Developing business skills is not always on the “fun” list for highly creative folks. As much as I believe that entrepreneurship is the epitome of creativity, there are many creatives who prefer to be free to create their art than get caught up in the business end of things.
It’s a highly personal choice, how much time you dedicate to the operations and strategy of your business, versus the creation of products, courses and offerings. Which is why I needed to have the incredible Leonie Dawson on The Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast, so we could hear from the creative genius herself how she navigated the world of business as someone who is 100% dedicated to her creativity.
Leonie Dawson is the #1 bestselling author of the My Shining Year goals workbooks. She’s a serial entrepreneur who has created over $10m in revenue while only working 10 hours a week. Leonie has been a finalist for myBusiness Business Woman of the Year and Ausmumpreneur of the Year. She has been location independent since 2010 and has lived in some of the most beautiful parts of Australia. Leonie is an artist, creative and hippy, mother to two daughters and wife to a Scorpio god.
Leonie is a bundle of fun, and seriously impresses me with the love and respect she shows her clients and students, as well as how 100% authentic and aligned she is in everything she does.
In this episode, you’ll hear about:
- Why the world needs more soulful women to make good money
- The importance of developing business skills as a creative
- How to be a good custodian for wealth
- How to integrate creativity and fun into your business
- The dark side of a creative business and how to navigate it
- How a conscious choice and committed action lead Leonie to to over $10million in revenue
- How to end an offer or program with grace, integrity and respect
- The beautiful spiritual journey of stepping into your biggest, truest self
Resources and Links Mentioned:
Brigit: Welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. I'm your host Brigit Esselmont, intuitive business strategist and mentor. As the founder of Biddy Tarot, I turned my love for Tarot into an abundant seven-figure business. The secret to my success? Making intuition and strategy my entrepreneurial superpower. And now I'm inviting you to do the same. In this weekly podcast, I'll be sharing advice, tools and real-life examples from some of the best intuitive entrepreneurs to show you how you can trust your intuition, align with your purpose, and create a positive impact for your work. Let's make it happen.
Brigit: Hello and welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. Today, I'm welcoming Leonie Dawson, who is the number one bestselling author of the My Shining Year Goals workbooks. She's a serial entrepreneur who's created over $10 million in revenue while only working 10 hours a week. Go, Leonie. Now, Leonie has also been a finalist for MyBusiness Business Woman of the Year and AusMumpreneur of the year. She's been location independent since 2010 and has lived in some of the most beautiful parts of Australia. Leonie is an artist, creative and hippie plus a mom to two daughters and a wife to what she says is a Scorpio god.
Brigit: Now, I came across Leonie many years ago, probably back in, I don't know, 2012, 2013 when I was just starting to build up my own online business and I was a part of Leonie's Academy. In fact, inside of the academy is where I met members of my mastermind, who I then spent a good another five, six years, meeting with every week and talking about our business. So, Leonie's Shining Academy was a real catalyst for me and something that just created a lot of potential and opportunity as well. So I have a fondness towards Leonie of what she was able to offer me at that stage.
Brigit: I always remember having this... I had this dream about Leonie back in must have been like 2013, 2014. This is when I was living in Melbourne. And I had this dream that we were sat down at a long table somewhere in the rainforest in Queensland. And we were just sitting there having a chat, and I thought afterwards, God, that would be so wonderful to be able to have a conversation with the Leonie and get to know how better.
Brigit: But little did I know that six years later, 2019, I'm living on the Sunshine Coast, Leonie moves up to the Sunshine Coast, and a mutual friend puts us in touch. And lo and behold, there we are having a meal together in Queensland. Well, it's quite literally a dream come true, and I just felt really honored and blessed to be able to have that opportunity to catch up with Leonie. Now, we get to catch up every few weeks and have tons of laughs. She just cracks me up.
Brigit: Now, this interview is super fun. Leonie does swear a little bit, so just be aware of that if you do have kids in the room or listening. It's probably not appropriate for their little ears. But there was no way I was going to ask Leonie to not swear on today's call because it is an absolute part of who she is.
Brigit: Now in today's conversation, we talk a bit about Leonie's journey to becoming an entrepreneur. And also some of the key decisions that she's made along the way from really expanding her team and then suddenly going, "No, that feels completely out of alignment," and bringing that team down to one or two people. Also, her decision to close the academy after nine years and what led her to that decision. We then talk a bit about money and being a good custodian for wealth. And what that really means for us as intuitive entrepreneurs. We talked too about creativity in business and how Leonie is integrating creativity and fun into her business, but also some of the dark sides to having creativity as part of your business.
Brigit: And yeah, we basically have a lot of fun and share some really interesting insights. I think you're going to love this interview with Leonie, so let's do it.
Brigit: All right, so hello, Miss Leonie Dawson, how are you doing today?
