How to Create an Altar

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It seems appropriate that I would write this article on a New Moon.

The time of setting intentions, and letting our intuitive sides come out to play.

In fact, an evening like this would be a perfect time to set about creating an altar.

And if you’ve never made one before, I’m going to explain how with one caveat in place.
There is no ONE way to do this. Creating an altar is both a sacred and a creative practice, and whichever way you choose to do it is perfect.

These are just guidelines, not rules, so feel free to take what you like and leave the rest!

An altar is a surface on which you place sacred objects that hold power for you. Often when meditating or performing ceremony practitioners will sit or stand in front of their altar as it is considered a place of power.

Finding a place in your home that feels safe for you to practice any form of ceremony should then be taken into consideration as you create your altar.

My first altar was in my bedroom, as I was living with other people, this felt like a safe and sacred place for me.

At the time, I didn’t have a surface that was low enough for me to technically sit in front of it, but I made do with a shelf that was up on my wall.

My alter consisted of, and still does to this day:

  • The Mystic Moon Calendar. I like to keep my Calendar above, or near my altar as a way to remind myself to connect to my cycles and the power of the moon.

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  • A large Buddha from Nepal made of the bodhi tree. I’ve been trained in 5 element Tibetan tantra and have studied and followed many Buddhist practices over the years. While I don’t consider myself ‘buddhist’ or any other denomination, I do honor their practices and teachings in my life.

 

  • Candles. My first inquiry into spiritual practice was Wicca at the young age of 11. As time has passed I have seen how many of those practices are informed by other esoteric arts. Candles are used in many ceremonial practices, just be careful with them and only light them when they are visible to you!
  • Feathers. Over the years, I have both found and been gifted beautiful feathers that hold special meaning for me. From eagle to hawk, they remind me to see my circumstances from a bird’s eye perspective.
  • Crystals. These beautiful gifts from the earth can both heal and empower. A few of my favorites are aegerine, black tourmaline, obsidian, quartz, and hematite. (All very clearing and protective in nature.)

 

  • Tibetan bell and tingshas. I’ve been trained in sound healing, and these tools have served me very well on my journey.

 

  • Incense. Sage or Palo Santo. The clearing power of incense, along with the beautiful smell, is something I love to use while in ceremony or meditation.

 

  • A skull. The skull is a reminder of life, death, birth cycle. The more I familiarize myself with my death, the more I become alive.
  • An intention note. Part of my ceremonial practice often involves writing a note to my higher self/god/source about what I’m looking to create and let go of in my life. In times of great distress, I have written longer letters asking for support and guidance. Allow this letter to come from the heart, and once you have placed it on your altar let go and trust that you are indeed supported.

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So, to get you started here is what I suggest.

  1. First, take some time to meditate and get grounded. Even taking 10 long deep breaths is a good start.
  2. Pick the place you are going to create your altar based on the information above.
  3. Go about your home selecting objects that are special to you and represent positivity in your life. It could be a stone, a card, or something from nature that you’ve collected.
  4. Place these items on your altar, while you do set some intentions for what energy they will bring into your life. Will they help you let go of a fear? Or perhaps they will send out positive energy to all of humanity, it’s totally your choice.
  5. Over time keep your eyes open for items that pop out at you. Your altar can change over time as you grow and evolve.
  6. Practice in front of your altar, whether it’s yoga, meditation, journaling or any form of ceremony or ritual.
  7. Give thanks and gratitude in front of your altar for the space it’s holding in your life.

Feel free to share images of your new altar in the comments below, I can’t wait to see what you create.

Being Woman Retreat

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You know those days when you’re in the zone? Things are aligned. Luck is abound. And nothing can throw you off.

In life the only thing that is constant is change—so there will be ups and downs.

But imagine if you could create a business that is fueled by purpose.

An intentional business that helps foster meaningful relationships, wealth and wellbeing— regardless of outer circumstances.

Master this and everything will consequently align in your favour.

This September, my friends, Lara Kozan (co­founder of Yyoga and Nectar Juicery) and Kate Muker (founder of Conscious Divas) are hosting a heart­centred business retreat called Being Woman. [Use code BWHP for your free gift!]

They asked me to answer a few juicy questions about my journey as an entrepreneur.

If you want to master the art of creating a business that is aligned with your values, you need to be at the Being Woman retreat (details and a promo code for an amazing gift bag is waiting for you below)​. I’d love to see you there!

Q. What is your definition of success?

Success is so subjective, and I think it’s extremely important that we each personally discover what the word means for us.

For me Success is joy, peace, ease, and flow. When I’m creatively turned on, or impacting another in a really positive way, I know I’m in success mode.

Not everyday is going to feel this way, and that’s a part of the journey. But I do my best to be grateful for the days when success surrounds me.

Q. Every entrepreneur has those days when she wants to walk away. How do you get out of a funk when you’re feeling demotivated?

As I said above, totally normal to have off days, and yea… they can suck!

Honestly, my favorite way to get out of a funk is to get into service. Being there for someone else, and stepping out of my ego-head trip is one of my best tools for feeling better. 

And if not that, nourishment, self care, and play time. Mantras are great too!

Q. What has been the most challenging aspect of your work?

Transitions. As a creative type, I’m always shifting. Those shifts can often lead to a feeling of instability, and sometimes that can be really scary. And, at the same time, they are exciting. But, getting over the thought tapes that tell me shit is falling apart can be a big challenge sometimes!

Q. Opportunities are everywhere. How do you choose which ones to snatch up and which to walk away from?

Trust your intuition. That’s the first step.

Meditate on it. Get clear on your core desired feelings. Does this fit into your big dream? Does this serve as a stepping stone towards your goals?

