YLYW Interview #3 : Natalie Sisson the Suitcase Entrepreneur

When I heard there was a kiwi entrepreneur in Vancouver who knew some of the same people I did, I wanted to meet her right away. Having lived in NZ for 4 years I am hardwired to love kiwis and when I met Natalie Sisson, I was totally impressed.

Here was this beautiful, smart, globe trotting, ultimate frisbee world champion and business owner who’d made it her personal mission to create a movement where women court bolder dreams & turn them into reality.

How could one NOT be dazzled by her passion, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit? Natalie knows first hand what it’s like to run a location independent business with its challenges and rewards.

ps: She’s also the reason I’m moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 3 months – when I heard she was going and was looking for people to go along with her, I was in like Flynn! Enjoy her thoughts and then watch the video at the end for a chance to win an AWESOME giveaway!

1. What does Your Life YOUR Way mean to you? When did you realise you were living life your way and how did that make you feel?

I just wrote a post about this. For me life is all about freedom – freedom of choice, to live anywhere in the world and run my business. I’m not sure I’m entirely there yet but it’s amazing when I stop to take stock – I am actually living how I want.

It makes me feel very lucky indeed and I want to pass that on to other so they can also create freedom in business and adventure in life.

2. Many people fail to get going because they have so many passions that they can’t decide which one to pick. How did YOU discover and pick (if you had more than 1) a passion you could turn into a business / career you love?

Oh wow, it wasn’t exactly a direct path but then I’m not sure anything is. That’s the beauty of it. I think people expect their passion to just leap out at them. Quite often you discover it along the way. I think it comes when you realise something just feels right to you, natural, that you gain energy from doing it and then you realise it’s something you can make a business out of.

For me mine came from co-founding a business and wanting to find other female entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off, learn from and share experiences with. That morphed into my blog sharing my journey and that of others, which then morphed into a platform that is now my online business.

My passion has grown more and more but if you’d asked me this question earlier last year I would not have imagined I’d be doing this and making money from serving others.

Two pieces of advice: You have to be careful not to turn every passion into work – you may lose the passion, and passion doesn’t always translate into profit. Two – you do need focus. You have to have perseverance and dedication, don’t swap and change as you fancy.  Stick with it and make it work!

3. What was the biggest challenge / fear YOU faced in turning your passion into a living and how did you take the first step in getting past it?

Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, of my passion not being enough, of not being able to support myself. I’m a risk taker though and this year more than ever I learned a ton about myself.

I kind of forced myself into a tough situation financially to see what I was really made of. I walked away from the business I co-founded with very little to survive on and made it happen from there. It’s starting to pay off now, 6 months later and those lessons were invaluable.

I can honestly say that people who feel they don’t have enough savings behind them or can’t quit their job quite yet will never have a better time to take that leap of faith. The universe rewards bravery – stop making excuses and get to it!

4. What ONE most important piece of advice would you have given yourself when you were first starting out & is there anything you would have done differently?

Believe in yourself always. Self belief is huge. I also would have liked more entrepreneurs to have told me how tough it really is to start and grow a business – but man it’s a great challenge with huge rewards.

Even though I say there’s always a good time to follow your passion I think I would have preferred a little more of a safety net – not to get by but to invest in my business!

5. Being an entrepreneur requires commitment and discipline in both mindset and marketing. What are your best daily / weekly habits & practices that help you stay inspired, productive & making progress especially when it gets “tough” to keep going?

I have a natural enthusiasm for what I do but there are definitely days when I wonder why I’m pouring myself into working so much. I’m a firm believer in writing lists that break down all I want to accomplish. I carry them over each day if I haven’t knocked something off.

I also aim to prioritise what’s really important to do. As I grow my business and my skill set I’m getting much better at allotting out days to specific activities. 50% of your time should be spent on marketing your business and building your community, client and customer base. You need to schedule that into your calendar and commit to it.

Outside of that I love TED videos for inspiration and I have recently set up a mastermind group of fellow entrepreneurs to Skype once a month and help each other with specific challenges and to hold each other accountable.

You have to find what works for you but never under estimate what you can accomplish if you set yourself up with a structure that focuses on the real priorities to move you forward.

Thanks Natalie, that was pretty awesome. Hope you enjoyed reading this interview, now watch this video (my 1st screencast btw, woohoo!!) and leave a comment so you can be IN to WIN this super cool giveaway. Winner announced Wed, 16th Nov.

