Nicki Krawczyk of Nicki K. Media: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Launched My Business or Startup

An Interview With Doug Noll

Doug Noll
Authority Magazine
13 min readMar 1, 2023

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Know What Numbers Actually Matter — The sooner you know what numbers matter, the sooner you can track them and understand what they mean for your business. Too many entrepreneurs focus on vanity metrics like social media “likes,” or the number of subscribers on their list. You can have 100s of likes on every post and tens of thousands of subscribers, but if you’re not making sales, it doesn’t do much to sustain your business.

Taking the risk to start a company is a feat few are fully equipped for. Any business owner knows that the first few years in business are anything but glamorous. Building a successful business takes time, lessons learned, and most importantly, enormous growth as a business owner. What works and what doesn’t when one starts a new business? What are the valuable lessons learned from the “University of Adversity”? As part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicki Krawczyk.

Nicki Krawczyk is the founder and CEO of the multi-seven-figure business, Nicki K Media. She has been a copywriter for more than 20 years and digital business owner for more than 10. Through her online courses and trainings, Nicki and her team have empowered more than 10,000 students and entrepreneurs to date, empowering them to change careers to ones that make them feel more fulfilled or create consistent revenue that helps them scale and grow their businesses.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was in high school, my dad was a marketing director and he would bring home extra writing work for me to do. I really enjoyed copywriting, but I’d somehow absorbed the idea that writers can’t make any money, so I went the “safe” route and majored in public relations in college. But after a few PR internships, I discovered that field wasn’t for me.

After I graduated, I worked in management at a health club, but I still felt unfulfilled and disappointed that I wasn’t able to use my writing talents. Knowing that I was struggling a bit, my mom sent me a book that was called something like “The Secrets of a Six-Figure Writer.” The book itself wasn’t necessarily useful, but it reminded me that copywriting existed. Inexplicably, it just hadn’t occurred to me until she sent me this book that I could be a copywriter for a living.

Throughout my career, I’ve written for multi-billion-dollar companies, down to solopreneurs, and just about every size business in between. Ten years into my copywriting career, I was working for a TripAdvisor subsidiary and was tasked with building a team of copywriters for a new brand. I poached some writers from editorial and hired a few junior writers and realized I’d have to give them a crash course in how to actually write copy. We had “classes” within the work day with assignments and discussions and, within a matter of weeks, I’d trained a team of skilled copywriters.

As soon as my team was ready to go, I realized that there were likely lots of other people out there who would make fantastic copywriters and could have very successful careers, but who didn’t have access to a mentor or copywriting program. There aren’t even copywriting programs in any colleges or universities! So, in 2012, I created my Filthy Rich Writer brand and our Comprehensive Copywriting Academy. To date, we’ve trained nearly 10,000 students.

It wasn’t immediately easy for me to sell that program, though. I had plenty of stops and starts and failed experiments with marketing and selling. But in 2018, I finally used what I new about consumer behavior, effective marketing, and insightful messaging to implement an automated sales system to sell the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy. This proprietary system allowed me to 40-x my business’ revenue in a little over two years. I now call this system the Circuit Sales System and have begun teaching it to other business owners to help them experience this same level of success for themselves.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

I don’t know of many business owners who haven’t faced hard times and challenges when they’re starting out. Before I’d fully developed the Circuit Sales System and figured out how to consistently sell our Comprehensive Copywriting Academy program, it was certainly a struggle to get sales. The program was excellent and people were seeing success, but I wasn’t seeing consistent sales. At a certain point, I decided to quit my full-time job, scale back on freelance work, and go all in on the business — which led to me amassing a full $55K of consumer credit card debt. It felt stressful and it kicked up a lot of anxiety, but I still knew that what I had to offer was something that people needed.

It was a challenging time, but I don’t regret it for a moment. The challenges often just make us appreciate the successes so much more.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I knew the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy was a good program. One of my very first students back in 2012 wrote to me to let me know that she’d purchased the program and then almost immediately lost her job — but that my training had landed her a full-time freelancing position at one of the biggest ad agencies in Chicago. Looking back, I’m so grateful that she shared her story with me, because it helped buoy my faith in what I had to offer. Another student let me know that the program had allowed her to build a six-figure copywriting career…working in Cyprus! My students’ success — in all of our courses — are what drive me and keep me going every day.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

I’ve already mentioned that I 40-xed my business’ revenue in a little over two years, but here’s how that actually breaks down:. In 2018, I made about $40,000 — the most I’d ever made from the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy course. At the end of 2018, I developed and began implementing what I now call the Circuit Sales System. In 2019, I made $268,000. And then in 2020, I made more than $1.6M. As of this writing, we are a multi-seven-figure per year business.

