Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elisabeth Anton, Founder of Sherwood Financial Group, located in Shelton, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the Founder and President of the Sherwood Financial Group. Our mission is to offer advisory services to minoritized and underserved communities. Sherwood uses an innovative financial advisory approach, combining investment advice with financial coaching. Our approach is designed to help our clients gain confidence as they learn to make the best financial choices for themselves and their families.
Sherwood collaborates with our clients to create customized investment solutions and flexible financial plans. This ensures our clients stay on track to meet their goals while growing, protecting, and passing their wealth on to future generations.
My unwavering commitment to the financial empowerment of my clients, combined with 20 years of experience in the financial industry, gives me the knowledge and compassion to make a meaningful difference in my clients’ lives.
Tell us about yourself
I was born into a Cuban/Puerto Rican/Ecuadorian family in the Bronx. My immigrant grandparents lived with us, and my father left when I was young. My mother kept food on the table, working as a secretary for a bank. I know what it’s like to eat lentil soup for dinner four nights in a row at the end of the month.
We moved to Brazil and then Puerto Rico when I was a kid, where I was always the poor-kid-on-scholarship in private, American schools. I was always aware of how poor we were. Still, when I got to Yale, I experienced deep culture shock on many levels: economically, socially, physically (it was cold!), and intellectually. I suffered from imposter syndrome and felt less-than and ashamed.
When I graduated from Wharton, I went into banking, working internationally for over 20 years. I left banking in 2010 and returned to New Haven the year before the pandemic hit. I planned to write a book for Yale.
However, when we went into lockdown, I woke up one morning and thought, “Oh my God, the people who are going to get hit the hardest are my people! All those folks who never have the benefit of financial advisory. All those folks, like me, didn’t grow up in families that talked about the stock market at the dinner table.”
This is how I got the idea to open a financial advisory focused on making financial planning available to underserved communities. I opened Sherwood Financial Group shortly after that.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as President of Sherwood is how I’m scaling the business to reach larger and larger parts of our community. I started as a private advisor and quickly created an 8-part, workshop-based Financial Planning Series called Plan 2 Prosper, which I am giving to the LatinX community at Yale.
The response has been incredible, with students, staff, alums, postdocs, and faculty participating. I am currently negotiating with the Yale Unions to give Plan 2 Prosper as part of their annual training program.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most challenging thing about being a business owner is learning how to balance working on your business with working in your industry. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day mechanics of running a business: client meetings, prospecting, paperwork, keeping up with the markets, emails, phone calls, etc.
But if your goal is to scale your business, you need to take time out to plan for growth. You must implement the systems and processes for organized, incremental change. To do this, you must regularly step away from the day-to-day and take a bird’s eye view.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top 3 tips I’d give anyone looking to open a business are:
- Be clear about your mission, why you are opening this business, whom you will serve, and what you offer them.
- Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.
- Use setbacks as platforms for growth.
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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