13 Things I Learned From Earning Over 1 Million Dollars In My Business Over 5 Years

13 things I learned from earning over $1 Million Dollars in my business over 5 years #success #businesslessons #entrepreneur #womeninbiz

I’ve been in business for over 5 years, and have had more than $1 million dollars of turnover in that time period, so I decided that it was time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned. My business has been silently earning over 1 million dollars over the years, and it’s mind boggling!

Most of this income has come in the more recent years, but I’m tapping into lessons from early on and things that I’m still learning today.

One of the things that really bugs me about the online business teaching world is that you only see the “overnight success stories” but you don’t see all the trials and obstacles that people had to overcome to get there.

So today I’m breaking down some of the things I learned along the way, in the hopes that it will shave off some of your learning curve so you can reach your business goals faster!

earning over 1 million

1. People matter more than ideas, knowledge, or ambition.

It doesn’t matter how smart, dedicated, or gung-ho you are… at the end of the day business is about people. If you’re not there to connect, solve a problem, or make their lives better then you don’t have a business.

Every time that I’ve come up with a “genius idea” that didn’t start with people in mind, it flopped.

I’m also talking about all kinds of people here too: your customers, your team, your mentors, your peers, they all matter.

2. Creativity and implementation can (almost) be deposited at the bank.

For every system and blueprint you find out there, there are likely hundreds if not thousands of people following along step by step. The more you can break the mold and get creative with business strategies, the more successful you’ll be.

But beyond thinking up unique and creative ways to do things, you need to actually do those things.

I’ve seen entrepreneurs with notebooks full of amazing ideas, but nothing to show for it. When you combine creativity and action, you can practically guarantee results and money are just around the corner.

3. It takes longer than you think, always.

Oh boy, if I was the tattoo-ing type, this is one I’d put somewhere obvious like my forearm!

It takes longer than you want it to. We all want instant results. We want the six figures in the first month we open the doors to our business. We want the fame or recognition to happen with our first tweet, or the new website design project to wrap up in 3 weeks.

It will take longer than you think, and that’s okay. I truly believe in divine timing, and I also believe in deadlines. Without setting deadlines, nothing moves forward… but letting space for a little divine inspiration keeps everything feeling on track even when it isn’t.

Don’t give up.

4. Who you surround yourself with makes a world of difference.

Who you hang with

If you want success, associate with successful people. It’s not snobby, it’s how our brains are wired. Thought patterns are contagious, so don’t catch the negative mindsets of people who look down on successful people if you want to be one of them.

But beyond hanging out with successful people, make sure that the people you choose to spend your time with make you feel good. If you share values and support each other, there’s no telling where you’ll go. Their perspective of what’s possible for you will be way bigger than what you see for yourself, and it will push you to go for it.

5. Everything changes.

There’s nothing to fear when it comes to change. The business you started is not the business you’re currently operating right now, and every day you’re correcting course.

The “stuff” you do every day may change, the market you serve will get more sophisticated, and you’ll evolve along with your business. The people you work with will change, the services and products you sell will change, and your perspective on business itself will change as time goes on.

Embrace it, don’t fight it.

6. Build everything with re-use in mind, and think long term.

For every task you do, think about how you can leverage it into the future. Many times I thought to myself I’d never need to write this same email to someone else, that I’d just make a quick PDF proposal, or that I’d re-do the videos later…

But when you put your time and effort into creating something, consider how you can make it evergreen and future-proof. If it’s a product launch, don’t use dates in your videos so you can use the same ones during your next launch.

If it’s a task you find yourself doing more than once, record yourself doing it so someone on your team can do it next time. This also applies to names of programs that might evolve over time, too.

7. The first dollar is the hardest, but don’t ever forget how you made it.

Asking for the sale on your very first product or service is the hardest thing to do. But once you’ve made this sale, you know how to repeat it successfully.

One mistake I made early on after my first blockbuster launch was to throw out everything I had learned and create a second product that nobody wanted. If I had followed the same methods that helped me succeed in the first place, I wouldn’t have flopped with the second offering.

That’s why I’m constantly going back to the people I’m serving to make sure that the next thing I build is always going to hit the mark.

