In this rewind episode, we have Necole Kane in the guest chair, creator of the successful celebrity gossip blog NecoleBitchie.com, founder of the women’s empowerment and lifestyle platform xoNecole, and founder of My Happy Flo, her newest venture which aims to empower black women to become the CEO of their menstrual health.
In this episode, Necole shares:
- How to know when it’s time to pivot and how to take that leap even when the lifestyle you currently have may make it difficult to walk away.
- The low points she faced when transitioning from NecoleBitchie.com to XoNecole and how she overcame them.
- How to successfully build a media company, gain an audience that will engage with your content & how to make sales and build brand partnerships.
- How she transitioned to a completely different market and started her 3rd brand, My Happy Flo and what role she maintains with XoNecole.
- How My Happy Flo uses plant-based ingredients along with essential vitamins to support hormonal balance, and healthier pain-free periods.
- Things to consider when starting a business with a partner
Find out the big secret on how Necole is so fearless when it comes to pivoting, how she is able to reinvent herself so easily and how you can apply it for yourself.
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Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:02
You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started. Alright guys, welcome. Welcome back to the side hustle pro podcast. It's Nicaila here. Back with another video episode we've been going strong, so make sure you're checking these out on YouTube. And today in the guest chair, we have a really special episode with media mogul Necole Kane, Nicole, welcome. Welcome to the guest chair.
Necole Kane 0:37
Hi. I'm glad you invited me on because this was my list of podcasts I really wanted to do. It was and I was like,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:46
I'm so so glad you accepted. You know, you. You were one of my entrepreneur, she rose. And you know, I think I was probably in my early podcast days like intimidated to reach out like, Oh, I'll wait till you know, I got some more interviews under my belt. So it's so good to finally have you here. Now I want to dive into your bio just a little bit for those who don't know, Necole. So Necole is a true media mogul in 2015. She did the unexpected when she took a leap of faith and shut down her celebrity gossip blog, Nicole bitchie after a successful seven year run, and launched a woman's empowerment and lifestyle platform. Excellent Necole. So Necole is a thriving community which inspires millions of women to become the best versions of themselves. I love the content. It features everything from career to relationship, beauty, travel, wellness. And it's kind of like a area where you just gather with your girlfriends like me and my friends are constantly sharing articles like, what do you think about this, and actually less than two years after launching exon Necole, it caught the eye of Hollywood film producer Will Packer and in 2017. The site was acquired by Will Packer media. Now today, Nicole, who is the former editor in chief of exon a call, you know founder she's moved into a new role and she has repurposed her talents and her new venture my happy flow which is aimed to empower black women to become the CEO of their menstrual health, her own transformation from debilitating periods. And mountain nourishment inspires her purpose of helping to eradicate painful and uncomfortable periods and the common reproductive issues such as fibroids, endometriosis and PCOS that come with them. So the my happy flow product line uses plant based ingredients along with essential vitamins to support hormonal balance and healthier pain free periods. So Nicole, I think this is such a natural evolution for you. And I am just so inspired by all that you do. And today we have to talk about the pivot, we have to talk about how important it is to know that you can reinvent yourself as many times as you need to in this life, you are not tied to one idea. You are not tied to one business that you came up with 10 years ago. Alright, but let's start off by talking about can you remember where you were, and what mental space you were in when you decided to create the Nicole but she blocked like did that come about on a whim? Or did you know it was gonna be really really big,
Necole Kane 3:28
it's it's where because I'm a manifester. So anything I start, for some reason, I know it's gonna be really, really big, like even this latest version of this, but when I started Nicole bitchie, I was in a place in my life where I let me go back and just say I grew up, the first black woman I ever saw in a powerful position was Oprah. And that kind of gave me an idea of what I could be one day and it'll make sense as you go back and look at my eye. I'm the founder of a media platform, but I'm going into the celebrity gossip thing. It was during a time where I had lost both of my parents. I was standing in a small town in Maryland, living in my guest room I had no money I mean the IRS had just came in swipe like the last $200 that I had froze my bank account like it was one of those things where it was like you know you're at rock bottom so there's nowhere else to go but up from there. And during that time, I knew to only jobs in my small town would be Walmart or the pickle plant. And so I launched a blog is kind of something to keep my mind busy during the day and I'm the type of person after I start something if I see like some traction in the traction with literally like 10 people, but you couldn't tell me you couldn't tell me I wasn't doing it with 10 people started you know it comment and then things once I see traction I I start planning, like, oh, well, if I have 10 people now how can I get to 100? How can I get to 1500? How can I get to a million. And so I remember after about two weeks of the consistent blogging and seeing it getting traction, that I sat down and wrote out a whole, like strategy, and goals for myself within that next six months, like how many at the time I believe was it with social media that MySpace was phasing out, Facebook was okay, all around, and Twitter was starting. So I started like, you know, kind of trying to plot out where I want it to be. And so that's kind of the beginning phases of Nicole bitchie. It was born at a time in my life without where I was very low vibe. There wasn't a lot going on in my life. And so I was entertained by celebrities at the time, you know, so that was the mind frame I was in when I first launched that site.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:53
And yeah, a lot of people, right. We're like, celebrity culture cells. But what's interesting about this first pivot that you made is, for many people, when you see success, and that strategy that you talked about, obviously work because your site's gone. Yeah. When people see success, and when they start earning that kind of money and seeing that kind of traction. It's almost like even if they want to leave, they're like, I can't How can I walk away from this? And what can you share with a side hustle pro audience that can help people who are looking to make a change, and they're just kind of holding on because the perks are good, the money is good, the free food at work is good. And they know in their heart, though, that they want to move away. How did you know when it was time to leave?
