Who is Melinda Belle?
I am an educator. Being surrounded by parents who have successfully made a career of sharing knowledge with people, I have also inherited those genes. I teach people how to achieve financial wellness with the money they have and build generational wealth.
What does a typical day for you entail?
When I am beginning my work day, I read my emails first. It’s filled with online calls, as this is the safe way to conduct business. I have had to adapt to either using skype, whatsapp video or zoom to service my clients. In some instances, I am working on keeping my client’s books up to date. Working on my marketing is also key. During the lockdown, I have been requested to speak on financial matters as it relates to navigating this present pandemic. I have done more speaking engagements online than in person of recent. It’s sign of the times we are definitely living in.
What sparked the launch of Astrape Finance and Money Matters with Melinda?
I had the idea of starting an accounting firm in 2010. I had a passion for helping small business firms so I decided this would be my target market. The idea came to me while I worked at an offshore bank where I gained great experience in accounting for investments. I then looked for a greek word that had meaning. I came across Astrape. Astrape means light of a gleam of a lamp. Hence why the logo is a lighthouse.
My idea further evolved when I saw how the financial crisis affected many. I then realized there would be a niche for me, teaching people how to manage their money. In 2012, I took the risk and went into business full time without any money. I started with $0.
I felt very strongly that people needed to see someone talking to them about money and not a firm. Money Matters with Melinda came to be. I had been on Morning Barbados previously doing financial segments about money. The hosts dubbed my segment Money Matters with Melinda. Before I appeared on television, I was called in a newspaper article, the Money Matters angel. So that’s how Money Matters with Melinda came to be.
How do you manage to overcome fear and doubt?
I am an inherently shy person. Most people would not believe this. My favoured position in the classroom was the back of the classroom. I didn’t think I had anything to offer, not even a voice to speak up. This stemmed from my struggle with subtraction. I couldn’t quite grasp the concept while at primary school, but I eventually mastered it. There came a critical point where I had to get out of the way of the growth of the company. I was so worried about what people would think of me. I didn’t believe I was smart or intelligent enough (based on my previous struggles with math). A coach I enlisted the services of, asked me one day to stand up and introduce myself. I was never a fan of speaking about myself so I obliged. I stood up and said, “Hi, my name is Melinda and I am brilliant”. I finally understood that my natural abilities are what make me intelligent. I have to be intentional about looking at what’s going right and embracing the wonderful qualities about myself. It’s a deliberate decision I must make to see the positive and focus on the positive around me.
What does financial freedom mean to you?
Financial freedom means for me finally doing something that I love. I thought I had to stick to the traditional path of a career, but I soon learnt that I could create a job for myself.
Being able to keep some of what I earn has been on my mind recently. I want to be able to build wealth. I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but I can take it step by step and day by day in order to accumulate money overtime.
Not looking to money for happiness. Money will never make me happy, but it is a useful tool. A tool which I could use to become debt free. I have this desire to pay off my car loan by the end of this year. Through this, I would be able to build more wealth.
Finally, being financially free for the next generation that’s coming after me. I am not a mother yet, but I would like to be in a great financial place to be able to pass on values and disciplines.
Any advice for aspiring Entrepreneurs?
Your skills can make you money. If you’re good at teaching, writing, speaking, hair braiding, cooking, whatever your skill is, it’s possible to earn a living. Businesses are birthed out of a business owners personal experience. A solution you find for yourself, maybe the solution someone maybe looking for and would be willing to pay you for your solution.
What’s next for Melinda?
I have launched an online academy called the Money Matters Academy. My courses on personal finance help make money matters simpler to understand, enabling our students to improve their money lives. My first course release is Money Matters for Kids No. 1, suitable for ages 4 to 8. The definition of money, earning and spending is explained. And challenges like a shopping scenario and a budget template are shared within the course. I will be releasing a complimentary course shortly for the adults. I’ll be speaking on how you could get to Know Your Numbers better. This I believe is the first step for anyone to gain a better understanding of their personal finances, to know where their money is going.
What is one thing our readers may be most surprised to learn about you?
I write songs and I can sing really well.
Where can our readers connect with you online?
c. Email: email@example.com