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Lisa Messenger shares her 7 inspiring lessons for success

The entrepreneur for entrepreneurs shares her tips on working from wherever.


Having had her own companies (many in industries she knew nothing about) for the entire 21st century, Lisa Messenger knows a thing or 50 about shaking up the business world.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of how we work and how we can do things differently,” Lisa told The CEO Magazine. “I saw different ways of doing things, which probably made me a bit of a painful employee.”

And a lot has changed since Lisa’s early career days working in event management and dealing with the likes of Cirque du Soleil, The Wiggles and Barry Humphries. Since jumping out on her own in 2001, Lisa has penned an impressive 21 books and launched a number of companies including The Messenger Group, and Collective Hub magazine – her biggest challenge.

“I’d never worked for a magazine or in the media,” she says. “I entered an industry that I loved, that other people said was dead or dying. I had to break a lot of rules and do things very differently to the way they’d been done before.

Lisa Messenger

“I’m all about pushing the boundaries. This is how the job exists in current form, but if I ultilise technology, how can I do this in a different way? It’s quite extraordinary what you can come up with.”

Allowing her magazine editor to travel to South America for four months while sending editions to print was one of the rules Lisa broke, which partly inspired the concept of her newest book Work From Wherever.

“Be authentic and don’t take yourself too seriously. If you feel those things, you’ll probably succeed,” – Lisa Messenger

“Every week, articles landed on my desk and it ran like clockwork,” Lisa says. “She was extraordinarily happy and free, and the whole time I ran my business. If it’s based on KPIs and output, why not work from wherever?”

While digital nomads experience complete freedom, the increasingly popular concept also allows executives to hire from a larger talent pool, rather than employing staff who live within a small radius of an office HQ. “Surround yourself with amazing people,” Lisa says. “There are so many people you can hire on a freelance basis.

“People work differently and have different priorities in life. If we could actually support them to have more flexibility when they’re working, as long as systems and processes are in place, I think everyone seems to be happier.”

Lisa Messenger’s secrets to forging a successful career

Rule 1: Find courage.

People live in fear of jumping in and trying something new. A true entrepreneur or innovator can look at different industries in a different way. Bravery is a learned muscle – it’s like resilience.

Rule 2: Be unafraid to fail.

Keep pushing the boundaries and fail a lot, but be unafraid to fail – that’s a big thing. Failure used to have so many bad connotations associated with it. But when you’re unafraid to fail, you learn and iterate along the way. Surround yourself with the right teams – being able to fail fast is very important.

Rule 3: Success is about your mindset.

Everything is possible, it all comes down to mindset. The old adage, ‘If you believe you can, you can, if you believe you can’t, you can’t’ is really important. It is a bit ‘fake it until you make it’, but if you believe you can, then you start to feel serendipity and the right people start to come into your life.

Rule 4: Always seek to learn.

Humans will be replaced by automation in many aspects of jobs, however the human side of things, interaction and creativity, will be one of the most important qualities an employee will have. With new opportunities come new difficulties – continuous education is imperative. The more people can train themselves to be creative and be able to think differently, that’s what’s going to lead the way.

Rule 5: Be passionate.

Business is just a game. We spend so much of our life at work, so it’s something you’ve got to really love and be passionate about. Be authentic and don’t take yourself too seriously. If you feel those things, you’ll probably succeed.

Rule 6: Have a sense of purpose.

It can be something really simple. Mine is to be an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs, living life out loud and thinking anything’s possible. It’s really important to have an overarching sense of why you are here.

Rule 7: Start.

Just start. You have to start somewhere because that’s where you’ll learn. We’re all making it up as we go along every day.

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