Octavia Ramirez is no stranger to the banking system. After years of writing for financial publications, she created Paper and Coin to combat the lack of financial literacy in millennials and help them navigate the difficult terrain surrounding their bank accounts. Read on to hear this CEO’s story about building her successful financial coaching business for millennials and her best advice for prospective business owners.
Can you tell us about yourself and your business?
“I’m the CEO of Paper and Coin. We’re an entrepreneurship and financial platform. I also run a digital and print magazine that’s focused on helping millennials get financially organized, be able to start businesses and actually create the work and life that they want. We typically focus on content based not only on hustling, but also maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle while still chasing your dreams. We’re looking to redefine the way that people approach wealth, work, and well-being.”
How did you feel about the financial space when you first started your business? And now that Paper and Coin is 3-years-old, has anything changed?
“I felt a little bit like I didn’t belong in those [financial] conversations for a variety of reasons. Typically it’s super corporate and feels very intimidating and as I dug into the research a little deeper, I found that a lot of millennials felt the same way. They felt intimidated. They felt a lot of shame and guilt and they also had just a lack of financial literacy to feel empowered to have those conversations.
Now having built my business, I still feel similar. I don’t think that the financial industry in Canada is doing a good enough job to reach out to millennials. I’m going to do a part in actually educating millennials and helping them feel empowered through financial literacy. My goal is to help Canadians more confidently approach financial situations and conversations with industry titans and without feeling like they’re being bullied or pressured to do anything or buy any certain product if it’s not the right fit with their values. I think that the financial industry needs to do a lot more. We have a long way to go to help the everyday Canadian, everyday entrepreneur and business owner.”
Who (or where) do you go to for financial advice?
“I always try to kind of keep abreast of what’s happening in the financial industry. I keep up on the Globe and Mail or I read The New York Times. What I think people don’t understand is that money, money management, and business– simply knowing the principle of managing is not enough. You need to understand what’s happening to the economy at large.”
What’s the most frustrating thing about filing your taxes?
“I truly believe managing receipts is the most annoying thing. You want to try to save and write off as much as you can for tax time, but like throughout the year…I was so organized in April and since then, I’ve just fallen back into my old ways.”
Do you have any advice for someone who’s thinking about taking the leap to start their own business?
“I take a service approach to business. It’s not necessarily about becoming rich or making millions. The truth is, a lot of small business owners never get to that point. So if you take a service approach, understanding what your bringing and that what you’re creating in the world is really going to help, then that’s where the value is. And of course, money follows that, too.
When it comes to money, do your research. What’s the minimum viable product that you need to create and what’s that going to cost you? I think a lot of people don’t really look at what it’s really going to take financially to bring the very least of a product out into the world. Even if it’s a service, what is the bare minimum that you offer? Then get people’s advice, start to iterate on your service offerings. Don’t think that if you’re going to get it out there it has to be perfect. You can always improve upon it.”
What are you most proud of as a business owner?
“I’m most proud of my team. I have this opportunity where I get to lead a small but mighty team and that has been really enriching for me as a leader because it’s growing. It’s very stretching for me as a person. A leader is not just there to delegate tasks to you to make sure it gets done on time so you get paid. Really honing my leadership skills and cultivating those skills within my team has been a blessing.
And just to see them get fired up with the vision of the company and where we’re going has been something that I’m really proud of and it’s something that I just want to grow and move forward in as well.”
Follow along with Octavia’s Paper and Coin journey below: