“You have great skin!” That’s what I blurted out the first time I met Nicole. You have great skin? I mean, really. I couldn’t have been anymore dorky. But being as graceful as she is, Nicole simply said, “Thank you.” I’m sure I clumsily rambled off a few more dork-filled sentiments before shutting up, but thankfully, I can’t remember.
What I do remember is being super excited to finally be meeting Nicole Nurse, the powerhouse behind Black Leopard Public Relations.
Black Leopard Public Relations specializes in providing public relations and marketing support for entrepreneurs who want to establish a personal brand and promote their business. Their services include website design, business consulting, event production, and social media management ─ helping entrepreneurs say the right things to the right audience for the right results.
She has ambitious plans for growing her agency and eases between both her business and creative hats with little effort. Having only started Black Leopard three years ago, she’s already assembled a budding team and a top-notch client list ranging from beauty to fashion to the not-for-profit industries. She is poised to take over the world ─ with flawless, glowing skin, of course.
Please enjoy 10 Questions with Nicole Nurse.
1. In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I started my business out of desperation when I couldn’t find a job. Although I had worked for many years before, had a degree and now a post-graduate certificate no one was hiring me. I tried selling my knowledge and services in marketing and public relations and it worked! Slowly and painstakingly I started to build a business. Lots of trial and error, many, many hours of unpaid work, networking and investment later I am proud of what I have accomplished. Eventually people noticed the good advice, blog, vlog and assistance I was providing for their businesses and they started to pay me for it.
2. What problem are you solving?
My goal is to encourage and support others to pursue entrepreneurship as an option and the biggest hurdle I see for entrepreneurs is marketing and public relations. Most entrepreneurs know their product very well and they may even understand the customer they want, but the process of making the product they produce desirable and easily available to the customer that will buy their product is a challenge. I assist entrepreneurs with the challenge of marketing and managing the relationship between themselves, their product/service and their customers.
3. What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as an entrepreneur?
I struggle most with not having the full confidence of my family. They fear that my entrepreneurial lifestyle is too risky and insecure. They would prefer that I go back to a 9-5 pm office job with benefits and security. I believe that the economy is unstable and that no matter what your job is you must develop entrepreneurial skills. You never know when you’ll be out of a job. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done with Black Leopard Public Relations. I never thought I could run my own business, never thought it was an option. Now I know that you are never too old or too young. You can be a mom, dad or have other responsibilities. You can do it! You can start from the bottom and build something amazing. This is my ‘why’. I wish someone had planted this idea in me when I was younger, when I was down, or when I felt trapped. Everyone needs help, I aim to be that cheerleader, resource and liaison for other entrepreneurs who want to improve their marketing, are proud of their potential to do meaningful work and live the entrepreneur lifestyle.
4. What does a typical day consist of?
I wake up, check my social networks and ‘to do’ list for the day while in bed. On disciplined days I work out for an hour with my boyfriend or do some Pilates in front of the TV while watching a re-run of The Social. I usually eat breakfast while watching an episode of the Gary Vee Show then attack my ‘to do’ list when I’m done. The time I finish working depends on whether I have a client meeting I need to run out for, client project I need to work on, volunteer appointment (Communications Chair with Sickle Cell Awareness Ontario and Adult Literacy volunteer with West Neighbourhood House) or my own projects and partnerships I’m developing. Some days I work 9-5pm and some days I work 7-11pm, it’s a very unbalanced lifestyle. Some days I may meet up with another entrepreneur for a work period at a local “coffice”. I love meeting with professionals I’ve conversed with over social media in person. There are a lot of talented, knowledgeable and hard-working entrepreneurs in the Toronto area. When I meet them for a coffee or a work period we usually talk about business and about our lives. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in some of the challenges I face as an entrepreneur. Networking doesn’t have to be fake or forced.
5. What do you love to do at night?
I love thought-provoking TV: shout out to HBO and Vice News. I spend my evenings, watching or listening to TV shows while working at my computer. I have started to read for pleasure a bit again but most of my time is spent working on or in my business.
6. How do you dress to exude confidence?
Heels. I like a good heel and more often I am starting to wear what I want. I think you exude confidence when you wear something you feel happy and special in. It was very difficult for me to stop dressing in corporate office uniform I had worn for years. One day, at a social media marketing seminar, I realized all the women in the room were wearing ballet flats and blazers ─ including me. I had to remind myself I no longer worked in an office and that I didn’t need to adhere to that dress code. I work for myself and my clients so dress for myself and my clients.
7. Yoga, strength training, cardio or all three?
Cardio and Pilates ─ love ‘em.
8. How does your culture/background influence your work?
My mother is a Jamaican who highly emphasized proper diction and grammar. Public relations and marketing requires a lot of writing and speaking publicly ─ communications. I think growing up with a grammarian in the house caused me to really care about communicating effectively.
9. What do you consider to be a life well lived?
Doing something that improves the lives of others is a life well lived.
10. If you could write your own obituary, what would the tagline say?
She did it and so can you.
Images via Nicole Nurse