Wednesday, October 14, 2015
First, the application came back because the address was wrong online.
Then, Sharktank actually started making me feel badly about myself. Hearing stories about how people made $500,000 in 3 months, while investing $20 and spending $0 on marketing began to piss me off. I started to feel like I was ill equipped for this entrepreneurial life. I started to feel like everyone was smarter than I was. I started to feel that if I went on that show, I'd be dead in the water (pun totally intended).
I've made the conscious effort in my professional and personal life to give up ALL things that negatively affect my self esteem. I KNOW (cuz ya'll tell me :)) that I'm making positive impacts and I don't need to watch a show of what seems to be miracle workers who have sold their goods to 15 kabillion people before even coming on the show with no investment, while I've invested A LOT and quite frankly, am not super close to 15 million, never mind kabillion.
My point is this. I'm a force. I don't need Sharktank to validate me. My journey is my own and I'm pleased with the way it is going. Maybe I'm hating, I'll own that, but I'll also say that I don't know what kinds of connections they've been able to leverage while I'm selling Wands out of my truck and living room. I'm proud of my journey. I'm thankful for my supporters and happy with my trajectory.
Plus, many folks who appear on "The Tank" want to get on QVC and guess what? Been there, done that. :):)
My message is only this. Don't waste your time comparing yourself to someone else because YOU are amazing all on your own and their walk is not yours. This slow and steady climb I've got rocking is paying off in establishing my brand and letting people see what the work looks like close up. Chart your own course and you will win. I promise.
As always, thanks for reading.
Monday, October 5, 2015
It's human nature to compare yourself to others and often when we do that, we decide that we've come up short. We talk to ourselves like a dog in the street.
I'm guilty of this too. "Why do you keep making poor choices, Nikki? Why can't you keep exercising? Why are you procrastinating? Why aren't you a better mother, granddaughter, friend"...and the list goes on and on. I did that for all of my 30s and had let that pointless mindset enter my 40s. Then something interesting happened...
Even though folks tell you not to rely on validation from others to determine your worth, sometimes it can help you down the path of self love if you're struggling. As more and more very generous people (many times strangers) took the time to tell me that they were inspired by the NMW journey, I started to see myself through a more positive lens. I started to think, " Yes, I've made some missteps but I've done a lot right too." And you know how it is when you finally get an A, you keep wanting to get them because you know you can.
Please give yourself a break. Talk to yourself kindly. YOU are the one that is garnering comments like, "Why can't I be like HIM/HER?" You have SO many strengths and gifts that it's crazy.
Today commit to focusing on your Pros and not your Cons.
Thank you for reading,
Friday, October 2, 2015
I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Yes, there was always food, shelter and even some luxuries as well but I certainly didn't grow up well off. My dad and Granny were strong money managers and could stretch a dollar in ways you wouldn't imagine. That's what I learned, work hard and spend wisely.
About 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to build what could be considered a "dream" house. I was able to put special touches on it and make it my own. It was/is a lovely home. People would say kind things to me about it and that always made me smile, but I never really lost sight of the fact that it was just bricks and siding and with the whim of my employer, I could be led right out of that place, with a bandana tied to a stick. Big houses often times equal Big bills and after awhile, that's all it represented to me. Thanks to the lessons from my parents, I could still vacation and buy a pair of pants from time to time, but I began to feel that there were different things I wanted out of life.
I have started to truly value experiences over "things." I want to pick up and head to my new fave, St. Thomas on a whim. I want to get weekly massages (yep, I said weekly). I want to treat my friends more often. I want to travel with my children and give them new perspectives and views on life. I want to set up strong college savings for my little boys and help my daughter buy her first house in a few years. I want someone else's hands in my hair and on my nails on a VERY regular basis. I want to buy gourmet groceries and drink expensive alcohol. I want to (maybe :)) work with a personal trainer to work off the cupcakes I refuse to give up. I want to donate more. I don't want to just live, I want to THRIVE.
As we know, everything comes with a sacrifice, but sometimes the sacrifice is too large. I wear a lot of hats and I must say, I've decided that I REALLY want to play as hard as I work. Yes, life is too short and we could be gone tomorrow but in addition to that, there's just SO much to see and do and God willing, I plan to see and do it.
