I always knew I was going to create a life on my own terms. I also knew that to do so I had to be a little strange, outlandish, run against the current, have people disagree with me, and dislike me. I was ok with that. One of the greatest gifts that being parentless has given me is the freedom to command my life as my own. I have the privilege to create a life that I please out of my values, beliefs, and inner knowings fuelled by oodles of determination, stubbornness, and magnificent dreams.
It was inevitable that I would end up working for myself. I was a terrible employee: I would do that bare minimum; I felt utterly invested and dispassionate about my employer’s goals and aims; I questioned the working hours because I knew I could get more results faster and resented having to drag them across a full working day. More than anything, I wanted space and time to actually enjoy my life. I’ve always been of the opinion that this sweet, short, wild ride on Earth is supposed to be a sensual, playful, joyful one. Served with a side of soul-growth.
But building a business, from the ground up, on a shoestring was no walk in the park. It required me to dig deep, face some of my biggest shadows, and learn to do things that I had judged myself as incompetent at. Because building your own business is the most intense personal growth program you could ever take. There’s nothing you can get away with if you want to succeed. I fielded some excellent questions from Instagram last week that I am excited to answer for you today.
What was the hardest thing? And maybe still is… and how are you dealing with it?
Overcoming my own limited beliefs and conditioning. I’ve had to break through so many of my won glass ceilings in areas including money, time, value, self-trust, and believing what is possible for me. It’s an ongoing process that probably will never end because that’s what growth looks like. I notice that when I hit a block and everything seems to stand still like it’s holding its breath wondering “can she do it, can she break through this one?” I really resist at first because what I am hitting up against is so foreign. That’s the hardest part. Once I’ve acknowledged that to get to the other side I need to change my belief system, perception and do some soul excavation and bodywork I have something tangible to sink my teeth into and then can find my flow again.
How do you release the fear of not having/making enough money in your own business?
This fear is an invitation to look at your relationship with money. It’s a fear that exists within you with or without your own business but becomes amplified when you own your responsibility to provide for yourself in a very real way. Which can feel both thrilling and terrifying. Your relationship with money will have to be addressed to be able to move through the fears and break the glass ceiling of how much money you can actually make. I have a course on how I did it, called ‘Affluent’ that is self-study instant-access.
How do you balance working on your inner world and supporting others when it gets tough?
Self-care is paramount and one of the gifts of working for myself and is that I have had the chance to really get to know myself, what works for me, and what I need to function at my highest level. The thing is, life is really hard at times but in those challenges, we are being stretched and offered more depth, more compassion, more tools that we can then pass on to others. I really trust that what I’m learning and going through is what my work is here to communicate and give to the world. The two go hand-in-hand for me, rather than being separate. So I keep showing up, with presence, and spill whatever is moving through me out into the containers of my work that I have created, trusting that they will need with whom and how they need to.
How did you get the confidence to become a mentor? How did you know that you could do it?
Training and practice. I studied Psychology and as part of my degree undertook many practical counseling hours under observation in clinical settings which gave me the mentoring framework and human cognitive behavior understanding. I also took a business course called BSchool that offered me the foundational knowledge for developing my online business. When I was ready to take the leap a did a few free practice sessions, then started charging and incrementally raised my prices as my confidence, value, and expertise grew.
How long did it take your confidence to gain momentum so you could fully believe in yourself?
I would say 2 years. The first two years of running my business were a rollercoaster ride of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety where I wasn’t sure it would quite work. But since then, every year has become more and more relaxed, fun and easeful and I’m 100% here for that. Those first two years were worth all the freedom, creativity, and evolution in me and my work ever since.
What’s the most powerful way to invite people to your offerings? I am not keen on social media and am struggling.
Find creative ways to get in front of the people your offerings are for. Think about it… where do they hang out? where do they work? what are their struggles? what do they read/watch/listen to? How can you position yourself so you can help them? When I started social media was not the monster it is now, and I got my first year’s worth of clients through the following articles I wrote for larger digital publications: Betty Means Business; Thought Catalogue; Rebelle Society; TinyBuddha. You have to think outside the box and listen to your intuition for those opportunities that are waiting for you.
Have you ever felt like you were hijacking yourself by stepping into the unknown?
No. I love the unknown, I love risk, I love the adrenaline of being at the edge of my discomfort. I will always and forever keep stepping into the unknown. That being said, doing so doesn’t necessarily feel easy and without fear or doubt for me, I’m just devoted to my growth so implicitly that it leaves me no other choice.
Do you ever occasionally wish you chose a “normal” path for any reason?
