Sep 01, 2023

NGPF Podcast: Nia Adams, Creator and Founder of Perspectives, on her Entrepreneurial Journey

Learn more about Nia Adams’s experience as an entrepreneur, sharing the details of her personal journey in the field and what led her to it in the first place.


Ren Makino: Hi, this is Ren from Next Gen Personal Finance. And you're listening to the NGPF podcast today on the show Yanely is joined by Nia Adams, the creator and founder of Perspectives, a personal finance education brand. She joins us on the show to talk about her experience as an entrepreneur, sharing the details of her personal journey in the field and what led her to it in the first place. Listen to this discussion to hear a lot of valuable insight on the reality of what it's like to be a business owner. Enjoy! 

Yanely Espinal: All right. I'm so excited to kick off this speaker series. I'm so excited because we have a guest who've actually got to meet in person a couple times, so welcome to the show, Nia. I'm so excited to have you. 

Nia Adams: Thank you for having me! I'm excited to be here. 

Yanely Espinal: So you and I met at FinCon, I believe originally, but then we met again at a Women in Money conference.

So we've really been kind of mixing and mingling in different conference spaces that are focused on financial literacy, focused on serving communities through providing financial education. And I was really inspired by your story about how you really decided to just... pursue entrepreneurship. So we'll get to that.

We'll talk about your work with perspectives and everything that you've achieved to this point. But I wanna kind of start by you giving us a little bit more of a background about you, where you grew up, what kind of early money lessons do you remember having at home, if there were lessons, what kind of conversations about money do you remember from a very early age?

[00:01:23] Nia's Background.

Nia Adams: So I'm born and raised in Chicago. I'm actually, as I told you, in the process of relocating to Georgia next month. So kinda excited about that. Money lessons. I really didn't receive many money lessons growing up. My mom, I am the third child to a single mom, and she was about 17, 18 when she had me.

So naturally, a lot of her energy was focused on making sure we had food, clothes, you know, making sure we were able to get to school. You know, back in those days we had truant officers, so to Atlanta, I'm move moving to Atlanta like in Douglasville. So it's like the metro West Atlanta area.

I'm told. Don't quote me. But wow... Okay, okay, I'm gonna learn about it. I don't know much about it yet. But yeah, the lessons that I learned about money was turn my lights off. It was don't run in and outside of my house. Those were the money lessons I learned, but I did not know at that time that they were money lessons.

I just knew that it was, oh, well, you can't go inside, you either gonna stay in or you're gonna stay out. But I didn't know that that correlated to, I'm running up the bill and they're not gonna be able to afford to pay that bill. It was, this is the food that we have to eat and you don't have much other options to eat.

It was because they didn't have money to make multiple meals and, buy enough groceries for different people to eat different things. So I never really had any formal conversations about money. My dad took me to the bank to get a savings account, 'cause that's what they were taught.

Like, you know, you take 'em to the bank and you start a savings account. I never really understood like, What the bank's job was. So how is the bank useful to me? Like, okay, now that we put that money there, what can I do with it? And I ended up losing that money because I forgot all about it when I got older.

And then when I became an adult, and maybe like five or however many years later, I remembered it when I went to the bank, when I turned 18, they automatically turned it into an adult account with a minimum maintenance fee, and they deducted the maintenance fees until the money was depleted. So, Never even got to use it, you know, so that's my beginning relationship with money other than, consistently being on a budget.

Of course, you know, experiencing food scarcity, eating restaurant food 'cause that was might've been cheaper at that time or my mom didn't have time to really cook. So it's kind of like indirect money lessons that I now realize are money lessons. But I didn't at the time. 

Yanely Espinal: That is, I really like that perspective.

That's so interesting that you say they're not generally considered money lessons or maybe you didn't think of it as money lessons, but now you shift your perspective and you realize that they were, whether they're called money lessons or not, they are creating what your money mindset was or is even today, unless you're, you know, actively working to change it because your money mindset's gonna be rooted in a lot of those early experiences, those early memories around money, the things that your mom was doing with her money, things that she was saying about money. 

So it's interesting, we don't as adults always recognize how influential those early money memories and experiences affect us even, even to this day on how we use money and how we think about money. So I love that you said that. Even though I didn't think of them, that was money lessons at that time.

Now I'm aware that they were early money lessons for me, 'cause that's very powerful I think. 

Nia Adams: It is, and one of the biggest ways that it affected me, so like I said, I was the third child, so two main and very important ways that it affected me financially later is one of course experiencing like food scarcity and things like that.

When I became an adult, I hoarded food, so it made me feel good for my freezer, refrigerator, cabinets to be full of food. But I'm a single parent and I had one child, so there were two of us in the household with this cabinet full of groceries, freezer full of groceries. So now my money that I barely have is going to waste because I feel better when my freezer is full, because I have this mindset.

I'm not going to experience that anymore. I'm not going to go and my child's not gonna experience not having, you know, not knowing when she's going to eat again. So that. Caused me to waste a lot of money. And the second way that it showed up is me wanting to like, Being the third child, getting like hand-me-downs and always having to like be the third.

I wanted my own like mine, you know, like the ability to have my own and have mine. So I would buy things so that I have it. So both of those are ways that I end up using money that caused me to spend money that could have been better served, going towards my financial goals, better served, you know, being invested to make more money, you know, been spoiling in the refrigerator or cabinet. 

