Natalie Sisson is a Kiwi Entrepreneur and Adventurer. Her specialty is ensuring that entrepreneurs find creative ways to run their business from anywhere using online tools, social media, and outsourcing. Natalie travels the world running her business from planes, trains, boats and cafes, all while literally living out of a suitcase thanks to building an online platform with “The Suitcase Entrepreneur”.
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- “There is not try, there is only do, or do not.” – Yoda click to tweet!
- Being the suitcase entrepreneur that Natalie is, she moved to Buenos Aires for its beauty and challenge. The beauty she found easily, but what happened next she never expected, and it turned her view of her “situation” upside down.
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Natalie’s AHA moment turned her from successful to uber, uber successful. Now she is killing it in the online world – working less, and doing more. Sound like an oxy moron? Yep!
- This has me excited beyond words. The Hundred Dollar Change Project. It provides value WAY in excess of its cost. Check it out… I’ve included links in the show notes!
- Would you expect any other answer from The Suitcase Entrepreneur? I think not!
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply thrilled to introduce my guest today, Natalie Sisson. Natalie, are you prepared to ignite?
Natalie Sisson: I definitely am.
John Lee Dumas: Natalie Sisson is a Kiwi entrepreneur and adventurer. Her specialty is ensuring that entrepreneurs find creative ways to run their businesses from anywhere using online tools, social media and outsourcing. Natalie travels the world, running her business from planes, trains, boats and cafes while literally living out of a suitcase. Thanks to building an online platform with The Suitcase Entrepreneur.
Natalie, I’ve given a little overview of your business. Why don’t you tell us a little more about who you are and what you do?
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] Where do I start? So I literally live out of a suitcase and travel the world. I don’t necessarily always have a plan of where I want to go. I’m very much driven by countries that I haven’t visited, summits and conferences of people that I want to meet, and places that I have been to before or haven’t, and sometimes very much driven by ultimate Frisbee tournaments, which is one of my passions. So along with running a completely mobile business, I love to create more freedom in business and adventure in life for people. So that’s it in a nutshell. Then the accent is because I’m from New Zealand.
John Lee Dumas: Right. Which is also the reason for the Kiwi, correct?
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] Exactly.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Awesome. You do definitely live an exciting lifestyle, which everybody can find at The Suitcase Entrepreneur. Natalie, we always start the show off here at EntrepreneurOnFire with a little motivational quote. At our pre-interview chat, you did mention you have something a little different for us, and I’m kind of excited now why you were kind of leaving me hanging. What have you got for us today?
Natalie Sisson: So I’m a big fan of the Star Wars trilogy and Yoda, especially, and I just love, love, love “There is no try. There is only do or do not.” I say it every single day to people that I meet who are like, “Oh, I’m trying to do this, or someday I’ll do this, or one day,” and I was like, “There’s no one day, there’s no someday, there’s no try. Just do it or don’t, and just get going.” So it also motivates me on the days when I’m making up excuses for not taking action.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. “Taking action.” Now, you definitely have passed that along to other people in your life. How have you used that in the last three or six months in your actual business to get you going when you were kind of having a little lackadaisical day?
Natalie Sisson: Yes. Well, I guess it’s been pretty tricky and it’s a constant challenge living a life on the road because you don’t have any routines necessarily. It’s quite hard to get disciplined when you are constantly moving or potentially going on flights or just having a different day every single day. So I tend to become very effective and productive when I’m on the move. So I love working from trains and planes and buses, and in airports.
I guess I can never ever have an excuse not to take action. So when I have no online connectivity, it’s great. That’s when I take the most action. I actually get stuff working, I create content, I produce products or programs. It’s when I really get down to the nitty gritty time or plan out my business on what I’m going to do next. I think that’s always a great way of taking action.
The other way to take action is to, wherever possible, and still a little bit of a routine of my day which normally starts with getting up and meditating even for just 5 to 10 minutes. Then from there, journaling and doing some exercise. So trying – trying? Not trying. I am doing, and by putting my priorities first, which is just sort of health and fitness and mindset. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s how I attempt to take action on a daily basis, no matter where I am in the world.
