Welcome to the Steve Jobs based Join Up Dots Free Podcast with Natalie Eckdahl
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Introducing Natalie Eckdahl
Natalie Eckdahl is todays guest on the Join Up Dots business podcast.
She has been on a journey to todays point since back in 1993, when she first began work as a researcher for Shugoll Research in Maryland, where she
spent three years before starting a series of positions leading to her co-founding Schedule Max in 2010.
And we see this time and time again on Join Up Dots, entrepreneurs will generally spend the beginning of their careers moving from role to role, as they look to find their own thing.
Gaining experience in each.
Learning what they don’t want to do in life.
Fine turning their skills before finding the thing that lights them up inside.
How The Dots Joined Up For Natalie
And this seems to be certainly the case with todays guest, as since 2010 she has worked tirelessly to build the resource Schedule Max, an online scheduling service for businesses across the world.
Don’t waste time trying to find the right time for a client appointment, let them find one that works well for the both of you, which leaves business owners with more time to focus on growing their business and incomes.
But alongside this she has also found the time to go my route and create the incredibly popular podcast BixChix.com, where she interviews amazing female entrepreneurs and a few cool dudes 5 days a week.
Discussing their journeys, struggles and passion to go that one step further each day, even when they feel they are at the end.
So does she feel that she has found the love of her life with both these businesses, or are they another stepping stone towards the big one….her life’s work?
And how does a guy become a cool dude and make it on her show???
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start Joining Up Dots with the one and only Natalie Eckdahl
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Natalie Eckdahl such as:
How she was so fortunate to break down the superhero syndrome that all entrepreneurs struggle with, when due to a new arrival, she simply knew that it was “Help me” time.
Why her Mother encouraged her to go into business, before she made a big splash in the business world by starting her own swimming tuition school.
How she would stay in a job until she mastered it and then get quickly bored and look for the next role to take, gaining experience all the way.
How she believes in being adaptable and feels this is a key part to overcoming fear and tackling challenges head on
Why she loves the phrase “An organised evening makes for an organised morning” and tries to bring that ideal into her daily routine.
How To Connect With Natalie Eckdahl
Return To The Top Of Natalie Eckdahl
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Full Transcription of Natalie Eckdahl Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello, everybody. How are we Episode 260 of Join Up Dots. This is David Ralph once again, bringing you the best conversations that you’re going to hear on the web, whether you’re in iTunes, whether you’re on the web, whether you’re in stitcher wherever you will be able to find Join Up Dots and we have got a great guest today. And she has been on her journey to today’s point since back in 1993, when she first began work as a researcher for Chicago research in Maryland, where she spent three years before starting a series of positions leading to her co funding. Schedule max in 2010. And as we see this time and time again on Join Up Dots, entrepreneurs will generally spend the beginning of their careers moving from role to role as they look to find their own thing gaining experience in each learning what they don’t want to do in life, and fine tuning their skills before finding the thing that lights them up inside. And this seems to be certainly the case with today’s guest. As since 2010, she has worked tirelessly to build a resource schedule Max, an online scheduling service for businesses across the world. Don’t waste time trying to find the right time for a client appointment. Let them find one that works well for the both of you, which leaves business owners with more time to focus on growing their business and incomes. But alongside this, she’s also found the time to go my route Yes, and number one doing my route and create the incredibly popular podcast biz chicks.com where she interviews amazing female entrepreneurs, and a few cool dudes five days a week discussing their journey struggles and pain. To go back one step further each day, even when they feel they are at the end. So does she feel that she has found the love of her life with both these businesses? Or are they another stepping stone towards the big one her life’s work? And how does a guy become a cool dude and make it on her show? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Natalie Eckdahl. How are you, Natalie?
Natalie Eckdahl [2:23]
I’m fantastic. David, thank you so much for having me on the show
David Ralph [2:27]
is lovely to have you on the show. So I’m gonna cut to the chase. Natalie, I feel okay, let’s do it. Even when I was talking to you beforehand, there seems to be a kind of Uranus kind of mentality. There seems to be a female vibe where you isolate men and you group us in a corral and do what you want with us. And then every now and again, you drag one out so that you can basically talk to them so how does somebody become a cool dude? How does a man get on to your show when it’s called Biz Chicks?
Natalie Eckdahl [3:02]
I know. Well, that’s that’s a great question. And and David, I think that you might be a cool dude. And we may have to have you on the show. So we can talk about that afterwards. But well, when I had the idea to start the basics podcast, it was born out of a bit of frustration on my part, because I was listening to some fantastic podcasts, entrepreneurial podcasts. And really, to be honest, when I kind of looked at the numbers, about 90% of the people being interviewed were men and about 10% of the people being interviewed were women. And so what I’ve kind of done is I flipped that I interview about 90% of my guests are female, but there’s some really cool dudes out there and I didn’t want to miss the chance to talk to them. And so I decided to not make my not to, you know, make my podcast completely female only. There are some guys out there that I just really want to learn more from and talked to. And so, so we decided to make it. I interview amazing people on tour. entrepreneurs and a few cool dudes.
David Ralph [4:02]
So So how do you select your, your guests? You do troll the internet because I know doing a daily show like I do. It’s probably the hardest thing but I do finding people that have got interesting stories that resonate with me and obviously will resonate with my audience. How do you do it?
