Brittany Dandy, founder of Ode to Us Wellness and marketing consultant, joins the podcast to talk about saving over $90K+ and transitioning from freelancer to having a career where she is able to enjoy stability, increase her income, and reach financial independence.
Exploring motherhood prompted Brittany to ask the question: “What would make me feel safe and secure during the transition to parenthood?” This query led her to the world of financial independence, mental and physical wellness, and ultimately resulted in her saving $90K+ with her partner.
We also chat about thriving while walking an unconventional path, side hustling to keep self-taught skills sharp, what it took to save so much money, and more.
In this episode, you’ll learn more about:
- How to leverage the various skills you collect along the way in your career
- Prioritizing financial advice that works for your situation above blindly following well-intended instructions (even from professionals)
- The importance of networking, increasing your income + self-education
- Being open to new possibilities, shopping for real estate “on the fringe,” strategizing your finances to optimize your saving power + more
- Instagram: @Journeytolaunch
- Twitter: @JourneyToLaunch
- Facebook: @Journey To Launch
- Join the Private Facebook Group
- Join the Waitlist for My FI Course
- Get The Free Jumpstart Guide
Brittany Dandy 0:02
People go to financial advisors and I think they think they have to do everything they recommend. And honestly, she probably wasn't the right one because like, she did not have children. She did not own property. She was like, if you wanna be financially free, you need to you know, pay your loans off. You can't afford children and a house pick one, all these things and I was like, Thank you, but no, thank you. But But it was great to talk it out with her right and then I went back to the drawing board and created a plan that works for me.
T-Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host Jamila souffrant. As a money expert who wants her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom in five, four, three, two, one.
Hey, hey, hey, real real quick, it's Jamila, here and I have some exciting news to share with you. My first book, your journey to financial freedom. A step by step guide to achieving wealth and happiness is finally available for preorder. That's right, you can preorder my book right now. Today, the book is officially out December 5 2023. But you do not have to wait that long to get some resources and information to help you. If you preorder the book. Today, I'm giving you some fabulous bonuses that will help you with your financial freedom and independence journey. I'm giving you the Financial Toolkit for free. When you preorder the book, you'll get the debt payoff matrix workbook, the goal fuel worksheet, the financial goals workbook and the retirement account questionnaire. By most effective and FE resources to share with you for free. Go to journey to launch.com/book To get your copy to preorder that book today.
If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to launch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes. You'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are an OG journeyer, or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes, so listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journey to launch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Jamila Souffrant 2:55
Hey, Jaron, yours today we have on the podcast Miss Brittany dandy. She is the founder of Ode to wellness. She's a content producer and marketing consultant. And she's here to talk about her financial journey to saving over $100,000 and transitioning from freelancer to having a career where she was able to build stability, build more of an income to help support saving that much money. I'm excited to explore more about your journey, Brittany. So welcome to the podcast.
Brittany Dandy 3:26
Hey, I'm happy to be here.
Jamila Souffrant 3:28
Alright, Brittany. So one thing that once you just mentioned or when we were talking a little bit beforehand about your journey, you said you know, I was a freelancer. And I worked as a freelancer, but I wanted to transition and do something different and kind of leverage what you learned as a freelancer to create what seems like a very promising lucrative career. So I'd love to go back a little bit and talk about more of where you started. And then we'll go into your financial journey.
Brittany Dandy 3:56
I started in New York and like traditional media, so was working for like MTV, and like other well known networks in the city and just freelancing. So I would come on for like six months, sometimes I would come on literally just for a weekend for a show. As I got a little more seasoned, I would get stents that lasted about a year but never really longer than that. So I was always working more than one job because I was always preparing for a job to end right. So that became like my normal, just like hustle mentality. So even when I was working in a network, I would still be writing on the side or be doing like pa work on the side or whatever I could do.
Jamila Souffrant 4:35
Can you explain what your actual what you did like as a producer, or in those functions or roles?
Brittany Dandy 4:41
Yes, so of course, like many people in media, I started out as a production assistant. I was often an in house like in office production assistant, which meant that I was handling like logistics and helping field producers who were more seasoned, manage their day to day managing talent and being a liaison between like my field producers and my I, executive producers in office, right. And then as I got a little more tenure, I became an associate producer. And I was doing all the things. It was the first time I'd had interns under me. And I was really just trying to like, work my butt off so that I could stay right. That's always the journey and the goal as a freelancers that you want to stay in some of the places that you get to work, I love freelance work in the sense that I got to experience a lot of different industries. I've worked across like fashion tech, nonprofit, international nonprofits. So I've experienced a lot of different avenues of the business. But the goal was like, Oh, I like it here. You know, I want to stay. And that just never happened for me, like, I was literally a freelancer for 10 years.
Jamila Souffrant 5:47
So what did you go to school for? And did you know that that's what you wanted to do when you graduated?
