Female Founders: Brittany Bettini On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Passion and Purpose — The thing that will set you apart from your competitors in any type of business, no matter what it is, is why you’re doing it. If you don’t have a real purpose, and overflowing passion it will be so much easier to give up when things get hard, and they will get hard.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brittany Bettini.
Brittany Bettini is a third-generation entrepreneur with a passion for helping other young entrepreneurs find their way in business. She is a published writer, speaker, and financial literacy advocate. Brittany’s Credit Repair and Financial literacy company allows her to change the lives of families across the country. You can find out more about Brittany’s company by visiting her website at Brittanybettini.com
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, my parents owned a successful janitorial company which I took over and have been running since 2018. My grandparents had a very successful electrical contracting business. So, I always saw myself founding my own company and following along that path.
I attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Majored in Arts with a focus in Graphic Design.
After college I was quickly married and gave up my short-lived career in banking to become a wife and mother.
I had this deep desire to be an entrepreneur but was experiencing the hardest thing I would ever go through being a victim of domestic violence.
When I was able to come out on the other side of that experience as a survivor in 2017, I was left in horrific financial shape.
I was visiting food banks to feed my small children; I lost my home because my landlord said I couldn’t afford the house without my husband’s income. My credit score was so low that I couldn’t get approved for an apartment without a cosigner. I couldn’t afford a better vehicle, and even if I could have afforded it, I never would have been able to get approved for financing.
It was in the parking lot of the food bank, watching my children play with their stuffed animals the sweet lady gave them, that I made a promise to myself and my children that I would change our financial future, That I would fix my credit, learn to budget, save and invest, and that we would never be back to that place. I was going to do what I had learned to do from my parents and hustle my way out of a problem. It was that day that unknown to me, my company Bettini Financial Solutions was born.
I took a job in collections at a medical supply company. I quickly excelled and broke records for collections within the company. My parents took notice of the changes I was making in my life, and when one of their key employees quit without notice I stepped in to help them with bookkeeping and sales. Within a few months of excelling for them at their company I was asked to take over operations and allow them to retire.
After working to rebuild my life and my finances after leaving that marriage everything just fell into place to fulfill my lifelong dream of founding my own company. I met my Husband Bryson while running my family company. I finally had a supportive, encouraging, and loving partner who saw the potential in me and nurtured it. I saw a desperate need for a credit repair company that could be trusted. A company that operated with customer service as important as results. I wanted to be different and offer my clients something that would change their lives and give them opportunities they may not have known about if it weren’t for my service. I wanted to focus on educating my clients about credit and finance so they could ensure they never made these same mistakes again. I started Bettini Financial by offering FREE credit repair services to victims of domestic violence. I wanted my first act of business to be giving back to my community because that is what I would have needed when I was in my situation 3 years prior.
I act daily with the thought; how can I help someone today? How can I encourage someone who is ready to give up? How can I help someone avoid the hardships I faced?
I believe all of my success in business is because of that.
This year alone I have been nominated for the prestigious Athena Award for Henderson County.
Our company has earned the Rising Star Award from our chamber of commerce.
I am also working with State legislators to help spread awareness about financial literacy in our schools, and I am working with area schools to develop a curriculum to teach our youth in middle and high school about the importance of financial literacy, credit, and budgeting. We are doing our children a disservice by not educating them about these things in public schools and expecting them to be able to handle adulthood without that knowledge.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
99% of my company is online based. Especially because we were founded during the pandemic. Recently an elderly woman called my company, she had been sent from her hairdresser. My assistant asked me to personally speak with her because she was having trouble using our online interface. I called her and within just a few minutes of talking with her I knew I had to do whatever needed to help her. She was local to me so I had her come to my office to sit down with me in person. She told me her story how she had been taken advantage of by a high interest lender and now she was paying $800.00 a month for a 2012 vehicle, that was in and out of the shop. She needed repairs done to her house, and she wanted to visit her grandson who was graduating from college. I helped her look over her credit reports and remove a collection that was not reporting accurately. Within 30 days we were able to refinance her home, pay off that high interest loan, leaving her the money she needed to do repairs on her home, and visit her grandson. She was in tears; I was in tears. That is one of the proudest moments of my life. A lot of other companies might have sent her away when she couldn’t figure out how to use the online system, but for me it’s about really helping people and changing their lives, that story is a true example of that.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I feel like the mistake I made was the same one a lot of new business owners make, dumping lots of money into social media ads, without any knowledge of how they worked or how to be successful with them. I literally just flushed those startup funds down the toilet.
I learned very early to be very careful about how I invest my marketing funds.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
In my industry there are thousands of people selling their get rich quick system or promising to turn you into a millionaire in 90 days. I had to figure out how to wade through all the muck early on or I would have spent my life savings on coaches. I met Derrick Harper in a private Facebook Group where he and his team gave information to other credit and financial literacy companies to help them get off the ground and how to do it the right way. I immediately connected with his no-nonsense attitude. I have since enrolled in his trainings and classes, along with switching my entire company over to his new software. He is a business genius and I’m honored to have had him to speak life into my business. He told me early on I would be a success story, and I believed him.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
Honestly, belief is the main thing holding women back from their potential to be founders of their own companies. I have conversations with women all the time who say, how do you do it? These women are highly educated, and highly capable women who would make amazing founders. They are full of amazing ideas, and they are giving those ideas to the huge companies who have hired them. For generations the huge accomplishment for women was to get their degree and then a high paying career working for a large company. Entrepreneurship for women is made to look like something small. A little bakery, or a side gig making greeting cards. I think the real shift in thinking has to be made for women to see just what they are capable of. When I say to a woman, “So you’re qualified enough to make millions for (insert giant corporation here) but not qualified to hire yourself?” I see a lightbulb come on. The sparkle in their eye of hope, that maybe they too could lead a company.
