Refined Currency is the much needed finance site that makes money make sense. The founder of the platform Bola Sol is as tall, graceful and eloquent as she appears online and when we meet to talk about her journey, she’s glowing from the inside out.
Her Twitter feed is full of motivation and wisdom and her calm demeanour translates to positive energy IRL.
Check out the full feature below for tips and advice about starting your own platform, hustle and motivation.
Images edited by Bola Sol herself.
I use frustration to move me to new places and I also let seeing how other people live motivate me.
On starting Refined Currency
“I studied Maths and finance and when I wanted to start talking about investments I couldn’t really do that with my friends, just because they studied different things and personal finance is not a mandatory education thing so people can be none the wiser. So I was like well, how can you make it [financial education] accessible for everyone? When it comes to stuff like investing as well, people want to talk about it but we haven’t even started to save and to understand money and how it works, so I was like, let’s build that foundation.
I started by myself but just knew that we’d grow, now we have five people on the team but it was hard… It’s very hard to talk about finance, it can be hard because it’s not like my personal blog (now defunct) where I’m just like writing my thoughts down, I have to write about money and it has to be correct. I think with time and inspiration from others it gets easier.
On her first taste of Entrepreneurship
“When I was 17 I went to Richmond college, that had like four thousand students and I decided to run for president of the student union there. That was the first time I handled things in a business format. It was the first time I understood meetings, having minutes and the importance of having different people in different positions – we had the Vice President, Chief Officer, Treasurer (etc) and we had a ten grand budget, so I had to have very senior meetings! We got some things changed in terms of curriculum and how things were taught, we also did a lot of events as well and we made sure there was a lot diversity.
And then I was the President of ACS at Uni [Unversity of Essex], that was the same but with no budget and a lot less motivation from others. That experience was about realising that if you want to be the boss, up until a certain point, you have to run everything. I never wanted to be the type of person in leadership who bossed everyone around, it was like, if I’m giving you a bin bag, I’ve got another one in my hand for myself.
Don’t be afraid to be strategic and put your business hat on.
Tips for success
“Being curious enough to ask questions without being too invasive and looking at other people and saying ‘if you can do that so can I’.
Never let what you don’t know scare you – sometimes I’m in meetings and I’m with people that are so intelligent and I feel great because I understand things but sometimes I can go into places and feel so stupid… Instead you need to take that moment and decide to grow from it, ask questions and thrive off of finding more information.
Don’t feel like you have to know everything.
“Don’t quit on yourself. We’re getting to an age now where it’s like how many things are we going to quit? How many things are we going to start and stop? Eventually you have to say, let go or grow. I’ve chosen to grow because there’s been certain times I’ve looked at my ventures and I, feel overwhelmed but I decide I’m going to grow.
You have to give yourself that focus and fall in love with learning again.
“A lot of getting to where you want to be is in believing and holding onto that like it’s your baby and you’re trying to protect it [your dreams], that’s how you have to be with your passions.
On holding down a job and running a business
“I work condensed hours so that I can work on my other ventures and it is hard and sometimes I feel like I’m holding so many things in my hand! So I find that the juggle is hard, but I can’t lie I don’t have much of a social life.
Something definitely has to give at different times and I do spend a lot of time by myself but I really do value my time. My me time is so important.
On what to expect from Bola soon
“We’re starting a podcast soon! [Click here to listen] And I’d like the power of influence to be to the power of infinity in the next few years. I’m more ok now, with being strategic in how I get there. By 30, if I am in an office it’s going to be my own office.
I don’t have a title for what I want to be apart from just, entrepreneur.
It’s hard to do it by yourself so if you do have a team, trust them. Take ownership of things but other times just say be free, fly.
Bola is wearing Nars Sheer Glow foundation, BB skin from Mac, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Caramel mixed with LA Girl concealer in Coffee. Her hair is by Angels Hair and Beauty.
The entrepreneurial spirit in the air
“I think I see the entrepreneurial thing more because our parents coming from Africa or the Caribean, all the hard work they did and we’re seeing that it’s [jobs/work] not all that it’s cracked up to be. We’ve seen them work so hard and we’re like ‘suck this! I’m not waiting for you lot’s dutty little pension’, we’re going to make our own success even if it’s going to be hard, let us be the first generation to be like we’re going to be the entrepreneurial ones who really went for our goals.
On people that inspire her
“John Boyega, Levelle London, King Cas, Sonia & the whole MFT crew, Melissa’s Wardrobe.
On music she’s listening to right now
“Kendrick! DNA, Element, Loyalty and Love.
– as told to RONIEBOND