Darrah Brustein, founder of Georgia-based Equitable Payments, a merchant processing consultant firm, shares how she transitioned from being a full-time employee to entrepreneurship.
Founder, Age: Darrah Brustein, 27
Company: Equitable Payments
Location: Decatur, Georgia
Industry: Financial Services
Startup Year: 2010
Startup Costs: Undisclosed
How I Got Started
After several layoffs in recent years, I began contracting for my twin brother’s company. Realizing I had it in me to start my own business – coupled with his complimentary skill set, I took the leap and founded Equitable Payments.
As merchant business consultants we find the best solution for business merchant processing needs. Our goal was to take the guess work out of, the oftentimes confusing aspect, business credit card processing. I realized there were few people in the merchant services world who were honest and reliable and I wanted to fill that void.
Best Success Story
I’m a volunteer ambassador at my regional Chamber of Commerce, actually named ‘Ambassador of the Year’ at 26-years-old – recognized out of over 4,000 members. On a volunteer call to do a one-on-one orientation with a member, a local pawn shop, the owner expressed to me that after 30 years of Chamber membership, I was the first person to call him or step foot into his shop and I wasn’t even directly affiliated with the Chamber.
After more talking, I learned he was previously the President of his national association and he immediately put in a call to the Executive Director to have her take my call and see about dethroning a major national bank for their merchant services affinity partnership. After several months of interviews and negotiations, we were named the new affinity partner for the national association.
By doing something I enjoyed as a volunteer, I not only got this man’s business, but now the business of an entire association.
Biggest Startup Challenge
Credibility. When I started my business, the most challenging part was gaining trust since I had no credibility. It takes time, but one also needs to get paid! Networking, I’m told, is my strongest skill, so I was able to leverage that into trust and later, into business. It took persistence, patience and time.
#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs
Follow your gut! It is a powerful tool that often gets ignored. If your gut is telling you to do something, even if it’s contrary to popular opinion, do it. You’ll more often regret not following your instincts than the opposite.
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