S2E10: Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship:

Navigating the Money Scene

S2E10: Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship:

Navigating the Money Scene

S2_Ep10_WEB copy.jpg

Navigating money is hard for everyone, especially for entrepreneurs with small businesses who might not have access to the financial resources. Today, we have Olivia Owens, the Creator & General Manager of IFundWomen of Color and Evan Leaphart, founder and CEO of Kiddie Kredit with us to talk about finances for small businesses, funding, taxes, and all things entrepreneurship

Download the episode's key takeaways here.

This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube!

Apply, learn, and connect through IFundWomen Of Color, and check out IFundWomen's free workshops here.

Check out Kiddie Credit - a mobile app designed to educate children on the credit system by completing chores.

Follow and join Black Women Talk Tech and Black Men Talk Tech.

Submit to Calling All Voices for a chance to chat with us on a future podcast episode!

View Transcript

Nolan: (00:45)
Hi everyone. Welcome back to Your World, Your Money. This is Nolan. Today, we will wrap up our entrepreneurship mini-series with a conversation on all things finance for small business entrepreneurs. We will be talking about funding, starting up a small business taxes and so much more.

Ann: (01:02)
I am excited to be here today. My name is LaQuita Ann, and entrepreneurship is seriously my jam. Everybody knows that. So I cannot wait to dive in.

Nolan: (01:13)
Today, we have Olivia Owens, the Creator & General Manager of IFundWomen of Color, and Evan Leaphart, founder and CEO of Kiddie Kredit, joining us to share their thoughts and work on entrepreneurship. Olivia Owens is the Creator & General Manager of IFundWomen of Color, the platform for women of color to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, coaching, and the connections needed to launch and grow successful businesses. This funding ecosystem is designed to empower early-stage, women entrepreneurs and bridge the funding gap for women of color. Olivia was a founding team member of IFundWomen and managed Business Development and Partnerships. IFundWomen launched in 2016 and continues to help women raise millions of dollars in capital. Before launching IFundWomen of Color, Olivia’s leadership brokered critical partnerships to help scale the business (Unilever, Visa, adidas). She supported the creation of IFundWomen’s proprietary coaching program and helped build out one of the nation’s largest connected communities of women business owners through the platform.

Ann: (02:21)
And Evan is so impressive. He is seriously living his dream life as an entrepreneur in Miami, and he combines a passion for innovation, with a commitment to solving real problems that help the community around him. He’s the owner of a few business ventures, including Kiddie Kredit, a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit, and is also co-founder of the Black Men Talk Tech conference which was created in partnership with the great Black Women Talk Tech conference. I'm excited to have both of them here. I want to welcome you Olivia and Evan to the show. Excited to hear more about both of your journeys.

Olivia: (03:07)
Happy to be here.

Evan: (03:09)
Thank you for having me.

Nolan: (03:10)
Yeah, it's so exciting. Both of you bring such a unique perspective on this work. We cannot wait to hear what you have to say, so let's get right into it. We'd love to start with you and your stories. Olivia, tell us about your journey with IFundWomen of Color. What got you started?

Olivia: (03:27)
Yeah. So as you mentioned in the intro, so I was the first hire on the IFundWomen team. I found out about IFundWomen because my mom is an entrepreneur. I've watched her grow her business, essentially my entire life. And she struggled to raise capital and she met Karen Cahn, the founder and CEO of IFundWomen, and was looking to raise some funds for her business. And so Karen was like, all right, we're going to crowdfund. We're going to help you raise $30,000 for your business. She did it. She raised the money. And around that same time, I had moved to New York to, uh, create, a new career path for myself. And so I came onto the team at IFundWomen, started out as the marketing manager moved throughout the company, really got embedded into business development partnerships. And in 2019 started ideating IFundWomen of Color. We recognize after our first few years in business, we looked at the numbers and women of color represented 70% of the women on our platform, but only represented 30% of the funds raised. And so we needed to figure out what are the barriers getting in the way of women of color, being able to raise funds through crowdfunding specifically. And so we launched IFundWomen of Color as a way to accelerate them, to raise the capital and proud to share that in our first year, we were able to move the needle on the cumulative funding volume for iFundWomen over the past four years, women of color now represent 51% of the funds raised on our platform. Happy to dig in a little later into the conversation about the barriers that we were able to remove and how we did it. But that's a little bit of our story.

