Episode 149

Online Business with Nathalie Lussier

November 7, 2017

As creative entrepreneurs with varied interests, it can be difficult to figure out what it is that you want to do in your business. Nathalie Lussier joins us to talk about her journey in moving from one business idea to another, getting feedback along the way, and ultimately building an online business that is fulfilling for herself, her team, and the people she serves.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"It's really important to clean up the things you create over time so that they don't become clutter."
- Nathalie Lussier

Discussed in this Episode

  • How to figure out what you want to do in your business
  • How to move from one business from another
  • The Idea Sanctuary
  • Getting feedback from the marketplace and clients
  • How to figure out what ideas to pursue first
  • The evolution of email list building
  • What can we learn from software engineers about how to run a business?

More from Nathalie Lussier

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Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:01
Hello and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:03
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:07
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Nathalie Lussier 0:09
I'm Natalie Lisa and I'm being boss.

Emily Thompson 0:16
Today we're talking about ideas list building an online business with Natalie Lee ca. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:29
bosses. I did not get into business just to get bogged down by well, business. I knew I wanted to be creative, and I knew I needed help on the business side of things. That's why fresh books cloud accounting was the first piece of software I signed up for to help. I love how visual intuitive and simple it is, while also robust enough to handle my growing accounting needs. It makes invoicing my clients easy and professional and it makes capturing my expenses painless. And it helps me see at a glance where the financial health of my business is and I encourage all of you to try it I personally use it and love it. Try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:22
Natalie, Lucy a is an award winning entrepreneur and international keynote speaker who made her first website at 12. graduating with a software engineering degree and a job offer from Wall Street she turned it down to start her business since founding ambition ally. She's been featured in Inc Fast Company Success Magazine and entrepreneur. She's the creator of the idea sanctuary, a paper planner for creative entrepreneurs with lots of great ideas.

Kathleen Shannon 1:49
Natalie, thank you for joining us on being Boss, I feel like our worlds are constantly like colliding. And it is so cool to finally get to talk to you. Well, the

Nathalie Lussier 2:00
feeling is so mutual, I'm excited to be here.

Kathleen Shannon 2:03
Alright, so tell our listeners, who you are and the work that you do. Awesome. So

Nathalie Lussier 2:09
I am the founder of ambition ally. And it's a tech startup company for ambitious business owners. And we are your allies on the tech side of things. So basically, we help people who want to build memberships, sell online courses, build an email list. And we have a couple of different tools to do that. And who I am as I actually am a software engineer, training University, and then I ended up starting my own business online almost nine years ago now. And so I started selling online courses and kind of learning about marketing. And then I kind of circled back to my software roots. After having done it myself.

Emily Thompson 2:49
Right, you guys go out and learn how to make it do

Kathleen Shannon 2:51
I know I can like feel like I probably started seeing you around whenever you were in that marketing phase. And I would have never guessed I mean, maybe I didn't dig very deep. But I would have never guessed that you were a software engineer.

Nathalie Lussier 3:05
Right. And you know, it was definitely one of those like, I was going going on this path to become a software engineer. And I worked, you know, on Wall Street in Silicon Valley and kind of had all those those internships. And then when I graduated, I was like, You know what, I don't think this is quite for me. And it was mostly the corporate world that wasn't right for me. But I kind of threw out the baby with the bathwater. And I was like, I'm not going to do tech, I'm just going to, you know, start my own business. And, you know, I ended up starting a business about health and nutrition. That was my kind of training business, if you will. And that was just my passion. And you know, started out learning about marketing and building my own website. And from there, people started saying, like, Hey, who built your website? How are you doing all this marketing stuff? And that kind of spiraled into the Natalie VCA kind of marketing side of things, and then full circle back into software. But I never could have gotten to building a software company without having done at first for sure.

Emily Thompson 3:56
So was it about chasing after the idea of being a business owner? Or was being a business owner more of a side product or a side? Not a side product? Wait? A like byproduct? That's what I'm the was that a byproduct of you just making a living in your own way?

Nathalie Lussier 4:18
I think there's definitely some of that. I also had this drive. Like I knew I wanted to have my own business at some point. And I, I had these really big aspirations, like I remember in interviews and stuff, people asking me like, so what do you want to do? And I'd be like, I want to cure cancer. I want to save the world, like I had these big dreams, but then it could never connect with what I was doing in the big picture of things. So when I started my business, I was like, You know what, I'm gonna do something that I care about, which is helping people, you know, be healthier. But I also knew, like, obviously, I need to pay the rent and do all those things. So I kind of figured out okay, well, this needs to be an actual business. I can't just be a nonprofit because Hang on. I'm not quite there yet. So that's kind of how I started that, that first step into the entrepreneurial world.

Kathleen Shannon 5:04
Love that. Alright, speaking of the first step into the entrepreneur world, one of the questions that we get from a lot of our younger bosses, whether they're young in age or kind of making a career shift or new to entrepreneurship, is I know, I'm creative, and I want to work for myself, but I'm not sure what to make my business about, or maybe they don't know which idea to follow, we get the question, what should I do? And I always want to say, I don't know. How do you answer that question?

Nathalie Lussier 5:36
Yeah, I mean, I can share how I came up with what I ended up doing in my business, because that that was exactly what I was wondering, you know, I was fresh out of college. And I was like, I know, I want to start a business, I had read a lot of blogs about, you know, follow your passion and all that stuff. And that's kind of what I ended up doing. But then I realized kind of along the way that you don't want to let go of what you're really talented at and skilled at. And I think a lot of times, kind of following your passion ends up sort of changing, you know, your passions change over time, in your, in your life and in your evolution. And so for me, I was super passionate about health and nutrition, which I still am, but I wasn't really enough to build a business on long term. But I knew obviously technology and and that is definitely something that I have had in my bones for a really long time. Because I've designed websites when I was 12. Like that was something that had never gone away, ever since then. So I would say look at what you're good at, and what you're kind of what comes easily to you, as opposed to what you're currently passionate about. Just because I know that our passions can change, you know, we might be super into crochet, or painting or you know, different things in our lives. And usually, it's something that you've done, since you've been very young, that could really be the foundation for a really great business.

