How Stephanie Shaw Turned a Health Scare Into a Wellness Coaching Business

In March of 2017, Stephanie Shaw had a health scare while traveling in New Orleans. 18 doctors and 18 months later she finally figured out what had casued the incident and realized that she wasn’t the only one suffering from health issues related to adrenal fatigue. Now she is 8 months into building her own […]

In March of 2017, Stephanie Shaw had a health scare while traveling in New Orleans. 18 doctors and 18 months later she finally figured out what had casued the incident and realized that she wasn’t the only one suffering from health issues related to adrenal fatigue.

Now she is 8 months into building her own business helping other women determine what is causing their health issues, and she’s made the leap to owning her own company.

Listen in as Stephanie shares her story with us.

Stephanie’s Website: https://leighandollie.com/

Josh Haynam:
Hi, everyone. I’m here with Stephanie Shaw, the founder of Leigh and Ollie. Stephanie, tell us about what you do now.

Stephanie Shaw:
First of all, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. I started off as a nutrition coach and quickly learned that in order to be effective to more people, I switched a little and am doing more online coaching, group coaching, and coursework. So, in our work, we work specifically with women, women who have problems with adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is very, very difficult to analyze by a physician. So you may go to one doctor and you’re having migraines, another and you’re having backaches, or you may eat and have rapid heartbeat. And none of that really connects and because physicians normally don’t or won’t talk to each other, they never pull it all together to understand that the underlying cause more than likely is around nutrition and stress. So once you figure out what that underlying cause is then you’re able to move to the next steps. And that’s what I try to do, help women figure out that it’s not all in your head. You’re not crazy. There really is something going on. And once you figure out what that is, it’s time consuming, but it’s pretty easy to fix.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah, so that’s amazing. And, definitely, it’s people that are suffering from those symptoms and need help. How did you even come up with the idea of building a business out of helping people figure out where that comes from?

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah. So, first of all, food is in what I do and I’m a foodie at heart. I did a food blog for a while. I’ve just always wanted to do something with food and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m not sure if that’s going to pay the bills.” I kept going with my regular work. I led a nonprofit for quite a while. Well, I was on a business trip in New Orleans and I was walking down the street and I’m like, “Hey, let’s go to Bourbon Street. I just want to see what that looks like.” And I physically touched onto Bourbon Street and had every stroke symptom possible. Neck, jaw pain, my body started shaking, I basically started to break down. And it took 18 different doctors, several emergency room visits, naturopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapists, heart doctors. I went everywhere, and I live really close to two world renowned medical centers. No one could figure out what was wrong with me.

Stephanie Shaw:
And I was a vegetarian, so no one really kind of questioned my eating habits because I was a vegetarian. But you can be a carbotarian too. Just because you say you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re eating well all the time. And so, after the 18 different doctors and almost a year and a half of being really, really sick, I found a naturopath who was also a chiropractor. He took one blood test, discovered I had two or three allergies, which one was to pineapples, one was to peaches, and my liver was stressed. But no other doctor discovered that, and by him discovering those two things, he gave me this two-sheeter on, “This is what you need to change and what you need to do.” But I got really passionate about it and I figured out that if I made some behavioral changes, like meal prepping and thinking about what I was actually putting in my mouth and learning the different deficiencies that I had, I figured out that I could basically cure myself.

Stephanie Shaw:
And I did. So, again, world renowned facilities, 18 different doctors, and I took it upon myself to learn what I needed to do. And I know what I felt during that time, how helpless I felt, hard for me to go to work, hard for me to see, just all the pain that I was in and that’s why I decided that needed to be something that I did to help other women and other people feel better faster.

Josh Haynam:
That’s awesome, because you can then resonate with people who are your clients now. Women that are your clients, and they’re talking about this pain that they feel and the difficulties that they have, and you can be like, “Yeah, I totally get it,” which in the healing process and my experience [crosstalk 00:04:40].

Stephanie Shaw:
That’s what’s so important is being able … I’m sorry.