Brittany Dandy 5:54
Yes, I knew I wanted to be a television producer when I was 17 years old. My goal was MTV. That's what I came to New York with all my heart, I wanted to work at MTV. So I went to school for journalism and mass communications. And my concentration was in media marketing. So I knew I wanted to work on like the business side of media, and I wanted to be a producer. And luckily, that happened, I made my way to becoming a producer, but it just never like was a full time position. And that was the part that sort of sucked. But it was the climate for the like, the time that we came out of school, like nobody really had full time jobs, everybody was sort of freelance and I was just freelancing much longer than everyone else. Or like I didn't, I didn't want to give up right? There's a lot of opportunities where I could have chosen a different route, I could have done something different become a teacher, you know, in the field or something else, but like I didn't want to give up. And when I landed in TV pretty early in my career that solidified things for me that like it was possible. That was my that was my dream job. So I did that. And then I became more of a traditional journalist, a writer at Black Enterprise. And I love that too. I grew up you know, seeing these things in my childhood and now I'm actually in the building and working there so I was gonna stick with it no matter what.
Jamila Souffrant 7:08
Were you still I contract worker then when you worked for Black Enterprise? Still?
Brittany Dandy 7:14
I was on I was on contract.
Jamila Souffrant 7:17
Well, so I can imagine pay rate or like what you were getting paid and living in New York City. How did you manage finances then because I know a lot of freelancers and creatives or people within the more creative space, and they don't have steady paycheck, so they don't have a consistent job. So I'd love to know how you manage your finances back then, or how you made it work in New York City.
Speaker 1 7:41
Well, back then money was a mess, right? And I mean, not a mess in the sense that I didn't know about money, because I've always been very financially conscious, I think, when I was in college, and I was getting like refund checks and things like that, I knew I wanted to buy a property. I just didn't know how so like, the first time I sat down with a banker to discuss a mortgage. I was about 22 When I first tried it, so I knew about money. I just didn't have any. So making it work in New York, I had some family here that allowed me to stay with them. I had an aunt, I had an uncle and I would just bounce between those two houses, staying with them until I saved enough to get my own apartment. I came to New York twice. The first time I came, I interned and I didn't get a job. And I had to leave. And then I came back, I came back and like try it again. And when I came back the second time, after going to grad school, I literally overdrafted my account for the flight. Like I literally bought a ticket I didn't have money for to get here. But that's just how bad I wanted to work in New York. And I wanted the opportunity. So yeah, there was just like a bunch of favors.
Jamila Souffrant 8:41
Right? Well, I mean, you literally can't do it alone. And sometimes it is just the help of family members or sometimes strangers or co workers, or someone giving you a nod giving you an introduction, where were you raised and where were you born?
Brittany Dandy 8:55
Originally, I'm from South Carolina. So I was going to undergrad in North Carolina at a&t. So I come from there to New York to intern at NBC, which I was really excited about, and was hoping that that would turn into a job and it didn't. So after that, I went back home and I was like, What are we going to do? I went to grad school at Syracuse, and then after grad school, I came back to the city.
Jamila Souffrant 9:21
And were you still freelancing at that point, or describe when you decided that you needed to change your strategy and try something different?
Brittany Dandy 9:30
Um, I was probably, I don't know, about five years in. I think the entire time I've been trying to figure out like, how do I get on full time somewhere? How does that work? And I really didn't have the answer. And there was no one typically tell me and it was never like bad reviews or anything when I'm working right. Everyone loves you and you're doing a great job, but yet you don't have the full time employment that you want. So I started to look at like adjacent industries. And marketing was an adjacent industry that seemed to be a lot more stable. In the first thing I did was like highlight transferable skills, what are the skills that I have that are sort of transferable because traditionally, when you become a marketer, you went to school for business marketing, and I didn't. But a lot of communication skills do transfer over a lot of understanding of brand and understanding brand goals and how they work and a lot of strategy. So I began to study those things literally, on my own, I bought one book, it was this book by like over now consultant, marketing consultant, and I literally read that book like three or four times where I would just like, go back to it when I had a question. And the goal was really to become a consultant on the side and work my way into a company
Jamila Souffrant 10:36
What was the name of the book, if you can remember.
Brittany Dandy 10:38
Oh, I don't know, I have to find it.
Jamila Souffrant 10:40
I'll put it in the show notes. But I know that someone listening, it's like, well, what's the name of the book? I want it too.
Brittany Dandy 10:44
I know, it's by Alan Weiss. I know the consultant. But I'll definitely give you the name of the book.
Jamila Souffrant 10:50
All right, when it comes back to you, or if we pick it up before I will mention it, and I'll put it in the shownotes. Wherever you are, right now, there is a skill that you have, if you don't feel like you're earning enough, you're not happy with your current situation, but you're good at what you do. But it just does not earn you a lot of money, there is something that you're doing currently, no matter what that has a skill has a skill set that can be transferred into something else that can give you more stability, more money, you just have to figure out what that is. So I love that. That's what you did.
Brittany Dandy 11:18
Yeah, and it worked. I mean, I literally, I got my first consulting gig, I think they paid me $1,200 to come do like a four hour branding course for this nonprofit. I traveled to Pennsylvania, I did the course, I did a free consultancy call, which I think people need to understand like this idea of working for free and like how sometimes it's necessary to work for free. I found this website where you could offer free consulting, marketing, consulting, or whatever your expertise is to different companies that were in need. So I found this nonprofit, I like Philly or somewhere that did it consulting around branding. I did the call for like, 30 minutes, I made my recommendations to them. And they were like, I love your recommendations. Can you do it? And I was like, Yeah, I can. And I traveled down there, I did a four hour course they paid me $1,200, which I didn't know, too low at the time to charge for, like everything that I gave them. But it was a star and it was proof of concept that what I was teaching myself was actually working.
