I’ve been meaning to do this for days, weeks, months.
Sit down + write you this letter.
It’s finally happening now.
It’s early August. Winter sunset is casting sunlight that is golden but otherwise uselessly non-warming. Still, our cherry blossom tree is readying for Spring, preparing itself by sending out tightly enwrapped pink buds off every branch. When warmth comes, it is ready. Ready to burst into song. I could learn from that cherry blossom tree, quit complaining about the cold, ready the celebrations for the turn of season.
A few days ago, we were getting winter-homeschooling-cabin-fever-stir-crazy, so we set off for an early-ish morning walk. Weave through one street, down the next. Walk down the sliver of a walkway between two homes, be ejected out onto the golf course. Skirt the golf course round to the dirt track that weaves over country paddocks. We see luminously green parrots we can’t identify, only marvel over, take notes and photographs so we can look up the names of later. We didn’t used to be like this. Now we are animal-identifying mad. Ostara doesn’t just want to know the names of things, she also wants to know all the names of the animal’s anatomy too, inside and out. Did you know that the membrane between a bat’s foot and tail is called the uropatagium? I do now.
We continue on until the children complain too loudly that it is too far, and we turn back. When we do, a large red fox runs in front of us. We stand and watch him cut away back and forth across the hill until he finally hides beneath a log.
An elderly man sees him too, walking towards us with his delightful and doddering golden retriever named Mac. We stop to talk about the fox, and give Mac cursory cuddles.
Beth (3), pipes up:
“The FOX ran up to the LOG and now he is eating CAKE!”
Mac’s owner replied:
“You’re right! And then after he eats his cake, the bus will pull up and he’ll get on the bus so he can get to the shops!”
It made me giggle inwardly, and I keep thinking of it in the days since.
I just loved this perfect stranger, and his perfect dog, and his ability to seamlessly imagine a cake-eating bus-riding fox world with Beth.
That’s my life right now.
And it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, except I think it also has everything to do with everything.
So, you know me. I’m pretty much an open book. I err on the edge of TMI, not TMM (Tell Me MORE!) Ha!
So it’s been a new experience to have not shared this earlier.
I didn’t really intend to go so long without sharing about it, but it didn’t really feel like the right time, and then I took some time away to homeschool and have a social media break and really just be with my kids without composing blog posts in my head.
And then suddenly the fruit was overripe and it was overtime, and I’m still finding mere snatches of time to tap away at the keyboard, and I’m waiting for pizza to arrive because it’s the only cooking I do now, my husband does it the other 6 nights of the week.
And now I feel like I’m coming out of the closet about it and you might be thinking:
YE GADS WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT? WHAT IS SHE DOING? WHY WON’T SHE JUST SAY IT.
And of course, it’s because I’m nervous, and I’m afraid of what you’ll think, and I think I might be judged for it, because I used to judge it quite snarkily myself too. And if you’d told me even 12 months ago that this is what I’d be doing, I would have laughed my ass off and said:
NOPE. NO WAY. NOT EVER. NOT FOR ME.
It’s been one of the most surprising things that’s happened in my career.
I joined an essential oils MLM.
I know. I know. I KNOW.
I know every thought that has run through your head because I totally had the same thoughts.
I used to even have a running joke with Mr Dawsy about the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Hippy Ascendency.”
It chronicles the evolution from being a normal, to hippy-curious, to hippy-converted, to Peak Hippy.
At the bottom, it started out with:
- interest in crystals
- Louise Hay books
As you move up the Pyramid of Ascendency, you will go through your phases of:
- Law of Attraction
- Going on a spiritual pilgrimage to Thailand or India
- Becoming annoyingly positive, continuously pulling out such platitudes as “Just think positive!” Or “If it’s meant to be…”
Higher up, you start reaching:
- Do your yoga teacher-training, preferably in Bali
- Change your name to:
a) an Indian name
b) something like “Butterfly Rainbow”
- Go to a non-speaking retreat and either hate it totally or tell everybody for the next 3.5 years how much quieter your brain is now you’ve done that.
- Go vegetarian, then vegan, then have a dalliance into raw vegan.
- Name your children after gods, goddesses or nature
- Have dreams about joining a commune or intentional community
- Join an essential oil MLM.
