Lisa Robbin Young

[Note:  for the past 7 years, I've posted an annual re-cap of the highs and lows, lessons learned, etc. After the roller coaster that was 2016, I'm pleased to say it was more up than down. You can find previous years here:  2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

Plan, Do, Evaluate.

It's a simple concept that was drilled into my family when my eldest went off to spend 2+ years in a wilderness camp for boys with emotional difficulties. Make a plan, execute to the best of your abilities, and when it's all said and done, evaluate what went well, what didn't, and how you can improve for the next set of plans.

With the spate of childhood icons and heroes that died this year, it would be easy to tell 2016 to "suck it", but looking at the whole year opened my eyes to just how good things really were.


Ringing in the new year at Pam's. Pina Coladas anyone?

My 2016 Theme was Radiance. My biggest faith goals were focused in on faith in myself and my abilities as a performer and coach. There were days - weeks even - when it took every ounce of my being to feel the slightest bit radiant. Months where it didn't feel like I was shining at all.

Moving away from my family and friends was an act of courage that took a lot out of me. I landed in a great spot, and I still had to learn how to be on my own. Never in my entire life have I ever lived completely alone. I either had a kid, a room mate, or some other family living with me.

I started the year thinking that radiance was something other people saw through me. I ended the year realizing that I shine for no one but myself - and only then can that light be seen by anyone else.

"It's just the fear of falling that makes my lose my grip ." - Step By Step, Annie Lennox


The Fine Line, photo by Rachael K Albers of RKA Ink

I had some impressive money stuff happen. 2016 started with the SOLD OUT launch The Fine Line. THAT was incredible. I actually had PR people reaching out to talk about possible radio airplay. Most of it didn't pan out, but it was nice to be approached like that, considering it's been about 10 years since the last album.

Creative Freedom season 2 was abbreviated due to my relocation to Nashville, but it got great reviews and I'm gearing up or Season 3 and a new podcast to add a new dimension to the shows. My friend and client, Pam, offered her basement space as a studio, which gave the show a much needed upgrade in look and feel. We also upgraded the audio, and added new graphic elements designed by Tracy Lay at Digivisual Design. She and I sat down early in the year and started fleshing out the new direction for my branding. I'm looking forward to a new web site in 2017, too! Tracy is an amazingly gifted artist, and I'm one lucky gal to have her in my corner.

 I grew revenue back into 5 figures after a planned downturn in 2015. I launched 2 new experimental programs to support creative entrepreneurs: Accountability Club and the Incubator - both of which did exceptionally well. I even won the lottery - without playing!

Not knowing how it would pan out, A-Club lasted the entire year with impressive retention rates. Only one enrollee dropped before the end of the year. The Incubator has been a long-time dream of mine that I had been sitting on, waiting for it to be "perfect" - the curse of many Fusion creatives. So I decided to launch it imperfectly and SOLD OUT before the initial enrollment period closed.  I was going to re-open the enrollment period in January, but it looks like we're going to be full from wait list applicants. So I'm be rolling out Accountability Club enrollment instead (doors are open now, hint hint).

I also saw a sharp increase in sales for Direct Sales Classroom - again, with no promotional effort on my part. Truly passive income is a joy to behold! The downside is that it's unpredictable, so I either have to build it into my marketing plan for 2017 or just enjoy it when it shows up. For now, the plan is just to enjoy it. I've already got other fun stuff in the works, including Creative Freedom Live in October!

"There's a road I have to follow, a place I have to go. Well no-one told me just how to get there, but when I get there I'll know." - Step by Step,  Annie Lennox

The move created a bunch of unplanned expenses on both the personal and professional front, but thanks to Profitability 2.0, I had my most profitable year EVER in business: more income, more free time, and more fun - thank heaven!

It was also a great year for media coverage. The work I did with Creative Freedom and the 300 songs project saw about a dozen placements in podcasts, interviews, and guest posts across the interwebs.  People got excited about my research into the creative entrepreneur spectrum and many took my free quiz to discover their own creative entrepreneur type.


This was a year of family transitions. In no particular order, my youngest hit double digits. My eldest turned 20.  My youngest cousin got married. My eldest Aunt was diagnosed with cancer. I moved to Nashville, and my husband and I have filed for and are now waiting on the outcome of our divorce.