Jamila Souffrant 12:19
Do you know if that still exists? It's called Katchafire. Okay, see another resource? Are we getting the resources here? No, that's good. So a lot of people, if you are trying to transition, you want to create a resume a body of work, or something to leverage so that you can say, hey, I have experience in this thing. So that's great that you were able to find that. So transitioning into marketing, right? So that seems like how you got your first client is catch a fire or pitching yourself. But did you have other connections within the industry or people or colleagues that you could ask some of these questions to because I know networking is obviously important. And you must have made some great connections within the companies that you that worked for?
Brittany Dandy 13:02
Um, I did, they came sort of slowly. So as a freelancer, a lot of times, you're using recruiters as a way to find employment. So I had some, like tried and true recruiters that I had built a relationship with that were able to like, throw things my way. So I would explain like, you know, me, it's an additional body of work. However, I want to touch into marketing roles. If you have any, like entry level roles, you think I'd be good for it, please let me know. So I had a recruiter who recommended me to someone who was looking to hire a marketing coordinator. And she said, I don't know it's a nonprofit, you know, you don't do nonprofit, but you know, just have a conversation and see. So I met with a woman in person, and we had a conversation. And she felt like though I didn't have all the experience, I had enough understanding of what marketing was like, she asked me some strategic questions about how would I approach things? And she felt like I answered those questions really well. And she was like, I think your personality would work really well with the director that I just hired. She was like, I think she would love you. And she did. We actually are like lifelong friends from from way back then until now. Like she became one of my mentors. And we worked really well together. That's how I got my first marketing role. And it was actually for an international nonprofit. So a really big nonprofit that I walked into, and became their coordinator and later became their communications manager for during the interim period.
Jamila Souffrant 14:28
Right. How long ago was this? Just to give us a timeline
Brittany Dandy 14:32
before I got married, so it was like 2015, maybe I got that gig like early 2015. And I stayed there for that whole year. And it was great because I was getting married in 2016. So it was nice to have like consistent work. It was still a contract. But it was nice to have consistent work while there and then on the side. I would teach classes and do different things because I was saving for a wedding so me and my husband Both like worked two jobs and gigs at the time to save for the wedding.
Jamila Souffrant 15:03
Right? You're still in New York. So talk a bit more now, what happens and how your career, you transition it into having a permanent role and increasing your income?
Brittany Dandy 15:15
Yeah, so I did that for that year, we got married Things are different now. Right? We paid off our wedding was not expensive. It was like 15k. And we paid it all in cash. Because we both worked double jobs to make that happen. I didn't want any debt. And because of that, I decided, like, we need more money, we had been in the same apartment for years. So in terms of like living in New York, and how do you make it work, you get into a building, and you stay in that building forever, so that your rent does not increase so much. So I was in the same apartment for a total of like six years, which was really good. Even after we had our first baby, I was in that apartment. But in terms of like leveling up with finances, I decided I wanted a full time role, and I was gonna transition to where I needed to go to get it. So it's like, how do I maneuver within this new marketing space? To find something that's more lucrative that pays more money? Well, tech pays a lot more money in the marketing space. So I immediately started to identify tech roles. And back to you mentioning, like, networking, I did have a few friends who were more connected than I was. And I started telling them like, I want to work in tech, I started just talking about it, like I want to work in tech, can you send me a lead and one of my friends sent me a recruiter who recruits for tech companies. And it took me like weeks to reach out because I did all this mental, you know, I'm not prepared. And I don't know this world very well. And just like redoing my resume 60 times, and she was like, just reach out to her. And I did. And I said to my resume, and she loved it. And I had like three or four interviews, which now tech is ridiculous with a number of interviews you go through, but I got the gig and it was still contract. But it was now contract in the tech space. And I think that's important to understand is like, I've been on contracts at so many different levels from like $16 an hour to $50 an hour to $100 an hour or so like when you're a contract worker, people think it's all bad, but you can be on contract and still save a good bit of money. If you're on a high paying contract.
Jamila Souffrant 17:15
Well, and at this point, your dual income with your husband, who you said was working, so I'm assuming he's still working. Now you transferring into tech getting a higher per hour or contract rate, just I'm sure it's super beneficial to what you guys are doing.
Brittany Dandy 17:33
It definitely made a difference by this time we are married, and he's working consistently. And now I'm on this contract in the tech space where I'm locked in for a year,
Jamila Souffrant 17:44
did you get a full time role within the same company? I mean, the reason why I want to ask questions like this is just because I know the way that people can transition and or move around within companies or different companies is important to the income, right? I think income is the leading force on how you reach your financial goals and ultimately, financial independence. And for so many people listening. It's like the love what they do, but don't earn enough contract work. It's unstable, or should I find something else, something that I might like, not love as much as I currently do, but there's more money, but it allows me to then reach my financial goals. So it sounds like you had a love for marketing for you to teach it to yourself. And you found those 10 Gentle commonalities between what you were doing in marketing. But then also you realize you shouldn't you just need more money for what you wanted in your life. Right?
