Giving Yourself Space to Explore with Monica Lee

Giving Yourself Space to Explore with Monica Lee

[smart_track_player url=”″ title=”Giving Yourself Space to Explore with Monica Lee” social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_pinterest=”true” social_email=”true” ]

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why a feeling of restlessness is the sign that it’s time to explore the possibilities for your business.
  • How to scale back or alter technologies and strategies to fit into your own goals and business. Just because everyone else is doing them, doesn’t make them right for you.  
  • Why you should embrace continuous exploration to be sure you and your business are headed in the direction you want to.

As artist, illustrator, mentor and podcaster Monica Lee shared on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast episode, even entrepreneurs can “quit their jobs.” Really! Well, at least push the pause button to give yourself time and space to explore new directions and possibilities for how to make money in a way that is meaningful to you.

I sort of ‘quit my job.’ I kind of just had to stop and regroup and really ask myself: What do I want to be doing? What does my life look like earning money?

– Monica Lee

When you get restless, it’s time to explore

You really have to believe in your hustle. And be authentic about it.

– Monica Lee

When Monica found herself extremely restless about what she was doing and hustling for, she knew it was time to rethink her art and her creative career. Although it was a really, really hard decision, there was really no other option, Monica explains. So, she put a full stop on things that were generating income for her allow her the “elbow room” to make decisions on what she really wanted to be doing.

Evolving into your own

When Monica found herself in a creative transition, she challenged herself in a new way and jumped in full force to learn online marketing. She immersed herself in the goal to expand her business expertise. Monica learned how people developed their e-newsletter list. She started a video interview series that ultimately evolved into her podcast Smart Creative Women. She began mentoring other artists; with experience in licensing, illustrating, freelancing and in the children’s industry, she had a lot to offer. And, like every good online marketing person, she developed an e-course.

As the pendulum swung to the business side, Monica had to ask some hard questions. Was she a teacher? Was she an artist? How is her creativity going to show up or if she’s all in as a business person, should she just go be an art director for another company?

When I started asking myself those harder questions, that’s when I had to put a full stop. It was hard to execute things as I was peeling back the onion layers on myself and where I want to go.

– Monica Lee

Continuous exploration

What if this growth isn’t good? It’s that risk of not having everything turn out ok, but it’s doing it anyway.

– Monica Lee

Although there are people who can determine the balance between their entrepreneurial side and their creative or core offering by doing them both simultaneously, Monica found that if she was going to give herself the time and emotional space to truly figure out her direction, she had to set the business things aside. To get back in touch with her creative self, she traveled a lot and rediscovered what inspired her. Once her creativity was nurtured and she got back to creating work that was exciting to her, she added back the business side, but with more intention. Monica set her financial goals, and then worked backward from that to determine how she was going to make the money she wanted to.

As you will learn in the full episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, Monica continues to challenge herself in new ways and asks hard questions of herself to ensure that she’s on the right path—for her business and for herself.

We go live every Tuesday with tangible takeaways for your small business from some of today’s most inspiring business owners. Be sure to tune in every week and subscribe on iTunes to Profit. Power. Pursuit.

Fixing What’s Broken to Develop New Products with Nathalie Lussier

Fixing What's Broken to Develop New Products with Nathalie Lussier

[smart_track_player url=”″ title=”Fixing What’s Broken to Develop New Products with Nathalie Lussier” social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_pinterest=”true” social_email=”true” ]

The Nitty Gritty:

  • What prompted Nathalie Lussier to transition her business from information marketing to software development
  • How the development of new products is driven by fixing what’s broken
  • How Nathalie’s team has evolved since they began to focus on software development

It’s always a good idea to listen to the pain points of your customers to develop your next big idea just like Nathalie Lussier, this week’s guest on the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast and founder of software company AmbitionAlly.

Since she built her first website at age 12, it’s probably no surprise that she graduated with a software engineering degree. But she certainly surprised friends and family when she turned down a job offer with a Wall Street firm to become an entrepreneur. She launched her first business, originally Raw Foods Witch but now called Real Foods Witch, to share information about healthy eating. She used her software development skills to create a menu planner app for subscribers to use to drag and drop recipes and build grocery lists. But then she realized she didn’t have the audience or the number of subscribers to make it a worthwhile project.

Fixing What’s Broken

What was different about the development of the products that eventually became AmbitionAlly, intuitive software for ambitious business owners, was she knew that this time they had a solution that people were excited about. What started out as “scratching an itch” her own team was bothered by turned into solutions that help other small business owners. Her transformation to software development began.

Do fewer things better.

– Nathalie Lussier

The first plugin Nathalie and her team developed was AccessAlly to solve problems they had with the membership plugin they used. Because it was more complex, they didn’t release what they built as a solution to the public, but kept using it internally to keep improving it. The first tool they released for the public was PopupAlly. While they have a lot of ideas they could push into production they hold themselves back to stay true to the one of the team’s mottos: “Do fewer things better.”

We do a lot of listening to our customers and the people in the marketplace.

– Nathalie Lussier

This effective listening helps them come up with the next big idea and also confirms they are on the right track with new product development. Nathalie’s team solicits feedback from existing customers through surveys, they pose questions to their Facebook groups such as “What would be your ideal solution? How do you wish this worked?” and talk to their Certified Partners who are in the trenches using tools daily.

They have the finger on the pulse and they bubble things up to us if they think it’s important.

– Nathalie Lussier

The lean-and-mean team

Behind the scenes of AmbitionAlly is a lean-and-mean team made up of 6 full-time employees and 1 part-timer who make the magic happen. With the exception of Nathalie and her husband, all team members are dispersed in various parts of the world and rarely work side by side. To keep the team on track, Nathalie credits her team’s secret weapon: their project manager and a daily 5-minute stand-up phone call.

Learn more about the evolution of AmbitionAlly’s team and the priority they place on continuing education, Nathalie’s thoughts on trends that will impact the small business world and what’s on the horizon for new projects by listening to the full podcast.

Subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss a single episode of our award-winning podcast named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 24 Exceptional Women-Hosted Podcasts for Entrepreneurs in 2017.