Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Next Big Thing...

In the sage words of the ever wise Ms. Janet Jackson, many wonder, "What have you done for me lately?"

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!
Nikki

Sunday, February 1, 2015

From Nikki to Nikki's Magic Wand....

Back to Basis for this post...

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!
Nikki

Monday, January 26, 2015

Benson and Stabler are not going to sell any Wands so I'd better get out of bed...

Have you ever found yourself in what could be called a slump? You just feel completely unmotivated and nothing is more attractive than your covers, the remote and the ever satisfying Law and Order SVU marathon. While vegetating you KNOW you should be doing something... making contacts, blogging, posting something on Twitter, but no, "Olivia" and "Elliot" are going to find out who kidnapped that girl and you have to know who did it! Oh, that's just me? Ok.

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!
Nikki

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When Mom Says No, Ask Dad....

Happy Christmas Eve!!! WHAT A YEAR! This will probably be my last blog post of the year and boy have a learned A LOT!

2014 turned out to be a true test of my resilience and biz partner's as well. We both had HUGE personal events that would derail most and admittedly, we were distracted for part of the year. As a fairly new business owner, I've learned there is NO cruise control. If you don't DO something, NOTHING at all will happen in your business.

I'd mentioned in the past that I was pretty clueless on marketing and even though we floundered and flopped around like a fish out of water at the beginning of the year, near the end, we got our arms around what we need to do and have a solid plan for 2015.

We set out to get on more SHELVES this year, we did secure a few more but nowhere near what we would have liked. THAT will change in 2015.

This year we did the 12 Months of Giving Campaign to honor our WONDERFULLY supportive customers and friends and man oh man, that campaign brought a joy to me that's hard to describe but even more important than that, it showed me people's spirit and love and WOW, that was almost overwhelming.

I had temporarily forgotten a VERY important lesson that I am now chanting in my head and that is the title of this post. Let me explain, We applied to QVC THREE times before they accepted us an when they did WE WON. I know full well that when someone tells you NO, you keep asking, you keep trying, you keep working. I had forgotten that for a little while this year but best believe, I'm back on track!

Speaking of QVC, I have to end this with a quick note about assumptions. I had assumed that the purchase order from QVC was a one time thing related to having won the contest. Biz partner says, "No, I didn't get that notion so ask them when they'd like to place another order since we're now sold out." QVC didn't hesitate and said, "Yes! We want more! Send them to us by 1/6/15." What if we never asked? What if I didn't have someone to say, "No, ask them!"

So remember, as you head into 2015, ASK for what you want. When Mom says No, Ask Dad.
Don't give up. Your LIFE (business at least) depends on it!

As always, thanks for reading. I am thankful for you...
Nikki

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Little Time Management for Empire Builders, and tired folks. :)


As the name of this blog tells you, I am a 9 to 5 chick. Been that way for 20 years. However, now I am a member of the business owner community, which, by the way, still cracks me up and sorta amazes me, because it was not AT ALL a part of my previous life plan.  So, since I wear these two hats, I find myself in a constant struggle with time.  Certainly, I must do well at my brick and mortar gig that gives me those fancy health benefits and clockwork pays on the 15th and 30th. BUT, what about Nikki’s Magic Wand? Where does that fit in? With these 24 daily hours, I need to be a Manager in HR, a wife, a mom, a grand mom, a business owner, a friend, a daughter, granddaughter and shoot, I need to be ME, when most days, I just want to come home and climb in the bed.

Recently, I’ve been pretty candid about feeling paralyzed in my business. I called out to my other business owners and asked for inspiration. They answered loudly and I’m thankful but we ALL know you have to get off your OWN butt; no one else can do that for you. So, I floundered around a bit but then I made a plan because feeling lazy and unaccomplished is NOT how I get down.

Since I decided that I am CLUELESS about effective marketing in particular and that’s where I need the most help:

·         I took to the net and printed out a wealth of information on the topic.

·         I then printed a calendar with open blocks and put a marketing task or two on each day.

·         I look at my new calendar and see what task I am responsible for that day (today’s task was “Write New Blog Entry” Look at me, checking stuff off! J

·         During a conversation last week, with a dear friend and business owner, I lamented that I didn’t have the time or energy, it seemed, to do all I needed to do on Social Media. I told her that I wanted to Tweet more and update my other pages more often but that I hadn’t found the time. She suggested HootSuite and told me I could schedule my Tweets, so I could write a bunch at once and then just set the day they were to post. Say what now???

·         Off to HootSuite I went and set up 20 Tweets and away they went. They’ve been posting each day while I’ve been sipping tea downtown or having a meeting with my co-workers.


My friend also suggested getting an intern to help me. We had one the summer of 2013 and boy would I like another so if you know of any creative folks who’d like to help, work with, learn from a sparkling winner (LOL!!!!) tell them to reach out to me at nikki@nikkismagicwand.com.

 
At the end of the day, I know, I believe and I will work hard enough to be successful. Just gotta get organized, focused and stick to my new plan! J

 

Thanks for reading!

Nikki

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Beautiful Surprise....(A deeply personal blog entry...and departure from biz talk)


A thought has been swirling in my head for the past few days. Whenever I used to make my “bucket” lists, at the top of each and every one would be, “To raise my children to adulthood.” Another one would be “See my future grandchildren grow up.” I realize that these may not be common “bucket” list items but they always were for me. This is because my mother didn’t get that chance. She and I never got to discuss menstrual cycles, plan a prom, attend a graduation, pick a wedding dress or chat when I was a new mother. No, she didn’t get a chance to raise me because I was only 10 when she died.

Fast forward to 2014. My teenage daughter tells me that she is pregnant. What? “But, you’re studying to take the SAT, you’re supposed to leave for college next year! What do you mean?” I nearly screamed. But yes, this was the news and there was no changing it.

So, I cried for days, immediately made my first appt. with a counselor through my company’s EAP and started to journal like a mad woman. I have always been an avid journaler but I started carrying this one around so I could capture every thought related to this shocking news. I poured every angry, sad, disappointed thought into that little book so I wouldn’t pour out hot lava on everyone. I don’t have much of a temper, never been violent. I’ve always been someone who took the turn in the road and tried to make it a comfortable ride. But, whew, this was a BIG, unexpected turn.

I held the information close for a long time and worried how I would feel when she started showing. It was all I could think about, amidst my 9 to 5, my business and my homelife. My mind raced non-stop. I was outwardly calm, set about the tasks at hand, but my mind was moving constantly.

However, interesting things started to happen. While always someone who earned good grades, my daughter was a procrastinator, a “wait til the last minute to do the assignment” type of chick, much to my chagrin, a woman who, as a teen, had once earned the name, Nikki the Nerd. Her laziness drove me bonkers. But now, with the news that her first child was on the way, she got focused. She did well on her SATs, she got ahead of assignments, she was inducted into the National Honor Society. Once summer hit, she worked two jobs. She was a nanny during the day from 7:30am to 6pm and would immediately go to her McDonald’s job until midnight. She worked this way through her entire pregnancy, even when school started again in August. At the mall, she bought things for her son, instead of herself (HUGE). She wanted to buy all of the big items for him since this had been HER choice so she bought the crib and the stroller system. I was seeing a different person. For her 17th birthday, she asked me to pay for her Infant CPR class and her breastfeeding class. Who is this girl?

On 9/18/14, at 3:07 am, her son, my grandson, entered the world, in a room with a mother who had loved him the entire time and a grandmother who fell in love on sight. God knew what I’d always put on my “bucket” lists and Lord willing I’m not going anywhere anytime soon but I have to say, now that he’s here and I can rock him in my arms, I’m extremely thankful for His plan. It’s as if God knew that getting the opportunity to see my children through was of utmost importance to me. A dear friend from high school said that this child came right at his appointed time, to the family he was meant to have. I believe that with my whole heart.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lashing Out...by our lovely guest, Zora Foote--Beauty and Fashion Correspondent


