Building A Creative Business For The Long Term With Natalie Sisson

Writing is a life-long practice, and for many of us, a long-term career. But how can you continue to thrive in a creative business while still changing over time? In this interview, I talk to entrepreneur Natalie Sisson about how she pivoted her brand after a change in lifestyle and how books play just one part in her non-fiction business.

In the intro, the latest Audio Publishers Association report on 8 years of double-digit audiobook growth, plus insights from Bookwire’s audiobook conference [Publishing Perspectives] and an AI lead in a $70m sci-fi movie [Fast Company].

Plus, join me and Nick Stephenson for a webinar on how to grow your book sales to $1000 a month — or add to your existing sales. We’ll be going through how to build your email list and convert that traffic into sales, plus tips for revisiting the basics of your author platform + some more advanced tips for taking sales to the next level. Thurs 16 July at 3 pm US Eastern / 8 pm UK. Click here to register for your free place and also receive the replay if you can’t join us live.

your author business plan

Today’s show is sponsored by Your Author Business Plan, my mini-course on how to reboot your author career. One student, Rachel, says, “Just completed Your Author Business Plan. I literally *gasped* as I wrote my business summary. So many aha moments. The course helped me understand where I am now as an author and where I want to be.” Just US$99. Click here to learn more.

Natalie Sisson is a New Zealand entrepreneur, author, speaker, host of the Untapped Podcast, and triathlete. Her books include The Suitcase Entrepreneur and The Freedom Plan: Redesign Your Business to Work Less, Earn More and Be Free.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript below.

Show Notes

  • Knowing when to go from blog posts to book
  • Writing from scratch, even with blog content available
  • Books as part of a business ecosystem, but not the whole thing
  • Making sure our revenue streams align with one another
  • Is the blogging movement dead?
  • Streamlining and doing more of what you love
  • The importance of ‘massive clarity’
  • Will there be shifts in how we do business as we come out of the pandemic?
  • Running a global online business that is not US-centric
  • Marketing to those not in the US
  • Using systems to create freedom
  • On having a long-term career but also changing

You can find Natalie Sisson at and on Twitter @nataliesisson

Transcript of interview with Natalie Sisson

Joanna: Natalie Sisson is a New Zealand entrepreneur, author, speaker, host of the ‘Untapped’ podcast, and triathlete. Her books include The Suitcase Entrepreneur and The Freedom Plan: Redesign Your Business to Work Less, Earn More and Be Free. Welcome, Natalie.

Natalie: I’m so excited to be here with you, Joanna.

Joanna: It’s great to connect.

Tell us a bit more about you and how writing became part of your scalable business.

Natalie: It became part of my business when I finally realized I was… I had a book in me which I’m sure a lot of listeners are like, ‘When is that moment going to happen?’ But for me, that was around 2012. I’d been a suitcase entrepreneur for a couple of years and I finally felt like I had something worth writing. So I had a community behind me and a book that was worth birthing, and in 2013 that’s what came out.

Joanna: And when you say worth writing because you were blogging for a number of years before you wrote a book.

How did you know when to go from a blog post into a book?

Natalie: I’ve been turning a lot of my blog posts into digital paid books or into opt-ins, or freebie guides, but I feel like it was probably about three or four years experience of being the suitcase entrepreneur and helping people create freedom in business. ‘An adventure in life,’ is my tagline.

I felt like I actually had enough knowledge as a leading learner. I don’t love the word expert, but I felt like I was a leading learner who had enough knowledge that would be really worthy of being in a book. I had enough people saying, ‘Are you going to write a book?’ Which was a bit of a sign to me that, ‘Oh, finally maybe this childhood dream would come true.’

The final thing I thought that was very obvious to me was there were very few women digital nomads at the time who were writing books. There were just a lot of men talking about it. And I was like, ‘Wait a minute. There are heaps of women out there who could be doing this or would like to be doing this, and they need another perspective.’

Joanna: That’s great. You did mention there, a childhood dream. Did you always want to write a book?

Natalie: I think I did. But it was really funny, Joanna, because when you’re a kid for sure, I’m sure a lot of people think about it. I always wrote in school. I loved being on the school magazine. I wrote journals from, like, age 11 to 18 nonstop. And I just loved writing.

