100: Celebrating Our 100th Episode with Natalie Sisson – The Suitcase Entrepreneur

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How to travel the world and make a living

Speaker 1: Welcome to the authors who lead podcast. This podcast is dedicated to you. People who want to be inspired by authors leaders and the messages they share. This is such an important podcast to us because we help uncover what goes on behind the scenes. When authors are writing their book, we talk about the process. We talk about where they get big ideas and you can listen in on those conversations. We can't wait for you to join us. So let's get started. Well, it's another episode of authors who lead. What's amazing about this episode is that this is the 100th episode, the 100 interview I've done, and it couldn't be more special. When I first began podcasting, the purpose of doing it was to be able to reach out and connect with amazing authors, people who had influence and be able to connect with them. And you know, what's amazing about that.

Speaker 1: The strategy has worked over the last several years. Not only haven't been able to connect to these amazing authors, but I've been able to build friendships. And this particular podcast episode is with someone. I would call a friend. She has inspired me for many years, that I could travel the world out of my suitcase and make a living. Her book. Suitcase entrepreneur really inspired me and has helped so many people realize there's so much more freedom for them than they think. I hope you enjoy this episode. Thank you for being devoted listener. If you haven't already, as you listen to this episode, please consider subscribing. So you get these in your inbox and also leave a review. An honest review. All I ask is you tell what you really think. That's how I grow and get better. And it really makes a difference for us podcasters.

Speaker 1: When we have reviews, we help our podcasts arise in the charts, and that helps people know that we're somebody that's worthy of listening to thank you so much. And I can't wait for you to dive in for this 100th episode. Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of authors who lead. I'm so excited to have hopefully a new friend I could already, I call her a dear friend of my heart because Natalie's system was one of the reasons I believe that living a life from my suitcase was possible. It was such an inspiration. When I started to find mentors like Pat Flynn, Chris Guillebeau, people that really inspired me that this woman could go out into the world and travel as an entrepreneur. She's a New Zealand entrepreneur author. She's a speaker and host of the untapped podcasts after ditching her corporate career. She co-founded technology company and then decided she would monetize her humble six month old blog and travel the world.

Speaker 1: The suitcase entrepreneur became a multiple six figure online education platform in 2010 and her efforts to continually innovate have been amazing. I'm so fan of such a big fan of her work and how she treats not only the audiences that she nurtures, but how she continually shows up Natalie, welcome to the show. And thank you for your kind words. Well, it's quite true because when I was sitting in a classroom because I was a classroom teacher and a principal for all these years, I just kept thinking if people can do this, that are like me, why couldn't I do it? And I just kept struggling with this idea. So when I first found the suitcase entrepreneur, I'm sure you get plenty of people telling you, thank you for allowing me to find my freedom for allowing me to believe in myself, because you took the risk out of it.

Speaker 1: Not that it wasn't risky for us all, but that you helped us all realize we could earn a living while living anywhere in the world. So I want to help people understand that, but the beginning parts of it is sort of the part I was so curious about in the beginning, when you start to make the leap, it's very difficult because there's so many things, your friends and family saying, what are you doing? Sometimes we're saying that, what am I doing? Where do you get the resolve to take a leap when you're trying something new?

Speaker 2: Great first question, because I thought it was quite normal to just do it and go for it and take action. And then I've realized over the years that it kind of takes a special person or maybe belief in that you're going to be okay. The worst that could ever happen is that you might have to go back to a job or something that is not ideal. But I think for me, it was always like the possibility of what I was leaping into was far more exciting and compelling than leaping and falling down. Does that make sense? So that's what compelled me to always take action. I wouldn't say I'm fearless, so I definitely have fears, but I tend to just kind of acknowledge them and then push on. And so for me, it was just like, it had been a long built up career in the corporate world and I was just so ready to leave it all behind and do my own thing, that I was just compelled to move forward and buy a one way ticket to Canada and just make it happen. Even though it was super scary when I got there and I had no idea what I was doing. I knew nobody just, there was this belief that there had to be something better and that what were the charts as if I just took that leap and made it happen was just released.

Speaker 1: Right? And one of the themes I feel like is woven through both of your books are the notions of freedom and choice. And I feel like, you know, I think even just a quote from Colin who wrote another book about freedom, it's a minimalist. And what really struck me is I interviewed him for my book actually, because I was so struck by his decision to be free. What is it about this freedom that sparks energy for you? Cause for a lot of people, freedom sounds great, but with, it becomes a lot of things you have to let go of. Why does freedom always seem to show up for you?

Speaker 2: Glad you differentiate that because for some people, freedom is not a thing. Like I think it sounds sexy, but it actually takes a lot of self discipline. But for me, the thing that appeals so much is what you alluded to just before. It's this power of choice. And I feel that as human beings, we should always be able to choose. And some people choose, you know, we all choose poorly at times in our life, but the ability to be able to choose how you want to show up how you want to design your life, what work you want to do, who you want to work with, where you want to be in the world, how you want to wake up in the morning is just one of the best gifts in this world. So if it takes effort and it takes consistency and it takes discipline to keep achieving that, then, then as something that I'm willing to invest in day out, because the feeling of just being able to have the choice in the moment to do whatever you need to do and want to is, is one that I will always want to have in my life.

