Donna has become a dear friend in the last year, listening to my crazy ideas and offering her thoughtful perspectives regarding the world online. She’s been a contributor on that very topic on WELL via “Online Life: Simplified” (a must read!). The wonderful things I could say about Donna would require a dedicated post. Her interview responses are funny, charming and … optimistic! She launched her business, The Marketing Optimist, less than a year ago and has been in demand by clients and peers because of her understanding and curiosity about the world on the web. She skillfully combines subtle context with engaging content; not as easily accomplished as it may seem on the surface. An example of this is Donna’s branding. It is clean, simple and memorable – in fact, I think of Donna almost every time I see balloons! Connect with this social media & marketing maven @DonnaQueza on Twitter. And soak up the morsels of marketing goodness she offers her community on Facebook.
Why you should know Donna:
I am currently in the midst of the most exciting year of my life! Last June, I left my job and started my own marketing business. I honestly did not know what to expect, so I did what I do best – I started talking to people. And I talked and talked – on Twitter and Facebook, on Skype and in person. In less than a year I’ve met too many amazing people to count (including Erin) and they’ve all given me a little something.
So, my business is moving at a pace I couldn’t have imagined, and the Universe has opened the floodgates to so many opportunities that I never thought possible. In addition to the consulting services I’ve offered since inception, I’m now also offering four-week coaching services to help clients define their marketing goals and identify ways to reach them, and I’m working on an in-person series with the amazing Nailah Blades to help start-ups reach their dreams and launch their businesses.
I’m already looking toward hiring my first employee and someday soon moving my office out of my home. I am deliriously happy (which can be attributed mostly to the awesomeness of the situation and partly to its mindboggling speed!).
What are your big dreams in life?
I have so many big dreams for my business, but I’m very clear that my business is not my life. I am married to the most perfect man and I am blessed to have a close family (and the cutest little nephew in the world), as well as the craziest/sassiest/funniest group of friends imaginable.
These are the things I really want to do:
- I want to make people laugh every time I see them.
- I want people to think of me when they think of having fun while running a business and I wan them to ask me how to do it.
- I want to take two vacations a year; even if that means taking a couple of days to drive up the coast and see a town I’ve never seen before.
- I want to eat something green every day.
- I want to get more massages.
- I want to plan more play dates with my friends.
- I want to mentor someone.
- I want to be a partner to my husband and be equally supportive to him as he has always been to me.
- I want to have a big, bright office with some sort of activity we can all do (maybe a basketball court…)
- I want to take classes for something I’ll never use in my business (but, since I just finished my Master’s degree a couple of months ago, I’m taking a little time off from school!)
- I want to play more tennis and actually beat John one day.
- I want to travel to the Philippines.
- I want to have a company that offers its employees alternative health benefits and encourages healthy life and preventative medicine (including more massages for everyone!)
- I want to drive a car around a racetrack (I think in another life I might have been a racecar driver).
- I want to make more lists like this because they really inspire me and get me thinking outside of my task lists!!
When will you feel like you’ve succeeded?
I feel like I’ve succeeded every time I finish a project I’ve been putting off, or have a meeting with someone I feel like is totally out of my league. But, I’ll never be done, and I’ll never reach a level of success where I say, “well, that was nice, glad I’m done now.” I’m like a goldfish – I’ll grow to the size of the bowl you put me in until you put me in a bigger bowl!
For me, wellness is about doing what makes me feel good – for the long run. I feel like I took wellness for granted in my early 20s, but it’s becoming a focus in my life now and I am able to identify those things that make me feel whole and well. My go-to wellness fixes are sunshine, water, laughter, sleep (I am big on 8 hours!) and good food. Plus, I like to mix in a little reality TV because the brain needs to shut down every now and then.
How do you take care of you?
Like I said, in the last year or so I’ve gotten more proactive about my health. I am playing tennis, eating whole foods and cooking at home (which was a serious adjustment). I also try to break away from the desk for at least 30-minutes in the middle of the day to go outside or play with the dogs. Oh, and drink lots of water. I buy the biggest glasses I can find and keep them topped off!
How do you structure your day?
I’m a pretty organized person (although, you wouldn’t think it from that hideous picture of my desk!) so I try to structure my day by planning it out with task lists every morning. But, when you’re growing a brand and it’s just you that can get a little tricky. I’m a really nice boss to myself and I allow myself time to get off track and surf the web. I find that I come across some of the most amazing people and content that way.
Give us a sense of your environment.
So…. Yeah. That’s what my desk looks like right now. That’s a result of being out of the office for at least 3 hours a day for the last week. I like to look at it as organized chaos. The most important things in my office – my lucky cat (a.k.a. Pimpy Kitty) who works hard for a dollar, my big cup of water, pictures of my friends and family, a painting that I made on my first day of school to remind me that deep down I’m a rebel artist, and my phones (both of them). I’m lucky to have a room (almost) all to myself in my house for my office.
Tell us about your perfect day – start to finish.
It starts with me waking up at around 7, hopping in the shower first thing, getting dressed and looking like a presentable human being. I’ve found that keeping a morning ritual is super important for me. When I first started I thought that working in my PJs was a huge job perk, but then I figured out that it made me feel kind of gross and underproductive.
Now that I’m a beauty queen, I can make myself something to eat. Unless it’s deep fried in bacon grease, I’m not a huge breakfast fan. But, I’ve found that I love a smoothie in the morning. So, I’ll blend up some yogurt, almond milk, fruit and spinach (thank you Christy for convincing me that I wouldn’t taste it!) and then I’m ready to work.
Ideally, I’m super productive all morning and then I get to meet up for lunch with some totally inspirational friend or a fab new potential client. Back in the office for a little more work and done by 6. That’s a rule of mine – if it doesn’t get done by 6PM, it doesn’t get done today. I make it clear to my clients that I work office hours Monday – Friday and I’ve never had an issue with any of them. Setting expectations up front and sticking to them is so important.
After that, I’d make something yummy for John and I to eat and then play an hour or so of tennis. A little TV before bed and then sleep time.
Who would leave you star-struck?
I’m not going to say Ryan Gosling with his shirt off because that’s just cliché and rude.
Honestly, I am really interested in people who take small and/or struggling brands and make them into huge empires. I’d love to meet Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) and Dana White (the president of the UFC).
But, my imaginary BFF trifecta is Wendy Williams, Andy Cohen and Big Ang from the Mob Wives. I just think if all four of us got into a room together, something magical would happen. And, if Oprah wants to stop by and tape it for her network, I wouldn’t say “no.”
A quote that best describes your outlook on life:
“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.” – Dr. Seuss
Share a secret with us!
When I was in preschool I spent almost every recess in timeout. I even gave my teacher a little slap once!
Images courtesy of Donna; banner image source here