Ep. 298: Getting Paid to Be You with Natalie Sisson

Getting Paid to Be You with Natalie Sisson

Nat's Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator starts again soon! Imagine having researched, validated, designed AND pre-sold your course in just two months? Nat will help you do it and you can learn more here! Yep, that's an affiliate link because Nat's freaking amazing.

Okay, on to this week's episode!

My driving motivation for starting my business was being able to do what I wanted when I wanted without having to ask for permission – and my guest today is one of those entrepreneurs that I started following early on in my journey that showed me that it really is possible.

With a laptop and a smartphone, Natalie Sisson built a six-figure education business called The Suitcase Entrepreneur, that she ran from anywhere in the world – and now she’s pivoted to helping entrepreneurs like you tap into your unique potential, get paid to be you and create a purpose-driven life and business with her book The Freedom Plan, and courses like the Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator and Write Your Damn Book*.

Nat’s an entrepreneur, coach, teacher, No #1 Bestselling author, speaker, triathlete and lifelong learner, who’s on a mission to show you how to combine your knowledge, skills, experience and passions into profitable revenue streams that are aligned with your values.

Nat and I talk about:

  • Nat’s marketing strategy to grow her audience when she was first starting out.
  • The lessons you can learn from a “flop” launch.
  • How to reinvent yourself and fall back in love with your business.
  • Her evolution to her $250,000 course launch
  • The things you need to be doing to grow your business.
  • The one belief Natalie had to change about herself to get where she is today.

And make sure you head on over to https://nataliesisson.com/peptalk to get your free guide to learn how to use your Unfair Advantage to get paid to be YOU!

My favorite quotes from Nat:

  • “People buy into people who believe truly and passionately in what they're doing.”
  • “Niching down and understanding exactly who you're serving gives you leverage and freedom.”
  • “Go to five of your closest peers or friends and say to them, what do you think is my super power? What do you think I'm really good at? If you would describe me in one sentence to people, what would it be?”
  • “When you help girls and women in a community, they help the entire community blossom.”
  • “Stay the course when you start creating something, don't create it once and put it out there and stop. People like consistency and want to know that you're there and they can continue to do this thing with you.”

Shannon Mattern: Natalie. Thank you so much for being here on pep talks for side hustlers. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?

Natalie Sisson: Yeah. I'd love to thank you so much for having me I'm so I'm Natalie Sisson. The accent is from New Zealand in case people are wondering. So I'm coming to you from the future, which is pretty exciting. I don't know the lottery, sorry. I can't help what I do. Well, it's been quite a journey, but essentially at my, at my heart of hearts, I'm a leading learner. So I'm somebody who loves to learn. I'm curious about everything and as I learn something and apply it and get results from it, I love to share that immediately with my community and my community is not dissimilar to yours. It's people who are wanting to tap into their potential, get paid, to be them, do the work. They love make an impact and live a pretty freaking awesome life. And I do believe that that's in my heart of hearts more possible than ever, especially as we mosey into the future of work and a direct job experience and career experience, isn't as important as the skill do you have the life experiences you have and the way in which you can kind of adapt and change in the moment.

Natalie Sisson: So I think it's just a really exciting time to tap into potential. As I said, figure out the ways in which you can monetize you and then build a business around it that really aligns with how you want to live your life.

Shannon Mattern: I love that you just said get paid to be, get paid to be you a business that aligns with you. So I want to hear more about your journey to, to doing this for yourself. You know, you know, running a business, that's really in alignment with you. Um, has it always been this way for you?

Natalie Sisson: It kind of has, but completely unfolded organically and naturally. And I think probably why I love so much talking about all the different ways you can get paid to be used because I did it completely not by mistake, but just figured it out as I went. And now that I sort of know how you do that, it just seems so simple. I mean, it's not that it's not hard work still, but I've started out with a humble blog back in 2009, I'd actually quit my corporate job flown to Canada on a one way ticket and had met the cofounder of our tech company. So I had zero idea what I was going to do when I got there, but I was like, I really want to start my own business. And luckily he was like head of tech industry experience and I had marketing experience and corporate experience.

Natalie Sisson: And together we came together and made this business happen. But while I was doing that, I started my own blog and I was a blog that basically was chatting the entrepreneurial journey, sharing the mistakes and things along the way. And I used it cheekily Shannon actually to interview the women entrepreneurs. I really, really liked and thought were amazing, especially in the tech industry, because there was so few role models as females. And, um, and I was like, do you want to be on my blog? It's, you know, like read by five people, but I wouldn't tell them that. And it just kind of became my passion and my business partner noticed this and he's like, Nat, have you ever thought about turning this into a business? And I was like, I hadn't, but it seems really appealing. And a few months later I found myself doing that.

Natalie Sisson: We parted on really good terms. And then I realized all I have is a blog, which is a really scary, silly place to be. And I was like, what have you done? You have zero income, no email list, no offers and a blog. And so I just hustled like crazy to build a community, understand as much as I could about blogging, started creating some digital products, actually started making some sales, ran, some workshops, turned them into courses and just, and it sounds so obvious, but there's literally what I did. I would listen to what my audience were asking, what they was struggling with. And then I'd go and create a little blog post or a series or an AA book for a workshop. And then I turn it into a course and then I'd distribute that course and for something else. And I just realize that I suddenly had nine revenue streams over the space of a couple of years, that will all supporting me. That all started from a blog and a built this really healthy, um, six figure business. I mean, it was, it was not literally from just doing what I was learning and teaching that in a way that resonated with people.

