Natalie Colalillo is the founder and CEO of Happy Healthy Women, a global collective of women entrepreneurs who see happiness, health and success as one full circle. Her heart’s calling lies in bringing amazing women together and empowering them to step into their greatness. With over 20 years of experience in both wellness and business, Natalie is also a plant-based lifestyle & business coach specializing in empowering “solopreneurs” to establish and succeed in their dream business. Starting Happy Healthy Women and coaching others to success has been the most fulfilling of her projects, as she feels fortunate to work with such incredible women who are living their dreams and changing lives.
I truly believe that when we set our inner intentions for our lives, people and events occur to make these intentions a reality. This happened to me, as I navigated my reinvention from corporate saleswoman – the only career I had ever really known – to entrepreneur, with a grand vision and sincere beliefs.
One of the women I met along my journey was Natalie Colalillo, founder and CEO of Happy Healthy Women (HHW). In fact, meeting Natalie was quite accidental. My wish to create a platform for women to help them reinvent themselves like I had done, was a deep desire, and it started many years prior to the actual launch of Power Purpose Play. I went on a quest to network with as many women as possible, to hear their concerns, stories, and how I could be of service to them. I came across a meetup group in my town, hosted by a branch of HHW, and attended my first coffee meet and greet there. Immediately I felt the warmth of the women there, and how much we had in common, versus what separated us.
I was intrigued by this collective of women, and found out that it was created by Natalie, whose vision was to help entrepreneurs like me realize their dreams. So I became a member of HHW, and attended more and more meetings, and day-long inspiring events. Through this collective I have met many wonderful women, and have received great support in launching my own business.
I was curious to learn more about Natalie, how she got started, and what kind of reinvention she herself went through, as inspiration for us to learn as well. Often when we see successful people, we think it comes quite naturally, with no effort or struggles on their part, but as I learned more of Natalie’s story, I understood that she, like many of us, went through her share of obstacles to be where she is today.
PPP: Natalie, can you tell me a bit about your story? Where did it really start, and what defining moment/s did you have or moment of realization that a change needed to be made?
I come from an amazing family of incredibly dedicated, sweat, blood, tears type of entrepreneurs. Growing up, I was taught to have a strong work ethic, a thick skin, and a “no matter what” attitude. I learned that if you want to own your own business – and succeed – you have to be willing to roll with the punches and take the good with the bad.
Small Business Burnout
I did all of this and more when I opened my first business – a women’s accessory boutique at the age of 28. I had three walls, a pretty main street window and a boatload of determination. I was a happy, excited, girl. I loved the business, but it was ruining my life. I did everything they tell you NOT to do when you open a business, and before I knew it, I was up to my eyeballs in debt, gaining weight, never seeing the people I cared about, and crying myself to sleep at night.
I knew I needed to make a change when a) I poured a gin and tonic the second I walked in the door every day to take the edge off my life, and b) I went grocery shopping and only had enough in my bank account to purchase a can of tuna and a head of lettuce.
PPP: That must have been extremely difficult, Natalie! How did you get through this?
I was working SO hard in life – I owned my own business, I was doing all the right things, and bleeding dry in every way…how was it possible I was STILL at this point? I hit this breaking point personally, emotionally and financially and got pretty cozy at rock bottom. I couldn’t figure out why things weren’t working – and then it hit me. I wasn’t working hard at all on the thing that mattered most. Me. This is what I call the end that sparked the beginning.
After this realization, I started doing things that brought me joy, and I started working on myself. Reading, exercising, eating well…I started to find love for me again.
Rebuilding One Day at a Time
PPP: It’s wonderful that you recognized the need to work on yourself. There must have been many obstacles and/or limiting beliefs that were in front of you – can you share what those were?
I closed a business I had invested my life into – all of my savings, my time, my energy. I was forced out, which was the hardest thing in the world to face at that time. I felt lost, worthless, and hit a huge rock bottom.
I also was faced with the internal conversation I had with myself over and over again about not being able to succeed at anything. Picking myself up out of bed and moving forward was tough, but I started with one baby step at a time.
PPP: How did you overcome these obstacles and/or limiting beliefs, and how has the journey transformed you as an individual?
I just decided that anywhere was better than where I was. I put one foot in front of the other and started to believe in myself little by little. I had to face my financial ruin – so I brought my banker muffins – and begged him for help! I started leaving my house and getting active and being in nature. I invested in learning, growing, coaching, and my own personal growth. I asked people to believe in me again. And, I started a community of women who believed what I believed.
PPP: Where has this journey of reinvention taken you now, Natalie?
I have come a long way. I still work on me daily, and as a result, I have created multiple businesses that I’m REALLY proud of, and excited for the next chapter. I’ll never stop learning and growing, and I’m grateful for that.
In addition to Happy Healthy Women which is a global community of incredible women changing the world, I am also a social marketing professional and a Wellness & Business coach. I also co-own Jeremotion Pictures – a videography business with my husband where we help business owners create videos in their business and promote themselves in their own authentic way. For me, it’s all the one mission which is to empower others (especially women) to be happier, healthier and more successful. The multiple businesses are simply my vehicles to make that happen.
PPP: What are some of the main lessons you learned that can help our audience with their own journey of transformation?
- Work on you more than anything else. YES, you need coaching. YES, you need to move and eat well. YES, you need to do the work with all the messy stuff that sits inside you in order to move forward. It won’t happen unless you do the work on YOU first.
- Lead with the heart and let the mind come along to compute. Being led by profits won’t fulfill you. Ask yourself – what does your heart want? Start there and the money will come!
- Stay in your lane. Focus on you – not what others are doing. They are not in your shoes and living your life. Staying true to YOU will bring you exactly what you need/want at exactly the right time.