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In this episode, I get to speak with a good friend, VJ Niles. She’s been helping professionals get to the next level in their careers. She’s a career strategist and a speaker. We go into the details of her journey and how she launched her business to help others realize their potentials.

Enjoy the episode!

Our Guest

VJ Niles

Hacks to take away

  • A strategy is something that’s very important for all of us to get to that next level.
  • Helps you strategize your career, help you catapult to the next level in your career, whether you’re a mid-level professional wanting to get to the next level, and executive trying to decide your next move between C suite and your own thing, or an entrepreneur trying to figure out how to bring your ideas to fruition.
  • How to make your side households and two full-time things.
  • Always had a plan to not work for somebody for the rest of your life.
  • Save money learn all the different jobs
  • Perseverance is probably one of the biggest parts of her story.
  • No matter what you’re doing, if you’re trying to figure out how to make this hobby into a full-time thing, you just put together the right strategy and decide. I’m going to give it my all and give it the time to go into a pillow to be what I want it to be.
Read Full Transcript

Junaid Ahmed 0:10
Thank you for tuning into hacks and hobbies with your host Junaid. In Season Two of hacks and hobbies were visited by our amazing guests coming from all walks of life want to learn their story, their struggles and their journey on how they got to where they are today. So stick around

this episode I get to speak with a good friend, BJ Niles. She's been helping professionals get to the next level in their careers. She's a career strategist and a speaker. And what's funny is that I've been looking for a career strategist or I've been strategizing my own Career, not just career, but my entrepreneurship and where I'm going. So, again, strategy is something that's very important for all of us to get to that next level. Now, she says on her profile, she's not just code, but she helps you strategize your career, help you catapult to the next level in your career, whether you're a mid level professional wanting to get to the next level, and executive trying to decide your next move between C suite and your own thing, or an entrepreneur trying to figure out how to bring your ideas to fruition. And what's, what's something that we're focusing on this podcast is how to make your side households and two full time things and this is where BJ Niles and as an expert on so BJ, thank you so much for your time and coming onto the podcast.

VJ Niles 1:51
Thank you for having me.

Absolutely. So I got introduced to you on one of those live LinkedIn. Sammy Is episode with today. And I was like, dude, you guys talking like, stuff from from out of my from inside my head this is really powerful. And, you know, because we all have those thoughts that we don't like to like get out in the open we just, you know, keep it to ourselves or maybe write it down in the journal. But if we, you know and so that was really inspiring and I was like, you know, I need to talk with BJ I need to talk with today then it to you know, get them on the podcast get their story because we all have so many different experiences and then what we learned and you know, we're basically standing on the shoulders of giants, you wouldn't be able to use this technology that we are using today. If Bill Gates hadn't figured out, you know how to program the operating system or you know, Steve Jobs hadn't worked with Wozniak. So, but we all have our own journeys that we go through. So my friend Very first question is first question is usually, you know, tell us a version of your journey. There's no one's heard of before.

Well, for my journey, I think and that nobody's heard before, that's the

harder part. I know, right? But we can, we can always go in and out of, okay, you know, this is what, this is where I started, but here's some things that you know.

Okay, I guess some parts of my journey a lot of people probably don't know is I always had a plan to not work for somebody for the rest of my life. You know, I was 22 in corporate America, I hit 23 and was like, I do not want to do this for the rest of my life. I don't want to work for somebody else. And anything I did, I was always just trying to like, you know, save money learn all the different jobs I had. I've had four careers I've worked in insurance higher ed, it in HR, and in between, it was always like the motivation for me to do what I wanted to do. So I'm you know, I just would always keep my eye on the prize. Like I hate my job. But I knew I was doing it because one day I was going to have my own thing. I knew that I could take my mistakes and help other people with it the things that I overcame. No, I think perseverance is probably one of the biggest parts of my story. There are times I probably should have given up, I promise you this top, just been like enough is enough, but I just couldn't. Yeah, I just really couldn't, you know, there are days I'm like, you know, we should just give up. I'm like, Oh, no, we shouldn't do it. And we're just going to keep going forward, you know, and I exhaust every option before I'm like, okay, it's not even a give up. It's like, all right, this literally will not work because I said, every option to try to make this work. Let's move on to something else. Yeah. So I think a big part of my journey is that level of perseverance. I mean, only probably like my close friends know, how much I've been through how many mountains I've had to move, how many obstacles have been in my way, you know, and just really always getting back up. You know, as As Les Brown Jr says, If you land on your back and you're looking up, you can always get up. So I wouldn't go it's just like, all right, get back up, you know, I've worked two jobs and I mean, I'm going to different schools had a job and have my own business all at the same time. So I'd like I said, there are times I probably should have been like, wait, maybe I do. Maybe slow down and like one job and just the one business and one school, you know, but it just all kind of made me who I am. And it's all just been like such an interesting journey, you know, people with me now and I'm like, traveling more and I'm about to I'm ready to relocate out the country, which I'll be doing hopefully in a couple more months. But I'm planning to spend the winter abroad in the Dutch Caribbean because I'm tired of being cold.