Yanely Espinal: Right, right. I love that. That's very true. And I think a lot of people will find that relatable because those are really the ways that, you know, for average, everyday people experiencing, you know, the types of income average. Average amounts of income.

Right? Like that's really relatable. That's the real deal for so many people. So it sounds like, okay, earlier on it was a lot of scarcity mindset. It took a lot of work to change. Where do you feel like that first experience that changed your mind about money and made you realize, oh, maybe this is a wake up call.

Maybe I need to get serious about my money, or potentially even see yourself as somebody who could serve others and help them with their finances at some point too. 

[00:06:41] Nia's Wake-Up Call.

Nia Adams: So I'll be honest and say that it probably was like a two or three part process. I always, talk about it as my money lessons. My first one was when I went to purchase my first house.

So all I really knew about home ownership is, you know, it's the American dream, white picket fence and, you know, you should get your child, a house, you know, so she can have a stable home. But I didn't understand equity or like, What the purpose of purchasing a house was or anything like that.

So at the age of 25 I was working at the postal service mail carrier, working 12 to 14 hours a day. So I made decent money because I'm working a lot of hours. However, I wasn't managing my money. I wasn't working on my credit. I'm making money at that time, getting paid like $20 an hour at 14 hours a day.

That's decent money, but only if you use it right. So what I ended up doing is, I went to go purchase a house at the age of 25, and you know, I was feeling good. I felt like, oh, well I make good money, you know, I can buy a house. My coworker bought a house, right? So buy a house, like, you know, because that's what I should do.

But it was based on what I thought I should do. It wasn't based on my own money goal. And the most awakening experience was talking to the loan officer, and he was like, no, you think you wanna buy a house. You really don't. Your finances say that you don't wanna buy a house. I know you think you do, but your finances said no because you have no credit and you have no savings.

And I know you feel like you make money, but prove it. Like put a t-shirt on so we all know it because your bank account is not telling me that, you know, so that's really when I was like, oh, like face drop, you know? Okay. And at first it was a level of disappointment. Embarrassment. I was blaming myself for things that, how was I supposed to know, but I wasn't thinking about it in that realm at the time.

But then it turned into motivation. So I took it, I self-corrected my finances, built my credit up, and it took me almost two years. It took me about two years and then I went back, you know, then at that time, this was before Google and YouTube and you know, this is me ordering physical books, waiting for them to come in the mail or having to go to the bookstore and purchase them, read them, highlight them and, just old school homework.

And I was very proud when he said, okay. You're pre-approved, like you did it. Okay, so now my chest is sticking out again. Like now I'm happy, I'm excited. I'm like, oh, but didn't save an emergency fund and you can't buy a house... 

Yanely Espinal: Ouch, ouch. 

Nia Adams: Not have an emergency fund. So I bought my house. I'll never forget the date.

November 28th, two, no, I'm sorry. October 28th, 2010. On December 4th, 2010, I injured my ankle slipped on ice. 'cause you know I'm in Chicago. I'm a mail carrier. We get bad weather in the winter. Slipped on ice. Hurt my ankle. Worked through my messed up ankle for almost a month because I can't afford to be off work.

 I can't not have any money coming in... 

Yanely Espinal: You have a mortgage now! You have a mortgage now, you can't... 

Nia Adams: December 1st is my first mortgage payment in four days after my first mortgage payment is due. Now I have injured myself. So I fought until probably the end of December and at that point my ankle was like, look, it's you or me.

Oh no. One of us, one of us has to go. And so I had to take off, but that meant that I didn't have income. You know, I had to go through the workers' comp process, and I don't know if anybody's familiar with working in the federal government and dealing with workers' comp and everything is slow and they take their time.

So it caused me to go into foreclosure and I end up losing my house. So it's like as soon as my chest was up and I was feeling good, and I'm like, okay, because again, I didn't have that financial education. It's like no. Mm-hmm. Uhuh. So that was my second money lesson. Like, okay. And it started to form the, it's not about the transaction.

It's not just the transaction. And I tell my people that all the time. It's not about just budgeting, it's not about saving. It's the skills that you build and the knowledge that you gain going through these processes. And that's what it really hit me like, okay, so I need to save and. Lastly, my third money lesson.

So I did that. I got a savings. I'm doing well, but at, you know, my ankle can only carry mail for so long, so at some point I have to decide what am I gonna do next. At this point, I have an associate's degree, so I had to make the decision to go back to school because a lot of employers didn't see mail carrying as specialized experience.

Yanely Espinal: Right. That is so messed up. 

Nia Adams: So I couldn't get hired. So I finished my bachelor's and then I got hired and I had to take a $20,000 pay cut to leave the postal service to go to the Department of Labor and become a receptionist because I had to get out. I had a daughter who's approaching high school in teenage years.

I need to be working Monday through Friday. I cannot be working these 14 hour days. Any longer. And, and two, I, I want a better life. Like I grew up in an urban area. I don't want my child to experience that. I want her to be in a better area. So, you know, it's kind of like a strategy, what to do, right?

But now my pay is cut. So that was the best budgeting I ever did in my life though. And that's when it finally hit me like, you keep doing these transactions, you know, you keep saving these things out of necessity or things like that when you need to really sit down, think about. That's when I started learning about my food scarcity and how I was, you know, keeping my freezer and refrigerator full for no reason.

