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Managing Wellness Through Growth, Success & Failure with Lisa Messenger


Managing Wellness Through Growth, Success & Failure with Lisa Messenger

[00:00:00] Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians. Find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.


My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia for both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it. 


Welcome to the Wellness Warriors podcast, Lisa Messenger, it is such a pleasure to have your company here with me today. So here I am on the Gold Coast, it’s 8:00 AM for me, it’s 5:00 PM for you in Texas. So, what an amazing world we live in that we can connect like this and you know, there are no barriers, it’s fantastic, and I think that makes it such an exciting place for us to be in when we do have the opportunity to connect in so many different ways.


So welcome, and thank you so much for making the time first of all. For our listeners who haven’t met you before, or haven’t had the pleasure of being engaged in your work and all the wonderful things that you do, you know, for many of us, you don’t need an introduction, but I’m just going to give it a bit of a blast and then you can add and tell me what I’ve missed, but so for those who haven’t encountered, Lisa previously, she’s a vibrant game-changing, founder, and CEO of the Collective Hub, and you launched the Collective Hub as a print magazine in 2013 with no experience in an industry that people said is either dead or dying.


I really feel like you embody the first title of your book, you know, Daring and Disruptive to me when I read all the things about you and follow your journey, it just seems to be that one book title that for me, looking from the outside in, is that how we would describe you and you know, you are such a game changer and I love the terms daring and disruptive. Is that how you see yourself? 


[00:02:15] Lisa Messenger: Thank you! Well, we can dig into the many books, but I wrote that one in 2014 within 18 months of launching Collective Hubs print magazine in February 2013, and that essentially was, and is a story of like how to enter a highly saturated market, as you say, you know, with really no experience in that industry into an industry people said was dead or dying. So that book really, I had to be gritty and get my hustle on, and, you know, really that was all about being daring and disruptive. I mean, fast forward, what are we now, fourteen, nearly eight years since I wrote that book, by the way, it’s still one of my absolute favourites. I’m still definitely daring and disruptive, but probably in a more learned way. And I now take probably much bigger risks, but slightly more calculated risks. And still, yeah, absolutely, I want to change the world, but the status quo show that anything is possible and all of that, that I’ve kind of come to be known for, but I also do it very mindfully, and consciously purposefully, and which I’m sure we’re going to dig into with wellness being my number one, 

not negotiable throughout the entire journey. 


[00:03:41] Felicity Cohen: And look, it’s been an incredible journey for you to launch a multimedia international presence across so many different platforms is such an incredible achievement. And I picked up my copy of Daring and Disruptive, and you know, there you go, I dusted it off my bookshelves a few days ago, and really excited to have found that I’ve got these beautiful books of yours that I really do treasure. And, you know, I was reading about how you first, when you first decided that you had a big idea. And that you went into a major bank to pitch your concept, to source some financial backing for the idea. That’s incredibly gutsy, people don’t do that! What possessed you and what made you think that that was the pathway you were going to take? 


[00:04:28] Lisa Messenger: So, when for anyone who’s starting out, you know, or has an idea to start a business, so often one of the blockages is that we don’t necessarily have the finances to back it. And so for me, I had been fortunate enough prior to start my own business to work in sponsorship. And what that basically meant was I worked with companies like Cirque Du Soleil, the Wiggles, Barry Humphries, and my whole job was to actually look at those individuals or those companies, and then find corporate dollars to actually sponsor them and so I kind of learnt to think differently. So when I decided to start a print magazine in 2013, the first issue cost me $350,000, and I didn’t have that spare change laying around. So what I did was I looked at what are potential companies, and this is really important for anyone who’s wanting to start out, that could be a great fit with what I’m trying to do. And I kind of do this and actually in my third book, in the series called Money and Mindfulness, I spell this out in great detail, but I kind of was like, “oh, who could fit with this?”, and I went through the alphabet, airlines, automotive, you know, and all of that kind of thing, and then I was like, okay, banking, you know, Telco, some of these businesses that have a lot of entrepreneurs, small businesses as clients, I just thought, well, maybe they’re going to really like this. Now, what’s important to say before that, I made about 79 or so phone calls, slash meetings and had 79 big fat no’s and doors slammed in my face, and it was only on about the 80th meeting that Andy Lark, who was the chief marketing officer at Commonwealth Bank said, “yes” and what’s interesting about that deal is it wasn’t actually a loan, they gave me the money, it was in exchange for advertising, speaking gigs, copies of the magazine. So I often talk about, you know, what can you swap with people? What is your kind of tangible, saleable assets and how do you convince someone to give you money? And still to this day, I’ve not borrowed a cent in nearly 21 years of having my own businesses, I have for property investment, but never for business. So I’m quite unusual, but I’m very good at like, bartering and 

getting people to say yes to all sorts of things.


