Podcast

Episode 116: How To Build A Content and Media Business with Bola Sokunbi

Nov 12, 2020

In today’s episode, we meet Bola Sokunbi, the founder & CEO of Clever Girl Finance. At its core, Clever Girl Finance is a content and media business.

By focusing on content, Bola has built one of the largest personal finance platforms for women in the U.S. and is on a mission to provide women with the tools they need to gain financial independence and live life on their own terms.

You may know her from her many appearances on national news segments or from her books on shelves around the world.

During our conversation, Bola shares how she went from racking up credit card debt as a college student to saving $100,000 and helping thousands of women gain financial literacy.

If you’re curious how a platform like Clever Girl Finance can actually be a viable business, Bola breaks down their streams of revenue, shares the key to scaling, and getting approached for book deals and national news segments.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

You’ll learn:

  • How to diversify revenue streams in your business
  • How to use content to amplify your business
  • Create a financial cushion to weather tough times
  • Make moves that build community

Mentioned in this episode:


Episode Transcript

Bola Sokunbi

Sometimes it can be difficult to charge people who cannot pay and people will say, Well, you should charge them because they will get into debt to buy the next coaching course on business. So you should charge them for financial wellness and you know that makes sense. That's valid. But a lot of times women are coming too clever, all finance during a transition point. And, ah, lot of times the tradition point is at a time of need, and they need the help now. And sometimes when they've come to us at the now, the limitation is the money. And for us, I just felt like we wanna be able to meet that person at the point of their need, who truly, truly needs the help, who truly need support, who's really ready to make that change.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Hi, Off-Scripters. It's your host, Serwaa Adjei-Pellé and welcome to Episode 1 16 of the She's Off Script Podcast Thistle is a show where we hear and learn from women who created unique blueprints for success. My hope is that you'll hear their stories and translate their gems into a unique path for yourself. In today's episode, we meet Bullish of Booby, the founder and CEO of Clever Girl Finance. She has built one of the largest personal finance platforms for women in the U. S. And is on a mission to provide women with the tools they need to gain financial independence and live life on their own terms. You may recognize bullet from her many appearances on national news segments or from her books that are on shelves around the world. During our conversation, Bulla shares how she went from racking up credit card debt as a college student to saving $100,000 in helping thousands of women gain financial literacy. If you're curious how a platform like Clever Girl Finance can actually be a viable business, Ebola breaks down their streams of revenue shares, the key to scaling their business and getting approached for book deals and national news segments before we hear the rest. Ebola story, I would love it if you could subscribe, rate and review our show on iTunes. This will help to spread the word about our podcast so amazing Stories by Bolas can continue to buy a woman looking to launch their own Off-Scripters Ernie's with that, Let's go off script with bullish couldn't be the founder and CEO of Clever Girl Finance.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Well, S.E.O come be welcome to She's Off Script. Thank you for being here. Thank you for the opportunity to be here. And I'm excited. Well, for any of our listeners who haven't heard of you, could you share who you are and what you do?

Bola Sokunbi

Yes. So I am the founder and CEO of Federal Finance, And we are an online financial empowerment platform

Bola Sokunbi

that empowers women to achieve financial wellness and be able to live life on their own terms. And I know

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

you shared how your mother's journey with personal finance eventually became an inspiration for clever girl finance. So could you set the scene for us by sharing that story?

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah, so I'll tryto keep it short and sweet, but my mom got married very young. She was 19 years old when she got married and she married. Um, you know, older guy, My dad, who was in his, I guess he was 30 at the time, had his PhD, um, you know, multiple masters degrees, etcetera. And my mom was a high school graduate, and it was the typical family set up where the mother was a stay at home, Mom and the dad would go out and, you know, work for the money and take care of his family. But as my mom started to get older in her

Bola Sokunbi

in her marriage her age, she started to see things happen with her friends that she just wasn't very comfortable with. She was saying friends who had no idea of their family finances. Um, you know, lose their spouse is unfortunately or go through a divorce or want to leave a relationship, but they wouldn't be able to because they didn't have any money. And so my mom decided to take it upon herself to go to college and get a college degree. And then she basically started to hustle.

Bola Sokunbi

I'll put money aside and save and lo and behold. You know, several years later, my dad went through a financial downturn of my mom, had to step in as the breadwinner. And so just watching that, you know, as part of my experience growing up and seeing my mom consoling her friends, you know, I would be in the corner of the living room and should be consoling her friends who are trying to leave a relationship or getting divorced and just watching her den evolve into being this side hustle, queen and

Bola Sokunbi

read one of our family was very, very impact. One was very much the early stages off inspiring who I am today on what I do.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

And so you then moved to the U. S for school and got your first taste of financial freedom in the form of a credit card. So how did you go from racking up credit card debt to then saving over $100,000 in 3.5 years?

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah. So coming Thio. I came to the States to college to graduate from my last year. And, you know, we're just very interesting at the time. It's not. We go now anymore. Um, they would have these the career fair. They would have these different credit card companies. They're enticing students to get a free credit card, get a credit card for a free T shirt or something along the lines. Ridiculous like that. And so, um,

Bola Sokunbi

you know, I felt for that I had no idea how credit works. I didn't even understand what the interest rate was. And when behold, I got this $2000 credit card, but then ended up with a 24.99 interest rate, which was just crazy. You know, when I got my first bills like, Oh, my God, how am I gonna pay this? So might as well have been a million dollars. And so that was my first taste of okay. Financial responsibility, understanding how our credit card works. Um, if that's something I wanted to leverage in my life, you know, wanting to deal with that and all that came with that. And so

Bola Sokunbi

coming out of college, and I just my focus was really just, you know, how do I save money? How do I not get back into that space? I was in college. How do I make my parents proud? Andi, I started to learn everything I could about personal finance, reading books, learning what it was, the budget taking advantage of my companies. Um,

Bola Sokunbi

retirement savings plan, Um, you know,

Bola Sokunbi

learning how to side hustle, and by doing all those things through trial and error, I was able to really put my head down and save money. Um, that $100,000 and I had started out, you know, my first stop,

Bola Sokunbi

I was getting paid $54,000

Bola Sokunbi

before taxes, about 40 k after taxes, living in the New York City area. So it was definitely challenging. What? I made it work. And I figured out how to save my bonuses. Say, save my tax returns. Um, also to start a side hustle, start investing. So I kind of, you know, figured out how to make it work that way.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Mm. I love that hustle. Because at the end of the day, if you want to accomplish that financial security, something's got to change. And one of the things I do love about you and your platform is just how transparent you are about your journey with personal finance. I'm just curious how having those savings that you were able to get and then later having your twins factored into your decision. Tow launch. Clever girl finance

Bola Sokunbi

S.E.O those two. Those two incidents is air. Several years depart. You know, saving that money was coming out of coming out of college. Having my kids was many years later after I got married. Um, in you know, So I think it was just It was There's many things that happened throughout then before then, like I said, trying Thio just figure out how to, you know, build wealth and coming out of college as a child of immigrants wanting to make my parents proud, knowing the sacrifices they had made in order for me to go to college in order for them to support me going to going through college. Um, and then it was, you know, the term ning. Okay, now that I figured out how to save money and I'm reaching these milestones, what also I want to accomplish for myself, you know? And it was going through those years starting with that 1st 100 K, doing other things, saving where money investing. And then when I had my kids, you know, was well, I want to be able to leave a legacy for my Children especially, you know, living in America, being black Children, a knowing that opportunities for them are limited. And I want to position them as best as possible from a financial monetary perspective, but also an educational perspective with them understanding the value of money and understanding how to give back and support your communities. So all of that combined And during that journey, just always talking about money, having conversations with my friends about what I was doing to invest and to save and to reached certain milestones, it became something that was normal conversation for me. So when I came around to

Bola Sokunbi

wanting to start a business well, wanting to start another business, clever girl finance, Um,

Bola Sokunbi

you know, it was just what is what is something that I'm interested in doing? What is something I like to do? And, you know, everything that I was thinking about at the time revolved around just talking about what I talked about a lot, which was money on helping women because I was talking to my friends and my colleagues and just sharing my story and my mistakes and my successes. And so that's how I arrived at Clever will finance.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

So I know you did start off doing it as a side hustle. How did you then dive into running at full time?

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah. So I was working, um, full time when I started clever of finance. So it's clever of finance was, you know, the job that I did night, 10 weekends and early morning. One e got my kids situated on. I just got to a point where it was no longer sustainable to do the to. I mean, you could do anything for a short amount of time where you can work on very little sleep for a number of months until you start to break down. You can You can always get out of your comfort zone for a good for a temporary amount of time. And then after that, you kind of have to determine. Okay, what am I cutting loose hair? How am I going to readjust to continue the momentum of what I'm doing? And so I got to that place with clever will finance where I felt like the next thing that I needed to do order from me, too. Be able to take the business where I we're seeing the potential of it going was to focus my full time energy on it. But obviously doing that, I had Thio create a plan. Okay, I know I want to quit my job

Bola Sokunbi

and do clever, well financed book like what if this doesn't work out and I want to be able to meet my financial obligations. It was creating a plan of putting money aside and really getting clear on what it was I wanted to accomplish with the business. And while I was putting that money aside and still running at the side hustle which, you know, if you were if you were toe measured by hours, it was like two full time jobs. But while still working full time, um, you know, I started doing all kinds of different testing of, you know, things I wanted to try in my business and and things like that. So I did started at the side of Stone. Eventually transition. I saved up enough money to cover about 18 to 24 months of my,

Bola Sokunbi

um, financial obligations. And that's by no means a requirement for everybody. But that was what was my peace of mind. Number on Guy was like, If it doesn't work out, you know, worst case scenario, I'll go right back to work. Not a big deal. And so that that was how I approached it.