Ann: (05:02)
Wow. That is really exciting. I'm like, where were you at when I was starting my business a decade ago? I would have definitely hit you up. Would have been really cool. Okay. And what about you, Evan? Can you tell us how your journey started with Kiddie Kredit and some of your other ventures?

Evan: (05:19)
Yeah, appreciate y'all having me here. And my story is uniquely similar to what Olivia is saying. You know, I've had businesses before and anytime I tried to start a business on my own, I found it a challenge to get access to capital, be it friends and family round is- a lot of people don't have that. And I made dumb decisions early on when it came to my particular credit and it made it tough to get a business loan or line of credit. So, you know, Kiddie Kredit was something that was in my head for almost a decade now. But back then, there wasn't crowdfunding. Shout out to platforms like IFundWomen and things like that now that exist that are working to bridge that gap. But it was a challenge. And I saw that there's some amazing entrepreneurs out here with great business ideas, but they just don't have the ability to get access to that capital, get over the edge.

Evan: (06:07)
So I was like, you know, what can we do to change that? And that was where my thought process went towards credit. And I was like, how do we teach it in a way to where you learn about it before you need access to it? And you know, trying to figure out what that is. So it's not just one lesson and in a seventh-grade class, it's something that you actually instinctively habitually understand. So by the time you get your first credit card, you know how to use it. And that's where Kiddie Kredit came into play. And I figured it was through chores. So what Kiddie Kredit is, it's a chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit, where the premise is the better a kid does their quote-unquote chores, the better their credit score. Right. So think about a mischief or like a missed payment. The long you've had a chore, like the long you've had a credit card and anytime a kid says, Hey mom, can I get this? Hey dad, can I get this? Think of it like an inquiry. So we've been on this journey for a couple of years now.

Ann: (06:53)
That's actually really, really cool, right? You're like, Oh, you've used most of your credit or your payment is way past due. So there are other late fees for this as well.

Evan: (07:03)
So there's not late fees right now, but it does ding your score, right? So the longer if you've had a chore and it's, it's new, it's like, you just got a credit card, you've lowered your age of accounts, right? But like, if you keep those, those particular chores over time, it's better for your score. The reward points, the different rewards that the parents set for you, they can be monetary or non-monetary. But if anytime, a kid asks for one, like the first couple of ones, they don't hurt your score. But if you keep asking for stuff, it affects your score. Like if you're asking for an auto loan, a mortgage and a bunch of credit cards, the same time, it affects your score. So it's, it's really just to create a parallel universe between like solid fundamental habits and how credit is actually calculated.

Ann: (07:44)
Wow. This is really interesting. And they can cash in the rewards in any way that they want, like the real credit card company you hear that parents let them cash their rewards. What were the initial barriers that you had for yourself and that you've just seen in the community, whether it be people of color women?

