Lisa Messenger on Successfully Launching New Ventures

Prefer to just listen? Catch our audio below!

Welcome to Episode #15 of Feminine Wealth TV! Today I am thrilled to be interviewing a woman who knows a lot about successfully launching new ventures – Lisa Messenger of Renegade Collective. Renegade Collective, although a relatively new player in the highly competitive magazine industry, has already been hugely successful and can be found in 29 countries!

As you will hear from Lisa, Renegade Collective is not her first business – she has been able to bring across knowledge gleaned from businesses in publishing and sponsorship and apply principles to the magazine business, even though she has no prior experience at all in the magazine industry.

Lisa is a ‘disrupter’ who doesn’t mind going into business in an industry that she has no previous experience of and shaking up the way things are done.  Check out this episode and be inspired!

Prefer to read? See full transcription below!

Barbara Turley: Hi there. I’m Barbara Turley and you’re watching Feminine Wealth TV, the show that uncovers the diamond tips on creating truly conscious wealth from change makers, world shakers and wealth creators.

Let me ask you a question. Would you have the guts with no experience in the magazine industry to do one of the biggest magazine launches in your country’s history? I don’t think I would either. I’m excited because today, I’m interviewing the amazing Lisa Messenger who has done exactly that.

Lisa is the Founder and Creative Director of The Messenger Group. She is the Editor and Chief of the amazingly successful Renegade Collective magazine, which is now in 29 countries around the world. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Messenger: You’re so good. Thank you. It’s so nice to be here. I was just thinking, gosh, how do you remember all that crap?

Barbara Turley: Yeah, it takes a lot of practice.

Lisa Messenger: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here, particularly because I think you are pretty much almost the first person who interviewed me just after launch.

Barbara Turley: That’s right.

Lisa Messenger: Which is 14 months.

Barbara Turley: Had you even launched? I think it was just the day or two days after the launch.

Lisa Messenger: It might have been. Yeah. Yes, that was a pretty extraordinary time and things have got more and more extraordinary along the way.

Barbara Turley: Talk to me. I’m interested to know. I think I probably asked you this last time. Did you just wake up one morning and go, “I think I’m going to launch a magazine. I’m going to write a [blog 00:01:28].”

Lisa Messenger: You know what? I thought I did, but I’ve just actually yesterday finished my next book, which comes out in September. Through that process, I really had to dig deep into when did the idea come about? I thought … I walked into my office in March 2012, so nearly just over two years ago. Just decided that day, “You know, let’s do a magazine.”

My deputy editor, Mel, who’s worked with me on and off for nine years reminded me that in 2007 … Her and I were sitting in Morocco after the Frankfurt Book Fair. I had said back then, “I think I need to do a magazine.” Then I looked at I think 2009, I actually registered a company name called Messenger Magazines. Then about a year ago-

Barbara Turley: You were sowing that seed.

Lisa Messenger: About a year later, I brought a book called How to Launch a Magazine. I had forgotten all these things. As we went through the writing of the book process, it came back to me. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious thing and it was something that had been building and manifesting for a while and it obviously wasn’t ready at the time. When I was ready, it went big.

Barbara Turley: I just love that because so many times in our lives, we do things … Like you buy a domain name, or you find yourself buying a book and you think, I don’t really know what I’m doing with this. Or you meet someone and you connect with them and you don’t really know why, but it comes back later.

Lisa Messenger: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: You realize where all the dots connect later on.

Lisa Messenger: That’s the thing and I think people say, “Oh,” to anyone of us, “Oh, you’re such a success.” Then you go, “Yes, it’s the 13 year overnight success.” That old adage. I think when you look back, there’s definitely times and stepping stones when things mold together to create this moment in time.

Barbara Turley: Also, as you say, it’s a 13 year overnight success. You’ve been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember anyway. You’ve probably been an entrepreneur your whole life. Where did it all start, the whole entrepreneurial thing?

Lisa Messenger: Look, I think when I got fired from my last job.

Barbara Turley: Terrible employee.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, a real brat I was. No, look, I think every business that I ever worked for I wanted to have equity in the company. Not that I knew what equity meant.

Barbara Turley: She was clever early on. You didn’t need to know what it meant. You just knew the money was there.

Lisa Messenger: Literally. I think that was a ego thing before I had done too much work on myself or that’s probably a gen Y role before the term gen Y was coined. I mean I was. It wasn’t until my brattishness. Every job I worked in, I always had a modicum of success and moved up in that quite quickly and did well.

I think my last job, I became too much for them and too much of a brat, and they said it was probably time to part ways. They were so extraordinarily supportive and actually said, “Why don’t you start a sponsorship agency?” Which was essentially saying to set up in direct competition with them, which was quite gorgeous of them and really supportive. I did, but …

Barbara Turley: Little did they know what a competitor you were going to be.

