“Four years ago, I hit rock bottom,” said business coach and serial entrepreneur Robin Williams. “I was living in Philly. My car was totaled. I lost my iPhone on the bus 2 weeks after,” she said chronicling a period in her life when bad things just seemed to keep happening one after the other. “I had so many things going to collections. I couldn’t find a job. If I had 100 dollars in my checking account on a certain day, that was a good day! Mind you, I was 31 back then. So, it’s like okay, I’m too grown to be this broke. I have a college degree. I have a Master’s degree. Something is not clicking.”
Currently, Williams helps creatives and those interested in entrepreneurship learn how to turn their skills and creativity into income so they can make a living doing what they love, while working towards time and financial freedom.
“I had dreams of buying a house, getting a car and just being stable. I did not like the feeling of not being stable,” she told BeenWorthy. When Williams moved back to New York in July of 2018 she hit the ground running. “I started looking for another job, monetizing my income, looking for ways to make money off my skills,” she shared. “I asked for help. That was the first thing, like okay, look I’m not ashamed anymore. I’m broke, here it is. I need help.”
Williams understands that individuals struggling with their finances may be too embarrassed to openly discuss or address the issue.
“In 2018 I looked at my student loans and my debt and I wanted to cry,” she admitted. “You’re going to have that feeling. Don’t let your credit score make you feel like you’re a bad person, irresponsible person. It’s literally a score that was created, man made to judge you as a consumer. Just like it went down, it can go up.”
Williams suggests acknowledging the problem as a good first step.
“You’ll find that once you outline your debts and get a clear picture of where you are financially, your anxiety will start to lessen because you’ll be able to start making plans,” she said. “But if you’re just sitting there not looking at your bills, not answering phones, not looking at credit scores and you don’t know where you stand, you’re always going to think you’re worst off than you are.”
She also advises that when searching for a credit repair service, make sure you are making a decision that you’re comfortable with.
“If you’re more comfortable going to a stranger who you don’t have a personal connection with, then do that. If you feel more comfortable going to a family member, go to a family member that you trust. The choice is yours.”
Along with her passion for financial literacy, Williams is a passionate writer, model/actor, filmmaker, group facilitator, and licensed real estate agent. She was born to Jamaican parents in Harlem and raised in the Bronx.
She is also the Editor in Chief of SOULE Magazine, and the owner of Bowtie Behavior.
In 2020, the coronavirus left millions of Americans unemployed, which had many reconsidering the importance of saving money and having multiple sources of income.
“Whatever money that I have coming in I always take a percentage of it and automatically put it in my savings account. Twenty percent may be a lot, but I would say at least save 10 percent,” she advised. “When we start saving it’s about changing our mindset as well. Saying that I do not want to eat out today or that I don’t want to buy this at the mall doesn’t mean you’re broke. It just means that you have money, but it’s not budgeted for that.”
Though Williams has a lot on her plate she makes sure to make self-care a top priority.
“I’m being more realistic with my schedule and scheduling days off,” she said. “I can’t stress that enough. Sunday is my day where I do not do anything work related. Sundays are reserved for me. Getting more into the habit of saying no. Really sit down and say do I have the time to do this? And if you don’t, then say no.”
Creatives tend to network and conduct business on their phones, which makes it even harder to detach from the device and allow yourself a break.
“I’m the type of person that likes to get things done as soon as they pop up, but I had to really train myself to be like you don’t have to answer this right now,” said Williams. “It’s not a priority. Being a woman of color, my mom, my grandma, my great great grandma, my ancestors – their greatest dream was probably to be able to rest. Why am I taking it for granted? I have to really tell myself “Robin, you do not work in a trauma unit, this can wait until tomorrow.”
Williams acknowledges the ongoing social media pressure to level up.
“Give yourself grace. We are in a really tough time right now.”
Have you found that saving money is a challenge? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Williams shared with us how to save 10k with 20 simple tips:
Simple Tips to Saving 10k
1. Create a weekly budget.
2. Take your spending money out in cash.
3. Automate your savings!
4. Keep your savings in a different account.
5. Aim to increase your savings amount every 3-6 months.
6. Save 25% of any additional income.
7. Sell unused clothing, shoes, and accessories.
8. Monetize your creativity and skills.
9. Refinance with a credit union.
10. Start investing.
11. Create a Cut List.
12. Choose a treat!
13. Take a subscription hiatus.
14. Get subscription buddies!
15. Cut some corners.
16. Switch from cable to internet TV.
17. Cancel your gym membership and use YouTube.
18. Bring your coffee (and lunch) to work.
20. Keep visuals of your end goal.