It never was an option for me. Do I sometimes resent “adulting”? Yes. I resent the mundanity of life that is required to live but I also have trained myself to view this aspect of life as a spiritual practice. To humbly acknowledge, embrace and find the fun and gift in the aspects of life and my work that doesn’t delight me as much.
How do you navigate the isolation of working for yourself?
I like working alone. I never felt isolated in my work until I was forced into a year of lockdowns. I have always cultivated friendships with people on a similar path with who I would spend time, co-create with or meet for co-working dates. I really enjoy my own company and I am skillful at tapping into my creativity and getting lost in the magical world of imagination and innovation to create my work and income.
How do you keep boundaries when helping others?
Having healthy boundaries is an art and a skill and I truly believe the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So if you don’t have good boundaries in your life then you probably don’t have them in your work either and you have to learn them. I had to learn them. Due to my upbringing, I had zero healthy boundaries which brought me a lot of lessons. With time I learned how to listen to my body and make boundaries in an embodied way. Now, with lots of practice and dedication to this work, things that don’t match my energetic values and boundaries rarely even come into my field. So it’s not even a thing for me anymore. But it certainly was a journey to get here.
What’s next for you and your work?
I don’t have a plan, but I have a sense that it’s going to shift into more intense in-person work, half-day and full days with me; group work in 1 and 3 month online programs; and literature. I have so many books in me: both novels and autobiographical stories and at some point, I’m going to finally start spilling them all out.
I recently spoke about how I manage my time and run my business in one of my mentoring groups and it created quite a stir, so I wanted to share this conversation with you here.
Did you know that 70% of the population isn’t supposed to be consistently motivated all the time? Yet many people are looking for a magical time management system to manage and organize their motivation in a linear way.
The key to good time management is deprogramming yourself from the way you think time works.
This means teaching yourself to believe that you can still be successful even if you don’t work in linear, dogmatic blocks of time, that are the same every day and every week.
Maybe, like for me, your motivation comes in waves. Sometimes it’s there and fully turned on. In those waves, I can get more done in 1-2 hours than most people do in an 8-hour workday. Sometimes it’s not there and I surrender and trust that this is a time I am meant to be more inwards, reflective and gestating in preparation for the next wave.
The concept of time management is such an interesting topic because, and bear with me here, what is time even, aside from a social construct to help us measure our presence and existence and make it easier to agree on future meetings and expectations?
It feels real, always there, inexorably moving forward. Time has flow, runs like a river. Time has direction, always advances. Time has order, one thing after another. Time has duration, a quantifiable period between events. Time has a privileged present, only now is real. Time seems to be the universal background through which all events proceed, such that order can be sequenced and durations measured.
The more you focus on being present with what you can do right now the more productive and effective you are in your work. One of the many gifts that travelling has given me, which I imagine is similar to motherhood, is the ability to stop, focus, and do work in the moments that I could.
It wasn’t about having the perfect time management system or the perfect workspace. It was about showing up whenever I could. At 6 in the morning while the wifi was good. In the middle of a rice field at 2 pm because it was the only place to find a connection. In the moments between. Now I have the privilege to choose when I work based on how I feel but I actually prefer it when my work weaves itself into moments of everyday life.
The way I do that work is that I am simply committed to my expression in the world. My work is my art. It’s like breathing. I am committed to show up to my work and do whatever it takes to feel that it is landing with, and how it needs to have the impact I intend it to. That commitment is bigger than linear constructs like time. It’s a devotion that is timeless.
One of the things that changed my life the most was changing my perspective. When I started to see the benefit, the gift, the lesson, the growth in the challenges that life gives us, when I decided that life was happening for me, not to me, I really started loving it. In 2014 I took those tools and experiences and turned them into a course. I made £10k from it in the first year I ran it.
In 2017 I created two more courses on topics that dramatically shifted my life. One on clearing the subconscious blocks and beliefs that stop us from living out the expansion possible for all of us. Another on how to live an intuitive life. Both of them were made up of media files adding up to less than 2 hours and were so fulfilling to make. I was finally able to teach core topics that my clients and readers asked me about in an accessible and effective way. They made me around £15k the first time I ran them.
Since then I’ve made several other courses that continue to bring my best personal life lessons and teachings to the people who need them and in return bring in income including Affluent, Her Way and more. Now, online digital courses make up at least 50% of my income.
The Heartful Biz, originally a live 2-day workshop in London presented with my delightful friend Claire was turned into an online course when our collective audiences around the world repeatedly asked if there was a way they could take the course too. It has been such a fun offering with well over 200 women learning how to run and grow heart-led businesses in the ways that we do it, from us.