That's when I started sitting down and really learning. Like I tell my students money habits are hereditary. You can get them from your parents, you know. That's when I start to really look into those things. And actually then I can say that's when it was like, okay, other people need to know this. Am I, you know, I became the resource for my friends and family and people would call me all the time.

And that's when I'm like, oh, okay, so it's not only me, right? Like I'm not the only one that doesn't know these things. 'cause you think you're on an island when you have problems. So that was my full, like, epiphany. 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, and you're right, it's a multi-step process. It doesn't always just happen this one day things, just the flip just switch and it's like, oh, boom.

Like now I, I get it. I gotta fix this. Like, oftentimes, it's like you just piles and piles until you can't ignore it anymore. 

Nia Adams: Exactly.

Yanely Espinal: But that is so wild. I know that now you work with a lot of clients and I imagine that it, it helps you to now be able to speak to them from a place of understanding, not just understanding from learning about it, understanding from having lived it.

Can you talk to us about that? How does this experience that you've had, you yourself, have been through some of the most rock bottom situations, financially, foreclosure, you know, that's really difficult and so, Because you've experienced it yourself. You're coming to your clients from a very different perspective than a lot of other folks who might be teaching from a place of, oh, this is what I learned.

 I took this assessment and I learned this versus I lived this. And so how does that inform your work? How does that help your work and kind of allow you to be more impactful? 

[00:14:06] How Nia's Life Experiences Help Her in Her Career

Nia Adams: So actually you've used my company name at probably about four to five times. My company's name is Perspectives.

That's the reason why, 'cause it's all about your perspectives about money, and my goal is to shift money perspectives through financial education because it's like I said, we make it transactional when it should be transformational. So one of the ways that it has helped me, and it also helped me a lot when I finally accepted that it was okay to be vulnerable and it was okay to actually talk about it and share.

Actually lead with it now and tell 'em I've made about every money mistake you probably can think of, like, I've my foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction. I've experienced all of those in my life because I was kinda, you know, I was like that. So I didn't, I was kind of trial and error how I learned as opposed to receiving like education.

And then now I go get education and I pay to go to conferences like you say. You see me at conferences 'cause I'm investing now to continue to gain more knowledge. But it really helps me because one, I lead with it. So it lets them know that it's okay. It lets them know it's all right. You're not the only person who made mistakes and it's completely okay that you made mistakes.

It's just a part of your money story, that's all. And you can change it. You can rewrite it, you can change the chapter, pull this chapter out and put this one in. And it also shows them I'm also not coming from a place of judgment. This is a judgment free, it's a safe zone. Yes. That you can talk about.

I wanna make money talks normal. So even when I do like sessions or I go live, I don't have, most of the time I, even if I have a presentation, I'll be more conversational. So, as you see, that's why I try to make it more so where you're not you're not listening to this presentation and this person telling you like, well did this, and you know, it's just the perfect way because it's not perfect. 

Right. You know, practice makes progress. Because nobody's perfect, you know? And so that's one of the things that it allows me to lead with because I'm also can tap into how they feel in those moments as they experience these different things.

'cause you are embarrassed, you know, you're not telling people because you feel like you're gonna be a burden to them. So you keep it to yourself and you suffer more because you're not reaching out to people who very well possibly will be able to help you, possibly even been through it.

But you'll never know. Exactly. So that's one of the ways I think that it really helps me and it makes people feel like they're just talking to their friend. 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah. And that's so important. That's important because you're establishing trust. And one of things, There's something about you that obviously I have to point out because yes, you're talking to us like, yeah, we're just friends having that conversation, and I've been through it all foreclosure, I've been through this, I've been through, but at the same time, you got your MBA Nia and you have, or you are a certified financial education instructor, Nia.

You have the qualifications in addition to the lived experiences and that I think that. That's the important part too, is that when some people, they just leave out the relatability and the trust element. Talking about the challenges that you've experienced and the mistakes that you made that allows you to be vulnerable, to make, to build that trust with your audience and with your clients versus people who try to position themselves as the expert who's perfect, who knows everything.

Ah, you know, I've got an MBA I got, I'm a CFA charter holder. I'm registered with FINRA. I'm all the things that sound flashy and impressive, but that's what's not relatable about you and in your case, You have both. You're really balancing both. You have the lived experience, you make sure folks know that, but you also have that M B in S C F E I.

So tell us a little bit about that journey, deciding that you wanted to pursue those advanced credentials and not just be the kind of coach who has lived to experience, but that you're also qualified in many different ways as well. 

[00:17:42] Nia's Journey in Pursuing Advanced Credentials.

Nia Adams: Okay. I also thinks it helps too because it shows that you can come from those mistakes and you can still be triumphant.

You just because you had this, hurdle or obstacle, it doesn't mean you can't achieve your goals. You can still go after them. So of course after I, you know, started to learn more and more about money it became like, now that's what I like, like all, if you look at all my books, that's what all my books are.

I love to continue to learn more about it. I can talk about it all day. The first reason I went to get the advanced degree is because as I said, I transferred and I had took the pay cut, so I needed a way to raise my income. So I kind of did a... I guess you can call it a double fisted, I guess you could call that because it helped me with my role.

So the job that I got was with the US government, but it was specifically with the US Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, which investigates like pensions 401Ks and things like that. So as an investigator with them, I can now master everything that is retirement income.

