sales 101

Hey there lovebugs!

We have a brand new course for our Academy Members!

We’ve been busy creating juicy, new content (Discover Your Life’s Wisdom + Deep Brewed Life are among our newest!) and I can’t wait to share our newest one with you!

Not a member of the Shining Academy yet? Gain access to 70+ courses now!

Join guest expert on sales, Fran Pratt of KISS to Sell for this jargon-free, online training for people who don’t like selling. Become better at sales without the spammy, scammy, yucky feeling.

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I met Fran at Ausmumpreneur conference a few months ago.

She was the guest speaker on selling, and I thought she was brilliant.

I immediately forced her to be my friend.

I tried looking for a photo of us together.

All I found is this photo of me laughing at what she was saying.


Anyways, apart from forcing her to be my friend,

and making her very very late to go home because we ended up setting up camp on the floor and talking for hours,

I also told her she simply must teach a Sales 101 workshop for my Academy members.

She said YES!


Sales101Sales 101 C

In Sales 101 workshop, you’ll learn:

  • How to de-ickify sales for you
  • an easy but powerful sales system (that will get you results!)
  • How to talk about your business without sounding like a wally
  • How to get more sales + convert more leads!

Take action today!

What Others Are Saying…

“Fabulous. Loved every second of it.” ~ Maggie

“Listening now, so excited!!!! So much offered, and I am so glad that I joined the Academy – best decision I ever made.” ~ Lisa

“This was very helpful and timely for me. Thank you so much. I am continually amazed and delighted at the quality and quantity of help you all provide. Heavenly!” ~ Judy

Not an Academy member…yet?


There are many investments you can make in your business.

I get that. I know there’s a million different directions your cash can be pulled. I can guarantee though – if you turn up and make use of the Academy + its mastermind, it’s going to give you the BEST return on investment possible.

Each month, because of the Academy, you’ll be:

  • growing your business profit with our fast growth tactics
  • building your social media reach like a pro
  • turning them into buying customers + raving fans (making you THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS)
  • brainstorming with other Academy members – essential advice on how to do your business better, in ways you haven’t thought of before!
  • getting advice from our panel of experts (saving you cash on having to buy extra advice or programs!)
  • saving you valuable time searching around the whole damn interwebs for an answer and hoping it’s the right one
  • learning from $10,000 (and counting!) worth of training materials!
  • finding other members to meet up with face to face to mastermind with (MEET + GROW RICH, BABY!)
  • implementing our success habits + mindset to get you the BIGGEST impact with the LEAST amount of hours + tears
  • jumping on our monthly coaching calls to get hotseat advice (worth THOUSANDS – I usually charge $1k an hour for coaching!)
  • finding out the very latest business tactics and tips that are getting people RESULTS in their businesses
  • getting access to an incredible community of women you can work with, brainstorm with and get referrals from
  • getting advice on the exact right software situation for your biz needs (saving you HUNDREDS!)
    all the love we can pile on you.

Let’s go, sweetheart. It’s time to make those dreams of yours come TRUE.

Join the Academy now!

All my love,



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The Great Annual Workbook Giveaway For Non Profits!


Hey loves,

Are you a social worker or a part of a non profit organisation?

Does your organisation work with underprivileged or disadvantaged women?

Or do you know someone who is?

We’d love to donate the 2016 Create Your Shining Year workbooks to you for using with your clients – as many as you’d like!

We’ll supply both Life and Business editions – whatever you feel would work for your clients!

Every single year since the beginning of the workbooks, we have been donating them to non profit organisations. I’ve also run a meditation + goal setting retreat at a local safe house which was such a beautiful experience. Sharing the workbooks is my way of being able to visit even more places, helping raise spirits and creating change in the world.

To Apply:

To apply for free workbooks for your clients, just fill out the form here + my lovely support fairies will be in contact in the next few days.

northside flower market

Those donated workbooks ended up being used by over 22,300 (!!!!) souls around the planet who needed them, from organisations that included:

  • schools using them for teenage girls
  • women’s shelters in the United States
  • Indigenous Australian women’s services in Sydney, Australia
  • disadvantaged women advocacy services in Cambodia
  • animal sanctuary in the United Kingdom (used by their board to business plan their charity! Hooray!)
  • aged and elderly services in New York
  • cancer survivors in England
  • women’s charities in Zimbabwe.

