Nick Viall is best known for his many turns on ABC's "The Bachelor" reality show franchise, including two stints on "The Bachelorette" in 2014 and 2015 and a spot on "Bachelor in Paradise" in 2016. In 2017, he had another shot at love as "The Bachelor" himself. He's also appeared on "Dancing with the Stars."
These days, Viall is focused on a series of business and creative endeavors to build a brand beyond "The Bachelor." He's working as an actor on TV and web series and appearing in TV and internet-based commercials. His weekly relationship podcast, "The Viall Files," has been ranked among iTunes' top 50 podcasts of the week. Its most popular episode has been downloaded 600,000 times. And his essential oil company, Natural Habits, made nearly $250,000 worth of sales in its first year.
Viall grew up in Wisconsin as the second oldest in a family of 11 kids, and his life took a turn when a friend signed him up for "The Bachelorette." Then, after a second season on the show, he took the tremendous risk of leaving a six-figure salary at Salesforce to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Below, he tells Grow about all that and about how, wherever he's been in life, he tries "to be smart with" his money.
I've always been money-motivated. I still am money motivated but maybe less now. I try to think of it big picture: Do the work and the money will come.
I try to be smart with my money, but … sometimes I go against the way I was raised and I treat myself and buy myself things. I probably have way more blue jeans than I need.
I had a great childhood and my parents made it work, but it was not always easy, especially with the amount of kids they had and having a single income. … My dad worked for a printing company.
My mom would Christmas shop in January for next year. She'd always be looking for deals and we had great Christmases. I had great presents. But my mom took the time to find value and shop around. She didn't have the luxury to buy whatever she wanted when she wanted.
My parents knew how to prioritize their finances: You spend money on what you need, not necessarily what you want ... If I wanted to go to the movies, I had to pay for it.
I never didn't have a job. I've been earning money since I was probably 10 years old because there were things I wanted and my parents said, "Well, we can't afford that."
[When I was 10 or 11] our neighbors were remodeling their kitchen and I spent nine hours scraping up this old aluminum floor for like $2 an hour. I couldn't move my hands the next day.
I'd go around the neighbors' houses and ask if they had any work for me. I was this 12, 13-year-old kid doing that stuff. When I got to high school, I worked at a grocery store. I was the assistant produce manager. And then in college I worked in construction, was the business manager at the school newspaper, and ran track.
The first time you go on [as a contestant of "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette"], there's really no compensation. If you're the lead of the franchise, like the bachelor or bachelorette, there is, because there's just a larger commitment. For the "Paradise" spinoff, there's a smaller stipend. It's not much. You don't go on for the salaries that the shows offer.
When I left Salesforce [after a second season on "The Bachelorette" that led to an entertainment agency offering to represent me], I didn't have a job. I moved to L.A. not even sure exactly what I was going to do. … I moved to a city that was twice as expensive as the city I came from but it's only because I had a nice savings that allowed me the freedom to do that.
When you've accumulated some wealth, you have the freedom to take risks. I didn't have a ton of money, but I had enough money to say, "I could do this for a year. I have a year to make it work."
The downside [of doing reality TV] is you can lack credibility with a lot of people. They don't necessarily think you're deserving of anything other than a reality TV show. I had to work hard to gain credibility.
The podcast has been very successful and I'm really lucky to have that. The show is starting to get some great national recognition and we were selected by The Associated Press as one of their top 10 shows of 2019. … That's probably my biggest revenue stream right now.
I'm lucky enough to have a social media platform [of 1.1 million followers on Instagram] ― there are some brands that I believe in, that I use, and that are willing to work with me [on paid marketing campaigns] in a way that I feel like is true to myself. And I've been lucky enough to do some paid acting gigs.
I never get comfortable. Even for the show, with any success that we have, we gotta make sure we're growing. There are so many podcasts ― you gotta keep making the show better. You gotta keep coming up with new ideas. You gotta work to get great guests. Because if you get complacent, someone else will come up with something better.
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