Kathleen Shannon 6:50
Yeah, it sounds like you have a lot of passions. And I think it's so cool that you've let your business really evolve along the way. Was that ever painful for you like that moment where you decided to jump ship or not jumped ship, but you know, leave the Silicon Valley Wall Street world to start a health and wellness business? And then probably closing the door on that chapter? How to be a little bit tricky. How do you navigate those transitions?

Unknown Speaker 7:18

Kathleen Shannon 7:19
and I've,

Nathalie Lussier 7:20
I've noticed that I have those transition transitions. So now I just accept that they come and that I just need to deal with them. There are definitely a lot of things internally in my head about like, oh, what are people going to think when I make this decision and kind of worrying about the outside world? And so sometimes I would, I would just say, Okay, well, if people are following me on this journey, they will come with me from healthy eating into marketing. And a lot of people did it actually, when I made that transition, I got emails and messages to people saying, We're so glad you did this, we were just waiting for you to do this. And the same goes for software, you know, the same, they're like, Oh, we've been waiting for you to do to create something for us. So sometimes it's in our own heads where we imagine people will react badly to the decisions that we're making in the changes that we're making. And obviously, you don't want to completely spring people, you know, spring things on people, you want to give them a journey that that they it makes sense for them to follow on. But, but definitely, it's not as big of a deal as we make it out to be in our own minds. But yeah, definitely, like there was a lot of internal stuff for me to be like, okay, you know, this is working. And I'm going to step back, maybe, you know, there's times where I stopped offering services, I stopped doing a live event, you know, they stopped offering coaching to follow more of our tech business model. So yeah, there are definitely times where I was like, you know, leaving revenue behind to do this. But each time it has definitely paid off because it was it was the right decision. So it was just trusting my gut to do it.

Kathleen Shannon 8:48
Emily, do you have a question?

Emily Thompson 8:52
I needed myself because there was a dog barking that I started talking and realized that you guys couldn't hear Oh, sorry about that. And

Kathleen Shannon 8:58
so you probably thought I was being a real big ass.

Emily Thompson 9:01
Well, no, I know, I realized what I did about you for sure. So I do have a quick question. And that's around those transition phases. Kathleen, and I did an episode just the two of us recently about changing business models, because so many of our people are just like us, and that we start with one thing because we just have this like bug that has bitten us to run a business and then we find that we need to transition into something else and maybe again down the road. And a lot of people have that sort of inner struggle. One of the things that we talked about it was that transition phase and I want to ask you in terms of in terms of how you're not how your customers reacted but almost how long it took your business model to take effect. I got the exact nitty gritty I

Kathleen Shannon 9:53
want to get into like, literally look like to move from one business to another how many months Does it take? Were you freaking out about money? Were you still offering things on the sly? But like re shifting your positioning and brand? Like how literally how does it work?

Nathalie Lussier 10:11
Yeah, great question. I think that I'll just go from, like, the more recent businesses, because those are more clear in my mind. So yeah. So when I was offering still, like masterminds and live events, and coaching and online, a lot of more online courses. Yeah. So I did, there were some things I kept kind of in the in between, and like, what URL

Kathleen Shannon 10:33
and brand was that under?

Nathalie Lussier 10:35
So that was under Natalie lucea.com. Yep. And so we basically launched the ambition ally comm website. So that started, you know, it was live, there wasn't a whole lot of content or a whole lot to see. But you know, we had a product on there, and it was available. So that was our pop up belay plugin. And so we had that going, and then we kind of kept kept the event. So we did our final event. And then we we essentially, how we did it is that instead of offering coaching, I offered a certification on the software side of things. So I kind of kept sort of a similar mix of revenue, if you will, in that way. But it was a different offering. And so that kind of kept the revenue going a little bit longer in sort of that space of things. So that that kind of kept us going a little bit longer. But then I kind of stopped doing the live event. So that immediately reduced some of our workload, but also potential revenue down the line. So that took about a year to kind of take effect because it was a yearly event. So that was like a year of kind of change. But yeah, and then we kind of kept some of our software products, and we've been not software, our training products. And so those we have been slowly phasing out as well. And now we're down to just one offering for our membership sites. So that's something that I would say, probably took two years of like kind of phasing out of more of the training side of things.

Emily Thompson 12:00
Perfect. So this is super good info, thank you very much for sharing that. Because so many people assume that a shift in business model is one where you have a great idea, you change it immediately and done, or, or they get really stressed out whenever you know, 123 months down the road, it hasn't quite taken effect in the way and in the speed that they wanted it to. So thank you for sharing that that transition. While one should be very mindful and intentional can to take a moment. But I think as long as you plan for it well. It's not too painful.

Nathalie Lussier 12:42
Yeah. And you know, there was definitely times where we were like, kind of straddling two things. And it was like, Okay, wait, should we be posting this on Natalie live ca or on ambition Li and there were times where it was like, should people link to this one? Should I talk about that one? So yeah, there's definitely like that kind of in between phase like you mentioned, but the more clear you are internally, I think then it's easier to communicate that to the rest of the world

Emily Thompson 13:04
for sure. And like flipside of that, it doesn't look on the outside half as scattered as you probably feel on the inside.

Unknown Speaker 13:11
Yeah, for sure.

Kathleen Shannon 13:14
Okay, so were there ever any like hard cutoff dates? Like, okay, on this date? We're gonna shut this down. And second question. Whenever you say we who are you talking about?

Nathalie Lussier 13:24
Yes. Okay. So we, my team, and I, but also my husband. So I started the business on my own in 2009. And he joined the company in 2014. So since then, so he's our main developer, we also have another full time developer, and our team is kind of always growing. But basically, when I talk about, we usually include him, but then also other people on my team who have been with us for many years as well. And yeah, and then in terms of hard cutoff dates, I have to say, I'm probably the worst at those because I don't want to, like kill my pretties. You know what I mean? Like, if you've built something, you don't want to get rid of it. So yeah, we've definitely, you know, pick dates where we're like, okay, like this, you know, by this quarter, we're going to have decommissioned or like closed or forwarded the URL or whatever it was. And that definitely made a big difference to because my, my role in the company is creating, it's really hard for me to destroy. But it's important, I actually think it's really important to kind of clean up the things that you create over time so that they don't just like become clutter.

