazed at how many of my current colleagues and friends and fans have been reading my blog for five to ten years! That’s a pretty solid, loyal connection right there!)
Ten years on, those same results continue.
I didn’t know just how huge a role this blog would play in changing my life (and creating and growing my business) when I began.
10. MAKE BLOGGER FRIENDS
There ain’t anyone who gets blogging like other bloggers.
Make mates over email, in masterminds, and most of all face-to-face.
It’ll keep you sane and real.
My mastermind sweethearts motivate each other. Encourage each other. Brainstorm blog post ideas for each other. Talk about the wins and the challenges all at once.
11. STUCK FOR TOPICS?
Ask your audience what they want to know about.
They have really, really good answers.
Listen to ‘em.
12. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE YOU.
Stay totally totally focussed on the ones that adore you for you and your wonderful weirdness and the gifts you’re bringing into the world.
Nobody else matters.
Delete, ban, ignore.
There are a hundred million other bloggers for them to find and love.
It’s utterly impossible to be liked by everyone.
Did you know some people don’t like THE FREAKING DALAI LLAMA?
When I found that out, my shoulders dropped about a tonne.
I think earth angels and helper-healer souls really worry about this. Because we’re so conscious of never wanting to cause harm or pain to any person, we feel completely stricken when we find out even one person doesn’t like us. We want to crawl up and hide away because then no one will ever feel negative feelings because of us again.
If the Dalai Freaking Llama can’t make everyone love him, what hope do we have?
And yet he still shares his gifts each day.
The world is better for it.
Please keep sharing. Please don’t hide away. We need you.
13. THERE ARE A HUNDRED MILLION RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR BLOG GET BETTER.
Here’s just a few:
14. SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WILL CHANGE. DON’T PIN ALL YOUR SUCCESS ON ONE.
In the last decade of blogging I’ve seen:
- blogspot be the next big thing, then WordPress.
- Twitter was kinda ridiculous massive there for a while before it died up the ass.
- Facebook is fairly new-ish in terms of the decade, and whilst it seems like the dictator at the moment, something else will arrive.
- Vine was hot for a red hot instant before flaming out when Instagram introduced its video feature.
Social media empires are flammable and impermanent.
Nobody cares how many myspace friends you have.
Of course it’s important to interact in the main social media platforms.
But don’t believe for an instant it will be your platform for long term success.
Be prepared to change.
And in the meantime, keep getting everyone on your mailing list.
It’s by FAR the best way to keep in touch with peeps who are interested in your work.
15. THE WORLD OF BLOGGING IS ONLY JUST BEGINNING
I hear so many people say that the end of blogging is nigh.
Such a load of shit, in my book.
There is more demand than ever for topical websites which are updated consistently on interesting topics (i.e. A FREAKING BLOG).
Please start your blog.
I know a lot of people want to hear what you have to say.
16. WORK OUT YOUR CREATIVE TIMES TO BLOG. FOLLOW THEM. UNLESS YOU HAVE KIDS OR A JOB. THEN, TOO BAD. YOU JUST HAVE TO BLOG WHENEVER YOU GET A RED HOT MOMENT. HA!
I used to blog first thing in the morning when I felt all fresh and creatively inspired.
I’d sit down at the keyboard:
“Hmmmm… what do I wish to share with the world today? What does it need to hear? Angels, please use me as your vessel.”
And then I had kids, the Great Schedule Destructors.
Now I blog whenever I freaking can, usually pushing up against my own self-imposed weekly deadline.
It’s Thursday today.
There are a LOT of things on my to do lists. A lot of emails that need answering.
What’s more, it’s school holidays and a little bit of something close to controlled mayhem at home.
I get disrupted 3.6 million times a minute (even when I’m in my office). THAT’S MATH. YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH MATH.
So today I took myself off on a self imposed internet-free, kid-free writing break to write this.
I’m down in the village, sitting at a long table as dozens of tourists stream by, typing in a TextEdit file on my Macbook Air. Whenever a tourist stops, looking around confused, I help them with directions.
