Building Grassroots Awareness for Your StartupWelcome to the latest edition of the Chaos Makes Sense Podcast where Matt Frary, your Chief of Chaos, makes sense of the world of online performance marketing. Today, Matt is joined self-employed, single mother, Desiree Shank to talk about building grassroots awareness for your startup. Desiree will share her first hand experience of coming up with a great idea, starting small and ending up on national television.

She Got Her Gifts and She Got Her Future

It started innocently enough at a child’s birthday party. Twenty-five guests had been invited. Twenty-five guests. Twenty-five presents. But does a four-year-old really need 25 presents? Desiree’s daughter had been born on Christmas Eve. That meant that the child would be receiving even more presents the next day. Desiree wondered if there might not be a way to make giving and receiving gifts more meaningful.

As a self-employed single mom with two young children, Desiree wanted to give her children the world, but was limited by her budget. College was her biggest worry. How could she give her kids a college education without going into debt?

Desiree decided to use her web building skills to start Future College Fund, a website that uses crowd funding to finance a child’s education. Loved ones can fund their child’s future with the money they would normally spend on birthday and holiday presents. This allows friends and family to give children the gift of education – something more meaningful than just toys or clothes they would grow out of in a year or two. The following year, Desiree’s daughter received $433 towards her education and five gifts. Five was enough. Her daughter got her gifts and her future too.

future college fund image2West Texas Investors Club

She had the idea and she had the skills. But Desiree had to really commit to getting herself, and therefore her business, out there. One day she found a spare half hour and used it to fill out an application to be on Shark Tank. They liked her idea, but the timing didn’t work out for having her on the show. But a year later Desiree found herself drinking beer and making her case before a group of slightly rough around the edges Texas millionaires.

The show was new at the time (Desiree was on the second episode of the first season) so she had no idea of what to expect. There was something of a cultural gap that needed to be bridged, but Desiree eventually triumphed and now her appearance on CNBC is part of her legacy and her personal brand.

Here’s What You’ll Hear

She had the idea and she had the skills, but Desiree still had to work hard to make her dream a reality. Listen now as she and Matt explain:

  • How taking better care of yourself can make you a better business person
  • How a frustrated single mom leveraged her skills into a successful startup
  • How to a “no excuses” attitude will help you get your business out there
  • How to use Facebook to build grassroots awareness of your business
  • Desiree’s adventure meeting with the West Texas Investors Club
  • What you can and can’t expect after making a television appearance

Where to Find Matt and Desiree

If you’re interested in hearing more about building grassroots awareness of your new business, or if you’d like to start a Future College Fund, here’s how you can reach out to Matt or Desiree: