Check out the On Press with WSD Season Finale Party where LeAnna discusses some updates with the authors on their products from the interviews within the season.
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LeAnna: Welcome to this live finale party, for all of you to join us for this. This has been a, like, I, I keep saying it’s been like four years in the making, because way back when I created these initial recordings, I always wanted to turn it into a podcast. But just like it is for everyone else, you know, you get, you get hung up and, oh, then I have to do this, I have to do all these things, so I just never did it.
And this felt like the perfect year. It’s my birthday month, so it’s the perfect, perfect time to actually launch something like this. So I’m thrilled that you’re all here to experience this with me, so welcome everyone. My name is LeAnna Weller Smith. I am the executive creative director at Weller Smith Design and the creator of Productology, and your host for Creatively Speaking. I have with me today several of our guests from season one, which we are calling On Press with WSD because all the interviews that we did were about print products. And as I mentioned a little bit earlier, these interviews we, we recorded them four years ago. And so what I think is this is a testament that print is not dead and that things that we created four years ago and the processes that we took to actually create them, they’re still relevant today.
I would not have repackaged this if I didn’t think so. I actually re-listened to all of the episodes, and I have to say that it was, it was exciting to re-listen to the process that each one of you took to get to your end product. But then also what a gift for me to be able to work with each of you on these products, and to see where you’ve come since we created these. So I just wanted to welcome everyone that’s coming in that’s going to be sharing this hour with us. I really do appreciate you taking time out of your, your day. You know, when it comes to, you know, your daylight hours, they’re very, you know, precious to us. So I, I appreciate you all joining us here, and to my speakers for also joining me so that I’m not so nervous, you know, on camera.
But I wanted to just introduce these lovely ladies that I have here. I have them pinned so that you can see each one of them. I will have one other speaker coming in while we’re, while we get going, but I wanted to introduce them so you all can kind of do a little wave so that they know who I’m talking about. Or you can see their little name that’s pinned. But I’m gonna start with Leora. So, Leora Edut—I hope I said that correctly—has been an entrepreneur since the age of sixteen doing nails out of her parents’ basement. She was one of the top ten nail techs in Detroit in the nineties. And her true, true passion was spending time listening to her clients and the connection that they shared. She took this on to New York City, where she became a celebrity makeup artist doing the likes of Rihanna—we loved her on the Super Bowl, and many others. During her early ventures in the Big Apple, Leora tapped deeper into her calling of listening and empowering others to step into their greatness. She began her company, Goddess on the Go, in 2012, and took her live events to Detroit and LA. When she became a mom, she knew she no longer wanted to be on the road every three months and became an author to widen her reach. Leora has written two books and has spoken at schools and companies throughout the US. She currently works with organizations and private clients. She’s a trained family constellation facilitator, somatic healer, and tantric coach. She is part of the Detroit Power of Teens, an organization in Detroit that works with girls ages eleven to seventeen to empower them through mentorship, entrepreneurship, and supports them with resources to live a life they feel inspired by. Welcome, Leora.
Leora: Thanks for having me here, LeAnna. And happy birthday month to you.
LeAnna: Thank you. I feel like this is a celebration too of my special day that’s coming up. The next person I wanna introduce is Susie Mordoh. Susie is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. She is an award-winning event planner turned personal development coach. Susie is the co-founder of Fit Life 360 Coaching, Fitness, and Nutrition Academy, and has worked with Weller Smith Design on two passion projects, the Feel the Love Transformation 53-card deck, and most recently a hardcover booked titled Love Is. Susie is committed to creating moments, products, and experiences for people to feel the love. Welcome, Susie.
Susie: Thank you, birthday girl. I’m happy to see you.
LeAnna: Next I would like to introduce Lyn Lindberg. She is the author of the six-time award-winning book Couch to Active, the missing link that takes you from sedentary to active; host of The Health and Fitness Motivation Podcast; blogger, speaker coach, fitness influencer, certified personal trainer, certified Pilates instructor, certified group fitness instructor, and president of Couch to Active, an online fitness studio that is fully accessible to people who are blind, have vision loss, and people who can see. She is also the author of the upcoming program How to Start Exercising Again. And she calls herself the Bad Couch Guru because she believes life is entertaining when you live it with a wink and a smile. Welcome, Lyn. It’s been so long.
Lyn: Thanks, LeAnna. Great to be here. I can’t believe how time flies, so I’m happy to be here.
LeAnna: I know, it goes too fast. Mm-hmm. And I’m going to introduce Nour, she’s our last speaker. She will be joining us in a little bit, but I, I wanna just put her, her bio here now so that that way we don’t, have to go back. So, Nour Zibdeh, MS, RDN, CLT, is a functional and integrative dietician and nutritionist, author, and speaker. She helps people overcome digestive conditions like acid reflux, IBS, SIBO, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis through individualized anti-inflammatory food plans, nutritional therapies, and cutting-edge integrative nutrition tests. She also helps people with hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, food sensitivities, chronic fatigue, migraines, and headaches—oh my God, I think I have all these things—fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and skin issues by addressing underlying digestive imbalances. Nour is the author of The Complete Acid Reflux Diet Plan: Easy Meal Plans and Recipes to Heal GERD and LPR, and The Detox Way: Everyday Recipes to Feel Energized, Focused, and Physically and Mentally Empowered.
