My name is Dr. Brittne Halford
and I’m a wife and mother of two. I've always done a lot, which is pretty much how I've been able to transition from medicine to where I am, today and that’s currently pursuing multiple passions of mine in addition to being a physician. Even when I was in high school I had a hard time finding a job, but I was a cheerleader, so I said okay I'm going to create my own curriculum. I created a curriculum and presented it to elementary schools in the area and said I know you guys are looking for programming, here is a cheerleading curriculum that I designed that you can offer as an after school program.
That in itself was me trying to solve a problem by exposing these young girls to something. I felt that, hey, I was making good grades in school and things of that nature so I could be like a mentor to these young girls as well as giving them some entertainment.
Not only would we be doing cheerleading, but we would be also teaching the girls a skill is how I looked at this opportunity.
While I was in medical school I couldn't do as much but there were student programs in which I joined and found ways that I could be creative and innovative instead.
Then, after I became a physician, and started to practice on my own, I had some additional space and time because my schedule was basically, I work for seven days and I'm off for seven days. So while I was off I would be doing research, which is how I transitioned more into becoming an entrepreneur.
When Did You First Become Interested In What You do? Why?
As I’ve explained I wear many hats. If we're talking about my professional hat as a physician, I take care of adults in the hospital and that came to reality when I started medical school in 2009. Now, in addition to being creative and innovative, I'm also very frugal, so I would always tinker with things to figure out a way to do things, which is how I came about starting my business, “Bramilyn and Rose.”
In 2018, when my daughter was born, that was the night that I came to the realization that I was protecting my hair and I had no way of protecting hers since there were limited satin line hair accessories for kids. I said, “okay, this is something that I need to create for myself, and potentially other moms to use it for their daughters.”
I then started to notice that I would get really excited about talking about money when my husband, everybody, would ask me money questions, after I was able to pay off my student loans—$138,000—in just 3 and a half years, so I started putting out content about finance back in 2019.
How Long Did You Have To Go To School To Become A Doctor?
I would say I went to school for eight years and then I trained for an additional three years before I could practice on my own.
After high school you have four years of undergraduate, then if you take the straight and narrow, you have four years of medical school so a total of eight years. And after medical school, you are technically a doctor, but not a trained physician, although you may have your doctorate degree, as well as your medical doctorate degree, you do not know how to practice medicine until you do your residency training.
Your residency training is specifically for your particular discipline within medicine. You have surgeons, you have pediatricians, you have internal medicine doctors, radiology, and everybody has to go through their specified training and that training duration varies from three years to five-plus years.
How Were You Able To Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt In Half The Time It Took For You To Earn The Degree?
Initially, I actually hadn’t realize how fast I had paid off my loans until I started talking to other people and realizing that they still had a lot of debt. You have people who have been out of school for ten plus years still paying off their student loans in medical school.
Both my parents were economic majors and frugal, so they had some money savviness which they passed along to me. I remember during car rides, my mom would say, “okay, we're about to go to the store. We're going to get this. We have $20, it's 20% off.
How much do we have to pay? How much change are you gonna get back?” So I got really good at mental math and just understanding the power of money.
While I was in medical school, I simply budgeted. I didn't take out the full loan and I actually think I returned some money. I can't say that for sure but if my memory serves me correctly, I returned some money, or I reduced the amount of money that was offered to me and didn't take out the full loan amount offered.
As soon as I started residency, I started paying off my debt, which I know a lot of my colleagues were putting their loans in deferment instead. I initially thought about doing a public service loan forgiveness, which basically means if you work for a qualified program or community in some discipline in which you are serving the community, and you have 120 qualified payments then the government will pay off the remaining balance of your loans.
So when I started residency I did everything that I needed to do in order to put myself in this public service loan forgiveness and was paying the minimum amount due because I wasn’t trying to give any more of my money than I actually needed to. But after I realized that there were no guarantees that the government would actually pay back my loans and that they just continued to accrue interest, I said, “okay, I need to buckle down.” I need to sacrifice and figure out a plan and I was able to do just that.
One of the ways that really helped was refinancing my student loans and another way was by fixing my mindset that I am capable, and understanding what brought me joy. While no one else was paying off their loans, or were paying the minimum balance I decided to attack mine so that I could have the freedom to do what I wanted.
After I refinanced my student loans, I had an extra $2,500 a month every month and by paying them off quicker I was actually able to save myself about $10,000 dollars in interest alone.
While paying off my student loans I was still able to travel domestically so it wasn't like I was just eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Although, I really do like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My husband and I were able to travel to Thailand, Hawaii, as well as India. It wasn't like, oh my gosh, I have to sacrifice everything, I can't go out or can't do this because I'm trying to pay off my debt. No, I had a plan, and I worked the plan.
What Did You Struggle With When You First Got Started Going After Your Interest/Passion?
