By the age of 23, Nicola Jackson had already buried three children and was overworking herself at a hair salon just to make ends meet. Twenty-five years later, Jackson is a serial entrepreneur helping guide over 450,000 sales representatives in more than 30 countries on how to provide legitimate financial services to female entrepreneurs looking to reduce their debt and turn their lifestyle around.
The ongoing battle in addressing systemic injustice and inequalities have far-reaching effects when it comes to financial wellbeing. The Covid-19 pandemic revealed that women have been disproportionately affected when it comes to financial inclusion and equality.
In 2020, a Pew Research Center analysis reported that women earned 84% of what men earned, whereas in 2019, women earned 82 cents to every dollar earned by men. Adding insult to injury is that these gender gaps only amplify the disparity as women have been put on the front lines of the pandemic, deemed essential workers.
The ongoing financial crisis that women face is at its most urgent and must be addressed by further exploring systemic inequalities, gender stereotypes, and roles. By taking a proactive stance for financial literacy, we can seek to address the gender financial inclusion gaps by engaging, educating, and encouraging more women to take control of their finances and help maintain that wealth.
“A lack of financial literacy is actually one of the biggest reasons why people around the world struggle to save money and invest appropriately,” says Jackson, founder and CEO of Pink Millionaire Club. “On the flipside, financially literate individuals are able to better manage their money, plan for the long term, and launch their own ventures from scratch that eventually become profitable. I help ordinary people become extraordinary entrepreneurs through home-based business while helping them create a wealth and leadership mindset,” she added.
But this is no overnight process, especially when there’s so much information on the internet and you need to be able to discern valuable information from mere puffery.
Here are three ways Jackson says female entrepreneurs can take control of their financial mindset.
It Doesn’t Matter Where You Come From – Just How Hard You Work
One of Nicola’s most important pieces of advice is that it doesn’t matter where you come from. You don’t need to have a degree or have rich parents to build wealth. She made it to the top 1% of her industry with neither of these things. However, success does require sacrifice, hard work, and dedication. If you are willing to put in the work, it will be fulfilling. Nicola warns people that there’s never a perfect time to get started on anything.
“I didn’t have the greatest upbringing, having dropped out of college and buried three children by 23, but nevertheless, I made it to the top 1% of my industry without a degree or the inherited wealth,” Jackson recalled. “It’s important to avoid procrastination because the earlier you get started on your dreams, the faster you’ll achieve them. There is never a perfect time to get started on anything, so why wait?”
Money Mistakes Will Happen – But Will You Learn From Them?
For those who are struggling currently, Nicola has a few key tips. “First, money mistakes are just things that you’re supposed to learn from. If you feel as though you’ve hit a stopping point, take a step back and don’t get caught in a state of sadness or anger because of financial problems. Rather, see mistakes simply as challenges for you to make changes. From there, figure out a clear vision for your financial life. This vision helps you move towards and accomplish your goals as long as you put in the effort necessary to improve.”
For those who are currently experiencing hardship, one of the biggest truths you must digest to move forward is that money mistakes are going to happen. “You just need to be able to learn from them,” Jackson says. “Even though you feel as if you’ve hit a stopping point, do not confuse taking that step back with getting lost in a state of sadness or anger. Take these mistakes as challenges for you to make a change.”
Forgive yourself, learn the lesson and move on.
Pick A Niche
New entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they can solve a problem for “everyone” or that their product/service can be used by all. This is a quick way to kill any business. It’s important to identify a clear and segmented market that you can provide an immediate solution.
“If you get lost in the idea that you can help everyone at the same time, you are bound to fail,” explains Jackson. “For me, I am extremely passionate about helping mothers of all ages and female entrepreneurs, which gives me direction on how to provide the solutions I do.
“Women are a crucial part of the entrepreneurial world and they are the change-makers that this industry needs. Only by empowering other women both at work and in their homes will bring about major change in our financial inequity. If we are to help close the nation’s economic and gender wage gap, we need to look for personalized ways to teach financial literacy that haven’t been taught in schools, and unfortunately, still aren’t.”
The opinions expressed within this article is that of Stephanie Burns and not that of M&T Bank, nor does M&T Bank endorse the opinions.
This article is not intended to provide tax, legal, accounting, financial, or other professional advice. Always consult a qualified professional about your personal situation.