In Part I of Nicole’s interview, we learned about her early life as a girl who was constantly moving across the country, unable to retain friendships and having to deal with the realities of living in dangerous neighborhoods. She turned her energy toward entrepreneurship, selling candies and snow cones, by the inspiration of her Uncle Geoff. After arriving and staying in Dallas, her work and passion in the business of massage therapy and helping people heal now provides a safer, more stable, and rewarding life for her.
Please enjoy Part II, where Nicole talks more about how she got started with her business, her interests and plans for the future, and her advice for women who may feel as trapped as she had once felt.
MB: Let’s talk about how it was starting up your own business. You are an entrepreneur, it’s in your blood. Many of the women from Model Behaviors have their own businesses, and I was wondering how you got started with yours. Was it difficult?
NB: It’s always difficult. There is this fallacy of the overnight success, which is hilarious. But to be honest with you, without that fallacy, the people that are actually getting started wouldn’t put as much blood, sweat, and tears into their work, if that line wasn’t out there. If anybody knew what it took, nobody would get started.
With my snow cone stand, it was just hustling, hustling, hustling. Learning how to manage people. Learning the beat down. It was really hard. But then, as a massage therapist, learning the ropes in anything is going to be hard. And learning… It’s not just about getting business in the door and maintaining that business. It’s about knowing that people are going to not support you.
When I started my business, my husband did not support me. Sometimes, he did, but for the most part, because it does take time, it was backhanded help. Does that make sense?
MB: Yes, it does.
NB: But then I had a client who met me at a chiropractor’s office. She asked me to do home massages for her and her husband. Later, she lent me a credit card to start my massage business because I was caring for a baby and beaten down with a lot going on. Her name is Audrey Lynn, and she changed my life. I paid that credit card back as quickly as humanly possible, and I just kept working and working and working. I couldn’t let her down. I couldn’t let my daughter down. I had to prove myself to my husband, to show him “I got this.” It’s that whole thing, that I can’t stress it enough. Most people will say that you can’t, until you do. And then everybody says, “I knew you could do it.” That’s the reality of entrepreneurship 99% of the time. And that’s okay. It’s okay. It’s reality.
MB: When someone succeeds, people say they’d always believed that person. It’s just what happens.
NB: It is. It’s normal. People are scared of the different. People are scared of something that they can’t do themselves. It’s like the Cowboys. Every time they’re winning, everybody is like, “Go Cowboys!” Right? Then when they’re losing, they jump off that bandwagon so fast. But as soon as they start winning again, they’re all in it. Right? And that is just the reality of how the world works. That is human nature, and that is totally fine as long as you understand that that’s it. It’s not personal, and you better keep pushing yourself anyway. Then it’s okay.
MB: Do you have any other interests or hobbies outside of the work that you love?
NB: Well, I think that it’s that the work that I love and entrepreneurship were my main driving factors until recently. That’s weird to a lot of people. But now I think that I’m really into raising my daughter. I’m trying to do a good job supporting her to be the woman she wants to be. Also, I am a runner. I’m way into running.
MB: Do you run every day?
NB: I run close to five to six days a week.
MB: That’s about every day.
NB: Yeah. I do distance. Right now, I’m doing twenty to thirty miles a week. But when I’m training, I do fifty miles a week. I do a lot of running. I’m into working out. I do a lot of weights. I like to work out. I’m pretty boring. As I’m saying this, I’m like, “Wow, I’m really boring!”
MB: No, you’re not boring! Just you saying all this about working out is pretty motivating and impressive. Do you have any advice for someone who is mostly sedentary but wants to get better, but they don’t have enough of a drive? Is there anything you could say to inspire them to get moving?
NB: Well, first of all, everybody is different on what is going to work for them. But I know that people who start small make it work. You want to actually maintain something, then add to it. A lot of people start working out by going all in on something, then they burn themselves out or they get injured. They overdo it, because their muscles aren’t used to it yet. But if you ease yourself in… For example, me—my long runs are, like, thirteen miles. When I started running—funny enough, the first Friscovania is why I started running—it was to raise money. I couldn’t run a mile. So where did I start? I started with running a mile. That’s what I did. I joined a group. Social support is the most important thing you can possibly have. Usually, if you’re sedentary and overweight, your social support network is sedentary and overweight as well. So you’re going to have to go outside your social network that you currently have and join a group of people who are motivated.
MB: Yes, that makes so much sense, because you get stuck with the people you hang out with.
NB: They don’t want to change. And they don’t want you to change, either, because they like you just the way you are, even if that way is killing you. And that’s fine.
MB: That’s a really important perspective, to go out and join a new social circle but also not abandon your current friends. Does Keira also run?
NB: Well, I make her run. But she does not really want to. My daughter, at this point in her life, is not someone I’d call athletic. I would call her very creative. She is very much into modeling and acting. Especially into acting. She’s into friends and all of that stuff. But she is not an athletic child, and that’s okay.
