Gathering Customer Insights To Fuel Business Growth With Nathalie Lussier

Jennifer and Nathalie discuss starting a product business based on customer feedback, parenting, and juggling a software business and a full-fledged farm.

Seeking Satisfaction 023 Nathalie Lussier
Seeking Satisfaction
Gathering Customer Insights To Fuel Business Growth With Nathalie Lussier

Show Notes

Nathalie Lussier is a software company founder who empowers creators around the world to build successful membership and online learning businesses — and as someone who built her first website at age 12, she’s been at it a long time. What I love about Nathalie is that she created the software she sells for her own business first. She not only walks her talk and uses her own product, but actually prioritizes listening to customers and gathering their feedback.

From their Nurture Fridays to putting interns in front of clients, Nathalie always seems one step ahead when it comes to supporting her team at any level — and when you get to interact with her face-to-face, in person or online, you can’t help but feel how much she cares about her team, her product, and her customers.

Nathalie Lussier Speaking
Nathalie Lussier is an expert on digital course and membership-based businesses.

In this episode, Nathalie and I talk about her winding entrepreneurial journey — AccessAlly wasn’t her first business — and how her flagship product was born out of an immediate in-the-moment need when her website started failing during a launch due to a poorly coded plugin. We also discuss the growth of her team and how she was able to step out of production to step up as the ideas visionary.

Nathalie drops gold nuggets throughout our conversation as we discuss:

  • Parenting (kids and your team members) during the pandemic.
  • Starting an entirely separate, second, non-digital business — a working farm!
  • How she manages systems in both businesses — online and off.
  • What she did to get through her “exhaustion, burnout, frustration moment.”
  • What it means to live a good life.
  • How she uses video for business marketing — and how her approach to creating video content has changed over the years.

Whether you’re a freelancer or you have a team, if you run an online business and work with clients or customers, you’ll love the insights Nathalie shares not only on how to use customer feedback to fuel your growth but how to practice self-care and live a great life at the same time.

I can’t wait for you to listen!

Mentioned Sites, Resources, And Tools:

Get To Know Nathalie Lussier

Nathalie Lussier
Nathalie Lussier is the founder of Access Ally, a digital course and membership solution for industry leaders.

Nathalie Lussier is an award-winning entrepreneur who has been making websites since she was 12 years old. She graduated with a degree in Software Engineering and a job offer from Wall Street, but she turned down this job to start her own business right out of college.

As the founder of AccessAlly, a powerful digital course and membership solution for industry leaders, she believes that access to education can help defy stereotypes and make the world a better place, while providing a sustainable livelihood for enterprising teachers.

Nathalie has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur, Venture Beat, and Mashable. You can also connect with her on social media, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Extra Minutes Training With Nathalie Lussier

Seeking Satisfaction Extra Minutes 023 Nathalie Lussier

To hear more from Nathalie and learn more about how AccessAlly hired their first product manager and how they onboard new team members successfully, check out the Seeking Satisfaction Extra Minutes Membership.

Members receive Extra Minutes training from Jennifer and podcast guests like Nathalie that provide valuable insights and lessons to help you build a better business for only $15/month.

Nathalie’s Extra Minutes training continues the conversation from the podcast about how she identified the product manager role as a gap that needed to be filled. Nathalie also shares a couple of tough employee onboarding mistakes and lessons learned and how AccessAlly hires and works with interns. And no, she’s not using them for free labor.

You’re going to love how AccessAlly thinks about internship positions, what they pay their interns, and how a formal internship program has led to full-time hires post-graduation.

Learn More

Conversation Transcript

Nathalie Lussier:

We love talking to our customers. I think that talking to actual customers has been our biggest success ingredient. The product manager on our team does calls with our customers. She’ll pick a couple of different people and ask what’s working, what’s not working, what could be done differently, what do you think is missing, what would make you happier, what would make you leave — you know, just kind of figuring out what we can do better.