The feedback from the organisations has been really, really wonderful.

Organisations got a lot out of it, their clients got a lot out of it. Clients felt much more inspired, motivated and empowered after using them, and often requested more workshops to have accountability about following through on their goals over the year.

I got this heart-warming email from one of the case workers who used it:

“A few months ago I applied to use the Create Your Shining Year workbook in a community agency. I would like to share with you how the non profit organisation has used the workbook to support women clients.

As you might know already Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia had its biggest flood in history. There is a whole suburb that went under here and many other places were badly affected. Homes and business were so badly flooded that they won’t be rebuilt again. Many people have struggled after this natural disaster. After reading the offer for the use of the workbook I had a great idea to support women who had been affected by the floods by using this workbook. I went and developed a full day workshop based around the workbook.

As we are non profit organisation and are always needing funding to continue our work I put a proposal together and put it forward to 2 community groups that I thought might help. Zonta and Rotary inner wheel very generously donated money so we could print the book out for participants and funded lunch for the workshop. The workshop was free for all women who attended.

We set out to run 2 workshops, which ended up filling very quickly so we had to put on another one. 40 women in total have attended over 3 workshops and have worked through the workbooks. These workshops provided a space where these women could come together to share of their experiences of the floods and begin to imagine a brighter future for themselves and their families.

The women were all deeply grateful for the workbook and for your generosity to allow us to use them. The workbook was the perfect platform to help these women move from feeling helpless and overwhelmed to feeling empowered.

The feedback from the workshops has been very positive and we would like to continue our work throughout the year to support women who have been affected by the floods.”

This year we want to help even MORE.

That kind of feedback is exactly why we offer this program – to make the workbooks available to ANY woman to help them create goals for their families, lives and businesses, and inspire them to reach them.

I’m aiming to get these in the hands of AT LEAST 50 000 women who need them this year.

Some essential admin notes:

  • Workbooks are PDF (i.e. not printed, physical copies). Unfortunately we’re not able to offer printed workbooks for this offer. We’ll provide you with PDFs and a licence to print as many as you need. PDFs can be printed out or filled out electronically. You’ll also receive a short guide with instructions/suggestions on how to use the workbooks with clients.
  • As an extra gift this year, we will be choosing TWO organisations – one within the US, one within Australia to receive printed workbooks. We are not able to offer this to all organisations as we donate more workbooks than we sell. Just fill out the same form + I’ll be choosing the lucky organisations at random.
  • I specify this is for women because the workbook’s content is aimed at women. They can (and have) been used for men, but the language and imagery is definitely orientated towards women.
  • YES – if you’ve received them in past years, we’d be delighted to continue donating to you!
  • This offer is ONLY for registered non profit organisations. This is not a workbook giveaway free for all. This is not for individuals. This is not for practitioners to giveaway to paying clients. This is only for registered non profit organisations. Please don’t apply unless you are one. Please do not waste my team’s time who could be helping real non profits. If you aren’t sure if you are one or not… you aren’t, so please don’t apply. (I’m sorry if this sounds snarky, but holy dooley we’ve seen some doozy requests over the years!)

To apply for free workbooks for your clients, complete the application here + we will be in contact with you shortly!

I’m SO delighted to work with even more organisations this year to help even more women grow, evolve, dream, hope, transform + make their own miracles happen.

Together, we’ll change the world. I totally believe and know that with my whole heart.

Thank you so much for all the work you do.

big ole love,


P.S. If you know of anyone (social workers or organisations) this could help, I would SO SO SO appreciate it if you could share it along!!!! Thank you so much for helping the world!



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Moments: A Personal Sharing

Lately, I’ve been…

broken apart. Vulnerable. Burnt out.

Finding my way by bumping into stone.

Stumbling on to my knees.

And sometimes it hurts

but then I think

it’s easier to pray from down here.

Easier to inspect the earth from close up.

Easier to be instead of do.

It’s a holy kind of humbling.


It’s been a recurring theme for me over the last year.

It’s kind of like I invited all this brilliant new insights + collaborations + partnerships in…

All of which have brought me SO much joy. SO much creative ecstasy. SO much power.

And they’ve tested me and forced me to grow as well.

Supersonic growth.

Supersonic stumbling.


