10 things I’ve learned from a failed Etsy shop and a new shop that just hit 100 sales

My first 100 sales on Etsy might seem like peanuts to some people, but I consider it an accomplishment worth celebrating so I am giving away a FREE pair of shoes to one lucky person.  (You choose the pair, I foot the bill) If you like vintage shoes jump on over to my instagram page @lesagevintage, it’s super easy to enter and I would love to meet you and see what you’re up to on the gram!

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Just a few pairs available in the shop now

 

 

Now on to those Etsy lessons….

This is my second vintage shop on Etsy, the first far surpassed 100 sales actually ending up in the thousands but this time around the process has been smoother and I’ve hit that 100 sales way faster.

If you have been toying with the idea of opening an etsy shop this is a must read, you can learn from some of my mistakes so you don’t have to make them in the first place.  Please like and share this post if it speaks to you.

Remember, in business losses are lessons.   If things go awry now and then be grateful, those are the most impactful learning experiences you will ever have.

And now without further ado… The top ten things I have learned from my old Etsy shop and from those first 100 sales in my new one.

  1. Start. Your. Shop.  It seems simple but honestly, so many people want to wait until they feel like everything is perfect to take action.  Guess what guys…  You’ll never have all the answers and perfection is an instagram filter.  Its not real. If you want to start selling on Etsy you’ve got to start listing products.  The beauty of etsy is that it is not just a selling platform, it is a search engine.  People will find your products even if your photos, tags and descriptions aren’t perfect at first. Once you start you will be able to make tweaks as you go.  I kept putting off opening my shop because I couldn’t find a suitable live model.  Eventually I just said F it, and began photographing my items hanging on a plain wall, with footwear displayed on a sheet.  Did it fulfill this image of perfection I was striving for? Far from it.  But I made my first sale within 48 hours and now 6 months later I’ve hit that 100.  All that time agonising over hiring a model could have been spent making money!
  2. Offer a good product and be ethical.  If you want to import mass produced goods from factories, there are some great platforms for you to sell on, but Etsy is not one of them.  Etsy buyers are generally there to support small businesses and find unique items.  The marketplace has recently become saturated with things found on wholesale websites and it makes me so sad.  Yes, you might trick the average consumer into buying your imported products and you might even make a killing in the process, (a few shops come to mind) but there is no honor in taking sales away from genuine artisans.  Focus on filling your shop with products that align with Etsy’s Tou’s, and make sure those products are of a high quality.  I only buy good quality pieces for my shop and am careful to include any flaws in my descriptions so that I am not misrepresenting my items.
  3.  Niche down a bit and identify your avatar. When I see a shop selling handmade fly fishing hooks, wooden figurines, and lace doilies I do not think ‘awesome selection’, I think, ‘what a mess.’ Yes, you want to have a good selection in your shop, but you should fit within a certain niche in the market. Hopefully Etsy will soon make it possible for people to run multiple shops from the same account (ETSY CAN YOU HEAR ME?!) But until that happens, if your products are too different they probably should be in different shops. The key is to focus on selling items that look like they could belong to the same person.  Ie find your avatar, and the easiest way to remain consistent is to use yourself as that avatar.  It’s impossible to appeal to every person in the world so that should never be your goal.  By basing your product offerings on your own wants and needs you can be fairly certain there will be an audience out there for it, and without too much effort your shop will take on a curated appearance.  I’m a curvy, minimalist, vintage loving girl who cares about the environment and has a slight shoe obsession, I bet just by reading that you can guess what my product selection might look like….
  4. Take good photos.  Now you may go to my shop and say, ‘what does she know about taking good photos?’ Admitadly, very little, but I’m comitted to the process of learning.  I recently bought a mannequin and after spending an entire afternoon photographing bags, I realised the metal pole was awkwardly in the shots and the photos just weren’t as good as they could be. Yes, I could have just used them, but I knew exactly what I needed to tweak to make them better, so guess how I spent the entire following afternoon? (Tip: before photographing your entire collection, take a few test shots to make sure you like how they are looking!!)  We can only do so much working with what we’ve got. Yes, I may not be a professional photographer but I will put in the time to change the things I do have control over whenever I can.  I couldn’t find a live model so I purchased a mannequin.  I didn’t have a great camera, so I hit up the pawn shop.  I. just. can’t. with photoshop, so I use the simple photo editing software built into my lap top.  I wouldn’t buy a wrinkled garment thrown across someone’s bed, so I steam and hang all of my clothing prior to photographing.
