Nathalie Lussier is an award-winning entrepreneur who has been making web sites since she was 12 years old. She graduated with a degree in Software Engineering and a job offer from Wall Street, but she turned down this job to start her own business right out of college.
As the founder of AccessAlly, the powerful digital course and membership solution for industry leaders, she believes that access to education can help defy stereotypes and make the world a better place while providing a sustainable livelihood for enterprising teachers.
Nathalie has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur, Venture Beat, and Mashable.
Mindie: All right, my friends, we have a very special treat for you today. Our friend, Nathalie Lussier, is here with us and Nathalie is somebody that I just adore. I was familiar with her online before we met in person at Strategic Coach and since then, we’ve also had an opportunity to hang out at some events that we’ve spoken at together and hopefully, there will be more in the future we can do as well. But every time I even think of her I’m like she rocks, I get a smile on my face, and I’m delighted to bring her into your awareness if you guys don’t know her yet. So Nathalie, thank you so much for joining us today.
Nathalie Lussier: I’m so excited to be here, Mindie and Sean.
Mindie: We’re just delighted. You have so much to share and you’ve done so many things. Your bio alone is ridiculously impressive and I’m always like, how did she even do that at such a young age? You’ve done a lot of awesome things. But one of the things that I want to start with is talking about where you’re at now. You have a child already, and your second one is really right on the way. And I want to know about how you manage your time and energy with all the different stuff you have going on.
Nathalie Lussier: Yeah, that’s a great question. So I think a lot of it comes down to realizing what is possible and then also really thinking long term. So a lot of times, I get really excited about ideas or things that I want to happen in the next week or tomorrow. But then I have to remember, no, I’m actually in this business for the long term. So if it takes us a month to actually get this done, that’s okay and I want to do it right. And so that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve often been more of the Quickstart like, okay, just get it done and it has to be good is good enough. But over time, I’ve kind of realized like, yes, okay, let me actually prioritize this and make sure that it fits within my schedule. But yeah, in terms of energy, I do try to get as much sleep as I can. And I also have an amazing team, so that’s made a huge difference is realizing what I can do that only I can do and then having other people on the team do what they’re best at as well. So that helps tremendously too. And I think it’s a work in progress, delegation and letting go of things doesn’t come easy. But I think that seeing other people shine and kind of step up has given me the ability to do that more and more as well.
Sean: Nathalie, as you’ve grown your business, have you noticed that you have to get really good at saying no, and if so, how have you seen that impact your career?
Nathalie Lussier: Absolutely. Saying no, I started doing that probably like five years ago and I think that’s when things really started changing in our business was when I realized, okay, no, if I have really good boundaries, then we’re not going to get sidetracked by everyone else’s demands on our time or on my time. But, it does affect everyone on the team too because if I’m not working on what I should be working on, that impacts other people too. But yeah, it’s definitely a muscle too. And sometimes it’s like that muscle gets weak if you’ve got too many good opportunities coming in. It can be hard to filter them out or decide what’s worth doing and what’s not worth doing. And sometimes we actually have to come up with a policy company-wide where it’s just like, okay, we’re not doing any affiliate things for the next X number of months or we’re not doing any events for the next X number of months just because we have something else we’re focusing on. So, I try to remember if I’m saying no to something, I’m actually saying yes to something else. And if I know the yes first, it helps me say no. But if I don’t know the yes, then I just say yes to everything else and then I end up saying no to our own company goals and projects. So it’s kind of a tricky thing for sure.
“If I’m saying no to something, I’m actually saying yes to something else.” [Click to Tweet]
Mindie: Yeah, definitely a good thing to keep in mind. If you can keep that eye on the prize for you, your own company, that’s hugely helpful. Now I know you have a lot of passions and interests and I love that you’re very vocal and you talk a lot about things like gardening and food and stuff like that. So how having your team, how does that help you actually do all the other things that you’re interested in doing? And can you talk a little bit about those various passions?
