2015 Suitcase Entrepreneur Annual Survey Results

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Build Your Online Business, Podcast / 20 comments

Each year I survey my awesome freedom fighting community and ask them to “Tell me what you want, what you really want?”.

This year I had close to 500 people do just that which blew me away.

Such rich golden nuggets of insight were contained within your answers to my questions that I now have a very clear focus on how I can continue to help you create freedom in business and adventure in life.

Below I share the results of the survey (which I promised to do), the key takeaways and more importantly what you can expect as a result of better understanding what you need, want and desire.

To make it easy for you, simply click on the links below depending on what you want to dive into, or just read from the top to the bottom!

Overall findings of the Annual Survey

This year I decided to change up my questions a little from previous years to get a better handle on what stage of business you’re at, where in the world you are and just who makes up my community.

Below are the questions I asked and the answers I received.

  • What type of business do you currently have (or would like to have)
  • What is the SINGLE biggest challenge you have right now?
  • Which of the following topics are most important for you right now?
  • What’s the approximate revenue you’ve made in your business/career in the last 12 months?
  • What do you want to see more of on the blog and in my weekly emails?
  • Which of the following ways are you involved in the Suitcase Entrepreneur Community?
  • Which is your preferred method of communication and learning from me?
  • Where in the world do you live?
  • What age group do you fall into?

So let’s get into summarizing the key findings shall we?

What type of business do you currently have (or would like to have)

As expected there was a huge mix of businesses you own and run, or would like to start – which I frankly love as it shows that almost anything is possible when it comes to building a business and monetizing yourself.

You are a talented bunch made up of but not limited to the following: copywriter, web designer, consultant, health mentor, speaker, author, travel blogger, writer, mobile application developer, caterers, fitness coach, furniture designer, highway construction, veterinarian, scuba diving instructor, luxury concierge, travel tours, skincare sales and my personal favorite..”I don’t know yet and it’s killing me!”

What is the SINGLE biggest challenge you have right now?

No real surprises here with the top 10 being:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Resources
  • Confidence
  • Creating products
  • Defining my offer
  • Fear
  • Finding clients
  • Getting started
  • Mindset

Which of the following topics are most important for you right now?

This was probably the most surprising result of the survey.

While I know as entrepreneurs we are always focused on how to make more money, get more clients, be more productive, free up more time, and then grow and scale…. I had NO idea that making more money and adding more revenue streams was going to be the definitive winner at 68%.

This was followed by:

  • Getting visibility online and attracting more leads/ traffic 221 – 46%
  • Creating & Launching products 203 – 42%
  • Finding your target market and ideal clients 187 – 39%
  • Productivity and Time Management 113 – 24%
  • Outsourcing and Streamlining your business 72 – 15%
  • Choosing where to live and digital nomadism 76 – 16%
  • Social Media Strategy 74 – 15%
  • Travel hacking and lifestyle tips 47 – 10%

So I’m excited to see that the online marketing and sales aspect of your business is a key highlight and getting savvier on how to launch products is important to you.

Although in the past productivity, streamlining your business and social media were more important.

What also surprised me was that travel hacking and lifestyle tips rated so low, as did choosing where to live and being a digital nomad.

I mean this is pretty much the essence of the Suitcase Entrepreneur and the third stage of my Freedom Plan program, as the key focus is on growing a fabulous business to support your ideal lifestyle. So…

I’d love for you to leave a comment below as to whether you think that’s because you prefer to live vicariously through my travels and lifestyle but perhaps don’t necessarily think that’s what you want for yourself?

What’s the approximate revenue you’ve made in your business/career in the last 12 months?

Once again this did surprise me a little as 74% of respondents are generating less than $50,000 in revenue per year.

Revenue for TSE survey

From this I estimate that the type of audience I’m attracting are wanting to break free of their 9-5 or are more at the beginning stage of their business (and I totally know that feeling, having been broke for the first 6 months of my business).

Or it could be that there are more lifestyle businesses where travel and adventure are taking priority over income – which I fully support although am a firm believer you can have both – a rocking business and an amazing life – so expect more from me on helping you achieve that!

In addition 3% were earning over $300,00 which speaks to the upper end of my community with successful businesses wanting more freedom, who are interested in high level masterminds and retreats from me.

I’d like to hear from you in the comments as to how important revenue is to you when building your business, versus making an impact or having a freedom-based lifestyle?

What do you want to see more of on the blog and in my weekly emails?

This is such important and juicy information for me to have to hand so I can figure out where best to put my energy and into what types of content and mediums.

And you had a LOT to say! I popped in some of the most popular themes below.

