In this episode, we are joined by gardening guru and founder of Gardenary.com, Nicole Burke, to talk about starting your own kitchen garden so that you can experience the magic of growing your own food.
With over 400,000 followers on Instagram (@gardenaryco), Nicole started out as a self-taught gardener sharing her passion for gardening through her website Gardenary.com, which has since blossomed into its own thriving gardening culture and community.
Join in on the conversation as Nicole brings us along on how she started her gardening journey, and what keeps her motivated, excited, and passionate about her two businesses, her gardening career, and her marriage. On a mission to make gardening accessible for everything, Nicole also shares some actionable tools and tips that you can implement so that you can start your dream garden today!
Be sure to stay till the end of the episode to find out what her biggest piece of advice is for those of you who are entrepreneurs or are looking to start your own business.
- What wellness means to Nicole [1:20]
- How Nicole built her Gardenary community and culture [3:49]
- Building your dream garden the Gardenary way [7:53]
- Tips and tricks you can use for your garden [13:08]
- Do we pinch the suckers off tomato plants? [16:23]
- Starting your garden is easier than you think [21:00]
- Easiest leaves you can grow in your garden [23:53]
- Nicole’s biggest advice for entrepreneurs [26:53]
- The best and worst advice Nicole has ever received [32:14]
- Listen in on Apple Podcasts or simply click play below:
Transcript: Episode 08: How to Start a Kitchen Garden + the Magic of Growing Your Own Food with Nicole Burke of Gardenary
Elizabeth Rider 0:02
Welcome to the Elizabeth rider show where we talk about optimizing health, personal evolution and defining what true wellness means to you. I’m your host Elizabeth rider. I’m a certified health coach, longtime blogger and author of the health habit. On this podcast we dive deep into all things health and well being from physical and mental health, spirituality, relationships, lifestyle choices and personal growth. Each week, I bring you inspiring interviews with guests and thought leaders as well as solo episodes where I share my own experiences and insights. My mission is to give you practical insights, inspiring stories and transformative tools that can help you unlock your full potential and create a life you truly love. I hope this podcast serves as a valuable resource to develop your sustainable habits, mindful living and an overall state of health and happiness. Let’s dive in.
Elizabeth Rider 0:52
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Elizabeth rider show I have a treat for you. Today I have my friend Nicole Burke. She is the founder of garden airy.com. She is author of two books. Her second book just came out leaves roots and fruit Nicole, I met a couple of years ago, Chris Carr introduced us we met in a mastermind and I was blown away Nicole by your one just garden airy.com your business, your ability to teach people how to garden, your entire story. Thank you for being here with us. I want to start off by asking well, I have so many questions for you. But as a founder of garden airy.com What does wellness mean to you?
Nicole Burke 1:28
Wow, that is such a deep question. And I have to be honest and tell you I am still on a journey of defining that I find myself this summer just kind of entering a new season where I’m realizing I have so much more to dive into in my own personal wellness journey, what I’ve learned so far about what wellness is, is I would say the biggest is energy. My husband I’ve been talking about this a lot lately and it’s something I’ve realized I’ve been I’m a mom of four kids, and I own two businesses and watching first my kids all different ages and stages. And then you know sustaining a marriage and a business and two businesses I have learned that so much comes down to energy, how much gasoline you have in your tank to to push through the moment, the second the day, the week the month and I think wellness is an attunement to your energy of realizing
Nicole Burke 2:34
how much you have where you can get more when you need to pause and go get some and and then and then matching your your goals and your aspirations with the right amount of energy I just wait my husband I’m more and more the last few years we’ve had some just great aha moments where we realize like there’s there’s so much less struggle and hardship and challenge when you have energy and I’m not just talking about like being awake. A good night’s sleep it’s like it literally is like an atomic reaction is this feeling in your stomach gets this feeling in your heart and your mind of excitement and and not just bursts but this sustained ability to keep pushing to keep going and I think it comes most deeply from a true passion and excitement about the day ahead.