Leonie: Oh, babes, I'm so good. And it's so good that we get to do this because it's been like, I don't know, a couple of weeks since I've had my Bridget dose, and now I'm like, "I need my Brigit dose again." I see you this weekend, but like I was fanging for it.
Brigit: Oh, very cute. I know that, for our podcast listeners, they can't see your background. But as always, you've got beautiful color around to you. And meanwhile, I've got drab, the dreary white walls and gray.
Leonie: This is a new thing. I got really bored one weekend and I was really crabby, and I needed to do something. I needed just to paint. And so, I found this old screen door that I had had for years that I bought from a cheapo shop and I was like, "Yeah, I'm getting into this," and so it just made me deliriously happy.
Brigit: It's beautiful. I love it.
Leonie: Yeah, me too. I'm so into it myself. I was like, "Yes, I love it!" And then my husband's office looks out over onto this big tiled area outside where I like to paint because I can just make an absolute mess and I would walk up to his window. And I'm like, "You see that? I am feeling myself. I am feeling myself. Look at how amazing it looks." He's like, "Yeah, that's great darling. That's great. Good for you, babes." But I'm like, "I am so in love."
Brigit: I love your passion and your enthusiasm. It's palpable.
Leonie: I know. And I will 100% do it for other people, but I completely do it for myself. If I'm feeling myself and feeling the artwork, I am so in love with myself.
Brigit: Awesome. So, Leonie, I want to hear a little bit about your journey and what got you to where you are now in your business?
Leonie: Sure. For me, it comes back to the early beginning days in that I had no idea how to have a business, basically. But what I did want was I wanted to be able to be creative during my days instead of to having an office job. And I knew that when I wanted to... That time when I would have kids, I didn't want to have back to work. So those were my driving factors, really. I knew in the future, I'd have kids and I'd want to stay home with them. I also knew that I desperately, deeply, profoundly wanted to have a creative soulful career. And I had no idea how to make that happen. And I think it was about maybe 24 or 25 where I decided to set a goal for myself that I would earn $30,000 in the next year, which would mean I'd be able to start reducing my hours back and moving out of my Australian government job.
Leonie: And when I looked at numbers, I was like there's no way I can even think of how would I make $30,000 even selling the artwork that I'm currently selling. I don't know how to sell that amount in order to hit that goal. And I'm so grateful to my brain because I think a lot of people's brains would just go, "Oh, well, it's not doable. So sucks to be me, can't do it." And my brain instead went, "Well, I'm sure there's other people out there who know how to do this." And so they just have the key. They know something that I don't know yet, but I can completely learn that. And so that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to learn it. And so I jumped straight in and started learning everything about business and marketing.
Leonie: And for me, I realized I spent so many years building my creative and my spiritual muscles. But I'd never spent any time at the business and marketing and money gym. Those muscles was flaccid. So it was a conscious choice for me to learn how to do that stuff. It wasn't something that came easily to me. But it was something that I committed to learning because I wanted what I wanted so much, so I did. I earn $30,000 that year and I kept learning, kept on experimenting and I think it must be, I don't know, 13 or 14 years later, and I've now created over $10 million in revenue. I'm an internationally bestselling author with over 350,000 books in print. And both myself and my husband haven't worked since we've had kids. We've been able to be home the whole time with them and it's just been such a blessing.
Brigit: And the amazing thing is is if someone told you that at 25, that that was going to be your future, you would have just said, "Uh-uh (negative), you've got the wrong Leonie. Sorry about that."
Leonie: Totally like that. It absolutely wasn't in my future, especially I wasn't somebody who's money-driven. And I'm not somebody who's money-driven. I just wanted that freedom to be with my kids and the fruit would be creative. And that's just what happened along the way. But I'm so grateful because it's been a huge amazing spiritual journey to do that and have to step into my biggest self. It's been huge.
Brigit: And I think what is also really important here is that you recognize you needed to develop the business skills. So, I know a lot of creatives get into, "Business, marketing. Oh, I can't handle it. No, not for me." And then don't necessarily achieve in that way in terms of being able to set up a business and reach quite a lot of people that way. So I think in some ways it's just inspiring that you just said right, no, I'm just going to suck it up and I'm going to do it. It might not be my strength, but I'm going to learn how to do it and get this show on the road.
Leonie: Yeah, because like my love was being able to create. So, of course, I wanted to create. And if it meant that I have to learn some new skills, great. But it also meant that I wouldn't have to be tied to an office from nine until five. If it means I have to hustle and push myself and be uncomfortable learn some business and marketing stuff, sweet. It's still so much better than the alternative.
Brigit: Yeah, and you also mentioned about there's some spiritual aspect to your work. I want to know when was that first time that you realize that your intuition actually played a role in how you do business and how you grow your business?
