Booz-ing With Nicole Booz of GenTwenty: "Sharing Our Vulnerability Is Incredibly Powerful"
Today's insight is coming 'atcha all the way from Seattle. Meet Nicole Booz, co-founder of the need-to-know resource, GenTwenty, a site dedicated to, well, you. And you. And yes, you and you. Basically all you's in your 20s who could use a little help along the way [raises hand]. The 25-year-old Nicole, after launching with her co-founder and friend Gina Oursler, has created an engaged community that's not afraid to tackle the real-life questions that so many of you have. We're talking friendship, managing your money, college concerns, dating (duh), health & wellness (can I get a kale-yeah?!), social issues, and book suggestions. So basically anything and everything you've ever wanted to know.
There's even a #G20Chat Twitter chat where you can sop up some live, personal advice (next up is the real and frustrating issue of underemployment on Wednesday, October 21 at 8PM EST) and connect with the other twenty-somethings out there like you. Here's to strengthening the squad.
Given that she's pretty much nailed the notion of a must-use guide for our generation, I wanted to reach out to Nicole to get the low-down behind her start-up. Here's what this beacon of a woman revealed. Prepared to feel enlightened by the end.
What did you set out to create when you started GenTwenty?
I think your twenties are such a pivotal time in your life and they deserve to be paid attention to. I believe empowering today's generation of twenty-somethings will build a better future for all of us.
Our lives are saturated with the superficial, but sometimes what we really need is just to know that someone else out there is going through the same thing you are right now. Sharing our vulnerability is an incredibly powerful way to connect that is both comforting and empowering.
Really, we’re all going through these deep issues that no one wants to talk about, but secretly Googles late at night when they can’t sleep. The feeling is universal. I wanted to fill that hole.
You co-founded this venture with your friend Gina Oursler. How did you two decide to start this partnership and what lessons have you learned from having a co-founder?
Gina and I met during our senior year in college. We had an immediate bond and similar interests, so when I brought up the idea of GenTwenty, she jumped right on board. While Gina is no longer involved with GenTwenty, starting out together was foundational for GenTwenty because it became all about collaboration.
I learned two lessons from having a co-founder: The right person can make all of your ideas better and you don’t have to do everything by yourself. When working with friends, finding that work-friendship balance can be tricky, but it’s completely doable.
How have you been able to create the thriving GenTwenty community of contributors that you have?
I think it's really about remaining authentic to your vision. It's that genuine connection that builds such strong relationships. When we started out, we didn’t plan to have so many voices, but when other twenty-somethings started reaching out about joining the GenTwenty team, we decided to go for it.
GenTwenty has been very lucky to have such talented, dedicated contributors over the years.
What was your first step to monetize the site?
Our first step to monetizing was opening up our sidebar sponsorships! We love promoting blogs with great content, and still offer two spots: The Grown Up and The Kid at Heart. It’s been so great being able to support other twenty-somethings with blogs and voices similar to our own.
You have an awesomely inspirational Instagram feed and a wonderful following. Why is this platform important when it comes to reaching your audience?
Instagram is such a fabulous platform because it allows you to share behind-the-scenes, humanizing content. It’s an awesome platform for a multi-contributor blog like GenTwenty to connect with readers on a more personal level. It also gives us the chance to spread the main meaning of some of our content through quotes from our blog posts.
What's the most important lesson you've learned so far in your 20s?
Gosh, what a hard question. I think, though, that I'd have to say that trying new things and challenging yourself is so important. Our twenties are the time when we're discovering our personalities as adults and really growing into ourselves. If we aren’t trying new things, we’re not growing.
What's a fun fact about you?
I have over 100 coffee mugs. I take my caffeine very seriously!
Reveling in a relationship, single and loving it, or Tindering?
What can you never leave home without?
Hand sanitizer - I hate getting sick!
A HUGE thanks to Nicole for answering my Q’s! For more from Nicole and GenTwenty, you can sign up for newsletters here, and follow her site on Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Tumblr and Facebook.