 So I went to get the M B A finance for me to help with that. And then all of my like elective courses, I took financial planning, I took personal finance, you know, all of my electives. I filled with things that serve my business because I wanted to start a business, but I had to make sure my life was secure first. 

So I graduated January, 2017 with my MBA in finance. And then in August of 2017 is when I started my business. So it's like, okay, this is done now my income has shifted. Okay, now let's start this business because the world needs this and it needs to be out here.

So, and then same thing, I went also to get the. CFEI because that same thing, like yes, I come with experience and knowledge, but you also need to learn instruction. You need to learn how to build curriculums. I wanted to be able to not be just talking and be able to form structure because you know, that's what you have to do.

You have to build a full program, even if you're doing a, a live sometimes. Mm-hmm. It's building out a full curriculum of a course, so, you know...

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, And that's so important because I recognize that a lot of times people don't see all that effort, all that planning. That process, they just see your success with the business.

Oh wow. Look at you. You got the website, you're gonna conferences, you're speaking, you're booking clients, your social media presences growing and you got a what was the, I read on your page you had a 1 million black women grant from Goldman Sachs, right? Yes, correct. Okay. Hello, this is success. This is Now people see this and they think you are an overnight success.

They don't see all that. So I think that's so important for you to constantly share. It has been a journey. This was not like overnight, but yes, now the accolades are coming, the success markers are hitting because of all that work you put in and all that planning and thought. It wasn't like you just jumped straight to the business.

You did it methodically and strategically, and that's so important. You know, so I'm. Put that out there. But I would love for you to talk about some of these successes. I mean, what was it like to be part of the cohort of women who were receiving some of the funding from Goldman Sachs? I know that initiative was specifically to help with Black women impact grants, right?

The work that you're doing, really making sure that you're scaling your efforts and impacting more women through your work. But I'm, you know, would love to learn more about that experience. What was it like and what more you were able to do with that opportunity and experience. 

[00:21:04] Nia's Experience with Goldman Sachs.

Nia Adams: So that experience was fabulous. So, you know, they started the program because during the pandemic, when all of the companies was closed, you know, black women started the most businesses. So they wanted to be able to help those businesses actually stay open. Because most businesses, as we, you know, we all, well, not we all know, but most people know, most businesses don't succeed past two years.

So they wanted to, this program was phenomenal. It helped me be amongst 149 other women in the same predicament as me. Which again, as an entrepreneur. If you don't have friends around you that are entrepreneurs, the road can get very rough and they may not understand, you know, some of the things that you are going through.

Like you might have a great support team, they just don't understand the life of an entrepreneur. So that's one of the ways it helped me. The second way that it helped me, it helped me learn so many more ways that my business can reach more people. So, you know, I used to do coaching, and coaching unfortunately limits you because you're working with one person.

And so. I'm only one person still two hands, two feet. So it kind of limits how many people you are able to reach and how much help you can actually extend. So the program was very instrumental in teaching how to scale your business and work with more corporations, work with more schools and different organizations so that you can get the type of things that you can reach thousands and then hundreds of thousands and just be able to really expand your reach.

But because now you have. Systems in place. Now you have systems that can help you run that business that you might not have thought of because you're starting from scratch. And even with the MBA in finance, we can run somebody else's company, but that company already has systems. They have the money to buy big systems that as a small business you don't have.

So that program was. I highly recommend it. I really enjoyed the time and I used the money of course, to get well needed equipment to help me be able to, you know, afford those systems and give me kind of a jumpstart. So I probably will be hiring my first employee next year. 

Yanely Espinal: Hey, that's amazing.

Nia Adams: Right? So yes, it's, I highly recommend that program. It was a very good opportunity. 

Yanely Espinal: That is amazing. Okay, well now you talked about how a lot of businesses will fail after like the first two or three years, and that, I mean, that is, that's really difficult to hear that most businesses don't succeed after the first few years.

I think it's even more difficult if you're a solopreneur because like you said, there's so many additional challenges of not knowing really how things work, not having a team, and you're really kind of doing it all for your business. So even though you got a grant, and I'm sure that, like you said, was hugely helpful, I'm sure there were a lot of challenges.

So talk to us about what were maybe some of the most significant challenges that you have faced so far as a solopreneur, specifically. 'cause everybody glorifies entrepreneurship, but a lot of times being an entrepreneur all by yourself, you know, really isn't all it's cracked up to be unless you are ready to take on that challenge and the things that come with that.

So talk about your journey with entrepreneurship. 

[00:24:11] Nia's Experience With Being a Solopreneur.

Nia Adams: So the first thing is you have to be very passionate about what you're doing. You have to pick something that you're very passionate about. I could, like I said, I love personal finance. I love when others like do better with money and the effect it has on them.

The biggest problem I think, is that there's only 24 hours in a day.

As a solopreneur, like, because I've been a solopreneur all this time. And I still an employee. Like it takes time, so... 

Yanely Espinal: That transition isn't always like, okay, now I'm done. I'm gonna go.

You have to, you know, test it out, see if it's going well, and if it's making enough money to sustain you without the other work, and then you can transition to entrepreneurship. It's not just one day I wake up and I don't wanna work for anybody else, I'm gonna just do it myself because you, you know, that's a risk in and of itself.

Nia Adams: Not only that, as a personal finance expert, financially, my numbers have to match for me to do something like that. A lot of people do it and then they have to go back 'cause they didn't think it out or they didn't plan it out. Right. The biggest hurdle I would say initially was even finding out. How to go about things.

