Since starting her own business under 30 Nicky has paved her own path to success in a male dominated industry.
As a gay woman, now working with some of the worlds biggest brands she wants to inspire young women around the world. Growing up, Nicky had no visibly gay female leaders to look up to in positions of power so she dedicates her time generously to inspire girls to take a seat at the table and promote benefits of diversity to organisations.
Find out where she finds her own inspiration and why she is proud to do what she does.
Nicky, what's the one thing you wish you knew when you started your own business?
There is a lot to think about outside of just what you know, love and that drives you/the business. Get help from people and resources where needed rather than trying to do it all alone.
What is the one tool, platform or device you couldn't do without?
My iPhone and a good podcast! I love them, I’ve recently shared a list of my favourites here: https://hubs.li/H0H2XnB0 💡 (including some on the New York Rangers! Im a big fan!)
Where do you find your inspiration?
I read, a lot. I love the Wall Street Journal and so do my team! Every Saturday morning I walk my dog Ripley, make some breakfast with my wife Sarah and sit down in my favourite spot with a cup of tea and read up on the latest industry trends and reports! There’s an interesting report I read about the future of work here: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2020.pdf
How have you built your network?
I love Twitter and more recently Clubhouse! With these platforms your connecting with people based on shared interests rather than status and outside of the usual people you would usually find yourself in a room with. I don’t always talk business too – I find common ground on all things, running, hockey and rock climbing!
What skills do you need to run your own business?
Damn hard work. And a vision of what you want to get to and what you want to achieve. There is nothing that can get in the way of you achieving that if you have the belief and an eye on the prize. Break it down in to steps and stick at it. I love a recent quote I saw from @StevenBartlett “you wouldn’t plant a seed and then dig it up every few minutes to see if it has grown. Have patience, stop overthinking and keep watering your seeds.”
What is the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome?
The one thing I found challenging in my previous roles, was that sometimes I had to go against my views of what I thought was right for a user or solution. Often, I wasn’t alone in my thinking but there were certain projects that simply had to go ahead – what sometimes felt like a tick box or political exercise.
That was a challenge because when you are newer in to an organisation or career, there is an element of hierarchy and when someone says it’s the right thing to do, you can of course share and state your opinions, but there’s only so many times you can suggest an alternative if someone keeps saying no. Sometimes HR and L&D projects can be seen as a tick box to the wider organisation rather than the right approach. To overcome this, I think in any job that you do, if you love what you do and truly believe in what you do - work doesn’t feel like work. I would say if you’re feeling like you’re continually working on something that goes against what you believe in, it comes down to having to have a chat with yourself and making a decision to find something that supports your passions and values.
I feel so humbled and grateful for the many incredible milestones I have achieved throughout my career to date. We employ over 60 brilliant people and help pay their rents and support their families. Throughout Covid, we have financially supported local food banks and children with home schooling tech kits. We have over 500K users globally of a product we have built. But despite all of that… without any doubt, I am most proud of the day I made the decision to believe in myself and have the courage to leave the safety of a corporate job and co-found Digital Balance (now DBLX). Because it all goes back to that belief that I am worthy enough to make a difference and have a voice and drive change in a male dominated industry. I didn’t know it would work. I had no financial backing. I was raised by a single mum and had to provide for myself from an early age. I’ve had to work for everything I have and starting my business was a huge risk. But I knew inside I had so much to give, my head was bursting with ideas and I wanted to drive change in the industry which it so desperately needed. So the only thing I feared more than leaving my job was not leaving.
All seven billion of us have a unique set of skills, talents, and personality traits. We’re all different, and that’s the beauty. The world needs more women to listen to their gut. Imagine the change we would see in the world! I had a nagging feeling inside of me for years before I acted on it. My only regret now is that I didn’t start sooner. Im incredibly proud I found the courage to start because it has already made such a huge impact on the industry, my life and others. I've also found myself applying my leadership and company values in my personal life; having integrity and humility and not being afraid to try new things. I have even taken to rock climbing – which I have found great for my mind and ‘switching off’.
Nicky Hoyland, interviewed by Brand Champions