We also decided that there were only two levels higher:
- Decide that monogamy is no longer spiritual, that polyamory was the way of the future
- Leave husband because he wasn’t spiritual enough, or because polyamory kinda fucked it all up.
Here… graphic to illustrate:
So right now half of you will be laffing and laffing, and 50% of you will be ready to write pissed off emails to me (that I’ll never read, because I don’t do emails, my VA does!)… so before you bother sending your futile piss-o-gram to me, I want to specify:
We joke about it because we have TOTALLY DONE IT. I can tick off nearly everything except doing yoga teacher-training (yoga is still classified as sport for me, and it would probably take important time away from reading trashy novels), changing my name (only because I was given my spirit name when I was born (Leonie) and married into the right name. I HAVE however changed my middle name to something Wiccan-based so YAY! POINTS OBTAINED!) and going to non-speaking retreat (wanted to, didn’t get to it before children were born, and now my idea of a retreat is a quiet hotel room with art and books and room service and I am NOT wasting my child-free vacation on anything but that). The final two levels are also not an interest to me because as an introvert, I really don’t need any more people in my life. I’m at my people limit, thanks! HAHAHAHAH!
Also, I just wanted to specify: hippies are my favourite sub-culture. I identify as one. I especially like hippies who have a wry sense of humour and who can laff and laff about our own sub-culture with me.
I did it.
I crossed into another phase, ascended into Peak Hippydom.
Here’s how it happened, and why.
Last year, I was sick. Just as I’d been sick the year before.
Ever since I had hyperemesis gravidarum in my last pregnancy three years ago, my immune system was officially at Status: Fucked.
I’ve asked around, and it appears a fairly common side effect for HG sufferers.
I guess vomiting your guts out and nearly dying from dehydration and starvation and organ failure, existing only thanks to IV drips and drugs used on chemo patients, really fucks with your system. Who would have thunk it? I haven’t said it lately, but HG, you really do suck giant donkey dick.
So yes. Sick.
Come 2016, I spent most of six months in bed. Fevers which left me in vast pools of sweat. Chronic, unrelenting, recurring throat and chest infections.
I would mend slowly, then have a week or two out in the world again, and be down and out… again.
I began a slew of tests.
In the midst of the sickness and the unknowing, I wrote this post, published it for a few hours, before taking it down again.
It felt too vulnerable, too close to reality right then.
Roasting with fevers, my bed becoming a pool of sweat.
“How much can one person get sick?” my husband asks.
I shake my head.
I do not know.
I go to the doctor.
She frowns, orders tests and x-rays.
I gulp back tears.
I thought she would maybe tell me I was overreacting, that it was nothing but a bad year for colds.
She does not.
“It might be nothing, it might be something. We need to rule it all out.”
I stumble around the corner to the blood test lab.
I wish I’d brought my husband for this.
Just want to turn him over in my hand like a smooth, constant river rock.
She has a head scarf covered in flowers and gentle eyes.
As she prepares the vials and needles, I sit on the grey throne.
I begin to fixate on all that could be wrong.
Then, I raise my eyes.
There, on the other wall, is posters upon posters of natural miracles: lightning, sand dunes, sunrises.
Some capture my eye: clouds dousing rain across vistas.
And suddenly, I am enthralled by this realisation:
Even if I go
that is what I will do.
I will be a cloud.
I will roam the earth
pouring my love across all that I meet.
I smile. This makes me very happy.
Yes, that is what I will do.
I will watch you all and listen to your stories and I will love you.
Men and women and children, animals and ocean and earth.
I will love you and want only for your best.
I will believe in you.
I will love you. I will shower you with love.
It doesn’t matter what these tests (either now or later) will say.
It doesn’t matter if this is just a speedbump or a collision.
It doesn’t matter if the journey like this, as a Leonie, is long or short. I’ve already lived longer than my brother, than my dad’s brother, than my friend’s children. It’s never about the length of time of life for love to make an impact.
What’s important is this:
I remember what I am now.
I remember what I was born to do.
I’ll just keep doing the very same thing.
I’ll be a cloud.
That time was hard, and it was scary when I wasn’t immersed in the middle of a spiritual awakening in the blood-letting room.