Speaker 1: Great. I guess let's talk about your book that this idea of the suitcase entrepreneur sort of, kind of got bestowed on you because of your beliefs. It wasn't that you came up with the name. Someone said, this is what you are. And I thought that was great. I didn't know that story until I read your book the second time. I didn't notice the first time that that's how it happened. And then I realized, Oh, you know what, that's how you know, you're on the right path. It's sort of like the signal that you're being credited for something you're already in action or doing, or even have the mindset to do. So how do you feel when you talk about this? Because it's, you know, for those of us who are listening, who don't realize that you traveled to 70 countries and six and a half years and major living from your laptop, having that identity as an entrepreneur or the suitcase entrepreneur was a big part of your brand and really still is, but how do you start to own and identity and then start to like, let it go a little bit.

Speaker 2: I have to say, I have all the answers because owning, it was kind of easy. You do grow into it and people would either say, Oh, you're Natalie Sisson or, Oh, you're the suitcase entrepreneur. Cause like you had a podcast and sometimes people didn't know what I looked like, but they'd hear my voice and be like, wait a minute. You're this is pretty freaky. It's fascinating. And you're right. I didn't give myself that label, but I really leaned into it because it was such a great brand. And so identifiable and people could take what they want from it and also figure out pretty quickly what it meant to them. And so I think it was a beautiful thing to have. It really drove me. It gave me some lots of clarity. It gave me tons of focus on exactly who I was there to serve, how I could help them.

Speaker 2: And a lot of it was backed by my Jenny at the time. So as I was journeying, I was literally just sharing what I was learning. How has it experiencing that, how I was making it data so that they could come up to speed. You know, as you said, I was taking the risk out of it for them. Some people would live vicariously through me, but others were like, Oh cool, I'm doing this now and nets this and I'm going to do this even bit or I'm going to figure this out. So I think it was a brilliant brand to be able to live in breakthrough. And as I said, the focus and clarity was amazing for knowing exactly where I wanted to turn up in the world and how I wanted to build my business and who I was helping. And then the transition out of that when I came to New Zealand really was that after close to 10 years of being away and traveling, I was a little tired.

Speaker 2: I'm not going to lie. I think you and I both just talking about that before you hit record, there's a certain time I think for intensive travel and I didn't do any slow traveling. I didn't do any three months here, three months there. I started out with five months in Argentina and then two months in Berlin. And then, and then I literally bounced around like a crazy woman day in, week out and all sorts of continents and cities and locations. And that was amazing. But looking back, I have no idea how I managed the seminar. So it would have been interesting, had the transition slowed and I'd stayed in a few places for longer and then eventually come back to New Zealand, but it was like an abrupt halt. And I think I was just, I was ready because I'd come back to New Zealand on two occasions to see family and friends.

Speaker 2: And both times I was like, no, not yet. And when I came back this summer, I was like, no, I'm really ready to be here and not forever and not to settle, but it's, you've been here. It's a pretty remarkable place. And it's a place where after all the hustle and bustle of travel and all the people you meet and all the things that are going on, I guess get to be, and be still and calm and enjoy nature and be really present. So my whole life basically flipped one 80 degrees and it still is something that I'm processing if I'm really honest because their identity was so tied up. And I maybe didn't appreciate it when I got back. And I literally went from traveling the world and having this business to moving in with my partner. So it was the first time in a relationship and many years.

Speaker 2: Cause when you're traveling, it's a bit more difficult. We bought an amazing lifestyle property. We got a puppy, we got chickens. And I went on a business sabbatical. I was like, what are you thinking? I literally couldn't change my life anymore. And at one point I felt like a stay at home mom with puppet. And I was like, I floundered to be honest for probably the first six to nine months of being in New Zealand, just because I didn't, as you said, I didn't have that identity anymore. And I was, didn't feel right or fully authentic to still embrace it. And I was wanting a new challenge and wanting to move on to something. But I was at the same time trying to reestablish well, who is Natalie SIS and now, and who does she serve and how does she want to show up and how does she not throw away all the skills and experience, but also be able to learn new things and bring those to the mix. So that is, yeah, it's been, what are we at now three years? And I've finally feeling like I'm in the flow of being me and helping people do the same, get paid to be then, but it's been a journey,

Speaker 1: Right? Quite a journey. And you know, I think it's sort of rings true in a new way. The surprising truth about freedom is that sometimes freedom's about being still and being back to where you are. And I think you learn a lot about yourself on the road and you learn, you learn a lot about people and you have, I at least I have learned to have so much more empathy like living in China changed my viewpoint forever because I realized I have made so many assumptions about different cultures and people that weren't ever fair. And now I try to do that less. Even if I maybe never go to that country, I see the world by living there for two years and seeing what it was like day to day and understanding people. I started to understand myself.

Speaker 2: I'm so glad you said that because I think traveling makes you a more, hopefully compassionate and culturally aware person so that you can understand why when people come to your country and act in a certain way and you've been to this, you now know why. And you know, China's a great, great example of that. Imagine living with like a billion plus people every day just changes the way you are and who you are and how you show up. And I really wish more people would travel just for that. And I know some people becoming the more close minded when they travel, which blows my mind. All they realize they just want to be in their own comfort space. But I think it's one of the best educations in the world.

Speaker 1: Oh, I always encourage my children to travel. And that's why, as I told you off air, my son said, my husband, I hate, I want to go to wine tasting in New Zealand. We thought, well, that's not practical, but it was perfect because he got to see the world, the time of his life, where he needed to get, get away from what was familiar and see things and tastes food and realized that the world is open to you. And he just told me today, he's going to, I'm going to Bali. I want to go. But he has an adventurous spirit. He lived in a little Island off in South hall by himself for three months in a hostel. But like you get this feeling that you can do things that you never thought you could do, or you needed some sort of permission to do. And I think that's what travel does you realize? I don't have to know everything to do this. I mean, think of all the countries you went to, of course you didn't speak their language and you were using some sort of gestures. It just works. You figure it out. Right. I just never thought that was possible.

