Nathalie Dorémieux wasn’t a ‘natural-born’ entrepreneur. She had no plans of owning or even managing her own business. But that’s where she ultimately found herself anyway, thanks to her husband, John, who encouraged her to make use of her innate talents to pursue the journey of a business owner.
Now, Nathalie helps entrepreneurs leverage their own expertise with online programs that can support them with recurring income.
And, today, we’ll be getting to know her a little better by studying her journey so far. Starting with her early beginnings as a software engineer in the U.S. to the eventual ups and downs she experienced as she and her husband started their own business back in their home country.
Learn more about Nathalie Dorémieux in the interview below!
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
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Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Nathalie Dorémieux: So, I was actually not cut out to be an entrepreneur and be my own boss. And I was, in fact, very shy, I was definitely an introvert when I was younger. And it never crossed my mind that I would, sometime, own a business. What happened though? I met my husband at school and he was the entrepreneur type.
We were students in France at the time. And after school, we had an opportunity to go to the U.S. to connect with new people there and try to look for a job there because we are software engineers and we decided to do that and we ended up staying there for 10 years.
Even though the experience was great, after 10 years, we were just burned out. And when my husband asked me do you want to move back to France. I said yes. Long story short, that’s how we decided to start the business.
He was actually the entrepreneur and I was just going to tag along and, you know, be the employee so to speak. And that was actually pretty tough because he fired me, not once but twice, because I was just not acting like a business owner but more like an employee. But that’s the short story of how I got into entrepreneurship and owning my own business.
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Nathalie Dorémieux: If there is one thing that I’ve learned in our 16 years of being in business is focus, is really the key. Getting clarity and focus on what you want to do. Because it’s so easy to get distracted by, you know, things that could look like opportunities, but in fact, are just distractions.
One thing that we’ve been really, really good at is sticking to one offer that we have, which is called a membership lunchbox.
We build membership online portals for entrepreneurs, so that they can host their online courses, charge for memberships, their coaching programs and things like that. And through sticking with that, we achieve seven figures in less than four years with that one specific offer.
So sticking to an offer and then tweaking it based on the feedback that you’re getting, that was a huge milestone for us. Our next milestone is to increase our recurring revenues. As we are aiming into removing ourselves a bit more from the business and building a team. Which we have already. We have about nine employees right now, not full time obviously, but the goal is really to delegate more so that I can spend more time in my zone of genius and creating content, marketing strategies and again, focusing on those recurring revenues that bring you the Financial stability and that is really really important to me.
So those have been the two milestones. The first one has been successful, reaching the seven-figure with the membership lunchbox. And that second one is really getting to that next level and removing myself a bit more from the business.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Nathalie Dorémieux: So the journey has definitely not been easy, you know, we’ve been in business for 16 years and when we moved back to France, we had sold everything. So we had a good amount of cash in front of us and well, when you have money, you think you have time. So we took our time and of course, we were focusing on the things that we knew and we were avoiding the things that we
didn’t which is marketing and sales and things like that.
We were just staying in our own bubble and of course, when money started to run out, this is when we were faced with a dilemma, right? Do we keep going and give it another shot, but one thing for sure is what we’re doing is not working. So let’s get some help. And it’s really only when facing the world and having lost all our savings we realized we had to do something.
I have considered giving up a lot of times. I’ve even, for my own confidence, actually went in and did some job interviews just to build up my confidence and see if I could get a job. I did three interviews and I got two job offers. That actually boosted my confidence a great deal and looking back, I think it helped me a lot in realizing that there was more for me to do than just working a corporate job.
So what drove us to continue is the lifestyle that we had established. We were living in France, we had a beautiful house. We had a very nice backyard that looks like a park and we work whatever we want and I didn’t want to lose that. So that’s why we kept going.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons you learned from that?
Nathalie Dorémieux: One mistake that I made when I got started with my husband and business partner was that we thought that there was such a thing as instant success. We had to have some cash that we were ready to invest in. We thought BIG, right away, not that it’s necessarily the wrong thing. But
at the same time we were only focusing on the things that we knew how to do. Ignoring completely the other part of the business that needed the most attention. So, we were focusing on details that don’t really matter when you don’t have an audience and you don’t have a clear business plan. So, that’s a big mistake that cost us a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of energy as well, because it really shattered our confidence in being able to run a successful business.
The lessons that we learn and the takeaway that we got, is that the strength of an entrepreneur, the success of an entrepreneur lies really in surrounding himself or herself with the right people that can help in the areas where they are weak, or that they don’t like. There is no way that you can be good at everything and when people say in the beginning you have to do everything – sure, short-term you have to focus on everything and wear all the hats but very quickly, you have to focus on your zone of genius, on your expertise and surround yourself with the right people for the other things that need to get done. That is the only way to make this work because there is no way we can be good at everything.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Nathalie Dorémieux: So, the pandemic has really had a positive impact on our business because we help entrepreneurs build online programs. So as you can imagine, all the people that were doing offline coaching, that were going to corporate to do training and things like that, or had shops that had to close down, had to figure out a way to stay in business. And for a lot of
people that was getting online.
Do it’s actually kind of like put a light on the online world and what we’ve seen is that some people will not go back to offline and would actually stay online and it’s really sad that it took this pandemic for some people to realize that this is really what they were supposed to do and that’s what they really love to do.