Brittany Dandy 18:37
Yeah, yeah. And I to answer your first question, I didn't get a full time role at this company, which sucked, because I wanted to. But what I did, like, I think the key thing for me has been leverage, like you have to leverage at every stage of your life at every every point in every pivot, you had to find something that you can leverage. So even though I didn't get a full time role, I didn't negotiate more money. So like I came in, at the rate, the rate that was offered, I accepted that rate because it was more money than I'd ever made in my life. So I was excited. But then I learned more about negotiation, right. And I immediately got into that space and looked for mentors and sponsors. So I did find a mentor and a sponsor in that space, who helped me like redo my resume during that year, who helped me navigate corporate America because the biggest hurdle was that I'd never lived in a corporate environment like that. I didn't speak the language. I didn't know how to navigate it. I didn't understand stakeholders, and I had to find people to teach me that. So that's what I spent that year doing and that's what you leverage. So when the contract was up, I had worked my way into a new contract and from from internal, like internally did that work and found a new contract without the help of a recruiter. So I gave myself another year within that space or a different team. And that's the beauty of of leverage. You have to find you know something you can turn into something else.
Jamila Souffrant 20:00
All right. So ultimately, where did you end up? Or what did you end up doing?
Brittany Dandy 20:04
Yeah. So because I'm a producer at heart, right, I spoke a lot about my love for producing. And I have this video experience and this brand experience that no one else has here. So I wound up on a new team in the role of producer who specialized in video and was managing a project that was, you know, $900,000 project, because I understood video more than anyone else in the space. So I was able to use my background from from before right from the beginning of working at network television, to now leverage it in the tech space, because they don't have that expertise there. So it really came full circle. And I mean, from there, now I have the marketing experience, I have the producer experience, I understand how to work with large budgets, I understand how to work with stakeholders, now I can find a full time role at an advertising company where all those things are needed. And that's exactly what I did, I wound up getting a full time role at an ad company, where I was a client facing producer who liaise with stakeholders and was able to leverage all those nuggets along the way into this full time, six figure roll. Where I had finally had benefits. And I was I was really grown. I was what was I 30. I was 32. I was 32. I was like grown grown by the time I got this first full time role, which like, for some people will look at and be like, Wow, that sucks. But it didn't be it just took a really long time to get all the pieces that I needed. And I and by then like now I'm teaching marketing, right? Because like I've always told you I had, I've always had more than one job. So even when I was at the set company on the six figure contract, because I'm on a contract, but I'm making six figures, I was still teaching at night. So I was teaching, marketing, to continuing education students at night, to also save money and to just like, keep myself sharp on the information. Because remember, I'm a self taught marketer. So I don't know everything. Like it just helped me.
Jamila Souffrant 22:05
I mean, that's, it's amazing. And this is why I say collect the coins. I've referenced this before. But like in a video game, like sometimes you'll get like, if you're playing you'll, they'll give you tools or coins, you don't need it right away. And you're like, why do I need this, but you don't pick it up, put it in your bag. And then five levels away, or 10 levels down the road, you're like, This is what it's for. Right? This is the key the key that I didn't know I needed what I needed it for this key unlocks the next door. So keep keep picking up your keys and coins even though you don't understand what it's for yet, guys, it's for a reason. All right. I love how you talk about still having your full time job. But working on the side, sharpening your skills, which you know, has led you to start your own businesses. But was it before or after? Because I know you becoming a mother was the kind of start or the reason that you started to save so much money. So I'd love to talk about that saving journey. And what prompted you and your husband to start doing that. And just that transition?
Brittany Dandy 23:09
Yeah, so because I have this unconventional path and trajectory. And I live in New York, right? I'm young, I'm in New York is you know, it's not really cool to be married and have kids and do other things. I'd already gotten married. But the kids thing I wasn't on board with having children and my husband really wanted kids. And I was just like, why? Because go to brunch forever. Like I was not into it at all. But I knew if I was going to explore motherhood, I was going to need something to make me feel secure and comfortable in that journey. Because we don't have family here in New York, I lost my mother and my father at 26. So there was no one for me to like lean on. It's not like mom and dad are gonna help. So it was a different journey for me. And when I got the contract, that was six figures. I was like, okay, like, I wonder, you know, six figures is the arbitrary thing people say, right, and that can be 100k or that can be 200k. And I started to understand money a little more in that space. And I was like, you know, I would set a goal, like, can we save 200k? Like, can we make or can we bring in that amount of income, I would just set these various goals and we would hit them. And it might take, you know, an extra gig here and there. So once I started to explore the motherhood situation and unpack like, Why didn't want to be a mom and I realized that like, I had this obsession with success, I was obsessed with winning, and that's how the money goals were falling into place, right? Because it was a game for me. And I also was just like dealing with a lot of grief and because I had so much grief going on, I was allowing it to sort of like dictate my choices and I was like I don't really want to be in love with anyone in that way anymore. So once I unpacked all of that I was like okay, what will make you secure? What make you feel comfortable as a mom and I think I narrowed it down to wealth, wellness and and work, those were the things that I was uncertain about. So I began to like put in, you know, the stability markers within those three pillars. And for the work part of it, I was working on that I was trying to secure this full time job. And I didn't come to after my daughter was born. She was three months old when I got that full time contract. But it had been in the works, right? So I did what I did before I started talking to my network about wanting that full time role, like, Hey, I'm looking, I'm looking, I'm looking and part of it is let people know that you're looking. And when it came to wellness, I'm a big gym person, I had been training for a while training for what I don't know life, like in the gym, right. But now I had attached a purpose to it, because I was like, if I'm gonna have a kid, I want to be like, my strongest self. This is a marathon like I knew you needed a lot of core work to carry a child. I that was that. That was that stability piece I put there. And then for wealth, me and my husband sat down with a financial advisor and discuss like, where we are what we currently had our income and the things that we wanted. So we told her that we wanted a baby, we wanted a home. And we wanted to be financially free at some point. And she gave her us her recommendations, which mind you, we didn't do a lot of them. I want to say that because people go to financial advisors, and I think they think they have to do everything they recommend. And honestly, she probably wasn't the right one because like, she did not have children. She did not own property. And she just was like, pay off all your student loan debt. Her advice, because we had like a little bit in the bank, then maybe like 30k, or something between the two of us, like it wasn't the time, but she was like, You should take that money and like, throw it at your loans. And I was like, Okay, maybe. Like, I consider that. And I'm so glad I didn't listen to her. Because right after that the pandemic happened and everything was suspended. And ultimately, like, she was like, if you wanna be financially free, you need to, you know, pay your loans off, you can't afford children and to house pick one, all these things, and I was like, Thank you, but no, thank you. But But it was great to talk it out with her right. And then I went back to the drawing board and created a plan that worked for me.