So, welcome, ladies. I am so honored to be in your presence, such amazing, amazing females that I have here and, and it is International Women’s Month, so perfect timing. Right? Could not be a better time. So, I wanna just kind of dive in here. I, the way I’m going to approach this is I’m gonna talk about a few different scenarios that came up when I was listening to the podcast back, and also just a few, just sort of overarching themes that I found in listening to those again, and I think that they would be helpful for people who are starting to create products or are thinking about creating products and, like, when and where to start. We will have some time at the end for some questions, so when we get through these questions, we’ll have a little bit of time to, to, poll the audience. So just to start—so there’s, there’s so many different types of products out there—you know, so many things you could create. So when you decided that you wanted to create something, how did you know what you wanted to create? And I’d like to start with Lyn.
Lyn: Oh, okay. And you’re talking about the book.
Lyn: Yes. And that couch is still in my living room. I still have the velvet couch. So how did I know I wanted to create this. So, my degree in—background, actually, is in education. And as I, you know, grew through that, you know, long decades—long story we have of our own careers, came to the concept of Couch to Active back in the heyday of Facebook—when we all loved Facebook—held online. I know, it makes everybody smile, right? Oh yeah. I remember those days. I held fitness challenges online. That grew into a little bit more of a formal challenge, which grew into me working one-on-one and consulting folks. And I ended up with a course that was an eight-week course to help folks make that transition from sedentary to active. And it wasn’t everything we already knew, you know, how much you should exercise, what you should eat, what, like, we already know that; it was, what’s that gap between, like, why is it that I’m not actually doing this even though I know I should once that course was made, then I realized, oh gosh, this could actually make a pretty gosh darn great book. And so that’s how I knew what I wanted to do, is I wanted that book in hand so it could reach a broader audience and help force me to put some real formality and structure around what was all in the brain. So that’s, that’s where it all started.
LeAnna: Yeah, that makes sense too. And you know, I think people don’t really think about turning their course into a book—
LeAnna: So when you came to me with that idea, I thought it was really smart, because people learn in different ways. So, some people when it comes to, they have time to go through the videos or, but some people might wanna take it and read it in their bed without their computer or go through something a different way. Or even just learning. Something that you mentioned in the interview is people learn different ways—
LeAnna: So I, and I think you had, you worked with someone to kind of flesh that out. Can you talk about that.
Lyn: I did. I worked with Amy Rose Davis, she was my editor. And, you know, it, it’s interesting when you start a book project, you have in your mind of like how fabulous you think it is. And then you—we got it all on paper and, you know, my editor, she said, okay, the content’s really great, but it’s just content. She’s like, we need stories. I’m like, I thought I was done writing the book. And she’s like, nope, you just began. And so we actually pulled in stories from real folks, and most of them let us use their full first/last name, where they’re from, which was pretty exciting. And that’s what brought the book alive, was then you could hear the story of, you know, the person who’s couch to active, but they’ve had twelve surgeries. What does that mean for you. Are you a failure? No. So it let you know. And so it was really neat to see, see it come alive, in that process, for sure.
LeAnna: Yeah. And, and, and I think people don’t realize, too, that you may have content, but you have to, you have to actually revisit that content to make sure that it makes sense, because each medium is different. So, I think that’s really, really valuable and great, great insight. Yeah.
Lyn: And well, and one of the things that came about was like, in the very appendix of the book, I have a little afterward, and I talk about how I’m, frustrated with the fitness industry. I’m at this fitness convention, and I talk about how I have this massive migraine, and this is, I’m writing the afterward and I’m already working with LeAnna for six months at this point, and my editor, the stories are written, I’m just doing that last little diddy. I had no idea that I was about to publish a health and fitness motivation book…at the same time, my health was about to fall apart completely. And so that is a whole ‘nother podcast for another day. You and I could talk about [pointing to book] is, here I am. And months later I was sleeping 15 hours a day and couldn’t even exercise, and the journey to go through there. So that was a, that was a whole ‘nother piece.
LeAnna: And we’ll definitely we’re, we’ll circle back to that for sure. Cuz I think even now with what you’re doing, kind of plays into some of that too. So, totally—
LeAnna: I wanna say welcome, Nour, it was so good to see you.
LeAnna: I, I gave a little intro for you a little bit earlier. So, but everyone, this is Nour. And—
Nour: Hi, everyone.
LeAnna: So glad to have you on here with me. It’s been forever seeing you as well. So, so good to see you. Okay, so we were talking about how did you know what type of product you wanted to create when you started this idea. I would love to hear from you, Leora, because you, your book is a little bit different from a traditional book. So, tell me a little bit about how you came up with the idea of what you did create.