Josh Haynam:
Oh, I was just going to say in the healing process, in my experience, that’s part of the healing process, is just having somebody you can be like, like you said, “You’re not crazy.”

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly what I was going to say too. It feels better when you’re not going to a doctor who, I had a couple of doctors who mansplained me. I’m like, “Dude, I know what you’re talking about. I know all of these codes.” Or they would like look at my husband and explain the situation to him. I just rolled my eyes because you’re right, unless you’ve been there, unless you understand, unless you’ve actually felt it yourself, it’s hard to understand what people are feeling because there are so many symptoms that don’t feel like they fit together.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah. Let’s dive into that, if you’re okay with talking about it.

Stephanie Shaw:
Sure.

Josh Haynam:
Because I guess the question that comes to mind for me is, out of those 18 doctors, how many did you feel like actually understood you?

Stephanie Shaw:
So there was one and he was a neurologist and he was a younger physician. He was trying his best to figure out what was wrong with me. So I think he appreciated what I was saying. He respected what I was saying and he didn’t try to downplay what I was feeling. So that one, and then ultimately the naturopath who I ended up talking with. The reason I stepped away from the neurologist is because of the type of testing. It’s called an inversion test and they put you on a bed, they invert you, and then they wait for you to pass out. When you’re almost getting ready to pass it, then they can determine what’s wrong with you. You’re like, “Yeah, I’m good. I don’t think I want to do that.” So there were few out of those who actually did not try to recommend surgery, some type of drug, or some type of crazy tests. And I can’t even take a kids’ Tylenol so, even for the pain, I knew none of that would help. So they were few and far apart.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah, and I would imagine that’s a really big problem, right?

Stephanie Shaw:
It is.

Josh Haynam:
For your clients that are coming in now, it makes a big difference if I can understand where you’re coming from rather than being made to feel like there’s just something wrong with you or, even worse, this isn’t a real problem.

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah, yeah. As women, I believe we get that a lot. Like, “This isn’t a real problem. It’s all in your head. You’re just stressed about something.” Well, yes, but until you start treating the whole body, you don’t understand how stress impacts your vision, your hearing, your heart, your liver, your kidneys, your lungs. Stress impacts every part of your body, and until people start to recognize that and make those connections, you kind of stay stuck in that situation, which is very, very hard to do. I gave credit to the other two, but I have to give credit too. I have a chiropractor and I had a physical therapist and they actually both cared enough about me that they took their own time to have an hour pow-wow to figure out what was wrong with me to try to help me get through some of the physical pain that was associated with it.

Stephanie Shaw:
So I have to give a shout out to those two folks too because they did come together. That’s part of what I found. None of the doctors would talk to one another and that’s a difficulty because everyone specializes in one thing.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah. So 18 doctors, what did you say the time frame was to figure out what was going on and actually make a difference?

Stephanie Shaw:
So it happened March 23rd, 2017, and I am probably about six months of not having any of the digestive issues and things like that, that I was having. For diagnosis, it probably took between 12 to 18 months, because I just didn’t find the right person. And after that, what I think is really important for people to know is it’s not a magic bullet. So after that I did a very, very strict detox, but that took about three months. I mean, I lost a ton of weight. Actually, one of my kids called my mom, they’re like, “Oh my goodness, what’s wrong with mom?” They were anxious. They didn’t know something was really wrong with me. But it’s because I took it very seriously. I detoxed my body from all sugar, all chemicals, all processed food. And then I was able to eat what I want now. I just know how to balance a lot better. So it took a while and then it takes a while to actually clean your body from all of the stuff that you put in it.

Josh Haynam:
Wow. That is probably a huge sense of freedom in that.

Stephanie Shaw:
It is. It is.

