Nikki and Brie Bella are among WWE’s biggest stars — and have created an entire entrepreneurial empire reaching over 32 million actively engaged fans and followers known as the #BellaArmy. The identical sisters known as the Bella Twins have worked tirelessly to make a name for themselves out of the ring with two E! reality shows (“Total Divas” and their own spinoff, “Total Bellas”), a wine company, Belle Radici, which sold out in the first 36 hours after launch, an athleisure clothing line, Birdiebee, and a newly launched podcast.
The twins sat down with Thrive Global to discuss their journey as entrepreneurs, their struggles with burnout (and their solutions), and how they find time for their families and relationships. Check out their Thrive Diary video and more from their interview below:
Thrive Global: What is a daily habit that helps you thrive?
Nikki Bella: I would say my secret life hack is meditation. I love the app Headspace. It’s nice because you can start at five minutes. There’ll be a reminder on your phone and be like, oh, five minutes, I actually would like to sit down for five minutes. And then you start realizing you can go up 10, 15, 20 — but you really realize how much it does for you mentally, physically, and just puts you back on track. It helps me to reconnect with who I am inside and remember why I’m doing things.
TG: How do you prioritize your to-do list?
Brie Bella: The one thing that Nicole and I realized, instead of trying to do 20 things one day, we only allow ourselves two or three. If it’s done at 2:00 p.m., awesome, if it’s done at 6:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., okay. We realized we couldn’t pack our schedule anymore because then we get burned out. So we have definitely come up with a really good system, and we also allow ourselves to have weekends. In wrestling, we never knew about weekends because that’s when our shows were. So when it’s Friday, it’s “Fri yay!” because here comes Saturday and Sunday. We’ve definitely allowed ourselves to be in that more business schedule.
TG: Tell us about a failure you’ve experienced and how you overcame that.
BB: I feel like one of my greatest failures is my most recent comeback to the ring. In my head, I felt that I was back into my “in-ring shape,” I felt strong — I had three companies, I was filming a reality show, I’m a mother to a 1-year-old and I said to myself, “I can do this.” And I was wrong. I not only failed myself, I also feel like I failed the company, the fans, because I spread myself too thin. I thought, “Brie, you have to learn to say no. You can’t just say yes to every opportunity you have, because then it’s all this quantity of stuff and there’s zero quality.” It was the first I admitted I can’t do it all. And, I had to fail in front of the whole world, but I’m grateful for that, because now I tell people “no,” which helps in all areas of my life.
TG: You mentioned that you have trouble slowing down. What is something you are doing now that helps you to take time for yourselves?
NB: I think something we realized recently is really taking a beat and honoring your successes. I feel like good things would happen for us and we would quickly move on to the next thing. We never take a moment even to go to dinner, have a cheers — we don’t stop and congratulate each other. I started telling Brie, “We really have to stop and congratulate each other when good things happen.” It was crazy, because when we started to do that, it’s our energy shifted in a really positive way.
TG: What is a business tip that you wish everyone knew?
BB: I love Instagram, and it is an amazing business tool, but there’s a lot of phoniness, fakeness, and not real info. You see things thriving and so you immediately want to use their play script on how they’re doing things, but you don’t really know what’s happening on the backend. You don’t know the numbers, or how the business is actually growing.
NB: When it comes to business, you don’t know someone’s audience. An influencer can have an amazing amount of followers, but where are those followers from? What are they into? I think sometimes brands are quick to hire an influencer because they have 25 million followers and think, “My stuff’s going to have to sell.” But they can’t see who their audience is. That is something I’ve learned so much about. I know my audience, so I know what I’m going to push, I know what paid posts I’m going to accept because I know what my fans are going to buy. There are amazing paid post opportunities that I’ve said no to because I was going to do them a disservice. I knew my audience was not going to buy that from me, they’re not going to be interested in this product. We’re so stuck on numbers, which is great in business, but when it comes to Instagram, you can’t be stuck on the numbers. You have to really understand the person’s audience. Someone who has a million followers could potentially sell you more than someone who has 25 million depending on their authenticity and how intimate are they with their fans.
BB: Also, if we really want to push something, we go to IG story not to feed. The feed is a fun little lookbook, but to sell product, you go to your stories. Everything’s about direct to consumer, so swipe up takes you right there.
TG: You are very busy entrepreneurs, how do you make sure you are connecting with your family as well?
BB: Gosh, we’ve been married five years, which is crazy. Brian and I focus on dinnertime — that’s when everything just shuts down. There are definitely days where I’m like, “Hey, tonight’s going to be a late night,” but overall, we prioritize that time. The minute 5:30 comes, because that’s when my daughter eats, we all sit down together. We’ve been teaching Birdie how to sit down and say our prayers at dinner, and we just talk. No phones, just all of us. It’s really nice because afterwards we tag-team getting Birdie ready for bed. I think it’s a nice thing to do as a couple — I’m bathing her, and then he’s washing the dishes, and then he’ll come in and we put her to bed together. I feel it creates this really strong bond. It makes us closer, but it also gives us a chance to just talk about our day — what’s happening on the road with him, what I’m doing with my companies. I sleep really good because of it, because I’m not on social media, we rarely watch shows, it’s nice to be technology-free at the end of the night.
TG: What are three things you couldn’t thrive without?
BB: One is each other. We could not do it without each other because all my weaknesses are her strengths, all her weaknesses are my strengths, which makes not only a great friendship, but we really help each other thrive in business that way. Number two, our voices. I think the one thing you need to thrive is confidence and courage. And there are so many times in my 20s where I wanted to talk but was so scared. I would let moments pass all the time and I’d go home, and be like, “Why didn’t I just speak up?” I finally got in 30s, and I was like, “I’m going to speak up.” The minute I just started to use my voice and just got this confidence and courage, I started to thrive. And people are actually listening.
NB: And third, knowing your audience. In any industry you’re in, if you know your audience, then you know what platform to promote your business on. Brie and I know our places, and you just have to figure out yours.
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