Meet the Mom Taking the Stress Out of Gift Giving
Madianite McNichol, a mom of two and doctor, put her entrepreneur skills to the test by creating a gift service for busy people. She shares tips to help other parents fuel their passion, along with a few budget-friendly gift-giving ideas they'll need too.
Ever since Madianite McNichol was a little girl, she looked up to her mother, a single mom of eight who inspired her to work hard for her dreams. "She was educated, and she ended up working odd jobs to become an entrepreneur and support us," says Dr. McNichol.
Born in Haiti, Dr. McNichol's mom moved to Turks and Caicos, where she gave birth to Dr. McNichol and her siblings. "She was able to take care of not only her offspring but send money back home to take care of distant family and sisters and brothers," says Dr. McNichols. After all, it was Dr. McNichols' mother's belief that "when you share with your community, you never go without."
It's that philosophy that fueled Dr. McNichol's future. The Atlanta-based mom of two went to medical school and became a research pathologist. "I knew that becoming a doctor would give me security, in terms of finances, and [the ability] to take care of my family or community," says Dr. McNichol.
After welcoming her first daughter when she was 20 and second daughter 12 years later, Dr. McNichol felt even more driven to build and nurture wealth. "I now had this little person that was depending on me," recalls Dr. McNichol. "That changed how I related to money." Instead of thinking about taking trips or making other purchases on a whim, Dr. McNichol focused on how she and her husband could put money away for their daughters' educations and to help them buy their first homes.
And once their eldest headed off to college, Dr. McNichol felt prepared to make a financial leap and start her own business. "It's an honor to be able to take care of others, especially when they're ill, but there was always this burning inside of me," she says. "The creative side of me needed an outlet."
She turned to a personal passion: gift giving. "During the holidays, I'm the one that my family would look to for help sourcing the right gift," she says. "Whether you're gifting something tangible, or you're doing something nice for someone which is an experience, the feeling of gratitude is always universal."
So, it only made sense that her creative outlet and business concept would be a gift concierge company that handles every aspect of gifting and delivery. "We handle the entire process," explains Dr. McNichol. "It's a time-saving, hassle-free convenient way for individuals or businesses to show gratitude to loved ones, clients, or colleagues."
But making the company a reality meant making sacrifices. Financially, she and her husband had to invest in research to assess how viable the business would be. Then, they had to secure the capital to launch. "It was a calculated risk, but still a risk," says Dr. McNichol. "We sacrificed some vacations, nice dinners out, maybe some home remodeling. We tried our best to not let it impact our finances to where we couldn't recover." She and her husband also continued to work full-time jobs while they got their new small business on its feet.
The hard work paid off as Madianite Concierge Gifting Services has been in business for three years, and Dr. McNichol is enjoying the benefits of successful entrepreneurship. "Becoming an entrepreneur has not only helped me have more of a wealth mindset, but it has allowed me to be more goal-oriented and focused on return and investment," says Dr. McNichol. "All the things that we had to do to be successful in business are also good practices to have in managing your own individual finances."
The proud mom and business owner shares her financial tips, including ways for saving on gifts this—and every—holiday season.
Don't Be Afraid to Lean on Experts
Whether or not you're an entrepreneur, Dr. McNichol recommends taking your financial questions to a professional sooner versus later. "One mistake we made was not hiring an accountant early," she explains, noting that neither she or her husband is an expert at budgeting software. "The creative side was a breeze, but managing the financial side was tasking."
The fix: delegating those tasks to professionals, so that Dr. McNichol could focus on the rest of her business.
Set a Passionate Example for Your Kids
Through her experience, Dr. McNichol has come to believe that by following her passion, she's been able to model what that looks like for her kids. In turn, they'll have the building blocks for a successful, fulfilling career. "Through their passion, I hope they're able to make a living," says Dr. McNichol. "And with that living, I hope they invest their money wisely."
The entrepreneur also sees the merit in urging kids to pick a career that will contribute to a need in their community. "That's the only way you can continue a legacy of wealth," she notes.
Plan Gifting Ahead of Time
As with any major line item on your family budget, gifting should be factored in ahead of time. The earlier you can plan for the expense or take advantage of retailers' deals, the better. "Don't wait until the last minute," says Dr. McNichol. "A lot of retailers are offering discounts and incentives earlier and earlier each year. So, be on the lookout for those by either signing up with your local or favorite retailer to get a notification."
She also recommends shopping for seasonal items in the off-season. For example, perhaps you buy those loungers for the beach in the winter rather than the summer.
But no matter what you're buying, Dr. McNichol emphasizes the importance of truly knowing what your recipient values and being intentional and specific. "Sometimes I think many people just give a gift because it's traditional," says Dr. McNichol. "That's a big mistake, because then you're just buying something just because, and maybe you can't afford it. And there's no real value to the gift."
Support Your Community
Just as she learned from her mom early on, Dr. McNichol continues to believe in the power of supporting others. If you happen to have disposable income, Dr. McNichol encourages you to ask yourself how you can invest in your community. And investing in gift giving is a great way to do that.
One of the main ways parents can save and give back at the same time this holiday season, she says, is by shopping local. "You save money on shipping and on items that may have to be imported, and you support your community," she notes.
By showing your gratitude in a tangible way and investing in others' happiness, you're sure to land a multi-faceted return on your investment. "It's not just about the other person receiving it," says Dr. McNichol. "It's something that adds to your personal growth or how you feel on a daily basis."