Shannon Mattern: I love how you started out by using your blog as a way to get in touch with people who you wanted to talk to and learn more from. I think that that is such an overlooked strategy for marketing. Um, and it's just one it's, it's exactly what I did. When I first started my business. I, I created training. I was like, I'm going to teach female entrepreneurs, how to DIY their websites. How am I going to get in front of more female entrepreneurs, I'll interview female entrepreneurs who successfully DIY their website about their experience and what they would do different. And they would get interviewed on my blog that had like zero readers, but I would make them look so good in these blog posts that they would then turn around and share it with their audiences. And that's how, one of the ways that I grew my audience. And I think that that's, um, you know, people want to go to like the, you know, grow your Instagram and like all these other ways. And those are all fine tools in our toolbox. Right. But like don't discount the people that already have the audience that, um, that you want to serve. So I just, I love when people say that that's one of the, one of the ways that they grew, um, because I'm just like, Oh my gosh, me too. And I didn't have any clue what I was doing

Natalie Sisson: Good though. Isn't it? I mean, you did something that somethings we don't do. You just give it a shot and you try it and you taste and you experiment. And especially in the early days when your audience is often quite small, or there's not that many people reading or watching, it's, it's good to do things that are a little bit out there and get some attention and just say, because you can't, you're not, it's not like you're failing in front of thousands or tens of thousands or even millions. And even if you are, I love that. I love learning the lessons from doing something and it just bluffing and then going cool. What was the lesson out of that? What was the good things that happen out of that? What can I take away from it?

Shannon Mattern: I think it took me a while to figure out that the, that the failures hat or the flops, or I wouldn't even say failures. I don't even talk about them that way. Now, the things that I did that didn't turn out the way that I wanted them to, when I did them, um, it took me a long time to not internalize those as failures and not to, um, to think that I was doing everything wrong or that my ideas weren't good enough or whatever was, it took me a long time to figure out that, that, you know, there's something I need to learn here and not to throw the whole thing away and start over with something new. So I'd love to hear, you know, your perspective on, on the people that you teach and, and, and your experience and what, what do you see there with people?

Natalie Sisson: Yeah. And the site, like you mean in terms of not thinking about things as failure.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah.

Natalie Sisson: Um, what I'm seeing so much, because I'm running my launch a damn course accelerator right now, and it's like the fourth time running. It

Natalie Sisson: Damn launch it. Damn cool is. And what I'm finding is the biggest thing that maybe I initially overlooked is I can teach people how to launch a course and presale it and do all those good things to build a platform. But the biggest thing that I actually needed to include in the course and now do as a whole piece around mindset, because the lack of belief, the imposter syndrome, I'm kind of done with it. When I feel like it's being used so much, the impulsive syndrome, the procrastination, the perfectionism, the doubts, the fears, and the people who you probably know this from doing work, you've done in website design, the people who go down the technology route and spend all their time trying to figure out the tech, even though I've made it super simple for them to choose the platform and just use it, but they go down this route of procrastination, actually, I'll test this one.

Natalie Sisson: And this one and this one, I'm like, Hey, you need to be launching a damn course in the loving as possible way, not faffing around with tech. So I think that's the thing that I'm seeing most. And if I think back to it, I actually had those, those mindset challenges, but just ignore them. I don't know. It's like in built in me that I just take action, set big juicy goals and go after it. I don't have much fear, even if I'm scared inside, I still just do it. Cause I'm might like short. Right. And it's too short for me to sit around waiting and wondering if this is perfect enough or good enough and just put it out there. But I'm realizing that is not the modus operandi for so many people. And so that's why I want to help them to just get that done and just take the leap and do it. Cause it's so refreshing when you do and nothing, Eva, that really comes from it. Cause you always, as you said before, you always learn the lesson.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. If anything, bad is going to come from it, it's from your own self, beating your own self up over it. It's not anything external and you're totally in control of how you think about that stuff. And so it's, you know, it's, it took me just personally a while to realize like, Oh, I'm the only one causing my own pain here. You know, I can change this conversation that I have with myself at any time. And I'm so glad I realized that because this is supposed to be, you know, it's supposed to be rewarding and it's supposed to be like creating an opportunities and not stress. And it's like, you can stop feeling like an imposter at any time you choose. I just love, I love the launcher damn course. Um, I love that, that name because like, like you said, I do see this a lot.

Shannon Mattern: I teach DIY web design. I teach, get your website up. And five days, that's literally four days too long, you know, because you could get it done in one day, um, if you want. But I break the training down into five days and I see people spend, um, months and months in, in, in that building phase. And it's like I say this, I probably say this on every podcast, you know, it's like, get it done. It does not have to be perfect because the real learning's going to happen when you actually start, start doing the thing. Um, so I just, I love your perspective there,

Natalie Sisson: But I I'm really impressed that you learned that so early on because can I just speak to, I had a pretty big launch flop actually at the end of 2018 and this is my jam. Right? I launched courses. I love it. I love the whole method of doing it. I love being able to understand my ideal avatar and be curious about what people are challenged by and then launch a course, that's going to help them. And I had a real flop and I know all the reasons why, right. I wasn't energetically aligned with it. I didn't put my full force in behind it. I didn't even really want to do it that I said that I would. And as an upholder, I still felt inclined to do it, even though it wasn't the right thing for my business at the time. And so all those things and I over-invested, I bought too many people on my team when I should have been doing some of the things myself because they in my wheelhouse and it took me only a couple of months, but it felt like really heavy, long months to realize that it wasn't, that I failed.