Speaker 2: It just is, are the best. Right. And it's amazing how they can be universal. And it made me laugh because dad used to say, you showed you're not Italian. Cause whenever I'd Skype to him from wherever I was at, my hands would be waving around. And he's like, he shown you not because hands everywhere. So I think I just stimulated a lot.

Speaker 1: Oh yeah. It's really useful. And every country has a different set of the way they use these, these body language. And so much of that communication is body language, you know, looking and finding the best places to eat, where the locals eat. You have to pay attention to how people are moving and shifting. Why are they all going down this alley? You know, I just learned so much about paying attention that I really appreciate it. And one of the other things that really struck me is you talked about this in the suitcase entrepreneur, you talked about leading a learner. I think that's how you phrased it and a leading learner. And that, that really struck me. I was like, this is a concept I want you to share with the listeners because it's a new way to frame about how you see the world as a leader. So tell us a little about that concept.

Speaker 2: I would love to, because it's probably one of my favorite concept. I first heard the words combined through Roger Hamilton at one of his events. And what it is to me is when I started out, I really had like no idea what I was doing. Like most of us. And for the longest time, I didn't put my name behind any digital products or courses or anything because I'm like, I don't know enough. I don't know enough to be expert enough. And as you just pointed out, when you go traveling, you don't actually need to know much. You just need to put your foot in front of the other and figure it out as you go. And then if you're really cool, you share that with somebody who's doing the same behind you. So you can make their job a little bit easier. And I realized when I was blogging and figuring it all out about blogging and then understanding social media.

Speaker 2: When I ran my first set of workshops, I was like, who am I really to run a social media boot camp for entrepreneurs? When I started teaching the people in that workshop, it was a physical workshop, took 10 people in each session. And I sold all three of them out. And as I started to teach, I was like, man, I know a lot more than I thought, like blew my mind how much I knew because they were asking me these questions and I had answers for everything. I was like, yeah. And if I didn't, I was going to look it up. But they were all say the who've done very well in their businesses. Right. But social media, wasn't their thing. And as I taught, I was like, gosh, I actually, even though I don't feel like I know it all because you just can't.

Speaker 2: I was like, I'm just a few steps ahead of these people. And so I can teach them. And that's what a leading learner is. It's not an expert. It just means that as you go and learn, you teach what, you know, assuming that you've implemented it and seen some results. Right. And you shared it with people who are a few steps behind you so that they can leapfrog up to where you are. And it's such a beautiful difference from being an expert where you've done something for like five or 10 years, day in, day out, and you know, everything about it, which takes an incredibly long time and incredible amount of discipline and skill. This is, you know what I like learning. And I like teaching and we often teach what we need to know. And through teaching, you can share that with so many more people. And it's just a beautiful thing. So I love to get people to think of themselves as leading learners. They don't have all the answers, but they know enough to be kind of dangerous and they're willing to learn more and get more skills and then share that.

Speaker 1: Right. And I love that because I think we are trained that you have to know everything in order to teach. And really you have to just know more than the person you're teaching. In fact, it's so useful because they're just in it, they're fresh in it. So they actually have a better perspective. Sometimes experts who are so far down the trail, that they can't really help you because they've forgotten how hard it is to just know the simple truth. So I love that. That's a really, what's really powerful

Speaker 2: Because you've just pointed something really valuable out. As I went on in the suitcase entrepreneur, I feel I got to a little bit of a point where I, where I knew so much about what I was sharing and you almost get a little bit complacent. I never said on my high horse, but I was like, do I really want to teach you this? Because you know, surely there must know this. Now you forget what it's like to be back in that place of being a learner and a student. So what I love about being a leading learner is you never forget that. And you're always wanting to learn more and you're always wanting to improve, but you remember what it's like to be even just two steps behind. And so you can help teach in a way that makes sense.

Speaker 1: Right? I really think that's fantastic. I know that for me, when I felt so stuck for so long, and this is why I started reading your book when I did is because I was like, there's got to be a way to do this, that I won't get lost. You know, I tried blogging and I didn't really have, at the time I was like, what am I going to blog about? I own blogs. You know how you do, you start buying every domain you think of? I owned, I owned cheap wedding ideas.com. I own a six pack muscles.com. I own, I owned weight there's recovery from bankruptcy.com. I owned a lot trying to figure out this whole thing. And you mentioned Pat in your book about how he did the niche site duel, where he's trying to figure out how to create that site. And I was trying to follow along and do it.

Speaker 1: But what I learned is I really thrive when I'm passionate about the thing I'm doing. I'm not as Ryan Laveck would say, I'm not an opportunity entrepreneur. I don't get excited about the fact that there's opportunity in a place. I get excited about like a mission or passion or connecting with people. So it took me a while to figure that out about myself and I stumbled and fell a lot along the way, but those were my biggest learnings. And I have to remind myself, anyone listening here, who thinking about like this journey of an author and entrepreneur, that it's not always simple or clean. And it really does have so much to do about taking the step forward to choose freedom over a lifestyle. I think in your book, you mentioned that, you know, you had this perfect job in London, 2008 and it was ideal. It was just the job, but you weren't happy. And I think so many people can relate to that. Like I should be happier than I've ever been because it seems like the perfect situation. And yet I find myself still longing for something

Speaker 2: To be fair. It was perfect on paper, but the reality of it was

Speaker 1: Isn't it true? Perfect in somebody's eyes. Yeah, no, that's so true. You know, so we both talked about, we lived in Lisbon, I lived in Modia, which by the castle. And I remember looking out over, out the apartment and seeing the ocean and seeing the castle. Flag-waving thinking I chose this life. We are here because Steve and I said, we want to go live abroad and keep traveling. And that's why we continued to travel. But in your book, the freedom plan, you talk about a moment in 2016, I believe where things just started to shift something happened at home and you start to have to make decisions about what you're going to do with that freedom you gained. What was that like for you to get that call about your father and how, how did it shift you in that moment?

