Madonna has truly mastered the art of reinvention, so when a friend told me she was coming on the Graham Norton show this weekend, I stuck around to watch her segment.
I couldn’t recall the last time I’d seen Madonna speak and was intrigued to see what she would deliver.
Naturally, she didn’t disappoint.
She walked on stage wearing an eye patch and a sexy number which had her boobs almost falling out of her corset (a wardrobe malfunction I’m sure she would not be thrilled with knowing about since she controls her image with immense care).
Yet her star power was undeniable, and the guests on the couch alongside her were left to sit quietly as she answered Graham’s questions with mystique, cheekiness, strength and an appropriate amount of intrigue.
She has just launched a new album and is going on tour at the age of 60 years old!
This in itself is a huge testament to her longevity, creativity and ability to keep on changing with the times and reinventing herself, to not only survive in a super competitive market dominated by teenagers, but to thrive in it for over four decades.
Reinvention is a necessity to remain relevant
In the past few months, several of my friends compared me to Madonna – not because I like to sing and dance to 80s music (which I really do) or because I wear sexually enticing outfits (I don’t), but because they said I’m always reinventing myself.
I have to admit I was surprised by this as I personally couldn’t see it, and so they explained to me that I had successfully, in their eyes, morphed from corporate career girl to Tech CoFounder to blogger, to being The Suitcase Entrepreneur with relative ease over the last 10 years.
And that when I returned home to New Zealand in late 2016, I apparently made it look easy to morph into being a brand …ME here on nataliesisson.com
Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In my world I’ve been through a two year long metamorphosis filled with doubt, fear, curiosity, joy and exasperation.
If you’ve listened to my podcast or read my blog post on When Too Much Change is Dangerous, you’ll know that I did a 180 degree life flip that entailed going from:
- Constant full-time travel out of my suitcase to living in one house, with no international travel for the first three months of being back in New Zealand.
- Being single in December to a loving full-time relationship, moving in together in my apartment for a few months, to then buying a house together, creating joint bank accounts and taking on this beautiful property – Josh’s first ever property ownership.
- Zero responsibility to having this mortgage, getting a puppy a week after moving in and five chickens the week after.
- Owning so little stuff to having to furnish a 369 sqm house with four bedrooms and two living rooms in just a few weeks. (People who visit us now say how it looks like we’ve lived here for years).
- Having a full on business period, getting it ready for my sabbatical and writing the Freedom Plan book manuscript which I finished on March 30th, to NOT working.
- Eternal summers traveling the world to my first ever autumn (fall) and winter. And that was probably the biggest kicker – I hate being cold.
Thankfully I’m almost 2.5 years down the track and LOVING life, but it hasn’t been an easy journey and what surprised me most, was an event that happened in late October 2018.
The untold story I’ve kept ..until now.
Not long after a pretty successful book launch of the Freedom Plan (audio book coming out this month!!), I also relaunched my most successful course ever of the same name that, to date, netted me over US$500,000 in sales – which still blows my mind to this day.
Except this time, I decided to totally redesign it and upgrade it to better align with my new book and to be more focused on how to work less through systems, outsourcing and clever sales funnels.
It catered to an experienced business owner wanting more freedom – the folks I wanted to work with as I could see them experiencing burn out and overwhelm and I truly wanted to help them.
Yet in doing so, I overlooked the majority of my community I’d lovingly built up over the years, who in reality, were still wanting to build their online business, learn how to earn more money and gain financial freedom.
The launch result?
I failed in an epic way.
That hurt, a lot. I cried in the final days of launch and sat there in disbelief as literally nothing happened – at least that’s what it felt like.
It caused me to doubt everything I thought I knew and was really good at, built up over nine years of business.
I was in shock. I was numb. I felt like a fraud.
The facts didn’t help either. I’d spent too much money, hired too many people and ended up handing over most of the things I’m great at, and got stuck with managing people, logistics and operations.
Along with that, I had not listened to my intuition and how I felt energetically, and forged on regardless as I wanted to stay true to my word and launch this course I said I would – damn upholder in me!
(Check out The Four Tendencies Quiz I talk about in my book to know what I’m referring to).
When I did my launch analysis, which I do faithfully every time, it wasn’t as bad as I thought but the damage was done. My confidence was knocked and I wasn’t bouncing back like I normally do.
Can you relate?
I was desperately trying to find the lesson in the failure as a good entrepreneur will always do that, but I was taking it way too personally.
After almost a decade it felt like I’d made a rookie error and it had cost me more than just money and a bruised ego.