Elizabeth Rider 3:39
Yes. Oh my gosh, yes to everything about that and not just the short bursts I love that it’s really about how can I make life this way always. Okay, so in case people are new to the garden, airy world garden area is not just a website, you have amassed over 400,000 Instagram followers teaching people how to plant to kitchen gardens, like literally growing herbs, growing tomatoes, all of these things. You talk about the term kitchen gardening a lot. How is that different? Is that different than everything else? Like what is kitchen Gardening? One I want to know. And to have you always been this like expert with these tomato plants bigger than I’ve ever seen in my life or when did you start growing food and how did this come about? I’m so fast. Yes.
Nicole Burke 4:20
So my background is in accounting and math. I studied that in college and then I worked in philanthropy for about 10 years outside of college. I lived overseas for a few years and worked in human development. And I told my parents I swore off the yard I had to do our work. I was one of two girls growing up and my dad made me mow the yard every Saturday and I swore to them I was like I will have a yard of gravel like I will not be doing anything in the yard ever again. And so it’s quite ironic that I now try to convince everybody in the world to garden. My Garden journey started about a little bit over 10 years ago, 2011 I was pregnant with my fourth child. I had had three kids and about three years. And I was losing myself to be honest, Elizabeth, like I was just my career was put on hold. I was at home a lot. I love being a mom is very fulfilling. And you know, one of my dreams come true. But for anyone who’s listening or been through that journey, it’s it’s kind of like, who am I like, what just happened to who I was before. And so in that time I started, I went to visit my parents for a little help from my mom. And she had this backyard garden and I was like, that’s the answer to all my problems. So I told Jason on the way home I was like, let’s start a garden. So we did everything wrong that first year wrong time, wrong setup, wrong plans wrong place. But the few things that we did harvest and enjoy from the garden, it was just like, I swear, I was like, Barefoot Contessa all the sudden. And, and I just fell in love with it. It was, it was therapeutic. To me, it was energy, literally what we talked about it was energizing. I could be stuck at home changing diapers, literally kids having a tantrum, and all I had to do I could step outside. And for the split second, I had peace, I had a moment of clarity. And then I could just bring these little video offerings from the garden inside. And it was a gift to me. And it was something I want to share with other people. A kitchen garden is a garden that is grown for the kitchen. So the term goes back 1000s of years protege is French for kitchen garden. So most of the French if you hear a French person talking about their garden, they’ll usually call it a protege. In Scotland, they were called kale yards K i l yard, which essentially is kitchen garden you just think of growing kale, the way that term came about is like farmers would have, you know, tons of land where they’re doing big productivity for commercial purposes. But then right up next to their house, they have a kitchen garden. And so that’s this place, it’s just like tended and harvested and enjoyed on a regular basis. So for me, and I’m sure for you, and probably for everyone listening, most of us are not going to ever be farmers, right? We’re never going to like live off the grid or homestead. So a kitchen garden is something I love as a business owner and a mom, and someone who’s busy. It just fits into your everyday life. It’s just somewhere you jump outside, grab some chives for dinner, bring it inside and throw it on some pasta or you go get some oregano or some kale or some arugula or some carrots. So just little bitty parts of your day where you get to step outside and bring something in. That’s the picture of a kitchen garden.
Elizabeth Rider 7:49
It’s so beautiful. And I love watching your videos. Because anyone who’s listening to this, you have to go to Nicole’s Instagram gardener, it is so fascinating. Your gardens that you plant and your method of teaching, to help people save money and produce big plants. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is literally the dream garden like the tomato plants are fruitful, the greens are huge. The carrots actually grew like everyone, I think, you know, many people listening have been like, Oh, I’m going to plant something at some point, some herbs or some tomatoes or something. And you say this in your book, and I love it. We all have a little bit of beginner’s luck, maybe with that first tomato plant or something. And then and then everything goes haywire. And we’re like, what is happening? Why is nothing growing? What is different about the way that you teach this, compared to what everybody else is doing? Because we all need to get in on how you were doing this?
