Who doesn’t enjoy chatting with entrepreneurs who are inspiring? Not only do we love chatting with them, but we want to share their stories with you. That’s why we asked Dannie Fountain, of LE Consulting to be in the hot seat and answer a few questions. Dannie is a professional side hustler who helps people and business owners with personal and professional branding. (AH – WE LOVE IT). Here’s her interview below – don’t forget to share!
You have some really great testimonials on LE Consulting’s site! How did you get started and how long have you been doing this?
Thanks! I founded LE Consulting in 2012 as a nonprofit venture, creating resumes and cover letters for low income individuals. We really enjoyed helping them and we decided to expand and start growing our business to support those efforts. Now, we still help low income individuals in that capacity, but we also provide paid resume and career development services and we’re a full service boutique marketing agency as well.
I just love your Instagram. So, light and airy! How did you learn to make such an inspiring gram account?
Thank you! One of the first times I started really thinking about how much a “themed” or “branded” Instagram mattered was after attending Create + Cultivate in Chicago in 2015. After that, it was all about working with the right people to get great images and have a true strategy. We work with a team for custom images for about half our Instagram posts and then the other half comes from stock photos that we love or things we create for the blog that we then post to Instagram.
What’s your favorite tools and tips you use to grow your business?
We actually started out getting clients by using Thumbtack. Truth be told, a lot of the marketing jobs on Thumbtack are really low budget, but they were a great way to build our portfolio and gain new clients. Now, over half of our clients are referrals from other clients and the rest tend to be from organic conversations with small business owners all over the world. We do some paid advertising with Facebook, but our growth has largely been organic.
Your portfolio is killer! What’s your #1 most memorable project you’ve worked on since getting started?
Thank you! My favorite project so far has been working with Maia Wheeler. She’s an art therapist based in Chicago and when we got started on her project, she was 8 months pregnant. I’m sure you can imagine how crazy that was! Now she has a beautiful new baby and a beautiful logo that actually features some of her own artwork! It’s exciting to see a piece of a client “make it’s way” into their logo and brand identity as well.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration actually comes from the community around me. I’m a member of the Rising Tide Society and a few other collaborative entrepreneurial groups out there and it’s the ability to bounce ideas off of one another and see the inspiring work that others are working on that keeps me motivated to work on my goals!
What’s something that people might not know about you but that you don’t mind sharing?
Interestingly enough, I still have a regular day job. I haven’t yet pulled the plug to run my business full time, though it certainly feels like I do. Knowing that, my day typically starts around 5am, when I get up for work and prepare for my day job. I’m usually out the door by 5:30-5:45 and then I’m at my day job until 4pm. I then head on home and work on things for LEPC until 10 or 11pm. Fortunately, I have an awesome team around me that helps manage things – though it’s important to note that my whole team has two jobs – they have “corporate” jobs and then the work they do for LEPC.
For people who are just starting out with their first business, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?
Work smarter not harder. Seriously. It took me 2 years before I implemented systems to automate processes within LEPC and I shudder thinking about all the time I wasted doing things manually. Checking out things like 17hats, hellosign, or your provider of choice will really help you grow your business faster without feeling like you’re working 24/7.
What does the future hold for you?
The dream is actually to reduce the amount of client work that I’m managing and focus more on the Side Hustle Gal project. It’s really important to me that women who are “part time entrepreneurs” (even though we all know that’s code for working 24/7) feel supported. There are communities for professional women and communities for full time entrepreneurs but there aren’t really any true communities for Side Hustle Gals.
Last question: What is your favorite blog or business to follow and why?
100% hands down the ThinkCreative Collective gals! The content that they produce is always incredibly informative and they’re always so real about their business struggles and what they’re going through personally too.