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I quit bartending and doubled my income when I got into marketing. My only regret is not leaving the service industry sooner.

Perri Ormont Blumberg   

I quit bartending and doubled my income when I got into marketing. My only regret is not leaving the service industry sooner.
  • Brittany Betts left her job bartending at Twin Peaks in 2021 to pursue a marketing career.
  • She started as an intern at StaySense and moved up before becoming the CMO within three years.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Brittany Betts, a 28-year-old CMO in Nashville. It's been edited for length and clarity.

I'm the online travel agency manager and CMO of StaySense, a short-term vacation rental management platform owned by Guesty.

I started working at Sonic when I was 15. When I was 17, I had a few random serving and hosting jobs at restaurants like Chili's.

I went to college and needed to make more money, so I applied and started serving at Twin Peaks, a restaurant similar to Hooters, in 2015 because I heard the tips are higher than at a traditional restaurant.

When I first started working at Twin Peaks, I was young and extremely shy

I was grateful for my first few years at Twin Peaks. I started to break out of my shell, felt confident, and made a good living.

As I got older, my body and mindset changed. The Twin Peaks in Tennessee, where I worked, valued the size of my pants over my work ethic. I also briefly worked at a Twin Peaks location in Florida, and it was the same. There's a franchise standard for working there.

Customers and managers commented on my weight and other women's appearances, which felt demeaning. I told myself it was what I signed up for since I signed a waiver to be a model there (hostesses, servers, and bartenders are considered "models").

When I started, my brother died, and I barely ate, was depressed, and was tiny. My body started changing as I got healthier, and I knew I had to lose weight to keep my job. I began to struggle with an eating disorder.

I hit a breaking point in 2020. Working at Twin Peaks helped me pay my way through college, but I realized I was ready to venture out in my career. I quit in 2021.

During the pandemic, I started taking marketing classes on LinkedIn, so I would be prepared for my exit

I loved my business administration classes about marketing in college, so I always knew it was a potential career choice.

I took an intro and advanced Google Analytics class, a Scrum Master class for managing software meetings, a content marketing intro class, a marketing copy class, an online marketing foundations class, and a social media promotion class during the pandemic.

I had one internship and freelance social media management experience, but I had a very hard time finding a job when I left Twin Peaks. I didn't want to do another internship initially because I wanted to make a better living.

Luckily, I had an extremely supportive partner who knew I was unhappy. They sat with me and discussed opportunities, and we found the internship for StaySense on Indeed. I remember being so nervous for the interview that I was shaking, but I put it plainly that I was willing to learn, and I wanted to develop my career.

I started at StaySense 2021

I was hired and started a marketing internship at StaySense in the summer of 2021. My internship mostly consisted of data entry, reviews, and content writing. I made it a point to tell StaySense how much I enjoyed working there and that I wanted more responsibility.

After a few months, I was hired as a full-time marketing specialist, and my responsibilities grew. Two years later, I was promoted to CMO over our business unit. This year, I also became Guesty's online travel agency (GOTA) manager.

My income has doubled from bartending to marketing

I work in the office five days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., an additional day on the weekend, and a few extra hours some nights. I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance, so I work when I can but make time for my family and friends.

In three years, I doubled my bartending income. When I left, I made in the mid-five-figure range, and now I make in the low six figures.

I highly suggest finding a mentor

Having a mentor and asking questions are two main reasons I progressed so quickly. I had two mentors, the former CEO and owner of my company and my direct manager when I was hired.

I asked to learn more about marketing, about the startup from the ground up, about previous failures, and for more responsibility and opportunity.

I didn't care if it sounded stupid or I "should have" already known the answer. Instead, I asked, got my answers, and continued to develop my own personal brand through the help of mentors and peers. Rely on them and build your network.

Don't stay in one place for too long because of the fear of trying something new

The most common notions associated with the fear of something new are increasing self-doubt, lack of security, and worry of failure.

Failure stems from not putting yourself out there. You can't expect results like happiness, wealth, and career progression without taking the steps to get there. My only regret is not leaving my service industry job sooner to start my marketing career.

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