Firstly, this is NOT the post I wish I was writing today.
I do not make a career out of being bitchy or critical.
It does not delight me.
Instead, I was hoping to share with you my illustrated notes of wisdom learned from a business conference I was excited to go to.
Beautiful, rainbow artsy notes like when I went to the Growth Summit. Or Ausmumpreneur. Or Women’s Collective.
But I don’t have ones like that for you.
Why is that?
Because yesterday, I went to the worst business conference I’ve ever attended.
It was the stuff of nightmares, of horror convention folklore.
I’d heard about such events before, but couldn’t comprehend it until I was actually there.
Fuck all content or wisdom to speak of, much less illustrate. Just hardcore sales pitches.
But first, if you don’t know who I am:
I am a self-made multi-millionaire. Not in theory. In cash.
I’m a #1 best-selling author. Over the weekend my latest books were #1 and #3 in Australia.
I am a serial entrepreneur of 7 figure companies.
And I want to shout from the top of my fucking lungs:
“These conventions are a waste of your time and money and energy. This is NOT how you get rich. This is BULLSHIT.”
I feel seriously enraged at the shitshow of sleazy hardcore sales techniques. It was marketing at its absolute shittiest.
And I feel protective over all the people who were there, the thousands of people who thought they were paying for a useful business conference and instead got trapped in a 9 hour infomercial.
So I’m writing this to hopefully stop other people from wasting their precious time and money on these piss poor excuses for a business conference. Not to mention getting sucked in by those sleazy sales people and ending up tens of thousands of dollars in debt on shoddy get rich quick programs.
So, why the fuck I was there?
I saw an ad for a Gary Vaynerchuk conference.
I read one of his books a few years ago. It was mostly fluff, but some interesting points.
From his videos he seemed like an engaging speaker. He appears to have a lot of business success.
So I thought it might be interesting to learn from him.
Here’s the kind of marketing material I saw:
There was a mention of a guest speaker, but it was far down the page and said yet to be announced.
There is now more information on their sales page, but as of a couple of weeks ago, that was not the case.
They sold most tickets before announcing guest speaker(s).
Call me a naive motherfucker, but guess who I thought would be actually teaching for a decent chunk of the event?
The dude that they had on all their promo material and ads.
Investing a day in something isn’t a choice I make lightly.
I homeschool my kids. Everyday is full and delicious and important.
I have two books to write and illustrate in six weeks to deliver to my publishers.
But I figure someone like Gary V would respect the sanctity of my time and make it worth my while.
So I front up the day of the conference. It’s a 2 hour drive, so I left the house before my kids were awake.
It starts, and the American emcee is completely off key.
He starts pulling out the most tired NLP bullshit out of the bag.
He wants everyone standing up, high fiving each other, repeating words he says, yelling affirmations about how ready we are.
It does not feel good, or exciting, or authentic.
It feels like I’ve suddenly fallen into a Tony Robbins commercial and I can’t get out.
The first speaker comes out. And I’m disappointed it’s not Gary, but I figure he needs a warm up act.
The dude is Tony Nash, founder of Booktopia, and he is excellent.
Humble, thoughtful, good pieces of wisdom from his business journal.
Tony is a good sort, and I’m impressed.
I think: well, if I just get to hear from great, seasoned entrepreneurs like this, this will be a good use of time.
Spoiler alert: I won’t, and it isn’t.
The next speaker comes out. It’s not Gary. This will continue being the theme for the rest of the day.
This time however, it’s a different kind of speaker.
It’s not lovely, thoughtful Tony sharing his gold ingots of hard earned wisdom without wanting anything back.
This guy is a smooth talking “_____ expert”.
First you think he’s a funny, good bloke here to help you with good information.. But then as the moments progress it slowly dawns on you that he still hasn’t told you anything useful, and in fact, he’s actually just doing a sales pitch with long testimonials and screenshots of how much YOU TOO COULD EARN SELLING ON ______… if only you sign up for his program today for the low, low, low price of $3500.
This goes on for over an hour.
The overly produced videos. Getting all his apparent clients in the room to stand up. Trying to incite a stampede of orders to the tables at the sides.