Lisa Messenger: That was nearly 13 years ago, and I’ve had so many different iterations of that particular business and it’s morphed and people [sort 00:04:51] of changed with the market and in several other businesses across several different industries as well in that time.

Barbara Turley: I love that you said there that you’ve allowed it to morph, evolve and pivot and change because as you know when you start out, you’ve got this big idea and then you’ve got to move quickly if things don’t really go your way or if things don’t pan out. What was the first pivot that you did I guess after that sponsorship business?

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, so thank you. It’s a really important point because I’ve always said, “You know it’s a good skill to learn detachment from outcome.” Because I see so many people in business continuously saying, “Well this is where I want to be and that’s the only place I want to be.” What happens is you set yourself up for failure over and over again whereas the market changes. When I started that sponsorship agency initially, it was 22nd of October 2001, which was just after the hideous September 11 …

Barbara Turley: Oh, that’s right.

Lisa Messenger: It was the only time I’ve seen my father cry because he said, “Why would you start a business now?”

Barbara Turley: Leave your safe job.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, because there was a lot of economic downturn, and so the problem with sponsorship essentially means getting money for sponsorable assets. I.e., I was working across the arts and entertainment industry. Companies like BMW had just parted with 1.3 mill for Cirque du Soleil just months before that was suddenly saying, “No, we can’t do anything.” That was continuously happening. Whilst I was attracting amazing clients very quickly, the dollars just weren’t there. I had to be open minded enough to think, right, if that’s not going to work, what am I going to do?

I became an integrated marketing agency, which I love because really I had no marketing background whatsoever. My turnover was about 50 grand a year and I was over servicing and under charging. Having a hell of a lot of fun, but absolutely no idea.

Barbara Turley: I just want to stress this point because a lot of particularly female entrepreneurs out there are doing this.

Lisa Messenger: Yes.

Barbara Turley: Under charging and over servicing. [Crosstalk 00:06:51] problem.

Lisa Messenger: I was the queen of it for at least three years. It was possibly almost, apart from this iteration, the happiest I had ever been. I was loving what I was doing because I was so excited to be working with people and helping them. Then about three years into it, I hit a brick wall of massive resentment because I got to a point where my lifestyle was suffering. I didn’t really have a lot of stuff. I was working my butt off.

All these other people that I was working for were reaping their rewards and I was selling myself short and not valuing my time. I hit a brick wall of resentment and really that’s when I turned things around to maybe a much more commercial.

Barbara Turley: I love about the fact that you said that because I think a lot of women feel I love giving and I just want to give to all my clients. I say to them, “But the problem is that even if you don’t realize that if the value exchange is not honored in terms of you know, you give value and you get value back in the form of money or something else.”

Lisa Messenger: Yes, yes. Value exchange, my favorite words.

Barbara Turley: The value exchange. Actually it does bode resentment, and even if you don’t realize it consciously, your clients start to feel resentment from you because you’re not being honored in return. Yes, I love that you said that.

Lisa Messenger: Absolutely. I think it’s really important and I really like what you just said as well because I think one of the problems, and the perception is that money’s the only currency. In fact, there’s so many ways to value exchange. Now, and you’re probably the same, so many people say to me, “Can I have a coffee with you to pick your brains. I hear you’re the guru of.” I say, “No, you can’t.”

If someone wants to meet me and not just physically meet me, but meet me in meeting of the minds where they feel they’re my equal and it’s not just a one way energy sap, then I’m happy to talk to anyone about their business. Not when … You know those ones where you just walk away from an hour and you think, I am so freaking exhausted because-

Barbara Turley: Yeah, you just took [crosstalk 00:08:47].

Lisa Messenger: That’s just taken the whole thing, and I think that’s the problem. I believe everyone is equal and everyone has equal ability to share. If they can step up to the plate and meet me, then I’m happy to do it.

Barbara Turley: Even somebody in the early stage of business has something to offer to somebody that is at a different level to them.

Lisa Messenger: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: Always think about that that you can offer something.

Lisa Messenger: It’s about people valuing themselves and it’s also about … I have it a lot now. People just come to me and say, “You know, can you do an article in the magazine on me because I am,” blah, blah, blah, that they are so fabulous. I’m like, “Well that’s fine but you haven’t really … You know it’s nice to come to the party with what’s in it for you, what’s in it for me.” If they say, “And I’d love to share it across social media. I’d love to,” da-da-da-da, or whatever it is and just trying to have some kind of-

Barbara Turley: Think about your objectives as well, what you’re trying to achieve.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah and I think we’re all busy people and I’m certainly becoming increasingly busy. I think if someone comes to the party having actually thought about where that value exchange is and where it can work for both parties, whatever it is in life or in business, I think it’s a much more true and authentic exchange.