Junaid Ahmed 5:45

VJ Niles 5:47
This lady the other day, who was like Wow, you're so blessed. And I was like, Yes, I am. But it's like you have no idea what I've had to go through the point the sacrifice that I've made, and you know, the things I just had to let go of to get This point. So I think that's a big part of my journey that people don't notice is the level of perseverance that I've been through. Yeah, absolutely.

And it's super important to have that, you know, in the back end because without, without the struggles, it's like, we're watching this movie, Alexander, the very bad day and whatnot. And it's like, you know, unless you can appreciate the bad or having experienced the bad, you know, you can then appreciate the good that you have you you're more grateful. Because a lot of the times you'll hear people are just complaining because they've just had a good the whole time. And yes, they're, they're like, Oh, I'm entitled to this like, No, you're not. Now it's like, the real world. Yes. Welcome to the real world. We have I mean, and what's funny to people don't realizes that we have days and nights, every single day like our we should be so acclimated with change, because every single day you have a day and a night you have up and down and tire history of the universe, there are ups and downs. So having them in our lives is only natural. Yes, yes. Sweet. So congratulations, you know, for spending winter in a in a warmer weather area because that would be really awesome. And we I was looking at my electric bill last year and winter was hanging around in spring and we had to pay an exorbitant amount of money to keep the house warm, like oh my god, what is going on?

So, oil is even more expensive than electric is so yes, I totally get it. I am tired of shoveling snow. I'm tired of being cold. Yeah. So yeah, yeah, I said my time sometimes you just have to make that decision. Yeah, this time. And actually, that's another part of my journey was I made the decision that I'm not I'm not going backwards anymore. Like, I'm going full out in my business. I've rebranded I did some new things, but I'm finally at a point where I'm like, yeah, this is it. I'm moving forward. There's no going backwards anymore. Like, I have better clarity on some stuff. You know, I did my strategy. I've already put together a 10 year plan. I'm like, everybody's like, 2020 is my year. I'm like, that's my mindset shift. When you really just decide like, all right, this is what's going to happen. This is what I need. This is what I'm going to do. It's the mountains. Just move on. The way

Junaid Ahmed 9:01
that's right to do well, it's not that the mouths move out the way you fly over them. Yeah,

VJ Niles 9:09
yeah, sometimes you fly over them. Sometimes you just blow a hole through the middle of them be like, the alternate route where there are no mountains. So yeah, but I think it's like that,

that really helps. You know, no matter what you're doing, if you're trying to figure out how to make this hobby into a full time thing, you just put together the right strategy and decide, okay, I'm going to give it my all and give it the time to go into pillow to be what I want it to be. It's not an overnight process. It's not like my third business. Yeah, you know, so I've failed it to other businesses, and I didn't get what and then I had one I never even got off the ground. So, you know, but now it's like, I go over those experiences. And sometimes you have to realize when you take yourself as far as you can and get the help that you need, you know, and then that's right. Like I make those decisions. Like I was like, All right, I'm going to go get the help I need and I started getting this help I needed in the right support system and you know, like, especially as an entrepreneur, you have to have entrepreneurial friends you do oh my god so it doesn't matter where in the world they are no just have to

Junaid Ahmed 10:15
you have you gotta have it because the mindset is so different. Like if you're talking to somebody who's got a nine to five like well, I can only talk about this topic of and then that's where sports come in, right? People talk about sports all the time because it's it's a medium that doesn't require you know, any real life experience where emotions are something that even make sense.

VJ Niles 10:42
Now, you're saying something that you don't have to be directly like you're not directly or we're just still involved with it. You still have a level

you're thinking and I don't have any of that. I don't watch any sports. What? Like, yeah, so like There's one one friend of mine or cousin or family friend. He's actually my wife's cousin. But we talked about like, when when Bitcoin was doing great, we talked about cryptocurrency all the time, and then a crash, like, all right, we don't tell your dad anymore. You know, so like, I am still struggling and finding the people that are my people like, what's my vibe to like, okay, these are the people and I think that's what I've done with the podcast and you know, I've reached out to people that think the way I think and I like the way they think so then you know, we have a conversation like this and it's really helping each other out and figuring out okay, what's, what's the next thing you're doing? And like you mentioned you you've got your entire 10 years planned out, which is, like super amazing, super impressive because for me, I'd be happy to have my next two weeks planned out. You know, I am the

way to do that though. I looked at the bigger picture right? And then I had a post earlier and somebody commented, Audrey commented on it, Audrey Boyles, her name and you know, big picture and then you can work backwards from your big picture. Absolutely. Do so I decided like, I want to impact 10,000 lives over the next 10 years, which means it's going to be 1000 years so now I can work backwards and figure it all out. Like I don't have every little detail figured out just the master plan and when the reasons why I like strategies, and I'm a strategist is because when you strategize something, you look at every possible scenario. Hmm, well, I do anyway. Yeah. So here's possible scenarios here possible outcomes for each scenario. You still like I'm going to make a plan but when I made a plan and things didn't go to plan and only had one backup plans, I wasn't always enough. And I realized my plans did not take into consideration these outside things. Whereas when I started to strategize, I looked at Okay, so if Make this plan, here's the things that could affect it. What if I don't have any money for that? So how do I get the money for that? What if I need more education for that? What if I need a new car? What if I need to figure out a new house? And what if I needed a new passport? Like all those things? Okay, I need medical I need like, I need this. Like everything comes into play. When I strapped? Well, what happens if I meet somebody? And because I'm not married, and I don't have kids, but like, what happens if that happens for me? Yeah, that is my plan. Or you know, what if I meet, you know, what if I find a kid, I love somewhere in the world and decide to adopt a kid now My life changed. So I think about all these different scenarios. So if I'm like, there's a strategy for that. So if I hit one of those scenarios, I don't have to come up with a brand new plan. It's just oh, okay, that's scenario 3.7. We just switched over to that. We already got a strategy in place for that. And my strategy to make you more flexible, because when people's plans don't happen, they're like, Oh, my God, my plan didn't work out. Yeah, you're defeated. But if you have a strategy, like Oh, we've already worked out that scenario, we just Wait, okay, let's just switch that we already know what to do for that.

That's amazing. And you're able to do that because you've gone through the experience. You've had those experiences, right? You you've created for business, you you were in four different careers, you created two businesses failed to start one of them, you know, like, there's no tires on this on this plan. Who can we get this car going?

Yeah, I think it's like, many experiences and just like the level of perseverance of like, all right, listen, I was one of those kids. Like, if you ever told me I couldn't do something that was just a dare to me. I was like, I'm going to prove you wrong. You know, if as I got older, even still, you know, I was in college. And it's funny because I look at some of today's kids compared to like, when I was their age, and like, 1819 you can tell me anything. I was on top of the world. There was nothing I could not do. Yeah, right. I didn't even consider I couldn't do stuff. And we didn't even have this level of technology, you know? That it was the 97 Calm era just kicked off, you know, but I was like, I can do it. I'm gonna figure it out. This is what I, like, I always knew I wanted my own business, I could vision it, what I, you know what I want it, that vision has shifted and changed. You know, like, I used to want to own bookstores. That's not really a thing anymore. Like, okay, let me shift out of that, you know, and it's just like, with the times but I was always just like this. There's a way to do this always have a backup plan. I never had like a plan a and a plan B. I was at like, A through H and then it was subsections of every plan, you know. And then I realized, like, you have to get rid of your comfort zone like I blew, My nose is gone. There's no such thing as a comfort zone. It's just like me, but a tent in the middle of whatever I'm in. Right. That's my zone is a

backpack in the tent. Yeah,

that's it. Like that's it. You just have to really figure out what's it worth to you.

You know, like sometimes people are so afraid. I'm like you more afraid to fail. I'm afraid to succeed. Because, you know, I heard somebody say, I can't remember the man's name. I was at a conference. And it was such a powerful statement to me. Because he was like, I used to be in prime America back in like, oh seven, and it was at one of our conferences, and I walked into the African Americans and prime America group. And the guy said, we've mastered being broke. It's time to master success.

It was like, Listen, if you don't become successful, you go back to being broke, you know how to do that.

Such a good point, you know?

And I was like, that's true. Like, so what if you fail and you go back to status quo, you've been doing status quo, you have mastered status quo. So if you go for your dream, and it doesn't work out the first time and now you're back to watch a Netflix, you know how to watch Netflix on the couch, right? Like, what's the big deal? Do it like

that you can make your life better. Why would you not do it? Why would I do that? Like people like Oh, yeah. Steena latest episode of I'm like, No, no, no.