I would say becoming a doctor, the thing that I struggled with the most was imposter syndrome. I am originally from Flint, Michigan and it seems whenever I say I'm from Flint, Michigan there are many thoughts that pop into people's head. Especially now because of the plant water crisis that is still ongoing.
I hadn’t even realized how the world perceived me as being disadvantaged until I went to undergraduate and I was at a party and I told this guy I was from Flint, Michigan and he asked me if I’d ever seen anyone murdered? Just having that external perception manifest itself within me really affected my self-esteem and caused me to doubt my ability of, can I actually do this?
Also, there were no doctors in my family. I didn't really know many doctors from Flint. There were a few but I didn't have too many personal connections with them and so I think that that was probably the biggest struggle that I had in becoming a physician.
Just believing in myself and believing that I was capable, and I was supposed to be here, and I had something to offer. And then mommyhood hit and that changed everything.
There's no blue book for becoming a mother and on top of that trying to balance everything: motherhood, wifehood, and to take care of yourself and not stifle your own passions. It has been challenging to manage the time, I would say and being comfortable with not having everything perfect.
What’s Your Current Status? Single? Married?
a. Any children? If so, how many?
b. Do you feel that your status has had an impact on your decisions in life? If so, how?
Yes, when I was in residency—my husband and I met when I was in medical school, so I technically wasn't a doctor when we met but we were married in 2015 and I finished medical school in 2013.
After residency, I could have done many different things, which basically means that I could have specialized in cardiology, endocrinologist, or even become a hormone doctor.
One of the things that I was actually considering at that time was critical care medicine, since where I was doing my residency was in St. Louis and they had a critical care program, but there's this system in medicine called, "A Match," where you interview at a bunch of places, you rank these places, they rank you and then this algorithm finds some type of match and my husband ended up matching in Atlanta.
I made the decision to not go into critical care instead and become a hospitalist since I didn't want to be away from him and spend additional years traveling back and forth after we had already done long distance. Even thinking about opportunities now that have been afforded to me, I have said no to things because I'm a mom, but I don't see it as a sacrifice, I see it as a choice.
What Were Your Family’s First Thoughts About What You Wanted To Pursue?
a. Were they supportive?
b. Are they currently supportive?
My family was supportive. I was always a really good student and I really liked math and science and I’ve always been very disciplined and determined. I think I get that from my father, he takes it to an extreme, so yes, they were very supportive. But once you get in school, no one knows what you're going through, and it is a struggle. They kind of know but they don't really know.
I remember I had done some shadowing while in undergraduate and I was following an OB-GYN around as she was doing her rounds and delivering babies and I tell you, that whole partum process! The mom pooped and there was blood, and I was like oh my gosh, I can't do this! And the smell and then the sight of blood, I was getting woozy.
I had to sit down. I think I may have gone home and my mom's like, "How are you going to be a doctor if you can't even do: fill in the blank?" You know, so there was a little bit of that. Also, when you come home after having different experiences, if you speak a different way then they're like okay, so now you think you're: fill in the blank. So, there was a little bit of that as well, but I would say overall my family has been extremely supportive and continues to be supportive even with my entrepreneurial pursuits.
Initially when we started our satin line hair accessories brand, we didn't have any money so I basically just recruited my cousins, like hey I'm doing this other activity and I need you to model. So we got them together, I hired a photographer, and they modelled. And even now with the financial coaching and the personal finance, financial literacy they're very supportive so I come from a very big family and a supportive family. I wouldn't trade them for the world.
b. What about your immediate family like your husband and your daughter, how are they? Are they pretty supportive? (Like I know your daughter she's pretty young, right?)
Yes, she's two and a half so doesn't fully understand but I mean she's one of the models too. And she has been the muse for the business and so you know, I'll put on a headband, and she'll say “okay, Mommy, I want to put on my headband too." Or you know, we're going to take pictures today so she's extremely supportive. Actually we went to the post office today to mail a few orders and she's right there with me so I'm hoping that she'll just get to see our work ethic and realize that you can pursue your passions regardless of what it is and make it become a reality.
I now have cut down my clinical time in order to pursue some of these other entrepreneurial pursuits as well as to spend more time at home with family and make sure that I can be a good wife and be a good mom and still have some time for myself.
My husband is also very supportive of my entrepreneurial pursuits. These are not the only two businesses ideas I’ve had. I had another start-up that I had joined when we were in Atlanta, so he's used to me just coming up with ideas and providing me support through them. As well as when I present an idea that may not make the most sense he will reel me back in.
b. What challenges have you faced together?
My husband is doing a phenomenal job being very productive academically. He is a physician as well, he's a child psychiatrist and has his own private practice. He's a black man, so a black man doctor who's a psychiatrist is coveted.