Nicole Burke 8:40
Oh, you’re sweet. Okay, so number one is that it’s not something you’re born with. I think most people, I think we all understand that most things we learn to do in life are skills, right? Where we have to practice and find a method and a teacher and just keep out keep on going. But there’s something because plants are so magical. And they obviously have a very, like, you know, like what just happened? This thing became food, you know, they have that aspect to it. And I think as humans, we tend to kind of give almost too much credit to the magic and it’s like you’re either Harry Potter, or you’re a muggle. Right, you’re either like you either got the witchcraft, and you can make plans to turn into like magic things or you can’t and so that’s the first thing I think everyone should know is this is a skill. It’s literally like learning to play tennis, learning to cook learning to I mean, for me a skill I need is like how to play my house. You know what I’m saying? Like, you just have to practice it and get better at it and so gardening is like that. The next thing I think is like starting to understand plants. This was the thing that totally changed. My Garden game was realizing like plants got this like don’t underestimate plants. You know, they are the most some magical, they’re a different species than us, right? They’re not even in our kingdom, okay? And so these things are incredible, they would take over the world if we would let them. And I think this is one of the things I think as humans, we’re always like, Oh, this is like a tug of war and my plants don’t want to live. And it’s like, no, no, no, your plants really want to live like they are dying to survive. And so I’ve developed a couple of methods that the phrase I use is work with nature. And so I’m sure you’ve seen this in my there’s been a lot of like, little internet fighting over the fact that I pack in so many plants in my gardens, I call it my, you know, garden tree planting method. And it’s intensive planting. And basically, I leave no empty space in the garden, no, no soil, like if you can see soil, a plant needs to go there. And that goes, contrary to what most home gardeners, they follow all this plant spacing rules. And less I didn’t like make this up, I just like literally went hiking in national parks. And I would just kind of observe when I first started gardening, and as like, plants don’t space themselves out, you know, like, have you ever noticed this, they’re not like properly situated in rows, you know, 12 or 36 inches apart from one another. And so because I’m a self taught gardener, I really, I think that’s one of the best parts about, you know, learning something from the as an outsider’s perspective. And I’m also kind of a rule breaker, you know, I’m that second boring kid, you know, rebel a little bit. And so I’ve just, I’ve just experimented a lot in the garden and had a lot of failures, of course. But those successes have been like these huge aha moments. And one of the big, big, big ones is that plants love to grow together, they love to be close to one another. And they love to be diverse. So they love to have lots of different kinds of plants all growing together in one space, you get loads, more productivity, lot less paths. And for me, I think it’s so much more beautiful, because it really imitates what the wild looks like.
Elizabeth Rider 12:00
Yeah, that just reminded me the outsider perspective, it reminded me of a story. There’s, there’s a story of NASA needing to write in space, how are they going to help the astronauts in the space station, right? So they spend all this time and money and effort, it’s a huge project to develop a pen. That is anti gravity, so that asteroids can write in space. Very, very important. That evening, a janitor is walking through and he’s cleaning up and he just looks at them, after many, many iterations and months and investment of dollars and the smartest people in the world coming up with this pen that can write in space. And he said, Why don’t you guys use a pencil? And it’s like outsider’s perspective sometimes is that oh, oh, okay. We don’t need to space the plants. We can just plant them all together. I love that.
Nicole Burke 12:50
Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny. And there’s, you know, I’m sure there’s, there’s pros. And there’s people who are so educated were like, No, that can’t be right. Right. That can be can’t be that simple,
Elizabeth Rider 12:59
right? Of course. Yeah. I’m sure that might be a parable. I don’t know if it’s actually true. But it’s told a lot in business development. And it’s just a way about sight thinking. I love that. Can we really quickly give listeners anyone who’s listening tips for me for my garden, something that was so important was seeking out the right soil, and then putting new compost into the soil every year, I think a big mistake people make is they either try and plant directly into the ground at their house without amending all of the soil. And they’re like, well, nothing grows here. And it’s like, well, the soil that your grass grows in is not the right soil for this. And then like how much compost we’re going to be adding every year. Like let’s give people some really actionable tips of let’s get some stuff growing in your garden.
