A few months ago I had an absolutely bonza photoshoot. You’ve probably seen some of the photos by now – and you’ll see even more emerge when my website redesign is finished.
You asked for it, so I thought it would be helpful to give you a behind the scenes tour of the photoshoot – how I organised it, who I used and all that malarkey. I hope it’s useful for you in organising your own!
Step 1: Decide what kind of photoshoot you need for your business
In my case, I needed one which was not just headshots – I wanted lifestyle ones I could use for my new website and new courses.
I’m working with Emma from Soul Stirring Branding for my rebrand, and as part of the package, she gives you direction on the kinds of photos she wants as well.
If you’re not working with a designer, instead create a Pinterest board of the kinds of photos you want and need to capture.
Here’s an example of some of the photoshoot guidelines she gave me:
You can even just do quick sketches of the kinds of pictures, poses and props you want to capture.
Step 2: Choosing the Photographer
Luckily with this shoot, Emma already had a recommendation for who I should work with – Michelle from Eyes of Love photography.
The bonza thing about Michelle is that she is super comfortable working with online entrepreneurs, and knew that we’re wanting photos that work awesomely digitally, and walk a beautiful line between professional and lifestyle.
Me and the ADORABLE Michelle on location. (And YES! I’m on the taller side!)
If you don’t have a recommendation (and even if you do have recommendations!), do what I usually do: create a colour-coded spreadsheet with all my requirements on it. It’s even how I hire accountants!
I create a spreadsheet with all the specifications I require when hiring someone.
I figured I’d give you the template to use in finding your own perfect photographer fit… plus you can customise it for any professional you need to hire!
Then fill it out and colour code it until you have your clear winner!
Step 3: Choosing locations
I originally thought I would just get photos done at my home and local cafe until I realised: that’s a SHIT TONNE of work to get it clean and organised. Plus with a cafe, I wouldn’t be able to control the space or lighting or noise as much as we would need. (If you do decide to use a cafe, make sure you have permission from the owner too!)
Instead, I decided to hire an AirBNB.
I hunted around to look for something light and bright. Photoshoots require as much natural light as possible! I looked back at the kinds of shots I wanted and knew I’d need something with a desk or table area for “working on computer” type shots; a lounge for “cosy and casual” photos; a bedroom with big windows for “creating in bed” photos”.
I also knew for branding I wanted something with as much white as possible (for brightness) and bonus points if it had anything turquoise as a feature. Even if you’re not an all-white lover, it’s super easy to dress a space with colourful props. The all-white helps with the light in shoots.
Another important piece to consider: it can get HOT doing photoshoots. We made sure we had a place with airconditioning. Holy crapper did we need it that day so I didn’t turn into a sweaty armpit.
I also asked both Emma (designer) and Michelle (photographer) for recommendations incase they already had places they liked working in.
Tip: if you contact an AirBNB owner and tell them you are just using it for a photoshoot and NOT the night, so no linen cleaning or other heavy cleaning needs to take place, they will often give you a discount!
The ocean is also muchos important to me, so we decided to do AirBNB first, then head to the beach for sunset photos.
Step 4: Choosing props
I had the Pinterest board sorted of what kinds of photos I wanted to take.
Next was creating the spreadsheet (LEONIE LOOOOOVES SPREADSHEETS) for the props I’d need to take that day to truly LEONIE up the space.
It included things I had around the house and things I needed to buy, including:
blankets (great for colouring a space)
cushions (another good colour-bringer!)
journals and pens
bouquets of flowers
flags and bunting
statues and knick knacks.
For me, my desired photoshoot look was NOT minimal. I love cosy, creative clutter and I wanted that reflected in my props. So I made sure I had a LOT to choose from.
Colours: the most important part that made all the props work together as a theme was choosing a colour palette. I made sure 90% of what I brought with me was my branding colours of turquoise with dashes of purple and pink.
I mostly used props I had around my house, but I did buy some goodies from Typo and Pillowtalk where there was a hole.
Step 5: Choosing clothes
Again, I stuck with my colours of turquoise with splashes of purple and pink.
It’s a lot of flowing yoga pants and long skirts and flowing tops and tunics. Some of them are hand-me-downs from friends, some I found at the op shop, some I’ve actually bought (WOAH!)
Mostly, I go for comfort, colour and flow. It’s also super useful to have clothes you can mix and match in a few ways.
Outfit sources: skirt a hand-me-down that one of my women’s circle sisters gave me 12 years ago or so (!) Gorgeous turquoise necklace a gift from Hiro Boga. Top/cape thing bought on sale at a cute boutique in Mogo, NSW.
I took about 15 different outfits and thought that was overkill, but honestly, I needed them all.
I also have a few handfuls of costume jewellery that I buy at those cheap shopping centre jewellery stores (like Lovisa). I’ve had them for years to use for special occasions and photoshoots, and they still work brilliantly.
What should YOU wear for your photoshoots?
Whatever makes you feel like YOU.
Step 6: Choosing hair + makeup
Again: recommendations. I ask everyone under the sun who they usually work with before I even consider googling. I ended up using Valentina Pintus for hair and makeup as she had already worked with Michelle the photographer. I wanted to make sure I had someone who specialised in natural looking makeup, and Valentina was a legend. I also find it helpful to have hair and makeup come in one person – it’s one less thing to organise!
Makeup artist Valentina on the right! Assistant + set designer Ellie Oster on the left!
Step 7: Hire assistant!
By far, the best thing I’ve learned from doing a dozen or so photoshoots and videoshoot days is: have a personal assistant for the day.
I can deal without an assistant perfectly well any other day of the week. But I know on days when I’m the face, I need someone to get me food, drink and set up scenes and organise props. Otherwise I’m running around with my head chopped off doing ALL THE THINGS!
I usually just go for a gut instinct on who to hire as an assistant. This time, I hired someone I’ll definitely hire again – the magical fairy Ellie Oster. We met in a serendipitous way – I was doing a school tour for a possible school for my kids, and she was working there. She recognised me but didn’t say anything, and instead messaged me on Instagram that day and we became mates that way!