And then I keep writing.
I’ve got a blog post to write. And it’s 1:30pm, and it’s not my preferred creative writing time… but it’s going to get done anyway.
17. GO OUTSIDE YOUR WRITING ZONE
Sometimes we get our own blogging heads stuck up our own asses.
“Oh, I can’t write about that,”
“That’s not in my blog’s specified topics. I can’t write outside of those!”
Nobody probably even knows what your blogs specified topics are outside of you.
They are most likely just there to hear from you.
And whatever you find interesting, they probably will too.
It can feel really refreshing to hear different types of articles on your blog.
(A Beautiful Mess does this. Occasionally they have business and productivity advice on their DIY/cooking/crafts blog. I actually like those ones most of all.)
18. LIKE SERIOUSLY. MIX IT UP.
My blogging type mix-up tends to look like this:
- Mostly longer written blog posts (I tend to prefer writing).
- I occasionally do video blog posts (I aim to do more of this)
- I occasionally do larger list types of blog posts (i.e. top books + my goals for the year (Also: on the goals thing, I didn’t share mine this year because it didn’t feel right for me. I wanted to keep them sacred and soft here in Leonie Land. I go with my gut.)
- I’ve dabbled in podcasting (and have it as a goal to do more)
- My weekly article is designed specifically to help my target market (usually on a topic like self development, productivity, money and business).
- I also write more personal posts sharing the soul lessons of challenges in my life (for example, Post Natal Depression).
- I trust my gut about what I want to share from my personal life. Over time, it’s evolved and will keep on changing. I just keep checking in with myself about what I’m happy to share.
19. MOMENTUM BUILDS MOMENTUM
The more you consistently turn up to write… the more years you get under your belt…
the more your momentum builds.
Then turn up again tomorrow and do the same.
And then again.
It’s going to become your creative habit.
Press Publish. Send it out into the world.
20. VANILLA IS NOT A FREAKING FLAVOUR
Well it is.
But YOU KNOW.
If you can make your blog post more shimmery, funny, deep, nostalgic, thoughtful, ridiculous… more YOU… do THAT.
Peeps love some personality, yeah?
21. MAKE IT EASY TO SHARE
Dull but important advice: Make sure you’ve got some good share buttons on each blog article so they can be easily shared along on social media.
I use Digg Digg plugin.
22. MAKE IT CONSUMABLE IN MORE MEDIA TYPES IF YOU CAN
If you’re publishing a blog post as a video or audio/podcast, consider having it transcribed.
(I use Transcribeme.)
If you’re publishing words only, consider adding images, infographics and quotes.
Peeps are drawn to information that’s presented in more than one format. That way they can choose the mode that they learn best in.
Plus, if they aren’t in a place where they can listen to audio/video, a transcript is super essential.
23. SPEAK YOUR BLOG POSTS
My mate Hibiscus Moon taught me this trick.
TranscribeMe has a smartphone app where you can record your voice, and send it to get transcribed.
So you can speak your blog posts in 3 minutes flat, get it written up for you for a few bucks.
BANG. BLOG POST DONE.
And it will sound nice and conversational too in your own voice.
24. SPEED UP YOUR WRITING TIME
Do it by:
- single focussing
- being in an internet-free zone (whether by heading off to a wifi-free spot or using Self Control App)
- compiling in a simple word editor (like Text Edit) that you can add formatting/images to later.
More productivity tips here.
25. DON’T SECOND GUESS YOURSELF CONSTANTLY
Second guessing yourself is boring.
Just trust. Write. Show up. Share.
You are not meant to be judging yourself as you write.
Not your job.
Your job is to create.
26. HAVE A REASON YOU ARE DOING ALL THIS
Have something to hold on to when it gets hard.
I do this because I love to create.
I do this because I don’t know a Leonie who doesn’t share her experience through words.
I do this because I know it helps people.
I also do this because it’s an important part of my business and connecting with people.
I do this because I am the gluten-free-breadwinner of my family.
I do this because I care about my husbo and our daughters.