The boys visited me in Nasvhille, and we all spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together. My husband and I are not just civil, we're friends. I don't think I could have said that for most of our marriage. Our relationship is SO much better this way. It's a lot easier in many respects (and yes, harder in others). We each brought our own expectations to our marriage. When those expectations didn't get met, resentment, frustration, fear, and anger were the predominant emotions that one or the other of us was dealing with on a daily basis. We both decided early on in the process to focus on the kids. I told my husband that my goal was to be able to sit across from him at our kids' weddings and still be friendly to each other. We both came from divorced parentage, and we wanted our kids to have a different, more empowering picture of what divorce could look like. So far, so good. Without the expectations of marriage between us, we both seem happier and able to appreciate each other's company on the whole. There's a lot less taking each other for granted, and a LOT more gratitude.

Liam's still trying to wrap his brain around having parents that aren't married to each other, but he seems to be adjusting well. Forest is stepping into adulthood and flexing his wings to fly. I pray for him daily. He's got a good head on his shoulders, but - like any Chaotic creative - gets distracted easily when it comes to matters of the heart.

"I know you're hurting but don't let the bad things get to you." - Step By Step, Annie Lennox

Saying goodbye to my mastermind group was probably one of the hardest 'family' relationship moves of the year. For the past 3-4 years, these local women have been my rock, my source of comfort & joy, and generally great models of human beings in my life. Plus, they give great hugs.

That's been the hardest transition of all. Living completely alone means I can go days at a time without any physical touch. I used to get hugs every day from one person or another, and I find that's the thing I miss the most right now. Sometimes I'll intentionally brush the cashier's hand when they give me back my change at the store, just so I have some human contact. It sounds creepier than it is, I promise.

I was grateful that my transition to Nashville was eased by Tajci Cameron and her wonderful family, who hosted me for a month, while I figured out my living situation. I only know a handful of people in the state of Tennessee, and Tajci's family welcomed me like I was one of their own. I also got to reconnect with a couple of my theater peeps who had moved to Tennessee long before I ever did. They're not in Nashville, but they're close enough to make it a day trip.


I continued my challenge to read more good books, and was fortunate enough the help launch a few into the world. Nely Galan made a splash this year with "Self Made," Mike Michalowicz brought "Surge" to life, and Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy gave us "Living Forward" - a book about developing a plan for your life, not just your work. In fact, I researched and reviewed nearly a dozen planning tools this year as I set about the re-launch of The PEACE System and Dreamblazing - tools I continue to use to map out the direction of my life and work.

Overall, I read about 50 books - some new, some old, some repeats, and for the first time, I gave myself permission to STOP reading books that just didn't do it for me. As a recovering "all or nothing" girl, that was a HUGE awareness for me.

In the physical fitness department, I've managed to increase and get more consistent with my physical exercise, and eliminated most of the gluten and dairy in my daily diet. That was one of the hardest personal tasks for the year, but moving to Nashville made it a LOT easier. I simply don't bring it into the house! That's also made it easier to avoid it when I go out to eat, because I don't miss it anymore. In all, I've lost about 10 pounds since I relocated, and the downward trend seems to be continuing, with a small uptick while I've been back in Michigan for the holidays.

"Don't give up. You got to keep on moving on. Don't stop." - Step By Step, Annie Lennox


I got my dream car... and then this happened:

My son survived the quarter-mile rollover  with minimal injuries, but the car was not so lucky. It happened, believe it or not, on the same day Ben and I went to meet with the divorce lawyer. It was a blessing in disguise, since the Jeep was the one asset that was posing a problem for the divorce. Once the car was totaled, it wasn't an issue anymore. And thank GOD for gap coverage - it paid off the outstanding loan, which set me up for a big upgrade this fall:

My own car, my own apartment, and all the responsibilities that go along with them. You'd think that someone who works regularly with 6 and 7-figure income earners that this would be no big deal. But it's YYUUUUUUGE. My husband and I committed to a lower standard of living based on some old money stories that caused part of our marital problems.  When I got clarity around that, I gave myself permission own who I am and what really matters to me. Part of that is a strong sense of freedom and interdependence, which made the move to Nashville a logical one.

"Just like a new excursion upon an open road, I've got the will to take me just where I want to go." - Step By Step, Annie Lennox

In an effort to learn the town and get out more, I picked up driving for Uber/Lyft from time to time. It's made for some interesting experiences and great stories. I've met some nifty people that taught me about both Nashville and myself.

