99. Dana Farber: A Swift Ascent to the C-Suite Turned Corporate Dropout and CEO

Dana Farber is CEO and Founder of Moonstone Marketing. She took a creative writing degree and turned it into a CMO role in only a few years time. She shares her story of her career path and how it led her to become a corporate dropout.

Unknown Speaker 0:01
salary is a drug they give you when they want you to forget about your dreams.

Alessia Citro 0:06
Welcome to the corporate dropout podcast. I'm your host Alesia Citro. If you're sick of the corporate hamster wheel and looking to feel inspired and empowered to live a high vibe life as your own boss, you're in the right place, dear to drop out in 321 Are you a network marketer looking to step up your business mindset and habits and the next 90 days, look no further than the 90 day habits journal, a journal built by network marketers for network marketers. The 90 Day habits is more than a journal. It's a 90 day blueprint to keep you in momentum, to keep you in activity and to help you achieve the goals you set yourself in this business. At the end of the day, it's a habit builder to help you build the life you desire, doing what you love with who you love. And sidenote, I personally use this. It helps me rank up twice in six weeks and my new network marketing business so it really works. Commit to your business today and get your hands on a 90 day habits journal. Or better yet, get your team on board and watch your business grow. Use code Citro that's CITRO for 15% off your order today, you'll be glad you did. And the link is in the show notes.

Alessia Citro 1:17
Hello friends. Today I am interviewing Dana Farber, she is a marketer with a soul. She went from being a chief marketing officer to becoming a recent corporate dropout and the founder of Moonstone marketing, a vision lead marketing and social agency for intuitive founders. Love that. And she is also one of the mentors inside of the collective. So with that, Dana, thank you so much for being here and coming on the show.

Dana Farber 1:42
Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. Not only are you a total sell sister, and we discovered that very early on when we met each other, but I just love corporate dropout. I love what you're doing here. I've been listening to it since before I was a corporate dropout. And it definitely inspired me to take that leap.

Alessia Citro 2:01
Oh, that means so much. I didn't even know that, well, I will receive that compliment I'm getting better about. And it's gonna be fun to dive into your story today. So really, and you know this, but the goal of the show is like, Let's empower and inspire people to drop out too, if you're miserable in your corporate environment, like there's a way out. So I'm excited to highlight your story and show other people that it's possible and that they don't have to be miserably chained to their desk.

Dana Farber 2:27
No, absolutely not. And I learned that, you know, the hard way as I think we all do, at some point where you get to a point and you just feel that your soul isn't what you're doing isn't speaking to your soul anymore. And it once you hit that point in your career, it it makes it pretty hard to do even daily tasks, you know, and everything just becomes a challenge. So before you even hit that point, I've started to figure out some of those warning signs as you get there. And that's where I'm at with a lot of my clients now is maybe they're in the midst of that drop out or they're just launching their businesses. So it's really nice to kind of connect with a lot of people in that same phase.

Alessia Citro 3:05
Yeah. And help them evolve past it and what you're alluding to like I call that the point of no return. You know, like once you've had that revelation and that epiphany that you're out of alignment. There's really like no going back, right? So I love to start at the beginning with everyone and I was peeping your LinkedIn. Alright, so you went to Northwestern, and you were in Meghan Markel sorority? Is it weird that I knew that I didn't have to Google it.

Dana Farber 3:29
And now you know, and does Yes. That was it's a totally a claim to fame. Yes, I went to Northwestern Go Wildcats. And that was my dream school. Fun fact, there I to show you a little bit more about who I am. I applied to one school. And kind of like, this is going to happen. And I feel like before manifesting was a very trendy thing I completely manifested getting into Northwestern come hell or high water didn't really have a fallback plan. Luckily, it didn't need one. And I would not recommend that the younger generation definitely, you know, applied to multiple schools. But I've always been very driven towards you know, singular goals, which I guess sometimes it's a good thing.

Alessia Citro 4:09
I think the fact that you only apply to one college like I'm kind of trying to wrap my head around that I applied to like so many backup schools, but that just goes to show like the level of confidence that you have in yourself and the level of like, decided heart like, which is no surprise why you're successful entrepreneur now.

Dana Farber 4:24
Well, thank you for saying that. But yeah, I mean, I whether it's charmingly stupid or stupidly charming, I feel like I kind of always decide to take the leave whether or not the safety net is there. But luckily, I have a wonderful, you know, support system, friends and family. My family is incredible. And they kind of always let me have that jump without the safety net because I knew that they were there. So I've always described it as I like to be a balloon, but I need someone to hold the string so that I can kind of float around but with the safe with the safe distance.

Alessia Citro 4:55
analogy, I'm gonna have to borrow that so I'll give you credit to it. was getting credit. Perfect. Yes. So while you were at Northwestern, you majored in creative writing, and you got your professional start with blogging. So tell us about that time in your life, and how did it lead you into PR?