Leora: Absolutely. So, when I, when I came up with the idea for the book, I was doing live events. It began in New York City. It was an all-day event for women in a beautiful loft space where, you know, women could just show up in their yoga pants and sneaks and leave their big handbags and heels and really learn from some of the top people who guide wellness and holistic workshops. So we had movement, we had feng shui, we had people talking about money, but all from a holistic perspective. And pretty soon, and—Lyn, right, you just spoke— Facebook was, you know, was, was definitely a motivator back then. And people, there was no Instagram, you know, there was Twitter, but everybody watched what you did on Facebook. So it was a very concentrated energy. And so people started saying, oh, can you bring it here? Can you bring it here? So we ended up expanding it to Detroit and LA. I’m from Detroit originally, so that’s how we ended up here. And then other people were like, can you bring it to Atlanta? Can you bring it to Houston? And my whole, my whole message from women is all about slowing down and doing less. And so I was being pulled into doing more. And I was like, you know what, actually we’re not saying yes to all everybody who’s asking for us to bring it to their city. What we could do is create a book, and we could do it with some of the women who have come and spoken at Goddess on the Go who’ve been incredibly impactful. So, so we started out, I started actually working with a book agent in the very beginning. She was so excited about the book. She was like, oh my God, you know, like one of these big, you know, publishing houses are definitely gonna pick it up. So I wrote the whole synopsis, the little outline. She shopped it around and she was like, sorry, nobody is actually ready for a collaborative book. So I was like, you know what, sharpen this mofo, I got too many things going on. I was doing by that, that time I had expanded to doing retreats. I was doing, you know, programs. And I just was really full in my life. So fast forward, I think it was maybe six months to a year later, I ended up becoming pregnant. And I have a little Aries daughter, like Leanna, and probably within a month or two she was like, Mama—you know, already bossed me around as a little Aries. She was like, you gotta write this book. And I was like, shit, I do.
LeAnna: And I think something you just said earlier, not to interrupt, but this, you were definitely ahead of your time with something like this. So a collaborative book, I think, I feel like now you see a lot of collaborative books. You know, they’re, they’re doing these, big launches, everyone’s launching it at the same time, it becomes a number one bestseller on whatever lists. But you were definitely four years ago, and you started it four years, I think, prior to that.
Leora: Five years before I actually like, finished the book, went through that whole thing you did to Lyn, like rewrote the books ten times before I was like, editor, do not send it back to me. I’m good. I’m a Libra, we like perfection, but we’re good. We’re good here.
Leora: We don’t need to re-look at it, reread it, anything.
LeAnna: But I think that’s inspiring for people to, to hear that you could come up with an idea now that is ahead of its time. So it’s, it’s, and even with what Lyn had created, it’s like from a course, you know, those are things that people back then weren’t really, that it wasn’t on the top of their minds. So I think that, that that, that, that is, that’s the beauty of what you did end up creating, which is this collaborative product. But I have more questions for you, so we’ll come back.
LeAnna: I do wanna, so I wanna touch on next with Susie, because Susie has something completely different than everybody. So Susie, I would love for you to chat a little bit about what you created.
Susie: Sure. Well, when we first met, and we did meet at a women’s conference—now that we’re in International Women’s Month and all—I was on the verge of perhaps starting even an event planning company. I don’t even know how, layered I, I was in with that—
Susie: But I had lost fifty pounds about fifteen years ago and I was able to keep it off, and through the process, right, anybody that’s in the health and wellness, there’s a lot of mindset that goes with this. And so, and there’s a lot of mindset in, you know, what goes with anything, really. So I have a, a lot of universal truths. I had, you know, I, started doing work with a woman who I call my spiritual consiglieri. Like, you know, she really like did the spiritual awakening for me, right of, of just, teaching me, a more holistic approach to life. And I hands down love the woo, but know that a lot of people that I connect with are a little more mainstream and Main Street. And so they’re not, you know, when they see a deck, which is something that I created, these fifty-three positive messages, they’re universal truths, but these are the stories and the things that I learned along the way. And I wanted to create it really bec—it felt like my third child, you know, we are always pregnant with ideas. If you’re creative, like there’s something you wanna do, what’s next, and there wasn’t a, well, what’s the business model around it. And it wasn’t that, it wasn’t about the return on investment, it was about the return on experience, right. That was for me, what was, what drove me. And I’m like, I don’t know, I just know I’m supposed to do this—I have to do it, and we’ll figure it out. It ended up that this deck, which has, you know, great messaging, is a tool that I use, and it’s become really lexicon for anybody that I coach when they are in my orbit. And when I say my orbit, it’s our orbit because it’s not my, you know, we all kind of come together. We almost speak in cards, right. We speak in these like, oh, that’s just like be pa pa—you know, “Be discerning with your energy,” or whatever the, whatever the card is that gets pulled. So it’s, I always say it’s a low tech, high touch product, and some people refer to it as, like, vitamins for the soul. So it was designed not, not just like, we’re gonna hear it, sit here and pull cards. There’s fifty-three messages, I pull one. I have a group that—this is funny, the one that I just pulled—the group that is on Facebook, that in the morning we spent five minutes, pull a card, and talk about it. But it’s got a great design to it. So when people see this, they love it because now they can sit it on their desk, look at it. And so, LeAnna, look what we just got: “Team together. Everyone achieves more.”