  5.  Offer good customer service.  Etsy has their own algorithms and they do take into account your response times to convos as well as how quickly you ship items.  In my last shop, I found myself getting annoyed with people asking the same questions over and over again. Where is my tracking? It’s been a week shouldn’t my item be here?  Will you take $20 for this $80 item? etc.  So I started ignoring some of the more repetitive and irritating questions.  While I still maintained a 5 star rating, I ended up getting a couple unsavory reviews for poor communication, and as a result my shop was pushed lower in the algorithm.  At the end of the day, I was not operating good business.  People don’t realise how often you’ve been asked the same thing or why you have to charge a certain price for something, if they are taking the time to reach out to you they deserve an answer.  I now have a few custom made responses to my more common inquiries typed out in a word document, and when I get a standard question I copy and paste.  I also always try to slide the persons name into the response to personalise it a bit.
  6. Use Esty’s calculated shipping option.  Not only will this help you rank higher in the algorithm, but when people ask why you charge so much for shipping you can cut and paste your custom response explaining that Etsy calculates your shipping and you do not profit off of shipping fees.  On the flip side, I grossly underestimated shipping costs MANY times in my early days on etsy.  I have ended up paying money out of pocket to ship things to Europe or Australia because I thought, ‘$20 to ship a winter coat sounds reasonable.’  I kept putting off using shipping labels because I didn’t want to buy a shipping scale.   I have probably lost $100’s in international shipping over the years, but that scale only cost me $20.  I also don’t dread packing orders and holding up post office lines like I used to.  Shipping labels save time and money, take it from me!
  7. Tweak. Tweak. Tweak.  Your shop should be treated as a work in progress.  Etsy has built in software that shows you where your traffic is coming from, as well as the key words that are generating the most hits.  Use all the tools Etsy provides, they are there for a reason.  There are tons of articles out there explaining how to tag and title your items while keeping Etsy SEO in mind, read those.  If your tags aren’t bringing you traffic, change them.  And remember, trends (and tags) change.  Keep on top of the most relevant tags for your items and you will keep on top of the market.
  8.  Price compare and pay yourself.  Most vintage sellers can relate to the term ‘seller regret’, but I promise you, that regret is felt tenfold when you sell those items for less than what they are worth.  I sold some killer things for some ridiculous prices in the beginning.  A mint condition 1930s Hungarian folk blouse for $30, an amazing 1960s pink alpaca coat for $40 and a pair of 70s lace up campus boots for $45.  Anyone who knows vintage and just read those numbers is probably cringing.  It is so easy to search up an item and see what a similar thing would sell for in other shops, so DO IT!  This is also a great way to learn about what is trending and what titles and tag words are being used.  Whether selling vintage or handmade, it’s important to price compare and charge somewhere towards the higher end of the middle.  No one want’s to buy the most expensive item, but people can also be wary of deals that sound too good to be true.  Most importantly, make sure you are PAYING YOURSELF enough.  If you actually have made that item by hand it is not unfair to ask a living hourly wage (plus the cost of materials)!  Yes your prices may seem high next to shops carrying imported goods but at the end of the day your integrity will pay off and those shady shops will weed themselves out, I’ve seen it happen time and again.
  9.  Crunch those numbers.  It’s easy to blow through those extra pay cheques that magically direct deposit into your account every week, but it’s super important to identify your actual profit margins.  Don’t just tell yourself ‘ I made an extra $500 this week.  If you ended up investing $100 on ads and $200 on product or supplies, you really only made $200.  Be meticulous about keeping records, go over your finances every month, keep a careful inventory, and try to save as much as you can.  You never know what rainy days lie ahead, which leads me to my last and most important lesson…
  10. Don’t build a castle on leased land.  Etsy is a wonderful platform.  I recommend Etsy as a great place to start for any artesian maker.  I used my etsy earnings to pay a down payment on a house, buy a car, and take my kids on a few mini vacations.  Etsy has been good to me, but it has also broken my heart.  In 2015 my old shop disappeared seemingly overnight.  I went from making close to $6000 one October to $1200 the following month (and watched helplessly as those numbers dwindled lower and lower still).  It happened.  And while I ultimately blame myself and my mistakes for the downturn, the truth is, even if I had run a perfect shop it could have happened.  Etsy is constantly making their own tweaks and algorithm changes.  These changes will not always benefit every shop and some shops will inevitably be hurt by them.  It is an incredibly helpless feeling to have your numbers drop so quickly without any warning, and I know I am not alone.  Just google ‘my etsy shop has died overnight’.  This is a phenomenon that happens and no blog post on Etsy success should come without a warning.  Putting all of your eggs in one basket is a bad idea for any online endeavor.  While I am currently focusing on using etsy as a place to get my business started, I am simultaneously running a blog, using social media and working with a business coach to plan my standalone shop.  I’m also back in the salon working as a stylist so I have multiple sources of income and get to be creative both on and offline!  I hope to always be involved in the Etsy community because I love it, but I am no longer foolish enough to put all of my hope in it.  I have learned that lesson the hard way and encourage all new sellers to proceed with caution and create a long-term plan that goes beyond Etsy.