Jamila Souffrant 27:19
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I love that you shared this about your financial advisor. Because I use a financial advisor firm that helps just, you know give advice direct us on what our next next best steps are. But I also don't always necessarily agree or do the things I asked part of it is because I haven't gotten to it yet. But a lot of it is, you know, I push back I'm like I don't know about this. And this is why self education and knowing your own goals are important. Because no matter what, no matter the most talented person or even advisor who's who is supposed to be just give facts has have their own experiences or opinion about something. And so you have to understand or know to have discernment to say what you need and what you don't need. And sometimes you don't know what you need. And so you want to talk about, like you said and have those conversations. But sometimes you don't have to take everything that is given to you. And I feel like there's so much of why people when they do hook up with whether it's listening to podcasts or reading blogs, like they just follow whatever the next thing that person said to do now is gather the information. do more research, if you need see how it apply to your situation, how you feel and how it works for your goals, and then make the best decision for you that you know of at the time. So I love that you did that, that you didn't listen to her.
Brittany Dandy 29:27
Because all you can do is like the best thing at the time. And it it was a combination of all those things, right? It was podcasts like yours. It was like listening to all the resources I could listen to and then going to heart because I also want to say like you have to prep for that engagement. And I think listening to podcasts and other people's journey gave me the tools I needed to be able to ask the right questions when meeting with a financial advisor. Yeah, and
Jamila Souffrant 29:52
this is also with friends or fellow colleagues. There might be goals you'll have for yourself and because they don't understand those rules, or they can't do it, they're gonna look at you like, that's not, you can't do that or tell you all the reasons why it's not possible. Or they just might have a different level of risk. And so they're like, I wouldn't do that. And it's like, so there's so many things that I know that people would not have done that I've done. But like this to say, you can't go to someone to say that you want to own a house, have kids, and do all these things, if that's not a goal for them, or they don't believe things like that are possible, because they're gonna tell you why it can't work, which will discourage you from making it work.
Brittany Dandy 30:28
It did. And I think the biggest thing that I took away was that number one, she didn't have those experiences, so she couldn't really speak to them. And number two, was that nothing that she advised me to do, liquidate and taking all my liquid money, and giving it away, there was nothing that was giving me a return, like in her recommendations outside of like retirement funds, which were being put in place. So I couldn't imagine taking everything we had liquid and just paying off loans. It just didn't make sense to me.
Jamila Souffrant 30:59
All right. So what did you decide to do? Leaving that meeting all those meetings?
Brittany Dandy 31:05
We went back home and we was like, What are we going to do now? So we, we decided, number one to leave the option of having kids open. So we weren't going to like, you know, necessarily try. But we're going to prevent that. It's like if we have a baby, we have a baby. I also was exploring opportunities for work and other places, I started to explore like moving to the west coast and like, you know, going to wherever the money and the opportunities existed, because I couldn't just say I'm gonna stay in New York. So I would say like, be flexible about where you're gonna go to achieve this achieve the thing, right? So it turns out, the baby happened first. And I want to buy a property right. So I started to explore neighborhoods in the city that were sort of untouched. So in New York, we looked at like Eastern New York, we looked at you know, Brownsville, these, these places that hadn't been really touched yet. While doing that the pandemic happened, and I'm, I'm pregnant. So, you know, we're, like, excited that we're having this, this baby. And because we knew we were open for that we started saving a lot to I don't want to skip over that, like, we're still we're saving this whole time, because we don't know what we're going to do. But we know that we want to do something, and we're gonna need money to do it. So we're still picking up gigs here. And there. I'm still working those two jobs, and we're still storing that money away. And we opened up a high yield savings account and Marcus account where we started to save jointly. So my husband had his own retirement accounts, and I have mine, but we wanted to start saving jointly. So we're just throwing money in there. So once we find out, we're pregnant, I knew that I wanted to have a nanny for my child, I want to individual childcare, especially during the pandemic. I mean, it wasn't even an option for me to choose daycare, anything like that. So I wanted to save for a year of childcare. And in New York, that's expensive, you know, so we knew we needed about 30k. That's probably on the low end, to save for childcare. So we saved for that. And we knew we wanted a home. So we're saving for whatever that downpayment is, and we knew we had a few options. When it came to purchasing a home, we knew we had FHA, my husband's a veteran, we had the VA loan, so we didn't have to save the 20% or anything like that. But we knew we needed money to save and we wanted a multifamily property. So we also knew that the ticket on that was going to be a lot higher than buying a single family home.