And where there are many black families who are like listen, I need help; he's normally taking calls and calling parents as late as at 9:00 pm, so I recognize that this is part of who he is, this is part of what he needs in order to do his job well.
And I don't try to say well, you know, you should have been home at such and such or you shouldn't have taken that call because I'm here and you're never here. I try to engage him on that level and support him.
There have also been times when my husband and I miscommunicate, and he has to work late and I'm still at work so asking for help when I need it and outsourcing, that has been a saving grace.
What Was Your No. 1 Goal When You Started?
a. Are you currently in line with achieving that goal or have you already achieved that goal?
b. If not, what do you feel is preventing you from doing so?
My mother would tell you since the age of three I have told her that I wanted to be a baby doctor. I'm not a baby doctor, but I did fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor.
Are You Earning Any Income From Your Interest?
a. Are you currently in line with achieving that goal or have you already achieved that goal?
b. If part-time, are you currently working a full-time job?
Yes, my husband and I are high income earners.
So I'm not full time now. I'm about 60%, well, 70% now but once this baby comes and in July I'll be 70% because I also teach and that's part of the medicine. I teach quality improvement to the residents so 70%. Part-time, but not 50%. Still majority of the time I'm working as a physician to focus on pursuing my other passions that I find bring me joy.
What Are The Biggest Challenges You Face Pursuing This While Juggling A Family/Working?
a. Have you been able to figure out a plan to make it less challenging?
Thankfully my husband has a full-time job, we are high earners, so I have some flexibility in that I can hire a person to come in twice a week and do the deep cleaning, so I don't have to spend that time cleaning the house. We also have been able to hire a nanny, who I would say is a godsend.
When we first hired her I had never worked with a nanny before and I was very bashful about asking for what I needed but man, our nanny is the bomb. She really is. She will cook a meal. She can't comb hair very well so I don't let her comb Brooke's hair but if I need to take down her braids so I can wash her hair or re-braid her hair then she'll take down her braids.
Another thing that I've realized is like if I don't give myself time and space to do something for myself then I'm not good for anybody else. I'm not a good wife, I'm not a good mom, I'm not a good doctor, so I try to budget that in. I'm doing a little bit less of that and less of the exercise piece now, but I used to run, and I like to run, so I'm looking forward to getting back to that after I have this little one and figuring out what brings me joy, asking for help, and being comfortable with things not being perfect, I think that's how I juggle.
b. Does your spouse/family assist with creating a plan to make things less challenging for you to focus on your interest/passion?
We do weekly check-ins and our check-ins are kind of like okay, how are you doing, like you as a person? How do you feel? Are you tired? Are you excited? You know like things of that nature. And then how are we doing as a couple, like you know, not logistically but how is our marriage? Are you happy with our marriage? What can I do better to serve you, vice versa and then we start to talk about all the logistical things.
You know, on this day, I'm working late so I need you to be home at this day. As well as meetings to acknowledge things that we are seeing with the other person, like okay you're tired, you need to start saying no and being honest with them about what we're seeing and how they're pushing themselves or you need to take a day for yourself and being okay with taking that time off.
How Has Your Current Situation Assisted You In Reaching This Achievement Of Improving Your Life?
I read Stephen Covey's book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and what really resonated in the book—or I listened to the Audible, I have the book too, so I did both—he says you have a ladder leaning up against the wall and you're climbing the ladder only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall and that hit home.
And then he also has an exercise of imagining your death: you're at your funeral, what are the people saying about you and what do you want them to say? So basically, what do you want them to say about what your desires are? What are your priorities? And I realized that seeing another patient is not going to be what I'm going to say on my deathbed.
I'm never going to say, oh I wish I would have seen one more patient. No, maybe for some people but for me, no, it's going to be, oh I wish I would have spent more time with my husband or we would have travelled to this place or I wish I would have had this special moment with my daughter.
I wish I would have been able to make this wedding or go to this birthday party because family is my core and so the sacrifices that I've made have been for my family but I don't see them as sacrifices, I see them as strategic choices that I have made for them but also making for me because I've realized what brings me more joy in life.
What Would You Say To Any Other Mother Who Is On The Fence About Pursuing Her Passion Due To Life Circumstances?
I would say you need to figure out, "your why," because when you become clear on why you are doing something it makes the decision so much easier. Because there are so many things that we can say, “oh, well, I don't have the money” or “I don't have the time”. You have to say, “okay well I'm going to take this course because I've consumed all of YouTube University and done as much as I could, and I still haven't gotten to the level that I want”.
I need to surround myself with people who are knowledgeable, who have a level of expertise who can definitely flatten that learning curve for me.
You have to ask, okay why am I doing this?
Am I doing this for independence so that I'm no longer working for the man and having someone else dictate my schedule?