LeAnna: It—oh my God, I, we always say that. The cards know. The cards know I have the cards on. Oh wait, oh, I don’t have ‘em there anymore cuz I have ‘em on my desk to share everyone. But yeah, I love those cards. And those are, those are so like, therapeutic and—
Susie: They are, and it’s not about weight loss. It’s literally universal. Like, they help so many people, you know, from anybody like in a yoga class, to the nurses, to someone in hospice, to someone who just lost someone. Like, they’re just becomes this, what am I going to do to get through it. So it becomes a great tool. It is not scary for those that, you know, think sometimes that can be. And we also had other ideas, and some of them we had to pin. Yes. And then we can come back to that a little bit later. But it was so great and got over so well, the second edition—we have a pink version as well, that’s like same great messages, just different flavor.
LeAnna: And the interesting thing too about Susie’s is that hers was a hundred percent custom. So most of the products that we’re talking about, they’re either they’re self-published, so, or they’re, published via KDP or CreateSpace print-on-demand products. But Susie’s, we did do the whole route. We went the whole route of, you know, talking to the printer, getting them to make a die of the box that we wanted. We gave them all the specs. So it was a completely different process, but it’s still a product, so I think that’s one thing that I, you know, and we always find the right balance for the product that you’re creating, even, even knowing, like Susie, we, when we created that, I think it was more than five, four years ago, I think it was like, oh yeah, maybe five or six years ago, and print on demand really—didn’t it, it wasn’t even existing for other products, so it was only for paperbacks and hardcovers at the time. But now there are companies that do print on demand—
LeAnna:—card decks. So it’s interesting to see how things have changed nowadays, but not, not necessarily exactly like the type that she has with the custom box, but there are different print-on-demand services now. But that leads me into Nour. Nour, what I found interesting about your product is that you found a gap. Like, it really filled a gap back when you created it for your clients. You were—they were looking for something that just wasn’t there. So I’d love to just hear a little bit about, you know, what made you decide to do it and, how you just kind of approached it in the beginning.
Nour: Yeah, so, so I have a cookbook, cookbook that I wanted to create certain parameters in the cookbook that—so, I work with people who have digestive and inflammatory and autoimmune issues. And so just to kind of put it out there, like, not everybody has to follow, like, gluten-free, dairy-free, ilic, right, like, it’s, it’s for a certain category of people who need it. And so, and then the stuff that it, so I was like, spending time with each patient trying to come up with the recipes, or we’ll find recipes online, but I’m saying, omit this, take out that, and I’ll look at a recipe and it’s like, but there’s no flavor in it. I come from a Arab/Middle Eastern background, we have a lot of like spices and herbs, and I’m like, this will taste like cardboard. So I, I was like, got so tired of trying to modify recipes to make them fit a certain category, and so I decided to just start collecting recipes. And originally it was supposed to be just like a simple PDF that I hand to my patients. And then I started doing my own food photography, and it got bigger and bigger, and I was like, this is a cookbook material. And, I think we had, we were part of a business group that, at that point, and, yeah, I, I thought there, there are more people in the world who can benefit from, from this. And so I decided to put it out there and see what it’s like to publish it.
LeAnna: And I, I thought it was so great because, you know, you’re not a, you’re not, you’re not a chef or a traditionally trained cook, but you did not let that stop you. And I think that’s also something to be said because you put a lot of work, a lot of time, energy, patience into creating this. And I think that, you know, one of the things that kind of stops people is they think that they might not be the expert in that particular piece, but you did have the expertise to know what would work for someone’s body and what recipe—how to create something that they could use as a resource to help them.
LeAnna: So I think that it’s so impressive what you did create. And back then you did a lot of research. So we’ve been talking about print on demand products. There’s, it used to be called CreateSpace, which was, it is now KDP, that’s through Amazon. But you actually went through IngramSpark, and yeah, I say this every time to people, which is, I don’t know everything. So, when I meet different clients or work on different products, like, we have to figure some of these things out. But you came to me, you had already done a lot of research on your own, and you, you researched the printing quality, the type of paper that they used, and you were able to decide even before you came to me, it was that you already knew which, which way you wanted to go. And I think that is also really important for people to, to know that, you know, you can do your own research, too, and there’s so much out there now.