I think way back then I did actually think, “Oh, it would be really cool to write a book one day.” As I think a lot of people think about and I loved reading books. But then when it came around to that, it was 2012, I was like, ‘Oh, I could actually write this book.’ I feel like it’s something that I left behind and then regained around that time going, ‘Actually, this is something I’ve always wanted to do deep down.’

Joanna: What was the process of turning your existing material into a book?

Because I feel like many bloggers particularly, or many people listening if they’re doing nonfiction, they might be speakers, they might be teachers in some way, so you’ve got this massive material. How do you turn that into a book that your audience wants?

Natalie: The really funny thing about this is 95% of The Suitcase Entrepreneur I wrote from scratch, which is hilarious because I had about, I don’t know, 600 or 700 blog posts by that time. But I feel like I just wanted it to come fresh out of my brain with the most up-to-date experience and knowledge, and know-how that I had.

It felt really good to just write from scratch because I think book writing can be really cathartic, especially when you’re putting your frameworks and your experience into a book. It’s actually really a cool process to solidify what you actually know you’re talking about.

So I think I only took one little bit from the blog and the rest I literally wrote from scratch. And I’m sure I’ve talked about it heaps on interviews and I’d written about it a lot, and I’d shared it on videos. But to write it down from the beginning was a really cool process.

Joanna: I’m actually really glad you said that because I think the biggest problem with the bloggers turned authors is that they think all they have to do is pick a few blog posts and put them in book form, and that’s enough. But I feel like the book is a completely different journey to the blog model, because I’m not going to come to your blog and read all of your stuff in order. That’s just not going to happen, right?

Now, I mean, how I find people is, if I have an interview like this then I’ll go buy their book and I expect that book to be the encapsulation of everything they’ve learned. So I’m so glad you said that.

It’s a lot more work to start from scratch, but equally, you perhaps have delivered something that does encapsulate years’ worth of work.

Natalie: That is true. I’m actually writing a book right now, my third book, and I’m taking little bits from my vlogs or my podcast. And I’m finding it quite interesting because my manuscript is a mess right now because the ideas behind those vlogs and podcasts are really good, but now I almost have to rewrite the idea, if that makes sense.

But it is quite nice to start with something. But I wonder if the clean slate was actually what made The Suitcase Entrepreneur a great book. I’m not going to lie. I think I was really proud of how it came out because it was so from the heart and really thinking through, and making sure that what I was writing was legit, and helpful, and practical, and honest.

Joanna: I love that. And, of course, we all refine our process. We’ll come back to that other book a bit later. You do have several books, as we mentioned, but they are only one part of your business model. I know you’re a great businesswoman. I think you would laugh if it was suggested that you would make a full-time income from those book sales alone.

Natalie: Yes. I used to think the books are really profitable, but I love the phrase ‘beyond the book.’ So, you know, the book as a calling card, it’s a kind of way of saying, ‘Hey, you know, I’ve got some thought leadership here, I’ve got some interesting perspectives around this topic, I’ve got a lot of experience in it.’ But that’s just the beginning.

I don’t know how many books you’ve read, Joanna. Probably heaps. But I always find I get to the end of that book, and you often want more because it’s packed with this kernel of curiosity and interest in you. It’s made you think outside the box just differently about a topic, and then it’s the perfect opportunity for that to also go, ‘Hey, you want to learn more, now come follow me here, or do this little course,’ or, ‘Maybe buy this next thing to continue the journey.’

Because as they evolve, you evolve as well. It’s just like, it’s a really fascinating thing. And so there’s just so much you can do beyond the book.

Joanna: So tell us about that.

What are your multiple streams of income? And what does your business ecosystem look like?

Natalie: Actually, I’d love to share because how The Suitcase Entrepreneur book came around is a perfect example of the book and digital product and, of course, journey.

I started off with a 12-part blog post series on my blog called Build Your Online Business. I turned that into a paid e-book even though it’s free on the site and I told people that. They paid to have it in a consumable format. And then I worked that ‘Build Your Online Business.’

I worked through it with my coaching clients and I took the principles and frameworks from that for years. And then I wrote The Suitcase Entrepreneur based off all those principles that I’ve done. And then off the back of The Suitcase Entrepreneur, I actually created my most profitable course today called The Freedom Plan.

