I love a good monthly life review post. My assistant Zita does great longer ones, and the author/entrepeneur Kimberly Wilson does shorter, picture-laden ones. Whatever the style and length, I love ’em. So I thought I’d give it a crack.
In this one I’ll review both April + May, because I took May off from creating so they were two very different rhythms. Give you a long overview of life, money + business!
Chockfulla pictures and words because… WHY NOT!
Get yourself a cuppa tea, coz this is a longer one!
Want to listen to this as a podcast episode instead?
Just hit play below, or subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PocketCast (or wherever else you listen to podcasts!)
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
First up: Life & Kidliwinks… because that’s the most important stuff!
April started off with two weeks of school holidays. I always look forward to school holidays – I love that we don’t have to do school runs, and can merrily mooch around the house together. It was an especially cosy school holidays – we had heavy rainfall, and for the first week, my eldest kid was nursing a sprained ankle (which required an emergency room visit). Plus, our state was on high alert for a potential Corona mini-outbreak, so it was all great impetus just to stay home.
State government contained the mini-outbreak, so we relatively quickly went back to having no Covid cases again. HOO-FUCKING-RAY. (Also, I know that for 99% of the world, this is not the case. I’m so sorry. It’s like Australia and New Zealand are living in an alternative reality, right?)
In terms of actually leaving the house over the school holidays, we ended up visiting a friend’s farm for the morning, and did a quick roadtrip to visit my in-laws. Mostly my kids just played for gloriously long amounts of time.
We also had a successful mission taking the kids to a new dentist. The backstory: we WERE going to a specialist because both my kids have a teeth condition (likely caused by me having hyperemesis gravidarum during their pregnancies.) But the specialist left, we got assigned a new one, and it was total DOOM. The dude just had no fucking clue how to successfully work with kids, and would refuse my requests when I would advocate for my kids’ needs. Cue meltdowns from my kids, and one pissed off mama bear. So we ended up getting recommendations for kid-friendly dentists, tried them out, and had a stellar experience. No meltdowns! Dentists who are happy to make gentle accommodations when needed! Parents and kids who didn’t need a day to recover because it was all actually lovely! I’d like to give myself a Gold Star for that parenting initiative.
While I’m on the topic, I’d like to joyfully support you fucking FIRING any professional who isn’t the right fit for you and your family.
I fired one doctor because he told me in front of my children: “Don’t forget your children when you leave here, I don’t want them around here.” (EXCUSE ME FUCKING WOT)
I fired another doctor who thought I was lying about a rare health condition I have, and referred to me dismissively as “some girl” when he called a specialist in front of me. (I AM NOT A GIRL. I AM A 38 YEAR OLD GROWN FUCKING WOMAN, CHEERS. ALSO: I WAS RIGHT + YOU WERE WRONG.)
I will not have me (or my kids) needs or humanity dismissed by any other motherfucker.
Kids + Horses!
My kids have been doing equine assisted learning, mostly just as a way to get them comfortable and confident around horses. I grew up around horses and it was one of the greatest blessings. So I want to expose them to the gift that is horse love. They’ve both previously done horseriding and they’d love to do it again – I just haven’t been able to find a horseriding school that teaches kids under 10 here on the Sunshine Coast. Equine assisted learning isn’t about riding – it’s about learning how to communicate with horses and it’s a tonne of fun.
Other kid highlights:
- my eldest kid did extra swimming lessons as well which was bonza.
- my eldest kid decided to go from loooooong mermaid hair to a shoulder-length lob, and donated over a foot of hair to Variety Children’s Charity
- my youngest kid has lost a bunch of baby teeth!
- all of us have been doing an art e-course together. They are both such awesome artists.
- my youngest said: “Mum, I just love WRITING so much. I could just write all day and all night and all day again.”
- I took my eldest kid shopping and we bought three matching dresses for her and her two besties. It was hilarious how excited she was, and truly a Peak Tween experience.