Dana Farber 5:11
Absolutely. So that was 100% something about stumbling in the right direction. You know, I hit I think a lot of people. And I will say that, you know, a reason that mental health is such a important part of my platform and why I'm so open about it. Because senior year of college, I hit that point where, you know, up until that point, I've kind of been that person who had jumped without the net, and then all of a sudden real life was happening. And I truly had that oh, shit moment of I don't know what I want to do with this. I have a degree that is basically gearing me towards writing novels, and no one is going to pay me to do that anytime soon. So blogging was luckily it was one a resource for me to just kind of have a creative outlet. So my, my blog that I started with, was actually Woodstock wardrobe. And it was a vintage fashion blog. And I still love vintage fashion and vintage clothing and everything around vintage culture to this day. So my tagline that I still love, and I'm very proud of it was Memory Lane is just another runway and I that was my very early foray into taglines and branding. And so I kind of was self taught there had a WordPress blog. But that opened the door to me getting some other freelance writing gigs that eventually did turn into my first full time position, it was a fully remote position as an Editorial Manager for an online media company, which is a lot of fancy words that I did not fully understand what they meant. But it gave me a really great education into understanding SEO and marketing and PR and kind of where everything starts to fit together. But having your first job be a remote job was definitely difficult, because you know, it didn't really give me much to latch on to before everything, you know, went remote. And this is, you know, not to age myself. This is over a decade ago. So, you know, that was definitely a big leap. But I kind of committed to the writing aspect of it and let my my voice lead, which eventually got me to social media.

Alessia Citro 7:08
So let's talk about that pivot. And here's I told you before we started recording, that we had some interesting synchronicity. So when I discovered as I prepped for this, you worked at a PR agency that I followed back when I lived in Chicago, and was an aspiring fashion blogger, that blog has been removed from the internet, so don't even bother looking for it. But I was probably liking your posts that you were doing as director of social media, because this was like 10 years ago, when you were there,

Dana Farber 7:35
probably yes. And so skirt PR shout out to skirt PR in Chicago, that was my very first you know, kind of consider it my first real job, and that it just opened the door to everything else. So I did PR, I ran the social media department there. And you know, again, to kind of just give people because I like to, for people to know that you do not need to be classically trained in any way. And that might be a little bit of a, you know, controversial opinion. Because I know a lot of people do spend years going to school for marketing. And I in no way want to, you know, denigrate that, because that's amazing. And everyone deserves every degree that they have. But I was 100% self taught to the point that when I interviewed for that job for a social media director, I downloaded Instagram under the table in that interview, they're asking me questions about intermitted just launched about six months before that, and I've never posted on it, because I just didn't really know what it was yet. And kind of you know, bullshitted my way through that interview, but you know, and a lot of it is in this life and in this industry, a lot of it is confidence, it's confidence in yourself and knowing that you can figure it out. I never definitely never recommend someone lying in an interview and then never, you know, making good on the promises that they commit to but if you are willing to put in the work to learn, you know, I also think that it's okay to kind of overhype yourself in an interview process, if you know that you're going to end up doing the work to get to where you you claim that you're already worth. So take with that what you will

Alessia Citro 9:01
know I love that it's like having the confidence that you can figure it out. It's not like, you know, you were interviewing to be a brain surgeon and hadn't gone to medical school, like you can figure out Instagram, you know, so how did your time in PR set you up for that next pivot into brand development and brand strategy.

Dana Farber 9:22
So what I loved about PR is, and I still am a huge fan of PR as a marketing tactic is that it's completely based on reputation. It's about building trust with media, and then with consumers. And it's about really creating that storytelling aspect of a brand. So what I love about PR is it's not just based on you know, a story. It's based on the overall narrative that we're trying to drive. And that's what that's what media respond to. And that's what consumers really respond to so it really gave me a nice education and understanding that yes, social media, PR and marketing. There's different tactics you can use. But they really all go back to a storytelling aspect and having been a creative writer, that is It's where I thrive. I understand storytelling, I understand psychology and what motivates people. And so that kind of really gave me a mindset that this is something I can do. This is something I enjoy doing. I always loved the new when a new client would come on board. And we'd have a big brainstorm session create, you know what the brand look like sound like felt like online. And I still to this day, love that aspect of working with my clients, because that's where you really get the meat when you when a client says something offhand, that resonates with them. And they're, they think, you know, I didn't put that in the marketing, because I don't know where that fits. Those are the goals. Those are the moments where it's like, yeah, that is your intuition. And the reason I use intuitive founders is because your intuition is so strong in a business. And if you are getting that nagging feeling of I need to start this guy use that use that element of what is guiding you, that is your intuition. And that should be what you build the entire brand on. So I really loved learning that and then, at the time, one of my clients was a boutique fitness startup called Barbie fit, I helped them rebrand to the bar code, shout out to the bar code loved them so much my soul sisters, and eventually it made the somewhat shifty move over from agency to in house was absorbed by a client. It's never fun to leave an agency. But it was a great opportunity. And I loved that they had this very big mission around female empowerment, and they were trying to create a fitness studio and culture that look different than what you saw. Typically, in the bar world. You know, fitness isn't necessarily my number one passion in life. And I think everyone who knows me throughout the entire career I've been in fitness knows that about me. But I love the element behind it about empowering, particularly women to embrace their strongest version of themselves. So I was able to make that leap. And pretty much as soon as I got in house for them, my role went from social media to all together brand strategy, because I started to see how all the threads were tying together and started, you know, going to my bosses saying there's ways to make this more efficient, there's ways to do this better. And they were luckily really receptive to that feedback. And we're like, great, if you want to do it, we're gonna let you do it.