Ellie is a vivacious, smart unschooled chick with a background in theatre. If you’re looking for an assistant and set designer, theatre people are BONZA – they are so used to thinking about how sets look visually!
Step 8: Build Schedule
Me & Michelle worked on a schedule for the day. Most photographers prefer to work outdoors at “golden hour” (i.e. sunset) to get the best lighting. We worked backwards from there to work out timing for the rest of the day.
How The Day Worked
I got Assistant Ellie to run errands the morning of the photoshoot:
got flowers in my brand colours (blues! purples! pinks!)
made up catering platters of food for everyone to nom on… because FOOD IS LIIIIIFE
grabbed me my favourite smoothie
get to the AirBNB first and get set up.
Anything I could do to reduce my tasks for the day, basically!
I loaded up my van with props, pillows, blankets and artworks. It was absolutely PACKED to the brim. I also had my Stash of Liquids: about 4 litres of sparkling water and kombucha. I drink a LOT on days like this.
I also printed the photoshoot guide with the shots and looks I wanted to go for.
Once I got there, I showed Ellie the photoshoot guide, and we talked about where and how to set up scenes to do photos in. I basically instructed her to recreate my studio and home and “Leonie the SHIT outta the place!”
She got to work unpacking the van and setting up the scenes. I got to work drinking my smoothie and getting my makeups and hairs did by Valentina.
Photographer Michelle + her second shooter (her magnificent husband Jacko) arrived and after hugging and talking shit for a few minutes, we dived right into photos.
We moved from one scene to the next, ticking off the photoshoot list and changing clothes between them. Ellie set up the next scenes, and tidying up old scenes behind them.
Michelle said something really lovely on the day of the shoot:
Leonie, you’re the most comfortable person in your own skin that I’ve ever photographed. Usually people are a lot more nervous about being photographed, but you really enjoy being photographed. It makes my job super easy.
Which is great to hear – but also not great to hear. I don’t want other people to suffer during photoshoots! I want them to experience the joy of loving themselves uppppp, letting their soul shine, and letting that be captured on camera! I want them to be a MOTHERFUCKING ZEBRA!
So here’s my advice:
Don’t think about YOU when you’re getting photographed. Think about the people you love. The people you serve. The people you help with your business. And think how you would look at them. You’d look at them with eyes of love, right? (It’s how I knew Michelle was the right person for me as well – she calls her business Eyes of Love.)
So when I’m having a photograph taken, I think about all the love I have for YOU all. The love I have for this incredible job. The love I feel for humanity. And I let that pour out my face.
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
The Rest of the Day…
Once we finished photographs inside the AirBNB, me, Michelle and Jacko took off for the beach while Ellie stayed behind to continue cleaning up, repacking the van and getting the AirBNB returned to its original state.
Michelle and me were both amazed at what a difference it made to have Ellie as assistant and set designer with us – we managed to get in a LOT more scenes because of her! And I was delighted at how much she made the space look like “me.”
Once we were finished, it was officially dark. I picked up my van, drove through McDonalds to get my standard Post-Shoot order: a giant soda water to rehydrate. Then headed back home to curl up under a weighted blanket for the night.
It was a gloriously fun day. I love doing shoots like this.
And of course, they also come at an energetic cost. So I took the rest of the week easy, and had more couch time and quiet time to compensate.
You’ll see more of the photos once the website redesign is done… but I’m absolutely thrilled. And am looking forward to doing another one with Michelle and the rest of the crew. We’ll be a super well oiled machine!
I so hope this has been a useful resource for you on how a photoshoot like this works behind the scenes.
Everything can be solved with a colour-coded spreadsheet
Catering is critical
Stop thinking about you and how you look, and start thinking about the people you adore instead.
We’re back with my usual scrapbook of photos + ramblings from the past couple of weeks.
An order arrived from Amazon… Oh happy day. This probably describes my current book tastes quite well… Business, creativity, graphic novels & communication/relationships.
I went to the Women’s Collective conference in Canberra. Look at me all getting out into the world and shit! Took illustrated notes as always – you can download them here!
Hanging out at the Women’s Collective Conference with my amazing mate Julie from Dilkara Essence of Australia who creates Indigenous skin & hair products… She is incredibly smart and a visionary and an amazing connector of people. Her products are now in the Qantas inflight store. She has so much grit and passion and drive to create some amazing products and services and stores and retreats celebrating Indigenous wisdom and plants. Truly inspirational. Also: funny as fuck.
Me & my life partner Kate Byrne from Betty Means Business. We have been friends online for a looooong time and have hired each other as coaches/consultants for various things. Since I moved back to Canberra we met at last and it’s been the greatest thing ever. She is even funnier + naughtier in person than I ever could have wished for. We now spend a large amount of time eating cake at Tilley’s and talking shit under the guise of “networking.” INAPPROPRIATE SOULMATEZ FOREVAAA.
Beautiful, spirited, passionate, kind, get-shit-done business women. You are girls after my own heart. I love you Kate, Tracy, Natasha + Lisa!
I couldn’t talk about The Women’s Collective event without sharing about the incredible non profit that was there… Angel Gowns Australia which turns donated wedding dresses into gowns for babies that are stillborn or pass away… So the babies are laid to rest with loving thoughts and gentle hands and the sweetest of memories… And their parents know what people are thinking of them… Always… And want to do something to help their suffering. It brings me to tears when I think of the love this organisation is the embodiment of. If you have a wedding dress, or can sew and want to be a volunteer, or can donate funds to help them continue this heart-filled service, please reach out to them. Fiona is a true earth angel who so selflessly serves to help others through the hardest days of their lives. Bless you Fiona.
At my daughter’s school, they give students lavender footbaths to help them feel calm in their bodies. I’ve even known a principal giving an upset parent a footbath!!! It harms back to an age old tradition that spans many cultures. To wash someone’s feet is to honour them and pour energy back into them. It is a gift of service and a joy to do.
So me and the girls gave Chris a foot scrub, then a footbath and a rub with lotion. We collected flowers from around the garden and used essential oils. It was a blissful way to spend an hour… To thank and love up and honour a man who does so much. Of course, Beth decided his footbath made for a excellent bath for her as well, and crammed her little bum in there too. Bless.