So there you have it.  My 10 lessons from a failed Etsy shop and 100 sales in a brand new one.  If you’ve been mulling around the idea of starting an Etsy shop I hope this gives you the encouragement to go for it.  It truly is a super easy, user friendly way to dip your toes into ecommerce and it is FUN!

If you have any more questions about getting started on Etsy, feel free to reach out and if you like vintage shoes be sure to enter my IG contest @lesagevintage.  (The shoe collage above is just a teeny tiny baby taste of the amazing selection of vintage shoes I have up for grabs in the shop right now.)

 

Sometimes good things come in bad packages – my house selling fiasco

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Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on Pexels.com

Life can have a weird way of working itself out. I’m reminded of this very lesson in my current life as I go through the tumultuous process of selling my house.

It would seem to the outside observer, everything that could go wrong so far, has.

Initially we listed without an agent, after three months with only five showings we threw in the towel and decided to ante up and re list with a realtor in the spring.

This ended up working in our favour as over the spring our dead market thawed a bit and we were pummelled with showings right out the gate.

We were quickly easing our way towards a sale (I could feel it) when one night as I was vacuuming my basement to prepare for a viewing, I stepped in something wet and smelly. It turns out we had a sewage back up. We had to cancel all upcoming showings and put our listing on hold. At the time I thought, this is the worst possible thing that could happen, but then I got the insurance cheque.

Let’s just say everything was well taken care of, including a fluffy new basement carpet and a good chunk leftover because we did a lot of the work ourselves. Disaster averted.

And then, a week later we got an offer.  After a few shenanigans (including some insulting low balls and writing a bunch of our personal possessions into the offer) we were able to agree on a price. It was less than I had hoped but something I could live with, and it was an offer!

I was sure things were looking up, until I awoke one morning shivering and could almost see my breath hanging in the air. Our furnace had died during an unusual cold patch.

I could hardly believe our luck.

Again, we got an insurance cheque and my husbands friend was able to install a high efficiency furnace that he had refurbished for a fraction of what it would normally cost. He told us our old furnace would have never passed inspection and I realised, this had all once again been a blessing in disguise.

As our closing day approached, we went house hunting and found an adorable place across from a park on a huge lot. I paid the deposit and spent a few glorious days visualising how it would look with our updates and furniture. I had a place worked out for my studio, and big plans for the backyard, and then we got the call. Our buyers financing had fallen through, and they had waited until the very last moment to tell us.

Now here we are again, showing our house almost daily and waiting for the silver lining in all this to reveal itself (as I’m sure it eventually will).

When things seem to be going awry, I’m reminded of a Chinese parable that was told to me as a little girl and has stuck with me throughout my life.

To paraphrase:  A poor famer diligently saves money to purchase a fine horse, but soon after the purchase, the horse runs away. A neighbour offers his condolences saying, ‘sorry to hear about your horse, that is some bad luck,’ to which the farmer replies, ‘bad luck good luck, who can say?’
The neighbour thinks the man is crazy, of course the loss of an expensive horse could be nothing but bad luck, but he is given pause when days later, the farmers horse returns and has brought another fine horse with it.
So, the farmer gives the second horse to his son, but his son is thrown from the horse and badly breaks his leg.
‘Sorry about your sons bad luck’ says the concerned neighbour again upon hearing of the accident, but the farmer calmly replies, ‘bad luck good luck, who can say?’
A week later the emperor comes to the village and takes every able-bodied young man to fight in a gruesome war, because of the broken leg, the farmers son is spared.

The parable goes on but I digress, sometimes things don’t work out, and for good reason. That failed relationship that left you feeling like your heart had been stomped by stilettos may have needed to end to open the door for your soulmate. That job you lost (and hated) finally freed you up to find the career of your dreams.

There are stories of people who have missed flights that have later crashed. I even remember hearing about a woman who worked at the world trade centre sleeping through her alarm for the first time ever on the morning of 9/11.

In my own life, learning of my first pregnancy as a broke, unmarried, 23 year old seemed like a full blown disaster. When those two lines appeared on a pregnancy test a second time, with a barely three month old baby, I basically considered my life to be over. Now at 33 with two amazing sons and a PCOS diagnosis I am so very thankful for both of those successful pregnancies and never does a day pass when I take them for granted.

My entire autoimmune diagnosis has actually ended up transforming my life in so many ways and I am actually healthier in my body and mind than I ever was pre-diagnosis.
Whatever you may be going through at the moment, give it time. It’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re standing in it, but at some point in the future it will all make sense.

Sometimes life hands us lemons, and have you guys seen the prices of lemons lately?

(Have you ever had a tumultuous house selling experience that worked out in the end? Tell me!)

Why I love and sell vintage clothing

Do you like vintage?

I started buying all of my clothes almost exclusively second hand back when I was a teenager (aka. before it was cool.)

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It became a weekly ritual to meet up with a girlfriend, and hop on the subway.   We would travel to the farthest outskirts of town where the best thrift shops always are and spend leisurely afternoons rolling up and down the isles.  Our cart would be overflowing by the time we hit the change rooms.  We would try on ensembles for each other, meticulously picking only the very best pieces to keep.  Sometimes we would trade.  Often a friendly stranger would comment “that is a lovely color on you” or “you just have to get that one”.  Our outfits were always on point.

 

People would constantly ask where we got certain things, and I would vaguely say ‘a thrift store.’ I was greedy and wanted to keep our spot a secret, but word spreads.  With vintage showing up more in magazines and on celebrities, our secret spot soon became a local hang out for hipsters.

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Despite the new thrifting competition, I could never give up the thrill of the hunt.  I began travelling to small towns, digging through estate sales and even putting ads on the internet ‘I want to buy your vintage!’  I realized, regardless of how many hip kids had taken up thrifting, there was still so much cool stuff out there for me.  In fact, 15 years later I still find at least one amazing thing nearly every time I thrift.

I was happy to continue amassing an epic collection of vintage until I saw the show hoarders and realized that could be my future. I had taken over an entire shared closet and purchased an industrial rack to hang extra items in the living room.  When another friend told me about this little site called Etsy I gave it a go, and sold my first item within hours of listing it. My online shop was born and my boyfriend got his half of the closet back.

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Over the next decade I sold thousands of items, even reaching a few big bloggers,  B list celebrities and a well known fashion designer.  I was loving what I did and doing what I loved but somewhere along the way my reasons for selling vintage changed.

When you are looking through discarded clothes as often as I am, you quickly realize how many clothes are actually discarded.  And then you realize, someone had to make those clothes.  And someone had to make that fabric.  And it was dyed and cut and shipped out to be sold.  As I did the mental calculations I became aware that people were being exploited to produce this fast fashion and epic waste was being generated as a result.  As I learned more about the environmental impacts of the modern clothing industry I grew even more resolute that doing fashion in an eco-conscious way was my calling in life.

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The global fashion industry is valued in the TRILLIONS.  There are close to 8 billion humans on the earth and if each of us bought just three items of clothing/ footwear a year there would still be a global need for the production of 24 billion items annually.  But we don’t just buy three items! The average American family spends $1700 on clothing a year while the average American individual throws away 65 pounds of clothing annually.  The scariest thing about these huge numbers to me, is that to make all of these rapidly consumed items, a lot of waste is generated.  The waste generated by the fashion industry pollutes our air, water, and soil and is a huge contributor to our modern global health crisis.  And health is probably why you are reading this blog in the first place…

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Even though my shop is a teeny corner of the internet, I am proud to sell vintage and items made from vintage fabrics with my own two hands and be a part of the solution rather than the problem.  I ship everything in biodegradable, recycled packaging and sell items that are either entirely handmade by me out of vintage fabrics, or true vintage.  I also tend towards natural fibres as these have a much lighter environmental footprint.

There are so many items in the world we could stop producing clothes today, and still have enough for generations.  Sadly, due to greed, the fast fashion industry is not stopping, but we can make better choices about the things we consume.

Next time you feel the need for a wardrobe update, go browse a thrift shop, or check out an online vintage store.  You will be amazed at the treasures that are out there.

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If vintage is your thing feel free to follow me on IG @lesagevintage for shop updates and discounts. If you’ve been feeling enticed by any of these super cute coats you can find my shop here, all coats are 20% off this month for readers of my blog and IG followers, just use coupon code SPRING at the checkout.

xx

 

 

 

How a long term lie taught me that honesty is so important

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Photo by Pedro Sandrini on Pexels.com

My lie started as a little tiny baby lie but grew into something so tremendously ridiculous that it effected my life and permanently altered my friendships.

In a world where lying seems like a normal part of existence, I unfortunately had to learn the hard way that honesty trumps all.