Natalie Eckdahl [4:20]
Yeah, that’s that’s really great to ask as well because it is a challenge and actually, just so you know, I actually have gone down to two days a week since I launched I launched January 31 2014. After I reached 100 episodes, I decided to go to three days a week. And then as I looked at I was I had any baby in September, September 2 2014. Before that, I would think you as I was looking at, you know, adding a third child to my home and, and also wanting to have a maternity leave from interviewing. I decided to go down to two days a week because that allowed me to bank a tonne of interviews in the summer so that I could have I took three months off from interviewing, and just started back about four or five weeks ago. So it was really kind of finding the best way to adapt to the changes in my family was to change my interviewing schedule. But in the beginning, finding those guests to populate five days a week is was very challenging. And especially when you’re a new podcast, or no one knows who you are, they haven’t heard your show. They don’t know if it’s going to be great or not great. And kind of as David and I know, in the podcasting world, people pod fade, they get excited and they start out doing this and then they they stop because it’s a lot of work and a lot of commitment. And so some people that have been on a lot of shows or that are in the media a lot, they don’t want to they don’t want to test the waters with you. So initially, it was a challenge and I really worked my network and, and and just, you know, reach out to people in his personal way as possible. I got a few couple a couple of Larger guests, they’re people that I knew really well, I’d follow their businesses for a long time. And I was able to connect with them via email, and share what I knew about them. And so it wasn’t just, you know, a template email that they were being sent, it was very personalised and, and so that’s how I got some of my initial guests. And to be honest, at this point, I, I have I don’t have to go seeking out very many guests. So everyone that has been on my show, I always ask them, you know, I’m looking for other guests. This is kind of what I’m looking for. And I’d love for you to connect me with with some people if there’s people you think would be great on the show. And then as the show’s gotten more popular, I have people emailing me all the time asking to be on the show. So it’s really more of now choosing especially now that I’m I’m only releasing two days a week, choosing who I think is the best fit for my audience and, and now that I’ve I’ve released over 145 episodes, I know what content I put out there, and I really have a desire to continue to put out new content content. But at the end of the day, I think you probably feel the same way. David, everybody has a great story. Everybody has a story worthy of telling and that’s interesting. And so so I don’t put too much pressure on myself as well with with guests I have now because it we just tend to end up to have great stories no matter who it is.
David Ralph [7:17]
He’s fascinating hearing you saying and I was doing the maps in my head and I thought, Well, okay, she launched in January. Okay, that’s fair enough. She had a baby in September. Babies take nine months to come along. So it was a kind of double conception really, you launched the show. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty. But you don’t know but when when most of us have our busy busiest launching something. You seem to have a little bit extra time Natalie.
Natalie Eckdahl [7:46]
Well, it was a so I literally this time last year, I was planning to launch my show. I’m planning that lunch and I was pregnant and didn’t know it. I was just at the very beginning of my pregnancy and I found out on a receive that I was pregnant. And a week later, I was going to New Media Expo which is a conference in Las Vegas where people from all around the world but primarily in North America, come together that are in blogging, podcasting and Web TV. And so that was kind of my kickoff to putting out there that I was going to launch this podcast and so I was kind of committed already before I started I don’t I’m glad I didn’t know that I was pregnant the time when I kind of made the commitment on my launch date. But it was difficult that those first few months I know you you have children to David and it’s the when you’re first pregnant, it’s a big drain on your system. Your body is like giving everything to the baby and so I was really tired. And and that’s and I was planning to do this all myself. I was planning to do everything myself because my husband and I have scheduled x as you mentioned, that’s the business we have together and I want a biz chicks to be something just for me and I I wanted to do all the editing and i’m i’m fairly techie. And the truth was I couldn’t do it all. So I had to ask for help. And I had to have a chat with my husband said, You know, I either need to delay my launch or I need to figure something out and he said, let me do you just interview that’s what you’re going to be great at. You’re really good at that you do that. If I am the guest and interview and I will do everything else. So he took care and still does today. He takes care of all of the post production, all the editing, and there’s a lot of things we need to do little nitty gritty technical things to get it so that our guests can download it and it goes to iTunes and Stitcher and all the other fun places our website. So he took care of all that for me and that’s my secret weapon is my husband. That’s how I was able to do this while I was launching a podcast and creating a baby growing a baby in my oven. At the same time.
David Ralph [9:54]
You do when you look back on that because it seems to me obviously it was it was a gift having a It’s absolutely wonderful having a baby. But what it did was it broke you free from the what we call the superhero syndrome when you start a new business and you think you need to do everything yourself to prove it, because your body was obviously going through the changes, it forced you to say now Hang on, I can’t do this. A lot of people don’t have that debate. And do you see that in your entrepreneurial world where you see people basically decaying in front of you because they’re trying to do everything on their own, where really they would be better suited to say, hang on guys. I’m going to hand over this. I’m going to hand over that and I’m going to focus on what I do best.
Natalie Eckdahl [10:37]
I really do. And it’s sad to me sometimes because it really limits people’s growth. And for me, it would have limited my ability to even release my to even start if I hadn’t have been able to ask for help. And what I actually find for women as well is women tend not to outsource at home. So will outsource say a woman feels comfortable outsourcing things you know to get a VA to help with some you know administrative work or you know outsource different things for work, but they won’t outsource things for their home and it when you’re an entrepreneur really your time is any moment of the day so anything you can outsource to free up time creates potential growth for your business. So I am very fortunate I outsource a number of things at my home as well as as as at work so that frees me up to when I’m at home I’m not having to I have a nanny that helps me three days a week and she does almost all of my laundry for the whole family and as a majority of the cleaning as well. So when I am not working I have time to be with my kids. And and I’m not trying to do a bunch of things at once and I’m not saying that there I’m hundred percent with my kids when I’m home I still I love to cook and so I cook for my family and you know we have to run errands and do things together that are And just playing and hanging out. But I, I’ve seen the value of freeing up my time, so I can be my best as much as possible.
David Ralph [12:08]
Because I, I run this entire show on my own, I do every single thing. And I’ve gone through certain phases when I’ve gone now I need to hand stuff over, this is too much I need to send stuff over. But then there’s always been some sort of mental barrier with me justifying the cost by just going well actually, I can streamline I can do things quicker, I can move this around, and I kind of focus back way for the listeners out there that are starting a new business. And obviously most of them are going to do it on a shoestring because they’re not sure it’s going to work. Whether they’re going to be able to follow through from it is that one of the best things that I can do put a certain amount of money away somewhere so that they have got that that nest egg to be able to provide for the support if they need it.