It feels increasingly uncomfortable. Increasingly hard core sales techniques. The worst of the worst in action. Exactly the kind of people and tactics that give marketing and business a terrible name.
The worst part is, I hear from people who’ve fallen for the slick sales pitch.
How the $3500 isn’t enough to learn what you need to know.
How you then have to pay $30,000 for private coaching.
How there is always another inner circle you need to pay more to get access to the information you need to succeed.
It does not improve from there.
After that guy there is the stocks guy. Then the property guy.
All with their hour+ long sales pitch.
I hear more stories from people who’ve invested in them. And the horrific, underhanded dealings and behaviour that happen from them.
Oh and all those people rushing to the orders table to buy now? Half of them are paid employees. Gotta get that social proof in somehow, right?
Want to know how these (shithouse) business models work?
These “experts” have usually PAID to be on stage. That, or they have a joint venture where the conference organisers take a cut of their day’s sales.
You’ve paid to be there. But it’s not enough.
Not enough to give you actual content.
Not enough to teach you anything useful.
Not enough to respect your time or money.
I feel trapped in a room full of hungry people with lies being sold to them.
I storm out often, fuming and shaking at just how much I’ve been duped. But I feel like I can’t leave completely. Always on tenterhooks waiting for when the rare GaryV will finally arrive.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the worm, the bait.
We are all here to see him. We took the bait, and now we are hooked on a day-long infomercial of the worst kind of bullshit conpreneurs on the planet.
The event starts at 8:30am.
It is after 4 fucking o’clock in the afternoon that the bait makes his way onto the stage.
He speaks for barely 40 minutes.
Meandering, nonsensical. Completely opposing statements said one after the other.
Here’s some treats for you:
“You aren’t sharing on social media because you’re afraid of being judged. You need to go home right now and have a hard conversation with someone in your life. Your mother or father. Or your siblings or friends. So then you can start using your voice.”
“The only reason any of you have problems with any of your families is your own ego, pure and simple. If you didn’t have an ego, you wouldn’t have a problem. That’s why I don’t have a problem. I would never have a problem.”
“I am 100% about empathy. That’s what I am really teaching everyone here.”
and then his parting words?
“Just remember, everyone go home and PUNCH YOUR MOTHER IN THE MOUTH.”
Sidenote: in a country gripped in a epidemic of violence against women… where 10 women have been murdered in the last 22 days (many from family violence)… what on EARTH would cause a man to tell over 3000 people (mostly men) to commit physical violence against a woman. Even as a “joke” that’s not.fucking.funny.
Why on earth would I ever illustrate this shitstream?
Here’s another treat for you:
“You need to be creating 100 pieces of quality content on social media every day. I am trying to create 1000 pieces of content on social media every day. I judge myself that I’m being a slack fuck if I’m not doing that. So if you’re not even creating 100 pieces of content every single day, imagine what I think of you!”
I think to myself:
- I have built million dollar companies that are more than enough to sustain me and my family and I do NOT need to create 100 pieces of content a day.
- If I created 100 pieces of content a day, my children would not see my face without a motherfucking phone in front of it. That is NOT a life worthy of replicating.
- 1000 pieces of content a day. Does this guy understand fucking MATH or how time works? If you sleep for 7 hours a day, that means you need to release more than 1 piece of “quality content” per minute every minute for every hour of the rest of the day from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep again.
- This is not a burnout-proof way of living. This is not a heartful way to live, or thrive.
I think to myself:
Does he know this is the kind of event he signed up for? Surely not! Why would he EVER put his name and personal brand behind something so horrific, so dehumanising, so obviously rotten!
He says during his veering randomfest:
“I will outsell anyone here on this stage. Without the shitty sales techniques.”
And the whole crowd, mad with 8 hours of being NLPed and pressured and sales, bursts into wild applause.
But here’s the fucking kicker:
He KNOWS that he is the tempting worm that got us all here.
That held us all captive in a room through 8 hours of horrific infomercials wanting tens of thousands of dollars from us.
He’s been paid handsomely for it.
He knows. And he is profiting HUGELY from it.
He is gaslighting us.
He sold our day’s attention to the highest bidder.
And we are the ones paying for it.
I hear from others, who have been to GaryV events around Australia, in the US and UK.
EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIENCE.
He is not the only one.
Tony Robbins. Robert Kiyosaki.
The worst of the worst high-pressure, manipulative marketing techniques.
This industry SUCKS.
Feel free to email me if you’ve been roped into these other horror pitchfests.
Out of a full day’s lineup, there was only ONE woman.
And no racial diversity, no BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour).
It’s 2018, motherfuckers.
The least you could do is let someone other than a white man try to sell me a horrifically overpriced bullshit fest. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR SPAMMERS!
I would like to say that this is NOT the usual experience for business conferences.
Gary V, Success Resources Australia and Success Squared should be fucking ashamed of themselves for even pretending to be one.
Business conferences are where you go to be uplifted, inspired, taught. Given a bag full of practical tools to take home and start using. Inspiring, thoughtful talks from entrepreneurs who are humble, share their insights freely to raise everybody up.
It’s what I expected (+ got) when I saw Jim Collins, Verne Harnish + Liz Wiseman at the Growth Faculty. They were exceptional speakers that we got to learn from all day instead of 40 fucking minutes (gasp!) with actual useful content (OMG!) not just fake sales bullshit.
Ausmumpreneur Conference is just the same. Authentic, heart-centred. Real. Actual wisdom.
Not a fucking infuriating, belittling, daylong infomercial that degrades and takes and takes and takes.
Throughout the day, the
speakers scammers kept asking everyone:
“WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? YELL OUT YES I DO IF YOU DO!”
And so many people would. Seekers, wanting, open hearts.
And these people would go on to tell us the course we need to buy for $5,000 today ONLY to make that happen.
Now here’s the thing. I’m a multi-millionaire. And this kind of shit is not the way to get rich.
Yes, invest in your education.
But do your slow, thoughtful research on who is a good teacher. Who doesn’t put you tens of thousands of bucks in debt to learn from them. Who turns up and serves YOU first so you know who they really are. Who delivers on what they promise. Who don’t make you make you pay more and more to get closer to their inner circles of wisdom. Who respects your time and energy and sovereignty.
Not some shiny, pushy salesman who you’ve known for less than an hour while caged in a pitchfest room.
So skip these bullshit conferences. Find your own path. You can create your own abundance in YOUR own way and time. With teachers who are worthy of your time, and who treat yours as precious too.
I got home late last night, bleary eyed and exhausted and enraged.
And my children had already gone to bed.
And I missed seeing their eyes open today. I missed a precious day with my beautiful kids, one I won’t ever get back.
Had it been a day that filled up my well, that gave me tools to walk the path with, that inspired and uplifted me, that helped continue tend to and nurture my family and our finances, it would have been worth it.
Instead, Gary and Success Resources Australia lied to me, and to all of us.
They stole a day from 3,000 people.
They took our day, our joy, time with our families, one whole day of our glorious, fucking beautiful lives.
They filled it with indignity, shame, pressure, pain, lies.
For many, they took even more: credit card details.
And it’s not good enough.
It wasn’t ever good enough in the past either.
But it’s time for these pisspoor pitchfests to go get extinct.
To Gary and Success Resources:
So VERY much better.
This world needs it, desperately.
And you do too.
This life is too grand, and too tender, and too precious for anything but.
When did we stop doing this?
That’s what I find myself thinking the moment I enter Forest School.
I watch as children bubble over rocks, squish in mud, slide down riverbanks, shimmer in the water.
When did we stop going outside, stop letting our children experience the miracle of this: untamed wilderness, ripe with play and discovery and joy.
When did we sanitise our outside play so much?
My daughters find rope and a sturdy branch and drag each other down the mud bank, faces splattered with gladness and soil.
I watch as boys tumble, wrest that holy, radiating energy of theirs into adventure and feats of physicality. In a world where they don’t fit, here they are home.
When did we stop doing this?
Surely it wasn’t that long ago.
My childhood was full of this. Those boys, brimming with muscle and sinew, remind me of my brothers. My sisters and I followed them barefoot through snake-infested long grass down the hill to the river with eels and that rope swing. When we were bored, we would hide out in the sugar cane and gnaw on their stems. One rainy summer, I spent months crawling on all fours in the paddock with wild horses, hoping they would accept me as one of their own.
