career&entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship
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Women’s Personal High Heaven

Nina Nordling High Heaven

Women are usually considered risk averse in the investment world. In business too, women are stereotyped as being cautious of risk and responsibility—and prefer mostly support roles.

Recently we talked with Nina Nordling—entrepreneur, motocross enthusiast, and a woman thriving despite these stereotypes. We are grateful that Nina has agreed to share with Life as an Investment of how she followed her passion of sports and how she changed her world among many doubters.

                                                          Facts box:

Nina Nordling High HeavenName: Nina Nordling

Age: 31

Family: 

Nina is in a relationship with  the love of her life,

who also happens to be her ex-husband.

She is a legal guardian of three kids.

Bio

Startup entrepreneur and CEO of the social venture

High Heaven,

a worldwide digital meet-up for women

looking fortheir next adrenaline adventure.

                                                  Motto

“She believed she could, so she did”

My life is an investment because….

Well, we are all just particles. Every single one of us. And we all look the same on the inside. So in the big scheme of things, we are all insignificant—we are not that important or special.

BUT in our respective contexts, we can accomplish a lot of amazing things and have the blessed opportunity to do so and experience life to the fullest.

“My aim and investment in life is: Make my moments count, leave no negative impression on nature and make a positive impact on humanity.“

How did you get into extreme sports? Who inspired you?

I began to live with awareness and presence late in my life. So, I started to motocross as a grown- up WITHOUT any female role models. I was just hungry for big things, big feelings and big rushes. I was keen to find my way to empowerment, belonging, inspiration, and interaction. That’s when action sports became a big part of my life. Sports in fact became an outlet for me to achieve big things.

Today we have so many kickass women in the action sports scene. There are also countless female top executives for us to admire—but still sadly, a lot females are lacking leadership roles. Young girls especially! That’s something we are working very hard to change in the community of High Heaven.

Does taking risks in sports help you take more risks in business?

Definitely! The courage and self-confidence you get from doing all the rad things that are often included in action sports, really gives you a head start when it comes to other tough and challenging situations.

Do extreme sports help you foster your creativity? And manage stress in everyday life as an entrepreneur?

nina nordlingOver the last 12 months things have been really hectic, so I haven’t had much time to spend on my own sports. But, living the action lifestyle to the fullest really keeps me happy!

If someone knows the recipe for managing stress and maintaining a healthy balance as an entrepreneur, I would sure love to hear it!

Do you think becoming strong, confident and fearless in extreme sports is a kind of therapy for women to be stronger in the business world? Or vice versa; business-confident women gain courage in extreme sports?

There is a clear trend of staying active and/or becoming active later in life, even more so for women than for men. It’s a hunger to experience and learn new things. Travelers today want to be physically active on their vacations. Instead of laying on the beach (or by the pool), they’d rather take classes in wave riding, for example. Women have finally started to make their own money, and we are finally starting to claim our position in sports. Today, no one raises an eyebrow if a 45 year-old female management consultant goes for a yoga & surf trip, alone. I just love that development!

Hopefully, this also means that women in action sports are starting to claim and change the industry as a whole by building new businesses and getting positions with big brands and organizations.

“In my opinion, we need to dare ourselves and each other. We need to start running profitable and scalable businesses, not just projects and NGO’s.”

It’s not common to see women in extreme sports or entrepreneurship, even in a progressive country like Sweden. Why is this true? How should we as a society work on that? Do you think being a mother will change your attitude on taking risks in sports and entrepreneurship?

Big issue, but I will try to keep it short:

In 2006 women represented about 15% of the US action-sport market, and today that number is 41%. So, it seems we are getting somewhere, even if we are moving too slow. Why do marketers still claim that the female market is a small niche within the niche, and that it’s not worth the effort? Why do they still hang-on to the cliché that “sex sells” when all facts and figures show that it doesn’t? Answer: bias, sexism, and gender inequality. If we can begin to look at feminism and intersectionality, and if we can accept the fact that everyone wins if we treat this planet and all living things on it with equality and respect in mind…then we’ll be fine. If not, we will not evolve the way we’re meant to.

