Chieftess, She Takes on the World
While on a trip to the Czech Republic, Natalie realized that she didn’t want to join another company, she wanted to start her own. She Takes on the World started out as Natalie’s blog, but turned into a website where women can go for tips on everything from their career to books to style. As READ MORE »
Q: If a business has several, viable ways to grow and innovate, how do you pick the best road to take?
A: Talk to your customers. Never assume what they want, always ask. I have mini focus groups that I tap into when I’m making a decision about the future of my business, and I reward those focus groups with free products and resources that will help their businesses grow. It’s a win-win relationship.
Q: What’s your best advice for an entrepreneur in an early/bootstrapping phase? Or in a growth/need to ‘now scale’ phase?
A: Join a high level mastermind group, or put together a group of fellow bootstrappers and create your own mastermind. Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is one of my favorite books, and reading it for the first time as a teenager introduced me to the importance of being part of a mastermind to succeed. A strong mastermind group is 5-6 people who meet regularly, push each other to grow, and support each other through those growing pains. The early phase of growing a business is the most challenging, and surrounding yourself with the right people will make you or break you.
Q: It’s hard to focus on the “big picture” sometimes because we can get caught in the weeds of work and life. How do you stay focused on executing your big picture vision?
A: I have a MAP (Master Action Plan), which is the heart of my book, She Takes on the World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose. My MAP keeps me focused on the big picture through a combination of strategic planning, goal setting, and vision boarding.
I laughed when I read this question because one of the key sections is called “Bigger Picture Vision.” Each year I set five bigger picture goals, and set 5-10 milestones for each. I look at my MAP, especially this section, on a daily basis and that’s what keeps me focused on what I’m building rather than getting caught up in the day-to-day busy work that can keep you “in the weeds” as you so wonderfully worded it.
ON Starting Out
Q: If you had a young sister or a daughter who was a senior in college, anxious about landing her first job or unsure of what she wanted to do, what would your advice be to her?
A: I always say that the best way to land your dream job is to create it yourself. I was entrepreneurial as a student but many people tried to convince me that it was a better idea to get a “real” job. If someone would have encouraged me to look at entrepreneurship as an option, I may not have spent so much time fretting over whether starting my own business after university was a good idea. I ended up taking the chance and creating my own job, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I have my dream job, and there are no limits to what I can achieve because I’m in the driver’s seat of my career.
ON Self Care
Q: Online calendars, emailing ourselves, post-it notes… I’m still struggling to find the best way to manage my time and to do list? What’s your method?
A: I couldn’t live without Google Apps for business, and my Google Calendar. I also love Asana as the ultimate to-do list, and a great tool for managing projects with my team. To manage my time I have what I call a “Basket System.” I made a video explaining this time management system which you can see here: http://youtu.be/Styyq6q1MoU
Q: Oprah has that great section in her magazine “What I know for sure.” What do you know for sure?
A: I know that we’re not always where we want to be, but we’re always where we need to be, and learning the lessons we’ll need for the next steps in the journey.
I know that being nice to people and helping other people succeed always pays off. Success is abundant and there’s enough room in the world for all of us to be successful. Another person’s success doesn’t mean that there’s no room left for you to be successful.
I know that gratitude is one of the most powerful expressions. I take time every day during my meditation practice to reflect on what I’m grateful for and say a silent ‘thank you’.
I know that at any moment you can choose to change your life. You can choose to stay, leave, start, end, stop, go. We’re more powerful than we give ourselves credit for sometimes.
Q: In the world, what are your three favorite destinations?
A: I have traveled to nearly 70 countries and every destination offers something different, and helps you discover a part of yourself you may not have known. I love so many places for different reasons, but if I have to pick 3… I am a huge fan of France! Paris is such an amazing city, and the French Riviera calms me like no other place. One of the most adventurous trips I’ve done is Tanzania, and it holds a special place in my heart. Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti are spectacular. I would also say that, while I may be biased, I think my home country of Canada is still one of the most beautiful places. I invite you all to come visit me here! You won’t be disappointed.
Q: Do you have a beauty secret that you can share?
A: I like to take the natural route when it comes to beauty, and I try to make my own products if I can. Organic cold-pressed coconut oil can be used as a base for a lot of cosmetics and natural skincare! There are way too many chemicals and toxins in name-brand cosmetics and skincare products that I don’t want to put on my face and body. Beauty starts with what you put in your body too. I drink a lot of water and green juicy, and I eat a lot of leafy greens and nutrient-rich foods.
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: I was really torn on actually starting a business versus getting a real job. I was on a trip in Europe while I was still in university, to give myself a change of scenery and the space to decide what I really wanted to do. I was visiting the Czech Republic and listening to this David Guetta song called THE WORLD IS MINE when suddenly I drove by a giant globe that was 2 stories high that said THE WORLD IS YOURS. As crazy as it may sound, that moment gave me all the courage I needed to follow my heart and start a business. It’s also where the seed of inspiration was planted for She Takes on the World.
I call She Takes on the World Inc. my accidental business because it started as just my personal blog. [In addition to She Takes on the World Inc. I'm an Emmy award-winning Producer at the media company I co-founded.] I didn’t think She Takes on the World would become a company in and of itself but here we are, incorporated, with over 50 contributors and a spot on the Forbes list of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” the last three years in a row. Now we’re getting ready to launch The Conquer Club, a hybrid online and in-person network for women entrepreneurs.
Q: Who is a leader that you have great respect for and why?
A: I have so much respect for Hillary Clinton as a leader. Love her or hate her, she is resilient and able to overcome pretty much any obstacle that gets in her way. Everyone has an opinion about her and those opinions are voiced through the media all the time, sometimes very harshly. She’s still standing though, and stronger than ever. I love that she’s able to laugh at herself too. Her bio when she recently joined Twitter, and her first tweet, were brilliant. I think resilience is one of the key qualities a leader must possess, and it’s one I need to keep working on.