And then I ran that for several years. It was an amazing course, and then I put a lot of the key principles, not everything, but some of the key principles and the learnings from running that as a course into the book, The Freedom Plan, which was the next one. So I just thought I’d point that out as a really interesting journey of how I feel like content and your philosophies, and your theories, and your frameworks can keep growing as you do in different formats.

Joanna: I make quite a bit of income from affiliate sales. And that was a model that came out of the blogging movement, as it was. Is that something that’s still part of your business?

Natalie: You make it sound that the blogging movement is over.

Joanna: Well, we’ll come back to that.

Natalie: Great question.

I had eight revenue streams. My book was one of them.

Podcast sponsorships were another, affiliate sales were for sure another, digital products on my site, online courses on my site, speaking, and group coaching specialized programs, and events, and retreats and workshops. It’s around that. Eight or nine.

It felt like a lot, but they all came out of one another, and naturally spun off each other and I think that was a really neat thing. And I do think it’s a really smart idea to have multiple revenue streams so long as they will align and make sense in your customer journey and that ascension model, so to speak so that the customer can grow with you.

Joanna: I like the word ‘ecosystem’ because all these things pull people into your ecosystem and then they can consume bits of you however they like. Weird metaphor!

But let’s come back to that question of, ‘Is the blogging movement over?’ Because this is something I have actually been thinking a lot about. As a consumer, I don’t read blog posts anymore. I’ve been for the last probably four years, I’m an audio first consumer. I listen to a lot of podcasts at 1.5 speed or I listen to audiobooks. I still read books, but I rarely will read a blog post. And you mentioned vlogging, you’ve got a podcast.

How much has blogging changed in terms of text on a website in a regular format or are you choosing other forms of marketing?

Natalie: That’s a really fascinating question because if I think about it, I don’t blog much anymore. I podcast and the blog post comes from that, but it’s usually shorter. And I vlog and I’m getting back to get back into doing it consistently. And I do Facebook Live.

So I’m still producing a lot of content, but the actual blog usually just takes so long, and actually writing a book again now is making me appreciate what an art and skill it is. I think the form of blogging has changed, and I definitely hear you on consuming more audio content.

But at the end of the day, I guess it’s still content creation. And there are some blogs. I think of somebody like James Clear, who is just a writer through and through. I don’t believe he has a podcast or maybe he did start one, but he doesn’t do videos so to speak and he writes all the time.

Another person would be Mark Manson, who wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. He’s a writer through and through as well.

For the really established people and it’s still the way that people love to consume their content. But I’m a big fan of understanding my audience and how they want to consume content. And my audience is entrepreneurs who are growing their business and creating a great lifestyle, and they’re fulfilled, proactive, I will say busy even though they don’t love that word.

For them, audio or video is just a better way of doing it than sitting back and taking a long read. So that’s an interesting thing actually.

I guess that the form of blogging has changed over the years, but the art of it still lives on.

It’s a bit like a podcast. You said you started yours in 2008, 2009, which is amazing. And I remember when I started mine in 2012, I thought I’d missed the boat.

When I started my blog in 2008, I thought I’d missed the blogging boat, and now yet there are still people starting podcasts, there are still people starting blogs. So I feel like at the end of the day it’s up to you to create the platform and make it unique to yourself and do your best of it.

Joanna: I agree. And partly, it’s what we like to consume, but also what we like to produce. And for me, I like to produce words that go into books. Books are my primary product.

Let’s talk about freedom because freedom is my number one value. I really resonate with you in saying the same thing. And you’ve got the book, The Freedom Plan and you talk about streamlining business. Because it’s so important, I feel like often people listening might now feel, ‘Oh, if I want to be like Natalie, I have to do video, I have to do vlogging, I have to do Facebook Live.’

But actually, you talk about streamlining business and getting rid of the overwhelm with to-do lists.

How can people move towards that freedom and cut out the things that aren’t going to work or that they don’t really want to do?

Natalie: For me, it’s about getting massive clarity on what you want to do and cutting out all the extraneous stuff. And that comes from having clarity on your freedom values and what that means to you.