One important thing we as business women can do, is to stop fighting over left-over bread crumbs and bake our own bread. We need to stop putting our focus on asking for help, asking for equality, and start collaborating and creating our own system of values. In the excellent words of T.E.D speaker and action sports entrepreneur Kim Woozy—“When the tide is high, all boats float.” So, let’s make the tide higher, help each other, and stop accepting bullshit!

Nina Nordling As for the question about motherhood—I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. I’m not having biological kids, so hormones will probably not come in to play.

“I’m the legal guardian of three kids already. We occasionally foster kids part-time and my attitude towards risk taking stays the same.”

People thinking of starting their own business are often scared of change and financial uncertainty. What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on this matter? You took a leap into entrepreneurship and left the safety of the Swedish corporate world. How did you do it?

I was never in the corporate world. I specialized in neuropsychiatry before I quit my job and started High Heaven. The financial uncertainty (and constant hunt for funding) is a reality that you have to deal with as an entrepreneur. So if you don’t like or accept risk and uncertainty, don’t do it. On the other hand, if you have the financial stability to keep yourself floating for the next three years…then go for it!

And if you are anything like me, someone who doesn’t have money, assets, education, entrepreneurial experience, AND respect for fear, BUT have proof of a great business idea, you just go for it!

Experts say that one needs to save enough money for 6 months before jumping off the corporate ladder and flying solo. How do you manage your savings? Did you have an emergency fund when you started High Heaven or did your friends/family help you?  

Well…no. I had nothing, literally nothing—no savings at all. But, also no debts.

Growing up, my family always had it tight financially, so I knew the keys to making it work.

“Keep costs low, get sponsored when you can, strike good deals, and find the funds as you go along.”

I got by because I kept costs at a bare minimum, asked for help, stayed creative and passionate about the idea, applied for grants, entered business idea competitions…and just made it happen.

Business is like a team sport. Nina, tell us about your business team at High Heaven. You are all driven business women, which is very inspiring to see, how did you meet and become a team?

We are a small team really, but we have a big crowd!

Katja Moeller Nina NordlingI’m the only person working operations at HH, but I have an awesome co-founder named Katja Moeller. We met at Startup Day Sthlm… and it was love at first sight… haha! Our workshops are the best—we come up with kickass ideas all the time. She is one of my greatest inspirational role models.

The company also has 79 awesome crowdfunding {angel} investors! Some of them are very engaged and involved in helping High Heaven any way they can—from creating spreadsheets to making sales calls. Last, but not least, we have a very cool tribe of female ambassadors on the site. They include women of all shapes and sizes who are passionate about spreading the word on female adrenaline to the world.

What stage is High Heaven in right now? Did you manage to raise enough capital to support a full-time team? When do you expect to launch? What is High Heaven’s mission…to attract more women to extreme sports, or to support the ones already there?

We just launched High Heaven’s first feature—so please check out our cool worldwide event map-tool!

We got about 25 000 euros in our crowdfunding campaign and use it to build a tech platform and proceed with marketing. I’m working full time, but still pro bono :)

Our mission is to add more female adrenaline to the world! That includes getting more girls and women interested in action sports and adventure, as well as helping the already-active in developing their lifestyle.

Anything else you want to say to our readers on the subject of women taking risks in sports and business?

Hmm…I have a lot to say, and I always do, but I can say this:

“Stay with your heart’s true desires, tell everyone your passion, share your ideas, ask for help, help others when you can—and know that you can do it! When you feel like quitting, zoom-out to see the bigger picture.”

When it comes to getting active in sports, I agree with Nike: Just Do It.

If you want a piece of the action but feel you might not belong, try finding a class for beginners—or an all-female group…then start connecting. The beauty of extreme sports is that you don’t have to compete and rock from day one. It’s all about the experience and living the adrenaline lifestyle on your own terms.

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