Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in financial services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Addabbo, Co-Founder and CEO of Engage fi, located in Tampa, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Engage fi services the community financial institution market helping community banks and credit unions with their vendor selections and contract negotiations so they can provide the services they offer to their consumers.

Tell us about yourself

I spent my career working with banks and credit unions, but as a vendor in various capacities, and I was ready to help in a different way - to really look out for their best interests and to represent them to the vendors they work with. I knew that by building a team of unparalleled subject matter experts that would focus on education, we would be able to build a premier consulting firm that rivaled the others in the market.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Finding the right people to get the job done. A lot of people think consulting is an "easy" job. This job is anything but easy; we are driven to ensure our clients understand their options and that we go above and beyond to deliver for our clients. When the right people join the team, the rest becomes easy! Starting the business with my co-founder helped me understand all of the nuances of every position in the company, and my biggest accomplishment is hiring people who are better at it than I am!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Your business and your life are intertwined. Other people have the opportunity/luxury of leaving work behind them if they go on vacation or end their day, but as a business owner, your life is so connected to your business. Most of what I have to work on as a business owner is not to swoop in and try to solve any problems that arise but instead to arm my team with the information and the guidance for them to be able to solve challenges on their own in the best interest of the business. Thankfully I have the team that I trust can do that!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. People are the most important part of your business. Find the right people, and the business will be easy!
  2. Get outside guidance and coaching - it can be easy to put your "business blinders" on, and it is so helpful to get an outside-in perspective.
  3. Don't panic! If COVID taught me anything in uncertain situations, it was to take deep breaths and keep taking care of your team and your clients, and you will get through it.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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