Then ask yourself, am I going to have fun doing this, or am I going to resent this? If it’s going to be fun, then do it! 

Also, consider the give-receive cycle. I’ve made a lot of relationships with women, Kate Muker of Being Woman included, where I’ve provided a lot of free services. In exchange, she’s lifted me up, and given me so many opportunities. You’ll find those women/men that you just know are going to be allies along the way, give whole-heartedly without expectation… Everything comes around!

Q. How do you make your wellbeing a priority?

As an empath, well being is a non-negotiable for me. Without it, I won’t thrive.

I allow myself to start my day later in the morning, I don’t book meetings before 11am. The morning is me time, and I’m happy to give myself that.

Then, my health comes first, without it I can’t do much… no one can.  So be willing to go the extra mile to take care of yourself. Eat well, nourish yourself, exercise, get excellent sleep, it all adds up!

Q. How does your business impact your closest relationships?

Many of my closest relationships are with other entrepreneurs, birds of a feather flock together! So, usually my business impacts my relationships by helping raise one another up.  One the flip side of that, for my friends and family who aren’t entrepreneurs, I feel as though my business has shown them that they are alternative ways of being/living that they hadn’t thought of before. Being on the leading edge can be scary, but it can also be the best thing you ever do… ever.

Q. Any last words of wisdom for an aspiring purpose ­driven entrepreneur?

When things get hard, ask yourself, “have I done everything in my power to resolve this issue?”

If the answer is no, then go into a quiet space of reflection and ask for guidance. Tune in and see what other action steps are available for you at this time.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re going to have to take some risks along the way, and having supporters on your team will make that process a lot easier.

And most important of all, follow your heart. It knows best.

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An Empowering Retreat For Entrepreneurial Women Being Woman is an intimate one­ day retreat for women who are ready to realize their full potential in their business and life. This unique event gives you the tools required for continuous personal growth, success and abundance.

On September 19th/20th, you will overcome your limits by learning to connect to your ‘WHY’—on a daily basis—and tap into a business that is aligned with your authentic self.

Use this unique code BWHP for a giftbag that promises to nourish your mind, body and soul ($50 value).

Besides the retreat, you also receive a bonus month­long Own Your Brilliance program that is worth over $600!

Space is extremely limited. Register now.

Feature | Beauty Reawakened

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There’s something pretty magical about being in my line of work, I get to meet some of the most talented, innovative, and creative professionals around. Not only do they inspire me on a daily basis, but they’ve really helped me to connect more into the core of my genius in the world.

Instead of keeping these amazing folks to myself, I’ve decided to open up the doors for you to meet them too.

So, if you’re ever looking for a clean beauty revolutionist, a business joyologist, or a conscious community builder (just to name a few) then you can find them here.

Let’s get this feature party started.

I’ve been mixing and mingling with Jacquline Parker for the past few years.
From day one of meeting this beauty maven I was blown away.
Not only was she insanely good at her craft, but she was extremely driven and eager to grow as an entrepreneur (my favorite!)

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After getting to know one another better, she hired me on as a brand strategist and business consultant to help her take it to the next level. Through that, I realize she was the perfect woman to join my team of conscious creatives, and since then she’s been my go to makeup artist for all of my shoots.

Not only does she help my lady clients feel super beautiful, each and every one of them fall in love with Jacquelines enigmatic personality and playful energy.

Her blog, and instagram account, are my go to source for beauty inspiration – especially when I’m trying to figure out how to make my own clean products, or buy ones that I can trust. Because, as I’ve learned from her, just because something says “organic” doesn’t mean it’s actually toxin free! (yikes!)

So, if you want to clean up your kit, and stop slopping chemicals on your body everyday then you’ve got to check this girl out. The cherry on top? You’ll learn to love your makeup, and yourself, all at the same time.

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Can you tell us about your background? What brought you to Vancouver?

I grew up in the suburbs right outside of Vancouver, but always found myself in the city more than I was at home, mostly because of my line of work. In 2013 I packed up and moved to the ultimate city: New York City; to work for the summer as an intern at a Beauty Agency. I loved the lifestyle, but I was not satisfied with the unnatural concrete jungle – I knew Vancouver was the place for me, where city meets the sand. So home I went, yet was still feeling unsettled in the suburbs, so again I packed up and now call Kitsilano my home. Vancouver is home base for me, no matter where my  life takes me next.

When asked about my education I mention my Makeup Artistry Degree for Beauty & Film, My short stint in business school however it is the everyday life experience that has strengthened this mind of mine and I can’t thank life enough for this awesome education. And in case you were curious my family stems from France and the UK – call me Canadian Eh.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!?

I pride myself on being quite honest in life, so I am not sure what may surprise you, but let me try and hit this one out of the ball park. I was trained in classical italian opera, but I secretly (well not so secret anymore) want to stand on a stage with an electric guitar and crowd surf. I can picture myself in a band of tall dudes with long hair and tie dye shirts.

What do you do for a living?

I have the best job in the world. I get to adorn women in makeup for a living. I revolutionize the way women view their beauty using toxin free makeup products. I am creating a positive impact in the cosmetic industry by educating women about the devastating amount of chemicals that are found in their everyday makeup, skincare and personal care products. I show them that there are other options and safe, effective alternatives.

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What’s next for you?

I feel that I am in the early stages of my life and my career. I foresee many things in my future, if you take a peek here into my crystal ball you may see: A ton (approx 2000 pounds) of learning & building, a retail opportunity and a travel & education adventure in…… well that will have to wait until I book my ticket!

Which of the photos we took is your favorite, and why? 

Do I have to pick? I feel like the photo of me on the giant rock deserves a round of applause considering the blood and skin that was shed to create it. But in all honesty, my favorite photo is on the front page of my website, because everytime I see it I love it more.