Besides, from down here…

The teachers come gently in.

And I go to bed with such a full, grateful heart…

tender at this much love, this much insight.

Now, more than ever,

I feel completely seen for all my parts:

not just the brilliant

but the fuck ups and the fears and the anger and the sorrow too.

I’m getting translucent in all the miraculous parts of me, but most of all, the human parts of me.

And somehow…

I am still loved.

Still lovable.

How is THAT possible?


I hope this makes sense.

I hope I’m not being too opaque. Too poetic.

I will try anyway.

Knowing I probably won’t get it right this first time

but if I start talking about it,

maybe the stories will weave themselves into a tapestry

maybe I will get better at this

maybe I will see it all the more clearly.

Maybe it will make more sense in my head.


Most of all, I just want to remember.

Remember these moments when I have been taught.

Shown where I need to heal.

And loved every single step of the way.


It started with Brené.

For years I refused to read her work.

I thought I didn’t have shame.

I thought I was beyond all that.


I accidentally listened to Gifts of Imperfection on Audible.

It might have been incomprehensible to me if I’d read it on a page.

But through words,

as I rode my exercise bike,

as I did school pickups,

through words I got it.

What I got most of all was this:

A woman came up to Brené and said:

I don’t think I have any shame.

Brené replied:

Let me guess… you’re a high achieving woman. You make happen whatever you want to happen.

She responded:

Well… yes?

Brené said:

You don’t feel shame because you spend your life running from it. If you’re perfect enough, if you do enough, you won’t ever have to feel shame. So you actually are more concerned about shame than anyone else. You just spend your life successfully running from it.




I felt immediately seen, singled out. My game was up.



I had a minor breakdown.

When Chris or Grant would ask me what was wrong, I could only respond with tears and sobs and

“I’ve spent my whole life hustling for self worth!”

I spent an amount of time bitching out Brené for giving me the contagion of her breakdown.


(I should say here that OBVIOUSLY I am a ridic Brené fangirl. But damn, was breakdown-me pisssssssssssssed for having my game found out.)


It ended up getting so bad that I didn’t feel like I could pull myself out of the spiral.

I went and consulted those two sage blokes in my life… my darling husbo Chris and my General Manager/Creative Playmate Grant.

Usually those two can sort me out. I’m bloody lucky to have such wise souls surrounding me in life and biz.

This time though, I think Chris and Grant were somewhat relieved they could hand me back and forth to each other.

They’d give it a red hot go at listening and helping and gently coaching.

But that spot inside me was still so tender and raw I couldn’t be helped.


I did what I could only do next. I called Hiro.

She said in that sing-song voice of hers:

Tell me what is going on with you, Leonie.

I answered in a tumble of words:

I’ve just been hustling for worth MY WHOLE LIFE. That’s all I’ve EVER DONE!

She listened.

Is that really true, Leonie?

I insisted it was. I was tremulous and teary.

Is it really true that every part of you has hustled for self worth? Every single one of your inner selves?

I sat, and I felt in my body.

No, you’re right. It’s just some of them. Some of my younger selves.

We sat in silence for a moment. My body softened.

Yes, that’s right my love. Some of you might have held that belief. But there are so many parts of you that have not. Parts of you that have celebrated and loved and adored every part of you, and known your right place in this world.

It’s important you don’t say all of yourself does. It’s important not to dramatise and catastrophise things. Otherwise you feel scared and shaky, like your whole world has been uprooted.

My body softened more.

And we sat in that truth for a little while.


A sacred circle.

Not just any circle, either.

The same circle I was initiated into 12 years ago.

Same leader, same beautiful women. As familiar to me as sisters.

My heart could hardly contain the mystical homecoming.

I was thrown open with grief about how dearly I had missed this. Missed them. Missed circle.

Missed the space where I could be myself, truly.

Speak my whole truth and nothing but the truth.

And be loved and listened to.



“I’ve been motherless for four years”, I said, cupping the talking stone close to my cheek.

“It got to the point where it was too hard, too broken, too toxic to allow contact with my mother.

I knew then… I know now… that she loves me. And that I love her. Deeply.

But I couldn’t give up myself for her anymore. I couldn’t be bulldozed or controlled anymore.

I couldn’t live a boundary-less life anymore.

