Sometimes it’s best to take your own advice when you’re losing your way financially. Going bankrupt forced Dominique Broadway to open up to her grandfather’s advice and the advice she gives to others. She didn’t charge enough for her financial planning services and didn’t diversify her income. Once she did, her business skyrocketed.
As a teenager, Broadway wanted to be a financial planner. She loved learning how to grow her money and invest in the stock market. As a child, she sold handmade bead bracelets. As a teenager, Broadway became vice president of her father’s vending machine company and CEO of a friend’s company that taught children how to use computer software. In college, she interned at UBS.
By the time she graduated from college, Broadway had saved enough money to buy a house. “My friends were, like, ‘how did you go from your dorm to owning a condo?'” she said. They wanted his financial advice.
But companies like UBS focus on high net worth individuals. “You had to have at least half a million dollars in assets, if not $1 million, to qualify to be a client,” she sighed. The more assets an individual or household holds for most wealth managers, the more attractive they are as clients, but not for Broadway. She wanted to serve the missing middle: people earning between $50,000 and $70,000, like most of her friends and family. They were not eligible for free financial advice or premium services.
She therefore created her own firm, Finances Demystified, in 2011.
“I started Financial Demystified with a mission to decode finance so people can start bringing their ‘Dreams2Reality’,” Broadway pointed out. “When I went out on my own, I coached people on their financing, helped them create a budget, and understand the basics of investing, like how to choose investment vehicles for their 401k plan. .”
Before Broadway quit her job to launch Finances Demystified, she had saved about a year’s salary. Oddly for a financial planner, she didn’t calculate the numbers to project sales and profitability. Turns out Broadway wasn’t charging enough for their services. Within two years, she was not just broke, but in debt, her car was seized and her house was foreclosed.
“I felt like a hypocrite,” exclaimed Broadway. “I was giving advice that I wasn’t taking. It was a tough time and I had to accept where I was.” She told her mother and grandfather, “I’ve completely screwed up. I need help.”
Her grandfather helped her pay all her bills. “I thought I owed a million dollars,” Broadway said. The reality was that she owed $15,000, a manageable figure. “Don’t hide from your money problems.” With her grandfather, she established a budget to pay off her debt. “I also had to find a way to rebuild my credit score from 480.” At first his goal was a credit score in the seven hundred range, but now his goal is 850.
Broadway more than doubled its rates and took a consulting position with a nonprofit that provides financial advice. The consulting position gave him a stable monthly source of income. And she diversified her income by creating a five-week online boot camp for $247. She caught up on her car and house payments and even started saving. Phew!
Over time, she grew her social media presence, which attracted brands like Charles Schwab, Uber and GM. They came to her to do projects and develop brand partnerships – more sources of income.
During the pandemic, she had her first child. She spent a lot of time breastfeeding and on her computer. Broadway used the time to start investing again. At first, she just had a paper account, where she simulated trading to practice buying and selling securities. Once she knew she still had skills from her corporate days, she used real money.
When her family learned how well she was doing, they wanted to learn how to do it too. Again, she developed an interactive online course.
The goal was to have 20 people in the first cohort. Sixty-six people signed up at $1,000 each. “In the first five months I made $850,000 and in 2021 I made $8.5 million.”
She even started angel investing. This type of investment is not suitable for everyone. You must meet specific wealth criteria and be comfortable investing in a riskier asset class than stocks. Also, your money may be locked up in an illiquid investment for a long time (up to seven to ten years).
“I’m not the first person in my extended family to earn over six figures,” Broadway said. “But, I’m the first person in my family to make seven figures, and now eight figures.”
“For many [Black] people, because they are the first in their family to reach these financial heights, you are helping your parents, grandparents and other loved ones,” Broadway said. “In our community, we call it the black tax. It can be a fight.”
What financial challenges did you have to overcome?