Bola Sokunbi

So, at the

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

time when you made that go decision, how did you plan on monetizing the platform? And how is that evolved over time?

Bola Sokunbi

So I think when it comes to monetizing the platform. That's something that's always evolving. We've done so many things in clever all finance things that we have tested that haven't worked things that have worked. But we just didn't like to do as a business. Um, but starting out, I started out several finance with

Bola Sokunbi

a physical product which waas,

Bola Sokunbi

um, clever of finance plan or the first iteration of Red Planner. And then I would also do one of one on one coaching back then S.E.O That was like the very, um,

Bola Sokunbi

beginning. But the first thing that we thought it was before I even took on any coaching waas our physical product. And it was basically a compliment to what it was that you know, we did. So we're talking about finances and budgeting and all these things. And here is a guy that you can use to lay out your own plan.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

And I've noticed even more recently you're taking on partnerships. And so how did that partnerships piece of your business evolve? S.E.O the

Bola Sokunbi

partnerships piece of our business evolved more so organically just by virtue of us growing from a content perspective and from a brand perspective, obviously, the more the bigger would become, the more attractive we are to certain types of brands. S.E.O partnerships for us evolved organically. It's something that I held off off for a little a little while. Actually, um, I was hesitant about certain kinds of partnerships, which we still don't do that I don't feel and and there's nothing wrong with those kinds of partnerships, but I just don't feel that they aligned well with our mission of empire. Incremental chief financial success, especially in the financial services, financial products space. But you know, when it comes to partnerships, you know, as a business, there are so many parallels because they focus on women. We focus on wellness. We will focus on finances. So we've been able Thio have many, many opportunities in the space of partnerships, and that's one way that we monetize.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I know that the space is heavily dominated by males and maybe white males in particular. Have you had any challenges as you're navigating in the personal finance space and growing such a large platform when it comes to maybe gender bias in the space?

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, gender bias, racial bias. All of that is something I've experienced even before starting my own business. You know, stepping into

Bola Sokunbi

a space that is tied to financial education, financial services, you know, in the space where most financial planners are male, I think it's like a 70% or even 80% number. It might even be higher, um, statistics, but that's something that definitely experience. You know, I've I've had people tell me to my face. So I think your business is cute. E first started. I, you know, are there even a million women of color in America who care about their finances, You know, from a white white male I've had all kinds of ridiculous comments. They don't believe that personal, financial or financial wellness is an issue for women of color on the fact that we were branded in such a way as a gimmick, because everybody in America has equal opportunities. So I've gone a lot of that. But honestly, I think I'm beyond the point where things like that phase me

Bola Sokunbi

because, um, the growth of the business speaks for itself. So I passed meeting anybody's validation as S.E.O is what you're doing. Um, it is, you know, I think it's cute. E think at this point it's more than cute because it's impacting lives and it's helping women on. That's, you know, that's what what is most important to me. So I've definitely experienced biases, you know, for anyone who's navigating those things. I think it's easy to get into exchanges or want to, like, prove your point right right there and then. But I think you should focus on what your purpose is and why you started and let what you're doing. Speak for you,

Bola Sokunbi

Bond. Let them see you succeed.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

E. I love that right in line with your mission. You recently made all of clever girl finances courses free to your community. And I thought that was so amazing, especially given the time we're in right now. And while I love that decision from a community building perspective, I also wonder how it impacted your bottom line from a business perspective.

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah, so you know what's really interesting is that we have always well, with the team. We've always had the intention of making our course history. Um, it's just, you know, the talent that I've always faced a CEO of this company is going back to our mission and pairing women thio achieve financial, wellness and live life on their own terms. Sometimes it can be difficult to charge people who cannot pay on. People will say, Well, you should charge them because they will buy all the things on INSTAGRAM They will buy, you know, the next coaching course on business. They will get into debt to buy something so you should charge them for financial wellness. And you know, that makes sense. That's valid. But a lot of times women are coming too clever, all finance, Um, during your transition point. And, ah, lot of times the transition point is at the time of me, Right, Um and they need the help now, and they need to support now. And they've made decision or they've made a decision that they want to get out of debt or do something different with their finances now. And sometimes when they've come to us at the now, um, the limitation is the money, right? Some people don't value. Why should I pay for personal finance? I'm never gonna be able to get it. And some people are like, Well, I want to do it, but I've made all these mistakes. I don't have anything left on for us. I just felt like we wanna be able to meet that person at the point of their need. Who truly, truly needs the help, right? Who truly India's support, who's really ready to make that change? So that's something that we've always wanted to do. But with Colbert coming into play,

Bola Sokunbi

um, it just made sense for us to be able to support our community that way, especially our community that was paying for that for those courses in the past or had paid for, like, you know, supported us in different ways through all the different products and services that we've had over the last five years that we've been in business. So that was a decision. Um, fortunately for us, we have multiple streams of income through the business. Um, also, you know, one of the things that I do that I carried into clever, all financial my personal finances was the idea of having a backup fund and so clever. All finance does have a backup fund, and we do have investment accounts where we invest in other businesses. So we have that buffer there that was able to carry a through. And it was crazy because when we dropped that stream of income, I was like, You know what? Let's just cross this off as a stream of income, But within a couple of months, that stream of income completely replace itself. Um, and so, you know, I always feel that sometimes you you really have to step out of your comfort zone. I mean, I have people on the team asking, Are we sure we want to do this right now? And I felt if we want to make an impact when you want to really sure, community that we stand for a mission when there's no better time, then right now to be there? Um, yeah. So and, you know you know how it was, especially in March and April. I felt there was just a lot of I told you so, especially from people in the personal finance based on, like, that's not the approach you should be taking. Like I told you to say, I told you to

Bola Sokunbi

to have an emergency fund. The I told you so's I was like, No, that's you know, So that was just our decision, and it Zahn really? Well,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

would you mind sharing some of the streams of income that you've been able to build into your business? Because I would say the challenge with a platform like yours for people who are newly starting businesses is they don't quite understand or see how to move beyond the point of. I'm here to help. To the point of I'm actually a viable business.

Bola Sokunbi

Mhm. So what? I think with clever of finance. If you're an outsider looking and you see me and you see me as the face of the business and then when you look at the personal finance base, you see a lot of faces of the business, right? And there's a lot of personalities in the business. And so if you are a personality and you're giving away all your resource is for free, how do you make money? So that's a good question. I get asked all the time. I like to see on the personality of my business by default. Ideally, I would not want to be the face of the business, but I am right now just because, you know, um, you know, my story ties into a lot of

Bola Sokunbi

how the business was built. I'm a woman of color. A lot of people can relate to me. Um, but in terms of like revenue streams, right, S.E.O Just to keep that in mind is that you, you perception can be deceiving sometimes.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Um, actually on social media S.E.O when

Bola Sokunbi

you see Ebola, it's like Obama is giving away her research to free high, she making money. So there is one thing to be around personality and monetize that which I do occasionally. But that's not my, uh I am very much introverted. I'm a faux extroverts. So that's just not what I I just don't like to be the even though I'm doing it right now like I'm following my my mission. But it's not my ministry. That makes sense. Eso really the basis of a monetization is content. We are a way are a tech enabled media platform. Media are type of media is financial education content. Right now, we may expand to other things later, but that's our focus. And that means we create an incredible amount of content and we've always done that. I did that by myself on gets more than their social media which I tell every business when they're like social media. Since the media is cool, you know, there are times where you can have something to sell. You could get some quick winds, But in terms of building longevity in your business, you need to step outside of that space and lay your foundations and use your social media as a funnel to get you there. So our content really ties into a lot of the revenue we make. We do part brand partnerships like you alluded to. We do advertising,

Bola Sokunbi

um, on our site. We do affiliate partnerships. We do content. Um, for other people, either branded clever will finance or ghost ghosted by clever girl finance For a lot of big brands. S.E.O. There's content that you may read that is actually created by clever girl finance behind the scenes. Obviously there are the books, um, in the space. We do workshops, speaking engagements. So there's this long list, and the monetization advertising comes like from our site, our podcast within our free courses. So there's all these different levels to which we monetize on bond. We're able to do that because we create so much content and when you create content, you attract an audience. And when you're attracting audience, um, you make yourself attractive to make money in all these different monetize different forms of monetization, if

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

that makes sense. But I would say once you are a content generation machine, that's a beast that you constantly have to keep on feeding. And at what point did you go from just you creating the content to now bringing other people in to help support all the platforms that you're currently on?

