Celebrating Women - Nikki Benjamin

Hello Blog Buddies!
Another post to celebrate women... 

I recently met Nikki Benjamin at a 'Girl Bosses' lunch, organised and hosted by the lovely Alecia Minster. I was immediately struck by Nikki's warmth and zeal for life and was also impressed by her courage. She had recently left her fairly secure job to 'go it alone' in a completely different field. Nikki had to make some difficult strong choices as she struggled to find a work and lifestyle balance. By completely changing her career path, and taking a risk, Nikki has certainly 'stepped out of her comfort zone'! 

Hello Nikki! It’s lovely to meet you… I understand you have recently changed your job and have decided to take on a new career path? Can you tell me a little bit about your background and the circumstances surrounding that recent decision?

My background is a bit complicated... I was born in Hong Kong, China to a Scottish Mother and Half Austrian/Half Australian Father.  So technically I am British- well that’s what my passport says! I moved to Melbourne from Hong Kong when I was 19 in 2006 to enrol at La Trobe University, Bundoora to do a Bachelors of Art History. In the summer of 2006 I met my now husband Ryan, who is a Kiwi. Whilst I love Art History I realised while doing the course that it wasn’t going to get me a job!  Due to this realisation and some family issues, I returned home to Hong Kong in 2008. Up until that point Ryan had only ever travelled from New Zealand  to Australia. But in July 2008 he flew to Hong Kong and asked me to marry him. We had a long distance relationship until the start of 2010 when I moved back to Melbourne to pursue a Diploma of Children’s Service at Swinburne University in Prahran. 

We got married on the 27th November 2010 at St. Johns Cathedral back in Hong Kong. It was the same church that my Grandparents, Parents and Godparents were married in.  
At the end of 2011, I completed my Diploma of Children’s Service and went to run a baby’s room in a childcare centre. In 2013, Ryan and I discovered we were pregnant! 
We were both 'over the moon'! My pregnancy however, was not an easy one. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. This meant that going into the hospital each week for foetal monitoring. So I stopped working when I was 28 weeks.  
Olivia was finally born on 17th March 2014. 

 I went back to work in the child care industry when Olivia was 11 months old, at the start of 2015.  For a while it was fine but soon the work started to pile up. I was only working 4 days a week but I was often bringing work home, (as planning time was never really given and a room leader has a lot of paper work!) which lead me to sitting at my computer most weekends while my husband played with, and looked after, Olivia.  I was constantly stressed and angry. 

It was not long after this I discovered I needed to return to hospital for an operation. My mother flew in to help look after Olivia. While I was on my sick leave, I realised I did not want to return to work. So after much thought I resigned. I took a long time to think about what I was going to do. How was I going to help support my family financially? 

One day I was talking to a friend about feeling 'stuck' and not knowing what to do. 
I was already ordering Arbonne products from her, so she suggested that maybe I should give working for Arbonne a try.
Arbonne products are sold worldwide. What made you decide to become an 
Independent Consultant for this company?

I was already using the products so I liked the idea that I didn’t have to try new products from a company I had no idea about. I believe in the products so I felt I could naturally talk about them without it sounding false. I also asked my friend about training. That was important to me. So when my friend told me about the online training at Arbonne, the monthly training with our regional area (small group) and monthly training with the national members (large group) I was delighted. I felt that I could enter into this organisation and not be thrown into the ‘deep end.’ Let me say right now, I  really hate talking about myself in front of people. This whole transition terrified me. But with the support and training that Arbonne offered, I felt I could do it. Arbonne also offers close connections with those in your direct succession line. Which means that I can talk to my friend (who is my sponsor and started a year before me) and talk to her sponsor, and her sponsor’s sponsor. We are all connected and all a part of one team. 
It is just so warm and welcoming.

 Can you highlight a few of your favourite products and recommend any best sellers?

One of my ultimate favourite products has to be the ABC nappy cream. ABC stands for Arbonne Baby Care. When I went back to work after maternity leave, my daughter came into child care with me as we have no family support here, in Australia. It was great! I loved being able to spend all day with her. But she started to get REALLY bad nappy rash! It was terrible and I felt so awful for her. So when I took her to a Doctor I was told to find Calendula oil to put on under Sudocrem. This worked but it was a pain to apply and calendula oil is not commonly available. My friend mentioned to me that the ABC nappy cream contained calendula extract as well as zinc. Pretty much the two products I had been using in one.  I ordered one tube of it to test. It worked. So I ordered more and haven’t looked back. It is a beautiful product. Not only does it contain calendula and zinc but also sunflower seed oil, camomile flower extract and arnica extract. All wonderful remedies for skin irritations. It is also such a high quality product, you don’t need to slap massive amounts on.
I also LOVE the Clear Future range. I, myself, have acne prone skin. At certain 'times of the month' my skin goes crazy and breaks out. For a large part of my life I have tried every product known to man in relation to acne. Nothing helped. I tried this range, and my skin improved and was started to look almost 'normal' again. It doesn’t cause my skin to burn like many acne cleansers and lotions do. I was surprised to learn these products contain witch hazel, sage and willow bark extract. Yet again, Arbonne uses natural remedies in conjunction with new formulations to provide truly effective products. So I would definitely recommend any of these products to everyone! They are amazing!