Jennifer Bourn:

Welcome to Seeking Satisfaction, a podcast that encourages you to live inspired, embrace imperfection, and seek satisfaction. I’m your host Jennifer Bourn, freelance business mentor, course creator, and agency owner.

Today, I work with clients I love, do fulfilling work, and have the freedom to live the life of my choosing. But things weren’t always this rosy, which is why this show looks at the systems that power successful businesses and fulfilled lives, going behind the scenes with entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals to see how they juggle work and life, manage clients and kids, handle stress, and tackle unexpected challenges.

If you are seeking greater satisfaction in your work and life, you are in the right place.

Today, I’m here with Nathalie Lussier, an award-winning entrepreneur who has been making websites since she was 12 years old, and the founder and CEO of AccessAlly, the powerful digital course and membership solution for industry leaders.

Thank you for joining me, Nathalie.

Nathalie Lussier:

Thank you so much for having me, Jennifer. I am pumped to be sharing all the highs and lows of this whole entrepreneurial journey for sure.

Jennifer Bourn:

There are definitely highs and lows.

Now, you graduated with a degree in software engineering, and as I understand it, a job from Wall Street, but turned it all down to start your own business right out of college.

I have got to hear about this career path that you’ve taken.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, obviously, my parents were like, “What are you doing? You’re throwing away your degree. Why would you make this decision?” But I had actually had internships on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, so I had dipped my toes a little bit in that world and I knew that it wasn’t the right path for me.

There was just a little voice deep inside that was saying, “You know, you’re going to wake up 40 years from now, regretting this decision.” So, I just went with my gut and it was not a popular opinion in my family to do that. But obviously, my parents are happy now. They’re like, “Yes. Okay. It was the right choice.”

But definitely had to buck the trajectory that I was on to start my business. And I’m really glad I did. And it was not the business that you see today.

I think a lot of times we think, “Oh, she started a software company after she graduated with a software degree.” But I actually started a business in health and nutrition, because that was what I was passionate about. And I kept reading these blogs about like, do what you’re passionate about. Start a business about your passion.

It was what I call my training business because it taught me so much about marketing, building my own website on WordPress and how to build an email list, how to build a business that sells online courses — and it got me into this world where then I was able to see what I wanted to build as a software person,

Jennifer Bourn:

My original major was electrical engineering, and I didn’t stick with it. I ended up making a pivot into graphic design as my major. And I remember my parents were just like, “What are you doing?” They had come to one of my shows very much focused on craft, I remember they looked at me and they said, “So you’re getting a degree in cutting and pasting?”

They were not super thrilled. And I think because at the time they didn’t really know what was possible for that career. And I think they were worried about what my future might hold and now they look back and they’re like, “This was the best thing you could have ever done.”

I love that you trusted your gut and your intuition and really decided to follow what you felt in your heart. And I appreciate the fact that you shared the business you started isn’t the business you have today.

What was it in your first business and getting some experience that you decided this was going to be the thing?

Nathalie Lussier With Sheep
Nathalie Lissuer balances her screentime and technology focused business by working their farm and tending to their animals.

Nathalie Lussier:

Initially, when I was building my website, there was a couple of tools on the market to do things, but a lot of times to build something beautiful there was a lot of custom coding. And so a lot of times my friends, or you know, entrepreneur friends were like, “Oh, how did you do that? Could I do that too?” and a lot of times I’d be like, “Oh, you can, but you’ll have to learn how to code to customize things the way that you want them.”

So I was doing website design as a freelancer and I had one other person who helped with that. That was the pivot after that health business because people were asking me “How do you do that?” And I’d be like, “Well, just hire me. I’ll just do it for you.” Like, that was just easier. Um, and so that started to really kind of take off and I was able to make enough money with that business, where I convinced my husband to quit his job and join me.

