What ignited the spark in you to start your business and what do you
consider to be your greatest business achievement since?
I’ve often spoke about the desire I had at an early age, to do something great with my life. I became frustrated as a young adult finishing college, because I couldn’t figure out WHAT this thing was. It seemed so far off. I had to go through a health crisis in my early twenties, just after I started my professional career as a designer, before I started to receive answers. Over the course of the next few years, I was able to rebuild the confidence I had lost on a physical and psychological level. Throughout this journey and help from some significant mentors, I discovered ways and paths to not only heal myself but develop a lifestyle that fulfilled me. One day it just HIT me. Whamo! It was like the heavens opened. It became clear there were other women in the world that needed help rebuilding the confidence they’d lost so they could also follow their dreams. Out of this epiphany, this spark began to light a fire in me.
As I continued down this path of self-discovery, my business evolved as well. I made shifts in my life that made what I did for a living much more fulfilling. This included getting out of the professional photography industry, developing a luxury program and quitting my corporate job. I’d have to say, my greatest business achievement has been finding that fulfillment. If you’ve experienced it, you’ll know what I am talking about. It’s the warming sensation in your heart, feeling completely at ease and satisfied while performing in your gift. The greatest joy for me has been to witness my clients experience this as well. Some describe it as “their heart chakra opening” or them thanking me for giving permission to feel this good about their new found purpose in life. I always smile at that comment, they’ve had it all along, it just took a little look at their past to identify what makes their heart sing.
If you could give a budding entrepreneur any words of wisdom what would they be?
1. Let your frustration guide you, don’t get caught up in the negativity of not knowing. 2. Allow yourself to imagine. Cultivate those initial ideas. Write them down. If something comes to you out of nowhere that seems impossible, add it to your long term vision. 3. Start putting yourself in places to meet the right people. As you develop your mindset and intention, you’ll begin connecting with the right people. Focus on cultivating those intentional relationships with others who understand YOU. 4. Let others who don’t understand your purpose, fall to the wayside. If you’ve got a dream, chances are there are many others who share similar interests. 5. Let go of outcome. If things don’t go how you had hoped, it’s OK. There may be a very good reason or perhaps a better opportunity just around the corner.
You are so successful at such a young age. What's your
secret - To what do you most attribute your success?
Number one would be my spiritual practice as a Christian. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to give up, throw in the towel, but instead I ask God to provide a way, to give me the right words to say and to bring the right people into my life. There’s way too much to try and tackle on your own. When things get tough, what keeps me going is knowing He’s got much bigger plans for me than what I can see. Number two would be my husband, Ken. We met young, we married young. I think having the ability to grow up with such an optimistic and entrepreneurial individual really taught me a lot. I talk about the importance of a significant support partner with my clients. I’d have to say Ken’s definitely been that for me. Pushing me to go after my dreams and cheering me on, along the way. And lastly, being taught the necessity of hard work at a young age. My parents chose to home-school us, all the way through high school. We were raised to be responsible, self-starting and mature. I remember growing up carrying on more conversations with my parent’s friends than kids my own age. I’ve always jokingly said: “I feel like I have the thought process of someone twice my age,” and I am beginning to think there’s some truth to that.
We love tips + tricks - Tell us, what entrepreneurial hacks have you developed
to stay focused and productive in your day-to-day?
Good ole to-do lists. I love making lists. That’s honestly what keeps me on task. I love being able to check things off the list. Having accountability (especially as an entrepreneur) – Ken and I do a pretty good job of keeping each other in line. Setting deadlines and sticking to them as much as humanly possible. Allowing for regular breaks or short outings during throughout the day.
What’s your favorite metaphor for describing entrepreneurship?
Surfing! Although, I’ve never surfed :) Shhh, I have a fear of large bodies of water due to almost drowning and just about losing a toe once, one day I’ll conquer that fear. OK, back to surfing, I read an article on www.TheInertia.com that lists 8 reasons why surfing is a great metaphor for entrepreneurship. Those points include: 1. Every time you fall down, get back up, 2. Surfing, like entrepreneurship, is a spiritual journey, 3. Mind over matter, 4. Be present, 5. Ego is no amigo. 6. Persistence and perseverance pave the way, 7. Camaraderie and character are key and 8. Patience pays.
In my program, Discovering Your Brand Story®, we cover many of the topics listed above. Most importantly the NEED to incorporate spiritual practice in business, using your past experiences to impact your present and future success – without letting your past define your present, incorporating gratitude and how to LOVERAGE™ these things SO that you can follow your dreams. A dream is just a dream unless there is action put behind it. Allow your inner entrepreneur to surf every once in a while.
NICOLE ZAAGMAN is the creator of the Discovering Your Brand Story® program, founder of the LUX CHIX™ (a movement empowering other health conscious WONDER WOMEN to follow their dreams) and host of the LUX CHIX™ Radio Show. To learn more about Nicole visit, www.NicoleZaagman.com.