My parents put me into school in a year too early. I had been deemed intellectually ready, but in many ways, I mentally was so not. When one of my classmates invited everyone in the class to her birthday except for me I was crushed. I asked her why and she said it was because she didn’t want to be friends with a little kid.

So as any seven year old would do, I went home crying and at the suggestion of my Dad, I started to lie about my age. We decided that in the minds of eight year olds, an extra year of life could go a long way.

If you ever listen to little kids playing on the playground, the very first question they ask each other is ‘how old are you?’ ‘Six and a quarter’ or some other super detailed number they answer, always making sure to include every single precious month. To kids, years of age are like facial tatoos among gang members, instant street cred.

So, I began to tell my peers I was one year older, and thanks to the short attention span of young kids, a year older I became.

Eventually my body grew to match my faux age, and my confidence grew with it. I found my people, wonderful, hilarious friends who accepted me for me, but I just couldn’t shake the lie.

Never did it seem to be the right time to say, ‘actually guys, I’ve been lying all along, I’m only 14 (or whatever age I had faux turned that year).’ The thought of coming clean made me feel like the biggest weirdo, (which I probably was) and to protect myself from shame and discomfort I kept on bs-ing.

It was just such a bizarre situation with no easy way out. I was no longer being bullied and had friends that surely wouldn’t care what age I was, but I was certain they would care that I had been insecure enough to lie in the first place.

One day I was finally over it. Every birthday brought with it a sense of dread and I finally told one of my friends the truth. She agreed everyone might think I was a freak and helped to keep my secret as another shameful birthday passed, but the feeling of complete honesty felt so good that I told another friend and another until eventually, I was outed to all of our peers.

Did I ultimately lose friends because of my lie? Not completely, but people looked at me differently.

When my two best friends heard about my age from a mutual friend, they confronted me, and as expected, made me feel super weird about it. Everything I said from that point on was met with a certain scepticism. They seemed to look at me like they didn’t even know who I was any more, and how could they not? Even though nothing but my age had really changed, in their eyes I had been a completely different person all along. A liar.

Breaking someone’s trust is easy but earning it back can be so difficult. That is why moving forward I have built my life on honesty.

It seems that lying has become such a normal part of life that it is almost to be expected but it doesn’t have to be that way. Honesty feels so much better for everyone involved.
We humans get so wrapped up in lying for our benefit that we fail to realise our lies also hurt others.

When I found out one of my favorite vegan bloggers was busted eating meat because of her own health problems I was admittedly horrified. I had been struggling with health issues for years but kept up a vegan diet because I had been told repeatedly by people I trusted that it worked for them and I was probably just doing it wrong.

While other vegan bloggers have received flack on the front end after coming clean about switching to a more paleo lifestyle, those are the people whose brands ultimately survive, because they chose honesty.

Buying kids ways into Ivy league schools, hurts the kids whose grades should have allowed them those spots but weren’t born into financial superiority.

Lying about cosmetic surgery hurts the little girls (or boys) who grow up hating themselves because they don’t look a certain way.

Lying about affairs hurts everyone involved and lying when you are in a position of power or influence is especially harmful.

People actually believed that Kylie got her new lips from sucking on a shot glass, and just look at the carnage that little doozie of lie caused.

Lets also not forget that lying hurts the liar. Unless you are a complete psychopath, carrying the guilt and burden of a lie is heavy and uncomfortable.

I know first hand how hard it is to come clean about a lie that’s already out there but choosing honesty over lies going forward makes life so much easier.

My experience has changed my entire outlook on honesty and I firmly believe lying should just be avoided in all cases, unless, it is to make someone feel better about themselves. So if your wife asks if her butt looks fat or your dad asks if his hair is thinning, go ahead and stretch the truth a bit.

Start where you are, how consistent baby steps lead to success

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These adorable little arms belong to my youngest son who is working on his ‘business.’  He wanted me to buy him bulk candy to sell at school but when I told him he would have to give me a cut of all his profits he was not impressed.  While I might seem like a greedy mean Mommy, I was trying to teach him a valuable lesson.

I asked him to get really creative about how he can start from scratch with what he has now to raise the money for the candy all by himself.  This way the business is all his and he won’t get taxed by mom.

Well, my little entrepreneur decided to go through his old pokemon cards and build his own packs , selling each pack of 10 for a dollar.  He’s barely made a dent in his expansive pokemon collection and now has a good amount to invest in his candy business as well as the satisfaction of knowing that he did this on his own.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start in our own lives.  I haven’t been blogging much this month for reasons I will address below, when yesterday I was listening to a Lewis Howes podcast episode and he said something that made me stop in my tracks.  ‘It’s amazing what can happen if you show up for something every week for 6 years.’ He said it casually as he introduced his guest, but as someone who knows what Lewis actually has built in the last six years, it was one of the most inspiring things I’ve heard in a while.