Barbara Turley: After the marketing business … I won’t say after because again [crosstalk 00:10:03]-

Lisa Messenger: It kind of kept going. It’s still going.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, it’s still there. How did you suddenly see change? Three years in, you’re not making any money, things are a bit messy. What did you do to fix it because sometimes it’s such a mess that you think, oh, how am I going to fix this now?

Lisa Messenger: Look, I actually I went to this course, and I think it’s important to invest in yourself, and it was [inaudible 00:10:23] who I’m sure you-

Barbara Turley: Oh yes, yeah.

Lisa Messenger: Know it. I think it was $1200 for a two day course. At the time, I thought this is so much money again. Again, about-

Barbara Turley: You think am I splashing out or oh my God, what am I doing?

Lisa Messenger: You know what? The best $1200 I ever spent because in that time, A, it made me step up and be surrounded by extraordinary people who were going to lift me higher. B, I walked away with three clients from that weekend. This [crosstalk 00:10:52]-

Barbara Turley: [Crosstalk 00:10:53].

Lisa Messenger: Value of 40 to 60 grand each. Now actually I missed a part that I had started a book publishing business in between. That just came out of a completely different space and my first book I wrote was what Happiness Is and it was because I was so unhappy after. I was thinking now to charging for three years, and I had some personal stuff I was going through at the time. I had been in the service industry for a while and I thought I really want to produce a product. What better product to produce than a book that I have no experience in.

Barbara Turley: [You’ll 00:11:28] be history of-

Lisa Messenger: Of self-publishing. Well I am a disruptor and I purposefully go about finding … Even though I didn’t know that that’s what I was back then, I certainly know that I am now. I purposely go into industries that are age old industries that are doing things the same way over and over again. I come in from a completely different direction, and I did that with Happiness Is. I sold 36,000 copies in the past 12 months and the bestseller in Australia at the time and I think still is 5000. I did it completely non-traditionally, so I presold it to corporates and used my sponsorship model basically to do that.

Barbara Turley: What I love actually … I’ve been reading. I’ve been watching you for a long time now, and I know that with the magazine, it’s interesting to hear that you learned that distribution piece in the book publishing area.

Lisa Messenger: Yes.

Barbara Turley: Because I was saying, with business and in terms of wealth, building wealth through business, it’s really only two things you need to think about. It’s value and leverage. Actually, it is actually not simple. There’s obviously a lot in there to do, but with the magazine and this distribution thing you talked about with the book. With the magazine, I noticed that you go in; you create a magazine even though there’s 5500 magazines already in the Australian market. You create one that actually isn’t there and it’s about entrepreneurship and it’s about … It’s such an amazing magazine. You find the gap-

Lisa Messenger: Thank you.

Barbara Turley: You create this value to fill that gap. Then the distribution piece which is the leverage piece, I just love how you’ve done that because you’ve sold it-

Lisa Messenger: Thank you.

Barbara Turley: Before you created it.

Lisa Messenger: Yes. Yes. That’s what I do in every single … I’ve worked across now so many different industries, publishing, marketing, social media. I’ve done books on surfing. I’ve done books on property. I’m a property investor. I’ve worked and gone across a number of different industries and … Because I almost do it to push myself and test myself because when people say, “You can’t do that.” It’s like a red rag to a bull saying, “We’re going to keep testing it across multiple industries and showing that actually you can come in knowing absolutely nothing.”

I know absolutely nothing about most of the industries, like nothing. I have a good, strong sense of business acumen now, but I don’t know the industries before I enter them. I certainly knew nothing about magazines whatsoever, and none of my staff purposefully knew anything about magazines when I launched. You might say, “Yes I’ve had a book publishing business and I’ve written several books before,” but there’s a tough one dimensional-

Barbara Turley: It’s a different game though.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, it’s a very, very different game. The thing about it is and actually I’m going to throw it out. This is the latest issue.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, this is the latest-

Lisa Messenger: Blondie. The thing about it is … You’ve hit the nail on the head. You would think that it would have been done in some iteration on other before. The thing is I’m an entrepreneur for entrepreneur. I’ve literally gone, “I am so frustrated. There’s nothing out there that’s inspirational and aspirational and stories about extraordinary individuals and businesses.” I’ve created it, but I haven’t just gone out and created something that looks like a business magazine and is expected. I have purposefully and very, very consciously created something that looks like a fashion magazine.

Barbara Turley: It’s like Vogue. It’s like Vogue magazine.

Lisa Messenger: It is very, very, very purposeful because if I … As you said there’s over 5500 print magazines in Australia. We’re now in 29 countries. I’m competing with a lot of different magazines out there, and I knew that I needed to see it in the newsstand and everywhere else in the top 10 magazines globally. To do that, I have to play the game and make it look like all of them. The thing is-

Barbara Turley: That’s really different because when I go into the-

Lisa Messenger: Yes.

