From Not Having Gas Money to Making More Than A Salary with Digital Marketer Shaunda Head

Shaunda Head has a story full of hardship and troubles. It took 2.5 years to have breakthrough success to finally begin pulling in a real salary working for herself, and the road was marked with all sorts of trials. Nevertheless, she persisted, and today is making more than she used to make in her old […]

Shaunda Head has a story full of hardship and troubles. It took 2.5 years to have breakthrough success to finally begin pulling in a real salary working for herself, and the road was marked with all sorts of trials.

Nevertheless, she persisted, and today is making more than she used to make in her old job, but with the freedom to live the life she wants. Her story is inspring, relatable, and so real, you must listen in.

Shaunda’s Website: https://www.shh-creative.com/

About Shaunda

Shaunda Head is an Atlanta-based brand strategist and digital marketer who helps women turn their powerful stories into impactful brand marketing. She creates and implements strategies in marketing, branding and copy for her clients to drive higher connection with their audiences. In addition to building strategies, Shaunda also teaches various workshops on aligning your branding and marketing in a way that benefits your full brand. 

Shaunda has 15 years of experience includes brand design, marketing, communications and business development for global companies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UPS and E! Entertainment Television. She now coaches and consults for emerging and growing entrepreneurs — past clients consist of coaches, stylists, therapists, bloggers, e-commerce site owners and the like.

Shaunda’s popular Brand Prototype Quiz was created to tell you exactly who you are in business, and what you need to market and brand yourself according to your prototype. The quiz has been taken by over 4000 women thus far. Check it out at www.shh-creative.com/quiz.

Episode Transcript

Josh:
Hi, everyone. This week we’re here with Shaunda Head. She is a brand strategist and digital marketer who helps women owned businesses infuse their story into everything that they’re doing, which is really awesome. She’s now making significantly more money than she was in her previous marketing job, which is incredible. Welcome to the show.

Shaunda Head:
Thank you. Thank you, Josh. Good to be here.

Josh:
I think the question that always comes to mind immediately, when you hear about somebody who is now in this position where they’re making more money and they’re getting to do what they like doing, but what happened in the beginning? How did that all start?

Shaunda Head:
It started with me leaving my nine-to-five in the summer of 2017, so it’s been about three years. I left with these big dreams, you know, and thinking actually, even that the job that I left, that I was going to be consulting with them. That did not pan out and work, it didn’t come. I started taking courses here and there, of course, watching webinars. I got my first business coach, but over the past three years, it’s been a ride of ups and downs as far as is this the work I really want to be doing? Is this the work that people value? Do people want this work for me?

Shaunda Head:
It got to a point in the fall of last year where I literally just took a pause to just kind of check in with myself because I didn’t want to be… Working for yourself is great, but when you feel like you’re working for yourself and it’s the same feeling as if you worked for someone else, it’s like, what’s the point.

Shaunda Head:
I really had to figure out what it is I wanted to be doing. Kind of had to step up how I could be more visible, not even how, but knowing that I was being called to do more. So I had to really get to that place in my mind to where I could really start to push myself. So, yeah. It’s been a ride.

Josh:
Yeah, as it always is. What led to you to actually making that jump? Why did you decide to leave your job?

Shaunda Head:
I was not getting paid what I should have been getting paid for that position. It was a lot of work and not only was it a lot of work, they were constantly like, “You guys are doing so great. We’re going to give you more work,” but it wasn’t adding up on the end as far as my salary, and when we would talk about it, we wouldn’t really get anywhere. This was not the first job where that even happened. I had left a job even before that for the same type of reasons, and so I just felt like I wasn’t really being valued the way that I should have been. I felt like I was hired to do one thing and ended up doing another thing.

Shaunda Head:
And so I really just wanted to do the work that I love to do, do what I felt my expertise was, and I want it to really work for the businesses that I really wanted to work for. I wanted to be able to pick and choose projects and everything like that. At least I wanted to be able to get to that point. And so I felt it was time. I’ve been freelancing since college, so it also was probably a bit of, you should be doing more at this point in your life. So I went ahead and took the jump, and it wasn’t pretty. Also, I didn’t have anything to fall on either, but I just felt so strongly that I could. I just woke up one day and I was like, I can’t continue to do this.

Josh:
I’m curious to dive more into the first few months, maybe the first six months. It sounds like logistically things weren’t starting quickly. And I’m also really curious, how were you feeling? What were you telling yourself during that time? What were you thinking? Were you comparing yourself to other people? Where was your mind at through that first initial phase where it’s like you’ve left your job. Now you’re out on your own. Then what?