Olivia: (08:00)
Yeah. So going back to what I was saying about the fact that women of color were on IFundWomen, they just weren't actually executing the crowdfunding campaigns and raising the funds. And so since I started, I've been coaching women on how to crowdfund, we have what we call the IFundWomen method, which are the four steps that we take entrepreneurs through to actually execute a crowdfunding campaign. I think one of the biggest challenges is nobody teaches you how to do it. I love what Evan is doing. That education piece at an early stage is so critical to make sure we don't make those rookie mistakes and we can get it right the first time. And so beyond just learning how to do it, there are also two components, that were impacting women of color founders. The first one being crowdfunding requires you to leverage your network in order to raise the funds. So you are selling products, services, content, experiences in exchange for cash for your business. And if you don't feel like you have a network to turn to, crowdfunding can feel like an inaccessible tool. The other side of it is there's a certain level of vulnerability that comes with crowdfunding. It kind of flips everything we've been taught as women of color as me, a black woman. It flips it on its head. It's not about just putting your head down and working really hard to get there. It's about communicating the need that you have asking for help bringing people and being vulnerable. And that's a skill that needs to be practiced and learned to get comfortable with making the ask. And so really in building IFundWomen of Color, we wanted to create a space where women of color could tap into a preexisting network of founders going through a similar experience, founders, collaborators, partners. We have amazing partners like Caress, American express, who have done grants for the event, women of color community. And then also get practice making the ask. I think the other big piece is we will get further faster if we learn how to leverage each other. The women in our community come from marketing backgrounds, legal backgrounds, finance backgrounds, and they all have this expertise to bring to the table. So we're also learning how to leverage each other, to get in the game, raise the capital so that we can build the businesses that we want to see in the world.

Ann: (09:57)
Very Impressive. Very interesting. Okay. I like this idea as well about when you speak about crowdfunding and the network, because that's, what's also important. People are just thinking, oh great, I'm going to put up this crowdfunding, just this campaign and it's just going to fly, but that's not true. The network and people are what help push this along. So I really liked the way you are actually connecting them and giving them their first push because everybody needs that first push to get like, okay, I'm still at $5. Right. So I think that's really, really great. Impressive. What about you, Evan?

Evan: (10:33)
Ironically, prior to our seed round out, the crowdfunding was what really helped us on our journey too. But I was in a space, like, I didn't know anything about tech like three, four years ago. So fast-forwarding to now. And not only to say I'd be a founder of a tech startup and, and co-founder of a tech conference. Like, I'd be like how, I don't know anything, but just along the way early on, I really just started asking a lot of questions. And really once I took this project seriously and figured it was something I wanted to do full time, just started reading, got the right mentors, started building out those initial wireframes to help me get the project to the next level and was just always talking to people smarter than me, every single step of the way that was, that was really how we, you know, how we went about our journey. And I mean, we're still learning as we go, but yeah, I mean, it, it really was just us trying to understand, like, who is our audience? How does this work? We think it's a cool idea, but we need to validate it first and each step of the way we keep hearing, like, no, this is needed, but you need it to do this. And, and the product just, just grew up as a result of having the right village around it.

Ann: (11:39)
Great. So you were able to get funding in the beginning and that's great.

Evan: (11:42)
So it took a while. So we were, I was pretty much on my last leg. And then I got, uh, I got saved by a couple of angels for a relatively small amount, which at the time was everything. And then last year we did a crowdfunding campaign with a platform called Micro Ventures. I learned all about like setting up form C and everything like that. And we were able - through there, we raised a little over 75,000, and then that helped us get to the stage where we are today.

Ann: (12:11)
Very interesting. I'm also curious about if there are any, because we know there's tons of disadvantages, but are there also any advantages that any of you see, so Olivia, are there any advantages with, in minority groups at all that they can sort of take advantage of? Or do you think there's now a lot of opportunity for women of color or anything like that? Any advantages you think?

Olivia: (12:34)
I think there are massive advantages. It's simply about oftentimes when women of color are starting businesses, they don't have the luxury of taking a risk. Like they are launching this business and need it to be successful for very good reasons. And so we're looking at private capital to come in as they make these massive commitments to supporting black women, doing businesses, to come in and take on some of that risk so that we can get in the game. There's massive opportunity in the market for us to create the products and services that are built for us, with us in mind. And so I think there's massive opportunity. There's definitely advantages, but it's that getting started piece, being able to prove demand for the product or service that you have, which is why we see crowdfunding as such a great tool, because it's a low risk, nondilutive option for you to raise the capital you need without going into debt on the front end. And so it sounds like Evan, you did some equity crowdfunding for your company IFundWomen is rewards-based crowdfunding. So we see rewards based crowdfunding as the first stop on your funding journey and then equity crowdfunding, as you've proven some demand and want to want to give away a little bit of ownership.

