Prior to this past year, my hope was to help people, teaching them how to become financially healthy. After a lot of research and networking with many industry experts, I made the decision on January 1st to take the plunge and start my own personal finance consulting business. This took many conversations and a lot of soul searching, but my journey to assist others with their personal finances had begun. FH Educators (FHE) was born.

What I started was a small business – sole proprietorship – that began to take shape very quickly. FHE obtained the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance that is required in order to run a business. With guidance from the county’s Small Business Development Agency, FHE’s business plan was written and put in place. As time passed, FHE invested in a marketing plan, which included business cards, promotional pens, and other supplies necessary to promote the business.

Networking quickly became one of the most significant, successful building blocks of FHE. Early on, FHE realized the value of belonging to a community. FHE joined the Concord and Pleasant Hill Chambers of Commerce, receiving the support and encouragement needed to share the vision of educating people on savings, financial goals, budgeting, and debt management. Getting more involved in the chambers’ activities and visiting a variety of networking groups, partnership connections grew. These valuable relationships/partnerships have brought client referrals and business opportunities through further marketing, education, and collaboration.

Utilizing different marketing sources, FHE’s social media platform exploded with a new website (www.fheducators.com), Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and Search Engine Optimization. Let me just say this – social media has given FHE the ability to convey the message of Financial Fitness to people of all ages. By the fourth quarter, the business has launched its own blog, an Instagram page (with over 350 followers and 100 post), and video podcasts.

Education has taken place through client one-on-one sessions and seminars at organizations and other venues. FHE has developed a personal finance series taught to Millennials, Seniors, and any age in between, getting the point across that savings and budgeting are foundational to each persons’ financial health. Classes can range from twenty minutes to two hours, depending on the need and audience.

Collaboration with other professionals birthed projects to serve the community at large and built on the passions of its creators. “The Budgeting Tip” series ran over eleven weeks, merging the photos of Tim Cedarwall (www.timcedarwallphotography.com) with helpful personal finance quotes. LEG (Life-Skills Empowerment Group) – co-founded by Shawn Einck and myself – joined a nationwide movement driven to teach life skills to high school students. This joint effort now includes supporters from businesses, schools and school districts, Chambers of Commerce, and city councils. LEG is moving fast as it prepares for its launch in early 2020.

Resources such as NextGen Personal Finance and Dave Ramsey have led to the necessary education to enhance the curriculum of FHE. First-year funding for the business has been provided by other job opportunities with Berean Christian High School, the City of Concord, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

I am thankful in year one for those who have inspired and challenged me but have given positive and constructive feedback – especially Daryn Rollins, Donna Davis, Cali Godley, Frank Nicholson-Bjerre, Ramona Macintyre, William Chan, Jeanne Schwass, Diane Chambers, Shawn Einck, and Drew Mirizzi – to grow FH Educators and myself.

I look forward to the new year of 2020, expanding the mission and accomplishing the goals that are laid out for FHE. I am excited to continue on this journey, sharing with you all the successes and challenges of this young small business. My quote for the year is “to be discerning of the present in order to move forward to the future” ~ like Elsa sings from Frozen 2 ~ “Into the Unknown.” May you and your families be blessed and have a wonderful holiday season!