My husband’s childhood was full of this too. He, an army brat with hundreds of acres to explore. He would follow the resident, ever-changing crew of army kids over rivers frozen with ice, up mountains mostly bouldered. He only returned home at sunset or the bleeding was too much to stem.
Why did we stop doing this?
I don’t know. All I know is it didn’t fit right. And I wanted my children to grow up wild, for them to know that this divine earth is home, that knowing and loving Mother Earth will sustain them for the rest of their lives. And I wrestled and I angsted and tried to give up that dream, but I couldn’t give it up. And so we decided to leap again to a place that felt like it would nurture and support that connection for them. Some people don’t have to leave, but we did.
And now we are here. In this place with beauty so verdant and bright, so brimming with colour and nature and light that it hits my eyes and fills me up and wants to come out of me as art. And now we are here, this place filled with homeschooling co-ops and classes like Forest School, and everything is falling into place like a puzzle aligned.
“We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
– Joni Mitchell
Have a look around for a Forest School or a bush kindergarten. I highly, highly recommend it. Or you know, just go wild. Let our kids be wild too. Go bush, as we Australians would say. I don’t know why we stopped, but it’s something we deeply missed without even knowing.
With a big leafy heart,
Okay, so here’s the thing.
This afternoon, I am totally overwhelmed.
It came as a wave rushing down. My brain stopped functioning. All I feel is a red alarm going off, telling me:
TOO MUCH TO DO TOO MUCH TO DO TOOOOO MUUUUUCH TO DOOOOOOOOOO
My inbox is doom. My Facebook messages are a wasteland of unresponded to messages from dear friends. My office space has tipped into that point of fun messy into disastrous. I’m a few weeks behind on a couple key rituals I do to keep myself sane. I don’t know what I’ve got on tomorrow – writing that on my to do list to find out now.
Also, and perhaps I should have said this first, because it is the one that is most overwhelm-inducing to me:
I just found out I’ve got 6 weeks to get my 2020 workbooks ready for print. And I still have the 2019 ones to promo and sell too.
That’s probably the funny thing about producing yearly books – you’re always working on two years at once.
So. Six weeks. FUCK ME.
There’s so much I want to do with them. Not least they are being reformatted to be a slightly more manageable size, thicker with a couple new sections.
When I think about everything that needs to be done on top of all the normal stuff that needs to be done: mothering, homeschooling, other businesses, wife-ing, having a life-ing… my vision kaleidoscopes in on itself.
It’s not my first time at the rodeo of overwhelm though.
I’m going to write a list of Things That Will Help. Lists always help me.
- Tidy my office. It always makes me feel clearer.
- Write long to do lists. It always makes me feel better.
- Get really clear about what’s needed and what’s not. Only do the essential.
- Get 9 hours of sleep a night. Don’t think that more hours will result in more productivity. It just means that I will suck at productivity the next day.
- Get food delivery service during this time.
- Create a homeschool roster/curriculum plan that makes things easier.
- Consider more homeschool co-op time if I need it.
- Ditch non-essential shit left right and centre. Hope my friends still love me when I disappear down the writer rabbithole once again.
Okay. A storm is brewing outside. Time to disconnect.
The Next Afternoon.
Once I disconnected last night, we curled up on the couch together and watched the storm unfold. Counting the seconds between lightning and thunder like I used to when I was a kid, but this time I’m the adult who isn’t scared anymore.
Then we ate toasted tortillas and read picture books together. And as the girls were going to bed, my eldest asked me:
What did you want to be when you grew up, Mummy?
An artist and a writer.
But even when you were really little? When you were like 4?
Always. I always wanted to be an artist and a writer.
And that’s what you are now, right?
And my eyes filled up with gladness and that four year old inside me was dancing.
I am what I always wanted to be.
And even when there’s deadlines and juggling and overwhelm, may I always remember that.
Also, we went to the park this morning so the kids could get all sweaty and covered with tan bark, and me and Mr D just sat and looked at the water and watched birds and talked. That helped too.
With a big, glad heart,
First things first: Just 3 days left before I retire my life’s work. Grab the closing down sale before it is gone!
