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How Natalie Sisson went from stuck 9-to-5 to free entrepreneur

If you’re growing an online business, it’s worth studying successful entrepreneurs leading the pack. Here’s how Natalie Sisson grows a thriving brand.

Eager to share your talent and make a meaningful impact? There’s a way to do it while ditching your day job.

That’s right. You can have it all — even if it doesn’t exactly look like the Instagram hashtag.

The first step to achieving that dream is to learn from the pros who’ve been there and done that. (The second, of course, is to do the work.)

Successful entrepreneur and globetrotter Natalie Sisson is someone who exemplifies this beautiful transformation from 9-to-5er to passionate leader of a meaningful cause.

Not only does Natalie live her dream lifestyle of traveling the world with a home base in New Zealand, but she’s also spreading a message that she deeply believes in.

Since 2009, she founded two successful brands, published two bestselling books, spoke at TEDx Royal Tunbridge Wells, and was named among Huffington Post’s 50 Must-Follow Women Entrepreneurs in 2017.

While the accolades continue, here’s the best part — she’s spreading her heartfelt mission.

Today, we have the privilege of sharing with you Natalie’s experience in becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Whether you’re just starting out as a solopreneur or an entrepreneur who’s a seasoned business vet, there are gems to glean from her story.

Let’s start at the beginning, so you can capture the most from Natalie’s adventure.

How Natalie landed on her entrepreneurial path

Like most of us, Natalie started as a classic 9-to-5er.

Her corporate role at the time was unsatisfactory and didn’t feel right.

“I landed this great high-paying job it seemed, but I got stopped at every single avenue to actually do the job that I was brought in to do,” she remembers. “And it just baffled me. It was frustrating and annoying.”

Once she realized she didn’t want to deal with office politics, or contribute work that was well below her skill set, she took a risk and followed her heart.

Natalie booked a one-way ticket to Vancouver, Canada, and never looked back.

She started dedicating her efforts to co-founding a business that built a successful Facebook app that allows you to take payments and donations for causes that you care about.

And then she expanded her skillset to build her first brand, The Suitcase Entrepreneur. For eight years, Natalie helped people quit their jobs, start an online business, and travel the world.

Fast forward to 2017, and she made a big pivot in her business, and it’s a pivot she’s still leaning into today.

What Natalie’s thriving business looks like today

In 2017, Natalie pivoted from The Suitcase Entrepreneur to a new mission of helping women entrepreneurs achieve more impact and success.

More specifically, her current mission reads:

“I’m on a mission to lead 1,000 women to earn $10,000 a month and contribute at least 1% of their revenue to a cause that’s dear to their heart, and in doing so create a ripple effect in other girls’ and womens’ lives.”

Under the newest brand of simply Natalie Sisson, she serves a niche of women entrepreneurs who are striving to make a significant impact through their businesses.

“I call myself a cheerleader, but essentially I’m a content creator, a business coach, and strategist.”

To help her former niche audience, Natalie started with her most popular digital product, the Build Your Online Business ebook that turned into a workshop series.

She eventually sold this for over $100,000 in revenue.

While this is a milestone to mark in the revenue books, it’s one that spurred more profitable digital products for Natalie’s business.

It all stems from her big realization that selling digital products allows you to scale both your business and your impact.

“And then I started creating digital products and courses and went, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is incredible to be able to package your knowledge into offers that people really appreciate and can learn from.’”

Natalie’s most profitable online course to date is the Freedom Plan, based on another book that she wrote. She also runs a live workshop that helps people build out their profitable business plan for the year and go after their goals and dreams to make them a reality.

You can check it out here:

Revenue-wise, The Freedom Plan is where Natalie enjoyed her first multiple six-figure launch.

At the moment, enrollment and access to the Freedom Plan program are closed — and that’s a good thing for Natalie and her audience.

Instead, she’s focusing her efforts on launching the eighth cohort round of her Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator.

This is Natalie’s live 60-day accelerator program, where she teaches people how to validate their online course and ideal customers. She also has a self-study option for those who prefer to work at their own pace.

She teaches people to serve customers’ needs, pre-sell their course before it’s even created, and then deliver it.

And she’s done this eight times.

A key reason why it works so well is iteration. Natalie and her team are always looking to improve the program with every launch.