[00:06:46] Felicity Cohen: That’s just fantastic! And I think the other thing is about print when you launched the Collective Hub, you know, magazines at that time, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, they were a dying breed people, there were magazines falling over all over the place. 


[00:07:03] Lisa Messenger: Yeah. 


[00:07:04] Felicity Cohen: Why did you think that it was time to launch a new magazine when you did that?


[00:07:09] Lisa Messenger: Do you know, Felicity, naivety can be a great thing. So I’d had some business smarts by then, I had a bit of business acumen behind me, but I think when you’re trying to solve a problem, it is the best place from which to start a business. So for anyone listening to this, you know, if something’s really annoying you, or you see a gap in the market, or, you know, you’re trying to buy something and you can’t find it, often it’s that itch that we’re trying to scratch that is a problem, not just for us, but for other people. So my logic was simply this, there was so much media at the time telling, you know, great stories of amazing individuals and companies, but it was often just the great story, and as an entrepreneur and a business owner, I was always kind of left scratching my head going, “but how, but how, but why, but why? Like, how did they start that? How did they fund that? What’s their supply chain, you know, where do they get it made? What’s their purpose? What do they stand for?”, and I just found that I couldn’t find anything that really lifted the hood off and told the story behind the story. And so I found it difficult as an entrepreneur and a business owner to truly learn, and so the simplicity of the idea really came out of my own frustration and I was like, “okay, why don’t I bring together all these amazing entrepreneurs and, you know, innovators and thought leaders and then just interview them all and put them into a format” now I didn’t know much about print, but I knew even less about the digital sphere at the time. So I just kind of thought, “I’m going to do a magazine” and it worked. And we can talk about why it worked, but it was in 37 countries within 18 months, and I had an email within 18 months from Anna Wintour, the doyen of publishing saying, “she would like to meet with me in New York” and I flew to New York and I met with her and all sorts of other extraordinary things happened. And I think, you know, a lot of people like Simon Sinek, talk about this, but often I really believe if you have a strong sense of purpose and what your, why is then the, how tends to take care of itself, to a degree, you’ve got to hustle as well, but also just let it flow. 


[00:09:17] Felicity Cohen: Yeah, absolutely. So obviously the things that you were addressing in the magazine resonated with people and you addressed a need, and it was apart from being purpose-driven, it connected with an audience, that made it really, really powerful. What are some of the things that you feel really worked in the magazine that was so different from anything else out there on the market? 


[00:09:39] Lisa Messenger: It is a great question and it’s something I get asked a lot about, like, people kind of go, “how do you build a movement or a tribe or a brand that people want to be a part of?” and I think it’s two things. One is having an amazing, you know, purpose-driven product and it has to be a great product. So we kind of go, “okay, there’s a great product for one”, but the second piece, which I think is really important, and this is where people will often get it so wrong, particularly big brands, are they try and perfect it and they try and only take the perfected thing, widget, whatever it is to market. Whereas for me, I actually, in my very first editor’s letter, I kind of painted the vision and said, “this is where I want to go” and then I said, “and I have no idea what I’m doing or how to get there.” And so I think straight away it was relatable and attainable and I suddenly became just like anyone else, and I think that’s so important and, you know, we hear a lot about being vulnerable and authentic, I can’t tell you how important it is! And so I think people just were beautiful and they wanted to carry the message and it was almost like people had discovered it and then they couldn’t wait to tell their friends about it.


And honestly, I’ve never, well, maybe now, but until that date, I’d never been a part of anything like that, where people just like, literally overnight it exploded and people just started carrying the message. And it’s just about giving people a chance to belong to something I think. And then, you know, I’ve always said, “whilst I own Collective Hub still a hundred per cent financially, I don’t own the brand” you know, it is our community really who owns the brand. And I think that’s just a bit of a mindset flip around it. 


[00:11:28] Felicity Cohen: Oh, that’s one of my favourite words community. And I think that sense of connection is so important and something that we all yearn for, and having the opportunities to create that space for people is such an incredible achievement, so I think it’s just spectacular, I love that. 


