Marlon Nuqui is a professional entrepreneurial consultant, as well as being a successful repeat entrepreneur in his own right. After studying business at SF State University, Marlon entered the corporate world and quickly became disillusioned with the lifestyle it promoted. He found that unhealthy behavior such as working extreme amounts of overtime and fanatical devotion to the company was incentivized, and employees were expected to put the needs of the corporation above their own. Finding this situation unacceptable, Marlon Nuqui made a vow to himself to start his own business and become his own boss.

He ventured into the real estate sector for a while, but his ambitions were temporarily set back by the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008. In need of a steady source of income, he re-entered the corporate workforce just long enough to amass enough capital to strike out on his own again. In 2010, Marlon Nuqui left corporate America once more, this time for good. In the short span of only a few years, he founded three separate businesses: an entrepreneurial consulting company, a digital promotion company, and a mergers and acquisitions firm. He currently resides in the Bay Area of California with his family.

What do you love most about being an entrepreneurial consultant?

I love being able to change other peoples’ lives in positive ways. It brings me tremendous joy to see one of my clients succeed. Especially now, in the face of such wild and unpredictable conditions, watching as an entrepreneur I’ve counselled beats the odds and somehow makes their business idea into a reality—a profitable reality—gives me a blissful feeling.

What keeps you motivated?

Bettering the lives of other entrepreneurs is what keeps me motivated. One of the major reasons that people start their own business is to free themselves from the physical and psychological constraints of depending on a nine-to-five job. If I can help people experience that freedom by giving them some guidance or an idea that’s going to change their business for the better, or even just better their lives, or think differently, it brings me fulfillment.

How do you motivate others?

Motivating would-be entrepreneurs to action is part of it, but in fairness, they have to be really committed to making a change in their lives before they come to see me. That aspect of things cannot be stimulated externally; it has to come from inside of them. What I do with my consulting business just builds on top of that. For example, I begin by asking my clients if their business is something that they’re really passionate about and if they feel like it’s something that can help the world. The answer to both of those questions needs to be yes. If the answer is no, I’m not going to be able to help them. If it’s yes, I try to inspire them to never lose sight of or give up on what they want. I find it very satisfying and rewarding work. If I’m even able to change one life, it’s well worth it.

How has your entrepreneurial consulting company grown from its early days to now?

My consulting company has grown in a lot of ways, primarily in the number of clients we’ve been able to help through the years. We’ve expanded our methodologies and the range of our services, as well. We’ve diversified the number of ways that we can help our clients in the different aspects of their businesses.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

There are so many. It feels like with every book I read, the author becomes a role model to me in some way. I’m referring to people like Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, and Andrew Carnegie, and even athletes like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, just to name a few. I find the stories of their experiences, of how they overcame adversity to excel and become leaders in their chosen fields to be incredibly inspirational. They’ve all made a difference in my thinking and how I approach business.

How do you maintain a solid work/life balance?

I don’t think that has been a huge challenge in my life. In fact, that’s why I deliberately chose a life as an entrepreneur; so I could focus on integrating both the personal side and the business side of my life while also making my personal health a priority.

There was a time in the past—when I was working in the corporate world—that I could see a potential problem in that respect coming down the road. During that time, I saw people around me given vice-presidencies or get promoted to division heads, and I watched as their work slowly encroached on their personal lives as the months and years passed, eventually absorbing almost all of their free time. I didn’t want to end up like that, both for my family’s sake and my own. I didn’t want to be one of those people working from seven-to-ten at what in theory ought to be a nine-to-five job, or coming into work on weekends for fear of a bad performance review or being passed up for a promotion. Those jobs pay well, but in the end, they’re not worth the time and stress. That’s exactly why I became so determined to form my own company and be my own boss.

What traits do you possess that make you a successful leader?

I take action. Whereas many people spend large amounts of time mulling over important decisions, making lists of pros and cons and deferring action to the last possible moment, I tend to make my mind up quickly and act immediately. That trait has helped me immensely over the years in every aspect of running my companies.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting out as an entrepreneur?

I would advise any would-be entrepreneur to not only gather knowledge, but to actually put that knowledge to use in the real world. Don’t just read it, implement it. Don’t just talk about it with your friends and family, actually do it. Entrepreneurs are by definition self-starters—they shouldn’t need to process information very long before coming a to conclusion about a course of action and then executing it. It’s not an area of life where ditherers and flip-floppers find a lot of success.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

Recovering from the financial hit I took after the subprime mortgage crash of 2007-2008 and the ensuing global recession was a real challenge. I was trying to establish myself in the real estate business at the time, so the fact that the bottom totally fell out of the housing market pretty much sank my first attempt at running my own business. I basically had to start from scratch. I had to swallow my pride and return to one of those unhealthy but well-paying corporate jobs I was speaking about earlier. Once I made enough money to take another stab at entrepreneurship, though, I was gone. I left and opened my consulting firm, which took off fairly quickly, and I haven’t looked back since.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

One that has stuck with me from one of my mentors is that there is no ‘try’ in life. It’s either you do or you don’t. He might be paraphrasing a line from The Empire Strikes Back, but regardless, I believe that advice holds true and can be applied to anything worthwhile in life.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

At this point in my career, having established my companies to the point where I no longer have to be involved in every single decision, I would say my biggest accomplishment is being able to spend as much time with my family as I’d like. Being there for them whenever they need advice, emotional support, a friend —anything at all—is just invaluable to me. Ultimately, that’s why I became an entrepreneur. That was my primary goal when I started my business. Now that I’ve accomplished it, I’m a much happier and better person. I think my family would say the same thing.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

I try to be a good all-around human being. Obviously, nobody’s perfect, but there is great value in simply striving to be better in all walks of life, especially in treating others with compassion and respect. The effort itself is the testament. It’s an ongoing and lifelong journey.

Where do you see you and your entrepreneurial consulting company in five years?

In five years, I see myself dividing my time pretty much equally between running and expanding my various businesses and enjoying leisure time with my family, much like I do today. As for the consulting company, ideally, I would like us to be helping at least five times more people in their efforts to start new companies than we’re helping now. I would like us to leave a lasting footprint of success spanning multiple industries. I would like us to be looked upon as an elevator of small businesses, as well as a bringer of prosperity and freedom to their creators.