I was born and raised
in a small town of 400 people in Hungary, a country in Eastern Europe. Growing up, I had no opportunities, connections, money, or entrepreneurial role models in my life.
Due to an untreated tongue-tie, I wasn’t able to express myself properly until the age of 5, when a surgery (and scissors used without anesthesia) ended my silence. That moment fixed my fate for life: I’ve spent every day since practicing and learning how to finally get heard and understood. This became my main drive and ended up getting me placed on the Forbes Most Influential Social Media Personality list as the only blogger in 2016 and it got all 9 of my books on the bestselling charts between 2013 and 2018.
However, sometimes success comes with big drawbacks. Due to the crazy amount of creative work that I had to do while I was writing two books a year, giving sold-out talks around the country, working on several brand deals a month as a blogger, traveling the world to build my international network, writing and doing exclusive interviews for HuffPost, working for 5-6 social media clients as a social media manager, and doing everything alone, by the end of 2015, I felt overwhelmed and disconnected from my own brand. I had to say goodbye to my social media clients, because by 2015, I was only sleeping 5 hours a day so I could work 19. (That is not sustainable or recommended!) Sadly, I don’t remember much of those years.
I was not in sync with my message anymore.
I had to force myself on stage to talk about the book I had written a year ago, and no matter how much I LOVE being on stage (that’s the only place on Earth I feel homesick for when I’m not there), I felt sick every single time I stepped into the spotlight.
When I started out, I truly believed that anyone can change their lives. But the more time I’ve been living this crazy entrepreneur lifestyle, with the unbearable amount of pressure and crazy workload, I realized that it’s not true. It takes a shit ton of work to get there, and most importantly, to keep your authority and to make your business sustainable.
Still, I kept pushing forward and continued to inspire people with my story and by telling them that they could make big things in their lives happen, like I had done. At that time, in 2016, I thought I couldn’t change my personal brand publicly, although I’d secretly started an anonymous blog about strategic storytelling. When you have signed book contracts, sponsorship deals, and your followers are waiting for you to deliver, you can’t just quit. (At least that’s what I had thought.) Someone told me back then, “You signed up for this. Accept it.” But the truth is, when I started, I had no idea what I had signed up for.
All I knew was that it was something I didn't want. I did not let myself to change direction, and my reaction was an extreme amount of resistance towards my work. I was desperately sad, and didn’t care about anything anymore. That’s when a fictional character, a cyberbully who had 1 million followers attacked my personal brand.
At that time, the bullies had no idea, of course, but they ultimately saved me from continuing to try to live up to the expectations of my fans, my publisher, the brands I worked with, and most importantly, to myself. Don’t get me wrong—being cyber-attacked is a terrible experience. I felt misunderstood, which was a really negative trigger for me. My reaction was to isolate myself. I ended up leaving the country for 8 months and moving to Portugal to clear my head and think about what I really wanted while I was working with startups (the week I moved Forbes put me on the Most Influential Social Media Personalities list).
My answer is I have no other option. My strong drive comes from that little girl who was never understood or heard. The drive has transformed throughout the years, and now it’s all about two things a.) I want you to be able to share your story and have made it my life mission to help others express themselves b.) When it comes to the interviews I conduct, I want the interviewee to feel that he/she is not alone, no matter what they are going through.
Just in the last 2 years, I’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs, digital creators, creatives, producers, and investors, and have worked more than 1,200 consulting hours, so that finally, my clients are able to tell their stories, be authentic, and build the right values-driven brand with the strategy and boundaries that match their needs.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about content: crafting essays, analyzing poems, writing entertaining homework assignments for my teachers, reading interviews in magazines, and being annoyed, even at the age of 9, that nobody asked deep questions from my favorite celebrities, but just silly things like, “what’s your favorite color?”
My first full-time job was in online marketing, with a specialization in doing barter deals with brands. I was only 20 and had to learn everything on my own: how to make everlasting impressions and human connections, and how to convince brand partners to give us what we needed. My boss used to give me challenges: “Nora, if you can bring in that brand I want for a raffle for 6 months, you will get 20% of the products they give us.” I earned almost no money there ($300 USD/month), but was of course interested in all the perks. So I did it.
Years later, I needed something new, and that’s when I got one of the first social media positions in Budapest. It was a new playground for my ever-curious, engagement-driven personality: I was testing all day what gets likes, what doesn’t, what makes people react, what doesn’t. I became very good at it and people started to talk about my work.
Six months after I started that job, the biggest publishing house and a shopping mall reached out to me and asked to work for them. Several business partners from the past also did the same.
2013 was a big year for me: in the spring, I became self-employed, focusing on social media management, and by the end of the summer, I had published my first book, which was on the top of the book charts for 5 straight weeks (all my subsequent books enjoyed the same afterlife). The media started to write about me, and in just 3 months, I collected a huge pile of magazines that had coverage about me, whether it was an interview with me or reviews of my book. I started to appear in TV shows regularly, and in a couple of weeks, I had become a household name.
I will never forget when I was 21 and saw one of the most famous fiction writer’s faces on the metro in Budapest in an ad promoting her new book. It said, “Sold over 100,000 books.” That was the first moment in my life when I was sure that one day my face would be there. I was right (unfortunately, my face appeared in ads in the metro and all over bookstores the same week as the smear campaign).
Finally, I got the tool that generated enough money for me to do what I’d ALWAYS talked about—spending some time in the US. Prezi and Ustream supported me on my mission: in 2014, I spent 3 months in San Francisco with both startups, documenting my experience in the form of books and blog posts. That was the first time in my life that I felt like I belonged. New York felt like home: I still have a video of me exploring the Financial District at 9pm and crying out of happiness.
I kept working more and more so I could keep coming back to the US at least 3 times a year. That choice ended up helping me build my international network, which ultimately changed my entire life.
I am forever grateful for Arianna Huffington.
She discovered me on Instagram and invited me to blog for HuffPost in 2015. The fact that I’m published on HuffPost opened up so many doors for me. Behind all the doors were people like Philip Zimbardo, Martin Garrix, Fedor Holz, Dr. Oz and Jake Paul, waiting with the tools that could help me to heal, grow, and connect. Since then, I have traveled the world to do in-person interviews and speak at international conferences, no matter the distance. Here you can read more about my interviews.
I truly appreciate you
and that you took the time to read my introduction. I am always happy to hear about mission-driven creatives, digital creators, and entrepreneurs who’ve done it all, lost themselves, found their true mission, and who are making shit happen AGAIN, all while they are taking care of themselves and finding balance in their lives. My door is always open for you. (Here you can read about the cycle.)
Connect with me! You can find me on Instagram, where you can see me learning how to take a better care of myself, drink green smoothies with lots of matcha, exploring beautiful Vancouver, BC, sharing new interviews, planning where to move next, going on research trips, watching Friends on Netflix, and battling with isolation every single day.
Looking forward to seeing you there.