Kathleen Shannon 14:31
Right and even I'm wondering if you experienced this at all, but some of the energetic lingering so even if have you shut any digital products that could have easily just been put into a funnel that you decided to shut down?

Nathalie Lussier 14:43
Yeah, yeah. So our launch a in profit course. So we've been we launched that in 2014, actually, so we had that for a number of years. We refreshed it. We relaunched it a couple times. We put it into a funnel, it was still generating sales, but we realized you know, it's kind of like this open door or We're like a window that's like a little bit drafty. And we knew, like, we wanted to put all of our focus towards the software brand and in our new ideas, sanctuary products, so we were like, okay, and actually, the idea of sanctuary is kind of born out of the launch and profit product, a lot of the content and ideas from it kind of got transferred into that different products. So that was another big realization were like, okay, you know, we would, we would really need to put more energy in this to keep this going. But we would rather have the energy going towards our kind of future as a company.

Kathleen Shannon 15:31
I love that so much that you actually retooled something that was already working for you to be housed into your new brand. So that all of your focus, even you know, your workload, but also the way that you're building a brand is all going into one place. So I'm a little curious going from Natalie, Lucy, a to ambition out ambition, ally, I almost said alley, ambition, ally? Um, was that a little awkward going into, like, from a personal brand to kind of more of an organizational brand? And what has that transition been? Like?

Nathalie Lussier 16:07
Yeah, definitely, in the beginning, ambition ally, just felt like the Natalie show. So there was definitely some times where I was like, wait, I need to take my picture off of this or like, you know, why are we using the exact same colors? Or, you know, so there are definitely times where we had to separate and kind of think through Okay, wait, no, this is not the Natalie show. This is ambition LA, we're a full team. You know, there's a lot of different voices and opinions and kind of people running this show. So yeah, so definitely, there was times in the beginning, where it was pretty much just like an offshoot of Nat lavca. And then, since then, we're actually rebranding again at this as we speak. So that's going to be a new site coming out live again, in the next month or so. So yeah, there's been a lot of evolution and, and kind of fine tuning of the brand, ambition ally, but the idea with the name ally was kind of like, We're your allies. And so that was like, okay, it's not just one person. And so how can we portray that on the site as well?

Emily Thompson 17:06
Love that. And I think this is just so illustrative. illustrative. Yeah, that word of how so many of us creatives fail, especially like, if you have that creative entrepreneurship, there's like, embedded in you, you need to start a business. So you go with like, you know, lowest barrier to entry, you know, for you that was that was health and wellness. Kathleen, you were doing wedding invitations. I was doing I guess websites was no jewelry jewelry was

Kathleen Shannon 17:38
my first I say Don't Don't cry, not the middle. I forgot, I forgot.

Emily Thompson 17:44
Mine was jewelry in the beginning. And then we start to refine and gather the skills and read, I have to ask how much maybe how much like scalability and and business model helped push any changes for you. So for example, for me, selling you know, $10,000 worth of necklaces is very different from selling $10,000 worth of websites website is much easier to get there. So did any of that drive those decisions for you?

Nathalie Lussier 18:17
Yeah, oh, so many, so many times that that made a lot of difference to where I was going to, you know, take the business. And I remember, you know, selling my first info product, my first online course, I knew that I could scale that I knew there was, you know, the market for people who want to be healthy. But I also had kind of just grown a little bit tired of talking about the same things. And so I realized, okay, yeah, so I could switch and kind of do an info product in a different space. But I ended up doing consulting, and also web design as well. Because again, kind of higher price point, and people could see results faster than taking a course and learning how to do something themselves and then waiting for them to implement on it. But I did kind of circle back to the course thing as well. But yeah, and then, you know, there was definitely times where I was like, Okay, I need to scale and also, you know, I had a baby a year and a half ago, almost. So that was a big, you know, scaling moment where I was like, okay, you know, I'm doing a lot of coaching, a lot of retreats, a lot of events. This is great. And I love it. However, I know I'm going to be kind of out of commission for a while and obviously, you know, the business needs to keep running. This is a you know, our full time income for my husband and myself. So there needed to be a different business model to come in there. And I knew I want to leverage other people in the team as well. Because they're all super smart. And you know, they're amazing. So it's not just about like I said, just the Natalie show, I want it to be everybody to to be able to contribute and kind of move things forward in the business. So definitely the software made a lot of sense for us to scale. You know, we have full time customer support. We have other people who can write and kind of teach and do other things in the business and Mark Yeah, so it's it's made a big difference for sure.

Kathleen Shannon 20:04
I want to come around to the idea of sanctuary, I got the coolest notebook in the mail. So tell us a little bit more about the idea of sanctuary. Is it just a notebook? Or does it go beyond that?

Nathalie Lussier 20:15
Yeah, so it's a paper planner. And there's also a virtual element to it. So it's a 10 day kind of process that you go through online with little videos, that ties back into the paper planner, but it's basically, you know, my gift to creative entrepreneurs are kind of what I wish I had when I was starting my business, because some people have a lot of ideas, myself included. And it's really hard sometimes to decide which idea to pursue, or maybe, you know, this is the idea, but you need to kind of fine tune it a little bit and massage it and polish it and do all that stuff before you kind of put it out into the world. And before it really takes on a life of its own. And a lot of times, we kind of missed the step between idea and results. So there's a lot that goes on in between those. And so this, this paper planner was kind of all the exercises, all the things that we do with our ideas to make sure they're viable to make sure they're going to be profitable. And also to launch them with a big thing.