I couldn’t live a life with boundaries that were disrespected, ignored, trampled on anymore.

I couldn’t do it to my children. I couldn’t do it to my husband.

I couldn’t do it to me.

And so I learned to mother myself.

Learned how to tend to myself.

I forgot that other people had mothers, or what that might even mean.

And it’s been a long journey, and I’m tired.

I’m going to fill my well again.”


Bee comes up to me after circle closes.

Bee, that tiny fairy with the largest heart, a courage that is barely contained in her tiny frame topped with a wild brown mane.

Bee is pregnant now. Not just pregnant, but 9 months pregnant.

She is Empress, Mother, Full Moon.

It was her due date.

She pulled me into her arms. Curled me up against her chest.

“You just need to be held, my lovely,”

she said.

“It’s been too long since you’ve been held like this.”

I nod, curling up small in the arms of the Great Mother incarnate.

She holds me like that for a long long time, and I feel the gentle nudge of her baby into me.


A call with Grant and Sonya.

Two of my dearest friends who just happen to be the managers in my company.

Our friendship journey and personal growth journey interweaves intrinsically into the very DNA of how we do business together.

We are talking strategy and positions and budgets for the coming year.

And, as always, we are talking about our most vulnerable fears, feelings, hopes, insights as we go. Because it’s all a part of this.

I ask:

How do I not get stressed out at work? How do I make sure I don’t take that stress out on my staff and micro manage?

And in a lightningbolt, Grant sees a pattern of mine.

Leonie, it’s not about you getting stressed out at work. Because the fact is, whenever you get stressed out ANYWHERE in your life and your business, you react and self-soothe by working. You try and gain control of the whole world by controlling the microcosm of your business.

There was a stunned silence.

And I saw it so very clearly.


I tried to joke it off, like a whole new world had not just been born.

“HA! Well! There are worse things I could have done! No wonder the company has grown even when I’m having a completely terrible year!”

Sonya responded back immediately in that steadfast, loving, firm Taurean way of hers:

“Leonie, you can not pretend this has not come at a cost. This is not a healthy coping strategy. This is not how leaders lead and thrive.”


Each of these pieces.

Five moments of startling insight.

Five teachers.

I go to bed at night time just to stare out at the stars.

Let their words sink into me and find a home there.

Let them lead me home.

Show me what needs healing, so I may be healed.

This is the songline of my life.


And as I lay there, I think of all the teachers in my life.

These lovely luminescent beings… who I am married to, work with, am friends with, am clients of, am a student of…

How did I get so lucky?

How did I get to be so loved that I am told the truth kindly and gently?

How is it possible I can be loved even when I am a work in progress?

I don’t know. I only know that this is the path ahead.

Keep turning up.

Keep facing toward the light.

Keep being humble and alive.

Keep meeting the truth.

Keep being met by love.

And be revealed, transformed by the whole damn thing.

Big love,



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Best Of January! Here’s what I shared last month…

best of juicy january

Hi beautiful souls,

Can you believe it’s already February?




I’m trying to get some solid rest + rejuvenation time in before Grant arrives in Australia (2 weeks away!)

It’s been a huge few months pulling off a million dollar book launch (I’ll share more about that in a coming blog post). And it’s going to be huge as well over Feb… including the biggest event I’ve ever done. We’ll be recording new Academy courses and mapping out all the goodness we plan on sharing with our tribe over the next year. Lots of wonderful projects in the works!

It’s also a big time for us as our sweet elder doggy Charlie nears the end of his life journey. My honey Chris has the gentlest heart (especially when it comes to animals) so he’s feeling it the most. And I get teary thinking about how we got Charlie at the Canberra Pound 12 or so years ago.


He was young. So were we.

play Leonie and Charlie

He made us a family.


I’ll let you know when things change with him.

In the meantime, he’s in our hearts and minds a lot. Especially now as his elder-dog disabilities and ailments need a lot of nursing.

So… that’s where I’m at…

in a certain still space in my life… looking back at everything that has been… looking forward at what is coming.

So… here’s all the articles we shared in January!


Our Upcoming Business Changes In 2016

There’s a few changes that we are making to the company in 2016.

I thought I’d share about them here.

By the end of December, we started realising the limitations of just me and Grant managing the company.