Nicole Burke 13:37
Yeah, so my first book kitchen garden revival gives a step by step for this setup. And I talk about my favorite soil blend, which I call the 103. This is basically a sandy loam soil. So I learned this through my mistakes with my first garden, we did plant right in the ground. And then our first success was planting in raised beds. So raised beds allow you to start fresh with great soil right away, you can absolutely dig into the ground, you’re just gonna that that’s a year, that’s years of amending the soil and making it better and better. Whereas a raised bed just lead to boom, start fresh and you’re ready to go. So the sandy loam mix, the reason why I call it a 103 is it’s basically a third, a third, a third, plus a little bonus on top, so that’s the three at the end. So I use a third of topsoil, and then I use a third of compost and then a third of sand. And this is like a coarse sand that you get like at a hardware store. You don’t want to have anything extra in it, but just a sand. All these serve a purpose. So the compost is your nutrients that’s going to give lots of food to your plants as they start to grow the topsoil give structure to the soil. You want your roots to be able to have something to grow into and hang on to the sand adds drainage. So what most people don’t realize when they plant directly in the ground, most of the food we eat in North America, most of our food plants, they don’t like having wet roots. And so most of us in North America, our land, our soil is clay. And so when you put something like a lettuce root or tomato root or pepper root or carrot root into our clay soil, it rots out. Because it’s sitting there on really wet soil, the clay doesn’t drain as well. So sand gives porosity to that, to that soil mix and just lets the water touch the roots with the roots but then drain away. If your topsoil is has a lot of sand in it, then you don’t need that much sand. But a lot of people their topsoil is more clay heavy. And then on top of that, I just throw in some earthworm castings or chicken manure, some kind of animal byproducts to add extra nutrition. Again, I’m thinking that phrase that I shared work with nature. And so I’m really imitating what nature does, right. So like in a wild area where you’d have food plants growing. You’ve got that plant decomposing over time. That’s the compost part, right? You’ve got the topsoil, which is just right there in nature. And then you’re having this animal walking around, scratching at the soil, eating the dropped fruit, eating the leaves and then pooping. Yep. And that’s how you get the soil been from
Elizabeth Rider 16:21
that’s amazing. I need to ask you this end all be all question. Everybody wants to know do we pinch the suckers off of tomato plants? Yes, sir.
Nicole Burke 16:31
I just did a video. Have you seen the video? I just seen it yet. Okay, I literally just posted this the other day and within I posted it and then Jason and I went on a dog walk. I got home and it was like 150 questions. I mean, it was crazy. Okay, so here’s my theory, a soccer so first of all, it depends on what kind of tomato you’re growing. There’s two kinds, determine it. That’s a bush tomato. Those you don’t pinch prune anything, you just let them grow because they’re gonna grow to a certain size, produce a lot of fruit and then boom, they’re done. Okay, so there’s just a small list the ones you buy tomato cages for it because they’re little those don’t pinch, don’t pray and leave them alone. Then you have vining tomatoes. That’s the kind I like to grow. That’s what I have growing on my arch trellis over there. Upset probably dismissed at my video. Sorry about that. And so those are on my arch trellis. Those are vining they’re also called indeterminate, which means they will grow forever. That’s what indeterminate means in that crazy lives. Like they will grow forever if the weather permits them to. I mean, literally forever like never saw and so if there’s never a frost or snow or anything to kill the plant, it will just keep going. So so for those plants, you have two choices, okay, you got this main vine that’s going up and it’s going to grow these lateral stems. Okay, those stems we’re not at the soccer yet between that main stem and the lateral STEM is going to be this little chute that comes up at a 45 degree angle and it’s literally the shoot of a plant it’s a new plant lives like it’s creating another one. Plants are so cool are so it’s creating this brand new plants that will fruit and Vine just like the main plant. So old school theory is pinch the suckers because generally we’re talking about we’re thinking about farmers most of our planting ideas and theories that we all follow as home gardeners now we got from farmers and so we need to remind ourselves that we’re not farmers. I mean, some of the people listening maybe but I’m not. And are you?
Elizabeth Rider 18:31
I am not. I have dreams. There are dreams of farming. But for me my kitchen garden is my way of farming. I have so much respect for farmers it is I grew up in Montana. I know farmers it is yeah, hard work.