Jamila Souffrant 33:20
What were the next steps in making those goals become true? So I love how you talked about looking for real estate in the fringe, you know, fringe neighborhoods, and maybe that have not experienced as much gentrification yet, even though I feel like there's some of that going on. Now. You still were able to save that. So that 90k to 100k that you saved, this was happening all at the time of finding out you're pregnant and looking for that house. Yeah, so
Brittany Dandy 33:45
we're saving that 90, we're saving that 90k During that time, so by the time baby is born, there's 90k in the bank. And it's like, well, now it's time to start to put those funds to us.
Jamila Souffrant 33:58
How long did it take you to say that 90k
Brittany Dandy 34:00
It was probably a year I don't think it was over it maybe maybe I was able to store like stowaway so much money because our rent was $1,100. Like, we had been in that same tiny apartment for so long, right? Like I was there by myself, then my husband moves in, we get married, he has two incomes, I have two incomes, you know, so like, and the rent is not changing. So we're able to really like put away a lot of money and I'm on a six figure contract. So that's why we were able to do it sort of quickly.
Jamila Souffrant 34:32
What were you doing with the money because I find that when I also switched, it was a point in our lives. My husband and I were we started hyper saving and investing a lot of money. And then people also asked me okay, what were you doing before you started saving and investing all that money? What did you do before that so what were the changes like what were you spending your money before on? Did you make any changes to save additionally, like what was that switch? And did you cut anything back? Did you just you have to let your friends know hey, we're not doing the trip. So going out What did that look like?
Brittany Dandy 35:02
To be honest, we didn't cut back we, I like to travel. And I, between the two of us, I spend more, he's very laid back, he doesn't spend a lot. But we didn't cut back. I like to travel on birthdays in February. So every February I'm going someplace warm. That's just a thing. So we still traveled, I took him to Cuba one year for his birthday. And this is like, we're not making a lot. But we don't, we're not living lavishly, right, we kept our rent low, which I think was the main thing. You know, we would eat out occasionally, but nothing too crazy. I don't think we had to make a lot of changes on the spending. And I think the changes came to like where we're saving the money. So like, we stopped using our traditional debit cards altogether, we started building our credit, before the baby came, we started just putting everything on credit, and building our credit as fast as we could. And we opened that Marcus account and started saving in a place that made more sense than our traditional bank accounts. So we made more changes on like the income in and the saving in than, like spending wise, I don't think we were doing that bad spending wise.
Jamila Souffrant 36:08
Okay, that that makes sense. It sounds very similar to my story, which again, highlighting the importance of income, and being a dual income household that you know, not to skip over that and saving on rent or mortgage. Because if that is your highest expense, usually. So if you can say one of that, and it's two people, our household and you're both earning or hustling to earn money that you can go a long way with that.
Brittany Dandy 36:30
Yeah, and it was an older building. We were really tired of living there. But it just didn't make sense to leave. But we were like, we can't that can't change. It did change later, though. So my daughter was born. And three months later, I got this full time job. And I got that job through networking. So a woman I had met, I don't know two years prior, like a backyard party, literally, we just connected and we always stayed in touch. And she said, I see you had a baby, congratulations. Like, let's catch up, we got on the phone. She's like, I just got this new job, this place, this advertising company. And I was like, Oh, really, like I'm looking. And she was like, Oh, I'll send a referral for you. And she sent the referral. Like, I had to, like, take a test and all this stuff to like, get the gig. But like, that's how I got that opportunity. Like just telling someone what you want.
Jamila Souffrant 37:19
So amazing, let's say and I and you know what's crazy like that someone that was already in your network? Who didn't even know it's not like she reached out and say, Hey, do you want this? And then but when you mentioned it, because I think sometimes we just think like, Well, if the person that should want to help me should just know, but they don't. And so you say something, whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, what you're looking for what that opportunity is that you are searching for, because you just never know that you might have someone who's like, oh, it's like nothing to them to make a reference or send an email. There was
Brittany Dandy 37:47
nothing for her. And she's not someone that I was close to. She's just someone like we just like each other, we keep in touch. So yeah, that worked out. So my, my baby is three months old, and I go back to work. And now it's time to pay for the nanny. And that was a whole thing, girl hiring a nanny, I was like, I have no idea what I'm doing was like a foreign concept. I couldn't talk to anyone about it, because it just in our community. Like, you know, having a nanny is not like an everyday thing in America. Anyway, I know other places, it's very normal. But um, it was very weird for everybody and just trying to learn how to do that
Jamila Souffrant 38:18
just might warrant some conversation here. Because I do feel you know, it is definitely a luxury and privilege to be able to afford like childcare, additional childcare, if you're not set, even just sending your kid to daycare, you know, like that is expensive. It's private daycare that you have to pay for. But in general, because as women who often are the breadwinners, or bringing just as much to the table financially, to then have the responsibility of raising a child carrying the child and raising the child than the household itself. There's so much put on us where no wonder why we're tapped out with our internal resources, right, like what we can do for ourselves and the people around us and creativity wise are in the workforce. So I do feel like having that support. And that resource if you can, or planning for it is such a key thing that we don't talk much about or even just help within the household paying for someone to help come and clean or someone to help manage the schedule, whatever that looks like. So talk about a little bit that the conversations or the shame. I don't know if he felt shame, but because it's not a normal thing in your circle, maybe what that felt like doing.