I do this because I want the life we have.
I also do this because we have a lot of children and people who rely on our monthly support to survive.
I look at our sponsor daughters’ faces, and I do this because I have the gift of education, living in a first world country and because I know I can help. I look at them and I know they have big, beautiful potential. They just need the opportunities to realise it.
I think about my daughters being born in a different country. It was all just a roll of the dice. I can’t deal with the idea of them not having the food, love and opportunities they have now.
So I do what I can for the girls whose dice rolled a different way.
I must help them.
I have lots of reason to do all this.
And they are strong and good ones that fill my heart up with gold.
No challenge matters compared to the size of the love I have for those reasons.
27. FILL YOUR WELL
An empty well can’t give.
A mind that is not filled cannot thrive.
- You need to be an interesting person in order to write interesting things.
- Take yourself on artist dates regularly.
- Read widely.
- Go have face-to-face heart-to-heart experiences.
- Go to art galleries, parks, parties, camping, dancing, massages…
- whatever is on your bucket list, do it.
And then, from that well overflowing with experiences and stories and sights…
write from there.
It will be riveting.
(More on that here.)
28. HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVITY
A lot of people ask how I am okay with putting myself “out there” in the public arena, knowing that not everyone is going to love what you do. So many people feel real fear about having to face unkind opinions.
Firstly, I want to say this:
Don’t ever, ever NOT share your work because of that.
Please. Please, please, please.
We need your voice. We need your story.
I 100% believe we are all destined to be here to share our gifts and story in the way only WE can.
That we each come here to help each other along this journey.
And that there are hundreds and hundreds (and thousands and more!) of people out there who need to hear your story in the way only YOU can say it.
They are worth a million times more than an unthoughtful comment any day.
Please don’t let the world not hear your story.
We need it. We need it.
I’m so deeply intense about this.
We cannot hide in silence.
I think about the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jnr, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela.
None of them were loved by everyone. All of their writings weren’t gleefully accepted by every single soul of the planet.
They each faced immense opposition.
But they did it anyway.
And the world is better for it.
Whenever I think of curling up in a cave far, far away from blogland, two thoughts strike me:
1.) I can’t imagine doing anything but this thing I love. This thing I adore. I want to keep doing this. For me. Because I love the shit out of creativity. And I adore what I do.
2.) If I was inventing medicine… medicine that people dearly needed… medicine that made a difference in people’s lives…
and I dispensed it and thousands and thousands of people gave it the double thumbs up, and a dozen didn’t have the same results…
what would I do?
Pack it all in, and deny the thousands who genuinely found it useful?
Or simply focus on the thousands I did help?
I’m not a doctor. And I’m not inventing medicine. But when I look at the statistics of what I have created – thousands of beautiful, loving comments to a dozen crappy ones – when I look at the latest Academy survey results and see 97% of members would highly recommend it to a friend, and that I have members who get so much value out of it they have been in it for four years running (since it began) – that’s what I have to focus on.
There’s some peeps out there who really, really don’t like me. If you feel like searching, you can find some pretty weird shit written about me. Much of it completely untrue, a lot of it horrifically unkind, and the rest being someone’s experience of me. I’m totally at peace with the fact that you can go read all you like and decide from there what feels right for you. (As a handy hint, if you’re looking to have your day wrecked, I wouldn’t advise it. You don’t have to go seeking out drama. But if you want to, go for it. Freedom of choice!)
There are, yes, hate forums out there who are dedicated to tearing to shreds any popular blogger out there. In Australia, we talk about the Tall Poppy Syndrome – about how often people want to cut down any flower that stands tall.
Does it disturb me that they exists? Sure, because I believe it’s pretty unhealthy for a person’s spirit to spend their time devoted to speaking so unkindly. But I also believe that every soul has its own spiritual journey that I cannot hope to know the right path for. Maybe they really need that place for this part in their lives.
My take on it is this: if peeps believe hate forums are the right place to be hanging out on, and taking advice from, those peeps aren’t in my target market, and aren’t in the right space and mindset to get results from my work. It takes work, commitment and a really strong resolve to create positive change in your life and business. And hanging out on a hate forum isn’t conducive to that.
