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From Lemon Stand to Influencer with Natalie McNeil
Interview with Natalie McNeil:
Welcome everyone! This is Nathalie Doremieux here from New Software Marketing.
Today, we have a very special guest.
I was so excited when Natalie McNeil accepted my invitation to this interview.
If you don't know Natalie,
she's an Emmy Award winning media entrepreneur, a bestselling author of the widely popular books: The Conquer Kit, which I have here, and the Conquer Your Year.
Natalie is also the creator of
com, listed by Forbes on top 100 websites for entrepreneurs.
Natalie's expertise has also been featured in the glossy print and digital pages of Glamour magazine, Inc, Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur magazine, you get it,
and she's also being on the Inc magazine on its list of the 27 women entrepreneurs changing the world.
Today, Natalie helps women build striving businesses and influential personal brands through The Conquer Club, a powerful sisterhood of entrepreneurs ready to take on the world.
Thanks so much for having me.
I'm so excited.
I'm so excited we're doing this interview.
So, I like to start by asking people how they became an entrepreneur.
How did you start this whole entrepreneurial [inaudible].
I feel like it's a really long story that goes back to my childhood.
So, as a kid, I was very entrepreneurial.
I was always trying to make money in my own ways.
I had a lemonade stand,
and then I turned a wagon into like a drink stand, but with food as well.
And I would go door to door because I figured that if I was just on a street corner selling lemonade, there were only so many people that walked by in an hour,
and I could reach more people if I just went and knocked on their doors with my little wagon.
So, I was always coming up with new things that I could do.
I sold stationery,
gift baskets, all kinds of things.
And when I was going through high school, I had a sense of of wanting to be an entrepreneur, wanting to have my own business, but I was encouraged to find a real job that I could pursue.
And it wasn't until I got to university, I went to a very entrepreneurial school in Canada, that I had this this spark lit in… I had this fire really lit in me to start my own business.
And I thought about it a lot in university.
I ran a business while I was in university.
And then when I was graduating, getting ready to graduate, I took a trip to the Czech Republic, to Europe in general but I was in the Czech Republic.
And I was driving, and I was listening to the song, The World Is Mine by David Guetta.
At the same time, I drove by a giant globe that was two stories high that said, "The world is yours.
" That was the only sign that I needed.
I got goose bumps in that moment, and I felt so strongly about following my own path.
And for me, that path was entrepreneurship.
And so, I started my production and media business out of university, which ended up sort of merging with, uh, a business partner,
and we ran this business called Imaginarius for a while in the production space.
That's how the Emmy comes into play.
And then, at the same time, I was blogging at shetakesontheworld.
And that is 10 years old this year,
which people don't realize.
I started that blog 10 years ago, just talking about my experience as a young woman building a business while traveling the world.
And that took on a life of its own, and ended up becoming a business in and of itself that I run full time today.
So, that's like the…That's a really top level overview of my entrepreneurial journey, and of course, there were a lot of ups and a lot of downs.
Oh, yeah, like everybody.
Like everybody, I think.
I had heard the story because you have a video somewhere, you know, when you speak on stage, and you tell the story.
But I wanted people to know like, you actually were born this way.
We can literally say, right? You were born this way, with this entrepreneurial mind.
So, can you share with us the journey from She Takes On the World.
I know you had She Takes On the World TV, which was a weekly video show, and then you've got the kit, and then the Conquer Your Year.
Can you share with us like the journey of helping people?
Have you done any one-on-one coaching? How did that… How did you monetize this [inaudible] under one blog, basically? So, She Takes On the World, remember, I started this 10 years ago when there were not a lot of business blogs, actually, at the time.
And there weren't a lot of business blogs for women in particular.
And so, we were able to gain early traction through the media, and we started making money through advertising actually.
And I think that's a much harder road to take today, but at the time, we made a little bit of money through advertising, which I reinvested.
And then we ended up teaching a few online courses.
We had a few online courses available for purchase.
I didn't really do one-on-one, at least not at that time, because I was still building my production and media company.
The blog was not a focus.
I did not think that she takes on the world was going to be my full time business.
I was so focused on production and media, so all of that was just a side business, a hobby.
And the fact that we made money from it, the fact that I was making tens of thousands of dollars a year from this little side project was mind blowing to me.
And it took a little while for it to get that momentum,
and at some point, maybe after three or four years, I did start mentoring entrepreneurs.