Leonie: For me, it's just not being something that's separate. I'm not somebody who can do something for the sake of wanting to do it. It has to feel completely in alignment with my spirit. And it has to feel like I am choosing something because it will be of service to the world and of service to me in some way. It will heal me in the act of creating. And so I feel like every idea I've had has been a gift from the angels. And I need to honor that and roll with it, bring it out into the world, birth it out into the world because it needs to be out in the world for some reason.
Leonie: And all the abundance I've created really has just been the outcome of that. It's a side product of it. But I've healed myself by doing it first and foremost. And I've done the job that angels have told me to do the whole way along.
Brigit: And how do you know what's in alignment? And how do what your angels want me to do?
Leonie: Oh, good question. For me, I call them divine downloads. They just like hit me. And so usually, they hit in quiet moments, which is either the shower or when I'm going to sleep at night when I don't have anything else on really. And I just start seeing really clearly what they want me to go create. And they give me all the title and it's basically like taking dictation, really. And I feel the same way when I'm really in flow with writing a couple of posts or whatever. I feel like what is it that you want me to say today? Okay, all right, and just allow to flow. And it means that I tend to have really fast productivity writes in terms of how much I can create because I'm just listening. It's really nothing to do with me. And sometimes when I read stuff back, I'm like, "What on earth? That's amazing. I'm so into it."
Brigit: You need to hire angels since they are copywriters.
Leonie: Right? I just copy and paste, right?
Brigit: I love it. And do you find yourself being proactive about receiving those downloads or are they more spontaneous and they just hit you whenever and wherever?
Leonie: Oh, totally, spontaneously. I find, one, I definitely need to have quiet time to myself in order for it to happen. And usually in that quiet time, I go to a cafe, I read books. I just fill up my well because if I if my well isn't okay, then it makes it harder to hear things. And I think the angels can be quite kind as well. I don't necessarily give ideas to somebody who's just completely broken already with not being able to manage. So like self-care is important, but really it's just a timing thing. As much as I want to be able for them to give me what's next, it never comes until it's ready.
Brigit: Yeah. I think we often have this idea or perspective that I'm ready. All right, I'm ready, universe, for my big idea. I'm going to go out into the forest. I'm going to sit under that favorite tree. I'm going to sit there and it's going to come. And then you're sitting there going, "All right, I've been here for 45 minutes. Come on, universe. I've got to leave in 15.
Leonie: It's true. You're like, "Come on, guys. I scheduled this in." I just think angels looking down laughing and go, "Well, that's nice. Just have a nice time with yourself there. That's great, but it's not time. And you just be with yourself for a while. Look around you and witness all the miracles around you like the little ants and the light filtering in the trees.
Brigit: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And is there ever been a time where your intuition or angels have told you something or guided you in a particular direction, but your brain decided not to listen to it and take yourself in a whole different direction?
Leonie: Oh, good question. Man, maybe. It's something that I feel like intuitively, I thought was the right thing to do. And then realized afterwards, it was actually just like a really big soul lesson, which really fucking hurt. In that, I ended up hiring a really large team to deal with the business growth that I was having. And I thought I'd intuitively picked really good people. Spoiler alert! I hadn't. And it was soul-crushing. But there was so many blessings to come from that because I had to really go, "Actually, no, I'm not crazy. I know that what's happening right now is not okay and I need to say no to this. And I need to choose a different path for myself. And I have an idea and it feels amazing."
Leonie: So in terms of intuition, sometimes I feel like yeah, that's the right thing. But then realize I get completely different soul lesson out of it than I think is going to happen.
Brigit: Yeah. Do you think it was your intuition that was guiding you? Or did you think you miss took it as your intuition that was really your ego?
Leonie: I don't know. I don't really know what my ego is per se. I know when I'm really called into the ego front, I know that the big thing that I had to learn was just because I see someone's magnificence, it doesn't mean that they living from it.
Brigit: That is really, really important and really powerful. Yeah, I'm really resonating with that. Because I think there's so many times where you see someone's potential you're like, "Yes, come into my vortex and be this person that I can see you as." And then, they're operating out of a very different system and aren't aware of that brilliance that is there.
Leonie: Yeah. You see the angel, but then you get the human, you know what I mean?
Leonie: And so now, I'm just trying to see people as they are, as they are in this incarnation, as they are right now and expect them to be more divine than what they actually are and to embody this life.
Brigit: Yeah, I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into this, let me see, cycle phase of your business where you went into that massive expansion on a team level, and no doubt, business and revenue level as well. And to then drastically pivot and go the other way. So tell me a little bit about what happened. And then I'd love to hear too about why it happened and what you feel were some of the deeper lessons that you learned along the way.
Leonie: Of course. So my business is going really, really hugely. It was in the multi-millions per year, which is amazing. And it was just busy. And I think on a soul level as well, I felt like that I wasn't big enough to deal with that. And so I should hire people who would be able to deal with it and not just completely trust my own magnificence in that way and so I hired a big team. I thought that was the right thing. I had about 15 or more staff at one point. And what I discovered was that the things that I loved about my business, I no longer had time for. So all of that spaciousness and that quiet for me to just be able to create and for me to get a download.
