Marlon Nuqui is a serial entrepreneur. Marlon studied business at San Francisco State University and became a Real Estate Agent in the early 2000’s. In 2007-2008, however, the mortgage crisis in the United States and subsequent Great Recession disrupted his plans and forced him back into the fold of corporate America. In 2010, he made the decision to leave the corporate world in favor of once again becoming an entrepreneur, primarily to rectify an increasingly untenable work/life balance situation. It was Marlon’s thought that, although starting a new company might prove to be a lot of hard work at the outset, ultimately it would give him more time to spend with his family, not to mention control over his own direction in life. Since then, Marlon Nuqui has founded three different companies: an entrepreneurial consulting company, a digital marketing company, and a mergers and acquisition firm, each of which are thriving. Running these companies has kept Marlon busy in all the ways he aspired to be, and he has used them as a platform to help countless others advance, as well. He currently resides in the Bay Area of California with his family.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
When I started my first business, I was trying to do it all on my own, and it wasn’t easy. It honestly took over a year to figure everything out. It wasn’t until I started working with a mentor who had already gone through those types of early growing pains in the past, listening to his advice, and applying it to my own situation that I actually started gaining traction. As a result of this experience, I felt that I needed to create a company that would help startups right from the beginning, so they could make the right moves and not have to waste a lot of time and money trying to figure everything out on their own. That was the inspiration for my consulting company.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have a morning routine that I very rarely deviate from. First, I do some meditation. Then I have a green drink that I take along with vitamins. I always make sure to win the morning, and that in turn helps me to have a productive day running my businesses. After that, every day is spent on priorities that move the needle in my businesses. Each day presents its own set of challenges professionally—and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But everything is segmented, and I don’t do anything unless it’s on my calendar. Also, during the week, I make sure to work out by lifting weights and cardio three to five times.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Whenever I have a good idea, I write it down or put it in my notes in my phone so that I don’t forget about it. I also have a meeting every week with the key players on my team to flesh out how we can better implement the policies and activities of my companies. They bring their ideas to me, I bring my ideas to them, and we discuss them amongst ourselves. Then we make an informed decision based on what we think will work best and hammer out an execution plan. After that, all that’s left is to follow the plan, adapting to any unanticipated developments as best we can.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend of leveraging digital space is exciting because when COVID-19 happened, it forced a lot of people to work from home and figure things out online. I think the digital business as a whole, or ‘digital real estate’, as it’s called, is just going to expand a lot more moving forward. Things were already moving in that direction before the coronavirus; the pandemic simply hastened the trend. In that respect, our businesses have done pretty well during the pandemic.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I know it sounds a little plain and predictable, but I write everything down so that I have a physical plan of action every day. Otherwise, between the three companies I run, I find that I tend to forget one or two things here and there—sometimes important things. Also, I really like lists with items that I can cross off as they are accomplished. I find that immensely satisfying.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Find a mentor who’s already done it the right way. Don’t try to figure it all out on your own. If I had a time machine and took a trip back to my early days as an entrepreneur armed with this simple piece of advice, I could save my past self an awful lot of time, effort, resources, and stress.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You have to be the person you want to be first, instead of becoming what you think other people want or need you to be. If your friends, family, employees, or whoever are pressuring you to act counter to your own fundamental nature, you have to stop and take a moment to realize that they have a worldview that differs from yours and that they don’t get to make decisions about your life. You have to be you first. Only then can you act in your own best interests, and only such actions will result in positive outcomes like business expansion, wealth, or the fulfillment of other goals. Be, do, then have.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Continually educate yourself by reading books. I cannot underscore enough the value of the written word. There is almost literally a book out there that addresses every conceivable situation or predicament that an entrepreneur might encounter. However, not all books are created equal, of course. It pays to do some research online about which particular titles are generally thought to contain the best advice. But once you find that out, nine times out of ten you will save yourself money and frustration by plunking down twenty dollars to glean the knowledge of an expert author.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’m always thinking about how to expand my businesses, about how to make them bigger and better. It has been my experience that when you’re an entrepreneur, you really have to do that. Even on your down time. For example, if I’m enjoying myself on a weekend or holiday and I think up a fantastic new idea for one of my companies, I don’t simply push it out of my brain until the next work day—I ride that brainwave wherever it takes me. If it means getting up out of the hammock and turning on my laptop to workshop the idea for a few hours, so be it. Also, at the end of each work week, I always take time to reflect on what I’ve done and how to improve it. I find that’s a very helpful exercise.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I suppose my biggest failure was initially trying to figure out how to start up and run a company on my own for over a year. In the beginning, I was a little too stubborn to admit that I needed some help. After a certain period of time struggling, though, I had to be honest with myself that things weren’t proceeding as smoothly as they should have been. I overcame this problem by finding a wise mentor to help guide me through the initial challenges of building a company from scratch. After that, it was easy to apply those lessons when I founded my other two companies.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The smartest thing to do is to find something that you’re really good at, and if there’s a market out there and other people want to purchase whatever product or service you have to offer, go out and show your entrepreneurial talent! In order to expose your business to a lot of people, though, it probably ought to be a digital business, or a business with a large digital presence, because you’re limited by a number of factors if it’s strictly brick-and-mortar or face-to-face.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought a pair of blue light blocking glasses. I work on a computer all day. I’m always looking at screens, which produce blue light rays and can make you tired and weaken your eyes. The blue light blocking glasses filter out those harmful rays to help better preserve your eyesight and shield you from their overall effects. I’ve noticed a really big difference since I started wearing them.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Trello. It’s an organizational tool that sorts out every aspect of a company’s workflow into digital boards. With one glance, I can easily tell what tasks are being worked on by which of my employees and what kind of progress is being made on those tasks. It’s kind of like a digital whiteboard, except documents, photos, and data from other programs and sources can be attached to any workflow item. It’s a snap to update and super intuitive to use. I use it for everything.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend the Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ekar. The central point of the book is that a person’s thoughts, feelings, and treatment of finance are ingrained from childhood, forming what the author calls a money blueprint. The book posits that most people remain trapped financially because their money blueprint is grievously flawed. That’s the first part of the book. The second part of the book helps people to change their past thoughts and perceptions on money.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
- You have to commit to making a change. You have to really want it.
- Find a mentor that’s already successfully navigated similar challenges to the ones you’re facing.
- Take risks to get out of your comfort zone and never be afraid to make changes.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.