Natalie Sisson: It's that the process that I used didn't work as well as it normally did. And looking at the results after it wasn't actually that bad, but it felt it to me because I took it so personally and I made the failure about me. I didn't see it as an event that happened. I connected the event and the failure to me. And so I'm really impressed that you've learned that early on. And my biggest piece of advice to anybody listening is to not do that. We are meaning making machines as humans and lent this recently Atlanta, we make meaning out of everything, something will happen and we will attach our own lens to it and go, Oh my gosh, that must've been because I did this. Or they don't like me, or I wasn't good at that or something. And really it was this an event that happened. And so it's been really helpful for me to step away from there and go, Oh my gosh, why did you beat yourself up on this thing? It was an event that happened. Wasn't well executed. There were a few things that went wrong and now I've learned the lesson from them that I've applied and all the launches since then have been going great guns, but it was a really painful lesson to learn because it was so much tied up to my ego and my emotion and my sense of identity.

Shannon Mattern: Oh, I, I'm definitely not in the place where like, when something happens, I'm immediately detached from it. For sure. I can definitely. Um, but now I notice like, uh, like, and so it takes less time of me wallowing beating myself up to then notice like, Oh, you know, I'm doing this to myself. Okay. Now I can, I can get out of it sooner. Um, I definitely have not mastered the, you know, Oh, I ex I did all the things I did last time. I expected this result, but I only got half of this results. That's just a process problem. Not a me problem. And I'll move on. It's like, Oh no, I screwed up. I'm going to lose everything. What did I do? And then, um, but at the same time, it's like, okay, well that only lasted for one day. Instead of like me deciding I have to like never launch this course again. And so I do, I just think it's so, so important for, for what you said it is. It's just an event that happened. What can we look, what can we do to look back on and figure out like, what worked, what didn't work did I even really want it to work? That's something that I'm really interested in with that story that you told. Um, how did it come to be that you were launching something that you weren't energetically aligned with? Did you know that at the time or was it like retrospective?

Natalie Sisson: I did kind of. And so I should have really pulled myself back. So I'll tell you the story. I wrote my book, the freedom plan. About two years prior to it coming out, I crowdfunded it on a platform called Publishizer. I wrote the book while I was, I wrote it over several months, but then I finished it after a retreat in Valley. And then I went to find a publisher cause this time I wanted to find a publisher and do it differently so that I could test that versus self publishing. And I did find a great publisher and they actually wanted to publish my existing book, the suitcase entrepreneur, which has done really, really well. And I was like, wow, it's onto its second edition. You want to pick it up, put out a third edition, pay me pretty handsomely for this and launch my favorite baby book.

Natalie Sisson: Um, this is amazing. So I said, yes, obviously with Simon and just that, but what that meant is I was like, I will hold back the other book, cause there's no point in launching two at a time. I didn't want to cannibalize the sales or the promotion. And I didn't want to hammer people with two books. So it actually made that book was now two years after writing it, coming out to all the people who've crowdfunded it, you know, I kept them in communication the whole time gave them the early copies, but by the time it came out the book and then after the book, I put out a free course. And then into this main course, I was pretty done with it. I mean, it sounds terrible, but for people who have written books often when you birthed the book, that's the point at which it's most important to you and by the time it comes out, especially if you go the traditional publishing route, which is why it frustrates me it's 18 months or two years later.

Natalie Sisson: And by which stage you've kind of moved on or you're onto your next book. So I think to be honest, I was a little bit jaded and I've been holding onto this project for so long and it felt like it should been out ages ago. And then the course was the next thing that in my mind I had said I would do. And I'm such an upholder. And I commit to that, that I was like, yes, you're going to do it. And I just think because I, I was doing it because said I would, because I wanted to keep my word versus because I really wanted to, I think that was the huge difference. Like I put everything into it, but I didn't put all my energy and all my wisdom and all like, it's a really good course, but I wasn't a hundred percent buying into it.

Natalie Sisson: So if I'm not even buying into it, why would anybody else and people did, but it just was not compared to it. You know, a quarter of a million dollar launch that I'd done on a similar course a couple of years before that it was a real, like slap in the face. And I truly believe it's because I was not energetically aligned with what I was putting out there. And people can feel that I'm not even talking from a Wu point of view. You can tell when somebody is a hundred percent behind and believing in what they're doing, this is somebody who's putting it out there for lip service or because they're just turning up to do it. You can feel it and everything, they copied their messaging, the energy online, um, and people buy into people who really believe truly and passionately in what they're doing.

Shannon Mattern: Absolutely. I mean, I I've had those projects and those things where you're just like, I am slogging through this to try to, to get this done. There's something not right. Maybe you can't quite put your finger on it at the time, but you just know that there's something not right within it. And I'm the same way I would, I would see something like that through, because I said I would. And, and, um, yeah, I, I just, I think that that's so interesting that like, we do have to kind of pay attention to our intuition sometimes. And I'm definitely, I'm definitely not that person. I, like, I talked to people on the podcasts where that are, so I just had a girl on the show that was just so in touch with her intuition. I'm like, tell me what you mean by gut. Feel like, explain that to me.

Shannon Mattern: That's not a concept that I, that, that I I'm very analytical. And so, you know, it's just, I don't, I don't pay attention to that stuff. So I think that it's, um, it's just, it's a fascinating story. And it really does, does go to show you that, you know, but we have to do those things to learn the lesson. You're not going to do something like that again now, you know, like you're on the lookout for, for that. Yeah. A hundred percent. So, um, few things that you said, I'm like, Oh, I want to ask her more about that. Um, you know, talk to me about the suitcase entrepreneur and, and the book and the story behind that, because that's how I, that's how I came to know who you are years before I reached out and said, Hey, will you be on my podcast? Like I've been, um, you know, in the fringes of your audience, since I started my business back in 2015, um, you know, watching you in the entrepreneurial space. And so tell me a little bit more about that and that philosophy.