No one will EVER be able to take away a phenomenal memory, the affect that a certain smell will have on you, recalling the look of wonder on your child's face when they see something new. And "things" don't matter at all if you don't have good health and peace of mind.
Having snatched a bit of the traditional American Dream of a decent salary and a comfortable home, I've begun to think outside the box and am planning to enjoy more of life, with less encumbrance. I'm smiling thinking about it. :)
As always, thanks for reading.
Monday, September 7, 2015
I have carried two children. Carrying my daughter was a joy, easy. I was in awe as my belly grew and I felt her move and stretch. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and looked so forward to seeing her little face on "Labor" day. She was clearly quite comfy where she was because no matter what we did, she didn't want to arrive. The pregnancy had been seamless but the delivery.... not so much. Yet, at the end of it all, my princess emerged, bright eyed and calm.
Fast forward 8 years. I was carrying my son and 10 weeks in, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I had to go on medication to manage it. I was tired and achy the whole time and it was one of the hottest summers on record. I was mean and miserable. I couldn't wait to see him AND be done being pregnant. I was a little sad because I enjoyed every moment carrying my daughter and wanted to feel the same with him. But on his "labor" day, they went in and got him and here he was, pure perfection.
What are you carrying? What do you need to give birth to? It's easy to forget to enjoy the process because we're so focused on the end. Every step of the way is important, valuable, educational. I sometimes forget that I had to be patient along the way while "carrying" Nikki's Magic Wand. I watch Shark Tank sometimes and see that they've gone to market in mere months when it took me years. BUT, everyone's "labor" is different.
I sometimes call my daughter "27 hours" because that's how long I struggled to get her out of my body and on her own.
Remember, our journies are different. Our experiences are different. Our resources are different. However, if we all do the work...the labor, we'll get to the same place and we'll be smiling, showing the world our new baby.
Enjoy your day. You deserve it!
Monday, July 27, 2015
My first born has to complete about 100 tasks before starting college near the end of August and quite frankly, we are behind on about 75 of them. We are also preparing to move her into her first apartment this weekend and we ALL know what fun organizing a move can be. Let's not forget the new I-pad the school said she HAS to have, along with a new laptop and let's not forget that tuition bill either.
My 9 to 5 is ramping up, including having just done mid-year performance reviews, which quite honestly, could have gone better. The federal government is breathing down my neck, as are some of my co-workers.
I'm working on spreading the word about my new book, while boosting sales of Wands and Gloss, while also attempting to organize my records and documents.
Oh, I need to get my son his annual exam, sign him up again for flag football, pretty soon start to do reserach for his 10th birthday party, go for my mammogram and figure out why the dr's office is just now charging me $200 for an exam I had in January.
My house looks like a Febreze commercial and the dog smells like one big Cheeto. The laundry is piled to the ceiling and there are dishes in the sink.
I am doing my level best to stay calm, cool, collected but it's hard. My mind wanders all day and lands on all kinds of lunacy. What if I packed up one of those bandanas on a stick and just walked down my street like a hobo, off to see the world, with my strip-less debit card and my license?
I'm not usually a complainer. I handle times like this with an SVU marathon and a locked bedroom door but I want to share in case you feel the same. In case you feel that every single way you turn, someone is asking you for something, or to do something. Yes, some things are a joy to do, like hug your babies and grow your business, but some things are just a pain in the ass. I feel your pain. I know what it's like when there's too much on that to-do list.
I need a personal assistant...and a steak with a little pink...and a pear martini....and a #$%$% break.
As always, thanks for reading. You're my fave. :)
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
My skin started going awry long before I was a teenager. I think I was 9 years old when the first pimple showed up and they just kept on coming. It turned into quite the emotional roller coaster when I would find what I thought was THE product to heal my skin, only to discover, it too would fail.
I was always mesmerized by those with invisible pores and a flawless complexion. They were always so casual about it, never understanding my awe. This perfect skin was simply what they were used to. I continued to stare and must admit, still do til this day.
If I had a dollar for every treatment I've tried, I'd be able to go back to my new love, St. Thomas and stay a few weeks.
Twice, I did a round of Accutane which is so powerful that you had to have a pregnancy test before going on it to ensure you weren't pregnant because they flat out told you that it caused birth defects. From that first pill of Accutane, I didn't get another breakout. It worked by drying up the oil on your skin, which unfortunately also dried up your whole body, including your lips and tears. Yes, sounds extreme but I was gorgeous honey and for the first time, I could look people in the eye without makeup. It was a wonderful feeling.
