Lisa Corduff talks with Emma Franklin Bell


Lisa Corduff founder of Small Steps Living Talks with Emma Franklin Bell about Online Business, Millionaire Mindset, Money, Identity and More

Emma F Bell: Thank you so much for tuning in I’m so excited to be bringing you an interview with Lisa Corduff. She truly is amazing and she’s really taking Australia by storm. She’s one of those female Australian entrepreneurs who’s really rising and doing amazing things in the world.

She really is a genuine, go-to gal for everything to do with mindset and entrepreneurship and online business. This is her bio. Lisa Corduff launched her online business with three kids under four at her feet in the past five years. She’s built a thriving business that supports her family. She serves a generation of women looking to simplify their life and eat more whole foods via her Small Steps, programs and memberships. She also teaches online business owners the power of authentic video marketing as well as entrepreneurship and she helps women bust through their fears and get visible.

Hey Lisa, super exciting to have you here. How are you?

Lisa Corduff: Good Emma. Thanks for having me.

Emma F Bell: So, so here we are and for our podcast listeners, this is coming to you direct and we’re having a great chat about all things business.

Lisa Corduff: I remember, so it was probably the end of 2012 and I had moved to Brisbane and my husband was working for Qantas in Sydney and we’re Melbourne people and we’re like, with two kids under two, let’s get back to Melbourne. But he couldn’t find a job in Melbourne. So we had to kind of go where the work is. And we ended up in Brisbane and I was just like, what? This is not the way it should be. And so that kind of sparked something in me. Like, I really don’t want this for my life. I don’t want to have to go where work is. It did, you know, offend me slightly.

So I started selling mixers after I’d done a health coaching course. Like you’d go to people’s houses and you’d cook for them and then they’d buy a $2,000 kitchen appliance. So, you’d just earn a commission on, you know, based on the amount of sales that you earned per month. I actually had no idea how that whole MLM kind of system worked. Anyway, I got it sooner or later. Yeah. So that shows you my amount of business savviness. I mean really.

I wanted to start sharing recipes because I’d done these at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition course. I actually won that as a scholarship from Sarah Wilson, which was awesome and I didn’t definitely didn’t feel like a health coach, but it had sparked a curiosity in me about food and I had young kids, I was making the healthy recipes so I started a wordpress site and I just started putting stuff out there. That’s what you did to get into health coaching, to get it off the ground. There was a bit of marketing in there too, but I never wanted to be a health coach. I thought it was a joke that I could take someone’s health into my hands and I didn’t even know what a thyroid was, you know? Yeah. Let’s get real here. So from the very start, I always thought, I’m not going to over extend myself or pretend I know shit that I don’t.

So, I procrastinated for about 18 months. Like, I could do an ebook, I could blah, blah, blah, or I could do, pantry makeovers for people. And then it was after my youngest was born Ellissa Jayne who has always done my branding, her business is Flourish Online, she does websites for amazing people, she said, ‘Well, why don’t you just do like a 21 day wholefoods challenge?’ And I was like, ‘That’s awesome.’
I didn’t know how to use Mailchimp or anything. So, she created a signup form and gave me a link and she’s like, ‘Pop that out on your Facebook page and just tell people to sign up. But you’ve got to tell them when it’s starting.’ And I was like ‘What? I don’t know, in three or four months, like I’ve got to kind of work out what I’m doing.’ She suggested three weeks and I went, ‘Three weeks. I don’t even know what I’m doing.’ And she’s like, ‘You’ll work it out’. So, I had three children under four at this time and I did it. I just was like, ‘Hey guys, I’ve decided to put things together into a 21 day whole foods challenge.’ I had over 500 people sign up for that.

And then I had 550 people sign up to the first round of Small Steps to Wholefoods, which I put together. There was no membership site, no logins. It was literally emails with a link to a Vimeo interview. And I just basically broke up what I’d done on that. I fleshed it all out. I made it bigger and better. And that first launch was $35,000. And I was, I mean, it was gold.

I kept thinking, ‘Why should I share anything about food when there’s a Sarah Wilson or you know, at the time like Alex Stewart or people like that. There were people doing really great stuff and I thought, ‘I don’t know, I’m following them. They’ve got the recipes, not me. And it was when I was talking to Ellissa and she said, ‘Just write,’ so I wrote, but I also did video, like I’d do these little videos because I figured that I’d figure out what I was saying, I wasn’t going to work it out in my head.

So, one day I was talking to Ellissa and I said, ‘I see people freaking out about food, like they go on these things and they have to commit 100% and then they fall off a little bit and then they fall off totally. And it’s all a waste of time. And if they’re not doing it 100% perfectly, then what’s the point?’ And honestly, I just wanted them to know that they can just go step by step. And she said, ‘So you’re telling them to take small steps?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And she said, ‘Well, I mean that could be the thing. Like you could just do Small Steps to Wholefoods.