He was working crazy hours. We had moved to New York City and I barely saw him, like he was going grey like you wouldn’t believe, and I was just like, “Hey, you join me and I’ll take care of you for a while.” And he’s also a developer, so I was like, “Okay if the two of us team up, we could do something even more amazing.”

That’s the first product we ended up designing — a popup builder for WordPress called PopupAlly — because people kept asking us how we did our pretty opt-ins. And so it was sort of a drag-and-drop builder for your popups and, also embedded opt-ins. And I think, in the back of my mind, I was like, “Okay, I want to do this as a test to make sure that we can actually run a software business, we can handle support, we can handle, um, anything that might come up.”

Like we had, done website stuff but I had never sold a product like that. And I had done online courses but this was a whole new thing. So, that was kind of our first test product.

And then we actually had a free challenge called the 30-Day List Building Challenge, and we had enough people joining that our website host thought we were getting attacked and they kept shutting down our hosting.

Jennifer Bourn:

Oh, my gosh.

Nathalie Lussier:

And that was because of the original plugin we were using. It would ping our CRM, which at the time was InfusionSoft — now they’re called Keap — and so it would ping for every page that somebody went to and so it was like a nightmare. I had to call my host almost every day and then was like, “Okay, let’s code something real quick to just solve this problem.

And that was actually AccessAlly but it wasn’t obviously the big thing that we have today, but like our own, “We need to fix this problem,” kind of solution.

Jennifer Bourn:

What a cool story. I mean, you dipped your toes in to make sure that this was something that you wanted to do. And I love that because so many times we think the big idea has to be the first thing. You just said, “Hey, let’s try it. Let’s see what happens.”

I was talking with Tony Perez the other day and he said, “I always ask, how hard can it be?” And I think this is one of those great examples, ” How hard can it be? Let’s try it. Let’s dip our toes in the water, and get that plugin going.”

So I also think a lot of products come from that immediate need that you have. Did you think at that moment when you were solving that problem for yourself, that this was going to turn into the full-fledged product that you have today?

Nathalie Lussier:

I don’t think I anticipated to get this full-fledged. I was thinking, you know, like a small membership plugin but I definitely knew I wanted to do more with it on the UI UX side. So just kind of that user experience of like coming into a course and checking things off and seeing your progress and having quizzes and things.

So that was actually the next thing we built on and that was more of a learning management system — we didn’t even know that that was a word. That was just like — we just wanted to be able to do that, you know, so we just built it. And later on realized people who are in our challenge were like, “Hey, how are you doing those checklists? How do you know which module or lesson I’m on?”

That built-in demand too for the product itself, so that was really awesome. And then also we got a lot of feedback of what they like, and what they didn’t like. And a lot of our first beta clients were part of the challenge.

So, the first time we released AccessAlly as an actual product, I was like, “Okay, we’re gonna get to like 1,000 or 2,000 clients within the first year.” And that totally did not happen. So like, full transparency, it took a while for it to grow and become what it is today and also to get clients behind it because it was a higher price point.

Jennifer Bourn:

I love that your initial user testing was baked right into what you were already doing to inform some of those early decisions.

Now today, you have a team of nine — nine full-time and college interns that also work with you. And managing the people side of a business can often be just as much work as managing the delivery side. Yet, at the same time, you also have a full working farm with dairy sheep and ducks and chickens and geese, and you’re growing vegetables and fruit, and making tomato sauce. And that could be its own full-time business.

How do you manage growing AccessAlly with also having a farm?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. Sometimes I ask myself that question. How do we do it? But I do feel like having the business established first and in a good place really helped us be able to then say yes, we’re going to move to a farm and get something going.

And the learning curve for us is more of the farming side because I’ve been in business for about 13 years. So, at this point, we know what to expect and our team has been together for a long time too so that helps us have stability. That really helps us be able to take time to spend on the farm and kind of figure things out that way.

But yeah, sometimes it’s like, “Oh, the lambs are going to be born right now, so like, gotta go.” Or we’ve been bottle feeding a couple of lambs but because we had to bottle feed them five times a day, it’s almost like a newborn. So it’s just crazy.