“This is the eighth round and we’re going bigger and better because we’ve learned so much.”

Speaking of learning from experience, one major factor in Natalie’s business success is delivering excellent customer service.

The key ingredient in Natalie’s excellent customer service

Another potent factor that drives Natalie’s success is how she consistently provides top-notch support to her clients.

If you think stellar customer service is something that requires fancy software, think again.

“Essentially, we just have good old email,” Natalie shares. “And if people directly contact me or my team, they get a really personalized response usually really quickly. We don’t use any fancy tools right now. We don’t outsource that.”

Her big tip in providing great customer service is in personalization.

“I think personalization is probably one of the key things that sets us apart,” Natalie muses.

Given that 40% of consumers recommend people don’t frequent a business after a poor customer service experience and that 96% of consumers think customer service is an important factor in their choice brand loyalty level, Natalie prioritizing customer service is the right move.

One reliable tool that lets Natalie and her team uphold satisfactory customer service is Podia’s live chat messenger.

Aside from it being the only built-in live chat tool for any all-in-one platform, it allows you to provide immediate communication and great customer service — to both visiting prospective clients and existing paying clients on your site.

“I really like that Podia lets you provide customer support for people who haven’t joined you yet, so that if people land on your sales page or they go to buy, they can also send a direct message through the live chat feature,” Natalie shares.

“And I’ve had quite a lot of new customers just from that.”

See for yourself how the unique Podia functionality works on the other side of this 14-day free trial.

While we’re on the topic of Podia’s unique dashboard benefits, let’s quickly uncover how the all-in-one platform allows both Natalie’s business and her customers to thrive.

Why Natalie and her cohorts love Podia

Of all the features that Podia offers, Natalie enjoys the simple, zero-coding interface the most.

It provides such a positive user experience that Natalie recommends her clients and students also use Podia’s platform to manage their own businesses and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“I just really liked the clean interface of it, how clear it was,” she explains.

“And then I started using it and running my Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator on it. And then I got all my students to consider it, and so many of them now use it, which is amazing.”

Natalie’s successful digital product ideas go well beyond her Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator and Freedom Plan, by the way.

Because of Podia’s streamlined platform, not only can Natalie sell a diverse set of digital products, but her audience also has easy access to her range of products.

It’s all conveniently managed and published through one site.

“So if somebody joins a membership, they can get access to courses as well, and that just makes it really easy to do business and to provide access for my customers.”

This means accessing her other helpful products, like Write Your Damn Book

Or 2021 Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator, is a seamless process for customers.

It goes without saying that when you sell a variety of digital products, it’s important to track your metrics — something that Natalie also achieves using Podia’s dashboard.

“I use Podia to manage my business because of all the reports and sales reports on there,” Natalie shares.

“Looking at customer lists, looking at how far people are through the courses, the engagement, the comments, and messaging people directly through there.”

In other words (also Natalie’s), Podia’s platform is truly all-in-one:

“Podia is your one-stop-shop for being able to create and monetize content into online products, courses, and memberships, and do it all really easily in a way that combines everything you do seamlessly with their help.”

Given that she’s earned over $100,000 annually in sales from her Podia site, it’s a nice setup that works well for scaling her business and selling more digital products in the coming years.

Natalie’s pearls of wisdom for fellow entrepreneurs

As a successful entrepreneur who’s authored more than a few great books, it’s worth paying attention to Natalie’s words of wisdom.

If you’re venturing your entrepreneurial paths or growing a side-hustle and want to pivot or finetune your business, Natalie imparts some advice.

“It takes a while, but just be really brave and go for it, because if you’re not learning and you’re not growing, then you’re stagnating and that’s not a great place to be,” she warns.

“And sometimes the scariest thing to do is to start over, pivot, and take a whole new direction, but you need to take a chance on yourself.”

To help you curb that fear when taking a chance on yourself, follow her next set of advice, which is to start with customer research and pre-sell your digital products to your audience.

“Understanding who the heck you want to serve, what their problems and challenges are, and how you can help solve them” is core to this research.

“Once you understand it fully and do all your research, and really put your heart and soul into that, everything else opens up.”

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About the author

Cyn Meyer is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites – alongside their creators – thrive. Cyn also enjoys playing music, helping retirees live active, healthy, engaged lifestyles, and hopping into the ocean.