Leonie: So for example, I've got a new course that I'm doing at the moment. And I have no idea that I was going to create it. And it just came on a Friday night. And I got the whole download. And I was like, "Wow, that is so cool. I'm so into it. Yes. Okay, I'll run with it." And by Monday afternoon, I had released it to the world. So I'd created the whole sales page, I'd written all the content for it and it felt effortless. I didn't work all weekend. I just had a couple of hours in the afternoon on the weekend and faffed about it and got it together all by myself and it just felt scrumptious. I loved that I could have this idea and run with it and just birth it out into the world. That really excites me.
Leonie: And what I discovered when I had a large team was those kinds of ideas become more and more difficult. And you can't just create everything yourself. You've got all these people who play their role in there and they all got workloads and then they've all got their own personal issues as well. And so consequently, it would be something that might happen in six months time, you know what I mean? And by that point, the energy had gone out of it for me. And I also had to deal with all of the staff drama and managing people and I just hated it. It wasn't my zone of genius. My zone of genius is firmly in creating and sharing. And anything that takes me away from that just feels like I'm completely doing the wrong thing
Leonie: And it felt awful. It was not fun whatsoever. I didn't hire well for a lot of the stuff that I did have. And so it got to a point where it was causing so much pain for me, myself, my husband. We were spending so much time each day trying to problem solve the latest people drama, basically. And I wanted to quit my business. And I thought this is something really wrong that I'd want to run away from my own business. Do I shut it all down? Do I? What do I do? And over time, I tried different things.
Leonie: I had staff members leave and I wouldn't replace them. I had some that I asked to leave and I wouldn't replace them. And I just kept on trying to get back to the simple end to what felt good and aligned again. So, it was a process. It probably took about 18 months or so to downsize. But every time I did it, I felt so much lighter and brighter for doing it. It felt really good.
Brigit: Does that mean that you also simplified your business model as well as you downsized? Or are we able to retain some of that?
Leonie: If I wanted to, I could have completely retained the same ... Well, no, actually, no, I'm wrong. One part of my business model is that I self-published my Goals workbooks, which are really huge. And so I was printing them in China. And then we'd have these like three major distribution centers in UK, US and Australia send them all out. We'd have up to 80,000 packages going in three months time. So we lost all of the customer service emails, all that stuff. It was chaos. So that was causing a huge amount of the why I would need staff and why everything felt crazy. So I decided first to go back to print-on-demand and hunt for a publisher in the meantime so that they could take on that part of the business.
Leonie: In terms of the other parts of my business in terms of the academy and those kinds of things, I could have just continued on just with a more simplified task process instead of overcomplicating everything because I found that the more people I have, the more overcomplicating it got. And to the less, we were sticking to the simple profitable things.
Brigit: And then you also closed down the academy as well, which must have been a massive decision for you. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Leonie: Sure. So the academy was my membership site for nearly nine years and it was such a blessing. It was a gift from the angels. It literally came to me as I was breastfeeding my first daughter when she was a tiny infant. And I was thinking how on earth am I going to be able to not go back to my job? What's the right answer here? What's the clear path for me to continue creating this abundance? And they gave me the idea of the Goddess Circle, which ended up becoming the Shining Biz and Life Academy down the track. And I could feel all that beautiful energy of it. And it was such a blessing to bring it into the world. And it was hugely profitable. I made millions and millions from it and had so many, I think, well over 10,000 students go through it and met so many people who have been in it like you. It was amazing.
Leonie: And then, at a certain point, I could feel that the angels were like it's just done. The gift of that creation is leaving. And I felt like I really need to honor that, honor the gift that those angels gave me by giving it a good goodbye. Not trying to keep it up just for the sake of money, you know what I mean? But actually, just go, "Thank you, angels. And I trust that you will bring through the next thing for me to create and it will be just as abundant and it will be beautiful." So it was a big decision to make.
Leonie: But I set up other income streams to make it easier for me to make that decision. And so when it was when I could do it, it just felt like this is beautiful. And I can just say, "Yes, thank you, angels," and give it back to the world to transform the energy of it again.
Brigit: So when you hit the send button on the announcement email to say that it was closing, what was your feeling right at that point?
Leonie: A few people have said, "You must have felt so scared," and I didn't at all. I just felt like this is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. So I know that the angels have my back. They just always do. And so if I follow it, then I will never go astray.
Brigit: Yeah. And was there anyone else going like, "What are you doing, Leonie?"
Leonie: My husband is very risk-averse. And so it was something that I had to talk to him about quite a few times. And my husband, he's really put a lot of trust and faith in me in being the solo breadwinner for our family. And for him, I think, preferentially, would love to know he's got the security of a paycheck the rest of his life. And so, I'm always trying to create ways in the business to him to feel that level of security. And in our finances as well, for him to know you're going to be absolutely okay, no matter what. If I cock it, you're still going to be fine.