I would much rather only work with women who know that having a peaceful, positive mindset and surrounding yourself with other passionate, inspiring women who are creating their lives and businesses intentionally are incredibly important both for the success of your business and the joy in your heart.
So that’s where I’m at with that.
It’s been a really long journey of me to get to that point of feeling unaffected by it.
I used to think: ERMAGERD HOW CAN THEY NOT LOVE ME IF ONLY THEY MET ME THEY WOULD KNOW I’M A REALLY NICE PERSON! ARGH!
And I started realising that it wasn’t actually about me. None of it is, really.
It was just perceptions and reflections.
Some people love me. Some people get triggered by me.
What’s the right answer here?
Neither. Or both.
Whatever your experience is, it is.
You are most welcome to it.
If you see me as wonderful, wacky, crazy, bonkers, smart, stoopid, loving, unloving…
It’s all okay.
I don’t really need to convince you that I’m any different than what you experience me as.
I know who I am. I really do love being Leonie.
I will keep writing and creating and sharing anyway.
Because that’s what I was born to do.
And I really believe in what I’m doing.
So you get to choose who you want me to be in your inner world.
That’s all we are all doing, all day long.
And I’ll keep creating, writing and sharing anyway.
Because I get it:
Your idea of me isn’t actually me.
What a beautiful thing to learn, hey?
What a deep joy!
How I deal with it:
I don’t read any of it anymore. I was shocked when I first saw it. In pain, actually, to see total mistruths.
I ignore it all.
It has no place in my world.
People are most welcome to decide how they feel about me.
I trust you enough that you’ll decide what role you want to put me in.
Which is a really long way of saying this:
Please share your work anyway.
It’s safe to share your work.
It’s safe to be you.
It’s all going to be great.
In fact, it’s all going to be wonderful.
29. GIVE STUFF AWAY
I’m always creating wild + kooky things to give away that peeps would find helpful.
31. CREATE IN THE WAY THAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE
I’ve tried making fancy shmancy white backlit videos. I’ve tried being scripted. I’ve tried batching them ten at a time.
I feel like cardboard: brittle and slightly burnt by the video lights.
The only videos that make me feel alive are the spontaneous ones on webcam with unbrushed hair and pyjamas and no make-up.
The ones where I talk crap and laugh raucously at my own jokes and even dance across the room just because.
Guess which ones are better?
The ones that get made.
Also: my peeps tend to really love the crappy ones.
I do too.
So I create in the way that makes me feel alive.
Even when it goes against marketing wisdom to make everything all polished-brand-ish.
This is Leonie. This is how an Alive Leonie Does Videos.
Create the way that makes YOU feel alive.
32. BATCH IT.
My mate Denise Duffield-Thomas taught me this one.
She’ll batch everything.
Make all her blog posts in one big batch in one day to get her sorted for a few months at a time.
She’ll create a stack of videos and get them transcribed as well so her blog posts have both video and word options.
She wrote more about her method here.
She’s a smart (and lucky) bitch.
33. BE A MAKER NOT A MARKER
There are no awards for Critic of the Year.
There are no rewards for Chief Judgment Officer.
That gold belongs only to those who dare create.
More here on that by the fabulouso Jasmine Star.
34. YOU BETTER FUCKING LOVE YOUR MISSION, THAT’S WHAT WILL GET YOU THROUGH
It’s not all going to be plain sailing or fun and Disney princesses singing songs to tweedy birds.
There are going to be some hard days in blogging.
Days when you don’t want to press publish.
Days when you’re not inspired. Bored. Over it all.
Days when you feel pissed off. Unseen. Ignored.
There are days when you’ll suffer from comparison-itis: you’ll look around at what everyone else is doing and find yourself lacking, lacklustre, not good enough, why should I ever press publish again.
Days when you’ll feel like your numbers are too small: you’re not getting enough comments, Facebook shares, website visits.