Evan: (13:46)
Your is the better way.

Nolan: (13:50)
It sounds like it could be fairly complimentary. There is that, I mean, do the two go hand in hand?

Evan: (13:55)
Yeah. So with us, with my reason for crowdfunding, it was multiple reasons - one, I say like, there's like the auntie that believed in you from the start, but is not an accredited investor, should not have to just sit on the sidelines of your journey. And then you just treat her out, take her out to dinner because she lets you use their computer or whatever, right? Like it's like, no, like what I love most is that there's now something that's like giving people the ability to say, look, I believe in you before you have to prove anything out to some investor, but all I got is $200. I carry you go. So I really did that round. Yes. To make it easy for us to be able to raise a smaller amount, but more than anything, to be able to, to ride the journey out with my friends and family.

Ann: (14:41)
I absolutely love this, what both of you are saying, because there are so many people, including a lot of the listeners probably who feel like there's such a barrier to entry because you hear all of these stories of people being like, well, I did friends and family. Like someone gave me a hundred grand, someone gave me...they're like, I don't know anybody who's going to give me five grand, let alone a hundred grand. So both of these models show you that you can start now, right? Like you don't have to wait and you're five, 10 years later still trying to get your idea going. And I think that's really cool that people can get involved. I happen to love Olivia the reward space, like, hello, let me come over, cook you dinner, drop me a hundred K right. Or other things like that. So this is really cool. It brings me to thinking about something though. And that is, yes, you're starting up. But when you are getting started in the beginning, what about your money, your finances? How do you manage all of those things as early stage companies that are not big companies? How do you survive? What about that? Managing your finances and things like that.

Evan: (15:47)
I don't think you do. I think you just keep going. Like there's, you know. I started out super naive with Kiddie Kiredit right, so like, I was like, we built this wire frame. Cool. We'll go ahead and raise a million and boy was I wrong? Right. So like you just, you go through it and you learn and you adapt you. I mean, you just have to be conservative. Right. Like I, I knew that I had a, you know, I have an SUV and I was like, man, if this really gets bad, I Uber all day, every day, you know, like I knew I had some, I was like that, this is, this, isn't a nicer truck. This is more of a, this is a safety valve. And I kept going at it like that. You know, knowing that, if I'm not going to take on something that just really occupies my nine to five and then just Moonlight this project for it to really get to where it needs to be. I need to be at full-time. You make those tough decisions. Like if you can't be uncomfortable for a little bit, it's probably not the right profession to be in. Uh, I think the quote is entrepreneurs spend some of their lives doing what most people won't so that they can live most of their lives doing what most people can't. I mean, that's a real thing.

Ann: (16:57)
Is there anything that now that you look back on it that you wish you would've done differently that maybe the listeners can learn from you? Like, if I would've known what I know now, I would have done X differently. What would that be for you?

Evan: (17:11)
I think I would have watched a little more like YouTube videos and I would have like learned from founders a little bit just to know the process based on what your goal is, right? Like there's different types of businesses, like everything before this was pretty mom and pop-oriented. Right. So I'm talking from that type of perspective. Whereas like you're in tech and it's like venture growth. It's a whole different conversation of how you're scaling. So I just, I had to really learn along the way, like what my product does and like, what is it, what is its path to scale? Like, what is the exit? Is, am I talking in terms of an acquisition? Am I talking in terms of IPO? Or am I just trying to have this as something that makes like a living on a monthly basis? Because if that's the case, that's not something that a venture capitalist is going to give you money for. I mean, I don't know if I would necessarily change anything because I think for every time something didn't go, right. I was like, all right, well, what do I need to do? So I got smarter through the failures and if I didn't fit. So it's like, even though we don't want them to be necessary, I think they're necessary because if I started out just on the right path, like right away, I would probably fail massively. But, because it just took a while. I understand where people are coming from and there's like, there are two sides to that, you know, equation for, I always say like for every "no" that you hear from somebody, like, that's fine. It's a more expensive yes for them. Like, it's nothing to take personally. It's just like the door's still open if it's a fit for both of us, but just further along in that journey, there's just a different price of entry. So you just like perseverance is key. So I don't know if I would really change anything because I think you know, I believe in the butterfly effect, you change one thing and like the whole thing is different, but I would definitely try to, I would definitely like to read and watch more videos before.

