VENTEUR spoke with Nicole M. Christopherson, a respected and sought-after real estate expert, about her entrepreneurial journey. Christopherson has been helping couples, families, and individuals buy and sell distinctive homes since 2003. She recently relocated to Austin, TX, from Newport Beach, CA, expanding her business and services across state lines. From foremost coastal and foothill properties in Orange County to the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Christopherson is renowned for her in-depth real estate knowledge, including demographics, market trends, timing, property sales, management, and leasing.
The entrepreneurial journey is one of self-discovery. What have you learned about yourself while building your business?
I have learned that continually educating myself has been my most significant value to my team and clients.
Building a business takes a lot of dedication, and I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family and peers during that time.
Throughout my career, I have maintained a high level of service that we call ‘exclusive representation.’ It is something I enjoy sharing with collaboration and empowering others in my industry and around me in my community.
The entrepreneurial journey is often lonely. Have you experienced loneliness as an entrepreneur?
Graciously, I’ve never felt lonely, but as an independent broker owner, I have felt like I needed to dedicate time towards involvement with panels and committees.
I had convinced myself that this involvement was the only way to reach across all brokerage lines.
Having recently transitioned to a global digital brokerage, I no longer have that feeling. However, I aim to maintain my involvement and increase my reach within my professional community.
The Psychological Warfare
Entrepreneurs generally sleep less, work more, and let their health slip. This combination, combined with loneliness, often results in insecurity, self-esteem issues, and low self-worth. Have you experienced any of these issues as an entrepreneur?
I don’t feel that I have suffered from this, but I think I’ve grown from those uncomfortable situations where I have questioned my value to others.
By creating and maintaining routines that hold me accountable, I have reached my peak point of a healthy work-life balance that works for me.
I’m constantly checking in with what I need personally for my health and upgrading these routines when needed in my life.
Newer entrepreneurs often equate their success with the success and value of their business. If their business fails, they are a failure. If their business succeeds, they are a success. Have you experienced this warped perception of reality?
I would not say that anything has ever been warped.
On the contrary, I know that everything comes from hard work and dedication. We often learn from our failures; therefore, I see them as successes now. Being an entrepreneur comes with challenges, but I do not let any challenge or experience hinder me.
Instead, I come from a mentality of “work hard, smile large,” and I grow from these experiences.
What are your three biggest fears as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage those fears?
1. That I miss opportunities to grow and learn while limiting my opportunity to evolve in the industry.
2. I often worry that I need to manage my team better to create more free time for my family and community.
3. That there is a skill I possess and need to implement regularly.
What are three mistakes you made early on as an entrepreneur, what did you learn from them, and how can others avoid these mistakes?
1. I struggled with budgeting and managing finances during the early stages of building NMC. With trial and error in learning the ropes around running my own business, I created effective processes that I continue to utilize.
2. I would not say I have it perfected, but I have realized the importance of an unstoppable morning routine and community involvement to keep me grounded.
3. I suffered from imposter syndrome when I started, so I recommend collaborating with professionals with more experience to learn from.
What are three things you see that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs you encounter?
1. Keeping an open mind.
2. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle to make your work as effective as possible.
3. Having a solid morning routine and time blocking for self-care.
What are three seemingly insurmountable obstacles you’ve faced as an entrepreneur, and how have you overcome them?
1. Hearing other people’s opinions.
2. Letting go of imposter syndrome.
3. Not trying to be perfect, but always trying to progress positively.
What are three ways you have managed to boost your productivity without causing burnout?
1. Being authentic at all times.
2. Maintaining my health.
3. Collaborating with like-minded professionals regularly.
How can newer entrepreneurs develop a healthy work-life balance even when it seems like an impossible task?
It’s essential to surround yourself with individuals who you can learn from. For instance, if you struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, have an accountability partner or business coach to keep you steady in finding what works best for you.
What three key pieces of advice would have made your entrepreneurial journey more manageable, and why?
1. Invest in systems, and use them.
2. Create procedures and continually improve them.
3. Don’t let imposter syndrome limit you from putting yourself in front of the right people.
What do you think the most significant difference is between how an entrepreneur sees their career path versus how an employee at a company sees their career path, and why?
The significant difference is that I don’t wait for somebody to tell me my path as an entrepreneur. Instead, I am constantly developing the course I want to take by actively finding the resources to get me to where I want to be in my career.