Have you imagined what your life would look like as a millionaire? What would it take to go from where you are to be a female millionaire?
I sat down with Natalie Ledwell, motivational expert and author of Never In Your Wildest Dreams to hear what it took for she and her husband Glen to have a million dollar business launch of their company www.MindMovies.com in just a few months.
Business on a Winding Road Going Nowhere
Natalie and her husband had a patchwork quilt of businesses in Australia. They owned a direct mail house, a nightclub, a bathroom advertising business, an alcohol manufacturing company, several coffee franchises and bookkeeping to name a few. I can relate. I had an accessory design business, a medical consulting practice, and made shirts before I found my calling. If you feel like you have been on a winding road going nowhere, then read on! I figured we can all learn something by finding out what it took for them to get from start up to their million dollar dream come true.
Natalie: We teach Law of Attraction. We are the poster children for the Law of Attraction. Once we know what it is that we want -- we're very clear about our vision. If you're focusing on visualizing, knowing what the end result is and taking action, things just start to fall into place. We took action. We found a business mentor and flew to the U.S. to learn more. I remember on the plane from Australia to the U.S., I said, "Alright. This is the plan. We've gotta meet this Frank Kern guy because he knows what he's doing. We've got to somehow convince him to mentor us. We've got to meet other marketers. We've just got to be sponges and just immerse ourselves in this world. That way we will figure out what we're doing.
Eli: You had NO money. You flew across the world, to live in a totally foreign land, with no money, to do a business you knew nothing about. Talk about fearless! It was so smart of you to know that you needed a mentor and a community.
Natalie: We knew it was a short cut. We attended a seminar with Frank because we had used his tools and they worked. It seemed like a miracle that he had a mastermind. You had to actually apply for it -- you had to be chosen. Let's be really brutally honest -- we had no money, but we had credit cards. The mastermind was $2,000 a month and that was money we really didn't have. I said, "Don't worry about it. We'll find the money."
Eli: You saw a way to create your result even if it looked impossible. Sometimes you have to invest before you have the proof. I've done that myself.
Natalie: Frank had done a big online launch (of a product) and we didn't realize that is exactly what it was. So we said, "well, let's do one of those." Our monetary target was a million dollars. Everyone we knew were doing million dollar launches. They didn't tell us they had $2,000 products. I mean, our product was $97.
Eli: Sometimes creating your wildest dreams comes from that blissful ignorance of how "hard" getting there might be.
Natalie: My husband Glen often said, "If I knew then what I know now, I would have never have done it." We had no money. We couldn't afford to pay anyone. We were learning how to edit videos and build websites. We're 40 and we're learning all these new skills.
Eli: You didn't tell yourself you were too old or too inexperienced. That is so key for people to understand.
The Refuse To Lay Down Vitamin
Natalie: We believed in the idea so much. That's what kept fueling us. By the time we got to launch, we had actually dug ourselves into $120,000 in credit card debt. It got to the point where there was no turning back.
Eli: You looked at $120,000 of credit card debt as a way to say "no turning back." Others might have looked it as time to give up. What a great key.
Natalie: It was a lot of pressure. The thing is, we never let anything get in our way. There were several major things that could have completely ruined us. We didn't let it. We just refused to lay down.
Eli: I wish we could create a "refuse to lay down" vitamin drink. That could help so many people. Could you talk about a few of the other challenges?
Natalie: We had done such a great job of revving people up, that our email list went from 8,000 to 80,000 in that pre-launch week. On the morning of launch, without any kind of notification, our email service decided they wanted to close down for maintenance. No one was getting their confirmation emails that they had purchased. By lunchtime on our first day, I had 3,000 customer support emails -- and I was support!
Eli: Just hearing that makes me want to take a nap.
Natalie: We're Australian, so we couldn't open a bank account and had to use a different merchant. Halfway through launch week, the merchant closed our account. We could accept money but we couldn't take any money out. They froze the account because they said we might get some refunds -- which was the lamest excuse ever. At that time, the product was a hard copy, which meant we had $100,000 just in postage to send the product out. They released enough for us to be able to pay for postage. When we got back to Australia, we had to take a loan out to pay the affiliates 50 percent of what we owed them. We were whisker-close to going bankrupt.
Eli: So here you have -- you've made a million dollars. You've paid 50 percent to the affiliates, and you are living on peanut butter because you can't get at any of the money.
What Financial Crisis?
Natalie: Our launch was the week of the economic crisis. We had no idea about that because we were so focused on doing this launch.
Eli: That is another lesson people can learn from you. You didn't let circumstances cloud your vision. I remember how dark those days were for me. It would have been far more productive to have held to my positive vision.
Natalie: The hilarious thing is that we created a mind-movie specifically for that launch. And of course, we added the amount of new people to the community, the amount of customers we have, the type of customer we were attracting, the amount of money we wanted to create, the respect from our peers, the great reception we'd get when we got back to Sydney. And we got it all. Right down to the million dollars. We had done $700,000 of sales. The exchange rate gave us an extra $250,000.
Eli: I was just thinking, "Oh this is so sad. They lost $250,000 on those processing charges", but no! You made the extra $250,000 in the exchange rate. You made the million you had set out in your mind movie.
The Us Factor of Success
Natalie: You know, joining Frank's masterminds was one of the smartest things we ever did. Our mastermind community was really pivotal. We'd only been friends for about six months, and everyone just jumped in and helped us as much as they could. If it wasn't for the network of support we had around us, we would have failed for sure. There's no doubt about it.
Eli: How can your experience help others?
Natalie: There are so many amazing communities that are popping up now that really give support, and especially with women, I can see that we are really banding together and supporting each other. We're moving into this whole new paradigm of collaboration, and I see that more with women's groups than anything else here in the U.S.
Eli: It is so great to see this movement emerging. Sheryl Sandberg did us all such a huge favor. It has been great to see Warren Buffet write three articles in the last month about the power of women, because we start over 50 percent of all businesses. We have a grand total of 4 percent of venture capital. I agree that we are coming into a whole new time of collaboration.
Natalie: Here's the thing. If your goal is big enough and hairy enough, you're going to come across challenges. That's life. That's what makes life interesting and fun. Though you may not be having fun at the time... I always envision myself being on stage telling these stories.
You couldn't make this stuff up. You really can live life beyond your wildest dreams. It is why I wrote the book Never In Your Wildest Dreams.
Eli: You don't just write about life better than your dreams. You live it. Women have so much to learn from you.
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Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and executive coach. Her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped" (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards.