Today I have a brand new guest interview for you, and I’m very excited because it’s one of my mastermind sisters and one of my business besties, Nicole Santer. 

Nicole is a business alignment and integration mentor who helps her clients to strategically work on their business instead of feeling lost in it. She empowers women to create a life and a business on their terms, whilst managing their energy, their happiness and their fulfillment. Her mission is to help women take back their time and find financial freedom, doing work that they genuinely love. 

Today, Nicole shares her incredible journey from overworking herself, hustling and burning herself into the ground, to being able to have more financial and time freedom to be a mum and wife, enjoy life and manage a full-time job – all at the same time. Pretty incredible if you ask me!

This episode was so expansive and next level – we’re basically twins. If you like the content I put out, you’re gonna LOVE this episode with Nicole. 


In this episode, we talk about:

  • How to work smarter and NOT hustle harder
  • Bringing yourself back from the brink of burnout
  • Using your values as your guiding star
  • The amazing interplay of strategy, mindset and energy


Tune in to the episode here:

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The episode breakdown:

Elley: I have one of my mastermind sisters with me today. Nicole, welcome to the podcast! I’m very, very pumped to get into this conversation. For the ladies listening that don’t know you, could you tell us a bit about you and what you do in business?


Nicole: My name is Nicole Santer, I’m a wife and a mum to two little girls. When I’m not working on my business, I also have a full-time job. What I’m most passionate about is helping women really align with a business that feels perfect for them while not having to hustle and do all of the things all the time. So working smarter versus hustling harder, but with things that feel aligned and good for you.


Elley: What made you want to start your own business, and what did it look like for you getting into business, working a day job as well as being a mum and wife? 


Nicole: When I got into business, it actually kind of happened by fluke. I wanted to start doing these at-home workouts, and I figured I’ll just get a discount on the workouts and the shakes. Then I got bit by the whole idea of time freedom, financial freedom, and I found this amazing online community of women empowering other women. I thought, this is amazing, sign me up, I’m in. And then I actually started getting really burnt out with that business. I wanted to do my own thing, versus representing another company, and it just continued to grow and evolve from there.


Elley: That’s so cool, that you kind of happened to come across an opportunity to work with a company and represent them, and then that has led you to here.


Nicole: It’s crazy when you think about it. I remember when the person with the direct sales company talked to me about it, I was like, “No, I don’t want to ever do this, I’m super happy at my corporate job.” Fast forward five years later, I have a totally different mindset and attitude towards it.


Elley: Everything happens for a reason, everything is a little part of that journey and evolution. Could you share a bit about your transition from the direct sales company and representing someone else, into you wanting to do your own thing? 


Nicole: It was a whole bunch of different emotions. I thought, oh my gosh, I can do this, I can do my own thing. I’m selling me versus something else. It took a lot of mindset work and getting a lot of help and support from others. At one point, I was going to do both, but it was just crazy to try and be a personal brand as well as representing something. I learned that lesson very quickly. Seeing other people that have made that transition and pivot to be able to do their own thing inspired me to take the steps forward and do it myself.


Elley: So you went straight into coaching and being a service provider, going from direct sales where you were selling a product to you becoming the product. You said that you worked with other people for support, but what were some of the key things that you think really helped you to overcome any limiting beliefs? 


Nicole: I worked with a coach originally at the time, who was helping me in my direct sales business. She had this program that was for people who want to start their own coaching business, so I committed and signed up for that. That was kind of the roadmap for me to move forward. And then from there, I continued to invest in myself and get help and support. Having the support and having that direction was the biggest thing for me. It’s trial and error and learn-as-you-go, and eventually, it gets you to the path that you’re meant to be on.


Elley: That’s so true and very cool! What I want to do now is continue on this route, but into what you’re doing now. You’re really passionate about helping people to work smarter, not hustle harder, which I am all about! Path of least resistance, let’s make it easy, let’s make it flowy, let’s not burn ourselves into the ground. 

So, I know you’re all about the strategy, mindset and energy sides of it. What was your own experience with hustling, during that transition of going from direct sales into being a coach? Was there an experience of hustling where you realised this is not what you want to be doing, let me change this, and then let me help other people change this? 


Nicole: 100% that’s what it was. I’ll be totally honest, it took me a few times to really learn that lesson and truly embody it. If you’re in the corporate world, you’re taught to work more, longer hours, hustle, hustle, hustle. It’s in our programming and conditioning. It’s how society operates. To lean back and take it easy was just so against my nature. So I hustled pretty routinely throughout my business. 

Finally, about a year ago, I had this wake-up call that something had to change. I’m working way too much for the amount of money I’m making in my business and with a full-time job and everything else on my plate. I was burning myself to the ground and I didn’t really have the results to show for it. Up until that point, I had this tunnel vision to get to the prize, work towards the goal. I was so laser-focused on that, nothing else mattered. I was missing out on time with my husband and my kids. This went on for way longer than I should have allowed it, and that was my wake up call. 


