Dayna Marie is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and success strategist with over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. After 10 years with a NJ based Fortune 100 company, Dayna Marie says she “donated her job back to the economy” to solely focus on credit restoration and financial wellness for families.
We love that you’re an entrepreneurial expert and a finance/credit specialist. Can you give us some insight on your background in both areas?
I absolutely love what I do today. Thank you for the compliment. I have been in the financial services industry for a little over two-decades. I started in mortgage banking and eventually went on to investments and retirement services. My mom worked on Wall Street so I also had a passion for this field. I guess I was born into it.
I learned about the value of credit at a very early age. My grandfather was my first mentor, teaching me as early as 10 years old how to write a check, make a budget, savings, etc. He was a stickler for making sure you understood the value of paying yourself 10% first and maintaining your credit. Those lessons never left me, but I didn’t always get it right.
In my early 20s like most people, I had the “YOLO” attitude. I saw it, I bought it! My credit wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t excellent either. My granddad had a very serious conversation with me. He said, “Pal, you can buy all those things today but it will bring you no value tomorrow.” I was ashamed as to how I was treating my money and my credit. That set me on the path to develop better skills and educate myself more on the “ins and outs” of the FICO scoring system. By the time I was 24, I was married preparing to buy a home and I was the go to for most of my peers and even some of my family.
Even when I was an employee, my posture was ownership. I always looked to bring solutions to the table. – As for being an addition, I’ve always kept a side-hustle. I studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York,
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Even when I was an employee, my posture was ownership. I always sought to bring tangible solutions to the table. That’s what Entrepreneurs do. They look for problems so they can provide solutions. For as long as I remember being in a corporate job, I’ve always kept a side-hustle. Whether it was designing and making wedding dresses or being a skin care consultant, or financial consulting. Entrepreneurship has always been a major part of my life. Each experience became a part of the entrepreneurial journey (customer service, customer relations, acquisition, retention, expansion, etc.).
What challenges have you faced, if any, as a black female business owner?
From 2007 to now there has been no faster growing entrepreneur than the black female. I have read some studies that indicated the highest number of students returning to college, even at the graduate and doctoral level, have been have black females. That should tell a story in itself. I am fortunate to stand on the shoulders of a phenomenal class of women that see no limitations.
In fact, black female business owners today have a greater advantage because we are black and we are female. These two unique qualities open doors that were shut to my mother and grandmother. I think of my sister, who is a master hairstylist and business owner of over 20 years. She has been able to do things many small salon owners only dream to do. Why? Because fortunately she is black and she is female. More black women should be encouraged that there are so many opportunities that will open doors for all of us. We have to be willing to take the leap, grab hold of a mentor and believe in ourselves. We have no limits!
What are the steps one should take if they’re interested in entrepreneurship?
If someone is seriously interested in entrepreneurship, I believe there are some very vital first steps they have to take:
What solution is your product or service solving?
Have you done the market research? Who is your niche market? Who will it serve? Why should someone want your product over the competition
Who are your mentors? You need a mentor for your business, as well as a financial mentor, a spiritual mentor
Have you done your homework to grow your network and resources? (ie: Chamber of Commerce, SBA, etc)
I go into great detail about this topic in my upcoming book: She Wins! The Journey from Employee to Entrepreneur to be released late March 2020.
We’ve seen posts and read articles about how people should have at least 7 streams of income. What are your thoughts on that idea?
Yes, we hear this a lot, right? This is a very famous quote. Researchers indicate millionaires have at least 7-streams of income. This is most often tied to very wealthy millionaires or billionaires like Warren Buffet, Jay Z to name a few. However, what most entrepreneurs fail to understand it you cannot have 7 businesses launch all at once. Nor should you be actively “working” on seven businesses. If the business relies on you for income, you are burning the candle at both ends. With that being said, I have two thoughts on this.
First, Master One Business Until Successful. If you start a business, master that business until the cash-flow is in overflow. The overflow from that business should help in launching the next business and that business overflow, the next.
Second, the term 7-streams of income, is widely misused. The 7 streams of income are profit, interest, dividend, rental, capital gains, and royalties. You should only have to show up for one or two of these, the others should bring passive income to you!
Can you explain the importance of good credit?
Gone are the days where cash is golden! The value of the American dollar continues to decline and most transactions today don’t require physical money. Credit is King! Credit is leverage and can take you further than cash any day of the week. As an entrepreneur, having a great credit profile gives you the ultimate leverage to grow both personally and professionally.
What are some strategies WOC can implement to maintain good credit and avoid the repair?
Maintaining a good credit score today is fairly simple. If you maintain these five elements, you can better leverage your credit.
The five Credit elements are:
Payment History – 35%,
Debt to Limit (Utilization) – 30%,
Age of Account – 25%,
Diversification (Types of Accounts) – 10%,
Inquiries – 10%.
Why do you think credit repair has become so popular in recent years?
I believe credit repair has always been popular. However, after the economic crash in 2008, more people (specifically people of color) began to understand the value of credit. Many people lost their homes to short sale or foreclosure and even bankruptcy. For others it’s the growing student loan debt crisis and still others are facing the rising cost of healthcare and medical bills. All of these things have a tremendous impact on credit. And if you never understood how your credit worked and you’re hit by any of these things, well – credit repair becomes a necessity!
What should we be teaching this upcoming generation about entrepreneurship and financial awareness?
Educate Educate Educate! The best thing we can do, we MUST do is EDUCATE. Just as my granddad taught me the principles as early as ten years old, we must do the same but in some cases even sooner!
The next generation has to understand even the simplest things like budgeting (income and expenses). We have to teach them the basics of banking from using the ATM to maintaining a checking and saving. And of course the fundamentals of credit: how it is made up, how to use it, and when to leverage it.
All of these elements build stronger communities. But if we don’t know it, we can’t teach it. We can build a generation of wealth builders if we simply show them the way!
Dayna Marie’s Tagline is: I Help Families Bridge The Financial Gap From Where They Are To Where They Deserve To Be.