Lisa Messenger is living many lives in one. She is a publisher, property developer and marketing guru. She has co-authored 17 books, published over 400, and been a finalist for the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year award on three occasions. Ever the adventurer, Lisa has trekked through India to raise money for charity and spent time in a raw food commune in Costa Rica. I met her while shooting her home in Sydney for Warnes & Walton (which featured in Real Living magazine). I also wrote about her holiday home in Bangalow - which you can rent - for the same publication.
Which five words best describe you? Fun, spontaneous, passionate, innovative, creative.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started off as a horse riding instructor on my gap year in England. Then moved into conference and event management and from there to sponsorship for the likes of The Wiggles, Cirque du Soleil and Barry Humphries. In 2001 I started my own sponsorship agency. The market bottomed out and so I morphed into an integrated marketing agency (being everything to everyone and undercharging and overservicing). Tired of that and going through a divorce I decided in my elusive search for happiness I would write a book on happiness. I knew nothing about publishing. Naivety, it turns out, was a good thing. I applied my sponsorship and marketing acumen and pre-sold to corporates to use as premiums, incentives, gifts and rewards and supported charity Kids Help Line. Eight years later I, along with my great team, have published over 400 books for other people and I’ve authored and co-authored 17. Funny what can happen and where your life can take you when you stay open.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Surround yourself with a great team and always believe in yourself or no-one else will.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Publishing Happiness Is… which took me out of my slump and created an extraordinary new exciting journey.
What’s been your best decision? Surrounding myself with an awesome team and having an excellent group of advisers.
Who inspires you? So many people – Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Chip Conley but then also on a daily basis I am lucky enough to meet with incredible people from all walks of life who have done amazing things.
What are you passionate about? Life! I am passionate about big ideas and people who are crazy enough to challenge the status quo and really try to change the world. People who back themselves and don’t settle for mediocrity.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oprah Winfrey
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I believe dreams must constantly change. I set goals and achieve them and then stay open as there are opportunities for new and exciting things around every corner. We laugh every day at how quickly things can change in a 24-hour period. Life is exciting and there is just so much out there. I want to do it all.
What are you reading? Being in custom publishing I find I read a little bit of everything every day – clients' books and then other books and mags, websites, blogs and Tweets to stay abreast of the latest trends, the hottest topics and the ways of the world.
images courtesy of warnes & walton (portrait and bedroom - photography chris warnes, styling natalie walton), real living (top, bedroom, bangalow spread) and lisa messenger