Me & my love celebrated our anniversary – 20 years together and 10 years married. We were going to go for a little day drive by ourselves to Maleny & Montville – two cute little mountain villages not far from here. But one of the kids was sick, so that’s still on the backburner.
Instead, we bought an Instax square hybrid camera. We’ve had an Instax Mini for 7 years and have loved it and used it crap tonnes. I was really wanting to get a square version, and I’m SO glad we paid extra for the HYBRID version… you can edit on screen before you print, use filters, make collages, do double exposures… all sorts of fun creative goodness!
Above is a photo I took on our anniversary… it’s a double exposure of me & my love merged as one human, and it is creeeeeepy as fuck. Very unsexy. HO HO HO. Also, this camera strikes me as the perfect 20th anniversary present, really. Even when we had fuck all money, this bloke has always said YES to me buying creative shit. Anything to support my dreams, he’d go for it. Expensive cameras, art supplies, laptops… whatever I thought I needed, he was all in.
20 years on, and I really do feel very lucky. The love keeps deepening, the space between us continues to soften and I still think he has the loveliest face I’ve ever seen.
I started seeing a naturopath to try and improve my health. It’s been useful just to try and organise health stuff like:
- getting all my old doctors records from various medical centres around Australia consolidated into one
- getting My Health Record setup and collecting test results
- doing a bunch of at-home poop & hormone tests (remember?)
- getting more tests ordered via my GP
- keeping a food diary and weekly health checklist.
Still more to do, but it is progress!
I’ve also been seeing my osteopath regularly to try and keep my back and neck functioning without pain.
Friends & Family Fun!
- We had an aunt and uncle come and stay on our acreage in their caravan for a few days. We had the BEST time hanging out by their little wood stove hoovering through charcuterie boards. It felt like we were camping too… but could sleep in our own beds at night!
- Me and the kids went to a paint & pizza workshop with my crew of hags & their wombfruits.
- Me & my darling mate M had a dinner date at Spero – a Greek restaurant that was so freaking delicious my mouth waters just thinking about it.
A few money things happened:
- Our net worth increased quite a bit from owning two homes (one is a house that we used to live in which is now rented out long term, and the other is our principal residence). The housing market here in Australia is growing wildly and it seems completely stupid, but there we are.
- We inched closer to getting a new financial setup finalised… it’s been a year in the making. Hopefully will get sorted by the end of this month.
- I’ve got a bunch of cash savings that I’d like to invest in more ethical managed funds once it’s complete.
- I signed off on last year’s financial year records and had a meeting with two of our accountants. We’ve kept the same accounting firm we had in Canberra and do all our meetings via Zoom now.
- I’ve been keeping a monthly spreadsheet of how I am going with reaching savings and investment goals, and am six months ahead now of target. HEYO!
- My current financial goal is to have enough in ethical managed funds that we could easily live off the dividends from it if we wanted to. Not that I’m interested in retiring… I think I’ll be making shit forevs really. But it’s a fun goal to have. So my goal currently is to have roughly $6.2 million in overall net worth. My accountant is like “LOLZ YOU DON’T NEED THAT MUCH CHILL OUT” but I prefer going for a bigger goal than a smaller one. Plus, it’s invested in ethical companies, so it’s kind of a win-win really.
I go into more detail about exactly what income streams I have & how I manage them in this program if you’re interested.
We’ve done a bunch of rad stuff with our money over the years, including:
- building a library in Vietnam through Room to Read
- helping build a 6 room school in Ghana through Pencils of Promise
- donating over $45,000 to a Kenyan children’s organisation
- being in the top 1% of Kiva lenders worldwide.
I’ve also done some revenge donating over the years because YES I AM A SCORPIO THANK YOU… so when a conservative politician (or even… extended family member) pisses me off, I donate to a non profit that benefits causes that they rail against. HO HO HO. #fuckem
Last year I decided I needed to consolidate most of our donations and support the fight against the climate crisis. I donated $25,000 to Australian Wildlife Conservancy to help them buy more land for wildlife conservation.