After years of being asked “how do you make online courses?” last year Claire came and stayed with me in Brighton for a few days and to film everything we know on the topic and across 4 hours, 4 video modules, a pre-course workbook plus accompanying practical templates & resources, we teach you how to develop, create & sell your own online course. As we say on the course information page: we have successfully created & sold over 12 digital courses between us across the past 6 years. These online courses have become our main sources of income. And we just love creating them. Now we show you how we do it.
When I was in my early 20’s fresh out of university I had a strong sense that that conventional workforce wasn’t a place for me. It felt so rigid, inhuman even, a form of paid slavery that doesn’t respect the nature of the human being. But there weren’t many alternative options.
I spent so many nights lying awake in my bed wishing for some kind of miracle. An answer to my question: how could bring my love to the world? How could I get paid for bringing the gifts I, as an individual with a specific coding of life experiences and karma unique to each of us, have to offer?
Living in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona in a boatshed-turned-illegal apartment with 4 others at the time, we were subsisting off bags of discounted vegetables from our local Chinese grocery store, hopes, dreams and a belief that love is all that mattered.
One day, walking beside my best friend, tired of feeling so limited, like I had to trade all my precious time for money doing things I didn’t believe in, just to live a life of modest affluence I remember lamenting to her. I wish I could create a job where I would get paid for being myself.
But I didn’t know where to begin. I was afraid that I had nothing of real value to offer and fearful that I would be viewed as a fraud. I believed that anything I could come up with would be judged as too unconventional and not beneficial enough. I shut myself down before I even began.
Years passed and I found ways to make money that conceded a certain degree of freedom. I found my love for writing and I started sharing stories. First, in monthly group emails to my burgeoning friends’ list from my continuous travels that I sent via my Hotmail account. Later, in a blog. Finally, it turned into a business. Work I do, which is an extension of who I am, that I get paid for.
There are a few things that helped me close the gap from wishing to living this notion. 5 ways to bring your love to the world.
1. Choose your purpose.
There a lot of misconception around what purpose really is. A lot of people think that one day it’s just going to fall into your lap, this sense of knowing around what you are supposed to do with your life. I was one of those people. Now I know that purpose is really the way that you embody your values.
2. Know what your unique gifts are.
Your gifts are practical, tangible things that you do in your everyday life that you might not realise that other people don’t do or can’t do or that it doesn’t occur to them. Gifts remain the same. Job titles change. The things that you are passionate about are the very things that are going to lead you to your dream life.
3. Decide how you can help others.
We get waaaay too complicated and overthink this part and completely lose the sense of how simply sharing ourselves in a real, relatable way is often all that others need from us to continue on their journey. Take your gifts, and start sharing them in the simplest way you can. That’s how you help others.
4. Value yourself.
You can make it all up as you go along and still be a raging success. It’s time that we normalised valuing everything we do and realising that when we live out our gifts and bring our unique principles of love into the world we deserve to be remunerated for it in an abundant way.
5. Keep going.
You just have to put one foot in front of the other without limiting or trying to control where it leads you. Life will carry you to unexpected places and heights that you will have never conceived of for yourself. Just because you can’t see how yet doesn’t mean it’s not true.
10 years ago when I was still trying to make my way in the world and figure out what my value-add was and how I could help I looked to the spiritual and personal development and psychology worlds to guide me but there wasn’t any tangible advice on ‘how to be yourself and make money from it‘. I vowed to myself that when I figure it out I would share it in a practical and understandable way.
Once again, I have partnered with my brilliant friend Claire Baker (author and menstrual health coach extraordinaire) to create a step by step structure on how we do two things:
In late July of 2015 I was sitting in the little bungalow I had rented for a month in Ubud, Bali unpacking my bags (again) and placing my things around the room to make it feel like home. As I set up my mobile office: laptop, pens, 6 notebooks… I giggled at myself. Who the fuck travels the world with 6 notebooks, I thought. I do. But this is ridiculous. There has to be a better way.
But I had a system. A system that required that many notebooks. I started researching and landed on the only solution that seemed plausible: a Filofax divider that I could translate my seven notebooks into one, organised, systematic method. I wrote about that system and how it worked in an article titled: My pretty peach planner has revolutionised my life. It’s a love story.
That article received a lot of traction, excitement and engagement with countless emails asking if I could recreate my system and make it available. I liked the idea. I had no idea how to start. I’d always had an online, non-physical, location-independent business. How and where do you even begin with creating a product.
Over the years my planning, manifesting and journaling method evolved but I kept using the same old Filofax and refilling the pages every 6 months until it started to look scruffy and crack at the edges. Over those same years, I would sometimes lose myself in a rabbit hole of research on developing my method into a physical product. Every time I ended up on the Alibaba site looking at stationary factories based in China. It was disappointing and not what I wanted. I wanted to feel good about what I was going to create and put out in the world and this plastic mass-production option seemed to be the only one available to me and never felt right.