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah, it's a beast that you you have to keep on feeding specifically on social media. Right? Social media is very much 24 hours. You're done. You have to bring something fresh to the table. But for us, we the bulk of what we create, is outside of social media and its content. That's evergreen on its content that even if we don't create another

Bola Sokunbi

piece of content, it's still relevant in five years and 10 years from now, and it's still searchable on. People are still leveraging it right, so we are very, very much in S.E.O focus business, anything that has to do with searching and optimization across like not just Google, but like platforms like Pinterest And like, um, you know, other areas like that. So,

Bola Sokunbi

um, I started out creating content on my own. You know, I would write a lot of articles I love to write. And then I think it just evolved organically as my responsibilities kind of expanded or adjusted in the business. And I would bring someone on to support that. So now we do have a team of writers, um, that support, like the content that we create on on the site. We do have social media focus that support the content that we create on social media on Do you know, in terms of the beast that you have to keep feeling? Um, we start with our home base, and our home base is our website on our website lays the foundation for all the content that would create. So, for example, let's say we create a block post today on I don't know five ways to save money. We can take that article and turned into podcasts and turn into a video and turn into several social media like Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest posts. So we're very purposeful with the way we create our car content and intentional about how we leverage it. Um, we try to create content and that we are able thio Repurpose. Mm. Um,

Bola Sokunbi

you know, and and keep relevant. Um, S.E.O It is Ah is a beast. But it is, um, you know, it's a It's a beast that can fend for itself when it's not getting fed right, Because even when nobody is working on the business, even if nobody was working on the business, people are still reading our content. They're still finding us. And for us, that's, I think, for any business that's incredibly foreign because of noise. And you know, in this day and age where it seems like everybody is like a mega success on Instagram, it makes people think that business is easy and there is a side stepped hard work, right? But what you don't see in the background where all these truly successful businesses, because a lot of times everybody can. Everybody on Instagram Superstar for the step outside of that is there is a lot of hard work that goes into it right, and creating content is hard, especially consistently over time. Um, it's hard, but we do it and because we know long term, it's worthwhile. Onda. We're reaping the rewards of that now.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

And I see that because that's how I found use. You created some good content and I latched onto you so it works for itself, so you don't have to go out there and kind of,

Bola Sokunbi

and I will add that it's relevant to any business content Creation Doesn't matter whether you're a doctor, a lawyer, you're selling

Bola Sokunbi

physical products, whatever it is, it's so relevant. Onder, for me like content was incredibly relevant when I was doing my photography business. Um, in any business, content is relevant. There's no business where because when you think about human behavior, if I want to find the doctor, I wanna find a restaurant. I wanna find seamstress. I'm stepping on the social media or I'm using a hash tag on social media to search. When I find you, I'm finding you by virtue of your content. If I go on Google to search for something right, how I find you is through content. Eso people minimize that because it is a slow play on a long play.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

But if you want longevity in a viable business, you've got to think long term, and not just that 24 hour social media cycle. And this is the conversation I love to have with my clients because first of all, people don't like to be the face of their brand. And second of all, it's hard as you said, to create that good content that kind of you know, is available long term exactly.

Bola Sokunbi

Plus on the social platforms you don't like you don't own right? Your subject thio what Instagram decides to do when it comes to their algorithms. Right? So right now, so many brand brands are being shadow band because they're posting about people going to vote or talking about, you know, political climate and instagram going to say that you know what? Which is what they're currently doing. They only show what you both there a certain percentage of your audience. And if they decide you know what we're canceling this whole platform, the entire the followers that you think you own which you don't own. They go right on. There is no way for any way to find your business. So I think social media is great. But social media is not the business. Social media is the leverage and the marketing tool from a business perspective that you used to redirect people to your business.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Amen. You're speaking my language because it's risky to build your whole business on someone else's platform.

Bola Sokunbi

I see this time and time again, and I've seen businesses be devastated because of a simple algorithm change because their account got blocked or restricted or reported, or because they just couldn't keep up with that 24 hour cycle or even less like constantly posting that stuff is draining on it. That's the Onley pathway you offer people toe find you. I mean, I get a lot of people are making a lot of money on Instagram, and that's great. But you also want to think long term, like when Instagram dies down, you know that it's gonna be another platform. Then another platform. Everybody remembers Friendster and what was before Friendster E. What about Ticktock? Should be on that Everything. You should be on there, right? Is that something that you enjoy doing on your You're seeing track action as it comes to directing people to your business, but you still want to have your own home base that you own. You know your email list, your website, those foundational aspects of building a business so that you can communicate and you can be found outside of social platforms.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I love that. I also thought it was kind of funny. I've never heard this term that you said you're a photo extrovert yet I feel like every time I turn around, you're on some national television outlet. So I'm curious. Have you pitched yourself for these opportunities, or are they approaching you

Bola Sokunbi

eso For the most part, they're reaching out to clever, clever, well financed by virtue of the content we create e have done.

