Eps 27: Steal my biz audit process to find the gold in yours

November 9, 2023

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Have you ever done a business audit to truly figure out exactly where you’ve had your most success?

Do you know what’s working well for you and what you could probably get rid of doing completely that wouldn’t affect a thing?

In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of running a business. We often find ourselves chasing the next big idea, the latest trend, or striving for the next milestone.

However, amidst the hustle and bustle, we sometimes forget to look back, reflect, and mine the treasures that lie within our own entrepreneurial journey, and that’s where the power of a business audit comes in, that you can do anytime by the way.

In this podcast I share my most recent one, how I learned that I’d already done well over a million in digital product and course sales (in just 3 years) and what else I learned and gained from the process.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to conduct your own business audit and discover the hidden gems right in front of you
  • How to celebrate your successes, identify what’s working well, and let go of what doesn’t
  • Which ideas for new products I share that you could use to take your business to the next level

Looking Back on the Entrepreneurial Journey:

So recently I decided to look back on my entire business because every single year I would review what I’d done well, what went well, what didn’t, etc. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually looked back at the very start of my journey, which really was in 2009.

So to paint a picture, I was living in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. I was the co-founder of a tech company, which was my first foray into entrepreneurship. So I met my business partner over cheese and wine and somehow our skill sets like really complimented each other.

He had an idea for a tech business called fundraiser, which was all about how you actually get small amounts of money that you make from either fundraising or for teams and clubs.

Or, for when you’re raising money, how do you do that in a way that is super easy for people to give and accept payments? And also using the power of something like Facebook, which back in 2008 when we started was only 4 years old and people were not using it for payments. Or anything of that type.

It definitely wasn’t on people’s radar to do that So it was a pretty challenging place to be but also a place full of opportunity and it was where I cut my teeth As an entrepreneur as a co-founder. I helped raise money.

I did all the marketing the social media business modeling and business planning and helped build that from scratch with nothing and pretty much no budget whilst doing that I started a blog talking about it like what’s it like to be a woman entrepreneur in tech, what’s it like to be a co-founder in this male-dominated space and from that woman’s world was born which was my blog and my favorite place to hang out and just talk about everything that was happening and blog like crazy.

And it became pretty popular and I got a pretty cool community and following I had no way to monetize it no email list.

So, strike forward, about six to eight months, my business partner Darrell was like, Nat, you seem to be really loving this blogging thing. You seem to be really good at it. You’ve got a real knack for it. Have you ever thought about turning it into a business? Because I can just see it’s where your passion lies.

And one thing I love about Daryl is he’s just really good at spotting human potential in people. And you know, the reason he put me on is because he spotted that potential. And then he could see me doing this as I was building our business and really having a knack for it. And I was like, no, I haven’t considered that Daryl, because we’re in this business together.

And he’s like, yeah, but this thing really lights you up. And I know you’re really passionate about our thing, but it’s not the same. It’s not your thing. So in short, I quit my, business that we started together, um, and the salary that I was getting through it and went all in on a blog.

With no email list, no products, and nothing, and somehow managed to start doing consulting, coaching, and running workshops and social media.

And then with my first digital product, I actually launched that while traveling to the U S on my way to Argentina. It all began, and it was at these conferences in the U. S. where I was constantly introducing myself as Natalie Sisson, this entrepreneur who lives out of a suitcase, travels the world, runs her online business, and helps others to do the same, because by that stage I had a pretty big community who was interested in how do you quit your job and do this?

And that’s where The Suitcase Entrepreneur was born at one of those conferences explaining it to somebody and, they said, you’re like a traveling entrepreneur. You’re like a suitcase entrepreneur. And I was like, yeah, I guess I am. And then I was like, damn, that’s a really fricking good brand that explains and describes, I guess, what it is that I do and what I want for others.

And so the suitcase entrepreneur was born and really it just kind of not going to lie the first couple of years. I made 50k and then 80k and then by year three, I was actually starting to see the potential across my different revenue streams. And by that stage, I had about three or four.

So I had revenue from my own digital products, revenue from one of my own little memberships that I ran, and revenue whenever I ran a webinar and sold them into a course.

And I also had some affiliate revenue at that point, because I was using so many awesome tools and resources and sharing about them and making a little bit of income.

 

A Million-Dollar Milestone:

So here I was looking back on this business audit and going, you know what, did I actually make a million in sales of my own digital products and courses kind of, you know, during that time?

And I figured that I must have, but I’ve never actually done the due diligence because if I’m really honest about it. I wasn’t that into my financial accounting back then. I just knew that if I was making money and I was covering my costs and I was making a profit, that was great. And if I could travel the world buy my flights and live an awesome life, I would be happy.