Well, as it turns out, the effects of the Accutane wear off, plus it was taken off the market and I began to break out again. I got it under control and accepted that this was just my lot in life.
So, I was back to trying every formulation out there.
The acne had been extremely annoying recently because I thought. "I'm 43, almost 44. When exactly am I going to stop breaking out? When the first wrinkle arrives? "
Well, one day while in my daughter's bathroom, I noticed she had some lemon juice and baking soda on the counter. I also noticed that her skin (yes, I passed on the acne curse) had drastically improved. Well, she told me she was mixing those two to scrub her face each morning and night. I immediately went to the store to spend about $3.00 on baking soda and lemon juice.
Well, I'm happy to report that my skin has improved drastically. I barely need to use any makeup at all and that's exactly where I want to be at 43 years old.
Sometimes the simplest things are the ones that truly work.
As always, thank you for reading.
Friday, July 3, 2015
2015 has been a year like no other. There have been so many new and wonderful things happening. Biz partner and I finally feel like the business is hitting a stride and our creative juices are really rolling. You know how it is when you get that first A in a hard class? You now know that you can do it so you're determined to keep that going. We've had some phenomenal wins so far this year and as the corporate folk say, we need to "leverage" that experience to facilitate more successes.
So we've been talking a lot about next steps and they are exciting!
Personally, my first born is now a high school graduate and about to embark on a whole new journey. She is maturing and ready to take the next step in life. My grandson has two little pieces of rice (teeth) emerging too. Life is moving and growing and changing. All of this activity is exciting but can also be exhausting. If you don't stop sometimes and recharge you will surely burn out and fail to be productive to anyone.
At this very moment, I am lying in a bed, in a beautiful suite, listening to the ocean and feeling the breeze. The fan is circulating that ocean air and all is well. There are no thoughts of tasks or obligations. My entire job while on vacay is to rest, rejuvenate, and relax. I'm enjoying my Philly family and feeling their unconditional love. This experience will be what I think about if someone tells me to go to a happy place in my mind.
The message of this blog entry is simple. If you're going to give OF yourself to everyone, all day long, then you had better be sure to give TO yourself too. This trip was a gift to ME because I'm learning everyday to be kinder to myself.
Please be kinder to yourself.
As always, thanks for reading.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
What did you want to be when you grew up? Does it match what you turned out to be? I wanted to be a 5th grade teacher when I was younger but then I made the surprising discovery that I wasn't too keen on spending the entire day with children that I didn't actually give birth to. So...the teacher thing went no further than that.
So I decided that I'd be a business chick. I knew I didn't want to be a doctor or lawyer so business it was and off I went to major in business in college.
Here's what was NEVER on my list :
I never really knew any business owners growing up. My family was made up of hardworking 9 to 5'ers. That was my example. ..it was what we did. Imagine my surprise when an annoyance turned into an actual company with a logo and checking account.
This year, I'll add "Author" to the list of things which define me and that has come as a surprise too.
The honest truth is this: while none of these things were planned, they have enriched my life in ways I couldn't imagine.
Are you following a prepared plan or allowing life to guide you?
Take a chance, step outside of your comfort zone. I promise, you will discover gifts and talents you had no idea you possessed.
As always, thanks for reading.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Monday, May 4, 2015
A dear friend stumbled across a popular magazine's search for "real women". They were looking for women to feature in their ageless beauty campaign. She knew that I would want....that I would need to enter my grandmother.
When I think of this lady....so many things come to mind. She's passionate, caring, resilient, smart, loving, graceful, beautiful and fearless. She is all about her family. All of the qualities that I would hope any woman would want to possess. She is not only an ageless beauty but she's timeless as well.
When I decided to enter her in this contest, I was both excited and nervous. I mean this is kinda like a contest......you know, where there is a "winner", to some degree. I didn't like the thought of my granny being judged......especially by people who didn't know her, people that couldn't possibly see that her outer beauty was only a mere fragment of the beauty that was on the inside. I knew that this was nothing but a smidgen of fear talking, but it had me at "hello". I quickly dismissed the fear, replaced it with "hope" and "excitement" and proceeded with the application. I think I was slightly giddy when I hit the "send" button......I had just entered granny.....no turning back now.
