Our credit score can astronomically affect our future. Unfortunately, many people do not know that they have bad credit until it is too late, and it can be incredibly difficult to improve your credit score, particularly if you are living paycheck to paycheck. Alicia Gaines, reflecting on her own experience with bad credit and mismanagement of her money, is trying to help people understand their finances and increase financial literacy.
“I worked in healthcare for 20 years. Nursing is a very prestigious profession. Although I was earning a decent annual salary, I was never taught about how to manage my money. I found myself living paycheck to paycheck far too often. I would get paid on Friday and by Monday, my bank account would be overdrawn. I needed to change my financial behaviors.” Remembers Alicia.
As Alicia began her quest to better her own bank account, she realized that this was a problem that a lot of people suffer from as well. In addition to having bad credit, many people did not know how to fix their finances or even begin to understand what having bad credit implied.
“As I started my journey on improving my own finances, I learned that 43 million Americans have a credit score of 599 or less. It was this astounding statistic that led me to start a needs based financial literacy business.” Recounts Alicia.
Alicia’s financial education services are available to anyone who wants to learn how to handle their money better. Just like nursing, Alicia’s business is based off of her want to help and take care of people. In addition, it allowed her to gain more free time as she no longer had to work numerous jobs to make ends meet.
“Having worked as a registered nurse, caring for people brings me joy. The financial industry allowed me to provide care and help to people in another capacity while helping myself. If I can be more honest with you, I was tired of working a full-time job and two part-time jobs. I was time broke in addition to being a financial mess. I needed this to work for me.” Says Alicia.
Starting the business has allowed Alicia to enjoy more time to herself, but she has still struggled with finding the correct balance between work life and family life. Because of the success of her financial education classes and her work ethic in life, Alicia found herself spending too much time working and spending less time with family and friends.
“The biggest obstacle for me as a business owner was finding balance with family life. When my customers work with me, they are getting my passion, my years of experience, my knowledge base, my dedication and my accountability in helping them improve their financial affairs. My business took off pretty fast and it swelled over into my time spent with family. I had to have a gut-wrenching reality check. Time management is critical when growing a business. I’m better for it and so are my familial relationships.” Explains Alicia.
For anyone who wishes to start their own business, Alicia recommends finding something you are passionate about. For her, it is what makes or breaks a company because if you do not have a passion for something, it is not worth doing.
“Ask yourself if you are passionate about the service or product your business provides and if so, why? Say it aloud in front of a mirror. Do you believe in yourself? If so, start that business! Passion is a catalyst and a clear indicator for success in your business. If you’re not passionate, why bother?” Recommends Alicia.
Alicia says her next steps for her business will focus mostly on expanding her financial literacy services. She is looking forward to continuing to help people in the best way possible as well as looking for a partner who can help her in her pursuit of increasing financial literacy.
“I am in the mindset of building my business to the next level and helping others who have already and who will partner with me to do the same.” States Alicia.