Jennifer Bourn:

Oh, my gosh.

Nathalie Lussier:

But you know, it’s good. Because we work online, we can make our own schedules as much as possible and so we try to balance it that way too.

Jennifer Bourn:

There’s a lot to be said for being able to make your own schedule when especially on a farm, you can’t just decide not to do that.

And I love too that you also pointed out that when you’re juggling multiple things, it was easier because one was established first. Being able to get your business systems in place, and get it running smoothly, and get your team working together really well gave you that flexibility to then say, “What’s next? How do we want to be spending our days?”

What kind of systems do you have in your business that really set you up to have freedom and flexibility?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, we definitely have rhythms in the business that I think help us a lot.

So we have our weekly team meeting, and then something we recently introduced too is that I have a quick meeting with some of the different departments on a regular basis. And that helps us make sure we’re on track — that everybody knows what they’re working on. If any questions come up or any feedback from customers that we need to, like, take immediate action on, we can take action very quickly. So those have really helped us.

Um, the other thing that we have is our Wiki. Everything goes in the Wiki.

Everything gets updated through the Wiki, and we really try to put all of our knowledge in there, so that if someone’s not online we have that information. So, it’s searchable and easy to keep track of everything. And we really love Click Up. We are also fans of Asana but those have also helped for all the feature requests that we get — we have like hundreds of feature requests.

Jennifer Bourn: I can only imagine.

Nathalie Lussier:

The human side really helps too because we have to talk things out sometimes and be like, “Okay, so this is what they’re asking for, but is there an easier way to solve that? Or, is there maybe a bigger feature we could have that also does what they’re looking for?” So yeah, it’s a lot on the human side too.

Jennifer Bourn:

Definitely. I often say that I want to build a successful business and enjoy life along the way. And I know you live by a very similar ethos to grow a good business and live a good life — finding balance in having a software business that’s digital and having a farm that couldn’t be more non-digital.

What does living a good business and a good life mean to you?

Nathalie Lussier Family
Nathalie leverages systems and a flexible schedule to create a rich and meaningful life for her family and children.

Nathalie Lussier:

For me, I like to think about it as like, what’s a good way to spend a life, right? That means nourishing my family, nourishing the land, and biodiversity, and all the things that we can have an impact on even though sometimes what we’re doing is very small.

So, I planted a couple of trees this year and it’s so small, it’s such a small thing, but I’m like super excited about them because I know that in five years, 10 years, they’ll be bigger trees and they can sequester carbon and they can provide fruit for our family, you know, or anyone really who wants to come by and get some fruit. Um, I feel like that’s a good way to spend my life.

And the same goes for our software. I know that it has a ripple effect. As people create online courses or memberships or communities, their work has a ripple effect on their communities and their clients and students.

So, that’s my lens for what I like to do. And obviously, there’s still like downtime, right? So, I’m not saying I have to be productive all the time, but I think that when I’m doing that kind of work, I feel very motivated and it gives me that fulfillment piece too.

Jennifer Bourn:

I really love that – parallel of nourishing the land and nourishing your family through the farm and nourishing your clients and customers and their communities and their families through your product. that’s a really beautiful parallel And on top of your product business and your farm, You’re also a mom, you’ve got two kids, a six-year-old and a three-year-old.

And during the pandemic, as I understand it, some of those unexpected school closures made that all seem like a lot. Tell me a little bit about what happened.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. So, I live in Ontario in Canada, and I think our schools were closed more than any other schools in North America. So we had a lot of school closures. And a lot of it too was the uncertainty around school closures because we would get emails from the schools basically saying, “Bring all of your kids stuff home before the holidays, because we don’t know if we’re gonna reopen.”

And that unknowing was more stressful because if you know about it, you can make a plan. But if you don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know what to plan for. And it just felt like, “Okay, this is my exhaustion, burnout, frustration moment.”

