Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Provost.
Barbara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I worked for many years in the insurance and financial industry building education to help agents sell products and services, and grow their businesses. I could see, from the pictures in the materials, the sales process they were using and the products they were selling, that they were missing the female market. Several times, I brought it up to leadership only to be dismissed.
Then, I went through a divorce and joined a supportive group of women who were also navigating the process of divorce. These were smart, educated and able women, and yet, they were so uncertain and had so many questions about the money in their household. As an educator, with experience in the financial world, I knew I could help these women. After commissioning research on women, finances, and retirement I learned that women are vastly underserved by the financial industry and not prepared for their retirement.
That’s when I created the Purse Strings model. We provide free, online tools and resources to help women make smart financial decisions for themselves and their family. We also offer insurance and financial experts what they need to do to reach, engage and earn the female dollar. Once professionals complete the workshop they can move to the next level and become Purse Strings Approved. Once approved, we can offer our community of women seasoned financial professionals who are ready, willing and able to serve them.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The life of an entrepreneur looks like a heart monitor screen when someone is having a heart attack. It’s such a high at the beginning when the business model is being created and discussions center around all the amazing things your business will do for the world. I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with my idea? It makes so much sense. I am a hard worker and was gonna make this important work happen. But, you soon realize that everything costs 3 times more than expected and decisions have to be made on where to actually use the dollars. As you build your product there are a thousand decisions to be made. Then, you need to invest in marketing or you’ll be shouting from your front door. And, who is going to take care of all the administrative work? Do you have enough resources to keep this whole thing afloat?
Here’s my advice. Get a small group of trusted professionals who understand your mission, will listen and will give you honest feedback and advice. Listen to all of the input and make the decision you feel is best for your company. Be frugal with your money and not afraid to negotiate. Build and test and build and test and build and test. Don’t build the whole thing only to find you may have gone down a wrong road. Last, keep your chin up. Read the motivational quotes. Be easy on yourself. Work hard and continue to nudge the business forward by doing something every day!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Purse Strings – what should we know?
Knowledge is power and my business educates women on how to make smart business decisions. Moreover, I have experience building education that supports the financial industry. I leveraged that experience, with all of the research and knowledge I learned on how women are dismissed, overlooked, and ignored by the financial industry and created a model that will help women be “financially fearless.”
I am most proud of the fact that the World Bank reached out to me. They were looking for an educator, who knew the financial industry and had a passion for ensuring women were served by the financial industry. Bingo! That’s the Purse Strings model. I worked with the World Bank over the last year and created education specifically for Nigeria and India that educates financial professionals on why the female market is so critical, why it is currently overlooked and what they can do differently to serve the female market and grow their business. This education model will be used for 8 more underdeveloped countries. I consider myself an expert in the area of selling to women and what I have built has been used across the world.
The need to educate and serve women so they can have a healthy financial future is a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed at many levels.
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I grew up in a large family. I am the 11th child out of 13 children. We all had jobs, worked hard and learned frugality. I was on my own at 18 and put myself through school while working full-time (undergrad, two masters, and a doctorate). I was responsible for myself and my future and only took on debt if it would advance my efforts and I had a plan to pay it off. I started with virtually nothing and was able to keep moving forward and day-by-day-by-day I was able to raise a family, complete my education, save for retirement, start my own consulting business and then launch Purse Strings. I know the value of making good decisions on a daily basis to enjoy a better future.
- For a limited time we are offering our online workshop for financial professionals for $750.
- For financial professionals to become Purse Strings Approved, the vetting process is $500 which covers the first year in which they will be on our site.
- There is an annual renewal of $250.
- Address: 833 N Clark St. Unit 2102
Chicago, IL 60610
- Website: www.pursestrings.co
- Phone: 847-404-4580
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: pursestringsco
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/befinanciallyfearless/
- Twitter: pursestringsco
- Other: www.linkedin.com/in/barbprovost
Images by PCI