Natalie Eckdahl [12:55]
I think it really depends on everybody’s situation. So there isn’t just a one set. The cutter answer, but I think that there’s value once your business is bringing in money or if you have money to invest up friend, which I did have for the business and we, we had some money to invest in the podcast up front. And so we hired a virtual assistant from the beginning. And that was something my husband insisted on. I was like you I was like, No, I think we should wait and and he said, No, let’s have someone from the beginning. We can offload some of some of these these projects and some of this work and also start working as a team from the beginning. And it really has solidified our team and we really have all our roles and we work in sync and we’ve created these different systems that work well for all of us. And, and it’s it’s been great for us. I know that for a lot. I don’t think it should be a barrier to starting though if you if you want to launch a business, you should go for it. Because being able to be the champion of your own destiny is is something that you just everyone should be able to experience that is all I can say because being an entrepreneur is it’s so exciting and rewarding. It’s It’s such hard work. But at the end of the day, when you’re controlling your own destiny, it’s so satisfying
David Ralph [14:11]
is hugely exciting, isn’t it from from from the wake up, and you’re, you’re sort of having your breakfast and your spoon in the cornflakes into your mouth and you’re thinking about what you’re going to be doing. I spent years going to corporate land. And then the last thing I wanted to do was think about what I was going to be doing. But now I’ve even started I don’t know if you do this naturally, I’ve started driving around in my car when I have to go somewhere without the radio on, so that it gives me more thinking time. I used to always put a CD on and have it blasting out as I was driving along. But now I like that ability to create my future and I’m trying to find every avenue every available moment to be able to do that total mindset shift.
Natalie Eckdahl [14:50]
It is what I’m not listening to Join Up Dots and
Unknown Speaker [14:54]
Natalie Eckdahl [14:55]
Or the next podcast know what I’m not listening to a podcast. I love listening to podcast. Cass but I do the same thing. Sometimes I find like, Oh my gosh, I have a moment alone. And I just want to think and dream and and I love having that. And I remember when I worked for other people to as you said, I had a lot of different career shifts. I had an MBA, I got an MBA, after I’d worked in corporate for a few years, and then I did management consulting and was travelling all over the US working for clients. And I would like leave on Sunday night and come back Thursday night and you know, my mind was so I would just remember kind of dreading like, Okay, it’s time to travel again. And the week starting again, my weekends over. And to me, my there’s not as much separation between my work life and my home life. And especially since my business, my husband, I are in business together. We talk about business at the dinner table. We talked about the podcast, we talked about schedule Max, and I feel like it’s an education for our kids as well.
David Ralph [15:54]
Well, when you was a child yourself when you was a kid, were you somebody that people would have said that Natalie she’s gonna be entrepreneurial she’s gonna do her own thing or were you somebody that people might have saved? Well, yeah, she’s gonna go into an office. She’s gonna work in corporate land. What was the young Natalie? Like?
Natalie Eckdahl [16:12]
That’s a good question. I don’t you know, I don’t remember hearing the word entrepreneur, probably until Entrepreneur Magazine, I came across that my my dad owned his own business. He when I was in elementary school, he and two partners started a civil engineering firm, they they left kind of a government type position, and started their own business and they started off freelancing. Basically, they started off, or moonlighting, you would say, working, you know, evenings and weekends for us and building up clients. And then they left and started their own company. And so, for me, it was always a possibility. And my mom, my mom’s a teacher, so I, I saw growing up that there’s this possibility of starting your own business and then my mom really encouraged me in the direction of business. You You saw that I had mine for for business such I don’t know where I would have gone if I hadn’t have had her encouragement. So she encouraged me to study business in college and before that, she actually helped me start my own private swimming lesson business. I was a competitive swimmer growing up. And so from high school through college, every summer I had my own business. as a as a private swim instructor, I would go to people’s homes that had pools and teach their kids and neighbours kids to swim in their in in at their home and the privacy of their own home. And I through that process, I didn’t know I was doing this at the time, but I learned to keep a list of clients to create a schedule to encourage repeat business to market my business. And because every summer was seasonal, so every like spring, I would need to re contact my clients and fill up my schedule. And by the end by the end of college, I was I mean my whole by the beginning of the summer, my whole summer work was taken care of it was already planned out. But for some reason, it didn’t occur to me that I could after college become an entrepreneur. And I love I’ve talked to a number of young entrepreneurs now, that, that that’s what they’re doing. They’re not even going to work for anybody. They are just starting off in life as an entrepreneur. And that didn’t occur to me to do that
David Ralph [18:18]
way it didn’t may and I don’t even like the phrase entrepreneur and I don’t like the fact that people put printer after everything nowadays, which which kind of drives me mad. So you got other solopreneurs that lifestyle printers, entrepreneurs, all that kind of stuff. And I don’t like entrepreneurs. What I like his sort of dream hustlers. I like the fact that you can have a vision you can have something that you want, and go after it. And it doesn’t make you an entrepreneur. Because in my bag, an entrepreneur is someone like Richard Branson, or Donald Trump or a kind of a businessman. But that frightens so many people off, doesn’t it where they can do something quite small, and do it successfully and stop Bringing income their way they don’t actually have to look at it as the umbrella of, I’m going to be an entrepreneur just just hustle on a daily basis and see what happens.
Natalie Eckdahl [19:10]
It’s so true. And I actually interviewed someone recently that has, they’re trying to solve that problem and it’s their their nonprofit is called the story exchange. And you can see them at the story exchange.org and they’re trying to tell the story of 1000 small business owners and they are focusing on women, so no offence, David but that’s that’s what they
David Ralph [19:31]
have to the good have a my own little group.
Natalie Eckdahl [19:36]
So, so they they’re trying to tell the story of 1000 female small business owners from around the world because they were finding the same thing that so many people and especially women, were feeling intimidated and i i that’s what I love about podcasting is you. I get inspired by hearing you know, the stories of other entrepreneurs. I that’s why I started this because it was inspiring me and I want To help inspire other people and and now I get to every guest I interview literally I get inspired by them. And there’s something positive I take away and can add to my life and it’s such a positive experience. And, and I agree with you by by the media, the mainstream media tends to focus on these billionaires that start small and build something to the billion dollar level. But not everybody wants to do that not everybody needs to do that. And there are certain sacrifices usually involved with running a billion dollar business in terms of your family life and your personal life. And many people are so overjoyed to have a business that supports their family. And and that’s that’s what they want. That’s their dream. And and that’s enough, and I think it is enough and i i don’t think you should limit yourself because we all have, you know, there’s there’s no limit to what we can do. But there’s also nothing wrong with saying I want to buy I want to create a business that that replaces my current salary and allows me to control my destiny.
