Christopher Toma

Tampa, Florida

The Sock Exchange LLC
Personal LinkedIn Profile

What is your company description and what makes your company unique?

The Sock Exchange is an educational technology company aimed at reducing the percentage of financially illiterate individuals. We are trying to achieve this by creating and integrating a personal finance crash course into high school curriculums. What makes our curriculum unique is that, in every lesson taught, we touch multiple styles of learning. Each lesson is taught verbally through lecture, visually through videos, and then reinforced with an interactive game implementing what the students have learned.

How did you get into entrepreneurship?

I have been working since I was freshman in high school and along the way, through various different positions, I got to work alongside some incredible entrepreneurs. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss, but my experiences with some of the entrepreneurs I worked for really opened my eyes to how fulfilling entrepreneurship can be. There’s more to being the boss than just collecting a large check; I got to see first hand the positive impact entrepreneurs can make on society and how many lives they can touch. When I moved down to Tampa for college I was a pre-med bio major and wasn’t really sure how to become the entrepreneur I sought to be. I ended up switching my major to finance to pursue a career in business. It wasn’t until I took an intro entrepreneurship class where I was given the opportunity to really dive into the field. After that class I switched my major, for the last time, to entrepreneurship and decided to fully pursue turning The Sock Exchange from a dream into a reality.

Why do you do what you do?

Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems. As I mentioned, I had been working since I was 14, but unfortunately my bank account did not reflect it. I began to realize I wasn’t the only person that had the same issue. This problem brought me to the conclusion that if I knew everything I know now about managing my money when I was 14, I would be in a much better place financially. From that moment I wanted to do just that, teach teenagers the fundamentals of personal finance, so that when they enter college or begin making money consistently they know what to do with it. As the oldest of three kids, I wanted my younger brother and sister to have the tools they needed to create a financially comfortable life, regardless of the field they decide to go into. I truly believe that all people should be taught the fundamentals of finance so that they’re able to thrive rather than just survive.

What tools, resources or books have you used to start and/or grow your business?

Of Course the standards, YouTube and Google. Other than those I found Timothy Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Work Week to be particularly helpful in designing my business model and finding further resources for some specific tasks associated with starting a business. The Third Door by Alex Banayan was a great source of inspiration, enforcing the mentality that if there’s a will there’s a way. I used Warren Buffet And The Interpretation of Financial Statements to better my investment portfolio and revolutionize how I measure the predicted success of a company.

Why did you choose to locate your business in Florida?

It just made the most sense to me at the time. I had developed somewhat of a network in Florida and it's where I currently reside. My plan is for The Sock Exchange to be everywhere so I wasn’t overly concerned with the physical location of where my business would have its roots. The reach that I can achieve from Tampa as well as the accessibility of so many resources in the city made it feel like an ideal fit.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Diversify your knowledge! I try to find a great deal of information from resources outside of my field. The intersection between different fields are where the greatest ideas lay. You may find solutions for problems in agriculture by learning about chemistry or solutions for education by learning about business. Read everything and anything you can. Personally I try to read every book that’s recommended to me which has left with quite a reading list. Even if reading isn’t your go to method of learning, diversification of knowledge can come from plenty of other places such as movies, experiences and even songs.

How can other entrepreneurs help you?

By sharing their experiences, one of favorite things about entrepreneurship is that it welcomes all walks of life. Specifically for The Sock Exchange, I’m looking to grow my network in education and financial services but I am always happy to meet and learn from new people in all fields.