Necole Kane 6:42
For me, I always say if it cost you your piece is too expensive. And so for, you know, after a certain amount of time, it was so toxic. Like you know, the people I attracted into my life were toxic, like every single thing was toxic. Having to go out in public, but not know if someone was like looking and wanting to do something to me. I'm having I don't know if people know this, but I'm moved every year during my time. So every gasps and I don't mean up the street. I mean, I went from Atlanta to Miami to New York to LA it was like I was on the Rhine. And it's crazy because there is this video posted on my Instagram. I saw it on Vlad TBS, Instagram, and there's a private investigator for Rihanna and Chris Brown, it was on there. And he's actually boasted about the fact that he showed up at my house in Atlanta, you know, unannounced like, yeah. So
Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:46
when they were coming up to
Necole Kane 7:48
you, like they want to information for something he showed up at my house one day, and I was just like, so just that type of lifestyle. And I knew again, my sister was say sometimes to me, do you want to be Oprah? Do you want to be Jerry Springer. And I didn't want to be Jerry Springer. You know what I mean? So it got to a place where I started thinking, What would Oprah do, and Oprah wouldn't be doing this celebrity. She started, you know, doing celebrity stuff and movies. But she really got big when she started interviewing regular people, and highlighting their very empowering stories and overcoming and she's crying on stage with them. And, you know, really boring you. Absolutely. And so, I, once I realized that I was like, I have to move on for this. And I don't know how I'm going to do it. Because like you said, when you go from dead broke to now like money is just rolling in. I could I could pick up and get on a plane at any time to go anywhere, ate it all the restaurants flew around the world. At all the events, how do you leave such a amazing or what people from outside look at? It's such an amazing lifestyle. And one thing that people will deal with is almost like, who am I to not appreciate where God placed me? Like, yeah, I've always dreamed about this. Yeah. And so I think it's more of like, when you start daydreaming about doing something else, every single day, it got to the point where I was daydreaming about just being on an island serving ice cream every day. Wow. When you get to that place, that's when you know, it's time to make your
Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:32
pivot. And you're so right, because I've worked at companies where, you know, it's considered like, just like such a great company just so awesome. Like, people are like, vying to get roles there. And so, but I've seen people who've been there 710 You know, 15 years and they are afraid they're afraid to start over. And also it feels like Where can I go from here? And I want anyone listening to know like, you have no idea what's on the other side of that decision. Unlike and there are going to be low points, which we'll talk about next. So, what happened next? Once you decided to make that decision? Was it abrupt? Did you pull the plug abruptly? Or did you like, Okay, let me stack a little more let me stack six months worth of money and then leave
Necole Kane 10:22
took me like six. I was in business seven years, it took me like five I knew very early on, like, you know, I was just depressed all all the time. very unhealthy. But um, I think what happened is I finally got the guts to move to Arizona. And you know, it's away from entertainment, I kept being an entertainment capital. But Arizona new would isolate me a bit and allow my transition to be a bit smoother. And so I moved to Arizona in 2014. And I got linked up with a lady by the name of Latoya Shambo. She was working at complex at the time, but on the side, she was kind of helping people transition in their businesses and things. So it's almost like she was my accountability partner. She was she was like, What's your date? I was like, July. I forgot what it was supposed to be July. So we pick the date.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:13
And you say July 27? Because you know, I had to stock your life. It was
Necole Kane 11:19
on July 2, but I don't think that was original date. I think I woke up on the morning of July 2, and I was like, and it was essence weekend. I said, I'm not blowing through another BT awards. Another essence. I was like, this letter is going up to date. Like that, you know, you walk into a job and you're like, I quit. I know y'all gonna get mad, but I quit.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:51
Did you have XO, Nicole as a vision at that point? How long after doing that? Did you start excellent, Nicole.
Necole Kane 11:57
I definitely knew I was going to transition to Exxon. Also, again, with Latoya Shambo, we had a plan, you know, what is the date, we're gonna close this. And then what's next. So I called her like, Girl is done. But I felt like I had to keep my audience. So I knew I was like, we have to launch. So Nicole really fast. While they keep coming to the site hoping I'm gonna come back, because the site has strong numbers. Even when I close it down, people were hitting me every day, like, I know she unless she pointed it out. So um, so I went into overdrive. And I really hate that I did that because I didn't have time to just relax and figure out who I was. So I got close the brand and I scrambled putting a staff in place to launch another one. Within six weeks, I literally launched EXO Nicole six weeks after Nicole bitchie. That is crazy, crazy when I think about it. And let me tell you, I launched a new site. And I'm so focused on content, that I didn't even have a plan on how that site was going to make money. So you know, I have all this, it takes so much more staff, because now there's all these contributors, there's a managing editor of the site editors, like all these different people that I wasn't really expecting was gonna cost me a lot of money. Like with Nicole bitchie, we have like maybe two or three writers that say. So I'm looking at the monthly expense of this site. And it's like 20k 30k, and I'm like, there's that money going out, but not coming in. And I mean, I ran out of money really quickly, I, my I my savings, I had never seen money disappear so quickly.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:55
That underscores the importance of having a plan when you you know, come up with this idea to reinvent yourself because I mean, all of us can relate to maybe not having a new business that you know, you're bleeding money from but starting out thinking, Okay, I'm going to do this new thing. And it's not going exactly how we planned at all. And just being like, what, what am I going to do now? So with your old site, was it that your content was so good, you could just have up the banners and all of that, like
Necole Kane 14:28
it was off the chain like Google ads in itself was like 20 25k a month, and then we were selling advertising. My sister was selling advertising for me. And so and then we also had all these other things going on and so very, like not as much of a hustle as I didn't know if I launched this media company. We'd have to go out and get RFPs like these companies that have these big dollars to know that we exist and send us requests for proposals. And like I didn't know any I didn't know anything about advertising in that regard. And I stepped into, I feel I'm glad I was naive and knew nothing about the business because I wouldn't have done it. If, if I knew how much work that I was stepping into. And sometimes that's the good part.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 15:23
I gotta know so. So what I mean, I know you said you didn't think through like the plan, but what at some point you had to think of, okay, I want to start this site, and it's gonna make money. Well, how did you think it was gonna make money?