Nolan: (19:06)
I love that. The whole learning through failure is I think so crucial for entrepreneurs and to embrace it, right? Like it's impossible to go through that journey without experiencing some failure along the way. And the ability to bounce back up and learn from it is, I think pretty integral to the likelihood of success there. And you touched on this too, the importance of learning from others. And I think that hits on like why a peer group of folks that you can lean on and learn from is so important. So Olivia your experience in IFundWomen of Color and building this important peer group for entrepreneurs, what are some of the learnings you've had or you've seen from others in terms of how small business owners, minority owners of color, solopreneurs, how have they managed their finances in sometimes really difficult situations? And what are the best recommendations or learnings you come away with?

Olivia: (20:08)
Yeah, sure. So we are huge proponents of not quitting your day job until the time is right. And, and what does the time is right really mean, but ultimately we are dogmatic about not going into debt funding, your startup. We know that the majority of startups fail. And so how can you get to a point where you feel good about this trajectory? You do have some revenue in your pocket before taking that big risk. But I think ultimately everybody's story looks a little different, but what we always say is you don't know what you don't know. And so being able to create spaces where we can talk about the experience behind the scenes, because I think that's the other piece we hear these stories told about so-and-so raised X millions of dollars. And it's just like, okay, well, is that the thing that I need to be chasing? But the first coaching call that we have with our entrepreneurs is my capital plan. Even helping them understand that fundraising is a journey, an ongoing one. And based on your long-term goal for this company, what are the different funding sources that you should leverage? Is this something that you're looking to grow in scale really quickly? Or is this something that you want as a legacy for your family? And based on that desire, that's going to help you determine which funding source makes the most sense for you. And then also understanding how much do you need to raise. Right now, we see entrepreneurs come on, our platform, launch a campaign with a $100,000 goal, but they haven't even built the prototype for the product debt. And it's just like, okay, well, how much do you need to just build the prototype? Then you can get people to test it and see if it actually works and move from there.

Olivia: (21:47)
So maybe your goal is something more like $30,000 to be able to make that happen or whatever it is. And so I think the biggest piece is understand how much you need to raise. Right now, don't get caught up in kind of the unicorn stories that are out there because they all had to start somewhere with five, 10K to get it off the ground. And then also, as Evan mentioned, just learning, asking questions, hearing from people, and creating that, creating the safe space, where you can ask the quote-unquote dumb question that you just don't understand about venture capital. I think we've done a really great job of creating a space where founders are able to be vulnerable about what they don't know because without that information, we're going to create these ceilings on ourselves for only how far we can go based on what we know, and then just paying for the learnings. I think that's been a big piece of people being really willing to share like, well, this is what happened to me. This is what I wish I hadn't done. But I also agree with Evan- IFundWomen as our founder's second startup, they had so, so many learnings from the first one. IFundWomen wouldn't exist without that failure. So we're big on failure too.

Ann: (22:51)
Yeah. And you said something about them understanding how much they need to raise now, but a lot of people don't know how to even go about that. So how do they understand that? Is it based on the, maybe they think about their minimum viable product or what would be like a couple of tips that you would give the listeners to understand, to get to that point of how much they need to raise now?