One of the ways, and I think I talk about it in The Freedom Plan and also in the course, is about actually visualizing your perfect day. And it may sound a little bit weird to people, but as I was working with clients over the years, I’d often used to say, ‘Well, if you could have the perfect business and you could wake up every morning, what would that look like?’

And the amount of people who told me, ‘Oh, I don’t actually know. I’ve never thought about what my perfect day would look like from start to finish.’

And I was like, ‘How many hours would you work and where would you be working? And what would you be working on? And then who would you be spending your time with it? And how would you take home that? And what would you do to have fun and relax? And where would you be in the world?’

Even I hadn’t done it to that extreme at that point. It was fascinating because the minute you even just take a moment, 30 minutes to write out what your perfect day would look like, even if you don’t think it’s possible right now, it’s incredible how it really aligns you with, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize this is so important to me that I have a slow start in the morning or that I take a lot of time now that I stop work at 2,’ or, ‘That I am only doing this kind of work that lights me up.’

From there, I think you get real clarity and alignment on, ‘Okay. Well, why am I doing all this other stuff which sets my energy, which makes me frustrated, which makes me the bottleneck of my business or my day? So how do I outsource that? How do I eliminate it? What do I focus on to just be happy, do the things I love, and earn great money?’

I know it sounds very simple, but it honestly is. It’s about cutting out all the stuff that doesn’t serve you and focusing on the stuff that you do super well that brings you the most value and makes the most impact.

Joanna: As we record this, obviously, the world is going through this weird pandemic time. And as we record this, New Zealand is starting to come out of lockdown. In the U.K. we’re still really in it. Do you think this time of pandemic has a lot of people reflecting on the shortness of life, but also on perhaps what they really want?

Do you think we’re going to see a big shift coming out of the pandemic?

Natalie: I was going to say I really hope so, Joanna, but humans are creatures of habit. I feel like a lot of people will go back to what they did.

What I’m really hoping is that people take the bits that they loved out of lockdown, if they did love anything. For me, it’s actually been one of the most fulfilling, productive, and peaceful times in my life because I didn’t have all these other things going on.

I’m really holding on to and almost staying in a bit of a lockdown mode, which sounds odd because I’m an extrovert and I love people. But I’ve really valued the simplicity that came out of cooking for yourself every day, of being with your partner. We don’t have kids so we’re quite lucky. We just had our dogs. We had a lot of land and nature.

It made me appreciate how much extra stuff I was doing just to be and socialize, and do things, and go into town.

I really hope that people look at the stuff that worked really well for them during this time where they found peace, where they found gratitude, and love, and maybe quality time with people in their family, and keep that part on. Especially, I would have to say on the remote work side, working from home, working online.

I feel like finally a lot of people around the world have caught up to what digital nomads and online business owners have been doing for years. So I hope that people take something out of it that actually worked for them and keep it as a ritual in their life. Otherwise, it feels like it’s a lesson we didn’t learn.

Joanna: I agree. I’ve certainly felt like I’ve had some time away to reflect on what I really want and I always liked the memento mori. I spend a lot of time going to graveyards anyway, but we’ve suddenly realized what can happen quite quickly.

You mentioned remote working there and obviously, you’re in New Zealand, you’ve been traveling for many years, but you’re home now in New Zealand. And I feel like so much of what happens or that we’ve been involved with over many years is U.S.-centric.

Maybe, as you say, things have shifted now because people are going to be used to it. But if people want to run a global online business as we do, and they want to be less U.S.-centric, what are some of your tips for that? I mean, are there other communities? I know there used to be a really big Australian, New Zealand blogger community.

Are there other big networks outside of the U.S.?

Natalie: For sure. I think it’s interesting you say that because I started my business in Canada. And a huge part of my business in customer base and community was in the U.S. But as a suitcase entrepreneur, I was traveling around the world and everywhere I went I picked up more community members.

So my audience has always been international. And I’ve actually stayed away when I was blogging or vlogging, or whatever I was doing, if somebody came to me with something that was just U.S.-focused, I would say no. Because I’m like, ‘No, my audience is from everywhere, they really are.’

I feel like there are communities all over the world. And, yes, some of them are at different stages and development. Asia Pacific is so gung-ho in terms of being ahead on the virtual identity space I guess, and just almost being birthed into remote entrepreneurship, and remote working, and working online. So I feel like they kind of embraced that early on.