Lisa Corduff: I think I paid $400 or $300 for my first website from her. There was no fancy photo shoot, none of that. It was me and my sister, like another picture of me and the kids and uh, and then, you know, I just kind of took it from there. But I was also in the game, you know, I wasn’t sitting there just waiting for the ideas and I think that’s why in 2016 I was invited to talk at Pro-blogger and my topic was about taking imperfect action because there were turning points, but it was all just like trial and error and other random things.

Emma F Bell: What were the main challenges then in those first two years? Because you have lots of sales and lots of people come through the door. You have to be able to service them and manage them. And like, I mean, success creates its own challenges. What were the main ones in those first couple of years for you, do you reckon?

Lisa Corduff: Definitely learning how to combine business and motherhood. So like complete and total overwhelm. Really recognizing early on that outsourcing was going to be a big part of my business strategy because I couldn’t do it all by myself. I will wear myself out. I was working nights, working in the mornings because it’s impossible to work around children. So I mean, I had very minimal time and that’s where video came into it so much was because I don’t have time to sit down and write and edit a blog post when I could just record a video, say it, have it done, Gone Bang. And it became the fastest and easiest way for me to communicate and keeping contact with my community and service people in my programs.

I also didn’t do a stack of online courses about how to do the things, but I did invest in Masterminds like, you know, not even one year into my business, I joined a Mastermind and flew over to the US because I just, I wanted to move fast.

Emma F Bell: You didn’t do all these short courses, you kind of sprung straight into the ring.

Lisa Corduff: Like I’m my own worst enemy because a business relies on solid foundations and systems. And I resisted those for a really long time. I thought, my genuine belief was, that my success was coming because I was so, spontaneous, like it all had to come through me and when something was ready to come out, it would. I would just create something and, you know, I just kept creating, kept creating.
One thing I would definitely say, you know, cashflow is an issue too. It was pretty tight while I was growing the business. I mean there wasn’t really much extra to go around, but I had the sense that with the business and myself, with the best investments that I could be making in my own development, the more my business would grow and, and I started to see, what I needed to be doing. I haven’t been afraid. I think a lot of people get stuck in fear a lot of the time. And, and I just threw all the resources into the business and into myself because I knew if I could grow it, that it would pay me back so many more times. You know, I think people are so frightened to spend money in their business, on themselves and their own development and really like that’s the investment that moves things forward.

Emma F Bell: Otherwise it’s just too slow as well. I think if you just, you know, have this idea that it will be very, very incremental, you could be sort of waiting around for ever.

Lisa Corduff: that’s the best thing about online business is it’s not linear growth. It can be really explosive.

Emma F Bell: Mm. And you said there before that you’ve started to see or understand what entrepreneurialism is for you.

Lisa Corduff: I just think it’s creating something from nothing. It’s seeing opportunity everywhere. Once you really get to know the people you want to help, it’s like, I know I can help them with this. And then you learn how to talk to them in a way that you meet them exactly where they’re at. And it’s an extreme, it’s like an addictive drug. This whole thing is like when people are feeding back to you that they have experienced change in their lives because of what you’re sharing. It just spurs you on to the next thing. And I feel, that to me, entrepreneurialism is having an ideas mind. So like living in a world of possibility. It’s not about what’s not possible. It’s about all the things that say, I see this, I know it’s possible. What do I need to do to realize that? And then coming at it from a place of service, you know, where you’re like, well, what do you need? What can I provide you? And Yeah, I’m being able to market those things in a way that meets the people who need them exactly where they’re at.

Emma F Bell: Yeah, I love, that service. There’s a lot of self- indulgence. I think. So to be driven to do the work for your people is so key. And when you say about, the ideas and all the possibilities, how do you also, sort of control that with clarity?

Lisa Corduff: What I want for my business is impact and profitability. So what are the projects that will give a deep and high level impact for people working with them very closely? So say, for example, in the Mastermind, that’s one sort of level of impact I can have and if I was to put all of my recipes into a cookbook and people were able to buy that cookbook, then it would be in people’s homes and that would have an impact on families.

But then things have to be profitable.

Emma F Bell: So, if you’re talking about impact and you’re talking about profitability, this, this requires, a resilient mindset and you’ve started talking about mindset and Jim Fortin’s work this year. So, I’d love to dive into some of this stuff. So, for example, just talking about two concepts that he talks about; the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we’re living by.

Lisa Corduff: Okay. Huge topics. Yeah. You know, we create all of these stories all the time. Basically humans, are judgment making machines. I think it’s so funny when you hear people online and in business say, ‘I’m just, I’m so scared of being judged. I’m scared of what people are going to think if I blah, blah, blah.’ And it’s like, ‘Oh well they’re going to judge. They are going to judge. So what are you going to do? Are you just going to not do it?’

