Lorne Jenkins – Mini Money Management

The Thriving Solopreneur Podcast Show with Lorne Jenkins and Janine Bolon: Mini Money Management

To Learn More about Lorne Jenkins [click here] to view his Media Kit.

Janine Bolan: Hi, this is Janine Bolan with the thriving solopreneur, and today I have with me, a very dear friend. Lorne and I have been working together for several years. I’m very excited for you to meet Lorne Jenkins. He is the CEO and original graduate of Mini Money Management. Now Mini is not a bunch, it’s tiny, it’s M-I-N-I. The reason why it specializes in that is a virtual earning platform that focuses on teaching the basics of money to kids and adults.

Lorne received his undergraduate degree in Economics, from Campbell University and a master’s degree in finance from the University of East London. He worked in London as a foreign exchange broker before moving back to Colorado to start Mini Money Management. MMM is based on a game that his mother and co-founder played with him growing up. He learned that when you make money you save a bit first and then you pay for your expenses and then have fun with the rest.

He took his lessons and turned them into an educational company that teaches money to kids and adults around the world. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Lorne Jenkins: Yes, it’s great to see you, and thanks for having me back or having me on this one.

Janine: On this one, right? We’ve been able to chat on so many webinars and that. This is the wonderful thing about Loren. He and I have done webinars together when we had the 2020 lockdown, we were all very concerned for our teachers and students. So we joined together so that both of our communities would be able to learn the 60/40 principle that I teach as well as Mini Money Management that Loren teaches and what was wonderful about those webinars and everything was just the huge response we got and a lot of good information was able to be passed along.

So jeez, dude. What got you started in this? I mean, I know your mom taught you this. But why on Earth would you decide “Oh yeah, let’s just make this a business.” I mean, that’s a huge leap.

Lorne: Yeah, I think the big thing was I had worked and finance when I was in London for a little while. And the big thing on mind was just, I think I saw like, how a lot of the times people were making money out of people not understanding about money, and I was like, well if this is such a big industry than there should certainly be an industry to make money out of teaching people about money.

I guess that’s the whole bleeding-heart side of it. And so I kind of people said “Oh, you’ll never make money at that. There’s no money in that.” So I kind of took it as a challenge and here we are.

Janine: It was one of those like, right out of the gamer era, it was like “challenge accepted”. You’re like, dawning, you’re shielding, you’re ready to roll out. Yeah, this is one of my favorite aspects of it, and I know a lot of people call us bleeding hearts, right? When I started the 60/40 principle, people were like, “You’ll never make any money on it.” You have to have people that have net gross, net profit, or what-have-you of, or assets of 800 thousand or more before you’ll ever really be able to make any money.

It was told me by investing professionals and you saw them when you were in London about how much money people expected folks to have before you could actually make a living helping coach them on money. And I was the same way, I was like, “Well, you have to be able to get out of the basement first, right?” I mean, a lot of people are in debt, 800 thousand, they don’t even own a home. Well maybe now own a home that is of that level, right? And you’ve got to live somewhere.

So talk to us a little bit about how long you’ve been in business with Mini Money Management and how long it took you before the business started breaking even.

Lorne: Yeah, actually yesterday was our two-year anniversary. We’ve been around for two years, which is kind of crazy. It seems like it’s just been a couple of months and we actually take an angel investment. So we’re working our way up to be profitable and that’s going to be our goal going into 2022. So this back half of the year is going to be really important for them.

Janine: It’s been my experience with the many different businesses that I’ve run. It takes anywhere from two to three years to become profitable. So you’re right on track and I just like to share that with people because that’s something that people really don’t talk a lot about when it comes to solopreneurship. Is that how long it takes before you can get your business into a profit margin? And then about the time, you’re profitable and you’re able to start paying yourself, then you realize the systems that you have, you’re growing so much that you need to create new systems and that can cost a pretty penny when it comes to the software you need at that time.

