Kelly Ifill wants to help women get control of their money. After years of working in venture capital, she noted that one of the biggest paths to financial independence is entrepreneurship. "My grandmother had a cleaning business and my cousins have bakeries and landscape businesses,” she shares. “Entrepreneurship is a real material way to grow wealth.”

While being a business owner may be the way, having access to the right resources can be challenging. “I watched family members build profitable businesses, but also heard conversations about the challenges that they're facing, like getting denied for a loan when you've had a 20-year relationship with the bank.” That led her to start Guava, a neo-bank and community platform designed to serve Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. She works to close the racial wealth gap by providing equitable financial products to entrepreneurs.

Image: AaronAmat/Getty Images.

Ifill shares with EBONY three ways to increase your personal wealth and what to do to improve your entrepreneurial imprint.

Automate investing, reduce debt and learn to be your own boss

"First, there’s investing. By automating your investing, you can set it and forget it. That’s money growing faster than it would in a savings account. Another thing is debt management, specifically for Black women. We hold a lot of degrees and for many of us, that means student loan debt. You need to, as much as you can, pay those off, or for young people about to start college, get that degree without entering into debt. To graduate without a $100,000 loan really allows you to be able to make different life decisions, such as getting into entrepreneurship, which is my third way. Guava is the digital banking and community platform that’s really focused on helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and creators build scalable, sustainable businesses. We're particularly focused on Black entrepreneurs getting access to the types of financial products to help make smart decisions."

Separate your business finances from your personal one

"A business bank account is crucial. It ensures that you’re not muddling your personal and your business finances together, which is extremely important for the health of your business. It also allows businesses to see where their money is coming from and have some insights about how they're spending so they can better plan and make decisions about their business."

Look into using a financial platform for convenience and ease

"Being an account holder with Guava, which is all online, allows you to use it as your business account, like for your Etsy store or for Shopify. You also get access to a community which is virtual and in-person, for networking and training. It’s a place for black entrepreneurs to come together, a safe space to build meaningful relationships with other entrepreneurs who also understand what you go through when building your business."