Bola Sokunbi

I haven't pitched myself the television before. I picked myself to other things. Like when we have something that we're trying to promote, that definitely happens. But I just a lot of the things that you see me do. Any partnerships? Many of them are organic to play virtue of the content or the relevancy of the content we create in the same period of time. Um so yeah, that's also good. You know, we like I said, we do pitch occasionally her specific things that we're doing and that's something that You know, we're building more into the business, and I do it because it helps to promote the brand and the mission of what we're building.

Bola Sokunbi

So yeah, you know what faux introvert just, you know, introverts. Um, typically, they they gain energy from just like, being by themselves

Bola Sokunbi

on not having thio constantly, like, just be on eso. It takes a lot of preparations to do stuff like that, but it's fun. I'm at the point where I don't mind, It s Oh, yeah.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Now you carry yourself well, I saw you on with, I think Ryan Seacrest recently Hey, peppered you with questions, and you handled it so well. Um, and I think if that's someone's first encounter with you, it really speaks highly of your brand. So all in all it z great.

Bola Sokunbi

Thank you so much. I appreciate that. Of course, people can't ever see the nerves. Of course,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

it translates on television, and that's definitely not where you want to be showing nerves. I know, right? Eso thinking back as a 24 year old, you picked up a book toe, learn about personal finance and now fast forward a few years, you now write books to help others reach their personal finance goals. Could you share what the process of becoming an author has been like for you?

Bola Sokunbi

Yes. So that's interesting. So, you know, the president has been has been great. I wouldn't think that in three years I would ever in three books. I actually just finished. Finished my third book on Friday. Um, thank you for the audio version. No. So that Yeah, so, you know, with Colvin, um, the audio for a book to was delayed because I couldn't get into the studio in time. So it's out in November next month, this month. But back to your question, um, you know, writing a book is challenging. It's extremely hard. Um, I right, but I like to write in short form. Um

Bola Sokunbi

e. I said if you had told me I would write three books in three years, I have told you you were crazy, but the process was enlightening. And I writing the book I thought about what is the bigger preference? What am I writing a book for? Versus the block post. And it's really, um, you know, to when I first started my journey on personal finance I wanted to find a personal finance book written by a woman, and I couldn't find any at the time. And even now, they they're there. But they're just not compared to other personal finance books. There's not a lot of books written by women, period, right? They're there. But they're not that many. You can count them.

Bola Sokunbi

Um, and I remember finding the best selling New York Times personal finance book for Woman. I was written by a white math.

Bola Sokunbi

Okay, this is interesting, but I bought It was great, but, you know, as I started building clever of finance, I'm like, You know, I would want to write the book that

Bola Sokunbi

I wanted to find, written by a woman written by women of color, which women of color much, much fewer in the personal finance base on even in the investing space. It's like barely any. I want to find someone that you know. There's a saying that it's easier to aspire

Bola Sokunbi

to what you can see on if I can be a source off motivation, inspiration toe another young woman that's a woman of color or just a woman period trying to navigate her finances. I want to be able to do that. So, you know, that's part of why I've written the books, um, to create representation in the space or additional representation in the space. And also, you know, when you when you were able to say you are a published author, Um, to me, that's a big deal. I have a big deal of respect for so many authors who I love. Their books I admire and a book is something that is evergreen. There's I have books from 2030 years, 40 years I mean, the richest man in Babylon. Who knows how old that book is, But it's still impactful, even after the author is not here,

Bola Sokunbi

right? Eso I enjoy the process. People ask me a lot about

Bola Sokunbi

deciding to go between self published and traditionally published. I don't know if that was on your question elicits little S.E.O and you know, when you self published you, you take on the cost, but then you take on all the profits and all of the revenue. But for me, going traditionally going through a traditional publisher was a better fit for me because the book for me was less about profits and more about reach on When you work with the traditional publisher, they have the means to extend the reach of your book through bookstores through audio books through, You know, the book is sold internationally, like if you're in a different country, you're listening to this, then you can't find the book. All you have to do is ask your bookseller to order it, um, to have in your book having the book in public libraries. That's incredible, Bond. That's part of our mission to reach as many women as possible. And so, with best about profits and more about reach, Um, and so that's why I chose traditional publishing.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I will say, just in talking to the guests that we've had on the show in the In the publishing space. Traditional publishing isn't always accessible to anyone or to everyone, and I think it helps that you were first able to build a recognizable platform that you could then leverage as you talked to editors or look to sell the book

Bola Sokunbi

exactly. So that's exactly what's going to say, Um, content. But it's hard, and it's difficult, but it's so worth it. Yeah, I actually didn't pitch the book pitch a publisher. The publisher pitched me. Um, okay, you know, on, you know, and it was okay, So there is this company called Clever, Will Finance. You guys should look into it, and it's Hey, we think what you're doing is really interesting, because remember, when you're working with a traditional publisher, it's a partnership, right? They will support you with your reach and promotion. But they also want to bring on a publisher, the Latino and also that, you know, can sell books. So, um so, yeah, you know, everything.