Shaunda Head:
Initially it was tough because I really thought I was going to have a consulting contract. And so then it’s kind of hard to explain why you quit your job without anything. But I really thought I was quitting and was going to be a consultant for the company. I think I was so determined to make it in the very beginning, I knew I was like, “Oh no, this is what I’m supposed to do, so I’m taking all the classes that I can afford. I’m watching all the webinars,” and then it slowly starts to dawn on you that it’s not happening the way that you thought it would. My mind, I would say it may have taken the first few months for me to even get super down about it, and then I joined a business.

Shaunda Head:
I joined a mastermind, and I really felt imposter syndrome then because everyone around me, in my eyes, you know, you never know people’s stories and everything, but everyone around me was really doing well. But for me, they started to serve as inspiration to me because for me, I’ve always, if I just surround myself with people who, with that momentum, who are moving as well, then like osmosis, I’m going to take it in as well. And I can say that was one good decision that I did make, because I love that group. And even if, at the time, my business wasn’t able to really continue to sustain in that mastermind, it changed my mental set. Even from then on, I always was like, “Okay, I can do these things. This is possible.”

Shaunda Head:
It’s kind of like you have to see somebody doing it. And so that’s where I was at, but in my actual life I just couldn’t get it figured out. And I actually was starting to, that was the end of 2017. So 2018, even last year really, really, tough years for me personally, and I think that’s actually what ended up happening is all that personal stuff started to weigh down on my day-to-day work life. Especially since I wasn’t going into an office everyday. I was at home working, and so my personal life kind of blew up and it really, really affected my business as well. So even the moves that I was making were not panning out.

Josh:
So then, well, I have two questions. First of all, which mastermind did you join?

Shaunda Head:
Rachel Rodgers, MDB. Million Dollar Badass. The best decision I could have made.

Josh:
I mean, anything is good, and it is a common thread among these shows that we’re doing. We’re hearing a lot about having a support system.

Shaunda Head:
It kept me sustained. Without them, I don’t know what I would have done, honestly.

Josh:
But it sounds like, 2017, 2018, what I’m hearing is even though there was this support system and there was vision of what could happen personally, and maybe even in the business, it was still kind of a slow burn in a negative direction. What ended up happening? How did things turn around?

Shaunda Head:
For me personally, I didn’t feel like anything even started to turn around until in the fall. Things of course were up and down and that’s normal, but my personal life had gotten so off track that when I say it was… It was really, really, really rough. I’m a caregiver to my grandmother. She’s 95 years old with Alzheimer’s, so I had to go through trying to learn how do you care for an elderly person, then how do you care for a person with dementia? I thought we were going to have some really good help. That did not pan out, and so that took me energetically away from my business. It took me physically away because my schedule couldn’t be the same. I was having a fertility issue. I had several miscarriages. It was just thing after thing after thing after thing.

Shaunda Head:
And so then with me taking on these other roles that also meant, “Hey, you’re going to be access to more money, more capital,” but that wasn’t happening. So I was sustaining in business, but then all these other things piled on where I was needing even more, and it just was not coming in. So you do have those thoughts of, “Is this what I’m supposed to even be doing, especially since this is what my life is now,” and so that was a part of why I really wanted to sit and do some soul searching in the fall. But also it’s like, “Okay, if I’m really going to be trying so really hard. Things have changed since 2017 to 2019. What is it that you’re really, really trying to do? What is it that you end up giving the clients for free because that’s not what they hired you for,” but this is what I feel they need.

Shaunda Head:
And so I started just really digging into funnel strategy work because it was what I did. I was a web designer and graphic designer, always was in the strategy and digital marketing for my nine-to-five. It’s just that I wanted to do it for the projects that I really felt I could really delve into. My mom used to call me a professional student. I’ll take a course or a program all day, but I really started, during that time, to dig into really honing my craft and niching down even more.

Shaunda Head:
I was a writer before I was a designer, and that’s another reason why I decided to go with funnel work because I was a copywriter, even from my job in communications as well, so it all kind of came together. I actually had this quiz idea with interact two years ago. I came up with it literally at the mastermind retreat, and I did nothing with it for two years. I pulled it out because I’m like, “Hey, if I’m going to burn my business to the ground and start over, literally let me bring in people who are understanding that this is how I work. I do these things. I lean into story marketing because my story is ridiculous. It’s like a movie.” We could go on for days, right, but there’s value in that. And whenever I talk about my story, people connect or they say, “Hey, I understand. This resonates,, and that’s a big part of your marketing and your connection and your engagement.”