TV shows that I used to love. I'm like, I'll get to it. Yeah, I was on a plane to France

Junaid Ahmed 17:08
didn't going anywhere. Yeah,

VJ Niles 17:11
yeah. Like, I watch Netflix. And it's literally old shows I've seen before. So I don't pay attention. It's just background noise,

Junaid Ahmed 17:17
background noise.

VJ Niles 17:19
Like I'm put on Grey's Anatomy, because they're up to like, 15 seasons. I'm like, perfect. I don't want to change shows for a while, you know, background and I'm doing my job. And every now and then I look over and I'm like, Oh, yeah, I remember that scene. I was at work, you know, like, but I understand what my Why is I when I realized the drive and the want for more. I mean, I've been I've trained my replacements I've been let go from jobs for stupid reasons, you know? And it's just like,

it's not worth it to me,

you know, to still be status quo. And I'm always telling people like, you ordinary people, please stop telling extraordinary people to be ordinary.

Yeah, we don't like it.

We don't like it. Some people Ordinary is great for them, they are good at it. And there's nothing wrong with it, like, one of the simple life. That's great.

There's nothing wrong with that. Absolutely not at all.

But for me, that's not what I want. Like your look simple on my level of simple but just two different levels of, you know, I want to make a global impact. I want to experience things I want to learn multiple languages and like, just make an impact on one person's life everywhere I go, you know, and like, I don't have to, it doesn't have to be like, Oh, I have to be part of this big program in this mass movement and make sure that I hit like 5000 really big people know, I'd like to small people. Like I just recently to lunch and learns this week, I talked for women at Tesla and women of color and former at GSK. And what like the best compliments I got was you were so real, like you gave real advice. And that was like the best thing for me to hear. No, thank you. It was like you're so real. I'm like, I don't do pie in the sky. You know, I understand like Light is hard. I mean, a lot of ugly and you know, people are like, yeah, you should only work places that you know, are aligned with your values and blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, do you need to eat every day?

Junaid Ahmed 19:10
Yes. Yeah,

VJ Niles 19:14
like, because even if a company has great values, let's be realistic. Your co workers might not have the best values.

No. You know, like,

like, realistic, you know, and everybody at work is not going to be your friend, then that's supposed to be your friend. No. So you know, right, like, understand the boundaries. I've had plenty of co workers that I'm like, yo, we can have lunch together, but I'm not talking to you outside of work.

Junaid Ahmed 19:40
Yeah. And in different circles. That is so so true. Because you know, I worked at a company for over three years. I don't talk to those people anymore, even though we're friends on Facebook. Sure. We'll see a post every once in a while. But their mindset is different from my mindset, because I'm doing this and they are doing this. And they were only friends because we worked in the same place. And you know, we had some similarities. Right, right. You know, we have seen, so Wow, that's a really, really powerful point.

Oh, man,

VJ Niles 20:19
I only I can only do real. I'm like, Listen, things are great. I love pie in the sky, we can shoot for the moon. But we're still on Earth.

Before we hit them. Let's figure out earth.

And people are going to be people, people aren't going to like you, for whatever reason, everybody's not there to cheer you on.

Sometimes it's better to move into, you know, stealth mode.

You know, like those two things. I talked about the two talks I had today. I had those lunch and learn. And then like I had, you know, beforehand, and now they're done. I'm like, guess what? I was just speaking for Tesla, you know? I'm like, oh,

quietly and then just celebrate your success.

Junaid Ahmed 20:58

VJ Niles 21:00
So I always tell people to network, right? Like, I'm always talking about networking but actually have to do it not just go out and network and talk to people. But follow up believe that's what you know, networking should be about. And especially if you're trying to become a an entrepreneur, trying to figure out how to turn that hobby into a business, you have to network, you have to talk to other people. Absolutely. And then, from networking, you just never know who you're going to meet and the type of opportunities that you're going to get. I got both of those opportunities from network from networking. Yeah. From networking, the lady from for Tesla. We were at a meetup together. It was a LinkedIn local meetup. And we met, and she lives towards where I live, and I drove her back to her car. So we have like a 45 minute car ride together, and we're just talking, you know, and she's like, wow, you know, it's talking some career strategy stuff with us. And she's like, Man, this is amazing. And then she told the women at her job and they like, we'll get her in the talk because she's part of the game for women at Tesla. You know, and I get this text like, hey, Sorry, it's been a while, but, and I know it's kind of short notice, but

for us, it's like, Yeah.