Men have had the belief of entrepreneurship, and career success pumped into them since the beginning of time. Men have always had the option of being the bread winner, the CEO, or the head honcho. I believe the number of women founders will continually climb because we are just getting our feet wet. We are learning exactly what we are capable of, taking thousands of years knowledge, empathy, team building, nurturing, and love, and turning it into businesses that cannot be broken.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
Individually, we need to support and uplift female entrepreneurs. Supporting female entrepreneurs and offering encouragement is a key component to making those numbers climb.
Society continues to change; women aren’t viewed as the homemakers whose place is the kitchen any longer. We are opening our minds to expanding gender roles. Women have proven we can conquer it all. I believe we just need to continue on the path we are on. The more we see women growing successful businesses the more we will see society make that a norm.
Government needs to offer more incentives to female founders. Starting a small business is hard, having tax incentives, and support exclusive to female founders would be helpful.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder, but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
The empowerment that comes with founding your own company is something that more women deserve to have. The feeling of owning something so much bigger than yourself. Employing people, contributing to your community, changing lives. Those things allow me to really feel peace in my life. As a female founder you have opportunities to enter rooms you wouldn’t have been able to before, people listen to you, and respect your ideas.
Even more than that, being a female founder allows you as a mother to leave something for your children. Creating generational wealth that could go on to support your grandchildren’s children. As a woman that right there was enough for me to launch my business.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
Myth: “You need a business degree and a lot of experience to be a founder”
The truth is, you just have to want it more than you want anything else, and you have to have work ethic to back it up. You can get though more in your business with grit than you can with a degree. The experience that you think you will need to start; you will develop over the years of growing your business. Yes education, and experience will help, and they are important, but I have seen people go from complete ruin to an amazing success story in a year with no experience, because they had non-negotiable goals and a work ethic that couldn’t be matched.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
Everyone isn’t cut out to be a founder. My husband has a saying that sticks with me. There are piano players, and there are piano carriers. Everyone has a job, and the pressure and responsibility that comes with being a founder isn’t for everybody. We couldn’t start companies if we didn’t have employees to help us operate them. I do believe every person should have multiple streams of income, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to have what it takes to be a founder.
If you enjoy clocking out and not thinking about your job duties until the next time you are scheduled to work, you most likely aren’t a founder. Being a founder requires you to immerse yourself deeply in to your
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Passion and Purpose — The thing that will set you apart from your competitors in any type of business, no matter what it is, is why you’re doing it. If you don’t have a real purpose, and overflowing passion it will be so much easier to give up when things get hard, and they will get hard.
- Ethics — Something I learned early in my industry was that my ethics would matter way more than the money. I would find myself with droves of clients who had been wronged by other companies, I had to spend twice as long building trust because another company tarnished the entire industry for a client. Your business ethics will come up, and you want it to be a good conversation. Once your business reputation is tarnished, there is really no getting it back.
- Customer Service — The customer might not always be right, but if your company doesn’t treat your clients and customers with respect, and the best customer service experience you will find yourself neck deep in complaints and negative reviews. In the interne age, news travels fast, and getting ahead of an unhappy client can really help your business grow. Happy clients who have good customer service experiences tell their friends and send more clients your way.
- Time Management — The most frequent question I hear is “how do you do it all?” The answer is time management. I prioritize my time, and I focus on the things that are going to create revenue, and create growth. As a founder it’s easy to get lost trying to finish just one task. One minute you’re wearing your marketing cap, and 20 seconds later you have a thought and now you’re the bookkeeper. Schedule your time and be non-negotiable with your time.
- The Art of Delegation — This was the hardest part about business for me. It was so hard to trust anyone with my baby. As a founder, your business is your brainchild, it’s important to you, and letting go of the reins to let someone else help you can feel like a foreign language. Find the tasks in your business you love, then do those things. Delegate the things that don’t help you grow your baby. There are trained professionals out there who will help you scale your business faster than you ever thought possible.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
When I was recently nominated for the 2021 Athena Award, I immediately thought, I have not done enough to be deserving of an honor of this magnitude. The Athena Award is presented to a woman who has supported women, and given back to her community is a huge capacity. When you are presented with that type of nomination you have a few options, one of them being that you step into that role in your community. I honestly do believe I have used my success in business to make the world a better place.
I am working with the domestic violence outreach program that helped me to educate women about financial literacy. I am working with multiple women’s giving societies and I’m a new member of the Kiwanis Club.
I help people all over North Carolina and the country with financial literacy classes and help them repair their past mistakes to become financially stable. I get calls and texts from clients daily telling me how I have changed their lives. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I could inspire a movement it would be to have every child in our country educated on financial literacy starting before they reach high school. Before they work their first job, before they have the opportunity to make a bad financial decision with their own money. So many of us would be so much farther in life if we had been educated on financial literacy early in our lives.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
If I could have lunch with any celebrity, it would most definitely be Rihanna. Not only is she an amazing female founder and business woman, she is also a domestic violence survivor. Having the opportunity to speak with her would be a dream come true.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.