The truth was I wanted to quit my business.
Deep down I was quite tired of my business. I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit this. For most of my business journey I’ve loved every aspect of my business, but there’s only so long one can continue to talk about the same thing all the time, before they don’t get a little bored, stifled or jaded.
Despite continuing to learn I had gotten comfortable in my knowledge and expertise and was looking for a challenge. Most of the time I had managed to find that within and apply it to my journey and clients.
But with all the life changed I’d experienced, and the time off I had taken from my business in 2017, I had never really found my flow again and I felt like I was holding onto something that I wasn’t passionate about anymore.
Josh and I headed away on a break to sunny Gisborne that December, and had some long walks and talks on the beach to explore my options, how I was feeling and what would make me happy.
While he had utter faith in me and felt it was just a minor setback, I wasn’t so sure.
One of the options that had come up was taking on a contract to experience the things I was missing as an entrepreneur:
- Being part of a physical team (not just virtual)
- Not having to lead and manage everything all the time
- Experiencing being part of someone else’s business and to learn from them
- Have a consistent income while I bounced back
- Getting into the city so I wasn’t so isolated out at our rural lifestyle property
- Be energized by the city vibe and socializing and;
- Getting some structure back in my day
We used our own Life Pilot system and a Seasonal Dreaming session – which we do each quarter, to share our hopes and dreams across the eight areas of life we value most highly and by the end of that week away I had a plan.
I’d looked at job websites, which I happen to know every great business owner will look at even when things are going well, and wasn’t impressed.
Job descriptions made me yawn and sounded so formulaic or stifling and salaries seemed on the low end compared to what I know I can make in my business – but that wasn’t the key criteria – if I was referring to my criteria in the bullet points above.
Then I saw a role of Learning Designer, that I didn’t realize existed, yet wasn’t dissimilar to what I had learned and applied in launching online courses and designing curriculum’s to educate people.
I then sent possibly the worst email to a recruitment person ever that went like this:
Very keen to learn more about your freelance opportunities for learning designers.
I’ve developed many curriculum’s for online courses in my own business and am known for making the complex simple and breaking things down into bite sized content that is practical and implementable.
Naturally she asked for more details including my CV, which I then sat on for a while until I replied again, rather nonchalantly with this response:
I’ve realized I’m not going to create a CV anytime soon. I just know after 8 years of creating, building and running online courses, events and retreats that this is my sweetspot of what I do well.
My LinkedIn profile is here www.linkedin.com/in/nataliesisson/
Understand if this is not conventional for you
This resulted in her Googling me where everything I have ever done is publicly available to see – proof of what I’m capable of, calling me up and having a good chat.
She saw an opportunity and my potential and took a chance on me.
A week later I was having an informal coffee with the CEO even though there was no role for me and less than a week later I had a job offer and a start date in 10 days time!
As you can imagine this wasn’t quite how I anticipated it happening but I took the leap.
Strike forward almost five months and I can hand on heart say it’s been the best thing for me.
Within Constraints Exists True Freedom
My working week went from working on my business anytime to having only Monday as my One Day a Week business day and Tuesday – Friday working at Inspire Group in the city including a remote day at home.
In and around that – yes even some evenings and weekends, I did paid consulting for four gigs I’d inadvertently picked up since January after volunteering my time to help these purpose driven companies, plus working with a few coaching clients.
I was truly living in the GIG Economy and am tapping into Future of Work by doing this.
If you’re wondering, YES I was at capacity!
For the first time in a decade, after preaching freedom and time off and experiencing that in droves, I was now energized by maximizing every hour I had – plus still having time out in the evenings and weekends AND training for triathlons.
In fact I credit triathlon training for instilling confidence, focus, drive and momentum back into my personal life, along with a self belief and mindset I had been missing, that then overflowed into EVERY area of my life. It’s been remarkable.
I also used all my own tools, systems, content calendar and 1 Page Biz Plan that I teach my clients and are featured in the Freedom Plan book on MYSELF and, low and behold, they worked a treat.
I’m not going to lie commuting via train, car or bike an hour each way into town wasn’t entirely thrilling initially but I used that time to work on my business, contracts, or listen to audio books.
I genuinely enjoy my job, the team and simply being in a different environment, which has allowed me to stretch myself, learn and grow plus take on an entirely different outlook and put myself in other peoples’ shoes.
Then something magical started to happen.
I got my mojo back by returning to being ME!
A combination of fewer hours to work on my business meant I became ultra focused again and started enjoying every aspect of it.
