My name is Marsha Barnes, Founder of The Finance Bar, the very first financial literacy hub on wheels (literally). My background includes over 12 years of finance experience (which has zero to do with my love of Personal Finance). I also hold undergrad and graduate degrees in Management and Leadership. I am also a super proud Certified Financial Educator, a college Mom to the most amazing human being in the world, and a wife to My high school sweetheart (he still makes my heart flutter).
2. What made you put your business on a bus?
The unique and flexible approach to having a mobile hub is what attracted me to this specific model. While many people in my community have transportation, and access to the internet to learn about personal finance and the components thereof what about those that do not? The Finance Bar solves those small road blocks. We are a traveling finance hub fully equipped with laptops, resources and all of the necessary tools for a successful session. Additionally, the mobile aspect is extremely unique and in your face. It’s pretty tough to miss the green bus traveling down the highway. Definitely a conversation piece.
3. Did you experience any unforseen struggles when starting your business(es)?
None that were totally unexpected. I knew that launching The Finance Bar wouldn’t be an overnight easy breezy task. There were loads of commercial construction, design work, and grass roots marketing that went into what it is today, and it’s an ongoing process. I’m extremely excited about the journey of The Finance Bar. Every obstacle or tiny hiccup during the process is a learning experience.
4.What inspires you to keep going?
Being fully aware that personal finance is a need in my community and abroad is enough reason to keep going. People are stressed every single day about their finances, many living paycheck to paycheck, and millions holding their breath daily fearful about potential layoffs. The only way to get beyond those fears is to strategically prepare as much as possible. The topic of finance is hugely underrepresented-why is the mystery question. The Finance Bar has plans to fill those gaps of fear.
5. What's next on your business agenda? Are you planning to expand?
The Finance Bar most recently launched The Frugal $HOP which we’re planning to expand beyond what it is today, additional our second mobile app is in production. The remainder of 2015 will be productive, and I’m overjoyed about what’s to come.
6. How did you determine your personal style/your brand?
Naturally, I’m an outdoorsy type of person; therefore the bus serves my personality well. You can also typically find me smiling and laughing (embracing life) on any given day. The Finance Bar and its bright welcoming colors speak to that. Finances don’t have to be frumpy. It’s exciting to stay on top of your personal finances, it’s an awakening from what many hide from, and it promotes a level of responsibility and maturity. What’s not to love about that? Making your money work for you is huge and each of us deserves the right to understand how to make that happen.
7.Do you have any quirky characteristics that you believe make you unique?
Absolutely, I’m fearless when it comes to communicating with anyone. Each year I become a bit braver and I love it. People are people right? What is there to fear about this one life that we have to live? I choose to embrace it and everyone that comes my way. I often hear the quote: “I’m not better than anyone and no one is better than me.” I like to begin and end it with “I’m not better than anyone.” My belief is that in itself makes me quirky. We live in a world of only socializing with those that look, act, dress, speak, or share the same income bracket as us. It’s taxing and unnecessary. My prayer is when guests arrive at The Finance Bar, they feel a warm embrace regardless of who they are. Let’s all just be quirky together.
8. Any advice to any 20-somethings out there wanting to start their own business?
Sure, and I’m glad you asked. My advice would be: “Rest my Dear. Tomorrow will come.” Live in complete comfort with where you are today while forging ahead.” The myth about “Hustling day in and day out, is exactly that a myth.” It’s not expected that you’ll know everything in your 20’s you learn as you grow. Become content with that. Take time to take care of yourself.
Make sure to check out Marsha's website, The Finance Bar and to follor her on Twitter and Facebook.