When you talk about purpose, where do you see yourself right now? If you could think for a moment about what is your significant purpose right now with your work and your personal life, what does that look like for you at the moment? 


[00:11:59] Lisa Messenger: So mine never changes and ever, but, and I’ll explain why. So for me personally, it’s to be an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs, living my life out loud, showing that anything’s possible, and for Collective Hub, it is to ignite human potential. So that sounds quite rigid in a way, right? But the thing around that is, as an entrepreneur, and people will relate to this, I see bright, shiny things everywhere, you know, just from listening, and I’m sure by the end of this call if I didn’t have a very strong sense of, this is what I stand for, my nature is to say, “oh my gosh, Felicity, let’s create like a million different businesses together” and it’s very easy for me to lose focus. So I start with a very clear, this is what I’m going to do, and my personal purpose is broken into three. And from there I go, “okay, what does that look like?” and really in a business sense, it’s about producing, print, digital, and events across a myriad of different tools to inspire and educate, that’s kind of it. 


And for me, it’s about just having an absolute go at life, which is why I say “entrepreneur for entrepreneurs” but, you know, living my life out loud. So that keeps me accountable to test and try and jump in, and that doesn’t matter if it’s like, you know, jumping off a bridge and going crazy or swinging from a rope, I do a lot of crazy outdoor activities or, you know, putting myself in a counterintuitive situation, such as now, moving to Austin and going, “I’m going to have a red hot crack at the States”. But what I do, the third part of my purpose is then I show by doing that, anything is possible. So yeah, so that is my purpose and it just, it means that every single day, because once your brand or your life starts getting big, in my experience, so many opportunities come at you, and so I need to check in every day, “oh, is that, you know, igniting human potential, is that feeding what I’m trying to do?” ah, no, it sounds like a really fun thing to do, but it’s not part of my purpose, it’s not part of my greater plan at the moment. So I check in on that all of the time.


[00:14:09] Felicity Cohen: That’s really great advice because I think we can often get caught up in the big ideas, and when you do live a life as an entrepreneur, there are all these exciting opportunities that as you said, they do keep coming at you. So sort through the ones that are really valuable for you and that you are going to actually really extend yourself to get the most out of and give the most value back as well. I think that’s really, really great advice, thank you. 


[00:14:33] Lisa Messenger: Yeah, thank you. And people will know just that, a couple of years ago, I was going to start a pet brand, but for a whole lot of reasons, I got excited about something and I saw a gap in the market, right? But it was almost like, I talk about being in a flow state or walking through mud, and it was funny because I was quite passionate about it, just because I saw this gap, right? It was a mix between athleisure and you know, pet sort of leads, collars, like all sorts of really cool stuff. But, interestingly enough I know when I’m on purpose and I’m in service and doing what I should be doing, even when it’s difficult, it’s kind of fun and it’s kind of inflow and the serendipity and the synchronicity, and what happens is quite extraordinary. Soon as I started doing this, it was like, I couldn’t find suppliers, or the prices were too much or things came back badly or like, it was just like, you know, roadblock after roadblock, after roadblock, and I kept scratching my head thinking, “what the hell like I’m actually cool, I’m a good business person by now. I’ve been around the block a few times!”. But it wasn’t about that, it was very much I think because I took myself outside of what I’m meant to be doing, and people will relate to this if you really feel into it at a gut level, I was like, “oh, I just gotta cut this loose” and as soon as I did it made the space to actually create pretty much what I’m doing again now, which is 1000% on purpose and I’m in flow and it’s all working. So I think it’s an important thing to really, for people to feel into, what is their gut saying, you know, does it feel off? Does it feel difficult? Sometimes difficult is good if you’re in the flow and on purpose, but, or is it just difficult, difficult, difficult continuously. 


[00:16:23] Felicity Cohen: Yeah, And, and I love that juxtaposition, you know, I think we’d all rather walk in flow than walk through mud, like who wouldn’t, you know, so finding that right balance is pretty critical.


You mentioned that you’re in Texas and you are living there, what’s the go with moving to Texas? How is this, a short-term stay, what’s going on in Texas for you? 


[00:16:43] Lisa Messenger: I know it’s the funniest thing when you say that out loud, Texas, I mean, it’s actually amazing here and here’s the thing about, you know, staying on purpose, but also being flexible and fluid. So we are in middle-ish, coming up to 2002 at the moment, at Christmas time, my partner and I always sit down and we do our individual visions for the upcoming year and we do our, you know, our visions together, and we are very clear and, you know, we say, “this is what’s going to happen” and we get quite granular, you know? We will renovate our house by this date, and we will do, you know, like, and we really set the intention around what we want it to look like. Texas was not on the vision board! 