Want More? Natalie Sisson’s an adventurer with a motto of living life to the full, which is evident in that she loves learning, adores traveling and is addicted to Ultimate Frisbee. You can find her at Womanz World where she writes about entrepreneurship and new media, and provides resources full of insights, intelligence and a healthy dose of inspiration. Follow her on twitter at Natalie Sisson.

Facebook comments:



  1. says

    Tia I’m honoured to be featured on here and I have to say I sound pretty cool 😉

    Seriously though, you are living the dream in following your heart’s desire and I admire you greatly for that.

    Can’t wait to take on the world in Argentina and master tango. I think you’re way ahead of me on the Spanish!

    Yours in entrepreneurial spirit


  2. says

    Thanks Natalie! I may have a way with words but there ain’t no smoke without the fire young lady 😉 Yes, we’re blessed to be living our lives following our passions and dreams and even more, that we made the decision to do so, along with all the other courageous people we know! Argentina, look out!

  3. Lynne says

    Social media bootcamp! I am just starting my health coaching company and see huge value in Natalie’s social media resources!! Life is the tide of awe in an ocean of possibilities!

  4. says

    I crawled into social media earlier this year like a baby scuttling toward something shiny. I had no idea what I was doing, but I managed to knock about and create a bit of a Twitter and Facebook following. The funny thing is that when I started, I created an account for me and one for my dog, Ducky, and she’s doing MUCH better at social media than I am … she has more followers and more friends. 🙂 Ducky and I have also played with You Tube, and neither of us are too popular there.

    I’d love to say I’ve grown into a social media toddler by now, and perhaps I’m almost at that point, but the truth is I still have no idea how to use the connections I’ve made in a way that benefits both the people (and dogs 😉 ) with whom I’m interacting AND me. I also feel like I’m not optimizing the time I invest in social media. It seems to eat up my time with no appreciable impact.

    So I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to win Natalie’s program. I’m sure Ducky would enjoy it too. She did ask me, though, whether it came with treats.

    P.S. Tia, I’ve never heard your voice before … and it’s absolutely lovely!

  5. says

    OMG Ande, you and Ducky were born to be social – with this killer sense of humour and love-ability, I refuse to believe you aren’t as popular online as you are off 😉 LOL!

    Great point though – using social media isn’t the same as knowing how & what to do with it in a business sense. Don’t know about the treats, will have to ask Natalie to chime in about that? 😉

    ps: Thanks! My accent (as usual) is ALL over the place, just how I like it hehe.

      • says

        Ande!! Drumroll…… I am pleased & happy to announce that…. you’re the final winner of this giveaway. It doesn’t come with treats for Ducky … but.. fortitious (sp?) events have conspired to bring this to YOU and I’m sure Ducky can help you out with some youtube videos, yay, yay, yay! Congrats young lady, I know you’ll make really good use of this package!

  6. says

    Pretty new site Michelle, loving it! Yep, this is one kickass product and whoever gets it is going to love it 🙂 Thanks for staking your claim!

    • says

      Thanks Nat, it’s Ande & I’ll send her the link when I hear back from her. Hope Argentina’s being good to you Ms Suitcase Entrepreneur, and you’re rocking that joint! Thanks again for the giveaway, that was really generous and sweet of you & I just know Ande’s going to make great use of it 🙂 Cheers!

  7. says

    Awesome interview Tia!
    After resisting social media for quite some time, a friend talked me into getting on Twitter last May. I thought I’d give it my best shot for 3 months and then debrief. Well, 6 months later, I’ve been on the most intense learning curve and it has paid off. I still have a lot to learn and fine-tune, but I have totally become a social media convert. Hallelujah, and now back to Twitter 😉

  8. says

    So glad you did Sandi! You’ve got quite the presence on twitter & have some quality friendships. Was reading your blog the other day and realised you’ve been blogging a short time but wow, you’re definitely doing it right 🙂

  9. Belinda says

    I wanted to say I have known Natalie for many years and long before she began her travels and have watched her grow and become an inspirational New Zealand woman who is taking on the world with integrity and passion that inspires so many around the world. What a pleasure to watch how far she has come and I eagerly await to see what the future holds for this extrodinary woman.

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