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“We want to empower people to make the right choices” with James Lambridis

We want to empower people to make the right choices when it comes to their long-term financial well-being. Not only do we connect individuals with reputable companies to help them resolve their debt, but we also educate them on the best practices for maintaining a debt-free life. In addition, we are currently developing a proprietary […]

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We want to empower people to make the right choices when it comes to their long-term financial well-being. Not only do we connect individuals with reputable companies to help them resolve their debt, but we also educate them on the best practices for maintaining a debt-free life. In addition, we are currently developing a proprietary algorithm that can predict a person’s optimal debt relief option based off their unique financial situation. Our mission is to be able to help anyone, anywhere, in any financial situation and harness data science to help people become debt-free.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing James Lambridis.

James Lambridis is the Founder and CEO of DebtMD, a fintech platform that connects people with the professional help they need to become debt-free. He has 7 years of experience in the debt relief industry and holds an MBA from NYU Stern.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Before launching DebtMD, I worked in the debt relief industry, advising people on their best option for becoming debt-free from credit cards, medical bills, and student loans. After speaking to people in debt every day for five years, I began to realize that there was a serious problem when it came to finding a solution. These people were stressed out, under time constraints, and misinformed as to what their best option was to pay off their debt. This made me wonder how I could improve their situation and make it easier for them to get out of debt, and that is when the idea for DebtMD was born.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We want to empower people to make the right choices when it comes to their long-term financial well-being. Not only do we connect individuals with reputable companies to help them resolve their debt, but we also educate them on the best practices for maintaining a debt-free life. In addition, we are currently developing a proprietary algorithm that can predict a person’s optimal debt relief option based off their unique financial situation. Our mission is to be able to help anyone, anywhere, in any financial situation and harness data science to help people become debt-free.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my career, but one that sticks out is trying to do everything on my own. Nobody in the world has all the answers. Nobody can achieve big things without the help of other people. At first, this is exactly what I attempted and failed miserably. Then, I began to realize that you must surround yourself with people who not only can help you with critical business tasks, but more importantly provide insights and perspectives that you otherwise would not have seen. You can argue Michael Jordan would not have won 6 championships without Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. This same principle can be applied to business as well.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

One of my biggest mentors has been fellow entrepreneur, Vasilios Lahanas. One thing I learned from him is to never stop grinding, and never stop believing in what you’re doing. When somebody wants to chop down a tree, they must strike the same spot over and over again until the tree eventually falls. Similarly in business, you must dedicate each and every day to achieving your goals. While you won’t see results overnight, with enough discipline and hard work, you will make your dream a reality.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption can be a double-edged sword. While it will always bring new opportunities to new people, there will always be ones who are negatively impacted. Take Uber as an example. With their expansion into New York City, taxi cab drivers and companies who owned medallions experienced extreme economic consequences. Many had the medallions as a nest egg for them and their families, and the value of those medallions decreased significantly. While it is much easier to find a ride in New York City, it has negatively impacted the existing taxi cab Industry.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Pay it forward — Always give back to others without expecting anything in return. This can be your time, resources, or simply your insights. When you have this mentality, I am a firm believer that the help you give someone will always find its way back to you in some way, shape, or form.

Be Humble — With social media making everyone’s life as visible as ever, it’s important to remain humble throughout your entire journey. When you finally arrive at where you want to be, don’t forget the people who helped you get there. Humility is a quality that attracts great people.

Keep Pushing Forward — There have been days where I wondered what on Earth I was doing, and days where I have not only doubted myself, but questioned if what I was doing was worth it. However, in the back of my mind I always knew I had no choice but to continue pushing forward. Staying positive and knowing that better days were ahead are what helped me remain persistent.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

With COVID leaving millions of people unemployed and with reduced incomes, many have resorted to debt to stay afloat. We want to educate those affected on how to deal with stressful financial situations, and match them with the right solution to help them become debt-free for good.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Unfortunately, in male dominated industries, women do not always get the accolades they deserve. We certainly need more women to sit on boards of publicly traded companies. Not only has it been proven that companies with diverse boards perform better than ones without, but it will give more opportunities to qualified women.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

“The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. This book permanently changed how I viewed business, and the world itself. If you want the masses to adapt a product or service, it must start with a targeted push for a small group of people. Word of mouth is much more powerful than many people think.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Dare to be different” — People will achieve different goals at different stages of life, and that’s OK. If you aren’t married with children and own a home by age 30, that’s fine. Forge your own path. If you are always measuring your life next to somebody else’s, you will never realize your full potential.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We live in an age where people read headlines and form their opinion based off it. Critical thinking has taken a backseat to sweeping generalizations. No matter what side of an issue you’re on, it’s important to listen to both sides of an argument, and then form your own opinion. If everyone did this, society would progress much faster.

How can our readers follow you online?

Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/company/debtmd

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Internet-Company/Debtmd-307339439771256/

Twitter — @DebtMD

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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