Nathalie Lussier: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, now that we have a team, I don’t have to be necessarily answering all the questions or you know, there’s all these different aspects, or creating all the content. There’s different things that everyone else can kind of step up and do in the business. So that gives me time to sort of go outside and garden. And also, I think it’s a really important thing as entrepreneurs to kind of rejuvenate and take care of ourselves because if we’re not feeling good, if we’re not energetic and passionate about what we’re doing, it affects everyone else and kind of affects our ability to sell and our ability to lead our teams and all of that as well too. So I’ve kind of see it as, it’s an important aspect of my life is to be able to be outside.
And whether that’s gardening or just hanging out with my kid or whatever it is, it’s kind of a necessity. It didn’t use to be just because I didn’t know that I needed that. But I like the quote, I think it’s Audrey Hepburn, and she says that gardening is believing in tomorrow. And I think that that threads through the business as well is like, how can we do things every day that give us hope and give us that future focus that helps us build a business, and take care of our clients, and take care of our teams, and continue to improve what it is that we’re doing.
Mindie: I love that concept about hope because I think that’s very resonant with you. Even from when you and I met, you were talking about women in business and all kinds of very hopeful things and I wanted to see if you could talk a little bit about, I was mentioning to Sean this morning that you have your HeartQuarters.
Sean: Which I thought was awesome.
Mindie: He was like, that’s brilliant. I mean we talk a lot about heart, mind, head/heart, all of that.
Sean: So as an example, I don’t have a MasterMind. I have a MasterHeart.
Nathalie Lussier: Oh, I love that.
Mindie: Very much aligned. And I wondered if you could talk a little bit about bringing those kinds of things into the business because you don’t hear that very often.
Nathalie Lussier: Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that there are, those of us who are kind of more connected in that way, like we’re kind of opening the doors for other people to be more comfortable to talk about these things and bring them into their businesses too. So yeah, for me it was like, yeah, okay, we could have a headquarters, which is where you would have your content and your courses and that kind of thing. But that felt so cerebral, right? And so HeartQuarters is more about having people come in and connect and have more of that heart connection. And then also we do heart quarterly coaching and that kind of thing. So I took that and kind of brought it out and then people can earn “hearts.” So, that’s the point system in our courses. So if you do a quiz or you complete a modular or whatever, you can earn some points, but they’re actually called hearts. So, to me that just kind of made sense. It was like, how can we make it a fun experience, an experience that’s not just in your head? That’s something that we build into a lot of the things that we’re up to.
Sean: So, gardening was one of them. I’ve been thinking a lot about what people are curious about and I feel like it lets us know a little bit more about them. If you could just rattle off 5 to 10 things that you are curious about. Things you love studying. Maybe it has nothing to do with business, nothing to do with your profession. What are like 5 to 10 things that you’re super curious about?
Nathalie Lussier: Oh yeah. So many things! Yeah, so definitely right now I’m reading a book about human manure, which I know it sounds totally crazy, but basically “what happens to our waste?” Right? I think about that in just a lot of different ways, like resources, I’m really geeking out about water too. So like what happens if a drop of water falls onto your roof or your property? Where does it go? What happens to it after it goes there? Does it get cleaned and then sent back to your house? Or does it end up in the ocean or a river or whatever? So just kind of like geeking out on beginning, middle and end of things and definitely like natural things, but like waste and water and stuff like that. But also, even just in life, beginning, middle and end of life. That’s really fascinating to me.
Especially, with children growing up. And then my parents growing older and so I’m kind of on this circular path, if you will, of learning what happens in all of these different stages of life or resources and that kind of thing. So that’s kind of some of the stuff I geek out about. But yeah, I mean, so many things are fascinating to me. I read so many different types of books and yeah, just like the weirdest things sometimes can just be super fascinating.