Emily Thompson 21:12
Right? Cuz I mean, even as windy as like our paths may look, there's a lot of discernment, I think that comes into only having four businesses in the past five years, or whatever it may be, because it could have been 25 businesses in the past like five years. So So I love this, I love this idea of giving structure to the process of ideation, this idea of collecting all of these ideas, because God knows we all have a million of them. And really having a process for helping you pin down which one needs action now, and sort of how to curate it into into something that can become a viable thing in the world.

Nathalie Lussier 21:57
Yeah, and I think sometimes we kind of work on our ideas in isolation, or kind of in a vacuum, and we're like, oh, it's gonna be so awesome. But then different things can kind of throw us off course, maybe we find a competitor who's already doing something similar. Or, like maybe we we see like, oh, like maybe that's the next thing. And so we're kind of ahead of the curve a little bit. But we don't necessarily talk to potential customers, which I think a lot of times is the missing piece. For us, when we're evaluating an idea or product or something that we want to launch a service, whatever it is. And so we do in this planner, we kind of go through some of those exercises to kind of get you outside your comfort zone. And then really kind of keep the momentum going. Because what can also happen is somebody could be super excited about their idea, and then they kind of lose steam. And then it kind of falls by the wayside. And it doesn't happen. And I've had that happen to like so many times with great ideas. And then you see somebody else launch it, and you're like, Oh, crap, I have that idea. So I just wanted to kind of help people who have these things and who maybe are, you know, they noticed that about themselves, and they're ready to make their ideas happen.

Kathleen Shannon 23:06
So I've had a couple of ideas work out really well, starting a branding agency with my sister. That's an idea that's gone splendidly. And it continues to grow. Starting a podcast with Emily, that was actually Emily's idea. But I joined along for the ride

Emily Thompson 23:23
what it is,

Kathleen Shannon 23:25
together at this point, three years later,

Unknown Speaker 23:27
yeah, it's not my fault anymore.

Kathleen Shannon 23:29
It's been incredibly successful. And I've also had some ideas completely fall flat on their face, like embarrassing getting featured, and then shutting it down kind of embarrassing failures of ideas. I've also had ideas that just never even made it out of the page of my notebook. So I'm feeling a little freaked out about like, which idea to follow, and which not because having had some really successful ones, you almost want to think every idea is going to be a success, but having some that have failed, you think it's just gonna be a failure. I know that there's probably some middle ground, but I guess what I really want to ask you is how do you know which ideas to follow? Or what would you advise to people? And when it comes to whether or not follow an idea?

Nathalie Lussier 24:16
Great question. I think sometimes, you know, definitely doing some of that work, like talking to potential customers to make sure you're on the right track. And if they'd be actually willing to pay money or if they're kind of like, Oh, that's a great idea, good job, but they're just kind of saying it to be nice, you know, you don't want to make sure you have the right, the right feedback from the marketplace, if you will. But then also, you know, identify

Kathleen Shannon 24:37
a question, sorry, we'll get back into this dig into the feedback from the marketplace because it's kind of feels a little like focus grouping, which I don't know I can wholeheartedly get on board with but I'm willing to have my mind change. I'm not trying to like confront you on this. I just feel like anytime I come to potential customers with idea or like, you know, my mom and dad like hey, I'm gonna start a business. They're freaked out. And they say no, just go get a job with health insurance. And so do you ever feel like whenever you're in that ideation phase, and the idea isn't fully formed, like, I think that part of bringing people on board is making it real for them. So have you already invested in I don't know, branding it or coming up with a business model, or really positioning an owl before you share it with his potential customer base?

Nathalie Lussier 25:23
Usually No. So what I prefer and also, I do not recommend talking about it with their friends or family, because they're not your ideal customers most of the time. And I've had that too, where I'd be like, Hey, you know, like, I go to my parents or my friends, and like, I'm about to watch this thing. And they'd be like, whatever. Or like, good, good job, dear. But that's not what you want. You want real people who could actually give you money? So yeah, I definitely have not invested or like bought the domain or any of that stuff for whatever it is, you're going to do.

Emily Thompson 25:52
I always buy the domain way. hand up their AI owns and ridiculous domains, guys just just gonna say, Yes,

Nathalie Lussier 26:00
I have some stories about that, too, for sure. But yeah, so basically, at this point, it's really more of an exploration. So you kind of know which direction you're going in. And usually, you're not even talking about your product or service, you're asking, asking other questions about them about their situation about maybe their struggles, or things that they've tried before that didn't work so that you know, what you could do differently with your offering in your product. So you're not necessarily coming to them saying like, Hey, you know, would you you know, would you sign up for this at this point, you're really kind of getting to know them a little bit better. And I think that's kind of a big differentiator to kind of focus group stuff. Because I think that kind of building something by consensus is not going to work. And and, you know, every time we've tried to do something like that, in our business, it just completely just gets so bland and terrible. So I do not recommend that. Right. Okay.

Kathleen Shannon 26:53
Thank you for that, you know, clarification between, I don't know, asking for permission, and really getting to know your dream customer a little bit better. I love that wedge. Okay, so keep going down that train of thought of whether or not this is a good idea, and how to know what follow through with.

Nathalie Lussier 27:10
Awesome, yes. So another thing I also recommend is looking at kind of the ecosystem of what else is already out there. And a lot of times, you know, we think, oh, somebody's already done this, I don't want to do this. But usually, that's actually a sign that there might be a market for it. So you know, if you look at a bookshelf in a bookstore, if there is like 10 books, or 30 books on a topic, then probably people are buying books about this topic. And it's the same for an online course, or whatever it is that you're launching a website or a service or anything like that, if there are other people make hits in that kind of business or market, then probably there are people, you know, purchasing and signing up for that kind of stuff. So that's actually not a deterrent. That's a good sign. And then also looking for your allies. So in addition, I we always try to think about our allies and just thinking about, like, who could you partner with, or who would be a good person to kind of spread the word or even, you know, be a partner like, like you guys, you know, whether it's a podcast or a course, or something that you could do together, so that you're not going it alone, and kind of letting the idea wither on the vine, or kind of not make it into the real world. So there's a kind of the three pronged approaches that I like to recommend.