Elley: I think that’s the case for a lot of entrepreneurs, learning the lesson that something’s got to change, this cannot go on. It’s this juggle of being in love with what you do and wanting to help your clients and wanting to grow your business. You want to hit your goals, but also still balance life and energy – and being a human being, a mum and a wife. 


Nicole: And just having fun, too. Because life for me at that point in time was wake up, take care of the kids, get them off to school, go to work, squeeze my business into the cracks of my life, maybe have some time with my husband at the end of the day and then just be exhausted. So I hit the reset button and it was the best decision I ever made. 


Elley: We can see now why you are so passionate about helping other people to avoid that because you’ve gone through that experience where you’re operating like a machine, to the point where it’s system overload. You’re burnt out, and the motherboard is fried.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it. There’s probably a lot of people listening that can really relate to feeling burned out and overwhelmed. So for someone listening who feels like they’re lost in their business, hustling really hard, and wanting to start having more fun and freedom, where’s the first place they start? What was the first step for you in shifting out of hustling and burnout into really starting to enjoy your business more and having more freedom?


Nicole: The first thing for me, and what I would recommend, is self-care. Putting the boundaries and the guardrails around your business, so that you’re not on your phone in the evening, and you’re having that time with your partner or family, that you make time to exercise or go to a meditation class, or even just go for a walk. Make that your priority first, and then make your business work around that. So for me, it was my self-care, then it was time with my family, and then my business and corporate job. I figured out how I could schedule my business around everything else that I had in my life. 


Elley: It’s working out what you truly value in life, rather than trying to juggle 50 billion things all at the same capacity. You really value connections and relationships and family, and quality personal time, and of course your day job has to come into the equation as well. Then you moulded your business around that. It’s like the saying, we should work to live, not live to work. It’s switching from that employee mindset of work, work, work, work, work to saying no, I’m going to create my work to reflect what I want in my life, which is the way that business should be.


Nicole: Exactly, we create these businesses, yet we’re willing to put ourselves through this torture in order to get to that endpoint. Instead of rushing and pushing, enjoy the journey while you get there. And then when you do that, it’s just so much easier. You can have fun and flow and enjoyment.


Elley: 1,000%. We are so conditioned to think that if you are in business, you’ve got to really hustle hard and work your way from the bottom up. I do think there is an element of hustle, but there’s healthy hustle when you’re getting things done, being productive, setting boundaries, having discipline, but there’s also self-care, boundaries and priorities. 


Nicole: If you get really honest, how many minutes or hours do you spend just scrolling social media, consuming other people’s content instead of creating your own? Or signing up for all these different programs that you probably don’t need? 

My other tip would be to get really honest. What do you actually need to do? And how much time does that actually take? And then adhere to a schedule or a key priority list of things that you’re going to get done every day, every week, every month. If you want to have a Facebook group, for example, you’ve got to show up, you’ve got to do certain things in it. But you don’t have to live in the group every hour of every day. It’s about deciding where your time goes. 


Elley: Especially early on in business, it’s so easy to feel like you’ve got so many things you need to do. It can feel really overwhelming. But like you said, find out what actually needs to be done, and then prioritise what needs to happen first, and what you value the most.

So that’s probably more of the strategy side of things, but I’m curious about the mindset side. Mindset and energy are obviously a huge part of business. Strategy can be very straightforward once you get it, but mindset is such an ongoing journey. When you think about your own experience or the clients that you help in your business, what are some of those limiting beliefs that come up for someone who is trying to work less and enjoy more freedom?


Nicole: I think there’s this guilt that you have to do more to make more, or to be worthy of receiving more, and about unplugging and taking time for yourself. You’re creating this business and supporting clients that you love, and you want them to have every success and to be there 100% to support them. There’s this pull where you want to take care of yourself, but you also want to support the people in your programs and community as well.

I always think of it like the people in the airplane – put your own oxygen mask on first, before you can help anyone else. I think that we need to do that in our businesses as well. You’re not going to show up as the best coach that you can if you’re feeling depleted and drained. So I think it’s that shift in mindset, that it’s not a bad thing – you’re actually doing a disservice to your clients if you’re not being a role model by putting your energy first, taking care of yourself and showing them that they can unplug, they don’t have to hustle, and it’s okay to take this time away. It’s actually a good thing, not a bad thing.


Elley: It’s really about leading by example, being that role model for them and showing that by you doing it, it’s okay for them to do it. And then when they do it, it shows their clients and their community. And by making this decision to work smarter, not harder, you’re leading a great example for your children and the next generation to understand that while you do have to work hard to achieve things, you don’t have to hustle your ass off to burn out. 


Nicole: There’s a difference between getting things done on your to-do list that are aligned and that you want to accomplish, and feeling like you have to do everything that every other person is doing because you have ‘shiny object syndrome’ – I need the podcast, I need this, I need that. And then you’re doing all the things but getting nothing done.