Days when you’ll get a crappy comment and heart thumping, spend the rest of the day, trying to work out how to respond or if you should just delete, turning it around over and over in your head wondering: Do I really suck? Why would a person write such a thing?
Days when you feel utterly misunderstood.
Days when you will want to chuck it all in and never let another person in, ever.
Days when you think: why the fuck do I bother, no one is reading anyway.
And you might be thinking: yeah, as if Leonie has EVER felt all these things. She’s all successful and whiz! She’s made it! You’re immune to shiz when you have it made!
And guess what love? I absolutely have felt ALL of these things.
I was a beginner too. I had really hard days too. It took a long long time before I felt like anyone was actually reading it and that it was important work to do.
I did it anyway.
Stick-to-itiveness is pretty important.
As is loving the shit out of what you do. That’s what will get you through.
35. HAVING SAID THAT, TAKE A BREAK IF YOU NEED TO
If you find your life being taken over by your blog.
If you lose your balance.
If you find yourself obsessing over comments.
If you have totally lost your mojo.
Take a break.
Get your life back. Get centred.
Years ago, I took a year or so off from blogging intensively.
I felt like I was living for my blog, not living for living’s sake.
So I made a really conscious effort to get back out into the world again.
I remember it as a year of creativity and journals and bellydancing and women’s circles and intuitive dance. Undocumented in public, they filled me up privately.
I went to India. Instead of writing about it, I wrote a book.
A big thick beautiful watercolour book filled with words and photos and tears and joy.
A book that you can only read if you’ve got the one sole copy in your hands.
It felt really good and right.
One of my favourite blogs Young House Love is on hiatus at the moment.
I miss them. And yet I understand.
Another blog MODG ended after the author realised it wasn’t the right lifestyle fit for her.
It’s okay to call it quits if it really, really sucks.
There’s something to be said for stick-to-itiveness.
And if it’s really crapping on your life and heart and spirit big-time, it’s totally cool to choose something else, ya know?
36. COMMENTS? TURN ‘EM ON OR OFF. I LIKE OFF.
I get asked about this a lot, so let me answer it here: it’s up to you whether you want to have comments or not on your blog.
Unless you really, really enjoy the interaction you get there, or unless you have a business model of selling advertising on your blog, I’d suggest not having comments.
Because in my experience it adds an extra level of admin to your business, and you can get writer’s block if you feel like you’re not getting enough comments or the right kinds of comments.
People can always comment on social media instead – which ends up being more useful for you as increased comment activity on social media posts will end up making your posts rank higher.
My suggestion is to experiment with turning comments on and off and see what works for you and your business. If you feel like you get a lot out of it and so does your community, go for it. Otherwise, nix ‘em.
(If your primary business model is selling advertising on your blog, you will want to have comments on and a commenting policy in place. Why? Because you’re in the job of increasing your page views and traffic as much as possible. And commenting increases page views. Especially if people start arguing in comments.
37. YOU’LL MAKE MISTAKES. FORGIVE YOURSELF.
You’re going to try lots of things on this wonderful blogging and business journey.
Try them on, see if they fit, see how they feel.
Some will stick. Some won’t.
Some you’ll think back on and think “That really wasn’t very me-like.”
We all are.
Mistakes are essential.
38. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT AT EVERY THING. THAT’S COOL.
For 80% of the last decade my blog’s design was pretty… “handmade.”
Very obviously not designed in the most sophisticated of ways.
That’s totally okay.
It’s more than okay.
It’s still been successful anyway.
Success because it’s achieved all the goals I wanted it to achieve.
Sometimes I get around to taking really lovely, edited photos on my big digital camera.
Most of the time though, you’re going to have to deal with crappy, grainy Instagram photos taken on my iPhone.
It’s okay. YOU’RE WELCOME.
I’m well aware that I’m not going to have those things down pat.
That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t blog though.
That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t show photos.
Just do what you can.
Maybe photography IS your strong suit.
Maybe WRITING is.
Whatever works for you – do that.
Have I told you lately that you should press publish?
