If you look up the definition of “side hustle,” you might find a picture of Brianna Firestone. The creative entrepreneur works full-time as the director of customer experience and loyalty at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She’s also a CrossFit coach and on her way to becoming a certified personal trainer. In September, she took on what may be her most important role yet: founder of the School of Betty, an online lifestyle coaching program of sorts with the mission of “creating good habits that stick.”
“I wanted to create something that would empower women to create good habits in their life, whether that’s in their personal lives or in their businesses,” Firestone says. She named the company, in part, for her grandmother. “When she was 24, she owned her own real estate business when it was all men,” Firestone says. “She was a trailblazer; she pushed against any preconceived notion of what a woman entrepreneur could be.” In Urban Dictionary terms, she was a betty: “A betty epitomizes a modern day queen, commonly associated with increased levels of self-worth (because she continues to create it).”
The School of Betty launched with a 90-day no-shopping challenge. After finding herself with $30,000 of credit card debt plus student loans in her early 20s—“No one had talked to me about how to use a credit card,” she says—Firestone put herself on a strict budget. Later, to make the finances work after her husband was laid off, she challenged herself to a year of no (unnecessary) shopping. “I saved $20,000 that year and put it in our savings account,” she says.
Through weekly online lessons, participants create spending journals, work on crafting budgets, get tips on organizing their closets to get the most use out of what they have, and learn to practice gratitude and self-care. There’s also a private Facebook group and three complimentary support calls from Firestone. “Our whole goal is to help us make new behaviors and habits,” she says. “I wanted to take the 15 years of learning that I’ve done, and how I’ve changed my habits and my life, and give that to other women so they can start to make a positive impact in their [own lives].”
Eventually, Firestone hopes to add a health and wellness challenge as well as more courses geared toward entrepreneurs.
The next 90-day no shopping challenge ($147) begins in January (start date TBA)—just in time to make sure you keep those New Year’s resolutions.
In the meantime, sign up for the School of Betty newsletter, and every Monday you’ll receive a dose of inspiration as well as be the first to know about new offerings. Recent motivations included: “If you are feeling challenged and you aren’t sure what to do, start with the above and trust your instincts. You, yes YOU, can figure anything out. And I mean ANYTHING.” And: “When it feels uncomfortable, you are about to make progress. It is about to become comfortable. Don’t give up. Change is not easy, but it does get easier. It will get comfortable.”
If that doesn’t make you feel good, this certainly will: Firestone donates 15 percent of proceeds from every program to a nonprofit that fits with the program. The beneficiary of the no-shopping challenge is Dress for Success, which provides coaching and professional clothing to women in need to help them find employment and reach economic independence. So you can improve your life and someone else’s at the same time.