Yay! Round 2 of the rockstar web designer series! I present to you another amazing mom who made it happen. Seriously, her story will inspire and I just added her walk on stage music to about 5 of my playlists.
Deanna Hinsz has been helping small business owners with their online presence since 2011. She is the owner of CarbonSilk, a digital marketing and consulting agency that specializes in website design, search engine optimization, social media, email, and text marketing.
First things first – what would your walk-on-stage music be?
When did you start your business, and why did you create it?
I started my business December of 2015. It actually happened by accident. I never planned to be in marketing. I left my corporate job in 2010 to be more present with my boys. I loved my job, but I was missing school events and things that were important to them. I thought that I was giving them everything that they needed because they had the latest video games, took vacations and we had the money to do whatever they wanted. But I completely missed the mark when my son, Alex, who was 10 years old at the time, told me the only thing he wanted for Christmas was to be able to spend one day home with me, sitting on the couch, drinking hot cocoa and watch a movie. My heart shattered. I called my other son, Petey, into the room to discuss it and learned that they both felt the same way. They opened my eyes and made me realize that all of the material things meant nothing, what they really wanted was me, their mom. So, I quit my job. As a single mom, with no safety net, this was pretty crazy. I looked for a job but couldn’t find anything that paid enough to cover the bills and provided the flexibility that I needed to be available to my boys. I decided that if I couldn’t find it, I would create it. I started making Cake Pops out of my home and shipping them. Now, cake pops were not around in Ohio or most of the east coast when this started. They were huge on the west coast and in Texas though. I knew I had a small window to brand my product and business. I never used the word cake pops, but instead called the “Sweet D Bites”. I started shipping nationwide, getting corporate accounts and kept myself busier than I thought. I had an amazing mentor at the time who pushed me to get uncomfortable. Lenny Fisher, owner of Handel’s Ice Cream was a previous client of mine from the corporate world, who saw me on TV and said he wanted to mentor me. Looking back, I learned so much more than I realized from him and today think back to those conversations when trying to make a decision.
Anyhow, Sweet D Bites was doing great and a year later I was one of the winners of Top Mom’s in Business by Discover Card and StartupNation. It was an award that recognized moms who started a business and did a great job with their marketing. When that happened, I started to get a lot of women reaching out to me asking how I did it. I was using Facebook and Twitter at the time and it was still a pretty new concept when it came to using it for business. I shared everything I knew, with a disclaimer that I had no idea what I was doing. Well, apparently I did because it worked for them too! As word spread, more and more women wanted to learn, and by the end of 2011, I was hosting workshops teaching social media. I did this for years until one day I realized that people I had never met were reaching out and wanting help with their social media and website design. This is how CarbonSilk was born!
Tell us about your business and what makes you unique in your field.
CarbonSilk specializes in Digital Marketing. What makes me unique is that I know what it feels like to walk in my clients’ shoes. I launched businesses before CarbonSilk, as a single mom with no additional income, so I know that rollercoaster ride well. I have a degree in psychology, which who knew would play such a major role in marketing. I definitely believe that every marketing major should focus just as much if not more on the psychology that goes into it. My education in my craft hasn’t stopped. I continue to invest every month in training and education. I take my clients’ success personally and am grateful for each one. I don’t take any of this for granted. I’m blessed.
What do you feel makes your audience special?
My audience rocks! They are the small business owners who are the lifeline to community and economy. They are the ones out there grinding, facing their fears, challenging themselves daily to be better than they were yesterday. They are our neighbors, friends and family. who show up to support each other. They are fierce and in my opinion absolutely amazing!
If you could magically give all of your community members one thing in this world, what would it be, and why?
Just one?!?! Ha! I would give them courage. Courage to listen to their gut, to tune out the nay-sayers, and leap.
Did you create your own website or hire it out? Do you use WordPress?
I created my own and yes, I use WordPress. I love creating custom sites on that platform.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Know your brand. I actually had the opportunity to ask Sharon Osbourne that same question, and that’s what she said to me. I think it was pretty good advice. Second piece of advice is ask for help. Don’t feel as if you are suppose to know it all.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
I don’t think anything. I definitely had moments of failure, but I don’t see failing as bad. I see it as growth. If I didn’t fail, I wouldn’t learn and grow. It was needed to get me where I am today and I think that’s pretty cool.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
Absolutely!!! I did start it. I don’t think I realized how important it was when I started, but I do today!
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
Yes it is. When I launched, I quit my job and took the chance. I wouldn’t recommend that for everyone. You need to decide what’s best for you. For me, I believe I had to give it my all. I could always get a job but if I had a job while launching, I could never give my business 100%. Luckily it worked out.
How do you promote your site?
On social media. SEO is a big deal of course and I speak at conferences nationwide.
Who are your favorite bloggers or podcasts right now? Or what is an influential book that you’ve read lately?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yes! Each month I host Open Office Hours. It’s where my email subscribers can walk into my virtual office and ask questions about their marketing. It’s free to be part of – you just need to be a subscriber!!