Nicole Burke 18:45
Oh my gosh, I know
Elizabeth Rider 18:47
and seasons to make work. So I have so much respect for farmers. But now I am not a farmer either. I’m a humble
Nicole Burke 18:53
I’m not a farmer, I want to give my money to farmers because that I can’t do it right. And I sometimes I garden just to like really appreciate farmers more because you realize, oh my gosh, they this sent me this long number one carrot what in the world right back to the tomatoes. So most farmers would say pinch the suckers, because they’re trying to grow bigger tomatoes, because they want to bring bigger tomatoes to market and get more money for bigger tomatoes. It’s more attractive to the buyers. For myself, my experience has been when I grow bigger tomatoes, I’ve got bigger problems. So it’s going to take longer to get it big. Then once it gets big, it’s probably going to have a pest issue. If it doesn’t have a pest issue, it’s going to have a disease issue. And if it doesn’t have a disease issue, by the time it’s picture perfect and big, a squirrel is going to come and eat it. And so for me, I’m not necessarily going for big fruit in my garden I’m actually going for more fruit. And so suckers are going to produce more fruit. So each little chute that comes off of a tomato plants is the opportunity for more fruit growing. So this is actually true not just for two meters for lots of plants, you always, almost always are making the choice bigger or more.
Elizabeth Rider 20:05
Here’s a really beginner question are the vines coming off towards the bottom different than suckers? Are the suckers just the little things coming off of the main vine,
Nicole Burke 20:13
the suckers are always going to be at a 45 degree angle. So if you’ve got a main stem and perpendicular stem, and then there’s a stem growing right between them, that’s the sucker always. Gotcha. So it could be it could be at the very, very bottom of the plant. And it could be at the very top or it could be all the way up and down. So for my for my own opinion, I keep the suckers I grew my tomatoes on Arch trellises. So I want loads of vines, loads of fruits, and I really don’t care if they’re big enough big or not. I just want a lot. I like lots of shots on goal, you know?
Elizabeth Rider 20:49
Yes. You heard it here. Leave this suckers, but do what you want. It’s your kitchen garden.
Nicole Burke 20:56
That’s right. That’s right. It’s personal preference. Like everything else.
Elizabeth Rider 21:00
Yeah, this book is so amazing. I really, I love it so much, Nicole, because you tell people one mistake that people make is they go straight to trying to grow tomatoes, which is kind of like an advanced thing to grow. You have a whole step by step process of starting with something maybe like some lettuces or some something a little bit easier before you get tomatoes. But we know that everyone’s going straight to the tomatoes every summer. We all want it tomato plant, we all want it to just fruit and grow. And we can just keep following you on Instagram and watch all of your videos to make sure that we are growing them correctly.
Nicole Burke 21:31
I started with tomatoes. I actually tell tons of stories in the book. And that was the first thing we did that summer I came home after seeing my mom’s garden she had tomatoes. So naturally, I needed some. And we failed our first few years with most of the plants in our garden. And our first success actually happened when we moved to Houston. And my dear friend gave us some of their seeds. They weren’t planting a garden that year. And almost all the seeds were lettuce seeds and I’d never grown lettuce never even thought about it. And Liz I had like letters literally growing out of my ears. I mean, it was just I tell everybody from October, this not exaggerating of it. October to April, I could have a salad a day. And I did not buy one green thing from the store. Wow, this is not grocery store salad that you need to drench and Caesar salad dressing like this actually tasted good. And it was so delicious and fresh and crunchy in so many flavors. And I couldn’t stop talking about it. This is literally the genesis of my business, because I was looking at friends and neighbors. And I’m like because Houston is, you know, we rarely have frost there. So this was all through the winter. And I’m like, are y’all doing this like is anybody else realize this is possible, because it doesn’t take up a lot of space. You know, it led us is such a small plant so easy to take care of. So productive. And so that’s really what began my like launch me as wanting to help other people learn to garden, is I realized lettuce was so easy, so simple. And actually, I don’t know if you realize this, but 98% of the lettuce in the US has grown in two places. Salinas Valley, California and Yuma Valley, Arizona at 98% in those two spots. Wow. So if you’re in New England, if you are in Florida, if you are in Missouri, if you’re in Chicago, I don’t care where you are your lettuce look on the back at the store next time you go, it’s gonna say Salinas Valley, California. And I realize I’m like, this isn’t just good for us. Like this isn’t just fun, like this could literally change the food industry like this could cut down on trucking and plastic and food waste. So many things. Plus we get such better nutrition when we eat something that we just picked.