Shaunda Head:
So I wanted to make sure that, “Hey, I’m not just out here designing flyers or logos,” and it’s nothing actually even wrong with that. I just found that me thinking that there was something more that I was supposed to add to that, and then me thinking that, “Hey, nobody’s going to want that from you.” That held me back for a long time.

Shaunda Head:
My mindset was such that I was already bettered personally, so to battle imposter syndrome in business, too, at the same time? So, so, super hard for me. But what changed it is honest to God, I pulled that quiz out and I had a strategy about it. I really thought about how I could make it different, how I could put my [junge 00:12:54] on it and how I could really serve my audience and come at it from a unique perspective. And I just put it out because I was like, “I’m already at the bottom of the barrel, so if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but I need another freebie. So let’s do this,” and that was literally top for this year.

Josh:
That’s amazing. I think one thing that I wanted to ask more about in there is it sounds like what you ended up doing and focusing on was really personal to you. I can resonate with this, and I’ve heard this a lot where it’s really scary to step into something that’s personal to you because you actually care about it It’s actually part of you and then ironically, or maybe not ironically, it ends up being the thing that actually helps you succeed in the end. What kind of mental battles were there to open up in that way, and what inevitably led to you actually taking the leap to be like, “You know what? I’m going to go for it and expose this part of myself because I think that’s how I can be helpful to people.”

Shaunda Head:
What I learned through everything that had been going on with me in the past few years is this kind of theme of just like surrender, honestly. Because sometimes you fight so hard against stuff or to get out of stuff or around stuff, through stuff, and it’s just not working. And so I literally just had to get to a point where I was like, “I don’t know what’s supposed to happen.” You know? Because I’m talking like my house was in foreclosure. My car got repossessed and you’re like, “No, it can’t be that these things are supposed to happen,” but there’s some things that you literally cannot avoid. You’ve done all the right things. You’ve made all the best decisions you could and you couldn’t get around it. And so I would literally just go, “Whatever it’s supposed to happen is going to happen and we will figure it out day by day.”

Shaunda Head:
And so when I, for me the word just coming to me was just surrender. I don’t mean that to be like any kind of negative connotation. It’s just literally what I had to do. Especially being a black woman, we are always having to be, or being looked at as being so strong. You can get through anything, and even I was raised by a single mother. So it’s like, I’ve seen the work and the struggle that it takes for things to happen and for you to make things move. And so you feel like, oh, you have to really fight it. You have to get, and I was just tired of fighting and nothing was happening. And so every day I would wake up and I would just be like, whatever’s supposed to happen will happen.

Shaunda Head:
Literally I started saying that to people. I mean, my godmother called me. She’s like, you need to figure out can you do X,Y,Z? I’ve already tried. I’ve made all the calls. I’ve already everything. And when I tell you that I just started saying out of my mouth or whatever it’s supposed to happen is going to happen, there’s really nothing I can do. My stress level, I was in therapy of depression, anxiety, definitely. And when I started saying that out loud, things just started to come together. I had nothing to do with it. I don’t know. Whatever anybody believes in, God, higher power, universe, the ancestors, all of it. Something, somebody, was looking out for me. I had nothing to do with it. I literally took my hands off of everything. It was the hardest thing in the world to do.

Shaunda Head:
But honestly, that’s literally what happened. Things started to pull together so that we at least were able to keep the home. You know what I mean? I got my car back and all these things, and my grandmother, she couldn’t stay where we were getting her real medical help. She had to move home. Hey, she’s got to be here. She has to be here. I’ll get back into that mindset. It just is what it is. Right?

Shaunda Head:
And so when you get to a place like that, it’s like, literally nothing else can… Things are scary, but somebody having something to say is like, you know what I’ve been through. You don’t have to. I literally could care less. If you have something to say about anything that I’m doing or my story. The hardest part is just, you look at other people and you see what they’re doing, and it’s not that you want to do what they’re doing, but you want to be able to sit in your power and be impactful in whatever it is that your calling is as well. Right?