Because people will judge that too. You’re going to stop doing that because, because you’re frightened about people’s judgment when they’re going to judge you anyway. So you should just do it. I don’t really know how I got into judgment, but just this is all around the stories that we’re telling ourselves. And I just realized, I started to look at what I believed was the truth about what was going on in my business. Another big thing that Jim talks about is being responsible and being responsible for everything that’s happening.

So I don’t create stories around why a launch didn’t work. Look at what actually happened during a launch. Don’t make it mean anything that it doesn’t mean, because like it just meant maybe, that, you didn’t quite meet the market with your ad, your sales page needs improving or you just didn’t have enough eyeballs on it. But if you create a story like, ‘I am a failure as a business.’ Well. You get to choose your story and, and I’m like, I’m just going to choose stories that serve me then.

Emma F Bell: Yeah. And what I love that about that is that it allows you to be more detached, from outcome and, and from taking things personally in the business.

Lisa Corduff: It’s the whole victim thing, isn’t it? As soon as we feel like this external thing impacting us, we’re suddenly not in our power. Whereas when you’re being responsible for everything that’s happening in your business and basically everything that’s happened in your life, it’s a really powerful place to be. So everything is a lesson. Like you’re either getting the result you want or you’re getting the lessons you need to learn to get the results.

Emma F Bell: Mm. And also that awareness that just because you’re having a really great, boom of a time, everything’s fantastic. The awareness that things will drop off again. That kind of peaks and valleys sort of thing.

Lisa Corduff: Well, just I think that you couldn’t get into entrepreneurship without developing a kind of thick skin and protecting yourself. And then I go, this is amazing, because my Facebook ads didn’t work. I should sack that copywriter, or blah, blah, blah. No, it’s actually still you, but be responsible for that. Like don’t lose your power if you blame other things, your business is a reflection of you and it’s like the buck stops with you. I actually had the opposite problem for a long time when things are bad I would think, that was so bad because I didn’t do this and I didn’t do that and I could make it a real story.

But when things were going really well, it was because of my branding, because I have a great group of friends or because my Mastermind helped me, liked I’d outsourced my success. I never took responsibility for things going well. That was a total revelation for me
I never think I can solve everyone’s problems, but I could be a part of their journey and then they jump off and they’re on their way again. I just think if I’m giving a good customer experience to people who buy my food programs, mindset programs, business programs, keep focused on that.

My husband’s been working through mental health stuff, which can really knock me. I feel like it’s been really bizarre and I’ve worked out that my only job, and it sounds a bit woo woo, is to raise my vibration and to feel happy and good and not be that reliant on things that are happening around me. That’s my inner game and I have complete control over it and no matter what’s going on. I’ll have my moments where I fall off and you know, I can find my way back if my compass point is my own happiness. And my business growth, is a result of me kind of unapologetically using my own happiness as my compass point and waking up every day and thinking, ‘What do I need to do?’ And I, I feel like I’ve gotten myself into a completely different position.

What I realized was I wasn’t particularly good at actually allowing myself to feel my feelings, like I was kind of that person who put on a happy face and you know, everything’s fine because I just didn’t want to feel like what was going on, you know? Then I decided to just give myself permission to feel, if I’m feeling really crappy or if something needs to be dealt with, just be there and be in it really fully, without judgment, without thinking that I need to feel better or anything. This is just where it is right now. I think I must be naturally optimistic, like a glass half-full kind of person.

And, that’s how the 12 Days Of Happiness was born because I literally, had to say goodbye to my husband who was going away for a month of intensive stuff, a great experience for him, but it was on the back of a rough few weeks, like really tough. And, I just woke up thinking, ‘Maybe I might want to share with my community that this is happening, that this is my December.’ So he’s gone for Christmas and New Year. And you know, I was launching my Mastermind and I thought maybe I should just share how happiness is my compass point. Like how I try to help myself feel good, give them the behind the scenes.

And I literally had no idea, once again, what I was doing, but it was kind of everyone was doing 12 Days of Christmas and I thought, I’m just going to do 12 Days of Happiness. And I, I literally shared all the little ways I just work away, chip away at the feelings, good feelings, allowing the bad when they come and just having no judgment about them. That’s freedom right there. Happiness is being able to go, ‘It’s okay for me to feel these things. It’s okay for this to be whatever.’

