We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Tomlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nikki, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I lost my job in June of 2020 due to COVID and was quite upset about losing the consistent paycheck but that was it. I was miserable in that position and was building up someone else’s business at the cost of my own time and with minimal compensation or really anything positive coming out of it. When they chose to let me go because I was paid the most in our small office I thought “I’m going to do what I spend most days talking about in the office; start my own business. And one day I will make at least double what I was making in that job.”

Starting my own business was always something I didn’t want to do, but the more I explored positions in my career field after college the more I was finding things I didn’t like. Then I started finding people online who were talking about how they started their own business and grew it into all the things they love doing. I saw all the possibilities and was too scared to make the jump, but losing a job I hated and watching a pandemic change the world seemed like a pretty huge sign to take the leap!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The thing about art that I find the most interesting is that it means everything to the artist to create and have people like what they create but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who likes it thinks the same thing of it. I think my art is unique to me and what I needed to create at that moment for myself, for a brand, for a client, etc. and it is simply exciting to me that people want to look at it. Was it easy to get to this point or find people that want to see what I create? No. I studied photography and a bit of video in college and thought for sure I was going to be working for Nat Geo by the time I graduated. Then I graduated and then I thought I was going to be running a sick magazine publication in New York. I then left New York and moved to Austria and thought for sure I was going to get another degree and figure out how to live there forever and create more art. I had no set idea of what I was going to do in any three-month period of time. Shoot, I still change my mind on what I want my business and art to look like almost daily, but my biggest takeaway from all of it is that if life was meant to be the first thing we ever dreamed of or tried doing then life would be pretty dull and people would be pretty unhappy. Now I embrace the fact that I can change my mind with what I do every day or even every hour if I want to.

Getting to this point wasn’t easy. I had to overcome mental roadblocks of what people from high school, college, and my family would think if I changed my mind again or that they would think what I was doing was ridiculous. And the biggest kicker is that I don’t have deep relationships with the people I was worried about judging me. It really was and still is my own mental insecurities that stop me from getting to where I want to be. The biggest lesson to come from this challenge was to just do it and see what happens. Turns out none of the people I was worried about even cared enough to encourage me or discourage me. They literally arent watching my life and if they are they aren’t saying anything to me so how could I have ever dreamed that I wouldn’t live my life the way I wanted to because of them.

The biggest thing I want people to take away from me, my art, and/or my journey is that it is all possible for them too! We will never walk the exact same path as the people we look up to but we can be happy in our own lives and we can live our wildest dreams just like our role models and idols do. We just have to take one step at a time towards those things that make us happy.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ideally, my best friend would visit in the summer so we could get some good warm alpine lake hikes in but I first would start in Denver with things that are a bit more touristy.

Day 1 I would take them to City Park to get a good view of the skyline against the mountains and then have lunch at Pho on 6th before heading downtown to explore some shops on 16th street and in Larimer Square. I would finish out the day with some brewery hopping in RiNo with a must-visit stop to Our Mutual Friend Brewery. There literally isn’t a bad spot in this area and I am still discovering new places every time I go.

Day 2 I would expand a bit around Denver and take them to Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods and hit up the Paint Mines before heading to Red Rocks for one of their iconic shows!

Day 3 would start adventures into the mountains! A sunrise hike at St Marys Glacier with lunch at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs. We would continue up I-70 stopping at all the roadside viewpoints. Because driving I-70 takes literally all day we would call it a night in Vail and explore the village and check out some nearby trails for a sunset hike.

Day 4 we would head to Leadville and find an alpine lake hike in the area before heading to Buena Vista and Salida from some more town exploring and local eats. We would finish off the day by finding a camping spot in one of the nearby National Forests.

Day 5 would be a driving day with the afternoon spent exploring Great Sand Dunes National park, watching the sunset from the dunes, and waiting for the milkyway to make its appearance at night.

Day 6 would begin the circle back to Denver where we would stop at the Royal Gorge, take a train ride through the canyon, and swing over it after crossing the suspension bridge. We would finish off the day in Canon City with some comfort food from one of the many locally run restaurants.

Day 7 we would start by exploring Pueblo a little bit and find a cute breakfast stop before pushing to Colorado Springs to hike Pulpit Rock and then head back to Denver.

There is so much to see, do, and experience in Colorado, but this is my go-to route/schedule for first-time visitors to Colorado. It gives them a good scope of what the state has to offer in the nightlife, city life, mountain life, and how the outdoors here influences all of those lifestyles here.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh, this is loaded… There are so many people and steps I have taken with the help of others that made my current and future lifestyle possible. My family, even though they don’t always understand what I am doing, they are still supportive in any way they feel that can be and when I ask them to be. The people I have met since I started this journey are Lauren, Erika, Sara, Val, Mahna, Crosby, Bree, Drew, and Alex. These people, and more than a few I know I have forgotten, have been helpful in continuing to encourage me, answer all my questions no matter how silly, calm my worries, teachers to all the new parts of starting this journey, and overall just excellent friends. Lastly, the people that have chosen to follow this journey of mine online. It is crazy to me that so many people find me interesting and want to support my business and lifestyle but there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for all of them.

Website: https://www.nikkitomlin.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikkiitomlin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nikkiitomlin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikkiitomlin

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRozLft4C7fHPs9Cy90c8Q

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