Second things second:
So I started writing you a blog post a few days ago about my business journey.
Which then turned into 10,000 words of the start of a memoir.
So there’s that.
I have never considered writing a memoir before… but it poured out of me the first chance it could get, as soon as I had a couple of hours to write.
And it’s still got so much more to go, and I don’t know if it’s the right format for a blog post, and HOLY SHIT IT IS LONG.
So I won’t share it today. Instead, I’m going to dot point the fuck out of the situation.
What I intended to do was give you a brief-ish overview of how my business started and grew.
Some of you have been along for the ride for a long ass time. Some of you are newer.
I thought it would be fun to share how I got here and what’s happened along the way.
My Journey To Here
When I was growing up, I knew in my heart of hearts what I was destined to be. When someone would ask me at age four what I wanted to be when I grew up, I recited: Artist, poet, writer.
By the time I was a teenager, I still wanted to be all those things… but I also wanted to be someone who changed the world. It just seemed like the most obvious, true and right thing.
There wasn’t much career guidance available for someone who wanted to change the world though. And even with my definable dream jobs, I heard the same old story that most people do – that artists starved, that being a writer was hard, that it was all just a little bit impossible. I decided I wasn’t going to listen. I decided that I would find a way. That it might take some time – but that I could do it.
When I finished school, I worked in numerous office jobs – as a finance assistant, a receptionist, a database entry clerk, a personal assistant and a public servant.
As I worked, I studied at university as well. I studied fifteen subjects at three different universities, each one getting closer and closer to my dreams. I had so many passions – I was just trying to find one that really, really sung to me. I studied psychology, journalism, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, Australian Aboriginal studies + even economic history after I had a brief fantasy of becoming the Prime Minister of Australia.
I kept exploring, knowing I would find the How of making it happen. My path would present itself to me – all I needed to do was keep following the trail of my passions.
I landed a job working as an editor of www.business.gov.au – the Australian Government’s website for people starting and growing their businesses. It was so much fun that I ended up working there for seven years.
Left: A painting I made for myself when I was 22.
Right: One of my first commissioned artworks.
At night + on weekends, I made art, I took photographs. I shared them online – first on my favourite message board (Planet SARK), then on my own blog (which I started using Blogger).
People contacted me to buy my art, and to commission pieces from me. I was happier than a piggy in mud.
I quit studying at university as it was eating into my non-working hours + my potential art-making hours.
I started believing I could do even more. I self published a book using Lulu.com. I designed t-shirts + journals using Cafepress.com.
I blogged my little heart out – and have been doing it ever since 2004!
I tried out selling at art markets. For me, I didn’t find them as successful or fun as selling online, so I kept selling through my website and through Etsy.com. I signed with a licensing agent. I held my first solo art exhibition at 23.
I decided I wanted to start doing spiritual work as well. For a few years I had been a part of a women’s circle. The leader of the circle moved away and I really wanted and needed to have a circle in my life, so I decided the only thing to do was for me to start running one myself.
So that’s what I did. I started out doing them for free. It was an incredible growing time. I learned so many lessons along the way. I found that I needed to start running circles as paid courses so that I could continue running them. I needed to make them sustainable for me + my energy levels. I also found that women were more committed to going to circles if they had paid for them. This was one of my first lessons in sacred commerce!
When I was 24, I felt the calling to create a three-day women’s retreat – even though I’d never even attended one myself. So that’s what I did.
I just trusted that I would know how to teach and hold the space. It was hard work, and I was incredibly grateful for just how magically it turned out. Immense, powerful things happened along the way.
Then I followed my next passion + started photographing women as goddesses, weddings + pregnancies.
And all at the same time, I drew, journalled, kept growing in love with my love, travelled in India for a month, went to Uluru on a spiritual retreat, had adventures + a ridunkulous amount of fun.
I followed wherever my creative + spiritual heart led me. I chanted at the top of mountains at midnight while a storm blew around. I sung in teepees. I walked labyrinths in moonlight. I painted with my whole body. It was a time that was totally wonderful + nourishing in my life. And FUN – oh my goddess – the FUN! And I kept working at my public service job and had fun there too.