Necole Kane 15:35
I'm very optimistic. I thought maybe Google Ads was gonna hit or something. Like, and it's funny, because it's almost like so my server bill for Nicole bitchie was probably three grand 3500 a month. But Excellent. A call wasn't getting the same amount of traffic is Nicole bitchie. So it's like you go through a divorce, but you keep the house? Like, why am I paying
Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:04
this guy to downsize? For this
Necole Kane 16:06
house? Like I? You know, what, about 12 months later, after I've paid all this money, I downsized to like a $500. Little things that if I had thought it through, it's like, Okay, we got to downgrade the server, we're going to, you know, save money and cut costs here and there. I mean, when I say I knew nothing about business, logic, excellent. a media company.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:40
So what have you learned now? So for those who are listening who have started a platform, a media platform, a website, what they're hoping to gain traffic, you know, in this age, where everyone's on Instagram and getting their news from tweets? How what have you learned about, you know, successfully building a company like excellent Cole,
Necole Kane 17:00
I learned, you definitely have to know all the ins and outs. And I should have known that I worked in radio and to get the job in radio, I made sure I intern in every single department, like I would, I would intern in promotion, sales. On Air, I knew how to do everything in that station by the time I got hired, because I was like, somebody's gonna hire me. So I'm gonna learn every aspect. Well, the way excellent, Nicole runs his a media company is exactly how that radio station, it starts with sales. It goes from sales to promotions, and eventually makes his way on air, which is the same as editorial, but it did not click to me until maybe three years ago that wait a minute, the same thing that was happening and radio is the same way you can run your site exactly the same.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:51
So when it comes to making money when it comes to getting traffic for empowerment, and and news articles that aren't about gossip, you know, what are your tips for getting that traffic for getting people to actually visit the actual site and to engage with this content, so that you can build a platform that you can make sales and you can build brand partnerships for?
Necole Kane 18:14
Well, I will say today, like content creators are becoming their own media companies, but in a different way. You know, sometimes I'm like, I could just be a content creator influencer, like, why am I running this? Or I think about
Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:25
that all the time.
Necole Kane 18:30
I want to manage out to Pete like, I didn't sign up to manage other people or it doesn't. And so I do you want to say that, like, I am a blogger that just did not know what I was stepping into. And it was not until like, my site got acquired. That's when I really was like, imposter syndrome stepped in. I was like, Oh, I'm gonna mess up these people money. Like, I'm about to be found out like I did a really good
Nicaila Matthews Okome 19:01
deck, a really good sponsorship acquisition story. But
Necole Kane 19:06
man, I just now probably this year have breathed a sigh of relief. Okay, I was just filled with anxiety for the first three years of acquisition. I just signed a new contract last year, my contract for Waupaca media was only so I sold the site and I signed on as the editor in chief for a three year contract. So in my mind, I was like, maybe I'll retire at the age of 40. Because my contract was in a week or two after I turned 40. Um, but those years just trying to prove that they made the right decision on betting on me. And so when I say and I think a lot of black women are relate to this, we overworked ourselves in the workplace, because we're trying to prove that we belong there that we we we deserve the salary we negotiate it, that we deserve the position that we got promoted into is so we over feel our plates to the point where we're burned out and overworking and I was doing all the things in 2019 I was the podcast host, editor producer, I produce two or three events for excellent Nicole. I didn't bring it up outside production company. Um, event elevate her with over 1000 people was like a conference mix with a festival mix with a marketplace. Yeah, I did not bring in a production company. I didn't even know the possibilities. And, you know, the pajamas and lipstick girls night ends and not not
Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:42
part of the proposal to like, was that part of what you kind of promised Will Packer media, like we're gonna build out these different arms?
Necole Kane 20:49
Yeah, we're gonna, you know, try to buy podcasts and events and make it like just more than the edit. We knew when I came to them, we didn't have really much to sell for the sales team to sell. So when we're in advertising meetings, we're getting compared to maybe assets, they have essence fest, they have black woman in Hollywood dinners, you know, they have all these little events that advertisers can buy into an extra Nicole just had a website. We didn't have any other brand extensions. And of course, media was blossoming and growing. It was way more than editorial. That's why so many print magazines were closing down because we had to learn to reach people in new ways. So yeah, like I did. I gave Waupaca media 15 Page Vision X Nicole vision, and now outline what our current challenges was without the money. And what I would do with the money like the sales team, bringing in a sales team, because we didn't have one. And I had a clear vision. That's what sold them on. They just wanted me to come and work for them as an ESC of a site that they were launching, they saw my vision, and it turned the conversation turned to why don't we buy this site, and let her and let her live out her vision, her dream. So that that was amazing. But going back to your question for someone, I hate that you like for someone that wants that immediate
Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:23
first, first step, just don't do that.