So talk to us a little bit about what your area of focus is like on the products and services because you’re one of those really neat companies because you have products but you also have services. Tell us a little bit about that.

Lorne: Yes. So the lovely software and tech updates, we realize that essentially we built a super complex and cool system for kids to use as a classroom economy in schools. But that being said we built it on a smaller platform. So one of the big problems with us scaling is that we’ve had five or ten teachers using it at the same time with larger classes and the app starting to slow down. So now we have the pleasure of now moving our whole database over to another server which is a whole lot of fun. But I think the part that we’re really excited about is that we also teach classes and that was one of the good things to come from the pandemic. Well, obviously a lot of that stuff, but I think one of the silver linings that we figured out is that a lot of people really just want to learn about money. They just don’t know where to start.

And so when you offer them a class, you offer them an easy space to go and be able to talk to money and learn about money and really just have the basics of money be taught. I’d say, we went from a K5, we were really focusing on first to fifth grade, and now we go all the way up in the college and adults, and we’re like partnering with universities and doing work with grown people now and I think it’s really cool.

It’s unfortunate that people don’t have that financial education, but it’s nice to know that we’re on the right track and that people really do well learn this type of stuff.

Janine: I know it was such a delight for me to be able to talk to some of the teachers during the webinars because I rarely get to see that side so much of what I’m dealing with is working with families and helping them, get out of debt. So it was lovely to be able to talk to teachers who are using your system and talking about how excited the kids would get how the kids would go home. And then they would start teaching these principles to the parents and it has this beautiful ripple effect. Those are the good days, right?

So let’s talk a little bit about being a solopreneur and then do we have those that we were just talking about it before we got on where you have those days that really aren’t necessarily the wonderful peaches and cream kind of days. So when you’re working on your business and it gets really difficult, what inspiration do you personally cling to keep you rolling?

Lorne: Yes, it’s two things actually. So I always like to keep one of my favorite quotes from our students up. This guy’s name was EZ and he said, “I always knew people would tell me not to buy BMW as my first car if I couldn’t afford it, but now it makes sense.” I think for some people are, “Oh of course you wouldn’t,” but I think that is a financial mistake that he was able to avoid just because we sat down and had a conversation. And then I think the second piece of it that was really cool is that there was a time where I was giving a webinar and someone tagged me in a Facebook post and it was an African-American guy and he said he brought his son up to watch me speak because there are not that many times where you see black people in tech.

When I was starting a company I wanted to be an educational tech company. I didn’t see anybody look like me and I think just to be able to do that for at least somebody else, if not, two, three, four, five, people. I think that’s an unbelievable benefit. And so I have that hung up on my wall. Yes, that makes the hard days a little bit less hard.

Janine: It does. The one I got was having a woman be able to talk to other women about business and talk about finances because as mothers and as wives, we have very different concerns than our male counterparts, and not that there is any lack of education on that side but we really come at money differently. And so, that’s the thing that I love about what you do is if we can inspire anybody, whether it’s by what we look like, or by our area of life experience, that’s exciting. Yes, I’m glad that you have that. That’s wonderful.

So, you know this is what we always like to talk about in the Thriving Solopreneur, there’s always those Dark Nights of the Soul where things have been not going very well. There’s that Dark Night of the Soul, you wake up at 2:30, in your case, you have an angel investor. And my case I was pulling money from my personal savings account. And when things start getting down to a certain level, something has got to change. So how do you bounce back from those sorts of Dark Nights of the soul? And this is so helpful because I think sometimes business people don’t talk about it but it happens to all of us and at different times. So it can be at the six-month mark, that was a really big one.

The 18-month mark and then again, at the three-year mark, it’s almost like relationships when relationships have challenges. I’ve noticed it’s the same with businesses. So can you tell me about that for you?