Josh Haynam:
So, I mean, that’s like a life altering thing, is what it’s sounding like to me. And so it makes a lot of sense that if that change happened for you, you’d then want to pass that down. I love the analogy of you climb the ladder and then you reach your hand back down to help pull other people up the ladder. So it sounds like, we were chatting a little bit before we hit record that, that’s where you are now in building those systems to help pull the other people up through your business. How has that gone? How did you start? What was the very first step of, “I think I can help other people with this.” Hit go. What did you do?

Stephanie Shaw:
So first thing I did is I went and I got two certifications in nutrition. The first one, in all honestly, just had me reading a ton. I probably wrote 12 books and took tests on them. So, at the end, you had a test and then a 300 question test. But there was another one that was kind of like a master’s degree program. It took about nine months, and it was a lot of science and some math. So I took those steps to prepare myself. And then I had to food journal because, again, I was finding new allergies all the time. So I was able to look at my previous notes and the information that I had gathered for myself and think of a-has. “Oh, when I journaled, I discovered what I was allergic to and now that’s going to help me in my path. Oh, when I started doing yoga and meditating, it seems like that week I felt a lot better.”

Stephanie Shaw:
So I was able to get the education that I needed, but I was also able to use my specific path that it took for me to get better to figure out what pieces and parts worked for me and what pieces and parts I’ve been able to give to folks in order for those to work to them.

Josh Haynam:
Okay, so that was step one, getting the broad range of knowledge so that you could speak comfortably as an expert in the area.

Stephanie Shaw:
Yes.

Josh Haynam:
What was step two?

Stephanie Shaw:
Step two was figuring out how to make money. So just being honest.

Josh Haynam:
Important.

Stephanie Shaw:
Because you can coach all day long and people are like, “Hey, that’s free?” I’m like, “Yeah, no.” Actually, I found someone online who was doing some coaching and she has tons of different products. And actually she’s how I ended up creating a quiz for my course and so forth. So I just did a lot of digging. So my background is in communications, corporate communications, so I knew a little bit about what I needed to do. I didn’t know about sales funnels. I didn’t know how to create a good funnel sales page. I didn’t know that I need to put a pixel on my website. I’m like, “What?” Honestly, what I did is I sat here for hours and hours and hours, did a ton of research and educated myself. My master’s degree is in communications with a focus in social media. So three years ago I got that degree, but it’s not relevant now because things change so fast.

Stephanie Shaw:
So my step two was educating myself on the back end, how to actually get the product to people. And then step three was around marketing. What is going to resonate with folks? How do I get the attention of people? How often should I be on social media? And then step four of what I’m doing is, this is not a hobby for me. I want to do this full time and generate revenue from it. So step four is around business and finances, making sure your plan is in place, making sure you know what to do with your money when your money starts coming in, and so forth. So that’s how I’ve set it up.

Josh Haynam:
Okay. Yeah, that’s awesome. A couple of questions came to mind as you were talking. One, is this the first time you’ve ever gone out on your own to start your own thing?

Stephanie Shaw:
It is. But I worked for a Fortune 500 for about 17 years, and the last 10 years I was kind of on my own. I was in charge of corporate communications for two and a half states, but my boss changed a couple of times. He was either someone a couple 1000 miles away or a couple of states. That wouldn’t be relevant that you know where I live. So I’ve never had someone directly with me, and then when I ran a nonprofit, for the first five years of the nonprofit, I was on my own. And in the last five years, I’ve had a team with me. So I had already ran a business in a way, in a sense, by doing both of those, more specifically the nonprofit angle.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah. Yeah, so you kind of got a little taste of what it’s like to kind of run a lot of things.

Stephanie Shaw:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Haynam:
But this is the first time really taking the leap where there’s not a guaranteed salary?

Stephanie Shaw:
Yes. So yes and no. So, in the nonprofit world, there’s not a guaranteed salary either because you’re always networking, which you have to do as a business owner. You are looking for grants when you’re looking for clients. Especially since I was on my own, I was doing the marketing, the communications, the human resources, the accounting, and now I’m doing marketing communications, human resources, and accounting. So that last position, there was a little less risk, yeah. But there was still that amount of risk there that let me to be comfortable taking this next leap.