Like when you know, I mean, probably not with a three week lead sign. Yeah. Like, okay, sure, no problem, you know, but it's all because of networking. It's literally talking to people and yeah, even a little bit of who you are. And so people get a sample of it and then they want more.

And you know, I think this has to be you.

You do absolutely got to be yourself. And something that my this guy follow Greg roulette, he says, you know, you got to be the same person on the video, you got to be same person. And the meeting got to be same person that and lunch, because you got to be that same person because you can't you there's impossible to manage multiple personalities. Right. So, so true, so awesome. And, you know, a lot of times people would post on on LinkedIn and they were like, oh, networking Such a bad connotation is because you've been, you haven't been doing it correctly. Right? Right. Or maybe there's a lot of sales people coming in trying to get your money. I don't know what it is, but

it's because people think it's transactional. Right? People don't realize networking is it's not about the hookup. It's about building relationships. It's not going out collecting business cards, right? Some people are like, Okay, I gotta collect like, 45 business cards. No, why if you're not gonna do anything with them, what's the point? Exactly, right. It's about holding conversations where you, you know, because there's some people you meet and it's like, okay, you have a conversation with them. You're not calling them ever again. You don't talk

to them. Like this pretty cool.

You know, but yeah, but there's some people that you like, okay, there's a vibe here. Let's talk a couple things. That's how I met tonight. We also met on LinkedIn. Same

Junaid Ahmed 23:50
same one. Yeah.

VJ Niles 23:52
We didn't even get to talk much the first time we met. It was just kind of like, Hey, how you doing? What do you do better than it was another one that same week, like Three days later, yeah. And he's going to that one because we get a chance to talk. And it was like a I'll be there to like, I think we said that on LinkedIn. And then we probably got

caught at the second one. And then we started

talking more and more and more, you know, and I think maybe last week, we were at another event that I told him about the networking event, you know, you should check it out. Now, we do similar things, but we're not in competition with each other. No, I stick to mid level and up people. He does, you know, like more early level professionals and that's perfect. Because when they come to me, I'm like, and I'm gonna refer you to him. Yeah. When he gets mid level people, if somebody's trying to change careers, he's like, I'm gonna send you to DJ. Yeah. You know, and it's just like having that, that, you know, building that relationship. You know, it's all about talking to people because, okay, the best networking story I have, and it's crazy because I have never heard two people say something so exact before my life. And it's like this. I was in his Meetup group that was like the New York City girlfriends get together and we celebrated It was like a holiday thing. And so I'm talking to these two ladies on my right. And there's a lady on my left. And so I asked the two ladies on my writing Oh, so what do you do blah, blah, blah. One lady says, she's interested in opening up a not for profit to do art therapy. And I said, Okay, she's like, but I want to do it for like the refugees, but she's like, you know what, they're not really refugees. But the people that are like dislocated in their countries, because the Civil War was like in Africa, I would love to go somewhere in Africa, open up a center and do art therapy for those people. I was like,

that's pretty cool.

Yeah. Okay. We'll talk a little more. I talked to the lady on my left who I had met before, but I never know what this woman did. And something like Oh, hey, how you doing? How's it? No, I don't think I know what you do. So what do you do? Well, I own a not for profit in Uganda, where we do art therapy for the refugees. They're not really refugees, but then the people that would dislocate it because of the Civil War, and I was like, wait, what, what?

I would like to just move over here like someone from the future.

On my right, she was like, What does she say? I said don't worry, I'm on it. I was like switch seats with me because you two need to get together. Put you two together and mean the middle.

Here. You guys need to talk. Yeah. And I moved on. I was like, yeah, I'm done. My role here is done. I was like, never heard people say something.

Junaid Ahmed 26:20
You heard their past. And this is from the future. Like she came back from the future to like, Hey, I can help you.

VJ Niles 26:28
Yeah, it was so crazy. That's why I'm always like, talk to people. You just never know who you're going to meet. You know? And like, I always tell people, like if you run out of things to say not sure what to say, as somebody what are three things you're passionate about? Yeah. There's a lot of people will say stuff like food or traveling doesn't love to eat. Right. So you can have whole conversations on like, oh, what some great restaurants nearby, you know? So it's like an easy way to just start asking questions, but I mean, I was hoping that like don't don't network and go out there and start selling people. You have to just talk to them. Get to know them. Because people buy you, they don't buy what you're selling they buy. It's so true. It's been said, a million times,

