Welcome to Top Three Takeaways, where I give you bite-sized life lessons from the She Built That episodes. Tune into the podcast every Tuesday, and get your recap every Thursday.
Talk about an impressive young woman: at 25 years old, Nikki Durkin has run not one, not two, but three startups. She was one of Sydney Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People, and a finalist for Cosmopolitan’s Fun, Fearless Female of the Year award. It’s no surprise, when you look at her history of entrepreneurship, dating back to her first startup (at the age of 15), and even further back to the pitch that got her a horse at nine years old. Find out more about Nikki Durkin in the latest She Built That episode, and get your Top Three Takeaways below.
Keep the focus
Every day, Nikki starts off by focusing herself and her energy. She sips her coffee, and spends an hour “aligning myself with the vision of what I’m trying to create.
“I find that keeping that vision active by writing about it, or talking about aspects that I really appreciate about it. Part of it is looking for things I really enjoy in my business and what I’m doing in my life. Just focusing on them and writing about what I like about them. I find that starting my day off that way really keeps that energy active as I go throughout my day and I make my decisions.”
Improve your pitch
It didn’t look like Nikki was going to get a horse at first. Her parents provided for her, but wouldn’t bend to her whims whenever she wanted something.
“If we wanted something, they wouldn’t just hand it to us on a silver platter. […] So for instance, I really wanted a horse when I was eight — I lived in the country, my friends had horses, all little girls want a horse. And so I nagged my parents for a year, and nothing.”
I have to say, I’m impressed her parents didn’t give in after a year; although, maybe that’s where Nikki got her determination. In any case, to get that horse, Nikki had to improve her pitch.
“So eventually I went and did all this research […] and I put together what was kind of like my first business plan, except it was for a horse. So it had startup costs, and an operations budget, and an operational plan — like I’m going to wake up at this time, and do this and do that. It even had risks and contingencies, like what if the horse died. I pitched it to them and they’re like, ‘OK, you go sort it out, go find that horse.’ I must have nine at the time, nine or 10 maybe, and I was on the phone to all these horse owners interviewing them, finding out more about the horse, and then I put together lists of places we’d drive with mum on the weekend to go see these different horses. And that’s how I got my horse. It wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter.”
Manage your mindset
It’s tough to recognize how much of life is outside of our control, but once in a while, life sends a little reminder of that. Rather than fight that fact, Nikki works on managing her mindset.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is just managing your own mindset as an entrepreneur. It’s very easy to get into these negative spirals; like something happens, and then you start thinking about it a certain way and it just gathers momentum. It can be very emotionally volatile.
“I think that learning to manage that and manage your mindset makes you a much better entrepreneur, because you’re not so […] vulnerable to all of these conditions that you can’t control. Like, I can’t control so many things as much as you want to, but I can control my reaction to them.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Don’t get into something where you get paid for your time, because ultimately the amount of money you earn is limited by the number of hours you have in the day.”