John Lee Dumas: Okay. I’m kind of putting you on the spot here, but let’s zoom down to ground level. I love the fact that you travel around so much. So take us to a place within the last six months that you were traveling. Give us some visuals, some verbal visuals so we can picture ourselves there, and something that you actually did to embody your Yoda quote.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] Well, here we go. I’ll take you back to – when was it around? About May of this year. I was actually cycling through Africa. So if you really want an example of taking action, I was on the road for two months, cycling around 4,000 miles. Every single day, we were pretty much on the bike doing sort of 60 to 70 miles plus a day, and my business was running in the background because that’s the way I had set it up.
So a good example of being in strange places every day. Camping at night, getting up in the morning really early like [5:30] AM or [6:00] AM – well, it seemed early to me – to get on the bicycle and just ride for hours and hours, seeing different scenes, encountering different cultures, being in the heat of the day sometimes. Sometimes having elephants cross your path. Like it was crazy going through around eight or so countries in Africa.
I guess that really proved to me – like that was one of the biggest tests of running my business at the same time that I was off having an adventure because obviously, as you can imagine, there was very little Internet access. At the end of the day, the last thing you wanted to do was jump online, and often, I didn’t have any way of doing that.
So it was really a great example of having prepared well beforehand with blog posts, with podcasts, with telling clients where I was going to be and what time zones and how much connectivity I had, and just really making sure that my business had these great foundations to run on. It was a big, big test and it worked really, really well, but for a while there, I was pretty worried. I was like, “Oh, have I actually set up a suitcase entrepreneur lifestyle that is exactly what I say it is?”
So that was maybe a different example to what I experience on a daily basis, but certainly one of the reasons that I’ve created the business that I have.
John Lee Dumas: Thank you for sharing that visual with the elephants and just biking in Africa. I just had a friend that got back from a trip to Namibia, and the pictures that he had just posted on Facebook were incredible. I mean, you’re literally on these Humvees, or in your case, bikes, where you are not that far from actual real life action that’s going on. Lions taking down giraffes and all these things are going on with some really crazy things. I definitely commend you for your adventuresome spirit.
Natalie Sisson: Thank you. Yes, it sounds like his was a little crazy. I mean we did that on safaris and things, but you didn’t just come across lions on the everyday cycle. I think that would have been a scary attack.
John Lee Dumas: Oh yes. He said he was terrified a couple of times. He’s sitting on top of like the little Humvee seat they have, like a little on the dash, and he was just within 20 to 30 feet of these situations that were just incredible for a lot of reasons.
Natalie Sisson: Very cool.
John Lee Dumas: So at EntrepreneurOnFire, we really tell the story of the entrepreneur and we’d like to delve into your journey as our spotlighted entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur at some point in their life has come across a failure, they’ve come up to a challenge, they’ve had an obstacle they’ve had to overcome. One of the three or all three have happened, and we don’t let these obstacles and challenges define us as entrepreneurs. Instead, we really use them to either change directions or propel us forward in the current direction we’re moving into. Can you tell us about a failure or a challenge that you’ve had in your journey, and how you reacted to that?
Natalie Sisson: Oh yes. Where do you want me to start? [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Natalie Sisson: I think I’ve failed on a pretty – well, no. I used to fail I think more on a regular basis, and I wouldn’t even call it failure. I was just reading a book, which will be my recommended book at the end of this, the other day. They were talking about how they get sick of hearing people going, “Use failures for your lessons learned.” I kind of agree with them and I kind of don’t because some of my biggest learnings have come out of what I didn’t do and not from during a launch or even when I started my business. I think if you can take the lessons out of that and apply them to all the great things that you’re going to do the next time around, plus the great things that you did that did work, then you’re just going to become more and more successful.
Well, on failings, I just think pushing yourself out there every single day and testing things and tweaking and refining is kind of the form of what I do to get past any limitations that I have. But specific ones would be – well, for example, last year I was in Buenos Aires and I just moved there. I moved there for the challenge of living and working in a different country where the language wasn’t my own.
At the same time, I decided to launch one of my biggest sort of products and online programs. It’s really difficult because I hadn’t considered the impact of being in a different-speaking country, of the settling in time of just trying to figure out the infrastructure there of where to work from and where to get decent Wi-Fi. All the things that unsettle you when you go to a new country, I mean it’s pretty exhausting and tiring just because you’re getting used to the new surroundings.