Natalie Sisson: Yeah. I mean, thank you as well for inviting me on your podcast. I know how big that can be when you've been in some of these community for ages. So I just really appreciate you did that. Um, I loved being, and building the suitcase entrepreneurial platform, and I wanted to be very intentional around how I said being and building, because I started out building that platform, um, for digital nomads location independents around the world who wanted to understand how can you build an online business from anywhere and have a great lifestyle. And my tagline and my book and my tagline on my site, it's still create freedom and business and adventure in life, because that was my philosophy of how you live life. And I knew that most people who were hitting off on their travel adventures were kind of wanting to say, um, and it was just such a pleasure and honor to learn as I went, um, experiment with things, put it out there and just get such an amazing community, following that journey, living a little bit vicariously through me, but also doing it for themselves.

Natalie Sisson: So the amount of people that, but listen to the podcast or read the book and then say, net, I quit my job and I'm like, I'm in Vietnam. And it's amazing. And I never thought this would happen. I mean, I still get people now and it just blows my mind and I'm not even doing the traveling myself half as much anymore, and, or even managing that platform, but it was just such an awesome experience. And it did become my identity just because so many people would come up at conferences and go, Oh, you're the suitcase entrepreneurials that, well, I'm not really, you know, I'm behind it, but it kind of took on its own meaning. Right. So, and it was just such a blast and so incredible that it grew so much. And I think once I got the name in place, cause initially it was called woman's world.

Natalie Sisson: Remember back to when I started into being those women on the platform. And I changed it pretty quickly to the suitcase entrepreneur, after being at a conference when somebody is like, this is what you do. And I was like, you're right. That is perfectly and get cited when I bought the domain. And then everything became super clear for me. And I'd love for your listeners to kind of grasp this as nailing down and understanding exactly who you're serving, gives you so much leverage and freedom in how you then turn up. So if I was disliked all traveling entrepreneurs around the world, I mean that in itself has massive, but the suitcase entrepreneur in the way that I define the brand and what it meant was very much the person who is building an online business while tripping load and trying to make that their new lifestyle.

Natalie Sisson: Um, and also very much quite clearly I think says that it is somebody who is in business and living out of a suitcase, not literally or metaphorically, but packed up, um, what systems is online, all those good things. People could pretty clearly see what it meant. And so it meant all my content and all my blog posts and all my products and all my offerings could be very clearly defined towards those people. And why I'm saying that is recently I've switched over into just being me and my brand, Natalie says, and it's taken, I'm not going to lie a good couple of years to really reinvent myself and be a little bit like Madonna because I lived in braid the suitcase entrepreneur for almost 10 years. And it was so ingrained in who I was, that when I walked away from it, because I felt the time have come 10 years, I've been digital nomad, one of the original gangsters, these things.

Natalie Sisson: And I felt like there were millennials and all sorts of people doing it so much better. And I was like, your time come, I'm sort of done with the traveling for now. I've done 70 countries. I've loved it. But my time is to like chill and be back in New Zealand and enjoy, it took two years to kind of like the, what is my new identity? How do I want to show up? How do I want to surf? What do I want to keep from those, all those skills and experience that I had, but also how do I want to serve a new audience now? Cause one thing that came out of it is I thought everybody wanted to be a suitcase entrepreneur when I was one and then I'd make the deliveries off and going, Oh my God, I couldn't think of anything worse than living out of a suitcase.

Natalie Sisson: Um, or gosh, traveling the world full time all the time, how exhausting. And I was like, Hmm. And then I got home to New Zealand and bought this beautiful lifestyle property and got a puppy and everything. And I was like, how the hell did I travel? So ridiculously all the time for so long, I don't even know. I was really surprised and quite a few people at that point said to me, I really loved following your adventures, but there was no way I was ever going to do that. So they were quite happy that I was now, um, I wouldn't say more normal, but that now they could resonate more with me teaching them how to build an online business that suited their lifestyle because their lifestyle might've been Britain's and family and kids, but wanting more adventure or holidays or just more time and money freedom. So it was really, it's really was an amazing journey for me. And it's also been good coming out the other side of it and pivoting and reinventing myself because I think we're going to do that a lot throughout our lifetime.

Shannon Mattern: So can you tell me more about, just more about the process of reinventing yourself and you know, with under, under branding yourself now, um, what piece, what parts of that are you keeping? What are those values and how do you work with, um, how do you work with other people to really brand them themselves? Because I'll tell you why I'm asking this question. When I started my business, I was w WordPress BFF. That's how everybody knew me. I am the girl. That's just going to like swoop in and help you out with your website issues and teach you how to do it. And it's all. And that's what, that's what my domain name was, all the things. And then, you know, as I was listening to my audience, I am hearing that they need more help with like, beyond the website, how to market myself.

Shannon Mattern: So I'm thinking back, Oh, what were those things that I did in the early days to market myself, I'm walking them through that stuff. Well, so this year I transitioned to Shannon mattern.com because, you know, I want to be known for more than just, you know, sweeping into solve all your techie problems whenever, you know, whenever you need them. And so it's been a little bit, uh, nerve wracking for me. It's like, well, you know, I, I want to be known for something different. How do I become that without like abandoning everything that I did before, you know, or making those people think that like, they're not important to me or do I even need to care about that? So that's really the basis of that's. It's a selfish question that I'd love to guests on my podcast. How do you go about reinventing yourself?