I’m not the first to say it, but persistence truly is the key to success. There’s no “secret.” If you continue to take action, you will reach your goals.

I struggled with trying to implement the “everyone’s-doing-it” marketing tactics for years without seeing any success — even in spite of misgivings about these tactics. But when it feels like they’re the “only way” to do something, it’s hard to get perspective.

But then I leaned into what I knew (messaging and consumer behavior) and what I’d learned (systems) to create a solution of my own. There were adjustments along the way, of course, but it was continuing to get up every day and show up for my business that led to the Circuit Sales System. And that system is what allowed me to build a team of 11 incredible full-time and freelance team members who are helping to scale our business even further.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When you’re new to building a business, it’s really hard to have that perspective — even looking back. Looking back, $50K in consumer credit card debt isn’t funny! But I certainly learned the value of having an accountant.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our students are truly what makes the company stand out. Every day in our student-only Facebook group, we have people sharing wins. These wins range from hitting their first $1,000 month to hitting their first $10,000 month, quitting full-time jobs to write copy part-time (and earn more income in less hours). What these students achieve is incredible.

You can see those wins right here.

The same is true of the Circuit Sales System. I received a text from one of the entrepreneurs in the CSS group the other day. Previously, she’d been doing live launches every single week for a $197 product. She’d increased the price of the product to $597 and implemented the Circuit Sales System, allowing her to sell on autopilot and completely ditch live launching. She made 45 sales in her first week and then sent me an update to let me know she’d made 40 sales in the last three days alone. She’s now on track to have a two million dollar year.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

As entrepreneurs, we need to protect ourselves. We are our company’s great asset and nobody is coming to save us or take care of us or insist we take time off. You need to protect your creativity. We think we don’t have time to rest, but we don’t not have time to rest. Resting is an active state where we’re letting ideas gel and coming back to our work refreshed and ready to achieve even more.

We need to protect ourselves just as we would protect our most valuable team member. And, for a lot of years of building your business, it may be that you are your most valuable team member because you’re the only team member. If you go down and the business can’t function, then you have no business.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My dad taught me to write copy and helped me hone my skills. And then my mom taught me to work on my own — she started and ran her own interior design business and demonstrated for me just how possible it was to work for yourself. These two elements are what my success today are built on.

And, of course, now I’m so grateful for each one of our team members. There are days I go into meetings with our operations manager and marketing manager and I’ll say something like, “We should do this.” And the two of them say, “Yup! We’ve already done that.” It’s such a pleasure working with people who care about the business as much as you do.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Through our courses, we’ve been able to help thousands of students build empowering careers and thriving businesses. Especially in an age where it seems more and more people are unfilled in their full-time jobs, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing people taking control of their careers and succeeding at something that brings them joy.

Too often we think of money as being a bad thing and of it being a finite resource. But there’s room for everyone and having more financial resources allows you to have an even great impact.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first launched my business” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1 . Know What Numbers Actually Matter

The sooner you know what numbers matter, the sooner you can track them and understand what they mean for your business. Too many entrepreneurs focus on vanity metrics like social media “likes,” or the number of subscribers on their list. You can have 100s of likes on every post and tens of thousands of subscribers, but if you’re not making sales, it doesn’t do much to sustain your business.

2 . Have a Realistic Understanding of Your Numbers

Once you know what numbers to look at, it’s critical to be realistic. You may think: “I’m going to send this offer to 100 people on my list and at least 50 people will buy because they opted in and are excited!” But that’s just not realistic. One to four percent is a typical conversion rate, and frankly above two percent is excellent.

Of course your numbers will be specific to you, so you need to look at where you are and what dials you can adjust to start increasing those percentages where they need to be to make the numbers work.

3 . Treat Your Business Like a Business

If your business is your main focus, or you want it to be your main focus, you need to treat it like a business. Not like a hobby. Not like a side hustle. Not like extra cash.

You need to have a system to generate predictable sales. You need to have a plan and path for growing and scaling.

