Money Matters

4 Financial Experts You Need to Know to Grow Your Small Business

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By In Her Shoes Contributor: Paulana Lamonier

Finance Entrepreneurs with logo

(Top L – Bottom R) Tonya Rapley, Carrie Pink, Marsha Horton-Barnes and Tiffany “The Budgetnista”

Being an entrepreneur is beyond tough — it’s a game of survival of the fittest. It’s blood, sweat, and tears. And then there’s the sacrifice of spending time with family, money, failure, being ruthless, yet tactical with your vision, all while servicing a need.

But, these four women have endured and came out unscathed. And, believe it or not they’re just getting started. We interviewed Tonya Rapley creator of MyFabFinanceCarrie Pink — your personal financial stylist, Marsha Horton-Barnes, founder of The Finance Bar, and Tiffany Aliche, famously known as The Budgetnista.

Teaching financial workshops, providing mentorship, and creating a community, they leveraged their share of life experiences mishandling money, abusive romantic relationships, and feeling underserved. Despite the challenges faced, these fly finance entrepreneurs have successfully designed the careers they want, with social media being their launching pad.

Learn the valuable lessons they learned as an entrepreneur, conquering fears, how to cope with failure and their thoughts on the gender wage gap and what to do about it.

In this empowering four-part series, we’ll share each woman’s unique story. Up first we have Marsha Barnes Horton of The Finance Bar:


Marsha Horton-Barnes: Creator of The Finance Bar

If you see a baby blue-ish bus with a yellow dot that says ‘The Finance Bar’,  just know that Marsha Horton-Barnes is in town ready to help you embark on a journey to financial freedom. As a personal finance expert and founder of The Finance Bar, Horton-Barnes launched this mobile hub to meet people where they are and help them with their financial goals — literally. From providing on-site finance coaching to workshops, every moment Barnes-Horton has to help her clients, it’s always at a level of being non-judgmental.

In Her Shoes: What/when was the turning point for you when you started The Finance Bar?

Marsha: I realized that there wasn’t enough face-to-face conversation happening around personal finance. Quite honestly, it seemed to be a hit or miss in many situations. Events, social media gatherings such as (Twitter chats or Google Hangouts) were happening; however, the level of accountability that individuals need was scarce. The Finance Bar serves that need. We are a mobile hub that travels to events, corporations and educational institutions to answer questions that are unique to specific situations. If we’re at a large corporation, our hub allows us to connect with employees during their breaks or lunch. Over 50% of Americans are stressed daily about their finances and it’s 100% missed on college campuses.

In Her Shoes: What was the biggest lesson you learned that has impacted the way you work? Explain what was it like before and after?

Marsha: The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that it’s OK to say no to some opportunities if it’s not a match for your overall goals or purpose. In the past, I would say yes to everything that I possibly could. Now, I closely monitor those moments without feeling a certain level of guilt.

In Her Shoes: How do you conquer those moments of doubt that often discourages entrepreneurs to follow their ideas? What pushes you through?

Marsha: I have a very disciplined background, so I’ve been told no a lot and challenged even more. In those moments, I am reminded that I didn’t create The Finance Bar to quit, nor did I create it to get to a finish line. It was created to change lives. The Finance Bar was more than an idea — it was birthed to serve a global need. People need me; therefore, when I’m discouraged I get one hour to huff and puff then I’m back at it.

In Her Shoes: Failure plays a vital role as an entrepreneur, how do you cope with it?

Marsha: Failure is a lesson in learning and I’m an open book. I am my own critic and I think it’s necessary that every entrepreneur is open to being honest with themselves. You are only as good as your consumer views you to be.

In Her Shoes: As an entrepreneur, what’s your weakness and how are you overcoming it?

Marsha: I expect that others will work at the same speed that I will for The Finance Bar and that’s simply not the case. I’m slowly overcoming it by continuing to set realistic deadlines. However, at this current moment if I think about it I want it “yesterday.” It’s all in love and the desire to keep my foot on the pedal.

In Her Shoes: As a financial guru, how do you access funding for your business?

Marsha: I access my own. The Finance Bar was 100% a bootstrap effort. I’m proud of that and it’s one of my messages at The Finance Bar. Financing your own dreams gives you power and courage. We’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s necessary to seek outside sources to build something amazing. That’s a myth. I sacrificed for over two years and I’m still doing so.

In Her Shoes: What’s a financial tip you would give those who want to start their business?

Marsha: Embrace a lean start-up. In the beginning stages, it’s not necessary to have a grandiose workspace, or an entire team to handle every part of your business. There will be time to “grow” up. If you are closely monitoring your profit and outgo expenses, you’ll better understand why this is necessary. Take advantage of the opportunities that exist now and work with what you already have.

In Her Shoes: Being an African-American woman, who’s an entrepreneur teaching people about finances, what are your thoughts on the gender wage gap? And, what can a woman do to close the pay gap if they feel they’re not getting paid as equal as their peers?
Marsha: It’s actually mind blowing that we are still discussing the gender wage gap. The answer is simple, equal work means equal pay. To inch us beyond where we currently are on this issue, will take every woman standing up for what she believes in and embracing “plus” celebrating her value. Often times, we find ourselves settling because we are just “thankful for the opportunity” — this mindset has to change. We deserve to be in every room connected to the door that we walk through.

To learn more about Marsha visit and follow her journey on social media @thefinancebar. Stay tuned for next week’s installation with Tiffany Aliche (The Budgetnista)!


As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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