It’s interesting too because I think sometimes I seem to enjoy the drama. It doesn’t serve my highest self to get into the drama all the time. And, you know, I have a journalism background so those daily deadlines, you know, it was just like, that’s how I worked and I realized that I was creating drama in my business by continuing to leave things to the last minute. Continuing to think a lot could be achieved in a short time. And when you’re managing a team, it’s not just about you and what you think you can do, it’s about the pressure that you’re putting on the people who are working with you. And I recognize this year, it’s just such a bad strategy and there’s so many more easier ways to do things and the less drama in my life, the better.

Emma F Bell: Yes, absolutely. And so we have to jump to millionaire mindset. Do you believe there is a millionaire mindset? And then also because manifesting is talked about everywhere, what your thoughts are on that.

Lisa Corduff: So, okay, I didn’t really answer the identity, question before. So, I think it comes down to identity. I think you need to feel abundant and, and wealthy before you will have abundance and wealth. I genuinely, I just basically think I’m a magnet with that manifesting thing, so if I’m always thinking it’s not enough, I can’t spend this because then that money is gone, it’s just such bullshit. I mean, sorry…
I mean, money’s just flowing all the time. It’s just an energy and I’m energy too. I basically think that we’re these energetic kind of beings, but who are attached at an identity level. If I am a poor person, I’m just going to keep making decisions and doing things that a poor person does. If my identity is, someone who has money, then I’m going to be making decisions where I create money. I think from the very start, I’ve never done any of those money mindset courses because I just don’t think I had that issue necessarily, that I have always thought that I will have money. Even when we didn’t really have money.

And I think it’s that sense of knowing. I think that’s also a part of it too, is that there are some things that you just know, like I knew I was going to get 15 applicants for my mastermind.

I just know that there’s going to be 15. There’s been so many times with launches where I thought this. This is before I knew how to analyze launch results. This is when my launches didn’t follow the status quo of converting one to 3% of the email list. I’d just be like, I can say 300 people and I would get like 301. The amount of times that has happened is totally uncanny. It happens when you’re in alignment with your offer. When people can feel the energy exchange and what I’m finding as I’m evolving, like I literally, I can’t even tell you, I mean I’m not the same person that I was four years ago offering that product.

I had to let that product go. Even although I launched eight times and it was the bedrock of my business. I was like, what do I need to let go of in order to be able to really, really move this business in a direction that feels more exciting? And I thought it’s not going to be continuing to launch. It’s going to be to scale the membership. That’s where I have most fun. That’s where most people get great results. It’s the whole small steps philosophy like just come in and chip away. I can’t do that in eight weeks. So it felt more aligned and then I started to offer my video course because people kept asking me how I was doing it and that felt really good.

But as I evolve, I’ve got to be really, really honest about where my attention is and where I’m feeling most aligned in my business. Because that is where all the magic happens. It’s just like your job is you get in alignment and you know, that’s a word that’s thrown around. I mean we were talking about identity, but I think every day about who do I need to be to make that stuff happen? Hey, who do I need to be to buy a $2 million home? Who do I need to be to have a family? Who do I need to be to have a streamlined and organized business?

That is where everything starts. It’s the identity that you are working from. It’s subconscious so many times, like we don’t even know that we’re operating at a certain identity until we really shine a lot and think who am I being like, who do I believe I am?

Emma F Bell: When you were growing up, were there money mindsets around and were they, were they quite healthy?

Lisa Corduff: My dad worked in sales and had a rough trot with mental health and then was kind of booted out of a company and then really struggled in his last, I would say, 10 years of his working life it was really hard. I must say, I looked at that and thought that doesn’t look particularly comfortable to be applying for jobs at that age. And we just had the whole ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees.’ Yeah. The usual middle-class suburban. But Mum worked. I think a big part of my shift happened early on because it became such a thing between Nick and I when things were really taking off for me. And he was just, in that incremental, you know, engineering type of situation, which he was hating and seeing me have all the fun and the dollars were flowing, but like we weren’t necessarily seeing it as a family just yet.

And for me Mum’s work was to pay for our concession cards and, and things outside of what a family needs to survive. Like Mum’s money wasn’t paying the mortgage. He (Dad) always would say that you still had that role model of working. She was a business manager at an English language school. Very good at her job, very good at admin, highly organized. I’m like the black sheep of my family but I saw that it was, you know, not superficial, it just wasn’t the main event.

And so I had to come to terms with the fact that our kids might grow up in an environment where the Mum is earning more money than the Dad. Mum travels, Mum loves her work. Nick was never threatened by me earning money, he was always like, go for it but for me it was about the role of a mother and what that was kind of meant to look like. So I’ve had to do a lot of letting go. I travel for work quite often and just being okay with that instead of thinking, ‘This is my place, this is where I need to be.’ So I think a lot of my money stuff has come from me, pushing against how people talk about glass ceilings and stuff. I never really felt that at all. I just always got that I could do whatever I wanted.

Catch the rest of this interview on audio over at:


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