As a founding member of the billion dollar company, Quest Nutrition, Lisa Bilyeu built their revolutionary in-house media team. She is now the co-founder and President of Impact Theory.
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3 Value Bombs
1) A supportive significant other plays a huge role in an entrepreneur’s life.
2) Never let your worst moment be the end of your story.
3) Humanize yourself and give empathy to try and understand another person’s perspective.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:07] – Lisa met her husband 18 years ago and they both love filmmaking
[01:30] – 7 years later, her husband and partners started Quest Nutrition
[01:55] – Lisa felt pride in being the facilitator of her husband’s dreams and life
[04:55] – Her area of expertise is in developing content and filmmaking
[06:48] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: They were doing their biggest commercial at Quest Nutrition. Lisa and her team had put their heart and soul into it and spent money on getting the product out. They spent time, energy, and resources. Lisa hired a full crew for that production. It was a 2-day shoot, and on the 2nd day, the host basically said he was done and not going to do the rest of the shoot
[09:47] – Lisa thought to herself that it was not her story to tell — she was not going to crumble right then and there
[10:38] – She talked to the host with empathy and understanding that enabled them to pull through the shoot
[11:42] – Don’t let your worst moment be the end of your story
[12:47] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “For 2 years now there have been these 3 guests we’ve been trying to get… and a few days ago we got confirmation that all 3 of them will be at this big event and that we can actually interview them!”
[14:25] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “It really was the notion of – because I’m a woman”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “It is all your fault”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Slack
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Female Brain – “it’s transformative” and Principles: Life and Work – “we’re just obsessed with it in the company”
[20:03] – “Embrace the hurt and embrace the truth”
Lisa: I am on fire.
John: Yes. As a founding member of the billion dollar company, Quest Nutrition, Lisa built their revolutionary in-house media team. She's now the co-founder and President of Impact Theory.
Lisa, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Lisa: Yeah, thank you. Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me on. I'm super excited. And just a quick recap is I met my husband 18 years ago now or almost 18 years. And we both loved filmmaking. We fell for each other. And then one day my husband says I'm never gonna give control to somebody else on our film making. It means we have to earn the money first. And I looked at him like he was nuts, but I really do believe in him, so I was like sure, let's do it.
Cut to seven years later. He basically starts Quest Nutrition with his business partners. And we had no idea what we were doing. We'd never had experience with protein bars before, but we loved the fitness world. And so he came home one day, [indiscernible] [00:01:06] was like hey, we want to start this bar company, can you help out. And at this stage – so, I'd spent seven years in America, pretty much as a housewife. I found myself taking pride in being the facilitator to my husband's dreams. So, that means to me taking care of every aspect of the house, every aspect of his life, so that he wouldn't have to think about food, clothes, or anything.
And so, for seven years, that's what I did. I had extreme pride in being my husband's support system. And then we started Quest Nutrition and that was my first dive into the entrepreneurial world where I started having to learn new skill sets and then I had to hire someone for the first time, so that was really weird. And then I basically took our shipping department from zero, me shipping boxes on our living room floor to having 40 employees, dealing with, obviously, personalities and work environment and HR and learning skills myself and trying to grow myself because I had never been a boss before. I had never really had like a specific strong role which I could lead in.
So, that was an incredible transition as the company was growing, as my husband was becoming more successful, as the business was becoming more successful, I was like in this incredible exploration phase of my life where I just went from being solitary at home to, like I said, building and helping build a billion dollar company. And that all happened in the space of five years.
John: Fire Nation, there's a lot to take away from what Lisa's saying, but kinda one thing I wanna drill into is how important it is, especially as an entrepreneur, to have a supportive significant other because, let me tell you, if Tom had had to decide what he was gonna like wear each day, what he was gonna eat, if he was paying grocery bills and insurance bills, and he was having to deal with all these different things, that's taking away mental bandwidth every single day from you being able to do the one thing that could be that one big great idea.
And it might sound small sometimes, but that adds up. Like that mental bandwidth adds up over time. And the freedom that Lisa was able to give to Tom to be able to have that idea, I mean, you can't underestimate that. And I've seen that with my past guests, whether it be the husband or the wife that gets freed up, or the significant other in any relationship, like it's so critical to have that support.