Brittany Dandy 39:28
Oh, yeah. Okay, so two things right. It was not normal. So I had to I had to be mindful of who I share certain things with and then let's take take it back to like me deciding what motherhood looks like for me. Right? Motherhood for me looks like having this individualized childcare. It looks like being able to hire someone to come in and clean should I need it. It looks like having that additional help because of our circumstance. We don't have family here. So that was important to me. And I chose to honor that. And it was more important for me to honor what I needed than to keep explaining myself to people about why I was choosing to do said thing. So I just stopped talking to them about it because they don't live my life, right? They live, they're living a different life. And that's totally okay. But for me and my husband, we knew we were gonna save the money to have the things that we need. And we did just that. And it worked out just fine. I find a great nanny. And she worked with us on the price. You know, she also did like white cleaning, which was great. She came from like, a tenure family where she had been with him forever. So like she had more experience about children than I did, which was kind of what I needed, you know, not having a mom and like not really having people to turn to it was really helpful to have someone there. So like, for me, I always tell women, that's, you know, honor what you need on your journey. And don't necessarily validate that with anyone else. Just keep it to yourself.
Jamila Souffrant 40:47
And it's what you value in your investment. Right? So people that might not be what they value in, it could be something else that they'd want to save and spend money on. So really important, even prioritize, because I mean, you want all the things which is fine, right? You want the nanny, you want the nice car, you want the vacations, that's fine, too. But prioritize really the stage of life in that life you're in and where your resources are going to be best deployed, so that you can be your best self, or whatever that looks like.
Brittany Dandy 41:13
Yeah, for sure. And I think we did just that, like having the additional care was important to us. I'm still traveling was important to us. I love to travel. I like I love New York, but I have to leave. So like I didn't want that to stop. You know, like, there were certain things we had to prioritize, which meant not having certain things, right. So like we had a kid but we don't have a car. We just decided, okay, we'll just use transit. And is it hard? Yeah. But we gave up that so that we could still do the travel, you know, and we did we traveled. The first year she was born. We took her to see her grandparents, we took her to Mexico, we spent two weeks in Mexico with the baby. And I mean, that's what you know, you have to prioritize what means a lot to you?
Jamila Souffrant 41:55
Yeah, now, so you did eventually find the home or the house, I'm assuming?
Brittany Dandy 42:00
I did, we found the home. So before we found the home, we moved to the neighborhoods, I remember I told you, we were in that same apartment for six years. But it was just like really old. We had the baby in there for the first six months. And it was a lot to hike from where we were in Brooklyn, over to the neighborhoods we were thinking about buying in. So we decided ultimately, the pandemic is here rent dropped super low. And we knew it wasn't gonna stay that way. Right. So let's take advantage of this time period. So we found an apartment in East New York, moved to East New York, so we can live there and see if that was really what we wanted to purchase. And we lived there for a year. And we were on a very strict timeline, because I knew rent was gonna go back up, right as the pandemic goes down, the price is gonna skyrocket. And that's exactly what happened. So we moved to that new home, we looked for a house and literally a month before our lease was ending, we found a house and we're under contract. So we wound up having to like, extend our lease for like 30 days, but we made it.
Jamila Souffrant 43:04
Right, right. And for the non New Yorkers, eastern New York is in Brooklyn. Yo, yeah. Very familiar with New York. So that is great. And it seems like the goals you set for yourself worked out. And so now talk a little bit about what you're doing. Career wise, how you're juggling, you know, motherhood? You just I don't know if you want to make the announcement here. But you're no longer a mother of one. Now. You're Yeah, I'm
Brittany Dandy 43:29
a mom of two a mom of two now. Yes, as of last week. Yeah, so yeah, so we bought the house, we bought the multifamily house, I want to say that, um, we did find a multifamily. And we we purchased using a VA loan, which was so clutch.
Jamila Souffrant 43:50
Okay, I want you to still answer that first question. But now I have another just question just because real estate, let's talk a little bit about that. Because you did venture deeper into Brooklyn, into maybe a place that like people will say, you know, it's a little can be a little rough depending on where you go, depending what block you're on. Something about that decision, and kind of like the give and take and how it's been so far, because I find that a lot of people feel like they're priced out of buying a home in New York. And so I'd love to hear more about your experience and your thought process on that.
Brittany Dandy 44:22
I had to get used to seeing those numbers. And that just came with like market research, like the numbers are higher because of the market that we're in. So it wouldn't be fair to compare this to like, where I'm from in South Carolina or, you know, Texas or it's just not fair. Like it's a different kind of market. So number one was like getting familiar with that. And then moving into the neighborhood definitely helped because I wasn't I was I thought it was sketchy to like this isn't this is an area that when I first moved to New York City, I did not come to very often because I thought it was dangerous or you know, whatever. But living in the neighborhood I felt like was the best way to know for sure. So once we live I'm here, I got to know my neighbors, I got to know the history of the neighborhood, I can walk from where we were, we were renting over to where we are now. And I used to do that and just walk around. And there's like a beautiful park. And like kids that play softball on the weekend. And like, I think when you live in a neighborhood, you get to see for yourself, and it's like, is there crime and things? Yes, but there was crime where I was living before, there's crime everywhere. Now, I know, like City Council, you know what I mean? Like, you literally have to like immerse yourself in the neighborhood.