Unfortunately, people aren’t simply going to stumble on your product or service and give you money.

4 . Hire Before You Have the Money to Pay for That Hire

People often wait to hire someone they need because they want to already be making more in their business in order to fund that hire. But the truth is that you need to hire to scale; you don’t scale to hire. You need that person in order to scale, and you likely need them sooner than you think. You need help as soon as you start your business. Be judicious about how you spend, certainly, but you should start looking for how to outsource tasks that don’t belong on a CEO’s plate sooner than you think.

And, as soon as you’re approaching more than 40 hours in your business, you need to start looking for that next hire. We didn’t get into business to work 60, 80 hours each week. Heck, we didn’t get into business to work 50- hours a week!

You are only as good as your team. As you grow, you have to choose team members carefully. They can make or break your business.

5. Wear Both the Employee and CEO Hat

As the CEO evaluating you as the employee, you can look at things from the impartial, business- and revenue-minded role. If you’re thinking, “I feel nervous” or “I don’t feel like doing this,” the CEO can say to the employee, “I understand…but it needs to get done anyway.”

As the CEO, you also need to believe in your business. You need to actually believe what you’re doing is possible and act like it before you’re there. You need to make the decisions of a 6- or 7-figure business owner before you’re at that level. Too often entrepreneurs get caught in the trap of making 6-figure decisions when they’re scaling to 7 and 8 figures. Saying “I’ll just do it myself,” is a 5- or 6-figure decision that can keep you from getting to multiple 6 and 7 figures.

Can you share a few ideas or stories from your experience about how to successfully ride the emotional highs & lows of being a founder”?

There are still days when I wake up in the middle of the night and think, “What if this doesn’t work out?” But I see the numbers. I know this works. I know that we’d change our course long before anything ever got remotely close to anything going terribly wrong.

The difference is now, when I feel those feelings, I know I’m going to get out of it. The longer you’re in business,, the more you understand that it’s a natural part of the process.

Some days it may not even be anything in the business that’s impacting you. You’re going to feel scared or out of control. Other days you’re going to feel great and think “I can do this!”

The only way to minimize those peaks and valleys is to make sure you have a consistent selling system and reliable team members. That keeps anxiety from peaking.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I didn’t realize when I was starting this business that I was already starting a movement that could bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people. There are more than 10,000 people we’ve empowered through our programs to either change careers to ones that make them feel more fulfilled or to create consistent revenue in their businesses that allows them to scale and grow their businesses.

Obviously it’s wonderful to grow our own business, but it turns out it’s an unbelievable pleasure and, quite frankly, an honor to be a part of helping grow people’s careers and businesses. It’s the best possible outcome of starting this company.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can learn more about all our brands at NickiKMedia.com and you can follow Filthy Rich Writer and the Circuit Sales System on Instagram

Filthy Rich Writer: https://www.instagram.com/filthyrichwriter/?hl=en

Circuit Sales System: https://www.instagram.com/circuitsalessystem/?hl=en

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

About the Interviewer: Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA was born nearly blind, crippled with club feet, partially deaf, and left-handed. He overcame all of these obstacles to become a successful civil trial lawyer. In 2000, he abandoned his law practice to become a peacemaker. His calling is to serve humanity, and he executes his calling at many levels. He is an award-winning author, teacher, and trainer. He is a highly experienced mediator. Doug’s work carries him from international work to helping people resolve deep interpersonal and ideological conflicts. Doug teaches his innovative de-escalation skill that calms any angry person in 90 seconds or less. With Laurel Kaufer, Doug founded Prison of Peace in 2009. The Prison of Peace project trains life and long terms incarcerated people to be powerful peacemakers and mediators. He has been deeply moved by inmates who have learned and applied deep, empathic listening skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills to reduce violence in their prison communities. Their dedication to learning, improving, and serving their communities motivates him to expand the principles of Prison of Peace so that every human wanting to learn the skills of peace may do so. Doug’s awards include California Lawyer Magazine Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year, Purpose Prize Fellow, International Academy of Mediators Syd Leezak Award of Excellence, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Neutral of the Year. His four books have won a number of awards and commendations. Doug’s podcast, Listen With Leaders, is now accepting guests. Click on this link to learn more and apply.

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Doug Noll
Authority Magazine

Award-winning author, teacher, trainer, and now podcaster.