So that's one of the things that the program was instrumental in helping also the business advisors that you were assigned, they had done these things before, so they were able to help you. Like, so somebody can tell you, oh, well you just go to that store and they're gonna give you 10 of what you need.

But how do I ask them, what verbiage should I use? What does this contract typically look like? How does this relationship look? A lot of those things will cause you to doubt yourself, so you won't even attempt to do it. You'll just avoid it because you haven't, you know, started. And of course, finances, all of the systems, the platforms the different things that you can use to help build systems and you know, customer relationship management software and all of those things.

They cost money and they have monthly fees, so you have to have money coming in. So that. You can pay for them and when you're first starting out, you are personally financing your business. So then it's the, you know, a lot of people talk about venture capital and all those things, but if you have a someone invest in your business, they mean you have to give them a percentage of your business.

Are you okay with that? 

Yanely Espinal: Right. People starting, people are starting to understand that now because of shows like Shark Tank but for a long time I don't think people really understood how any of that whole world works. 

Nia Adams: And they don't. So people are like, oh, I get money.

Yes, but if I get money now, I don't control my brand anymore. So I have to fund this more strategically again, so that it's sustainable so that it lasts. So that's something. And then three I would say is choosing income generating activities. In the beginning, I don't think it's as clear to know what those activities are.

And those activities are very important because without them, your business will not be able to function. 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, you don't have a. If you're not making money, you don't have a business. That's... 

Nia Adams: Exactly, yeah. So those, I think are the, the three things I would think that were the most of a string as a solopreneur.

Yanely Espinal: Yeah. Okay. So recently I was reading an article from, I think it was a Yahoo Finance piece. Basically the survey that they did asked Gen Z, so this next generation teenagers and middle school students, what jobs they would want the most and to rank them what they would wanna do in their future.

84% of them said they want to be a creator, and 78% said they would wanna be entrepreneurs. So entrepreneurship was like only second to influencer or creator. Right. And I think this kind of, they connect a little bit because what you see on. TikTok and Instagram and Snapchat and YouTube is this glorification of entrepreneurship.

So much so to the point where I literally hear sixth graders tell me, I don't wanna work for somebody else. I wanna work for myself. I wanna be an entrepreneur. I'm like, you're 12 years old, you haven't even worked for somebody else yet, and you already decided you don't wanna do it. It's like, It's so interesting, but I think this generational shift of this culture telling them, you know, do be entrepreneurial.

Do your own thing. And the interesting thing is I don't think they really understand. I. What the life of an entrepreneur actually looks like on a day to day. Like what are the key skills and the qualities that have contributed to your success as an entrepreneur that you need to have, otherwise, entrepreneurship probably is not right for you.

It's not for everyone. So I'm curious what you think, what you would say. Like if you were in a classroom with students and everybody's raising their hand. Yeah, I wanna be entrepreneur, I wanna be entrepreneur. How do you know if this is actually something that you should pursue or would be good at, or if you're just thinking it's cool, but it's probably not right for you if you know these certain qualities are things that you don't enjoy or that you don't have.

[00:28:48] Nia's Take on What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur. 

Nia Adams: So it would depend on the age. If it was somebody younger, I would ask them, how do you like to spend your Saturdays? Because if you like to have fun and go play Roblox, That's what you like to do with your Saturdays. Mm. That's not really gonna work as an entrepreneur because your Saturdays are dedicated to your business because you're in school Monday through Friday.

So unless you're gonna be hitting that midnight oil every day, you're gonna have to dedicate your Saturdays and Sundays to getting your business off the ground. The next thing is, I think that. They need some sort of flow chart or some type of graphic that shows them the levels that it takes to be a successful business.

So like they see content creators and they see them coming out with all that content. They don't see that they have lighting and they're filming at three o'clock in the morning, but because they have proper lighting, it looks like it's seven o'clock in the morning. So they're up at 3:00 AM because once you create that hunger for content from your followers, hungry. What's happening now? What are you doing now? Where are you at now? Where are you going? Where's your family? You know, did you get married? You have a boyfriend, like they want to know every single aspect of your life. And I think that they see that, and it sounds fun to watch.

But when it comes to you, yourself, and I think that a lot of that creates them just not knowing. They know the beginning, okay, I want to be an entrepreneur, and they know the end, okay, this is me and my big car and my big house. But there's a whole lot in between that I think this generation doesn't really focus on.

They just focus on the end goal and they focus on, when I get big, I'm gonna do this and I'm gonna do that, but. You need to focus on the actual activities and things that are gonna make that actually happen. You know, that's what I think that they kind of miss. 

Yanely Espinal: And I think that the reason why is because, again, it's this glorification of the concept of entrepreneurship, but a lack of education around what is it actually, you know, at NGPF we, in the curriculum, we have a unit for entrepreneurship and hopefully teachers are able to actually teach students about entrepreneurship.

But the reality is if you hear the word being tossed around so much, it becomes kind of like a buzz word, but you don't really know what's underneath the hood of it. You don't know what it means to be an entrepreneur day in and day out. So it's interesting because there are a lot of people that are cut out for it and, and maybe they understand it, maybe they don't.

But regardless if they get it or not, once they start doing it, they're cut out for it. They love it, the grind, the hustle, the passion is all there, and they're willing to go above and beyond do anything for the success of their businesses, see their idea come to life. Right. And then there's those who are like, oh my gosh, this is not what I thought it was gonna be like.