Natalie Sisson: Such a good question. I mean, I do really like looking at somebody like Madonna, because if you think about it, she just has all throughout her career. She's just changed so much in what she's done. I believe has looked at what is relevant to her right now. What's important to her. What's happening in the world out there and who are the people who kind of need her message most mean her music, et cetera, what's trendy, what's hot, but it's aligned with the values. And I think that's pretty much what I did. Like I didn't, at one point I was like, literally going to change career completely instead of whole new business and something different. But I was like, no, you didn't build up 10 plus years, probably 15 plus years through your marketing business development, brand management jobs, and then entertain years in business and taking software and also understanding how to build an online business, build a community, build the brand launch courses to throw that all away.

Natalie Sisson: So for me, it was actually about who were my favorite customers during that journey and what are they doing now? And it was interesting because as I looked at them, their lives had changed and maybe they'd settle down or they were starting a family and they were coming into a new lease on life, but still had challenges that I felt I could solve. So I really, whenever I'm like looking at how I want to show up, I usually look at who do I want to serve and who are my favorite people to work with and who gets what I teach and then implements it like crazy and has amazing results. Like I'm such a big fan of doers and action takers. So 80th Amesian, it was really like, okay, which of those people do I still love? And how can I turn up and be most useful to them?

Natalie Sisson: And where are they at right now? Like what are their new challenges and growth in business? Um, I also did a pretty good job of going back to what you said earlier, which was when you first started out designing websites and stuff, remembering how good it felt and like remembering the stuff you were learning. And so for me, I realized I'd probably become a little bit complacent. Um, I become so knowledgeable in the areas that I was in that, you know, people would call you an expert and I don't really love that name, but I was like, Hmm, where do I need to go back and be a student again? Where do I need to learn and refresh my skills? I think I'm good at these things. Sure. But things have moved on. Am I skilled enough? Can I refresh myself? Can I take some courses myself and do this?

Natalie Sisson: So I kind of fell back in love with all the things that I initially fell in love with the community, building the blogging, the podcasting, but I just came in at, from a different standpoint of being much more of a student again. And that way fell back in love with all the things that I love to doing. And then it was pretty easy to differentiate stuff that I wanted to keep and stuff that I didn't. So for me, it was definitely a reframe taking it back to the beginner's eyes, looking over my business and what I used to love doing that. I actually realized that I'd stopped doing so much of that stuff. I'd like outsourced it or systemized it or bought team members on. And I was like, Hmm, I basically leaned my team out to just myself and my virtual assistant and my podcast editor who literally hit us, my podcast.

Natalie Sisson: And he's great at it. And I went back to doing all the things that I had handed over. And it was really good for me because it got me back into going, yeah, I love this bit of the thing that I did and Oh my God, I forgot how much fun it is to write this. We'll do that. And it gave me time to decide, as I said, sort of reimagine and experience me back then, and then I could start to go, cool. I'm going to keep these bits and this, but I will hand over. Um, so yeah, it was just about falling back in love with my business and then designing it in the way it suited me now and where I was at in my life and who I wanted to help.

Shannon Mattern: So tell me a little bit more about that. Like what does suit you now and what are the things that, that you're, you're holding onto and hi, how are you helping other people?

Natalie Sisson: Yeah. And I will add to that. The other thing is I did, is I did ask people, so one thing I've, I've no one for many years is when you're in doubt, go to five of your closest peers or friends and say to them, what do you think is my super power? What do you think I'm really good at? If you would describe me in one sentence to people, what would it be? Because sometimes we may get a little bit lost in our own, who the heck are we? And we've been one identity for ages. It's really nice to hear from people on the outside as to what they think of you, because we're usually the, sometimes the WestJet and, um, and that was really refreshing too. So I do highly advise it. I think I asked about seven friends and about five, definitely got back to me and they would just say, Oh, now I love how you do this.

Natalie Sisson: Or you take action. When you quickly on this, where you were amazing at communicating that, or I've always thought of you as somebody who can mock it and do things ethically, or I've, I've remembered you as the course launch person or you're a published author, or I just, you know, and so I was like taking all that in and going cool. So those are the things that I thought I do well. That was really nice to hear it from other people. Um, and so what I have come down to and distilled as this whole untapped potential and get paid to be you, it's kind of my thing. And initially I was like, as then enough, because I've always been live, your dream lifestyle have freedom, but I was like, if I can get people to really believe in themselves and tap into their potential and get paid to be there, all those other things are the benefits from it, right?

Natalie Sisson: So if I can get them to a point of doing that, that's where my best efforts lie so that isn't helping people launch the damn courses that isn't helping people write their damn books, launching the damn podcast. And so suddenly I was able to very quickly go, I help people monetize them. Like that's what I do. And I can do that in a variety of ways and all the revenue streams that I've created my business. I can now teach people how to do that. And that's more methodically with a lot more experience behind me because I've done it and even more. So I will just tell you this, it's like an ongoing journey, right? This stuff never stops as an entrepreneur, literally in the last three days, I've come up with my mission for this decade and beyond. And it is to help a thousand women and $10,000 a month and collectively distribute at least 1% of that to charities that they love and in doing so, like in saying that mission, I super excited because I was like, okay, thousand women over several years, I feel I can do, even if it's indirectly by helping 10 women at a time that can help 10 women to do the same amazing ripple effects.

Natalie Sisson: Second, I was really clear on saying women and like, you I've always had men in my community. I've got with them, our customers, but finally making a stand to say, as much as I love men, the women are the ones who I really want to help because I've come from that area of tech where it was male dominated. And I also know that when you help girls and women in a community, they help the entire community blossom. So it feels like to me, the most direct route to helping, and I'm just really fabulously adore women and what we do, um, and in the $10,000 a month was really tangible, right? Like I can actually see how I can help them get to that point. And it's a big enough leap for some of them that it's scary and exciting, but also $10,000 a month. And in Canada's amazing.

