March 2020 will always be the dreaded time when COVID-19 hit, and it hit us all hard. Danielle Paulo was a Chief Marketing Officer at a PPE company, working more than 16 hours a day. She was marketing a small business that expanded in over one month to provide equipment all over the U.S.
Although her job was paying her fairly well — we googled up the average salary of a CMO, and it was well over six figures — she was unsatisfied in her job and decided to spontaneously quit.
“It was such a risk and I had no clue what I would do,” Paulo said. Luckily for her, she was freelancing during the time and that is what sparked her business journey.
“I started this business with no savings and I didn’t take out any business loans,” she said.
Creative Haus was born in early 2020, and since then she has increased her income each month.
Earlier this year, excluding her salary from her full-time job, which she quit that year, she earned $117,000. By April, that increased to $200,000. And by August, her earnings jumped to $500,000. And just this month, she made just shy of $1 million.
The 28-year-old is a digital nomad. Her Instagram @dmarievstheworld is full of solo adventures and beautiful photography.
She says her goal is to travel to all the 50 states by the time she is 30, and she is only missing five states so far. Although it might be a while until she can travel again, she does not let anything stop her from achieving her goals.
It also does not hurt that she is naturally frugal.
“You will still see my shop at Ross or 99 Cent store,” she said. But the biggest reason for her success may be her internal drive.
“I’ve always been super competitive,” she said. “Growing up, I was always super determined, my mother always instilled that I should work hard for what I want because no one else will give it to me.”
Here’s how this entrepreneur started her business during COVID-19.
- What started your business, Creative Haus?
- I have always been in marketing, which originally started as a fashion stylist, then making my way into social media management. I have my BA in Fashion Retail Management, and I was really fortunate that by the time I finished school, Instagram and social media were booming. I started out interning to learn content creation, photography, and caption copy. Tested it out on my Instagram to learn more and built a following of over 20k. I do not consider myself an influencer at all though.
- How much did you earn from the business to begin with?
- In the beginning, I only made about $3,000 a month and it was only me. I have only two clients who I previously worked with, and that ultimately launched Creative Haus. I did not know how to pay taxes from being an independent contractor, and I knew I had to pay a big amount back so I hired an accountant and financial advisor to help. I did not think it would be this successful in such a short amount of time.
- How has your growing income changed your lifestyle?
- Now as a business owner, I have a flexible schedule, which to me is a luxury. I still worry about money because I have a full team of employees that I need to pay every month. I still do not pay myself, which is one of the biggest advice I got from one of my mentors. I focus on investing my money and putting it back into business expenses to expand.
- What is one advice you have for anyone starting a business?
- The best realistic advice I could give is to set up a business plan or marketing strategy. Anyone can start a business but it takes so much more to make it successful. I still consider myself a small business, but what really helped me expand was the marketing and branding strategy I put in place. I had set goals for myself, my employees and the business for this year and monitored the current trends to know if it is sustainable. Also, have a mentor you look up to, no matter what you know.
Creative Haus is thriving and is the next big marketing agency! Stay tuned to see what this team has to offer in 2021.