The tests continued.
My inflammation markers were off the charts, in the range of hospitalisation.
Doctors were perplexed.
Blood tests. Then more. Great vats of them. Bottles of blood taken, leaving me swooning.
X-rays. Mammograms. Ultrasounds.
Tuberculosis? Lung cancer? Breast cancer?
Still no answers. Still so sick.
During the midst of it all, an old friend reached out.
I’d been a fan of hers, actually, in 2006’s halcyon days of scrapbook blogging. She was one of the stars then, and I read about her children’s births, and thought:
This is a good chick. I like this one.
Our paths kept crossing over and over.
Then she messaged me one day last year. I’m so glad she did. She opened up a whole new journey for me that day.
“Darling! Let’s jump on Skype! I used to have a fucked immune system from glandular fever too but I’ve fixed mine now. Let me tell you what worked for me… I know it can help you too!”
Let me tell you: by this point in time, I had zero faith that anything would work.
But I liked Em, and jumped at the chance just to have a yak and a bitch over Skype.
She told me her story about being introduced to essential oils while barfing over a toilet in Bali, and had quickly become a full blown oil-convert. She’d gone from being sick half the year to not being sick in years. She told me the most beautiful story about giving her kid’s teachers an essential oil diffuser with Onguard essential oil blend in the classroom to stop her kids getting sick… and the classrooms suddenly and radically reducing the amount of kids being absent from school with sickness. Such a noticeable difference that other teachers had noticed, and asked what those classes had done… and then adopted the On Guard and essential oil use so it’s now used in every room in the school, and all the hallways smell of it! (Which, to me, is totally delightful… if you’ve smelt Onguard, you’ll know what I mean… it’s this beautiful blend of uplifting oils which smells cinnamony and citrusy and warm!)
The funny part is – I knew about essential oils… I mean… I am a damn hippy after all… but I didn’t get how smelling something would help anything… I’d bought heaps of cheap essential oils before from health food shops I’d also bought higher-priced essential oils from a different MLM company before a couple of years before and didn’t resonate at all with them.
So I was cynical to say the least. But I was out of options, so I gave it a go. Just bought some for my immune system, started using them.I learned that it’s not just about smelling the oils, or diffusing them – though that’s a part of it – you can also apply them topically (like to the soles of your feet) and even take them orally (though this has to be done with care and only in specific ways with specific and good-quality oils).
Immediately, I noticed a difference. My never-ending sick started clearing up straight away. My bouts of illness started reducing in length from a week down to a few days, and in occurrence from every few weeks to every few months… until they stopped altogether. The difference was like night and day. When I returned to my doctor months later for follow-up tests, she was stunned by how my blood markers had changed. “Whatever you are doing… keep doing it. It’s working. And hopefully I won’t be seeing you again anytime soon.” I haven’t been back to see her in 7 months now.
What started as a way to fix my fucked immunity blossomed into a way of life.
We use our oils for:
- daily emotions and mood management for us and our kids
- children’s immunity
- sleeping and snoring
- energy levels
- every health thing that comes up… 99% of the time, our oil box has a solution for it
- creating no-tox house cleaning products
- making no-tox beauty products
- period pain
- improving concentration and productivity when working
- meditation and spiritual practice
- the list goes on…
all of a sudden, I was oil mad.
I went away on health retreat and even took my diffuser with me and a big case of oils… which ended up being SO helpful… I diffused oil when I was homesick and needed something to smell like home. One glorious night, I got the oils out and me and my other retreaters lathered up and got essential oil foot massages and were all on a glorious blissful high for hours.
I started telling other mates about it… especially the ones with shit house immunities! One of them messaged me when she was away for a girl’s weekend – one of her friends with her had gotten sick, and my mate was convinced she’d get sick as well. Luckily, she’d taken her On Guard blend with her, and dosed the shit out of herself… meanwhile texting me “If I can get out of this weekend without getting sick… I AM A TOTAL CONVERT!” She did, and she is.