Loren: Yeah, I think that entrepreneurship is a wave. So you’re going to have your really high highs and you’re going to have your really low lows. There have been times where I remember it was maybe a year and a half ago and I got laughed out of an investment meeting.

At the moment I was “You know what, I don’t know if I’m built for this.” But I think the thing that helps me see what happens when you make it through one and like the first one’s always the hardest. And you see you’ve got a great support system. It’s always about your family and your friends and making sure you’re in a good headspace, meditating, exercising, and I think those things become very apparent when you get to those low lows and it’s going to happen.

But I think now when I hit a low, I know “Okay, I’ve made it through this before, or this has happened before, I felt like this before.” So a piece of it is just kind of experience and like knowing that like you have to weather the storm and know how to weather the storm. But also just accepting that is going to happen. Anything that you care about this much, anything that you love and like, put your heart and soul into. It’s gonna hurt when things don’t go your way. And so just kind of managing that, I’m working on, to say the least.

Janine: I think we’re all a work in progress with that because I’ve even talked to people who were multi seven-figure kind of companies, and they even talk about “Yeah, I got stressed the other day because blah blah blah” and I just started laughing I was like “Oh my God, it never stops.” It is truly a lifestyle.

And I love what you just said about how to make sure you’re meditating, make sure you’re doing your physical care, you’re moving, you’re exercising because a lot of times we get stuck behind the computer for very long periods of time. So that’s the thing that I think is important. Build your lifestyle first and then build the business around that lifestyle. So you stay healthy and you stay in that the best place you can be considering everything that you have going on.

But you also mentioned family and friends were very helpful to your support network. Other than the investment meeting, which we will not discuss, because we’ve all been there, we’ve all been laughed out of a conference room like, “Oh my God! Are you kidding me? Why are you even here?”, right? They look at you because- I remember you told me this, “Yes, Miss Bolan that’s very lovely but all you have my dear’s ideas.” Have you remembered that? So clearly I thought, but I’m an idea Queen, man. I’ve got ideas that I know will work. Right? Well, as you said, challenge accepted, I’m going to go show how this works.

So, tell us a little bit about the ways the business community has actually helped you, because I know I have my own stories of how other business owners. They were my salvation at staying sane during the more challenging tips, talk to us a little bit about what you experience.

Lorne: Yeah. I think the biggest thing is that it’s therapeutic. There is something to getting on a call and seeing somebody who looks just as tired as you and can understand how difficult this journey is. And I think that’s definitely the best part. I know I’m not alone in this and then two, especially I didn’t really know how to start a business. I don’t really know everything that I’m doing and this, but I know that if I need some help and I put it out there, I’m going to get so many great responses.

Even a month ago, I asked for an accountant and I think I had like 15 to 20 people message me, “Here’s an accountant.”, “I’m an accountant.”, “Here are eight accountants.” It just ends like knowing that I can be okay with not knowing everything and understanding that have a place where that I can go to get those answers and get that help and get that support. It makes this job a little bit easier because you already have the weight of everything else on it. But knowing you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself is a weight off of your back for sure.

Janine: Yeah, that whole model of the Lone Wolf is really outdated, isn’t it?

Lorne: Mm-hmm. I wouldn’t make it very far in the woods by myself. I’ve had a lot of people have helped me and are continuing to help me look through this and very lucky and blessed for that, for sure.

Janine: I also noticed that’s a two-way street with you though. I also see where you help give other people advice, like one of the things I loved about when you and I first sat down together and we’re chatting away about things and scribbling things on little pieces of paper and working things out. You had some great ideas that were more than willing to let me try them out and try them in my own business.

So the fact that you’re willing to share your wisdom on what you have is also to your benefit. So talk to us about what sorts of growth do you see happening in your business and your future? You’ve already talked to us about one huge aspect which is your app was starting to slow down because you had so many teachers using it at once on these really large classes because everything has gone online. So talk to us about what you see, you know, in your future for this.