Junaid Ahmed 27:08
right? They, they want to know who you are, so they can create their condition. And that's something that we were talking about. So yesterday, we had this talk at this realtor event where we're basically teaching them how to shoot video. And then how do you like talk about your properties and, you know, basically create a connection. And so this lady's like, okay, you know, I know Spanish, and I know, Italy, Italian and, you know, recreate content and attract these type of people. So I was like, Well, first of all, you gotta strategize. You gotta figure out what topics you're going to talk about. go as deep as you can figure out your scripts. Now record the video based on answering these questions and then do it in all three languages. Right? And you never know because Facebook gives you that data back. Which video? Is it getting the target audience You're interested in and then you could tweak it and work on the stuff that's working. You know, Italian people are watching more than you know, focus on that one. So yeah,

VJ Niles 28:10
yeah, that's a great strategy right? You can you can do a lot of things and have the wrong strategy and then it doesn't succeed.

Junaid Ahmed 28:18
Yeah, yeah, nothing. I've done a lot of things with the wrong strategy so far.

VJ Niles 28:24
Even though you know me so now you can get now I know you and we can we can

Junaid Ahmed 28:27
figure out the right strategy. Sweet. This was really awesome and powerful. I love it. Good. Good. I wish I lived in New York. You know, I've had a lot of good connections out in New York, but I'm just five hours away. It's not too bad.

VJ Niles 28:43
It's only five hours.

Junaid Ahmed 28:44
Yeah. What's funny is I'm in DC. Oh, yeah. So let me tell you some funny so I'm, I'm also a also have passion to be in acting. So I've done some acting And I've done you know, some commercials. And there was this one role, like law and order. They're looking for a Middle Eastern to be like an extra. So I was like, Okay, I'll do it. So I signed up and they're like, oh, you're in. But this thing is in New York. So I drove seven and a half hours to be New York the night. And then in the morning, I showed up on set and I, you know, I was able to do my part and whatnot, but nice because it was it was just that experience. And if I, you know, and I wanted to, like reach and reach out and connect with some of the other contacts that I had out in New York, but the time was so short that I had to just run back home the next morning, or even the same night I think so. The night before I drove up I stayed at my my cousin's place. Then I took the train and then Uber and it was it was just crazy like a configure the train system.

VJ Niles 29:54
system isn't like a train system in DC I used to live in and work in DC. So

yeah, I'm familiar with Bad party. Sounds like a

slow night is always filming somewhere in New York. There's so many times you'll be driving someplace and you see signs like no parking tomorrow filming.

Junaid Ahmed 30:11
Yeah, like, Oh, that was a cool experience and I got to connect with people that were there extras themselves and they're like, Yeah, we do this all the time. We were extras in Spider Man three or extras and you know all these other movies and oh, we're doing us Amsterdam next week. And there's all this stuff filming in New York. I'm like, Oh my God, why am I not living here? But But I know it's expensive as hell. So DC is not much cheaper. No, it's not. No.

VJ Niles 30:42
I mean, like New York, DC is nothing I have family like in, in Maryland. So yeah, I know where you are. But yeah, next time I'm around, you know, maybe we can try to get together.

Junaid Ahmed 30:53
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Alright, so I like to ask some questions towards the end. What is one hobby that you wish you got into?

VJ Niles 31:05
Um, maybe sewing. I was

gonna say solid and I blamed my mom this one sorry mom. recompete but she was she went to the high school for fashion industry and she was always sewing stuff, but she never showed me how she showed me how to cut out patterns and her parents would you want to make something but she never showed me how to sew.

Junaid Ahmed 31:30
Well, very cool. My mom has been sewing since forever. Her mom was also you know, she also uses So, so I had some opportunity to sit on the sewing machine and like sell stuff and like, do that kind of stuff. So yeah, that's that's a really cool high because I remember when I was younger, you know, probably like four and five. She used to sew all of my clothes, right? Like, high fashion looking and then I Remember when when she came out here we were visiting in 85. And they had they have all these simplicity patterns, right? You can you can get. And then you can like cut and I was like, Oh, that's how you do it. Yeah. And my mom loves to, like, try different things. And that's why like, I have so many different hobbies Have you come from my mom? And she's like, into so many different things. She's like, oh, like one of the doors in our in Saudi Arabia, one of the doors were like dragging on the carpet. And she like, Oh, we could just take the door off and, you know, chop the bottom off or, you know, like, trim it down of like, you know, this. So, right, so I talked about this in my, in my magnetic entrepreneur, chapter. Like all of these things I have because my mom's is is into hobbies. And then as Lee and I go even deeper, I'm like, and my mom's dad used to own a shop and you know, who's a tradesman? And some like me, and I'm looking at all my mom's brothers and they're, they're all you know, doing their own thing. Entrepreneurship. No wonder I have.