Barbara Turley: I go into a shop and newsstand and you see it, and it is between Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle. It’s very obvious that this magazine is about totally different things.

Lisa Messenger: [Inaudible 00:15:23].

Barbara Turley: Which I quite like because it does stand out there. Maybe just because I know it, but even the front cover of this one, for example, the rise of blogging.

Lisa Messenger: Yes, well I always play with the cover lines. Whilst the visual might look like the others, my cover lines are very, very strongly entrepreneurial. It is an entrepreneurial magazine absolutely first and foremost above all else. The beauty of that is that hopefully we’re picking up a lot of other people who are potential entrepreneurs because they think it’s fashion or whatever. Then they read it and go, “Oh my God, I didn’t realize.”

Barbara Turley: I love the fact that it’s really going to appeal to the female market. The ways of women launching their own businesses globally is absolutely massive [crosstalk 00:16:05]. This is a magazine that’s … It’s not all about … I love the fact that it doesn’t even have a bent towards women. It’s got a lot of men in the magazine as well.

Lisa Messenger: No, and I have to say-

Barbara Turley: The cover is really attractive for women.

Lisa Messenger: Thank you. The thing is you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s interesting. I had a [read 00:16:23] it dinner three nights ago up in [Nuribarn 00:16:26] near Byron Bay. The ex-head of … CEO of Billabong came along. He’d been with Billabong 26 years, and he said to me … He came up to me and he said, “Lisa, I picked up the first copy of your magazine with [inaudible 00:16:40] on the cover in the Qantas lounge,” and he said, “I have been hooked ever since.” This is a guy I guess early 50s, I would imagine. That thing really …

Barbara Turley: That’s really good.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah and I have actually a lot of men come to me who have … Most of them accidentally come across it because they think it’s a women’s magazine and they are hooked. I’ve even had husbands and wives almost arguing about me. I discovered it first and I’m like, “Wow, it’s pretty cool.”

Barbara Turley: I want to talk a little bit now about the leverage bits. You very much got the distribution piece right first in two ways. You organized distribution in Australia pretty much straightaway. There were 100,000 magazines printed, but then you also organized corporate sponsorship so that the cash flow end of keeping this magazine going was covered, which is so clever. Talk to me about first the distribution in the new stands.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, I’ll go talk a little bit. Thank you. You always do your research so well. I love that. Do you want a job?

Barbara Turley: No, thank you.

Lisa Messenger: What happened was, and it’s really interesting going back to my business plans. Anyone who knows me knows that means back of the envelope. That’s about [crosstalk 00:17:58]-

Barbara Turley: I love that [inaudible 00:18:00] too actually because I’m a fan of that.

Lisa Messenger: That is as complex as they get. It was interesting because with the book side of the business, I have always known how to pre-sell books to corporates. That has-

Barbara Turley: Did you learn that is that initial publishing sponsorship [crosstalk 00:18:16]-

Lisa Messenger: Well that was when I looked at Happiness Is and I heard that 5000 was a bestseller in Australia. I thought this is ridiculous. I applied my sponsorship knowledge and thought why don’t I presell it to corporates because by my way of thinking, which is always just whatever the logic is at the time or the illogic in my head. I thought corporates have so many inanimate objects like squidgy balls and mouse pads and coffee mugs. I know the kind of money they spend-

Barbara Turley: [Softies 00:18:45]

Lisa Messenger: Softies and don’t start me there. I just thought why … In the case of Happiness Is, well why can’t they buy a beautiful book to use as a premium incentive gift or reward for their clients instead of this crap? I went to him and said, “I’m producing this beautiful book.” In that instance Mercedes brought several thousand copies to incentivize test drive. You go along. You drive your Mercedes; at the end of it, they say, “Oh, we’d love to give you this.” It’s that surprise and delight factor. Clever. Then what happens is-

Barbara Turley: It’s different.

Lisa Messenger: People go and say, “I just drove a Mercedes. Oh my God, I got this book.” Clinique had a perfume called Happy. They bought several thousand. It was like buy a bottle of Happy for 140 bucks or something, get a free book valued at $40.

Barbara Turley: Did you pitch this at [Benville 00:19:31] or did they come to you?

Lisa Messenger: No, I pitched all of this-

Barbara Turley: Yeah, so you made a list of what you were thinking might work.

Lisa Messenger: Important to note that all of that happened before I’d written a word of the book literally. It was this or … Every business had [inaudible 00:19:45].

Barbara Turley: That takes balls.