So, Lisa, kind of talking now about today what is the area that you would consider yourself most expert in? Like what's your area of expertise?
Lisa: My experience and my background is filmmaking. Going into Quest Nutrition initially you kinda just had to be the jack-of-all-trades. Whatever never needed to be done, you had to jump in with both feet. So, I had built our shipping company and then about imports and exports. But my heart has always been in creating content. So, once we were big enough, I transitioned over to the media department and built a studio within Quest. Now, with Impact Theory, that's exactly what I've done.
So, we own three or four sets in our house, so I'm working with contractors, I'm working with creative designers, I'm getting them built. And then beyond that, coming up and concepting with the team new show ideas and then actually executing. So, if I had to boil it down right now is I pride myself on execution of my husband's vision, so whether it's Quest Nutrition where he wants to build the biggest nutrition company in the world and we need to do that through content and we have to do that through the fans.
Then I can go off and execute on that, so we did cooking shows. And then with Impact Theory, it's the same thing. It's we need to impact the world versus just impact people close to us. So, okay, how do we do that? We have to expand. We have to do content that we can upload onto the internet so that we can actually access the world, basically. And so, he will have the vision and then I'm the executor behind that, making sure it actually gets done and gets put out there.
John: So, Lisa, you've had a lot of ups and downs since you've joined this entrepreneurial journey. And that's kinda what I wanna talk about right now is not just the downs, but the lowest of the low. Take us, Fire Nation, to your worst entrepreneurial moment that you, as an individual, have ever experienced, and tell us that story.
Lisa: Oh, all right. This is a great question. It's so exciting. And that's actually a big point about how I handle things is that even the worst stories or the worst situations I think you can use as power to really propel you forward. So, my worst story actually I think is like one of my best stories, and the most exciting story to tell because I learned so much from it. And actually, I learned in real time, and that was one of the biggest things, looking back now, I really pride myself on. So, let me take me you back.
So, we were at Quest Nutrition. We're doing one of our biggest commercials. We've poured our hearts and soul into the release of this product. It's huge. We spent a lot of money on getting the product out there. And then we were doing a commercial. Now, the commercial, we were like okay, biggest product, let's throw money into it. Let's get all the big YouTubers in. Let's really spend time, energy, and resources on this. So, we hired a crew. There was probably 20 of us. It took like a month to plan.
We had special effects artists in to have all these like it was basically a hidden camera show. And so, we had all these special effects and, again, big, big production. So, come the day, we're super excited, we're shooting, it's a two-day shoot. First day goes brilliantly, really well. Second day comes and our host basically turned around and said I'm done. I'm not doing the rest of the shoot.
Now, being somebody who obviously works hand-in-hand with my husband, my biggest pride I take is making him proud. And so, my heart broke. I was like oh, God, I've got a team of 20 people. We've spent thousands of dollars into it. I'm the executive producer on the commercial. And everything was going smoothly. And without the host, I have no commercial because we had shot half of it. So, it's not like we can just replace them.
So, they turn around and they said I'm done. I want out. Like I've got a big awards ceremony to go to and I have to go get my clothes for it, and I'm done. So, you can imagine in that moment that truly was the worst feeling in the world because I felt helpless. I felt like I can't force people to stay because everyone's like oh, well, just tell him he's contracted, and tell him it's like you can't do that.
I can't force someone to do something they don't wanna do. Now, maybe legally, but that doesn't appeal to my personality. That doesn't appeal to the company that we have built in really taking care of people. So, I was like I'm gonna crumble right here on this part, like my entire life, everything I've built myself to… This one moment of pride and I've failed.
And in that moment because of that feeling that I got that this is possibly the worst thing that could ever happen, I thought, okay, this cannot be the story you tell. Like the story cannot end where you fall on the floor and the project falls to pieces. So, in that moment I told myself, pick yourself up and think smart, think straight, think like a human being. Like talk to this guy like a human being. Like figure out what the real problem is. Like go down to like the humanity of it.