Necole Kane 22:25
I need everyone to recognize to identify their zone of genius. And minded I'm very creative. And I'm a I love marketing and strategy. But when I got acquired in this company became a media company, I spent most of my time doing business stuff that I did, that's my job zone, obviously, is genius. But that's not my zone of genius. And so I was, you know, doing a lot of high I was HR, you know, every other month, I'm hiring somebody new the paperwork, the figuring out their salaries that and I woke up one day, so miserable. And I'm like, people look at me, like I'm living like, I felt like even when I would go to the retreats, you know, my leads retreats, we were just so Ali's retreats. And I'm supposed to be like, so happy and people are happy to see me. And but I looked at some of my peers, I'm like, Yeah, you're able to have their fun because
Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:25
I looked at a lot of people, I'm like, that's what I need to get to, like, I'm happy and everything like that. But I see people at a level of leisure.
Necole Kane 23:35
Leisure, like not thinking
Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:37
about their business at all.
Necole Kane 23:38
Absolutely. And I mean, I'm at that place now, because I've established boundaries in my business. And I've hired the right p it took me a long time, but I had to literally hire, you know, a great person over my sales team. And then she started taking a leadership role and started bringing in people under her. And then I built up the social media team and the editorial, so they don't need a lot of input from me. So it's my biggest mistake at first was I was hiring fans. I was hiring people because of their love for the brand.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 24:12
Tell me more about that.
Necole Kane 24:14
I would like wait, wait.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 24:17
So what do you mean,
Necole Kane 24:19
I was hiring, hire like people who were huge fans of me or the brand like and I love their enthusiasm for the brand. But now I'm micromanaging because they didn't have the skills. So I'm like, Oh, just since you're so passionate about the brand I can I can always teach you the skills. I just love that you're passionate about the brand. No. People like that. That whole saying about hire people that no morning you do is so true, because you want to always continue to learn as well. And so think about me coming from a space where I've never worked for a public and company ever. I've never worked for a digital publication ever, I should be hiring people that have had roles in those digital publications that I look up to in the in. And so that's what happened with the girl who's over, phenomenal woman who used to be my right hand man over my sales team. She was at essence for a long time. So she knew the ins and outs of how every department worked. Cut because she assisted someone very high up there. And so she was able to restructure our sales department, she was able to help us launch our newsletter, she was able to help her help with the events. And then she was able to bring in other people who have worked in other media companies or publications. And now we are running like a branch run. But it took a good four or five years for us to get there.
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Now that you have transitioned over to your third brand, tell us more about how that transition works like are you still doing XO Nicole? Or are you completely kind of stepping away from being in a day to day role there and just able to shift towards your new brand and priority?
Necole Kane 27:32
Um, I'm definitely currently interviewing for the EIC role. So Nicole, I definitely want someone to come in and help me with the vision I have for the brand. So I'm still in the role, I kind of moved more into focusing on our brand extensions, like our events and things like that and making sure they're really big for next year 2022. Of course, we got a setback because of the pandemic, of course, but my zone of genius is the video content and the events like I, I have an event coming up Thursday because I do things like that. So that yeah, that's my zone of genius right there. And now that I'm clear what my zone of genius it is, I believe that it's the book, The Big Leap, you should be spent at least 70% of your time, your zone of genius, and and that's and that's where your happiness lies, you know, you don't get burned out by the business. I think some people jump into entrepreneurship and they feel like they have they went from, you know, nine to five to 24/7 and, you know, now that customers are their bosses, the audiences are their bosses. And it's not as much freedom as they they're doing
Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:50
talk to us a little bit more about this zone of genius. So you keep mentioning that when you say like video content, are you actually producing it because
Necole Kane 28:58
some people don't know that I went to school for television and film. I thought I was gonna be Mara Brock Akil so I knew I was gonna be doing coming up with Neat Video concepts. There's a video concept I came up with for excellent a cold call man crave. And it was like a very broad look into men and how they felt about love and those types of things, you know? And it fits so well like the audience loved it. And so I was always thinking of different creative ideas to bring to the brain like that was fun to me going out on sets of some of wills films and getting the behind the scenes. And of course the again pajamas and lipstick and Girls Night In that we do we actually were supposed to go to four cities in 2020. And then the pandemic happened, but yeah, going and seeing these grown women that they might have kids at home or I don't we don't know what their situation is with, at home with their husband or whatever, but they come out that night amongst other women and having a minute time talking about love and sex and all types of things. So that's what like, makes me feel like when I when I see people at our events, and the way they're engaging with each other, I feel purposeful, like, okay, you know,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 30:16
yeah, I feel you on that I feel that when you're actually able to touch someone who receives value from your content and your brand, there's no other. There's nothing like that feeling. Because especially when you have something that's virtual, that's online, it's like you're not seeing the reader, you're not in day out, but then when you have an event that you actually can reach out and touch. Like that just keeps you going. Now, did you also hire we did, we talked about you being HR, but did you hire like HR service at some point?
Necole Kane 30:49
I'm still HR. HR graduate. I was, like, I've said a couple of times, guy, I do not want to be spending my time interviewing and putting out job calls. That's not what I signed up for. Like I've said it so many times.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:15
This is not part of your organic anyway, moving right along. Now, I need to know how you start a whole other business in a completely different market while working so hard, excellent code, like, how do you do this?