We’ve grown the company and the team so much that it was taking more and more of our time just to manage it all and keep all the plates spinning. In order for us to go out together to forge new territory, create even more new things and vision the next growth of the company, we needed somebody to take over more of the operations and project management.

Once it was in our heads, we knew just who to call…

Find out here!


Why You Need Systems Even In Your Creative Business [A Guest Post by Grant]

Lily has a little business. Always the creative type, Lily found that the images and letters flowing from her hand caught the eyes of friends and family, who began asking for her hand-written wedding invitations and greeting cards.

This year, a friend told Lily about Leonie. Lily now finds herself at her little desk, in the upstairs of a restored Victorian, flipping through the pages of the 2016 Shining Biz Planner.

It almost seemed like too much, tasking her tiny business with a whole volume of goals and commitments. It was too concrete, in a way. A little too black-and-white for a girl who loves colors. But the book had colors too and after all, there were a few details in her business that needed, well, attending to.

Turning the color-splashed pages of the her Workbook, she stumbles on a word that seems foreign to her hand-drawn, each-one-different world.

“Systems” it said. In big, black letters. Something in Lily recoiled. Hers was a systems-free world. She had left systems for one-of-a-kind. She competed with systems.

Maybe you’re like Lily. You’ve found a niche of un-system in a systems world. You’re a throwback from a different era and you like it that way. Your clients like it that way. It’s working for you.

Or is it? Click here to read why you actually need systems (even for your creative business!)

top achievers in 2016

Want To Be Someone Who Actually Achieves Their Goals This Year? This 1 Tip Can Make All The Difference…

Let’s talk GOALS for a moment, shall we?

It’s the beginning of a new year. The air is ripe with possibilities.

All around us, there is talk of goals and planning and resolutions.

But the fact is this – the vast majority of us will end this year no different than how we began it.

Our dreams still tiny seeds that have not taken root.

And that makes me bloody sad.

Goal-getting + dream-birthing is a LEARNED skill. A pragmatic practice that all too often is not shared, discussed, understood or worked at.

And yet it’s the skills that make all the difference.

So, if you really want your dreams to come true, here’s your three step formula to success!


Ask Leonie: Where Do You Buy Your Hippy Clothes?

If I knew as a teenager that one day someone would ask me for FASHION ADVICE I would have howled with laughter so hard I would have weed a little.

I am the least fashion interested girl I know.

I kind of just glaze over at the idea of shoes and handbags and clothes shopping. That said, I have found my very own specific closet that works for me.

So in the latest edition of Ask Leonie, I answer the question you’ve all been dying to know!

Read on here!


Australian Shining Academy Retreat!

It’s coming, it’s coming! On February 27- 28, my COO-man Grant and I will hosting the Australian Shining Academy Retreat in Canberra, Australia!

In our time together we’ll:

  • Dive deep into your business through our 7 Chakra Business Model
  • Help you determine exactly what you need to do next to go to the next level
  • Premier our new 6i Success Mindset diagnostic tool
  • Host hot seat coaching opportunities for you to get advice on your business
  • Open the floor to you for Q&A to answer your biggest business questions
  • Marketplace for attendees to share their goods with all of our lovely attendees

You’ll be provided delicious lunches + tea, a gorgeous venue, all the business insights you can pack into two days, a private FB group, optional yoga + meditation, fabulous illustrated notes AND you’ll have access to our two incredible guest speakers – our favourite money expert Denise Duffield-Thomas and our favourite kinesiologist Kerry Rowett!

This event is EXCLUSIVE to Academy members. Not a member yet? Sign up here!

For more deets, click here!

grant learns

What I Have Learned In The Last Year At LDI [A Post By Grant]

Leonie asked me to write a blog post on the things I’ve learned in the last year of working at Leonie Dawson International.

Instead, I called her, and we talked about it.

Join us in this honest conversation from the heart about the sweat, insight, work and tears it’s taken to grow a company from a $1m to $2m company in a year.

We’ll talk the big questions like:

  • Are you an Uber Ingrid the Implementor?
  • Are you ready to evolve and scale your business?
  • Is it time to grow a team beyond your skills?

Analogies, laughs, and some plain old good advice mixed with lots of “Leonie moments”. Don’t miss this episode.

Listen here!


