We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Ostrem and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, what role has risk played in your life or career?
As a three time entrepreneur, taking risks has just part of my “daily dos” for years. I’ve taken risks on ideas, partners, investments and on more than one occasion there was no reward for the risk that I took. Quite honestly, I‘ve been burned, fallen flat on my face and learned some expensive lessons.
All that said, the only times I have regretted taking a risk, is when I didn’t trust my gut and didn’t fight for what I believed to be the right path.
I feel like often we only hear about the successes that entrepreneurs experience, after all sometimes it only takes one win to put someone on the map, But for me personally, I am where I am today, helping other entrepreneurs launching and grow their businesses, not as much for my successes but for the failures I have experienced along the way. What I have learned from those experiences is much more valuable to someone that is just starting out, than trying to follow a perfect path to success – because that just doesn’t exist. I am able to give new entrepreneurs real life experiences to help them avoid landmines that are impossible to see from where they are standing.
For me, its incredibly fulfilling to watch entrepreneurs that I work with, have those ah-ha moments and make those breakthroughs in their businesses.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As CEO coach for startups and entrepreneurs, I help new entrepreneurs and first-time founders build the business of their dreams. Whether they are transitioning from a corporate job to their own shop, turning their side hustle into their fulltime gig or growing their business to the next level, I provide the financial forecasting, business planning and capital raising tools to get them to their goals.
My approach is unique in that I like to catch entrepreneurs/founders early in their journey. I help them understand the path that makes the most sense for them and help them build the business foundation that will help them achieve their entrepreneurial goals. I find my approach unique because instead of doing all the work for them, I teach them how to do the work themselves. This includes structuring their business, creating their financial forecasts and doing their business planning. I know this approach isn’t for everyone but I think entrepreneurs that have this level of understanding of their business have the most success pitching it (to investors) and delegating those tasks later on. I think the most exciting part about working with clients this way, is when they come back to me and have created their financial model on their own from what I have taught them, I have seen it change the trajectory of people’s business aspirations and that, for me, lights me up!
After years of taking risks with others on startup companies, I decided to take a chance on myself. I decided to make my knowledge and experience the product and ME the brand. That has been (and continues to be) scary for me.
In the three startups that I partnered in, I always played the operating and financial partner role – and been in behind the scenes leadership roles. The biggest challenge with this, that I experienced in 100% of the startups I partnered in was that when early stage CEOs don’t really understand the financials by rolling up their sleeves they aren’t able to pitch the company successfully and if they don’t understand the structure and operations they tend to make decisions in silos.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a San Diego native and have lived in many parts of the county. One of my favorite places to take out of town visitors is to Del Mar dog beach on the weekends! We take our pup ever weekend, he loves it and it never gets old! I also love taking people to Petco Park for a baseball game, even if you aren’t a baseball fan, I love Petco park has so many local restaurants that have food inside the park. I also think the San Diego zoo is a must see. I love the Fish Shop in Encinitas for some lobster tacos after a hike up Torrey Pines!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been incredibly lucky in my life to have two very supportive parents, and now a supportive husband. And it might sound cliché but I am not sure that I could have gotten up and dusted myself off as many times as I have without my mom’ s support and belief in me. Even when I wasn’t believing in myself she was. I think there are a number of times when I would have just given up and “gotten a job”, if she had not been there to support me.