Nour: Mm-hmm—and, and I’m sure technologies and like offers and the quality of paper right now is different than before. I think the biggest challenge is that I had a lot of food pictures and I wanted things to look pretty, but of course, like, the crisper or crispier the picture that would, like, the cost would be really high to print and make it available to people. So that’s when we had to make a compromise, like what is the best quality that we can get in order to put a book that is reasonably affordable to people and something that they can use as a resource. And, and the other thing is like, I have a picture for every recipe. Later on, I discovered that a lot of cookbook publishing traditionally doesn’t work this way. They, they don’t have a recipe for every, they don’t have a picture for every recipe. And they actually find a really nice recipe, they find really nice pictures, and they reverse-engineer it, and then they make a recipe that could look like that— because I, I worked on another project, so it was just kind of interesting that I poured my heart and soul and, and, and this is, and I love that because I mean the—yes, I’m not a traditional chef. I just learned cooking from my mom, and I like to cook, and I think it’s a great way to nourish your body and to learn how to do it as a skill for anyone, and, you know, food is much healthier when you make it at home. It’s much more affordable and you have so much control, obviously, when you make it yourself. And so, it was a great project.
LeAnna: And this product, just to kind of catapult into the next question I have, this one actually helped you to get some other projects. So I’m curious, like, you kind of alluded to it, so I think—
LeAnna: So, so, so once you published this, you self-published it, you went through the whole process. What happened after that?
Nour: So, a couple of years later, a publisher came and approached me. So they, they’re not, I think they do a lot of books and their books are only available in Amazon, so they’re not in like major book retail bookstores. But they had their team that they searched for, I guess the common search terms online and, and what the public or what people in general are, are looking for or researching for online. And they had an idea for a book, and they were looking for who would be the best person to be the author of this book. And so they had the outline and they needed someone to actually write the details. And, so as part of the kind of the interview process, I had mentioned that I self-published a book, and the person was like, oh, you did? Oh, that’s great. And then I think, you know, the day after I had an offer to be the author for that book. So I think it just, it shows a completion. Like I completed a project and self-publishing is, there’s a lot that goes into it, but you can say you completed this. And then, it, it’s, it’s just, it’s, it’s something on your resume. Like you are willing to go after a project or a product that you believe in and you’re willing to put the effort and do the research. And, and so it definitely helped me get this second book.
LeAnna: That’s awesome. Congratulations.
Nour: Yeah. Thank you.
LeAnna: I think that’s an awesome story. Yeah. But Susie, how about you? I know that you did some interesting marketing things for the deck. So I’m curious, what came of things after you launched the product initially.
Susie: Well, the product, it’s one of those things that, and you, you know, you’re supposed to have a niche, and it’s not just for everybody, but it really appeals to a lot of different people. So there were surprises. What happens, you, you make this stack, you figure it out. I always say it’s like a child, right. You gave birth to it, now we all have to raise it and figure out what, what that kind of looks like. And I was getting feedback from so many different areas that I never anticipated. Everything, from classrooms—journal prompts that the teachers were loving to use it with their students—to the yoga instructors—putting one at the head of everybody, like in Shavasana at the end of the class—to, hey, my teenage boys love talking about it. We even had, when we produced the pink Ddck, an alliance with, at the time it was called, I think it was the Biffle Bag, but it’s now, I think it’s been renamed. And it’s, if you know anybody that goes through breast cancer, it’s everything you need in one bag. And the one thing that was missing was all the tactical things. So it was like a mindset and like, what do you do spiritually, and they started adding these to their bags as well. So it was really, you know, you go in there not knowing exactly how, what it’s gonna look like, and just sort of trust the universe that you figured out together. So I’m always grateful if I can do the second edition or the second run of printing, like, okay, it’s, you know, it’s doing its work.
LeAnna: Yeah. That’s great. Very, very cool. And I know like even initially when we launched it, there was a piece where part of the proceeds—I have multiple sclerosis, and we, we used my portion, was donated to, MS when we launched that first, the first print run. So it’s exciting to see how these products, once you create them, how they can create other things that come your way. So I think that’s really important if you are creating something to realize that it’s not one-and-done or you walk away from it and it’s complete. Like it does have, it has its value and that it can bring something else your way. But Leora, how about for you for the book. Did you, once, you know, we, we did a lot of work on that book. It took you a long time to get it out. How did you stay focused getting it through, and what came of it once we did finally get it into, into the universe.