My kids adore it… they both have diffusers in their rooms now, and ask for a blend to be in it when they go to sleep. When I get new oils arrive in the mail, I sit down on the floor with the kids, and we smell them, and look up what kinds of plants they come from, and watch videos about how the plants are harvested. Having essential oils diffusing through the day definitely improves our moods, and I now use them in my office to stimulate my productivity and focus as well!
It’s really beautiful to see how quickly these Crystal Children GET essential oils and connect with them.
Ostara knows if she’s been bitten by a mosquito to come in and ask for lavender to stop the itching. She knows to use Spearmint when she has an upset belly. She knows to ask for oils when she can’t sleep, or when she’s moving through a difficult emotion.
How it has helped me + my family:
- It’s improved all of our immune systems. I can’t remember the last time I was sick which is UNHEARD OF. No sicknesses for any of us!
- We’ve got a really powerful, beautiful healing tool that helps us through all kinds of hard feelings, moods, tantrums etc… it’s amazing how quickly these oils change things! It’s like being held in the palms of angels…
- My anxiety levels are better than they have been in years… I’m so grateful that I’ve got a healing tool that I can use if they do peak up, and I get relief within a minute (I apply Lavender Peace/Serenity onto my diaphragm and rib cage where my muscles tighten up with anxiety).
- I sleep better + wake up with more energy (instead of feeling like a truck has run over me) because I apply Frankincense to the soles of my feet before I go to sleep and diffuse Easy Air/Breathe in our bedroom.
- We just aren’t going to the doctor or chemist at all really… there hasn’t been any reason to! Considering we’re in the midst of a city in “flu epidemic”… that’s pretty amazing!
- and so much more… I just don’t know what we did before oils, really.
Having said that: I will neverrrrrr be one of those people that think everything can be cured with an essential oil. I had way too many (well-meaning but completely misguided) people tell me that my hyperemesis gravidarum could be cured with peppermint oil (or ginger. Or dry crackers. Or some woo-woo reiki healing.) And it was totally frustrating and hard because I would have LOVED for that to be the case. But I needed some serious heavy duty western medication to survive that pregnancy. And honestly, I believe there’s a place for all of this – eastern, western, woo-woo medicine. That we don’t need to choose between them. We can use all of them as tools for better health.
This whole thing has reconnected me so much deeper to the healer woman in me… the intuitive plant medicine. I love that whatever is happening with us, I can turn to my books, and find a natural solution that works quickly, powerfully and often better than the pill alternative. (And trust me – if the pill worked better, I’d take it! I like fast and effective! Ha!)
But honestly… it made so much sense to me… as an earth and plant lover… to harness the powers of their essential oils. It makes me so happy to be out in the garden among the rosemary and lavender and know that the preventative medicine and mood lifters I am using are from the plants I adore so much. I feel like I’m working with the deva of plant medicine, the angels of the earth.
So that’s how I became a mad-raving fan of essential oils.
Next up: how did I fall into another business?
So, let me be clear:
I had NO interest in doing another business. I already have two of them between the workbooks and the Academy! Both of them are million dollar brands, and I was already busy enough.
While we talked about oils though, I had to ask Em about her essential oil business. I LOVE finding out how different businesses are structured. And she shared about how she’d spent years trying to make money different ways both online and offline, and that she’d really needed to find something that supported her and her family. So when she found this business, she decided to really give it a red hot go… and within less than a year was earning multiple six figures. On her two year anniversary, she’d built to half a million dollars a year. And she’d been doing it while being a present mama to her 3 kids. She obviously adored what she was doing, and it got my brain ticking, because I had a close friend who was looking to do… SOMETHING. Who wanted to make money outside of a job, she just weren’t sure WHAT.
So I started investigating it as a business opportunity for her. I wanted to make sure that if I was telling her about something, I knew that it was a good one… plus it was exciting for my funny little brain that loves to work out business models! At this stage, I definitely wasn’t thinking about it as a business for me. I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t recommend anything to my mate that wasn’t bonza.
Anyways, as I was doing my research… I realised just how much possibility there was… I discovered there were a number of my friends and associates (and even clients I had done private coaching with in years past) who had gone on to create 7 figure income streams.
And as I was doing this, I realised how beautifully it would work for so many of my clients who had so much passion to create an income for themselves and their family… they just needed the SOMETHING to sell.