Unknown Speaker 28:24
Love, wonderful. I know

Emily Thompson 28:26
well, in just thinking of all the ideas all because we do we have tons of them, whether it's an Iran to go down what they all could be, because I was going to start telling secrets about myself. But but it is a problem. And I think if you can give a process to having ideas, and how it is that you figure out which ones to go out, the overwhelm of your ideas are dissipated, because what we do see more often than not, is really great creatives who have some really great ideas, who let the number of ideas they have overwhelm them into not pursuing any of them. But if you can just take some very small, relatively non committal steps to test the ideas that you have to see which ones stick and which won't. You are taking action, and that's what everyone craves.

Nathalie Lussier 29:19
Yeah, and along those same lines, if you do have too many ideas, all kind of competing. The other thing I like to use this to evaluate, like what's going to get you money in the door sooner, right? Especially if you're trying to make this a viable business that's profitable, and kind of replacing another income or whatever it is. And, you know, kind of going back to that business model talk that we've been doing, you know, what is going to bring you closer to the dollars faster, or what's easier for you to create. So those are kind of the two pieces. So if it's going to take you like you know, 10 years to do this thing, then obviously that's probably not the best business to be focusing on right now. But if it's going to be relatively quick for you to get that up and running, get it going If you have the skill, maybe you know that people who can help you build something or whatnot, that's usually a good sign. And obviously the money too. So if you know there's a viable, you know, people are paying money for this, then that will also help you move faster and and also think that success builds upon itself, right? It's like a success spiral. When you get something working that's going well, you can evolve it and kind of grow it, but it's just going to keep getting easier as you go along.

Kathleen Shannon 30:28
Yes. So have you found that the tech side of things is often a idea deterrent or an idea roadblock? Is that why you created ambition? ally?

Nathalie Lussier 30:39
Yeah, exactly. That's, that's pretty much what we found is that so many times, I be like, Oh, it's so easy. You just and then like, Oh, wait, yeah, there's actually a lot involved in making this happen. And a lot of times, you know, people would ask me, oh, how, you know, what tool did you use to do this? And I usually have to answer Well, I had to custom code that or, you know, you need to know, CSS or HTML or something else that, you know, you're gonna have to either spend a lot of time learning or potentially outsource. And that can also just add some friction to getting something out there. So a lot of the tools that we created, we tried to make them obviously flexible enough for developers, but designed for people who are more interested in aesthetics and marketing and getting something out the door quickly, with as few clicks as possible. That's generally how we like to do it. And you know, even for me, like I can code stuff, but I would much rather not, I would much rather just get it out the door, work on the stuff that I'm, you know, really good at, and, and just not spend hours and hours, kind of fiddling with tech stuff and all kinds of stuff. So absolutely, that's, that's really kind of our big mission is to make it easier for people to, you know, get to their destination and make things happen. And we like to say we make their ideas a reality with with our tech tools.

Emily Thompson 31:56
Yeah, as a web designer, for creatives who wanted to start businesses, one of the things and one of the things I still kind of hold true is that if you want to run an online business, you need to know at least how to use paragraph tags, like right, super basic HTML things that I think would behoove any online entrepreneur to know. But I do absolutely love how as online business, and just the internet is growing up a lot, actually, I guess, how there are so many more tools available now than there were four or five years ago, definitely 10 years ago, in terms of allowing us to more easily build these online based businesses without having to know how to develop anything. Absolutely. I

Nathalie Lussier 32:45
mean, it's it's crazy how quickly technology changes. And I think that, you know, it's kind of like just making it easier and easier for all of us to do business and to do the stuff that we love to do to teach what we teach, and share what we want to share and even to connect other people. I think that's the other beauty of the internet is that, you know, we're not doing this on our own. We have other people, we have amazing communities like that being vast community. And it's just cool to be able to use the internet to do all of the stuff that we couldn't have done, you know, like, my parents wouldn't have been able to have an online business, right. So it's kind of amazing how this, how this all happening.

Kathleen Shannon 33:23
I know Emily and I have often had the conversation where it feels like everybody is doing this thing. We live in this online world. But we're really the pioneers. Like we're the first generation of women who are really making an online business happen. So I just feel like it's so cool and special that we're in this time. And there's still so much to dissect and experiment with and play with. I want to go back to the idea of getting something out the door. And something I often like to say is make $100 today, just if you can just make $100 a day, it kind of gets you down that success spiral, right. And I think one of the easiest ways to do that is to send a freakin email. So it's great if you have like a tricked out website. And there's some cool tech behind it. And everything is sophisticated and beautiful. But really what it takes to create an online business is one email many times and you are known for helping people build their lists. And this is a conversation that is not going away. Email is not going away. So do you have any and this kind of side tangent, but do you have any advice? Or tips for list building? What have you seen change even in the past couple years and when it comes to list building?

Nathalie Lussier 34:38
Yeah, I mean, like, I totally agree with you that list building is not going away. A lot of times people think oh, well just focus on social media. But email is still, you know, converts way better for sales people still check their email in bed first thing in the morning. So there's definitely ways that email works really, really well. And I also feel like it's a more personal connection because you are in someone's inbox, and they kind of invited you there. So yeah, in terms of what has changed, for list building, I've definitely seen a lot of evolution of especially opt in gifts or often opt in freebies. And I think that that is still key, I think that if you want to get people on your email list, you can't just say join my newsletter, because there's no incentive, and there's no reason for people to just get more email in their inbox, it's probably already busy enough in there. So what you want to do is you want to give something of value. And, you know, I've seen people give all kinds of things, you know, mp3, PDFs, videos, all kinds of discounts, all kinds of things to kind of entice people on their email list. And what I'm seeing that works really, really well are free courses. And the reason I think that works so well, and we kind of call that the login opt in strategies, they get people to, you know, opt into your email list, but then they get to login to a part of your membership site for free, and kind of see what else you have available there, which is a great way to kind of entice them to to sign up for more stuff. But what why I think people really value the free course is that, you know, they might find free information on a blog post or somewhere else on the web. But it's usually organized in a really easy to digest method. And I think that is what we value, you know, we're so busy, we need somebody to kind of like break it down for us make it easy to absorb, make it easy to implement or take action on. And that's what usually a course can do for someone. So I really think that's huge. And it doesn't have to be a video course, it could be just an email sequence. Or it could be really any format, I think the format is not as important as the content and how you talk about it. So you know, I've seen people do challenges, do you know, our 30 day List Building Challenge has done very well. I've seen people do it as checklists or other things, it doesn't really matter as long as the topic and the content is really key.