My 2017 Theme: Collaboration

NOT doing everything by myself. Asking for help, support, and the genius of others. Just because I live on my own, doesn't mean I have to be ALONE. I want to do more work directly with amazing people. I'm launching FOUR initiatives this year: Portable Coaching, Income Generator, Business Accelerator, and Creative Freedom Live. All of them are designed to be hands-on collaborative tools to help creative entrepreneurs make more money doing what they love without selling their souls to do it.  Oh, and I'm still in the throes of writing Creative Freedom (the book), so I've got plenty on my plate this year!

I've also started making other changes to my business model - like creating a full-year promo calendar so that YOU can see what's coming down the pike for my business. One of the things that's always bugged me about the Internet Marketing world is that most product launches have a 2-week window for you to make a buying decision. That's great for them, but hard on you, because if you haven't already budgeted for it, you very often feel pressure to buy. A real business doesn't plow money into every shiny object that comes along. They make a spending plan for the year and budget for their expenses. Once it's complete, you'll know what's coming up so that you can make a smart plan for your life and business. You'll also be on the inside track for early-bird offers that are only available to my subscribers. This is something I've wanted to do for years, but like the Incubator, I kept waiting for it to be perfect - which, of course, it never will be.

My 2017 Theme Song: Step By Step

Collaboration often means slowing down a little at first. That's a challenge for Fusion creatives, and one I'm ready to take on. This will also be the year I step back during the summer. Our new custody arrangement means my youngest will be with me during the summer, and I'm re-structuring my business to accommodate that change. I want to be fully present as much as possible with my kid, and I'm currently looking at support team options to make the transition smooth.

2017 is going to be a fun adventure! I just have to take it one step at a time.

"Step by step. Bit by bit. Stone by stone. Brick by brick." - Step By Step, Annie Lennox

[Editor’s note: This is the next installment in a series of posts. Each year since November, 2010, I've posted an annual re-cap of my happenings and a projection of things to come.  If you're ambitious, curious, or just plain bored, you can find the previous posts here: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 ]

For six years now, I've been selecting a theme to carry me into the new year. I'll get to this year's theme shortly, but before I do, let's look back at the crazy, effed-up, wonderfully horrible year we called 2015.

2015 Sucked Hard, But I PLANNED It That Way... Sort Of.

Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness. - Brene BrownThe theme for 2015 was Compassionate Determination, which was about creating my own niche, living as myself more consistently, and not wearing so many masks in my life and work. As I mentioned in my previous post, it's about progress, not perfection, and being consistent met with more challenges than I anticipated. I'll admit that sometimes I forgot it. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the day to day of working and living. I think John Lennon said "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" and that was a clear reflection of 2015. So much "life" happened.

Here's my recap of my 5 Key Areas of Success:


From a financial perspective, 2015 was awful. My total business income was roughly $3k.

Nope, that's not a typo. I didn't leave off a zero. Yes, it's scary to admit that.

Three thousand dollars. $3,000. USD.

And if I hadn't planned on it, everything else would have sucked, too.

Some would call me "lucky" and say that because I had a husband to "take care of me" I didn't need to make any money. But that's not true. My business has to stand on its own - without sucking money out of our family finances. I paid myself for the work I did during the year, and still managed to have one of the most profitable years on record (percentage-wise) in my business because of the strategies I implemented in 2014. Profitability, for me, is not just about the money anymore. It's about the quality of life.

Two things I knew I wanted to accomplish this year: re-focus my brand and get my album, The Fine Line, out into the world. A good portion of my income this year came in during my work on the web series $30 Days to $5k. It might be a spoiler to tell you that I didn't hit that goal, but the experiment in offering paid entertainment programming was a big success. I filmed a 30 day reality-type series and offered it for about what you'd expect to pay for a season of your favorite TV show. It was one of my biggest-selling offers of the year. People who watched it said they got a lot out of it and it gave them a deeper insight into what really matters to them as well as  who I am and how I operate in the world.

As for re-focusing my brand, well, that wasn't as easy as I'd hoped. I began my online coaching journey about 10 years ago, working with direct sellers almost exclusively. In fact, Direct Sales Classroom and its flagship program, Direct Sales 101, still serve clients from all over the world, even though I don't promote that website much at all. People still find that site via search engines, which speaks to how well it's positioned in the marketplace, despite my lack of attention through the years.

A few years ago, as my audience expanded, I started waffling back and forth, working with all kinds of entrepreneurs. Best selling authors, direct sales leaders,  and even people who have chronic health problems have come to me seeking new ways to reach more of their right people using the internet. It made it very difficult to clarify who I help best. As a result, I had clients all over the map, and I couldn't figure out their common denominator in a way that would allow me to speak to them with confidence and clarity... something I'm pretty good at helping other people do.