A couple of days later, we got a response.....granny would be going to New York. She was officially an "Ageless Beauty". We've known this all along but now the world would see this rare beauty for themselves.
I was already planning her modeling career.....I would become her manager and we'd travel the world.
Now, let's get back to reality......when I saw the article, I was beaming from ear to ear, like a proud parent. I had done something so simple that yielded such major results. I thought about how so many of us, when given the opportunity to do something that's out of our comfort zone or something that may seem unobtainable, we don't take that chance......we won't hit the "send" button. We stay paralyzed in fear.......fear of rejection or fear of failure.
But what if we were to change our mindset.....if only for a few minutes, a few hours or even for a few days.....imagine all of the possibilities.
You're never too old to start living your dream, to try something new......be adventurous.....be fearless. Start living your life like its golden!
Ageless Beauty "Mildred Chestnut" is featured in the May 2015 edition of Essence Magazine.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
So, one day in the Magic office, I was sitting and "thinking of a master plan" (shout out to Eric B. and Rakim!) and it occurred to me that we should finally do something we talked about doing before the Wand was even a "thing." See, we needed a boost, a change to make 2015 truly different from years passed. So, I called the biz partner and said, "It's time." "Time for what, Nikki?"she asked. "It's time to launch this lipgloss line!" Since we hadn't talked about it in awhile, she was taken aback for a moment but then, as is always the case with us, she quickly started strategizing with me and we set about making it happen. After discovering just the right make-up, labels and packaging, all that was left to do was unveil the new addition to the Nikki's Magic Wand family. Weeks before the big reveal, I started to do teaser posts to get potential consumers' interest peaked. I was SO proud of myself during this time because I have mentioned time and time again how marketing is quite foreign to me but this plan to build excitement felt instinctual and that felt good. Like I had finally become a real, live biz chick! :)
Well, as we all know, timing is everything and I just happened to be an invited guest on the Vitamin C podcast the SAME DAY that the make-up arrived on my doorstep, as well as finishing up adding the new offerings to the website. I was READY to tell the listening audience the big news. I am thrilled to share that it was well received and orders began to pour in that night.
We chose to add liquid eyeshadows to the line because you can use your Wand with them and the colors are stunning! The glosses contain the ever popular Argan oil and antioxidants too. The gloss is smooth and lush and the eye shadow lasts for 8 hours with no fading or creasing.
Here are a few comments:
"I want to let you know that the lip gloss is amazing! The color is perfect. It is smooth and moisturizing. Simply Perfect!"
"My new 'Firebrick' Luxury Lip gloss from Nikki's Magic Wand's new makeup line arrived today!!! It glides on smooth and my lips feel super soft, NOT sticky, like some other brands. The color is true to shade as shown on the website."
You know I am LOVING that they are LOVING their new gloss. It makes me extra happy because love of lipgloss is what started this entire company so to have our own makes me giddy.
Well, this has gotten long so I'll run.
As always, thanks for reading and go to www.nikkismagicwand.com to check out our new stuff!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Years ago, when the whole Nikki's Magic Wand thing was just getting started, our business advisors asked, I believe before we even launched, "What do you have planned next? What will you create/release/sell after you launch Nikki's Magic Wand?" I was a bit taken aback, like, "Hold up. Let me figure out how to get this off the ground first." Well, now I know that they were right to ask. Yes, there have been some successful "one trick ponies" but it seems the real winners are the ones who are bringing more to the table.
If I'm totally honest, I didn't know that I'd have time to bring anything else to the table because really, most days I feel like I just want to put my head down ON the table, not add more stuff to it. BUT, I was missing something major in this process! The excitement attached to giving the world something they haven't had before. Now THAT will lift that head off the table QUICK and inject you with an energy that you thought was gone.
We are gearing up for the BIG REVEAL very soon. Gotta cross those t's and dot those i's but we're VERY close.
I am SO excited (and jazzed, I might add) to share our new "baby". I've been testing it and showing it off and I promise you, you're going to LOVE IT!
A few folks know my little secret so to those folks, mums the word!
Stay tuned for the fabulosity!
As always, thanks for reading!