Kathleen Shannon 36:51
So if someone went in to build their list in 30 days, like long with an opt in gift, like how would you suggest they focus their efforts to actually make that happen?

Nathalie Lussier 37:02
Yes, so. So if they have their opt in gift already, then then at that point, it's all about getting people to find out about it and getting people over to their website. And depending on what their skill sets are. So some people love blogging. So I would say maybe guest posting on other people's blogs is a great way to get seen on bigger websites, some people love talking, so then maybe being a guest on podcasts would be a great way to get people back to their websites. Some people, maybe they have a budget, so they could afford to do Facebook ads, or Pinterest ads or other types of advertising. Maybe Google AdWords as well, there's kind of different avenues you can go there. But basically, from that point on, it's really figuring out what your outreach strategy is going to be. And usually it's about connecting to other people's audiences, as opposed to trying to build it from scratch somehow. So you know, some things that used to work a lot in back in the day, which I think is still pretty effective is to comment on other people's blog posts, and to kind of get to know them, that also works inside of Facebook groups or inside of other communities that other people have built and just kind of, you know, be a good citizen, you know, give great feedback and comments, and people will naturally come and check you out as well.

Kathleen Shannon 38:15
It always comes back to that organic content and just being a good person. Pretty much yeah.

Emily Thompson 38:23
Basically good. I wish more things came back down to that person.

Unknown Speaker 38:28
That's a great point.

Kathleen Shannon 38:31
Okay, I'm also curious, and you might be like too, inside of it to be able to answer this question. But I'm curious about your software engineering background. And if there were like three things that you have in your engineering brain that you apply to creative entrepreneurship, like what are those three things that we could learn from a software engineer to run our businesses a little bit better?

Nathalie Lussier 38:55
That's a juicy question. Yeah. So I mean, I definitely like thinking about things in terms of quarters a lot. So like, quarterly goals, quarterly priorities, and then kind of reverse engineering those goals back to what we can actually do on a daily basis, or whether it's a project. So yeah, like, you know, if you have a numbers goal for new subscribers, or number of sales or number of clients that you can take on in any quarter, then just thinking about like, Okay, how many does that break down to on a weekly basis? And then how many of those emails Do you have to set into or how many other things activities do you need to do? And then same thing goes for for traffic and conversions. You know, what does that look like? I'm a huge fan of Google Analytics. So I love taking a look at you know, what people are doing on our website? What pages are the ones that get people to opt in the most which, you know, which sites or which pages come through the search engines the most and how can we optimize those so that they're, you know, attracting the right people and also converting them to our email lists or products so that they can have daily sales in our business. So how many daily sales? Are you getting? How can you move that needle forward? And those are kind of some of the things I would say. The other thing that's kind of not suffer engineering related, but I did learn a lot in the software space was really kind of how to listen to your customers, and how to filter, like feature requests, if you will, you know, some people might say, like, Oh, I wish you could do X, Y, Z, or like, you know, why don't you do a retreat in Costa Rica? Or why don't you do something or another. And so just being able to hear that feedback, and also solicita, if you're not getting it, and then also decide if it is a good idea to pursue that, because a lot of people are asking for, and it would really be profitable. Or if it is something that, you know, it's nice to have people say that, but they might not actually sign up, or it might not actually be important. So that happens a lot in our software space, where people would say, I wish I could connect this with that, and like, you know, do XYZ. And sometimes those are just not very useful things. And they might never actually use it. But it would be nice in their minds. And then other times, the other ideas are super brilliant. So just being able to discern between those, those requests are important to

Unknown Speaker 41:13
know doubt.

Kathleen Shannon 41:16
I'm feeling that one hard. So you have a podcast to Natalie, right?

Nathalie Lussier 41:21
I do, we actually just put it on on hold a little bit. Because it was just so much to kind of do the podcast plus everything else we've got going on.

Kathleen Shannon 41:30
Right. It's like a whole other business. It is

Nathalie Lussier 41:33
Yeah. And we just realized, like with all of my travel and speaking gigs coming up and stuff, it was just too much to take on.

Emily Thompson 41:40
This, this even takes me back to the whole idea, idea thing, where it's so easy for us to pick up so many things. And I'd even like to hear a little bit about like, more specifically, discernment. And maybe even how it applies, like strictly Do you not like this universal is how you do it. But how you prioritize the things that you are putting your energy into now, versus when you are designed to sort of lay something down for a minute. And the difference between designed to lay something down for a minute versus scratching it

Kathleen Shannon 42:12
all together?

Nathalie Lussier 42:14
Great question. Yeah, I think for me, it starts to come in when it feels heavier, or it feels like it's just not giving me energy anymore. And also, when I can see where I can be putting my energy towards something else, like in a better way. So yeah, when I start to kind of feel like oh, like this is not going, you know, it's just not moving me forward the way that I want. So that's more of a feeling thing than anything else. But I do feel like going where the energy is usually is, is a good decision in business, energy and money usually kind of tend to follow each other. So that also helps a lot, too. But yeah, so that's kind of how we decide. And then, you know, sometimes there's like, you know, attachments to to something, so I don't want to completely get rid of it. And also, there's a lot of value in knowing that there's seasons in business. So realizing, you know, there's going to be a busy season where maybe I'm speaking and traveling more. So I'm not going to be able to do X, Y and Z, like maybe like the podcast or blogging as much or whatnot. But then I know that I'll kind of be back in maybe a more quiet season, and then I can pick it back up and keep that going. And, and a lot of times, you know the value that I see is kind of reflected in the numbers or the responses that we're getting or whatnot. So I don't want to kind of ignore those those outside influences as well.

