Lisa Messenger is the vibrant CEO of the Messenger Group, as well as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Collective Hub. She previously worked globally in events, sponsorship, marketing, PR and publishing, has authored and co-authored 24 books and is now an authority in the start-up scene. She encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, innovation and lives life to the absolute max.
Stockspot spoke to Lisa for our People and Perspective series about career challenges and entrepreneurship.
You’ve had an incredible career and you’re also an international speaker. What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Every day is full of challenges. The biggest one most recently was a seriously high growth start up with the exponential rise of the print magazine of Collective Hub. From launch we went into 37 countries within 18 months and kept building out other platforms to support our mission of “igniting human potential”. With that came massive risk, huge costs, and a very big team. In hindsight we grew a bit too fast and were inefficient in a lot of areas. I’ve currently broken the model for a while to get back to basics, recalibrate and build out even bigger.
Did you always know you were an entrepreneur or did you have to learn be one?
Looking back (and I’ve written about this extensively in my books Daring & Disruptive and Money & Mindfulness) I think I always had that spark of “anything’s possible” and I certainly always questioned everything and bucked the status quo.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, do you have people you turn to for advice or inspiration?
So many people. But different people for different situations. I think it’s great to have mentors and advisors but not one will fit your every need. I have some that are ball breaking big hitting business people who make everything I do feel like it’s easy compared to what they have going on. I have strong spiritual advisors – one of whom has lived in India in an Ashram for 37 years and he is a constant source of keeping me grounded and inspiring me. I look to people I admire and respect and who’ve trodden the path before that I am seeking advice on at the time.
It must have been a tough decision to close the print edition of Collective…
It was but it is the best thing I could have done for the brand and my sanity. It took about 18 months to come to the decision. And now this year is all about time and space and really educating myself again for what’s next. It will be bigger and better. That I know for sure. But I also know how to do the print mag now with my eyes closed … so watch this space… there may be a few little unexpected surprises (yes, you heard it here first…).
What lessons did you learn from it?
Bigger isn’t better. Hire specialists not generalists. Stay across every bit of detail in your company. Never take your eye off the ball.
Your message seems to be about finding your passion, relentless self belief and empowering people to ‘go for it’. How can someone running around their day-to-day life really embody these principles?
I think the key is (almost ironically) to take the time and space sometimes to slow down and just be. Now that is counterintuitive to those of us wanting to do big things and make an impact and a difference – or quite frankly have any business. But it is only from these places of calm and quiet and stillness, that the big ideas and your sense of purpose really truly come.
You’ve written a book called Money & Mindfulness, what are the key lessons?
Cash isn’t the only currency. And that doing good in the world and having money don’t need to be mutually exclusive. I share all sorts of lessons about how you can overcome your money fears and stop using lack of money as an excuse. I had none when I started Collective Hub but I tapped into like minded non competing partners to really grow my brand. And that mostly didn’t cost a cent. This book is a blueprint for that.
What’s the best financial decision you’ve ever made?
Closing the print edition of Collective Hub.
And the worst?!
Growing too fast and losing track of spend.
Can you share what you’re working on now?
Collective Hub and my personal brand sat side by side for 5 years. My brand happened totally accidentally as I just kept putting myself out there and rapidly becoming the pin up girl for “anything’s possible”.
My personal brand largely funded a lot of the Collective Hub expansion yet it never got any attention at all. So this year I’m focussing on leveraging my books – recording them on Audible (yes I’m speaking them all myself as it feels more authentic – it takes a LOT of time but it will be worth it) and making lots of digital products and masterclasses.
I’m doing a lot of speaking and big regional roadshows connecting with as many of our wonderful community as possible. And I’m educating myself gearing up for a big tech play. I’m also mentoring a few people and investing in some tech start ups and tinkering with a few small ideas of my own. And… taking a bit of a break for a while (yes, all of that is my idea of slowing down…).
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