How would you describe your personal style?

If I could describe my personal style I would have to describe myself. I feel that my style is a direct reflection of how I am feeling in the moment. I like comfort, colour and anything retro. Most people comment that my style is edgy & unique. Reviews are usually a friendly mix of laughs, compliments and “??” A bit like my everyday interactions with the human race itself.

Who/what inspires you?

I am inspired by every single woman that puts herself out into the world. It takes courage to stand out beyond our everyday interactions and movements in life. When I see a woman (or a man) taking a step on their journey I feel inspired to take my next step.

What is your go to way to destress and feel connected?

Going for a ride on my friends motorcycle is my favorite way to destress. There is something so serene about putting my life into his hands and letting my body go limp at every turn, The exhilaration I feel when I have absolutely no control is indescribable, I can’t help but smile. When I am not feeling so adventurous I tend to pick up my guitar, and if I am lucky, performing at an open mic.

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What are some of you favorites spaces and places in Vancouver?

I love a mix between city and nature. My favorite place to shop is on Main street (The Soap Dispensary, Welk’s and 8th & Main to be exact) I ski and hike so the North Shore is a perfect getaway from the cars and lights.. Coffee is a must at Revolver in Gastown. My Vancouver guilty pleasure are Donald’s Market on Hastings, Banyen Books in Kitsilano & Chai at Granville Island Tea Co..  

Just for fun, what are you currently reading?

I am deep in a few books right now: Sophie Uliano’s “Gorgeous For Good”, Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of all Things” and Shama Kabani’s “The Zen of Social Media Marketing”. I like to keep a good balance of Beauty, Fantasy and Education at all times.

Would you recommend the Photo Mantra process, if so, why?

Absolutely. Not only did I have an amazing experience with you at Van Dusen Gardens for my own photo mantra, but I actually get to work with you and all of your clients. Each Photo Mantra experience is so unique depending on the client and I have been there for the full transformation.. The process is quite amazing,  something I have never experienced with any other photographer.

Follow Jacqueline:

@beautyreawakened – instagram

@beautyreawaken – twitter & pinterest

Beauty Reawakened on Facebook

www.beautyreawakened.com

 

 

The True Story of my Business Success

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This story is part of a movement – the Busting The Overnight Success Myth: Community Blog Tour, where 21 ladies who have made their dream business a reality (in a variety of different niches) share what it really took for us to make this happen.  Including the not so pretty stuff.

Allison Braun (The Business Joyologist) and I got to talking not too long ago about how so many programs and posts online were about how you could basically have “overnight success.” As entrepreneurs who are in it for the long haul, we knew this wasn’t really true.

So when she shared her vision for this blog tour with me, obviously I was more than ready to say yes and share my story.

So here is my truth. It’s raw, real and includes things I’ve never shared before!

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When I first started my business, all I had was talent and passion.

I thought that was enough. I figured that my work would speak for itself, and that clients, opportunities, and along with them, money, would show up.

I was wrong.

heather2copyI was 21 years old and fresh out of art school with a BFA in photography and a creative mind. I figured I’d become a fashion photographer and travel the world.

In a very short amount of time, I realized it takes more than raw talent and a great idea to produce something that creates results.

For some time, I floundered. I did all that I could to get clients, and survive, but it just wasn’t working.

I had been ignored by most fashion magazines, lifestyle magazines, and successful photographers whom I had hoped to apprentice with. Rejection became the norm, but it didn’t stop me. I knew that I was going against the flow of life and that something had to change.

Desperate to make things work, I was all over the place. I would take on gigs that I wasn’t really excited about just to make a little bit of extra cash. Plus, I was charging way too little for my services, between $150-$500, which was clearly not enough to live off of but that seemed to be the norm in my industry.

I took on a part time job as an assistant for a local photographer who created artistic nude and erotic photography. He also had been the owner of a successful marketing business, and was willing to teach me all that he knew as I worked by his side.

I worked with him for about 2 years learning and having fun while making decent money as his assistant. While I enjoyed aspects of the job, I still felt a bit empty inside. Most of the time I was driving him around, organizing files, and helping him develop his own creative projects. Meanwhile, my own creative energy was stifled.

heatherinportlandThis uncomfortable feeling inside, along with an inner knowing I had from childhood, led me on a deep journey into conscious self-awareness. I needed to find peace within myself so that it could expand into the rest of my life. I remember days where I’d be sitting and waiting in my boss’ car with a book on Tibetan buddhism, doing self-work exercises and dreaming about the future.

For a while, I felt like I was in the wrong place, but here’s the thing:

 

twitterWhen you follow your instincts, your intuition, life will lead you exactly where you’re meant to go. The right people, situations and experiences will arise to support you on your path.

198971_10150210224399359_1504840_nI was taking a course studying the akashic records. There I met an amazing woman and fellow conscious business owner. After developing a deep bond and learning even more about marketing and branding into the wee hours of the morning, she invited me to join her at a networking event.

Initially, I was hesitant. I didn’t have a business card, a great website, or a clear offering. I felt like a fraud. I knew I wanted to come across as professional, but I just didn’t have it together.

So, with quite a bit of convincing, my friend finally got me to come along. She told me the first step was just getting myself out there, and that in time, the rest would come.

I was terrified. I sat in a circle surrounded by fabulous women, wearing gorgeous clothes, with glowing skin and big smiles. They seemed to have it all together, plus most of them were older than me, and I was pretty intimidated.

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I could feel myself being triggered, feeling not good enough, thinking I was too young and inexperienced to be in this space. But, there was something else inside of me speaking even louder, my passion, my truth, my desire. It told me that it was time for me to step up, to come out of hiding, and start taking strides towards my grand dreams.

My heart was racing as each woman shared herself with the circle, getting closer and closer to my turn. Finally, there I was, with about 25 women looking right at me waiting for me to talk. I wasn’t sure if it would be words or the sound of crickets chirping that came out of my mouth when I opened it.

905314_574340019300033_709558577_oTo be honest, I can’t even remember what I said in that moment, but what I do remember was the feeling of love and acceptance these women gave me. They welcomed me, with arms wide open, and have ever since.

That day changed the course of my life and my business forever. I found my tribe, and these women were the exact type of people my heart was yearning to be of service to.

But, I still had work to do. I got to a point where I had about $200 left in my bank account and had no idea how I was going to pay my bills. My debt was racking up, and along with it, my anxiety. One of my best friends sent me a message telling me that she had a strong intuition that I should listen to a certain teleseminar she had come across.

That is where I found my first business coach, Amanda Moxley, who is also writing on this blog tour!

I hopped on the phone with her. I was in survival mode, scared sh*tless about the future, and didn’t know how to take my business to the next level. She talked me through it, and invited me to work with her. I had no idea how I was going to afford the investment, which was at the time about $3500, but I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.

I had just enough left on a credit card to afford my deposit, and I enrolled. Even with what felt like nothing left in the bank, and debt that caused me deep shame, my commitment was at an all time high. I was going to do whatever it took to make this work. For me, there was no other option.

I never imagined working a 9-5 regular j-o-b. I always knew my life would be a bit unorthodox, as it already had been. My first job was working at a photography store, from there I had a summer gig at an oil refinery as a ‘lab-rat,’ if you can imagine, and then I worked as an assistant photographer. I’ve never really worked as an employee for a company, or a restaurant, or any of the jobs most people experience in their lives. I was headstrong and stubborn in my commitment to getting paid to do what I loved. Some people say it’s my generation, I say it was my soul. It knew what I needed to do and wouldn’t settle for less.

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I dove head first into the program with Amanda, and was probably one of the most committed ladies in the group. I wanted it, bad, and was willing to try anything.

I learned that in order to make a living doing this, I had to increase my prices, and offer high value experiences. Amanda helped me to see my worth, to see that I could really do this, and boosted my confidence to actually take the leap and give it a try.

I remember my first $1000 client. I was ecstatic and extremely nervous all at the same time. There was a part of me that thought, “Wow, it’s finally happening!” and another part of me that said “How can this be? Do people actually value what I’m offering at that price?” There was belief and disbelief all at the same time.

That client was the perfect fit for me, and loved every second of what I had to offer. We even ended up working together again years later for further brand strategy support. It showed me that I really can provide experiences and services that are transformative at a high investment.

One of the most important lessons I learned during this time was this:

twitterMoney is energy. The more money a client invests, the more commitment they bring to the table.  Nobody wants to waste energy, especially when they are seeking transformation.

533552_524570951445_508005581_nWhen they invest a small amount of money, their commitment level doesn’t have the same weight, and therefore they don’t bring as much as themselves to do the work.

So, by charging higher prices, you’re actually offering them the opportunity for more growth. That’s not to say that this applies for everyone in every single situation. Your money story will also impact your pricing, as will your desired lifestyle. But, it’s important to remember this when you’re creating transformative experiences and programs for your clients.

From this lesson, I kept growing. My prices and packages changed more times than I can count, but it was all a part of learning what my clients needs and values were, while at the same time unravelling my own money story.

Even though I was now able to charge higher prices, I still wasn’t getting enough work to pay my way. A few years prior I had moved back in with my parents in the suburbs far away from networking events, and other entrepreneurs I wanted to get to know. It was really challenging to feel like an adult, and allow myself to be respected, when I still felt like a kid being taken care of financially. I started to release more and more of my parents financial support, even though I wasn’t ready, which led me into more debt. To me, the feeling of sovereignty was worth it. I needed to feel like I could survive on my own, and I trusted myself to work it all out eventually.

heatherpennellfields2It wasn’t until April of 2013 that I was able to move out again. I had taken a self development course that helped me to see all the ways in which I wasn’t communicating clearly. I was the one holding myself back, and my energy back, preventing me from the income that would free me from my current situation. I started to reach out to warm leads, and potential clients, in heartfelt ways that I had never done before and it worked. In one month I secured myself about $10,000. I was still scared to take the leap, but I knew it was time to move out. Originally I started looking for a place by myself, but the rent prices in Vancouver are quite high, so I opted to live with a roommate instead.

The first 3 months of my new life were amazing. Business was good, life was happy, and it seemed like the only way to go was up, until everything came crashing down.

It could have been the lack of sleep due to traffic noise, or my hormonal imbalance, or maybe just an upper limit, but whatever it was it seemed that my entire life started to fall apart.

IMG_3106I started to get really bad acne and experience extreme fatigue. I had little to no inspiration and cried almost every day. I didn’t feel like I could provide anyone something of value, when I seemed barely able to take care of myself.

In a span of 5 months my relationship ended and restarted twice, I landed myself in the hospital for a very painful and uncomfortable procedure, I was experiencing debilitating cramps, frequent nausea and overwhelming anxiety. I was so stuck in all of it, afraid to reach out for help, because I felt I was just becoming a nuisance to my nearest and dearest.

When I look back on it now, I ask myself, “what was the one thing that made it all better?” But the reality is, there wasn’t just one thing.


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It’s the culmination of intention, and action, even on your hardest days, that will ultimately lead to a big shift in your life.

 

Just like success, it doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes, you have to really experience your pain, your suffering, your ego, in order to be like the lotus and blossom from the mud.

I’ve never been one to shy away from shadow work, and this was some of the darkest I had experienced. I needed help, so I asked for it, from energy healers, friends, and spiritual therapists.

