#holidayhopestories – Stephanie’s Story
I’m Stephanie. Aka the Techy Girl. I’m a true nerd at heart with a deep love of all things beach. I grew up in Caldwell, New Jersey and had everything one could ask for. I had amazing parents and family and friends. I did well in school. I had a part-time job. Literally could not have asked for anything more. After high school, I went to college and started working in the corporate world. I quickly developed a career as a manager in private country clubs including for Donald Trump at his property in Bedminster, New Jersey. Again, loved my life. Could not have asked for anything more.
How did you get started?
There was just one problem. That wasn’t the life I was supposed to be living and I could feel it in every bone of my body. But I didn’t have the courage to listen to myself and start living my true life. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the path I was headed on and I’m sure if I had stayed on it I would be happy now and have everything one could ever want in life. But it wasn’t my path. It was for someone else.
What did you have to overcome to take the steps towards doing what you love?
So one not so particularly special day I made the big decision. I was going to sell all my belongings and move to Italy. I had recently learned that because my father was born in Italy and still an Italian citizen, I had rights to stay in Italy. SOLD!!!!! My mind was made up. This did not make many people happy. I spent most of my life up until that point doing what everyone told me to do. Get good grades. Go to college. Get a job. Be responsible. And I was (as much as any 20 year old can be). I remember when I was 19 I told someone I wanted to move to Italy and they told me that was stupid so I didn’t do it. Now at 27, I had more confidence. I was ready. And I did it.
I bought a one-way plane ticket to Paris, convinced my best friend to join me and bounce around Europe for a few months as our last big adventure together. I knew had to make money while I was doing all of this (#responsible20yearold) and so I had started turning my little hobby of web design into a career. There was just one problem. I had zero real experience. Like zero. Who in their right mind was going to pay me thousands of dollars to build a website with no portfolio or website of their own??? No one. That was who. But I did find some people who were willing to give me money for writing blogs (at a big payout of $0.01 per word!!!) and do little changes to their websites. I think in my first couple of months I made no more than $200 but I didn’t care. I loved it. I was on the beach all day and out all night. In the mornings I would spend a couple hours working and life was perfect.
After about 6 weeks the bouncing around Europe did get to me (I just wanted a kitchen!!!!!) and so we decided to head to my Aunt’s in Southern Italy. I didn’t remember her or my cousins. Thank you, Facebook for getting us in touch. I was exhausted, hungry, and so much more when I finally arrived in Capo Vaticano. No, what my father didn’t tell was that he grew up on the beach. (To his beach-loving daughter!!!!) And not only was he on the sea, but he was also on the top rated beach in all of Italy. (You can google it – Tropea or Capo Vaticano). I was in heaven. A sort of magic was all around me. I felt like a little child at Christmas who still doesn’t know the truth about Santa (that he is amazing!!!). I instantly knew. I was home. This was my gift. This was where I would spend the rest of my life.
What or who inspires you each day?
And I am!!! I finally got some experience with web design and have since built a 6 figure business. I found a nice Calabrese man even my father approved to marry. We have a beautiful home and family. And I get to go to the beach every day and work on my business from home. This is the life I always knew was for me.
What is your favourite quote or affirmation?
One of my favourite quotes is: “What if I fail? Oh my darling but what if you fly!!!” There is no reason to feel failure. The idea that something might not work out is absolutely no reason to do it. There are about a million ways that moving to Italy could have gone badly for me. But I didn’t care. I did it anyway. Same with my business. There was no guarantee and still is no guarantee that things will work out for me in my business. I like to think that after all this time I know new clients will come in. I have built a beautiful community of amazing entrepreneurs and I am so proud to call them not only clients but also friends.
Share one or two of your best moments from the past year!
In fact, it is these client-friends that are my biggest inspiration. Don’t get me mistaken that just because I work from home and live on the beach my life is all rainbows and unicorns. It’s not. I have days where I’m uninspired. Scared of launching my next big thing. Not following up with potential clients out of fear. Doubting myself. Most recently I held a retreat here in southern Italy. I was so excited about making the big announcement. So excited I was scared to death. I almost didn’t do it. I even considered getting a whole new website first. (Silly me!!!!). I knew this was going to be amazing but I got nervous and literally, if Veronika had not talked me off the ledge, I might not have put the announcement out there. That week was one of the most amazing weeks of my business and yet it almost didn’t happen. My biz besties, fempreneurs, mastermind buddies, whatever you want to call them, give me inspiration every single day. I am so thankful and grateful to each and every one of them.
What big goal(s) do you have for 2019?
Next year is going to be a big year for me as well. I have an agency now with people on my team who help me and will be running the retreat twice next year. But more then that, I feel like I am at the point in my business where I want to start giving back in a bigger way. Starting next year, I will be building an online resource centre for those who have lost a parent to cancer. The back story I didn’t mention in my happy life was that my birth mother died when I was 3. I was adopted by my aunt and uncle who became mom and dad for me. Before my 26th birthday, they both passed away from cancer. And just this past March, my birth father passed away from cancer. I know what it’s like. It is something that changes you forever in so many different ways and on so many different levels. I only wish there had been resources available to me when I was younger to help me through that time. But that was part of my journey. And now my journey is to start helping others in a big way.