I put a ton of my effort into this product and program, or so I thought, and I thought I took all the right steps from what I’ve learned. Then it just kind of went down with a – it went down on a – oh, it just didn’t go very well [Laughs]. I can’t even think of the term that I want to use today. I was really disappointed and I remember just being on my bed in my little apartment in Buenos Aires actually crying, which I don’t do very often, and going, “Oh my God! I’m a failure. I suck. It didn’t work.”
I think what I actually really had was massively high expectations and I hadn’t even given it time to sort of permeate. I still had a very small community at that time. I had just gone out to them and nobody else. I hadn’t employed guest blogging. I hadn’t done any advertising. So I was really truly relying on my small community to come forward and jump at the chance to buy the guide at the premium site, and because it didn’t all happen on day one, I felt like I had absolutely massively failed.
Then as I saw, it just takes a little bit of time, and then people started buying it. I looked up, I guess, and I was like, you know what? This is just the foundation of something that I’ve started on. So often, I think it comes down to expectations, and the more you can prepare in advance, the better for sure. But don’t ever stop or forget to celebrate what you have done and how far you have gone and completely focus on where you’re going next and how you can keep on improving on what you’ve done.
That feeling of having sucked at something or failing is just horrible, but you just feel then motivation to do so much better, and from there, I’ve just gone on and on with product launches and done so much better and seeing all the things that I do each time to improve on that and make it more of a success.
So once again, [Unintelligible] to failures, I do think they’re actually really useful [Laughs]. Great for your mindset, great for strengthening you, as well as what you think about yourself and your skills and for making you assess, stop, and really look at what you’re doing to make sure it is the right thing and where you can do better for next time.
John Lee Dumas: So setting expectations was a general lesson that you learned there, and that’s such a great lesson. I really try to apply that every day in my life as well. Do you have a specific lesson that you can share with us from that failure?
Natalie Sisson: Yes. I think as entrepreneurs, we often just try to do every single thing ourselves and we also aim really high because I always think you should always think you should be your best possible self and put out your most amazing work.
A specific lesson learned from that was to actually realize that you’re a human being and that you cannot do it all alone. So reflecting back on that, I would have got a small team around me. I would have probably employed some experts on affiliate marketing, copywriting, and even the setup and delivery of the launch.
So at the time I had a smaller budget, which is probably why I didn’t. But often, I look back on that and think, well, had I invested more and just really put it out there, I think the dividends and returns would’ve been far more than they were at the time.
So a lesson learned is that even if you think you’re just acting in isolation and doing everything yourself, it’s just not the route to success. You really, really do need to be working with our people, whether that’s joint venture partners, whether that’s freelance as in contractors who are part of your team, or whether that’s just one other person who holds you accountable to what you’re doing and mentors you along the way.
I absolutely love working with other people now and I’ve come to realize that it’s the way that I do my best work, and I’m never going to be in isolation again. Like a lot of what I do, I love doing by myself. But I have a team now and I have a great group of support people around me and people that I look up to, and that I mentor and vice versa. That has been, by far and away, the best move that I’ve made, to surround myself with those people.
John Lee Dumas: Let’s jump ahead for one second here since we’re on this topic and I’m really intrigued by this team of yours. Can you just kind of quickly lay out the team that you have built around Suitcase Entrepreneur?
Natalie Sisson: Yes, sure. It’s still small and I l0ve it. Some are still purely onboard just because they love what I do and they’ve stepped forward and given up their time, which never ceases to amaze me. So whenever I seem to start a new project or initiative, I get people who hear about it or read about it, and then step up and go, “Hey, I want to offer you some of my time.”
The way I reward them if they don’t actually want to be paid, which sounds amazing, is by mentoring and coaching. I’m giving them access to my products and programs so they can learn, and rewarding them with bonuses as well. I just think it’s amazing that they do that for you.
So I have a podcast specialist who’s learned all about podcasting in order to edit and polish mine off, which is wonderful, and post and publish it. I have a lady working with me on my $100 Change Initiative and she’s doing some of the columns, reaching out to some of the change makers because I was contacting 100, right? So it’s quite a lot. Looking at the press around it. Also, some of the communications outputs that we’re doing and working on blog posts to get the news out and spread the word during the next three months.