Reaching out for support is an act of courage, never let anyone tell you otherwise. Your vulnerability is one of the greatest teachers you’ll ever experience.

I finally started to come through in November of 2013, after a good 5 months of what felt like hell. By December, my partner and I were moving into a new place in a neighbourhood I had dreamt of living in for years. But, of course, the journey never ends.

Again, I was back in the same place, with about $200 left in my bank account. I had no idea how I was going to afford rent at the end of the month, nor food or any other necessity. But I signed the rental agreement anyway. I wasn’t about to give up.

Falling back into anxiety again, I called on my spiritual teacher who asked me a question that altered everything.  He said, “Heather, have you really done everything you possibly could to make this work, and I mean everything?” My answer was a solid “no.” In that moment, I realized it was time to hustle, to amp up my commitment, and take things to the next level.

The universe responded, within a few days I landed 4 new clients and was feeling secure financially again. On top of that, shortly after I was set to speak on stage at a prestigious yoga conference, and my second retreat was set to go with an entire month of playtime in Mexico afterward.

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One of the greatest lessons I’ve been integrating in 2014 is faith, in allowing the ebb and flow of money in business and life to occur without fear and attachment. There are going to be times where money is in an ebb, where a lot is going out and little coming in, and then there will be times of flow, where much is coming and little is going out.

It’s completely normal, and while I feel more comfortable in the flow, I’m learning to love the ebb, to feel at ease in it knowing that in time the tides will change as they always do.

Here are the key actionable steps from my journey, that you can take today to lead you towards success:

Invest in yourself and get support. You can’t do it on your own, no one ever built an empire by themselves. Having coaches, cheerleaders, like-minded friends, and experts in the various aspects of all things online business are going to be the best tools available to you in your journey.

Allison Braun, Gabrielle Bernstein, Danielle Laporte, & Heather Pennell.

Allison Braun, Gabrielle Bernstein, Danielle Laporte, & Heather Pennell.

AllisonBraun-WEB-Products4Network. Money is all about relationships. Just think about that for a second. Without relationships, in one way or another, no money will come into your life. Build genuine connections, put yourself out there, be vulnerable, connect – you’ll be amazed at the magic that comes into your life as a result. (For example, I would have never fulfilled the lifelong dream of traveling to a luxury, exotic location had it not been for meeting Allison Braun. We now host amazing retreats together, where I satisfy so many of my core desires. I met Allison via in-person networking, and she’s now one of my best friends. She has held me when I’ve cried, laughed with me till I felt like I might die, and given me more opportunities to share my gifts than I can count. So get out there on the regular, make it a part of your schedule at least once a month.

Ask for help. Yes you need support in your business, but you also are going to need support for your heart and soul. Surround yourself with loving people who will embrace you even in your darkest moments. Personally, I have enrolled in long term courses to work on transpersonal psychology and spiritual practice with a teacher who really holds me to my highest. Set your intentions and keep your eyes and ears open. The right experiences and teachers will reveal themselves.

859839_492533137474223_137387220_oTrust. By far one of the most challenging things to do is to trust the process of life. To really believe in yourself, and your journey, is not an easy task. If you trust that inner knowing, the calling, and follow your purpose and passion you’re going the right way. Even if it seems like everything is falling apart, there is a reason to it, a lesson, and it will reveal itself. Trust the process.

Transform your money story.  To be completely honest, I’m still not done with this. It’s an ongoing process that is leading me to greater wealth. I’m slowly but surely working down my debt, and noticing how I relate to money on a daily basis. I observe my incoming and outgoing expenses, and get more present to the numbers in my life as I grow. I have, in many ways, transformed beliefs that were keeping me in lack. Truth be told, I know, in the very near future, I will experience the kind of wealth my soul desires to give and receive with expanding purpose. In this knowing, I trust.

Create systems and structures in your business. This is a fairly broad statement, but basically you want to create solid plans for continued success. This can look like marketing plans, a clear brand strategy, optimizing your website, contracts, hiring assistants, client intake and follow up procedures, consistent networking and so forth. Take it one step at a time. If you’re not sure where to start, ask an expert in the area that you’re having the most struggle with. They’ll know how to help.

havingfunPlay. Allowing ourselves time to have fun is often put on the backburner for entrepreneurs with high expectations. Schedule time for friends, loved ones, and pleasurable activities into your life on the regular. Fortunately, this has always been high priority for me, but there have been times where my inner child had enough and started to scream for attention. This normally manifests for me as a creative block. Once I take time to do something extremely pleasurable, I’m revived and ready to kick ass again.

 

It’s now been 5 years since I registered my business, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, or who I was doing it for until 2012. It took me a solid year of consistent work and effort to finally produce enough income to sustain my lifestyle without having a side job. I sacrificed a lot during those years to get to where I am today. Instead of traveling to Europe or South America with friends, I reinvested in my business, and stayed home working day and night towards my goals. I believed that by doing this, soon enough, my business would pay me to travel, and eventually allow me to live nomadically, which it has. I didn’t want a couple weeks, or even a month of playtime a year. I create my own schedule and enjoy living it.  I’m not interested in living a half life, waiting for the weekends, asking for permission for freedom, and generally feeling empty and unfulfilled by not pursuing my dreams. So, I took the hard road.

twitterBeing an entrepreneur is some of the hardest, most daunting, self-work you’ll ever experience, but it’s also the most rewarding.

As the zen proverb says “Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

You’re never going to wake up one day and be done, not when you have an entrepreneur’s heart. We are the ones who seek more, create more, offer more, live more with a burning desire and lust for growth, expansion, learning and going deeper than ever before.