Bola Sokunbi

The majority of what we do, our growth. What you see all comes back to our home base. All comes back to our foundation, which is content and content is not just a block. Post content comes in many, many different forms. You don't have to start with all of them. We started with one, which is the blogger. You know, content is what you create on social media content. What you put in your block content is a podcast like this one content is videos. Content is take talk on Pinterest. Um but we create content because that's our foundation. That is what has helped us grow on will continue to help us grow into the future.

Bola Sokunbi

So, you know, it's content is basically our agent on its out

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

there doing the work for you. It really is.

Bola Sokunbi

Yes, It's our publicist, S.E.O. That's

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

a great way to think about it. Let your your content speak for itself and amplify your brand.

Bola Sokunbi

Exactly. Yeah. So you have to create it. You have to do the late night. You got to do the research. You got to talk to your audience and see what they wanna hear. And, you know, as you start to create the content that you feel good about it to start to attracted ideal clients when you're building a company, right? One of the biggest things you hear people say they will create an avatar, create an ideal customer ideal client. This person that you want to buy from you. But how do you reach them? Right, Um, if you don't have tens of thousands of dollars $100,000 a year to spend on advertising, right, Um, you reach them by speaking their language right on. You speak their language and the content that you create that is going to attract them and start to build

Bola Sokunbi

the relationship between you on that ideal customer like they'll get to know you to get to like you, to get to trust you, and then they'll kind of carry on the journey with you. And then they start. You start to build brand loyalty and that it's so so important. Building brand loyalty building amazing base off people beats any individual sale that you will make from somebody who does know you that will buy from. You want to never come back

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

again because those people that are lawyer that are super fans, they will also help you further your mission and amplify everything that you're doing without you having to beg, right, because they're just that tied into what you're doing.

Bola Sokunbi

Yes, the number one form of marketing today still is the word of up. It's people telling other your businesses, people tagging other people on social media about your business. There's nothing that beats tax word of mouth because when somebody catches on right, they're going to promote you. They're gonna tell everybody, and even when you may not be constantly relevant,

Bola Sokunbi

somebody might say, Oh my God, you know what I need X Y Z for this situation in my life. When they start to rack their brain, the first thing that comes to their mind is you on. That's what you want. And how do you say, top of mind

Bola Sokunbi

content Exactly how they get to remember you so you can talk. I'm a huge contra proponent. Um, I love content

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

saying here, saying here I was just talking to someone about their content strategy because at the end of the year, this is kind of the ideal time for you to be figuring out your content strategy for next year so that you don't reach the beginning of the year and wonder. Okay, what am I creating? What am I posting? You could hit the ground running, but it's important that your as just as you said that you're very intentional about the kind of content that you're creating and it's not reactive. It's the kind of content the people who need to hear it

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

are going to respond. Thio

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

exactly, exactly. S.E.O. Just through focusing on content, you've become one of the largest personal finance platforms for women in the U. S. Wow, Just sit in that just over the past five years, you have built a lot. Yeah, it's crazy. It's crazy. S.E.O When you look back over the past five years building this business, what have you would have been some of your biggest defining moments?

Bola Sokunbi

I don't know. I mean, I do know, but there are many I actually keep a list. Um, you know, I'm probably blanking right now, but I think one really big moment was just having my own book in my hands. I went to the bookstore, so I got a I knew the day was coming out. Oh, yeah? If you can't be that big of a deal, you know, my local bookstore is probably not gonna have it on. I went there and I see the book like, Oh, my God, I'm telling the guy This was last year. I'm telling My God, I wrote this book is like, Oh, great, amazing. Have

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

you taken your kids to the bookstore and shown them your books on the show?

Bola Sokunbi

Yes. I took another book star. They like Mommy. That's your book. But I know it's crazy. See,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

you talked about the legacy, and here it is your passing it on to them.