And, I was like, okay, what can I actually do in this situation?

So, the first thing I did was record a bunch of videos because I knew I might not have quiet space and all of that. Like, if I have to create content when they’re here, it’s not going to happen, so I just did that first.

But then I realized I have to take care of myself. Like you said, we have the farm, we have our business, and I feel definitely a big sense of responsibility for our team because our business pays their livelihood. So, if something happens, that feels like it’s on me. So, I do feel that pressure.

For me to be able to say, “Okay, I’m going to take some time off and recuperate or fill my tank up before I go back into my workspace or take care of my kids,” made a huge difference.

I just went and read books and just did nothing for a while to really decompress and kind of fill up my well, and made a huge, huge difference friends.

Jennifer Bourn:

Not knowing what is coming next was just such an emotional roller coaster that it was exhausting.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yes, a hundred percent.

Jennifer Bourn:

When you realized you were hitting that point of burnout and exhaustion and being able to take a step back — not everybody has the ability to take that step back. What have you put in place that when you need it, you can take that step back and take that time to recharge?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. So, I had started making a couple of changes already, but I didn’t fully do it until that point. One person that we hired was our product manager because I was still head of multiple departments — I was doing our marketing, and project managing the software side, and trying to do a lot of different things. And I cannot be head of multiple parts of this business so we hired a product manager and she came in and absorbed everything like a sponge. It really liberated me so I could really focus on like my zone of genius stuff.

And also, you know, we have other systems in place around content creation and all of that. So, if I record a video, I’m not the one editing it or uploading and doing all the other stuff around it. And that also helped a lot.

Um, and then right at the beginning of the pandemic, we started implementing something called Nurture Fridays. We had experimented with doing a couple of Fridays off in the summer and at the beginning of the pandemic, we were like, okay, everyone is feeling this intense strain and stress — and a lot of people have kids on the team too. So, we implemented every other Friday off and that’s an ongoing thing that we do now.

And, I feel like as the founder, I never took my Nurture Fridays because I felt like everyone is off, now it’s my time to work, which I know it sounds crazy, but…

Jennifer Bourn:

But it’s so true.

Nathalie Lussier:

I would basically, you know, continue to work on those Fridays and that’s when I was like, okay, I need to take my own medicine here and, you know, actually take my Fridays off. So yeah.

Jennifer Bourn:

It is so true that sometimes as the owner, we put all these great things in place for the people that we work with to protect our team and to make sure that they’re doing good and that they’re healthy and they’re happy. And then we don’t follow our own rules and we take that time to get that extra thing done.

And I love that you’re calling it a Nurture Friday and are sticking with them because the positive benefit of that has far outweighed worry about productivity.

Have you found that giving your team these Nurture Fridays has allowed them to come back even more energized and creative?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, absolutely. It’s like the Monday after everyone is just like “Whoosh, like, we can tackle anything,” and it’s really amazing to see for sure. You can see a huge difference.

Jennifer Bourn:

That’s so amazing.

In the early years of my business, I was always afraid to take a vacation or take a break. What if somebody needed something? And I was a hundred percent the bottleneck of everything. So. I definitely understand wearing too many hats and needing to figure out how to delegate.

When I finally started giving myself permission to take breaks, I actually found that my work got better because I wasn’t exhausted and I wasn’t burning the candle at both ends.

Taking those breaks and walking away and doing something that really fills up all of your energy and kind of your creative soul allows you to come back and be so much better for yourself, for your team, for your business, for your clients, and your customers. I mean, it’s a huge difference.

Nathalie Lussier:

It really is. I feel like you can’t work from empty. Right? And I feel like we often try and we’re just like, “No, if I just push harder, if I just keep going, then yes I’ll be able to do more.” I feel like entrepreneurs feel like this extra burden to always be working and that’s the culture of the hustle culture and all of that.

But I feel like what is the point of having a business and having the flexibility if we’re not able to actually enjoy it, you know, the way that we designed it. Right?