VJ Niles 33:05
It's in your blood. It's in my blood.

Definitely, definitely. Yeah. It's so funny like my mom and to her sisters used to have their own little sewing business. And one of them like found their own business card and everything. And I'm like,

but you never taught me how to

cook like I know how to cook.

Yeah. So, though, and I have a sewing machine because I used to make pillows, but I'm like, machine and then when I stopped making pillows, my mother's like, Can I borrow your sewing machine? And then she never came back?

No, I got back now, like you're supposed to have so

Junaid Ahmed 33:41
what's funny is that I've so one sewing project that I have is I've got all these old jeans. I've got like at least six or seven jeans. And the criteria is what would God like torn? Like Well, I can't use these pants. So they're sitting in my workshop and I'm like starting to cut out and then I'm going to make like a, like a, do a or not do a but what do you call a computer or? Or a patch? Or something like that? Okay, well, yeah, well with the jeans pattern, but I'm like, Okay, I need to, I need to like spend eight hours to do this and I have the eight hours. Have this time to do that.

VJ Niles 34:23
Time Yeah, take one piece at a time.

Junaid Ahmed 34:26
Yeah, if you come look at my workshop. It's, it's, it's crazy. I got way too many projects going on. We had funny. Alright, next question. What did you want to be when you were a child?

VJ Niles 34:45
Oh, okay, at different stages. I just want to be a writer.

I published a poem when I was seven. My uncle had this magazine. He's a publisher. So I had a poem published when I was seven. Then I wanted to be a lawyer for a very long time. I wanted to be a corporate lawyer all the way into college and then I was like, Yeah, not like Yeah, no, that's okay. I'm an entrepreneur. And then I went on and got my MBA. But um, yeah, I still want to be a lawyer for very long time.

Junaid Ahmed 35:15
Very cool. I like it. Next question, what is your favorite movie or TV show? Oh, Star Wars.

VJ Niles 35:24
Easy, very easy.

Our Star Wars Star Wars shirt when I'm walking around the house. When I travel, it's funny. I had traveled with a friend or a conference. And it was around Star Wars Day and I was like, not have stuff to wear. But I was like, wait a Star Wars Day and I'm like, I had an extra Star Wars shirt and you know, with the blazer because it was cold in a place and she's cracking up. I'm like, I have my fleece Star Wars blanket. I travel with

some like, Oh my god, it's like a pitcher said to my kids is gonna crack them up like paint the picture

Junaid Ahmed 36:00

we'll talk about Star Wars we have the Mandalorian the TV show that just started

VJ Niles 36:07
yes yes hopefully I'll get a chance to check it out yeah I don't I haven't been able to watch too many of the series just because of once I got out until only one episode came out

Junaid Ahmed 36:17
so far there's only one

VJ Niles 36:19
like know even for me like I haven't even seen all the Clone Wars The Carla the Clone Wars, okay, I need to get to watch it on my schedule. Like

Junaid Ahmed 36:26
when you when you sitting on the beach,

on the beach, you know, like catch up on you

VJ Niles 36:32
know, catch up on stuff and download everything.

Even when I would be sitting at the beach, I would probably

I would try to work but then like just looking at the ocean. It's just too peaceful is to be fully That's right. But it would give me a lot of great thoughts and some strategies and were one of my favorite beaches. I like Island Curacao and one of their beaches has wild boars on it. So like Italy Like sit around and they're funny, like, I watched one steal somebody's sandwich out their bag and it came and sat right behind me and was just eating it and I was cracking up. The pig is living his best life. You know, just sitting there like I get a lot of thoughts and lot information just kind of being tranquil.

Junaid Ahmed 37:19
But yet, I think one of the one of my most tranquil times is one that was commuting and that's how I started the podcast. I was like, You know what, I'm spending two hours driving, I can be do something so I thanks to crush it, and he's like, just just document your story, you know, doesn't have to be too hard. And with anchor app, they made it so easy to record a podcast right on your phone. It's like I'm just going through that. So my first episode, the queen bee is all around. It was all recorded on my iPhone while I'm driving home. Nice talk about Beyonce because somebody told me queen bee is Beyonce and somebody else told me that no that's somebody like there's another queen bee before Beyonce and I can't remember who that was. Little Kim yes look him

VJ Niles 38:14
yeah but but little Kim was queen bee as in the B word was Queen as Queen Bey her name

Junaid Ahmed 38:23
Oh more clarity

VJ Niles 38:26
difference in that way yeah little Kim you know she's she was hardcore got it but yeah now you see queen bee of it's more like Queen Bay. Yeah, but it's queen bee either or just a letter B for her name Yeah, listen to um I have like a playlist of different music inspirational music sometimes I'm on my girl power and

formation have popped up. I was like laughing with me.