[00:17:34] Felicity Cohen: Wow! 


[00:17:34] Lisa Messenger: We were meant to be living in our house in Bangalow, near Byron Bay, this year, and we’d done that through COVID for five months, and then, funnily enough, the universe opened up and opportunities arose for both of our businesses. My partner is in food tech and suddenly his head of America resigned quickly and he had to come over here and then he saw some huge opportunities, so he was like, ” by the way, I need to relocate to Texas” at the same time my business, I had a, in November last year, a big order from a Canadian company called Indigo, and they approached us proactively and said, they’d like to stock our products in 176 stores. And we started getting more and more momentum in the US, and so when Steven said, “I need to go to Austin, Texas” I was like, “okay, this is a sign, let’s go”. 


So I’ve only been here a couple of weeks and so far it is phenomenal, and I can talk you through all of that because it takes you way out of your comfort zone. You know, in Australia, my brand is relatively well known, we’re in about 700 lifestyle stores and we’re in Big W, and we’re on the Iconic and we’re kind of like, fairly well saturated. Arriving in an entirely new country is like, hello, nobody really knows me, you know? And it’s the most wonderful opportunity. So I’m really excited about being here. Our intention is to come back to Australia by December this year, so let’s see. 


[00:19:12] Felicity Cohen: It’s going to be an incredible experience for you. So much to learn and to gain from, you know, having that opportunity as well, and just grabbing it by the horns and making it happen for yourself is fantastic. I’m also a super big fan of Bangalow, it’s one of my favourite places and maybe we’ll be neighbours there one day because I definitely plan to have a little place there! I love it, it’s so beautiful, the best part of the world. 


[00:19:35] Lisa Messenger: It’s amazing, I bought my place in 2010, and it was great and it was, I was, I feel fortunate now because at the time everyone said “what’s Bangalow?”, now everyone kind of loves it. So get in quickly because the prices are kind of going crazy, but yeah, our house is being renovated while we’re here and we will definitely be living back there. So maybe we’ll be neighbours, yeah. 


[00:20:02] Felicity Cohen: Beautiful. When I was reading through some of your information on your bio, it struck me that your book titles sound like they had been visualised in advance. That you’d had this whole concept of all of these book ideas that were going to flow one after the other, and that maybe you’d hatched a plan for a series of books right from the start. So book titles include Daring and Disruptive, Money and Mindfulness, Breakups and Breakthroughs, Risk and Resilience, and Work from Wherever. So it sounded to me like, oh, you must have had that vision right from the outset, is that actually how you’d actually envisaged the whole series of books?


[00:20:50] Lisa Messenger: No, never, ever, ever, but you know what, it is such a good question and no one has ever asked me that before, so I will unpack it a little bit! So what happened was, I wrote some books before I actually wrote my first book in 2004, called Happiness Is, and then I wrote a few books over the years and some people bought them and they did okay. But no one really, until I launched Daring and Disruptive in 2014, now the reason that I launched that was I wanted to, I wrote every single day basically as I was launching the magazine, which is if is listening to this who’s starting a business, I cannot recommend highly enough to actually document it. So what I did was I documented it as I was starting it and then I was like, “okay, this is really daring and disruptive” and as I said, that book was all about entering a highly saturated market. So I write, a lot of people become the guru of something and then write a book retrospectively, whereas I write most of my books in real time and I am very, very open. I talk all financial detail, I talk about me, you know, everything pretty much in the business, so they’re a blueprint to business almost. What happened was, people started saying to me, “oh my gosh, this business has gone so quickly” because I think in daring and disruptive, I talk about that it was in 37 countries within 18 months, so people started saying, “Wow, how did you do this?” and you know, you must have had all this money. And I was like, “no, no, no” so then I wrote Money and Mindfulness, which was all about doing more with less, finding, you know, like-minded, non-competing partners, how to collaborate, how to actually get money or how to like swap things that aren’t money. I think Felicity, I just love alliteration, so everything started being, you know, D and D, M and M, and then Life and Love came about because people were like, “oh, but what are your rituals and routines? Like, what do you do behind the scenes to have such a big global business?” So then I was like, “ah, okay, let me tell you about what goes on behind the scenes” and so that’s kind of how it flowed. Risk and Resilience is when I nearly lost everything in 2017. And we can talk about that, but I grew very, very quickly, scaled too fast, didn’t have the right systems and processes in place, so Risk and Resilience, I choose a title and then I started writing and I was like, okay, “I’m going to write how to get out of this mess” and as I kept writing, I just kept getting further and further into the mess. So it’s actually, it was a really hard book to write, but it’s probably one of the best ones to read in terms of a cautionary tale about what not to do. And then Work from Wherever, when I decentralised my team in 2018 and decided that we could all work from anywhere, and so that talks a lot about, you know, how I did that and how I believe more now about freedom and flexibility than bums on seats and time in office and how I’ve structured it so that we can all work from anywhere in the world. 