Leora: It— that’s like, it was like, I think Lyn said, it was like having another baby. It definitely felt like my second child. So, first of all, I paced myself. Like, I was like, no. It was funny because when I started working with Lisa, who is my editor, so I I—the Triple L: me, Leanna, and Lisa—I had just gotten asked to speak on this whole event with Marian Williamson. And, I was like, oh my God, I’m gonna have my book done for this event. Which the event was like a month and a half later, and Lisa—thank the Lord, calmed my leaper self down and was like, no—no, no, no, no, we’re not going to have it done by then. So I was like, okay. So like I said, I, I paced myself. I’m so glad I did. I paced myself and it took a whole other year for the book to actually be done, completed, edited, and I always had this vision. I know this is like back in the days, but I had this vision always that my book was gonna be in Barnes and Noble and I was gonna do some, you know, talk there. So we also did IngramSpark for my book. I had pictures in it as well, Nour, so I, I feel you on that desire for the visual pleasure. And so I remember waking up the next day, and LeAnna, you had sent me a message and you were like, Barnes and Noble picked the book up. And I was like, what! And it just, it honestly was, the, the women in my community, because I didn’t have a plan. I just was like, once I published it, but I was like, oh shit, I better put a book tour together. And it was like the women in my community took it on. So I’m a member of Brent the Runway; they did a book launch for me. I had another client of mine that worked at the, the skincare place called Coley. She did an event there. We did collaborations with, oh my God, Press Juicery. And we did an event also at The Assemblage, which is no longer, but it’s a coworking space. They used to have three locations in the city. Then I had a client of mine who owned a hotel on Catalina Island. She was like, if you wanna come here…we did an event at, in LA at, oh my God, I, I cannot think of the name, but it’s in LA. So, and we did one, and somebody was like, will you, if you’re coming to California, will you bring it to San Francisco? Will you bring it to San Diego? Did something at Art Basel. And then I was like, I literally was six months strong with this. It was—
LeAnna: A whirlwind.
Leora: It was a whirlwind. And it wasn’t one that I saw or predicted at all. And I’m still incredibly, you know, grateful for just like the people who posted it, the people who shared it, the people who bought it, use it in courses, the people who bought it for their friends and family. It really wa—like, it took a life of its own. And so I’m, I’m, I’m—incredib—oh, and I did, I did my book tour at Barnes and Noble, and she—
LeAnna: Ended up at Barn—
Leora: I did a book signing at Barnes and Noble, which was really, really, really cool.
LeAnna: Yeah, that was, that was awesome to see that and to get pictures of that, that was really, that’s really cool. But I think that’s another testament to these products where they can bring all these other things your way. And just like you said, it was really like this kind of snowball effect that happened once it was out there, then people could kind of pull it in and take it in and do what they needed to, what they wanna do with it, and invite you into their spaces. So I think that’s very inspiring. But Lyn, your book is what, six time award-winning— which is really amazing. Like one of the things—
LeAnna:—that you had mentioned is that, you know, that the, the, I don’t wanna say technical background that you have, but coming from training, like, and you know how to do corporate training. And, one of the things that you mentioned in the interview, which I thought was really interesting, was about us being able, like collaboratively being able to take a complex topic and make it easy to digest
LeAnna: And do you think like that had something to do with the accolades that you’ve received?
Lyn: I think, I think a couple things. Yeah. I mean, one was me being willing to take lots of feedback to make it better. I think I was also laser-focused on the mission of the book. I mean, I wanted, this is what I, the transformation that this book would help somebody in their life. And so when you pick up that book, you, you just, you work through it and you will end up with that transformation. So I think that was a piece of it. Another piece of it is, it was, it’s also written as simply as possible and with a little tongue in cheek, like LeAnna said, called myself the Bad Couch Guru, which is so ridiculously stupid, but, just makes people be like, oh, okay. She’s not one of those fitness people. She actually is kind of like silly. And another piece that LeAnna, I don’t know if we ever talked about this, that I think actually helped is I’m not a writer by nature. I’m not this amazing writer person. In fact, in high school I struggled with anything reading ’cuz my reading comprehension, I had no reading comprehension until my, like, early twenties. And so when I went to write the book, it, the language is really friendly and it’s really simple, and I didn’t try to get fancy at all. So when you read it, it’s just kind of like in-your-face crystal clear. And I think that’s part of what helped. And because there were some authors who also submitted to some of these same awards who are names you would definitely know, but I don’t think their books were as accessible because they were just so in-the-weeds detailed, fancy. And this was like, oh, I read it, I get it. And so it’s just more accessible that way. Yeah.
LeAnna: Yeah. And I think it was really fun to work on that book. I think it was really fun. Like, we had a great team that was working on it. And I think that that is also, I think one of the last things that I wanna touch on, which is collaborate—collaborative product creation, right. Because, without you, I wouldn’t get to create, and without me, we wouldn’t have created something or it would’ve been something different, at least.
Lyn: We wouldn’t have won a single award without you or without Amy, or without Tess, who actually filled out the applications for the awards. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It really took a team .
LeAnna: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And so, so you had, you had a writer, you had an assistant.
LeAnna: You had yourself, and then you had me on the team, which was great. We had great calls. Some of them were, some of them were—Leora can speak to this too, which I’m gonna say/mention as well, is some of these calls, you know, there’s not great info that we have to talk about, whether it’s a delay—
Lyn: Oh, yeah.
LeAnna:—something or costs not lining up—right, Nour, like when it’s like, what do I, I want this to hit this price point and how can I make this work, but I think the collaboration in my opinion seems to be the funnest part really, to get to work with, you know, creative individuals like yourselves, like, they have these ideas.
Lyn: It’s, it’s important. It’s important to work with the team and to not be afraid of hard discussions and not be afraid of differing opinions, and because, I think in the end, you end up with the best product. Yeah. yeah. Yeah. No, I think we ended up with something really, really great.