And that's when I knew I had to create something like the Conquer Club.
I wanted to create a business incubator because that's what had helped me turn
She takes on the world into what it is today.
I raised a round of investment funding.
I ended up in an incubator, and I turned it into what it has become today.
And so, I wanted to create that incubator experience.
And so we've been running The Conquer Club, our online business incubator for the last five years, And that's been a huge part of She Takes On The World, our growth, and how we monetize, and how we serve entrepreneurs.
So, can you share about this club?
What does it look like? Is it part coaching, mentoring, masterminding, part mini courses, what does it look like inside? So, the difference between a program and an incubator, in my opinion,
is that an incubator is really focused on you, and nurturing your business.
Nurturing your goals, and helping you to birth those.
We have a whole team of mentors inside the Conquer Club.
My COO, Kelly Azevedo,
She runs the community aspect, and hosts a lot of calls around systems and implementation.
We help people actually get the work done.
I have three live calls every single month for the year, and we focus on giving our members personalized attention.
So, you can bring your website.
You can bring your landing pages to my calls, and I review them.
I give you feedback and changes that can help you make more money and make a much bigger impact.
And so, we give people that personalized support that they don't necessarily get in programs,
and that's what really sets us apart.
Because I feel like many people go into the membership side, to, you know, recurring model with the idea that they would spend less time, right? It would be recurring money that's coming in, so a more stable stream of income and less work do.
But, actually, running a community is a lot of work.
It takes a lot of [crosstalk].
And we run it…so we open it once a year, and it runs from January to December.
And we are full on with our members all year long.
This is something that we're constantly working on,
constantly working to improve.
Our community is amazing.
I've been part of so many different communities, and I can honestly say, even though I'm biased, that this is the best community on the web for entrepreneurs.
If you want that like soulful support, if you want to feel like you really belong somewhere and you feel like you are seen and you are heard, we have just an outstanding community, and really, all of our members work together to make that happen.
You know, everyone is part of this, this fabric.
You know, everyone is woven into that, and it's it's pretty special.
So, who is the Conquer Club for? Is this for people that have a business idea but don't know where to start? Is it for people like in the six figure that want to go up?
And how do you juggle these different levels of business? That's one of the things that you have to address when you have, you know, a membership site with so many people coming in.
They come at different levels with maybe different needs,
So, because it's not a membership site, and we run this as an incubator from January to December, that 12 month container is really important.
And at the beginning of it, we're able to get a sense of where people are at.
And that's really helpful for us because it informs on what content we need to be creating throughout the year, and what people really need.
75% of women entrepreneurs make less than $50, 000 revenue a year according to US Census data.
So, we do have a lot of members that are at earlier stages of business.
And those who are over $100, 000, they would be better suited to my immersion days where we have these deep dive days, and then you work with me and my team on a more personal level.
Um, a lot of our Conquer Club members would be just below that.
Although, some do earn multiple six figures a year.
We really have our range, and we have a lot of diversity in the types of businesses that are in the Conquer Club.
Everything from accountants
to, we have an amazing doctor who runs a wellness center.
We've got people that have product based businesses, and brick and mortar shops, and online businesses.
And I think it's really important to be learning from people in different spaces because you get a lot more ideas.
And if you're an online business, you might get a lot of creative ideas from, a brick and mortar entrepreneur.
And if you're always hanging around with people who are only in your space, um,
I think you're missing out on the opportunity to really learn and get fresh ideas and fresh perspectives, and I think that's another thing that makes us really different.
I loved it.
[Crosstalk] for all entrepreneurs, like, surround yourself with mentors and with mastermind groups and with people in all different spaces at all different levels of business.
You never know what you are going to learn.
And when I was with Richard Branson and a group of amazing entrepreneurs on Necker Island, it was incredible to me to watch how attentive Richard was with every business owner that he talked to, And I watched him take notes.
I watched him take notes listening to entrepreneurs that are nowhere near being at his level of business.
But I think that is the mark of a true leader, of somebody who really wants to learn, who wants to continue growing.
You will learn from everyone around you at all different levels in all different spaces.
I love this.
I think that that's something that people might not realize.
We tend to usually want to surround ourselves with people in our same, you know,
area of expertise.
And I totally agree, you know, getting with people that are doing totally different things is very, you know, very, you know, you can learn so much from these people while they can have ideas that would have never come to you.