Note:  If there’s a clickable link on one of the answers it’s leading to a blog post, video or podcast that already answers it (although there’s always room to cover off on these great topics even more).

Which of the following ways are you involved in the Suitcase Entrepreneur Community?

As you can see below you EAT up my blog and there’s also been a big growth in my podcast community which I love putting out twice a week.

Not subscribed yet?  You are missing out so head to iTunes here, or Stitcher for twice weekly goodness on Monday and Thursday.

Even though I’ve not been producing weekly videos for a year they are still getting found and watched through my podcast and YouTube channel with thousands of views.

Suitcase Entrepreneur Community

I also love seeing that my meetups, webinars, retreats and events I’m speaking at, are a key place that many of you are meeting me now – in person, which is definitely one of my preferred methods of getting to know you!

Which is your preferred method of communication and learning from me

Apparently more of what I’m doing is what you want with the top methods being (and you could vote for more than one method):

  • 45% of you dig my blog posts
  • 41% of you love my Suitcase Entrepreneur Podcast
  • 38% of you want more videos
  • 37% of you value my online trainings
  • 31% of you appreciate my webinars
  • 28% of you enjoy my books and guides
  • 10% of you want more workshops and retreats

Where in the world do you live?

I can see on Google Analytics that 158 countries visit my website, but for this survey 49 countries were represented!!! Also the order came out slightly different too.

The top 10 are:

  1. USA
  2. UK
  3. New Zealand
  4. Canada
  5. Australia
  6. Germany
  7. India
  8. Switzerland
  9. Italy
  10. Hong Kong

Basically we are an international lot which I love as there’s always someone new to meet in every location around the world and we have a global perspective on life and business.

What age group do you fall into?

As suspected, as a brand you often attract people like yourself. So the main age group are those from 35-44 with a very close tie for second between 26-44 and 45-54.

Survey 2015 Age

On the whole I love that my audience is so diverse as I truly see no age barrier to building your freedom lifestyle business.

I get contacted by students wanting to ditch the traditional path set out before them through to more and more people in their 50s and 60s, selling up everything and taking off around the world in campervans or sailboats looking to build a business that suits them.

Anything else you’d like me to know? 

So I have to say I received some really valuable feedback in this section and a whole lotta love, which I’m only including below to thank those of you gave it, here are a few tasters!

I think you’re grand, thank you for your generosity and for being so inspiring

I met you in London for the meet-up – ‘accused’ you of being an introvert 😉  Love what you do, keep doing it. Thank you for being authentic.  

You are awesome…  and I love your straight-forward up-front personality.

I’m 27 and I’m just very thankful for all the good content you provide us with. I started following you because I wanted to be location free and actually after a couple of months I realised that I wasn’t sure anymore about the location free lifestyle. You are an inspiration but i’m not sure I still want to be that free. 

Your book has been tremendous + love the online tools list (such a great help) 

Your advice conveys the essence of a life being well-lived and provides a model of the kind of lifestyle I want and intend to have (I’m 19). Also, I think I have a crush on you.

I think I need (personally) more direct ideas on things like the best way to implement my course, the best online program to use for building the course etc.

I have met you once in DCBKK event. After reading your book, I absolutely love what you do! Thank you for building your passion into a reality, it’s encouraging and inspiring for a female entrepreneur to make it happen.

Your podcasts absolutely rock. I love them and I’m working through as many episodes as I can. Only suggestion I have is that I would like to be able to search the podcast alone (i.e. separate from the search box for the entire site) for particular topics, so that I can listen to themes.

Of course I encourage to leave even more ideas and suggestions in the comments below!

What actions I’m going to take to deliver to you!

So the great thing about diving into these results (which I’m still continuing to do) is it’s given me an even clearer outline on what you really really want.

You’ve probably already figured out some of what I’m going to do and deliver to get you the outcomes you need. But in no particular order, here are the key actions I’m going to take over the next 1-6 months:

1. More Mega Blog Posts

Long form content is not only great for SEO but it’s also highly valued by readers.

In the past 12 months I’ve embarked on some mega-posts that were really well received like The Ultimate Guide on How to Use Asana to Become a Productivity and Task Management Genius or The Ultimate Guide To Creating and Running a Kick Ass Webinar.

While they take a lot of effort to put together and research, they do go over really well and bring in a lot more visitors and traffic, plus they work really well to turn into mini guides or Slideshare.

I’m sitting on a rather mega mega-post on the Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Ideal Membership Site Solution – so stay tuned.

2. More Juicy Podcasts

I’m seeing the stats climb and climb for listeners and downloads of my twice weekly podcast. The Monday 30-40 minute interviews with great entrepreneurs, followed by the Thursday Fresh in Fifteen (as in a fresh perspective on business, mindset or lifestyle in 15 minutes or less) seem to be going down a treat.