"I ran away in shame and pride, but the echo in my heart keeps telling me to try." - What Love Can Do

So, 2015 was the year I dug in and got market clarity. I researched, tested, tweaked, interviewed, listened, and spent countless hours honing in. Some would say I spent too much time listening, and not enough time "shipping", but I disagree. I debuted the first season of "Creative Freedom", launched two new training programs, an album, and the aforementioned paid web series. Add to that my music videos with Des, and it was a pretty full year - it just wasn't focused on making a lot of money. It was focused on testing the market, validating demand, and really listening to what my audience was telling me.

So often entrepreneurs, especially creatives, throw so much spaghetti on the wall they don't have time to see what's really sticking because they're too busy cleaning up their mess. Chaotic Creatives want everything to show up a certain way. Linear Creatives want results YESTERDAY, and Fusions want it all.

In that pursuit, there's a lot of rushing, a lot of hurry, a lot of "hustle" that, frankly, can kill you, and I wasn't having any of that.


conniewonniehamsterwheelOn the physical fitness front, I learned a lot about what triggers me as an emotional eater. I learned that I have cycles of "bad eating choices" that coincide with school breaks. In short, when the kids are home, I stress out and eat more... or at least, I did, until I figured that out. Now, I'm spending more time in my new office (more on that in a bit), and less in the kitchen - which was the hub of activity in our old house. I'm inching my way down the scale, and I'm buying smaller clothes. All good signs in my book.

I also watched "the hustle" nearly ruin four colleagues last year. They all hit major financial milestones, but their health and mental well-being fell apart. One nearly died from a burst appendix because they were "playing through the pain" to complete a project launch. Sure, they hit six figures, but it cost them a lengthy hospital stay in the process. Another pushed so hard to launch her program and hit seven figures (while she was pregnant and due any day), that after it was all over, she spent a week doing nothing but waking up, feeding the baby, and going back to sleep. She admitted to being depressed, unmotivated, and exhausted.

Gee, I can't imagine why.

To be clear: they were not my clients. I don't advocate that kind of approach. The "push. push, push" approach to "fast cash" attacks the heart of what it really takes to build a profitable, sustainable business. Sure you can work like crazy (well, some people can), but then you have no life. I remember the great Jazz vocalist, Wesla Whitfield, once saying that people told her she'd never have a career in Jazz if she stayed in San Francisco. She replied "That's right! I'll have a life!"

This fabulous woman - who was paralyzed by a shooting in her twenties - is a staple in Jazz music, with over 500 songs in her repertoire, dozens of albums to her credit, and a musical legacy that has inspired people all over the country. She's been doing what she loves for decades, despite her circumstances, and making a good living doing it.

That is what profitable and sustainable looks like. Yes, it's glamorous to brag about making millions of dollars in less than half a nanosecond, but that's not the norm. Not for creative entrepreneurs who are in it for the long haul.

And I am.

tajciOn the mental fitness front, I challenged myself and read over 25 books this year - and not all of them non fiction! I spent time with Shakespeare's sonnets and whole lot of Dr. Seuss, alongside helping Lewis Howes and Michael Port launch their new books into the world last fall.

In the process, I got inspired to write another book, which is nearing completion. Creative Freedom is a how-to book specifically for Creative Entrepreneurs who want to make good money doing what they love serving an audience that loves them right back. I spent a good part of the year meeting, interviewing, and learning about all kinds of creatives, which led me to develop my Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Type Quiz. Hundreds of people have taken the quiz and it's been a big help to my research for the book.

I also met some really fascinating people (that's me and Tajci Cameron in the photo), reconnected with some old friends and colleagues, and had some challenging conversations about race, gender, diversity, and inclusion. I was really proud of myself for NOT shying away from those conversations, which I might have done in previous years, just to avoid conflict. Being myself, fully and completely, means being willing to speak my truth, in love, with the people that matter most to me.

That wasn't always easy this year.

Family & Freedom

DidItAnywayWhich brings me to the hardest subject of the recap. The people that matter most to me. As I mentioned in my last post, 2015 was a long slog at figuring out what really matters. What's staying, what's going, and all that jazz. We talked early in the year about relocating to Nashville, but that didn't happen. Lots of emotional baggage and childhood trauma reared its head. Tempers flared. Things were said. We survived it. The upshot was my need for freedom. To be mobile, agile, and able to travel. I need people. My husband doesn't. He's content to live like a hermit. I am not. So we bought a house (which actually saved us a good deal of money every month),and upgraded my car.