So, it's really…
But it's also for people that have done like… that are very open in mind.
Like you said, uh, where you have to be curious and wanting to find out about this business, and they will give you feedback that no one in your space would give you, basically.
So, I mean,
I think that… I'm sure you've had this, that, I mean, you is not a true membership, it's more like you call it an incubator.
So, it looks kind of like almost a mastermind type of… because there is so much, like, I feel live component and one-on-one help.
I think a mastermind would be a smaller…
I would see a mastermind as being a smaller group.
And we do have those options, and I have my immersion, um, my immersion offering where it is more of a one-on-one support, and working with my team, and then you come together,
our live event.
And the Conquer Club community, I mean, we have hundreds of members, so it's not quite a mastermind but it definitely feels intimate like a mastermind would.
And you get the kind of attention that you don't necessarily get in other programs.
We have over 150 classes now as well, so chances are whatever you're going through in your business, we have a class for that, we have resources for that.
And we are constantly striving to make sure that our members have everything that they need in order to reach their next level of success,
whatever that means for them.
So, let's talk about your planners and how they come into the picture, like, with your business.
I mean, I have the Conquer kit [crosstalk], which is a combination of a business planner,
and it has linked to some meditations and things like that.
So, why did you create this planner, the difference between the kit and the Conquer Your Year, and how does it fit into the your your business model
basically? I found that a lot of the entrepreneurs I was working with are very creative.
They don't necessarily want to write a business plan, and yet business planning is so essential to being able to achieve your goals.
And so, I was working with all these creatives who just didn't have the desire to write a formal business
plan, nor did they really need one.
I mean, if you're not going out and raising investment funding, you don't really need more of the formal format of a business plan.
So, the Conquer Kit is a creative business planning workbook.
It makes business planning fun.
It makes it enjoyable, and like, so, um, such a beautiful, intuitive process to plan for your business, to plan for your goals.
And it's something that I found people needed when I was out speaking at events and running the Conquer Clubs.
it was a natural fit for our brand.
So, I did that book with Penguin Random House, and then Conquer Your Year breaks the conquer kit down into basically week-to-week, day-to-day.
That is your day planner, your weekly planner.
And it's broken into sprints.
So, every quarter, you're taking on a new sprint, and that's all laid out in the planner, Conquer Your Year.
So, the Conquer Kit is your business planning workbook.
It's a 12-month business planning workbook, and then Conquer Your Year breaks it all down into day-to-day, week-to-week, quarter-to-quarter so that you can actually implement it all.
And implementation is really what's at the heart of She Takes On The World, and the Conquer Club, and everything we do.
We show you how to do it, but then we help you to actually do it, to get the work done.
This is why we have a community manager and my COO working inside the Conquer Club to give people their tasks when they don't know what to do next.
To make sure that people have the next steps so that they can get where they want to go,
and implementation is obviously critical.
You have to be able to execute on the strategy.
You have to be able to actually get the work done, and we're there to support people every step of the way through the books and through our incubator and the work that we put out into the world.
I love this because, I mean, it's true that a lot of people will show you what to do, but they won't actually help you to do it because, you know, we have all these mental blocks, and at the end, if you want people to be successful,
they do have to take action.
So, I mean, definitely, you did, I think, you know.
I think you did a great job with the kit because it actually… I think I had mentioned this to you.
It's very easy to read.
You know, I love all the space between the lines, like, it's very easy to go through.
So, it kind of makes answering these tought questions that we don't necessarily have to answer to, a bit of a nice, a bit easier, a little more fun.
I totally agree.
They're like- It is fun.
It's like, "Do I have to answer this question? Can I just skip? " And then you realize, no.
Well, the thing is too, the Conquer Kit, you can flip to any page, and it tells you how long it will take you to go through that particular exercise.
We have exercises that take five minutes.
We have exercises that take three hours.
You can choose what one works for the amount of time that you have, and for where you're at.
We go through marketing.
We go through branding.
We go through your website.
We go through finances.
We explain your business finances in a way that's so easy to understand because I think that a lot of entrepreneurs in our community,
that money piece and the financial piece is something that overwhelms a lot of people.
So, we set you up with systems for all of that.
We give you systems.
We outline how we do things.
We give you the tools.
And it really is, I think, one of the best business planning books out there.
