Sitting in her beautiful office in downtown Detroit, no one would ever suspect the adversity Dr. Nicole Farmer has had to overcome just to have a desk to call her own. But much like the city she calls home, the 37-year-old mother has experienced her fair share of setbacks.
Pregnant at just 14, she battled both poverty and homelessness while living in a local group home as a young mother. But she had big dreams, and her refusal to give up on them placed her in the position to make the ultimate comeback — and inspire others along the way.
At age 26, after fighting her way out of extreme poverty, Farmer was presented with the unique opportunity to run a local Tuffy Automotive Service Center, making her the first African-American woman to ever own one of the businesses. And though the business eventually folded after five years, the lessons Farmer learned in that time proved to be invaluable.
Still, at first it wasn’t easy.
“[The business closing] triggered a deep depression, suicidal thoughts, a blow to my self-esteem and I thought I was on my way directly back to poverty,” Farmer tells Babble. Forced with the decision to either push forward or succumb to failure, Farmer was able to identify the mistakes she made with her business — an action that would inspire her to provide others with the help she so desperately needed as a young entrepreneur.
“I became interested in helping others, the way I needed help, reach their entrepreneurial dreams by teaching them what I had learned and helping them identify potential funding sources,” Farmer explains. “I knew it didn’t have to be as hard for others as it was for me.”
On September 1, 2010, at the age of 30, Farmer opened Lifeline Business Consulting Services, a full-service business planning and management consulting agency serving small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations. Its particular emphasis is on minority and female-owned businesses.
Despite the vast amount of success she’s experienced in a few short years, she considers her sons, and the pride they have in their mom, to be her greatest accomplishments.
“It always feels good to inspire others, but it truly means the world to me to that my own loves — my sons, my children — are proud of me and see beauty in my heart,” Farmer reveals.
She regularly volunteers at the group home where she once lived and encourages young women and mothers to never give up on themselves and their dreams.
“Don’t think that you can’t do something,” she urges. “Don’t let single motherhood or any stereotype erode your self-esteem. Eliminate any thoughts that try to convince you can’t do something. Dream that wild dream! If it frightens you and makes your stomach turn, then that is exactly the thing you must go after.”
As moms, we’re accustomed to placing our children’s needs, wants, and well-being before our own. But as Farmer points out, it is equally important to use our children as the ultimate source of motivation to chase the dreams we had before becoming mothers.
“One of the hardest things a woman can face is having a child under less than great circumstances,” she says. “That is the strength you need. Use that same fierceness and perseverance to go after life. Imagine you’re biggest dreams becoming reality. You do have what it takes to succeed and in fact, you already have succeeded by daring to dream.”
I for one can’t help but feel motivated by Farmer, and truly respect her for sharing her journey and encouraging others to dream big dreams.
h/t: WXYZ Detroit