Once Homeless ‘Supermom’ Now Creates A Lifeline For Businesses
To say Nicole Farmer had a rough upbringing, is an understatement. When Nicole was just 13-years-old, she found herself pregnant and living in a group home on the city’s east side.
“The day I had to leave my grandmother’s house, she picked everything up in a corner. She went into the bedroom and closed the door,” Farmer said, reminiscing about her rough past.
Farmer bounced around between different foster homes before eventually finding herself living in a car. It wasn’t long before she had to give up custody of her baby.
“I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t respect myself. To be honest and transparent, I didn’t love myself,” Farmer said. “I couldn’t imagine myself past the age of 30.”
Farmer did indeed make it past 30, and not only that, she is now “Dr. Nicole Farmer” and a successful business owner with a corner office in downtown Detroit. She was also recently honored as a “Supermom” on the Steve Harvey talk show.
So what changed from then until now? According to Farmer, it was a combination of lifestyle change and one lucky chance that led her to the success she has today.
When Farmer was 26, she was approached by the owner of the mechanic shop which her husband worked.
He offered her the opportunity of a lifetime.
“One day the owners of the shop walked up to me and said you know you can own this. That was the day that changed my life,” Farmer said. “I told them I don’t have the same color skin you have. What are you saying to me? I can’t own this! They’re like, yes you can! You can put your children through Harvard like we did! You can take care of your family like we did! I looked and I said, no!”
After months of tough love and hard work, Farmer became the first African-American woman and youngest person to own a Tuffy Muffler shop.
After four years, the business failed but that’s when Farmer says she realized her true calling.
“I was a teenage mom, with a baby by the age of 14 while a ward of the state. I gave birth while in a group home. I lived impoverished but I had a plan. I became the first African American owner of a Tuffy Auto Center in the United States, and after accomplishing such a great feat, I knew I had a responsibility to help other aspiring/budding entrepreneurs.”
With that determination, Farmer created the Lifeline Network, a full-service business planning and management consulting agency serving small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations with an emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses. To date, LifeLine has coached more than 1,000 entrepreneurs in creating business plans and collateral materials, in preparation of loan applications.
“The name LifeLine was contrived because every day as an entrepreneur I felt like I was having a heart attack and I felt like I needed resuscitation. I knew others felt the same way.”
“You never overcome obstacles of being a business owner, you just learn to adjust accordingly. Being a business owner means…