2018 My Year In Review

 In Build a studio people LOVE, Holidays

2018 felt like one of the biggest years in my life to date.  Here’s a rundown of the year that was…


I went into labour in the early hours of 2018, then laboured all day January 1st before Madeline was born at 2:37am on 2nd January!  In some ways, it feels like this year I have given birth to two things: a new iteration of the company and a gorgeous, squishy baby girl.


Madeline has been a dream bub, perfect sleeper, good eater and all-round darling. Travis and I have loved becoming a family. We’ve never smiled as much as we have in the past year.

That being said, I’d say a large part of this has been that we’ve had a LOT of support. I don’t know what we would have done this year without my Dad, Arthur. A retired Chartered Accountant, Dad comes over each day to play with Madeline and then while she is sleeping, he is our company CFO and takes care of all Studio Expansion financials. It’s allowed me to have as much precious mummy time as possible while juggling running a company.



In 2018 I travelled for 12 weeks of the year. It was a LOT, especially with a new baby.  I have done two trips to USA, Canada, Hawaii, The Bahamas, South Africa and Melbourne.

I struggled with adrenal fatigue a bit this year, which is hardly surprising. My lovely friend and Naturopath Vesna Hrsto sorted me out and got me back on track, which I am super grateful for.


Studio Evolution

2018 will forever be the year of the Diamond Plan. In December last year I had a vision of how to dramatically restructure how our clients achieve results. It has taken a huge amount of work to roll out all the details, but the finished product has been nothing short of miraculous.

The Diamond Plan has literally transformed how our clients are achieving result in their studio. They are implementing high level studio strategy faster and better than ever before, and the results are showing in their leadership, their lives and business. We are heart-bursting proud of each and every member.

We’ve chosen two GORGEOUS new locations for our 2019 Studio Evolution retreats in Australia and USA, to bring a whole new level of elegance to our in-person meetings. We’re also bringing on dedicated Leadership Expert Jane Benston to work closely with our members in extending them into bold-hearted leaders.

Studio Expansion Program

We ran an incredible bonus for our SEPers with an Enrol-A-Thon that gave them a checklist of 10 powerful attraction strategies to complete in one month. It kinda went bonkers and the results were phenomenal!  One of my favourite things from this year.

Other programs

We’ve decided in 2019 that we will be concentrating primarily on the two programs above. They are the ones that we adore and we want to pour our whole hearts into. So we will be consolidating our program suite to focus on Studio Evolution and SEP going forward.  We want to do more with less.



We hosted our largest ever Studio Expansion Masterclass this year in Atlanta, USA with 114 Clients attending.


It started a little rough when I had to come back from maternity leave early to let go of a team member. It was a hard lesson to learn from a leadership perspective, but I gained so much from it in the long run.

We now have 11 on Team Expansion – considering it was only 2.5 years ago when I hired my first part time assistant. It’s been a fast growth (and learning) curve that’s for sure.


Team Highlights:

  • Michelle Hunter will be transitioning to General Manager of Studio Expansion as of 1 January. This is a MASSIVE shift for the company and will allow us to deliver a higher level of excellence. Beyond excited about this.
  • Trish Denzel came on full time as Director of Evolution to drive the excellence of Studio Evolution to become the industry leading benchmark.
  • Zoe Ashton & Rebecca Perry also joined Team Expansion – and we can’t imagine life without them!
  • Louise Griffiths came on part time as Online Business Manager and to also oversee the team of Virtual Assistants who support our clients.  


PHOTO-2018-12-20-16-29-44 (1)

Other highlights

  • Travelling to Hawaii and South Africa with my Mastermind buddies.
  • Spending 3 days at the Disney Institute with Trish Denzel and Theresa Case immersing ourselves in all things Disney Leadership!
  • Going on a Halloween Safari with Richard Branson and getting the chance to spend 45 min of personal 1:1 time with him as I did his makeup for Halloween in my hotel room! (The rest is a story for another day…)
  • Teaching a music class to 70 four year olds at a preschool in a tiny South African village – I taught them some Aussie classics!
  • Morning coffee and cuddles in bed with my two loves.
  • We survived the GREAT BABY EXPLOSION OF 2018 – where 4 of my team (YES FOUR – including me) all had babies within 12 weeks of each other. Never. Again.
  • Our Beloved Studio Evolution Mentor Theresa Case flew to Australia to lead at our Australian Retreat. This was so special.



Book of the Year

I read a lot less this year than normal (see: baby). My book of 2018 was Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. It’s by far the most practical book on leadership I have ever read. I had to put it down every 3 pages to really process what I was reading. Hit me deep.


If I had to sum up this year in one word, it would be leadership. I’ve had to lean into leadership dramatically this year – on a team, client and personal level. Learning to lean into challenging conversations, hold your integrity and have the congruence to follow through on your intuition have been the big lessons I learnt this year.

Marketing wise, this year I’ve kept a pretty low profile as I’ve been doing so much work behind the scenes in the company. All the decisions I’ve made around how to build the systems to make the company world class required a lot of energy. It feels like this year was an introverted year, lots of thinking, designing, creating. I can feel my voice bubbling again ready to start sharing on a wider platform next year.

My intention for 2019

Spaciousness. My personal intention for myself in 2019 is to have more of a feeling of spaciousness. Funnily enough, this isn’t necessarily about doing less, it’s about having more time for the big thinking work that I know will truly achieve our mission to #redefinestudiobusiness.

World Class. Our company theme for 2019 is World Class. In 2018, we built all of the structural foundations to deliver exceptional programs on. Now, we are able to bring our whole hearts to polishing them to perfection for our beloved clients. I am passionate about the culture we are creating within our company and how that will translate to our clients experience.

I’ve also booked a lot more leave for myself this year. I had a 6 day holiday in the Bahamas in 2018, that was my only break. Mamma needs a nap, so I’ve scheduled 8 weeks of leave in 2019.

Also, this year I gave myself permission to slow down my social life so that I could focus my energy on bringing calm to the family and company. But I’ve missed my girlfriends. I miss girls dinners and playdates. So next year, I intend to create more space for that.

How we can work together in 2019

We will be running the TENTH (!) Live Round of the Studio Expansion Program (SEP) starting in February. You can register for the waitlist by clicking here.

Applications to work with my team and I in 2019 in Studio Evolution are currently open. Complete your application here and we will be in touch when we re-open the office on 7 January.

Looking for a dedicated Studio Planner to help make 2019 as magical as possible? Order your Studio Planner here

From all of Team Expansion and the Bruinsma Family, I wish you the happiest of happy holidays and every joy in 2019.


Love Chantelle xx

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