Bola Sokunbi

Yeah, and then people just sending me pictures like the strangers seeing my book in a store, like in the U. K. Or in Germany. It's just crazy. So that is like a huge, you know, one. Um, I'm trying to think of

Bola Sokunbi

others, but there have been many milestones in business, but that one,

Bola Sokunbi

um, has been particularly memorable.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

That's major. So now, going into 2020 what are the personal finance goals of the personal finance guru herself? 2021. You 2020

Bola Sokunbi

one? Yeah. Eso You know, one of my big, um,

Bola Sokunbi

goals is to

Bola Sokunbi

to pay it forward. Um, so supporting my Children through college, um, they can while teaching them the value of money so they understand this opportunity that they have, um, investing. I think, um, unfortunately, the economy is it is

Bola Sokunbi

still going to continue to go through a lot off swings through the next year until we have some sort of, you know, vaccine or

Bola Sokunbi

something that we can that can put us on the path to recovery. But I think that they're still going to be opportunities there Still investing those air big goals. Um, So yeah, So those were my, you know, creating generational wealth for my kids getting them through college investing. My goals are very simple. Great. Um, I feel fortunate to have been able to accomplish a lot of things

Bola Sokunbi

so far. Eso really? Primarily now it's just building that legacy, being able to take care of my family.

Bola Sokunbi

Um, that's really important.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Okay? And so, from a personal finance perspective, what are the top five things people listening right now should be doing to set themselves up for success for next year?

Bola Sokunbi

Yes. Especially given the climate right now that we're in. Um, if you're fortunate to be employed, you have revenue coming in. A lot of entrepreneurs listening to this podcast have revenue coming in. You want to build an emergency fund? Not just for yourself before your business. One of the things I talked about earlier was that you know, when we drop that dream of income of our courses, it's like, Okay, how are you going to make money? But we did have a backup fund, and we continue to build that fun so that if we don't make a dollar right for a period of time, I can still pay everybody. We could still continue to move out of business. So emergency fund in your personal life is informed. But in your business is important. A lot of people forget that. Forget about creating that back up. Your business can have a savings account. Your business can have an investment account. You can invest in the stock market on behalf of your business, right? You can do all these things, so keep that in mind. I would also say that once you have your emergency fund, if there's like any high debt that you have and again you're earning money right now, focus on paradise on tape, prioritize and paid off just to free up that money to put towards your goals once that high interest that is gone, especially credit cards or personal loans,

Bola Sokunbi

things like that. And then, um, I would also say that, you know, start to seek out opportunities to bring in additional streams of income through your business through things you may have in your garage through services that you can offer getting a better paying job, getting a part time job, working to bring more money and get out of your comfort zone. A figure out how you can earn more money. It it's so so important. That way, if you lose your job, if your business is slow, if something happens, you are not dead in the water. You have other options. So, so key. I would also encourage people to make sure that they have the right kind of insurance. Especially, like, you know, business owners. Um, if you know, having the right kind of business or liability insurance. Azan individual, the right kind of health insurance, especially if you are employed because those things there health care is very expensive on. Do you know? You know you don't want Ah,

Bola Sokunbi

a serious issue that could have been covered by insurance a few $100 a month to derail your entire financial plan.

Bola Sokunbi

Um, And then if you're unemployed,

Bola Sokunbi

um, I will encourage people to get creative. You know, you're unemployed, it's hard. But now time start thinking about what can you do to earn money? Is this the time to start that business while you work a part time job while you look for that full time job? How can you budget what you have? Even if you're leveraging credit you can still budget to you Minimize how much that you take on. You know, if you're getting unemployment, you can budget that, right? So it's all about thinking about what opportunity do I have to do better than I did yesterday. And that's what I would encourage everybody to Dio. And I was thinking about that for myself, constantly.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Wow, That is the perfect note to end this conversation on. You've just shared so many gems really packed. We're gonna have to listen to this over and over again. But for now, people who are interested in following your journey and then also leveraging some of the resource is you have to share Where can we find you? Yeah, you

Bola Sokunbi

can just come to clever girl finance dot com Follow us on social media at Clever Girl Finance. Go on, Google search Clever girl finance. We have over 30 plus completely free courses that you had mentioned earlier. We have our books. We have our website podcast. So just bought by, um and check us out. And YouTube? Yes, and you weigh forgetting. Well, thank you so much,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Bull. I was great chatting. Thank

Bola Sokunbi

you so much for the

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

opportunity of course. Hi, Off-Scripters. I'm so glad you made it to the end of this episode. If you enjoy listening to our show, please pay it forward by sharing us with your network. Between episodes, you can find me on Instagram. Our handle is at She's Off Script or you can catch up on past episodes at She's Off Script dot com. See

Bola Sokunbi

you on the next one.

hey there!

I'm Serwaa, your new business strategist.

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