Josh Haynam:
And then the other question that came to mind is, as much as you’re comfortable, give us the details of how things have gone so far. So how long you’ve been out on your own without, not the actual job, this is a natural job, without the corporate job, the nonprofit job, and then as much as you’re comfortable, you can either share numbers or as a percentage of what you were making before, how much you’re at there. Because I think it’s really helpful, and it was really helpful for me in the early days at Interact to hear the realities of what happens, because it’s so easy to hear like, “Oh, so and so just became a millionaire making online courses.” And it’s like, “No, they didn’t. That took them 12 years.” So, as much as you’re comfortable sharing, how long has it been and how’s it going so far?

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah. I’m new to this, so it’s been, I should know this, right? So it’s been eight months and I went from six figures to zero really quick. And part of that is because the first four months, even though I came in thinking I knew what I was going to do, “Oh yeah. I’m going to coach people. They’re going to love me and they’re going to pay me for this,” I didn’t realize, I won’t say I didn’t realize the amount of work because I’d done it, but I didn’t realize the depth and intensity of working on your own. Not only that, since I’ve started this, my work is so embedded in things like social media, so Facebook, Instagram, there have been so many changes in the past three weeks that you’re always shifting, you’re always changing, you’re always doing your marketing plans a little bit different to kind of go with the tide. So it’s hard. It’s hard work.

Stephanie Shaw:
I’ve never worked an eight to five, even though they say I did, so that part doesn’t really bother me. But it’s a lot of nights, a lot of early mornings. It’s waking up at, which I do last night, 1:30 in the morning. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, how are my Facebook ads doing? Let me check Ads Manager and see what’s going on. Oh no, no one booked in the past 12 hours.” So your mind is constantly going. If you’re starting a new business, if you don’t pause and take care of your mental health throughout this, you’re going to lose it. I’m serious. I’m not trying to be funny or anything, but you need to read things that aren’t business related. You need to do things that aren’t business related. You need to think things that aren’t business related. There’s so much coming at you.

Stephanie Shaw:
Part of it is because, again, I’ve never not had a good solid career path. At that Fortune 500. I had four different jobs. I kept progressing in my roles and so forth. And I took a risk by going to the nonprofit and now I’m taking this. But even taking that risk, there was this one year guarantee budget. So the first year, I was comfortable. So now I’m taking this new risk. Again, it’s hard work. It’s time consuming. If people are making six figures over night, tell them to call me so they can give me their plan. But you have to be in it for the long haul. You have to have passion and you need to have drive, and, again, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your mental health.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah. That is very, very true. And not to press on it, but if it’s okay, are you still working on building up revenue or has that changed from the zero amount?

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah, so I’m working on building up revenue right now. So it’s revenue where I won’t starve, but it’s not revenue where I was comfortable or where I was prior. So I’m in the process of working on getting that revenue amount back up and then hopefully exceeding. And then exceeding. Not hopefully.

Josh Haynam:
I mean, that’s awesome. If it’s making you the basics, that’s what people kind of talk about sometimes, is replacing the basics. Not the life that you had before, but your back’s not against the wall.

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah.

Josh Haynam:
And so that’s great.

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah. So even though saying that, I live very frugally. So I have other strings of income. It’s kind of a balance. I don’t want that to be taken out of context like, “Oh, she’s doing fine,” which I’m doing fine, or that it’s just that easy. Just stressing again that it takes a lot. It takes a lot, initially,

Josh Haynam:
It does. It does. So I have a question about where your mind’s at in terms of, you’re eight months in.

Stephanie Shaw:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Haynam:
And it’s bringing in some revenue. It’s not where you want it to be. What is your mindset about how long you’re willing to keep pushing? And is there a point at which you would say, “If this hasn’t matched my previous salary, I think it’s time to go back to having a corporate job”?