David Ralph [21:01]
I think that’s perfect. I think the the ability, I always say to people the ability to be able to go to the movies or the pictures, as we say, in the United Kingdom on a Tuesday afternoon, because I just want to, for me, that is success. And I’ve never had that before. I’ve never had the ability to control my time, and I’m working towards there. But when you’ve got that idea of what you want to get out of it, once you’ve got those values, is it easier to build something because I from my point of view, it is because I won’t compromise on the values I want. And so when I’m building something, if I think to myself, no, this is going to take more of my time away. I don’t do it. And if I think well, this sounds fun, and it’s going to free me up. Yes, I am going to do it. So I go that route. Is it good idea for people to get values of what they want to achieve and not that they want to earn a squilliam pound a month before I start?
Natalie Eckdahl [21:57]
I think I think in some ways you need need both Because at the, at the end of the day, we all need to eat. So we need to make a certain amount of money to take care of ourselves or our family. But at the same time, you need to know why you’re doing something and what you’re what you’re trying to give back to the world and what you need to get back out of it. So I think it’s it’s probably kind of a balance in, in looking at what you’re what you’re providing web. So for schedule Max, what what pain point you’re solving that we had to, we are solving a pain point there. I guess for biz chicks, I’m solving the pain point of providing more, you know, female voices out there, and more female stories. And so I think you do need to have a pain point that you’re solving and make sure that there’s a market for that. And at the same time, know why you’re doing something because, you know, at the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is not easy. And a lot of times it’s very lonely and and so it’s important to remember perspective to know what I’m doing and who it’s for the benefits I’m creating for other people, but also for myself and my family.
David Ralph [23:09]
So if we took you back to 2010, when the schedule Max was born, you had a series of jobs leading up to that, but you weren’t there overly long, maybe a year or so on. He worked a job that helped you gain experience to what you wanted to do in life, were they great jobs, but they just naturally finished. What sort of led you to that point when schedule max really come to the fore?
Natalie Eckdahl [23:36]
Well, I what I what I realised looking back, what I did is that I would stay at a job until I felt like I had mastered it and then I got bored. And so then I would, I would be bored with my job and start looking for something else. And then I at that point, I went and got an MBA, which was fantastic. I love I love being a student all through school. I do well in school in general. And to get to really study with other people that were, you know, loving business and love to talk about business. So getting an MBA was just a great life experience for me. And that’s when I went into the field of management consulting, which was very demanding, and not conducive to having a family. So I, I didn’t want to have children and be be off, you know, four or five days a week somewhere else. I wanted to be I wanted to be as close to home as possible. And now I now I work from home, which is fantastic. And so schedule Max was, it was two things it was I was I got remarried in 2009 I have a daughter that’s 12 and she’s from a previous marriage and I I’ve already mentioned the baby so I have to mention my middle son who’s two and a half and and so in 2009 I got married and my husband mark is very entrepreneurial as well and kind of all through our relationship and and our first year of marriage, we were talking about how we’d really love to be in business together. He was doing a large project that was ending. And so we talked about, you know, now that, you know, you’re kind of at this crossroads, and I’m at this crossroads, what if we do something together? And what would it be? And he’s a software developer. So we were talking about spent a lot of time thinking about what software could we create, and I love being efficient. And I love not talking to people on the phone, and I get really frustrated with with phone tag and so so that’s how schedule Max was born. And we created an online scheduling solution. So people can book appointments with their service provider. Or, for example, for the podcast, my guests book, their interview with me through schedule Max, and they can see my availability and and and choose a time that’s and they see my calendar in their time zone. So So it’s been a way to add efficiency to the market, which was great. And, and that’s how schedule max came about. It’s been challenging to work with my husband and for him to work with me. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s I always say it’s wonderful and awful to work with your spouse, it’s wonderful and that we know what each other’s day was like, we don’t even have to really talk about it. And it’s, it’s, it’s awful at times, because sometimes we’ll have a business disagreement, and that comes home with us. And so we have to figure out how to work through those things rather quickly. Because we at the end of the day, what’s most important is our marriage and our family. And, and so that’s my long winded answer to how schedule x is bored.
David Ralph [26:33]
But But how do you separate that so when you’re lying in bed, you you’ve had a rough day, you’re working in business, and he’s just drifting off? What stops you going? Yes. And another thing and then bringing it back up, how do you separate what goes on in your life because it must be very, very difficult working 24 seven with each other.
Natalie Eckdahl [26:52]
I would say that Well, one thing that helps us is we don’t work in the same location. So he we have an office outside the home He goes and works at and I primarily work in our home office because I like to be able to take breaks and be with the kids. And I just, I’m kind of a homebody, so I like to be as close to home as possible. And, and, and then I can go to our office if I need to. But it tends to be when we’re in the office together, we interrupt each other, and we both kind of need our separate time to think. And, and to be honest, I just like to be really frank and honest, sometimes sometimes we bring it home and we have to work it out at home. And it’s not easy, and it is a challenge. And we’re certainly not perfect at working it out. And there are times where I am in bed saying, and I still disagree with this decision. So and thankfully he is
David Ralph [27:44]
ignoring Oh does this
Natalie Eckdahl [27:46]
story. I think it starts storing, or he Well, when he does this, he reminds me that, you know, 11 o’clock at night, I’m an early bird, so really 11 o’clock at night. It’s not a good time for me to talk to him about it. And so he’ll say, you know This isn’t a good time of night for you. He’s a much more easygoing, you know, kind of standard Ground Type. He’s He’s a great mix of being easygoing, but he doesn’t let me walk over him
David Ralph [28:11]
to get up and Natalie, because this this seems to be a theme that I’m discovering, but entrepreneurs get up earlier and earlier than anybody else. What what’s your time of rising?