Speaker 2: Oh yeah. Well, the cool was the worst thing in the world. Like nobody ever wants to hear that their dad might be dying, especially when it comes out of absolutely nowhere. And you think you're going to, you've got 20 or 30 years with them and also feels surreal. Cause I was in Berlin at the time, having just spoken at digital nomad conference, come off the stage, feeling all excited. And my sister rang. So I couldn't have a more surreal moment, like completely different worlds. And so it was 24 hours away, minimum by flying. And it just felt really, really bizarre. And I stuck it out for a few days there because I wanted to make sure, you know, it's, it's horrible. Like you're gonna drop everything and go all the way home. You kind of need to make sure. And then I called my mom again and she's like, no, I'd really like you to come.

Speaker 2: So it took a good two or three days to get home, which is nuts. And I'm so glad I did because we only had three more months with him after that. And it did change everything. But in the moment, the thing I was most grateful for was that I could one jump on a flight at any time and do this. I didn't need anybody's permission. I didn't need to book any leave. I could afford to jump on a flight. I could afford to come back to New Zealand, thanks to my business and the life that I designed and not work pretty much. I mean, I can't remember working much during that time cause I was just in and out of the hospital and also making sure that my sister and mum were good. And I think I threw myself into investing in an apartment cause I was like, well, if I'm coming back, I'll need a place to live. So it kind of fills the days with looking at apartments to distract us from what was happening. But I just remember feeling in amongst all of that super grateful that I could do that and get maximum amount of time with my family.

Speaker 1: Right. And I think that's why our return to Austin here is where I realized, you know, I love that. I get to take my mom to Europe for a month because she'd never been or take my husband's parents who had never really been to Europe or take them to Hawaii for the 75th birthday because that's a dream like since they watched Elvis and you know, and movies in the fifties that had been their dream to do that with such an honor. But also it's going to be an honor to be here and returning home. We talked a little bit about repatriation returning home. I feel a little uneasy even going into stores where there's so many things, I felt a little guilty, maybe a little, I don't know, gladness, but also then owning things like furniture again, like, Oh yeah, we have to buy furniture.

Speaker 1: If we're not renting in the flat and not feeling guilty for doing or thinking, should I buy that? Do I really want that? Do I love that? Because that's the decision I made every day. Ooh, that's a great souvenir, but do I love it? Do I want to carry it if you know, for another two or three countries and just returning home has been, as you mentioned, a new found giving freedom, a new meaning because this year Steve's dad was diagnosed with cancer and we had to go to the hospital and we were apart for a month while he was in the hospital with dad and I was here and we realized, this is why we have our freedom so that we could do this. Not, not just so we can travel the world, but because we can be here in a minute where our siblings couldn't do that. So I really that resonated with me in your book. And so that brings to heart. Just the idea. Where did you decide? Or when did you decide that this book, the freedom plan was a book you should write?

Speaker 2: That's a really interesting question in itself because I love challenging myself with good deadlines. So put the suitcase entrepreneur, I did a Kickstarter for it and said, this book will be written in three months of you deem it worthy of being written. So that was a massive challenge. And then I did something similar with the freedom plan while traveling actually still. And I put it out in Publishizer, which was a platform that at the time did something similar, but it put you in front of publishing houses. So I crowdfunded that book as well. And once again said, this will be with you by I think it was my birthday. And I remember I got it written, literally was in Bali, I'd run a retreat. And then I'd invited a whole bunch of people over for my 40th birthday. And I had, I was still writing it the day they were arriving.

Speaker 2: I was like, I'm going to get this done. But interestingly, with this book, once I'd written it, I felt really proud of it. And I thought it was really good. It had come out of my original book and in a course that I've created. And then I distilled some of the best stuff from that course into the book. And the thing is I didn't sit on it for another almost year and a half or two because when I pitched it to a publisher through an agent, they actually said we like it, but we really liked the suitcase entrepreneur it's done really well. We're wondering if you'd be open to us giving you a contract for it. And I was like a little bit, it's fascinating when you've self published and then a publisher comes along and this assignment and schisto offering you a fair amount of money to publish the third edition of the new book that's been around for ages, but they really saw the sales of it and the value in the community that I built.

Speaker 2: And I was like, sure, I'd love that. So it meant putting aside the freedom plan for a good nother year, because it didn't make sense to launch two books side by side. Um, and it was actually really hard. So because I had, I've written it so long ago that you probably know this as an author sometimes by the time that publishing contract, like if you go that route and that's why I chose self publishing, you can publish it within like a couple of days if you finishing it, if you really want, but with this, it felt so long after the fact that my kind of passion and drive for it had to be reignited. Cause I'd almost put it to rest. I think when you finished a book, it's like, ah, it's done, it's complete. And then you birth it and you get it out in the world and that's a massive amount of effort.