New Academy Release: Grant’s Deep Brewed Life Album

Some of you may already know that Grant Andrew, our Academy co-teacher + COO here, is a gifted singer-songwriter.

In a special licensing deal, the Academy can now offer his album “Deep Brewed Life” for download to all of our Academy members.

This album was originally created from a successful Kickstarter project.

I felt it was important to share his work with you.

For more info + to join the Academy to have exclusive access to this and 60+ other courses, click here!


11Jan Creating a word of the year artwork

My 2016 Word Of The Year Painting!

This year as I was filling out the workbooks I decided I wanted to do one of the extension activities in it…to make an artwork for my Word of the Year.

I’ve done this before a couple of times before when I’ve been called.

This year I decided to do another painting to hang in my office. It’s so helpful to have a big painting to remind me of my word of the year.

To see my artwork + to find out my word of the year, click here!

workbook unboxing videos

Holy Adorable! Workbook Unboxing Videos From Around The Web!

There have been SO many unboxing videos of the 2016 workbooksand diary-planners springing up all over the web!

Check out the videos here to see what it’s like to get one of those boxes of love in the mail!

workbook group guide free guide2

Attention All Workbookers! Your Guide To How To Start And Run A Workbook Group Is Hereeeeee!

Goal setting + accomplishing your biggest hopes and dreams isn’t always an easy feat. Life gets in the way. You get sick, work gets hectic, unexpected expenses come up.

It’s just SO easy to put those goals on the back burner and well, give up. Been there, done that.

We all need + deserve support.

We decided to create a fabulous, free guide to help you create your own workbook group!

Grab yours here!

discover your life's wisdom

New Academy Release: Discover Your Life’s Wisdom

We’re rockin’ and rollin’ with new Academy courses coming your way!

This is one hour video is a beautiful, intimate insight into how you can discover the wisdom that exists in your own life story.

There’s a kind of magic of watching a video recording of a live training. There’s an aliveness to it. It’s actually my favourite type of course to learn from.

To read more + to join the Academy if you aren’t already a member, click here!


Are You Too Late?

So I want to do this public service announcement…

Is it TOO LATE to plan for 2016? Shouldn’t I have all my resolutions in place before January 1?

Let me answer this with three words: Absoloodely, 100% NOT.

New Year’s Day is NOT the “Use By Date” for setting resolutions for the new year.

I’ll tell you when it’s too late. It’s when you never begin at all.

Click here for more!


Quick But Life-Changing Tip That Will Grow Your Business

I wanted to share with you today a quick but important tip to grow your business…

Guidance that I’ve used to grow my own multi-million dollar a year company and has held me in good stead.

Just a few minutes long so short, sweet + potent.

Dive in to get a business tip that can change your trajectory now.

Click here to listen in!

favourite 2016 planner photographs competition

My Favourite #2016Planners Thus Far!

Gosh I really do love workbook season. I’m like a giddy kid at Christmas seeing all the women using these workbooks + hearing how many miracles they are already making happen just in the span of a month.

And NOPE… it’s definitely NOT too late to start using them. Read on here to find out why.

Anywaysies, it’s always just a joy to see everyone using their workbooks and diaries and sharing about them on social media.

Check out some of my favourite #2016planners here!

21Jan Your word of the year

Word Of The Year Artwork Inspiration

Creating an artwork to celebrate your theme for the year is one of my most favourite creative side projects in the workbooks (you can see my 2016 word of the year + artwork here!)

I thought it would be fun to see what some other workbook goddesses were doing as their artwork for the year.

I asked workbookers in the 2016 Creating Your Shining Year workbook group to share with me some of theirs!

Hope these inspire you as much as they did for me!


Leonie’s Scrapbook: One Ikea Visit Too Many + Drama Llamas

We’re back with my usual scrapbook of photos + ramblings from the past few weeks.

Workbook launch season is nearing a close + it felt good to take a look back at the whirlwind + madness. Holy bonza balls!

I look forward to sharing our many new and exciting projects that 2016 is bringing!

Here we go!

what problem are you really solving

The Critical Mistake Most Business Owners Make

An illustrated, thoughtful article by our General Manager Grant Andrew on the critical mistakes we see most business owners making (and how to make sure you don’t do it your self!)

Read on here!

What a great start to the new year! Looking forward to a fabulous February – we’ve got so much goodness to share with you!