I also was a digital nomad. Therefore, I was also a tax nomad because by some fortuitous chance, given that I was no longer a resident of New Zealand and I had not been living in the UK where I was also a, I had citizenship there thanks to my dad, I literally had no place of residence in which I needed to be paying tax.

It was this really odd loophole in the system. And even though I consulted lawyers about it, I found that I didn’t need to be paying taxes because I was literally bouncing around the world, never staying more than… Honestly, three to four weeks at a time in one place, and never earned any money in that country, everything I earned was online through my own means.

And so, I have to say, it was a really great time for several years there, where I didn’t have to pay any tax. , it wasn’t until I got back to New Zealand in 2016, where I set up Natalesis Unlimited, I got an accountant, and I’ve had them ever since, and fully, you know, account for every single thing that I earn in my business, all the currency exchanges, all the costs, the expenses, team, everything.

So, while I did keep financials during that time, and especially during 2014 through to 2016 when things were really taking off, I would say that it’s far more, like, fully accounted for now, and obviously, I pay tax. But anyway, the thing that blew my mind is that, and I don’t have any details from 2009 to 2012.

I think it’s all actually tied up in PayPal, which has made their reports really hard to get. So, I still need to do some digging. But, essentially… In 2013, apparently, I made just under 20 grand, which is nothing, and I don’t think that’s quite true. And in 2014, I made 218, 400 US dollars. So, I’m pretty sure my 2013 income is incorrect, but…

That was a ton and a ton of that was profit like 75 percent and then in 2015 I made 355, 500 US dollars Again a huge amount of profit and then in 2016 I made two hundred and two thousand seven hundred US dollars so just across what it was fascinating about that just across 2014 to 2016 I made 1.

3 million New Zealand dollars, because I’m a New Zealander so I do it in there, and close to 800, 000 in profit, and that just blows my mind that I didn’t even really fully appreciate or celebrate that at the time, that, by three years into my business I’d Fully across the million dollar mark in my own sales of products and courses and then 2017 I came back to New Zealand.

I actually refocused. I kind of closed up the suitcase entrepreneur So to speak and went on a bit of a business sabbatical and still made 170 grand that year and then in 2018, I feel like I was still a bit on that sabbatical and, um, just finding my way into the Natalie Sisson realm after so long as my identity as suitcase entrepreneur, and that was just under 100k that year.

And 2019, similar, to 2020, up it again by about another 30k, and in 2021 I actually made 130k in just half a year because I stopped work to go on maternity leave then essentially 2022 my business was shut down all that year, so I made some income from my passive income products, and then wasn’t taking a salary with Fraemohs Homes.

So pretty much, I was just really like amazed at that level of income at the time And I knew I was working really really hard about that time, but I had my Freedom Plan launched I had my book come out in 2013, which was a number one bestseller on Amazon. It sold like 30, 000 copies. It went big I had a huge community My podcast was taking off.

Everything that I’ve been working towards since 2009 was really coming together, and it took, you know, several years to capitalize on that. And then it also shows the power of a pivot in business and how that can just derail you, how it can slow down growth, and how having clarity around who you are and what you want to do definitely impacts your business, right?

But I just kind of want to say, you know, eight-year-old me, twelve-year-old me, even fifteen-year-old me would have been incredibly proud of 30-something-ish Natalie there who had never been an entrepreneur in her life, had always been in a corporate career, took this chance to quit her job, her high paying job in London, travel to Canada where she’d never been, play ultimate frisbee, and get into the entrepreneurial world for which I am forever grateful that London sent me packing in terms of never wanting a job like that, at least, and you know, the rat race, and sent me into starting my own business.

And just so many incredible opportunities that came out of that.

 

A Catalog of Creations:

The other thing I did in my business audit was not only to try to dig up financials but also to go through my 15, Almost years of business, 14 years of business. You know, starting off, I started with coaching clients and the social media boot camp that I ran as workshops and then turned it into a digital course.

I had the ultimate entrepreneurs toolkit, which was a really awesome PDF that I spent a ton of money creating. Then in 2010, I know that morphed into the social media club. I had my build your online business, digital product book, which went phenomenally. And then I followed it up with, “Am I your customer?” and “Build your own sales funnel.”

And those books for up to three years, we’re just, just made incredible sales. We’re just so popular. This is back in the day when, you know, digital. products were just doing super well and still do depending on what niche you’re in. Then in 2011, I had the passport to business freedom, which was a course that I bought in experts on.