Natalie Sisson: I remember when I first made that, I was like, ah, it just allows me to do so much and also make an impact and invest in others and do all these things. So that felt really good. And in the 1%, I'd love them to give 10%, like just giving 1% of that 10 K a month would allow collectively as to raise a hundred thousand dollars a month for charities, which, you know, once I got to that point, which to me, it was just huge. Like how many more causes than we can, we actually touch on impact. So just wanted to share that with the listeners. Cause I'm so excited. It's like free days off old. And the minute I came up with that mission through a variety of looking back and thinking, and also inspiration sitting on my indoor bike train and going, this is it.

Natalie Sisson: Um, it's helped me clarify so much what I now get to say yes and no to, because immediately I was thinking of sitting at the coworking space and the city that I live in. Cause there isn't one. And I was like, that's not what I need to do. That is not a good use of my time at allow me to drop a few things that I was working on or thinking of, and just get really hyper focused on this is my mission. How do I help women do this? It also helped me sort out my audience, my messaging, my content, the topic ideas. It was incredible. It just gives you clarity. And so why I'm mentioning that is I think it is a process and a journey of reinvention. And then once you get more comfortable with who you are now and what you're doing, and then you get clear on your why and purpose and all this stuff comes, then you just continue to improve and get better and better at just much. Like I used that to that and know how you've pivoted, the more you buy into that and the more you understand your why and your purpose, the easier it becomes. And that's just exciting.

Shannon Mattern: Well, and I love too how it's giving you like what it opened up the flood Gates, but it gives you constraints because I'm sure as entrepreneurs, we have so many ideas and we're so, um, action oriented and we're talented and we could go do all of those things. You know, we could go, you know, build a successful coworking space, um, you know, whatever it is that we decide to see through, we could be successful at it. And, um, in my early years

Shannon Mattern: I was trying so many different things that I spread myself thin and you know, you, I didn't have the focus that brought me the traction that I needed to have the success that I want wanted. Um, and so I feel like having that really clear mission of who you want to help and how you want to help them, like you said, it does, it makes it so much easier to say, okay, how is this going to help be get there? It's not okay. It's off the list. And you know, I just think that that's, that's, that's so, so helpful. Um, so helpful too, to define that for, for yourself and just for your audience, it's like, okay, I know I'm with her. Like that sounds like something I want to do too. Like let's, let's, let's do that, you know? Yeah. So it really calls in your, your ideal client too.

Natalie Sisson: Yeah, it's amazing. And it just, I don't know why. I mean, it's so good that it's so fresh in my mind right now because I had a dream for the suitcase entrepreneur. My mission was to help a million entrepreneurs create freedom and business and adventure in life. And I've written about that on my blog lately is that million was made up of the podcast, downloads the book readers, um, people on my email list, people watch my videos, people on social, it kind of ended up more like to a hundred thousand, but extrapolating that out and people telling their friends about it or sharing my work could down the road reach a million, right? So it felt big and hairy and audacious, but totally doable. And then this feels totally doable for where I'm at right now as well over several years. And I remember when I had my mission for suitcase, entrepreneur cleared so many things out, and this is doing the same for me now. And it's just like the next step in the evolution of the brand evolvement. Um, so I just wanted to share with people because it is a journey and you just stick with it and it becomes clear and clear and it's so awesome as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. So there was something else you mentioned earlier that I have to ask about, I wrote it down, you did a quarter of a million dollar launch. Can you tell me I'm still blown away about that? I was like, did I write that down? Right. Like a few hundred thousand dollars. Yeah.

Natalie Sisson: Um, the first part of it was one 80 K and then I relaunched it later in the year in a smaller and that was around 70. Um, yeah, that was my freedom plan program. So I did have a book come out after it, but that was my cause. And it was my signature course for three or four years, it was a 12 module course that I threw everything into of how to basically build your online business and live your dream lifestyle. I'm super proud of it. And it was a thousand dollars to invest in and people just let it up because it was exactly, you know, it was, is of me understanding where am I people at work and I make them, what do they need? Um, it was definitely at the height of everything that I was doing, the suitcase entrepreneur. And it was just incredible.

Natalie Sisson: I mean, I worked my butt off for that launch. I got affiliates on board. I threw everything into it. I invested a lot and it was just an incredible example of being in flow with totally on purpose with the right course, the right time. Um, and so it's really neat to like, know what's possible when you do do that. And that had been built up from a small pilot three years before and then into the next year where I think I made just under six figures on it and then it's the next. And it was just incredible. And in some ways I kind of wish I had thinking back, like, that's the time when as an entrepreneur, you're like, okay, I've done really well in this. Now what next versus say watching and Marie Forleo or in any Porterfield who just continued to launch the same course year after year, after year after year.

Natalie Sisson: And it just continues to grow because it's something about that stickability and consistency that people like. And I was a little bit like, Oh, I'm kind of, I'm not done with this, but I think I was coming to the end of my suitcase entrepreneurial journey and it just didn't have the same energy for it cause I was changing and morphing, but it is a really good example to me now of no stay the course. And when you started creating something, don't create it once and put it out there and stop like carry on improving it and adding to it or, you know, adding to the line of offers and things that you have because people do really like consistency and they want to know that you're there and they want to know that they can continue to do this thing with you. And we might be flip flopping around and going, but I want to do something new, but people kind of want you to just be there for them and they want to know that they can count on you. So it was a good lesson learned, whatever I'm developing now I'm sticking with. And I'm continuing to add that into the suite of office that makes sense and all interlink and help people.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. You mentioned that it wasn't, it, it was an evolution to the quarter of a million dollars. It wasn't like, um, right out of the gate the very first time that I launched this, it that's what happened, you know? And, and I think that that's for four intentionally or unintentionally or whatever message we want to read into people's marketing as, as entrepreneurs, that, that there's this notion that we can just create something and launch it overnight, um, to this, this massive, massive success. And I feel like where the S the full story isn't always told is everything that led up to that happening and all of the community building and all of the trust building and all of the nurturing and all of the validation and all the attempts before that. Mmm. Leading up to, to that success. And it's really a big dedication to, to that whole process to making that happen.