Sunday Sabbath. Also known as: LBD (Lazy Bastard Day)
WE SURVIVED SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!!!!! I’M STOKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (shirt by my spirit animal Dallas Clayton sooooooooo not a sponsored fashion post OMG could you imagine a Leonie being a fashion blahger LOLZZZZZZZZZ X ONE MILLION. My style statement is “boho hobo” – bohemian homeless. Love your friendly, dishevelled hippy friend who hasn’t brushed her hair in weeks. Wow, this ended up being a reaaaaaaaaaaally long sidebar. CARRY ON.)
I spoke too soon about surviving school holidays. After weeks of her pleading and pestering to go to the dinosaur museum, we took our five year old and her baby sister to it. We lasted 25 minutes, because the dinosaur noises were waaaaaaaayyyyyy too intense for her and resulted in sobbing and carrying and much telling me that she needed to go home. Such a sensitive being… Totally the genetic result of two sensitive parents. Sorry about that little mate. It will be your biggest gift and your biggest challenge this life. Luckily the gift store there had a huge crystal and gemstone section so we recovered in there and Ostara let me know “I feel so much happier in here.” Me too kid. Me too. #parentingahighlysensitivechild #realtalk #realparenting
Busy few days ahead doing photoshoots and videoshoots of 2016 Shining Year workbooks & planners & to do list pads. Having some horizontal hang time in bed in preparation.
The greatest bromance known to womankind. Kate and her creepy ass stalker.
Guess what’s coming soooooooon????? I am so insanely proud of this collection. It is beyond anything we have done before. Bigger and better than ever. Completely redesigned, the Biz book has been rewritten and so much added to it to make it an incredibly powerful and complete business plan tool… It is glossy and gorgeous and I’m beyond proud.
Writing set lists and photo checklists and video shoot details for tomorrow’s huge day filming and photographing the 2016 Shining Year production collection. First time I’ve attempted anything on this scale!!!!!!!!!!!! Wish me luck!!!!!!!
Love me some colouring book action!
Thanks to Joanna, a gorgeous goddess, for sharing this beautiful moment with her lovely daughter!
My van is fucking chockers… Loaded to the gills for the 2016 Shining Year product collection video and photo shoot today…
2016 Shining Year product collection photo and video shoot in process with our set designer Mikaela from The Maker’s Collective and the amazing Tracy Lee Photography. Funny but true: I have been on the hunt for a photographer to work with, and ended up finding Tracy’s work and falling in love with it. She went to the top of my spreadsheet of photographers to work with and I planned on contacting her. One day later I saw she joined the Academy. A couple of days after that, I found myself sitting at the same table as her at The Women’s Collective conference. I passed her a note that day that said: You. Me. Next Friday. Work with me?
She wrote back: SURE!
When it’s meant to be, the universe throws signs at you until you relent.
There may or may not have been large handfuls of glitter thrown and blown everywhere at the product collection shoot. I may or may not have glitter on every square inch of skin that is very very difficult to get off. I may or may not be utterly delighted that I look even more like a mermaid now. My husband may or may not be not as quite delighted that our bed sheets bear the glittering marks of this historic day. Mwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!
Yes, of course I’m not wearing shoes. Bloody hippy.
Once we spent HOURS doing product photography and videos, we headed to a STUNNING park for more photographs and videos… helped out by some truly beautiful souls including my darling mate Lile, Deanne, Kate and Smita.
7pm. Heading home. It’s been an 11 hour day doing this #2016shiningyear product collection photo and video shoot. Huge and amazing and hard work and perfection. Thank you to my beautiful team and tribe of support and mates for today. I am so very lucky. Can’t wait to share what we created with you all.
And… I totally had to schedule in a LBW (Lazy Bastard Weekend) to recover from that epic shoot. I slept for 14 HOURS after that!
Hot date ordering groceries online while the wombfruit destroy my office. #realparenting
Sunday verandahing. My favourite hobby.
Oh I’ve missed this. I haven’t made toys for over a year I think… Haven’t felt settled enough to do it. Starry’s kindy teacher asked me to do some repair work on the kindy room dolls. So much fun!!! I needlefelted some new clothes, repaired her hair, added flowers to her hair and an embellishment to her cloak. All while soaking up the verandah and garden, listening to Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic on Audible, while Starry needlefelts beside me. Top quality Sunday afternoon.
I CAN NOT EVEN EMOTIONALLY PROCESS THIS SITUATION
National Portrait Gallery today! Hoooooorayyyyyyy!!!! Bethy on my back, Ostara between us, handsome stranger who I think I will take home with me.
Yay!!! Delighted that our upcoming 2016 Shining Year planners have been featured in The Mother magazine!!! Sooooo cool!!!!
My office takes up the master bedroom at the front of the house. So I made a nap station/reading nook in the walk in robe which also serves as my ginormous business filing cabinet of wonder. #priorities #doubleduty
Pizzzzzzza nighhhhhhht because adulting is hard. And it makes Beff do a happy dance like nothing else.
Another doll renovation for Ostara’s kindy. This one had threadbare felt and holes so I needlefelted more felt into it, made a vest and pimped its style. Happy doll!!
Dropped off the pimped up dolls to kindy today and chose two more that looked verrrrrrry well loved. One has its head dangling off and the other looks like an octopus. This will be really fun to restore them!!
Makes my brain hurt and bend and grow… But I went to a business financial management workshop tonight to get smarter at reading financial statements. Was so good to work out where I’m at, what I’m good at, what I need to improve.
Our lil whirlwind is ready for summer.
One of the biggest joys I discovered in 2015 was graphic novels. They seem to be how my brain works… Art & words intertwined. Started this one last night. It’s somber & beautiful.
Awesome morning with my old high school darling Lena. Took an unexpectedly looooooong walk with our Girl Squad (we both now have two daughters). Happy heart to be out in the world with friends. Can y’all remind me I need more of this in my life? That getting swallowed whole by work & family makes all of us feel dull & slightly nutty?