Emily Thompson 43:39
I love that. I think it's so, so important to point out how mindful you are of the things that you tackle and the things that you you know, follow down the path versus those that that you do lay aside. And I would assume that would that would feed relatively heavily into the success that you found in having a long term online business where you've been here pretty much since the beginning of when people really started doing online business. Right?

Nathalie Lussier 44:09
Yeah. And I mean, I I built my first website when I was 12 years old, and I had a blog before blogs were really like you had to update an HTML page to like post a new update. Like it was not WordPress, it was not blogger. And they were called logs. It was like not even a web blog. Yeah. So yeah, totally. It's been it's been a long time. And obviously that wasn't a full business or anything like that. But yeah, like the the web has evolved a lot. And I think it's important for us to adapt with the web, but also kind of listen to ourselves and our own internal dialogue or kind of, you know, evolutions, if you will, because that is how we stay in the game and I definitely have a long term view of my business. So I like to think about like, what am I going to be doing and 25 years I still want to be in business and it may be a slightly different version of this business. So I might not be creating what we're creating right now. But I know that I can't get there unless I kind of go through where I'm going now and kind of keep evolving it and growing up.

Kathleen Shannon 45:10
Agreed, I feel like something that's really coming up a lot is this balance between intuition and then maybe the software engineering side of analytics? So do you feel like a good 5050 blend of those two things? Do you feel like they're ever at odds with each other? Like, as you're, you know, maybe software engineering desire for efficiency? I only say this because I'm married to a software engineer. efficient. Um, Does that ever conflict with your intuition or gut feelings? And how do you like battle those two things out what wins?

Nathalie Lussier 45:47
I definitely think I'm a little bit more on the feeling side than on the, like, more engineering side. And if you look at the like, Myers Briggs, I'm like an INFJ. So the F versus

Kathleen Shannon 46:01
sorry, inf, j's are always my favorite people. They're funny.

Unknown Speaker 46:06
Me too. I

Emily Thompson 46:06
know. Kathleen says right there, guys.

Kathleen Shannon 46:12
This woman emailed me the other day, and she's like, I'm specifically marketing my business to infjs. And I was like, Damn, talk about niching in on your dream customer. Right. I love that. Okay, sorry. I cut you off there. Yeah.

Nathalie Lussier 46:27
Yeah, whenever I take the test, it's like, the F is like, very clear. But then when people talk to me, or like, they know, like a software engineer, they're like, Oh, you must be a TI, right? And I'm like, No, I'm not INTJ and infj. So I do think that the feeling side kind of take over the thinking side A lot of times, but I really think that has led me in the right direction. Just because even though it's like a numbers thing, and you know, we are in business to make a profit and all that stuff. To me, if I'm not actually helping people or connecting with them on that human level, then I don't really feel like I want to be doing business, you know, maybe and it's kind of like, I'm at this point where I want to be serving people and solving their problems, and also making them feel great along the way. So yes, you know, we have software, we have things that are very technical, but if they're not feeling loved, when when they're interacting with the software or our company, then I feel like we kind of missed the mark. So to me, that's really, really important. And I would say definitely, my husband is the hisa em, tj. So he's definitely more on the thinking side, too. So sometimes we butt heads when we're discussing, like, whether that's the direction that this this or like, what we should do next or whatnot. So, yeah, I kind of balance him out. And he balances me out as well, which kind of works out pretty well.

Emily Thompson 47:45
Awesome. I want to talk next about failures, if you don't mind. Because you have been around for a moment. I would love to hear like maybe something you launched or something you tried that did not work well. And what did that look like?

Nathalie Lussier 47:59
Yeah, so the one I always kind of come to as the first info product that I ever launched in my healthy eating business. And I was probably like, a couple months into business. Like I had a blog, I had, like, maybe 50 people on my email list or so. And I was like, okay, you know, I'm just gonna launch let's just do it. And I had a teleseminar teleseminar calls back the four webinars basically, it's just so old school but so I had I think it was like three people on the call. One of them was my dad

Unknown Speaker 48:30
was very sweet of him. But so I lost

Emily Thompson 48:32
messing with your metrics, though.

Nathalie Lussier 48:37
He asked a question, which made it seem like there was more people better, which is nice. So yeah, so I launched and it was like total crickets. Like, I did not get any sales. And I you know, I emailed some more people and told people on Facebook and all that stuff. But yeah, there's just no takers and I retooled I kind of realized, Okay, wait, like, I did all the right things, right. So I had followed, like, okay, you have to do like a, an opening live thing, you have to have a sales page. These are the emails you send. So I kind of followed some something that I had seen other people do, but what was really wrong with it was my offer. So I hadn't figured out what people really wanted. And so it was called, you know, set set yourself up for healthy eating success, right? So it was so generic, and it's like, who's really looking for that? Right? No one really wanted that. So what I did is I did some of that customer research and, and actually talked to people and what they were saying was like, you know, I want to be healthy, but it's the cravings. You know, I crave this junk food I crave, you know, bread or pasta chips, or whatever it was for each person is a little bit different. And so I realized, okay, cravings was the one thing that kept coming up over and over again. And so I realized, okay, I'm going to call this program cure cravings forever. And that, you know, change the whole thing. And I ended up just reworking the sales page. And the content ended up being pretty similar to what I was going to teach originally, but I just focused More on overcoming cravings. And this time when I kind of relaunched it, I put a lot more time and effort into all of the pieces. And I made it a lot more specific. And then I had 30 people sign up. And my email list grew from 50 to 500. So it was a lot more on point to what people wanted. But also, you know, I had done so much kind of understanding of my ideal customers that I knew exactly what to talk about. I knew exactly, you know, how to speak to them, as opposed to just saying, like, Hey, if you're not healthy, like you're just missing my program, right, which is not at all what people are looking for, in terms of solutions.

