The Power of Credit: A Conversation with Credit Coach and Mobile App Creator, Evan Leaphart
It’s a beautiful day in Miami as waves crash ashore in the distance.The air is brisk, and Miami Beach can be seen in the distance from 49 stories high, the Brickell City Centre casting a shadow on the streets below.Evan and I talk about the power of financial literacy while standing on his balcony and viewing the city below. He takes a sip of Soylent, a go-to meal-in-a-bottle for active entrepreneurs, pushes his hair away from his face and says: “Let’s do this.”Evan Leaphart is AMBITIOUS. He combines a passion for innovation with a commitment to solving real-world problems that help the community around him.As a serial entrepreneur, he’s the Founder of a few different businesses, including South Beach Cleaning, a cleaning business that served vacation rentals and residences in Miami Beach and Concierge Auto Transport, an auto transport brokerage company.Evan recently founded Kiddie Kredit, a mobile chore tracking app for children and parents that’s currently in beta HERE.Evan took a few to sit down with us and talk shop.
So Evan, tell me your story! How did you get to where you are today and what were your biggest challenges in regards to financial literacy?
I got to where I am today experiencing the very challenges I’m trying to prevent the youth from encountering in the future.I fell into debt very early in my adulthood and was a continuous struggle to climb out of it.I’m thankful for the experience because it allowed me to relate on an authentic level with those I desire most to help.
How do you think we can change the dialogue surrounding financial literacy? Especially in the urban community.
We need to understand that credit is not “free money”.It comes with a price, and if not utilized properly, it can put you into a serious financial deficit.On the flip side, you have to understand how credit works and how to maintain a good credit score. This opens up SO MANY opportunities including access to startup capital that will enable you to begin building the business of your dreams.
What are some “easy” ways for someone to fix their credit fast?
Winning the lottery and paying off all debts… Haha, no honestly the best way to fix your credit starts off with your personal budget.Figure out where you can cut back (ex. UrbanWallet budget tool) and with the excess amounts of money remaining each month, start paying off your debts one by one, starting with the smallest amounts first.Now, if you don’t have any cards at all, your score is probably affected by having “no credit.” So, my suggestion would be to get a basic credit card, put something simple on there like a Netflix subscription so there’s ongoing activity and then cut the card up right after. Put it on autopay and just forget about it.In one year's time you will be amazed with the difference in your score.
Are entrepreneurs MADE or BORN?
Made!There’s a certain mentality that has to be developed to be an entrepreneur.You have to be of a strong mindset because most of the time you will have to endure some tough circumstances.Instability is not for the weak and that’s something you will continually battle in your first few years of entrepreneurship.
What’s your favorite financial literacy book?
7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleI love this book because the best entrepreneurs are the most adept at dealing with people.This book truly gives you a blueprint on how to deal with people in a way that is fair and “effective”. I have read this book at least 5 times and I learn something new each time.
Tell me about your BIG project, KiddieKredit
KiddieKredit is a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit. The premise of the app is that the better a child performs their household duties the better their “Kredit” score.Our team is excited to have the app currently in private beta and we plan to launch our public beta next month for National Financial Literacy Month…This has been conceptually in my head for almost a decade so to have finally brought to fruition my dream project means the absolute world to me. It has also been humbling to have a team on this project that shares my same passion for the app. It’s been an absolutely amazing ride up to this point!
Where do you see KiddieKredit going in the next 5-10 years?
This app is just the start of what we plan to do.We are testing out how we can work with schools, banks, camps, and other verticals to create an effective task management tool that simultaneously educates our youth on the basic concepts of the US credit system.This app is just touching the surface, to infinity… AND BEYOND! Corny… Absolutely lol… But that’s how we feel about this project!
Are there any entrepreneurs you admire? If so, why?
First one that comes to mind is Jay Z. He came into this mf’er hundred grand strong and never looked back! I’ve always admired rappers who’s lyrics remained true and authentic and if you listen to his discography from beginning to end you truly can get a sense of his ascent as a businessman.Another that comes to mind is Richard Branson, I admire how many different ventures he has tried along with his “can do” type attitude. He stops at nothing and isn’t afraid of failure.
What’s the most IMPORTANT aspect of your team dynamic?
Camaraderie… Bottom line.When everyone is focused on a common goal everything works smoothly.Even among disagreements, when you have camaraderie you can take a step back after the disagreement and work things out for the greater good because the sense of appreciation for one another is there. I have trust and admiration with each of my team members which is an absolute must at the beginning stages of a startup. I say it all the time but I feel like the dumbest person on my team haha.
What are some GREAT money-saving tools for new investors?
Utilize an app that lets you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and then saves the difference for you. You will be amazed at how quickly those figures will add up.
If you were to start over with $0, how would you build your empire?
Great question. I think I would start first by building a mastermind group. Really being in the trenches with some like-minded individuals to get a sense of the best way to go about things.Sometimes the best individual ideas can come from a group session.
A wise person once said it’s best to network horizontally and not vertically so I would just look for individuals who are trying to go vertically but on my same level and take over the world with them together.
Favorite entrepreneur movie? Thank You For SmokingFavorite athlete? LeBron JamesBucket list location? Tokyo, JapanBest technological advancement? iPhone