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Fly Finance Entrepreneurs (Part Three): Carrie Pink
By In Her Shoes Contributor: Paulana Lamonier
When Carrie Pink comes to mind, think of her as your personal financial stylist, where her goal is to help her clients achieve financial balance all while blurring the lines between frugal and fabulous. However, it was her own personal and financial catastrophe that put things into perspective. Afterwards, Pink cleaned up her credit, getting her financial act together, and now she wants to help others get on the right track and learn from her mistakes.
In Her Shoes: What/when was the turning point for you when you started your brand?
Carrie: I started teaching financial literacy after ruining my credit and blowing a $60,000 inheritance in only three years. It took me two years to clean up my credit and I wanted to help other people do the same. So, I started teaching friends and friends of friends in 2002. When I finally started teaching group classes for the general public, in 2008, I also offered live streaming as an option online for those who couldn’t attend live. The number of people who watched online were so strong, I said ‘Hey! This has the potential to spread financial education so far!’ Soon after, I started as a non-profit in 2009 and then turned it into for-profit in 2014.
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?
Carrie: The biggest lesson: plan your day in time blocks, and complete the money making to-do’s — first. If you do not, 8 hours will run away from and feel like 45 minutes. When I left my job to grow my business I had long to do lists and was blowing through tons of tasks everyday. I was also doing way more spending than earning. I sat back and assessed my tasks, most of them were operational minutia that needed to get done, but were never ending and keeping me from the money making activities I needed to focus on. When I realized that, I changed my focus placing my tasks in blocks and income producing tasks in the top of my day. Ultimately, I increased my productivity and my cash flow.
In Her Shoes: How do you conquer those moments of doubt that often discourages entrepreneurs to follow their ideas? What pushes you through?
Carrie: Honestly, I don’t conquer those moments, God does. When I’m afraid, doubtful or feel unprepared I pray. I believe if God gives me an idea he will come through with everything I need to complete it as well. So I close my eyes, step out on faith and keep going. There’s a lot of things that I’ve done afraid and thankfully they have always come together just in time by the grace of God.
In Her Shoes: Failure plays a vital role as an entrepreneur, how do you deal with it?
Carrie: Failure doesn’t phase me much. I use it as an opportunity to learn what not to repeat. The less time you spend wallowing on your failures, the faster you can get back to work.
In Her Shoes: As an entrepreneur, what’s your weakness and how are you overcoming it?
Carrie: My weakness [laughs] you only want one? Getting lost in minutia, letting go, and delegating. I am super particular on how I like things done, my standards are extremely high and I hang out at the perfectionism poolside, so my natural reaction is to do everything myself, which is just simply impossible.
At my last event, I asked for help from others and it turned out better and took less time than I could have ever imagined with just my hands alone. So, as I start to see the value or more hands on deck the more open I am to taking my hands off the reigns for everything.
In Her Shoes: As a financial guru, how do you access funding for your business?
Carrie: My business is primarily self-funded, but I do pursue sponsorships and will pursue grants in the coming year. Usually when I need more capital I think of a new stream of income that will help support my goal and offset how much I need to take out my piggy bank!
In Her Shoes: What’s a financial tip you would give those who want to start their business?
Carrie: My best tip for those who want to start a business, whether they continue working or not, would be reduce your expenses as much as possible. Even if you still plan on working you want to make sure you can invest in a business and live. Too often, we are overambitious on how well a business will do and have to choose whether we want to grow our business or buy groceries.
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?
Carrie: The best thing a woman can do is speak up! Ask for it, and bring your accomplishments so you can’t be denied. There are some gender biases that exist — yes! But more often than not women aren’t paid less because we aren’t as talented and educated a lot of times it’s simply because we don’t ask for it.
Women are less likely to negotiate, even I was guilty of that at one time. Every career woman, especially those of color need to read Carla Harris book “Expect to Win and Strategize to Win.”