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Your Name: Niquenya D. Fulbright

Business Name: Building Bridges Chicago LLC, a small business consulting and executive coaching firm

Type of Business: Coaching & Consulting

Business Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Twitter @BuildBridgesChi

Reason for starting
I started my small business of consulting and executive coaching to transform dreamers into successful entrepreneurs. I believe that most small businesses fail due to a lack of knowledge and resources. Over the years, I have found myself to be EVERYONE’S resource person. I am literally THAT person who gets called at 2 AM when there is a crisis because I either know exactly what to do or know someone who knows exactly what to do. This is true in both my personal and professional relationships. I wanted to share my knowledge and resources with people who have big dreams and aren’t sure what to do with them.

How do you define success?
I think success is very personal to every individual. If I had to pinpoint it to a universal definition, it would be “the place you arrive at when you can look all around you and just smile.” I think success is a reflection of your level of happiness, an extension of your ability to forgive, and the result of your capacity to love.

Biggest Success
My biggest success was early in my practice when I mostly provided career transitional coaching services. I had a client who was terribly depressed and stuck in a rut. She had been to therapy and had medications suggested to her, but still couldn’t figure out what was keeping her incapacitated from fulfilling her dreams. By the second month, I admit I was working against my own frustrations as to what was really holding back this talented, beautiful, smart, woman. For a while, I just wanted to shake her and scream “WAKE UP!” But because I believe in the coaching process, I set my frustrations aside and continued to work with her until one day, I shared a simple observation with her about how she avoids situations where she has to give up control. The phone line grew silent for what seemed like forever before she whispered, “I was raped.” After she connected the dots, this woman became unstoppable and still is!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My top challenge has been in turning away clients who can not afford my services. I had to make a tough call about my own needs and how I can best serve. When it comes down to it, I had to decide that if an entrepreneur is serious about their business, then he or she will do what is necessary to invest in their business growth and development as well as their own personal development. If an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner cannot see the importance of investing in themselves, then there isn’t much that I could do for them anyway.

Who is your most important role model?
I am motivated by a lot of powerful, brilliant, beautiful business women but if I have to pick just one or two, I would select Oprah Winfrey and Tory Johnson. Both of these women have dealt with great change and adversity, overcome those issues, and thrived as successful entrepreneurs.

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