Simply put, I’m a marketing and business strategist for creative entrepreneurs. I earned my “business stripes” working in marketing for brands such as Whirlpool and H&R Block and now have a combined 9 years experience as an entrepreneur and strategist. Today, I work with entrepreneurs and corporate clients alike to brainstorm, strategize, and implement strategic plans and processes to better their business and increase their sales.
I’m also a multi-passionate human (who isn’t?). Beyond working in marketing and strategy, at DannieFountain.com, I’m also an author, educator, digital nomad, and whip-smart whiskey drinker. I wrote The Side Hustle Gal and The Bucketlist Babe and have two more books forthcoming this year – One Honest Woman and Big Plan for the Creative Mind. I’m spending 2017 wandering the globe (and if you want to know my favorite whiskey brand, try Koval Distillery).
Growing up, did you always dream that you would be doing what you’re doing now?
Not even a little bit! When I was three years old, I proudly declared that I wanted to be “a lawYER” and I clung to that dream for a long time. My granny will tell you about all the debates I meticulously crafted and argued if you give her the time. In high school, it evolved into a desire to be an M&A Lawyer and then pursue a career in politics. I even interned for a couple politicians. When I arrived at undergrad, I proudly declared a Political Science major and Business minor. It wasn’t until senior year that I finally admitted I was actually really good at this whole marketing thing and should pursue it as a career.
What made you decide to “go for it” in terms of your career goals/ambitions?
I actually required a very strong push to “go for it.” I was a “side hustler” for nearly eight years, working on my passion at night after school or my full-time career. In 2015, I moved two states away (from Michigan to Chicago) and in 2016, I was laid off / let go twice. It was that double-lay-off that FINALLY convinced me to take this successful side hustle and chase it as a full-time thing. The back half of 2016 was a little scary – I wasn’t sure how I’d pay my bills some months. But I’m proud to say that things are much more steady now!
Did you face adversity? How did you overcome that?
Oh goodness yes. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ll notice that my last name is hyphenated. I was removed from my childhood home at 16 due to a myriad of circumstances and another woman (the woman I now call my mother) was granted permanent guardianship of me. I think many people expected me to follow the “sixteen and pregnant” path, but I managed to graduate high school (just three months after changing homes!), pay my way through undergrad (and graduate with honors), get a “proper full-time job,” and then pay my way through grad school too (also graduating with honors). I’m 23 years old and I can look back at that situation just six years ago and know that the right decisions were made to enable me to be in the place I am today. Did I follow the “good grades, good job” path? Yes. Do I believe I followed the traditional path to adulthood? Definitely not. I truly believe my biggest accomplishment is that I kept my head on straight (thanks to the emotional support of many phenomenal people around me) and managed to achieve the things I planned on achieving as a child. I grew up in the “trophy for finishing” generation, so I have the typical collection of far too many trophies and trivial accomplishments, but I know that nothing can ever take away my college degrees and the feeling of accomplishment those provide.
A lot of women have these big goals & big ideas that they’d like to bring to life, what advice would you give them in terms of how they can make that happen?
Take one step. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. The first step is the most difficult. There is no “right” first step – each of us has different dreams and desires and the way we start isn’t the way someone else will start and our path will be different than everyone else’s.
What’s the biggest regret you have when it comes to your blog/shop/business?
Not making the leap to full-time sooner. It’s been so fulfilling over the past year – it’s crazy to me that it took so long to make that leap!
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
Being able to bring one of my college friends on as my assistant and encouraging her to pursue her own entrepreneurial dreams. It’s been such a joy to see her grow in her own business and see what it’s like to own something that’s completely your own.
And, just because we like our coffee around here, how do you take yours?
Typically when asked “coffee or tea,” I respond “whiskey.”
But when I do drink coffee, it’s black.
I believe in the story of the overcomer. That has been my story and I believe that is your story too. We want your journey here on the blog to help encourage others just like you and me. If you’d like to share that with us, please come over and share your story with us!