We have the example of a client who is a yoga teacher and she had to close down two studios in Ireland, so she quickly went online and now she has three memberships with us and it’s a blessing for her. She’s so grateful that she had to take the leap because she had no choice. So it’s definitely impacted us in a positive way and it’s just helped us. Also we find our offer and tweak it for people going from offline to online.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Nathalie Dorémieux: Standing out from the competition is actually something that we’ve been looking at. Since we’ve been helping people with their online businesses, we’ve been closely looking out because we don’t want to compete on price. We want to stand out. The way we’ve been standing out from the competition is by offering things that are unique and that others don’t have.
So we’re always on the lookout for what is going on and what our competition does and making sure that we are always one step ahead. I do this by having lots of conversations with entrepreneurs and figuring out what their struggles are and what their needs are, and coming up with solutions that are a bit more custom than others. That’s really how we want to stand out we want to be the only one that does this type of thing.
That’s how we create our own Blue Ocean strategy. We don’t really have real competition because all ideal clients are looking for these custom things. Because we have a background in software engineering we were able to create even more customized solutions. So we are well into bringing your vision and what you’re trying to do and then we’ll take care of the tech. And not all our competitors can do that. So, I’ll focus mainly on delivering things fast because speed matters and money loves speed and building platforms that are robust and scalable because businesses are constantly growing, and your online portal needs to, as well.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Nathalie Dorémieux: I truly believe that relationship and communication is the key. At the end of the day, people do business with people and it’s the same thing with your team. So making sure that there is a level of trust and a level of responsibility for the tasks that are assigned to you. That’s for the staff workers and holding people accountable when they commit to what they see that they would do.
My biggest strength is really, being a people person first and basically having those strong relationships with people, beyond the business side of things and being able to connect with people at a deeper level.
I’m also a great listener and I think people can feel that. So those would be my strengths in terms of interacting with whether it is clients or customers. Customers often say that they love that I’m a great listener and that I ask the right questions to get them thinking. I think it’s very empowering to a client when you ask them the question so that they can come up with their own answers. They really love that. It’s very empowering.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Nathalie Dorémieux: I think it’s important for a CEO to be mindful of his own brand. Though I think that at the beginning, sometimes people focus too much on that part and not really on their identity. I think a brand is something that you build as you go, you build this experience. So, when you start a business, having all the divisions and the values, and all that stuff, coming out when you’re just getting started, I think is hard. It’s something that you work at constantly
We actually are in the process right now of reviewing our vision and our core values and things like that. And that’s something that we’re going to do regularly from now on and we want to pass that to our team. So I think you can reach a certain level without having to worry too much about that. But afterwards, as you want to grow bigger and you want to build that brand, there needs to be some congruence between your message and then how visible you are and your brand. So that becomes more and more prominent and that’s definitely something that we are working on at the moment.
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How do you monitor if the people in your department are performing at their best?
Nathalie Dorémieux: This is actually something that I keep refining and I keep improving. But what I have found is that having clear roles for every person in the team in the organization and responsibilities and commitment and then having checkpoints just to figure out how things are going? What is the one block? We also have all our employees, our students work on an exercise called the Unique Brilliance and it’s basically really important for me to know what they love to do and what they are great at and what they are great at but don’t love to do so much. What they can do, but don’t consider themselves great at and what they hate to do when they consider that they are doing a bad job. So it’s great exercise for me and it’s a great exercise for them as well, so that they can know themselves better.
But then I can also make sure that I keep them working on their Unique Brilliance. So it’s not just for me the owner, but it’s also for the people that are on my team to make sure that they always work on something that they love doing, and that they are really, really good at, and that is going to naturally increase performance because they are doing something that they love.
So, of course, tracking progress and having specific goals and we also have tools to track performance and results, but basically the bottom line is it’s a lot easier for people to perform at their best when you make them work on things that are in their unique brilliance.
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Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Nathalie Dorémieux: I think that this is something that you can learn along the way. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think you can be an entrepreneur on your own. There are very, very few, people that can achieve that. And the reason is that there are different mindsets and different roles. You have the visionary that has the vision. And then you have the integrator which is the person that’s actually doing the work and very few people are both.
So the visionary is the one that has all the ideas and very often that person quickly needs some type of integrator to actually make things happen. So that’s where you see a lot of people with many ideas and shifting from one idea to the other without getting anything done and then you have the integrators, the more analytical people that are actually doing things but don’t know how to market, they are not visible.
So I think that the first step is really to be able to identify your personality and where are you and where you stand in that spectrum and to quickly get support in the areas where you need help. So for me, for example, I am not a visionary at all, so I know I need help in that area to make sure that I do spend time in that bigger picture, instead of getting drawn into the working and the implementing.
I don’t think that you’re born with it. I think the people that feel might be born with it are more like the visionary type because they have all these ideas but then you realize when they are successful that there was a whole team behind and sometimes they don’t even know the details, somebody makes it happen. So I think that the biggest thing is really to know where you are, what your personality type is and surround yourself with the people in the areas that you’re weaker. So, that together as a team, you can make it
What’s your favorite “leadership” quote and how has it affected the way you implement your leadership style?
Nathalie Dorémieux: So this is a quote that I found out about recently, and it says: I can do things that you cannot, you can do things that I cannot, together we can do great things. Mother Teresa.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Nathalie for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Nathalie or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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