Shannon Mattern: And I just think that that's, um, I'm so glad that, that you shared that. Um, because I just know when I was first starting out, uh, I had this, I had this thought it's like, everybody, everybody seems like they are having these big, huge launches. What's wrong with me, right. Why, why is this not happening for me? What am I doing wrong? And it would send me like on the path for searching for the answers, and that meant buying more courses and enrolling in more programs and really deviating my attention to, or diverting my attention from what I really needed to be doing, which were all the things that would have let somebody to the point of that, which was not, you know, buying five more courses to try to figure out the secret it's building the audience and, and learning from them and, and engaging and solving those problems and all of those things.

Shannon Mattern: And so that's one of the things that I'm really passionate about, making sure that when I'm communicating, um, about my business journey and the success that I've had is like, it did not start off this way. You know, it's like, it did start with you with these, these early things. And, um, and that, that led to that success. And then, you know, the other thing that I wanted to point out is like, or that I just wanted to ask you, it's like, it's gotta be like, wow. If I could do it with that program, I could do anything. It doesn't feel like that. I mean, once you've done it, you're like I got this, I can do it again.

Natalie Sisson: I think, um, it's a double edged sword actually, because after that 2018 experience where it felt like I know my stuff, so, well, there should have been a big launch. It was like the, Oh, okay. Actually, yes, I could do this again. And yes, I could probably in the future quadruple this, like, that'd be amazing. And I know what work that would take, but there's also that thing of when you've done something before you either rest on your laurels a little, or you don't do quite the same things because you've done it once. You don't want to let yourself down again. So you try different things or, um, yeah. So I'm just putting it out there. I think it is interesting, which is why I love my launch, Madame course accelerated. Cause I just get people to do the minimum viable product, the minimum viable course.

Natalie Sisson: It could even just be a live webinar or a workshop, but I try to get them to just get past that hurdle of having to have everything perfect. Because if we're really realistic that they launched a year, was sitting on top of four or five years of consistent content, podcasting media interviews, blog posts, sharing, giving information for like all my life that led people to, to be able to build that community, to get them into that course. And I think sometimes people miss that. So yeah, people are having these big launches, but it's all the work beforehand. And so with the accelerator, really just try to focus on, you might not have a big list. You may not even have a list. You might not have the best idea. You might have a really small offering, but just get yourself over that line and just launch it, the smallest possible thing to prove to yourself, because what that launch proved to me is iteration and iteration improvement, improvement, and continuing to get better and learning more tactics and understanding will lead you to that quarter of a million or a million dollar launch, maybe down the track or even a hundred K laundry, 50 K's like 10 K's is amazing, but start small and continue to grow.

Natalie Sisson: So yes, I know I can do it now. And yes, I would want to do that again and I will, but it can sometimes I still think you've got to approach every single time with what do you know? Don't try and change it all. Continue to build on the foundation.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. And I love the whole concept behind the launcher dam course accelerator, just to, to get the thing out there and, and, and take action. Cause you're going to learn. I just feel like you're going to learn so much more, um, from taking the action and getting the reaction and being able to like have some data to work with to make the changes. Um, then, then you would, if you're just like, Oh, let me just go build the whole thing and film all the modules. And like, I don't even have an audience, but I need to build my course first. I did that. I mean, I'm sure. I think everybody, I was, I was doing a podcast interview with someone just before this one. And we were talking about that, like how we built the course that we launched to no one, because we did not listen. We didn't even ask, like, didn't even ask, I'm like, I have this skill. I know what to do. Like I know how to teach this and I know how to teach it in a way that like, I understand it, but I don't know how to say it in the way that you need it to be said, because I didn't ask you.

Natalie Sisson: I'm so glad you brought that up because that's the exact mistake that we've all made. I've made it for myself. And it's this presumption that we think because we've been ingrained in doing the thing we'd be doing for so long, surely everybody else needs us. And rather than, as you said, listening and asking, what is your number one challenge right now? That's what I usually ask. What is your number one challenge in business or in elk or in whatever your area is. And just the answer to that question usually gives you the ideas for the base courses. And then of course you have to dig David. Like the first thing I get people to do in this accelerator is understand and survey and get to their ideal avatar so that they know, and nobody gets to build their course and it's accelerated, they get to prelaunch it and presale it and, and put together a curriculum.

Natalie Sisson: But nobody gets to actually build out the content. That's like the number one, no, no rule, just because of that thing. If they've launched and they put all this effort in, and it goes to crickets, which I've done, like I put 40 hours into launching this course, put it out there. And I made like one sound and I was like, what? And I've been in my head the whole time thinking through it. I hadn't really communicated that to people. I hadn't teased it out. I hadn't shared little snippets along the way. So when it kind of came out though, huh. And there were also like, that's cool, but I need some time to get used to this. And I was like, I've been living and breathing this for a whole month. So yeah. I'm really glad you, you did the same thing. It's a great rookie era to make, but I'm trying to save people from making that era.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I don't want to say it's like a Rite of passage. I think it was when we were all kind of trying to figure, figure it out, I think. But now it's like, you have people who have made that mistake that can help you avoid that mistake. So yeah. I mean, and it's a pain, it's a painful one to make. If, if, like you said, like we were kind of talking about earlier, if you don't have the, um, emotional IQ to not internalize that as a failure, you know, when it doesn't, when it doesn't work out. So I, yeah, I just,

Natalie Sisson: Can you put sharing? Cause I think more people need to learn them, you know, together we can hopefully save the world from one bad launch at a time.