Jennifer Bourn:

Definitely. I want to talk a little bit about the balance with your farm and your business. I’m curious about the systems that you have to keep track of and run your farm as well because there are just as many details that go into the planting, and the harvest, and the caring for animals.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, actually, I will say that all of my business side of stuff really helped me on-ramp on the farm side too.

So, we do rotational grazing for our sheep, which means that we create smaller pastures and we rotate them so that they’re not always in the same spot and they get fresh grass. So, I had a spreadsheet for my rotational grazing and I found that it worked really well.

But every time I got onto my computer to fill it out, I would get sidetracked by work stuff, so I decided to do a printed version and just have a drawing on a map instead. And then I just keep that in the barn and then every time I move the fence that I will just update it on the map. And then I just print out a new one. And that, that seemed to solve the problem of like too many distractions on my computer.

So it’s kind of an interesting balance of, like, tech but also low-tech around planting and stuff.

Jennifer Bourn:

That makes my heart happy. I am a total analog, low-tech person when it comes to a lot of stuff, I’m like, give me a pencil, give me a piece of paper, give me a pad of graph paper and I can get it done.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, it’s the exact same for gardening. So, I got little gardeners journal and then I draw it out and every day I write what we planted or what we harvested just so we keep track from year to year. But yeah, I think analog is better for some of this stuff really.

And again, I feel like as soon as I get online to like research something or whatnot, it’s like, it gets sucked into the next thing so if I’m working on farm stuff, then yeah, analog works way better for us too.

Jennifer Bourn:

I love that. And I found the same thing in not necessarily getting sucked into business stuff, but getting sucked into social.

Nathalie Lussier:

That too. Yes,

Jennifer Bourn:

When I need to do focused creative work or writing, or I’m mapping out strategy and planning, I’m in a different place and I’m not logged into anything. So, I can’t go get on Twitter or Instagram or any of those things. So I really love the idea of keeping that analog and really allowing yourself to live in that non-digital space and honor that time that you’re dedicating to something else that you’re passionate about.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, even my daughter likes to draw her own little garden designs and stuff so I feel like it’s fun to, you know, inspire the next generation too.

Jennifer Bourn:

Yeah. So video is a big part of your marketing and reaching out to your audience. And you also do some videos for your farm. How has using video changed things for you?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, so I started doing video maybe 10 years ago, like, in my very first business, I was doing video and I had a little YouTube channel. Then in the 2012 ish times, I was doing a weekly video on YouTube and it did really transform my relationship to my community.

At that time, no one was really doing video in that way. Like, I actually had a professional videographer come and film and edit and we would do, like, one day of shooting. I had to write scripts and the whole thing. So, it worked really well to market my business.

And then when I had kids, I was like, “I don’t think I can do this.” You know, there’s breastfeeding and all the other stuff to juggle and, like, crying in the other room, and I was like, “Okay, this is not going to happen.”

So, I really shelved video for maybe four years, five years or so. And now my kids are older and now there’s daycare and I was like, “Okay, I can get back on that video train.”

And I realized also that video has come a long way. So, I can buy a camera myself and record much easier than I could back in the day. And, you know, lights aren’t that expensive so I was able to set up my own mini studio and do my own video.

And, there are these great editing services — I use something called Bid Shops and you upload your videos, describe what you’re looking for, or how many edits you want, and you get back an edited video, which has been game-changing for sure.

Jennifer Bourn:

How cool.

Nathalie Lussier:


Jennifer Bourn:

The editing process takes so long.

Nathalie Lussier:

It’s the hardest part. It really is, yes. I still do sometimes edit my own videos, but it would take me so much longer to edit than it would to record. And that was a big barrier to getting back into video. So I was like, “Okay, I can record myself but if I don’t have to edit.”