Leonie: So, it took a while for him to feel okay with it. And for me, that's okay. It's really okay for my husband to be more risk-averse than me because it's a really good balance for me, really. And it helps me think more clearly about all of the risks and the possibilities in that and the opportunities.
Brigit: Yeah. Well, I think it's very inspirational to be able to just trust and flow with that. And I think that's a real defining quality of you and how you operate in your business.
Leonie: Well, it's trust and got my backup. I'd be a boy. I worked really hard to build up another income stream. And I have the trust there as well but something else will come in. So yeah, I'm not somebody that can just go, "I'm quitting my job tomorrow." I need to know that there's like a good ramp. I've already created that ramp, so it's just driving it from the ramp onto the truck.
Brigit: Yes. And actually, another contrast to that, too, is I've seen in other examples where people go, "Oh, I just wasn't feeling it, so I just canceled my course halfway through," or, "My angels told me not to do this." And you're like, "But that is highly unprofessional and you're leaving customers and members and what have you hanging there." So I think it's really important to highlight that in ending the academy, you did it with such care for your members and with a strong sense of responsibility and wanting things to be ending in a positive way.
Leonie: Oh, big time. The idea of doing that, just not following through on a promise, scares the living bejesus out of me. So for me, my whole philosophy is to create win-win-win situations wherever I can. So when I thought about closing the academy, I thought, "How can I create a win-win-win situation for everyone involved?" And so, what I did was, all of the current members, I gave them 16-months notice. And I also canceled all of their ... so they couldn't be charged. And just to give them as much free access as possible. And for those 16 months, and I'm still doing it, I've still got a couple of months left to follow that contract with people, even though people aren't paying me at all, they still get one new course a month, and they get a coaching call every month as well. Because I want them to go, "Oh my god, Leonie has completely and utterly taken care of me in every single way. And even if she has to close something, even if she decides to quote something, she is going to do it with maximum grace and maximum generosity."
Brigit: Yep. So very important. Because other times, it can just be used as a bit of an excuse. "Well, my God said, Don't do this, so I didn't."
Leonie: No, fuck that. My guides say treat my people as my friends because they are my friends. And I meet so many people face to face as well. And I make so many friends from my business and so many people that I went to school with are clients. People that I've known throughout the years are clients. So do you think I'd want to treat these people with like premium respect? Of course, I do because I would feel so awful if I treated anyone of my friends badly or wasn't generous and thoughtful and compassionate and went above and beyond for them.
Brigit: Love it. So I want to talk actually a little bit about money. And I don't know what it was in. Maybe a blog post or one of your videos. But I remember you talking about being a good custodian for money. And that resonated very deeply with me because I saw our role as essentially profit makers, business owners, entrepreneurs, money makers. Our role is to bring in that wealth and distribute it in a way that is ethical, that is in that win-win-win approach and has a level of responsibility with it.
Brigit: So I just wondered if you could talk a little bit about this concept of being that custodian of wealth, and particularly as it relates to intuitive entrepreneurs who might be playing out some of the old money stories about I can't intuitive and make money and feel okay about it, so go!
Leonie: Oh of course, of course. So here's the thing, right? Like, White dudes have had control of the world's resources for fucking ever. How are they doing with that? Report card says ... really not so great. Sorry, guys but you had your go at it. And it ballsed it up. The research shows that soulful women entrepreneurs are the ones who are most likely to donate the highest portion of their income to philanthropy. They're the ones who take care of their families. So they spend their money on education for their children and developing their children for them to have good lives. They take care of their extended family and then take care of their communities. And then, of course, further than that with their philanthropy as well.
Leonie: So this world fucking needs us to have money because we're going to redistribute that wealth. So it means all my women, entrepreneur friends, who are wealthy we spend our money in fucking great ways. We are great custodians. One, we manage it well. So we're not going to be somebody who makes a lot of money than loses it all. We're not going to piss it up the bowl. We're going to be really conscious about how we spend it, we're going to make sure that any spending aligns with our own values in terms of ethical and sustainable purchases. And we're going to redirect surplus funds ... way that feels good to us, to causes that resonate with us. So sign the fuck up to be a wealth distributor, guys. We need that. And it's so hugely important.
Leonie: So some things that I've been able to do with our philanthropic funds. I'm in the top 1% of Kiva lenders worldwide, which gives microloans to people in developing countries to be able to grow their businesses and pay for their children's education. I've also built a library in Vietnam through Room to Read. I built a school through Pencils of Promise. And help to fund a school in West Ghana as well, with some friends as well. So there's some really fun things you can do with the money, and it can make a huge huge difference in the world.
