...and the best sources of free education online don’t just come from typing something straight into Google -it happens organically as you focus your attention on certain people you admire and investigate their personal recommendations.
The following women are my personal online gurus. I have them saved to my bookmarks bar and I check in with them regularly. Each one has taught me huge, valuable lessons that I have been able to apply to my work and life, and have inspired me to make incredible changes and tweaks to my journey.
Meet Bri Emery from DesignLoveFest and Blogshop
Bri Emery has been running her blog, DesignLoveFest, for over 5 years now and has transformed it into a beautiful celebration of her individual and ever-changing style, design and passions.
The blog is updated almost every day, so you can cure your three-thirty-itis with a good dose of DLF goodness. She shares everything- travel stories, photo shoots, DIY activities, interior decorating, design, products- Bri covers a cross-range of categories so there's always something new and exciting to be inspired by.
Bri puts an incredible amount of effort into managing her personal brand and styling and it can teach you a lot about taking the time to commit to producing only high quality content. This- teamed with her raw, honest stories and confessions about life as a creative business owner make it an addictive place to return to.
She is also the founder of Blogshop, a workshop teaching bloggers skills in Photoshop so they can take control and create attractive, quality blog content on their own.
The live workshops are planned down to the tiny details. Bri goes to a lot of effort to make the class a special experience by sourcing design goods to give as gifts to all her students, selecting venues with lots of filtered natural light (for beautiful photos) and of course, laying out her signature florals everywhere!
DesignLoveFest remains a constant companion and source of inspiration and never fails to make me feel happy when I've been having a bad day.
Meet Gala Darling from The Self Love Project and Blogcademy
About a year ago, I found myself in a dark place of self-doubt, fear and confusion. I was in that all-too-familiar scenario of working a job that wasn't right for me and feeling like my dreams of becoming a creative entrepreneur were slipping further and further away.
Then came Gala Darling and her Self Love Project. I think I found Gala through Melissa Ambrosini - or it might have been the other way around - which confirms my belief that when you start searching, the universe always delivers. I was instantly drawn to her bright, fuschia pink imagery and the resonant titles of her blog posts.
Gala Darling is who you can turn to when you just need someone to tell you are not crazy, that you are beautiful, that it’s OK to want more- and then she teaches you how to tell that to yourself (and really believe in it). Gala advocates that the true you should be celebrated in every way, every day.
I found so much comfort in her generous advice that I purchased both her daily love letters and her audio book and listened to her ideas religiously on my headphones while I was at work, and each chapter comforted me, reassured me and inspired me to make changes to the things I was unhappy with. It helped so much that I dare to go so far as to say that she gave me the confidence boost I needed to make one of the most scariest decisions I’ve made in a long time- to quit my full time job and make becoming an entrepreneur a reality.
We should celebrate people like Gala, because she is truly making a difference to so many women out there struggling with confidence and self-love and giving them the words they need to hear to find their wings. The following video of Gala at TED X in 2012 gives a great summary of her mission. I recommend you share it with a young woman in your life who you know could use a good dose of self-lurrrve... it is the best medicine.
Meet Sarah Wilson Author of I Quit Sugar and the Sarah Wilson blog.
Let's face it- we know our bodies and our mind are connected. If we are stressed and depressed, we get sick, if we get sick, we get stressed and depressed- and around and around it goes.
Sarah Wilson has an auto-immune disease and her blog is centred around this common and complicated problem and our health and wellbeing in general. But it was her explanation about the connection between the gut 'brain' and the brain in our heads that gave me a real 'aha!' moment.
She runs an excellent blog full of useful and practical information we can all use and goes to great length to explain the realistic application of the suggestions she makes. There are plenty of people out there claiming they shoot coffee enemas up their butt every morning and love the taste of wheatgrass. But Sarah takes an honest, no bull approach to improving your health and makes it sound like something you could actually achieve.
Her controversial books about quitting sugar have been very topical in Australian media- sugar is a hot debate- and she makes a damn fine case about it! I have completed her online program, the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program to detox from sugar and the results were astounding. I am now a lot more mindful of where sugar is lurking and have been equipped with strategies to avoid over-consumption.
Do yourself and your body a massive favour and have a crack at quitting (or at least drastically reducing) your sugar intake and see for yourself how much better you feel!
Meet Melissa Ambrosini from The Path to Wellness
Just look at that pearly white smile! This girl is the picture of good health- we want in on the action right?
Melissa Ambrosini is an ambassador for doing 'all things with love,' and I think that is a very cool approach to making choices in every moment. I love her examples of how the secret to a happy and healthy life is being good to yourself and to those around you. I take her advice very seriously and try to remember to be gentle and kind to my body and my mind.
A holistic life and wellness coach, Melissa covers a range of topics from making peace with your plate to making peace with your soul and empowers her 'tribe' to make themselves a priority. Women new to this idea may find it to be almost scandalous, but in actual fact it is essential to make time for ourselves and to give ourselves the best chance at doing/being whatever it is we want to.
Meet Marie Forleo, Founder of B School and Marie TV
How can I even begin to explain Marie Forleo? This warm-hearted, hilarious, intelligent, firecracker of a woman? Marie is a total gun at coaching people who want to become entrepreneurs or better business owners and she gives away a HUGE amount of information for free on her youtube channel, MarieTV.
Marie runs an online business marketing course with a difference called B School, which I signed up for this year thanks to the generous support of my friends, fans and family. It has been a complete game changer. For anyone thinking about starting their own business, I can't recommend this girl enough- she's the bees knees!
Whilst you can't sign up for B School until next year, you can learn a lot from her entertaining short videos like the one below. Enjoy!
I love that the internet has made it possible for these women to reach out to people and make a real difference in the world.
How about you? Have any of these women made a difference in your life? How are you using the web to bring about change? I’d love to hear your own personal experiences, so leave a comment below.