As I set off on my digital nomad journey, one of my main goals is to purposely seek out and connect with individuals I encounter along the way. During my time in Fort Worth, Texas, I had the pleasure of meeting Viktoriia Kulhava, an exceptionally talented nail artist from Ukraine. As I was leaving Texas to move to California, I knew she had to be my first feature on the “Lessons from the Road” portion of my blog. What began as our last appointment together evolved into an enlightening conversation about personal growth, entrepreneurship, and the value of life’s most expensive gift.
I’ll cut to the chase: at the age of 16, she established a floral shop in Ukraine and managed to earn her first million in Ukrainian dollars by the time she turned 18. After relocating to the US with her husband, she immersed herself in learning English while working at a floral shop in Chicago. This experience led to her recruitment by a prominent oil and gas company’s sales division. Currently, she holds the position of managing a portfolio consisting of 1,800 accounts. She does nails on the side “because it’s fun. It’s a growth. It’s my mental rehab.”
Think Viktoriia can teach us a thing or two about a thing or two? You’re right. Keep reading.
Don’t make it about the money.
What wise words from a young twenty-something. I am constantly impressed by people who have done more than me at an age much younger than me. Viktoriia is no exception. I asked her how she made her million. “It was never about money, it was always about the growth and this is why it was so successful. I still have friends on Facebook and Instagram who is my customers. They are amazing people, I love them all. I see how many weddings we did, how many relationships we began there (in Ukraine). I knew every single customer.”
To possess such maturity and insight about running a business before even reaching the age of 20 is truly remarkable.
The hustle should be real.
Make no mistake, she works hard. Then and now. She is laser-focused on doing what it takes to be a successful account manager, entrepreneur, mother and wife.
“People come to work and they’re just like, okay, eight to five.. fantastic it’s five. I’m closing my computer and I’m going home… and it’s wrong. Like, you will never be successful if you’re not hungry, if you’re not hustle.”
She went on to say, “If you’re looking for the people who become a millionaire and make a lot of money and really successful, do you really think their strategy was, like, eight to five, close the computer and go to sleep? No. They work over time. They work tail off. They always invest in themselves. They learn, they read. They never stop. It’s never going to be enough. And if you want to be successful, I think this is what you need to understand.”
A commitment to learning equals personal growth.
Viktoriia’s commitment to learning and evolving extends beyond her artistic craft, as she has a desire to return to school to study pricing and analysis, aiming to enhance her understanding of numbers and further develop her business acumen. “I see myself in different position with a different title, maybe different jobs, with a different money in my bank account, but I would still probably do the nails.”
“I have a second job because it’s not like, hey, I’m hungry for the money. No, because talking with my girls (nail clients), I always learn something new. So it’s like, it’s my education…people with different backgrounds, people with different stories, and you learn, and you’re taking that as a lesson for yourself. So it’s also personal growth.”
Broadening perspectives and embracing the unknown.
Viktoriia has some brilliant insights to share, especially when it comes to starting a business or personal growth in general. One observation she has made is that many individuals, regardless of age, tend to charge ahead with laser-like focus on their goals. However, Viktoriia believes that this approach may be flawed. According to her, “I see a lot of people in young age, some people more mature, they know what they want. They go straight to the point, and I think it’s wrong because they see the route, and they go straight. But still, if you open your eyes, you turn your head on the left and the right, you can see things much more wide, and there will be much more opportunity to get to your point faster. Not easier, but faster. And you can learn much more things outside of your comfort zone.”
I love how this perspective she shared highlights the importance of maintaining awareness of the broader landscape. I am certainly guilty of being laser focused on something and not stopping to change my view.
As we were wrapping up the appointment she turned the tables and asked me a question, “What is the most expensive thing in your life?”
I understood the assignment.
I said, “time”.
The irony was not lost on me as I wrapped up a three-hour nail appointment with her. I chose to spend one Saturday morning a month with her for five months. I chose to drive an hour each way to have this talented young woman do my nails. Yes, it is a luxury that not everyone gets to enjoy, but the time I spent with her was worth more than the price I paid for a manicure. I loved learning about her background. I loved that she created a safe space for me (and her other clients) to share our own personal stories. That she invited me into her life.
As we encounter new people on our own journeys, and choose whether or not to invite them into our lives, let us remember the lessons we can learn from the people we meet. Viktoriia, thank you for reminding me of the transformative power of connecting with remarkable individuals and simply having a conversation.
If you are ever in Dallas, look her up! She is on Instagram at @vk__manicure. Her work is as stunning as she is.
Let’s Grow! 🌱