And so, I took the star and I sat down with him and I said look, like talk to me, like how can we overcome this? And he was just like I've got an awards ceremony. I have to go. I can't be here. And so, I was like alright, well, just be honest with him. Like connect with him like a human being, not like somebody who's hiring somebody and that I'm paying you, so you should stay here.
So, I just had a heart-to-heart and I said look, I'm a co-founder of the company and – because at the time he only thought of me as like the executive producer. So, I said look, I'm the co-founder of the company. Only four years ago I was on my rug, shipping boxes, dreaming of this day where I could do a big shoot like this. So, just like you, and I understand where you're coming from. Like you thought your entire life for this moment of this awards ceremony, I'm in that same situation right now, right here, today.
So, I don't want to ask you to do something you're not comfortable with. That's not very supportive. But at the same time, I need to acknowledge that I also have to get results. So, how can we team up instead of working against each other? How can we team up and actually make this the perfect scenario for the both of us? And we came to an agreement and we figured it out and we rocked it out and we finished the shoot and our commercial smashed it and was one of our biggest successes to date.
So, yeah, that was somewhat of a long story, but the takeaway was because it was the worst moment, or I felt in that moment it was the worst thing that could ever happen, I didn't want to succumb to that being the end of my story.
John: Fire Nation, humanize yourself. I mean, when Lisa just shared and she was just so open and honest and raw about it that she was on the rug packing and shipping Quest Bars, dreaming of this very day. And she didn't say this, of course, but in a way she was just like and you're really just gonna walk away to go collect an award or to attend an awards ceremony? Like she didn't say that, but of course, he was thinking that. And then she humanized herself and he had empathy now. And now he wanted to make that happen. And, yeah, go ahead, Lisa.
Lisa: Yea, that's exactly it. He had empathy now because he only saw it from his position. And I think it's very easy for us all to do that, right? It's we kinda only see the perspective of where we're standing from. So, it's really to show that other perspective.
John: Lisa, let's fast forward to today because, I mean, Quest Nutrition, billion dollar company, you're doing huge things. Now you're the co-founder and President of Impact Theory. I mean, what really fires you up right now? Like what's the one thing you really just would love to talk about with Fire Nation?
Lisa: Oh, all right. So, in this very – like speaking of today, this very second, there's three guests that we've been going after for Impact Theory. And before Impact Theory was developed, it was actually called Inside Quest because we were shooting it within the company. So, that's been going on for let's say two years.
So, for two years there's these three guests that we've been trying to get. And you keep going after them, keep going after them, going out to them, trying to lure them, like hey, this is why the show's gonna be great for you. But they're so busy, everybody does the same pitch. And only a few days ago, we got confirmation that all three of them will be at this big event and that we can actually interview them, all three in one day.
And so, that was like oh my God, we're so excited. And so, I have to go out and location scout now, actually, once we finish this call. But that was one of those like set a goal, set a dream, and then work and bust your ass to get there, and don't give up because one day it will be possible.
So, that was one of those like I keep telling myself that and it becomes hard, right, like every day you keep getting knocked back. But we finally got the yes, and finally we're gonna shoot next week. So, that's super exciting and gets me on fire because it's one of those milestones that I think make a difference to the motivation that I have for myself. So, that's a big milestone for me.
John: Set a goal. Set a dream, Fire Nation, and persist. And if you think Lisa's been value bombs, well, you're right. And more are coming up in the lightning round when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Lisa, are you ready to rock the lightning round?
Lisa: I'm ready. Let's do this.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Lisa: I think it really was the notion of because I'm a woman, I have Greek background. And so, it was always assumed that I would grow up, get married, and have kids. And so, the more I liked business, the more I started struggling with well, how do I juggle both? And so, until I really thought about like how do I do the balance and like all the "hows" that I kept bringing up, I was very reluctant to really go down that path, until it one day where it's like I actually don't pride myself on balance, it's not my personality.
And so, all this time where I've been trying to seek balance and only like finding myself coming short on it, I realized I'm actually not asking myself the right question. It's that instead of like how do you seek balance I now ask myself how do I seek harmony? And I seek harmony when I'm working. And I seek harmony when I set goals and achieve them. And so, it was just that little change in perspective where I was like wow, all this struggle that I've had about that's holding me back, it's only because I'm asking myself the wrong questions.