And I think for me, in terms of connecting with people, I had to find my feet again so I’ve been dabbling in all the different things and I’m definitely seeing where I bring value. And the same goes for the farm videos. You know, I was like, “Should I do more tutorial-style videos? Or should they be more like entertainment and kind of our crazy life on the farm?

And so I realized I do like the teaching aspect more and people who are just starting off are finding the farm Channel and they’re like, “Oh, I’m learning so much.” So it’s been fun.

Jennifer Bourn:

A lot of times there’s this fear that we have to have it perfect. We have to have it right. We have to know exactly what we’re going to talk about and plan all of this stuff in advance. But there is something to be said for just getting to market and trying it and seeing what the feedback is and seeing what people resonate with and seeing what gets a lot of likes and engagement and what falls flat.

A really important takeaway is really just getting to market and trying, and seeing, and gathering feedback. And that’s something that you’ve done from the very beginning. How has gathering real-life user feedback changed your approach to how you choose the features that you’re building into AccessAlly?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. I mean, we love talking to our customers and actually understanding what they’re trying to do — what they want to accomplish — and I feel like without that we would not have the success that we have today, for sure.

The product manager on our team does these clarity calls with our customers a few times a month. She’ll just pick a couple of different people and have calls with them and ask what’s working, what’s not working, what could be done differently, what do you think is missing, what would make you happier, what would make you leave — you know, just kind of figuring out what we can do better.

And sometimes it isn’t new features, sometimes it’s documentation or more training. But yeah, I think that talking to actual customers has been our biggest success ingredient.

Jennifer Bourn:

Those are such powerful conversations, regardless of what type of business you have. Now, this product manager role is fairly new in your business, right?

Nathalie Lussier:


Jennifer Bourn:

What is a product manager doing for AccessAlly? What is it in your business?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. So for our business, it basically means running our sprints for development. So, figuring out what features or bugs to work on in the next two or three weeks and helping the development team stay on track. And then also running the testing side so we can test all the work that’s being done, and running our releases.

We do releases about every two months or so and that means preparing our release notes and making sure everything’s ready to go for that, and also gathering feedback on our features and making sure that what we’re building is awesome.

So, with our interns. What we like to do is if they’re working on a big feature, we’ll have a call with a customer and demo it and the student will demo what they’ve been working on and get feedback from an actual person who uses a software.

Jennifer Bourn:

Oh, what a cool experience.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. And so that way they know a little bit more about how they’re using the software and how they’re going to use this feature. And then they can go back and improve it. So, the product manager also helps facilitate some of these conversations too.

Jennifer Bourn:

And many of these things were things that you were doing yourself.

Nathalie Lussier:

Yes. I think that has liberated me in a lot of ways, for sure.

Jennifer Bourn:

I think there’s this theme among founders that you are the person doing a lot of the heavy lifting for many years, but then finding those people to step in and take the things off your plate that aren’t in your zone of genius.

Where do you find your time is best spent? What would you say your genius is in your business?

Nathalie Lussier:

I love coming up with ideas. So, I definitely consider myself to be the idea person. I find that I can influence ideas in the product by just having a quick conversation on our meeting and I don’t have to be the one to spearhead everything. I feel like using my ideas in our marketing is a little bit more powerful for the business because it helps us get more visibility. It helps us build relationships too. So, ideas and people and relationships are probably the places that I want to spend the most time for sure.

Jennifer Bourn:

Well, and I think that’s an interesting, thing too, because if we go all the way back to the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey — that idea of having your own business, and doing your own thing — everything started with a big vision and a big idea and trusting your gut.

We’re going to talk more about your new product manager role and your onboarding process in our Extra Minutes Training, but for now, obviously AccessAlly is a phenomenal tool for those building courses and memberships. Other than your own product, what tool have you discovered that you probably can’t live without?

Nathalie Lussier:

Oh, yeah. So I just purchased a Freewrite Traveler. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but when you were saying analog, this is a keyboard with a teeny, teeny screen on it and it is just for writing. It auto uploads to your Google Drive or wherever, and it has a really long battery life.