Speaker 2: And then you kind of like go and now you get to grow up and do your thing. And I felt like I'd watched my book grow up, but now I needed to get reinspired to put it out there. So it was actually quite a difficult one. I'm not going to lie. And I wouldn't necessarily do that again. I'd either self publish or I'd know that it's going to come out later and I'd have a big plan for it because it felt odd to be putting it out that much later. And then off the back of that producer a and all these sorts of things that came off the back of that, it a really great learning lesson for me and quite painful at the time. But yeah, I just thought I'd share a little bit of that story because the books were entirely different than the way they were birthed.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And, and that is the challenge of having traditional publisher as great as it is. They take control of the schedule, the decisions, and depending on your contract, do you have some say so or more say so than others, but it does change it from feeling like an entrepreneurial endeavor to very much structured by somebody else, which is a new thing. If you're an entrepreneur and I always encourage authors to think like entrepreneurs with their book, even if they get a traditional poacher, because the bulk of the work will be done by authors, no matter what they say. Yeah. And so do you think will books be something you return to, or is it, is it when a message comes to you or is this a part of a strategy for your business?

Speaker 2: So many good questions about, well, you've actually inspired me with you write a book in 30 days because I've had two books on my mind for probably the past six to nine months. And I've always felt like I would like to write many books. I'm amazed that people like Seth Godin, who's written, what is it, 20 plus now? And you know, I meet quite a few people who have written 25 80 books and I'm like, wow, like they clearly have a system for writing. They, it is a part of their strategy and it is absolutely a brilliant strategy for continuing to build a platform and show up as a leading learner and continue to grow yourself. So right now I'm sitting on two book ideas and one is related to the, I guess the theme of my podcast, which is untapped, how to tap into your potential.

Speaker 2: And that's always been something that has been a lifelong curiosity for me and the other is actually, I was out on a walk the other day and I was having a particularly like, I dunno, I just was in this fuck, which I don't get on that often. And it started and I had the dogs with me and I was like moping in my head and I suddenly just split it out loud. Oh, suck it up princess. And I never say that. Right. And I was like, isn't it a moment as I delivered it out, I was like, Oh, that's a book like a book about, suck it up, princess, get on and live your life to the base. And fullest, I dunno. Hopefully it resonates with people if you like the idea, let me know on Instagram and Twitter. But yeah. So there's that one, which is probably more the personal story of what we're talking about here today. And the lessons learned from it. Cause I always loved being able to share and listen through story. Right. I shouldn't have it just be about you, but I think there could be something that really resonates. And I, this time I'm really keen to write a shorter book, just like short, punchy, pithy that just helps people get unstuck.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And I'm finding that the way we consume information has shifted so much that longer books are harder for people to get through. There used to be only to consume. They're looking less to a book to teach and more to inspire because you can learn things in so many mediums. Now that learning from a book seems a little antiquated in some regards. Not that I don't love learning pro book, but it's interesting how the shift in the way that we consume or consumers read our books or our content that as creators, we have to think about that, um,

Speaker 2: Bite size learning, right? It's something that I put in all my courses because we are so distracted and we have so many things grabbing our attention. I think that's why I always really loved the book rework. I don't know if you've ever read that one, but I really loved that each chapter was like two pages. Wasn't it? It was something really cool. It was like an idea per two pages. And I always appreciated that format and that's something I'd love to try and experiment with. And I'd also love to write a novel in the future, but that is a whole different ball game. And I, I hats off to be able to do that because the character development, I had to be a tough one.

Speaker 1: I know I am. I'm in, I'm up for that challenge. Somebody, if you do that, let me know. Maybe I'll jump in with you because I'm terrified. So I taught fiction writing for many years. It's another thing to have to show up on the page in a way. So I'm, you know, I'm able to, I'm able to do the work, but to show up that way, I have a wonderful friend. She's probably listening to this. She listens to the podcasts. They Heatherly dire. She has a goal of writing 1 million words this year, which is mind boggling to me.

Speaker 2: Wait a minute, let's put that in perspective and try and do some meth here on the bus, like 3000 words a day.

Speaker 1: Oh, it's more than that. I think it, I mean, that's, if you it's like 3,200 or something, it's like, it's, it's, it's a lot of words. And if you miss a day, just think of the ketchup day. Oh yeah. That's that's, that's what she she'll put out, you know, 12 bucks or something, 10 bucks. But she said the fiction writer, it just blows me away when people make the commitment. And she's done this in spite of having an autoimmune illness. In fact, she's basically has credited creative writing to actually healing. Her lived six years past the P the time that her doctor said she should be here, but writing has been the thing that's filled her life. So it's so inspiring to hear stories about this, about how creativity has done amazing things for people. Yeah. It's a wonderful, so

Speaker 2: Go ahead. I was just going to say for your listeners who are hearing this, I actually really do. I mean, it might not work for everybody, but there is a lot of research done around timelines and deadlines and publicly posting your goals around things and having accountability in place. And also sometimes putting some money on the line. And as I just mentioned before, I've done both my books through kickstart at the cause I knew it would get my button to action and turn up to right, because I'm an upholder. If you've read Gretchen Rubin's book, the four tendencies. And so I will say what I, you know, I'll do what I say and I'll get it done because I will never let myself down or anybody else. So that, that helps. But also I'm doing right now as we're recording this, I'm doing a 29 day live video challenge.

Speaker 2: And I'm personally, it was my own choice. I just wanted to turn up, show up on video. I hadn't put anything up on my YouTube channel for ages. And I wanted to get back into that habit of creating and putting out video and not having any barriers. So I just turn up on my phone, nothing fancy flying my nose. Doesn't matter. The point is turn up every day. And I do find that just the act of getting over yourself and doing it is incredible for getting you into the flow. So I love that she's doing that because it's, once it starts becoming a habit and then it's consistent, it can change your life as it is hurt. Like it becomes a part of who you are. And it's just an amazing way to stay consistent and show up and do the work.