Leonie: And I'm not saying that you need to donate all your double arrows. Not at all because I believe in creating sustainable financial custodianship for yourself and for your family and being able to donate as well is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Brigit: And I think then it becomes even more motivating and inspiring to attract that wealth knowing that you can distribute that wealth in really creative ways.
Leonie: Totally. You can come up with okay, I want to fund this. Okay, how am I going to do that? That's really fun. It's so much fun to work out how to be of service to people in a way that creates abundance. And that abundance will go on to serve more people. It's a great fucking gift and way better than playing small.
Brigit: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And have you ever had any personal qualms about ... I already know the answer to this. For making big money, has it ever bothered you in any way?
Leonie: It seriously did in the past. I was such a hippie and I thought that anyone who owned over $50,000 was like a selfish bastard. Because that's this paradigm that we have, that rich people are greedy. And actually, how many rich people do you actually know? And when it came down to it, when I actually met rich people, I'm like wow, they're magnificent, They magnificent bastards! They have their life and their values in order. I'm not saying that's true for everyone. But it's the same is true for poor people as well, right? There's some magnificent bastards, and there's just bastards as well.
Leonie: And also, like, I come from, like a poor farming family. And so I had no idea about abundance, and it was something I really have to work on. And I've remembered there's money blocks all along the way. Once you get to $30,000 a year, then you're like, "Okay, I'm going to get to 60." And then all of your money blocks will come up then. And then you get to the next number. And I remember having almost a mental breakdown about going up to $300,000 a year because that would mean that I was earning more money than anyone else in my family had ever earned. And it was just another thing to clear and grow through and heal. And yeah, I used to have really shitty views about money and now I don't.
Brigit: Yeah, that's good. It's good. Because it's something that just seems to come up a lot, particularly in the spiritual community about making money and feeling okay about it. But, man, I think it's absolute rubbish that we can't even comprehend the whole idea of not feeling okay about making money in this space. I think it's such a positive thing because it means that we're able to reach and impact more people, we can build the infrastructure that can continue to expand that growth. And I can never say the word philanthropic. Yes, did it.
Leonie: Oh, look at you, babes! Good work!
Brigit: It's like I'm going in there. There it is. But there's so much goodness to it all. That's for sure. Yeah,
Leonie: Yeah. And it's not pious to be poor. It doesn't make you more spiritual to be poor. It means that you will be limited in what you're able to do and what you're able to accomplish. That's all. I wish one of my dearest spiritual mentors, I wish she was rich as fuck because then she wouldn't have to work so hard in dumb jobs that aren't about her magnificence and so that she'd be more available to help more people. It'd be amazing.
Brigit: Absolutely. Now, I want to switch gears a little bit again and talk a bit about creativity because you embody creativity in so much of what you're doing. Your whole business revolves around creativity. So first off, I just want to chat about what role does creativity play in your business life?
Leonie: It's the engine that my business is built on, really. And I don't really discriminate in terms of what I create. So I'm not somebody that only strictly does one medium. I'm an artist and I work in a few different mediums. I'm a photographer, and I'm a writer, and I'm a teacher and however that wants to pour out in whatever ways, I'm super cool. Whatever feels good to me. And so I just create because it's the thing that heals me and I offer it up to the world in service to whoever it may help. And so all the things that I've offered over the years have just been those expressions of creativity. And those things always heal me first. When I get to create it, I'm like, "Oh, wow," that creations always heal the hands that it comes through first, the hands that it touches first and it's always the hands of the maker.
Leonie: And when I'm really stuck with something, I know I need to write about it or create art about it or something and then share it with the world. It's just such a part of my healing process.
Brigit: Yeah, I'm just in awe. I think it was on your Instagram recently. Seems like you can create like a new drawing every single day that's so poetic and beautiful. And there's me thinking, "Man, I can't even get past a stick figure. I don't know what to write." You've just got absolute beauty everywhere.
Leonie: That's just like last time, we had dinner and I was writing in my journal. When you arrived and you're like, "Oh my God, what amazing thing are you writing about?" And I literally wrote I am watching a pizza because the pizza guys on making in front of us. And I was like, "I am watching a pizza!" And I was just in awe. But yeah, of course, I can create. That's my thing. But your thing is a different thing, you know what I mean? Who cares about stick figures on art? Just create in the way that you want to create. And you can create org charts in a way that gives me a little business boner, babes.
Brigit: Maybe you can make them look pretty.
Leonie: I just add a splash of color. Yeah, totes. I'd be so into that. It'd be so fun. Yeah, just splash it up.
Brigit: Fabulous. And okay, I also want to get into what's the dark side of creativity in your business? Because I think there's all that beautiful, soft and flowiness about creativity and it's so yummy and delicious and look, I get to paint every day. But having creativity as part of your business no doubt has some of those aspects that don't feel so great all the time.