EXCELLENT PHOTOBOMB EFFORT, STARRY. #proudmama
Erin just messaged me… It’s just been announced that I’m a finalist in the MyBusiness Awards 2015 for Businesswoman of the Year. I’m blown away. Just had a little weep in the car. Wow. What a year. It’s taking me a lil bit to emotionally process it!!!! Thank you all so much… For everything. Best. Tribe. Ever. Love, Lucky & Teary Leonie
Just finished this. Mind. BLOWN. THE LAST 30 minutes are intensely spiritual.
GIRLS NIGHT OUT… Pizza with my mates! I forgot my glasses so I have to be all celebrity and wear my prescription sunglasses at night. We decided last time that we would have monthly potluck dinners… All the beautiful women I know here… I introduce them all to each other so they can all be friends too. Annnnnnd me and Melanie Rees have been online friends for YEARS and just met tonight. She is an amazing artist… I immediately ran around her house and into her studio to look at all her artwork. And what blows me away even more is that she only started painting once she had done my Creative Goddess e-course a few years ago!!!! Touches my heart.
Yayyyyyyy!!! Sunday afternoon nap = NAILED IT. I only ever nap in three hour blocks though… I can’t wake up earlier otherwise I’m a grumpy zombie for the rest of the day. Hunky love can power nap anywhere anytime for even just 15 minutes and be refreshed. I have to schedule mine in because they are a commitment.
On Sundays, when Beth naps, Chris & Starry watch a movie together. And I sneak off to bed for books or a block nap. Waaaaaalaaaaaaaaaa!!!
Fucking hilarious. As all British comedies are.
My night’s work… Reattaching the head & renovating this doll for Starry’s kindy room. He’s turning into a Summery Sun God. I don’t think he’s finished quite yet. Maybe some contrast yellow stitching in his coat? Maybe a yellow crown? Either way, he’s starting to shape up beautifully. I’m always amazed at how things flourish with a little love and attention.
I just attempted to do a workout routine at home. I got three minutes in until I gave up because both children were wailing like banshees and attempting to crawl back into the womb because I dared focus on anything but them. Children are ridic, yo. #solidaritymysisters
I’m coming to Sydney on Fri Nov 13 for the awards ceremony for that whole myBusiness Australian Business Woman of the Year finalist thing… (JUST BOUGHT A TURQUOISE MERMAID FLAPPERS DRESS BOOOO YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!)
So… while I’m there… wanna play? We’re going to have a meetup in Sydney city… it will be WAY fun!!! (If you’re keen, please EMAIL US – email@example.com – with SYDNEY in the header so we can give you the details!)
Husbo asked for an exercise bike for his early birthday present. It’s so great… We both jump on it when we are feeling a bit lagging in energy but can’t run away from the children. So far, so good. Will let you know how it is going in a month!!! Let’s see if we can make it into a habit.
Look what’s coming v soon…. 2016 GOALS WORKBOOKS!!!! DIARY/PLANNER!!!! TO DO LIST DESK PAD!!!!!
Almost 2am… Off to bed. Illustrating the sales page for 2016 product collection. Is booootiful. V proud. Can’t for full sentences. Grateful heart, creative hands. Excited to show you once all the videos and photos and art and technology and hearts come together. It’s not just me anymore. I gots me a team. A team of earth angels who signed up to believe in this mission as much as I do. Okay. Rambling now. Bedtime. Hunky slumbering man to put cold feet onto. G’night my loves.
I just started reading “The 5 Love Languages” and realised that the main way this hottie feels loved is through Quality Time, which I’m not always great at. I’ve always got my head stuck in a book. So I have started crafting out QT parts in our day just to talk and be with each other. It’s filling his love well and mine too. Today we ate lunch in the garden with Beth roaming about. Watched this miracle gift of a garden morph into a new evolution of blooming. Lay in the grass to soak up the grace and warmth of Father Sun. Thank you Universe. More please.
It’s bustle and hustle over here. Me & our designers are doing round the clock shifts on the sales page for the 2016 #shiningyear goal workbook and planner collection. They’ve just headed to bed in America, so the nighttime shift starts for me. Books have just hit the Australian ports and will get through Customs and start shipping next week, with UK & US not far behind. It’s a thrilling season… Also a wild and busy donkey riding one for me & these magical humans I get to work with. We are definitely in the labour stage of birthing these babies… Can’t wait for you to cuddle them in your arms…… Love…. A very proud & a lil tired mama.
Well… fuck a duck… no wonder I’ve been feeling a bit busy the last few weeks… it’s because I HAVE BEEN!
Coming back to Canberra has been like a rebirth into the world for me… a rebirth into friendships and visibility and learning and connections.
I feel very grateful for EVERYTHING that is happening… it is one glorious, wonderful world.
“Look sultry. No, flex your spiral binding THAT way, bookywooky. Oh yes.”
So this is how the book arrives when your postman soirees past in tight shorty shorts.
Brown cardboard. Erotik turquoise inkage.
I honestly didn’t know this post was going to be like this.
Now all these photos seem very filled with innuendo…
WHY DO I ALWAYS CROSS THE LINE? WHY IS IT IF THERE IS A LINE TO BE CROSSED I WILL CROSS IT? WHY, IF THERE IS NO LINE TO CROSS, DO I MAKE ONE JUST SO I CAN CROSS IT?
These are the things that keep me awake at night, people.
Well, that and a crying baby.
But mostly the questions.
Okay, here’s the first page of the book.
One of you rad chicks suggested this page.
I thought it was a tops idea.
Your wish is my command.
A portion of profits from the workbook go to supporting a range of charities including Doctors Without Borders, Kiva, World Wildlife Fund, World Vision, Red Cross and many more. Philanthropyyyyy foreverrrrrrrr! Heart-soaked abundance really can change the world.
There’s over 100 pages in the workbook. Thick and luscious.
The workbook is divided into two parts – one concentrating on life goals, and the other on business goals.
(If you don’t have a business, you can just do the life stuff!)
There’s a kind of magic and wonder to it all. Each question + activity will help you:
come to terms with the year that’s just happened
mine it for the big lessons + blessings you need to carry forward with
let go of the stuff that is too heavy to carry
articulate your vision for the coming year
work out exactly what your goals are in a HUGE range of areas in your life and business
give you an action plan to make sure those goals ACTUALLY COME TRUE.