Junaid Ahmed 38:59
Yeah And this one, what movie would you choose if you got to play a character in it?

VJ Niles 39:06
Who I got to play a character and

I can answer it with two movies. I want to do one action and one non action. So for an action movie, I'm probably Black Panther.

And for a drama.

The Color Purple, huh?

I love that book. I mean, I read. It's funny. I was at a sleepover in junior high. And I couldn't sleep I had like, woke up and went to the bathroom and went to get something to drink or whatever. And my friend's mom had that book on the bookshelf, and I never went to sleep that night. I just read the book because I had only seen the movie. So then I read the book and I loved it. So then I had to go buy my own copy. I've seen the movie. God knows how many times and I've seen the play.

Junaid Ahmed 39:51
Nice. So

yeah, Color Purple. I'll have to check that one because I have

VJ Niles 39:56
seen that. It's an old movie. Goldberg starting it, it's like, okay, it's from the 80s that one's a good one. Or the outsiders. That was one of my favorite books when I was

like in my probably like 1213 okay the outsiders. very humbling them loved it.

Junaid Ahmed 40:16
Very cool. So that's three things for me to research on. Who is your favorite superhero?

VJ Niles 40:24
Superman and Wonder Woman. Nice.

Some days I feel like I'm super Wonder Woman.

Junaid Ahmed 40:30
Yeah, super.

VJ Niles 40:32
My Wonder Woman tomorrow and I'm like old school Wonder Woman Linda cars. Yeah. The moments were all and then I go conquer the world.

Junaid Ahmed 40:41
All right, last one. If you were a board game, what would it be?

VJ Niles 40:48
risk? Hmm. There's I'm all about taking risk.

Junaid Ahmed 40:53
Yeah, you gotta you gotta take the risks because that's how you figure out the difference. strategies. Oh, it took this really so working like it, you know have good I've been getting a lot of monopolies

so that's that's a good

VJ Niles 41:10
Yeah. Well maybe even just

as funny as my strategy that I do I don't actually play chess but I'm very good at like, being a few moves ahead.

But yeah, that would be the other one. Definitely my friend.

Junaid Ahmed 41:27
What's his name?

just hopping on it is right on top of my head. I interviewed him. He's one of the LinkedIn guys also, but he, he used to stream on Twitch, and he's to play chess on there. So like, that'd be pretty cool, like, play stream chess over. Alright, last question. Or you know, where can my audience find you?

VJ Niles 41:54
So you can find me on LinkedIn under vj Niles Viz and Victor j as in john Niles. Like the Nile River witness. My website is www dot Niles group calm? And yeah, those are the two biggest places to find me. I mean, I'm on. I'm not on Twitter as much as I used to be. But I'm at BJ Niles on Twitter. And Instagram is at the mouth. Like I moved active on LinkedIn. If you really want to find me it is LinkedIn.

Junaid Ahmed 42:27
Perfect. I love it. Well, BJ, thank you so much for your time. This was very invigorating conversation. I mean, we broke down a lot of barriers and figured out a lot of things that are going wrong in my head and you know, and you know how to get to that next level. You got to strategize. You gotta have a goal in mind. Great. Yeah.

VJ Niles 42:52
And if anybody needs me, I do do a free 15 to 20 minute consultation and see if I'm even the right fit for you. Whether it's for your Career or if you're trying to see if you can be an entrepreneur or not if you have a great idea

Junaid Ahmed 43:05
perfect well I'm hoping through including these links on the episode show notes so they can get in touch with you. And if you have an offer link, they can go to there and you know, get their 1530 minutes free training, or consultation with you and up to the for the best. Thank you so much for your time.

VJ Niles 43:24
Thank you, everything.

Junaid Ahmed 43:31
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to this episode on hacks and hobbies. We absolutely appreciate your contribution. You can find additional notes on hacks and hobbies. com. please share the podcast with your friends and tell them what you learned about our guests today.

Transcribed by

Junaid Ahmed has been a user experience designer for over 15 years. As a UX professional, he uses the user-centered design philosophy to come up with solutions. Trust the system, it works!

“People say that we only live once, but I believe in living every day!”

Junaid has been interviewing people from all walks of life on his podcast Hacks and Hobbies.