So doing all the research and realising just how many benefits to this kind of business model… I realised that not only did I think it was a good business model for some of my friends and family… but that there was this increasing spark inside me that said:
Me. I want to do this. I want to build another business in this as well.
I know what you might be thinking:
Fucking essential oils? How do I build a 6 figure business from smelly shit?
Multi Level Marketing? Isn’t that a pyramid scheme?
Is this Amway? GROSS!
Is this really something for me?
So, I totes know those questions, because fuck, I TOTALLY had the same reaction.
The idea kept calling me for months, and I would only tell my husband Chris or my mentor Hiro because I was SO EMBARRASSED. Even then, I would say it as a joke:
“I have secret fantasies about running away and joining the MLM circus!”
I had to keep exploring it, turning it over in my head, having more conversations and sitting with myself before I worked through all the questions and worries I had in my head.
Honestly – in the past, I’ve been quite judgey about multi level marketing.
It was only when I did the research that not only was it a really fucking cool business model… but that I knew a stack of friends, family and clients who would resonate really beautifully with it, and that it would be an amazing income source for them.
Here’s why I fell in love with the business model:
- They are really, really generous. They have one of the most generous compensation plans in the industry. It’s actually really doable for committed people to earn 6 figures + 7 figures.
- They have one of the highest retention rates of customers in the industry – doTERRA enjoys a 68 percent retention rate, compared to a direct selling industry average near 10 percent. After joining doTERRA, 68 percent of all customers reorder, continue to share doTERRA products, or build a doTERRA business. What this means is: customers are REALLY happy with their orders… and it’s easier for doTERRA businesses to continue earning moolah! If you look at something like Tupperware that is sold through direct sales like doTERRA – there’s only so many products you can buy before your kitchen fills up. This is a consumable resource which means it creates long term residual income.)
- They were just ranked the #2 best MLM company worldwide to partner with (despite being a relatively new business – they only started in 2008!)
- You don’t have to hold stock or pay for expenses… it’s pure profit. (Which, to me, having spent $500k last year to print workbooks, is a masssssive turn on!)
- Financial boner alert: it is also residual passive income. Once you build a stable business, you will receive income for life. Basically… a really fucking cool retirement plan. I think it’s a beautiful insurance idea really… for when you want to take holidays, have time away to have more babies, if you get sick or if, you know… LIFE happens!
- The reason they sell it as a multi-level marketing company (also known as “network marketing” or “direct marketing”) is that doTERRA wants you to find a doTERRA business owner (called a “Wellness Advocate”) who supports, educates and helps people get the most out of their essential oils. They don’t want people to just go into stores and buy them. They want people to be connected and helped through the process so they can get the most benefit out of the essential oils. Being a doTERRA Wellness Advocate isn’t really about “selling” – it’s about sharing, connecting and helping people. Or as Em says “I get to hear everyone’s secrets so I can help them! I get to be their OIL FAIRY!”
- It’s still a (very) untapped market… less than 1% of the population use essential oils… but over 70% of the population are interested in using natural products to improve their health.
- Essential oils are something people need to purchase again and again – which increases your earning rates as a business as you get a commission for everyone’s orders for all time! Also… as you’ll soon learn… they are a bit of an addictive thing that brings people so much joy!
- They have a really wonderful fair trade model of business that support communities in developing countries to grow indigenous plants for their area.
- They do some beautiful philanthropy work as well.
- Read more about doTERRA’s achievements + corporate social responsibility here.
This video makes me ugly cry every damn time:
I also think that in a lot of ways it’s a really great business model alternative to change to, or add into your income streams. Here’s why:
- It’s a plug and play business model. Everything is already worked out for you – the training, distribution, product, development, research, admin, marketing systems. You just have to actually do the work.
- It’s easier to coach people in it because it’s a set of steps without much variance no matter where or who you are.
- I’m tired of launching and the launch model. I suspect a lot of people are.
- For me personally, I wanted to have an income stream that was a less personal brand, that didn’t require me to be public facing all the time.
- Adding extra income streams is a smart financial move.
- And again: the long-term passive recurring income. There’s not many businesses that can offer it.
Now: WTF would I be doing a doTERRA business?