Leonie: Oh, sure. I think the first one is obviously burnout, when I just over create and not fill the cup. And that's just such a great good life lesson. It's like, "Oh, you've spent more than what's in your bank account. You're an overdraft. Okay, you need to put some serious cash back in, in terms of being with yourself." And it's the analogy of if you're creating and flowing outwards, of course, you're going to have to need something to come in and nourish and spark new ideas and stuff like that.
Leonie: It's also meant that when I went through the process of reducing my business size and having gone through the crazy drama of that time, I felt like I didn't have anything left share. I felt like my cup was completely empty. And so, I ended up taking time away and I took almost a full year of social media. And I built up another income, another business behind the scenes that didn't rely on my creativity whatsoever. And that was really useful. It was amazing for me to try a new business model and to do something that wasn't completely attached to my own creations. And that business was part of the reason I was able to close down the academy more easily as well.
Leonie: So I'm grateful for that burnout period anyway because I got to homeschool my kids, completely refocus my energy, try out a new business model, learn new things. That's the harder part about creativity when you get to the end of it, you're like, "Oh, shit, right. Okay, what now?"
Brigit: Yes. And I've experienced it too where it just feels like that whole creative cup is just pop and it's almost just emptied and gone. Oh man, I work on schedules and I'm very structured in how I do things. And then trying to like squish creativity into a schedule in batch production is very, very challenging, that's for sure.
Leonie: Yeah, big time. It's unsexy, right?
Brigit: Yeah, it takes the fun out of it. Creativity is nice because it's spontaneous and in the moment, and then you're trying to batch it all within three hours on a Tuesday. Then, you're like, "This is not working." I think the other piece to creativity is perhaps wanting to create a lot of things. But knowing that maybe a more streamlined business model is one where you're only selling one or two things. So I'm curious around how you've managed that with this. Your creative energy is happening every single day. You're creating something new every single day. How do you contrast that with creating a business that is clear and focused and you're not doing shiny object syndrome?
Leonie: Oh, that's a good question. For me, I've never been a niche person. I've taught on everything that I'm passionate about from homeschooling, to I went through a raw food stage like hippie does, to creativity, to meditations, to self-love, to sex, to body love, to business and marketing and opt-ins and hiring teams. Just anything that I'm passionate about, I'll create something about it. And I'm not somebody who's going to stick to only creating one thing and then funneling everyone to it. In some ways, I'm a little bit jealous of people who can just do that. I'm like, "Wow." But for me, it sounds like the most boring job on earth for me because I just want to create new things.
Leonie: So when I had the academy, it was perfect in a lot of ways because I end up creating, I think, over 140 courses on every fucking subject under the sun in there and could just pile it all in there. And now that the academy is closed, now I'm just bringing out new e-courses on any fucking subject I'm inspired by. And I'll end up with a library of courses that you can choose from that is like any fucking subject under the sun. That's fine. I don't give a shit. People like different things for different reasons.
Leonie: I don't want to restrain myself in any way. I just want to live large and live big. And I think in some ways it works because people like hearing from me on any subject. My people do. People who don't like me are like, "Oh, my God, why!" But that's fine. They're not my target market. My target market is my people who just love me and I love them, so it's cool. We just get it to create cool things together.
Brigit: Yeah, I think that's something I really admire about you is just how much you own that in-flowness and doing it your way and what feels most true for you, and most authentic, and you'll do that. And I think that is something that really starts to attract your tribe and detract or repel the people who aren't the right fit for you. I think that's a really good thing when you can have people go, "Yep, I'm with her," or "No, thank you. Not at all."
Leonie: Yeah, I completely agree. And I like to swear. And guess what? The people who really liked me really liked it. I swear, they're like, "Oh, yeah, here's a lady after my own heart. She likes swiss and she says really inappropriate shit." And then I'm like, "High five, babe! High five!" And then, occasionally, I'll get these really cranky emails from people who are like, "I just wish you wouldn't swear. It's very unprofessional." And I'm like, "That's fine, babes. I'm totally cool with you if you just unsubscribe." It's because if you don't like me swearing a little bit now, you're going to hate when I swear a lot later because it's happening.
Leonie: And also, I want people to know, just how truly unique I am in my oddities, in my weirdnesses. So I'm likely on the Asperger's autistic spectrum. And I just think cool. That's just a part of me. And it gives me a lot of gifts. That means that there's some things that are slightly more complex for me to navigate, but it's such a blessing. And so I tell people I'm very open about it. I'm very open about my mental health issues and things like that. Because I want people to know whoever you are and however you're built, you can create your success in life. You don't have to look a certain way. You don't have to be a certain way. You can be completely all of yourself and it works. And so consequently, I have a lot of people in my audience who swears a lot, who have mental health or have Asperger's or I'm just really open to all of the variety of life. And that's the people I want to hang out with, you know?
Brigit: Yep. Awesome. So what's coming up for you over the next 12 months then as you keep being so creative and authentically you?