All my love,


P.S. Darlingheart – what are you waiting for?

The time is ripe and potent. NOW is the time to plan, dream + create your biz + life dreams come true in 2016. Use our powerful, proven + popular planners to get the results you need!

Order NOW!


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How to not be a social media trainwreck

social media trainwreck

My loves –

This is the story of two small businesses selling handmade stuff online.

And how they used social media differently, with great affect.

This is a true story – the one me + my team saw unfold before our eyes.

One story is one of those wonder stories – of social media done so beautifully it wins for everyone involved.

The other – a bit of a dramatic-filled trainwreck – that still leaves us with a sour taste in our mouths to this day.

Me and my team talk about it often.

The lessons we learned from seeing it play out.

And the very different outcomes it made.

It illustrates so beautifully the do’s + don’t’s of social media.

I wanted to share it with you to inspire you + help you find your own shining success story in social media that looks more beautiful than trainwreck-ish.

21Jan well fuck yes please


A couple of years ago, I saw a picture of a cup online.

It was kind of a grainy picture, low resolution. Not the most perfect picture in all of history.

But fuck it made me laugh.

This is that picture:


I shared it on Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.

We had no idea who had created the image or that the cup was handmade.

We just shared it and laughed.

Other people laughed too. And kept on laughing. And started asking where on earth they could find the cup.

Someone else popped in, identified it as a Holy Flaps cup and linked to them.

Holy Flaps‘ owner popped in and left some lovely replies to people commenting, messaged us and asked us if we could add a link to their Facebook page in the original picture. We happily did. It was so great to find the original source of the cup, and to know its maker was a hilarious crafty small business! SO cool!

The photo started going viral… and has kept going viral.

To date, it’s been viewed over 35 million times (!!!!!), shared 390,000 times + has over 10,000 comments on it!


Whenever anyone messaged us (which was and still is OFTEN!!!) asking us where to get the cup, my lovely staff send them the link as well (because peeps are fucking terrible at actually reading a caption and finding that information out for themselves!)

We’ve probably answered hundreds of those messages… all of which I’ve paid my staff for… we’ve kind of ended up being bonus customer service staff for Holy Flaps! Hahaha!

Which is totally fine with me – I like that people know if they contact us, they are going to be helped by really friendly people. Even if we’re telling you about another business!

This photo has ended up being our most popular image shared of all time.

Did I ever expect that to be the case? Of course not. I just thought it was a fucking funny cup.

I have no idea what the net benefit to us is, but I’m sure we’ve gotten more likes and fans and people who know about our work all because of a hilarious, foul-mouthed cup picture that went viral.

We do a mix of social media sharings on my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.

We share:

  • hand-drawn + illustrated quote images (designed by me + my team)
  • testimonials
  • blog posts (both old + new – we recycle content)
  • longer text posts
  • I share photos + stories from my own personal journey
  • funny or inspirational images found around the web
  • occasional links to other articles around the web (not often, I just don’t tend to see much interest in them among our tribe.)

So the cup ended up fitting in that penultimate category of stuff we share. Random shit I fall across that I love and think other people would love.

Our social media sharing style seems to have worked well for us though…

This is our current FB page numbers:


Pretty decent, right?

So thus far, it’s ended up being a bit of a win for us.

Was it a win for the original company?

A couple of months ago, Holy Flaps reached out to me with a lovely message.

They let us know that since the cup image went viral, it had made a significant and real difference to their small business, and they couldn’t count the number of orders they’d had because of it. They were so grateful that we’d shared the image to our audience, and directed people their way, and they asked if they could send me some cups as a thank you.

To which I was like:

fuck yes please

They sent me half a dozen beautiful cups… they are delicate and yet completely filthy and my tea cup cupboard is a sight to behold. They bring me so much joy!

And of course… I’ve shared about them even more now.

Which has meant even MORE people have found out about Holy Flaps.

And so the cycle continues.

No money has changed hands… just a few hilariously course mugs!


Me & the mug that started it all..



Basically – it’s a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.

We get hilarious content to share with our audience.

They get free advertising.

Our audience gets to fill that hole in their lives that are shaped like vulgar cups.


(Co-incidentally… we decided a few months ago that one of our core values as a business is win-win-win… creating situations where everyone is better off. We try and create that everywhere we go… and we love when it manifests like this!)

example two

And now… the trainwreck story.