Am I doing this for my family to build generational wealth because I'm from Flint, Michigan and no, my family didn't struggle but they had no money to give me for school and that's why I had $138,000 in loans.
I've come to the conclusion that I'm doing this for my daughter because she's going to have a full ride for school.
She's going to have everything paid for, she's going to have investments; whatever that why is for you, you have to solidify that by then writing it down, and then start because what I've realized through is, fear kills more dreams than failure.
Although I've been through other things that have failed, I realized that I was able to learn from those experiences, so they weren't actually failures because from that experience I’ve evolved so by holding on to that fear, by limiting yourself, you are limiting your evolution to become the person that God actually created. So that has been what I'm speaking to myself.
I am so focused on trying to find my purpose this year, that has been my prayer for this year but I've definitely been there, I've been fearful and I'm frugal so to spend $1,600 on a course or for a coach is not something that I usually intend but you’ve got to do it if you want to elevate yourself and achieve your goals.
a. How do you feel that you got to this point? Like did you have like a mentor or something that helped guide you to the understanding that you can only get so far looking at YouTube after you can't do YouTube anymore then you have to do this or is that just something that you were able to figure out on your own?
I would say a little bit of both. The figuring out what brings you joy piece came from a mentor when I started out and as an attending, there was a woman, she was climbing in the professional realm and she had two children and I'm like how do you do it all? She said, I don't, I figure out what brings me joy and I do those things and everything else I leave to somebody else.
Or I accept it, I'm not going to be perfect in this manner and this is okay as far as figuring out that I can't do it all or that I need some help. It's just me being honest with myself and sometimes we don't achieve what we want to achieve, not because we're incapable, it's because we need some help. I need help to manage my time, to have somebody to help me clean or to cook a meal and things of that nature. You also need help in your career.
I didn't become a doctor because I just dreamed it one day and I went out and practiced medicine, you know? I learned from other doctors. I had to take courses and I had to pay for it. Medical school was $138, 000, so if you have a passion or a goal then you need to learn from other people who are experts because you can only achieve so much by yourself.
What has also been very helpful, there are a couple of podcasts that I listen to that have been extremely helpful. One has been “Side Hustle Pro” by Nicaila Matthews Okome. Love her, love everybody she invites on there. And then the other one is, “How I Built This by NPR” by Guy Raz and just listening to the struggles of other entrepreneurs. Just from listening to their struggles has also afforded me the confidence that oh I can do this, I am capable but I need some help, you know?
And realizing that we went to school for a reason, learning doesn't stop, not even when you become an adult. You still have to continue to learn and if there's more education out there in some cases you may have to pay for it. As long as you hone in on your why and are focused, it becomes clear and that goal aligns with your life so then the question becomes why not?
What’s Next In Your Journey?
I would say next on my journey is investing in myself, learning a little bit more about finances and management of investments, so that's one of my goals for this year. Because once you learn these skills no one can take them away from us, you know, they don't depreciate, you can only build upon them so it's not like those Jordans that once you put them on and you walk around for a little bit or somebody steps on your shoes you're ready to fight.
The value does not decline, only goes up from there and so that has just been so rewarding when I think about all the stuff that I didn't know but I know now, it just makes me feel like I got this next step. I have never done a financial coaching program, but I have this knowledge, I've done it, I've paid off my debt. I'm building wealth for my daughter, I'm excited currently that I am working with two women and developing a financial program so that I can serve other people and help them to build wealth for their family as well.
My plan is not going to be a day trader or options trader or anything like that because I am risk averse, but I want to become more knowledgeable about investments. And particularly investments that people can do on low incomes. I realized in speaking with a family member that she has struggles. like real money struggles that I have no awareness of because I've never actually experienced those money struggles in my adult life. But learning more of how I can serve my community in that way so that is part of a personal journey for me.
And I am so excited this baby is coming so that of course is a journey, having a little boy and becoming a mom of two.
Are You Open To Collaborations?
If so, in what ways?
I recently had a meeting with someone and one of the things she mentioned when I spoke to her about the financial coaching piece and financial literacy and how I'm trying to develop that as a passion, she said, well who are you doing this with?
I responded saying, “myself, nobody else,” and she told me I need to collaborate.
The fact that I'm able to speak to your audience and hopefully serve them in a way but also that you're serving me in a way, to have this partnership, this time of connection especially in the middle of a pandemic is important.
So the answer is yes, I am open to the following time allowing:
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My goal is to spend as much time offline as humanly possible. I have two little guys that demand my attention outside of work and am aware that you have little ones that are just as demanding as mine are. If we're not connected on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, be sure to find me there. I'm always down to connect and answer any questions, feel free to reach out to me and my team at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Hi! I'm Asha.
Born and raised in South Carolina, I’m a country girl who’s passionate about making a difference in the world. I’m an obsessive learner who spends time reading, creating, and selling online educational programs for mothers.