Lorne: Yeah. The big thing that we’re looking forward to is building out our school platform. So we’re going to continue to add like classes to our inventory, make sure that our teaching side is up to date, but a lot of the money that we make from teaching then goes into integrating financial literacy. Because obviously, the classes are super good for people, and we like to make sure that we get people out of that money situation. But the schools are like our real passion because that’s where you can make sure the kids never get into the bad money positions and you can get positive habits into place.

It’s super exciting because as we grow in schools, then our classes grow, and then as our classes grow, we get to grow in schools. So really just helping as many people as we can, just learn about the basics of money and we want to get people to the point where they can go talk to like a financial advisor and they have enough money that they can have someone else invest for them.

But to get out of the basement, that is the job that we want to do and we want to do it too for parents. We want to make sure kids never get in there.

Janine: And you guys do that so well with Mini Money Management, I really appreciate it. Is there anything else you want to share with us before we go today?

Lorne: Not just kind of a little shout-out to you because I will say that like the one thing you said to me at the beginning of this journey was financial literacy, there’s no such thing as competition. And I think that really has like just changed and really set the tone for my mentality and the community that I’ve built up and you’re one of the first people to support me in this journey and we’re here talking two years later, which is like really cool.

Janine: Who knew we’d be here two years later, I’m looking forward to year ten when you have your tenth year anniversary, you come on back or even five, five-year anniversary, right?

It’s one of those things. It’s like each year, you’re like, “Okay I’m getting a little smarter.” Still have big challenges, getting a little smarter about those challenges but when it does come to financial literacy, you’re absolutely right, there really isn’t any competition. There is so much debt awash in the world and the more people like yourself that are willing to step up to the plate and say, “You know what, we’re going to start educating the next generation on how dangerous debt is, and why it’s not really the best thing to go out and run out and get a BMW just because you have a job. You may want to buy some used clunker first and then save up for the BMW or whatever.”

I just love the way that you were able to coach that young man. How can people get a hold of you, Loren, if they’re really interested in what you have to offer?

Loren: Yes, if you want to sign up for one of our classes or use it in school, go to minimoneymanagement.com and then follow all of our social media for money tips. We’ve got Financial Literacy Fridays. We talked about all of our deals and we really just try to help educate people. So all of our socials are Mini Money Management.

Janine: Okay, and you kind of screamed by that a little faster than my midwestern ear could hear what was it on Fridays again? What is it you do?

Loren: We do financial literacy Fridays. So we’ll have tips, we’ll have budgeting sessions and make it easy and fun to talk about money.

Janine: Oh and is it on like a webinar or what is that?

Loren: Yes, so we’ve got social media posts, we’ll do webinars, we’ll have Q&A sessions, we’ll do Instagram lives, so we just try to always do something money based on Fridays.

Janine: Fabulous. Okay. Thank you. I just wanted to really get that point home because it’s one of those things that if somebody is interested is like, “Woah, you say social media that can be 18 different platforms. So where do you want me to go?” Excellent, thank you so much for sharing. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for being with us today Loren.

Loren: Yes, thanks for having me.

Janine: And this is Janine Bolon with the Thriving Solopreneur and today’s guest was helping with the financial literacy that is so desperately needed in our world. If you are a business owner and you are working your business and you are in debt because of that business, please reach out to me Janine Bolon, at janinebolon.com. Hit the contact page. Let’s talk about getting you debt-free and then let’s get that side-hack that you’re working on profitable.

Also, if you have young children, you’d like an educator to help you with that. Please reach out to Lorne Jenkins at Mini Money Management. Reach him in those places and start those classes. They are very reasonably priced even if your teacher at school is not involved in it, you can get on as a family and it’s very easy to use. My own family’s used it, we had a great time with it, so I just want to make sure that you reach out to Loren Jenkins. Have a great day. And remember my dear business people, keep your feet on the ground. While you’re reaching for those Stars. We’ll see you next Friday.