Be Cautiously Fearless

The Inventive Journey 
Episode #320
Be Cautiously Fearless 
w/Carol Bettencourt
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What This Episode Talks About:

Be Cautiously Fearless

"Tell them to be cautiously fearless. I would tell them that there is nothing stopping them. They have as much right and as much ability to do this as anyone else. I've met some people that maybe their IQ isn't the highest or maybe their family does not have the most money. But they would just come and, they did it. People will help you if you ask for help. Don't be afraid to get advice. Don't be afraid to listen to good advice. Sometimes you have to go in your own corner and plan. Other times you have to just listen and ask. Where there is a will, there is a way."


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What Is The Inventive Journey?

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

ai generated transcription

 tell them to be cautiously fearless i would tell them that there is nothing stopping them they have as much right as much ability to do this as anyone else i've met some people that maybe their iq isn't the highest maybe their family doesn't have the most money but they were just determined and they did it people will help you if you ask for help don't be afraid to get advice don't be afraid to listen to good advice sometimes you have to go in your own corner and plan other times you have to listen and ask and where there's a will there's a way [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as a founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to and grab some time with us to chat now today we have another uh great guest on the the podcast uh carol bettencourt and uh carol grew up in south carolina in her own words was a bit of a shy kid but went to university and uh majored in biology and spent a year post-grad at a job that she didn't like and then decided to go in a bit of different directions so she went dance for disney in orlando did a bit of ballet did some uh her work on cruise lines and then decided to open up a dance dance school and open up in a few locations um did that for a period of time and then decide she wanted to take a step back and work from home for a bit so got a remote job work or writing users guides and then that company got acquired um then she became a consultant and also ran her dad in studio um everything was growing and then her mother got alzheimer's so she decided she wanted to slow things down a bit help her mother and then her mother passed away and now she took a transition and is being the vp of marketing um for a business as well so with and then uh but in her own words she also has about at least one more entrepreneurial entrepreneurial endeavor left in the future so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast carol wow well thank you very much devin it's it's a pleasure to be here hey my pleasure and i just uh went through and uh condensed a much longer journey into a 30 or 40 seconds and so why don't we uh unpack that a bit and tell us a little bit about uh growing up in south carolina and uh how or how you journey i started there wow okay uh yes i did grow up in south carolina and i grew up in a family where i had the privilege of seeing a mixture of examples my father was very much a corporate man he was an engineer he worked for the same company for a long long time retired with the gold watch and everything and was very happy in his world and so i saw the benefits of that level of security but my mother's father my grandfather was always an entrepreneur he invested in real estate he invested in futures um my uncle um did similar types of things and so i kind of saw the benefits of both and even in my in in in looking at a figure of my father who who i admire very much i saw even though he was very loyal to that that company and and the the security that it provided in his worth at work ethic i also saw things that informed my own entrepreneurial journey whether you work for someone else or for yourself you take ownership and you bring ideas to the table so that's that's how my growing up influenced my journey the rest of the way now i say okay that definitely is is helpful and you say you say okay that kind of influence the beginnings of your journey um then as you're growing up you're coming out of high school you're going into um university and decided to major in biology is that right that's correct that that is correct and people often raise an eyebrow when they hear that was my major and they hear what i do now which is associated with the broadcast industry and software and hardware development they hear other things that i've done in the world of the arts and they shake their head how does biology major turn out to be this way well as that child in south carolina i always enjoyed experimenting i always asked for things like science kits and microscopes and telescopes and things like that were my favorite christmas presents well i had other things too but but i really enjoyed this i enjoyed experimenting i enjoyed um just getting my hands wet and i enjoyed all of the school that that that was involved with when it came to my my very first job in the field i didn't enjoy it i didn't enjoy the routine lab work i didn't enjoy the type of goals that the organization i was working for had and i won't really elaborate on any of that that's well in the past and i didn't particularly at that point in my life want to face the schooling another four years of school or seven years of school that might be recommended to pursue that field at a higher level and i do like doing things at a very high level so i just decided well i'll step back and do things i enjoy for a little while until i sort myself out and it became very clear that that background of experimentation would also serve me well on my entrepreneurial journey so i i looked ahead thinking it might be for a short term i enjoy being a ballet dancer i enjoy some other things that i've done i didn't even tell you about the folk crew job maybe i did i don't remember but um i i just thought that i would do things i enjoyed for a little while but those turned out to be the seeds of larger entrepreneurial ventures instead of just a time out from my journey as a scientist no i think that that makes perfect sense now what makes one sense on one side no but here's my error when he started to touch on it going from biology to get hey you go work for a you know a company or an industry and say hey it's just not a good fit don't enjoy it and it's not what i see doing for the rest of my life that i definitely understand but how did you go from that to kind of you know i get on this one side you're saying it's temporary but did you do dance where you had did you have a lot of experience or how did you kind of get into that whole realm as far as saying i'm going to