Elizabeth Rider 23:42
Absolutely. I mean, the and that’s why if people don’t know this, when there is a recall on lettuce, it is affecting everyone in the US because all of the lettuce comes from the same place. And Nicole, can you just speak really quickly because I want to shift after this to talking about how you start a garden area. But lettuce is so easy to grow. And I don’t think people know that. So if you want something to grow in your garden that’s easy and fast and like a starter thing is lettuce are a good option for us. Yeah,
Nicole Burke 24:09
that’s number one. So in my book I that’s the whole I love how you did fruits, roots and leaves because it’s like the opposite. So leaves are the easiest to grow. I start with sprouts and microgreens That’s step one. That’s the simplest if someone’s listening, and they have zero space outdoors. Step one is all about indoor gardening. Step two is herbs. So the next easiest you can start those with plants. I saw your herb garden and you’re doing it too. It’s so easy to do. You just start with plants and you can literally harvest right away. So the third step is lettuce. It’s just a little teeny, teeny tiny bit harder than herbs and microgreens. Yes, and you can do it in a container. You can do it in a small little pot. You can do it on a patio porch, and you can start with seeds. So that’s the beautiful part about lettuces is you actually want to start with seed because they do better that way. And it’s so cheap. I mean, literally for the same price of buying a box, you know of lettuce, it’s gonna wilt at the back of your fridge in five days. You could buy an entire but not not me not I’ve never, that’s never happened to me. Yeah, yeah. And you can buy a package of lettuce see that you can plant in a pot and cut from that two or three times before you have to replant it. So yeah, it’s it’s really, really as simple.
Elizabeth Rider 25:26
I’ve gotten really into growing arugula. How many harvests do you take of arugula because it starts to get kind of spicy as you let you let it continue to grow. And more and more that third harvest is like, whoo, yes. I’m
Nicole Burke 25:36
so glad you said that. I totally agree. I like arugula when it’s like this big. And I generally find I can get one harvest for a salad, the second harvest, maybe a salad mixed with something sweet. And then that third harvest, I actually solved a it because I can’t handle it raw anymore. So Martha Stewart has this very simple, I think it’s just called wilted arugula, and she puts balsamic glaze on it. It’s so good. And so it like sweetens it up just enough to be able to hang on for that peppery flavor. But yeah, then you just gotta cut it out.
Elizabeth Rider 26:10
That sounds delicious. And then we’ll Romaine and other like, more mild lettuces, you harvest it? Do you let it grow again into into more salad.
Nicole Burke 26:18
So if you you know, there’s this viral thing of like regrow your Romaine from the grocery store, that you really can’t do that. I mean, you can get a few, you’ll get some leaves off of it. But it’s pretty much done after that had lettuces in general, I talked about this in the book head lettuce in general, or like one harvest and then over, you might be able to get a second little small harvest. But in general, I talked about optimal timing, like, you know, doing something at the right time. And so I think, for those head lettuces, you’d be better off to just give the space to a plant that’s going to do better and give you more during that same time period.
Elizabeth Rider 26:52
Yeah. For all of our listeners who are entrepreneurs, you grew garden airy.com into a multimillion dollar garden business. This is not a reinvention of the wheel. This is not something you didn’t invent gardening, and you took this concept and you made it into something. So incredible. What is your advice to these entrepreneurs who want to start a business? And what do you wish you would have known when you started? Oh, great
Nicole Burke 27:19
questions. Okay, if you are an entrepreneur, I was telling my husband this the other day, so I’m seven and a half years. And now my first business is a service based business. But everybody’s into online and internet stuff these days. And I love it, too. I started one on one. And if I were starting all over again, I would do it again, like that list because I got so much value from helping one person at a time, listening to them watching their face, how did they respond when I said this, or that and also just learning on the micro what worked and what didn’t, and then taking that and scaling it. And so I would say don’t despise don’t look down on the beauty of the one to one client service from the beginning, for anybody who’s listening or hasn’t started or feels kind of stuck, anybody in the world right now will pay you to help them personally, it is so rare to have someone who will stand by you, and walk you side by side through whatever it is that your service does, or your product does. And I think we’re all so big on like going big and huge that we miss all the money lives. And so much of the opportunity that is simply by giving someone a first class service in a one on one setting. So that would be number one. That is how I started zero regrets if I’m starting a new business, I would