SASM 021 – Residual Income and Minimal Experiences with Natalie Sisson

Smart and Simple Matters

Are you familiar with suitcase entrepreneurs?

Natalie Sisson is… because she happens to be an original suitcase entrepreneur, and a super successful one at that.

I’ve seen Natalie’s name across the Interwebs for a while, but it wasn’t until her podcast with Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist that I started paying close attention.

And she’s absolutely worth paying close attention to.

I caught up with Natalie via Skype at her co-working location in Berlin for this episode of Smart and Simple Matters. She’s been globe-trotting, rocking and rolling in business, and spreading her vision to see people have freedom in all parts of life.

It was both a personal pleasure and a treat to talk to her about the things you care about. I’m not going to impress you with her credentials here as you can get that from the show and all around the web.

But Natalie can talk powerfully about just about any topic under the sun, so we covered a lot of ground. Here’s a slice of her philosophy as we started to get into what building freedom in business and adventure in life looks like:

If I really look at my path and how far I’ve come in the last few years, it’s all been when I got really clear on why I’m doing what I’m doing. Because up until then I was really [thinking], ‘Well, what the heck am I doing?’ And once I got it down to what is my purpose, what impact do I want to leave… everything just became crystal clear.

Pay full attention for this one and get ready to dig in for a lively and insightful conversation.

What You’ll Learn

Once you adjust to a little background noise – no big whoop and part of the ambiance – you’ll appreciate a ton from Natalie.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • What “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is and why Natalie is motivated by it.
  • How the “experiences over stuff” mindset uniquely evolves in a suitcase entrepreneur.
  • Why you should aim for residual income streams instead of passive income generation.
  • The stats behind the similarities between you, me, and everyone else.
  • Why competition is essential in life, business, and becoming a world-class Ultimate Frisbee player.
  • Who Natalie’s favorite guru is (and why he helps her believe in something big).

Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode Include:


  • [03:58] Natalie’s background and her seeds of awesomeness
  • [07:43] The spark that lit Natalie’s suitcase entrepreneur existence
  • [15:15] What passive residual income looks like in Natalie’s business
  • [22:01] The various uses of Evernote and curating
  • [28:05] Natalie and I split hairs about how much people have in common
  • [30:36] “Why”
  • [35:38] What it’s like to compete in sports, business, and life

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The transcript will not be available until I find a new transcriptionist (if you know someone good, let me know).

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4 Responses to SASM 021 – Residual Income and Minimal Experiences with Natalie Sisson

  1. Nancy Woodward says:

    I am an awesome transcriptionist! I am trained for the medical field but I can understand “real” people too. Add to that, I am also an aspiring minimalist.

    Thank you for your consideration in this great opportunity.

  2. David Delp says:

    Great interview Joel. Natalie’s practice of extreme minimalism gives us an excellent example of a very rich life lived with so little of what people feel they need. She clearly “walks the talk” as she says. What an inspiration.

    Natalie, I wonder what you have you learned about how people live minimally with children. They seem to be the main reason people anchor themselves to a place. Leo Babauta has a bunch of kids and no car. That’s quite remarkable, but I don’t think he travels a lot. How do people live minimally and travel with kids?

    Oh, and I’m all about Do or Do Not. True words of an existentialist Jedi!

    I’m eager to meet you both at WDS!

    • Hey David,

      I’m not sure what Natalie can offer related to being a minimalist with kids, even though I’m sure she’s observed people in that situation. Whatever she has to say – and I hope she’ll chime in when she’s done with her WE Mastermind Program launch – will be useful though. She’s wise in many, many things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

      We can absolutely chat about the topic at WDS though (along with all the other amazing things to talk about in a city full of amazing people)!

    • David great comment. Did we miss each other at WDS? I met so many folks there and it was crazy great but also 3,000 folks meant many blurry moments.

      I don’t have kids and I don’t know how that feels to have to pack for two but I’m sure there are ways to go minimal with kids who generally require less clothes, perhaps more gear. If you look at cultures around the world kids don’t have much at all and are still happy. Perhaps we can learn from that in the Western World

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