Olivia: (23:13)
Yes. So much of it is research. It's looking at, okay. If building an app is the first thing that you need to do, what are other apps out there that are kind of similar to what you're trying to do, talk to developers on how much they would charge you to build that thing, looking for tools where maybe you might be able to do it yourself. One of the platforms that we coach on is Bubble, which is a no-code app. So maybe you're able to build something on a lower scale. Ultimately, you're trying to get people onto the thing to use it and test it out and see if it's something people are interested. So finding those ways to scotch tape it together. And oftentimes it takes less than you might think you need. And just figuring out what that V1 looks like, like at the very core level, what are the minimum things that you need this app to do to get it out there and get it to work. But it's just having conversations, asking people saying, hey, this is my idea. This is what I think I might need for it. What do you think? And it's being able to build those relationships with people who will give you the honest answers and not just try to take your money and string you along.

Ann: (24:18)
Yeah. That part definitely, for sure. And just talking about what you have been building specifically, are there any sort of learnings that you specifically - not from the entrepreneurs you help, but that you've really learned along the way?

Olivia: (24:35)
Yeah. I mean, I'm definitely interestingly positioned as an intrepreneur inside of IFundWomen and building IFundWomen of Color. I have the luxury of having the bigger platform where we've, we've done this once before we understand the ultimate need and serving women of color just looks a little different, but being there from the early stages of IFundWomen, we started as simply a crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs. And as we got crowdfunding working, we built the method to teach them how to do it. Then we recognize that they were really hungry for coaches. So then we were able to build out a coaching platform to give them the deeper education, but at the core level, it was about like, okay, how much do we need to spend to build the base crowdfunding platform to get beta customers on using it? And then the company has grown into multiple products from there, but at the core, it was just getting the capital that we needed to build the crowdfunding platform.

Nolan: (25:30)
There's just so many things, right. When you're starting a company of like, you want to be focused on the product, you want to be focused on the business plan. And there's just all these other details that come along and take up so much of your attention. And so I'm really curious, like Evan, in your story, like, how did you manage just the nuts and bolts of working through all these things and Olivia, if you've seen any success in terms of the peer network of how to share resources in terms of learning how to do this stuff, how do you like solve taxes when you're a business owner like that? Who no one goes to school for that, right. You just got to learn by doing so. Yeah. Evan, what's, what's your experience been?

Olivia: (26:07)
You saw his read, like the two most important people that you'll have around your business with like the lawyer and the accountant. And like, when you're doing like a smaller business, you're like, eh, not really, but then like, as you're thinking things through, it's like, man, I really do need to make sure that we're on top of our books and our taxes and like, and just, don't try to be all things in the business. I know they say you're supposed to wear all the hats and yeah, you are, but like, just to at least know enough, but like, if you don't feel like doing the taxes, don't. What I mean by that, before that like, is like a quotable is find the CPA or like find your bookkeeper that can do all of your end of year stuff and then like, and then be able to make it essentially plug and play to whomever your tax preparer is. Or maybe that's your CPA themselves. But like staying on top of that stuff would really help, you know, where to go as a business. I just want to make sure that I'm always on top of things. Cause I, you know, I see horror stories about like companies may be killing it, but then there was like one oversight financially or one oversight legally and it just kills them before they get started.

Ann: (27:10)
I like what you said about that too. I think a lot of times small businesses and entrepreneurs also forget about the tax planning, right? Everybody else is doing tax planning and entrepreneurs are like, oh, it's time to do the taxes, small business time to - wait a minute. That's already too late. Right. You needed to be doing tax planning after that. It's like, you're just there filing your taxes and you might be in big, big trouble. So I would just suggest really planning things out. What about you Olivia? Any feedback?

