Courtesy of Sharita M. Humphrey
Have you ever wondered how to turn your dreams of owning your own business into a reality? We can help. Each week, as part of our Self Made series, we showcase female entrepreneurs—as well as their quality, handmade goods—and share their best advice related to starting, maintaining, and growing your own business.
Sharita M. Humphrey, CFEI, CFSWC, the owner of her eponymous financial business, has had a knack for numbers ever since she was a girl; she actually started helping her mother write out the family’s monthly expenses when she was eight. The lessons she learned back then led her to the world of finance (her mom always told her that her passion for research and solving problems would align in her career down the road).
“The day I walked into my college professor’s accounting classroom, I knew that the finance industry was for me, [especially] after hearing him speak about the many areas of focus we could pursue,” Humphrey says. “Sharing my goals with my professor helped me secure a paid finance internship while [I was] still in school.”
During her undergraduate internship, she thrived in auditing, fraud, and compliance management. Post-grad, she continued to pave her way in the financial world—and has since made it her life’s work to help others achieve their monetary goals.
Related: These Women Saved Up the Money to Fund Their Own Business—Here’s How They Did It
Financial Literacy Lessons
The money mentor got her start in the financial world by working as a government auditor, and in that role was able to expand her skill set and knowledge of the subject. She saw the firsthand struggles that small business owners faced simply because they didn’t have money management skills or the infrastructure to sustain their personal or brand finances.
“In my government position, I couldn’t educate entrepreneurs on how their personal finances play a huge role in the success of their businesses,” Humphrey shares. “I volunteered my time outside of work to help small business owners implement a budget system, build positive credit to become more bankable, and alleviate financial worry.”
Her volunteer work ultimately inspired her next career move. She left her full-time job and made her own small business debut in March 2018 so she could help others and fulfill their financial education needs.
Humphrey gained her first clients via word of mouth and through testimonials from her volunteer work. Documenting her journey on social media platforms also helped her reach a broader audience and attract new clients. When connecting with people for work, she always uses a holistic approach, since she knows that to support and teach new clients, it’s important to see beyond their bank accounts, material items, and titles.
“How a person manages their money is about their mindset, relationships, behaviors, and environment,” says Humphrey. “When working with clients, I like to build long-lasting business relationships because they know that I’m as committed to their journey and success as much as they are.”
Courtesy of Sharita M. Humphrey
“The advice that I would give to entrepreneurs is to enjoy the journey and to pace yourself, because each day will come with new wins and challenges,” the financial advisor says of starting any business. “It’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people and to know that you will eventually need a team, because you can’t do it alone.”
Another key lesson to keep in mind? Don’t compare your journey to your competition. She says to remember that your business is a solution that the marketplace needs, too. So, in your own business path, ask for help, take time for yourself, and rest to ensure you are in the best place to achieve your own goals.
To conquer her own business goals, and continue to grow, Humphrey says she keeps designated work hours, prioritizes her health, delegates tasks outside of her skill set, incorporates personal and business development opportunities into her life, and keeps her family first.
“I believe it’s important to have a strong ecosystem,” she adds. “I have people around me who support me, will correct me if necessary, and are my biggest cheerleaders because entrepreneurship is rewarding, but it’s not always easy.”
Humphrey says she has several items on her short-term goal list. She wants to become an agriculture producer with several hundred acres of farmland, write her first book, release a podcast, and host a financial literacy and tour capacity. Owning a venture capital firm to lend a hand to more entrepreneurs looking for access to capital to start, grow, and build sustainable businesses is a long-term aim she says she is working towards.
The entrepreneur says she hopes to retire by the end of 2029 to pursue global philanthropy work, so she can continue supporting others. In the meantime, Humphrey says she is continuing to “teach wealth-building principles that are not one size fits all” and advocating for under-resourced communities. She hopes to make conversations about money commonplace and clear, something she practices regularly.
“I share my story of coming from humble beginnings, experiencing homelessness, and rebuilding my life to let others know that everyone has a story,” Humphrey says. “Financial education is the gateway to helping more people become financially empowered and prepared for the future.”