Natalie Eckdahl [28:22]
Well, my time my schedules really off right now because I have my baby and I’m a nursing mom. And so I am feeding him throughout the night and so and I, I hit a wall where I was trying to do everything, and I realised that I needed my sleep. So right now is not my normal way of operating. I kind of get up whenever the baby gets up for the day. And that’s how I’m surviving being a new mom to a baby and having two businesses but before the baby. I love to exercise early in the morning and do that first. So I was going to a 5:45am spin class which is indoor cycling and That’s how I was starting my day. So I would get up about five and go exercise and then come home and my family would still be asleep. So I’d have a little time to have a cup of coffee plan out my day and then take care of the family, get them off in their directions and then start working.
David Ralph [29:15]
It seems to be five is the number I’ve had some people say that get up at four, about one woman that says she gets up at two. But she goes to bed at something like seven o’clock my nine year old daughter goes to bed later than that, which seems a bit mad, to be honest. She there’s parties going on and she’s saying, Oh, I can I’m in bed by seven so that that just seems lunacy. But yeah, five o’clock seems to be the optimised Time to get up. Do your activities plan your day and really set yourself up to be at desk by say seven o’clock.
Natalie Eckdahl [29:47]
And I another thing that I’m planning to implement in the new year is to get more organised at night I I read an article recently and I and now I can’t find it. I wish I could find it. But she said Said organised nights make for organised mornings and I thought that was brilliant because, you know, especially if you have kids that you have to get off, you know, having someone say I can’t find my school uniform, you know, or you know, have a toddler say, where’s my favourite shoes, I’m not going anywhere unless I have my favourite shoes on if you get that already, if you get lunches made, you know, for the whole family the night before and get organised, and even have time as a as an entrepreneur to think about where your day is going the next day. That’s another tip I’ve heard from a lot of entrepreneurs is they don’t leave their desk until they’ve written down where they’re starting the next morning and I think that’s great advice. But I love the idea of preparing in advance the night before for the morning because when the morning hits you, especially when you have a family it can be it can be a little chaotic.
David Ralph [30:49]
Oh, I know. I live in a house so that’s why I get up early. So I’m done and dusted before the that the hood come down the stairs and you never know what you’re gonna get.
Natalie Eckdahl [30:58]
You don’t especially you’re you’re done. Nine minds 12. So we’ve got a lot of moods going on here. I don’t know if you’re getting some moods yet, but yeah, I don’t know which daughter is coming downstairs.
David Ralph [31:08]
Well, my my nine year old one isn’t too bad to be honest. My 23 year old has just moved out. And she she won’t listen to this, but she was very moody. You never knew what you were going to get. And my son, he just kind of floats around as long as nobody bothers him. He’s all right. You know, you can just sort of deal with it. But now he’s in the morning. It’s an interesting place in the family. But what I want to do now and that’s what I want to take you back to that moment when schedule once a schedule Maxi was actually born, and I want to play some words, but Jim Carrey said recently, he said him so eloquently, and I think it says a lot about that moment when you came up with that idea, and whether you should go for it or not. So this is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [31:52]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got to save job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [32:19]
So when you came up with schedule Max, there’s so many sort of online scheduling services out there. What was it about this idea that kind of fell into what Jim Carrey was saying you might as well take a risk on doing what you love?
Unknown Speaker [32:37]
Um, I loved that clip.
Natalie Eckdahl [32:40]
I also love that Jim Carrey I don’t know if you you know this, he wrote a check for himself. I forget the amount was like $10 million or something or million dollars, whatever it was, but he like wrote it in advance for himself, and later was able to, to have that much money in his bank account to give it back to himself. So I thought that was just really amazing to Make Your Dreams Come True is to really write them out, literally. But back to your question. At the time, you know, this is four years ago, four and a half years ago, there weren’t very many scheduling solutions on the market and the ones out there, their user interface, which is the usability of the product for both sides from you know, the person bookings point of view and from the service providers point of view, they weren’t as fine tuned and we thought we could do something better. And, and I also think one thing every entrepreneur needs is a bit of night. Night being a bit naive, because we didn’t realise where the market was going. We didn’t realise you know, of course, other people were thinking the same thing we are, let’s make you know something better. And so we really had to find ways to differentiate ourselves. We’ve also had to learn so much which I’m grateful for, because at the time, I didn’t know hardly anything about social media. I use social media personally, but not from a business point of view, so we had to learn how to how to use all the social media platforms for business and so that was like a brand new thing for us and the software we chose to develop in was new to my husband so he was learning so it’s been like it’s in some ways schedule Max has been like another education for us because we both grown in our industries in ways that we may not have had we continued on kind of the safe path you know, we both had we both had the capability to make a six figure income in the marketplace so so it was a lot to give up. And but I’m so glad that we have had this chance to one build something together and then again, launch a second business together launch biz chicks together, because it has the the expansion of our world has been phenomenal from for both businesses, but especially with starting this podcast. Just the the the network of people that we have met the the the group of podcasts of the podcasting community that you and I are both a part of is so collaborative and it’s just been such honestly just such a blessing to my life to to get to meet people I would never meet and connect with people that I would never have connected with had I not become an entrepreneur.
David Ralph [35:26]
The The interesting thing that you said in and you say so many interesting things, Natalie, but the thing that jumped out at me was the safe path. Now nowadays is Jim Carrey, right? Is the safe path really, of taking a chance and doing something we love, always the safe path really want generations and generations have done and gone and got a job. And if that job goes belly up, get another job and stick to that route where what would you advise your kids as they grow up?