There’s a ton of digital nomads around the world who hang out in Asia Pacific because it’s cheap and you can live like a king or queen.

And there’s a European side where people living and hanging out in hubs like Berlin and Lisbon, where it really started to become hubs as well for entrepreneurs. I’ve always had the international focus and even when I came back to New Zealand, I’d often be speaking to people. They’d be like, ‘Oh, that would be great in Wellington.’ I’d be like, ‘Wellington? No, I was thinking the world.’

I’ve just never limited to one thing. So I guess it’s your sphere of influence, right? Like, what you put in within your sphere of influence and how you adapt to that. And I think there are hubs and communities all over the world. You just have to take them up.

Joanna: I get a really common question because I’m like you. I’m very internationally-focused. But the question I get from Americans and there a lot of Americans listening is, how do I market to people who are not in America? What are your thoughts on that?

Natalie: It’s actually a fascinating one because I get quite a lot of clients and customers who like me because I’m not American. And I don’t want to offend your audience by any means, but there’s a different way of marketing to and resonating with people.

Down under where I am, New Zealand, Australia, we’re quite laid back and quite humble often. I am probably a little bit different outside of it, but I feel like a lot of the American or Canadian sort of thing just doesn’t resonate or sit well here.

So I guess, actually, it depends for those in the U.S., how much do you want to reach out, and understand, and learn about other cultures, and how can you bring what you know into their culture so that it makes it more relevant?

Obviously, travel is huge for that. I feel like travel really levels the playing field and allows you to understand where people are coming from in their own world. But I do think it really requires more reading, more conversations with people overseas, getting to know them, and going outside your sphere of influence right now, and also looking for hubs where the things that are happening that you’re interested in.

Where is the sustainability, or the climate change, or space engineering, where is it outside the U.S. happening that you can tap into those hubs and communities and smart people.

I think it’s really, for me, about seeking out what you’re interested in and then who are the go-to people talking about that and looking outside of the U.S. I think podcasts are really sometimes a good thing for that, especially if you can tune into international ones, communities, forums, groups. And it just takes a bit of effort, but there are so many people around the world doing amazing things. They just don’t necessarily yell as loud or have as much attention. So it’s about a bit more detective work I think.

Joanna: And I always say to people as well that anything you put online like this podcast is being downloaded in 222 countries which, you know, ‘Hello, everyone.’

Natalie: It’s amazing.

Joanna: It is incredible and the fact that anything you put online that is not locked down into a jurisdiction is available to people all over the world and we’re very lucky with English that a lot of people want to learn English and do business in English. So that’s another point. Isn’t it, really?

Anything you put online is accessible.

Natalie: And, actually, you brought up another great point there. For example, Brazil, I also know are super entrepreneurial and they’re doing some amazing things over there. And I often think about languages, like my book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, I got a Japanese deal for that actually.

I never thought that book would necessarily fly in Japan, but it’s done quite well because people are looking for freedom over there and freedom in different ways. And it was quite out of the box for them and really interesting.

Neil Patel, for example, is an SEO specialist. He does a ton of different language versions of his website and he’s seeing incredible growth from putting it into different languages and getting it out around the world. He does adverts to different languages and countries around the world.

I really think it depends how far you want to take it and whether you can use people in your community in a positive way to say, ‘Hey, would you be willing to translate this for this podcast, or this blog post, or this book?’ There’s just different ways to be able to reach people for sure.

Joanna: Absolutely. Coming back to the remote working and global focus, and productivity, because freedom is one thing and one of the things that in order to have more freedom is having better systems, better potentially outsourcing.

I love that you say on your website that you’re systems geek, which is great.

What are some of the systems that you use in your business?

Natalie: I’m just going to say today, I feel like, as a freedom seeker, I took a long time to figure out that discipline and systems lead to more freedom. It’s ironic, but I just wanted to put that out there in case other people are like going, ‘What?’

Some of the systems I think is just about looking for efficiency. ‘Where am I turning up every single day doing something, even if I love it, where I’m repeating the same process over and over?’