make a fairly large departure pivot even if it was originally intended to be for a short period of time what made you decide to land on that i didn't just i didn't just do it randomly and you did ask about my growing up and i guess i didn't tell you that part i i grew up taking ballet i was a fairly well-trained dancer i took modern dance all through university it was a love of mine it wasn't something i and it's not you you can't be a professional ballet dancer and just randomly decide i'm gonna do this you you have to be trained to do it and and i was but it was not something that my rather conservative parents thought was a good career it's it's good to be a young lady who can sit up straight and so on but i think they were a bit mortified when they saw me at 15 and 16 getting really deep into it and they thought a more serious a science degree was more suitable for anyone who wanted to have a proper income uh but but i i went my own way hey every every entrepreneur's got to go their own way in the way that uh makes sense to them so so now you say okay it started out as i'm gonna take a break i don't wanna you know i just got done with school maybe sometime i'll go back and then uh from there kind of expounded the two you started out kind of doing things i think where you mentioned the ballet for cruises for disney and other things then what made you decide to do the dance studio is it kind of just that natural progression or you wanted to transition to somewhere it's a bit less travel or kind of how did you get into the almost a bit more of the business side of running your own dance studio i like money don't we all and and dancers don't don't make that much i'm sure they make more than than when i was working at that back in the day um i if i remember correctly my salary as a ballet dancer for a regional ballet company that would give me a 20 week a year contract my salary was around 110 a week which was fine as long as i lived with my grandparents in palm beach in their lovely condo but it wasn't fine for making a life of my own disney paid a little bit better but it's still not it's not a lifetime career it's fun there's nothing like getting applause there's nothing like being in the spotlight but it's not and it's tough it's tough work it's physically demanding you have to be in peak condition 24 7 365 and it's not a lifetime thing that you're gonna do um you're you're gonna age out at about 30 if you're a star and you're a hard worker and you really are passionate about it you might age out at 40 or 50 but still it's not a forever career and like i said i do like money and i started doing the math and i had always admired my teachers growing up and i thought well i could do this and i started putting pens paper as we used to do um fingers to keyboard and i started sorting out just the the nuts and bolts of a brick and mortar business what would the rent cost what would um utilities cost what would building out the space cost what would insurance music rights who would i hire and i just planned it all out it's really i not that hard i i think whether you work for someone else or work for yourself you can take a creative position and you can ask for advice you can look things up but you can make a plan and and so that's what i did and it turned out to be a good one no and i think that there is a definitely a lot of a lot to the wisdom there in the sense that to your point you can either work for someone else you can work her in either way you can still have creativity you can enjoy you can or take it in the direction and for me at least you know working for yourself you get to have some of that creative passion and and have that greater control over the direction that you um that you were maybe a lot of people are looking for so now you did that and you took the dance that you know did the dance studio in your school and you actually drew it into several locations um and then at one point you decided to take a step back a bit and do a remote working position was it just more of hey i got burned out or is a lot of work or i'm wanted to take you know take a rest or want something easier kind of what made you decide because again it's a bit of a jump so they went from biology into kind of more of the dance and then from dancing to doing user or writing users guides at a remote position how did you kind of what prompted that to transition well i think every stage in life is different devin and and just like you you you may have a friend who's your best friend in kindergarten and they might and they might be kind of your person that you run with when you're 14 but maybe when you're 30 they're not they might still be your best friend but they might not different different things in life fit at different times and i think different careers are good for for different times when i turned 40 i had my second child and i decided that i didn't want to raise her the same way i'd raise my son my son was a dance studio kid he would come there after school and that's where he would do his homework and sometimes we had a nanny that picked him up sometimes his dad picked him up but very often he was at the dance school and i would be finished working at 9 or 10 at night i did have other staff obviously working i wasn't everywhere at all the locations all at once but it still was pretty hands-on for me and my intention was to to scale back my involvement in that and just leave it to staff and eventually sell it to one of them or have them take over but i was looking for something interesting that i could do at home i didn't want to raise my second child where i'm giving my attention to everybody else's children during those after school hours and not my own so i thought i'm just gonna be a part-time worker and more of a full-time mommy if i don't do it now it's it's not gonna happen so that's that was what was right for me at the time no i think that makes sense and sometimes you're saying as you pointed out different times or periods of times of life you're looking for different things and then different things are exciting or fit what you're what the lifestyle you're looking for and i definitely get you know as you're looking to spend a bit more time with kids to take a step back not be working so many crazy hours and be able to focus on that a bit it makes sense um and then i i think that you mentioned you were uh you i think due to a degree you continued to run the dance schools um and you also transitioned as that other company that you're doing the user guys for um got acquired you became a consultant and then uh you know things kind of continued to grow and again as you were looking into hitting a different phase in life you had your mother that got alzheimer's and you had to slow down and help her out is that right that's correct uh things kind of morphed over time i did get what i was after as far as staying home with