Shaunda Head:
You want to be able to do that, but I was in a place in my life where I was supposed to have to go through some things. And so I just had to sit down and wait it out. And so after I got through that, then it’s like, “Okay, what did I say about my business again because this is not fulfilling me.” And after all that, like, I’m still scared, but who cares? Just do it. People who meet me in person or whatever, I talk a lot. I talk like that. And so I will tell you things that are going on, and I will always find, or when I would do my emails and everything, I always get the biggest response when I’m talking about my story that I went through. And even if it’s literally just like, “I feel you. That happened to me last week.” You know, we always think we’re the only one, and we never are.

Josh:
I mean, first of all, that was incredible. I feel like I just got to go on your journey a little bit with you, so thank you for that. There’s this book that I really like by Brene Brown. It’s called. I Thought It Was Just Me. I think you said that at the end and it’s like, yeah, that’s the thing, right? You always think it’s just you. There’s like something’s wrong with you. Everybody else is just working harder, and that’s how they get there, but then you come to this point where you just realize you can’t actually make it happen, and you have to surrender. I like that word a lot. I just think it’s a beautiful thing when you do let go, and then it comes back around.

Shaunda Head:
Listen. Everybody’s out there working hard. I was working hard just trying to save the house, trying to get some gas money. You know what I mean? And it was just a year or two ago I was the one bringing in the money and everything, and now you’re relying on other people to help you. That doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good.

Josh:
No, it does not. But you persisted, right? Nevertheless, you persisted. I guess two questions come to mind. What did pull you through those times where it’s just like, you look around and it’s like, everything’s burning to the ground and it doesn’t feel like anything is working? And then the second question is how do things feel now? What’s on your mind now? How do you feel about where things are at given that you have had a good level of success?

Shaunda Head:
I have really, really good friends. I don’t have older family that’s here with me that can help me. Because my mother passed in 2013, which is hence why I had to take on my grandmother. She’s all well. She’s healthy. She just has Alzheimer’s, and that’s something that you just, try as you might, you can’t help that. It’s progressive.

Shaunda Head:
But I do have really good friends, you know? It’s not really people around me that even understand what it is that I’m having to go through because this whole thing, this started in 2015. So this started five years ago, you know, we noticed this decline. So my friends don’t have the experience that I have in what’s happening, and then with me also being a business owner, but they literally are just there to support me with whatever I need. You know what I mean?

Shaunda Head:
And mainly it’s just somebody to talk to or cry to, you know, that got me through. I stayed in contact with some business friends because as a person who works alone, you work from home, you don’t have as many people around you that also could feel what’s going on business-wise or if you’re having a drought this year or this season, other people may not understand that. So I just always have people that I can talk to. That kept me through and just prayer and literally just having to take it off of me, just whatever’s supposed to happen, will happen, and then that day we will deal with that, you know, that day. Now it feels like I’m able to reap what I’ve sown, and I never stopped working.

Shaunda Head:
I never stopped trying to work on my craft. When I wasn’t getting calls or getting any work, I never stopped. Like I said, I’m a professional student, so I never stopped taking in the information. But now it feels aligned like, okay, you are trained in these areas so that you can do this thing. You went through all these things so that you can talk to other women who went through these things or who went through their own things and are trying to build a business as well, on top of that, or trying to connect with people. Or you went through these things because you’re now able to talk to other people with these kinds of stories and explain to them it is okay to talk about it. You know? So now I feel like things are coming together as they should.

Shaunda Head:
I am nowhere near where I’d like to be, but I feel a momentum. It just started happening this year, to be quite honest with you, but I feel it’s probably cliche to say, but all of those things happened in that way. I was just holding on for dear life until everything aligned for me to move forward.

Shaunda Head:
I love the work that I’m doing now. I love the people that I get to speak with now. It’s just a whole different vibe. I’m a different person. I’m still going through stuff, but I’m different and my work is different. There’s a shift there. I am feeling some momentum this year and I’m thankful for it, and what’s really funny is when I sat down… Honestly, it wasn’t until the second quarter, when I said, let me plan out my 2020. Why January-February? I was thinking about April, hey, let me plan out my 2020 and everything. It’s not a lot. It’s like five things I wanted to get done this year. All the seeds had been planted like two years ago to the point I went back to notebooks and pulled out where I had started. It’s like now it’s time.

Josh:
I think there’s a couple of points that really jump out at me. First that it was really two and a half-ish years before things started to click, and second that those two-and-a-half years weren’t wasted. You were just building a foundation, and the hard part is that you don’t know what’s to come while you’re in that place. And it feels really hard because you’re struggling and you don’t have money. You don’t have resources. You don’t have success. You don’t have momentum. But I think that’s the reality a lot of the time. Is that is [crosstalk 00:26:35]. Right. Right.