We were recently selected by Amazon to be one of their featured business books in all of their new retail stores, and they've only picked 3000 books for those stores out of the millions of books out there.
And so, we're one of the featured business books alongside some of my favorite business books of all time.
So, that was a real honor.
And we just won the Living Now award, which are books that change lives.
We won top planner, and there were some really amazing planners that were in that space as well.
So, tens of thousands of people are using these books and love them, and there is a reason for that.
So, if you don't have a copy yet, definitely get your hands, on one, and I will say, like, the process of having your bigger picture goal, knowing what you want, and then being walked through breaking it all down.
So, what are the milestones,
first of all, that are gonna allow you to achieve that? And I do this five by five plan, which is one of the favorite exercises in the Conquer Kit.
You're picking five big goals for the year, and then you're identifying the five milestones that you need to keep yourself on track toward those goals.
And you put it into a grid so it's five by five, and that gives you 25 milestones that you're working toward for the year.
And that allows you to weigh other opportunities so that you can see whether or not it fits into the 25.
If something does not fit into my five by five plan,
I say no to it.
And you need to learn how to be discerning as an entrepreneur so that you can focus on what matters the most.
Then, with those milestones, you break those down into tasks that you're gonna do quarter to quarter.
Just being walked through that exercise and laying it all out.
And that's something you can do with or without the book.
Highly recommend that because it allows you to stay really focused on what matters the most, and say no to all the other things that are just gonna be distractions from getting what you really want.
Actually, you know what I did with the book is I started to read it, and I just read it once, the whole thing because I wanted to get the full picture.
And it gives you, I mean,
you can go, you know, at any sections.
You don't have to, you know, to go, you know, to read the whole thing and go, you know, you know, page by page.
You can actually go to different sections.
But I read the whole thing because I wanted to get the whole picture, and then I went back knowing what to expect basically.
I mean, I wanted to see.
I was just curious.
I just devoted,
you know, was reading it at night, and, um, I just went through the whole thing.
And I think that it's definitely making you aware of all the pieces that very often, we don't know about.
I think it's a really solid foundation for people because it ask you to answer those tough questions, and to get the focus that you need so that you can achieve those goals.
I'm glad you said that.
I mean, definitely.
And that's something…actually, I recently moved my desk, and that was the only one that I moved upstairs with me.
So, I, you know,
And actually, I don't write in it because I think it's too pretty.
I don't want to write in it, But… People tell me that.
People tell me that.
To anyone watching, don't do that.
Please write in it.
I think I even leave a note… at the beginning of that book, there is a note that says, "Even though this is a beautifully designed planner, I want you to write in it.
I want you to…" There are exercises where you're like cutting and pasting and putting like stickers in or doing
like vision boards in the book.
I want you to do all that stuff.
Don't be afraid to write in it.
I mean, that's the… I knew you would say that.
But it's like, uh, and you know,
I keep going back to it, different sections.
It's just really well, you know, thought.
I mean, I'm not surprised you got the award.
I think it's a great way to create a business plan that we really need as entrepreneurs without making it too, like, formal and too, like,
serious, right? Exactly.
I want a business plan that can sit on my desk that I look at everyday.
I review my goals every single day.
I need to keep my eye on the bigger picture to be able to achieve the things that we're able to achieve in a year.
I don't want to create a business plan in a Word doc or a Google doc or whatever,
or print it off, and then have it sit somewhere in a drawer, or have it sit in my drive, and not actually look at it everyday.
I like having a business plan that is right in front of me that I look at everyday.
Conquer Your Year is right here beside me,
um, and I I use that.
I use these tools for myself every single day.
I loved it.
So, can you share with us how people can get to the stores? I know you have shetakesontheworld.
but if they want to get to the book, should I just post a link? Probably Amazon.
I'll just post a link to Amazon.
It's really cheap, like, the planner is something like $10.
It's crazy how much value you're going to get.
I can't remember how much I paid for it.
I'm in France, so I think it was a bit more, but I pre-ordered it.
I bought it,
you know, like when you had pre-order, which to me, took forever to wait.
For your order? Yeah.
I think it's like $11 or $12.
I think that Conquer Your Year, the planner, is like $10.
This is gonna be the best $10 you have ever spent.
And that's something that you keep going back to.
I mean, it was, you know, next to my bed, and now it moved to my office.
That's something you keep going back to.