In the Life realm, you’ll be led through the process of creating:
Family and friendship goals
Word of the Year
Creating a Retreat for Yourself
an Oracle Card Reading for the year ahead
Time Management goals
+ lots more powerful, joyful tasks that have been proven to make such a difference to creating your dreams + ideal life!
In the Business section, I’m going to be guiding you through exactly what you need to do to create an abundant, joyful business for the year ahead.
This is actually EXACTLY the plan I use in my own business to create a business plan for the year ahead.
It’s literally been worth millions for my company.
This kind of clarity is absolutely bloody ESSENTIAL.
I’ll guide you through reviewing your current numbers (income, reach, best-selling products etc) in a really fun, simple way.
We have a part-time nanny now. It’s only taken us 4.5 years to realise we actually don’t need to do it all ourselves while going half nutty.
Anywaysies, she’s adorable, and she also owns her own business. I gave her a copy of the workbook and said:
Look, this will probably help.
The next day she said:
I was going through the workbook last night. And I actually wrote down the numbers like you suggested. And – wow – I’ve never done it before. It always seemed to hard. But it was so easy. And now I see everything so clearly!
The power of having clarity in your numbers is that you can work out what’s working, what’s not + where you can mine for even more abundance.
In the Business section, you’ll be led to setting:
Business Mission Statement
Social media goals
Work/life balance goals
SOME NEW WORKBOOK SECTIONS!
By popular demand, I’ve also included a “What To Do When You Fall Off The Workbook Wagon” checklist.
And now it helps you take care of the last one too!
I created monthly check-in sheets for each month so you can schedule it in your calendar to fill them out at the end of each month to keep you on track with your goals. They are, in a word, FREAKING THE BOMB DOT COM!
And a new Notes section so you can write to do lists, journal + keep all your 2015 musings in one spot!
In interrupt this post with some “Leonie got distracted and started taking photos of her studio” pictures.
I’m sure you understand.
And a sign I’ve got ready to go for the Cairns Business Women’s Club lunch on Friday. How exciting! (If you’re there… let’s play! Talk shit! Be silly buggas!)
Also: for those who know me and my barefooted ways… and the fact I don’t own any shoes apart from a couple of pairs of flip flops…
YES I DID BUY SHOES TO WEAR TO THIS DOOHICKEY ON FRIDAY.
I bought… sparkly flip flops.
Fully upmarket laydeeee!
You can tell who lives in and loves this studio.
A rainbow-watercolour-splashing angel-loving hippy.
Aaaaand we’re back!
This year, the printed workbook comes with a FREE A2 sized year wall planner too! SQUEE!!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!
Each month, it lets you fill out your income goals, happiness goals and three most important goals for the months.
Will totes super keep you on track. Hooray!
I’m fully in love with this lovebeam and am SO HAPPY we got to create it for you as a bonus for the printed workbook this year!
I am SO infinitely grateful that these workbooks fell into my creative lap six years ago.
Through and through they have changed my life and business, my happiness, income, friendships + relationships… it’s been a deep and dear blessing to feel so much on purpose because of this process of dream-creating and dream-making.
I know the difference these bookywookies make because I’ve seen it in my life… and the now 40 000 women who’ve used them (and turned into rabid fans… I’m just as much a fangirl too..)
How would the world change if every woman in it knew her dreams were possible and doable?
Through and through. That’s how it would.
It would be a better place for our dreams come true.
It would be a miracle.
Questions about the workbooks?
Just email us lovies — firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a reminder – printed workbook supplies for 2015 are limited. Once they run out, we won’t be printing again.
So grab your copy sooner rather than later, babearoonie. And grab a few for soulsister Chrissie presents too.
I was lying in bed this morning, giggling as Ostara blew juicy raspberries at her Daddy… and I was thinking about the photos of the three of us at Hanging Rock, our sacred place down in Canberra. And with a start, I remembered that I had forgotten to share them with you!
So my darlinghearts… await no longer!
Before Mother’s Day, my hunky soul-love asked me what I wanted as my first Mama’s Day present. And as usual when it comes to presents, I couldn’t think of a thing.
But then, a few days later, I was searching through my folders, trying to find a good photo of the three of us. I could only find one. Only one photo of my beautiful little heart-family all together.
So I asked Chris to gift me a family photoshoot by our beautiful doula Rachel instead. Rachel took such divine pregnacious photos of us the day my waters broke, I knew she would do a stunning job.
One stunning (but cold) winter’s morning, when Ostara was three months old, we drove up to Hanging Rock. Our sacred place in Canberra. The place I had married myself. Where we had engagement photos taken. Where we had pregnacious photos taken. The whole timeline of love was there. Where once there was two, there were now three.
And standing there that day, beneath that great ancient stone, it felt like things were complete.
Like our love for ourselves and each other had created a space for a whole new soul to come into this world.
Like our hearts were given the gift of loving even more.
And the photos were breathtaking.
They are so special to me, these photos.
Documenting our first months together. In Canberra, Ostara’s birthplace. And my dearest daughter – so utterly precious and completely tiny.
I keep thinking I need to do this every year for mother’s day – but seeing how much she has changed since these photos were taken three months ago – maybe I need it even more often?
Regardless, I am grateful.
For what I do have.
For us. Doing the very best we can. Loving as deeply and fully as we can.
I’m currently working on my yearly review in my 2020 Goals workbooks, and thought it would be fun to do a round up post here as well to share with you all of how this year has been for me… life, business and all the good stuff!
This is a massive review – just under 5,000 words!
In it I’ll share:
some of the hardest parts of our family’s year
our transition from homeschooling to schooling
some of the best ideas I had that changed my life
where I focussed my business over the last 12 months
what I sold the most of
how I changed my philanthropic focus
the piece of technology that helped me simplify and increase profits this year.
I’ll talk about life first… because that’s the most important thing!
We bought a new house this year after 12 months of living on the Sunshine Coast. It was our original plan to do this – we bought a smaller property to live in while we decided where we wanted to live on the coast, and then bought a larger house on an acreage. We kept the smaller house to rent out.