LeAnna: Yeah, me too. And Leora, we had, we, you know, there’s a, it, it’s great to see the end product, but it is just like it is going through those ups and downs of life. We had a few things. Yeah.
Leora: The struggle was real. The struggle was on the first book, the struggle was real. The second book flowed so much more easy. But the first book, like, it was like becoming a new parent and there’s all the learning curves and the never-befores and the like, unexpected, like you said, delays or road blocks. And so it was like, oh, I had this vision of it just flowing and it’s not flowing the way in the timeline I wanted it to, or in the price points. There was a lot of surrendering, but like, so much learning and appreciation along the way. And I always call, you know, you and Lisa, like, my book doulas, like, you really helped me to birth this book. It was not a just me-thing at all. And I’m like, I’m really, really grateful for that.
LeAnna: It was a fun, that was one too. The triple L effect. We, that was our, that was our, that was our thing. But Nour, what I thought was great is you had, you had an assistant, but you also had your husband who was really supporting you to say do it. And then he also said, you’re done. So I—
Nour: I, well, he was eating, he got to eat a lot of the food. So—
LeAnna: But having that support on both sides on the technical side and on the personal side, I’m sure.
LeAnna: How did that help get—
Nour: You through? Yeah, I mean, my assistant definitely, like, proofreading and going through the recipes, making sure, like I’m, I’m doing this all the time in my kitchen. It comes natural and easy, but she was like reading, making sure that the steps make sense, that I didn’t forget something. So she was doing a lot of that. And my family were my taste testers. And actually: a funny story. A few years ago, if you remember when we had the big snowstorm that hit the East Coast and we were snowed in, I actually like 30 percent of the recipe—like, I had food and I just remember doing ten recipes, like feeding the neighbors, and I had enough, all the supplies, and taking pictures. And so, it, it was just, it was, it was fun working on that. So definitely there is support I think, you know, long nights or having conversations like, should I do this and that, and, and you, LeAnna, of course, because I am in the digital world, I’ve never published a book. And so you know, me in the beginnings, like, what does it take to publish a book? And then you were like, no, no, no, but you need the page numbers, like odd pages and even pages, and you need the margins. And what about the cover and what about what goes in the back, and all these things that I didn’t think of. And you reminded me. And, you had, you, you know, you’ve—obviously your expertise and advice. And so like, it’s not something that I would just be able to do. Like, I, it’s, it’s like your help was tremendous and made things so much easier in the process.
LeAnna: Thanks. And Susie, I feel like we were the, we were the collaborative effect because I personally always wanted to create a deck. And what perfect way was to create it with a really great friend of mine who meant so much to me. And so I, even just—how did, how was that for you? Like, I feel like we just kind of gelled when it came to that deck.
Susie: All right, I’m gonna unmute; my dog might bark. Okay. To share. It was completely collaborative and a pure joy. And what happened right when you start in the creative process and you are a little bit in flow, I think other ideas come up. And we had another idea, although we talked about the deck. We talked about the idea of, you know, my, my sort of battle cry is feel the love, like you’ll hear that, it’s my signature. It is, you know, I like to create moments for people to feel the love in whatever I do. So in my event planning world, I would say like, you know, the love is in the details, right? That’s the how do you care for, you know, the smallest details up to the macro view. And so, you, Leanna, like your talent—I just have to, like, I’m gonna go on for just a second. Like, when you came up with the design and the deck you actually took, it was like a sketch. I did like this little ink drawing, like my doodling, and she proceeded to, you know, put it into the computer, flip it around, create like this blueprint look, which so resonated. And just your creativity and the way you think really makes everything better. And then from the other ideas, I just have to mention, that we are about to drop our new book, which is this hard cover, beautiful gem of Love Is, and talk about collaboration. It’s over one hundred eleven people that came together who want to finish the sentence, “Love is…” But it’s not just the collaborators in that respect. Now we—I get to team up with LeAnna and there’s these beautiful designs. Every page is like a work of art. And so, without you, this little, this little bundle won’t be coming out into the world. So we have a street team forming now. We got, you know, you, you really helped to coach me of like, what happens if we get some early, you know, decks in, and how do we start getting it out of the hand so we can start putting it on to Amazon. And I don’t, you know, I don’t know what, I don’t know, I just, you know, you sort of feel your way through it. And it’s been great. We’ve had a huge response that, that process, this is happening. And at the end of about four weeks from now, they should land should be here, they should be here, and the pre-orders are coming in and we’re ready to get them going. And without you, I just sort of say how you know the details in this book, even just to the, like, the littlest details that you would think about and bring to my attention, make a congruent with really whatever you do. And I think that that’s where you tap into everybody’s individuality and what speaks to them and how to make it look great.