Natalie Eckdahl [36:00]
I’m advising them to follow their passion. So I really believe that if you do what you love, the money will follow. And I, I love that because it’s it really forces you to get down deep to what you love. And, you know, like right now my daughter is, is a dancer and we just finished the Nutcracker here. And so it’s been very busy, you know, getting her to and from all these different things shame to be at and, but she is passionate about dance, and she’s passionate about writing. Now, you know, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, someone might have said, Well, those are nice hobbies, you know, but what are you going to do with your life? Like, what how are you going to get paid. And the truth is, I believe she could get paid for either of those if she chooses to. I don’t know where she’s going to go. But we’re encouraging her to become the best of what she can be and what she chooses to spend her time at. And to follow her passion and we’ll do that when our sons come up, you know, as well. They’re still really little But that’s I guess what I would say is there’s there’s some people that there’s nothing wrong with having a corporate job and being happy in your corporate job. I mean, those are, there’s you can add a lot of value to the world in a corporate position. And there’s resources in a corporate job that not every entrepreneur has. So there’s benefits to that. And there’s other of us that want to be entrepreneurs and have a different type of experience and a different level of control. And so it’s hard to say because in you know, in the past, it was safe to have like a corporate job you could when I was going to college, every everyone that was studying to be a teacher was guaranteed to get a job as a teacher, and in the us right now, you can do that and you may not get a job when you get out. So it does make it to me more of a possibility. That’s I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot of younger entrepreneurs out of the gate. That’s, you know, when I went back to that I didn’t seem like a possibility to me to become an entrepreneur. are from the get go. But I think that the generation coming up now they see there’s no safe path so kind of like what Jim Carrey exactly what Jim Carrey was saying if there’s no safe path then do what you want to do from the get go just go for it.
David Ralph [38:14]
So if we took you right back to the young Natalie to very young Natalie, before the swimming sort of business and all that kind of stuff, what are the similarities of that gal? to you now, because with your daughter is obviously that she likes movement, she likes being creative. So the thought of her sitting in an office doing paperwork probably isn’t going to be her thing. So can you see similarities with your younger self?
Natalie Eckdahl [38:40]
I I have always liked to be in charge David. So I am a little bossy and I’m proud of it. And and I’ve told the story on my on my show a few times my in fifth grade, my best friend got in trouble for writing Natalie as bossy on the wall. So it’s obviously been going back quite a ways. But I I like to be a leader. I like to run things. I like to create big plans and get other people to help me do them. And I’ve seen that since I was a little girl. And I’ve had you know, I in high school, I remember friends asking me, Natalie, what are we doing this weekend? And one time I remember thinking Why? Why am I always deciding like what we’re all doing? You know, this is like a group of like 10 or 15 friends. And so I think that’s something that I’ve kind of have some natural leadership qualities which can be used positively or negatively. So apparently, my, you know, my best friend Stephanie and fifth grade that I was using them in a negative way to be bossy, but that also translates into leadership skills. So I’ve seen I’m thankful for that, because that is something that has, you know, helped me along the way.
David Ralph [39:49]
So So is it really playing to your cost whims if we sort of took away those in between jobs, but you’re no longer in and you went straight from that young girl to now Would that be the the easy route to where you should be in life?
Natalie Eckdahl [40:05]
I would say, you know, it’s hard to say because, you know, those all those experiences and the different people I worked for. I’m grateful for them because they helped me know what I didn’t want to be like, I’ve I’ve had some amazing bosses, and I’ve had some terrible bosses. And I’ve worked for some fantastic companies that had a really, you know, brilliant corporate culture. And I worked for some that I couldn’t wait to leave. Like, it was literally like drowning to go into work each day. And, and so I feel like I don’t know if I would want to jump straight to that entrepreneur, knowing what I know now, because that has shaped me. So I don’t know. It’s just it’s so hard to say because you’ve had these life experiences, it’s hard to say who you’d be if you hadn’t had them.
David Ralph [40:50]
Then that’s the brilliant thing about not just this show about life, but we linked to that that sort of that theory that no experiences when You can be in the crappiest job. But if you take one thing from that job that improves your lot, when it’s worth doing it. And when you can take that to the next one, I speak to so many people that say in their worst jobs, they were planning on what to take. So they could go to the next one. And I just saw a stepping stones. And if you get that mindset, and you know that naturally you are moving from something that’s not good to something better, then you can really do great stuff, can you?
Natalie Eckdahl [41:30]
You really can and there’s a my grandma has a great quote on her on her refrigerator right now. And it says adapt to the situation. So that’s important for her because she’s at the end of her life. And she, it’s really hard for her she’s not able to do some of the things that she wants to do. She had to give up driving a little while back. And she you know, now has to wait for people to take her to the store. And there’s things that she wants to clean around her home and she’s a really neat and tidy person. She can’t reach them and she can’t do them. And so I love that she had this quote on her refrigerator. And it really is something that as I look back is something that we can use at any age, you know, I, I went through a painful divorce when my daughter was in kindergarten, and I had to adapt to being a single mom, which is someone I never that was a title I never expected to have. And, you know, becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve had to adapt to how that affects, you know, initially our finances and our family time and what it’s like to work with my husband. And now this year starting the podcast, I’ve had to adapt to that and adding a new baby to the house in the last you know, few months. That’s that’s something that we’ve had to adapt to him adapting to less sleep, I’m adapting to not knowing exactly what my schedule is going to be like because I’m nursing my baby and trying to fit in work around his needs and and just reorient reorienting our house. So I think that that’s just kind of a life lesson that whether you’re working in a corporate job or has a An entrepreneur that just learning to successfully adapt to whatever situation you’re in, is going to help you throughout your life. I
David Ralph [43:08]
think you’re the first person to save in 260 shows to talk about being adaptable. We talk a lot about overcoming fear. But the ability to be adaptable really helps you to overcome fear. Because, you know, when you’re in it, if it’s not working, you can adapt and change direction and sort things out. And that’s a real talent you’ve got, isn’t it to be able to move forward with that belief that hey, I can sort it out.