8. People want results, they don’t care about the features.

As much as it’s important to you how you plan to deliver an offering (like 4 phone calls, 1 PDF, 3 videos, and email access)… the people signing up for it don’t care how you deliver it, they just want the results.

So don’t get married to a delivery mechanism for any of your content, and instead focus on making sure you’re creating what people want to get out of it. Ask them. Use their words in your marketing. Repeat!

9. Getting out from behind the computer is key.

My business wouldn’t be where it is today if I had stayed in my comfort zone, nice and comfy behind my computer. As an introvert, it takes a lot to get me dressed and out the door to interact with people face to face, but every time I do my business gets better.

Whether it’s attending a live event or conference, masterminding with my business friends, or just getting a change of scenery to experience something that will trigger new ways of thinking… it all helped me grow my business. And it usually comes back to people, again!

10. Ideas have a shelf-life, use them before they expire.

Ideas have a shelf life.

If you get a great idea and you don’t implement immediately, you’ll see someone else run with it. I think that ideas exist somewhere in the ether and are just waiting to be snatched up by someone. You often see different people take action on the same idea simultaneously.

I feel pressure to run with an idea before it goes bad. That doesn’t mean that all ideas are ripe though. Sometimes you need to let an idea evolve or grow into its fully formed state before you pick it. But once you pick it, you can’t let it wilt on your idea shelf.

11. Copycats and plagiarism happens, but don’t let that stop you from starting.

I used to worry that people would take my ideas or content… so I didn’t put them out there. Now, instead of letting this fear stop me from putting ideas out there to be stolen, I just make sure that I publicize my ideas as much as I can.

That way, others can steal as much as they want, but people will see them as the copycat.

12. How you feel matters.

If you’re inspired, it shows. Don’t partner with someone or take on a new project because it sounds good, or there’s “potential to make money”. Every time I go against my feelings, I get poor results, and I kick myself.

When I let my feelings guide me, I sleep soundly at night, and I get more lovely emails from happy customers. Every time.

13. Technology changes, and knowing how to adapt is an advantage.

I love technology, but I don’t get attached to any one system or platform because I know that things can be hot today and gone tomorrow. I’ve seen the popularity of social media platforms rise and fall, and I understand that the key skill is not knowing a specific tool but knowing how to learn new tools.

What one thing resonates with you?

Not every one of these is going to connect with everyone, but I’d love to know which one resonates and what your take on it is?

Leave a comment below and let me know!


  1. Amy Hagerup (@amyhagerup) on August 13, 2014 at 11:10 am

    This was very good. I feel like I could have written it myself except for the million dollars part. I am a firm believer in number 1 – people matter more than a sale, a recruit, or anything else. I want to help people first and foremost. Thanks, Amy

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Yay Amy! Then I have a feeling your million dollars are on the way, since you’ve already figured out that people come first. :) Whether that’s in the next 5 years or not, I find it amazing to do the math and see how much revenue can flow into our businesses over time. :)

  2. TAMI MCVAY on August 13, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Loved all of this!! I think the tip of ‘keep reuse in mind’ is helpful. I had that in the back of my mind, but something simple like having the dates in there would be a ‘gotcha’ that I may not have thought of.

    I’m also a huge believer in surrounding yourself with people who inspire you…in every aspect of your life!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      So glad this was useful for you Tami! Re-use has been huge, and it’s funny how we can think short term because that’s just how we do things naturally… and shifting our focus to the long term is even more rewarding. You rock! :D

  3. Cathy Wilke on August 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I loved this post Nathalie and related to so many of your points. First and foremost, “people matter more than ideas and that good business is built on relationships.” It’s so easy to get lost in the sea of trying to grow your business that you lose sight of what matters most. The biggest take away I for from this post was that “ideas have a shelf-life.” I can’t tell you how many brilliant ideas I’ve had that have just faded away because I lost momentum after the initial inspiration. Thanks for lighting that little fire about getting out there with it before someone else does!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      I’m so happy this both resonated and might be lighting a fire around getting out there with an idea before someone else does. Woohoo!! You rock Cathy. :)

  4. Molly on August 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I think that letting time determine the next steps is really the hardest part. No matter how much time, effort or hard work you put into something, forcing it will feel just that…forced!