[00:23:50] Felicity Cohen: Amazing. So with Risk and Resilience, you know, that really describes for me that for any entrepreneur, we are going to make big mistakes where we live by our failures that create our opportunities to become successful. And I’m such a strong believer that if you’ve never failed or had that big, serious failure, you’re probably not going to get that pivotal kind of opportunity to really succeed. And you managed to turn something that was at the time, it must have been pretty horrible to be sitting in that space where, you know, you’ve got this massive growth, but you can quite as easily and as quickly, everything can come tumbling straight back down again.


So how do you feel those moments of difficulty or, if failure is the right word, have helped, you know, reshape you and help you to become stronger and more resilient? And what coping strategies did you put in place? 


[00:24:51] Lisa Messenger: Yeah, it’s a great question and I think for anyone who’s listening, who is also going through, you know, a difficult tumultuous time, I have found for sure that times of adversity whilst not very pleasant at the time.


[00:25:06] Felicity Cohen: Yeah. 


[00:25:06] Lisa Messenger: Are most definitely where my greatest growth has come from. So, that came about because, and it’s very interesting I mean, I stepped into the greatest iteration of my purpose in 2013. And as I said, you know, people are like Anna Wintour flew me to New York and I’ve shared a stage now with Richard Branson five times and like life got pretty amazing. I was the only person to shoot Jamie Oliver for our cover when he came to Australia, and you know, you name it, it happened, I mean it was the greatest thing ever. But whilst the brand was growing and growing and growing, and sort of became a love mark, like so many people loved it, underneath because I’d never run a global business in 37 countries across, you know, as I said, print digital and events, I mean, there were a lot of touch points. So we went from, you know, a couple of million dollar turnover to way, way, way bigger, and so what happened was, I’m a great founder and a great visionary and a great sort of creative, but I’m not necessarily great, and a lot of people will relate to this at the operational side. And so suddenly as this huge growth was happening and I didn’t have the right support mechanisms or the right person, the detail-orientated sort of data-driven person by my side, things started kind of unravelling. And so I’m glad I got there, I mean it was hell and I spent about 18 months crying every night on the bathroom floor, as many entrepreneurs who grow very quickly end up there, sadly, which is a funny thing to say, you know, after you’ve stepped into the greatest iteration, but it’s not an unfamiliar story for a lot of people, you know, we just, when you hit on something that works and it grows so fast, you’ve got to be ready and you’ve gotta have the right systems and processes in place. And I didn’t, but as painful as it was, it was amazing because it allowed me to really break a lot of the brand and like recalibrate and, you know, start it again in a much more sustainable way for longevity. And the important piece there is knowing the purpose, like if you’ve got a really strong sense of purpose, I’m like, if I’m every day, trying to dial for dollars, you know, ringing people saying, “please advertise, or please do this” like you can’t operate as the visionary and a creative from that place of desperation. 


So I knew that I had to cut the guts out of the business, so I ultimately closed the print magazine in April 2018 after 54 issues. A little spoiler alert in July this year issue 55 is coming out!


[00:27:48] Felicity Cohen: Oh, exciting!


[00:27:49] Lisa Messenger: Yeah. So I’m bringing it back but in a different reimagined way. And to answer your question about sort of coping strategies, I think it’s really important when things are going well to actually skill up, you know, see, you know, professionals be they therapists or, you know, health professionals, wellness professionals. This is the time when we need to tap into our tools. And for me very much it’s around meditation and getting still, it’s around, you know, exercise, it’s around nature, it’s around really nourishing my mind and my body. So, you know, green smoothies, lots of eating clean, so it’s those things that are an absolute imperative because when something unravels, you know, I need to be able to very quickly in that storm, be able to pull on those levers and those tools in order to actually support myself and nourish myself and be able to kind of get through it rather than crumbling. And we’ve both seen so many people who have, you know, become fatigued or burnt out or, you know, a myriad of other things and suddenly they just boil in a heap. And from there when you’re already struggling with anything it’s even more overwhelming. So I would say, you know, just keep tooling up all the time, it’s so important. 