And it, and you know, and then they just, that's how you know, you're not cut out for it, but you kind of, you, if you're being falsely like, sort of misled by this idea, that's very aspirational, but you don't really know. Ultimately, you're either just gonna try and not like it and leave, or you're gonna try and try and try and fail and feel like, you know, nobody's giving you a chance.

And you get frustrated and you get upset. And it's actually because you're probably trying to force, you know, like those little kid toys where you're trying to force the, the ball into the little square piece. It's like, Nope, that doesn't fit. You can't put the circle with the square. You gotta put the circle in the circle and the squares go in the square.

So, you know, you have to find the right fit. And sometimes it's hard to admit when something is not the right fit because you've aspired to do it for so long, you know, since you were a sixth grader. You want it to be an entrepreneur, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing for you. It just means, you know, it's one of the things you might explore.

But we can't. I think the problem too is we tell kids all the time, like, what do you wanna be when you grow up? What do you wanna be when you grow up? And so then they get attached to these ideas of what they wanna be or what they wanna study. And it's very hard to detach yourself from something that you've been attached to for 10, 15, 20 years, telling everybody, I wanna be, I wanna do this, I wanna do this.

And then all of a sudden it's not working out. And you feel like a failure, but it's not really you. It's just that you haven't had a chance to explore or understand different ideas about. What it means to work and what it looks like. So I think the key is how to teach students about young learners about this stuff early on.

Give them exposure. This is an entrepreneur's life. This is a day in the life as an engineer. This is a day in the life as a a retail. You know retail shopper, like the shoppers that go and do, you know, buy things for all the different corporations. This is the life of a graphic designer. This is the, like, really just so much exposure so that they don't just attach themselves to the concept of one thing and not really understand that thing too well.

Nia Adams: I think another thing is they have to learn how to pivot. The first thing you do might not be successful and you have to be okay with that. And that you might need to go some, like my first business, I was gonna be a credit repair specialist. My business is gonna be called CreditWise. That was gonna be my first business.

And then I realized I don't wanna write dispute letters and stay on the phone with the credit bureaus arguing the FCRA all day. I'm not very passionate about that. That's not something I can continue to do when I don't wanna do it. So I'm like, okay, yeah, this is not gonna work. And what's so funny about it is now Capital One, their credit part is called CreditWise.

Yanely Espinal: I was gonna say, I'm glad you didn't do it, girl, 'cause Capital One would've came for you and sued you. 

Nia Adams: No, this would've been before they had that. They didn't even have that. That's, wow. This was, this was my first business, like before I even graduated college, like years ago. That's what it was gonna be called.

So I had to pivot. And then even when I started my business, like I said, I used to do one-on-one coaching, which took a lot of my time, right? So again, you have to be able to pivot and be okay with, maybe this is your dream, but this is the best way. My goal was to help others get better with money, right?

One-on-one may not effectively help me do that. So I have to now pivot and change the structure and the whole business process. So you have to be okay with that and be like, okay, that's fine. You know who was, you know, talk to any wealthy person and tell me the person who was successful with the first thing they did.

Yanely Espinal: That's right. That's so true. I love that. Mm-hmm. So we talked a lot about entrepreneurship, your journey to it. Tell us now about your actual business. What is a day in the life? We know that you you know, offer financial education to communities through financial literacy programming, through events, through coaching and also some of your clients are not actually individuals, but like organizations.

So tell us about Perspectives, the journey to actually being able to create a profit build business from it. And what's kind of day in the life of Running Perspectives is like for you. 

[00:35:11] Nia's Experience with Running Her Own Business.

Nia Adams: So depending on the day, it's a lot of running. So what Perspectives does is a financial education company that helps individuals overcome money, mistakes break through bad spending habits so they can achieve the financial stability they desire and deserve.

And I do this through workshops. As you said, like financial coaching. I typically do now through contract. So you know, sometimes different organizations have programs that are, you know, based for the community, but they need somebody to come in and facilitate those programs. Right. Workforce development, a lot of workforce development programs now are starting to incorporate financial education because if I'm helping you get a job, thank you.

'cause this is what we've been saying. I'm gonna help you get a job. I'm gonna help you get more money. I'm gonna teach you this trade, all these things to increase your income, but I'm not gonna show you how to manage any of it, so, good luck. 

Yanely Espinal: It's so interesting to me how people try to, to pluck and choose like where financial education belongs.

Like, oh, is it the parents at home responsibility? Is it the school system responsibility? Is it the workforce responsibility? How about this? How about we sprinkle some at home? We sprinkle some in school. We sprinkle some in the economic workforce, in the workforce development programs. Why do we have to pick and choose where we learn about money?

It's just so weird to me. So I'm, I'm loving what you're saying that now you're seeing economic programs in workforce in like the different workforce environments because it is about time, similar to our work over at NGPF is spreading the word about financial literacy and how impactful it can be in schools to encourage more states.

Right? I mean, I reached out to you. When Illinois, the state of Illinois does not yet have a requirement for graduation for personal finance, and I know you're moving to Georgia. Georgia does have one already. So, you know, you're going to a gold state right now. But the reality is the only way that we're gonna get to that point is the more we spread information about how financial literacy needs to be everywhere.

It doesn't, it's not here or there, it's here, there and everywhere. But keep going. 

