Free stuff, vanity & true success: a discourse.


lisa fabrega


Last week I was having a bit of a controversial conversation with my friend Breanne Dyck.

We were debating about where clients come from for different kinds of businesses. And Breanne said this thing that made me protest at first. She said that the people who engage the most with your content are usually the people who don’t ever become clients or ever buy anything.

At first I protested.

Wait! I have memories of people who were super engaged and then became clients!

But then I gave it a moment to sink in and started looking over all the women I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years. Some of them did engage in my social media posts, emails, and free offerings before becoming clients…

But the vast majority of them did not.

The truth was that most of my clients and especially the ones who invest in working with me in the highest level of support you can get from me (mastermind or 1:1), they have hardly ever engaged with my content, and don’t even open all of my emails.

Most of them reached out and applied to work with me 1:1, and I didn’t even know they were following me at all, or where they came from because they had never seen them engage with anything I put out there.

Then I started thinking, Why don’t they engage?.

For the same reason I don’t engage much, even on content from people that I love.

Because as high-performers, we are super busy women with a lot going on already. We sometimes read and it resonates, but we usually don’t have time to comment. We’re busy doing the many things we need to do to make that impact we’re here to make.

Also, most high performers are fast action takers so they don’t usually spend a year having to engage with content before signing up for something. They know what they need, they trust in their soul’s yes and when they hear that nudge inside, they take action and just sign up.

This is why high performers are high performers — because they understand how valuable their time is. All your focus needs to be reserved for the really important work. So you don’t waste time hemming and hawing over something, because that is more mental and emotional energy that can be used for something actually beneficial to the world.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had clients who engaged all the time with my content and became clients. Or that some people take time before they are ready to work with you. I have had a few high level clients who engaged a lot and I love that they engage! And I have also had a few women who followed me for 2 years before they finally were ready to sign up for a program, personal-development-wise. But those have actually been very rare.

This whole realization (thanks Breanne) brings more meaning to something I have talked about for years:

Vanity metrics are vanity.

So many of my amazing, high performing clients get worked up sometimes about Facebook algorithms or engagement dropping. As amazing as they are and as much as they have already achieved, they have secret fears that maybe no one actually likes them or wants to hear from them because that latest blog post didn’t get 300 plus likes. Or that their new idea is bombing because no one seems to be responding.

Or they compare their thriving, very successful businesses to other women with even more “fans” or larger list sizes than they have, and think they suck in comparison. Then they start to question their own genius.

This does two things:

  • It makes them feel like crap and the amazing momentum they have gets slowed down just a little bit. They show up to close that 100k client with a little less confidence. They take a week off of posting because it seems like nobody cares. They shrink.
  • They start trying to reinvent the wheel and add more work to their already full plates. They test out a million things and can’t figure out why they won’t work. Why does this work for everyone else except them? This makes them feel like even bigger ‘losers’ than they already felt like and they shrink even more.

This is extremely dangerous. Why?

Because at this level of the game, where you’re doing really well, already making an impact and have achieved amazing things, your energy matters a great deal.

To be a legacy maker, like Oprah, Maya, or Beyonce, your focus needs to be on your legacy, and all your energy needs to be focused on taking care of yourself (because you ARE the legacy in many ways), and on pushing your mission forward by staying creative, motivated, and being the brilliant idea and action taking person that got you as far as you’ve gotten.

That means that at these levels of performance, you’ve already mastered things like boundaries and self care for the most part, so at this point the tiny things that drain you can become like a dam leaking gallons of water per minute.

Every time you doubt your brilliance because your vanity metrics don’t feed into the false societal story that a million followers = a million dollars or every time you shrink because your open rates don’t look as good as someone else’s… you are screwing up your momentum.

And to get to levels of legacy-making and high impact like you want to have, your positive momentum cannot afford to be screwed up with negative thoughts or comparison thinking. This is why so many of the world’s top leaders have coaches that do ONLY internal work with them.

This is why I see my clients do things like going from having a ton of press but selling $97 products and feeling uninspired, to becoming known as master level coaches who command top dollar for their services. As a result they have more SPACE to cook up great ideas and this only benefits their company or career’s bottom dollar.

So, yeah, it might help someone to get a book deal more easily to have a million Instagram followers. But not if the book is the same old book everyone has put out there because they haven’t fully stepped into embodying their unique legacy footprint as a leader. Not if they wrote the same self help book formula everyone wrote because they’re afraid the book won’t sell if they do it the way they REALLY want to do it.

And sure, that other person might get that book deal because they have a million followers. But if their “super engaged” followers are used to always getting everything for free, will their book sales be that great? And can they actually live off of those book sales beyond the advance they got and build a thriving profitable business from that million person following?

Who do you think is more likely to make a bigger impact in the long run, because they are actually not just focused on vanity metrics but rather, building thriving legacies:

  • A leader with 1,000 loyal followers that have been vetted. A community that is truly committed to doing the work because she is fully clicked in to her unique energy as a leader and she shows up embodying her power and her message every day?
  • Or a person who paid for a million followers in various ways, or got them by posting a bunch of free content and is still struggling to keep up with the image that she built? And can’t sell anything because all the followers are used to getting everything for free?

I know people with 100,000 fans on Instagram and Facebook who are always commenting and liking on their posts, yet cannot sell a thing. People with million person email lists with high open rates who can’t get many people to buy.

I recently read a study of a woman who reached out to “influencers” on social media to interview them about how they made “all that money they seemed to be making” and she found that a vast majority of them were barely making ends meet (though their social media accounts would tell you otherwise).

If you’re a high-performer it’s important to learn that your vanity metrics do not define how much money you will make nor how successful your mission will be. I built my first six figures on a 500 person list. It was because of how I showed up energetically. Not because I had 20,000 fans who were only really interested in consuming free stuff.

I have had people who say a dozen times “next time I’ll sign up,” only to say the same over and over for three years as the same program keeps coming and going.

The problem with focusing on your vanity metrics is that you can get a lot of people in with free stuff and tricks. But are those people really your long term community?

There are a lot of people that get a “high” off of free stuff. They feel good after reading the free report, or doing the free meditation, and it creates this illusion that they have “done enough” to fix their problem. They go from free thing to free thing, chasing the high it gives them, thinking they’re doing enough to fix the problem. These people will never buy anything from you nor actually pay for a program that will actually help them solve the problem. They just want the “freebie high.”

Do you actually want people like that following you just because it makes your ego feel good to say you have a million followers?

Or would you rather have a smaller group of engaged, actual buyers, and as a result, a thriving business that is able to expand further in its mission to help others because it has the funds to do so?

Your vanity metrics don’t always paint the full picture.

These are the mindsets you have to be so careful of as a high impact leader.

These little things can sidetrack you and slow down what you have to offer the world. And if you’re a legacy maker, you can’t afford for silly things like this to throw you off, because you’ve got worlds to change, millions of people to serve and a higher calling to fulfill.

With love,

Lisa Fabrega


PS: I have space right now for two spots open for high performing leaders who are ready to do the work of leaving legacies. This work is those tiny tweaks that make massive impact on your success and impact in the world. Would you like to be one of them? If so shoot me an email at and I’ll send you a private invite.