Archives for June 2014

How Alexis Neely Ended Up In Bankruptcy {Part One}: From Million Dollar Business to $500,000 of Debt

This is the first post in a series of How (and Why) Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy. Ultimately, it's the story of my own personal Heroine's Journey. In this segment, I share where the debt came from and how a business owner who built two million dollar businesses could get into so much debt, so you can learn from the experience.

So many of us are in the midst of a big shift.  

This shift is going to take a ripping away of past comforts and beliefs for many. The good news is that the other side is way better than I could have ever imagined. And it can be the same for you as well.

Stick with me here and I’ll guide you through …

Many folks have wondered how I ended up in bankruptcy after building two million dollar businesses and how I was able to rebuild so quickly after the bankruptcy (I filed two years ago and today there are 4 businesses bringing my work out into the world bigger and better than ever before).

I'm writing a book about the whole experience. I finally sat down to write about the very beginning of the financial crisis (that led to total financial liberation) and here's that story:

When I really consider the root of the debt that led me into bankruptcy, it starts as far back as 2008, when I sold my law practice.How I ended up filing bankruptcy

I had a million dollar a year law practice full of happy clients and a kick ass team. And, I made a major mistake by selling it to a man who had never run a million dollar law practice before. I seriously underestimated how important that one factor was.

You see, it takes something far different to run a million dollar law practice than it does to run a $100,000 law practice. That something is not something that comes easily, it must be grown into. And Art, the guy I sold my practice to, didn’t have time to grow into it — it was thrust upon him in June of 2008, when we agreed he would buy me out of the practice over time, using the revenues from the firm to keep it going.

I thought it was a sure deal. I had the marketing systems in place, hired him a marketing coordinator who was amazing, we had a great team to run the machine that served the clients, and, well, what else could he need?

Within two months of taking over, he slashed and burned costs because what it really takes to run a million dollar business is a willingness to write checks for expenses in the neighborhood of $500,000 to $750,000.

Art didn’t have back up capital and he wasn’t used to writing big checks, so he started cutting expenses. First, he cut the marketing coordinator. Then, the marketing costs.

By the end of 2008, Art was out of money and the new client flow had all but slowed to a trickle. On December 31, 2008, Art called me into the office and said “Alexis, I’m out of money and I can’t continue to run the firm. You can either take it back or close it down. I’m out.”

I couldn’t take it back because I had already moved on. There was no way I could put my energy back into seeing clients on a one to one basis or manage the day to day operations of the business.

My second business, educating families and their lawyers about how to plan for their whole family wealth, had taken off. I had a best-selling book on the market. I was appearing on television all over the Country. And, I couldn’t go back.

At the same time, I couldn’t just close it down. I had clients and team members who were counting on me. I had chosen Art to buy my practice because I believed  he would treat them right. I was wrong and I couldn’t let them suffer the consequences.

I’d have to eat it myself.

So, I took back the firm and ran it out of my credit and savings for 6 months while I transitioned the clients to lawyers I had already trained on my systems throughout the Los Angeles area and I supported my team members to find new jobs.

That was a $250,000 hit. And, it was the right thing to do.

Bankruptcy: My Heroine's JourneyTo make matters worse, that hit came directly on the heels of having made a $100,000 commitment (with $87,000 put on credit) to join Ali Brown's Diamond Mastermind program. Had I known Art was going to give me back the firm, I never would have joined the Mastermind.
So it’s really a great thing that events happened in the order they did.  Joining that Mastermind was one of the best decisions I ever made. But, it was an investment I thought I would easily repay with Art’s payments to me. As we now know, those payments never came.

And, that was just the beginning. By the time I filed bankruptcy, I would clear $500,000 of debt.  Most of it used for very good purposes (yes, there were some frivolous purchases as well) and all of it being repaid back many times over as I use what I learned from each of those investments to participate in creating a world that works for everyone.

Now it's your turn! Leave me a comment below with your thoughts..

>>Read the next installment of this series here.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story in the upcoming installments of this series where I'll be discussing where the rest of the debt came from and how I was able to rebuild so quickly and easily. And keep an eye out for my books “Financial Liberation” and “You Are Not Your Credit Score”. Read Part Two of How Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy here.

Going to Your Edge: Lessons from Apogaea

I'm Alexis Neely. Here at the festivals, I'm known as Ali Shanti.

Recently, I was at Apogaea, which is a regional Burning Man Festival.

What a great opportunity for our children to really experience something and learn something about “going to your edge” in a completely safe container.

I have both my kids here: my daughter is fourteen and my son is eleven.
My daughter is working. She's babysitting for a family with four kids here under the age of seven. And my son is just playing.

It's been a great learning experience for him, because he's uncomfortable. This is not a hugely comfortable place for him.

It pushes his edges, as I think it does for all of us.

He's gotten the opportunity to be with that discomfort, communicate it to me, and then, experience me being there with him while he feels it.

As parents (I don't know if this goes for all parents, but certainly me), I get this feeling inside of me where I don't want to be with his discomfort. I want to shut it down, and yet I know that the single most important teaching I can give him is how to be with what's uncomfortable, how to communicate it, make requests, and be okay if things don't go the way he wants.

Most of us don't get to learn that through our parents. We learn it, if at all, later in life through fights with friends and partners. And my hope and belief is that bringing my son to situations like this and giving him a healthy outlet for his discomfort and then, letting him be angry at me when I don't make things exactly the way he wants, and then me being with his anger.

