Steven Strawder, A.K.A. “Stevie Boi,” is an American fashion designer, actor and founder of SBShades. His sunglasses collection has been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and more.
His life wasn’t always so glamorous though.
Before getting serious about starting his own business and building his credit, Stevie Boi says:
“I was in a lot of debt. The debt was mostly due to medical [bills].”
At one point after his father passed, things were tough. Stevie Boi moved back home to be closer with family, took time off work and slipped into depression.
His turning point?
“Not having any money is what really snapped me out of my funk. I looked at my bank account and only had $50 to my name. It was then that I knew it was definitely time to get back to work,” he shares in his book Shade Built My Empire.
Once he was able to work again and pay off his medical debt, Stevie Boi was ready to focus his attention on saving money, starting a new business and growing his design empire.
“Whenever you’re trying to do something on your own, the best thing to do is to have something else to fall back on. You need something to fund your dream,” he writes about starting his new business.
In this case, both his fallback and his go forward plans involved building his credit and savings.
“I think after seeing the benefits of having good credit, I decided to take my score seriously,” he shared in an email. “In order to get business loans, you must have outstanding credit.”
The tool he used to take him “there” when it comes to his credit? A Self Credit Builder Account.
Stevie’s advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs? Start with your credit first.
Stevie Boi first became aware of Self Financial after searching online for ways to help his credit.
“I also loved the fact that Self gives you the opportunity to invest in yourself,” he says.
After building his credit with Self Financial and the help of another credit monitoring tool, Stevie Boi was able to get the loans he needed to launch a new branch of his business.
Now, he says:
“I am in a better financial position. I am now able to invest in myself and into my other company. I feel way more in control than I did a few years ago.”
His favorite part of his experience with Self Financial though?
“My favorite part was the reward of receiving the money I invested in myself back. That was such a gratifying moment.”
Stevie Boi shares a few nuggets of tough love with his readers who struggle with their own life, financial situations and entrepreneurial dreams.
“If you don’t like the way something in your life is going, stop complaining and do something about your situation. No one will be out there to fix your life.”
And for the entrepreneurs in the room:
“Starting and maintaining a business is not always easy, and sometimes, you can become discouraged. This is normal, but you always have to remember to pick yourself back up. Sometimes, you have to struggle in order to be successful, and often times, there is some sense of beauty in the struggle if you look hard enough. Remember why you started in the first place.”
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re trying to work on your own credit too. So I’ll take a moment in the spirit of Stevie to challenge you:
What’s your “why” when it comes to working on your credit?
Photo credit Don Harris of Hardpress Studios
Lauren Bringle is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and Content Marketing Manager with Self Financial – a financial technology company with a mission to help people build credit and savings.