Speaker 1: Right. It is quite extraordinary when you make that commitment, it's less about the goal you set, whether it's a, I mean, I would never think of setting a moment where it's as a goal, but then you realize, as you said it, you broke the words like, Oh, that's 3000 words a day. Am I capable, capable of doing that? But it's like your mind shifts. And I think a lot of the teachings in your books, both books talk about that. This is a lot, this is mindset. A lot of this stuff we're doing isn't tactics. It's like thinking about it and believing that you can, and then being flexible enough, which my friend, Phil boy calls permanent flexibility to shift. If it doesn't work out. Yeah,

Speaker 2: Absolutely. But don't shift before you know that it might work. So that'd be my only other caveat is sometimes we shift and we flipped and wait, we go because they're like, ah, it's a bit of work and it's not, not getting anywhere. So I'm also a big fan of just stay until you absolutely think there's, there's nothing else that's gonna work and then shift. So

Speaker 1: Yeah. Well, let's talk about that. So for you, how long has that shifting period and how do you know? Because is it amount of time? Is it a feeling, is it a, is it a feedback? What, because for some people are out there, we've tried multiple times to either write a book or start something who are waiting it out. Maybe they're just not doing something and that's the waiting as opposed to taking action. Where is it for you? Where, you know, Nope. It's time to let this go.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I was going to say, I was going to do a bit of Gary Vaynerchuk hard love there because if people are like, Oh, I tried riding once or twice. I'm like really? Did you really try? Like I love hearing if people who've put in for a hundred different book proposals and got rejected 99 times, that's somebody who's really given it a shot and made it happen. So guess actually to answer your question more specifically, it's how much do you really want this? Because I truly believe we can move heaven and earth for anything. If we want it enough, anything is possible. And on the times when something hasn't come off of me or I haven't done it, it's because I didn't want it enough. So that is one of my first litmus tests is if I keep putting something off it's either because I don't have a good system for it.

Speaker 2: I haven't got a big enough why behind it, that is driving me to do it, or it's actually not that important. And I haven't recognized that it's something that I'd said I do, but I don't really want to, as a difference between that and really going for something. So for me, I try lots of things every which way and put my all in and all my energy. And if it's still not working out, I've cut the cord pretty quickly. So if I did something to 30 days in a row and tried all sorts of things, and also it was consistent with a few of those. Cause you can't change every single factor and it was a complete flop. Then I would probably go cool. That was 30 days. Didn't lose all my life to this invested enough time and energy and tried enough that it still wasn't coming off.

Speaker 2: There's something not right here. But typically I think it's a mindset. It's a belief. And then it's an actual putting in the work and trying and trying again, no matter what. So if somebody says to me, Oh, I tried that once or I did that once or I, Oh yeah. I tried that. I'm like really? And I dig deeper and often they've done a very half-hearted it, they haven't learned anything from it. They haven't really invested. They didn't put their energy and they didn't really want it. And I was like, that's actually the real underlying factor here. And it sounds tough, but it's true.

Speaker 1: It's true. I have a friend always said that, you know, if you're trying, you're lying. So if either you do it or you don't,

Speaker 2: I liked that I also, the Yoda do or do not. There is no try. I say that to myself all the time.

Speaker 1: Well, let's keep going. Mr. Miyagi from karate kid is that you walk left side. Okay. You walk right side. Okay. You walk in the middle.

Speaker 2: Okay.

Speaker 1: All of these things are true. It just said different ways and different.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. I love it. I love it. If you had to talk about the new adventure, because now the adventure on the road, what's your new adventure. It's a really great question. Actually. I think it's being comfortable with being so for a long time, I've been a human doing and now I'd really love to experience being a human being. And by that, I mean being much more present in my day to day, which I can do in New Zealand in particular, because there's so much nature surrounding where we are when we live. We're incredibly lucky. I have my two dogs who just make me present every day and my lovely partner. And so for me, it's like a whole new phase of life. And it's being in my own country, back with my own people, understanding my own culture, really appreciating that for what it is.

Speaker 2: Cause I've been away from it for so long and almost wanted to be away from it as well. Like, didn't appreciate it enough. So now it's about living, I'd say more slowly working purposefully and serving others from this place of being really grounded. And I'm doing a lot of my own personal development work this year. I feel like now that I'm here, I can. It's all like when you're traveling, I think that's a form of personal growth. And now that I'm here, I'm doing a lot of investing this year and me and what I want to learn and how I want to show up even more.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, it's fantastic. I think that's the perspective I was referring to earlier on when traveling gives you a sense of like how this is a great place that I'm from. I just didn't see it that way before, because now you're seeing your own space, the way you see others, you realize that there's so much beauty to be found in the simple things that you just didn't notice before.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I don't know if you remember my suitcase entrepreneur book. I believe I talk about being a tourist in your own city. Just seeing the places you go through fresh eyes and going to the museum or going to the library or going to different cafes, walking different streets, getting lost in your own city or town. It's so refreshing to actually see what else is out there.