Necole Kane 31:41
Yeah, so the brand you're talking about, it's my happy flow. It's a plant base, PMS relief, and hormonal balance supplement. And it's funny because when I launch, when I started telling people, I was gonna launch this, the people that knew me was like, Oh, my God, that makes so much sense to you. Now, I know, when the general public it gets out there like, what how did she get, but people who know me know that I'm very into Holistic Health. I'm very, um, you know, both of I lost both of my parents at the age of 41 and 42. And I have no living grandparents and all of their deaths were from health issues, so or health complications, like preventable if we had the education. And so when I was 35, and go through my transition from Nicole bitchie to exhale, Nicole. Yeah, I started taking health a little bit more serious because I was back then. And Nicole bitchie days I was the most unhealthiest ever. Like, I was extremely dehydrated, um, my, my periods were irregular. And when they did come there was super painful. And I just wasn't taking care of myself. And I think I went to a doctor and at the time, I didn't know they were holistic, but they couldn't take my heart rate. And they they were like, we need to do blood work. Now like, Are you the nurse actually was joking, but kind of not like Are you alive? But when I came back, the doctor was kind of trying to tell me so many words if you keep this up, you're gonna have early death like your parents. And that was a wake up call for me. So when I was out to Arizona, I got into holistic health and and all the things and I actually went well came when will came to approached me about me coming to work with him at the time I told him no, because I was studying for my holistic nutrition certificate. So I knew I was going to go into holistic health from the start and it got side road when I decided to grow XL Nicole under the Will Packer media umbrella. Yeah, I've as you know, it came back around, the opportunity came back around for me again this year. And I was like, I'm going to do it and the name came to me immediately my happy flow. It's incredible how many I feel like there's so much information on black women Boston up in their careers. And it's so you know, we do the conferences, we do all that, that we read the books, we take the coaching programs, but I've noticed a lot of black women are very disempowered when it comes to their health, and they know nothing about their minstrel cycles or what's going on, but at least, you know, 80 to 90% of them are dealing with period pains. They're dealing with fibroids, they're dealing with PCOS, super. Like, it's almost like a shame around it. And so it's not until you might bring it up. I bring it up all the time, because this is what I do now that you hear me too, or this is what I have going on, or I will have you ever heard boss women tell me, you know, I've had three or four transfusions, or you know, I just got 35 Boys removed. And I'm like, it's so common that It's like, why aren't we getting in rooms and talking about this, like, in the same way, we feel comfortable enough to get in rooms and talk about Boston up. So that's what my hope is for this new brand. We're about to start doing monthly virtual happy hours where we bring women together to, we're going to talk about these periods and what's going on. What's your net, they're painful. The reason why this is, I'm so passionate about this, because if you have a painful period, it means you have a hormonal imbalance and you have a increased risk for fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, etc. So I wanted anyone that listens to this to be clear, a painful your period shouldn't be painful, that's not normal. But they taught us that it was wet from the time we had it. And so if you do have it, it means that you are at an increased risk to get fibroids or you know, other reproductive health issues.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:59
Hmm. And it's funny, you mentioned that to the outside world, it might look random, like what how do you go from this to this, but we saw that I mean, anyone who is truly a fan of your brand we saw when you got really, really serious about your health, when you were competing in fitness competitions, and you just had that you could tell that you were very, very intentional about what you're putting into your body learning about, you know, how your body responds to different inputs and things like that. So that I actually thought was a natural transition. I was like, Oh, look at the dots connected, you know, say, what does that famous Steve Jobs quote, you can only connect the dots looking backwards.
Necole Kane 36:41
And when you said when you said in the intro, I was okay. She really a follower me when you said this makes sense for you? Because, yeah. And it was it made sense. Because for two years, women would be DMing me and I would tell them what to go and take, and they'd come back. They come back a month later and say, oh, shoot, my period came, there's no pain or cramping or bloating. And so after collecting all of these testimonials, I was like, why am I directing them to a brand? I don't know who the founder is? I don't know if they're for black women, I don't even know if they care about black woman. How can I, you know, create a brand and repackage these ingredients in a way that will make black women want to take them and we can search for healing holistically. Because I think when when most go to the doctor and they have painful periods, they're they're they're given an option to take birth control. And what a lot of people don't know is that birth control does contribute to the hormonal imbalance, it just overload your body with more estrogen if it's hormonal, so I feel like the more education the more little happy hour events we do where hey, we got, we got Kiki, but we got we got to make it fun. But we're going to talk about your menstrual health. And we're going to give you the facts and the stats. And we're going to tell you what you need to be asking your doctor for what tests you need to be asking for it. The doctor, I always tell black women to ask for hormone tests, always, the more we know, the more we're going to be able to be empowered when we go to these doctors and to be able to advocate for ourselves. So I'm super excited. I feel like this is about to change the world in a way that I can't even grasp right now. I'm
Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:29
very excited for you and i i Yeah, you know I'm rooting for you. And I think you even gave me some help at some like tips on Twitter one time and I was like, Oh, I thought about that. When you when you said the opportunity presented itself. So was this in the form of a partner reaching out to you like how did the actual development of your first private come to be?