It was the first time I kind of created a course using other people’s knowledge as well as my own 2012, and 2013 with Natalie McNeil. We hosted WE Mastermind Women Entrepreneurs Mastermind, an amazing course over 12 weeks. And we also ran. Two retreats over that time, which was epic.

My suitcase entrepreneur book, as I said, came out in 2013, and then the freedom plan course came out off the back of that book and I ran that for three years.

Incredibly, it’s my biggest course ever. My first multiple six-figure launch, like super thrilled and proud of that. Off the back of that also came the book, The Freedom Plan, Idea to Income, Rock Your Systems, which was a co-collaboration with Amy Mitchell, Plan Your Profitable Freedom Year, which is a workshop that I’ve still run to this day.

LifePilot started that year, although we didn’t really sort of put it together as a course, we had it with our friends, The Freedom Collective, which was a membership, Write Your Damn Book came out in 2017 after writing my two books and having bestsellers, Outsource Like a Rockstar.

Oh my god, in 2018, the Freedom Lab, is all about how to make, 3, 000 with an e-commerce product. And I did and, you know, taught people how to do that. That was when I was doing dog frisbees. It was a pretty fun adventure just to see what e-commerce is like as a business.

I had a co-collaboration with Osmaan with Master Your Mindset. And then 2019 was really the launch of launch a damn course, which again, went on for about three years and I’m really incredibly proud of that live course, to help so many people launch their courses and collectively make hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And then the 10K club during the start of lockdown and COVID that was 2020, one of my all-time favorite memberships, high-level memberships, masterminds, and coaching programs, which also again helped women to step up and make a ton more money in their business and collectively over 2 million that we made during the course of that being live.

And then I did my first ever summit, the Monetise You Summit in 2021, right before I went on maternity leave. That was so much fun. It went incredibly well. I love the woman that I interviewed for that. It was actually a really awesome summit. It’s still available for sale. It’s a product. It’s timeless.

Absolutely timeless advice around all the ways in which you can monetize yourself and run your own business. And it was incredible during that summit to have sales all the time, every single hour, every single day. It was just such a buzz, especially for me and my team. I bought out Suck It Up Princess that year.

And then I went on maternity leave. So, and then when I’ve come back in 2023, really, this has just been me coming back after quite a while to upgrade life pilot, which I’m really proud of, and start holistic life and business coaching again. And of course Momentum, my 10-week program. So it’s been a ride, people.

And I just thought I’d share that with you. Like I literally went back through my Google Drive of all the digital products. I’m pretty organized in my Google Drive and just went back through all the folders for all the products. And I think there might also just be one or two that I’m missing there, but it was such a beautiful trip down memory lane to look at all the things that I had created or co-created.

This doesn’t account for freaking endless affiliates, promotions, and products and tools that I continue to promote and love that have done really well for me, but also they’re just amazing tools. It also doesn’t account for the numerous summits that I was part of or went on, I think I actually missed, yeah, I missed the build your online business workshop.

So I did build your online business as workshops, before turning it into a digital product or actually at the same time, it was a really beautiful thing. And this also doesn’t account for my retreats in Bali, Spain, and Portugal. So there have been. Five retreats now across that time. So yeah, it’s, it’s a lot and it’s awesome.

And it was why I loved doing this business audit and I literally opened up a Google doc and just brain-dumped in every single year from 2009 to now, every single product that came out during that time, I even put some monetary amounts next to them cause it’s all in my financials just to sort of really get a sense of it.

And then I broke down all my financials. As much as I had information for them. And then I celebrated, I was like, Hell yeah! I’ve made over a million in digital products, and just in three years actually. So I actually need to add up the rest of it and see where I’m at. But that was just crazy.

This little lady from New Zealand built this incredible business that has afforded me so much joy, creativity, Growth, and financial freedom and more importantly has impacted, you know, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands through the podcast, through my books, through my courses, products, offerings over the years.

Just really thrilled. So if you’re one of those people who has been impacted or been a client or a customer of mine, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my day, making my world.

 

Future Growth and Opportunities:

Then off the back of that, I guess I looked at and reflected on opportunities for future growth in the business and for myself.

Maybe some things that I’ve tried before or want to try again, or things that I’ve never tried and wanna implement. And I thought I’d just share a couple of those with you. Some of these were also through looking through ConvertKit, which has a wealth of amazing blog posts, by the way, for creators.

But they’re my CRM system of choice, so I’ve used them for my emails, landing pages…. they’re amazing but they also put out really great content I was reading through one of their blog posts on different ways that you can create different products.

Here are some of the ones that I wrote down that I just really like and have either done before but just think might be really relevant for where I’m at right now.