I have a virtual assistant who I’ve had onboard since before I went to Africa. So I trained her up and she does around 10 to 15 hours a week. It takes away a lot of the time that I used to spend on my site in terms of publishing and optimizing blog posts, updating tools and resources and pages. Even sometimes editing my newsletter. Then some social media outreach. Most of that stuff, I do personally myself.
Then I also have a WordPress programmer/guru who has transformed my life. I took him on around three or four months ago. I used to do all my tech work myself, and now I can just hand it over to him. That’s brilliant because even though I was good at it, it just wasn’t an optimal use of my time. So he really helps out by tweaking things on my site, which is a never ending story for most people, as you know. It’s one of the biggest ways that people are actually attracted to you in the first place. So you need to have a fantastic website where that builds over time.
So it’s a good little team now. Then I have two accountability partners that I speak to every two weeks. Plus, my business partner in a mastermind program that I run that launches once a year. Her name is Natalie MacNeil and she lives in Canada, and we hold each other accountable every week. We have regular calls, we do regular coaching calls with our mastermind, and I feel like she’s like my business partner on this other aspect of what I do.
So it’s really great to be able to bounce ideas off her, work with her, and whenever one of us is kind of lacking in energy for any reason, the other one never is, and I just love having the dynamics of being able to work with somebody else that I trust implicitly and admire and get on really well with. So it’s an interesting setup.
Then last, I have my own coach because I do coaching. So this year I took on a coach myself because I think any good coach should know what it feels like to be coached and also needs to be coached themselves. So that’s pretty much my team in a nutshell right there.
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Well, I’m up to like 14 people now. So I’m not sure how small this team is.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] No. So I have two contractors or part time people that are part of my team. Then I have two who are just giving their services because they’re amazing, who I am a mentor and coach. So that’s pretty much my main team. Outside of that, the rest is all around people who I talk with regularly and bounce ideas off and brainstorm with.
John Lee Dumas: Right. I had Amy Porterfield on the show recently and how she describes her team is “mighty and small,” which I really like.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] I love that! Yes, I don’t know why people are obsessed with growing so big all the time. It’s never been my idea to just grow so huge that I need a staff of 50. I love being nimble. I love the light, lean startup model. Then for me as a traveler, like I’m all about just packing one suitcase and going anywhere with that. The same with my business. The less tools I use, the more streamlined it is, the better.
John Lee Dumas: Truly, you have to know your business model, and growing past a certain point can absolutely be counterproductive.
Natalie Sisson: Uh huh.
John Lee Dumas: So let’s move into the next topic, and this is the aha moment. So we’ve already talked about a few small aha moments you’ve had and a couple larger-sized ones, but in the journey of an entrepreneur, we are always coming across these little light bulbs that are just coming on and we’re seeing the light where before it was just dark, and these little aha moments are inspiring us forward, moving us in different directions and propelling our businesses forward. Can you just pick out one brilliant light bulb moment that you’ve had in your journey and share that with us?
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] I’d love to say it was brilliant. You know what? Actually, I had it more recently, and probably after I got back from Africa. Wherein before that, I had been obsessing a little bit about how do I grow this, how do I make more money? You’re always comparing yourself to other people doing things, like why am I not at that level yet, how come I haven’t done those, how come I haven’t seen this much success, etcetera, etcetera, which is a natural part of being a human. You always want more.
I got back from that trip and I bounced back into my business with tons of enthusiasm and energy, and the more people I talked to, the more that they were like, “Oh, I’d love to do what you’re doing. You have like the perfect lifestyle. You get to travel all the time. You get to run your business. You get to have fun.”
I guess the more people who were saying that – I mean there’s definitely people who don’t want to live out of a suitcase, and I get that, but I was like, “You know what? I’ve already got it all.” Like I’ve got the life that I wanted, which is doing exactly what I’m doing. I love helping people every day to build and start an online business. I love telling them how they can do it from anywhere, I love ensuring that they get to creating more freedom and adventure in their life and building a real lifestyle, right?
