Financial Strategist, Emerald Sparks Shares How to Create a Vision of Financial Success for Your Life and Business
Emerald Sparks has over 12 years of financial experience working for Fortune 500 companies. Now, as an entrepreneur, Emerald works hard to help everyday people become money masters at maximizing their wealth. She has collectively helped her clients pay off $100,000+ of debt, invest in real estate properties, and purchase $65,000 dream cars. She has coined herself as the woman who solves misconceptions about money.
She took time to talk with us about how she got started and tips for women who want to reach lasting financial success. Keep reading, you’re in for a treat.
Tell us about your business and how you serve your clients?
I’m a business finance consultant and strategist. I work with everyday people and business owners. I help my clients with personal budgeting and credit repairs. I also help businesses manage pro allocations, taxes, and more.
What inspired you to start this business?
It all started with me helping my friends and family with their finances. I wanted to take trips and travel more but some of my friends were unable to because of their finances. I didn’t understand why they couldn't afford this. So I decided to help them restructure their money and create a budget and plan to pay off debts. I’ve learned that a lot of people are lacking financial literacy knowledge when it comes to saving and investing. I became so interested in changing this, that I decided to make it a business and help individuals with their personal finances.
How have your experiences and educational background helped you become a financial strategist?
I have a degree in accounting. I had many internships with big accounting companies. In college, I studied internal auditing, but I liked learning about finance better. To me, it was all about fixing things. That’s how I started, at first it was about property and casualty insurance, investing, and then financial coaching.
What are some of the challenges of running your own business?
At first, getting clients was a challenge. I’ve done a lot of research, changed my circle of influence, developed branding and marketing, and lastly taken courses from other business owners. I use their examples and methodologies to combat issues. I think as an entrepreneur you have to be a bit insane because you keep working hard to reach results, but everything is unknown.
How do you balance being a business owner and your other responsibilities?
To balance everything, I take care of myself, because I don’t want to be unhealthy. I get enough sleep and I try to not work on the weekends. I do this so I can be fresh and ready to work with my clients throughout the week. I hold girl nights with my friends and do fun things with them. We’re all busy but if someone is in town, we make sure to connect.
Sometimes people avoid dealing with their finances or investing because they feel overwhelmed and have no understanding of stocks, bonds or mutual funds, etc. How do you help walk your clients through that process?
To help clients feel less overwhelmed, I relate financial terms and goals to the most familiar things. Most of my clients are black women, so I find what’s relatable to us. I tie in hip-hop culture and focus on putting things in perspective. I hear things like, “I’m at a certain age but still haven’t gotten a grip on my finances”, and I say “Don’t worry, I don’t know how to fix a sink. Just like we learn about everything else, we have to engross ourselves in our finances too."
To me, the stock market is just news. I have an investing workshop that will help make sense of it all.
What do you think are the most common mistakes people make when it comes to their personal finances?
I’d say, using your credit card too much, getting too many student loans or other types of debt, and not creating a budget - is a huge mistake! That is one of the things that I stress in my book. To me, a budget is the cornerstone of financial success. In my book, Vision Future Reality - How to Budget Like a Boss, I teach you how to create a budget. We start off with a vision, create opportunities, and then focus on how to live the life you want to live, right now. Just like us ladies, plan for our weddings, we need to plan for our money!
What are the smartest things women can do to improve their financial security?
The smartest things a woman can do to help their financial situation is to get a budget and get life insurance. And to develop a vision for their life in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.
Being a mother, I’m always thinking about ways to help my son. What would you recommend a mother to teach her kids about personal finance?
I think it’s important for mothers to teach their kids about financial responsibility and how money works. They may see your credit card and think that every time you swipe it, it works. They might not realize that when the money's gone, mommy doesn’t have any more to spend.
In the black community, we don’t expose them to the bills, but we need to be open about it. By teaching them the value of a dollar, they will have an eye-opening experience.
What’s your advice to other women entrepreneurs?
I’d say, owning a business is more about dedication than making money. As a business owner, you will do a lot every day that might not generate money that day. But if you keep doing it, you will eventually see results. But that is only because you do something every day now. You’ve got to lay the groundwork down first.
More about Emerald ….
What’s your personal Mantra?
“Successful people form the habits that most do not.”
Name something on your bucket list.
To learn how to fluently speak Spanish.
If you could have lunch with any woman who would it be and why?
Definitely, Oprah because she’s a true rags to riches story.