I was like, ‘hot damn Lewis, you just lit a fire right up under my booty.’ This morning I jumped out of bed bright and early and got cracking on some blog posts that have been simmering in the back of my mind for a bit.

This blog is not going to write itself and if I don’t make things happen, in six years I’ll never know what could have been had I just shown up for myself every week.

This past month has been a real doozie at my place.  I have my house on the market and have been hosting showings pretty much daily. Of course, I want the showings but I feel like I haven’t been able to use my kitchen for fear or messing it up. I am a notoriously messy cook and when I get in that zone ingredients have been known to fly all over the place.

With so many showings, I had expected our house to sell by now, but the consensus is that our street is too busy for most of the viewers. As a courtesy to all the future homes I look at, I will always do a quick google map search to determine that the property of interest is in a location I like so I don’t waste peoples time. (Can you tell I’m getting jaded by all the cleaning, maintaining, and lack of cooking and recipe development that I truly want to be doing?)

So rather than just waiting for that sale so I can get comfortable in my kitchen again, I’m going to use this cooking downtime to blog more about general health and my growing business.  I’m just working with what I’ve got my friends.

I opened my vintage shop at the end of December and already have 60 sales, this may seem like peanuts to some, but I consider it a huge achievement, especially since I’ve grossed over a 1k monthly and have so far treated it as a side hustle while I still work my real gig as a hairstylist.

I’ve also been steady developing my eco clothing line and have hired a business coach to help me strategize how to move forwards in the most efficient way, as well as a social media expert to assist me in making better use of Instagram, because if any of you follow my accounts @lesagevintage or @tha_wild_sage, you know I’m struggling in that department.

I’ve been filling my head with knowledge and positivity, listening to inspiring podcasts and reading some great books. I am daily drinking green juice, working out and using who I was 6 months, 12 months and six years ago as a barometer of my success instead of comparing myself to others.

The point I’m trying to make is, my lack of consistent blogging in recent days doesn’t mean I’m not still moving in a trajectory towards my end goal.

Sometimes we just need to start where we are and work with what we’ve got. Rather than getting bogged down in the details, if we consistently take baby steps towards an end goal, its amazing what can come out of it in the other long term. And remember,  it’s more than ok if those baby steps travel in more of a zig zag than a straight line.

I recently heard the story of Colin O’Brady. He’s a tremendous athlete and the first person to transverse Antarctica alone. In his 20’s he was burned so badly that he was told he wouldn’t walk again. He talks about how during his healing process, his mom would move his chair just a little farther every day so he would be forced to take just one more step than the day before. Eventually, he not only walked, but competed in triathlons and went on to set a world record in Antarctica!

If you have established an end goal but keep spinning in circles when it comes to working out all the details, just start where you are now.

Make one choice today that will set you in the right direction, and tomorrow you can make two, then three and so on.

Maybe that means getting a salad instead of pizza for dinner or going to the gym instead of bingeing on game of thrones. Maybe you just need to write that blog post you have been procrastinating and stop using the fact that your house is on the market as an excuse to sleep on it (*coughs*).

We’ve all heard the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day, well neither was a blog, perfect health, a perfect body, a podcast or a brand.

Tony Robbins famously says ‘People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade.’ That’s because we always get so bogged down in the details about how we are going to accomplish things rather than just show up for ourselves everyday (or week) and take those baby steps towards our future.

Start where you are and start now.  It’s constant baby steps that lead to success and you’ve come this far already.

An 11 step plan to heal your body and get a jumpstart on your new life of wellness

pexels-photo-965161.jpegCheesy photo aside, this is a super important and detailed blog post so if you want to learn what I have done to make huge strides in healing my own illness, get comfy.

First a mandatory disclaimer, though I have studied nutrition, I am not a doctor and would never suggest that anyone should neglect a doctors recommendations in the face of critical illness. This being said, I also believe it is everyone’s responsibility and right to take control of their own health and choose a healing protocol that they can feel good about and believe in.  I am simply sharing what has worked for me and many others in improving heath and even reversing supposedly irreversible disease.

It is becoming a more common opinion that most illness starts in and is cured by the mind (followed by the gut), so if you believe the only road to healing your own body is following a western medical route, I would agree that you are probably right.

(Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. ~Henry Ford)

Many people facing illnesses ranging from the flu to cancer have been healed by western medicine, but on the same note, people also heal themselves every day using natural, less invasive methods. Listen to your body first, believe in its ability to heal and go from there.