    Thanks for the ever-sage advice and inspiration. You are a very valuable resource!


    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words Molly. It’s true: timing can be tough, but when you let it flow instead of forcing it, everything just goes that much more smoothly. :)

  5. Carol Lawrence on August 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Perfect divine timing for me. Thank you!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Yay Carol, you’re so welcome!! :)

  6. Jennifer Dent on August 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    #4 hit home with me. I just joined a mastermind group and the support has been invaluable!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Yes! A mastermind group is critical, way to go Jennifer and congrats!

  7. Sandy Sidhu on August 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    As a fellow engineer, I wholeheartedly agree with ‘reuse’…that principle was ingrained in me from day1! I love what you said about people matter and that if you’re not solving a problem for people then you don’t have a business.


    • Nathalie Lussier on August 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Yay Sandy – fellow engineer here, and I love that you have the reuse side of things dialed in! Woohoo! :)

  8. Siri Mera on August 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve gotten a lot out of this post. Congrats on the evolution and success of your business. Number one is huge to me. When I think about all the people engaged on my website or social media pages or on my list it’s immediately inspiring and empowering, especially if I’ve been thinking too deeply about a product or method or something disconnecting me from the actual people involved. I need to remind myself of this constantly and it puts me back into focus whenever I’m overwhelmed.

    Actually I think I need to print this and hang it up somewhere. So many gems. Thanks Nathalie!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 17, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Yes! It’s amazing what remembering who this is all for (the people) can do for our focus and motivation, not to mention clarity. :) Yay Siri!

  9. kitzia on August 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    This is a looovely article!

  10. Alisha Beecher on August 13, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Awesome article. Well thought out, divinely timed, and a straight shot to the entrepreneurial heart.

    I could not agree with you more. People matter more than anything else. I know too many businesses that just look at people as dollar signs and that’s just not ok.

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

      I totally hear you Alisha, I’ve seen those businesses and they don’t tend to inspire much change in the world and wither sooner or later. ;)

  11. Kamila Gornia | for passion-driven solopreneurs on August 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Oh very helpful, I love all of these. I’m hoping one day I will be where you are now :) great inspiration and always immensely helpful, Nathalie!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Absolutely Kamila – I can see you writing your own someday soon! :)

  12. Catherine | Fit Armadillo on August 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Congrats on your > $1 million dollar business :) I really enjoyed this. I’ve only been in business for myself for just over a year and can relate to most of these tips. It’s great to have this reminder as a little cheat sheet to help me stay focused as things change. Thank you!!!

    • Nathalie Lussier on August 17, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Thank you so much Catherine! Ooh, love that this can act as a cheatsheet – woohoo!

  13. Janet V. on August 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

    This article came at the right time! I would agree that #1 is the most important for me personally and professionally speaking. # 3 is inspiring and motivational – again thanks so much for this.


    • Nathalie Lussier on August 17, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Yay Jay – thanks for which ones resonated the most. Glad you found this inspiring, too! :)

  14. Dominique on August 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Great information and inspiration! Thank you for sharing these tips. I found them all to be extremely helpful for me and my business. Loved them all!

  15. Marsha from YesYesMarsha.com on August 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Loved this! I’m slap bang in the middle of working on hiring my first VA, so the one that went “ding ding ding!” for me was number 6 – especially “If it’s a task you find yourself doing more than once, record yourself doing it so someone on your team can do it next time”


    • Kellie on August 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Marsha – I just recently came across this phrase of which I thought you may like REMEMBER: You don’t build a million dollar business doing $10/hr work all day.
      I’ve had a VA for a while now – it’s amazing how much time I can now focus on designing and creating my new programs.

  16. Kellie on August 18, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Hi Nathalie, thank you for sharing this. Having been in business for three years now I can happily check off all from your list. But the one that I think needs to be applied more of [for me] is No. 9. Thank you for reminding me that I need to get out and off the cushy couch and meet more people face to face. I shall apply this on my top to do list for the next month.