39. WANNA KNOW MY SECRET TO LONGEVITY?
This is my 2003rd blog post published in ten years.
That’s 2003 times of pressing PUBLISH.
Imagine if I hadn’t begun at all.
What if I never pressed PUBLISH to begin with?
It could all have been a dream. An idea still in my head ten years on.
41. TWO GREAT BOOKS FOR BLOGGERS:
42. HOW TO NOT RUN OUT OF IDEAS
Q&A time: Do you brainstorm ideas and have a list of ideas or just write as things come to mind?
- I collate a really big list of things to write about in my project management software (I used to use Basecamp, but we’ve just moved to Teamwork).
- I do a yearly survey of my Academy members and include questions about what they want to know about next from me. These can then be crafted into blog posts (or future Academy programs). I collate all of those onto my Teamwork Blog Posts list.
- I occassionally open up “Ask Leonie” blog posts or Facebook posts, and ask people to comment with what questions they have for me. I again collate all of those onto my Teamwork Blog Posts list.
- I fill out the SEO worksheets in Double Your Biz and refer to it often for blog post ideas.
- If I’m launching a program, I’ll create a month’s worth of blog posts that are topics my target market would be interested in, and promote the launch in (or at the end) of those blog posts.
- I have a lot of structure there so I don’t run out of ideas, but I leave plenty of room for inspiration to strike.
44. GET OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD. THEN POST FROM THERE.
You aren’t going to get more inspiration from reading blog after fucking blog post.
That’s not how you’re going to come up with great new original, insightful, helpful content.
Get out in the world. Do groovy things.
Then you’ll get so fired up you’ll actually have things to write about!
For example, I volunteered to be a mentor at my old high school.
I got to hang out with hundreds of gorgeous, spirited, smart 13 and 14 year olds.
And it got me so fired up I wrote this blog post afterwards – 10 Things I Want To Tell Every Teenage Goddess.
45. GET REALLY GOOD AT MAGAZINE HEADLINES
I think this is one piece of blogging advice from Darren Rowse that has stuck with me over the years.
His advice was you should improve your ability to write compelling headlines (i.e. blog titles) as much as possible because it can make such a difference to blog traffic.
His recommendation was to go to a magazine store and look at all their covers. Magazines are bloody brilliant with coming up compelling titles that make you want to open.
Start thinking about your blog post titles like that. Get magazine-ing!
46. HAVE MUSES
I’ve been known to make random calls to Academy goddesses to ask them what’s going on for them, what’s helping them, what they need more help on.
I’ll help out friends with their marketing. I’ll volunteer my services for local organisations.
All because I want to know what questions THEY have. What THEY are struggling with.
Because if they are struggling with it, chances are other people too.
And of course I want to freaking help.
So I write a blog post to answer my muses’ questions!
47. GIVE YOURSELF SUPER SHORT DEADLINES
You’ll write faster. Pow pow pow. Do away with the dross, get to the good stuff.
Ride that wild donkey of a blog post!
48. STOP! COLLABORATE!
Want to get out there more?
Consider pulling together a collaborative effort from other bloggers in your industry.
It can be a really wonderful way to cross-pollinate your audiences together and increase everyone’s profile.
Plus, be a really helpful, happy thing for readers.
Example: My How To Be A Morning Goddess ebook (free!).
50. IT’S OKAY IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE END
Ten years ago when I first began blogging, did I think it would end up being me (& my husband’s) job?
That it would give us financial freedom?
That I would end up having full-time staff?
That it would be an important marketing channel for the company we would form?
That we would be able to do as much philanthropic work as we are doing?
I had not a clue.
I only started.
Started turning up.
Sharing my work with the world.
Then momentum bred momentum
and the journey took me here.
Do I know where I’ll be in ten years from now?
I only know that
I’ll turn up.
Share what’s inside me.
That’s the biggest dream.
That’s the place of healing.
That’s what I was born to do.
The details don’t matter.
Create. Press publish. Share.
The miracles all come from that.
On the wings of the creative goddess,
with love, joy & freedom,