One last point that I want you to remember more than anything:

_HJP9668You’re never, ever, alone. Isolation is one of the most common feelings entrepreneurs experience, and it can be debilitating. So, instead of feeling like you’re going at it all alone, while eating ice cream and crying into your bowl, why don’t you join my community instead. I promise to keep you inspired, give you some laughs, and help you build a soulful brand and life.

And, if you’ve ever felt like you weren’t as far as you “should” be in this business journey, I invite you to check out more of these real-life stories by going here to join the Busting The Overnight Success Myth::Community Blog Tour.  I know Shenee shared her story yesterday and Heather Jernigan is up sharing her journey tomorrow.

I’m with you,
heathersignature

 

How to Reach your Target Market

howtoreachyourtargetmarket

If you’ve completed some form of a client avatar, you probably thought you had this whole “reaching your target market” thing all figured out.

Yet for some reason, it still feels like looking for them is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s the part you may have missed when you were honing in on that perfect client.

It’s called “Market Research.”

If you don’t know the answer to questions like:

Where and How do your ideal clients spend their time?
Where do they spend their money?
What and Who influences their buying decisions?
What problems do they want solved?
What information are they searching for online that you can provide?

Then it’s time to start asking questions.

And not to just anybody either, to people who actually fit the bill.

Think of it this way.

Let’s imagine you are on a mission to watch whales. If you go out on that boat and just head onto the water without understanding the migration patterns, eating habits, and social structures of the whale families – how do you expect to find them?

You need to do your research, so that when you’re putting yourself out there, you can find your clients as easily as they can find you.

So here’s what you do.

1. Write out a short statement explaining the exact type of client you’re looking to interview. Be specific. The more clear you are the easier it will be to get in communication with the right people. Let them know you’re doing some research in order to better help people with what you do. Make this enticing. Can you offer something special as a thank you? Perhaps, it’s an exchange of information or ideas.

2. Ask for help. Go on facebook, join some groups in your industry (if you haven’t already you should really get on that), and put your interview request out there. You can also put this out to friends, business associates, or even your list. Keep it professional. Know who to ask, and how to ask, without seeming desperate. This is a mutually beneficial situation, keep that in mind. The more people you can help, and the more specific your offering, the better service you can provide.

3. Have specific questions ready to go that you’d like to have the answers to. If you’ve schedule a phone call with someone, be on time and ready to take notes. Get as much information as you can and remember to keep what they say in their words. The closer your copy can be to the actual language your ideal client uses, the better!

4. Take action. Now that you know where you perfect clients are spending their time (for example, what blogs they are reading, where they shop etc) put yourself in front of them. Can you write a guest blog post for their favorite blogger? Maybe you can land a speaking gig at their favorite conference. Be creative!

This can go really deep. Look into brands they already love, consider their buying decisions and learn from them. What is it they are really looking for, and what causes them to say “YES!” Learn what already is working and implement that into your own business and voila – you’ll be reaching your target market in no time.

10 Things Successful Brands Do

Wondering how to build a successful brand? Here are some of the most common things successful brands do to have an impact, and increase sales at the same time.

 

1. Have a Specific Point of View – A lot of entrepreneurs ask me the question, “how can I stand out online and be different from that other person doing the same thing as me?” Well here’s the deal, your unique point of view is going to make you stand out from the rest. If you’ve got an opinion, or a certain way of doing things in business, you’ve got to share that with the world. If you’re sick of business coaches touting the “make 6 figures in 6 weeks” nonsense, then tell your clients about it. Give them the opposite, be willing to take a stand and soon enough you’ll be standing out.

2. Make a Personal Connection – If your brand feels empty, robotic, and lacking a personality then you can be sure you’ll be losing potential clients. Brands that take on a persona, and connect to people emotionally and intellectually have much more power. If you’re the one writing content for your Brand, be sure to show a vulnerable side, a human side and you’ll start seeing an increase in client engagement in no time.

3. Know Who You’re Talking to – You’ve probably heard the word ‘niche’ before, and it may or may not have had you running in the opposite direction. Here’s the truth, if you’re trying to be the “right” brand for everybody, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Each and every person out there has unique needs, desires and problems, you can’t do it all. So decide on what you REALLY love and really want to offer, pick your niche, and stick to it. (At least for now, remember, your Brand can grow as you do!)

4. Take the Guess Work out of It – Knowing your ideal client through and through is imperative to the success of sales and engagement in your brand. If you’re pretending you know what they want, you’re really just playing a guessing game. Do some market research, reach out to your ideal clients and ask them what they need, what their fears are, what they dream of, write it down and use their language. The more heard and understood they feel by your brand, the much more likely they are going to invest with you.

5. Give Quality over Quantity – Having hundreds of blog posts, images, or offerings may seem like the way to be a success, but if you’re churning content out just for content’s sake it’s likely you’re focusing on quality over quantity. Make sure that you’re taking the time to hone in on value when it comes to every touch point of your brand. From your website, to your facebook posts – think before you act.

6. Build a community – When you’ve got a large network of individuals who believe in and support your brand, your reach is going to continually expand. Give potential clients a reason to join your community, like perks, contests, and valuable information. Don’t be afraid to give away valuable content for free up front, you’ll be showing your community that you’ve got chops – and when they hire you they know they’ll be getting all that and more.

7. Be Consistent – If you’re only sending a newsletter, writing a blog, posting to facebook or making contact when you feel like it – it’s likely you’re coming across as a bit flakey. The human brain needs constant reminders and recognition of a brand before they will invest, so keep yourself on schedule, your clients will thank you for it.

