Shortly after graduating from college and marrying, Ty'Lisha Summers and her husband Kiley found themselves overwhelmed with debt. They had good jobs, but student loans, their car and simply the cost of setting up their lives quickly added up. They hired a financial advisor, who gave them a road map for getting out of debt. When their success spurred friends and family to ask for their advice, Ty'Lisha and Kiley decided to launch their own business: SpenDebt.
SpenDebt is a financial technology company helping everyday people pay off their debt by using predefined debt micropayments with each credit transaction. It's a simple and very effective way to take the thinking out of paying off debt. Ty'Lisha's dream headline for her business would be, "SpenDebt helps save one million families from financial fatalities." Today, she shared with us a little about that goal and what she's learned along the way.
Why motivated you to start your business?
My husband and I overcame $140K in consumer debt. After sharing our testimony with others, we realized there were so many people stuck in the never-ending debt spiral without a plan to improve their financial situation.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Get customer validation early, like even before you have a product. And fail fast which means iterate as quickly as you can to figure out what works for you, your customers and ultimately your company.
What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?
Knowing that we are truly saving people from financial fatalities with a product we created!
Can you identify a moment in your business that was pivotal in your success?
When I learned to stop selling my product and start sharing my why, my story and the impact becoming debt free has had on my life.
What mentors or communities have been important for you as you developed your business?
Informal mentors helped validate ideas and leverage their networks for introductions. [And we have also worked with the] National Urban League, business accelerators and their alumni networks.
Do you have any advice for other women who are getting started in business?
Get your customers first. Listen to your customers. Fail fast…attempt, assess, adjust, then repeat until you figure out the formula that works for you.