We’ve been in our new home for six months now, and it’s such a blessing to live on acreage again. We are on two acres, surrounded by birds and trees. I feel so grateful. I love the spaciousness… being on acreage has always been my dream, and when we lived in the rainforest in Kuranda on acreage I was just thrilled with it. We definitely thought we’d keep living on acreages, but our adventures took us in different directions. Until now!
To come back to acreage after four years of longing feels very lucky.
I still love living on the Sunshine Coast, and we will probably be here for a few years at least. KNOCK ON WOOD! HA!
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know we’ve been pretty transient with our homes, and have lived in 8 places in 10 years from Cairns to Hobart. On good days I think we’ve just had a magical, unexplainable journey of slow travel around Australia. On bad days, I wonder WTF we were thinking. Ha! Luckily, my days are almost always good.
What I love about the Sunshine Coast:
the water. I love being near the beach and rivers and lakes. Gosh it’s good medicine for the soul.
the people. Honestly I’ve met so many lovely, educated hippies… it’s hard to keep up with all the beautiful hearts I’ve met.
the weather. Sub tropical mild magic! Not so endlessly hot you feel like you are one giant sweaty inferno of a ball sack. (Can you tell I’ve lived in Cairns?) Not so endlessly cold you feel like your asshole has frost bite. (Can you tell I’ve lived in Tasmania and Canberra?)
After two years of homeschooling both my kids, we decided with my eldest to try a term at a small independent school here. I’d done a tour of it previously and had been really excited by its approach. When we took a tour with my eldest, she said in the car on the way there: “I don’t want to look at a school! I love homeschooling!” But by the end of the tour, she told us: “I want to go to school here.”
So she did. We thought we would give it a go for a term and see what it was like for her and us. And it was great, so we continued. It’s been a year now, and it’s really been wonderful. My kid still adores it, and has learned SO MUCH. She is truly thriving. My youngest will start there in 2020 and we will be regularly kid-free for the first time in a decade (!!!!)
I do sometimes miss how much time we had together as a family, how much freedom we had when homeschooling, and how we got to choose our own schedule. My mental health is a lotttttt better when I’m not homeschooling – just being able to have more time to myself is crucial. Plus, it’s a pretty big mental responsibility to take on your kids’ education, so I found that taxing too. My kid has absolutely blossomed at school, educationally and emotionally, so it’s the right choice for us right now.
I’m grateful for the example of homeschooling friends who are “Flexi learners” – they take it term by term, and will happily homeschool or have the kids at school – it depends on what is needed by the family members at the time.
I appreciate that philosophy – that there’s no one right way to do things permanently. You can just choose, and choose again. Keep choosing what’s right for you and and your family and your kid to bloom.
I’ve been working out of a corner of our bedroom for 18 months. We just didn’t have the space in our first house, and I didn’t really care. I knew I could cope with just having a desk for the short term. Let’s face it – I barely even use a desk anyway. I usually work from bed or the couch.
Anyways, when we moved into our new acreage, there was an extra room behind our garage that was used as a bar or games room. It didn’t have any windows, and was a bit dark and sad. We knew we’d use it as my office/studio once we renovated. In my impatience, I expected I’d be using it within a couple of weeks of moving in. In reality, it took six months for us to renovate it and get it where it needed to be for it to be usable.
It’s now an amazing space to create in, and I’m so thrilled!
We’ve all been in good health this year, thank goodness. There’s been some years where that hasn’t been the case – between mental health, hyperemesis gravidarum and a shithouse immune system. This year has been healthy and happy though!
It’s definitely been the Year of Dental Work however… I had my wisdom teeth removed under twilight sedation (much good, highly recommend!) and I also had a root canal and new crown. My youngest Beth had the same teeth condition my eldest Ostara had – enamel hypomineralisation, likely caused by me having hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy. It meant she had to have the same surgery Ostara had at the same age – go under a GA for extensive repair and removal. I didn’t expect it to be super difficult – my gentle, placid-natured Ostara had no issues with the GA, and was out like a light.
For my strong spirited, boisterous Beth however, she did NOT enjoy going under GA, and was suuuuuper pissed off at the anaesthetist, fighting the whole way down (it probably only took a few minutes, but it felt like a lifetime). I ended up sobbing hysterically in the waiting room. She woke up quickly in recovery, climbed onto a nurse like a koala and sleepily proclaimed: “I AM HUNGRY!” This makes me smile – Beth, always hungry, always up for a hug. And that’s where I found her. The nurses transferred Sleepy, Hungry, Koala Beth onto me, and popped me onto the hospital bed with her on top of me. They tucked me in, and treated us both so gently. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of it.
They fetched Beth endless food – ice-blocks, ice-cream, custard, jelly. And yet she was STILL HUNGRY. Beth had been deprived of food for 5 whole hours, and she needed to redress that imbalance stat. Her recovery went beautifully. Beth now has some silver plated teeth which she is very excited by. She announces to every stranger in sight: “LOOK AT MY SILVER TEEEETH!”
Beth gave us another trip to emergency this year as well – she split her head open on a table at home and had to be glued back together. I will say: if the doctor asks you if you want to see the cleaned out head wound before they mesh it back together, say NO. I’m usually pretty fine with blood and said YES like a NOVICE PARENT. DO NOT BE LIKE ME. I don’t think I’ve managed to erase that visual memory yet. I still feel a bit vommy when I think about it.
Anyways, I’m always so blooming grateful when I go to hospital: it gives me a humanity tune-up to my heart. It reminds me just how vulnerable we all are. How much we adore our children, and how much we ache when they ache. And it reminds me to love perfect strangers, how thin the veneer of normality really is.
OUR SWEET DOGGY
At the start of the year, my husband met me at the door one afternoon when I got home with the kids.
“Honey,” he said, shaking just a little bit. “I think there’s something wrong with Angel.”
He’d noticed she’d had issues with eating, and inspected, and some of her teeth looked like they needed removal.
My husband ADORES dogs, and is very attached to our pets. He’s got such a soft heart when it comes to them.