Mindie: That was the other thing that you and I connected on. Sean was reading your bio earlier and he was like, “Oh, no wonder why you two are friends.”
Sean: Don’t give it away yet. The reason why I bring up the curiosity thing is I just spent time with a bunch of entrepreneurs at a mastermind and there was a talk about curiosity and then we started talking as a group about what we’re curious about. And it really showed me why it’s important to be around curious people because kids are super curious, right? And they are always learning and a lot of adults forget to be curious. But the leaders are, that’s why they got to be leaders. And so what I’m really curious about with you is we have this segment that we do in every episode here and it’s built around four components. I’m going to walk you through each of them one at a time. And I want to know how you handle each of these components. So it’s called HERB, like your herb garden, and the H stands for Habits. So I want to know what are some of your habits, both personally and professionally, that you feel like have gotten you to where you are and maintain the success and the wealth that you have?
Nathalie Lussier: I think a habit that I’ve developed that makes a huge difference is the ability to turn off the internet and work in isolation. And that could just be thinking, that could be writing, it could be mapping out projects or you know, whatever, depending on what we’re working on. But just being able to block out distractions, I would say has been monumental to our business, at least my productivity. And sometimes that means like going to a coffee shop or going somewhere else to kind of get that solo focus time just because there’s so many distractions and so many meetings and different things that could kind of pull you off. But I would say it’s kind of a muscle. Again, you want to develop the ability to stay focused and not check your phone or check Twitter or check whatever. So I would say that’s probably one of the biggest habits for me. But then, definitely health stuff too, like drinking enough water, maybe some tea in the morning, different things to kind of get the day off to a good start. That makes a big difference for me too.
Sean: Awesome. So moving from the H to the E; this is Environment. What do you make sure is and is not in your environment? And by environment I mean your home, your office, your car, like where do you physically reside?
Nathalie Lussier: Oh my gosh. So clutter, I try to get rid of it as much as I can. But yeah, I do feel like the colors in my environment make a big difference too. So, I have a nice little purple office with plants and all kinds of things.
Mindie: [Pointing to plants and purple walls in her office.]
Nathalie Lussier: I know… I feel like you guys are on the same wavelength there. And so I do feel like the environment that I’ve created in my office helps me be productive. And in terms of the rest of my home, I can kind of ignore it. So if it gets a little cluttered, cause you know, my three year old is running around and playing with stuff, as long as it’s in a different room, I’m fine with that. But definitely my office space needs to be pretty clear of any extra stuff.
And that makes a big difference for me. And then car again, I feel like that’s not too bad cause I don’t really, I work from home so I don’t use it a ton. But yeah, my mom actually has a really funny saying about our lifestyle. She’s like, you have a lot more stuff outside of your house than you have inside of your house. And that just means like trees and other random stuff that we’ve planted. And I think that kind of sums up our philosophy for our environment: how can we have it simple inside and then we can have lots of stuff growing outside.
Sean: Awesome. So, I know you’re going to love this next one because of the quote that I read from you that said you can never have enough books. So the R in HERB is resources and that can include books, it can include video courses, live events. What are some of the resources that you are so grateful that you came across both professionally and personally?
Nathalie Lussier: Oh wow. That’s such a good question. Yeah, I mean I’ll kind of start with some of the maybe more recent ones just because they’re top of mind. So I really loved the StoryBrand course that I took recently. I think that was really helpful for figuring out our messaging and just kind of clarifying what we’re all about at AccessAlly.
Mindie: Did you go through the live workshop?
Nathalie Lussier: I went through the online course. And I thought that was really helpful. Some of the other things, some books that I really liked were Scaling Up. I thought that was a really helpful one. Let’s see. Some of the other sort of classic books that made a big difference at different times in the business. So I think Ready, Fire, Aim was another really important book for me back in the day.
Sean: What about personally?