Lisa Messenger: Well it’s how I do everything. I come up with an idea. I back of the envelope it in the case of Happiness Is a few design spreads. I went to them and explained it. I think when you’ve got the passion … Look at these birds. Isn’t that lovely?

Barbara Turley: Yeah, it’s lovely.

Lisa Messenger: Then people will buy it, and so that’s what happened and it went on and on. Officeworks bought a whole lot of things. Spend $200 with Officeworks, get a free copy of the book. I did lots and lots of deals.

Coming back to the magazine because I’ve been doing that with books for so many years, I actually never really considered the news stand. I sort of thought that would be secondary and I actually thought that the magazine would be very much the same as the book model and I would go and pre-sell 10,000 copies to Commonwealth Bank or whatever it was and that they would use it to give to their customers.

I went and did that quite successfully and CommBank was one of my initial partners and several other corporates who agreed to use the magazine for their private clients or their women’s part of the business or whatever it was. Then I had a meeting with Gordon and Gotch who are those two big distributors in Australia. Anyway, they just about fell over themselves about the magazine.

Then I made a very conscious decision. Right, I don’t want to be just known for doing what I’ve done for the last eight years, which is successfully selling it to corporates. I want to be equally playing with the news stand and the subscriptions and all the other mode as well. I made a very conscious decision then and there to divide the revenue stream 50-50.

Then news stand and traditional just went nuts, and I couldn’t believe that here I was being a real player against the likes of Bauer and Pac Mags and [Newsite 00:21:42] media. They are massive in Australia and I have utmost respect for them. Bauer has over 80 magazines. There we were sitting and in the [inaudible 00:21:52] of the rise, smack bang in the middle of these guys. I’ve taken both parts equally as importantly.

Same for overseas. We launched in 11 countries and we’re now in 29. There should be 50 by Christmas.

Barbara Turley: That’s amazing.

Lisa Messenger: I’m building out several other revenue streams now. We’re really productizing and the online. Digital is really building out and there’s a lot of pretty exciting things happening. For me now, it’s very much around platform agnostics. I don’t want to be just print magazine. You want to read it when you want to read it on the device you want to read it, how you want to read. Or you want to attend an event when you want to how you want or you want to see. There’s lots of things happening [crosstalk 00:22:39].

Barbara Turley: This is building it. Obviously, the magazine is your front-end piece and there’s a big backend business being built [crosstalk 00:22:45] that.

Lisa Messenger: Big.

Barbara Turley: I really want to stress that point though-

Lisa Messenger: Like insanely big business being built at the moment.

Barbara Turley: I really want to stress that point for people that you can from something like a magazine or a book or particularly for the authors out there. If you want to produce a book, remember that the book is just the front-end business card really and eventually. Talk to me about what the big build is going to … Can you share some of the ideas that might be coming?

Lisa Messenger: Bits of it.

Barbara Turley: We’ll try and get it [inaudible 00:23:14] digital is going to be huge.

Lisa Messenger: Digital is going to be huge. The magazine is very different to the book because with the books, I’ve always said … I’ve written several books on this if anyone wants any of them. I’ve always said, I think $30 book, think $30,000 client. It’s a different model to the magazine completely. I think with books, people should produce them and it’s … Read my book about it.

Barbara Turley: What’s your book called?

Lisa Messenger: I’ve got one called Books to Boost Your Brand, and then I’ve got a marketing book on How to Market Books. It basically takes everyone through step by step exactly how I think books to me is to leverage and as a brand building and a credibility place and all of that kind of thing.

I’ve always said, you give away your books because it builds your profile up.

Barbara Turley: Business cards, yeah.

Lisa Messenger: I’m about to treat myself up though because my book, which comes out in September, I’m definitely not giving it away because I don’t have a backend around that anymore.

Barbara Turley: Well that’s a pure book.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah it’s a pure book and it’s very much. It’s the last two years journey and it’s all my philosophies and things. I won’t give it away because I don’t have a backend of that business. This is my brain on a plate, and if you want it, spend 29.95.

Barbara Turley: What’s that book called?

Lisa Messenger: It’s actually called Daring and Disruptive.

Barbara Turley: I like it. Daring and Disruptive. Watch out for that book coming out in September.

Lisa Messenger: That’s exciting. With the magazine, though, it’s different. Again, it’s different and not a business card. It’s 9.95 and it’s not expensive, but it’s very much a standalone thing. Even if we sell globally half a million copies of the mag each month, which will be nice. We’re not there yet. Then you still online if you’re doing that across 29 countries, you can be reaching 100 million. I love print and

I’m a big advocate of the tangible, physical product and think there’s so many reasons for it strategically and consumer wise and all sorts of things. Digital really opens us up to entirely different platforms. Also because it is the Collective and it is about very much the community, I am just the conduit for that. The digital will allow people to actually have a space for themselves. It’ll be a lot of user generated content as well, which I love so people can really share their own journeys and experiences.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, in their own. That’s a really nice idea.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, so just-

Barbara Turley: The community aspect.