I’ve been getting more personal and vulnerable recently too which has seen a spike in great feedback and listeners too – who knew. So more of that and behind the scenes like [179] Adventure Tips for Digital Nomads Navigating a New Location.

I’ve also started including Bonus downloads for the most recent episodes whereby the best of the content discussed in the Monday interviews is distilled into a handy workbook for you and you get them all here.

Oh and to combine podcasts and your love of videos we’re releasing previous episodes in MP4 format on my YouTube channel that you can find on this playlist, starting from episode 101.

If you have any further ideas or suggestions for guests you’d love to hear from let me know in the comments!

3. Bringing Back Videos

I used to love working with videographers in NYC, London and Berlin to bring you a weekly video to help you build your freedom lifestyle business.

But being on the move constantly made it a little more difficult, hence why I’d shoot 10-14 videos in one day, on location, to get 3 months worth of content upfront.

And at one point, even though I got a lot of positive feedback, I frankly wasn’t impressed with the number of views of my videos and so decided to take a break to focus on my podcasts that continued to grow in popularity.

Now I look at my YouTube channel and see thousands of views on videos still being watched thousands of subscribers, so I know this content is evergreen and appreciated and does lead to more traffic, visitors and subscribers and of course customers.

Plus people have told me they miss seeing me goof around on videos…so good news. I’ll be doing two things:

1. Weekly Periscopes on location with short tips and topics you brought to my attention in the survey

2. ‘Home-made’ videos on these topics that are 2-4 minutes in length, candid, to the camera and highly valuable.

Topics will include:

  • Viable internet businesses
  • Generating more residual income
  • Self-Worthiness
  • Sales Funnel optimization
  • Quitting your job and creating a digital nomad lifestyle
  • Growth in all areas of your life
  • Finding the right business model to suit you
  • Figuring out the practical operational side
  • Connecting with others around the world
  • Plus those Single Biggest Challenge areas mentioned above!

I’ve covered several of these topics in videos, blog posts and podcasts but I believe you can never exhaust a topic that people truly want to learn more and master…so stay tuned.

PS Check out the playlists I have on my YouTube Channel and dive into topics you want to.

4. More Products and Trainings on Making Money

Since this was a topic 68% of you were crying out for I’m going to be updating my freebie optin to include a resource on ways to make more revenue and monetize yourself.

In fact the Suitcase Starter Kit is being rebranded to the Freedom Kit to include a few NEW or updated resources for September 1st and everyone who’s already a Highflyer and receiving my emails will get sent it too.

Not a Highflyer yet? Sign up here and get your free kit!

Then I’ll start working on other mini guides, products or trainings to hit the other topics most highlighted by you in the survey and including these in monthly trainings in the Freedom Collective.

5. The Freedom Collective

So it’s become pretty apparent to me since I closed up the Highflyer Club (to have a break and get a fresh new perspective), and since the live version of the Freedom Plan Program finished, that people want ongoing group coaching, ongoing learning and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and digital nomads like those who come to my meetups and retreats.

So I’m beyond thrilled to announce the upcoming Freedom Collective get on the VIP list here.The Freedom Collective VIP list

This is a three-part membership that covers off on:

  1. An Amazing Community of Freedom Fighters, from around the world that you can connect with, gets answers to your questions in the friendly forum, do business with, trade skills with, mastermind with and find an accountability partner within. As well as that there’ll be opportunities for meetups you organize, and first dibs on upcoming events and retreats I run.
  2. LIVE Monthly Group Coaching Call with yours truly. I’ve not offered 1-on-1 coaching since late 2013 and group coaching is only available through my Freedom Plan Full Program and nowhere else, so it’s time that changed. If you want laser coaching on your specific business, mindset and lifestyle challenges and to learn from others, then you won’t want to miss these.
  3. LIVE Monthly Expert Training on specific topics like growing your list and making more sales through webinars, mastering Facebook marketing and advertising, travel hacking and how to get free accommodation, and overcoming limiting beliefs and mastering your mindset to name a few. These will be run by myself or an expert I bring in. They will build on what’s covered in my Freedom Plan too.

Stay tuned for more details by getting on the VIP list as membership intake will be limited each month to ensure the community is super high quality.

As you can see I’m super excited about embarking on this next chapter of the Suitcase Entrepreneur and there’s much work to be done to bring you blog posts, podcasts, videos and trainings to help you achieve freedom in business and adventure in life.

I welcome your comments below to add to these findings and give me further golden nuggets with which to create more value in your life!