Sitting Down with Samantha Ettus: Best Selling Author & Founder of Park Place Payments

Feb 21, 2022

I am so fortunate to have Samantha Ettus on Inspiro Tequila’s advisory board.  She is a powerhouse woman that has given me amazing feedback and guidance. Keep reading the interview below or watch it on the Inspiro Tequila YouTube Channel here!

I recently sat down with Samantha to talk about balancing the different elements in your life. Samantha is the founder of the woman-owned company Park Place Payments and the author of The Pie Life: A Guilt Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction (a book I highly recommend).

Looking to change the payment processing industry, Samantha started Park Place Payments to process payments for small businesses while advancing new career opportunities for people looking to reenter the workforce. 

Keep reading my interview below or watch the interview on Inspiro Tequila’s YouTube Channel.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Mara: I remember a conversation a while back where I was telling you all the things I am doing and running in the household and trying to manage, and you said, “You should not be taking care of all those things. You are running a business now.”  That stuck with me. 

Since then, I read Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu. I took it in and thought about what are my objectives? What should I be doing? What should I try? What should I delegate?

Based on reading Tiffany Dufu’s book and then reading the Pie Life, I have been reflecting on how I figure out the different segments in my life and what I do to achieve more balance.

Samantha: I have worked with thousands of women, and I believe that the most successful and fulfilled are those that allow themselves to be part of different areas of their life. I think what is typical of somewhat A-type personalities who like to control things is we sometimes say, “If I am a wife and a mom, I will be the best wife and best mom.” Or “If I focus on my work and working out, then everything will be great.” And then “I will meet someone later.”

And that is actually a classic error.  What I believe is that after working with all of these people that you need to be part of the seven slices of your life, and those are your career, your family, your relationship (or your quest to find one), your hobbies, your health, your community, and your friends.

The idea is not that all of those slices are going to be equal because they are not.  The idea is you make goals for each of those slices so they start existing, even if it is a sliver. Even if playing the guitar made you happy as a child, and you are going to take a guitar lesson once a month, then suddenly your hobbies start existing again. 

I think one thing that is not part of the pie is guilt because the most successful women do not spend any time in the guilt category. You do not have time for it. There is no time in your day to feel guilty. You are too busy giving yourself to your career, to all the things that are important to you. Guilt takes away precious time you could be doing something productive with them.

Mara: Do you feel there have to be different times for those different pieces of the pie? Maybe you cannot fit everything into every day or every week, but you are going to focus on two or three of those pieces this week and next week something else.

Samantha: For example, I try to take a number of steps each day. I live in Los Angeles, which is a very sedentary place. It is a car culture. If you are living in New York city it is a lot easier. You are walking as part of your daily life. You do not have to think about it. This afternoon in the middle of my meetings, I will make time to go with a friend for a walk to make sure I get my exercise and see a friend at the same time. 

Or this weekend on Saturday my daughter had softball practice. I made sure to listen to a podcast while I went for a walk during her practice. I try to make sure that I marry a lot of the slices together and that has definitely been helpful to me. I also leave some room for spontaneity.

If a friend texted that they are in town and can I meet for a glass of wine tonight, I will do it.   I would rather leave the dirty dishes in the sink and go out for the margarita. 

And that has always been my philosophy. I think that often as women we have this kind of surviving mentality as opposed to thriving, and this relates back to the advice I gave you when you first started your business, which is you can outsource things, if you are privileged enough to be able to afford a housekeeper or to afford someone to help you with some of the driving or outsource anything that will not impact your relationship with your family. 

For me, I would rather spend time with my children than cleaning the kitchen for an hour a day, which is what it would take when you have a family of five to clean up. When you can afford to outsource something, it is worthwhile to do so because you have to think of what you are worth per hour. What could you be doing with that hour to move this further and create more value for your business and for your family?

Mara: I know that you started a business to help women, especially women wanting to get back into the workforce and giving them an option with Park Place Payments for something they can do. And I appreciate that. 

I am someone who was out of the workforce for a long time. The first chapter of your book talks about a corporate lawyer and leaving and how hard it is. That was me, but I was on emergency bedrest during my pregnancy and ended up with premature twins.

I felt like that was the right decision and I had to be there. That was a much longer time than expected. I am someone who never thought I would be out of work. I think that is the most surprising trajectory that I have taken in my life is that I ended up home raising my family. 

I was able to do that, but it is very difficult to have a large gap in the resume and reenter the workforce. I know that you acknowledge that and show women that it is hard and less fulfilling if they do not have all those pieces of their life.

However, the advice you give is not to leave your career or take time off because it is very hard to get back in. And I am curious what strategies you would give people for this. 

Samantha: I think the biggest thing is that it is financially risky. When you leave the workforce for two years, there is less than a 50% chance you will ever get a full-time position again for the rest of your life. Our lives are long, and those baby years are short. Then your child goes to kindergarten, and they are in school for most of the day. It is then you want to go back into the workforce, and it becomes statistically difficult. 

I always advise women to at least keep their foot in the door after they have kids because it puts them in a financially vulnerable situation. More than half the time something unexpected happens, a marriage does not work out, or there is a death or an injury, or your spouse loses their job.

One of the best ways to bulletproof your family against financial vulnerability is to make sure you continue to earn money throughout your life. 

Now in terms of Park Place, I found when I was on the book tour for The Pie Life, the one group of women I could not help were the ones who had already left the workforce, wanted to get back in, and found very few opportunities. A lot of them started selling makeup and skincare and essential oils to their friends and found themselves not even making martini money. A lot of them were not breaking even because the way those companies work is that someone is always left holding the bag at the end.

Most people do not know much about the credit card processing industry. It is basically what makes it so that when you go into a business and pay for your haircut or your meal, it makes it safe to transact with credit cards. There is this middle between Amex, MasterCard, and Visa and the actual business. 

I saw that there were very few women, very few people of color in the industry and it was not a very complex thing to sell. And I thought, what if I could train this group of people who have been sidelined and feel like their only opportunities are multi-level marketing companies? What if I could recruit and train them to sell credit card processing to their local business, their kid’s pediatrician and their yoga studio and all of the business owners in their community?

That is how Park Place started. We have over a thousand account executives in all 50 states, and we train everyone for free. There is no way to lose money with Park Place. We built a community out of our account executives.

To watch my entire interview with female founder Samantha Ettus, click here.