I had a look, agreed, and calmed him down. I told him I’d take her to the vet in the morning, and that she’d be totally fine, she just needed some dental work done.
The next morning, I take her to the vet (my husband is too worried to come). The vet checks her teeth, agrees she needs some dental work, and says they can fit in Angel for treatment today. She does a health check over Angel to make sure she’s ok for dental surgery. I remember the moment: the vet puts her hand over Angel’s stomach to check her organs, and stops. She gets a frown on her face, and keeps pressing on her stomach.
In my head, I think: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. This is it. This is the beginning of the end. This is the bad news that none of us want.
We’ve had Angel for over 10 years now. She’s a part of our family. And we still miss our Charlie who died from a brain tumour a few years ago.
The vet finally says: “I can’t tell, but I think Angel has a large tumour. I need to get her scanned as soon as we can.”
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.
The vet pulls off some kind of miracle, and gets her business partner to bring scanning equipment from another surgery. They confirm she has a large tumour which needs immediate removal as it could potentially burst. They decide to perform surgery straight away, and send us home.
Hours later, they call. The surgery took much longer than they expected. They found the tumour was even larger than they anticipated – it was larger than a baseball (absolutely massive for a 3kg dog!) and took up all space in her rib cage. In an absolute miracle however, they were able to remove the whole thing, it did not cause haemorrhaging, it was not cancerous and she made a full recovery. The vets were stunned at how miraculous the whole thing was.
We are so grateful that she survived… and that we’d discovered it so serendipitously. We feel lucky for the extra time we’ve been given with her. At the age of 14, she is now in great health and is naughtier than ever. Sometimes I tell her: “ANGEL! CALM DOWN OR I WILL SHOVE THAT TUMOUR BACK INSIDE YOU!” Ha! Seriously though, thank goodness for her fluffy face and getting to keep loving her up.
We got to experience another “life crisis” first this year… we were evacuated!
In November, a bushfire became out of control near our acreage, and we were evacuated for three days.
It was really bloody intense, and happened so fast. We saw smoke, and didn’t know what was happening. Beth was standing outside with us, wearing only swimming togs as we were supposed to be going to the pool. She was crying because of the smoke, and I was trying to calm her while we worked out what was happening and what we should do. As we stood outside, neighbours pulled up and told us it was close and very large, and they were evacuating. So we jumped in the car too, with barely a change of clothes and nothing useful. I managed to bring litres of kombucha though! You really don’t think straight in emergencies.
It was only 40 minutes from the time we saw the smoke to the roads being closed down. We evacuated, but didn’t get government text messages to evacuate until we were out. The roads were so smoky, full of evacuees and emergency services.
I got teary – while we were all running from the fire, emergency services were running towards it. I can’t believe their sacrifice and bravery.
We drove to pick up our eldest from school. When I told her we were evacuated, she burst into tears and sobbed for a long while.
Evacuation centres were opened, but we didn’t feel we could take Angel there safely – she’s elderly, anti-social and cantankerous around other dogs. Luckily, our lovely friends had already texted us and offered their house to us. It was an absolute blessing. That’s the thing – during all the odd, hard parts of this year, we were saved by the grace of angels. Vets, nurses, generous friends. I feel so very lucky.
It’s very odd to be evacuated though – it feels like a very tense wait in an airport. We mostly listened to the radio for updates, checked our phones for updates, and texted other evacuated friends to check they were okay. Tried to make things as gentle and calm for the kids as we could. Held them as they cried. We slept all curled up together in one room.
The next morning, we drove to the shops to buy some undies, clothes and food. We could tell the other evacuees – we were all bedraggled and shell shocked. Big W lady said most evacuees bought thongs/flip flops – we’d all run away so fast we literally forgot to wear shoes.
That night, we still couldn’t go home and were going stir crazy. A cousin of mine offered up his beach house on Bribie Island to stay at, so we made a last minute decision to drive down there for a change of pace. We are NEEEEVERRRR spontaneous, so it was like the forced evacuation made us free. Who cares where we are? We can’t go home, so let’s go anywhere!
All up, we were evacuated for three days. It was strange coming home – we were still on high alert for a few weeks as there were spot fires and hot temperatures. It’s made climate change and conservation so much more front of mind for me.
And I know I’m not unique in this experience… Australia continues to burn, and so many are evacuated right now right across the country. It’s a crisis, and difficult to understand the extent of it. I’ll talk more about what I’m going to do about it later in this article.
Monthly spa dates. I have a lot of mates on the Sunshine Coast (as I said – it’s full of good peeps!) So much so – I find it difficult to catch up with all of them. Plus I am always trying to fit in more self care. So I decided to batch it all, and organise monthly spa days. I invite about 30 of my local mates, and whoever is free comes along. We go to a local spa who offers spa parties – everyone pays a fee, and we get a 60 minute massage and access to the pool, spa and sauna. We all bring food and drinks, set up camp, and live our best lives for the next 5 hours. We talk shit and laugh hysterically and enter into deeeeep chill. It’s magical, and honestly the BEST idea. Highly recommend doing the same!
This was a year of shifting into a new business model – away from having a membership site (the Academy which I ran for 9 years) and into producing stand-alone e-courses again.
I’ve felt so creatively juiced up, and excited by getting to make so many new courses – all up, I’ve made 6 new full-length courses this year! It’s been such a joy to connect with students and see them get results like this.
Self Sabotage Solution: this is a bonus course I created for students in my Book, E-course and Goal Getter courses!
Lessons learned from what was popular:
Honestly, I never really know how a course is going to go until I launch it. I thought the Anxiety Balm one would have been super popular, but it just didn’t call to people in the same way as my other courses did. I’m still glad I did it though – it’s an important topic and I feel like it was a kind of public service to share about it in the way I did.
I’m a bit surprised that my Money course has been the most popular – I came up with the idea one Friday night and launched it by Monday. I have marketed it more via a webinar, so maybe that is why it’s become so popular. I’ll probably create companion webinars for my other courses too. They are so much fun to do, and peeps seem to get so much out of the free training.
