“Don’t Let Anyone’s Opinion Hit You Too Heavily” Words Of Wisdom With Social Media Star, Nikki Phillippi
I had the pleasure of interviewing Nikki Phillippi. Nikki is a YouTuber who recently made the move from Santa Clarita, California to Nashville, Tennessee. She has over 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube. She creates lifestyle videos that attract young women and men to watch her daily routines, recipes, listen to her advice and watch her music videos.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was always obsessed with music, movies and storytelling in general, and my parents always encouraged my creativity! (I’M VERY THANKFUL FOR THAT!) I started taking dance classes and other types of art classes when I was 3 and I LOVED it. Along the way, I also developed a love for my parents’ video camera and filming home movies with my sisters. They were forced to be in my videos but I think they secretly loved it! When I was 14, I started teaching dance to kids younger than me and continued to make sketch and dance videos with my sisters. After 5 years, I stopped teaching dance around 19 years old (also, I need to pause and say I married my best friend Dan at 20) then I started working at Six Flags Magic Mountain as a performer and shortly after at Universal Studios. Because of that job I landed an opportunity working at Universal Studios in Singapore.
During my time in Singapore, I was injured while dancing. This was one of many injuries I had sustained over the years but this knee injury was the last straw and it put me down for the count. This led me down a path of uncertainty for a bit and I was unsure what do next since dancing had been such a huge part of my life. I wasn’t even sure how to acquire an industry job with dancing no longer a part of my skill set because it was all I ever desired to pursue. Because of the injury we returned to the states early…this is when everything changed. One morning in July 2010 I woke up to hear a small voice (that I feel was God) telling me to “get on YouTube”…..that was it… not “go makes videos!…or “go look up this video!”…..just “get on YouTube”… while I could honestly go on for hours telling the rest of the story because I’m amazed by how good God is, and the rest is history. Making videos is what I do now and I thank God EVERY DAY for this amazing opportunity and where my life is going!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
I’ve had a ton of amazing experiences, but one hilarious story that stands out is when I went to a Bethany Mota meet up a few years ago (my husband is friends with her dad and he invited us to come hang)… well, as he walked us around the event, all of the sudden he announced to a group of girls that I was there. I WAS MOBBED. HUNDREDS of girls surrounded me to take my picture, have me sign things, etc. It was crazy and I honestly felt like a super star. The cops even had to get involved! My husband was amazed too and he stood from the side and watched. That’s when he overheard a few girls squeezing through the crowd after taking pics with me and they said amongst themselves “I think that’s the girl from Pretty Little Liars!” aka Ashley Benson. He ended up hearing that multiple times and it taught me a lot about mob mentality. They seemed so excited to meet me and then it turned out a bunch of them didn’t even know who I was. LOL #theykeepmehumble
So what does your company do?
To put it simply, I produce video content and photos on social media. That being said, I’d say I’m “known for” my YouTube channel (it was the first platform I jumped onto and really ran with). I make lifestyle videos which is basically a fancy way of saying “whatever I’m into”… I do everything from recipes ( I can’t believe people want to watch me cook!) to health tips I’ve picked up and want to discuss, fashion I’m currently loving, beauty products I want to share…etc. I also love to just talk with my subscribers about deeper topics like depression and anxiety. While I am NOT an expert at anything in any of these fields, I really just strive to be open and honest so my fans feel and know that they’re not alone in whatever they’re struggling with.
Also, I have started recording music and music videos in the last couple years and it’s amazing what God has done with that! I thought that after I stopped dancing that music was gone for me. I was so sad I couldn’t express myself through dancing I legit stopped listening to music for like 2 years. In the last couple years, though, I’ve realized that I just love music and can’t stay away. I die inside without it. Everything I’ve done on YouTube related to music has been covers of other people’s songs, but with my recent move to Nashville I’m planning on releasing an EP of original music next year and I am so excited! This feels like such a natural extension of who I am in my soul and I can’t wait to share!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
To be honest I don’t know! If I had to guess why people like watching my content and following my life, it’s probably because of what I mentioned earlier, I strive to be open and honest and pass along whatever experiences, information and “wisdoms” I’ve acquired from other people in life. My content will continue to change because I consider myself a “multi passionate” person (a term coined by one of my fav business/life coaches Marie Forleo) but the goal in all my content, no matter what I’m making is to connect and give people something positive to walk away with. In addition, I launched a line of eyelashes with Eylure, which is available at every Walgreens across the country! It’s pretty surreal!