Jamila Souffrant 45:31
And that's why it's also so important, because I don't want people to like, listen, I live in East New York, I love Brooklyn, there's so many different areas of Brooklyn. But why as someone who was going to move potentially buy in the area, is to get to, to, to help with the community, to understand the community to get involved with the local community, right to to help. If you're going to plant your seeds there, like it's going to be great CSET help foster a like a beautiful garden, because there there are, there's so much great development happening. And so that's the other thing I feel for people, like look in look all around like, yes, there are statistics, and there are things happening, but it happens, you know, quite often, you know, honestly, all over New York City at this point, it does.
Brittany Dandy 46:13
I mean, one thing I did, okay, two things. First thing was I connected with a group of black women homeowners who were buying all over the tri state. And I did that about two years prior. And I've been like, just embedded in them for the past two years. That's how I got to ask my questions. That's how I learned what questions to ask. It's how I got leads on realtors and things of that nature. That was the first thing to find community. And then the second thing was to utilize resources like online. So I looked up the city plans to see what was developing in New York. And when, and you know, East New York and Brownsville do, they do have development planned over the next five to 10 years for these areas. So you know, it may be areas that are not booming, if those are the areas that you want, you want to be like the early adopter, and to your point, you want to come in and make a difference. And we know our entire block like most of our block has been here 20 years, and they were so excited to see like young people come into the neighborhood and they've been so helpful, like my neighbor helps us grow with the grass. He's like, you gotta buy this, like, you know, it's really it's really like some Sesame Street. Everybody's really helpful. Um, but yeah, like utilize those city plans and resources that can help you make those decisions that are not like emotion based, that's just a financial decision that this area is going to grow. And there is going to be money invested here. So you want to get in early.
Jamila Souffrant 47:42
Right now talk more now about your career, your starting out to us wellness, why you started that and what you're working on now.
Brittany Dandy 47:50
Yeah, so I started out as wellness to help women do exactly what I did. I want them to get brave and decisive about motherhood. I want them to figure out what they need as women, if they want to be moms, if they don't either is fine. Both of those are a motherhood decision. But if they do want to be a mother, I want to support them in those three areas right of work, wellness and wealth. And what do you need to feel secure especially for ambitious women, I think we often feel like if I have children, I'm going to miss out on this or my work trajectory is going to be interrupted. And I want to help them navigate that space. So I launched Oh to us to do exactly that. We are a wellness company and we help new moms and women considering motherhood so you don't have to be partnered or pregnant or anything. Just have to be considering motherhood to build a pathway that helps them better know like what they may need as a mama and how to prepare for that when the time comes.
Jamila Souffrant 48:48
Love that. What advice would you give someone who's listening maybe they they're the younger you were you can New York you had all those freelance jobs like what am I going to do? What advice would you give your, your older your younger self or someone listening? Who says yeah, one day I want to buy that home and you know, I want to have a family. I don't know if I can afford that. I want to I want to live the life I'm supposed to live I want to live, what advice would you give them to realize that but her
Brittany Dandy 49:15
first thing would be like seeking people who are doing those things that you want to do so that you can see it that it's know that it's tangible and ask questions. That was really helpful for me to see women who were living the life that I wanted to live. Don't share things that you want with people who may not understand them or don't want them I think there's some things you should keep to yourself. And that's not to say you know, they don't love you, they might love you, but they may not understand what you want. And I think who you're speaking those things to really matter. So like evaluating your community in your circle, and being strategic. I'm a very strategic person and I mentioned leverage before. I think you should always be thinking about How do I leverage this opportunity? It could be a small opportunity. It can be a volunteer opportunity I have. I've leveraged volunteer work, all sorts of things, but just get strategic and getting to your goals like there's 1000 ways to get there.
Jamila Souffrant 50:15
Oh my gosh, this was great. Brittany, please tell everyone where they can find out more about you your work and your company. Oh to us wellness.
Brittany Dandy 50:23
Yeah, you can find out to us at Ota us.com. You can find me on Instagram at Brittany br Itta in YC dandy at Instagram and on Tik Tok and yeah, I'm around if anyone has questions I'm really hyped to answer like money questions or mommy questions. So feel free to reach out.
Jamila Souffrant 50:46
Well I will tag all your socials in wherever you listen to this so you just click More or description you'll find more about Britney and then if you are listening to this and you know something stood out to you you got encouraged and show us that you're listening. Take a screenshot, tag us tag me at journey to launch and tag Brittany. I just love when I hear people who are like listening in real time sharing what they learned. It's really helpful to know this like what you just said like resonated it helped. So Brittany, thank you so much again for sharing your this wealth of knowledge in your journey with us. This was amazing.
Brittany Dandy 51:20
Thank you for having me.
Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to launch.com. Or click the description of wherever you're listening to this. And you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to launch.com/jumpstart. If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this in Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to launch. Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journeyers
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