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Like most, I'd started to hear about blogging a few years ago. Having always been an avid journaler, it seemed like a fit for me. More importantly, I had started to get questions about starting a business and inventing a product. I was really just learning myself but I figured it might be helpful to share real time experiences. Why should people have to make their own mistakes if I could help prevent that? So, on 10/22/2012, exactly two months before launching Nikki's Magic Wand, I wrote my first post. It was fun and it was exhilarating. Even now, more than two years later, it's still fun, even when I have a mean case of writer's block.
The experts tell you to change it up, stop talking about yourself so much in your blog but my most "successful" post was also my most personal. So, experts, schexperts. I'm just going to be me. And being me is to do my best to be helpful, to share what I have or know.
In that vein, I want to share some things I've learned since launching the biz on 12/22/2012.
1. You'll need money and lots of it. Start saving. Income tax refund time is around the corner. Do you dream of those new boots or do you dream of building a legacy? To hell with the boots.
2. Ask for help. It's crazy how eager people are to help you, but if you don't ask, you'll never know. Now, let me clear. I'm talking about knowledge. Don't go asking for money because you're going to run folks off. Don't be THAT person.
3. You're going to make a few (hopefully not a lot) bad choices in the business. You'll spend money on something dumb and there will be absolutely ZERO return on investment. But guess what? You HAVE to do this (on a small level). Otherwise, how will you really know what works?
4. Be legit, get a biz attorney and establish a real business, like tax id real. And don't forget to do your taxes. Orange is ok, but I have no interest in wearing it every day, all day.
5. Pay people for what they do. Stop being so damn cheap. You know you aren't any kind of webmaster, nor do you work at VistaPrint and those flimsy business cards you have been giving out prove it. If you want people to trust you and your product or service, you can't look like you are doing this out of your garage, even if you are. On this same topic, PLEASE run the spellcheck.
6. For heavens sake get a real e-mail address.
7. Get a person to bounce things off of and not your mom. She thinks everything you do is smart and cute. Find someone who will tell you the truth.
8. Shout out other businesses every chance you get. It's just the right thing to do and there's enough money out here for everyone.
9. Get a massage and eat a cupcake (or whatever is your thing). If all you do is work, you'll quickly turn into a stressed out meanie that absolutely no one wants to be around. Chill.
10. Finally (and trust me there are a million more but you might stop reading) GIVE BACK! You can certainly share some of that profit. Yes, you are in business to make money but you can't lose your soul in the process. The joy that comes from giving back makes you want to sell harder, just so there's more money for you and for them.
I'll revisit this list theme in the future but these are the main things I wanted to share.
Have a GREAT week and make some moves!
As always, thanks for reading!
Monday, January 26, 2015
Just in case it's not just me, I have a few tips for ya that I use to drag my booty out of the bed and downstairs into the Magic office so that I can be further along in my life and business. After all, "Stabler" and "Benson" are not going to sell any Wands for me--although that would be BEYOND awesome if they did. Yes, I'm a little obsessed with the show. Don't judge me.
Anyhoo, on to the tips.
1. Make a tried and true "to-do" list. Put some super easy stuff on there, along with the hard tasks. Crossing off the super easy stuff will make you feel like you're getting things done and it will give you a bit of a boost. Quick funny: I actually put "Consider exercising" on my to-do list. LOL!
2. Print out a calendar and enter something for every day of the month that you're going to do something for the business. And then... DO IT.
3. Get yourself an accountability partner. Each Thursday night, I chat with some biz friends over the phone for about an hour about what I've done since we last met and what I plan to do until we meet again. Boy, knowing I have to have something to report makes me hustle.
4. Sometimes we're immobile because it feels like we have too much to get done. Break it into small chunks and tackle a little at a time. You know that whole Rome wasn't built in a day, blah blah. And one of my faves from Corporate America, don't try to "boil the ocean." That one cracks me up every time.
5. Lastly and this may seem counterproductive to what I was just telling you but give yourself a break too. Don't fly so fast that you burn yourself out. Heavens knows NO ONE likes a massage and a cup of peppermint tea more than I do and I'm gonna have them but I have decided that I must first EARN them.
We ALL want to be further along than we were this time last year so we have to get up, get out and get something! There's money to be made and dreams and goals to reach! Let's GO!
As always, thanks for reading!