MB: That is very okay. I was that kid, too. Creative. I stayed in the house, reading or writing.
NB: I wasn’t an athlete, but I think I actually was physically active. I did a lot of dancing when I was younger. I wasn’t into a lot of physical activities, just dance. But Keira’s definitely more like you.
MB: Right now, do you live near any other relatives, or is it just you and her?
NB: No, it’s just me and her.
MB: Does she have a relationship with her father?
NB: She sees him about once a month. One day a month. I have full custody. I have full conservatorship, but he can see her whenever he wants, which usually ends up being about once a month. She loves him very much.
He’s not helpful. To buy her something or give her advice or listen, 99% of the time, he’s not going to be there. But, luckily, I’m really fortunate living in a community and have built the relationships. And Keira’s building her own relationships now. Now, we can make it.
MB: That’s very good. Have you gotten flack for being a single parent?
NB: Every day. Oh my Gosh, we’re in Texas, girl! What are you talking about? Of course I do! [laughs]
MB: [laughs] Right. What was I thinking?
NB: Even on dates. Men who know, before we go on a date, that I am a single parent will make judgmental comments or have judgmental questions. Go on a date with a guy who doesn’t have children of his own, and he will judge you for your child having a cell phone or something that makes the single parent system work.
MB: Are you actively dating?
NB: No, no. I occasionally go on a date here and there, but I haven’t found anybody that really piques my interest. It may be a timing thing. I have a really full life. It takes a lot of energy to be a full-time single mom, full-time business owner, a friend, feeling like you are giving back, just being the best you can be.
MB: Full-time superhero. So you were the décor director this year for Friscovania. Are you also into arts and crafts?
NB: I am not, actually. It was the open position Toni had for me. And I was like, okay! She did a lot of the artistic planning of it. I just pointed, then helped out people where they needed. I was helping people, rather than focusing on décor. I essentially pointed to the props people where the props needed to go.
MB: That’s actually a very important part of being a director! Telling them what to do, helping them out. I am very impressed that you started out almost destitute, then you came here and just flourished.
NB: It did not feel like flourishing. It felt like really long, hard work. [laughs]
MB: [laughs] Okay, but you’ve come through. You’re making it.
NB: I am. Yes, I am succeeding. In every way I want to.
MB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
NB: Where do I see myself in five years? At that time, Keira is going to be fifteen years old. So I still see myself living in my current city. I see myself running a different business, which I don’t know what that is. But, if I start it next year, hopefully by five years from now, it’ll be somewhat successful or not a full-blown success. I want it to be an online business because you can work from wherever. That’s very important to me. Particularly with being a single parent. You kind of realize that being attached to one location is hard, and in a business like massage, you are capped on the impact you can make. If you go online and are actually able to be successful, you can help a lot of people do a lot of things.
MB: Yes. You said earlier that the internet is an amazing tool. It connects people from all over the world.
NB: Yes. Yes, and here’s the thing: I was a little impoverished, twelve-year-old Nicole starting her snow cone business, not knowing what I was doing—oh my gosh, the mistakes. Whew! Back then, it was just sheer blood, sweat, and tears. Now, there’s no reason anybody can’t be successful. We have all the information out there. Everybody can access anybody. You can talk to Mark Cuban. You can tweet Mark Cuban, and Mark Cuban has the choice to tweet you back. That was not possible five years ago. You know, we can do anything. We just have to work at it and decide what we want.
MB: You have to put that effort in. You have to be dedicated.
MB: What words of wisdom would you like to share with other women and girls who may feel they’re unable to get out of the trap of hardship they’re in? They may have the internet or phone lines they can call, but they still feel trapped and alone.
NB: Nothing is going to replace action and hard work. That is the biggest thing. But second is having someone believe in you and your dream. You may not find that at home, you may have to go look for it. If you feel trapped—which, trust me, I have felt several times in my life— that is probable. Going after a dream is hard. You are going to cry. You are going to feel like you can’t make it at some point. Find your tribe that reminds you about your truth—because the truth is that you can. If you don’t have your tribe, you can find that online. Mastermind programs are great if that dream is a business.
You have to understand that a lot the people will say they are something they are not. Suddenly “entrepreneur” is the cool thing, but most people say they are entrepreneurs are not successful entrepreneurs—make sure you are taking advice from successful people.
It is completely normal to get sad when people you care about or seek the approval of don’t support you in your dream. We all go through that. A lot of people don’t think that the greats in life ever felt hopeless, sad, hurt, sabotaged. They did. I did. Anyone who has done anything has. It’s normal to mourn that. But after that, keep going. During that sadness, if you can, keep going. Focus. Use that sadness and hurt as fuel. You can do it. I promise.
Work hard, but be happy working. That’s Nicole story, but it’s not over yet! Come back next week to walk A Day in the Life of Nicole Bold.