And basically the idea is no distractions. You can just write on it. I haven’t used it a whole lot yet, but this is basically my new focus because I do write a lot in the business, but it’s so distracting to be online or on Slack — and I do close my internet quite often, but then you just need, like, to get away sometimes, like you said, in a different room or whatnot.

So, it’s called the Freewrite, and they have a couple of different options, but the Traveler is like a very portable version.

Jennifer Bourn:

That is so cool. I’m going to have to check that out because I do go a lot of different places specifically to get rid of those distractions and most of the time it’s writing.

While you’re taking care of your business, the farm, the kids, not everything goes according to plan every day. How do you handle it? What do you do to stay on track and stay in a positive head?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. So I think this happens to all of us and for me, the first thing I do is I realize I’m not happy or I’m frustrated, or like, something’s come up. Once I realize like, I just have a bad feeling, the first thing I do is just think about, like, what’s making me feel this way.

Then from there I can take a step back and say, “Okay, well, this is like one little tiny thing that just happened today but in the grand scheme of things, my life is pretty amazing. So let’s focus on the big picture.”

And sometimes I need to journal this out to really figure out, like, what is causing this feeling that I have that’s not amazing. Usually, just the act of writing it out is enough.

Jennifer Bourn:

That’s a great piece of advice to journal it out. For those who might feel stuck in the shoulds of life — you should follow a certain career path and take a certain job, you should do this particular thing in your business — what advice do you have to share?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah. I feel like when it comes to shoulds, we have so many from so many different sources and some of them are marketing, some of them are good meaning advice or good meaning people. But those other influences and people are not you.

So, come back to what you want. What makes you happy?

You know, we had an intern and he wanted just a little bit of life advice before wrapping up his term. And I was like, “Take an hour to dream about what you want in your life and just let it come from you not outside influences. Just think about what would make you happy.

There’s this great exercise by Barbara Sher where you write down, if you had 10 lives to live, what would you do in each of your lives?

Maybe in one life you would be a baker, and in one life you would be a martial artist, and then the next one you would have a business. And that can kind of help you see, “Okay, these are all things I wanna do. And maybe right now I might not do all of them at the same time, but maybe in different seasons of my life I could.” So, that kind of takes the pressure off of having to do everything at once.

Jennifer Bourn:

That is such a great idea — that exercise to think about what would I be and really understand that not every one has to be a business. It can be a hobby. It can be something that gets worked into something else you’re doing, or it can come later on in a different stage of life.

That’s such a fantastic way to look at it. And what a great piece of advice to just sit and dream and think about what you want out of life and what kind of life you want to live. Taking the time to do that can be such an impactful experience.

Nathalie, this conversation has been so fantastic.

I’m thrilled that you said yes to joining me and talking about your journey of seeking satisfaction. If people want to connect, where can they find you and where should they go to learn about AccessAlly?

Nathalie Lussier:

Yeah, so — that’s the main hub for all the things product related. And then if you want to connect more with me, I’m on Twitter @natlussier. Also LinkedIn and Facebook and all the usual places you can definitely search for Nathalie Lussier on there too. And also YouTube. Yes. I have my YouTube channel for the farm or for our business. So just look up Nathalie Lussier and you’ll find those two.

Jennifer Bourn:

Fantastic. Well, thank you again for joining me if you enjoyed this episode of Seeking Satisfaction, subscribe for new show updates at and leave a review on your favorite podcasting platform.

And if you would like to hear more from Nathalie Lussier and learn more about how AccessAlly hired their first product manager and how they onboard new team members successfully, check out the Seeking Satisfaction Extra Minutes Membership.

Members receive extra minutes from podcast guests like Nathalie to help you do better business. You can find details about the Extra Minutes Membership and Nathalie’s training in the show notes.

Until next time, may you live inspired, embrace imperfection, seek satisfaction, and have a fabulous day.