[00:29:13] Felicity Cohen: When did wellness for you or your wellness journey, when did that kind of really become something that you understood was going to be so important to every single other aspect of life working in flow for you?


[00:29:28] Lisa Messenger: Probably the 8th of November, 2004 to be precise.


[00:29:34] Felicity Cohen: Wow! 


[00:29:38] Lisa Messenger: I know that precisely because that’s the day that I gave up drinking alcohol, so it’s 17 and a half years ago, and I think that was, yeah, I haven’t touched a single drop in any way, shape or form since. And the message there, I often say listen to the similarities, not the differences, but for me, I was using alcohol as a crutch and a way to self-sabotage and I was keeping myself small and quite sick in a number of different ways. I was depressed and suicidal and, you know, drinking too much, so just not well at all. And through a series of unpleasant events, I made a very conscious decision to seek help and yeah, I gave up drinking on the 8th of November, 2004. And so it’s really from there putting down the alcohol that I really started to live and to choose wellness as a path and be very conscious around that holistically, you know, and it took me a long time and a lot of years of therapy to understand how that would play out and really understanding the root causes and getting comfortable with my triggers and you know, the things that were going on for me. But yeah wellness since that day, and there is no accident that you know, I’ve become a relatively successful entrepreneur because I’ve chosen a very conscious wellness journey alongside that, and I think that has absolutely supported my ability to have a lot of energy and you know, be able to keep going. And I do not always get it right you know? Like sometimes I get it very, very wrong, but if I get it wrong, it’s not because I don’t know kind of what I should be doing now, it’s because I’m being a stubborn little brat.


[00:31:32] Felicity Cohen: So we mentioned you are in Austin, Texas, it’s five o’clock in the afternoon. And to me, I was thinking, well, maybe you’re winding down at the end of the day, but you’re working across time zones running an incredibly successful multimedia international business. And is this going to be just, this is not the end of the day for you, you’re going to continue working now. Tell me about how are you adapting to working in two time zones and looking after your own health and wellbeing at the same time?


[00:32:05] Lisa Messenger: It’s such a good question and I’ll tell you what I normally do in Australia, and then I’ll tell you what I’m doing here because I knew we would come across this all the time. I think people think to be successful, you need to get up at 4:00 AM and you need to hustle all day and you know, no, for me, when I’m in Australia working one time zone, I would literally not start proactive work until 10:00 AM. So I used to divide my day into two, I would say pre 10:00 AM it’s Lisa time, it’s filling my cup. So it’s meditating, journaling, doing some exercise, listening to some podcasts, like proactive me time, and then from 10:00 AM it was game on and kind of reacting to what the world needed, and you know, that’s different for everyone. If people have children or whatever else, you know, it needs to be structured differently, but I would definitely say have some non-negotiable and some boundaries and carve out time for you. 


So now being in Austin, the only real crossover times for my Australian team are more or less 4:00 PM Austin time is 7:00 AM Sydney time. Between 5:00 PM till 9:00 PM I generally work with my Australian team because I have a lot of heads of all, like, I’ve got a head of content, head of, you know, digital, a \head of like wholesale, I’ve got a lot of different people working on different things. So I check in with my department heads between sort of, yeah, more or less 4:00 PM or 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM. Then in the day in Austin, what I’m doing is I’m sort of getting up in the morning, going to the gym, having a leisurely breakfast and really feeding myself, probably, and more so listening to podcasts and things until about noon. So it’s kind of quite leisurely while Australia’s sleeping, and then from about noon till 5:00 PM I’m kind of meeting with different, you know, suppliers or setting up relationships here or, you know, meeting with wholesalers and kind of doing all of that at the moment and getting the US up and running. So it still works, it’s just, you know, you’ve just got to adapt and change a little bit, but again, really imperative to have your time. And I had to crack down on my partner the other day because I noticed he was getting up at 5:00 AM and working through till about. Midnight across two time zones, so he’s got three, he’s also in the UK and I was like, “this isn’t going to work for anyone” 


[00:34:33] Felicity Cohen: So yeah, but that’s really interesting. So, you know, for the two of you, you’re both very busy entrepreneurs. How do you find time for each other to connect? And is that something that you have to factor into the day, into the week, to really make sure that you’re still nurturing, you know, your own relationship? 