So, when I talked to Em the first time about doTERRA businesses, I did NOT think it would be worth my time at all.
I’ve created two million dollar brands. I own a fast-growth company that is highly profitable. I’ve been finalist for myBusiness’ Australian Business Woman of the Year award and Ausmumpreneur of the Year. And I don’t want to be a wanker here, but I became a self-made millionaire just after I was 30 years old.
My time is money, and it’s really important for me to choose v. wisely.
And I started seeing it as a really fun extra passive-income stream for me… that would mean I could ease up the gas on my current workload, take time off to write a book (or just fuck around drawing unicorns and playing with my kids)… while building a long-term abundant financial security for me and my family. And most of all, I could gift my husband with a retirement plan. Even though we have other investments and excellent savings, I married a man who is a worrying worrier. He is very risk adverse… and bless him, he married an entrepreneur. He’s supported my dreams, stepped out of his own career to look after our kids so I could build my companies, even when it can be scary for him. My heart wells with gratitude when I think of his sacrifice, and I dearly want to give him the gift of a glorious retirement plan. It’s a love plan.
I also started getting excited about how fun it would be to apply my brain to something new… and to be able to help people super directly in their businesses, and see them prosper too. It would give me so much fucking JOY to use all the business and marketing skills I’ve built and work with people to see them reach their financial and lifestyle goals. In lots of ways I already do that, but this felt like it would be even more intimate and connected!
6 months on… how has my doterra business building journey been?
I decided to take six months and give it a good “test run”. See how it felt, see how doable it was, see the kinds of results people could get with it before going “public” fully with it.
My “test run” is officially ended, and it’s been a success – financially, emotionally + lifestyle-wise.
But honestly, the best parts are less tangible:
- the joy of helping other women reach THEIR financial and business goals
- getting to hear stories every single day of healing miracles of oils in my customer’s lives
- getting to do business with some of my closest friends
- and most of all: doing business as a team sport for the first time
- bonus points: retreats + hang outs.
I’ve realised how lonely it’s been to run a business solo for so long. This business comes with SO MUCH support built-in. It’s a community. It’s a sisterhood. I’m astonished when I get presents and cards in the mail from other people in my tribe when I reach a new doterra rank. I’m gobsmacked at how much free coaching and training there is available. I’m in awe of how much we’re all in this together.
I’m also really grateful for:
- the chance for me to clear up my incorrect assumptions about network marketing
- being able to master new business skills in a new industry
- being able to teach about network marketing from what I’ve learned from being on the ground building a business in it (and learning its differences + similarities to traditional business).
So… that’s all.
5000 words to share with you what Leonie Did Next.
It was a leap of faith. A surprise twist. Something I never saw coming.
But I’m glad I did it. Glad I leapt.
It’s healed parts of me that I didn’t even know needed healing.
I’m having the time of my life.
Boundaries Time (as always):
- Please don’t email me to try to convert me to another MLM or essential oils company. I also know there’s a whole bunch of East Side/West Side conflict between Young Living and doTERRA. I have less than zero interest. I’ve tried other oils. I resonate with doTERRA’s the most.
- Shitty emails will be sent straight to the bin by my VA. I’m not going to see them, and I am not particularly interested in what you think about me or my life or business decisions. If you are triggered by my decisions, perhaps it’s a wonderful opportunity to do some journalling or self-reflective work. You may also find this video useful.
- If you email me asking questions that have already been answered in this post, you will be sent this link to read.
- I will be continuing with my other two companies (workbooks + Academy) with great gusto + joy. This is just a third string to my bow. Those two brands have been my driving force for the last 7 years, and will continue to be a major part of my journey moving forward.
- If you’re wondering how I’m managing 3 companies + homeschooling my 2 kids, there is a “how I do homeschooling” course in the Academy that answers that. Basically it’s the exact same way I’ve always worked part-time hours while building my businesses – doing only the important things and either deleting, automating or delegating the rest. I also talked about my commitment to Pareto’s Rule here.
- I will be continuing to talk about all the other things that I usually talk about. It won’t be a 24/7 essential oil channel. It will just be an addition to all the other sharings I do.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing this (surprising and delightful) journey with me!
With love + frankincense dreams,