Necole Kane 38:55
Oh, are you know, I always hear be from the honeypot. Say she something came to her in a dream, you know, and that sir? Yeah, it kind of happened the same way. For me. I kept seeing triple numbers. 222444555333. And I was like, I thought I was in a Jordan Peele movie. And so I bought it. I went and bought it. I was like, ancestors is trying to get through to me. So I went brought a notebook and I locked myself in the house on a Sunday I remember it. And I just said write down whatever comes to you. And the idea for the name of the company that everything came like float off the page like it was it was yeah, I believe in like, you know your ancestors watching over you and that type of thing. And I remember calling a friend and telling her to stats of black woman that dealt with five boys and I was like, you have to do this with me. And I told her and I was very passionate about it and she already released the supplement line. But I was like this, this is my calling. God just came to me and this is my calling. And so that's how it happened. And I could tell I was in alignment, because things happen so quickly, we we had the sample. Within two weeks, we found the manufacturer here in Georgia, we found a fulfillment center here in Georgia, we found an investor, like, rather quickly. And I was like, and then we went on, we did a period survey first. So I did this much different than the transition from Nicole bitchie to excellent Nicole. Right, this one, I was like, Is there a market for this? Let's do a survey. And of course, and of course, 90% of women that filled out the survey, over 1200 women had painful periods. And then it's like, okay, we see it. And then when you asked, Would you buy a product like that, if it would help take this away? Absolutely. So we thought we knew it was a market fit. The second thing we did was, we did a pre order in June. And we thought, you know, we had only had it up a few days and sold almost 1000 bottles, and we were like, Okay, there's a market for this, let's, let's slow it back down, take the pre order down and set up our business structure. Because this business structure wasn't even set up. And so I'm, I'm learning I'm you, you're interviewing me in the thick of me getting ready for a launch for a product based business. And I've been in the media for so long. And it's a whole different ballgame. Like a whole different ballgame.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:41
I know. And I'm that's why I'm so intrigued by your pivots. And also I can't wait to see, you know, and have you back in a few years to see what's the difference what you've learned with this business? Because it is going to be a whole different ballgame. But the fact that you already have an audience and customers who wants to purchase because this is, you know, it is a pain point. What's the same people always say that make sure that you're providing a pain reliever and not a vitamin. This is literally a pain reliever.
Necole Kane 42:16
Absolutely. And I'll say this, like my co founder, last year she was trying to have, she's a newlywed, and she was trying to have a baby. And she went to the doctor and found out she had a cancerous fibroid that was preventing her pregnancy that happened and her doctor immediately this is gonna this is this happens to most black women. The doctor immediately recommended hysterectomy. And this is someone who really wants to have kids. And she was like, no, no, no. I know I'm about to go home and do my research. And so black
Nicaila Matthews Okome 42:53
women I know so many people, so many of us black women who have gotten that same advice say absolutely that second, third, fourth, fifth referrals and wish McCauley opinions.
Necole Kane 43:06
That's the go to for black woman, you know, so she goes home and I had told her about the two. And I'll say it here to two ingredients. Damn, and I three C and we have like nine ingredients and that but that the hero is a supplement called them and it see. And she took those and she went vegan. And within 90 days, she went back to the doctor and her her cancer is fibroids was gone. And so in 90 days, like 90, you know, and she gets a cute her uterus. And now she's trying for a kid. And in my mind when I told her let's do this together. So if you were able to do this at 90 days, and we can let women know this, that there's another option. Like we will change the world.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:56
Yeah. And so, like, connecting people with information is so so critical. That's all I ever hoped to do. Yeah, absolutely. You can't take for granted and think like that I know this so other people must know this or they'll they'll come across it somehow know if you know it, share it. If you know it help if you know it create a solution
Necole Kane 44:17
because they will hopefully pass the word to others. And it's just like you said spreading knowledge. But um, I do want to say I want to bring this up because I do think is it's good to be transparent. You know, this is my first business in a partnership.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 44:37
That's a whole nother episode. We need some follow up.
Necole Kane 44:42
And I told her I said look, when I do interviews and we do interviews, I think we need to be transparent about how hard this has been. It was hard. It was so hard and it is the reason why it's hard to pick up It are hard. And that's why I want to bring it up on this podcast. Because, you know, you could be friends with someone and you're like, Well, what does this partnership look like? And you're just throwing out numbers. Like, when we're talking about equity in companies who's going to get what percent? Do your research, like, you've got to consider sweat equity, you got to consider, you know, your audience, you know, the expertise, certifications, whatever you're bringing to the table, it holds weight. And so I think me and her just talked about percents for all of like, 30 seconds, because we were friends. That percent, you know what I mean? And we thought that was gonna fly, it didn't, it flew until an investor was interested to arrest it. And when an investor comes in, they get a percent. Well, now the conversation has shifted to, where's the percent gonna come from? You know what I mean? And so, I was like, I was like, Lord, please let us get through this because this mission is bigger than these
Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:04
Necole Kane 46:07
I know, one of the things my investor said was, and I've known him a long time, but he said, I think sometimes is about women of color, we're trying to hold on to 100% of everything. You know what I mean? But do you want 100% of a cat or 20%? of an elephant? So 100% 100% of 20,000? Or do you want? Yeah, 5% of 500,000,001 day, like, you got to really think about that, when you. And when I first got the idea for this, I was like, oh, off the bat, this is $100 million plus company one day, you know, I knew it from as soon as the idea came to my head. And so but but also knew we would need investors to get
Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:52
there. And are you particularly looking for investors, because of the size of the investment you're trying to make, like you're trying to have, you know, X amount built out inventory in a warehouse at the time of launch, or just have it be able to be purchased? Or is it more so because of the the other layers of the business you plan to develop later on,
Necole Kane 47:15