I realized that I have the lifestyle that I wanted, and I often ask myself the question – if I would win the lottery tomorrow, what would I do? I thought about it. I was like, well, I’ll do what I’m doing. So does that mean I’ve already won the lottery? Like I don’t know. It was just this whole theme around what is enough and what is my ideal lifestyle, and I realized this is it.
Like I absolutely love what I do and I feel so lucky and privileged to be able to do it. I worked hard to get to where I want, and I could go bigger and bolder and have tons more revenue and tons more clients and tons more team and accountability and responsibility, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I have to live and breathe the values that I have around freedom and adventure.
So that was a bit of an aha moment. Sometimes I have to kind of like pinch myself and go, “Hey, remember you’re lucky. You’re living the dream and you’re doing exactly what you want.” Sometimes I think people forget that. They never are satisfied with what they have, and they’re always living in the future, rather than enjoying the present.
John Lee Dumas: Well, I congratulate you for reaching that moment. That’s a great place to be and you obviously have many more years to enjoy that moment.
Natalie Sisson: I hope so [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] So Natalie, you are rocking and rolling in your current business, as you were just chatting about, and it’s such an exciting place to be, just feeling so good about what you’re doing and the value you’re adding to other people’s lives. What’s one thing that’s really working exciting you about your business today?
Natalie Sisson: Oh, right now? I think it’s that there are just so many possibilities and ways for people to do just what I’m doing, or in their own unique ways. So I think we’ve never lived in a more exciting time for having a business that you can take anywhere with you, for using online tools, social media and technology to be completely flexible and mobile, and I’m really, really looking forward to the day when corporates are recognizing that more and allowing people in 9 to 5 jobs to be able to work remotely from home, from cafes, and actually be more productive and effective. I’m looking forward to seeing nimble businesses like ours being able to take on the corporate giants, which I think they can already do just by economies of scale and the technologies that are available to us.
Then I’m really looking forward to, not only in my business, but in general, people adopting more of this lifestyle-based business where it is about lifestyle as much as it is about doing work that you love. I think there’s too much stress in the world right now. There are too many people who are addicted to being online and connected 24/7, and I think we’re going to see a bit of a rebellion and backlash to that, and I hope that that is going to be about living a more balanced lifestyle.
So what excites me the most is I guess possibilities. It’s always about possibilities. Then in my particular current moment in business, it’s my $100 Change Initiative that I’ve pulled together to inspire more people to just take action, which we talked about in the beginning of this. Then start. Like start on their project or their initiative or their business that they’ve always wanted to start on and have put in the someday pile.
So that’s what my $100 Change Initiative is all about. It’s based off Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Startup. I’m just really loving the energy and the possibilities and the momentum that that’s bringing to me personally right now, and will to my business, and hopefully many other people’s.
John Lee Dumas: So Natalie, being the suitcase entrepreneur, this next question may be more difficult for you to answer than for most people, but at EntrepreneurOnFire, we really try to pull back the curtain of what an entrepreneur is because it’s a mystery to so many people, and that’s kind of one thing that’s holding them back. They just can’t imagine what an entrepreneur does day-to-day.
Especially for you. You probably rarely have two days that are identically the same as you’re traveling around different places, different experiences, but we still come back to the commonalities that we all are doing every single day or multiple times per day. Can you just pull out two tasks that seem to occupy a large part of your day?
Natalie Sisson: I think I’d like to focus on two tasks that I use every single day or I do every single day that bring me one step closer to having a more successful business and lifestyle.
John Lee Dumas: Perfect.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] I think the two would be around focusing on the top two priorities of the day, and they are normally around producing epic content or media that is going to reach out and help a lot more people. For example, working on a podcast episode, working on some fantastic blog post to go out, or working on video content, always, always, always related to the defining theme of The Suitcase Entrepreneur brand.
Then the second thing behind that would be offering value to others and helping others. It may sound really naff, but I’ve noticed when I’m consumed of my own world, that’s when I tend to get stuck in and it doesn’t bring a lot of benefit. The minute I start thinking about, well, who else can I reach out to today and help, or who can I send a thank you note to, a quick hello, or send a link to a blog to that person that they’d probably really appreciate?
So I would say the second most important task is – I don’t know if you want to call that networking, but I would say it’s building relationships because…
John Lee Dumas: Engaging.