[00:34:53] Lisa Messenger: Absolutely, one thousand per cent! And we had terse words when I arrived because he’d been over here for a month before me and had gotten into this routine of just working, working, working, working. And so we’ve absolutely had to carve out you know, periods of time for ourselves around, you know, having to go to the gym together and having breakfast or whatever it is, weekends are very much our own time, you know, and looking at what our meetings look like. So every Sunday we look ahead to what the week looks like and then schedule, okay, we’ve got gaps at night, you know, when we’re not having meetings with our teams in Australia, and this is when we can have our time, but now we’ve had to schedule it. It’s a Sunday ritual to really check in on what’s the week ahead like, otherwise, you know, as happened when I arrived I got quite cranky, because I was like, what about me? So yeah, really important, these things don’t just happen if you’re busy people. 


[00:35:46] Felicity Cohen: Yeah absolutely, that’s amazing, I love it. I’m actually going to quote you to you, I hope you don’t mind, but I just want to take you down a little memory lane and walk back to your first book, Daring and Disruptive. Well, the first one that I was for me with, sorry, not your first, but my first of yours. Okay so, you say right at the beginning “to succeed in business helm to succeed in anything in life, you must have unwavering insatiable tenacious self-belief. You have to be able to back yourself to harbour that kind of unbridled passion for winning that will stop at nothing until you reach your goals.” 


[00:36:25] Lisa Messenger: So funny when you read that, I pretty much could continue the sentences on. It’s funny how much I remember every word of everything. Yeah. 


[00:36:35] Felicity Cohen: Look, I just think that’s incredible to me, just reading that one paragraph, it kind of encapsulates everything doesn’t it? 


[00:36:43] Lisa Messenger: Well, yeah, I think so more or less. And things come at different times, you know, this didn’t in the US, I’ve been reflecting on it because in 2014, you know, Anna Wintour, I had the big meeting there, 2015 in the US, I signed a global rights deal with Simon & Schuster for Daring and Disruptive, actually that very book. Yeah, and there’s been several kinds of iterations throughout the years, funnily enough, two years ago I was asked by HP to come and headline their conference in Houston, which is also in Texas, so there’s been like, you know, I’ve done bits and pieces in the US, but I think to really, you know, chase this goal in Texas itself is bigger than, you know, the entire of Australia, so, and that’s one of 52 states. So, you know, we are dealing with a very big market here that the opportunity came up, so coming back to that quote, I think it’s, yeah, it’s kind of time to like, give it a red hot go and say, “okay” and coming back to my own personal purpose, it’s really, I know there are so many people in Australia who have small businesses who really want to, you know, remove borders and boundaries and actually become a fully global business. So if I can, well am doing over here and write a book about it, which I’ve already started, of course, and tell people, this is exactly how I’ve done it because we have a very clear strategy for both the consumer markets and the wholesale market over here. And yeah, I think it’s going to work really well. The early signs are very, very, very positive, so I’m looking forward to living it personally and writing about it to help other people. 


[00:38:28] Felicity Cohen: So what are some of the business goals for 2022? We know there’s going to be a, you’ve given us a little bit of, you know, spoiler alert, there’s going to be a new iteration version of the Collective Hub magazine. What else can we expect from you this year? 


[00:38:43] Lisa Messenger: So now, it’s funny the question, I mean, you’re very insightful because the question you asked me before about, were my books planned, like during Daring and Disruptive, Money and Mindfulness, and I said, “no” now we’re doing about 60 products a year and they’re all very planned. So I know exactly what books, affirmation cards, and journals I’m doing until December 2023. So every single thing is planned out because we have a very, you know, well a relatively big business now with a lot of products and a large footprint, it needs to be much more robust and planned. So I’m very excited about all of that.


[00:39:19] I still ideate every single product, but I have a team then who work through the marketing, you know, the digital side, the wholesale and that kind of thing. Yeah, but I mean the big focus this year in the US, and it’s really growing out this footprint. And yeah, I think we can have a fairly large, a red hot go at it! Let’s see, I won’t say too much just yet, but it’s going to be pretty powerful.


[00:39:49] Felicity Cohen: Very exciting to follow! And events, how much do events play a part in your whole career? A lot of speaking, a lot of on-stage presence as well. 


