Encouragement & Inspiration

Encouragement is defined as the action of giving someone support, confidence, and hope. In my business world encouragement is something that I actively seek. In this continued work-at-home situationship my days are filled with coffee, endless emails, coffee, meetings, coffee, scheduling meetings, coffee, phone calls, and webinars. These activities can feel mundane and boring – which is why I personally miss in-person meetings. Nonetheless I have recently been lifted up into in the most meaningful ways.

I have a business mentor that I meet with once per month via telephone, he is a constant source of encouragement and inspiration on the smartest ways in which I can grow my business. He has been there and done that so he is able to help me avoid some pitfalls along the way. He has truly become a friend. We share both personal and business topics. In the 9th hour or on the weekend when I need a quick solution he is able to provide business solutions that matter.

Daily I casually browse LinkedIn, I love to read about the success of my peers! It inspires me and warms my heart to see us WIN! My peer network goes as far back as high school, I am also still friends with them in real life. When I think back to sitting in a classroom in high school/college/grad school with my peers to now seeing them taking over the world it is truly a testimony! We overcome by the word of our testimony. To see my peers writing books, blogs, recording podcasts, streaming YouTube channels, working in BIG tech, giving back, managing organizations, speaking on panels, creating, and selling custom apparel let’s me know that I am in the *virtual* (le sigh) presence of greatness.

My daily LinkedIn inspiration gives me the push to keep going.

I have a NEW business mentor that has become my good good business friend. She works with the same client as me and so I cold reached out to her on LinkedIn and she sent me her phone number to call her. 30 calls later and she has given me some of the best advice that is important for where I am with my business today. She is funny and down to earth but also smart and has experienced the business milestones that I will be seeing in the near future. She wants very much to see me success and has faith and hope in the path I am on with my company. I am very grateful for the encouragement and inspiration she provides me with each time we talk.

Family, my family is the best. I have to be honest they kind of don’t really know what I do – lol. It doesn’t matter though because my family wants me to win. If I told them I was planning a mission to the moon they would have t-shirts made that say “Nikki’s Moon Mission 2022”. When someone supports you 10,000% and you know it there is nothing you can’t do and nothing matters more in this world. My family is very proud of me and I hope the keep making them feel that way. The encouragement and inspiration I receive from my family makes me proud to be in my family.

Encouragement. Pass it on.


Am I Special?

It seems that question has come to me more often than not. In this culture of entrepreneurial-ship, being an influencer or brand ambassador – the idea of how many likes or followers could easily be a measure of one’s self-worth, value or at least popularity. While most studies earmark their focus on the effects of social media usage on adolescence development, what do we really know about the effects on adulting?

The article, Social Media Use and Adult Depression, suggests that social media use impacts us – the adults. We all agree that after these last two years of this cursed-pandemic and social distancing, we have all had to make adjustments. Things that used to be important had to be curtailed. Happy hours, taco Tuesday, pop-up visits for cocktails and brunch, spin class and tearing up that mall were all halted. There was no casually ‘catching up with ya crew’ because we had to isolate. To compensate, we’ve picked up some new habits which could be good or bad depending on your viewpoint. And perhaps, I missed it prior to the pandemic but there are a plethora of posts on social media dictating what’s important.

Apparently fashion is important. Protecting your peace. Burning Sage. Hugging a tree. You name it but none seemed as prevalent as making money.

Are you into crypto? Do you have a side hustle or multiple streams of income? I’ll never punch a timeclock.

There seems to be a notion that if you don’t own your own business, or have money coming to you while you channel surf on the couch, you are a loser.

Well, let me tell you, I LIKE MONEY. It affords me all kinds of things but it isn’t tied to my self-worth, value or at least it shouldn’t. Now, being an entrepreneur, working for yourself is sublime. There’s nothing like ‘cutting out the middlemen’ and ‘making money moves’ as they say. I worked for myself for a number of years and it’s strange, there was this notion that I felt safe which didn’t make any sense. Perhaps it was the sentiment that the owner, me, myself and I, would always be willing to give me a raise or a great review. But, working for yourself means you work around the clock. There’s no such thing as an 8-hour day … there’s work, there’s hiring new folks, there’s finding new business, there’s buying supplies, taxes, payroll – it goes on and on. Because what no one posts about is that when you work for yourself, you work longer and harder because no one can support, believe and grind for your vision .. like you. Do entrepreneurs have something that we ‘regular Joes’ don’t?

Maybe – it definitely requires some nerves, some hustle, some anticipating your customer needs or client base. Do you understand the market trends? Yes, there’s a number of things that make entrepreneurs special and maybe even different. And with all their hopes, dreams, well wishes, late nights, certifications, marketing strategies, and business dev opportunities, there’s no guarantee that they’ll even be successful and God forbid, if they’ll even turn a profit.

Social Media while fun, entertaining and sometimes motivating – it only captures a moment in time. The work, creativity, logistics, lighting or even outfits that happen behind the scenes are lost. All we see is grind, hustle, look good and money will come to you. There’s almost a belief that that ‘regular Joes’ who ‘punch a clock’ or work from 9-5 are working too hard for too long and are losers or as I like to say, not winning.

As for me, there was some point – while my business paid my bills real, real good – I couldn’t see an end game. How long would I do this? Was I looking to expand, hire employees? Well, whatever I was or wasn’t, that vision wasn’t nearly as important to me as it had once been. There was a re-org at work, a new prime, an open office floorplan and just like that working for myself no longer held the allure.

So, after a summer off, I took a regular gig. And while working for yourself has the best tax benefits, punching this time clock is still rewarding and it continues to pay my bills. I have more down-time as week-ends and nights off are actually possible. I’m no longer overwhelmingly busy like it can be when you work for yourself. I have some flexibility because I’m no longer responsible for every aspect of the business. Refreshingly, I’m no longer singularly responsible for securing new work and I don’t have to worry my pretty, little head about finding something when the contract ends, that’s a concern for someone else. So, it buys me a little more stability.

Now, there’s still some holdovers – good energy and a great attitude go a long way. I always, say ‘I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer’ but I’m solution-oriented, affable and driven. I hope both my work colleagues and clients leave my desk feeling heard, considered and empowered with an amazing resolution or plan of action. Note: That is the key to keeping your clients content.

Now at the end of the day, I still don’t have crypto (it’s on my agenda) and I’m not earning any money while I lay on my sofa watching Netflix but that’s ok. Because despite no employees, no contracts, no multiple streams of income, my regular Joe-nine-to-five-non-sexy-office-gig works just fine. And maybe that doesn’t make me unique or perhaps it makes me average but at the end of the day, the only person that determines if I’m special, literally is me. Yep. “I is kind, I is smart, I is important.”

~Dorothy’s Daughter