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Diana Morris, Founder, Ladybug Collaborative, Inc

A self-professed Financial Wellness Evangelist, Diana Morris has over two decades of experience collaborating with her customers and equipping them for financial wellness. As she worked providing financial coaching to hundreds of people, she became frustrated with the difficulties she saw her clients facing. Soon, she decided to channel this energy into entrepreneurship, and Ladybug Collaborative, Inc was born. Ladybug Collaborative, Inc. exists to bring clarity to personal financial management through three key strategies: Clarifying Intentions, Simplifying Tracking and Equipping with Know-How. My Financial Zen is her first product to market - a mobile app designed with young professionals in mind. Keep reading to learn all about this woman in tech!

More about Diana:

1. What is your goal for every person who uses this app?

First of all, thank you so much for letting me share about my company and why it exists. The primary goal is to increase awareness around the financial decisions they are making throughout the day and uncover opportunities to better align those decisions with what matters most to them.

The secondary goal is to improve control over their calendar and cash flow, significantly reducing overcommitment of both time and money on things that don’t align with what matters most to them.

2. You have a background in banking. How will this app help people save more?

Having access to an accurate snapshot of your overall finances is very empowering. By being able to quickly assess the potential impact a financial decision might have on exiting goals and commitments will allow users to become more intentional about those decisions. We all tend to get so busy and preoccupied with the day to day grind, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. The app incorporates tasks, reminder and alerts to encourage users to succeed towards their specific goals.

3. This was your first time building tech. What was your biggest challenge?

Actually, I’m right in the middle of my biggest challenge so far, which is finding the right partners to build the MVP (Minimal Viable Product). In so many ways it’s like building a home and working with a general contractor. There are so many layers and you need to make sure they can provide the right skillset to accomplish each step to your unique specifications.

4. You’re looking for investors outside the banking industry. Why is that?

I’m definitely seeking investors that understand the fintech market and the opportunities to scale quickly. I’ve recently applied to the 2018 CFSI Financial Solutions Lab, which is in partnership with JPMorgan Chase. This incubator started in 2015 and invests in companies building solutions to improve personal financial wellness. Their clients are banks. Another fintech accelerator I’ll be applying for is Y Combinator (stripe, airbnb and weebly came through there).

5. How do you manage working full time and starting up a company?

I truly believe that being busy does not equal being productive. I have clearly defined benchmarks that I want to achieve and understand what is needed to get there. Each priority is broken down into measurable steps with deadlines. I do this for my full time role, as well as founder of Ladybug Collaborative. I have a pretty strict schedule to make sure my body and mind can thrive over the long haul and not get burned out or sick. Having a community of peers that are also building their business is a huge encouragement and motivation as well.

6. How is your app different from other financial management apps out there?

It provides a clear snapshot of what you have going on - both time and money commitments - so you can better plan, prepare and adjust as needed. Rather than only knowing what you’ve done in the past, it gives you projections and insights into your immediate future.

7. What are your plans for growth over the next year?

First, complete the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) and engage at least 100 customers to validate the app functionality.

Next, use their feedback to iterate and improve.

Finally, launch a strategic marketing plan to increase users to over 1,000 within the first year.

8. You are known as someone who is kind to everyone you meet regardless of status. Howhas this practice helped you as a leader?

I’m grateful for learning that practice from my parents. Every human deserves to be treated with dignity and has something of value to share. By being curious and seeking to understand what matters most to the other person, allows for mutual exchange of ideas and collaboration. My leadership style is more like a partner and coach. I am stronger because of the people I’ve met.

9. How have the Startup Ladies helped you grow?

I felt welcome and valued from the very beginning. My questions and comments were taken seriously. Members focus on solutions and next steps, rather than dwell on excuses or drama. Every mentor presents knowledge that is relevant, applicable and they want others to succeed as much as they have. The network and connections I have developed through the Startup Ladies is invaluable. The accountability drives me to keep going regardless of the obstacles.

Twitter: @MyFinZen

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