How I'm Skirting the Rules

I Want You to Conquer Your Year

Self-made entrepreneur and founder of She Takes on the World is showing women how to be their own boss, live on purpose, and make your biggest goals happen in 2017.

She Takes on the World founder Natalie MacNeil sitting in a chair.

Conquer Your Year author Natalie MacNeil believes that focusing on one big goal at a time and breaking them down into smaller weekly sprints makes you more likely to achieve them.

Sometimes life gives us signs if we’re open to seeing them. For entrepreneur Natalie MacNeil, her “aha!” moment happened when she was on a trip to the Czech Republic, driving down a road trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. She was listening to David Ghetta’s “The World is Mine,” when she passed an enormous globe that read “The World is Yours.” She took this moment as inspiration to abandon any idea that she should become a lawyer—as she was being strongly encouraged to do—and instead follow her entrepreneurial yearnings to create an online empire that shows women how to be happy at work. Today, Natalie is an Emmy Award-winning media producer; creator of She Takes On The World, recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 10 Websites for Entrepreneurial Women,” and author of Conquer Your Year: The Ultimate Planner to Get More Done, Grow Your Business, and Achieve Your DreamsHere Natalie shares how she trusted her gut and built a million-dollar company.

I’m Skirting the Rules by redefining success for the next generation of women leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. I think that women used to have to act “like men” in order to succeed. I started my career surrounded by women mentors who actually encouraged me to do just that if I wanted “to make it.” Trying to stay tuned into my masculine versus my feminine all the time was exhausting, and not who I really am at my core. It wasn’t until a meeting with Arianna Huffington that I was encouraged to bring my femininity to the work I do, and show the world there’s a different way for us to lead as women. We talked about not running ourselves to the ground, being compassionate and empathetic in our relationships, and striking a balance that we define for ourselves.

A time when I found the possible (a creative solution) within the impossible (against incredible odds) is on the many trips I’ve taken to developing countries where I have seen creative solutions at work first-hand. When you don’t have money; big-box stores and grocery stores to shop at; or employment prospects; you have no choice but to get creative. I’ve seen clothing made out of banana leaves, shoes made out of old tires or rubbish, community trade economies alive and well. Having traveled so much, I don’t really look at anything in my life or business as “impossible or against incredible odds.” There’s always a way through. Creativity is the most powerful currency we have!

An example of how listening to my intuition has helped me is starting She Takes on the World, a website dedicated to helping women become their own bosses and living on purpose. There was a tiny whispering telling me “do this…” Then there were louder voices telling me not to. I trusted the whisper, and built a million-dollar company. Today, I think entrepreneurship is the new women’s movement.

My secret talent is interior design. (I even have a diploma!)

A woman is most powerful when she makes her own rules, and unapologetically shares her voice and her talents.

What I wish I had told myself when I was starting out is to “not give a %$&* what people think.” I cared so much about pleasing people, and so much about what people would think of me. I would dim my light and play small to make other people feel better or more comfortable around me. Not anymore!

My favorite skirt (a.k.a life hack) is to work in 12-week sprints, which is also at the heart of the planner I created, Conquer Your Year. By pinpointing my five big-picture goals and then breaking each into five smaller, actionable milestones completed over the course of 12 weeks, my dreams seem more doable and easier to achieve. This is how I was able to write my book proposal and ultimately get a book deal. It’s truly the secret to my success.