[00:40:01] Lisa Messenger: Yeah so, and anyone who’s listening can, doesn’t really matter what kind of business you have, if you know your purpose, I call it an ecosystem, so it’s almost like, you know, we write a lot of print products, so books, journals, affirmations cards. Then we have the digital presence so master classes and I’m launching my startup smart masterclass shortly, which is very exciting, it’s the first time I’ve done a business course in years, but the third piece is around events and I do a lot of speaking, less so through COVID, that was tricky, the gig that I was meant to do in Houston ended up happening online as did many of them, you know, over the last couple of years, but part of the Collective Hub mission has always been to just take things off the pages or out of the computer screen and actually let people meet people in the flesh and hear from them in the flesh. So it’s been a really important part of our strategy and I’ve just made some great connections in Austin, so we’re going to start kicking off some events in the US shortly. And in a couple of days, I’m going to New York to have a few meetings about doing some there as well. So yeah, events are definitely back on the schedule. And I love speaking because I get to be in front of, you know, larger audiences, the largest I’ve probably done is 7,000 people with Richard Branson and that was, we did that one together in Brisbane and Sydney, which was pretty phenomenal when he was last in Australia. So yeah, it’s funny. I never ever used to like speaking, it used to scare the hell out of me and now I absolutely love it.


[00:41:37] Felicity Cohen: Yeah, that’s incredible. The startup smart online program, that sounds really exciting and something I’d love to learn a little bit more about, and you have generously offered to all of our listeners because you’re about to launch this program online, I think next Sunday, you’ve generously offered us a code that we will make sure that everyone knows, wellnessworries20, is going to be a discount code for all of our listeners to access this hot off the press, so that’s really exciting. Can you tell me a little bit about the program and what can people expect from it? 


[00:42:10] Lisa Messenger: Amazing thank you. And I think the girls set that code up so that people can buy any of our products with that code as well. So, yeah, so Startup Smart is, it’s off the back of my Startup to Scale Up book that I recently launched, and that is pretty much a culmination of 21 almost years of having my own businesses. And as I was writing the book that took me nearly two years to write, I thought, I really need to turn this into a digital online course, and I’ve not done that ever and so many people have said to me, “thank you” over the years, you know, “will you mentor us?” And so this is the first time I’m offering a six-week program where, you know, there’s a series of videos, a series of transcripts, you can listen to it via audio, and then I jump into the group once a week and do a series of lives, and we’ve got a Facebook group which is the community and I jump in there as well. So that’s the first time that I’ve really, you know, supported, end to end a group of people that are wanting to start a business or have a business already that’s in its infancy, or it needs a bit of a kick along. So yeah, I’m super, super, super excited and proud of it.


[00:43:23] Felicity Cohen: It sounds really valuable and I’m sure people are going to get a lot of value out of it and really, you know, support them in their journey so I love that, I think it’s fantastic. I do have one final question for you and I’m going to go back to a previous question that I’ve always asked my guests on the Wellness Warriors podcast because I feel like this is kind of really connecting to your whole, who you are as a person, and I just want to know what does wellness mean to you? 


[00:43:53] Lisa Messenger: I think, well, wellness to me is my number one, not negotiable, my health, my wellness. What it means to me is very much from a holistic approach, it’s not just one thing in isolation. Wellness to me is really around my body, my mind and my spirit. So it’s about nurturing, you know, all of those things together. So, yeah, from a body perspective, I, you know, have a whole lot of things that I love, you know, at the gym or, you know, various other things that I do being active all the time, you know, from my mind I’m continuously kind of educating myself and, you know, trying to, you know, whether it’s meditating or journaling or just listening to podcasts or reading a book or whatever it is. And then yeah nurturing my spirit in a whole lot of different ways and yeah, and then nutrition and yeah, it’s just looking at every aspect. In fact, Austin, and it’s funny that I’ve come from Bangalow, Byron Bay to Austin and they’re both very holistic communities. I mean, Austin is like so much more progressive almost. The things that I’m seeing and hearing and having that access here seem quite phenomenal. They’re very much into, you know, lots of plant medicine and new tropics and all sorts of things, so I’m looking forward to kind of delving into that and finding out more. 


[00:45:14] Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today, it’s been an absolute pleasure. I’m very excited to tap into your new online program from Sunday. And I hope all of our listeners are going to take advantage of that fantastic code to check out all of your books, there are so many exciting and incredible moments in there to really learn from. So it’s been a pleasure and thank you so much. 


[00:45:35] Lisa Messenger: Oh, thank you, Felicity. Amazing, loved being here with you. Thank you.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

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