I was not born beautiful, nor was I raised in a household that put value or emphasis on looks. I remember my mother had a beauty ritual that included Neutrogena bar soap, water and a towel. Soap up, rinse, dry off. She had one tiny pot of deep, brick colored rouge that sat atop her dresser. When she had a wedding, funeral or family pictures she would apply it hastily, in broad strokes then return it to the exact, dustless circle, where it would remain until the next family tragedy (yes-weddings and family pictures count as traditions that evoke tears, fights and sometimes dead bodies). Growing up, when all the girls were getting into make-up, I was getting lessons on why I was named for the first published feminist writer, or attending protest rally “sign decorating parties” as opposed to face decorating lessons.
 It was my childhood filled with these “beauty” gaps that lead me to the world of lashes. To this day I cannot apply a full face of make-up. My blush always appears clownish, my lids are never properly blended, my foundation is generally two shades off, and I’m still not sure if concealer goes on after or before everything else.  I can’t draw a straight line on paper-why could I possibly do it on my quivery eye? Just because I have not mastered the art of make-up does not mean I do not appreciate it. In my late teens I met a gay man who decided to take me on as his project. He would do my hair, “beat” my face mercilessly, try to bring me to my full 5’10 frame and give me tips on what the people outside of Sacramento (my hometown) were wearing. While I could not, and still can’t hold the Minnie Mouse coffee cup he kept his brushes in, I can appreciate a contoured nose, a properly done smokey eye, hollowing of cheeks.  I loved the way I looked “made up” and others did too.
I’ve long since left the bathrooms of my childhood home that were used strictly for relief of bodily functions and not perfecting the female face. I’ve also lost ties with the man who introduced me to the world of beauty but I have not lost my yearn to look “made up” without actually having to apply make-up. And this leads me to lashes. Wonderful, wonderful, lashes. High heels, a perfectly made mojito and a great set of lashes belong in the same category-things that make you happy and feel beautiful-and sometimes miserable at the end of night. Which is why I am here to discuss them with you-as lashes are the quickest way to an evolved face without having to have a degree from Estee Lauder.
Semi Permanent extensions- These are awesome and what I rock daily! I pay my lash lady like I pay the light bill! I get them done once a month-although they will tell you they can stay on for 2-3 months-they sometimes fail to mention that you will need a touch up. You can swim, sweat, and have sex with them on and have no worries of them coming off! I don’t put mascara on mine, but it is perfectly acceptable and safe to do so!
Pitfalls: Semi permanent lashes can be a little pricey. The first set ranges from $150.00 to $400.00. Touchups can be anywhere from $50.00 to $100.00.  Also, beware of uncertified people! Nova Lash and Xtreme lashes are the most popular. Find people who have attended their classes as they get the product directly from them. Other places, nail salons, alleyways, night club bathrooms, have been known to use hair weave glue which can blind you! Another caveat is they aren’t great if you have allergies or sinus problems.
Strip lashes: You have seen these fluttering beauties wink and seduce you from the aisles of drugstores, department stores, and dollar stores. They come in pairs and are one thin strip of lashes. The colors vary from the mundane, “off to work” or the ready for Vegas or a pole-or both! Recently I saw a pair that mimicked old lace patterns, it was as if your eyes had a sexy see thru veil.
These are best self-applied, by a steady, sober hand. Some come with glue, others you have to buy separately. Their prices range from $1.00 to $20.00. They are one time wear-try to make it last and they will pop off at the most unfortunate times. And never leave them on your bathroom counter after a night of going out-I guarantee the next day they will scare the morning coffee out of you!
Pitfalls: You sometimes have to have an artist’s eye or be an architect to get them on straight before the glue becomes overly tacky. They have lash holders,  that look similar to a lash curler-they are supposed to help keep the lash steady as you adhere it to your lash line. Some designs look very fake  therefore careful selection is a must. They can take you from Princess Kate to Madame Drag Queen.
Individual temporary lashes: These can also be found in the beauty section of a variety of stores. These are cousins to the temporary strip lashes only these are “bunches” of lashes. Each bunch has 3-4 lashes bundled together. They are meant to be applied to the top of the natural lash, then continue across. Again, a steady hand is needed, and patience. These suckers can slip, get lost, get glued to your ear, etc.
Pitfalls: The price on these are in the same range as the strip lashes but these take longer, and are more difficult to apply. Not for a beginner.
Latisse (and other chemicals that promote eyelash growth): These came on the market 10 years ago. It promises longer, fuller lashes in months, if used consistently and frequently. It is a chemical that is applied to the lash line nightly. If used correctly it does work. The price is around 150.00 per .5 ounce bottle which can last 4-6 weeks.
Pitfalls:  Latisse can only be found at a doctor’s office or medical spa. It can be pricey, and the results will go away if you stop using it. My personal experience was the product worked, a little too well, as I had a fine fur growing on my upper cheeks. This side effect is quickly mentioned as a possibility. Once I stopped using the product my furry chipmunk cheeks went away. Results typically take 8-16 weeks to show.
If eyes are windows to the soul then lashes are window dressings designed to highlight, entice and show off the eyes. If you are one of the lucky souls who only need a swipe of mascara on your full, natural, thick lashes then promptly ignore the above BUT if you are one of the weak lashed souls who need plumping and lengthening then we have options. Which option is best for you is a journey you must seek out yourself based on your beauty routines and needs. Be it a bar of Neutrogena or a face full of Laura Mercier, you will be the deciding factor on what your windows say about it.