  17. Lisa Joiner on August 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Nathalie,

    Timely article for me, thank you. #3,8,9 and 10 really resonated although the entire article is spot on. I have been working on my book now since 2011. It is currently at the editors and the cover is also being designed. I am in the last leg of this part of the journey and yet there are still so many steps to have in place before it is ready to launch. My website is a “place holder” work in progress and while there is much to do I recognize I have come a long way. I just recently got my first person to opt in! And, I have sent a newsletter their way! Thank you for your kind and positive approach to online…and in person business. You are a great inspiration.

  18. Danielle on August 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    This post has so many great tips! I’m coming up on my first full year in business and I’ve already learned so much. I can see how a lot of these tips will come in handy as I move forward. Thanks for sharing them! You’re such an inspiration!

  19. Chivon on September 7, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Awesome advice Nathalie and congrats on all of your success!

  20. connie curtis on September 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Reuse stands out for me. I am starting my business. I know I what to reuse things so it sounds like even names you want to be simple and clear so that the program can go on .. all great tips.. alot o information.

  21. Sonja Jobson on November 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Love this! #1 & #4 are so crucial (though, all of these tips are spot-on). Thanks for sharing!

  22. Boomy on December 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I love #10 . Many of use do not realise others have the same idea!
    A few good things to always remember and keep me focused.
    Great post enjoyed it.

  23. Mary Albright on January 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm


    Thanks so much for sharing your list.

    I totally understand #10. But at the same time, sometimes it’s hard to know that someone else has a similar idea. We all have our unique approaches to helping people in our own ways, even if we operate a similar business.

    It will all come back to #1 – using your unique gifts to help people.

  24. Anna on March 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I totally agree especially regarding the people you surround yourself with. It is very true that when you meet motivated and ambitious people that like to collaborate, your business can grow a lot!

  25. Danielle Greason on May 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Build everything with re-use in mind! That one definitely resonates from me. I learned the hard way about not using dates in launch videos.:-) But there’s just so, so many times I recall thinking yep I’ll write the process for this later, or I’ll re-do this for next client. Happy to say I’m pretty much out of that habit now, having experienced the time leveraging benefits. Thanks for calling this out!

    • Nathalie Lussier on May 2, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      You’re so welcome Danielle! It’s amazing what happens when we can start to save time bit by bit by re-using what we’ve already done. :)

  26. Llyane @FrenchOnSkype on May 27, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    It takes longer than you think – always :D
    I’m making fun of it now, but when it happens (always) I get super frustrated, somehow still expecting it to take shorter time, as in ‘right now’ :)

  27. jamie delaine on July 22, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I came across your blog today and really look forward to becoming a regular reader.

  28. Stefanie on September 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    This was really helpful! I am 14 and have wanted to start my own business for a while now, I think I will definitely keep referring back to these tips.

  29. Tolu Folarin on February 9, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing Nathalie. I am in the process of building my online business and I am learning that serving people should be at the heart of every business. Your experience validates this.
    Point 1 – people matter more than ideas, knowledge or ambition and point 8 – people want results they don’t care about the features resonates well with me.
    I will focus on building a genuine relationship with my audience and help them get results with every content and product I create.

  30. Erin on June 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Love this Natalie! #2 and #3 are my favourites …. Notebooks full of ideas with no action and everything changes!! All are extremely valuable lessons and a great reminder for those of us just starting out!

  31. Christina on June 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for this article Nathalie. No3 is something I can relate with strongly: My own impatience combined with all those overnight-success-story in the web can be discouraging sometimes. As I am a Lactation Consultant my business partly consists of 1-to-1 consulting. But I am in the process of building up a business with online breastfeeding advice for example “first aid” online courses for tricky breastfeeding situations such as sore nipples. People seem to love my blog an my YouTube channel, but I have the feeling they have to get used to online courses in my area of expertise here in the German speaking part of Europe. So I sometimes am a litte too impatient with how things are developing…

    By the way: Thank you for your awesome product “Webinar Ally” I just love it!!!

  32. Gowtham V on September 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Great tips. I have a web design business , its been a hard journey and it is still hard sometimes.But i suddenly after reading these tips released a lot of things that i can do to improve my business and avoid mistakes in the future.