Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in financial services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katina Phillips, Founder of Florida Funding Source, located in Orange Park, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Florida Funding Source. My primary clients are small- to medium-sized businesses that are looking for funding sources, such as business loans or alternative lending solutions. Some are looking to grow their business by purchasing large equipment or a building, while others are expanding into another market or adding a product line. Primary, my clients are business owners that are in some sort of a transition. They are either getting started, adding products, moving locations, or expanding markets.
Tell us about yourself
I was a banker for 30 years prior to launching Florida Funding Source. One of the things that I always found puzzling was trying to understand why banks do things the way they do. As a banker with many, many years of experience, I was always working with more established companies that had been around for a long time. These companies had larger revenue streams and it was always a pleasure to work with them. However, over time I began to notice that the smaller companies who really could have used the information I had available, never got the opportunity to work with me. This is because banks assign the businesses with the lowest revenue to a call center or the least experienced bankers.
The companies that are generating the most revenue get access to the most skilled bankers. I always felt like that was very backwards, I knew how vital the information I had could be to smaller business but was constantly bared from being able to offer it in a professional setting. When I began dreaming of starting my own company, I knew that it would be designed in a way that would allow the smallest businesses to gain access to the information that could really be a benefit to them whenever they were trying to grow. That is the thing that motivates me the most. I'm obviously also highly motivated now to find new clients and help with solutions because I'm signing my own paycheck. Every month it's a clean slate, and I am figuring out how to duplicate the efforts and the results of the previous month.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Aside from signing my own paycheck every month since the day that we opened the doors without dipping into savings, my biggest accomplishment is, I have recently been able to add my first employee, and it's very special to me because my first employee is also my daughter. Having the opportunity to work with her and share the knowledge and information I have will allow her to grow and become more of a staple in the company. To date, that really is my largest business accomplishment.
We've certainly been able to help a lot of brand-new small businesses acquire the funding they need to launch; we've been able to help businesses buy their first building. There's always a sense of accomplishment when you're helping someone else accomplish their personal goals. But truthfully, family is the most important thing to me, and finding a way to work with my family and also provide income for their households along with mine is my greatest accomplishment so far.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing has been trying to figure out what I am able to outsource vs. what only I am able to do in an effort to be the most effective that I can be every day.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start. That is the hardest hurdle. I debated on whether or not I was brave enough to leave my corporate job and start my own company for years, and when I finally did, there was no choice but to meet the daily grind. Knowing that I had to create my own paycheck was the scariest; but, it has also become the most rewarding thing.
- Lean on your network. You know more people who are in your corner than you think. Really leverage that and talk to people, share with them what it is that you're doing. Ask for advice and take the advice that people give you. Only if it's good advice, use your own filter; you're smart.
- While there are going to be a lot of people in your corner, there will also be people who love you and want to caution you from taking that leap. Recognize that that is their filter, not yours. Naysayers are just afraid for you. Don't let that slow you down.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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