I think it's a great, great reference, you know, uh, and very enjoyable to read.
So, I will be putting the links below the interview.
Thank you so much,
Natalie, for doing this interview.
I so appreciate all the time.
Should we leave people with an actionable or something? Absolutely.
I mean, I love giving people actionables to so that you take something away from this, and go off and implement it.
So, let me grab my… I'm going to grab my copy of Conquer Your Year.
So, this planner is set up, it's set up in sprints.
And for the next 12 weeks, you can set this up in your own business as well.
So, here's the set up of a sprint,
and this is where we start.
So, in this case, I was creating a new program for this sprint, and I write down, first of all, the milestones.
Milestones are what keeps you on track.
So, I want you to do this.
For the next 12 weeks,
what is the one big goal that you want to achieve? Focusing on something, like buckling down and staying focused on one, two things max is powerful.
That is how you get stuff done.
That is how you build momentum.
So, in this case, creating a new program, the milestones were create the program outline.
Write sale sequence.
Create membership site, and write and create the sales page.
So, those are like the big things that need to be done so that we could actually launch this program.
Of course, that's not a task.
Writing a sales page, that is not a task.
That is going to take you several periods of sitting down and focusing.
So, what you do when you have the milestones is you go through each one, and you do a brain dump, and this is my brain
dump of all the tasks that will make up a milestone.
So, for example, in writing the sales sequence, which is a milestone, and I think this is really important.
A lot of people don't distinguish between milestones and tasks.
So, pay close attention here.
Writing a sale sequence, a task would be draft of email one.
So, in this case, there were eight emails in the sequence.
Draft of email one, draft of email two, draft of email three.
You get the idea.
Uh, final copy, email one.
Final copy, email two.
Final copy, email three.
You should be able to get a task done in 30 to 60 minutes, and this is what I schedule in Asana, or you might use Trello, or another project management system.
So, we will actually go through and detail out even a draft of an emails.
That is a task.
Your task should not be, write email sequence for my launch.
That's a big mistake that I see entrepreneurs make.
So, do a brain dump of all the tasks associated with that sprint.
It usually is like 12 weeks of tasks.
This is why you see a whole bunch of them here, and then all of this gets put into Asana for us, and we know what we're doing for the next 12 weeks.
We stay on track, and this is how we get so much done in a quarter, and in a year.
And people ask us all the time,
"How do you get so much done? " And it's because of this process that you can use as well.
And it can't just all be about work.
So, another thing that I have here is called balanced ambition.
And I look at every quarter,
what do I want to take on for my health? What do I want to take on for my relationships? For giving back? Um, I volunteer with organizations.
I take on habits that they're going to support me in being in being healthy.
I'll show you my fridge
We're going into a really busy period because our launch is coming up.
And so, what I'm doing right now is really focusing on my health, and making sure that I'm getting loads and loads of of greens in.
So, i've got all my smoothies here, ready to go.
So, I'm mostly, having like, smoothies right now, all different types, like really pumping my body up with nutrients and amazing, healthy foods that are gonna allow me to have the energy that I need to power through these next 12 weeks as I work toward this sprint.
So, your goals should not just be focused on business, they should also be focused on your overall health and your well-being and your relationships and adventures, and all the things that make life juicy and fun and exciting for you.
So, that is my actionable for all of you.
Thank you so much, Natalie.
That that is awesome.
I'm definitely getting their Conquer Your Year because I think that it is going to help us break it down into tasks that we can actually put in a calendar.
a task is something you can put a calendar, and say I start, I finish.
Right? And that's something people are struggling with, you know, breaking it down into something that's actually doable in 30 or 60 minutes.
And that's what we do inside the Conquer Club too.
For those of you who feel like it's challenging to figure out what the tasks are, and to actually create a map for yourself to get to where you want to go, that's something that we can help you with.
So, how people can sign up to be notified when it opens? Is that on She Takes On The World? Go to theconquerclub.
I will post a link as well so that people can sign up, and they should be notified, right, when it opens up in January, If they want to chicken out,
It actually opens up in November.
I was going to say, and start in January.
That actually makes sense.
So, pretty soon, actually.
So we need to [inaudible].
So, now is the right time.
I will check the URL and make sure it's correct.
I will definitely check that.
Thank you so much Natalie, and- Thank you.
Thanks everybody! Bye.
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