LeAnna: Oh, thank you Susie. Well, that kind of leads me into, we only have a few minutes left, but I wanted to just give each of you a chance to tell us what you’re doing now, because I know that things have changed, it’s been four years. So if we can make it a little quick, but I definitely wanna hear from everyone else. So, Lyn, how about if you just tell me what you are doing now, because things have definitely changed.
Lyn: Things have definitely changed. Yes. So that, that chronic illness I mentioned when the book published, long story short, I still own and run Couch to Active. The Health and Fitness Motivation Podcast has been rebranded back to Couch to Active to keep it all congruent. We have five hundred and two episodes so far of that podcast. And through that, long story short, through COVID, everybody getting on Zoom, Couch to Active, the business, is now an online fitness studio that offers fourteen classes a week and personal training. And most of my clients are completely blind. And so we’ve learned how to dial in the audio descriptions of these classes, and so I’m committed to all my products and services being accessible to the blind because I did not know that that’s a very underserved group of people. And so, that’s what we’re doing now.
LeAnna: Well, congratulations on that. We’ll definitely have to chat about that more because it’s, it’s really interesting to me how you’re doing that. Especially like, we come—we do web work too, and knowing all the accessibility issues even on that side.
LeAnna: So congratulations on making that switch. I think it’s great to see what you’re doing and the, the people that you’re serving. It’s awesome.
Lyn: It’s been great, yeah. And it is, it’s—let’s chat, ’cuz there is, I’ve learned a lot about, there’s a big difference between accessible and actually accessible
LeAnna: Actually. Exactly. But Nour, I would love to hear what you have been up to.
Nour: Yeah, I’m, I am still focusing on working with people with food sensitivities and digestive issues. IBS, Crohn’s, autoimmunity. So I kind of learn, like, I have similar people who are dealing with chronic pain and chronic fatigue, and it is very difficult. And so what you’re doing is really amazing. I just wanna say that.
Nour: So I’m working with the food and testing and working on the gut and the microbiome to help support these people, their, their health, and their journey. And so also with COVID, I, I am a hundred percent virtual and working on—I’m on social media and just working on creating more content on the things that I like to talk about and, and specifically these conditions. And I have a, a course in the horizon, but that will need a few months before it’s ready.
LeAnna: Oh, that’s exciting. Congratulations on that. Yeah, thank you. I can’t wait to see, you’ll have to make sure you let me know when it launches.
Nour: Yes. Yeah.
LeAnna: And just to say, I’m gonna make sure that everyone’s contact links are going to be in the show notes. Anything that you want me to include will be in the show notes. But Leora, I would love to hear what you’re up to because we did create something after the original book.
Leora: We did, we created a thirty-day journal full of rituals, another collaborative, it was written by thirty different goddesses. And basically it’s a ritual that you can do every day, a different one for thirty days, and then it has a journal at the back. And we created the Season of Love box as well, which it was in there and it had like a spiritual bath and a beautiful travel candle made out of beeswax, so that I worked on. And then, one of the things I really did was step out of kind of the, the background of the shadows, and this on my own deep training to be able to serve my clients on deeper levels. So I went for family constellation and tantric training. And so I’m really being able to help my clients with family relationships and healing sexual trauma, and that has been such a fulfilling piece of my life and my own transformation these past few years.
LeAnna: Yeah, I, it’s been amazing to watch your growth, because even in doing the website and you know, kind of upleveling that it was real, it’s really, it, it’s so inspirational, all the things that you’re doing.
Leora: Yes. And you did, you built me a whole website. Lemme not forget the beautiful website that people are like, who did your website, who did your website.
LeAnna: But it’s been great. It’s been great to see the growth that you’ve had since we worked on the book together. But Susie, I’m gonna circle back to you cuz we kind of just segued in. Is there anything else that you wanted to say as we are closing out the session?
Susie: I just wanna thank you for the beautiful website as well, cuz I forgot to mention that. So, I can’t wait for whatever’s next, but in the meantime—
LeAnna: But I think that is actually one thing I do wanna mention, which is Susie has a shop that she’s created all sorts of Feel the Love products. So that was one of her goals with creating that original deck. So I think that just, just like with all of you, if there’s anyone that wants to create something, there’s gonna be things that can, you know, come off of that—different, different avenues that you can take from it. And it’s not just gonna end with that one, it’s just whatever you can think of, you can create. So, I just wanna say again, thank you ladies so much for spending some time with me today. I feel so blessed just to know all of you, and I can’t wait to touch base with all of you again individually, just to, you know, just kind of catch up a little more. But thank you for inspiring the audience. And to those of you who have not listened to all of the episodes, each episode is packed with great information from each client, each person that created something, their story is—there’s, there’s so many little tidbits in each in, in each episode. So be sure to listen to them and let us know what kind of product you’re gonna create.
Lyn: Thanks, Leanna.
LeAnna: So thank you all for coming.
Nour: Thank you.
LeAnna: I know that this is, you know, middle of your day, so I really appreciate it.
Susie: Thank you.
Leora: Happy early birthday, too.
LeAnna: Oh, thank you. Bye.