It's time to meet this month's member success story: Nicky Perry from AwesoMe Inc!
In these interviews, we put a spotlight on women who are bravely navigating life and biz and all the ups and downs that come with it.
We get real about what it means to be in business, how they deal with work-life balance, what it means to be a She Owns It member, and advice they have for other women just starting out.
Nicky is the face behind AwesoME Inc, a business that sells resilience and gratitude journals.
What started as a way to monetize her blog has turned into a business that impacts the community in a life-changing way.
Find out how working through imposter syndrome, business partnership changes, learning curves and moving countries has all paid off for Nicky!
Firstly, we want to know who YOU are! Tell us three things everyone needs to know about you.
1) I’m originally from Tasmania in Australia.
I met my husband in Melbourne when we were 22 and we had both just moved there. He was from Christchurch and had just started his PhD. I’d left Tassie because everyone else did at my age!
We moved to London together at 25 and got married a year later back in Tasmania. We moved to Auckland just before we both turned 30 because London became all too much and have been living here ever since – and I became an official Kiwi just this year (2019).
2) I’ve struggled big time with Imposter Syndrome!!
I used to think I couldn’t talk about mental health struggles, because I have never experienced prolonged depression or been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness.
But over the years of building my business I’ve realised I have invaluable practical experience as the listener, the support person, the one others lean on in times of need. I’ve felt the strain of being a caregiver and I have felt powerless and inadequate in the face of a loved one’s distress.
I have searched for tools that would help loved ones - and me - to safely navigate the hard times and build their coping muscles in the good.
I also used to think I couldn’t talk about science because I don’t have a PhD. But I not only come from a family of scientists, I’ve worked for one of the world’s foremost scientific journals and I know how to read scientific papers. I studied psychology at university. And I collaborate with leading experts from the fields of psychology, education and wellness to ensure the tools and resources we create at AwesoMe Inc are proven and backed by science.
I’m still working on it but I tell myself those stories daily!
3) I’m currently living in Germany!
As an academic my husband gets sabbatical leave every 3-4 years – so we have been travelling and living in Europe since July this year.
During this time I have also been homeschooling my boys and running my business remotely! It is one thing I love about being a business owner and having the flexibility to make those decisions.
We have another week here before we head to Canada for Christmas and then home to Auckland in January. I’m sad and excited at the same time. It has been SOOO hard but also incredibly rewarding.
So tell us a bit about your business! What’s your elevator pitch?
AwesoME Inc create gratitude and resilience journals, and resilience training and share scientifically-proven tools that will help you grow stronger and wiser through the experience of life’s ups and downs.
We empower you to boost your health and happiness every day, so that no matter what comes your way, so you can live the awesome life you truly deserve.
You’ve been running AwesoME for about 4 years now. How did you get into it originally?
The short answer is my friend Bex and I were looking for a way to monetise our blog, so decided to create some products.
The long answer... Bex and I had been blogging for a couple of years together and we were looking for ways to turn our blog into a business.
For over a decade, Bex had used gratitude as a tool for navigating her personal mental health challenges and we decided to create a journal that would enable others to do the same.
I had 20 years experience as a graphic designer so had the expertise to bring it to life. But with a background in scientific publishing and psychology, I wanted to investigate the science behind the practice of gratitude, as it all sounded a bit woo woo at the time.
What I discovered was that a regular practice of gratitude not only reduces depression and anxiety, but can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and rewire your brain to bring more joy, optimism and happiness to your everyday life. I was sold!
I had also long been the go-to support person for loved ones in times of mental distress, so the more I learned about the power of gratitude, resilience and positive psychology, the more I wanted to share these tools with others before they reached a point of crisis.
And so AwesoME Inc. was born. We had an initial modest print run of just 50 journals.
Now I supply gratitude journals and resilience training to thousands of individuals, families, schools, sports clubs, and corporate customers across Australasia and beyond.
Who do you serve? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Number one – my kids!! They are hungry in the morning :)!
But seriously, I am especially passionate about empowering children and young people with valuable life skills, while they are young, so they grow up knowing they have the ability to handle whatever life may bring.
What has been the most challenging part about running AwesoME so far? How did you feel when you first started out?
Probably when Bex decided she wanted to leave the business. She needed the time the business was taking up to dedicate to herself and her family.
I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do? Sell or buy? I didn’t have confidence in myself to do it on my own, or the finances.
But I knew I wasn’t ready to throw away 3 years of hard work – I still had a mission to fulfil, and nothing else came close to making me feel that passion. Plus I wanted to do what I could to help my friend.
We also didn’t have an operating agreement (I’d definitely recommend any partners put one together ASAP!!), so had to negotiate when we were both very emotional, stressed and unsure what the future would hold.
The 6 months after that were a blur of me just trying to hold my head up out of the water – that put huge pressure on my mental health and my personal relationships.
When we first started out we were just going with the flow – we only invested 5K each when we decided the journals were going to be bigger than the blog, and got our first big shipment of books.
We created everything else from our skill sets and things took off. So for the first couple of years we were just hanging on while this beast grew.
You’ve been a part of the She Owns It Members’ club since it started- what’s your favourite part of being a member?
Definitely the connections. I’ve met some awesome women here and received only love and support. I don’t think I could have made the big step on my own without that support.
What originally made you decide to become a member?
I’d met Rach a year or two before when she’d just become a Mum and her sister Janine was visiting and held a business meet up at Rachel’s house for her own business.
So when Rachel started the free group I think it was probably Janine who brought it to my attention. I went to I think the first meet up for SOI back at Rachel’s house and met Monique Doy there too.
Anyway so when Rachel started the Members Group I joined straight away as I was already getting fabulous value from the free group!
What is the biggest accomplishment you’ve had in your business since becoming a She Owns It member? What results have you achieved that you are super proud of?
Just before Bex left in 2018 we won the inaugural NEXT Magazine Her Own Boss Awards and $30K worth of advertising, plus the recognition that what we were creating was amazing!
2019 has been a year of huge growth, not only for my business but also for me personally. So my biggest accomplishment would be gaining more confidence and believing in myself. Changing my mindset that I CAN do this. I HAVE done this!
I can’t say on my own though as I have built an amazing support team around me!
I have done that by investing a lot back into the business and bringing on board an e-commerce growth specialist, and other people to manage the parts of my business I’m just not good at.
Another thing I am proud of this year is the development of the Resilient ME range of Gratitude Journals, especially the kids version – we have sold well over 5000, since they launched in May, all over the world and I am now taking custom orders for schools and sports clubs. As well as being able to donate over 300 to kids via schools and charities.
Lastly, what advice do you have for women who are just starting out in business? What advice would you give to your past self?
Believe in your passion and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for and get help if you need it, especially around mindset and investing in yourself. You are definitely worth it.
Advice to myself: Never compare yourself to anyone, you are on your own path. Be careful who you trust, but always trust your gut.
Where to find Nicky Online:
Hi! I'm Rach
I'm the Founder of She Owns it. I love helping Kiwi women grow their businesses through mentorship, coaching and community.