Nia Adams: And you know what it is? It was partially, I think the pandemic. So we've been preaching emergency fund. Emergency fund. You could lose your income. You need to be prepared in case of loss of income or something happened and the pandemic said, okay, hold on.

I got you. Don't worry about it. I'll show them that what loss of income and not having an emergency fund looks like. I'll show them what, okay, now you've lost your income for a period of time. You don't even have money to float. So a lot of companies started getting more financial educators to do lunch and learns for their employees.

Like I've seen a definite pick up in all of the areas because it's just, it's showed in so many ways. I don't think anybody knows somebody. I don't think anybody doesn't know somebody who was affected financially by the pandemic. 

Yanely Espinal: That's very true. Yes. 

Nia Adams: You know, so I think it really raised awareness and it was like, thank you, whew.

Because I've been, you know, I've been yelling this. So, 

Yanely Espinal: It just, it's just a little bit more credibility behind the work that we've been doing for so long, trying to tell people, pay attention to financial literacy is so important and it's like, now here's this big thing that kind of proves to everyone. 

Not that I'm glad it happened, 'cause I'm certainly not. 

Nia Adams: Oh, absolutely not. 

Yanely Espinal: But the fact that it's evidence that things that are unforeseeable and unimaginable can happen at any point in time. And all your responsibility is to do, and all you can do is that's in your control, is to prepare for the worst plan for the worst.

And if it doesn't happen, great, but if it does, you're ready. You know? So that's the key. 

Nia Adams: Yes. I was gonna say same thing. It was a horrible experience. A lot of people suffered a lot. We lost a lot of people. But it was a very awakening experience, I think for a lot of people, including myself.

So the day in of life of Perspectives, so starts out with the day, of course I need to check my emails, I need to look at my schedule. Because I need to know, do I have a meeting today? Who do I have a meeting with? Yes. What am I meeting with them about? Second, I have to check my CRM software because do I have any deadlines for any proposals that I've sent out to someone and I'm supposed to, 'cause sometimes we'll discuss and we'll get a proposal.

But I have to send 'em an outline of what this will look like, and then they need to approve it, you know, make suggestions or adjustments or things like that. Right. And then we move forward before I build out this whole curriculum and they're like, oh yeah, take that. I'll put this in. Yeah. So do I have anything like that that's coming up that's due?

Yeah. The next thing is... 

Yanely Espinal: Pause real quick, 'cause you said you have to check your CRM system. Tell us what that means for anybody who may not be familiar with the acronym. 

[00:39:41] CRM System Explained.

Nia Adams: Okay, so CRM is like customer relationship management. So I have this, this is one of my systems. If someone wants to book me for a speaking engagement, they can go straight to my page, my speaking page, click the link, and a questionnaire will come up.

This questionnaire is managed by this software. They can fill out that full questionnaire and be able to tell me the time, place hours. Everything about this speaking engagement so that I now know what to do. So when they talk to me, I'm not wasting their time. They're busy and have things to do as well as I have a full schedule.

When we talk, it's a more effective conversation. It's a conversation that I know exactly what they're looking for. I know what their budget is and how I can work within their budget because. I mean, sometimes you have different organizations that have limited budget or limited funding, so you have to work with them to say like, okay, this is what you have.

Let's work something out together. Yeah, all of that can be done with me having more information. The next step is if I have documents, like my contract or different things like that. All of that is housed there, and I can send it directly to the different individuals. So you create projects and each project is related to the person who's in charge at that organization.

So you kind of like can manage it all in one place. They can log in and look at all the same documents that you look at. They can log in and see whatever dates or anything. It just creates a very effective solution to communication. Yeah, a lot of the going back and forth, you don't have to really do.

It makes it more of a seamless process because I create workflows and that workflows one reminds me of different tasks that I have. So, for example, when I give them a quote, once they accept the quote, I have to go create a proposal, which I have templates created inside. I have to put what their quote was and what we agreed to inside.

So I have that reminder, like, make sure you update the proposal before you send it out, right? So that is kinda what it does, and you can form a workflow that it will go through all the steps without you having to do anything because you programmed it like this is the next step. So once I put in that proposal exactly, and I update it, it's gonna send them the proposal, the contract it's gonna create the date on the calendar for me so that it blocks off my calendar, it's gonna take their retainer, and then everything that needs to be done is gonna be done.

The next thing we would do would be probably the speaking engagement, unless we have a tech run. Things like that, that is all done in this one software. It is fabulous. It is amazing. I was screaming from the mountaintops and it also helps me do it where it's more of a template and it, it is not me just sending an email.

I'm sending you something that's well formatted, it's polished, it's branded, so it's easier to go through. It's not just, you know, you're reading all these bullet points in the email where you can kind of possibly get lost, you know? 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, right. I think educators and, and teachers are gonna definitely understand this because as somebody who's in charge of a classroom, you have to have a classroom management system.

So I think that there's a lot that overlaps with managing. Ah, okay. Yeah. So I think that, that, there's a great analogy there, but, okay, so I didn't mean to interrupt too much, but, so you wake up, you check the email, you check the CRM. Keep going, right? Your typical day. 

Nia Adams: So this is kind of me setting my day.

What am I gonna do? You know, a lot of times I go walk in the morning, but it's kind of like setting my day for what will be done that day. So I have set days that I create content. So I create content every other weekend, and I create like maybe this weekend I'm gonna create my long form content for the next couple months, and then the next, well, in two more weeks then I'll create my video content.