Then, I asked my husband for a divorce.

I don't say that glibly. There's no joy in that sentence. It's taken years to make this decision, and I didn't make it lightly. I truly love my husband and want nothing but the best for him. Even after 12 years together (10 as a married couple), our wants and needs are still in opposition to one another, and that's painful for both of us. If one of us is happy, the other is frustrated or feeling anxious, which doesn't make it easy to be married to each other. I want him to be truly happy, in a meaningful relationship with someone that is in alignment with what he wants and needs. I want that for myself, too.  I believe we'll both have happier, more enjoyable lives if we're not married to each other.

"My wounds are deep, I can't deny. And the salty rivers flow down my face 'til they run dry." - What Love Can Do

So while I intended to take only a month off for the move last fall, it turned into a season-long hiatus because of depression, fear, and other emotional baggage that I had to work through to come clean in my relationship with my husband. There's no need for commentary, and we're still in the early stages of sorting this through. We're committed to doing this our way as much as possible - focused on doing right by our son, giving him the best possible environment in which to thrive, with no mud-slinging, fighting, or passive-aggressive behavior. We're still in the same house. We're still co-parenting, and for now, there are no plans to change that. I'm sure that will evolve as time moves on, but for now, that's where we're at and it works for us.


SmallcoverThe new album is out in the world and has already outperformed my last two albums combined. That was a huge leap of faith for me. I can't tell you how many people (friends and family alike) told me that it was a bad idea to do an album of pop-infused jazz and blues tunes. Nobody will buy it. Nobody will listen to a jazz version of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" or Bon Jovi's "Bad Medicine" - well, maybe once, but who's going to listen to it over and over again?

Apparently at least three times as many people as bought my last two albums combined.

I can start breathing again.

"I heard a whisper on the wind and an echo in my heart tryin' to tell me to begin." - What Love Can Do

I put a lot of time and effort into this album. After spending several years working myself to the middle of 300 songs, and bringing Des on board as a permanent fixture last year, it was time to put the album to bed and get it out into the world. But it didn't exactly go as planned.

All kinds of things tried to thwart our progress. I got sick several times and ended up not being able to record the vocals until after we completed the move. We kept pushing back the launch date until, finally, I bumped it to 2016, just to be sure I could get the project done.

After getting sick a few more times during and after the move, I recognized the tell-tale signs of an upper-limit problem. So I focused on extreme self care for the remainder of the year, just so I could finish the album.

Mission accomplished.

2015 gave me exactly what I asked of it, even if it wasn't what I thought I wanted.

I expect 2016 will be more of the same. I just turned 41, and women keep telling me that your 40's are the best years of your life, So I'm going to try and hold them to it. I've got new tools and support options launching this year, and I'm getting closer and closer to the core of ME.

My goal this year is to come to terms with my divorce with grace and compassion (for both of us). In the process, I've still got work to do: a summer concert tour, a new group coaching program for creative entrepreneurs, and of course, the launch of Creative Freedom - the book and the second season of my web show. Oh, and I'll be studying acting with Kevin Spacey this Spring, booya!

Those are just the tip of what appears to be an exciting iceberg for 2016.

Let's pray we don't run aground, okay?

"Once again your love is calling with the words, so gentle, and so clear." - What Love Can Do

My 2016 Theme: Radiance

It's about stepping up, stepping out, and shining my light for all my world (or at least my right audience) to see. It's scary, but it's also pretty freaking awesome. I already have a great story to share (but I'll save it for the next blog post). It takes a certain level of clarity, confidence, and courage to show up every day as yourself - warts, sparkles, and all - without letting the world deter you. The good news is, you already know how, because it's born in you. You were made to be you. And I was made to be me. And that's exactly what the world needs. Judy Garland said it's better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rater version of someone else.

That is what I'm up to in 2016.

My 2016 Theme Song: What Love Can Do

It's a work I began in earnest last year: peeling off the layers of dust and debris, practicing showing up as me - even if people might find the real me a bit to their disliking. As luck would have it, the more me I shared, the better my friendships became - even if we didn't always see eye to eye. Relationships got real. People drew nearer, and they didn't run screaming for the hills as I feared they would.

That's the power of love - loving yourself and putting as much time and energy there as you do any of your other relationships. For decades, I didn't. I put everyone else before me. I even taught this stuff, for pity's sake, but we often teach what we most need to learn. Turning and returning to a place of love and loving service (to myself and others), that is what I choose to radiate in 2016.

What about you?