Olivia: (27:36)
Yeah, I mean, from the personal side, it's just like I started as a freelancer at IFundWomen. Um, when I first got started, had no idea that you needed to be reporting quarterly and got screwed. So it's just like tapping into the resources that are out there. I think that's the biggest thing. I don't think we've ever had more resources available in general than now. And there are so many groups like there's a group, FreelancingFemales where you can go in and had I gone in there and said, hey, what do I need to know from a tax perspective so that I can anticipate it. That's huge. And that's why at IFundWomen Coaching is so core to what we do. We do free workshops every single week. We do workshops on how to be thinking about your taxes, how to build a team, all of those different mini components. We know you can't be an expert in all of it, but how can we give you that base-level foundation you need? So you can step into that area of your business with confidence. That's what we're here to help you do, but mistakes are going to happen. It's inevitable in this journey, but asking for help is key. Don't suffer in silence, be willing to admit what you don't know and get the help that you need. So you're not screwed in the long term.

Ann: (28:42)
Great. And you have, that's nice that you have the workshops to help. So how can people partake in that? Are these people that have a membership or how does that work? If a listener is like, I need to come to the workshop.

Olivia: (28:53)
Yes. So all of our workshops are free. If you go to ifundwomen.com/workshops, you can register all throughout the week.

Ann: (29:00)
Free education, which I love this! Whenever I hear just free resources and education, I feel like there's so many between YouTube, between what you're doing. There's so many opportunities that you don't have to be in the dark folks. So I like that a lot.

Nolan: (29:15)
I would love to get both of your advice on how you see things changing from the early startup phase to that growing the business phase, you know, in terms of just what's it like to lead a company, what's it like to manage the cash flow and dealing with the other financials? Yeah, I mean, it just seems to me that there's a big difference between those like early days when you're like just getting started taking all the risks. And there was like, oh, okay. Now we actually have a company run and continue to grow. What's that change like Evan, in your experience, was there a difference between the stage you're at now versus, you know, when you first started Kiddie Kredit?

Evan: (29:52)
Yeah. Just looking at like a payroll and being like man, I'm giving health benefits. This is cool. It's like a little small win. Like people want to work here. This is, this is dope. But I would say to kind of go back about like that when you're raising money, like really understanding your numbers, I really have to understand them now. You know? So, I know specifically where every penny is going. If we were on that particular line item, it were able to save or if we're going to go a little under and like making sure like everything is allocated. Cause it's just, there's a larger sense of accountability. So like you really start to feel the weight of things on your, on your shoulders. And especially when you're doing a project for social good, like both of us are like, you don't want to, like, you don't want to let the people down, you know? So you wake up every morning with a, with a larger sense of responsibility knowing that what you're working on affects a lot of people and if done right, it has the ability to be way bigger than you. So Olivia and team is working on something that has the ability to, to fund some of the most underappreciated, but brilliant minds when it comes to women and women of color. And for us, it's, you know, educating youth. So they get a chance to start as an adult with like the best chance possible to succeed. And the one positive thing about a credit score is that that number is one of the few things we have in this country. That's an equalizer. Yeah. More people around and just, you know, a greater sense of responsibility because, you know, I want to see this work, for the betterment of society.

Olivia: (31:31)
Yeah. I mean, I think it's a moment in identifying your strengths and your weaknesses. I also would throw in there kind of your limiting beliefs. I think that if it's not something that you're comfortable with, understanding what that's rooted in and, and recognizing that this is something that you can do if you just need to learn it, ask for help. That's okay. And then there's also the side of, is that somebody that you need to bring onto your team then to help really own that and run that in a way where you can feel confident in it. But at the end of the day, you want to feel confident in your finances. You want to know that it's being managed well, you want to know as much as you possibly can because it is your business, but there's also that component of who are the right people on my team that are going to fill in the gaps that I have. And if so, if that's one of them find that co-founder maybe that can come onto the team or hire that finance director or whatever it is just to make sure you have that piece of your business buttoned up.

Ann: (32:27)
Yeah. I am curious about one thing because I'm a book lover, what book have you read Olivia, that you feel like has helped you along this journey of yours?

