Every Intuit customer has their own unique story. Along each of their journeys, they find passion, share advice, take risks, celebrate success, and form a community of their own.
From small business owners, to the self-employed and those simply seeking ways to be more financially savvy – we’re here to be a part of each story and champion our customers as they take steps forward on their path to prosperity. Hear how the power of many comes together to support the business of one with #WeTheProsperous.
Intuit: Ebony, tell us about your business!
Ebony: The name of my business is Ruffin Consulting Services, and I focus on changing the narrative of life insurance in households across the globe. I am licensed and appointed to provide life insurance solutions for family-owned and small businesses.
Intuit: Why did you choose to start your own business/become self-employed?
Ebony: I started my own business because I recognized a need in the market centered around life insurance education. When I was an undergrad at Auburn University, my parents bought a life insurance policy in my name, and I did not understand why. When I was home one weekend visiting my parents, I saw a statement in the mail with my name on it, and it included my life insurance policy and a savings account with quite a large balance on it. So I researched different life insurance policies and companies, and it was incredibly interesting how the whole industry works. From that point on, I was so interested that I started my own journey educating others on life insurance.
I started my business in 2010, and the life insurance component of my business started in 2014. Of course, when you start a business, where you start isn’t really where you end. I was doing a lot of writing projects, which is funny because I have a background in finance, but it just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, or what I enjoyed doing over a period of time. Later in my business I was introduced to a life insurance agency and that gave me a greater exposure and the motivation to get my license. This made sense because in corporate as Accounting Manager and Director of Finance, I was very familiar with key person life insurance policies.
Intuit: What would you say was your main obstacle to becoming successful? How did you overcome it?
Ebony: I would say the first obstacle was narrowing down the services I offered. At first, I wanted to do so many things. I was younger then and thought I had the time and energy to do it. But once I looked at the profit margins and spoke to my accountant, I narrowed down my focus and spent time on structuring what I wanted to bring to the market. It was also a challenge, staying consistent with that focus. I initially didn’t see a lot of interest from clients in life insurance, but I stayed dedicated and interest came in eventually.
Intuit: What do you wish someone told you before you started your self-employed journey?
Ebony: Be prepared for the overhead cost. A lot of times, as business owners, we may identify a solution to the market, but in order to provide that solution, you need overhead. Even if you aren’t bringing in income, you will still owe those overhead costs. So save money to be able to pay those overhead costs when you don’t have revenue.
Intuit: What’s been most surprising and challenging about your self-employed journey?
Ebony: The most exciting moments are testimonials from clients and referrals from people. When you work with clients, you’re gauging feedback and tailoring sessions to their needs. But once the work is done and the clients refer me to someone they know, that’s an “a-ha, it’s working!” moment.
Intuit: Starting a business and becoming self-employed isn’t easy; what has made the journey worth it to you?
Ebony: There are many moments that make it worth it for me. There have been times when I received meetings or introductions because a peer recommended me. I love these moments, because it shows that when you’re dedicated and show excitement, people are watching and observing. When you are operating in your purpose, people recognize you.
Intuit: Who are you inspired by?
Ebony: I wouldn’t say I am inspired by a specific person, but I am inspired by so many people that are starting their journey into entrepreneurship. It’s very hard to take an idea or concept in your mind and translate it into a platform or profession that impacts so many people. I’m inspired by people going beyond their cube in corporate life and turning their skills, talents, and inspiration into impact.
Intuit: What drew you to Intuit’s products? How do you use them?
Ebony: I was familiar with Intuit due to my career in finance before starting my business. QuickBooks was always my go-to software for companies I worked with in my past corporate life. I use QuickBooks every day – if you don’t have experience using it, it’s very easy to pick up. It’s super streamlined, and helps you look at past reporting, making my life easy.
Intuit: What are your prosperity hacks? What are some things you do each day to set yourself up for success?
Ebony: My prosperity hack is having a system in place to keep me organized. I live strictly by my Google Calendar, Acuity Scheduling software, and Office 365 Outlook email. These tools allow me to operate efficiently and with order. Having a foundation and framework to keep yourself organized is key.
Intuit: Who do you lean on for support? Who do you go to for questions about your business?
Ebony: Everyone uses the term “tribe.” I have a group of amazing women on Instagram that I connect with offline and outside of work. If I need additional resources, I have a few women that I’ll tap into. I read a lot to fuel my brain, and I’m not afraid to learn new things. Also, Google is a best friend of mine.
Intuit: What are your goals for the year?
Ebony: I want to push our products front and center. I recently launched a life insurance movement called “Gurl Get Your Life” that educates and empowers women across the globe to protect their most valuable asset, which is life, with life insurance. I am able to carry out the mission of “Gurl Get Your Life” through the “Gurl Get Your Life” Guide, which educates readers on the concept of life insurance, defines the different types of life insurance, and how to buy life insurance like an industry expert. I want more women to be informed. Statistics show that women are underinsured, and do not recognize their value in household. I want to help them identify their self-worth.
Intuit: What does prosperity mean to you?
Ebony: Prosperity means operating in our passion and doing what we love. Prosperity is tapping into a calling that impacts the lives around us.