And this is more on the passive income stream bent. So you know, what can I create repurpose, and put in place that would actually really benefit a lot of people and be profitable so:

  • A three to five-day email course is just a really simple solution to help people out It can be free or it could be paid for But something that really helps people over the three to five days of that email course, an audio product I’ve been wanting to do meditations and affirmations visioning audio products for quite a while whether they’re incorporated in some of my courses as a bonus, or they’re opt-ins on my life pilot site or they’re paid products.
  • Templates. People love templates. So I do have my one-page biz plan template. I’ve actually had a ton of templates over the time and people love them because it’s a. Grab and go, like, right? Rather than start something from scratch, grab somebody’s template work off it, and recreate it into something that works for you. Templates are incredibly powerful. They take a bit to put together, but they’re also just super accessible for others and really helpful and people love helpful.
  • Tutorials. Rather than having to do a whole course, you can just do a tutorial on one specific piece of knowledge that you have that somebody else could really benefit from. Maybe you’re an absolute whiz in Canva. And whilst I’m sure there are a ton of people teaching about Canva, maybe you are the pro at creating reels using their existing stock media in there and how to create 30 days worth of reels using Canva. For example, is this a really great tutorial that somebody would pay money for?
  • Workshops. Online workshops, and in-person workshops have always been a favorite of mine. I love learning and producing and creating workshops and delivering an educational piece that somebody can then take and actually apply and implement. But then once you’ve done it, even if it’s live, you can then have it as an evergreen.

I considered the $10k Club membership and bringing that back because I so enjoyed it. It was such a beautiful offering. The women who turned up to that were incredible. They’re still all, friends in many ways. I see them networking and hanging out and catching up and I miss them.

I miss that community that I created through the $10K Club and am curious about its evolution.

And also pulling together a Black Friday bundle of all my best products, just for old time’s sake, like, here you go, it’s not actually available anymore, but here it is, it’s still incredible, get it, you know, now, once and for all, before I remove it forever.

With many of my products over the years, I would update them really, really regularly until such point that I was like, cool, I’m really done with this. I think it’s done really well. It’s helped a lot of people.

It’s not in line with where I’m at right now, or I want to move on and create something new.

And so I would retire them, but I still have them. And most of them I’ve put my heart and soul into, and I’ll stand behind and back myself on a hundred times over. So curious about it. What a Black Friday bundle could look like and or something to go with momentum just to make it extra amazing to join

I thought I’d share some of those with you because it’s just such a great idea to do a business audit of where you’re At in business as I said, what’s worked for you?

What are you celebrating? What is no longer serving you? What is taking up a ton of your time and not creating any revenue momentum or profit? What is the biggest piece in your business that brings you 80 percent of the results for 20 percent of the effort and how can you double down on that?

 

Here’s your action step:

So those are just a few of my ideas as I go through, as I think about it strategically as an entrepreneur, as I think about it from a coaching perspective, from a creation perspective.

I hope that just going through my process has been helpful to you. Maybe it sparked some creativity, some ideas of how you want to do this. I would thoroughly recommend, by the way, I did this over the space of a couple of weeks. So I would dive into information. I’d grab it, I’d reflect, I’d reminisce.

And then I’d, you know, I’d do an hour here or there, but I actually think a way to do it would be really cool is to take yourself away for a day. Book into a hotel room, and book into a beautiful restaurant. And sit there all day, you know, serve yourself up a three-course meal and do this. Have some of the information to hand.

Go away for a weekend to a beautiful Airbnb. Go and hang out with a friend for a day and do a business audit side by side and Pomodoro it. Like, whatever it takes for you to do this. I don’t believe, personally, that entrepreneurs reflect enough on their journey. They don’t celebrate the milestones enough.

And they don’t consider and look at it strategically and objectively. And. Regularly, what they have been doing, what’s working, what they need to double down on, what no longer serves them. So as I said, I really hope you’ve enjoyed episode 27 of the LifePilot podcast.

You can find it at lifepilot.co/27 and at that link, you’ll find not only the audio of this, you’ll find the YouTube video of this podcast.

And you’ll also find the show notes summary, which if you prefer is a really, really great way to read through what I’ve talked about here and make your own notes from, and hopefully be inspired to do your own business audit to find those hidden gems. Thank you so much for listening to the LifePilot podcast and just one little thing that I would love to promote.

 

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About the Author

Natalie Sisson

I'm a serial entrepreneur, besotted Mum, best-selling author, speaker, podcaster and lifestyle design enthusiast. I'm all about showing you how to live life to the full, on your own terms and by design.

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