Lisa Messenger: That’s what it’s about. Literally, I am just the person who had the idea and creates the architecture around it. It’s very much around the community and creating this hub for everyone. Yeah, digital will be big and then really products. We’re starting to do a lot of collaborations, and that will be … Look, Martha Stewart has 8500 products to her name, so I have a long way to go. We’re going down a similar trajectory.

As long as the products fit within the value and belief system and are on purpose and are giving back to the entrepreneurial community, then that’s the way we’re building out as well. I’ve got so many things. There’s some TV stuff in the works. It is an interesting journey.

Barbara Turley: I want to talk to you a little bit now about … Obviously with the launch of this magazine, it was a $1.5 million launch, the biggest one in Australian history. What [crosstalk 00:26:49]-

Lisa Messenger: That one … I have to correct you. The $1.5 million wasn’t big, but it was for me. It was in terms of the distribution footprint the biggest in Australian history. No one had ever been anyway near how many outlets and channels we had from launch.

Barbara Turley: A launch of that size personally for your business is quite a big …

Lisa Messenger: Massive.

Barbara Turley: It was taking a leap of faith, which involves risks. I know as women we … Gross generalization I know, but women in general were not as comfortable with taking risks as men are. I want to know what would you say to women entrepreneurs out there about taking those big risks. Is it [fail 00:27:30] and do it anyway or is it a trusting?

Lisa Messenger: For me, it definitely is. I get asked a lot of that is don’t I have fear anymore? How do I … The print magazine alone, of which it is currently 1 of 18 different revenue streams cost me now $350,000 Australian a month to put out. Actually it’s more than that now because we’ve just upped the global print run. It’s not small change, and then there’s a lot of other things going on.

My answer around it is this. I think because I had to reverse engineer and because it’s become so intuitive to me, just taking risks and not feeling fear. I’ve really had to do some work on thinking, well, how did I get to that point? The reality around it is I think in nearly 13 years of business, there’s probably not a situation I haven’t experienced in some shape or form. What I do is I let my brain very quickly go to the worst case scenario, which at the moment is often around finance.

Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just that with this extraordinary growth, and I’ve chosen at this point not to have any equity partnerships and investors. I have to keep growing it on my own, and that means a lot of partnerships on a daily basis. I go to the worst case scenario, and then my brain comes very quickly. Like in literally 30 seconds to 2 minutes, say, go through a stack of cards in my head and go bang, bang, bang, bang, and bring it back to current situation.

Then I can quickly go, “Oh, okay. Now I know what to do. I know I need to speak to my CFO or I need to get another investor or need to speak to my lawyer.” I have a chat to the team, and I can quickly put mechanisms in place.

I think to be able to learn that and know that in 13 years I haven’t gone under and that we’ll always come out the other side. I’m able to risk and push my pain threshold a bit further each time. You’ve got to have absolute, unwavering, unshakeable self-belief.

Barbara Turley: Yes self-belief.

Lisa Messenger: You have to. You cannot do this any other way. It’s really interesting that going between ego because you have to have a certain amount of that. Then self-awareness around that and knowing when stepping in and being able to quash it. That’s been-

Barbara Turley: You know the difference between ego and actually logical thought that is well thought out, yeah.

Lisa Messenger: Having that self-belief and self-esteem as opposed to ego. I think there are a lot of people out there, particularly politicians and unfortunately people in major corporate worlds who have massive ego, low self-esteem. It’s a very scary mix and I see it played out time and time again. There is no quick fix or fast hill to it. Sometimes when I’m speaking on stage and people say, “How have you got to this point?” I say, “10 years of therapy.” They look at me deadpan and part of me says the shock value, and part of it’s true.

Barbara Turley: It’s true.

Lisa Messenger: I have worked my friggin butt off through personal development and all sorts of other things to get to a place where I really feel comfortable.

Barbara Turley: That’s real self-belief as well instead of just I believe in myself because that’s coming from ego. I love as well that you said, you go straight to the worst case scenario. One try to when I’m coaching people and talking to people about taking risks because I’ve spent a long time in trading and risks, which is part of everyday life.

Lisa Messenger: Yes. Well, yeah, exactly.

Barbara Turley: For people in that game.

Lisa Messenger: That’s high adrenaline.

Barbara Turley: Really, the trick really people always get carried away with how much money will I make. I always go … Well the first thing I do is go how much could I lose and what are the different scenarios around that? What would you do and what will it do to you, all those different scenarios. Because the upside, if it goes up or something goes the way you want it to, well that’s all great.

Lisa Messenger: It doesn’t matter, yeah.

