Welcome to “Procrastineur”, a newsletter about struggles and successes in modern entrepreneurship.
It’s Thursday, May 20, 2021, and this week’s founder is Natalie Furness:
Born for entrepreneurship, but she didn’t know it
Life as a physio, among other things
Fear causes procrastination
Overcoming that fear
Inspiration from a Fireman
Natalie Furness was destined to be an entrepreneur. She just took a while to figure that out for herself.
At age eight, she and a friend started making friendship bracelets sold them to classmates and friends for pocket money.
At home, she watched her parents struggle through tight budgets on her dad's low salary as a fireman. He and her mom would argue at the breakfast table about how they shouldn't start a business. As so many who have been in the same position know, it was only a matter of time before they struck off on the entrepreneurial journey.
Natalie didn’t immediately follow in her dad’s footsteps. She went on to University and earned a physio therapy degree. Thanks to a performing arts scholarship's requirement to give back, she took on a project for community theater. After seeing how much success Natalie was having, the business school extended her a scholarship as well. She built up the program until her graduation, when she became a full time physio and let the project drop.
Natalie still didn't know she was an entrepreneur.
Enter the “real” world
As a freelance physio, Natalie had the opportunity to work for tons of different people. She managed to earn her way onto the payroll with a professional lacrosse team, among other odd jobs.
She never stopped working on other pursuits, though, writing for companies such as Microsoft. She was recruited for other marketing roles because of that work, bouncing around jobs, living paycheck to paycheck.
Natalie was procrastinating becoming an entrepreneur.
Fear and delay
Natalie took her talents to a company focusing in blockchain (that confusing web of interconnected tech used in cryptocurrency and other applications), working day and night to eventually raise $27 million. She learned the power of ideas and of selling a promise – the technology wasn't even close to ready.
Crypto was, and is, a huge space though – Natalie met and has kept in touch with so many influential people in the space. She has started a project that helps women get into blockchain as well.
6 months of freelance work, bouncing around jobs again.
Natalie started and stopped so many different projects. Money is a good motivator, but it doesn't help find a purpose. Just making a few bucks here and there wasn't good enough.
Natalie had the itch, but hadn’t quite gotten ready to dive in.
Natalie continued procrastinating setting up her own business by applying for various jobs that she didn't really want, but wanted to be able to fall back on. She turned down one offer after another.
Natalie fondly remembers finally taking the plunge – she rang a friend and told her that she wouldn't apply for any more jobs. Natalie's friend encouraged her, telling her that she had known what Natalie should do for nearly two years!
It took a while, but Natalie built up a customer base for her marketing skills.
Then Covid hit. She went back on the front lines for about a week as a physio. Her paycheck came in, and she realized just how far she had come. Working for herself was more fulfilling and payed better. Win-win.
Natalie still wanted to help others though, so she recruited some friends who were struggling to find marketing gigs. She figured (and was proven right) that she could hand off a few clients to people she trusted, then find more clients.
Suddenly, Natalie had a marketing agency. She'd made it.
Nowadays, Natalie runs her agency, but she also works in the tech space as well.
Her latest build is Minimum Viable Stack, a marketplace for no-code tech experts to showcase their talents to companies or people in need of those skills. You can check it out at minimumviablestack.com.
“Procrastineur” is a newsletter about new business, modern founders, and procrastination, written by Will Whittenton. You can connect with me through my website, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoy the newsletter, I’d really appreciate it if you would share or forward it to others.