Entrepreneurship Series – Inspire
Interview with Nicole J. Wheatley
Before Kim Kardashians’ ShoeDazzIe, and Kimora Lee’s JustFab, there was Sensual Steps shoe salon and Chicago’s very own Shoe Lady, Nicole J. Wheatly….
I am always in awe of women willing to push past the standard and strive for what makes them BLOOM. For one such woman…it is shoes, shoes and more shoes. She is Nicole J. Wheatly, Entrepreneur Extraordinaire. Hard work to this woman is as natural as breathing. Never taking no for an answer and staying positive is Nicole’s mantra in life. She is business owner, marketing guru, author, mother, wife, daughter, auntie, friend, mentor and an inspiration to all who come her way.
Nicole started entrepreneurship early…her dad always encouraged her to have her own and she has settled for nothing less. Nicole bought her first property at age 23 and since then she has owned more than 21 pieces of real estate. Nicole’s faith in GOD has created in her a heart good as gold while she encourages others to pursue their dreams offering knowledge and resources; not just lip service.
Talking with Nicole is always inspiring and today’s conversation was no different:
ME: Who or what would you say has been your main source of inspiration over time?
NICOLE: When I was growing up, my father, Mr. Samuel Johnson told me that I could do anything and I actually believed him. When I decided to leave Corporate America and walk into my divine destiny of becoming an entrepreneur, it was quite scary and uncertain. I embraced my fathers’ words of encouragement and used positive thinking to help me remember that I could jump over hurdles.
ME: As a woman in business, what pitfalls should you avoid?
NICOLE: Become an industry expert and have a working knowledge of every aspect of your business. As an entrepreneur you are pulled in a multitude of directions. At times, it may feel uncomfortable with making all of the decisions and managing relationships. I’ve come to learn that it’s important for me to understand everything about my business and study my field to be competitive. We can’t manage our businesses with passion alone. We have to understand our financials, marketing, management, social media and superior customer service techniques. Avoid the pitfall of only working on the things that are comfortable to you…it’s time to get your hands dirty and become a little comfortable to accomplish other goals. The rewards are tremendous for those who persevere.
ME: What does networking mean to you?
NICOLE: Networking is about sharing information, opportunities, and building new possibilities. Open your mind to meet new people, join industry related clubs and organizations. Retain the mindset that you can ALWAYS learn and grow. Get out, enjoy the essence of your entrepreneurial career and have a meeting of the minds with others.
ME: What does a typical day look like for you?
NICOLE: I’m a busy little bumble bee. From the start of the morning after prayer, meditation and occasional work out plans; I’m on email drumming up business with social media marketing, website updates, working on short term and long-term projects. Responding to client inquiries, working on improving issues, all while building a prosperous future for my family. The day of an Entrepreneur is always different and exciting, we must be careful not to be easily distracted because we have no one to report to. You must hold yourself accountable and report to yourself. The days may be hectic, but the future of an entrepreneur who refuses to quit will always be BRIGHT.
ME: Being a newlywed and a new mother how do you achieve the balance between family and work?
NICOLE: Finding and retaining perfect peace through God’s love, meditation, knowing when to take a break and a whole lot of prayer. I still have a ways to go in managing these relationships down to a core, but I’m getting better and better every day. I am blessed with a supportive and loving husband, wonderful first-born son and beautiful daughter. Life is great.