We had the good fortune of connecting with Nina Waters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nina, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
The work-life balance in the beginning of my business was hard to manage. Gaining the trust of new clients was the number #1 goal for me and that meant answering emails and phone calls at all hours and bending over backwards to please everyone.
Now, almost 4 years as a successful small business owner, I make sure there is balance – I take time for myself throughout each day, whether it’s spending time in the mornings going for a walk or going for a 3-hour bike ride during the day. I don’t unplug totally during that time, in case there is an emergency, but it’s a place and time where I get to clear my mind. I have a hard rule of no working on the weekends. Weekends are for me, family, interests, sports, etc. I think the Pandemic taught us a valuable lesson, that it’s okay to take time for yourself, it’s okay to slow down, to unplug and spend more time with family.
The balance for me is looking ahead 40-50 years from now, when I’m lying on my death bed, will I regret that I didn’t work more hours or will I regret that I didn’t spend more time outside, exploring more, taking trips or spending time with family and friends.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Forty6Eleven is one of the leading home decor/building material and adventure/extreme sports product placement agencies in the US, and I’ve been very successful with 17 clients and many national TV shows and projects. Since I’m new to the Los Angeles-area, I’m having to contend with many other well-known product placement agencies, but what sets Forty6Eleven apart from the others, I have two niche categories of clients – Home Decor and Adventure Sports.
I’m most proud that through lots of hard work in almost four years, I have designers and producers who repeatedly come back to me for my clients’ products and they’re starting to network me out to their friends in the industry. I’ve become their “One-Stop-Shop” for all their home decor needs. This business is a ‘who you know’ and ‘who you trust’ and to have the trust of designers and hosts, is the biggest pat on the back.
In 2008, I was working at a boutique public relations agency in Dallas, Texas, and it was one of the pioneering product placement agencies for home decor and building material products for TV shows. I spent 12 years with the agency, I wore many hats – and all those hats helped shape who I am today and helped me get my foot into the industry.
Has it been easy? No, I don’t think life or business should be a smooth road – it should be filled with potholes, speed bumps, and lots of mountains to climb – otherwise, you’re just coasting through life, not pushing yourself to strive for more. I think my biggest challenge now as an adult with my own company is running the business well, making my clients happy. I’m not only building and maintaining relationships on a daily, but I also wear a ton of hats to keep the business running.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way, in-depth contracts between your business and clients are really important and send emails vs. phone calls, you will have a paper trail of accountability. Don’t be afraid to fire a problematic client, they are not worth the stress and headaches.
My company may be new, but I’ve been in the product placement industry for 16 years and I’ve seen it at it’s best and I’ve seen it at its worst. I will always have my clients best interest at heart.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It depends on the friend – if the friend is a cyclist, we would ride our bikes from Encanto Park in Duarte up Glendora Mountain Road to Glendora Ridge Road, to check out the amazing views and get a great workout in! Or ride our bikes from Pasadena to Griffith Park and back with a stop at Spoke Cafe in Frogtown for breakfast.
If the friend isn’t into crazy climbing on a bike, then I would take them to Huntington Gardens, the Rose Bowl and the houses above the Bowl, Griffith Park Observatory, and probably the beach. Places to eat, Foothill, Plate 38, Sapori 786 Degrees for the best pizza, Congregation Ale House, Salazar’s in Frogtown for tacos.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, Pieter, deserves a shoutout. He pushed me and helped me realize that I am very good at what I do, and that I should start my own business. When I have tough days, he’s there to listen and show me all the positives of what I’ve accomplished and when I have great days, he’s there to celebrate with me. A big thank you to him for always believing in me.
“As Seen On Rock the Block”