Natalie Sisson: Exactly. Every single thing that you do every day always comes back to you in some way. The person you helped out yesterday, the person you’re reaching out to today, the person you’re mentoring, the person mentoring you. It’s just always about nurturing and building the key relationships.
I’m not talking about necessarily social media ones. For sure, your community is very important, but just some of those meaningful relationships that you want to deepen and really get the most out of. I think if you can invest your time on anything, it would be on creating great content and value for others, and then creating more opportunities and value for others through interactions.
John Lee Dumas: So Natalie, you just said that you are really excited about the place that we’re at right now in the online world. It’s a very exciting time, and I could not agree with you more for a number of reasons. What is the vision you have for the future? What’s exciting you about the future of this online world and of Suitcase Entrepreneur?
Natalie Sisson: Oh. I am really, really looking forward to it becoming more mainstream. That might sound really odd because it might doom me out of the business, but I was writing my book proposal the other day and the publishing house who asked me to write it just didn’t quite get it. So they came to me going, “We love the concept of what you’re doing. Write a book proposal.”
Then when they went through it, they’re like, “We’re just not sure people are ready for this, Natalie. We’re not sure that people can really live just in the online world and have a truly virtual business.” I was laughing because I was like, “You know what? Five years ago, Tim Ferriss wrote The 4-Hour Workweek. And ever since then, there’s just been this multitude and plethora of books and content and blogs and websites popping up about people doing this very, very thing.”
John Lee Dumas: Well, let me cut in here real quick, Natalie, because that was the first thing that popped up in my mind too, was Tim Ferriss. A little FYI for the listeners, he went to 30 publishers, all of which turned him down for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has since led to a revolution. Then finally, number 31 gave it a go, and we all know what’s happened since then.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] Exactly.
John Lee Dumas: I mean your publisher is either behind the times or needs to get with it, or you need to find another one because these are the times.
Natalie Sisson: Yes. I wrote back to them, “Thank you so much for your time and your valued input, and you’re clearly not the publisher for me.” Not in a horrible way, but honestly, you want to be working with people who get what you’re doing and see the potential. So yes, that was pretty funny.
So for me, I’d love to see it becoming more mainstream. I find it so frustrating when I meet people who are so trapped in the current situation, they’ve got themselves into massive debt, mortgages, car repayments, everything, and all they’ve ever wanted to do was just kind of like travel the world or work from home or work from cafes, and just have more freedom, right? They’ve dug themselves into this hole and they don’t think it’s possible to do it. I just want to bring those barriers down and show them that that’s not true at all.
So I would love to see more people working the way I do or working in a more flexible, mobile way. That’s my vision for the future, and I think it’s entirely possible. I’m not a fan of corporates at all, and I’m not a fan of bureaucracy and politics. So for me, it’s all about living your best life because we have very limited time on this earth, so we’ve got to make the most of it.
John Lee Dumas: That is an inspiring mission and I will join you fully with that.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs] Thank you.
John Lee Dumas: I’ve recently had Adam Baker on the show with Man Vs. Debt. So when you’re talking about how people have found themselves in these traps, the thing is is that a trap is really all within your mind as well, and he really just could not say it better. So I won’t even try to, but basically, they found themselves in this horrible trap and they forced themselves out of it. They didn’t let any excuse get in their way.
They had just had a baby. They had a two week old baby. They were $80,000.00 in debt. They focused for one year and made it happen. Sold everything and went backpacking throughout your country, the New Zealand, Australia, and then just continued to live their life. They would not let themselves be “trapped.” So he’s a great inspiration for people that want to reach out that find themselves in that situation. ManVsDebt.com is a great place to be.
So let’s go into the final round, which is the Lightning Round. This is actually my favorite part of the show because I’m able to ask you a series of questions and you’re going to come back with some amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Natalie Sisson: Okay. Let’s do it.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: What was the number one thing that was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Natalie Sisson: My limited mindset that I couldn’t do it. That I didn’t have enough knowledge, that I didn’t have enough expertise and nobody would really want to learn from me. It’s a lot of bull [Laughs]. You are your best asset. You can do it at any time, and you always know something that somebody else would really like to know.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Natalie Sisson: Well, I don’t know if it was from somebody directly to me, but I love, love, love Oscar Wilde’s quote, which is “just be yourself because everyone else is taken.” When I forget that, I tend to become somebody else and I’m never successful at what I’m doing. So always, always be true to yourself.