So it's like you have to do that because I can't do 'em all in one weekend. So I have to come up with the ideas for these things though. Like what am I gonna talk about in this long form content, what, you know, what is it gonna be about? So I kind of use time to strategize and then I also have to have time to create more leads and reach out to more people.

So it has some time built in my schedule for lead generation. Is this reaching out on LinkedIn? Is this following up with someone I met? At a networking event or a contracting fair or some type of event, I went out to meet different individuals to make them aware that my company exists. Yeah. Doing all of that.

Of course I have to eat somewhere in between when I can, so I try to... 

Yanely Espinal: Wow. No, you don't have to eat, girl. What do you mean? 

Nia Adams: I try to prep my food or we have a grocery store here in Chicago, which I don't, they don't have in Georgia, so I have to figure something out. But they have, like at the grill, they'll cook the food for you, like for free.

So you buy the food and just the meat. So like chicken, fish, shrimp. Lifesaver. 'cause now I only have to make vegetables. Yeah, my meats are done. I have different meats, so I'm not eating the same meal. But then while I'm working I could just grab something, grab something. So it makes my life much easier.

Typically end of the day I might go live. I. So like when my people have gotten off work, they're home, they're able to be on social media. I'll go live and do a live session. And then I also, some nights I have an accountability group. So again, your network determines your net worth. So you have to have people that are also working on their business.

So we have weekly meetings, so any day of mine can include all of these different activities. Which is, it's a long, like, that's a full day. I didn't count having to work out. I mean, maybe I wanna see a friend or have a phone conversation with somebody, but Right. By the time you finish a lot of these activities and I'm plotting out my content and what am I gonna talk about next month?

What's gonna be the theme of next month? Like, right. Your day is done. Like the day the day is gone. 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, it sure does. And it's wild because when you hear about, you're starting a business and you have this idea and it's like you can't just be the face of the business. You, you can be, and you oftentimes have to be, but you also have to do client relationships.

Marketing, yes. Communications, outreach to potentially lead gen, like you said, social media management. Finances, behind the scenes, business taxes, all that public speaking, when you actually are presented, I mean, you're doing so much and you're just one person. And so it makes sense as you start to grow and you realize, okay, I'm gonna have to hire someone to take on these things.

Yes. So I can focus on that. But that's the part that I think is. You know, inherently difficult about entrepreneurship is when you're first starting out, limited resources and a large scope of work that needs to get done. So that's the, you know, the challenge there. 

Nia Adams: And then with hiring people, that's a whole 'nother animal!

 I want this person to be somebody who's gonna help my business and not hinder it. So what type of training am I gonna provide for these different systems that I have in place? I'm gonna have to create a log of everything I'm doing so that I know what takes place in order for different things to happen.

And then I'm gonna have to decide what is my lead gen style? What is my sales style and sales techniques? Because when I bring this person on, we need to do the same thing they do at. Buy or, you know, Walmart or Jewel's, they teach you how they do things so that you can come in and be seamless with their brand and they might you know, take on this role and do this, but it also still needs to be represented.

Your brand, if they're your social media manager, they can't come on there talking completely different than the way that you've been talking. Your customers gonna be like, who is this? 

Yanely Espinal: This is confusing. Your, it's a different brand, or is it the same brand? I don't know. 

Nia Adams: Correct, so you have to do all that training and be good with that training.

And like somebody said, pick somebody that's good at your weaknesses. Yes. Because you need somebody who's gonna come in and excel your business. So it's not only just giving them the tedious task that you don't wanna do, of course you wanna do things that you're not good at, that if it's gonna take me five hours to do this, but take you two, I definitely need to delegate that task to you.

I need to be okay with delegating and also be okay that my customers are not gonna get me. And I need to get my customers okay with not always getting me access. I can't do everything. It's not sustainable and it's not scalable. Yeah. I think that's another whole animal. When you're talking about actually hiring somebody, you gotta create training videos.

You have to have status meetings. You have, you know, all of those things that you do when you work for a company. Right. You now have to do that. 

Yanely Espinal: That's right. I love that. That is such a great point. You replace the company, you replace the job and you become the job. And now you have to execute on that.

That's a lot. It is a lot. Alright folks, thank you all so much for joining us, Nia. It was a blast. I knew you would be amazing and your personal story is so inspiring.

I hope some of the teachers actually play it for their students too. And beyond. Just our enjoyment is so inspiring for students to hear your story and how far you have come. So I'm proud of you. I feel like I've known you forever, so I'm just so glad to see you thrive and thank you for coming. Thank you.

Really appreciate having you on. This was so great. 

Nia Adams: You all have a good one. Have fun. Good luck. If you have any questions, definitely just let Yanely know and I'll, you know, I'll answer them. 

Yanely Espinal: All right, everyone, thanks, goodnight.

Ren Makino: I hope you enjoyed this episode with I have a few final housekeeping items before we go. The show notes and full transcript can be found on You can also join these sessions live and ask the speaker questions by signing up for the NGPF speaker series sessions that occur on Thursdays at 4:00 PM pacific time. You can sign up to attend on Please be sure to subscribe to the NGPF podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts better yet. Leave us a review. We love hearing from you and it will help us reach a broader audience on behalf of your Nellie and. Thank you so much for tuning into this NGPF podcast,

About the Author

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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