Dr. Venus Nicolino is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, bestselling author, podcast host, and renowned relationship expert.
Known as Dr. V, Nicolino brings an irreverent, engaging attitude to her work helping real people with real problems.
Dr. Venus Nicolino is the author of Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in an Age of Bulls–t, published in 2018. It debuted at No. 1 on the Los Angeles Times Bestsellers List for hardcover nonfiction and appeared on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list. The New York Post named it one of “five books that will change your life.”
The book turns the typical feel-good model of self-help on its head. Nicolino has crafted a mind-blowing new genre of self-help predicated on the idea that nobody is an expert.
Dr. Venus Nicolino’s revolutionary approach to self-help has smashed existing theories by self-proclaimed gurus and life experts. She’s committed to deconstructing bad advice to guide people down the right path to self-awareness, healing, and better lives. She’s acknowledged as one of the leading forward thinkers in modern-day psychology.
Her work focuses on aiding people to manage their minds via social media, television, radio, and print. With an approach focusing on empathy, Dr. Venus Nicolino employs a sharp tongue and deep kindness for those she helps. She recognizes that a compassionate understanding of the human condition often requires a direct, candid approach to tackling the obstacles and the joys that comprise life.
Dr. Venus Nicolino has been featured on Bravo’s LA Shrinks, debuting in 2013. Since then, she’s made more than 100 television appearances, including The Real Housewives of New Jersey, The Millionaire Matchmaker, KTLA, SiriusXM, Fox News, CBS News, Steve, Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, The Real, The Dr. Oz Show, and Rachael Ray. She’s a regular contributor to The Steve Harvey Show on his “Straight Talk Panel” segment.
As a podcast host, Dr. Venus Nicolino doles out sound advice with a no-holds-barred approach that combines warmth, compassion, and blunt discussion. On her podcast, The Tea With Dr. V, she provides an innovative twist on the celebrity interview, steeped in sugar, spice, and life. She offers candid advice to her guests, who have included such diverse personalities as Tiger King star Carole Baskin, spokesmodel Brooke Burke, actress Christine Evangelista, television journalist Chris Hansen, comedian Manon Mathews, and political figure Anthony Scaramucci.
Dr. Venus Nicolino is an advocate of balanced diets, healthy eating, and exercise. She frequently speaks about the misdiagnosis of children with mental illness and the overprescription of medication, especially for children.
Dr. Venus Nicolino grew up in a small home in West Philadelphia, influenced greatly by her parents’ strong work ethic. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from New York University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She lives with her husband and children in Los Angeles.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
No flash of lightning from on high; the business developed organically.
Sitting on our stoop in West Philly as a kid, I heard neighbors talking about the unrelenting drama of the neighborhood. The more I listened, the more I learned and wondered if solutions were being overlooked.
My natural curiosity led me to a career in psychology, but it’s grown into something bigger. Today, I steer people clear of self-help charlatans and offer them guidance that’s relevant to their world — the real world. And there’s a huge need to remind people how valuable relationships are on the macro and micro level.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There’s no typical day, because when my clients are overwhelmed with life they need help right away, not when my schedule opens up. That is what I’m here for, so my agenda can turn on a dime any day of the week. I’m blessed to have a life that’s rich, full, and unpredictable. TV appearances for shows like LA Shrinks and Marriage Boot Camp can be a whirlwind, as that’s the nature of television. Lots of chaos on the set of reality TV as you might imagine. My clinical training has prepared me for that though, along with the experience of dealing with drama inherent in raising three children. Having supportive people around me, especially my husband, makes chaotically typical days manageable.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By not pursuing endless ideas that bubble up. Some days it seems like I have an idea every other minute. We can only bring so many ideas to life so we must “kill our darlings,” as Stephen King says about editing his work. That makes room to focus on small consistent steps that can give life to our best ideas and plans.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Social media gets a deserved bad rap but has provided a platform for a raw, more real approach to conversations. Regular people speaking their truth to others who can benefit from their lived experience. No Ph.D. needed to give hope to someone through a powerful monologue or a funny personal story. Anything that gives a smile to followers who may need just a glimmer of goodness to keep going.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Meditation and taking advantage of other quiet moments. Endless distractions get me like they do everyone else. But knowing I can close my eyes and focus on my breath anywhere, anytime is a super tool to have. Practicing this consistently, not perfectly, boosts my sense of peace and keeps me grounded when life is anything but peaceful.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Watch out — some authority is toxic, so learn the difference between good advice and bad advice. Consider the source and whether their experience applies to you at this moment in time. An alleged expert doesn’t need to have bad intentions to give bad advice or mistimed advice for your particular situation.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Loving yourself is impossible. This cuddly but unhelpful saying is confused with self-care, which is a wise practice. Loving involves other humans, and trying to love yourself before loving others is robbing many people of the best human experience. All because a digestible quote has gone viral and somehow remained viral. It’s keeping people from even attempting to connect with others who can help them feel love they will never find alone.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Stay true to yourself while being open to change. That requires self-awareness and making time for reflection. Are you the one choosing to change your mind, or have you been nudged into doing so? Staying true to yourself requires real vigilance while not being afraid of flexibility.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I push through fear and learn from opportunities I may have let slip by. When I worked as a consultant on a Bravo TV series, they offered me a spot on the show. I’m actually pretty shy, so I turned them down. But when the opportunity came around again, I was in a different place and was able to be more courageous.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Instead of keeping tabs on failures and carrying them with me, I reframe them as lessons learned. For example, recording intimate feelings with podcast guests involves more than hitting the record button and sharing those conversations. There can be a lot of back and forth afterward to make sure guests are comfortable with the episode. People can feel vulnerable on a big platform and want to be sure they didn’t share anything too intimate. Perfectly reasonable, but not obvious when you decide to launch an interview-style podcast.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
That’s easy. Learn to unplug from technology and teach others to do so. This business idea would be fun, lucrative, and helpful. It is very difficult to break patterns, and getting hooked on tech is a serious issue. So offering a service that gives people engaging activities to do with groups is something we need more than ever. There are businesses like this, such as city walking tours, silent retreats, and easy guided hikes. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just make your “tech detox service” 10% better than the others.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A lady was selling flowers on the street and didn’t have many left so I bought the last few she had. I asked her to keep the change. No doubt she would have preferred being at home than on that hot street that afternoon. Somebody told me one time they feel like it’s selfish to help others because it makes you feel good too. I can live with that.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love Quickbooks and Excel. I’m kidding and would rather walk on hot coals than deal with most software. However, I feel I can hang with most teenagers on social apps. For all the criticism these apps get, they are tools for connection if you will learn how to leverage them. What I love most about Instagram and TikTok are the comments. If you can look past the few negative ones, the positive responses can be uplifting for the content creator.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My book, Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in an Age of Bulls–t. I’ve received so many positive notes from real-life readers and it was No. 1 in the Los Angeles Times and a USA Today National Bestseller. It’s a helpful guide to fend off self-doubt, embrace fear, and take responsibility for your own success.
What is your favorite quote?
Relationship is an art. The dream that two people create is more difficult to master than one. – Miguel Ángel Ruiz
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.