b&b128 #DeadDayJobArmy Lauryn Williams on being a financial planner of Color in a profession that is 96% white
Welcome to the #DeadDayJobArmy, a monthly Brunch & Budget series where entrepreneurs and freelancers of Color share their stories and talk about the real. We ask folks to leave their shiny pictures and instagram highlights at the door and tell us what it’s really like to do the work, put in the time, and devote your life to your work.
It’s not easy to start your own business and it’s even harder when it feels like you have to explain to your family what you do every time you see them, when you walk into an event and can count on one hand the PoC in the room, when you try to ask for what you’re worth, but don’t want to get passed over for the next person.
We are extremely excited to have Lauryn Williams on the show – former Olympian turned financial planner (who also has an MBA because, why not, right?) who tells us about her journey from betting friends they couldn’t run faster than her to becoming a 3-time medal winner, to deciding she needed to help her fellow athletes master their finances.
She goes in on what it’s like to be a woman of Color in the financial planning profession, the tough parts about running her own business, and what makes it all worth it.
Find her at worth-winning.com and on twitter at @lauryncwilliams.
Lauryn: Doing anything new is hard. You have great ideas, you’re passionately pursuing those ideas, but everyday you wake up and you’re like “Oh my god what am I doing?” and then you’re like “This is awesome!” and then you’re like “Oh my god what am I doing?” So I think the first battle I had to conquer was the idea of confidently pursuing this.
Lauryn: I was the only black girl in my graduating class…so I broke down a lot of barriers within myself of feeling different just because I look different than everyone there, but I definitely notice the difference in the industry, and I was just like “Where’s everybody who looks just anything other than, well the term I came up with is male, stale and pale?”
Lauryn: I just left the APA conference where there was two diversity panels and I went to both of them, and everybody in the room was of minority descent. And so it’s like, there’s 2,000 people here, the majority of you are old white men, and no one had the thought to come into this diversity panel to see how they can serve clients of color better or what this talk is about. They’re not wanting to be involved in the conversation, and so that’s been a really big struggle for me.
Lauryn: [Getting a financial adviser] is an investment that’s worth making in yourself because the advice that I’m gonna give you is undoubtedly gonna save you money in some aspect of your life. Save you from a decision that could be earth shattering, budget breaking, turn you into a paycheck to paycheck sort of person when you’re currently not. Those kinds of things are the things that planners help you with, help you avoid things that you wouldn’t be able to avoid on your own because money is emotional.
Lauryn: There’s no cookie cutter. You’ve gotta be able to customize the plan to the person, and there’s all sorts of things that are unique to the individual person.
Lauryn: You wear a lot of hats as an entrepreneur, and that’s what you forget about, you know. I got into the business to do financial planning, but I am the compliance officer. I’m the marketing manager. I am the technical support. You name it. You put on a lot of hats, and so I think people need to remember that when they’re thinking about jumping into business, but it’s been a fun ride. It’s made me that much more well rounded, and I’ve enjoyed all the skills I’ve gained from it.