The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Cortlon Cofield, But I go by Cofield.
Tell me about your education?
I graduated with my undergraduate and Masters Degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
Sure. Well, my mom passed away when I was 14, and my dad passed away when I was 16, and contrary to what most would believe, these circumstances were the best thing to ever happen to me. I learned a valuable lesson very early in life which is, “Life is not about what happens to you, life is about how you respond to what happens to you.” So with that lesson learned, I can get through pretty much anything in life.
We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
Michael “MJ” Harris is a significant influence on my success professionally. He is a motivational speaker and owns one of the largest African American financial services firm in the world (National Care). I remember being in my corporate office and watching some of his motivational videos about how he left his employer and started his business and it moved me to follow suit. He was an example of a young African American man who took a chance on his self and it paid off!
Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Where is your company located?
Chicago, however, we work with clients nationwide via virtual meetings.
What services or products does your organization provide?
We offer financial planning and tax planning services to Millennial business owners.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
As a young business owner you have enough to worry about outside your personal and business finances. We work as your personal and business CFO and take the financial burden off your shoulders and allow you to focus your time and energy on your business.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
Well we focus on Millennials. The financial industry has long underserved millennials, and frankly, it’s a rule of thumb in the financial advisory space to “steer clear of millennials.” We wanted a challenge that rationale and gave millennials the services they need to become financially independent.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
I discovered a group called XYPN, which is an organization that teaches financial planners how to successfully and profitably serve Gen X and Gen Y clients. I knew I wanted to be a financial planner and help my peers, and I didn’t know how to do or if it was even possible. Once I joined the group, then my life changed for the better.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business
Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
Never stop learning. As an entrepreneur, reading is not optional it is mandatory.
Fail fast and fail often. Embrace failures and learn from them.
Find a Mentor. Find someone who is doing what you want to do, and ask them to mentor you. They will teach you lessons you can’t learn in books.