Emily Thompson 50:38
Thank you for sharing that. You're welcome.

Kathleen Shannon 50:41
Okay, so no, I, you know, whenever you're sharing that I wanted to almost be like, well, two months in like, we're all hearing crickets chirp, but two months in, right, like that's expected. But then that turned around that repositioning to then get 30 signups is also very significant two months in. So I'm wondering, have you taken any lessons learned? and apply that to your business now? Like, do you ever think okay, care cravings, not healthy eating? Like, it's not a mantra for you? Like, and where have you applied that even in your current business?

Nathalie Lussier 51:16
Yeah, so and I just want to also clarify, it took about two months to like, figure all this out and rework things. So it wasn't like it was like four to five months later, basically, just so people don't think like, oh, in one week, she figured it out. So

Kathleen Shannon 51:28
continuing to build your following and exactly hone in on your message, probably even from that failure, you're probably even shifting how you were blogging at that point? Exactly. Absolutely.

Nathalie Lussier 51:39
Yeah. So some of the things definitely that I took to heart from that experience was also realizing that I can't speak to other people like myself. So one of the things that I realized when I was doing that launch was that, you know, I was talking about things that people who were kind of already into healthy eating, were thinking about, but I had to talk to people who were not there yet, you know, like who I was before I started eating better, right, like a couple of years before that. So I kind of think the same in our all of our software is like, how can we make this easier? You know, if I didn't know how to code or if I was just getting started online in business, and I knew I need to do X, Y, and Z, you know, what would I know? Like, I might not know about like, plugins, and all these things. And you know, how to change all this, like split testing whatever stuff, right? Like, I would just want to know, how do we get this up and running? And how do I make you know, how do I make this work? So I definitely think back, like, put myself in their shoes as much as I can, whenever I'm doing anything, including writing, recording videos, you know, features, anything like that definitely kind of try to put myself in their shoes, and not kind of go generic and kind of go kind of too far over their heads either. Because I think that's, that's something that I had been doing in the very beginning a lot.

Kathleen Shannon 52:58
What is your biggest struggle now? And how are you making steps to overcome it? If you don't mind getting?

Unknown Speaker 53:05
Of course, I

Nathalie Lussier 53:05
think probably the biggest struggle for me right now is around being more of a manager and a leader in the business. So that's something that, you know, I'm an introvert, you know, leading and managing people is definitely not something that comes naturally. And it's a lot easier when I'm just like talking to someone one on one on the team and just having this candid conversation. But sometimes, you know, having to say like, you know, this is my standard, and like, you know, how do you get there and like training and getting people to also collaborate. And sometimes there's like little, little hiccups and things you know, and we're a virtual team. So it's not like, we can just sit in the same room and be like, okay, like, let's go over all this stuff, and clear the air or whatever. So that's definitely been kind of the trickiest thing is like hiring people, making sure they work well together, making sure that I can kind of lead and manage and do all that. And also balancing that with me, like doing my creative work that I love doing. Because I would much rather lock myself in a room and like create that I would just like having meetings and doing all of that stuff. But it's also, to me, it's that next level of like, how we're growing the business. So I want to make sure that I like I evolve in my role as the business is growing as well.

Kathleen Shannon 54:26
Alright, well then on the flip side, what makes you feel most boss what makes you feel incredibly successful and like you just own it?

Nathalie Lussier 54:35
I would say, probably getting really awesome feedback from our customers and people who use our products and our tools and just seeing the results that they're getting, you know, just seeing them be boss in their businesses and seeing them kind of, you know, rocking it out. And that to me, makes makes it all worthwhile. Especially, you know, women in business. I think that's definitely where my heart is seeing them, you know, being able to support Families are being able to, you know, retire their husband or you know, whatever it is that their goals are, maybe it's just more time off and having a little bit more scalability and stuff. So those are definitely the things, but also, you know, kind of related to the team stuff to seeing my team doing things that, like, you know, it would have taken me forever to do or, you know, seeing them kind of rocking the rolls as well. Kind of like a nurturing thing, I guess. Like, I

Kathleen Shannon 55:25
want to nurture everybody that you're assigned to so we know that you're an INFJ what's your sign I've ever go to your rising sign is? Hey, don't know. Run that for you later. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 55:42
I like it.

Emily Thompson 55:44
Awesome. Thank you so much, Natalie, for coming to hang out with us. It was great to finally like, meet and chat with you for sure. And I feel like I feel like you've just been in it for so long. You understand some of these nuances of not only like expressing creativity, but also running an online business in ways that honestly most of you we talked to you don't really or haven't really seen and experienced firsthand.

Kathleen Shannon 56:09
Yeah, we've got mad respect for you and everything that you do. Thank you for all of it. Where can our listeners find you

Nathalie Lussier 56:16
they should go to ambition ally calm. And if they want to list build that 30 day List Building Challenge, calm is totally free. So that's a great entry point to. And then if you're more at the idea stage, the idea sanctuary calm. We've got our paper planner there, you definitely want

Kathleen Shannon 56:32
to check it out, which is so robust, it is not fluffy at all you guys. So thank you so much for joining us. We've loved having you on the show.

Nathalie Lussier 56:42
Thank you. It's so great chatting with you guys.

Emily Thompson 56:48
We have gotten so much amazing feedback over the years from listeners about how our podcast has helped them start to grow and uplevel their businesses. So we want to celebrate you. Here's the boss we're celebrating this week.

Kathleen Shannon 57:01
Hi, my name is Erin Kendall and I am being boss. I'm a certified personal trainer and I train a community of busy moms online at fit mambo.com this week I'm celebrating but I can no longer do all the things all by myself all the time. I've grown my business just enough that I just made the first step in hire new VA specializing in all the areas that I need help with the most. This right here this small stuff feels so big and make me feel like I'm being boxed if you're feeling boss and want to submit your own boss moment or when go to WWW dot being boss club slash I am being boss. This episode of being boss was brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey. And our bean counter David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography,

Emily Thompson 58:14
do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.