After a while, I started working part-time in my office job so I could spend more time creating. I want to say something about my dear office job: I have never believed in the philosophy of breaking out of cubicle jail. Instead, I found a place to work that would give me an income while I played with my passions until I had a totally sustainable business.
As I explored my passions and dreams, I realised I wanted to do more than just have a gorgeous creative hobby that made me a little bit of money. I was making a little bit of money doing the things I loved – but nowhere near enough to do it full time. I remember going for a walk through the streets and fields in our city suburb one day, I decided to make a goal. I decided I was going to make $30 000 in the next year.
I went home, took out a piece of paper, and worked out how much I would have to sell in order to make $30 000 a year. As I played with the numbers, I just couldn’t make them add up.
I was frustrated – I wondered how on earth other people were able to manage it. It dawned on me that I had no idea about business.
I realised I’d been spending so much energy developing my creative and spiritual gifts, and no time at all developing my business ones. My creative and spiritual muscles were well developed and pretty buff-looking, but I didn’t have any business muscles and knowledge to support them. I decided that I needed to spend energy developing my business muscles. I needed to build a business vehicle – or a vessel – that was big enough to contain all my dreams, and strong enough to support me. So that’s what I did.
I began pouring over business and marketing books, studying, using business coaches and training. In the space of 18 months I went from earning around $3000 a year from my passions to being on track to earning $50 000 a year. A year later, I doubled again to do over six figures.
By 2014, it became a million dollar a year company. A year later, it had doubled to $2m a year.
And it kept on growing and expanding in all kinds of glorious ways.
I became a finalist for Ausmumpreneur of the Year and Australian Business Woman of the Year.
I ran a 2 day conference in Canberra with close to 200 attendees from around the world.
I got bored at the end of 2016 so I decided to add a third stream to my businesses – I started teaching how to use doTERRA oils + build a doTERRA business. I ended up breaking the world record to reach their highest rank in the fastest time possible.
18 months ago, I started homeschooling my kids which has been the best time of my life.
Philanthropy is built into my biz model, with a portion of money that comes in going to causes and organisations around the world that resonate with me.
- My staff get to choose where their portion of the donation goes, too.
- I love that we’re in the top 1% of Kiva lenders.
- I love that me and some of my favourite business friends teamed up to pool our cash and build a six-room school in Ghana, West Africa.
- I love that we built a library in Vietnam through Room to Read.
- I love that we’ve donated 100,000+ copies of digital licence and physical workbooks to around 2500 charities around the world.
- I love going back to my old high schools to speak, and giving the girls workbooks so that they can learn how to set goals and live happy lives, believe in themselves and achieve their dreams. It is so hugely important to learn this as early as possible!
- We are currently the major sponsor for Suluhisho Children’s Village in Kenya
We’ve been lucky enough to live in some of the most beautiful and interesting places in Australia:
Whitsundays, Cairns, Kuranda, Hobart, Canberra + now the Sunshine Coast.
My husband has not had to work since we’ve had kids – instead we get to just build businesses together and be with our family.
I’ve ALWAYS steadfastly kept part-time hours… usually around 10 hours per week for all my projects combined.
I’ve grown my mailing list and social media to a reach of over 300,000.
It’s been a fast growth company and a hugely wild ride.
All up, I’ve brought in over $7 million dollars.
Not bad for an artist hippy who used to be pretty shit at business and marketing! Ha!
I’m so bloody grateful for all of this. Not only have we created a financially secure future for our family… not only have we been able to live in some beautiful places and centre our lives around our kids… we’ve been able to do some really precious philanthropy too.
I’m delighted + honoured to share everything I know to help you do exactly the same.
It’s a huge end of an era to be closing down my Shining Biz + Life Academy and retiring over 100 of my courses, ebooks and meditations.
If you’d like to learn from that wealth of knowledge, make sure you jump in and grab them before they go.
To your shining abundance + miraculous adventures,
P.S. I wanted to add as well! If you have been trying to buy + have had issues ordering, make sure you email us -firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help! Most peeps are having no problems, but with the volume of orders we are getting there are of course some odd errors that can appear. If you’re one of them, email us + we will get tech on it! WE WILL GET YOU SORTED! WOOP WOOP!
Just *3* days left before it is all gone!