2020 My Shining Year Goals Workbooks
It’s officially a decade since the first edition of My Shining Year goals workbooks were released! I had no idea 10 years ago that those little rainbow worksheets I made for myself to plan my next year in life and business would end up being used by over 350,000 people worldwide.
This year, they were published by Ben Bella publishing house in the US. They are a slightly smaller size than usual – they are more portable plus needed to be reduced in size in order to fit in bookstore shelves!
Me and Chris also worked on new sections for the 2020 workbooks… including my new favourite game show… WHAT WORKED! WHAT DIDN’T!
I’m blooming THRILLED with them, and adore sharing them with the world.
I’m in the midst of my own planning this year, going through the workbooks. It really is one of my favourite rituals and traditions that makes such a difference for the rest of my year.
I go into more detail on this in my Money course, but I have three main business income streams – my e-courses, royalties from my workbooks, plus I still receive money from my doTERRA side business, and I’m an affiliate for a few companies I use like Kajabi. Those are the income streams that fall under our company, plus we have some more that are our private investments.
A few years ago I experimented with having a larger team to cope with business growth. At one point we had about 15 employees I think? I discovered I hated it with a passion – I ended up spending my time managing staff instead of creating, and it broke me. So I downsized in order to rightsize my business. It was blooming HARD at the time, but I’m now well and truly back in my sweet spot. I have one part-time VA who largely manages herself. She does all customer service, and some admin. And my time is focussed on creating, marketing and strategy, which very much is my sweet spot.
I still earn about as much profit (just under 7 figures). I think I can manage this kind of extreme profit business working 10 hours a week or so for two reasons:
I adhere pretty strictly to Pareto’s Principle that 20% of effort creates 80% of income. So I worked out what tasks are profit-generating, and I chop the rest (i.e. the 80% of effort that only creates 20% of results).
I have the right business model. I don’t have physical products, I don’t manufacture. I used to self-publish my workbooks by printing them in China and having 3 distribution houses shipping. It was fascinating to learn, but HOLY FUCK was it time consuming, costly and stressful. It also required so much more staffing. It just wasn’t the right business model for me. So now I have a publishing deal, and work with a company who prints them for me. It’s not as profitable doing it this way, but it frees me up to create income in other ways. I’m much happier doing it this way!
In other staffing news, Chris (my loverrrrrrrrr/husband) still does all the layout for the workbooks and other acts of tech slavery. He says working with me is fine, but the sexual harassment from his boss is a bit hard to take at times. I told him to make an official complaint to 1-800-SHUT UP AND KISS ME.
I’m massssively in the mood for simplification in my business now. I’ve built my business over years and years, hodge-podging together lots of different software solutions for different areas of my business. It got so complicated it was difficult to execute anything. For example, to create a webinar, I previously would have had to create an opt-in page using Leadpages, and get it to link to Infusionsoft (my previous email marketing software) and create tags and an auto-responder sequence from scratch. Infusionsoft would need to link back to landing pages on my website, and then I’d need to use video conferencing software to run the whole thing. Consequently, it was so complicated I either had to outsource it to staff to do, or just… no do it because I was so confused. Then, to sell a new e-course, it was even harder – I had to set it up in Infusionsoft to sell via our shopping cart software and integrate with a WordPress plugin. Fuck.dis.shit.
I wanted to feel empowered in my business again – like I could just have an idea and RUN with it, and make it happen simply and easily without complication or interference or staff needed.
I ended up transitioning to an all-in-one online business platform called Kajabi.
Here’s a list of what I got to kill off because I moved to Kajabi:
Kajabi has a shit tonne of features:
I can sell e-courses, products or even a membership platform again
I can do webinars and opt-ins super easily – it’s all integrated, and it will even create the email templates for me.
It’s not perfect – for example, it’s email marketing system could probably be a bit more customisable, and email deliverability rates are about 1% behind ConvertKit, but its benefits are so huge they outweigh any issues completely for me.
I’m just so glad I’ve been able to get back to coming up with ideas and executing them super quickly by myself.
I’ve donated to a large number of charities over the years – built a library in Vietnam through Room to Read, helped build a school in West Ghana through Pencils of Promise, I’m in the top 1% of Kiva lenders worldwide and donated to loads more from WWF to Red Cross to World Vision. I donated over $40,000 to an orphanage. I want to share publicly here as well: as I learn more about racial justice, I increasingly feel more uncomfortable with supporting orphanages. More info here, here, here and here.
This year I made the decision to make a change with my philanthropic work.
I decided to centre my philanthropy going forward on climate change and the environment. It’s the place that I feel is the highest priority going forward, and feel passionate about.
I did a huge website and brand redesign… we’re entering final development now so hopefully should be out early 2020!
As part of the redesign, I did a photoshoot with Eyes of Love. I was freaking STOKED with the images we created, and have been using them all year long for my projects. Plus, I adore Michelle and Jacko. Total champions!
I used a coach for 3 months which was totally helpful in helping strategise my next steps in business. I haven’t used a coach since 2012 as I’m pretty self-directed, so it was a change to use one! I used Brigit Esselmont, and she was bonza. Brigit is also a mate of mine who lives close by, and I really just wanted an opportunity to pick her brain more.
I used a daily accountability buddy. Basically – me and one of my closest mates would FB message each other our daily to do list, and check-in once we were done, or if we were stuck. It definitely helped!
In rounding up…
Even though there were some challenges this year with family health and bushfires, I feel really freaking lucky with my family. I feel grounded and grateful to be back on land. I am SO freaking relieved we’ve found a schooling method that is working beautifully for us. I’m so glad we’re here, doing our best, turning up, together.
Business was a real blessing and joy this year. I feel more creatively in my flow than I have in a long time, and that feels super exciting. It’s been a ray full of gladness to reconnect with myself and what I want to share with the world, and connect with the beautiful souls who are called to be a part of my offerings.
What’s next for 2020?
More of the same. More new e-courses. More live rounds of the e-courses I’ve already created. More workbooks. More free webinars. More creativity and sharing in all its forms.
More philanthropy. More looking at ways I can reduce my impact on the earth.
More grounding. More art. More friendship. More self care. And more family adventures.
That all feels very good.
I’m sending you so much love, right where you are.