my infant daughter and then when she was six or seven and she herself was in school we had a good after-school nanny and i was asked by the one company that i had started with as well as several others in that field that i had started consulting for to actually do on-site systems integrations training and it tucked into another love of mine which is travel so sometimes i would be at home planning things writing things communicating with customers but other times i would be on the road whether it was at the fox studio down the street here in greenville or wadc in new york or kuwait tv in kuwait or directv in california i would get to fly and go and help them set up and at that point as my daughter got older that became okay it was fine until then uh 20 i think it was uh 2000 2009 i assumed the care of my mother after after my dad passed away and i don't think there's really anything in life that could have prepared me for that it's it's it's different it was rewarding but challenging more challenging than kids and it really took i didn't have a guide for that i really need and she did require full-time care we went through some that worked and some that didn't and um so so i just kind of stepped back from everything i kept fingers in a little bit but i actively tried to disengage from most things it was time for another reset no i think that you know again almost a bit of that reset but a different point in life you're saying okay one thing is definitely makes sense or important to take care of family and to help out your parents as they get elderly but on the other hand you know as now they you know pass on and they're no longer with you first of all it's it's always a big reset and cause or pause or cause for a bit of pause and kind of reassessing but then uh two is kind of saying okay now that that phase is you know of stepping back and taking here the parent is over what do i do next and so how did you decide kind of now as your mother's passed on and you're saying okay doing or getting back about i'm in the workforce looking for a change you know where did or how did you land on the vp of marketing as far as the business in other words you've done a lot of things for yourself and doing your own businesses what made you decide to go and kind of uh do uh work for another business well it is a bit backwards isn't it a lot of people start working for someone else which is actually a good idea i i don't think i wish to do everything over again but if i could there is a lot of value in working for somebody from whom you can learn so after everything kids business dance schools consulting flying all over the world taking care of mom honestly devin i was a bit tired and i did want that luxury that people are sometimes looking for when they don't want to be entrepreneurs i was looking for somebody something where it would be very clear what i was supposed to do every day and very clear what i was going to get out of it and i've never really looked at entrepreneurialism as a particular risk some people do and that's frightful i think for some people i really think working for somebody else is a bit of a risk you could get fired any day or the business could go out of business any i personally i don't think it's more of a risk than working for for yourself but i didn't want to go through that phase where you hustle and hustle and hustle to get something going i was tired and i also felt that there's something magical about being part of something that's bigger than yourself and maybe finally in life i learned to be a little bit humble i decided that there would be value in in learning what much larger not just low seven figure businesses or high six-figure businesses are doing or anything that i can bootstrap or whatever what really large companies do how they do it how they scale so i wanted to learn i want i wanted it to be i won't say easy but i wanted to it to be clear-cut and a company that i had been consulting for a little bit offered me a full-time position i had to move to canada to take it which was fun and fine and then to grow further um i several years after that i accepted a position with the company i'm currently with and what fascinates me about the company i'm with right now chiron which makes software and hardware for live television broadcast is that even though it's a 60 year old company there have been a lot of restructuring and there's a lot of new products so it is fairly a lot of ways like a startup but a very big one so there's a lot of opportunity for me there i've i've had um the chance to use my entrepreneurial chops and i've built a team from nothing to about six people and more are coming and i have um been very instrumental at a high level in making product suggestions marketing suggestions so right now it's it's suiting me just fine so i i can't remember did that answer your question it answered a whole bunch of questions no that was great so um so now i think the last thing that we chatted on just a bit and that kind of brings us up to where you're at today but now you kind of mention hey looking in the future i still feel like there's maybe that one last entrepreneurial endeavor or something that i you know last hurrah or right off of the sunset or whatever you want to call it but do you have any ideas to what that might be in the future is it still unknown and you say have that the desire that some point and still going to hit that or do you have any sneak peaks as to what that might be it's not defined enough to give you a sneak peek and there are two very different things on the table one thing because before we had our first conversation devin i was thinking about i i did some thinking i thought how i'm gonna answer his questions what does it even mean to be an entrepreneur so i looked in the dictionary uh and the definition is a person who pro no an entrepreneur is a person who organized and operates a business or businesses taking greater than normal financial risks and i think in this conversation i've already touched on a person who operates a business well that's the creation and i think you can create within a company you can create in a small business or you can create something really really big as far as financial risk i don't 100 buy that i get what the definition means but i i think there are ways to do it with with raising startup money that's not risking your own house and the food on your table and i also as i just said a little while ago i think working for someone else is a financial risk whether you realize it or not but the third part that i don't think that dictionary definition touches on is scale and when we think of a truly successful entrepreneur we think of somebody who scaled something much much bigger than themselves i think so far my personal entrepreneurial ventures have been more in the line of what i would call self-employment rather than a full-on huge