Shaunda Head:
That’s exactly, yeah. Yeah.

Josh:
I think that’s amazing, and even in getting to know your story it allows other people, and I am in this category, as well, to just be really like, that’s amazing. I’m really happy for you, genuinely, because I know where that came from, and it’s not this other version that’s like, oh, I’m just this person who happened to be this successful, and then you’re looking at it from the outside and you’re like, well, okay, well, I can’t be happy for you because that’s not how I feel. But you can really connect with somebody when you know where they came from and what they had to go through, even if they are doing well now. You’re not going to be resentful or jealous or anything like that because it’s like, yep, that’s awesome.

Shaunda Head:
It’s something. And I don’t even see myself… Like I said, I’m, I don’t know. I’m probably even scared to set goals for myself. You kind of still are battling with it, but then tomorrow, you know, but I don’t even see myself as like, you know, even successfully, I see myself as I’m, hey, we’re able to pay our bills. We are able to do just… I can get gas when I want to. I can pay the bills and I don’t have to double check. And, for me, from where I came from, that literally was, you know, that was exactly, that was like all I was looking for.

Shaunda Head:
That probably sounds bad because you’re supposed to have these balls in here. I’m working on it now. I’m working on my mindset, you know, but if I’m being honest, I just wanted to get to a point where I wouldn’t feel ashamed for asking for some help because I need to make sure I can get my grandma’s prescription this month, you know?

Josh:
I can resonate with that. Putting $5 in the tank at a time because you don’t have anything more, and now you can actually fill up the tank, not worry about whether you have enough money.

Shaunda Head:
That’s it. Let me tell you something. And I don’t mean to keep harping on the gas already, but literally I don’t know what’s going on around my neighborhood. I don’t know if people are doing the pull-up and drive-off. I don’t know what happens at gas stations, but in my neighborhood, they literally started making it where if you use your card at the pump, you have to have a hundred dollars. You know how it used to be. The gas station would [inaudible 00:29:32] for just a dollar to make sure you had something in there and then you can use it. They started swiping for a hundred dollars, and you can tell because it’ll say the client and then when you pull up your bank, they’re like, yeah, there’s a hundred dollars. And it was like all around this part of the County. And I’m like, okay, I don’t have a hundred dollars.

Shaunda Head:
I had enough for gas, but I didn’t… And I had to take my baby, and she was just too young to take her into the gas station. I’m telling you, I have all kinds of stories. I had to call my friend. She had to meet me. We were just headed to her house. She had to meet me at the gas station to sit in the car with the baby so I could go inside and hand the man a $20 bill, because I didn’t have a hundred dollars on my credit card. That, to me, is something that sticks out. I’ll probably be harping on gas money for the rest of my life, just because it’s crazy. I was just trying to get to a point where I could swipe my card at the gas station.

Josh:
Yep.

Shaunda Head:
It’s funny now. It was not… I was literally in tears all the time, but [crosstalk 00:30:41]

Josh:
It’s not funny. It is not fun when you’re in it, but it does make you really appreciate that mindset of gratitude of just like, I’m grateful that I can just fill up the tank. I’m grateful that I can buy groceries and not have to worry about if there’s enough money in my bank account. Those little things, and then it just makes life that much more enjoyable as you’re going through it.

Shaunda Head:
Yeah. I’m happy to be somewhat on the other side of that.

Josh:
Well, this is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that story and that journey with us. I think something that often comes to mind for me is getting to know somebody’s story and then see where they are now. And so two questions as we close is where can people go to check out what your presence looks like online today, and then where can they go, maybe to hear other parts of your story that we didn’t cover today?

Shaunda Head:
I’m rebranding right now, but I do have a landing page with mylinks@shh-creative.com. You can check out my most current work there and what I’m doing now, and hopefully within the next month or so my brand new spanking website will be up. Let’s see. I’m on Instagram at shhcreativeLLC. I have some videos up there, and I also have linked there I went deeper into my story in this magazine called Voyage ATS, and I had ti link there on my [inaudible 00:32:49].

Shaunda Head:
It used to be on my website, but I don’t think it’s up right now. It’s not one of the super relevant links that I have up until I get my new site up. But yeah, that’s where I am. That’s where I am. That’s where I’ll be.

Josh:
Perfect. Well, thank you so much for coming on. We really appreciate it, and thanks for sharing your story.

Shaunda Head:
Thank you so much, Josh. Thanks.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.

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