absolutely started that way again. So the one on one you learn so much, you get such a breadth such a portfolio behind you that you can really launch a business from I see so many people now like, you know, experts that like they just began as an expert, you know, and it’s like, no, show me all the people you’ve helped like real life people that you’ve touched before you say you’re an expert, so you really can’t say you’re an expert. Once you’ve helped those people one on one, the next I would say that you told me this too, with your blog, I wanted to grow quickly. I had a lot of like life goals that with my four kids, just things I wanted to happen before they graduate. And so I was kind of on this like urgency. I started my first business when I was 36. So also kind of feeling like that time clock. And so I did get caught up in kind of flashy stuff. Like how big my Instagram is or how big this particular launch was, or this product was or was my book and New York Times bestseller. And I I used ads a lot to during the time when it was easier to use ads. So like 2020 to 2021 really end up 2021 And then ads have changed a lot. But I got kind of into that cortisol rush I like the big burst of income and the big launches and things like that. And I was just reflecting on this with my husband the other day, over the last two years, we’ve put so much work into the foundation, we’ve gone back to just the slow, quiet, wrote the building on the blog, on the website, the content, the content, the content, the templates, the systems, stuff that is not sexy that no one notices that no one will ever like, I’ll never be in an interview. And someone will say her blog has 500 articles with you know, 20 keywords in them, you know, but Liz, it’s paying off, we just hit this month 200,000 Organic Google Search hits on our website, congratulations. That’s huge. Yes. And I’m telling you, when I met you, that number was like 2000. Wow, like, huge change, because I slowed down and kind of got off that cortisol rush of like big, big, big, and just got into like, slow and steady. And so for whoever is watching or is interested in entrepreneurship, the daily I know, it’s so boring. And it’s so tiring sometimes. But really to build a business that that lasts a decade that lasts two or three decades, just getting in there and doing that quiet work of building the things that make your business findable, that that you know, gives you products that give you like a wide range of ways to serve people. It really does pay off in the long run, the growth will not be as fast but it’ll be much more enduring.
Elizabeth Rider 31:40
And it will be sustainable. And believe it or not, I did not ask Nicole to say any of that for anyone listening. But yes, I am we met, I knew we would be fast friends, because we saw things the same way in a lot of different ways. And you’ve taught me so much. You taught me a lot about ads. You also taught me a lot about gardening and just business in general. And I was like, What can I share with her? I was like, invest more in content in your blog, it will pay off it will pay off in the long run.
Nicole Burke 32:05
Yeah. And I listened to you. And I’ve been doing it. I’m so glad. Well, I’m not as good as you. Yeah, but it but it’s getting better.
Elizabeth Rider 32:12
Yes, yes, yes. I bring all of my interviews home with we have two questions for you. Because I feel like this is some of the best advice life advice people can get. But also that people can get in business. This can be life or business advice. What is in either order, the best advice you’ve ever received, and the worst advice you’ve ever received?
Nicole Burke 32:32
I love this question. Okay. I think like, I’m gonna go back to some of my beginning days as an entrepreneur, one of the best piece of advice came, I was cleaning up my daughter’s room, talking to my sister on the phone, and I had the opportunity to invest in my website. Actually, I was going to be putting a good bit of money toward my website. And I was going back and forth. Should I do it? Should I not do it, it felt scary. And it felt almost like the next step and the journey that I was like a commitment that I was afraid to make. My sister’s a couple years older than me, she’s, you know, that typical big sister, she’s like, perfect in every way. She said, There will never be a better day. She said, You know, there’s always going to be something Nicole, there’s always going to be a reason to not go for it. And those those reasons will just get bigger, not smaller. And, you know, she said for me, she said, I have to now save money for my kids car for my kids college. She said, If you pause on this, it will only get harder. And I mean, it gives me chills to think about that conversation because that’s what catapulted me, you know, I thought you know, it, maybe it’s not perfect timing. Maybe there’s other things I should be doing. But it’ll never get better. Like, there’s never a better day than today. And I tell people that I was an interview the other day someone said Is it too late to start a garden? I said you can ask me any day of the year. And I will tell you there’s not a better day to start a garden than today. I love December 31 and that will still be my answer. And I think that’s true for all of us for for wherever