I cut my team down to just me and my Virtual Assistant so that I could get back to more of the doing, and experience what that felt like again.
This brought back fond memories of my hustling days early on in my business and showed me all the things I had almost forgotten I knew how to do. I decided not to outsource anything for a few months and ‘get my hands dirty’ doing all the doing.
This increased my love of all the things I missed or realized I’d lost touch with and things started picking up in my business.
Revitalized energy shows in business and people pick up on it. Before long I was vlogging, podcasting and creating again and getting back to being Natalie, doing all the things I did so well when I started out in business.
I did the analysis, I looked at what had worked all those years before and what I’d stopped doing or needed to stop doing to fully realign with who I was, how I could help people and how I wanted to show up in the world.
Then in June I totally redesigned my own website home page with a brand new look and direction – even though this felt like I took three months to actually get it done.
I was so proud as this is the first website I’ve fully designed by myself. Clean, clear and to the point. Let me know in the comments what you think!
I did this by using the best and easiest WordPress theme I have ever come across, Thrive Architect.
In fact I shot this vlog Thrive Architect – Your Must Have Website Builder Tool to show why it rocks and how to use it to redesign your website.
As you can see by the live demo I give it was before I had learned how to use it fully and well before I’d finished the homepage design – but you’ll appreciate it.
The messaging was clear as I’d been working/ procrastinating on it for months after many conversations with friends, peers and clients, and through a lot of internal introspection.
I listened to my own advice I hammer home to clients all the time:
1. Niche down
2. Keep it simple
I have a tendency to want to offer the world and help people on all fronts and this time I looked back to what I have consistently been doing ALL throughout my career and business – seeing your potential and helping you to monetize it by getting paid to be YOU!
While recording my Freedom Plan audiobook I had two major realizations:
- This book is full of gold nuggets that are damn useful (remember my previous knock to my confidence around the book launch time in October 2018…yeah it had the knock on effect that my book wasn’t good enough either).
- It would work really well to also pull out Chapter 6 on How to Monetise You and turn it into a teaser episode on my podcast, as well as to repurpose it into a standalone audio.
I then went ahead and created my first new freebie (gift you give in return for a person’s email address and trust – AKA optin) in ages – and I’m damn proud of it.
It’s this audio I created accompanied by my brand new amazing step by step guide.
Want to build a kick ass business that lets you create the income and impact you desire? Then download my 'Get Paid to Be YOU' Guide to learn 10 ways to monetize your skills and knowledge and do the work that matters today!
Download my Get Paid to Be YOU Audio and Bonus 9 Step Guide. You'll learn how to combine your knowledge, skills and passions into multiple income streams that amplify your purpose, impact and profit.
I emailed my community, some of which have been following my work since the beginning to share it with them and the response was awesome.
More importantly close friends and peers personally messaged me to say this was completely me and so on point and that I had truly found my sweetspot – the intersection between what you’re good or great at, what you love doing and what people will pay you for and that aligns with your purpose.
Ironic really given this is what I’ve been teaching in courses, my book, podcasts and interviews since…oh you know 2013!
From this I have gotten so much clarity on exactly how I want to help YOU get paid to be YOU and thrive in the future of work.
In fact, I tested my theory around this with a mini launch in June which went amazingly well and helped me appreciate that I was back on track, doing what I do best and how my mission was to help others turn their skills, knowledge and passions into multiple revenue streams.
You’ll see this rolling out in the coming weeks and months, and I hope you’ll like what you see and get to experience it as a result.
But first, let’s recap on the method I used to reinvent myself. Even if you can’t see the method in my madness, it’s all there:
The ‘Natalie Sisson’ Reinvention Method
- Get super honest with yourself when you feel you’re not aligning with your intuition or your energy.
- Throw in an epic failure or an event that makes you stop, reflect and take action – if you really want to create change!
- Reflect back on all the things you know you love, are great at and have been paid well for in the past and compare them to where you’re at now.
- Assess the situation and look at what you need to STOP doing and START doing. This may mean taking on a side hustle, starting a new business, taking on a few gigs that help you upskill and challenge you.
- Talk to good friends, peers and mentors to get an outside perspective too.
- Take definitive steps to be the architect of your own life and design it around what you really want out of life.
I hope there have been some key takeaways in here that you can learn from and apply to your own situation.
Never give up.
Always keep learning.
Trust your gut.
Listen to those who love and know you well.
Embrace the lessons failure teaches you.
Then pick yourself up and reinvent yourself!