8. Be Clear – Have you ever thought to yourself “I’d like to post this article/image/song but I’m not sure that it fits in with my brand image…”? If so, think twice. If your brand message is about healthy eating and exercise and suddenly you’re posting about how to decorate a small space, you may confuse your followers. Be sure to tie in content, that may seem out of the blue, back into your core message. For example, if you’re really excited about interior design but need to stay on point you could create a blog about “How to Design Your Space to Support Your at Home Workouts.”

9. Engage – When your followers comment, ask questions, post, or speak about your brand online – RESPOND! You’d be surprised and how a simple ‘thank you’ can have a huge impact. You’ll also be able to answer questions, or solve concerns, if and when they do arise before the confusion is spread further.

10. Create a movement – Brands that get their followers excited and engaged about a higher purpose are the ones that really have an impact. Create a campaign with an emotional basis, be it helping those less fortunate, to telling someone how much you really love them, and tie is back into your core message. Have your followers like, share and comment on the campaign content to keep the momentum going. (This can look like sharing a photo in support of a cause, to sharing about a simple act of kindness you gave today. Be creative, and make sure that it supports your core message and unique point of view along the way.)

So now that you know these 10 Brand Success tips you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Brand Powerhouse.

If you’re still feeling lost as to what makes your Brand different and unique in the industry check out these 5 Steps to Clarify Your Brand Identity.

Tired of trying to figure it out all by yourself? Why not get brand clarity by joining The Brand Revolution? You’ll get a full on brand manual that answers all your questions and gives you the tools to move forward with success.

 

What is a BRAND, anyway?

There’s been a lot of conversation happening lately about what “Branding” really is.

I want to get things super, squeaky clean and clear for you – were talking biore pore strip type clarity here.

Your Brand is how your clients, and potential clients, FEEL about you.

It’s what they think about you, and say about you, when you’re not around – it’s the taste you leave in their mouths from the nuts and bolts of what you offer, to the feeling they associate with your Brand.

An effective Brand creates a strong emotional reaction before that person even decides to work with you.

The more you can create a feeling, the more someone is going to remember you, and associate certain emotional responses with your Brand.

So how do you do that?

Through powerful Brand driven Marketing.

They go hand in hand, their business besties and lovers that support one another’s goals and ambitions.

And, what do you want you clients to feel?

Well, let’s say your Brand was all about Joy.

This means you’ve got to have joyful images, quotes, emailers, colors, fonts, business cards, and so on – you get the point.

But most of all if you’re the face of your brand, you’ve got to embody Joy yourself.

Not sure what joy looks like?

Let me give you an example of one of my favorite clients, and business besties, who rocks JOY as her main Brand feeling.

You can feel the Joy oozing out her pours in this image, she lives, eats and breaths it. She is the face of her brand, so she chose a quality that comes naturally to her and that she wants others to infuse in their lives – genius.

Not to mention every touch point of her brand matches this, along with the other key traits of her brand persona.

So here’s what I want you to do:

List 5 Key Feelings that you want you Clients to experience when they interact with your Brand.

For each of those 5 feelings create 1 action step you’re going to take that will infuse that emotion into your brand.

Here is an example:

1. Creative : I’m going to post a beautiful quote image on my facebook page that will inspire my followers.

2. Humourous: In my next blog I’m going to infuse my unique sense of humour into my writing so people really get the hint that I’m always up for a good laugh.

3. Safe: At the end of my client communication emails I’m going to have a disclaimer reminding them that their information, and conversations with me are completely confidential.

4. Transcendent: Every Wednesday I’m going to release a ‘Wisdom Wednesday’ guidance meditation for the week.

5. Community: Once a month I’m going to host an event where like minded women can meet to discuss business, life and love.

Alright, it’s your turn, post in the comments below your 5 Key Brand Feelings and how you’re going to take action on them so your clients can finally FEEL what you’re all about.

Want more personalized ideas, strategy and support to amplify your brand and stand out in the industry?

Let’s Talk.

5 Steps to Clarify Your Brand Identity

5 Steps to Clarify Your Brand Identity

Developing your Brand Identity is going to have an immense impact on the amount of clients, and types of clients you attract.

That’s why it’s imperative that you develop a Brand that actually conveys the mission or message you are putting out to your potential clients.

You Brand is much more than the product or service you provide and can be so powerful that when people think of your Brand they have an emotional experience related to it.

So, when asking what your Brand is, it’s actually better to ask, who is my Brand?

If your brand was a person, what would they be like, how would they make people feel, and what would their best known qualities be?

Step 1: Tap into the core of your purpose, your big mission, and the impact it’s going to have not only on your clients but your loved ones as well. Ask yourself, what is it that I’m REALLY passionate about bringing to the world – and more importantly, ask WHY.

Step 2: Now that you’ve established your purpose, it’s important to hone in on the unique skills and gifts that you have support your mission. One of the best ways to tune into your unique gifts is to do a “What I LOVE about ME list.” This list will contain a minimum of 100 things that are totally awesome about you, from your natural talents do your developed ones. It can even include things like “I love my compassion,” to “I love that I wake up early every morning,” it can be anything that you value about yourself.

Step 3: Considering that you want to make your brand stand out, this list is going to be one of the key factors. Take this list and read it over, recognizing that no one else in the world has this exact same list. You are unique, and have a special ability to connect with specific people in the world who need YOU! Really embrace yourself, your gifts, and your special talents and interests.

Step 4: Highlight the top 10 values on the list that excite you the most, this is going to be a starting point for your Brand. You’re going to use these specific qualities to develop content, both visual and otherwise, for your brand. These qualities hold an emotion, next to each one write the emotion that relates to it.

Step 5: Next to each value that you’ve highlighted, brainstorm ways that your brand can share this aspect of you. From the types of facebook posts you’ll share, to the story you’ll be conveying in your portraits, every touch point counts.

