Connecticut entrepreneur Patrina Dixon is a personal finance expert, international speaker, and an award-winning author of the top-selling financial journal book series, It’$ My Money™. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Patrina about building and growing her business, P. Dixon Consulting, LLC.
NAN PRICE: You’re a self-described “dualpreneur,” which you’re a full-time employee and an entrepreneur. Have you always wanted to run your own business?
PATRINA DIXON: Absolutely. From the time I was in high school, I felt I wanted to run my own business. It’s not that I didn’t want to work for an employer, because there are many benefits to working for an employer—I have a 401(k), I have paid vacation time, I get a lot of training, and I’ve met some great people. I’ve been with my current employer for almost 27 years. But I knew I always wanted to be my own boss and make a difference in the world by sharing my knowledge. Starting my business enabled me to in the financial space.
NAN: How did you develop the business concept for P. Dixon Consulting?
PATRINA: My business is helping people to do right by their money so they can become financially independent. I help them understand that, no matter the income level, if they become more intimate with their money, they can see their money grow and they can use credit responsibility.
It’s all about budgeting, budgeting, budgeting. I use financial tools I know work well because they are things I did to help me figure out how to manage my own money. I made a wonderful income and I had house and a car, so it appeared that I was doing well financially, but I was broke and I had no money saved. Once I turned the corner and changed my mindset, I wanted to show everybody how to do that. So, the business became how I monetized the ability to share what I learned.
NAN: Did you tap into any resources as you were doing that?
PATRINA: I got the education for it at the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business and Cornell University. I studied other financial experts and I collaborated with others. I went to conferences. And, I stayed very close to what’s going on in the world from a financial perspective so I can be a better steward of my own and help my clients be better stewards.
My business plan was skeletal when I started out because it was just something I wanted to do. I wanted another income stream. But as I progressed in the business, I structured and blew out my business plan. I used local resources, including the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center and SCORE. I also relied on Google University; a lot of Facebook groups, including the Ladies’ Power Lunch, where you and I met; and many different conferences—not just financial, but women’s empowerment, new business owners, small business owners, minority business owners. I went everywhere I could attend, especially if there wasn’t a fee to do so. I was growing my network and my mileage so I could better help, not just myself, but my client base as well.
NAN: Let’s talk about your client base? What’s your differentiator and who’s your target clientele?
PATRINA: That’s a wonderful question. I felt if I knew what I know now about money, I would be in a much better place. So, I decided to see what was happening in high schools. I spoke with some educators about how finances are being taught in school—and I learned it’s not consistently taught in high school. Kids would graduate from high school without this knowledge. Many times, parents were not as astute with their finances, so their kids would go off to college and that’s when the debt would begin.
I thought about the quote, “When you make an observation, you have an obligation,” and I aligned my first It’$ My Money book with high school students. Once I had the book as a resource, I made it a mission to go into schools, churches, and organizations like the YMCA where there was a concentration of tweens and teens and speak to as many high school students as I could.
NAN: How did you make those connections?
PATRINA: I would reach out to the organization or school through a principal or teacher and ask if I would be allowed to come as a guest facilitator or to host a program, whatever aligned to what they already had going on, where there was a financial literacy hole. And I filled that hole with It’$ My Money.
NAN: When did you launch?
PATRINA: I launched P. Dixon Consulting in March of 2016 and published the book later in September 2016, which is when I launched It’$ My Money into a brand.
NAN: Since 2016, and especially given the quarantine, how has your business evolved or pivoted?
PATRINA: Great question. Prior to COVID-19, my highest source of revenue was physically going into schools and organizations to do workshops. I traveled across the world actually, because I’ve gone as far as Trinidad and Tobago to teach personal finance at an all-girls school. So, time had to be built into traveling.
As a result of a COVID-19, I’m able to do more workshops because the travel time is completely cut out. It’s a little different because, like many others, I thrive on the energy in a room. But, I’m grateful for the Zoom platform, which has enabled me to host virtual workshops and meet with my team. So, COVID-19 has allowed me to pivot into virtual sessions, which resulted in some great feedback.
The other way I’ve pivoted is I’ve increased the team since we’re now virtual. Nobody needs to come into office, go through traffic, that sort of thing. The business still needs to run during the 9-to-5 hours, when I’m at work, so I have a team of people who provide support and then I pick up after 5:00 p.m. That’s also enabled the business to continue to grow during this time.
NAN: As an entrepreneur, what’s the biggest lesson you would share with others?
PATRINA: Don’t wait for perfection. Don’t rely on one source of income. I think if anything, COVID-19 has shown us that something can happen that’s wickedly beyond our control, but we still have to live, we still have to eat, we still have to pay rent, etc. So, it’s good to have multiple income streams.
Find a way to monetize things you enjoy or have a skillset in doing. Something you wouldn’t think people would pay for, they would because most people are strapped with time. So, your skillset—whether it’s writing, editing, cooking, or baking—whatever it is, could be something another stream of income for you.
I encourage everybody to dig within and use the skills you already have or those you’ve learned and refined as another income stream. And, you don’t have to quit your employer to be able to do that. Many people are working a 9-to-5 and own their 5-to-9.
Lastly, have your support system in place. For me, my supporters are my husband, mom, daughter, and friends.
Patrina Dixon, of P. Dixon Consulting.
Patrina Dixon on the FOX 61 Real People with Stan Simpson show.