Marie Claire: What is your current role and how would you describe a typical day?
Lisa Messenger: i am afFounder, CEO, Entrepreneur, Investor. There is no real “typical day”. However, I have certain rituals and routines that allow me to consciously live a very large, fulfilling life. I usually divide my day into two parts (listen to the similarities, not the differences, but just know that you should give yourself permission to work from your optimal routine).
Before 10:00 am is proactive “me time” where I fill my mind, body and spirit. I meditate, journal, write my gratitude in our Collective Hub journal, exercise, listen to podcasts, and ground and center myself for a truly full day. After 10 a.m. – the game continues. Reaction time. At Collective Hub, we stand for igniting human potential by providing tools to inspire and educate in all areas of print (we produce approximately 60 books, magazines, confirmation cards and dated products a year), digital content (Collectivehub.comMasterclasses, Podcast—Hear me RAWsocial channels @collectivehub @lisamessenger @collectivehubkids @collective_retreat) and events (I do tons of speaking engagements and we host community events regularly).
So my day could consist of hiring writers and designers to write myself, jumping on stage for a keynote, brainstorming and strategizing, attending a photoshoot or being photographed, mentoring other entrepreneurs, social content to create and a variety of other things. We’re expanding massively into the US right now, so that’s a big focus. And as of this writing, I’m in NYC, exhibiting and attending trade shows before hopping on a plane to LA for a few meetings and events. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure.
MC: How did you get here?
LM: My career does not result in a logical sequence. But in hindsight, it makes perfectly illogical sense. This is a really important life lesson. Try lots of things and you never know what experiences you’ll gain from each to prepare you for your ultimate dream job.
I started out as a riding instructor in England (that taught me about early mornings and not being afraid to jump in and get my hands dirty). After that I was a conference and event manager. I loved the sponsorship side (brokerage deals) but wasn’t very good at the details. It brought me into many different industries. Then I got a job in sponsorship, working for clients like Cirque du Soleil, The Wiggles and Barry Humphries. I wasn’t there long before starting my own business in 2001. But this job taught me everything that became the basis of my business today – how to think and do business differently.
I’m in my 21st year of running my own business and it’s transitioned from being a “marketing agency” where I tried to be everything to everyone (over-challenging and under-challenging – not a smart way to start a business respectively). I then veered into custom publishing (accidentally after my own resounding success with my first book Joy is… in 2004). In 2013 I tried to launch my own magazine – Collective Hub – which was published in 37 countries in 18 months.
After 54 issues and almost five years, I closed it, which is well documented (I wrote seven books over those five years in real time to document each phase). Since then we’ve started making books, magazines, confirmation cards and dated products, and business has just exploded again. It’s been a ebb and flow for a while in 2018, but if you really know your purpose, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to break something to make it new—stronger and more sustainable than ever.
MC: What was your very first job?
LM: As a riding instructor for an outdoor activity center called Boreatton Park in Shropshire, England. It was so much fun. During the eight months I was there, I met other travelers from all over the world, which immediately made friends, travel buddies and places to stay around the world.
MC: And what was your worst job?
LM: I don’t think there’s ever a “bad” job – everything I do in life – good or bad, I really think it teaches us lessons.
MC: What is your career advice for other women?
LM: Probably in order not to be afraid to try many things. Only by experiencing different industries, geographic locations and cultures can we really get a feel for what sets our souls on fire. Too many people choose a career based on what others expect of them. Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. Know that out of failure and adversity (no matter how painful it may be at the time) come the true lessons and springboards. I know for sure that every time I’ve hit rock bottom I’ve learned courage, tenacity and resilience. And while it was painful at the time, these are the moments I look back on — both personally and professionally — that really shaped me.
MC: You’ve recently started collaborating with Pureology on their Pure Origins campaign – how important is it to you to work with brands you’re personally connected with?
LM: I don’t do many brand partnerships because I prefer to dig deeper into brands that I really resonate with and share the same values - integrity and sustainability really stood out to me when we connected. Pureology is one of those brands that just made sense to me.
MC: The sponsorship included a photo shoot documenting your hair transformation from a long brunette mane to a short blonde bob. It’s a dramatic change! How do you like your new job?
LM: It was a lot of fun. I just felt like making a really dramatic change and the team was really accommodating. I’m terrible at doing my own hair. But their products have really helped, especially the moisture-conditioner and color fanatic who leaves multitasking spray.
MC: What does beauty mean to you?
LM: For me, beauty means inner self-confidence. A strong self-confidence. An unshakeable confidence. It’s really true that people shine from within. And a few small pampering treatments are not lost.
Back to work: how do you handle your inbox?
LM: So I try not to check my email before 10am. And I try to make time for “email” throughout the day so that my flow of writing, brainstorming, strategy development, and team meetings aren’t interrupted. We can become way too “reactive” and glorify being “busy.” It’s really important to set aside time for specific priorities – email is one of them.
MC: And how do you deal with burnout?
LM: In 2018, after having had a bricks and mortar office for 17 years, we eliminated the office entirely and decentralized the team. I then wrote a book Work from anywhere detailed how we had done it.
For me, I’ve changed my mindset so that it’s all about performance and productivity instead of office time and bums on seats. It has given me and my team much more flexibility to work how we want, when we want. As long as people deliver, I’m happy they’re enjoying a flexible lifestyle. Hustle culture is out the window now. For me, it’s all about a mix of work and play. I find that when you allow flexibility coupled with strong outcomes/KPIs, people tend to bring out the best in themselves.
MC: What did you buy that improved your productivity the most?
LM: My non-negotiable items are my Apple Airpods, my Apple Watch, Monday.com, Slack, and my HP Dragonfly laptop. All of this helps me to be super productive on the go – no matter where in the world I work. And we live between Bangalow, Sydney and the US, so these things are my ride or my death.
MC: Describe your power outfit.
LM: So that’s very important to me and it really depends on what I’m doing. I think outfits can really ground us. I speak a lot in front of large audiences – generally between 400 and 10,000 people. I ALWAYS wear all black. I always wear pants instead of a skirt. I often wear my black Balmain blazer that I bought in NYC a few years ago (power blazer that I bought to reward myself for a big win in the US). And either flat black boots or Frankie4 sneakers.
The reason for this is that people have no choice but to listen to what I have to say instead of focusing on what I’m wearing (great advice given to me years ago by some top speakers worldwide). I wear pants because if you have to sit on stage there’s no problem from any angle (I’ve seen too many random stage flashes over the years to risk it) and flat pants because I’m always walking around the audience, to answer questions second half and I want to be prepared for anything.
Now – when I’m working from home – after a workout I often spend the whole day in my workout gear (Nimble, Dharma Bums, The Upside, Aje Athletica are my favorites) and straight into Zooms etc. Or ripped jeans (Framestore .com) and a white t-shirt. I also get to go to a lot of launches and events, so I dress great. I love to wear a different outfit as often as possible, so I often rent something from The Style Squad.
MC: What is your current work bag?
LM: So I didn’t spend money on bags or myself for years. I put it back in business. But a few years ago, as an entrepreneur and business owner, I realized that instead of putting everything back into the business, I needed to reward myself. My port of call is Louis Vuitton. I have them for every day Neverfull MM. And I just bought it Keepall Bandoulière 25 in LA a few months ago for all my sporting and night out occasions.
WFH or office? ‘
MC: BYO lunch or takeout?
MC: What’s on your desk right now?
LM: AirPods. Journal of Gratitude. Laptop. Iced Latte. Iphone. Blank A4 notepad.
MC: Email unsubscribe?
LM: “Big Love Lisa xx”