Remember, this is just a starting point. You’ll need to dive even deeper into all the ways you can express your authentic Brand Identity.

If you need more support apply for a Free Brand Strategy Session, by the end of the call you’ll have a clear pathway towards your what your Brand is all about, and how to express it with ease. I only have limited spaces throughout the week for these one on one calls and not all applications will be accepted, so please do take the time to fill out your application thoroughly so I can ensure the right people get access.

Apply here: www.heatherpennell.com/brandapplication

With love,

Heather xo

How to get Instant Credibility

I recently came to the realization that as much as I enjoy what I’m doing there is something missing.

— It happened at a photo shoot, I looked around me at what I was doing, who I was with, and what circumstances I was in… Generally it all seemed pretty amazing from an outside perspective, but inside I felt a little dull.

After some inquiry, and a lot of confusion, it all made sense.

Do more of what you love.

And what do I love?

Well, when it comes to photography I love highly creative, editorial style, other-worldly rock your socks off style imagery. The kind of stuff that belongs in Vogue Magazine.

Here are some examples of what I used to create:

fashionexamples

Here’s some examples of what I’ve made lately:

examples-small

Now neither is “better” than the other, both serve a purpose, but I’ve found a window of opportunity here not just for me as an artist, but for people like you.

Take a second to imagine having photographs of you on your website that literally looked like they were taken for a high profile magazine or maybe even a billboard.

How do you think people would relate to you, and your business, when they saw this?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. – They’d take you seriously.

Being taken seriously is all about credibility.

Credibility literally means : the quality or power of inspiring belief.

Now why is credibility important?

Credibility is what causes people to trust you, and when they trust you, they’ll hire you – or purchase from you.

Your “know-like-trust” factor is one of the most important facets of your business.

And that’s exactly what my Photo Mantras do, but now, in an even BIGGER way.

Yup, you get to be the business celeb, the one whose got oomph, who people look up to and the one whose really made it ‘big.’

Now, there’s a lot of details in this process and how it works but let me give you a very simple and easy break down.

  1. Potential client lands on website (or looks at your card)
  2. Client sees amazing branded editorial image of you.
  3. Client thinks a similar thought to, “wow, this person must be important, just look at this photo. I wonder what magazine this is from.”
  4. The Client has immediately put you in the bracket of important and trustworthy and goes on to read and relate to your content as such.
  5. Sales increase, opportunities increase, business goes up and on and on it goes.

It already works with the photos I’ve been doing for people, and this intuitive download is just the next level.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to see this in action, I’ve already got people jumping on this train and if you want in you better hop on fast cause space is limited (it’s summer after all) and we’re on our way.

So if you want in on this awesome new Photo Mantra experience, apply here:  APPLY

How I Went from Suicide to Loving Life Again


As a teenager I attracted some pretty interesting situations, but one combination of events in particular truly changed the course of my life.

I was 15 years old with a pathological liar boyfriend ‘dying of brain cancer’, girls from another city harassing me, my then “friends” in the popular group turning against me and this all leading up to spray paint on the school walls calling me a whore and a slut.

From there things continued to get worse.  Verbal attacks from strangers were an everyday experience and friends whom I thought would support me turned their backs.

I felt abandoned, betrayed, and worthless.

Not knowing how to deal with my emotions I turned inward to some of the darkest places in my mind.

I couldn’t see a way out, the idea of ever being happy again seemed like a far off dream I could never attain.  I was tired, my ability to stand up to these people waned and I just didn’t want to do it anymore.

That’s when it started, the thoughts of how it could stop, how I could finally be free from the pain – through death.

I recall sitting in my room considering all the ways I could do it, what would be the easiest, least painful way and what would be the cleanest way for my body to be found making it easier to wrap me up and take me away?

The more I sat there considering how to end my life the louder this feeling of unnerving guilt started to rise in my body.  How could I do that to my parents, my loved ones, how could I put them through that?

As much as I was done with my life in that moment, the idea of causing others that much grief was more important that my sadness.

There had to be another way.

It took me a while to find it and trust me, my initial coping mechanisms were not healthy ie. Smoking pot and drinking alcohol.  Yet slowly but surely I started to see that things could get better.  I kept reminding myself that one day I would graduate from high school and leave this life behind.

Eventually I did exactly that, I moved out as soon as I could and started post secondary school away from everything I once knew.  I was finally free from the environment, but not free from myself.

The reality is that my internal dialogue and beliefs were the largest contributor to my experience.

Changing my environment helped significantly but it was the self work and finding my spiritual path again that really helped me find the happiness I was seeking.

I harbor no resentment, nor hold any regrets to that time in my life because I now clearly see how beautiful it was.  Every experience and every hurt propelled me on my path.

I had to learn to forgive, I had to learn to let go, because if I didn’t do either of those things I would have never been truly happy again.

I realize that at times people outside of my intimate circle may look in on me and wonder what all this ‘woo woo’ spiritual stuff is all about and why I live this way, but the truth is that it saved my life.

That feeling of guilt that crept up on me in my darkest hour was actually love; a love for myself so great that I could never take away the greatest gift I have ever been given – life.

So the next time you’re feeling like you just can’t take it anymore, the bills are piling up, your feelings have been hurt or the stress is just too much to handle take a moment to step outside yourself and see the truth.

Life can be beautiful, your perception can change, you just have to take one step at a time.  It won’t always be easy, but the reward is one greater than you could ever imagine.

So don’t give up, life is merely waiting for your gratitude and in that you will thrive.

 

And for those who have lost a loved one in this way, my heart goes out to you and to your departed.

Suicide is an all too common occurrence, and I hope that by sharing my story a ripple effect can occur to create positive change.

In love and light,

Heather