Natalie Eckdahl [43:36]
It’s, it’s not something I’ve always had and it’s something that I think after, you know, getting divorced, it’s something I realised I needed and and it’s something that I am trying to fulfil, you know, to pass on to, to my children, especially my daughter, you know, that, you know, things aren’t going how you want them to go. You have to adapt and there’s some you know, when you’re when you’re when you’re young and you’re a child and you’re in she’s into house. told she has to adapt all the time because the households that she lives in are very different. And so I see her learning to do that. And I’m so thankful that she’s learning at a young age. But I do think that in business, we have to be able to adapt, you know, if, if, you know, schedule Max, we’ve targeted some different niches, and some have worked and some habits we’ve had to adapt. We’ve had competitors, you know, new competitors come on the market, they’ve come and gone, and these last four years and some have gotten bigger, some have gotten venture funding and so they have, you know, a different way different marketing budget than we have. And so we’ve had to adapt and do things a little differently come around the corner differently, do some guerrilla marketing. And, and, and so yeah, I think it’s such a great word for for being an entrepreneur and for life.
David Ralph [44:48]
Well, let’s play some words now that really touch on the ethos of adaptability. And this is what Steve Jobs said back in 2005. And I think it’s so important to bring it onto the show once more Steve Jobs
Unknown Speaker [45:00]
course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [45:35]
So do you buy into those words Natalie?
Natalie Eckdahl [45:38]
I do and I love them and I’m living it right now. Because I started biz chicks. I’m such a planner. I don’t know if you’ve kind of figured that out from some of the talk we’ve had and from listening to me and the whole scheduling business. I love to plan things and I like to plan my life and and what I’ve learned is I can’t plan out my whole life and with schedule next been you know from where we started to where we are now has not been the exact plan we had from the get go. And, and with biz chicks, I started that business not knowing where it’s going. And I still don’t know it’s just starting to monetize and just starting to see the possibilities of where it can go. And I kind of did that on purpose. I wanted to do something that I didn’t know the plan and I don’t know how it’s going to connect to everything. And I didn’t even know if I was going to be good at it, which is unusual for me because I like to do things I know I’m going to be good at. And so it’s been really fulfilling to kind of roll the dice really roll the dice on something out of my comfort zone to be podcasting, interviewing people and then rewarding to have kind of those dots start connecting all of those jobs, different jobs I’ve held now allow me to talk to people in any type of business that they’re in and I pretty much have some kind of understanding of it. I’m able, I often hear my guests say, Wow, Natalie, like you asked some questions that like, no one’s ever asked me before or, wow, I was surprised that, you know, you knew, you know, this interesting, you know, little small part of my business and could delve deeper into it. And so that’s really how, without me knowing it, some of the dots have started to connect from you know, this moving around a lot in in my work. And then also as a management consultant, I was consulting in a lot of different types of businesses. It’s allowed me to be you know, what other people have said is I’m a great podcast, I’m a great interviewer. That’s what people tell me and and I think that’s why it’s, it’s it’s from that diverse work experience that I have.
David Ralph [47:43]
So, and I love asking this question, but is there a big.in your Join Up Dots timeline when you look back and you go, yeah, that’s really when it started to come together for me and I could see what I was here for.
Natalie Eckdahl [47:58]
That’s a big question. David, I don’t know if I have if I I know what that big.is I actually think it may be podcasting because what podcasting is done is it’s actually helped without planning it’s helped schedule max so you know I I’m on awesome shows like yours with fellow podcasters and I’m sharing about my life and my work and I’m sharing about schedule Max and so it’s helping that business and and then that has been something that I wasn’t planning on. And so I think that podcasting has created I think it’s going to be we should reconnect in a year or two because I think that that is going to be my big dot it’s it’s expanded my network to from kind of a local small network to a worldwide network of powerful business people and people in the media and people doing amazing things with their their work that I never could Imagine I never could have dreamed up.
David Ralph [49:02]
That does it. When you when you leave me in bed because I lay there in bed and take away everything that I’ve achieved, you can’t take away that network that unless I go out and I suddenly become a serial killer and do something really bad, but nobody wants to sort of connect with me anymore. But it’s so valuable, isn’t it to be able to have those connections.
Natalie Eckdahl [49:23]
You can’t even put a price on it. And I you know, I actually just I had an I interviewed someone else this morning, before I popped on your show, and she’s a LinkedIn expert. And so I was looking, we were talking a lot about LinkedIn, and she was doing some training for my audience and who is she? Her name is Joanne bunch.
David Ralph [49:41]
Oh, I do on the show.
Natalie Eckdahl [49:43]
Okay. So but I interviewed someone else you had on the show. Oh, I can’t think of her name right now. But she’s a LinkedIn expert as well. And I’ve interviewed her to Karen Yankovic.
David Ralph [49:54]
That’s the one I was talking about. Yes,
Natalie Eckdahl [49:56]
yes, I’ve had her on the show, too. We kind of she and I covered for basic LinkedIn, and then Joanne and I went a little deeper on on this episode a little more advanced LinkedIn tactics, but so we were talking and as we were talking, I was like looking at my profile. And probably when I started podcasting, I maybe had 100 plus connections, and in less than a year, I have well over 500. And they’re not just random people, like I know who most of them are. They are their guests. I’ve interviewed their fellow podcasters their listeners to my show that want to connect with me. And my network is just amazing. And so even if you know I stopped podcasting tomorrow, which I’m not going to because I love it, and I get a little high every time I talk to someone new. This has been such an amazing benefit to my to my life and like you’re saying, what about how much can you? How much value can you place or how can you put a number on on your network and it’s something that no one can ever take away from you.
David Ralph [50:57]
Your network is your net worth? I think People saying it’s about Yes, it is one of those cheesy phrases, which I don’t really like, but you kind of go Yeah, or that that’s pretty spot on.
Natalie Eckdahl [51:09]
Which is important for me because I haven’t put a lot of focus on people in my life, I was focusing on achieving things, you know, growing up, that was kind of, I would say a difference between who I am now versus who I was, you know, as you’re asking how I was as a as a young girl. And and even you know, when I was getting my MBA, my focus was on finishing at the top of my class and doing things well and in college, I graduated college in two and a half years because I wanted to I want to get done to work. But so the real I missed out on that network, you know, going to school as a chance to build a network, which I didn’t understand. No one had taught me that and I didn’t understand there was value in the people around me and building those relationships. And when I got my MBA the same thing I wasn’t focused I’m building those relationships.