Olivia: (32:40)
So I am a book lover as well. Um, and there it's a long, long list. I would say most recently it's been The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I love talking about the upper limits that we have that keep us from staying in our, what he calls zone of genius, that area, where you're doing this stuff that is most in alignment for you and also is it most in alignment with your strengths versus doing the things that are taking up a lot of your time and somebody else could easily do. And so he talks about how, if you reach your upper limit or like, if you reach this point of like satisfaction where you'll hit an upper limit and you'll be like, oh, I feel too comfortable. Like what's something that I can start panicking about. So I can go back to that area where I feel good just being stressed. So the big leap has been a really great one. I think coming from an intrepreneurship side of, in my growth or IFundWomen, I'm now moving from being an executor to being a leader. And it's an entirely different skill set that you have to leverage to be successful in that. And I think as an entrepreneur, there is no destination that you're working towards with each new stage, you get to their new rules, new obstacles, new challenges. And so being rooted, not in the destination that you're going towards, but how you can operate no matter the course you get started in to be successful. It's a good one.

Ann: (34:02)
Great. What about you Evan?

Olivia: (34:04)
I used to read a lot more when I was younger than I do now, but what I do is I read the same books over and over a lot of times because it's, for me, it's just more important to like, make sure I'm actually retaining what I'm reading versus just reading a bunch of them. So the book I've read the most by far is Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And it's just, I apply that philosophy with so many different things. I go over and over about like how those habits work and putting first things first begin with the end in mind think win-win and all that stuff.

Olivia: (34:32)
Fantastic. So that question was for me, folks, I just wanted to get some new reading material. I'm totally kidding. Kind of. All right. So very interesting as we, I think it would be great to have just some calls to action, right? Like anything that's like actionable that you can give listeners that would be great to hear your actionable for everyone.

Evan: (34:54)
For me, it would be, if you're on an entrepreneurial journey, I would say, take your vision as big as you think it can get and then work backward. And then from there, you start plugging in the gaps because when you see the end in mind, seven habits, right? But like when you can envision the end of things and where you want it to go, you'll be able to make clear business decisions on if this is going towards the North Star that we had in mind, or if this is going to deviate. So just go in with some sense of direction, because if you don't and you do start doing things relatively well, you might have the investor that just pulls your company in a totally different direction. You thought you were in healthcare and all of a sudden, now you're doing education. You'd have no idea how you got there. So just begin with the vision. It might sound early, but it's like the more that you focus on that, I think the better you'll be.

Ann: (35:51)
I love that.

Olivia: (35:51)
I think some more tactical things that I can offer is leverage of the resources that are out there. So with IFundWomen, if you're a woman of color, we'd love to have you apply for, IFundWomen of Color, just go to ifundwomen.com/woc. I already plugged the workshops ifundwomen.com/workshops. We also do grants on IFundWomen right now we have a grant with Neutrogena they're funding, wellness businesses. We have a grant program with Jean Walker. If you had to ifundwomen.com/grants, you can see all the different grant programs that we have. And then we also have a free Slack network that you can join. So my biggest thing is leverage the resources they're there for you to use. And the more you use them, the better we can make them so that they meet your needs.

Olivia: (36:36)
100 present. And to your audience, too, you know, make sure that, they can always tap into the Black Women Talk Tech conference and teams, a lot of great stuff going on there. And, you know, same for us with Black Men Talk Tech.

Nolan: (36:49)
And if you're a parent with a kid and you want them to do their chores and learn about how to get those financial skills, learn about the credit system, sign up for Kiddie Kredit!

Ann: (37:00)
Yeah, Kiddie Kredit - that's actually really cool. I'm like, I need to have some kids just so I can partake in, in Kiddie Kredit. Cause I just love the way you set that up. Just thinking of the regular credit card system. I just think it's so creative and inventive and a great way to get those chores done around the house. So I really think this was great. I had a great time talking to both of you and learning more.

Olivia & Evan: (37:26)
Thanks for having us.