This year I’m still trying to decide on our approach – I think we may need to split the funds so half goes to an organisation like The Wilderness Society which does more advocacy and activism to try and enact wider spread environmental legislative protections. And then the other half to a direct action organisation like Wildlife Conservancy or Bush Heritage Australia. I’m still working on the details.
In the meantime, we’ve donated to Doctors Without Borders and sponsored a child through The Smith Family.
- I blogged everyday in April
- I podcasted everyday in April
- I did a travelling art journal circle with my darling mate T
- I took a water-damaged book and made it into an altered art book to do as a group project with my sweet friend M
- I upcycled a pinboard with my eldest kid
- I art journaled course notes
- Drew pictures of books I read & comedians I watched
- I did an acrylic painting (above) at a paint & pizza workshop
I’ve already mentioned elsewhere, but I have TWO assistants again! I’ve sworn for a few years now that I would only ever have one team member going forward, but it’s ended up working perfectly.
My usual assistant needed a break after a busy work period so I asked someone who has worked for me before (and is still a dear friend) if she was able to fill in with customer service emails. It was only supposed to be for a couple of weeks. But it ended up being such a wonderful fit for all three of us that we’ve carried on.
Together, they only do about 25 hours a week, so still less than one full time staff member. And we all share the same communication style and commitment to healthy boundaries and empathy, so it’s easy as fuck really. But nope, this is not a sign I’m going to grow a big team again. It’s not my lifestyle or personality preference whatsoever. I want to make shit, not manage people!
I much prefer having a tiny team, tiny work hours + excellent profit than big team, big work load + less profit.
April Sale Results
In April, I ran a promotion to give people a month’s notice to grab three of my courses before prices double.
It ended up bringing in about $150,000 in sales which was rad.
Where the sales came from:
- the vast majority were, as always, people on my mailing list. It’s why I’ve ALWAYS taught to focus on building a mailing list over social media – you will earn SO much more money from them! Plus you OWN your access to them! If you need to learn how to write emails that sell $$$$, this course of mine is for you.
- about $25,000 of sales came from my affiliate program which pays you 50% for every enrolment you refer. I love sending this money out… it’s giving money to people who love my work & share about it with others. I’d much rather pay them than Facebook ads! Fuck that nonsense!
I also did a few other things which helped with sales:
- I blogged & podcasted every day in April
- I did a webinar/open office party where people could pick my brain
- tested using Chatra to provide live chat functionality on my website
- used TrustPulse popup to provide social proof of other purchases
- used OptinMonster to create countdowns & popups on my website
Where the sales did NOT come from:
- social media (because I don’t do it anymore)
- paid ads on Facebook, Instagram etc (I’ve previously spent a lot of money on them, and I just don’t love them. I much prefer organic traffic, building a mailing list and having word of mouth referrals.)
After a giant month in April, I ended up taking May as a sabbatical month. I was fallow, and needed to fill my well again. Consume instead of create. I went to an art gallery. I ate a lot of cake in cafes. I took an artist’s date to a little town by myself, and cried to Taylor Swift in the car like an emo teen. All the usual, really! I wrote a lot in my journal.
I’m glad I did take the sabbatical… I’m feeling revved up and ready to create again!
I’ll have a new e-course coming out this month… so I’m in the planning stages for that.
I just surveyed y’all – thank you so much for your responses! We’ve already had over 800 responses! OMG! So ding dang helpful!
Plus I feel like I’ve got a crap tonne of blogging + free goodie making to catch up on. Back in the creative saddle!
School holidays starts soon.
All in all, I’m looking forward to more well-filling and creative-making!
Hope you found this useful!
Let me know if you want to see more like this.
Big love & gladness,
Weekly love letters
Podcast: Leonie Dawson Refuses To Be Categorised
A library of free treasures
Money, Manifesting & Multiple Streams of Income
40 Days To A Finished Book
40 Days To Create & Sell Your E-Course