Finally, you can not go wrong with the RE9 collection. It is Arbonnes flag ship product and it is a major best seller! It is anti-aging and just divine! The whole collection has been clinically tested to help improve skin firmness and fight the effects of aging. The RE9 collection has been proven to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles after 4 weeks in 92% of users. The collection contains stabilised vitamin C, algae extract, just to name a few. By the way, all the products in the collection smell beautiful... So why wouldn’t you want to use them?
As a women starting out on a new business venture, what do you hope to achieve 
in the next five years?

In the next five years I hope to be able to help support my family financially. My husband has been amazingly wonderful and is supporting us while I transition into my new role. I would really like to think I can take some of that burden off him. I hope to be able to enjoy life, not have to work all the time, make my own hours and spend time with my daughter. I want to be there for her as she grows up, be part of every important moment. I would love to be in control of our personal choices. 

I aim to be happy, passionate and energised when I think about work. I do not want to up every day thinking “God... I wish I didn’t have to go to work!” ...which is how I was.  I don’t want my daughter to learn those behaviours. I want to be able to install in her a drive and the knowledge that if you work hard you can achieve anything, even if it is scary. It would be really wonderful to be able to travel and see the world with my family. Not having to ask anyone for time off or to worry that we cannot afford it. It would be great to be able to go see my grandmother in Austria, my best friend in Sweden, my parents in Hong Kong and my hubby’s family in New Zealand... Show Olivia different cultures and people.

Do you work from home or have you set up an office away from your residence? What stumbling blocks (if any) have you encountered or do you envisage for yourself in the future?

I currently work from home. I have an office upstairs in our house with my computer and printer. Working at home is difficult. It means I have to 'buckle down' and focus on what I am doing. Olivia goes to child care on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because when I was first starting out I tried to work around her and it was nearly impossible! I would end up spending all day with her, doing painting, going to the park... anything but working. So now I find that three days a week I drop her off and then come home and get 'stuck in'. Any meetings, networking or other business related work has to be done on those three days. But it is hard. Working from home means I can be easily distracted. Have I done the washing? Now it needs to be hung up... Do the dogs need to go outside? What are we going to have for dinner? So I have set myself a schedule. It includes meetings, social media posts and gaining product information knowledge. I like having a schedule as I find it keeps me 'on task' and I can manage my stress, so if I do wander off and do the washing... it is not the end of the world.

For any women who are currently thinking of a career change, what process and planning do you recommend they start with?

Talk to people around you and make sure you have the support of those people. I could not have done what I have and make such a drastic change without the help of my husband and my family. They have been incredibly supportive of me.

Also, make sure it is what you want and that you are not just doing it because of anger or boredom. I understand that some times you have an awful day at work but that should not be the soul reason you up and leave your job. Making such a big change in your life is not easy. It has been tough, adjusting to a new way of life. Difficulties have included making the family budget stretch that little bit further while my business is building, leaving Olivia for longer periods of time while I go out and network or workshop.

It is vital you decide to do what really makes you happy. For me that was leaving my child care job and choosing a path that would ultimately lead to me spending more time with Olivia, being able to travel, to participate in swimming lessons and Mini Maestros classes. Being there for all the important parts of her life. Making my own hours and being my own boss. You path will be  decided upon using completely different reasons.

 I believe it is really important to surround yourself with a great support network when you are attempting something new and exciting in your life. Do you have people supporting you? If so, who and how do they support you?

My husband has been my rock. When I was having a horrible time in my old child care job he was the one who said to me “...Why don’t you leave and do something different. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a job, we will survive. I will just work harder...” The knowledge that he was willing to take on the burden of being our only provider, just so that I could be happy, was exactly the push I needed. It caused me to sit down and think about what I wanted out of life. His selflessness drives me to do well with my Arbonne business. 

I also have my mother supporting me. She still lives in Hong Kong and I am constantly calling her  (we talk every day!) to discuss the events of my day. We talk about what has happened at networking meetings, how my workshops have gone and what she thinks my next move should be. I also like to call her just to chat as I miss her incredibly and it is nice to have the time in my day to talk to her. (Plus sometimes I need a bit of adult engagement after hours of 'Olivia' time!)

Women, both in history and in the present day, constantly inspire me. Do any particular women inspire you? If so, who and why?

I have a number of women who inspire me:
Aung Sang Suu Kyi – She has inspired me through her beliefs. She has held steadfast to her ideals and the thought that Myanmar should be a democracy. Because of these beliefs she has been imprisoned for 15 years in a 21 year span. Yet she never gave up. In 2016 she became the first female foreign minister of Myanmar proving that if you do the right thing and follow your beliefs and values you will eventually find what you want even if the road to getting there is incredibly difficult.

Jane Goodall - Her passion and dedication to chimpanzees and other animals has always impressed me. She has always been a strong animal activist. Choosing to put her name behind such organisations as Voiceless, an Australian animal protection group that is concerned about factory farming inspires me. Animal welfare is something I am very passionate about.

Catherine Middleton - She inspires me simply for the very idea that even a 'lowly commoner' can become a princess! This was amazing! That true love and hope will overcome all obstacles. She is a role model for me and just someone who I believe is a genuinely good person.

Thank you Nikki for taking the time to share your story with us. 
It has been lovely getting to know you better.

For further information about any of the products mentioned here, of if you are interested in finding out about the incredibly extensive range of Arbonne products, please feel free to contact Nikki via one of the following ways:.
Nikki Benjamin
Arbonne Independent Consultant (ID:613780058)
Mobile: 0428763566

Website: Here 

Instagram: @Nikki.arbonne

Facebook: Here

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1 comment

Loren jasika said...

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Loren jasika

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