Elley: It’s like building like 10 different bridges at once instead of just focusing on building one bridge to get you across the river. 10 half-bridges are not going to get you across, but one full bridge will! 

Everything that we just talked about has been strategy and mindset. I want to pick your brain on how the energy side of things comes into what you do, and how you think that really benefits the mindset work. How does the energy work really come in for you and what does that look like in your life and business?


Nicole: Everybody has their own definition of what energy work is. Mine is feeling connected and grounded in myself and hearing my own voice. I’ll work with a mentor, reverse engineer their business, take that and cookie-cutter apply it to mine – and then surprise, it didn’t work! So when I think about energy, it’s pulling inward, hearing my voice, calming the noise down. Yes, have mentors, have biz besties and get input and ideas, but don’t lose yourself in that. So how do I do that?


I do meditation, visualisations, energy work of clearing my chakras so that I’m fully grounded, and connecting up to spirit. I’ve started working with my spirit guides to learn channeling as well, which is newer to me. That’s the spiritual realm of it. On the practical energy side, I’ve learned a lot about human design. I’m really trying to figure out what my design is, experimenting with what works and what doesn’t so that I can live life-based on how I should from an energetic standpoint. I started with journaling, oracle cards, some pendulum work, and that has blossomed into this. 

But it’s really just the connection with myself – it doesn’t matter what the tool is. 


Elley: Exactly – it doesn’t matter. If it’s meditation, visualisation, or chakras, it’s really about you coming back to yourself, and trusting that even when someone else’s business is amazing and flourishing, it may not work for you. It’s about trusting your own intuition that when something feels off, it’s okay to say no to it, it’s okay to go in a different direction if that’s what feels best for you.


Nicole: Totally. When I first started, I had mentors who told me not to copy them. But I didn’t know how to take what they were doing and try on different bits and pieces to see what worked for me and what didn’t. The word that was thrown around was “alignment” – figure out what’s aligned, take aligned action. But no one could tell me what that actually was. How do I know when it’s alignment? How do I connect with that? I feel like my business has been a journey to really connect into when things are clicked, and when they’re not. 


Elley: That’s the best way to learn, just throwing yourself in and trying everything. Having a great connection to yourself is a key part of that because then you can listen to your intuition, be grounded in yourself, and then being able to trust that is the final step.


Nicole: It helps having someone to ask you the questions like, how does that make you feel? If it worked out like this, would you be happy? If you could change any aspect of this, would you? Those are the kinds of questions that I asked myself and I would talk to clients about.


Elley: I love that you are the analytical, strategic person, but you are also an energy, mindset, and spiritual person. I think that’s a really great quality, to be able to be strategic and be in our masculine energy on that side of things, but be able to step into our feminine energy as well. If you can manage both, I think you’re onto something.


Nicole: I feel like it’s the ‘strategy meets the woo’, that’s how I define myself. I love to play in both realms, and you truly can’t have one without the other because I’ve done just all the strategy, and that didn’t work. Then I see other individuals who have done all of the ‘woo’ and think, “I’m just gonna sit back and meditate and clients will magically come in” – no, you have to take some action! It’s really bringing those two together. I love strategies and systems, and all the spiritual and the energy work as well.


Elley: In your opinion and expertise with the strategy and the ‘woo’, what do you think are 1-2 main characteristics, personality traits, or habits of any empowered CEO?


Nicole: The first is to trust yourself, first and foremost, and don’t give your power away to anyone else. I think that is key and pivotal. The second is to not define your worthiness as a person based on your business results. That you are enough, you are amazing and fantastic. Don’t look to your business to validate yourself – your business is an extension of you, but it doesn’t define you.


Elley: It’s so easy to get caught up in that when you are the product and the thing that people are investing in. 


Nicole: That happens at all levels of business. It’s amazing to me that we can see how incredible another person is and think, “Oh my gosh, she has it all together, she’s fantastic!” And then we look at ourselves and we just don’t have that same lens. If we could turn the camera around and look at ourselves like we would look at someone else, it would just help with our confidence. By no means am I perfect on this, it’s a continual evolution. But it’s something to try and remember – treat yourself with kindness as well. 


Elley: You are so spot on! I’m sure a lot of the ladies listening are thinking, “I need some more Nicole in my life, I want to come follow her!” – please tell us where we can find you! 


Nicole: The best place would be my Facebook group, the Wild Woman Collective. It’s my space in the online space where I love to hang out. It’s for entrepreneurs and women in general who want to do life and business on their terms. I’m on Instagram as @nicole_santer, or you can find me on my website


Elley: Thank you for this incredible episode, I feel so inspired! I love these expansive conversations with other businesswomen. Thanks so much for coming on!


You can follow Nicole here:


Hope you loved the episode and reach out to me on IG if you want to chat about the episode.


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059. Creating More Freedom in Business by Mixing The Strategy & Energy Work with Nicole Santer  059. Creating More Freedom in Business by Mixing The Strategy & Energy Work with Nicole Santer