I'm Hoola-Hooping and he's shooting me with a Nerf Gun.


It's an extremely healthy way for him to be with his anger, let it move through him, recognize that it's okay, and me not have to change anything other than just to hear him and let him feel it all the way through.

So, that's why I love taking my kids to experiences like this.

They're learning way more than they would in school.

They're learning how to live and be.

And ultimately, to create a world that works for everyone, these are the skills we have to learn.

This is the evolution, and we're part of it.

To create a world that works for everyone, these are the skills we have to learn. Tweet it!


Ali Shanti


The Truth about Building a Six-Figure Business in a Year (…for the majority of us)

Eyes-Wide-Open-CurtanIt’s become clear to all of us here at Eyes Wide Open Life that it is time to pull back the curtain and tell the truth about what it takes to succeed with your online business. There is a process, a timeline and a reality that is not being talked about enough, setting people up to fail.

The internet is an amazing place to share your great work.

But finding sustainable success online is a journey, not the starting line of your quest for entrepreneurial successTweet It!

After a particularly hard conversation with a woman last week, I posted the following on Facebook:

May 29:

“I will not be a part of propagating the myth that you can put your work online, sell tele classes and ebooks and build a six-figure (non-loss business) in a year. Perhaps this works for the few who then make way more than this promising that you too can build your six-figure year by putting your work online (or… is this the promise that makes the six-figures – hmmmm??). There is a way to grow a business sustainably and consistently, funding your online presence from a solid revenue foundation, but it's not with a $247 tele class as your first offering. Sometimes, sharing this makes me feel like I'm a bubble bursting buzz killer (which I'm feeling like right now after the call I just had) but seriously, for the love of all things good – do the math…#truthtellingsuckssometimes.”


I didn’t think I was actually sharing anything that controversial, so the reaction was surprising to say the least. The woman I spoke with was far from alone.

I have had many an intervention, truth telling conversation in my years as a business coach and entrepreneur.

It breaks my heart when I hear advice being given that propagates “magical thinking” while avoiding action. I literally feel pain in my body when there is some kool-aide pusher spreading the idea that if you just build it, they will come. Businesses are created in real life, with you testing and refining and processizing your work with people.

Formulaic strategies for how you think your work might affect people created within the space of your own mind are a good place to start, but a bad place to invest the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to create a strong online presence.

thin sun set

“It is painting a picture, not doing a sum. But you have to make the romance, and it will come to question… how much fire do you have in your belly?” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Here is the deal – I wrote this is response to a woman who was insisting that if you “just” sell 12 info products at $497 you’ll hit six-figures:


“Yes of course a six-figure in a year business can be created. It is very unlikely however that with no assets of a list, a platform or several years to wait that it will happen right out of the gate with online, low-ticket. If you need revenue now, this isn't the business model for you, now. I hear you Sheree, but a lot of people don't understand that this takes 3 years, they are pumping gobs of assets into a model that takes time thinking that the results will be immediate.

As I've said in the thread – YES – totally possible (and desirable I might add). As an entrepreneur you have additional taxes, expenses and you need to be able to invest back into your business. The first year I made six-figures I had 10K in profit, but hey – I love to spend money  Michelle Nightengale the cynicism you're hearing is not toward having a home based business. We all know that this is the path to liberation – the opportunity to live and work on our own terms.

I want you to know, I'm not picking on you – and, maybe this model is working for you but here's the math of the “just sell” 12 products at $497 a month. We assume a 3% conversion of an opt-in list when we are doing a product launch. So to sell 12 in a month that means you need 5-600 people opted in to that specific sales funnel. EVERY MONTH. 6000 per year. Is this doable – yes – with paid traffic, SEO, FB ads, podcasting (if you're good) testing landing pages, etc. Now if you've got a SWEET offer to a super targeted list that conversion number can go up to 10%. But with an evergreen offer like you are referring to, this is highly unlikely. The only person I know doing this is John Lee Dumas with Entrepreneur on Fire – but I'm sure there are others.

But if you're a health coach or a healer wouldn't it be easier out of the gate to just do your work and get paid well for it. This requires that you sell, and I honestly believe that the fear of selling ourselves is the key driver of the internet marketing industry. Internet marketing is a career and skill set that is years in the making. And it's changing all the time. It is a destination not a starting point (IMO).”


And here is my response on how we, as leaders, begin to make this shift:

There are a lot of very smart people on this thread – so would love to begin to discuss the how. This industry is going to implode if it continues to be built on the house of cards that many are selling. For my part – tell the truth. Even when it means that I make someone cry in frustration. Only take on clients when I know I can clearly see that the results are possible – take ownership without taking responsibility. The Money Map to Freedom Program that Ali Shanti created is a beautiful tool for creating an “enough sized business” that is achievable and doesn't destroy wealth in the name of creating it…


Here at Eyes Wide Open Life, we are a collective of three women with the highest shared value of telling the truth.


We put our heads together and decided that the best way to move this conversation forward was to host a very special Google Hangout where we broke it all down for you using Alexis as a CASE STUDY for you to see the sustainable path to creating a lasting impact online through your business, while still enjoying your life. It’s about the journey.

It’s about telling you the truth and lifting the curtain so that you can see how this all works. And with this knowledge knowing what YOUR path is to move you forward powerfully.

Watch the replay here.


Leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions and how you are going to contribute to this shift.