This past week I had the opportunity to interview the beauty and brains behind one of my favorite online communities, GenTwenty. Nicole and I connected through the online magazine’s partnership program, but after reading another interview she had done, and briefly interacting with her through email, I came to realize that not only is she is a genuine sweetheart, her vision is something that we as millenial writers should share and celebrate. Meet Nicole Booz!
Name: Nicole Booz
What’s your passion: Connecting others through narratives of personal growth
Fun fact: My first screen name was dreambig081
Nicole! I’m so happy you could join us in this series! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thank you so much for having me! I’m the Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, an online lifestyle magazine for twenty-somethings. I have a B.S. in Psychology hiding somewhere in my closet. If I’m not working on GenTwenty, you can probably find me in a cafe drinking iced coffee and planning my next great adventure.
So this is standard procedure, the self-esteem assessment question! Would you say that your confidence level is ‘on-fleek’, or is it more of a work in progress?
It definitely fluctuates, but I’m becoming more confident in myself as I get more experience under my belt. I experience a lot of self-doubt when I’m in new situations, but this year I made it a point to say “yes” to more opportunities that come up. Even if I’m nervous, or if it didn’t go as well as I would have hoped, I always come out of the experience more confident because I know what to do next time.
I’m not the most confident person, but I’m always working on it. Half the battle is taking the first step, so I’m trying to take more first steps.
Can you recall a time or an event where you thought, “Man, I wish my self-esteem was a little better?”
Occasionally I think back to times when I was younger and I didn’t participate in certain events or try out for sports teams because I didn’t believe in myself enough. I always wanted to try out for track in high school, but I never thought I was a good enough runner. Looking back, I wish I would have realized that I had nothing to lose.
So let’s talk GenTwenty! How did the idea for your online magazine come about?
Creating an online space was something I always knew I wanted to do. It was always on my mind in college but I never quite had the time to dedicate to it. I was always brainstorming though, considering what I wanted to write about, who I wanted to write to, how it would all work, etc. It wasn’t until about 9 months after I graduated from college that I decided it was now or never. I knew I wanted to focus on Gen Y and twenty-somethings so I started there. I originally focused on my own interests and the content I wanted to read but couldn’t find anywhere and then narrowed our content down based on our readers’ interests into what you see today.
It’s always been about connecting twenty-somethings who are going through the transition to adulthood. It’s a scary and confusing time, so it’s very important to me that our readers know they are not alone in feeling the way they do right now.
When building such an online community and constantly reviewing and editing, I can only imagine how many articles hit home for you! Do you mind sharing an article that tugged at the tail of your insecurities?
I think many twenty-somethings, myself included, feel like we aren’t accomplishing anything if we aren’t busy. A Lesson in Patience: Why Waiting Really Isn’t So Bad has helped me to slow down and appreciate every moment for what it is.
I always feel the need to be busy, I don’t like stillness. I used to equate being still with insecurity because I wasn’t moving myself forward. But I’ve come to realize that we really don’t need to be in a rush to get everything done, growth is still happening in the quiet moments.
You and I both formed a relationship through interviews and a media partnership. How else do you plan to connect with writers in the online community?
Through GenTwenty, we have partnership program that’s called the “Best of the Best” to feature writers, bloggers, and small business owners. This has been one of the biggest ways I’ve connected with other writers and bloggers in the online community because it becomes my job to promote them and their content seamlessly to our readers. I read every word they write and become intimately acquainted with their style, values, and personalities.
We also accept applicants on a rolling basis to join the GenTwenty team. We receive around 10-15 applications a month and I’ve never let our staff grow beyond 30 writers at once time. I like to connect with our staff individually and as a community.
Personally, I’m always on social media checking out blogs and magazines. I love watching writers evolve and pursue new projects. I hope to be more intentional about getting to know even more writers in the future.
How important to you is it to have strong sense of self in the world of writing, blogging, and building an online community.
It’s incredibly important to know who you are and what your values are because it helps you figure out the people you should work with or have on your team.
There are countless writers and bloggers but each one of them are unique and bring their own combination of values and experiences to the table. If you don’t know who you are and what you stand for, it’s easy to be influenced by other people and their vision for you.
Having a strong sense of self is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
What words of advice would you share with your 16-year-old self about self-esteem, self-worth, and of course, surviving these transformational years?
I would tell myself to do more things alone. I think a lot of people feel inherently more comfortable when they have someone they know with them — whether it’s going to a networking event, joining a new club, or trying a new fitness class.
Ultimately, you grow more on your own and you will be far more comfortable with yourself and your confidence if you are willing to do things on your own versus waiting for someone else to go with you. Don’t rely on anyone else to build your confidence — build it yourself.
What’s next for you and GenTwenty? Where can we find you?
Well, we just opened our shop! That’s something that has been in the works for quite some time now and I’m so thrilled that it’s finally up. We have a few new series that will be launching over the summer that I’m incredible excited for and that I hope our readers will enjoy too.
Thank you so much for having me, Yetti!
It was a pleasure, Nicole! Speak soon!