Shannon Mattern: Right, right. Or, you know, have your bad launches, but don't quit over that because you still have, you still have something to offer. And that's the part that, that's the part that I'm so passionate about is like not everything you're not going to do everything right. Even, you know, out of the gate, even if I I'm teaching, you are not teaching you, you're still gonna make mistakes, but you have got to look at them as, um, data and not as, um, as like, Oh, just a commentary on your worth as a human being. So that's obvious. That's like something that I've been so, um, reflective on in my own own business lately that it's just, it's just coming up a lot for me right now. So, um, you've had so much experience helping entrepreneurs build their business, build lifestyle, freedom, lifestyles, whatever that means to them. Um, you know, monetizing themselves, just having that independence to, to do, um, to do whatever it is that they want to do, whether it's travel, whether it's just not have to go to a day, job kills their soul, all of those things. Um, what is the number one piece of advice you would give someone who is struggling to get traction in their business?

Natalie Sisson: Hm. Great question. It's so hard because I know I'd love to say, I need to know more about their business. There's typically a few things that they might not be doing. And I'd say one of the biggest things and I can hold my hand up to that I used to do is we procrastinate and do all the peripheral things around our business. That aren't the ones that drive it forward, like contacting a potential client, getting on a phone call with a potential client updating and getting your opt and out there and sharing it and promoting it and getting more leads to your business. So there's some fundamental things that help build a business. And it's usually around visibility, attention growing your traffic you'll list and then creating opportunities for people to be able to buy from you. And I feel like when we're really scared or in way, we're like get stuck in the busy work. It's because we're avoiding the fact that we know we need to do the hard things to help the business grow. And those are the phone calls or the office, or putting yourself out there or making the ass or doing the hard work that's going to get you the results. So it's really tough without knowing where he, to the wonderful pep-talk side hustle,

Natalie Sisson: But I would desk get them to hold a mirror up to their face and say, am I really focusing on the one or two at most activities that are going to drive my business forward right now? Or am I doing all the peripheral, fun things in the busy work to avoid doing that?

Shannon Mattern: Uh, yes, I can. I can tell you that. That is probably the advice that every single listener needed to hear right now. I do the same thing. I'm like, I need to pitch myself for five podcasts, but I really need to clean up all these files up my desktop before I do that. Cause it's very important. So we all sometimes clearing up your space is actually pretty good. But when you notice yourself, I really should do this, but yeah, that's, that's the thing. So I, I think that's such a good piece of advice. So I have one more question for you that I ask of everybody that comes on the podcast. And that is what belief about yourself. Did you have to change to get where you are today?

Natalie Sisson: Oh, that's a goodie. Uh, I had to change the belief that some Knight in shining armor or princess on her or some horse would come along and just save me and give me permission to do the work that I needed to do. And that was probably the biggest belief was that it was completely up to me. So my success or my non-success was completely within my control and completely had to come from me. Nobody else was going to show up and just give me permission to do it. And once I really figured out, I figured it out pretty early on that my self belief in what I was doing and who I was and the value that I bring into this world and my unique advantages, um, were the thing that was gonna make the difference and nothing else mattered. There's nobody else out there like me. There's nobody else out there like you, any of our listeners. And I needed to give myself permission to go out and be my best self.

Shannon Mattern: Wow. I think that is the perfect place to wrap up this episode. Uh, can you let everybody know where we can connect with you learn more about what you're doing, learn more about the launch, your damn course accelerator and all the good things that you have going on.

Natalie Sisson: Yeah. I'd love to, I've actually put together a little special gift for you, a beautiful side hustlers. So if they had to Natalie sisson.com forward slash pep-talk, I've got my free guide and audio there and it's called get paid to be used. So nine steps to monetize yourself. Um, I put my heart and soul into that and I think it'd be really helpful for your audience in particular, just to sort of walk through how do you do that? How do you figure out and monetize your skills, experience expertise? Um, so that is one place and I'd love for them to connect with me on Instagram or Twitter. I'm at Natalie's and pretty much everywhere managed to get that brand and early. So do love hanging out in those spaces. So find there and shout out if you've enjoyed this podcast. And if they do want to know about the accelerator it's Natalie system.com forward slash accelerator, I tried to make stuff pretty handy. It's in a wait list right now, but I will be opening it up again later this year.

Shannon Mattern: Awesome. I will link up all of that stuff in the show notes. And you guys have got to go get your hands on that freebie. I'll link that up too. Um, so thank you so much for being here and just sharing your story and all the lessons that you learned along the way I found it super valuable. And I know my listeners will too, so thank you so much.

Natalie Sisson: Thank you. It's been a blast.

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Natalie Sisson believes that everyone has their own unique potential and she’s here to show you how to tap into it, get paid to be you and create a purpose-driven life and business.

She’s an entrepreneur, coach, teacher, No #1 Bestselling author, speaker, triathlete and lifelong learner, who’s on a mission to show you how to combine your knowledge, skills, experience and passions into profitable revenue streams you can combine to build a portfolio career or business that is wholly aligned with your values.

With a laptop and a smartphone, she built a six-figure education business The Suitcase Entrepreneur, that she ran from anywhere in the world. Now she’s focussed on how we can capitalize on the future of work to build our human-centred skills and expertise to do the work that matters and design our lives with intention.

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