“As women, we owe it to our current and future selves to build real wealth.”-Bola
Move over Suze Orman there is a new personal finance guru in town and her name is Bola Sokunbi! Bola is the founder of Clever Girl Finance a platform that aims to empower and educate. Her mission is to ensure that women like her are equipped with the knowledge, tools and skills to make the best financial decisions to build wealth. Here, Bola discusses her advice for starting a business, money lessons and achieving financial stability.
We asked to share her story.
1. Tell us your story. As a Certified Financial Educator, writer, business strategist and social media influencer, what ultimately led you to the decision to become an entrepreneur, and what were you doing before?
I’ve always had one hustle or another since I was a little child. From selling Candy in school, to selling Avon to my mom’s friends, to owning a retail business, as well as photography business – I’ve always love the idea of being a business owner and the earning potential that comes with it. Before I stepped out into entrepreneurship full time, I worked in technology (Yup, I’m a tech girl) while still running my side hustles. However, after I had my twins, I wanted to do something that allowed me to work on my own terms, spend more time around my children and make a real impact in the world around; something that I am really passionate which is helping women build wealth.
My passion for personal finance comes from the way I was raised and the money lessons I was taught by my parents. Especially, my mom who raised me to be an independent women and set the example for me to follow. For instance, she was able to pay for my international college education (in 3 countries) in cash, from her savings.
2. How did you initially market your services? What platform would you say gives you the most leads/clients?
When I first started out with Clever Girl Finance, as with most small and new business owners, I was working on an non existent marketing budget and so I took advantage of everything I could do for free. I told my family and friends, I shared my content across various social media accounts that I created for the business, I attended events to network and I stay consistent with putting out content that folks want to read / see that they would be likely to share.
From a social media perspective, the platforms that provide me with the biggest leads are Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest but because I don’t own these platforms or the audiences on it, I spend a lot of focus on SEO and growing my own lead lists by creating searchable and relevant content.
3. You offer an Accountability Program (Personal Finance), a 6-month online workshop dedicated to helping individuals and entrepreneurs achieve financial goals including but not limited to increasing savings, paying off debt and building wealth. Tell us about it!
Yes, I do. The Clever Girl Finance Members Only Accountability Program is a 6 month membership program (1 prep week + 26 weeks) that focuses on accountability to help people meet their financial goals and empowers them to stay focused when it comes to paying off debt, saving and investing. Within the program, members get access to accountability check-ins and reminders, weekly challenges on debt repayment, saving & investing, customized worksheets for the challenges, monthly live money chat video sessions with me, access to the Clever Girl Finance monthly book club, access to the private Facebook accountability group and also, the program discussion forums.
So far, the response has been amazing and the community is very supportive of each other and super focused on achieving their goals – I am so proud of my members!
4. When did you launch the course and how did you decide what content to include?
I launched the program in November of 2016. I wanted to include content that helps people deal with their most pressing questions and issues around their finances. The content in the program touches on all the major aspects of personal finance and helps set the foundation for long-term financial success.
5. What’s the most exciting part of running your own business, and how does it change from day to day?
Honestly, it’s being my own boss, defining my own schedule and being challenged everyday to grow my business. No day is the same, some days are perfect and amazing and some days are super stressful with fires that need to be put out; but knowing that I’m helping women and making a difference in their lives is so rewarding and humbling.
6. What is your best actionable tip for a new entrepreneur in this space?
For a new entrepreneur in the finance space, my best tip would be to create good content. Content establishes you as an expert, it shows you know your stuff and if it’s good it will get shared which will help grow your audience. Generally, I’d say be open to make changes in the way you operate your business and even in your business model, especially in the early days and make it a priority to continuously improve yourself, learn and grow your skill set. It’s all about being open to growth and new ideas.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly be patient. The overnight success sensation especially in this day and age of social media, runs really strong and too many people think they’ll only have to put in a tiny bit of effort to reap big success and that’s not how it works.
7. What have you learned from a recent or past failure/setback or mishap, and what was it?
I’ve learned to be prepared. Financially, and otherwise. In business and in life things happen and failure is part of it. I’ve failed way too many times to count and I’m proud of it because every failure has taught me a valuable lesson that has helped me with every success I have achieved. A most recent setback was in a contractor hiring decision. I found out that despite an amazing series of interviews and a supposed amazing track record, the company I hired was more talk and less action. Ultimately, a bad fit for my business style and needs. Unfortunately, my realization came only after I had made a considerable deposit that I knew I would not get back.
I did however learn a valuable lesson around hiring, vetting and following my gut instinct. The experience helped me determine what I definitely do not want in the future when it comes to hiring for my business as well as how to make sure I avoid a situation like that happening again.
8. What advice would you give your 21-year-old self as an African woman about personal finance?
I would say save more and invest as early as you can! I stalled a little bit on investing when I was younger because I wasn’t sure about it and didn’t have enough knowledge on what to do but when it comes to building wealth, long-term investing is a major pathway.
9. How would you like to see your business evolve in the next five years?
I would love to see Clever Girl Finance become the go to resource for all things money and expand it’s reach to positively impact more women as they work on improving their finances and building wealth. I would also love to see Clever Girl Finance have a FINTECH (financial technology) capacity since tech is one of my other passions.
10. Best thing about your journey thus far?
Being able to help women and seeing the outcome of the help I’ve been able to provide – it’s the best thing every!
THE OSOW FAST THREE!
1. What is your favorite AfroBeat song at the moment?
2. If you could have lunch with any person, who would it be and why?
Warren Buffet, just to observe him and listen to all the wisdom he has to share.
3. What’s your overarching vision for Africa?
Africa is growing immensely from an economic and technology perspective. My overarching vision is that the fruit of that growth is enjoyed not just by the upper and middle class but by everyone on the continent.