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?
The person who I feel the MOST grateful to is my husband Dan. When I first started YouTube, we were living in my parent’s house. We had practically nothing. He told me that he believed in me and that he would work to support my dream. Dan worked so hard (up to 70 hours a week as a structural steel welder) to support us for 2 years before YouTube was enough of an income for us to move out on our own. It was a huge sacrifice for our family and marriage because I didn’t have a “traditional job” that whole time. By the way, my parents get an honorable mention because without them we might have been homeless during the building phase of my channel and this all may not have happened. Now we are literally living my childhood DREAM and we get to work side-by-side to create content. He supports me in every project and I couldn’t be more grateful to him. Actually, side note that’s not really a side note… a few years ago I told him I wanted to pay him back by having him do something he was really passionate about… LONG story short, he was able to enter the field of racing and is now a NASCAR driver in the K&N series. It’s UNREAL the way everything unfolded and as I said before I could go on and on… but I’ll spare you… and leave you with “trust me… it’s crazy.”
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I know this sounds dramatic or “intense” but I feel that my main calling in life is to bring awareness to and FIGHT human trafficking. So many people are unaware of the fact that human trafficking is the NUMBER ONE illegal money maker in the world, because people can be sold over and over. Also, there are more slaves alive today than ANY OTHER POINT IN HISTORY. I now consider myself an abolitionist and would go so far as to say that that’s why I’m here. There are so many GREAT organizations out there and because I know EVERYONE who hears about slavery and trafficking finds it horrific, I want to help point people towards the organizations that they can give to and connect with… this is the fight of our generation. SLAVERY NEEDS TO END.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why?
You will always struggle with doubting yourself even years down the line!
People talking to me will often refer to me as “an expert” in my field… I’m sure I look like a deer in headlights at that point…. YES, I have a good amount of confidence in what I do, but at the same I don’t. I am still my worst critic and it is still a struggle to hit the “publish” button every time I upload content anywhere. It’s always an active choice to just DO IT and let the chips fall where they may.
There is no one size fits all with the internet.
I used to think (and honestly still struggle with sometimes) that if you follow a certain roadmap you will end up “successful”. But I’ve come to realize that the internet is the wild west and in some ways a blank canvas. You really can build your own world and success your own way. People make such a great living and build so many different types of communities online and what works for one person may not work for you. This can be for a variety of reasons so don’t beat yourself up for that and know that there is a lot of trial and error along the way. You just have to be open to experimenting and just keep swimming.
Don’t let anyone’s opinion hit you too heavily.
I’ve realized since being on the internet that the larger your circle gets, the more opinions you get and that can make “staying true to yourself” difficult. You can start to get confused and not remember who you are because you’re presented with all these opinions (sometimes very aggressively) and you want to take them into consideration, but they’re not seeing the whole picture… the real you…and that leads me to 4:
Build a village of people you trust and can confide in!
Like I said, the internet can do a good job at making you forget and question who you are. You have to have real life relationships because that’s where real life is reflected. It keeps me grounded and not going crazy or obsessing too much about every single person’s opinion online. I can tell such a huge difference in how well I carry the “load” of people’s opinions when I’m nurturing my real life relationships versus when I’m not.
The chase never ends… relax.
You’ve probably heard this before but the growth trap is real. There is no such thing as “when I hit this number…I’ll be happy.” It just doesn’t work that way. I’ve realized that in order to be sane and focus on the things that I deem most important, I have had to chill and realize that the chase never ends. I have friends who are so much “larger” than me online, and they have validated this. Work hard, make goals, and chill. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, or I might be able to introduce you.
OH MAN! THIS ONE IS HARD! My list is long so I’m going to pick a very random person on my list that is pulling on my heart. Martin Scorsese. I honestly haven’t seen all his films, only a few, and I would definitely be a different kind of filmmaker if I made movies. That being said, I think he is a BRILLIANT story-teller and I’ve always felt a connection towards him when I see interviews. I think I’m supposed to meet him and would LOVE to get lunch together…. Can you make that happen? Or does anyone know Martin? Haha!