About six months after I first shared the viral cup, I found another image of a craft item which I also thought was hilarious and gorgeous.

And even better – it had the url of the small business that had created it on the bottom of the image. That would make it easy for people to find where to get it from!

I shared it late one night on a weekend. It immediately started picking up popularity.

The next night before going to sleep, I started seeing a bunch of nasty comments on Instagram and then Facebook.

I investigated further.

The original creator had seen it.

In the space of six hours, she had:

  • spammed as many of our inboxes as she could demanding that we put a URL to her store instantly
  • commented on the image that we were stealing copyright for our own gain
  • replyied to other commenters on the image to tell them that we weren’t responding to her about giving her linked attrition
  • gone on to a crafter’s message board, complained about us, and asked them to band with her to take on the big, bad company that was stealing copyright and sharing her images and not answering her emails demanding for linked attrition
  • we started getting Facebook messages + comments from other people on that message board demanding we respond to her and give linked attrition + telling us off for being terrible people.

On a photograph. That had a large URL directing to her website.

In a word, it was crazypants behaviour.


It was a weekend. All my staff were asleep.

I messaged the original creator. I let her know that we were always happy to provide linked attrition, but we weren’t able to do it instantly, especially on a weekend when my staff were asleep. And that the image already had the link on it as well so people could easily find her website.

She responded back. She was mean. She was snarky. She insinuated I was stealing copyright for my own gain, which made zero sense.

The post in the space of a day was already popular. I could see it had the potential to go viral. My audience size was far, far, far bigger than what she had. It was opening awareness, sales and a market she would not otherwise have access to. I was giving her free advertising to the tens of thousands of women who rabidly buy this kind of stuff.

But she didn’t see it that way.

So I clicked on over to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. And I deleted that post.

All that potential gone. All those sales gone.

Not just for that day. But for all the future too. (Holy Flaps still profits from one post from me two years ago.)

All because someone had reacted so badly to the very thing everyone wants – for their stuff to be shared and seen.

I think about the different outcomes for those two very similar small businesses.

Holy Flaps was courteous, lovely, gracious + wonderful to connect with. So much so I’ll happily shout about them from the roof tops. My experience with them was and is glorious. I feel happy in my heart when I think about them!

I mean – I’ve just written a whole ‘nother blog post about them right now! Even more exposure! Ka-ching!

And the other company… one I refuse to name and shame, or even just name at all.

Not only did they miss out on potential sales… not only did they miss out on free advertising… but the whole experience left me with such a bad taste in my mouth that I feel sad and icky when I think about them. Needless to say, I won’t be buying from them or sharing about their products.

social media dos donts

So I wanted to write some tips from this experience.

If you’ve got a product that you’re sharing online, here’s some social media do’s + don’ts.


  • DO get excited when people share your images online.
    That’s the whole point of the internet! You want people to see what you are creating!
  • DO get as good a photograph you can of your goodies.
    The better quality, the more they will be shared.
  • DO put a URL for your website on any images you share of your products online.
    It makes it so much easier to share! It doesn’t need to be huge.
  • DO send a nice, polite email to the admins of a social media account if one of your image is shared. Say something like:
    “Thank you SO much for sharing my product! I’m just SO very honoured! Would it be possible for you to add a link in the caption to make it easy for people to find me? Thank you again!”
  • DO give them enough time to respond.
  • DO offer to send them a sample as a thank you (if their audience size is large enough).

21Jan The trainwreck story

  • DON’T have the URL covering the product or crazy huge.
    It takes away from the gorgeous visual of your product and makes people less likely to share it because it looks too much like an ad.
  • DON’T band together the firing squad to go after a Facebook page unless the offence is actually, you know, serious. (Like artists having their designs stolen to be printed + sold for profit on products. That shit is stupid. Sharing images online is not. Because, you know, that’s what the dang internet is for!)
  • DON’T freak out about copyright infringement.
    That’s not helpful. People WILL share your stuff online. Your job is to make it easy for them to find you.

In summing up:

Don’t be a dick.

Be kind, gracious + lovely.

Ask for what you want nicely. Don’t demand it.

And behold! The wonders of the internet!

Your work can be loved + adored by even more peeps!


Big love,


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