Member Spotlight: Cally Ingebritson
Founder, Chillax Finance
Cally Ingebritson started Chillax Finance four years ago with the goal of making people feel joyful and confident about money. She is a financial coach who helps people with their personal finances and helps them get their money organized. Ultimately, she wants to make personal finance more friendly and accessible. We caught up with Cally to ask her how things have gone since she participated in the Founders First accelerator program.
What was your initial inspiration to start the business?
I started working in personal finance back in 2009 actually. I had found a job where they were looking for someone who spoke Spanish. And I was originally a Spanish major in college and started working at a nonprofit where we helped people with their taxes and other financial services. They started to pull me in to help people and interpret. So, I started learning a lot more about finance.
I loved seeing how much having access to financial information can make a difference for people, and so from there, I studied to become a financial coach and then a few years later, I decided to start my own business.
Since the accelerator program wrapped up, how have things gone for your business?
It was really helpful to learn about the financial foundations of running a business in order to know how many clients I should aim to have in the year, and how much to charge so that I felt confident and comfortable charging appropriately for my time and my services. And so it was really helpful to meet with a mentor to get concrete advice that I can implement.
And since then I’ve really been focusing on implementing the suggestions that my mentor had for me. He had a lot of good ideas as to what I should focus on, connecting with people and building relationships in the community, following up with past prospects, and following up with past clients to see if anything has changed in case I can keep helping them.
So, it was important for me to go through the accelerator program in order to understand that there are important things that I need to learn about the finance side of my money but that’s not the whole picture. I need to focus on the human side of my business as well.
Anything standout as your most important takeaways from the program?
Yeah that, basically, creating a network of people that I know will help my business. My mentor was encouraging me to connect with professionals because, as a financial coach I offer a service, not a product. He suggested that I get to know people that are in the finance world doing a different piece of the financial pie for my clients, so meeting a few tax preparers, a few investment advisors, maybe an estate planner. Some people like that that support the personal finance of my clients, but that do different things so that I can refer my clients to them for their services when they need it and they can refer clients my way as well.
And I hadn’t really thought about being strategic about getting to know people who can send me referrals because I’ve just been thinking, ‘Oh, I need to have a great website and I need to make sure my SEO is good and all that is important but my mentor really taught me is the difference between prospecting and building relationships with people and kind of everything else that goes into my business.
I would say that the key takeaway that I got was the idea of actually prospecting. He also instilled a sense of confidence in me because he said the good thing about my business is that I’m helping to solve a social and financial issue out there and so he said, you know, you’re not selling widgets so you should feel confident in talking to people, because you have something valuable to offer, so you should price appropriately and then also get yourself out there.
Have you seen any new revenue growth since your time in the program?
Yeah, I’ve been getting new prospects recently. I haven’t run a P&L recently to look at the difference, but I’ve been getting new prospects and it seems like people are spreading the word, because when I look at where they’re coming from it’s like people that I haven’t even met with so I think people are spreading the word about my business in their circles, so financially it’s been going well. I’ve been getting new clients and that feels good.
What initially got you interested in trying the Founders First program?
There’s just so much to know when you’re starting in business. I feel like I’m perhaps a typical entrepreneur in that way, in the sense that I know I’m good at what I’m offering because I have 13 years of experience in the personal finance world, but only a few years at running my business. So, it’s different to be good at what you offer as compared to taking what you offer and getting all the support you need to create it into a business. So, having support on that path is really important. That’s why I’m always happy to learn about different resources
Lastly, any advice for the next up-and-coming entrepreneur?
Oh, my goodness. I would say, be patient with yourself because there’s so much to know. And so just try to take some ideas and implement them. At the beginning of launching my business, I was so worried about learning everything and getting everything right that I was focused more on the learning and not the implementation. So, I think it’s good to just be patient. Go slow and steady and try to actually implement the things that you’re learning that can help boost your business.
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