Leonie: Hey, fucking nice. Let's find out by going there, babes. I want to say it's not like I've just hired Brigit as a coach. And I consider myself eminently uncoachable in some ways because I'm a little bit untamed creative beast. The last time I had coaching was seven years ago. But I just feel like now I just want to turn it up a little bit. Just want to turn it all up just a little bit. And Brigit is the master of that, so I thought it'd be really fucking cool to work with you.
Brigit: Well, I'm so excited to get started with the coaching. I think it's going to be fantastic. Fantastic. And also, I love that you're going into this next 12 months at this point without a plan until we start working together.
Leonie: I know. I know. I've got to kind of plan the money goal I want to create and how I want to feel during it. But until terms of how that turns up with creations and stuff, I'm just open to it me, you know what I mean? Kind of have structure around turning it up, but then allow that beautiful spaciousness for things to drop in and come in as they'd both like. It's the right time.
Brigit: Yeah. And as you're stepping into these next 12 months, what aspect of yourself do you feel is emerging within you?
Leonie: Oh, the fun part. I haven't already had so much fun, but I just think ... yeah, no, fun. It's going to be so much fun. I just think let's just make it fun Central.
Brigit: Yeah. Here's me in my masculine. Do you do anything to have fun? What do you do to have fun?
Leonie: Mostly, I just amuse myself. So I had a webinar yesterday that I was doing, and I had like three and a half thousand people signed up this motherfucker, which is really cool. And then as I'm doing it, I realize there's something that really smells. And I realized that I put on a pair of pants and pretty sure that my elderly dog had pissed on them at some point and they dried up. But they just smelled like dog piss. And I thought I could put up with this or I could take my pants off mid webinar, so that's what I did. And I explained it from what I was doing as I was doing it too. And it just made me laugh and laugh and laugh. That is peak fun for me. It's just a completely ridiculous thing has happened. I can roll with it. It's just going to be such a laugh. Such a laugh.
Leonie: I'm a thrill a minute, Brig. I'm a thrill a minute. Oh, just give me a pair of old dog-piss pants and woohoo, what a celebration.
Brigit: I love it. Yeah, it's super fun getting the Leonie dose. And so where can people find out more about you and your work?
Leonie: Well, fuck social media. Never follow me on social media because social media is the worst way to stay in contact with anyone. Think about all the people that you've pressed like on and then never hear from ever again, so make sure you go to-
Brigit: Do you know I almost thought for a moment you had just bought the domain foxsocialmedia.iu. Who knows?
Leonie: God, that would be really on-brand for me. God, now I should. Somebody's already got it, I'm sure. I'm sure. So you should just come over to leoniedawson.com and make sure you get on my mailing list because that's where I send good stuff. Make sure that you check out all my free sheet as well because I have so much motherfucking free shit.
Brigit: That's cool. That's very cool. And who knows what it might be on. It could be about raw food. It could be about homeschooling could be about-
Leonie: Could be anything.
Brigit: ... dog piss pants.
Leonie: Dog piss pants. I could make an illustrated scene about it because you know how I like to write illustrated things about every tragedy in my life from postnatal depression to hyperemesis. The day of the piss pants. That would be really cute. That'd be so fun. Okay, I'm down with it.
Leonie: Oh, I will say years ago, and it's still on there, I wrote an ebook called How To Be a Domestic Goddess. And it was going to be like I'm going to revolutionize how you take care of your house so that you can manage to be an amazing mom, a dedicated ... well, committed wife, and a creative. And then I had to forward and everything. And then it was just hundreds of blank pages.
Brigit: Oh dear.
Leonie: Because that's everything I know about being a domestic goddess! I know nothing. I do nothing! That's how I do these things! But it always makes me laugh because without a doubt, I will get emails from people when they sign up going, "There's something wrong with this ebook. All the pages are blank." And I'm like, "Hahahaha! Yes, it is for a reason! Fuck housework! Just make art!"
Brigit: Well, on that note, thank you so very much, Leonie. This has been an absolute hoot. I have had so much fun.
Leonie: I love you, babe.
Brigit: And it's so good hearing more about the inner workings of Leonie's mind.
Leonie: Oh God, we have so much fun together. I just love you. And I love that you're doing this. I love that you're doing it all the same.
Brigit: Aw, thank you.
Brigit: Thank you for joining me for today's episode of the Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. If you love this episode, please leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. It really helps to get the word out. And, of course, I read every single comment. Now, if you're an intuitive entrepreneur with a desire to build a business fueled by purpose, passion and profit, then you're invited to join me and an intimate group of female business owners in the Intuitive Entrepreneur's Mastermind. All you need to do is add your name to the waitlist, and you'll be the first to know when applications are open. So, head on over to bridget.me/mastermind. That's B-R-I-G-I-T.me/mastermind. I'll see you there and bye for now.
Saddle up for this one, the energy is big and the inspiration flowing!