David Ralph [52:02]
You love always don’t you, Natalie?
Unknown Speaker [52:05]
David Ralph [52:06]
You can just hear it just before I send you back because this is the end of the show now on the Sermon on the mic. Do you think that everybody out there can feel the same passion as you do? Should should they should they go out and get a kick ass life?
Natalie Eckdahl [52:22]
I think that everyone should take a moment and see if they’re living in their passion. And, and if they’re not to try to understand why. And and it’s easy. This has been a busy year for us. I was telling my husband, you know, we were doing so much and I felt like the year was running us and we weren’t running the year and that’s going to change in this next year. And we’re taking a little time together to make sure that we’re running our year and So may I you know, in the end it’s are we running our life Where is our life running us and I want to feel like I am in control. And, and, and running things and saying notice some things too. There’s so many great opportunities, our kids get so many great opportunities. And we need to say no to a few more things to make sure that we’re doing what we’re most passionate about and what’s best for us in our family.
David Ralph [53:15]
He kind of taken this full circle, but it’s it’s the choosing isn’t it, it’s the choosing your time is choosing what you’re doing. You know, I am taking a break from this, this job now for about two weeks, I’m not going to do anything with the show. And it’s still going to operate because I’ve stretched it in a way but you can just walk away and let it operate. And I find that hugely exciting, which I’ve never had in corporate land, I could never just walk away from a job and say, Oh, it’s gonna happen anyway. You always have to be there.
Natalie Eckdahl [53:43]
But you’ve done that intentionally and that’s really a big tip for entrepreneurs is how to create a vacation for yourself. And that’s that’s something that very, that I hear from a lot of people it’s, it’s very hard to do. It was very hard for me to create a maternity leave for myself. I had to really plan that out. And I had Think about what did I want that to look like? And I had to get something, give something up, I had to drop a day of podcasting out of my schedule, which, you know, my listeners were used to getting three days a week. And then they were getting too. And so I had to be okay with not delivering that but, but creating that break for myself. And so I love it. And it’s true. I was able to do all that in advance and then pre schedule it out and have this really special time with my baby and you’re about to have some special time with your family.
David Ralph [54:28]
Oh, no, I’m gonna try and keep away from him as much as possible.
Unknown Speaker [54:32]
It’s crazy in your garden.
David Ralph [54:34]
Yeah, we try and keep away from each other. It’s Christmas. No, it is it is about the families and it is that’s what it’s all about. There’s no point in trying to become successful in driving your future forward. If at the end of the day, you miss out on what’s important. And what’s important is the little little chaps even though they can be incredibly annoying. It’s you haven’t got them for very long and then they move out donate.
Natalie Eckdahl [54:55]
Yes, and you know that now you’ve had one leave the nest the nest three leave the nest oh my goodness,
David Ralph [55:02]
I’ve only got two. And they don’t seem to be moving out my nine and my 12 year old they seem pretty settled for a few more years.
Natalie Eckdahl [55:08]
They might be staying for a little bit longer. Yeah, me too. Well, yeah, I think that wish you as you think about as you’ve experienced them leaving that, you know, it is a short time and as hard as in parenting is hard. It’s hard work. not for the faint of heart. And especially when you have strong willed kids which I seem to create. So it’s it’s really important to focus on what you want to you know, accomplish with your family to this being intentional, being intentional and and back to that word, adapting, adapting as their needs change, adapting as their goals and passions change and adapting, as you add, add and lose people in the house.
David Ralph [55:47]
Absolutely. Well, this is the end of the show. I know when this show to finish, it should be a seven hour show, but hey, we’re gonna need to ramp it down. So this is the part where I’m going to send you back in time to have a one on one with you. your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to young Natalie, what advice would you give them? What age would you choose? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m gonna play the theme tune. And when it fails you out this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [56:19]
best bit of the show.
Natalie Eckdahl [56:34]
Well, hello, Natalie, you’re 17 and this is your older self talking to you. I am now 42. I’m the mother of three. And I am an entrepreneur, I have two businesses. And what I want to share with you is something very important but very simple. And I would love for you to go forward in life and put people first and success second and if you Do that you will find that the success will still come because the people in your life will be there to react to rally and support you. You’re 17 you’re about to start college, you want to go fast, you want to go fast through life. And I want you to slow down a little bit. And instead of focusing on finishing fast, take your time, make friends, build a network, make connections that are deep, and that last a long time later, you’re going to get an MBA and it’s the same thing. All the people that you meet, there are people that are important people important connections, each one of them is important in a different way. And as as amazing as it is to get straight A’s and to accomplish things. At the end of the day. What you have in your life is your network and the people around you the people that care about you in your personal life and the people that care about you and your business life and there’s crossover, a lot of them are the same. A lot of the people that you are Friends within college and friends within graduate school and friends with the different companies you work at later, they will be resources for you and you will be a resource for them. And so my biggest advice again is to put people first and success second see how you can serve the people around you serve your friends and serve the people in your life. And I can’t wait to see where you go.
David Ralph [58:24]
Natalie, how can our audience connect with you?
Natalie Eckdahl [58:27]
well, I think that you have all my social media channels that you’re going to put on the show notes but it’s at biz chicks podcast I’m on Twitter all the time. I’d love to connect with you on Twitter. look me up on LinkedIn since we’re mentioning that Natalie act all send me a little notes when you connect with me just add that you heard me on David show on Join Up Dots and that you’d like to connect. And you can also email me Nat at biz chicks podcast biz chicks calm and I spell chicks with an ex so it’s bi z chix.com and my friends Coming up so they can email Nat at biz chicks calm.
David Ralph [59:03]
We will have over links as you say on the show notes. Natalie, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build a futures Natalie, thank you so much.
Natalie Eckdahl [59:19]
Thank you, David. It was a blast.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.