Deanna Fusillo is the founder of Sassy Girl Media, digital marketing solutions for small businesses and startups. Follow Deanna on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
As a single mom with boys (10 and 11), I was working in management for a company. My hours were long, and the pay/benefits were good. It was the week before Christmas, and my youngest son told me that he knew what he wanted for Christmas and that it was only one thing. I'm not going to lie, I was upset and frustrated with him. When a 10 year old wants only one thing for Christmas, the gift could only be one of two things: 1. The most expensive gift known to man, or 2. The one gift that will be impossible to find the week before Christmas.
I sucked it up and asked him what the gift was. I wasn't expecting his response. He said that he wanted just one day home with me to sit on the couch, watch a movie, and have hot chocolate like we used to.
My heart broke and I think the air was instantly sucked out of me. We sat and talked along with my other son, and they explained that I missed a lot of their events at school and that although they had all of the things they wanted, what they really wanted was just me.
I promised I would never miss another event again. I quit my job and had NO idea what I was going to do. I ended up baking out of my house. I baked cake pops before they hit this area. I knew I had no budget and a small amount of time to get this up and off the ground. I hustled. I had no budget, so I had to learn how to market as well as build my own website.
I started with one platform and outgrew it instantly. The more I learned about marketing and SEO, I kept switching websites, watching Youtube Videos, learning how to change code, reading blogs and forums to find answers. Let's just say that I spent a lot of long nights pulling my hair out and crying... but when I got it, I would seriously get up and dance (and maybe cry tears of joy).
I didn't really think much about the painful part of that experience until women started to reach out to me after my baking business was highlighted on our local news stations and newspapers. They wanted to know how I got my startup going. I would meet with them individually and then as groups. For seven years, I would teach others how to do what I was doing and would often create a site for free just to get them up and going.
The reality is women typically have less money than men do to start their businesses (at least the women who came to me did). I knew the pain of trying to come up with the money to pay someone to do it. I was so grateful for what was given to me in the sense that my business was successful that I had to give back and help these women.
Two years ago, the referral calls continued to come in from not only startups but larger businesses asking for help with either their website or social media managing, so I created Sassy Girl Media.
I then created a program called The Startup Circle that caters to those in startups. In this program, I continue to teach what I know. I blog, hold workshops, and offer monthly one-on-one coaching sessions about how they can take their businesses to the next level. Sometimes they want to learn about one particular social media platform at a time, other times it's a coaching session with action plans and conversations through the month.
I want to be a resource for anyone who wants to create the life they want. Life is short, and there is more than enough for all of us to have a wonderful, prosperous life. I love seeing people take that first step and the rewards that come with it.