it was a few things, one, I knew I didn't want to grow, I'm turning 41. I just want to say that y'all because I've been sacrificing a lot of my life. And I knew I didn't want to be in the trenches, again, you know, packing up products in my living room, I was like, We got to find a business center, I don't want to become a slave to my business. So I wanted enough to bring in a team, too. I was afraid that once the word got out, and women actually started taking this to seeing the results, that the word it was gonna fly fast. And you don't want to be in a period brand that every time they come to your website, you're sold out after they know what it feels like now to have a great period, like your front door trying to get people I know you can send me the samples. It's people that are actually on our samples now. And they're like, Girl, how much can I pay you 300 For I know, you got more samples. And so it was more of me wanting us to have enough inventory to meet demand when after this products start the testimonial started rolling in. That was the bulk of the biggest concern and I felt my suit and my sister said the same thing. You know, a bigger company could see the buzz and it could totally come along a Procter and Gamble or something, and create something similar and there you go. Or they're trying to buy you out very early. Like they see it they see ingredients, they see that the audience and they try to buy you out and when you don't, Amazon has done this so many times. They're trying to buy you out while you're small. And if you say no, they will put tactics in place so that I think they did it with a diaper brand. To kind of run you out of business
Nicaila Matthews Okome 49:07
about that recently. Yeah, absolutely. The small business over there, man. Absolutely. So there goes my Amazon sponsorship
Necole Kane 49:20
my bad so it was me the how big I wanted this brand to being what extensions and it was more. For me it was more about education, and we're using this product to give the education it wasn't about money or anything like that. But I knew what I just knew with what we want it to do. We was going to need some type of investor and for me I'm not jumping off the ledge and trying to start with millions of dollars in investor because I need a slow just trickle of money to me. Let's see what I can do with you know, a little investment and from there I think I just was Listen to your episode with Carl mix. And she was talking about getting 25k investment from Arlen Hamilton so that you know, smaller, less money small. And then you work your way up to the three millions and the 5 million. I want to tell you like, first, just thank you for the type of interviews you do with these business owners. Because I no one was having these conversations when I first sold my website, you know, and I didn't know what that meant, like, the only person I had ever known to sell a brand was LISA PRICE to L'Oreal. And they were calling her out, you know, so I was like, what maybe, because he's black that I'm not going to get that backlash of, you know, selling my brand. But back then people are looking at you selling your brand as you sold out. Like that's, that's what we try and exit strategy out here. Like that's
Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:57
what, you know, what was that? Like a lot of Mr. Strategy that, you know, other persuasions have been using for forever. And it, you know, why does it become that way? But that's a different conversation. Yeah, I mean, what I do want to add, before we get into the lightning round, right, because we could talk forever mentioned the fact that people are gonna need this. I mean, people have periods every month. So is the plan, a subscription model? Because I think absolutely, well, if something works, yeah, that's why we need the investment. Because, for me, I would love to have 30 to 40% of our customers be subscription. So yeah, absolutely. It's something you have to take daily. Because it's so that's a whole other podcast episode. But yeah, something is working daily to balance your hormones. So Ah, okay. So your daily, so multivitamin for women got it. And I love the fact that you were candid and talked about partnership, because, you know, I'm, I have not entered into a partnership before. But one thing I did learn in business school, and I always, you know, I try not never to be like, Oh, I learned this in school, because learning stuff in a class is way different than going through it. Right. But one thing that always stood out from this particular class was the fact that what he compared to partnerships, again, in the marriage, right, like, do you want to be married to this person? And also talked about how hard it is? Right? Like, I think it's something like 90% fail, right? But and that's just being real and transparent. Like, the things you have to from the onset, think about are things like, who's getting what equity? How are you splitting this up when investors come on. And then finally, you actually need to, as you become partners, and you put things in writing about how the things are going to run in the company, you also at that same time, have to write down your exit strategy. So it's kind of like the printer to write down. What happens if you break up what, you know, you don't see eye to eye anymore, or someone wants to move on to a different company. And so it's tough.
Necole Kane 53:07
I mean, you hit all the points of things that you have to work out in the beginning, not after like the product has final steps. You got to do this in the beginning. Like you said, if it doesn't work out, what how do you like, is there a buyout of one of the founders? Is there a vesting schedule? Like it's, it's not as simple as just handshake, like we don't do this
Nicaila Matthews Okome 53:36
little quick contract, like finding an attorney, because the attorney, partnerships fail. So they're going to tell you all the different things you have to think about even you know, where you're going to mediate, which which city, which country, if you have an issue. So thank you for raising that. Yes, absolutely. Now, I want to say that what we've learned in this episode, so far from you, you know, we've even seen the transition and how you talk about your businesses. So you've gone from being in like in your business daily, burning yourself out to now with your third brand that you're starting, you knew from the start, you didn't want to be a slave to the business, you needed to start a business and think about how you're going to get the capital so you can make sure that you're not literally doing everything yourself. You also went into it with the lens of making sure it was a proven wanted product before you did all that investment in it and you went down that road. So I just want to cop you. Yeah.
Necole Kane 54:45
We also sample you know, we also sampled women, so we had to keep tweaking the formula, but we we sampled different women on a product for a couple of months and things like that. So yeah, I'm doing all that the right
Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:02
the right thing. The helpful things that's, that's down the
Necole Kane 55:08
line. And again, I want to say this really quick, when you're starting a business, second life you want for yourself and I'm new to life, I want it for myself had freedom to it. So I knew we had to get a fulfillment center, I knew it would have to go straight from manufacturer to the fulfillment center, and they would handle the ship and they would handle the returns. Because I'm just in a different space in my life where I, I don't want to be tied to sales coming in and me having to, you know, pack and go to the post office. It's just not. So I think just know what you want for your life. Helps you put the things in place in your business so that you can create that it might be just digital products, you know, versus physical. It's just those things matter. Yeah.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:59
So why do you think you are so fearless when it comes to pivoting? Like, what how can you get up and just say, I'm gonna start this now, like, so many of us are multi passionate, yet we stay in a lane for a long, long time, to the point where we start feeling like we can't change, how are you able to just reinvent yourself?