Especially in an online business and with all these different moving parts and revenue streams, there’s a lot of need for efficiency in what you do, and how you duplicate things, how you replicate things, how you repurpose content, how you manage your time.

I’m a big one for a couple of things actually. Having, I call them, sexy operating procedures, but standard operating procedures where you actually document every single move out that it takes for you to do one particular thing. So maybe an online lodge or producing your podcast, and you document out how that gets done, so that anybody could come along into a business that you hire or outsource to, or if you got sick.

And so we need read that SOP and get it pretty much right on the first go, which is an incredible thing.

And yes, it takes time. But if you’re doing it every single day, day in, day out or if you’re doing it once a week even, and it’s quite intensive, one of the smartest things is to look for, ‘What’s taking the most time in your business, where you can start removing yourself, speed it up, and make it efficient, and then start doing that for every area of your business?’

It’s been fascinating to do that over the years and just see where we become more efficient. I can spend more of my time doing the things I love which is creating content, teaching, educating, and coaching. And my small but humble team can do all that stuff to make it run really smoothly.

It just gives me back so much more energy and puts me back in my zone of genius, so to speak. And it makes them feel good because they are improving things all the time. So I do say, just start with the thing that’s taking up the most time for you right now and look at the way you can kind of find yourself from doing it bit by bit, and then start to take over the rest of your business, and do that. And there’s pockets especially for things that are important, but need to be done well.

Joanna: I remember it was around 2015 when I was like, ‘I have to get help, I have to get help. I just can’t do it all myself.’ But there is this moment, isn’t there?

I feel like many of the listeners are very, very busy with the busywork. With book marketing, there’s a lot of very busy work. When do you reach that moment? How do people know when they have to get help? And is there a tipping point do you think?

How can people identify those feelings that will get them over the hump of actually having to pay someone else, which is a big step for many people?

Natalie: Yeah, it is. But, I don’t feel like it should be anymore. In hindsight, it’s a brilliant thing for me to be able to print from here. But I think the tipping point is when you realize that you are no longer in love with what you’re doing or it’s become such stress or strain because you’re doing it all. That’s a great tipping point.

The second tipping point is when you realize that you could actually be earning more if you were in a job versus having maybe your own freelance crew or business when you work out that your hourly rate is so little compared to the amount of hours that you are putting in. And I think that’s a great time to go, ‘Gosh, I need to be outsourcing.’

If I could take somebody on that cost $20 an hour to do these administrative tasks or these parts, then I get to charge myself out at $50 an hour, doing the things that I love. So I think that’s often a really, really good point as well.

And that, for me, my tipping point was when I realized I was going to go on a bike trip down Africa for two months, and I needed to reverse engineer how to have my business continuing without me. So removing myself is the bottleneck and hiring a VA within two weeks, and showing her how to do everything that she could by all the things that I did really well.

Joanna: Those are some great tips. And I still haven’t reached that point of going away for two months. But that is my aim. I have a plan. So that’s great.

I also wanted to ask you, because I first became aware of you when we’ve both got started in sort of 2008, 2009 and there are many of us who started back then. But only a few really who have remained as far as I can see, of the people I remember being around.

What are your tips for building a long-term career that still allows you to change? Because I feel like some people left because they didn’t fit in the box they’ve made for themselves anymore.

How can we both have a long-term career, but also change over time?

Natalie: Such a fantastic question. I almost want to do an audit of all the people who were around when we started because I would be curious to know where they are and what they did.

I view myself a little bit sometimes like Madonna, not that I’m comparing myself to her. But she’s the queen of reinvention and she’s in her 60s now, is it? And she just continues to remain relevant. And I feel like you have to adapt or die. It kinda sounds terrible.

Unless you want to completely change what you’re doing and go into a whole new industry or realm, for me it’s about adapting, being resilient, but also following the things that you love and continuing to experiment, and stay curious.

When I came back to New Zealand after being the identity of the suitcase entrepreneur for close to 8 or 9 years, it was a real 180 degree flip for me, Joanna. It took me about two years to find my feet and figure out what I wanted to do next.

But I did come back to the things that I still loved and I just shifted them under my own brand name and expanded my audience, and my repertoire of what I now wanted to teach, and what I wanted to become a leading learner in. And so I feel like that was a massive reinvention and I continue to reinvent.

