Lisa Messenger: I Want To Be The Entrepreneur For Entrepreneurs
Lisa Messenger is the vibrant, game-changing CEO and creative director of The Messenger Group. She is also founder and editor-in-chief of The Collective, an entrepreneurial lifestyle magazine currently distributed in over 37 countries.
Messenger’s latest book Life and Love is a favourite at woman with drive. It offers new philosophies and a valuable insight into the many challenges that she has had to overcome in order to get to where she is today.
woman with drive speaks to this homegrown entrepreneurial firebrand who is far from crossing her personal finish line.
What was the inspiration behind The Collective? How did the idea come about?
After having my own businesses for 13.5 years, traversing a myriad of industries, I was really tapped into the entrepreneurial community and realised there was nothing out there that was truly inspirational and aspirational, and which showcased the story behind the story of extraordinary individuals and brands all over the planet. I wanted to create a platform to demonstrate that anything was possible if you had a dream and some tenacity. And so The Collective was born.
The magazine is a wonderful case study of possibilities. I had no background in magazines and neither did any of my staff (a total of three at the time). Now two years later, the magazine is in 37 countries and across a multitude of other platforms with many brand extensions including products, books, events and a digital hub. It’s not just a magazine anymore. It’s a rapidly growing worldwide movement.
What have been some of the challenges and highlights so far?
Challenges come thick and fast every day but I’ve found that the more you grow, the less immune to them you become. There is never a day when I’m not stretched, pushed and come face to face with obstacles, but I believe we have a choice about how to let every situation affect us, and so I have a constant attitude of gratitude that keeps me going. One of the biggest challenges has been cash flow. Trying to convince people to get behind a print magazine when it was said that, “print was dying” was a big challenge especially when I said I had zero magazine experience. But you’ve got to push through the “no” to find the “yes”. In a way, I was happy to have to prove myself because it meant I had to be at the top of my game – which is never a bad thing!
Somewhere along the way the tables turned and now that we have some solid momentum, we find a lot more people are coming to us, asking to be part of the movement and offering their support or collaboration. But I have a very big vision for the brand and so as it grows it needs constant cash injections. I still own the business 100 percent.
The highlights have definitely been the number of lives we’re touching and the people we’re helping to find courage and faith to start their own businesses or really find their purpose in the world. This gives me the greatest joy every single day and is what keeps me going even when the going gets tough.
Where do you see the company and yourself in the future?
I’ve made a firm decision to be an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs globally by demonstrating through my own actions and life that absolutely anything is possible. My goal is to be what Martha Stewart is to living and what Jamie Oliver is to food. I want to be the entrepreneur for entrepreneurs and creatives globally.
What are your thoughts on print media in the digital world?
I absolutely LOVE print. I think it provides so many opportunities. It’s tangible and something that people can see, feel, touch, understand and it breaks through the clutter that can be associated with being solely online. However print will very much become our community-building tool. It will always be our cornerstone but within another 18 months I anticipate it will be about 10 percent of our overall offering.
I don’t believe print alone is a commercially viable option. We currently have over 18 different revenue streams ranging from online, social, events, speaking and products. As long as our vision, values and purpose remain consistent I think the platform and the medium are largely irrelevant.
What are your tips for building brand awareness and becoming an industry leader?
Be authentic, always. Decide very clearly what you stand for, what your values and beliefs are and then deliver these consistently through your messaging. Don’t underestimate the power of community. If you have a good product or service and give people a sense of belonging and a reason to believe in you, they will happily amplify your brand.
What’s next on your plate?
We have major growth strategies for The Collective brand globally. It’s definitely not about me and I constantly remind myself not to work from a place of ego. I’m just the conduit and the architect for a big brand with the sole purpose of empowering others. And I’m just grateful every day that in inspiring other people, I also get to feel inspired myself.
How do you stay inspired to pursue your own ideas? Tell us in the comments below!
Image Credit: Aubrey Daquinag
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