Advice from a 29-year-old businesswoman
August 22, 2012
I'm always inspired (and often humbled) by people who achieve big things at a young age. The Olympic season has really gotten me into a self-evaluation mood and has made me think about ways that I can get closer to my dreams.
A few weeks ago I met the successful Nicole Campos. It was perfect timing — I wanted to learn some of her secrets. Though Nicole isn't an Olympic athlete, the 29-year-old is the owner of her own business — a store that has five locations in Kansas and is looking to expand into new areas after the holidays.
Nicole and I are the same age (ok, maybe she is a year younger, but who's counting?) and it's hard for me to imagine the kind of success she has had. Nicole opened her women's boutique "Bling" just three years ago and already manages between 45-50 employees across her locations. Her business is booming so much in fact, that her husband Mark quit his job at a local community college so he could help operate the stores.
I figured that Nicole had some impressive business experience prior to opening her first store in Scott City, Kan., in 2009, but in reality, she was just an ordinary girl with a dream and an interest in fashion.
Nicole grew up in the Scott City area and graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She wasn't sure what she was going to do with her degree after graduation, so she spent a few years working in Las Vegas and then started a website to sell unique fashion pieces for women.
Nicole operated the online site for a while, but quickly realized that she needed to get a following before she could be successful on the internet. So, she moved back to Scott City and opened her first store on Main Street. Nicole did a lot of research to find products that would appeal to local women — things like purses, jewelry, candles, clothing, baby gifts — even western-style items for cowgirls. As expected, many of the things that she stocked her store with had jewels or sparkles.
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From there, Nicole says she worked night and day to make the business function. During the last three years she opened stores in the Kansas towns of Garden City, Hays, Manhattan, and Salina. Her website traffic has grown dramatically in that time too – she plans on updating and adding to her online selection soon. She recently even moved her Scott City store into a larger building on Main — a place with an office so she can make it her corporate headquarters.
Nicole's road to success sounds a little simplistic and almost effortless; so much in fact that I was hoping she had some secret to share with me — something that I could replicate to guarantee success. Nicole didn't disappoint, she did have a simple recipe for success– "lots of hard work, sacrifice and prayer."
That's wasn't the easy answer that I was hoping to hear.
Nicole says that these last few years have been full of saying no to things other than business – things like TV, social events and hobbies. She's been saying no to many things that most dreamers don't (and won't) say no to.
As a disclaimer, Nicole doesn't have children right now – something many of us do, so it's not always an option to say no to all extra activities. Kids need lots of attention and family definitely has to come first. But, we all have extra time here and there – time we could be spending on a dream.
Nicole says that nearly every spare moment of the last three years has been spent building her business. Today she is finally reaping the rewards of all that work.
I've been asking myself what would happen if I devoted most of my free time to my ranching and writing dreams for the next few years. I might miss a few TV shows, Facebook updates and some sleep, but the payoff could be great.
What would happen if you spent even a year of free time on your dream? I hope that I have the discipline to find out. ❖