Nathalie Lussier: Yes, let’s see. I think that personally there’s been quite a few things. So Mama Gena, I don’t know if you’re familiar with her, but I did her School of Womanly Arts and that was extremely helpful to just kind of shake things up a little bit cause I’m a woman in tech, so I am kind of surrounded by this business world created mostly for and by men. So to be surrounded by 5,000 women and to be really thinking about femininity and how to be a woman in this world, that made a huge difference for me as well. And then some of my early mentors are like Marie Forleo and Laura Roeder. And they made a big difference as well. And just the way that I think about business and just kind of run things too.
Sean: Well as health-conscious as you are, and I’m always looking to study nutrition and fitness to bring in more consciousness in that area. Do you have a book that stands out for you in that area?
Nathalie Lussier: I just read something that kind of changed my perspective in a lot of ways. It’s called Vegetable Animal Miracle.
Mindie: I loved that!
Nathalie Lussier: Yeah, and I thought that was a really powerful one. But yeah, I’ve read so many great books about juicing and all kinds of nutrition, everything from raw food to you know, Michael Pollan‘s books, and just everything in between. I think my challenge has been finding my own style within a lot of these different aspects. But I’m also just really grateful cause my husband is amazing at making food so I feel like that that makes a big difference cause he has sort of a knack for figuring out recipes too.
Sean: So that finishes out with the B and that is the beliefs. What are some beliefs that you have about reality, about yourself, about business, just any beliefs. And another way of saying it is like your mindsets or paradigms, but what are some of the beliefs that you feel like make up Nathalie.
Nathalie Lussier: One of the ones I always come back to is ideas have a shelf life. Use them before they expire.
“Ideas have a shelf life. Use them before they expire.” [Click to Tweet]
And that’s something that sometimes an idea might not be right for you right now. And so that’s fine, just being aware of it. But sometimes if it is, you want to definitely take advantage while you can. Another thing that I’ve been kind of playing with as a belief more recently is the idea that not all profit is created equal. And just kind of thinking about like how can we build a business in a way that serves the bottom line, obviously to support us and the people on our team, but then also in a bigger context, right? Like how can we be doing good in the world? And not just kind of extracting or, you know, forcing things to just be profitable, but to really have a bigger impact with the work that we’re doing. So those are some of the things. And then for me personally, I think just remembering that we all have sort of this creative force in all of us. I think that we all have this ability to do amazing things and if we can nurture that and then also nurture it in other people, then it just kinda comes back to you multiple times.
Mindie: I love that. Of course, you know, we are always about like how can we do more good? Yes, profit. Yes, bottom line. But really, what’s the impact and what’s the bigger picture of what we’re doing here? So, totally love that. Kind of in line with that idea, I would like to know how do you define wealth?
Nathalie Lussier: Yes! So one of the things I would say is feeling really resourced, so not feeling like you are… I mean we’re all interdependent, but also not feeling like you are lacking in any aspect of your life. So whether that is relationships or the ability to put food on the table or pay rent or the basic necessities, but then also being able to kind of have surplus, so that you can give back or contribute in other ways. So it doesn’t always have to be money, but I think that is obviously one of the big ways we measure. But yeah, I think like around resources, that’s kind of where my head is at these days around wealth. It’s like what kind of resources do you have? And it could be, you know, creativity or information or it could be money in the bank that you can use if you need it. Or it could be something like that you’ve created that you can continue to sell or it could be… You know, there’s different ways to kind of think about it, but I think it’s like if you have a resource, I feel like that counts for something and that is kind of a source of wealth.
Mindie: Awesome. I’d love to know how you decide, as we were talking about earlier… There are so many opportunities and so many things and saying yes and no to what things. But what’s your process of deciding, in that mindset of creating wealth or generating wealth or generating resources, as you said, I love that, being resourced the way you said that. What are ways that you can decide which way to go for your company when new opportunities come in, in that idea of let’s generate and create wealth?