Barbara Turley: You really need to worry about the other end. You risk mitigate for that and you just try to manage for that and be aware and then have to believe to take it forward.

Lisa Messenger: It’s constant risk mitigation at the moment. In terms of just knowing I’ve got many things in place so that if something goes awry, well I’ve got a fallback and then another fallback and then another fallback. Because it’s like any business and I’m certainly not alone. When you have that high growth, just cash flowing that is …

Barbara Turley: Is difficult.

Lisa Messenger: It’s hard because with this business, I know with every ounce of my being exactly where I want to go at the moment. I can throw another 20, 30, 40 staff at it today and no problem and build out more countries and build out more product. I just know exactly where it’s going. That’s that tricky decision of do I take someone on-

Barbara Turley: Do you go all in, yeah.

Lisa Messenger: Who can just chuck 100 mill. That’ll be great. Or do I just keep trying to bounce along and at the moment I’m trying to do it myself. Because as well I think for me, I’m a crazy, creative, big visionary and I don’t necessarily want someone who comes in and looks at that. I just sat with my accountant for four months last year because he just kept looking at my bottom line and saying-

Barbara Turley: Judging.

Lisa Messenger: “Lisa, when you sit there and go, it’s going to be okay, Greg, and they try.”

Barbara Turley: Yeah, they just don’t get it.

Lisa Messenger: “And do it [now 00:32:51].” The thing is I don’t necessarily want a big partner in at the moment because I think they could potentially quash the creativity and the momentum that we have going.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, I think that’s a pretty good point that you’ve made because a lot of people are, they are looking for investors. I always sort of say, there’s a … I’m a fan of bootstrap the hell out of it and just do it yourself. Because otherwise, it’s not just the money that you get. You can get mentorship and all that sort of thing as well, but they are going to come in. It’s their money, right? They are going to come in and want to know what the hell’s going on.

Lisa Messenger: The thing is when you go as big as I’ve chosen to go, there’s going to be very few people who are-

Barbara Turley: Are going to be able to.

Lisa Messenger: Going to come in and actually understand. It’s hard to explain. I do so much on … I’ve got an intuition and that’s just not going to [color 00:33:37] for some [crosstalk 00:33:36]-

Barbara Turley: No, for the investors.

Lisa Messenger: They’ll go, “I want this, this [crosstalk 00:33:39].”

Barbara Turley: That’s what makes you the entrepreneur that you are. Speaking of got an intuition and going close to the edge all the time and living every day and a bit like on that edge, I want to talk about feminine flow. As women, I know that you’ve suffered adrenaline fatigue as lots of women indeed. We push ourselves like mad and we push ourselves like men and we end up getting overwhelmed and falling in a heap, getting ill.

What are you doing nowadays to just stay on the edge, but not push yourself to that point where you just can’t go on more?

Lisa Messenger: Thank you. Good question. It’s an interesting one because I did last … What are we now? May last … October-November I completely fell in a heap. I was coming to work and lying on the couch having meetings and things. I felt this is ridiculous.

Then I looked back at because I think I’m invincible and then I looked back at-

Barbara Turley: I like that too though. I push myself so hard and I have to go, “Ooh, come back.”

Lisa Messenger: Now I look back at where I had led up to and I journal a lot. I looked back through my journals because I had been journaling every day since about five months pre-launch. I realized and I actually couldn’t even read up to when we launched the magazine because I just started crying and I thought, you poor little thing. I went into my whole inner child and was just like how on earth did I get through that? Then I spent the whole of October. I spent 31 days travelling around the world, promoting the mag and-

Barbara Turley: I remember that. It was crazy.

Lisa Messenger: Crazy.

Barbara Turley: You were like in New York and every country.

Lisa Messenger: I was in all three Europe and then America and working in several different time zones. It was all crazy and I just had complete burnout I think. It wasn’t until I really went back through it and I was like, “Oh my God, how … How did I do that to myself really?” Hindsight’s a good thing and also not knowing when you begin something what’s ahead of you.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Messenger: [Inaudible 00:35:39].

Barbara Turley: You would never do it.

Lisa Messenger: I was really healthy before, but now I have absolute, not negotiable. I have a personal trainer three times a week which I’m actually going to after this.

Barbara Turley: Non-negotiable.

Lisa Messenger: Not negotiable and not moved for anything. Nothing. Every morning there’s a green smoothie waiting on my desk. The girls … That sounds like such a [crosstalk 00:36:01].

Barbara Turley: [Crosstalk 00:36:02].

Lisa Messenger: At the end of the day … It’s about working at Woolworths. I thought I was making my own green smoothie every morning at the office and then I was like sometimes-

Barbara Turley: It takes ages.