Speaker 1: Right. And I did use that actually, cause I used to teach middle school and I told them every day you need to walk a different path going home. And I go, no, it doesn't mean you choose a different path necessarily. It might mean it means you find something different to notice. So find three things you didn't notice on the term home. If you're driving in a car or the bus or walking, and then tell me, what did you notice that you didn't notice before? And some days it might be harder because you're conditioned to just notice the same things. And I think that came from your book because I remember thinking, yeah, you know what? I have never been to the photography museum. Why have I never been that's right here? I always talk about going to these museums when I travel, why not do it right here at the time I was living in San Diego, which you could easily get lulled to sleep there because it's 70 degrees and sunny every day sometimes. And you just don't think about how great it is to be in a place where the weather is so calming and so helpful. As far as the sunshine goes,

Speaker 2: They're perfect every day. Perfect. Every day that you forget, it's too perfect for me. But I appreciated that about that at the time.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Funny. I was like, so ridiculous. Like, Oh, it's so wonderful that it didn't need heat or air conditioning. And then I forgot how beautiful it was. Let's talk a little bit more about books as we wind up here. So when you're getting ready to launch a book, what advice would you give somebody who maybe has a book at hand who's thinking about getting a book out there. What advice would you give to author specifically about the lodge? Because so many people write a manuscript if they do and then hang onto it for dear life.

Speaker 2: So great question. I think the, my biggest tip that I can pass on to people is as you are writing, you are launching, if that makes any sense. So I love starting from when I'm writing, by sharing tidbits, teases, engaging the eventual readers of my book, sharing the process and going through it actually starts then because the lawyer you can get buy in from people of seeing you go through the process of putting this book out in the world, the more likely they are to actually just want to buy it no matter what to support you in. It does. And I think too many people go into this cocoon, like, you know, just great. You might rent a place and go away for a month and various self and just right. But it's really lovely to be able to share that with the world. Even if you just take five minutes a day and do a little video or write a little snippet because I think it's really important. And it gets you into the mode of understanding why this book matters and how you're going to get it out at lunchtime. So I'd say launch as you write, if that makes any sense, that's kind of like the motto that I have in my head, don't have it all in secret, keep it away and then just go surprise. Here it is. And people like, what,

Speaker 1: What was that scared me? No, I think that was my biggest rookie when I was writing. My first book was that I, I decided like you, I'm going to every day, I'm going to do a 62nd or less video about my progress mainly to keep myself accountable. Because if I don't, I know we easily led not to write because I won't have anything to report. So I did that every day and people were interested, especially halfway through when I lost the manuscript, because I was writing my hand long hand, which at the time it seemed wise because I wasn't distracted by the computer. But then when I lost the journal, I was like, well, this is a predicament. But people were waiting every day. I said, I'm just going to push forward. Like I have it. And it's going to show up and they just kept tuning in and all they went.

Speaker 1: Did you find it yet? Did you find like they were in? And I realized by just foolishly doing something that I wasn't being intentional at the end, what? I found the manuscript and I finished the book, they were so excited. It was cheering. There's a Facebook group. They wanted to buy the book and it didn't matter how good it was. That's the thing. People think what has to be good. Yes. Do your best. Make it the best quality you can. But the point was that those people were paying attention now that they weren't have been paying attention before. And who cares if they read it when they bought it? I just wanted them to, to know that I had something to say, yeah,

Speaker 2: I love it. He found it. I did find it. It's where the remote control was under the couch.

Speaker 1: That's the buddy thing. I was like, Oh, of course it's here. I should have looked when I was looking for the remote control. Well, this has been such a lovely conversation. I could just chat with you all day and I feel so very honored to meet you virtually. And to know we have so many dear friends in common, all over the world. I remember I spoke at the digital nomad conference in Lisbon, and I remember thinking I'm here. I'm doing this. Not only am I a few years out, I'm in the middle of my, my life. You know, I'm 50. So this was like, look, you don't have to be a 23 year old to do this or 30 something like it's possible for anyone. And I couldn't believe I was sharing from my suitcase, the journeys that I had, but so many people like yourself who went before to do it, give me the courage. And I want to thank you for that because you've given me an opportunity to see the world differently because of your courage.

Speaker 2: Thank you so much. That inspires me to write my next book because I think as authors, it's really, we forget who we might be impacting out there. And that's the whole reason why we turn up to write in first place. So thank you so much.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Thank you so wonderful. I do. Now of course, people are going to be wanting to connect with you, find you, where would they go to learn more about you and connect with you

Speaker 2: For them to obviously come across to Natalie sisson.com, which is where I hang out these days and yeah, in particular, if they want to learn how to get paid to be then that right there on the homepage is a little guide and audio that I've put together to help people figure that out in nine steps. So hopefully it's a good rate and a good listen, but I'm also on Instagram at Natalie Sisson everywhere actually on at Annalise's. And so if they enjoyed this interview, I'd love for them to shout out and just say,

Speaker 1: Wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. And anyone else who's thinking about writing a book, we are officer lead support you and know what it takes to help you cross the finish line. Please come to office or leave.com where we have notes for these podcasts, as well as the resources that the authors share. And also to help you be inspired to write your book. Thank you, Natalie, for being here. Thank you for listening again, to another episode of authors who lead, we appreciate you being here and we hope you subscribe. So you get this delivered to your device every week. And if you haven't left us a review, please do so. It really helps. And if you have a book in your heart, you've been wanting to write a book. Please go to authors who lead.com and join us on this journey of becoming a published author.

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Today, we’re celebrating our 100th episode! Thank you for being a listener. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to get these episodes delivered to your inbox and also leave an honest review because that’s how I can grow and get better.

When I first began podcasting, the purpose of doing it was to be able to reach out and connect with amazing authors, people who had influence, and be able to connect with them. Not only have I been able to connect to these amazing authors, but I’ve been able to build friendships.

And this particular podcast episode is with someone I would call a friend. She has inspired me for many years that I could travel the world out of my suitcase and make a living. Her book The Suitcase Entrepreneur really inspired me and it has helped so many people realize there’s so much more freedom for them than they think. I hope you enjoy this episode!