Nathalie Lussier: So one of the things we’ve been playing with recently is “How easy does it feel?” And so we’ve been using this sort of as a litmus test for a bunch of different projects and a bunch of different things, even hiring. If it feels like there’s a huge hurdle or like it’s just not flowing or maybe the communication’s not going well or you know, there’s just like something like that doesn’t feel right. Like there’s friction. Then that kind of helps us decide fairly quickly that, okay, this is probably not a good opportunity or a good fit or a good use of our time and resources. And so also, the interesting thing with that is sometimes we think, okay, in order for this to be successful I need to pour in tons of time, tons of energy, tons of work, and just really grind it out and like, you know, if I put months behind this, it’ll be more successful.
And so we’ve kind of found the opposite to be true. If we can keep it light, keep it simple, keep the energy from getting too heavy around the project, then it tends to be a lot more successful. So it’s kind of like how can we test and iterate quickly as opposed to saying, okay, like in six months we’re going to do this massive launch or this massive opportunity with someone. It’s just like if it’s an instant yes. And if it just seems to flow that tends to work out better for us. And then obviously, you know, you can get into numbers and get into statistics or whatever. So if someone’s like, Oh, you know, come on and do this and we have an audience of X number of people, that can kind of be a little bit of an indicator too. But I think that energy piece is even more important for us.
Mindie: Totally. You’re speaking my language. I like that feeling, I would call it instinct, and just saying that we focus so much on that. Love it!
Sean: Nathalie, as we wrap this up with you, I want you to close your eyes and go inside your heart with me and I want you to speak directly to the listener on the other side of these microphones. And they’re running their business. We don’t know what stage they’re at, but they know that they want wealth. They know they want to be happy. If you had to give a direct message just to this one person to keep them moving forward, what would you say to them?
Nathalie Lussier: So you already have everything that you need to be successful. And the more that you can focus on being of service to the people who need what it is that comes super naturally to you, the easier you will reach the success that you’re looking for, the wealth that you’re looking to build. And if you remember the person on the other end, which is kind of what we’re doing right now, it really makes a big difference because it takes the pressure off of you to be perfect. It takes the pressure off of you to have it all figured out and it takes the service and really puts it front and center so that you can actually do things that come naturally to you, but that make a really big difference for other people. And they’ll be more willing to pay for it, to spread the word for you and to just have an amazing relationship with you. So that would be my recommendation. It’s something that has served me well. Every time I get stuck or I start doubting ourselves or anything like that, I just say, okay, who can I serve? What am I doing here and how can I focus on them and not on myself?
Mindie: Awesome. Final question from me, what should we have asked you that we did not?
Nathalie Lussier: I would love to maybe discuss pricing cause that’s something that I know people can kind of get confused on. So yeah, I think that when it comes to pricing, I always like to have people do sort of a little thought experiment. So one of the things you might ask yourself is like when you’re considering what to charge you could charge a low price, a middle price, a high price. How do you decide what it should be?
And so the thought experiment is just asking yourself, who and why do people pay different amounts of money for different things? So for example, a pair of shoes. Some people will spend $50 on shoes, some people might spend $500 and some people might spend $5,000. And so what’s the difference between each of these types of shoes? Because at the end of the day, they are still something that you put on your feet and you go walk with, right? So is it the person themselves that’s different? Is it the positioning? Is it the marketing? Is it the names of the brand? Is it the experience? What is it that makes that different? And so for your business, you can decide for yourself, what tier do you want to be in? How many people do you want to impact? And how many things do you want to be creating and that could kind of get you going. There’s no perfect answer. I think it’s just about what resonates for you.
Sean: Nathalie, if people want to learn more about you and what you’re bringing into the world, you service with AccessAlly, how do people reach out to you?
Sean: Awesome. Well, thank you so very much for spending time with us and bringing your brilliance to the world.
Nathalie Lussier: Thank you.
Mindie: Thank you, Nathalie. Love you girl.