One day in mid-2019, while I was living in Mexico, the nudge to revisit the idea became stronger and stronger and again I spent countless hours looking for a small, kind and ethical printing house, preferably in Europe, that would take on my little dream. Finally, after many, many emails I received a response. After that everything fell into place with such fluidity and ease it was as if all I had to do was hold space for the vision.
The dream of sharing my life-organising and self-reflection method took on a life of its own: the name arose from a discussion with a friend, the change from Filofax to organic linen hardcover came from the desire to limit the use of plastics, the evolved version of my system was mapped out across many, many google docs and tenderly handed to a designer to turn into the vision I held in my heart for her. I share the story of this birthing of ideas in a podcast interview on living an intuitive life on ‘La Luna Eres Tu’ here:
5 years from its original conception, 1 year after that dream was put into motion, on an unusually hot June day a big delivery truck pulled up outside my Brighton flat with a palette of brown boxes: the first 500 Plannhers arrived earthside and into my little hands. With the help of my neighbours whom I later rewarded with chocolate and wine, we shlepped those boxes up into my flat filling up an entire section of my living room.
I spent the next 6 months going to the post office every day sending Plannhers to every corner of the world with so much love and gratitude. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that something you have made is going to live, love and support another soul in another corner of the universe.
Plannher continued to organically grow. Two weeks ago a new and edited version landed with two new colourways, and its own home with a website out in the world plus a fulfilment warehouse that posts each order out on my behalf. Our beautiful Instagram community is steadily growing and I have hired my first employee to manage customer service and marketing for the brand. It has been such an incredible journey and a powerful reminder that when you stay with what is and allow the unfolding of things dreams do become things.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your love and support with this dream of mine. It means everything to me.
Years ago, when I was nursing myself out of one of my most violent heartbreaks, I documented how I was feeling and what was happening each day. There is a month that I have saved in a Pages document ~ I must have been between journals of which all have since been burned ~ that I revisited today searching for some clues on my romantic patterns. Re-reading those words I wish I had been more detailed not in what I was feeling but what the pragmatic events that were making me feel this way were.
Love is and perhaps always will be a prevalent topic for me. Familial love. Romantic love. The love between friends. Spiritual love. The love for an animal. Self-love. Love is also my most ubiquitous teacher. My relationship with love is steeped in passion, mystery and suffering followed ultimately by transcendence and growth. It is my greatest pain and my deepest pleasure. Perhaps that is the cause of my fascination.
When I think about love, I think about how love is not just words or kindness. It’s also respect, boundaries, care, consent, consistency, communication, vulnerability, honesty and so much more. The need to have messy compassion for myself and others as we waveringly walk our individual journies of life beside one another. It is the legacy we all leave behind through our daily words, actions and choices. It is the presence that we bring and the work that we do. Ultimately, love is everything.
It’s Thursday evening here in my little flat by the seaside, past 7 pm with the sun still high in the sky beckoning the summer days ahead. I’m sitting on the sofa, winding down, writing these words to you, noticing that my body feels tired. It’s more than physical tiredness. It feels like a resetting of my bones. I have changed.
The past year has offered me a respite from the external world in a way that I did not know I needed and now that I have tasted it I want more. Day by day I am unravelling and relearning how to create a life outside the standardised systems we exist in and instead allowing the soft, gentle nature of my being to guide me into a life that is truly my own.
One of the ways I am doing this is with the Her Way ~ Cocoon: a praxis for women who are disillusioned by the old paradigm, structures, stories and narratives and willingly offer themselves over to something greater to unfold through their work. For ourselves and others. Deconstructing. Remembering. Unfolding. This cocoon is an anthropological experiment. There are a few spaces left and if you feel compelled and drawn in, I’d love to invite you to join us. Doors close at midnight tomorrow. 17 hours from now. Learn more and register here.
Another way I am doing this is with Plannher, my timeless and undated planner-and-journal-in-one. Plannher is designed to help you let go of the rigidity of traditional diaries and invite your intuition to step into your journey. It is about organising yourself while feeling your own flow, the flow of life ~ for life has a lot to offer when we take action but also get out of her way ~ so she can show us her magic. It’s about knowing when to engage & when to give her space to surprise us. The new collection and its new home went live today and I am so proud. Please, allow me to introduce you to Honey and Natural.
The rest I am experimenting with quietly in the background, on my own. It’s not about being perfect, but about softly nudging my way back home. I hope the weekend ahead brings you pockets of peace and joy, and most significantly love that reminds you of who you really are.
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