I’m sure in a few years’ time it will be different again. But if you’re not reinventing, I feel like you’re not growing. So maybe some of those people just decided to do something completely different because they didn’t see the longevity, whereas I feel consistency is the key to growth and success.

Joanna: I think it’s great that you were able to rebrand basically under your name. Because your name doesn’t change and you can change, but your brand doesn’t. And I think ‘The Creative Penn’ was actually my third blog and the others, I just went by the wayside because I couldn’t sustain them, whereas I feel like I could do many, many things under ‘The Creative Penn.’

Natalie: You really can. It’s a great name. I always thought it was.

Joanna: So that is a tip for people because as you said, The Suitcase Entrepreneur was a definition. And as soon as you wanted to settle down, that became difficult, but I think you did a great pivot. Before we finish, I did want to ask about the new book you have in the works.

Tell us about the book and also about your publishing model, and how your publishing journey has changed.

Natalie: Thank you for making me realize that it needs a comma in the title. It’s called Suck It Up, Princess, and thanks so much for bringing that to my attention when you wrote that in the email. Oh, my gosh.

It’s quite an interesting book because it’s going to be completely different. The previous two were both massive business-focused and lifestyle design, but very practical tools-based and case studies, etc. And this one is actually much more…I would say it’s almost like part memoir and part personal growth book.

For me, it’s actually stepping outside that zone a little bit and it’s been more challenging to write to be honest because I’m talking about impostor syndrome and your inner critique, and fear, and all the great juicy topics that we all deal with, but from stories and analogies, and also I guess experiences I’ve had which makes it a lot more vulnerable.

It’s an interesting change of path a little bit. But it just called to me one day and I felt like it’s something that I really wanted to write.

And the publishing model is interesting because I feel like I’ve done the three main ones now, so to speak. I know there are more, but I’ve done self-publishing with The Suitcase Entrepreneur. I’ve done hybrid publishing with The Freedom Plan and then I’ve also done traditional publishing when I was trying to get a publisher for The Freedom Plan.

Simon & Schuster came to me and said, ‘Can we republish The Suitcase Entrepreneur,’ which is really fascinating. So for this, I’m actually pretty certain that I’m going back to self-publishing because of freedom, and the absolute freedom that you have over the full copyright of your book.

You can control everything in a way and I do really love that freedom to be able to do what I want with it in terms of the design and the format, and what’s included in it, and the pricing, and the ways in which I can go beyond the book. And also just because it’s really fun actually.

I feel like now more than ever, we have the tools and we have the ability to be our own publishing houses. And so why not? Like, as you know, with all the book marketers listening into this, book marketing is probably the number one talent that you need outside of being able to write a book. And the big traditional publishers don’t really help with that, in my experience, and through a lot of other authors and friends.

So if you can do so much of that on your own and you have the community behind you, then I feel like you’ve got a really good shot at making your book a success.

Joanna: That is fantastic. When can we expect that book?

Natalie: Well, this is a very good question. At this point, the earliest would be October of this year, but it does depend on how I write the manuscript and how it comes along in timewise. But I really wanted to get this one out more quickly.

Maybe it was partly fueled by the pandemic and I feel like people could really read this right now, but also because with my previous book, I felt like it came out too light or it took too long. Because the other book got ahead of it with the traditional publisher. So I really want to make sure I get this into the hands of the people who’ve already preordered it through my crowdfunding campaign.

Joanna: Fantastic. So tell us where can people find you and your books, and everything you do online?

Natalie: I’m pretty much anywhere where Natalie Sisson is. I’ve managed to brand myself all over the interwebs, but is a great space to come say hi and @nataliesisson on Instagram.

And of course, I’d love for them to come listen into the ‘Untapped’ podcast which is where I talk about how to tap into your potential and get paid to be you. And we do cover off on books from time to time. But if you can search for that in iTunes, in Stitcher, and all the good places, I’d be honored.

Joanna: Fantastic. Well, thanks so much for your time, Natalie. That was great.

Natalie: Thank you, Joanna.

Go to Source

Author: Joanna Penn

  • If you’re an artist, up to a creative challenge, and love this story, enter your email here. Click here for more info.

  • June 28, 2020