These days it seems everyone is sick to some degree and it is actually more rare to meet someone experiencing vibrant health than it is to meet someone who has some form of illness. The list of modern day medical afflictions seems to be endless. Even the common cold seems to run through my kids school multiple times a year.

I truly don’t believe we were designed to live a life of illness and suffering, but sadly, our modern diet, toxic environment and lifestyle choices has predestined us to these fates. We put far too much trust in our traditional medicine that puts far too much trust in textbooks and dogma. Health care providers often fail to truly listen to their patients which then leaves us tuning out our own inner voices who are screaming at us, ‘hey, remember me, your body? Something serious is going on in here.’

Regardless of your current state of wellness, I believe it is vital for everyone on the planet to take a serious look at the foods they put in their body followed by a full body and mind detox to hit the reset button on their health.

If you are currently undergoing treatment for a life threatening disease I DO NOT recommend following these suggestions in lieu of treatment but rather integrate or turn to them after your critical illness has gone into remission.  These steps will help create an environment where your disease will be less likely to return.

Don’t be intimidated by the long to-do list, just put one foot in front of the other and check them off one at a time. Listen to your body, pay attention to how you FEEL. If supplementing, add only add one supplement at a time so you can appreciate the differences it affects in you. In no time you should feel like a completely new person.

 

1. Undergo an elimination diet followed by a complete diet overhaul. Hidden allergies and intolerances also cause constant inflammation leading your body ignite an autoimmune response. Some experts believe all modern autoimmune diseases are caused by chronic inflammation as the result of undiagnosed allergies and infections. Gluten dairy and soy are BIG ones to watch out for. You can also get professionally tested for intolerances but these tests are expensive and not always accurate. You already intuitively know what your body needs to heal, you just have to listen.

2. Begin a mostly whole foods, anti inflammatory diet and be sure to omit all ingredients you have found you have an intolerance to. You should try to make all your own sauces and become a vigilant label reader if you purchase anything processed.  Soy, gluten and sugar are hidden everywhere.

3. Replace all products that you use on your skin, hair and home with natural non toxic ones. You can make these yourself, or purchase them if you are not the DIY type. Your skin is your bodies largest organ and soaks up everything you put on it like a sponge.  A good rule of thumb I try to follow is, if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth don’t put it on your body.

4. Get tested for hidden infections, viruses, candida, heavy metals, parasites and bacteria. If your immune system is working overtime fighting off a chronic condition your body will be in a constant state of inflammation which leads to many forms of illness and will keep you operating below optimal levels.  Many MD’s are reluctant to test for these things so I recommend seeking out a naturopath.

5. Begin to detox. This part of healing is controversial, some health experts claim that your body is more than capable of detoxing itself but recent studies show everyone on the planet is carrying a toxic load (even babies are being born with thousands of toxins already in their system) and when your body is working to fight off constant inflammation it may put detoxing on the back burner. The detox phase can take a while, but will ignite a radical transformation to your overall health.  For me this was a huge game changer.  Some good detox strategies are dry brushing, saunas, Epsom bath and using herbal preparations.

6. Heal your gut. When you have eliminated all food intolerances and begun to detox their residual effects it is time to repair all the damage they have done. Gut health is so super important more and more experts are being led to believe that all disease begins right there. Taking bone broth, and supplementing with the Amino Acid L-Glutamine are two proven ways to heal that precious gut lining. Probiotics (good quality ones) are also super vital to replenishing your good bacteria, especially if you have recently done a herbal cleanse/ detox.  However, there is no point even beginning this step if you have not already done step two. As long as you continue irritating your gut with foods that you are intolerant to, it will never fully heal.

7. Find your supplements. All bodies will need and respond to different supplements so it is a great idea to work with a holistic nutritionist, Chinese medicine practitioner or naturopath to determine the things your body is lacking and start adding them into your diet via high quality nutritional supplements. Not all supplements are created equal, I was anemic for years taking daily iron fumarate tablets (at my GP’s recommendation) before an integrative physician recommended iron bisglysinate and I was finally able to raise my iron levels quickly and painlessly.

8. Change your mindset. A toxic mindset creates a toxic body. Having a positive mindset is important not just for healing but for affecting all elements of your life from money and career to love and happiness. Releasing patterns formed over a lifetime takes work and time, but it is time well spent. Integrating daily meditations, gentle movement, affirmations and breathing exercises will improve not only your quality of life but your health as well.  And NO MORE negative self talk.  You are a miraculous being so lets take a moment to acknowledge that.  This step in particular has been a huge change for me.