About Natalie Sisson

Natalie Sisson is the bestselling author of The Suitcase Entrepreneur and The Freedom Plan. She’s a New Zealand entrepreneur and adventurer who currently lives on her dream lifestyle property in her home country – and the rest of the time out of her suitcase, traveling the world and running her business and going on adventures.

After cutting her teeth in the entrepreneurial world as a co-founder of a technology start-up, she went on to take her blog, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, which she turned into a thriving six-figure lifestyle business ran from just a laptop and her smartphone.

Natalie has a dedicated community of Freedomists who have been following and engaging in her work since 2009 through the Suitcase Entrepreneur established in 2009, and more recently through her Quest for Freedom podcast and vlog.

What We Discuss with Natalie Sission:

  • Her resolve to take a leap
  • Having the power of choice when you have the freedom
  • Transitioning from traveling to having the freedom of being still
  • The concept of being a leading learner
  • Writing and marketing her second book
  • Thinking like an entrepreneur even if you’re an author

[02:01] The Resolve to Take a Leap

It’s normal for Natalie to just do it, go through it, and take action. The possibility of what she was leaping into was far more exciting and compelling. 

Having had a long built-up career in the corporate world, she was just so ready to leave it all behind and do her own thing. So she bought a one-way ticket to Canada to just make it happen even if it scared her because she had no idea what she was doing.

Natalie didn’t know anybody in Canada but she believed there had to be something better. So she took a leap and made it happen.

[03:53] What Freedom Means to Natalie

For some people, freedom is not a thing. It sounds sexy, but it actually takes a lot of self-discipline.

For Natalie, freedom is the power of choice. And I feel as human beings, we should always be able to choose and some people choose. We all choose poorly at times in our life.

The ability to be able to choose – how you want to show up, how you want to design your life, what work you want to do, who you want to work with, where you want to be in the world, how you want to wake up in the morning – is just one of the best gifts in this world. 

If it takes effort, consistency, and discipline to keep achieving it, Natalie is willing to invest in it day in and day out. Because the feeling of just being able to have the choice at the moment to do whatever you need to do and want to do is something that she wants to have in her life.

[05:49] Transitioning from Traveling Around the World to a Complete Halt

Owning her identity was easy for Natalie to grow into. Having that label was a beautiful thing. It gave her clarity and focus on who she had to serve and help through her journey. She was sharing her experiences and people were living vicariously through her. It was a brilliant brand.

The transition came when she had to come to New Zealand after nearly 10 years of being away and a little tired from intensive traveling and bouncing around different cities. She came to New Zealand at an abrupt halt and her whole life basically flipped 180 degrees.

She initially floundered because she felt she didn’t have that “identity” anymore. She had to reestablish who she is, who she serves, and how she wants to show up.

It took her three years to finally find her flow.

[13:15] The Leading Learner

A leading learner is not an expert. It just means that as you go and learn, you teach what you know, assuming that you’ve implemented it and seen some results. You share that with people who were a few steps behind you so that they can leapfrog up to where you are.

You never forget that you’re always wanting to learn more and you’re always wanting to improve.

It’s a beautiful difference from being an expert where you’ve done something for like five or 10 years day in, day out, and you know everything about it. It’s different from liking what you’re learning and teaching it so you can share what you learned to other people.

[22:45] Writing The Freedom Plan

To challenge herself, Natalie did a Kickstarter campaign for The Suitcase Entrepreneur setting herself a deadline of three months. And she did similar for The Freedom Plan, where she used a platform that put her in front of the doors of publishers. But the publisher picked her first book. They really saw the sales of it and the value in the community that she built. And that meant putting aside The Freedom Plan for a good another year because it didn’t make sense to launch two books side by side. 

This became a challenge for her but it was so long since she wrote the book that her passion and drive for it had to be reignited. She felt that when she first wrote that book and put it out there, it was done and complete. She was ready to let it go. But now she needed to be inspired again.

That is the challenge of having a traditional publisher… it does change it from feeling like an entrepreneurial endeavor to very much structured by somebody else.

[28:09] Bite-Sized Learning

We are so distracted and so many things are grabbing our attention.

The way we consume has shifted so much. Longer books are now harder to for people to get through. As creators, we have to think about that.

[30:40] The Power of Posting Your Goals in Public

There is a lot of research done around timelines and deadlines, and publicly posting your goals around things and having accountability in place, and also sometimes, putting some money on the line. 

Natalie is doing a 29-day live video challenge because she just wanted to turn up show up on video. She wanted to get back into the habit of creating and putting out video and not having any barriers. So she’s just doing this using her phone.

Once it starts becoming a habit and it’s consistent, it can change your life. It becomes a part of who you are. 

When you make that commitment, it’s less about the goal you set, but your mind shifts. It’s about mindset.

[33:28] When Do You Know It’s Time to Give Up

How much do you really want something? Because you can move heaven and earth if you want it enough. Anything is possible. 

When something hasn’t come off for you or you haven’t done it – it is because you didn’t want it enough.

It’s a mindset. It’s a belief and then it’s an actual putting in the work. And trying and trying again no matter what. You have to put all your energy in.

[39:31] Advice to Aspiring Book Writers

While you’re writing, share tidbits and teasers to engage the eventual readers of your book. Share the process. The more you get buy-in from people seeing you go through the process of putting your book out in the world, the more likely they are to buy it.

Launch as you write.

Doing this gives you a better understanding of why your book matters and how you’re going to get it out on time. 

Episode Resources:

The Suitcase Entrepreneur

Quest for Freedom

Natalie’s books:

The Suitcase Entrepreneur

The Freedom Plan

Follow Natalie on Instagram @NatalieSisson

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