Necole Kane 56:20
Oh, because the things I do are never about me. It's, it's always me trying to serve people. So I'm moving in my purpose in my calling. And so the thing like so Nicole, when I launched Exxon, Nicole, at the time, there was not any sites that black women can go to the really get there. They're like, you know, you had your essence. But it was filled with celebrity news. I was like, where's this site, I'm going to send my young, you know, cousin or sister. And you get to see women talking about their menstrual cycles, there's sex relationships, yeast infections. The the first week we came out the gate with an article on yeast infections. And I remember thinking, Wait, that's what that is that I had, like, I had never, you know, I was like, Where can they talk about these things. And so I saw the void and the need for black women, and that we deserved more than there's just celebrity news, and gossip, which is what I was serving them on the site. Prior to this one with this one. I saw the need for educating women of color about their holistic, well, their health in holistic ways to heal themselves. Through food and vitamins. You get you tell me any pain you have. And I could probably tell you a vitamin and take it away any complication you have I like the, um, the vitamin Cartell. So like, how can I make taking vitamins a little cool, and yet what led me into my happy flow, just want to educate black women on their periods and fibroids and those type of things. So it's more of me moving in my purpose in my calling. And so it trumps any fear I have or any, any fear of losing all my money and all those other things, because I know God has given me these missions. You know, he always got another mission for me. Yeah.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 58:23
So, we're gonna wrap up this episode with the lightning round, you know the deal, you just answered the very first thing that comes to mind. So are you ready? Yes. All right. So number one, what is a resource that is helping you build my happy flow that you can share with the side hustle pro audience,
Necole Kane 58:41
honestly, I just started trying clickup I'm sure you've heard of it a project management software, but it allows me to kind of manage all the different projects from fulfillment in the stages that we're in manufacturing, content marketing, SEO like and just, I'm seeing things people who work with me when they're, when I assigned them a project. Once they complete it, or they start working on it, they move to status. So I always know it's linked to Slack. So always know what's being worked on and what throughout the day or any given day, and I use it for excellent call as well to help manage our campaigns and things. So I would say click up alone. Like right now is like my resource.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:24
Number two, who is a black woman entrepreneur that you admire and why.
Necole Kane 59:29
Yeah, I already know what my answer is gonna be. And you know what she should I think she should be so proud of herself because she's birth so many entrepreneurs in her lifetime. So that would be my lead to of course, and I mean, yeah,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:48
number three, what would you say is a non negotiable part of your day these days?
Necole Kane 59:54
Um, a non negotiable part of my day is definitely my morning routine. Get up, I immediately I take a lot of vitamins. I'm a pill popper. But I'm just getting up and pouring into myself before I give my day away to everybody else. And so that sometimes means not checking social media emails until I have drank my water, ate my breakfast, gone to the gym, and really, you know, my gym, my gym time is when I listen to podcasts like yours. So that gives me the option. I was on the treadmill listening to you and Jerry this morning. So that night because if you don't you just never find a time. You know what I mean? And you're Yep, yeah,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:00:46
so yeah. And speaking of that, number four, what is a personal habit like something a personal trait about you, that you think has been one of the key reasons for your success?
Necole Kane 1:00:58
Definitely my resilience. And just, I I'm never afraid to always say jump off the ledge for my ideas. I don't know if the parachute is going to open. But I'm gonna jump off that ledge for any idea I have. And I think that's what's kind of slowed me down even when I, the media company started launching because as a creator, you can just freely but when you start hiring people, you can't jump off the ledge because they're gonna have to jump with you. And not everybody's ready to jump in. So it was hard. It was a hard transition for me.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:01:34
And then final final question before we wrap for tonight. Um, what is your parting advice for fellow Black woman entrepreneurs who want to, you know, go from side hustle to full time but are scared to make that leap, scared to make that pivot and lose that steady paycheck?
Necole Kane 1:01:54
I definitely say again, identify which Arizona geniuses and why you want to because I think sometimes people look at entrepreneurship, like I just want the freedom. But making sure that what your your business you're starting is in line with the dream life, the vision of the dream life you have for yourself. And if it doesn't, how can you make it align? And again, we talked about it earlier, when with me, I wanted to start a new company, but I knew all these different things I had to put in place so that I could still work towards that dream life that I had in my head versus being in the trenches again. Yes.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:02:33
So, so important. I mean, that that is key. And I thank you so much, Nicole, for being in the guest chair. This has been awesome. I really think that you dropped so many important lessons that I cannot wait for everyone to hear. And where can people connect with you after this episode if they want to stay in touch and learn more? And know when my happy flow officially launches?
Necole Kane 1:02:56
Yes, they definitely my personal Instagram is HelloNecole. At Oh in EC O L E but I will say that my happy flow is spelled my happy flow is FL O. So it's my happy flow CO on Instagram as well as the website. And I'm super excited should be the official launch is my birthday when I turned 41. And it's very special for me because my my mom passed from breast cancer at the age of 41. So this is kind of my gift to her launching this brand.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:03:35
That's beautiful. That is beautiful. And I will link to that in the show notes. So there you have it, you guys. You can get all the resources, everything that Necole mentioned in today's show notes and I will talk to you next week. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six foot Saturday newsletter at sidehustlePro.co/newsletter. When you sign up, You'll receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again that sidehustlepro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you
Unknown Speaker 1:04:26
Transcribed by https://otter.ai