John Lee Dumas: Love that. What is something that’s working for you or The Suitcase Entrepreneur right now?
Natalie Sisson: I think being – well, actually, just speaking my mind of being opinionated. I didn’t do that for the longest time, I think. I think the more authentic you can be – I know people talk about authenticism all the time – but just be yourself, once again. Have a strong opinion. Really, really live up to your values. Focus in on your value proposition and what you love doing, and that will come back to you as many ways as it possibly can and you’ll be able to influence many other people.
John Lee Dumas: Alright. You left a hook for us earlier in the show, so I’m excited for this next one. What is the best business book that you’ve read in the last six months?
Natalie Sisson: There have been a few, but I’m currently still reading – and I should have read it years ago – “Rework,” which is by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson, the guys behind 37signals. Basically, it’s change the way you work forever, and I just love it. Like every single page I’m reading, I’m like, “Aha, aha, aha, that’s how I think.” They have absolutely flipped the – I guess they’ve flipped the model around and they’ve totally challenged you to view being an entrepreneur and being in business in a totally different way than anybody else. So I would suggest you get a copy of Rework.
John Lee Dumas: I love that book, and their software – Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack – all inspire. They’re all meant for the solopreneur. That person that just wants to be on the move and collaborate with people around the world. Phenomenal people.
Natalie Sisson: Yes, yes. Amazing.
John Lee Dumas: So this last question is my favorite, but it’s kind of a tricky one. So you can take your time, digest it, and then come back at us with an answer.
If you woke up tomorrow morning and you still had all the experience, knowledge and money that you currently have today, but your business had completely disappeared, leaving you essentially with a clean slate, which is exactly where a lot of our listeners find themselves right now, what would you do in the next seven days?
Natalie Sisson: Wow! That’s a great question. Oh, I had seven days? [Laughs] I’d go on a holiday, of course. I would.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Natalie Sisson: Well, in some ways, I probably would. If I had all the knowledge and experience that I have today, I would probably just go, what is one of the craziest things that I’ve always wanted to do, and just make it happen. I don’t care if you have to take on alone or borrow money from your friends, etcetera, but go to those people who know you so well and believe in you. Go and do that crazy thing that you’ve always had on your mind because I love the quote as well, which is “when would now be a good time to start?” If there’s one thing you can never start soon enough, or whatever that is.
So I would go after the very biggest, boldest thing that you’ve ever done because even if you fall flat on your face, once again, you’ve still got foundations that you can build on. You’ve still got people who love you no matter what, and you’ve still got the skills and talents to go out and do it again, and do it again, and do it again, until you hit on that formula for success.
So I personally would probably go on an around the world trip and create some crazy product or program out of it. Like I would literally just fly by seat of my pants and conduct interviews on planes and take footage on planes, and turn it into something that people could really benefit from. That sounds like fun, actually. Maybe I should just go and do that.
John Lee Dumas: I would expect no other answer from the suitcase entrepreneur, Natalie.
Natalie Sisson: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: So thank you for that, and honestly, thank you for joining us today. You’ve given us some great actionable advice, and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one last piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Natalie Sisson: Oh, last piece of guidance? Don’t ever stop having fun [Laughs]. It’s too easy when you’re an entrepreneur to just get bogged down by all the details and things you think you have to do, but if you went into business, you went into it because you were passionate about what you were doing. You loved it and you wanted to have more fun. So don’t ever, ever forget the fun.
Then a little plug. I would love for you to support the $100 Change Initiative. You can find it over at SuitcaseEntrepreneur.com/change. Essentially, we pulled together 100 amazing change makers from around the world to give 100 days of wisdom and insight for $100.00, and that’s all being reinvested back into 10 scholarships.
So it’s all about giving back to entrepreneurs – probably the people who are listening to this right now – and it’s based around the premise of that you can actually start something pretty special for just $100.00.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome, Natalie. Thank you again so much, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Natalie Sisson: Thank you, John.