Lisa Messenger: I’m running and I don’t do it. I know if they have it waiting for me, I’m going to drink it. There’s certain things that I just do really just now. Even though I’m busy, I have real downtime. The masculine feminine is interesting, and I think sitting here I’m probably much more in my masculine energy because I’m talking about business and risk and things. It’s really important, and I’ve done a lot of reading and exploration around this. It’s also really important for me to be able to drop into … Or any of us that feminine energy at the end of the day. Take off your war face and the mask and be soft and-

Barbara Turley: Go home and be feminine.

Lisa Messenger: Vulnerable and feminine. I try and carry that quite consciously through my days as well. The reality is a lot of what we’re doing in business and fast paced. It takes a certain amount of energy to be there and hold that space.

My partner is an entrepreneur also who is freakin amazing, and that’s interesting because we are the [inaudible 00:37:17] version of each other. It’s really the most beautiful relationship I’ve ever had because we’re able to swing between that very … Kind of a masculine talking about the entrepreneur stuff and then drop very much for me into that whole feminine. I think …

Barbara Turley: Well men have feminine energy too of course, but the [crosstalk 00:37:34]-

Lisa Messenger: He certainly does.

Barbara Turley: He’s quite like that. I know [Jack 00:37:36] then. He’s got that sense of energy about him too. You can both drop into that space of that vulnerability and softness and yeah.

Lisa Messenger: I think finding that is an extraordinary thing and something very rare and I think something to be very conscious of to have the ability to go through both. I don’t think potentially I’ve always done that well and-

Barbara Turley: It’s more attractive for men as well.

Lisa Messenger: That’s [crosstalk 00:38:00].

Barbara Turley: I think men find it attractive when we’re able to drive business and go forward. When we come home, it’s really important for us to-

Lisa Messenger: That softness.

Barbara Turley: Drop back in.

Lisa Messenger: Totally. I think it’s wonderful. There’s a book I read by this woman Laurie Ray end of last year. It’s all about masculine and feminine. Because I think I was probably previously bringing too much of that masculine energy [crosstalk 00:38:26]-

Barbara Turley: I think a lot of us and … Yeah, a lot of us do. I think particularly women who are successful, have been in the corporate world are really entrepreneurial. Because we’re so in that masculine energy a lot, we have to be that we forget actually that that’s not really that attractive.

Lisa Messenger: It’s not attractive. You know what? It is-

Barbara Turley: It’s not attractive.

Lisa Messenger: I’m such a working hypocrisy and all that because in business I absolutely believe in equality and I absolutely have just never even crossed my mind that we’re not equal, not once. I get asked about that a lot. Oh, the glass ceiling and oh, the [inaudible 00:39:01]. I’m like, “I don’t get it. Like I do not get it.” I’ve never once had a problem being a woman in business. Where am I going? I have no idea.

Barbara Turley: Because you’re saying that you believe in equality in business work.

Lisa Messenger: That’s what I’m saying. In my personal life, I’m all about the chivalry. I love the [draw 00:39:18].

Barbara Turley: Me too.

Lisa Messenger: I love the [meal 00:39:20] being painful. All that stuff’s so … It’s a bit of dichotomy and people might think it’s hypocritical or whatever, but that’s … I really love that.

Barbara Turley: I don’t know. I like that too. I like being a woman. I like being treated like a woman. That doesn’t mean that I’m not equal to a man. It just means I’m different.

Lisa Messenger: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: Just different.

Lisa Messenger: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: We want that. We should celebrate that difference.

Lisa Messenger: Yeah, totally.

Barbara Turley: I think that’s a lovely place to end our gorgeous interview. If people want to know more about Renegade Collective and about you and about the business and follow you, where should they go?

Lisa Messenger: Well lots of different platforms and places, but I’m-

Barbara Turley: Yeah, for a start.

Lisa Messenger: The magazine obviously and then and then Collective Hub is our handle across all social media and Lisa Messenger also. Then I have my own website now, I think.

Barbara Turley: It is dot com. Yeah, that’s right.

Lisa Messenger: Which we’re about to do a relaunch of.

Barbara Turley: It’s been wonderful having you on the show. I’m so excited I got you before you jet off to New York.

Lisa Messenger: Thanks Barbara. It’s always a pleasure.

Barbara Turley: Thanks so much.

Lisa Messenger: Thank you. Beautiful.

Barbara Turley: Thank you everyone again for watching for another week. Remember, you’re catching me later this week on my podcast, Wealth Unplugged where I’m going to be giving my key take outs from today’s chat with Lisa. There’s going to be loads. Make sure you get on to that. Also join me next week where I’m going to be joined by The Millionaire Maker herself, Loral Langemeier. It’s going to be a great show. See you then.

Lisa Messenger: Fantastic.

I’d love to hear from you! What did you take away from this interview?

Got something to add?

Loading Facebook Comments ...