Stephanie Shaw:
So that’s why I was up at one o’clock this morning, along with Facebook Ads Manager. So I change my mind every month because I keep getting tiny wins and tiny affirmations. So enough to kind of keep me going. I don’t know if you believe in purpose or not but I have worked really hard for the past five to seven years to figure out what that big purpose is. And right now I feel like I’m living in my purpose of what I need to do. Saying all that, my date changes each time. But this morning I’m like, “All right, August. I’m going to look for a job,” and not step away from this. So let’s say that if I get to the August in my mind, then I’m looking for a part time remote, still not going back full time, and then giving it another year.

Stephanie Shaw:
I really think that two solid years of trying to build a business, if I haven’t gotten it to where I need to go, if I haven’t exceeded previous income, and haven’t been able to bring in some teams, then I need to call it quits. And I think it’s different for everyone. When you go into starting to own your business, it’s great to have this vision and be really excited about it, but you also need to be a planner. So by me saying, “I can hold out for two years,” it’s because I’ve always wanted to do this so I planned ahead to be in this situation.

Josh Haynam:
Yeah, there’s some really smart stuff in there. I think the thing that comes to mind as you talk about potentially doing a part time remote position is the word boundaries, because you’re just setting a good boundary for yourself. And it actually is a way to not give up.

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah.

Josh Haynam:
Meaning, if you were to do this full time and it wasn’t replacing your salary fast enough, you’d probably give up sooner than if you took a part time remote position. And I think the fear in that and the reason why people often feel like they need to go all in is they feel like they’re not going to do it if it’s not their only focus. But it sounds like, for you, this really is something that you’re passionate about, you actually care about, apart from it being this thing that makes you a ton of money. What would you say is at the core of what you’re passionate about and why you feel like doing this fulfills your purpose?

Stephanie Shaw:
So there’s a couple of reasons. So I’ll tell you the funny reason is because I haven’t worked for anyone. Even though I was in a corporate job in a nonprofit job, I had a boss for 20 plus years or something. Oh my God. I will work 10 hours a day. I just don’t want you to tell me when to work my 10 hours a day. You know what I mean? So having that workplace flexibility is a huge driver for me. And I forgot. Go back to your question again. I’m sorry, because I kind of got off it a little.

Josh Haynam:
I mean, that does answer the question. Why is this something you’re passionate about and how do you feel like it fulfills your purpose?

Stephanie Shaw:
And so, on a more serious note, just knowing how I felt during that time, how sick I was, I don’t know, you don’t understand it until you’re in a place where you don’t know if you will ever feel better again. So knowing what that feels like and knowing that I have an opportunity to actually help other people get out of that faster than I did, I think that’s part of me filling my purpose. Part of the coaching is, in my mind, beyond the body. So my course is called the Mind Body Business Method. And it’s called that for a specific reason, because just as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, it’s all about your mindset change. So I don’t want folks to come to my course and then 12 weeks out, they get what they need, whatever. I really want to be able to impact women so that then they can go out and impact other women and then they can impact their families more generationally, because once you learn the methods that I teach, those are methods that are going to change the entire trajectory of your family.

Stephanie Shaw:
What I’ve learned has changed. Eating habits of my family has changed. My husband is now a vegan, which is a miracle. So it’s not about me just teaching a course, but it’s me helping impact other people so that they can impact other people.

Josh Haynam:
That is really awesome, and having that lived experience, that makes all the difference, right?

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah.

Josh Haynam:
Because you know what it’s like to be in that place and so being able to help other people get out of it, that’s really fulfilling. That is amazing. Well, we’re just coming up on time here, but where can people go to check out your course, check out more about talking about this subject of kind of getting the mind and body healthy?

Stephanie Shaw:
Yeah. They can visit my website, and it’s Leigh and Ollie, so leighandollie.com. And then up top, you can click on Courses to find out more about the courses or you can click on Resources and get some of our free resources.

Josh Haynam:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on today, Stephanie. This was really awesome. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Stephanie Shaw:
Thank you.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.

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