First Financial Security’s® Share Your Umbrella podcast is dedicated to telling stories of entrepreneurs who help families and communities with financial solutions. Every week we take excerpts from the most interesting parts of our interviews and post them on our blog. This week, we spoke to National Marketing Director Brand Bridgett about how she built the perfect daily routine, how to thrive as a woman in a male-dominated industry and what sharing the umbrella means to her.
See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.
Brandi, what were you doing before joining FFS?
Before FFS, I was sort of a serial entrepreneur. At a very young age, I saw my dad being an entrepreneur, but I didn’t really know what that was. I just saw that he was always there for us. I was living in Washington, DC, where you’re expected to go to school, get a degree and get a good government job. That’s how you work your way up to make those six figures. I assumed that I was either going to go down that route, or I was going to go into the medical industry and become a nurse.
I quickly changed paths when I got married young. I fell in love with my high school sweetheart and he joined the military. As we were traveling around the country and having children, I realized that my career path wasn't going to be exactly what I thought it was going to be because I wanted to really be there for my kids. That's when I committed to the idea of entrepreneurship.
I've been in the health and wellness space — I taught people about nutrition and how to trust your body when it comes to food. I opened a facility out in California where we were teaching that on a constant basis. Then, when I moved back here to the DC area, I worked for a plastic surgeon for ten years.
It wasn't until I think my husband passed away that I realized that a nine-to-five wasn't fitting for me anymore. I needed to be Superwoman for my kids, to be able to be at every field trip, to be able to drop them off at school in the morning, to be able to pick them up and reassure them that their mom was going to be there for them. I wanted to go back to the health and wellness space, but because I had evolved, that space wasn't there for me anymore.
Then I was introduced to FFS. I was introduced to Shirley Luu and it all just clicked. I saw that FFS was so multifaceted — that there are so many nuances to helping people in this business. That’s how I got here.
What does your daily life with FFS look like as opposed to that nine-to-five?
So many people have the misconception that when you're an entrepreneur, your life looks like an Instagram ad — that you're at the pool all day, you're driving around in all these fancy cars, you're having brunch every single day. People don't understand that when you become an entrepreneur, you have to become your own boss. You have to build your own schedule and you have to have a daily method of operation. You have to live by your calendar.
I get up and create a routine for my kids, make sure that they've eaten breakfast and they get to school on time. Then, I get to sit down and reflect: “Okay, what is it that I really need to get done today? What are my priorities? Who do I need to reach out and get in touch with?” I think that in this year, specifically, if you ask that question every day — “Who can I reach out to today?” — it will automatically grow your business. So many people just want to stay in touch, even if it’s “Hey, I'm thinking about you.”
Do any of the FFS tools help you organize your business? In what ways do you use them?
The one thing that helped us scale the most this year is Success Tracks. Becoming a leader can be a very overwhelming situation: “Am I leading right? Did I teach them everything they needed to know before they got started?” That's a lot of pressure. Success Tracks took some of that pressure off of my shoulders, and helped the new agents feel like they are accountable in their journey as well.
It’s allowed us to scale all across the country because people can be doing these Success Tracks courses at any time of the day, whenever they can fit them in. It feels more like I’m guiding agents and we’re walking together as opposed to feeling like I'm pulling someone toward success. Now, we push towards it together.
It’s what I thought of when I heard “sharing your umbrella.” I see that as one of the biggest signs of humanity — if someone's out in the cold rain and they have no protection, they're drenched, and you share your umbrella to give them cover, it’s like understanding we're all equal, we’re in this together. We’re united.
It’s even more profound in today's world because there's so much financial inequality out there. People didn’t have enough money set aside in savings to help when something as crazy as 2020 happened because they’d never been taught the fundamentals of money. Many people don't even have a budget — they don't even know where their money's going in a month. We can share our umbrella and say, ‘Here, let me help you understand how to cover your household.’
So many of us are in this cycle of financial unawareness — if we can cover at least one person with our umbrella and help them understand how to stay dry, then they can share their umbrella in the future. If we just keep sharing our knowledge, then the world will be a better place.
Have you faced any challenges in this industry as a woman entrepreneur?
It’s hard not to be self-conscious as a woman in any male-dominated industry, especially in the beginning. I was always very aware of that. Sometimes I can’t help but picture people saying, “Why should I listen to her?” I had all these different stigmas that were swirling around my head, until I told myself, “Listen, you either got to get out of your own way, or get out of the game, period, and find something else.”
I learned how to put all those stereotypes to the side and come from a place of authenticity. Learning as much as I could and becoming a student of the business raised my confidence level 110%, and confidence is what shines. All the different avenues that FFS has given us have allowed me to feel more confident going out there as a minority woman and saying, ‘It’s not about what I am, it's about what I know.”
I've been able to display that confidence in many rooms, even some where wealthy people had never heard of some of those financial concepts. Those moments allowed me to push on. I’ll be honest: I looked at other companies before I really made my move with FFS, but I chose what I chose because I could not see those other companies sharing their umbrella like FFS does every single day.
Listen to our full conversation with Brandi Bridgett for more valuable insight into running your own business.
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