entrepreneur and and that's that's fine i have scaled a little bit beyond myself as far as having employees and multiple locations but i would like to do something that's that's that really scales that's that's really big and i think in this day and age of designing apps that suit a need and pricing them in a way that will serve many many people that's that's one possibility the other possibility is do do i really even want to go there do i maybe just want to do something that is not scaled at all that that could scale but not in that way just me do i want to write a book and if i sell it that's great if i don't well then i'll sort that out when when the time comes so so it will either be some kind of app that serves a lot of people or it will be a book all right well those both sound like they could be exciting maybe you'll have to do an app about or a book about writing an app or an app that writes a book or something but it sounds like it'll be a fun adventure and uh definitely uh or interested in seeing how it turns out so with that is we're now kind of caught up to a pres the president even a bit looking to the future as we wrap up the the podcast i always have two questions i ask at the end of each episode so we'll jump to those now so the first question i was asked is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it oh that was pretty clear and i think i i told you it was pretty clear when we had our chat a few days ago so you know i own some dance schools i was approached by a couple who owned a dance school in a nearby town very small town and they wanted to sell it and my ego made the decision instead of my brain i did my due diligence as one should but i ignored it i i looked at demographics okay if i want to dance school what do i need i need kids and i need people who can pay for lessons so i ignored the i didn't completely ignore it oh and i also need a staff and i thought well i can do this it's going to work the same way as all my other dance schools there are enough kids there although there's was not a massive population there there were there were enough in my due diligence i found that 80 of them were on freelance programs that should have been the only red flag that i needed um another red flag was when i asked for the financials of the business i was not granted full disclosure and then once i assumed control of the business i found that even what i had seen was not really indicative of the whole picture i should have dug deeper what i should not have done was oh boy i can be the lady that owns four instead of three and this will be easy well i was wrong and i sh and isn't this a cute like town where i can have a cute quaint business well it was not cute at all and it caused a lot of heartache i still have some very good friends from that adventure but uh it cost me dearly so i would say do your due diligence don't let your ego get the best of you if it doesn't look right doesn't smell right walk away no and i think that that's a great thing you know sometimes to you almost to your point you know you get excited about the opportunity and the idea and hey it'll be great to expand and you know this is it'll be fun and those type of things and sometimes you just want to skip over that due diligence and yet oftentimes most of the time the people i hear about when you skip that due diligence is when you get and you just love the excitement take over is when you make the mistakes and if you slow the process down do a bit more research and review things oftentimes not always because you still make plenty of mistakes and everybody does but you can avoid some of those mistakes so i think that's a an easy mistake to make with a great takeaway as well second question i always ask is along your journey or sorry not a long dream but if you're talking to somebody that's going on their journey and they were getting ready to start doing or they're just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them i would tell them to be cautiously fearless i would tell them that there is nothing stopping them they have as much right as much ability to do this as anyone else i've met some people that maybe their iq isn't the highest maybe their family doesn't have the most money but they were just determined and they did it people will help you if you ask for help don't be afraid to get advice don't be afraid to listen to good advice sometimes you have to go in your own corner and plan other times you have to listen and ask and where there's a will there's a way no i think that that's a lot of great takeaways and i think the one that a lot of times is people are shy or bashful or otherwise don't want to ask for advice they don't want to or impose on others or something along that nature and yet most time people are fairly willing to help you they want you to succeed and if there's an ability that doesn't cost them tons and tons of time and money but they can help along the way and give a bit of advice or direction or guidance they're definitely willing to do so so that's a great uh great takeaway to to make sure to ask for that advice and that help as you go along your journey so well if people want to reach if people want to reach out to you they want to contact you they want to be a customer they want to be in client they want to be an employee of your next venture whether it's a book or an app they want to be an investor of your next venture whether it's a book or an app they want to be a your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach you contact you find out more i am on linkedin carol bettencourt and i am available at my email carol.betancourt.cb professionally for the company that i work for now i am available at carol bettencourt at chiron and any of those are fine i'm happy to chat with anybody who's interested all right well i definitely encourage people to reach out contact you find out more and uh and uh get involved with your next venture whenever when it comes about and in the meantime check your or work out with your the current company you're doing so well thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners and if you have your own journey to tell we'd love to share your journey so feel free to go to apply to be on the show couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share and leave us a review because we want to make sure that everyone finds out about all these awesome episodes and these great journeys because we want to make sure to help as many entrepreneurs and startups as we can and in that note we if you ever need help with your patents or trademarks or anything else your intellectual property or your business feel free to go to a grab some time with us to chat thank you again carol for coming on the podcast and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last my pleasure devin thank you you

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