we are Is it is it time to do this. If it is a dream that you have that’s on your heart. Today. Like that’s what we have. We don’t we don’t know when tomorrow’s coming or tomorrow never comes right yesterday. Yesterday. We can’t fix it and tomorrow will never come so I’m always grateful for that moment with my sister. I don’t know if it was a vise it was a little startling. I was just starting my business and I had a good friend whose husband was a lawyer and so I called him to ask advice about my business. I was like should I be an S corp? Should I be an LLC? Should I be a sole proprietor? I was so excited I had that like entrepreneurship you know, like just little giddiness and and he said I just don’t think you’re gonna be able to make any money doing this. And it wasn’t necessarily advice but what he did say he said don’t do anything yet. Just do you know just start your business because I’m really not sure we’re gonna be able to make any money doing this. I don’t think so. Let’s Listen to this. But you know, the coolest thing happen fast forward. Six years, his daughter sent me an email. And she applied for an internship to work with me. Oh, that’s so sweet. Yeah. And I thought, so cool, right? Like just most people, I mean, the main thing I would say is like, just most people won’t get it. And it’s not fair to expect them to. My husband was telling me the other day, he’s like, my co workers still don’t understand what you do. And my son just said the same thing. We’re having this conversation. He said, None of my friends understand at all what your business is, like, they don’t understand how you make money. And I said Brennan as like, the minute someone can understand exactly what you do professionally is too late. Yeah, absolutely. Like, I like those are the wonderful jobs to enter into, you know, the ones where people say, Well, just I don’t know if you can even make any money doing that.
Elizabeth Rider 35:56
I have found that all of the highly successful people who I interviewed when I asked them what the worst advice was, it was always somebody telling them that it wasn’t going to work. And what I’ve observed is the person telling them who that it wasn’t going to work was never a person who was an expert in their in the field that the that the entrepreneur was going into. So that’s amazing. A lawyer, of course, is gonna give you great legal advice. A lawyer is not the person to be giving you advice about starting a gardening business. And I think that’s what I lean on the best advice I’ve ever received, it was for my mom. And she said, Don’t take advice from people who have never done it before.
Nicole Burke 36:29
I love that. I love that. Yeah, quote that got me through that time period. I’m gonna quote it wrong. But it was basically like, you know, don’t listen to people who, who haven’t haven’t done the thing that you’re doing. And like, you can’t expect them and it’s really unfair, right? Like, I mean, we shouldn’t expect every single part what is Sara Blakely said, you know, she guarded her ideas so closely to her heart, she kept it secret for a year, because she didn’t want anyone to step on that idea and ruin her excitement for it. And, and so I share that with entrepreneurs all the time. I’m like, guard your goals and your dreams very closely. And be very, very careful about who you share them with. Because I mean, we’re a rare breed, right? And so we can’t expect people who are out in the normal workforce, or you know, or in a totally different industry to understand it or to give us a vote of confidence.
Elizabeth Rider 37:20
Yeah, absolutely. Well, everyone go get the book. I’ll say it right this time, leaves, roots and fruit. It’s such an incredible book i So highly recommend it. Go over to garden airy on Instagram and gardener.com. And Nicole, is that where everybody can find you? Where would you? Where would be the best place for people to find you?
Nicole Burke 37:36
Yes, you said it right. ordinary.com we have on the homepage. We always have our free resources. We usually have a download or a free workshop coming up. That is a great way for people to get connected to us and then we’re on all the socials So Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest, YouTube,
Elizabeth Rider 37:53
thank you so much for being here. I’m sure we’ll connect again on the podcast shortly. And thanks, everyone for being here.
Nicole Burke 37:58
Thank you so much for having me. It was a treat.
Elizabeth Rider 38:00
Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of the Elizabeth rider show. I hope you caught something today that helped you uplevel your mind, body and or health. If you want more episodes, insider notes, recipes and resources, then make sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter over at ElizabethRider.com/list. Or simply go to the website and hit the subscribe button and enter your email address. You can also download a free recipe guide a meal plan or the top 10 Micro habits guide while you’re there. And if you are a person who likes to share things, make sure you share the show with a friend. And if you really liked the show, I would be so grateful for a five-star review in the podcast app. Thanks for being here. I’ll talk to you next time.
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