We were lucky to catch up with Leah Collins recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Leah thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. One deeply underappreciated facet of being a service provider is the kind of crazy stuff that happens from time to time. It could be anything from a disgruntled client attacking an employee or waking up to find out a celebrity gave you a shoutout on TikTok – the sudden, unexpected hits (both positive and negative) make the profession both exhilarating and exhausting. Can you share one of your craziest stories?
In 2019 the love of my life proposed to me in Aruba. I was in pure premarital bliss. Shortly thereafter the wedding planning began and we moved in together. They say that you never truly know a person until you move in with them and that was definitely our case. Things quickly took a turn for the worse. Important financial discussions that should have been held prior to engagement turned from conversation to conflict. Conversations such as how bills should be split, financial goals, cultural expectations, how to combine accounts (joint, separate, hybrid), and prenuptial agreements were happening way too late. We called the wedding off six weeks prior to the engagement due to financial incompatibility.
This inspired me to rebrand and focus on helping couples determine their financial compatibility and plan for their financial future. With half of marriages ending in divorce and finances being the second leading cause of divorce, it is imperative that money discussions are held sooner rather than later. This is why I am passionate about helping couples navigate difficult money discussions prior to tying the knot. I help facilitate these conversations, tell couples exactly which topics need to be discussed prior to marriage, and provide them with the tools for success.
I took the pain from my breakup and turned it into power and used it to empower people to prepare financially for marriage.
Leah, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
In 2017, I was a young, single, businesswoman living in the District of Columbia, working 15 hours a day on average, for one of the most prestigious accounting and consulting firms in the world. I spent the majority of my career helping global organizations manage their “bottom-line” while my own personal finances were in disarray! I worked my way up the corporate ladder, earning six-figures and had ZERO to show for it. I developed reckless spending habits that spiraled out of control. Therefore, I challenged myself to become my first client and set a goal to reach financial independence in a single-income household. After eighteen months, I paid off over $40,000 in debt and raised my FICO credit score to over 800. Additionally, I began generating income through ownership of an investment/rental property in Washington, D.C After my success I decided to create a blog to provide financial education to millennials.
In 2021, I rebranded and became a premarital financial coach after my wedding was called off six weeks prior to the wedding date due to financial incompatibility. I now work with couples who are engaged or seriously considering engagement by helping them navigate difficult money conversations. I work one on one with couples to determine financial compatibility. This is achieved by doing intense work around money mindset, goals, financial transparency, gender expectations, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and so much more. I also work with individuals to help them plan, prepare, and protect themselves financially in their future marriage.
What sets me apart is that most financial coaches who help couples, come into the picture once the couple is already married which is often too late. I want to help couples do the work upfront so that they can have a successful marriage or avoid the biggest mistake of their lives.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I pivoted by rebranding after my engagement was called off due to financial incompatibility. I went from helping millennials manage their money to helping engaged couples prepare financially for marriage. I explain the full story in a previous question.
What’s been the most effective strategy for growing your clientele?
The most effective strategy for growing my clientele has been developing a business niche. Specializing in one area has allowed me to differentiate myself from the competition. My niche caters to a demographic that is underserved and has unmet needs. By focusing on a core audience and becoming hyper-specific about the services that I provide and how I help clients, I have become a specialist and specialists get paid more! People trust me and are willing to pay more for an expert who is pouring their knowledge and expertise into them.
Potential clients know that I am there to address their specific problem. If a client believes that I am speaking directly to them and addressing their pain points, then choosing me is almost a no-brainer.
- Website: www.leahmariecollins.com
- Instagram: @theleahmariecollins
- Facebook: leahmcfinance