To Transform The Way You Work, Focus On These Five Life Skills It's interesting how many different realities you can experience in one lifetime if you are willing to undergo radical changes.

By Nikita Phulwani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


It's interesting how many different realities you can experience in one lifetime if you are willing to undergo radical changes.

I started By Niggi, an influencer marketing and communications agency based out of the UAE, five years ago. In this period, we have worked with over 500 influencers regionally and 100+ brands that are household names, and we've also grown to become a team of 20 creatives.

When I started the company, I believed working as an entrepreneur would change my outlook on life. Strangely enough, it was breakthroughs in my personal life that massively transformed the way I worked as an entrepreneur.

A few of these lessons that I have learnt have had a domino effect: it brought in more business, changed my approach to the ecosystem, and made me reconsider who I hired. Looking back in time, these are some of the most important mind shifts I made:

1. It starts with health
Until 2020, I was also popularly recognized by my Instagram avatar, @NiggiPhulwani- the plus-size content creator. I was at my heaviest at that point at 118kg. However, after starting By Niggi, I wasn't looking to lose weight until someone knocked on my direct messages, and I decided to take a chance. Soon enough, the health bug bit me! I lost 50kgs in the first year of aggressively working out for nearly three hours in the gym and completely following a healthy diet. However, I had no idea the impact health would have on my life overall. My entire approach to life looked different. From sleeping in until 11am and burning the midnight oil, I am now up at 4.30am and my lights go out at 10pm. Despite how much time seems consumed towards these goals, it has turned out to be the best investment towards myself which impacted my business. As I adopted a healthier lifestyle, I became more energetic and more confident. I valued and used my time more wisely, and I noticed a better creative output, a more disciplined approach to work, and a mental assertiveness like never before.

2. Treat yourself to positive self-talk
Most of us have a version of ourselves that is quick to critique whatever we get up to. In my case, as an influencer, I had a lot more access to unsolicited opinions and scrutiny via online, and it can be very difficult not to take that personally. And so, when I would fail miserably to reach those impossible standards I set for myself, I found myself in moments of questioning my self-worth. It took a long time to inculcate the habit, but now, I consciously use words, affirmations, and manifestations in my journal every morning- which is a lot of emotional and mental work. It requires strong mental dexterity to stop using certain words to describe yourself or a situation. I also switched the negative narrative in my mind to one about abundance. This included money, growth, and opportunity. I made a vision board of what that future would look like, and seeing that visual representation made me believe anything was possible. This has also made me a much more positive leader. My team now find me more confident in pitches and meetings, and, most importantly, assertive in my decision-making- which can be intrinsically reassuring for teams. I also feel that positivity can be infectious, and I felt that's how my team started having a more positive outlook on work.

3. Understand the power of saying "no"
Here is a powerful word once you realize that time is a commodity: "no." I used to be invited to several different social gatherings, and I often found it hard to say no, because you don't want to disappoint people. When I realized how much energy was trained by these and started saying no, I gained time to do the things I was most passionate about, including dancing, which is extremely fulfilling and focus on my health. This spilt over to my professional choices as well, where I started saying no to unproductive meetings, and no to clients that didn't match in terms of synergy. This was the most empowering feeling for me, and it also uplifted my team members' morale exponentially. I also realized that clients began to respect my pushback, because, at many moments, it would be to safeguard their brand in the larger scheme of things.

4. Don't try to do it all
When I started out, I thought I could do it all. Soon enough, you realize gaps in skills, and that you can't be an expert in absolutely everything. My first hire was a designer who understood my clients and provided them with better insights than I ever could. Being an entrepreneur should not be a lonely journey, and I love hiring experts I can learn from. Once you bring in the right people, magic truly happens!

5. Honesty is the best policy
I live this every day! Internally and externally. Honesty and trust play a huge role in how I operate. I aim to be a mirror for my clients, and I tell them the truth about things that matter. This approach has led me to continue retaining work even five years later. I also have that transparency with my team, which has helped foster such a positive environment in the office. Honesty can sometimes be hard, but it will always leave behind a footprint of reliability and trust.

Related: Five Things A Marketing Manager Needs To Operate To The Best Of Their Capabilities

Nikita Phulwani is the founder and Managing Director of By Niggi Marketing Management, a complete influencer marketing and communications agency that she founded in 2018. Nikita understands the pulse of the influencer market and social media, as apart from running By Niggi, she herself is a content creator making waves in the world of fashion and fitness.  

At By Niggi, Nikita has worked on campaigns for world-renowned brands like Nivea, Magnum, Lipton, OMO, and Aigner, to list a few. She has also worked with Arab influencers like Huda Kattan, Ascia AFK, Karen Wazen, Kris Fade, Haifa Beseiso, Khalid Al Ameri, and Jessica Kahawaty, as well as Indian celebrities like actor Kajol and rapper Badshah.  

In addition to working on high-profile campaigns in the MENA region, Nikita has also successfully executed campaigns for Magnum at the Cannes Film Festival 2019, for Dove at the #ShowUs 2019 global campaign launch in London, and for TRESemme at multiple seasons of New York Fashion Week.

Related Topics


A Guide to Effective Crisis Leadership — Key Steps to Lead Your Team Through Turbulent Times

The essential strategies and skills required to be a successful crisis leader and guide your organization through difficult times.

Money & Finance

How to Make Money Online: 10 Proven Ways to Make Money Online

Need to know how to make money online as a side gig or new career? Check out this breakdown of the 10 top online money-making methods.

Starting a Business

This Startup Is Reinventing the Yellow School Bus. Here's Its Playbook for Winning Over the Hardest Customers (Like Public Schools).

Zūm started out selling its "Uber for kids" service to parents. But then its founder realized they could sell to school districts, and have a much bigger impact. Of course, that was easier said than done.

Personal Finance

5 Entrepreneurial Mindset Principles That Empower Financial Literacy

Adopting the right mindset is key to financial literacy. Follow these five guiding principles to enhance your understanding of wealth creation and growth.

Starting a Business

16 Accelerators Designed to Fast-Track Small Business Founder Success

If you want to start up, level up, or scale up, look into these accelerator programs being offered by the big businesses on our Champions of Small Business list.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2023.