John: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Lisa: It is from my husband, and he once told me and he says this often, it is all your fault. And when he says all your fault, it means basically, you have a choice. Every decision, every path you take has been a path and a decision that you've specifically made. So, once I realized I can have the control and that the way that my life is structured and the way that my life is, is because it's my fault of the choices I have made.
It opened everything up and it made me realize that I have the control. And instead of looking at other people or pointing the finger and using external reasons why something didn't occur, now I just always point inwards and say all right, well, if this your fault, Lisa, how do you change it? It's all your fault.
John: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Lisa: So, I recommend Slack. It's something we use internally in the company. The reason being is we have multiple things moving at the same time. So, we have the social content that we do. We have different platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter. We have different types of content. We have different shows. And there's different people that work in different cities. So, for us all to communicate, we found that e-mail just things get lost. So, in Slack you're actually able to create different channels and then touch with them based on the topic.
So, it may be the guests. So, we have literally a channel based on guests. And that channel only talks about the guests we want on our main show. So, nothing gets lost. It's easy to track conversations. It's easy to go back and go oh okay; this is what we were talking about for this subject matter. And it's like just it enables each person, no matter where you are in the country or, basically, the world, to also put in their thoughts at different times, so it can be kind of real-time discussions as well.
John: Recommend one book and share why.
Lisa: Ah, God, I've got two. Can I cheat?
John: Yes, you can cheat.
Lisa: Okay, so I've got The Female Brain, which is it was transformative in my husband and my relationship, both in personal and in business because in reading The Female Brain, I started to understand why I do the things that I do, how my brain is structured, and then why my husband does the things he does. And it really did eliminate emotion from situations. So, if something went wrong or I deal with it one way, my husband deals with it the other, I can remove my emotion and say okay, he's actually dealing with it because he's a guy, because his brain is structured like that, that is how he's is going to respond based on the way his brain is actually built.
And so framing things like that was massive for me and really allowed us to bond and connect, especially in business as business partners versus like I'm the female and he's the male. And then the book, Principles, by Ray Dalio; we're just obsessed with it in the company, and we've started implementing the principles within our company immediately, and it has really been transformative.
So, principles like you never talk behind someone's back. If you've had a negative thought, you need to say it to their face with all of the compassion in the world, but you still need to say it. And if people can't handle that then they shouldn't be part of your company because then you can't grow the company. Have you read the book?
John: I'm actually currently listening to the audiobook of that and I love it. It's like Ray actually does the audiobook himself. For a lot of it, he comes in a does it. And it's super cool, so phenomenal book.
Lisa: Let me tell you, it's a book that will rock the boat.
John: Like they say, don't rock the boat, don't rock the boat, baby. But this will rock the boat.
Lisa: Oh, we tipped the boat upside down, my friend.
John: Oh, Lisa, I wanna end today on fire, so give us a parting piece of guidance. Share the best way that we can connect with you. And then we'll say goodbye.
Lisa: Parting piece of guidance is really to like embrace the hurt and embrace the truth. And when I say that, I mean when someone can be critical, or even if it's criticism, I think it can hurt and I think it can sting. And if you can separate your emotions with the value that they're bringing by being honest about how to be better and do better, I think that will make all the difference, both in relationships and in business. So, that has been the massive thing for me, my husband, and the company, is being constructive with the criticism and not taking it personally.
And I talk a lot about this, about failing, about falling on your face because I've done that many times. And I don't pride myself on being right, I pride myself on learning the right lessons and then improving. So, yeah, please do follow me on my socials @lisabilyeu. Mostly visible on Instagram, but I also do a relationship show with my husband on his Facebook page, Tom Bilyeu.
John: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you've been hanging out with LB and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Lisa in the search bar and her show and this page will pop up with everything we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. Time stamps, links galore.
And, of course, make sure to follow Lisa and her grand adventures all over the socials. And, Lisa, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you. And we'll catch you on flipside.
Lisa: Thank you so much. Happy to be here.
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