9. Sleep. You need at least 7 hours and 8 if you are dealing with illness. Period. Even if you seem to function well on 5-6 hours chances are your body wants more. Your cells do the most healing work while you snooze so this area of your life should never be neglected. Also sleep makes you look better which never hurts in improving your overall quality of life.

10. Exercise. You have got to get sweaty. While sweating in saunas and baths is a big part of a good detox plan, actual physical exercise that pushes you to your limit and makes you sweat buckets is a vital component of your journey to lifelong health and happiness. I have left this to the end because intense physical exercise before you are ready, can stress your adrenals and lead to raised cortisol levels (wich actually can make you hold weight and increase inflammation). When you have completed all the steps above and are starting to feel like a new person it is time to start pushing your body with both weight training and cardiovascular training. You’ll know you are ready for this phase when you actually WANT to exercise and (mostly) look forward to your workouts/ feel energised rather than depleted when your workout is over.

11. Remove the toxic people from your life, or at least limit the energy you give to them. You’ve done all this work removing toxic ingredients from your diet, skincare and household products, and improving your mindset, so why are you still allowing toxic people to suck the joy out of you. You are a sum of the people you spend the most time with so make sure these are high quality people and you will notice your energy levels and outlook improve drastically.

I know this can seem like a daunting amount of work to do but if you are sick of feeling run down, dealing with illness and quite frankly, looking like shit, this is a great place to start.

Health is a journey not a destination, and if you really want to get the most out of your life, you’ve got to care for this body you are living in.
Life is so much more enjoyable when you have energy, a positive mindset, and quality people surrounding you.

In 2017 I began implementing these changes and am finally feeling like a new person going into 2019. Hopefully this helps someone else who is suffering feel like they have their life back.

My letter to money – shifting my money mindset in 2019

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my biggest challenges over this past year has been to release all of the negative associations I have built around money.  I have finally come to understand that wanting money but believing it is evil is non sensical.  It’s like wanting so bad to be friends with someone you just can not stand.

Why bother? Chances are even if you managed to make ‘friends’ with that person, the friendship would never really be strong and lasting.

So I have started to approach my relationship with money from a new angle, rather than focusing on the negative I remind myself of all the good money can do.  I love to read stories about social entrepreneurs who use money not just to improve their own lives, but to help improve the world.  This keeps me focused on the kind of person I aspire to be as more and more money flows into my life.

A wonderful money mindset strategy I have used, has been to replace the word money with a word I have positive feelings about.  For me this word is freedom and in my vocabulary, the two words have become interchangeable.

Money is freedom and freedom is money.

Another thing I did as per the advice of Jen Sincero in her killer book ‘You are a bad ass’ is write a heartfelt letter to money.

This might seem a bit woo woo, but immediately upon completion I felt like another wall I had built up in my head between myself and money had come down.

Here is my (slightly sexual) letter to money;

 

Dear Money,

I have had a crush on you for a long time but have been too scared to admit it. I’ve been told all my life what a huge jerk you are and have built up walls to keep you out.  

My parents always warned me about you, about how you would make me a bad person, and corrupt my heart.  But I’m finally seeing you in a new light and realizing all the good you are able to do in this world.  

If living where I want, travelling where I want and eating what I want is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. 

Money, I am fully ready for a life with you by my side.  I am committed. I finally understand that you do not change people but instead magnify what is already there.  I know I am a good person and with you I can only become better. Together we will experience more, give more back, and live with greater purpose.

I know you have always been there, waiting for me to be ready, and time and again I have rejected you. Well, no more!

I want to spend the rest of my life with you and make beautiful money babies with you.  I want our money babies to make grandbabies and great grandbabies until we have built a legacy that will remain long after I’m gone.  

Money, you give me the freedom to live my dreams and be who I truly am.  You make me so happy. With you by my side I know anything is possible. 

Together we will build a dream home, launch businesses, retire my parents, help my sister through school and give my kids every opportunity they could want in this life.  With you by my side I will worry less, laugh more, live life to the fullest and remember every day how lucky I am to have you.  I will never take you for granted again.  

I am finally ready to do this thing.  I love you.  

Yours, 

Elle

PS. In 2019 let’s go all the way.  

 

If you have come to believe that a person can’t be rich and good simultaneously, yet find yourself pining for a life of abundance, take a stab at this exercise.  Not only did I do it, but I’m actually putting my weirdo letter out there on the internet for anyone to see.

Get it down in your own words of truth and be confident that you are finally sending the universe clear signals about the kind of life you want to live and the kind of relationship you want to have with money.

You have nothing to lose, and potentially everything to gain.