Here is a post about Leighann and I that my good friends Claude and Lana Hamilton had written for their blog. This was originally posted a few months back on Claude’s website. I’ve had a lot of people ask me about it, so I thought I’d repost it for the few people that maybe didn’t see it.
We owe all our successes to Claude and Lana. We appreciate them so much and all that they do. I hope that you enjoy the article. It was great being interviewed by Bethany; Leighann and I really enjoyed getting to know her better, as well.
This is an awesome time in LIFE Leadership!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Alex and Leighann Nickerson
Originally published on CLAUDEHAMILTON.COM
written by Bethany Sampson
When I first met Alex and Leighann (via Skype, that is) I was struck by their outgoing and enthusiastic nature. Parents to four children under the age of five, the married couple of six years is still full of energy and zest, talking easily about their woven past and their exciting plans for the future.
Both Alex and Leighann were still in university when introduced to this industry. Leighann, a kinesiology student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was studying with the intent to pursue medicine. Alex, a small business and entrepreneurship student at St. Mary’s University, also located in Halifax, planned to execute his business education in a traditional route.
Leighann, at nineteen years old, was introduced to the profession first, describing this as the “night [her] whole life changed.” She’d expected to make money the conventional way: go to school, get a good job, and then work 45 years. Realizing that she could live her dreams and one day be a stay-at-home mom was an opportunity that changed everything for her, and she committed from the very start.
As a single female in a couples-dominated industry, Leighann set forth on her own, hoping to achieve success and freedom, while also paving the way for those that would follow behind. She described this experience as a way to show other women that “it doesn’t matter if you’re a couple or if you’re a single, the opportunity is the same or everyone. As long as you commit and follow the pattern, it can work.”
Still, this experience was not without challenges, and Leighann remembers saying in response to other couples, “Well, of course they can do it. There’s two of them!” Claude, she assured me, was always able to help her focus on the positive, by reminding her that when she makes the money, she would get to keep it all.
When Leighann began, she was insecure, had low self-esteem, and was afraid to talk to people. She’s able to laugh now at the irony, as she was getting into a people business. Claude and Lana began directing Leighann to books and CDs, while providing her with constant encouragement, which is what allowed Leighann to grow in what she calls her “incubation period.”
“It really just became eliminating distractions,” Leighann says. “Staying focused on the prize, and just putting my head down.”
With the help of this focus, Leighann met her now-husband, Alex, for the first time in 2001 by sponsoring him through his sister. Leighann was looking for anybody ambitious, focused, and outgoing. Alex’s sister and brother-in-law thought of him immediately. Alex was a full-time university student at the time, but Leighann recalls him recognizing the opportunity immediately. He, too, saw this as a chance to achieve financial freedom.
Alex was a business student, but he saw this profession as a more outside the box approach to what he had been studying. He was excited to learn more, as he saw this as a chance for both he—and others—to change the directions of their lives and move ahead.
Though Alex was ambitious from the start, the journey was not without challenges as he stepped outside of his comfort zone. He struggled, initially with public speaking, laughing at the memory of his first attempt. Leighann, he says, describes it as a special evening, occasionally using the word “terrible.” Alex struggled to relate to the crowd, but as he grew older, more experienced, and delved into learning as much as possible, meeting people and public speaking became easier.
Claude also played a part in Alex’s success, lending life experience to the then-25-year-old Alex, who describes his younger self as “very young, very immature” and lacking life experience. Since then, Claude has become more than just a mentor to Alex, but also a friend. Alex describes him as someone you can go to anytime to help overcome anything. The two, Alex says, are best friends—brothers of sorts—with Claude even standing at Alex’s wedding.
Today, Alex is able to name his business as one of the greatest things in his life, as it’s given him and Leighann the ability to live the life they’ve always wanted. Despite the personal success it has brought, they’re both quick to say their favorite part of the business is helping other people.
“The only way it works for you is if you help other people.” Alex says. “There’s no success without helping other people create success,” he says.
Alex now finds himself lending advice to those embarking on a journey in this industry, encouraging them to “dive in and learn all [they] can.” The only thing he says you need to begin is a “hunger level to learn.” Once you know what you’re doing, it all comes down to hard work.
“Dive in with both feet and we’re going to show you the ropes,” Alex says. “The faster you go, the more exciting everything gets.”
For Alex and Leighann, the most exciting chapter has just arrived—parenthood—bringing with it a new set of challenges.
The couple has four children—Jaxon (5), Marik (4), Baileigh (3), and Brooklyn (8 mos.). Though they had kids before Claude and Lana, they still found their mentors to be a huge resource for them in learning to balance their business with marriage and kids. Leighann says it’s with Claude and Lana’s guidance that she was able to figure out how to be a mom and a business owner and Alex’s wife, and how to do of all of those things really well.
The two also point out how the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired as business owners has helped to make them better parents. They describe parenting as “raising little people to be responsible adults, and to eventually become leaders themselves,” which is why they find the skills and knowledge of both roles—parent and business owner—often coincide.
Thanks to their hard work and their business’ success, Alex was able to leave his construction job when their youngest son was just ten months old. Getting to both be stay-at-home parents is something Leighann says you can’t put a price on. This lifestyle also allots them the time and means to embark on international travels. They both laugh as they attribute their fresh tans to a recent trip to Mexico, and tell me with enthusiasm about their many upcoming adventures taking place across North America in the next few months.
This freedom, they say, is a direct result of the decision they both made to pursue this alternative route and the hard work that followed.
Together, they’re looking towards their bright future, already excited for what it might bring.
“We’re really just getting started,” Alex says. “We haven’t even really made our true mark in this yet.”