Alessia Citro 12:09
So I had no idea you were the brain behind the rebrand. That was the second fun synchronicity. So I lived in the Gold Coast of Chicago, right before I moved back to California. And they had opened a studio like a block away from my house. And so when I saw that brand, I remember the original name vaguely. So that's that's kind of cool, too. Was it hard? Like were there any challenges moving from like PR around fashion, lifestyle, beauty into brand building for fitness? Like was that a pretty big shift? Or what was that like?

Dana Farber 12:39
It was definitely a shift, I would say that going from an agency to in house and I've done I've done the move backwards and forwards a couple times. Now I really love them both equally, I would say where agency life, what I love about it is you're really able to take tactics and ideas from different clients and apply them elsewhere. So that you're able to have a really nice well rounded view of what's whatever's going on in the digital ecosystem, because you're working with so many voices. But the nice thing about also going in house for a brand is that you're really able to kind of hone in and become completely obsessed with the singular vision and kind of it does consume your thoughts if you're, you know, worker, like I've always been where you know, you have, you're just constantly thinking of ideas. And it's nice when you can focus on one area. So something that was brand new to me when I got to the Barco was franchising. And I will say forever that I have a very love hate relationship with franchising. It is for anyone who's ever been in the industry, it's very, let's say thankless, especially for people in marketing. Because just the way that the nature of the business works, the way that the payout structure works for marketing in particular, it just does create this kind of interesting process, where you're kind of at everyone's beck and call. That being said, I was so fortunate to work with some incredible franchisees not just at the barcode, but also at my next job at exponential. And what I loved about that was the thing that I took away from that experience was that I really loved working with entrepreneurs, I love working with these people that were hungry and had hustle and wanted to start their own businesses. And I loved helping them and guiding them through that process. So even though I was you know, a lot, honestly younger than a lot of people that I was advising, they took my opinions and they trusted them and they trusted my vision. And it was really just a time where I could I understood what it was like to have responsibility for other people's livelihood to you know, these franchisees were relying on me to come up with ideas to drive them revenue and bring new people in the door. So I didn't take that lightly. And it's definitely something that to this day, you know, that's why I'm so passionate about working with my clients and being strategic who I work with, because if I'm in your corner, I'm all in and your corner.

Alessia Citro 14:48
Yeah, it needs to be something that you feel aligned with or how can you really help them create that vision if you're not super bought into it as well like that? I have to give you some credit. So Dana actually helped me with a lot of the marketing strategy around Theia and like your your excitement around, it was just palpable. And I'm sure you're bringing that to all your clients, right? Like you can feel that you were in my corner.

Dana Farber 15:10
Yes. Well, I'm so glad that that came through. I love the shout out to the everyone should join it. It's an incredible community. But yes, absolutely, that's, you know, that is really why I decided to eventually become a corporate job. I know, we're not there yet in my journey, but but this kind of this is when that nagging feeling in the back of my mind started of, wow, wouldn't it be amazing if all of this was mind? You know, because there is an element sometimes, especially in franchising in an agency life, that you're the one doing all the work, but you're not necessarily the one getting the credit, because people above you are the ones, you know, taking the credit, or, you know, kind of, they're the ones really driving the ship, and I kept having this nagging feeling of you know, wouldn't it be amazing if all of this was kind of me, and I feel like I could do that. But I obviously didn't make that leap for a few years after that. But this was definitely with franchising, where that spark of an idea started hitting me up, I can work with entrepreneur, entrepreneurs of different, you know, shapes and sizes, and help them where they're at in their business.

Alessia Citro 16:11
Yeah, I love that. I want to sidebar real quick on the storytelling thing. So I think I probably intuitively pick this up in sales. And I gotta give credit to Salesforce for this too, because they were so big on storytelling in the sales process, right? Like painting that vision and getting the customer bought in. What would you say are like the critical elements to a brand telling a story that resonates?

Dana Farber 16:38
I think it has to be authentic. I think that's the first thing that that I that always comes to my mind is you can always tell when someone and especially in marketing, because I think that it's so easy to get distracted by all the promotions out there by all the tactics by all the potential taglines and I'm guilty of this, I love a good Pong. I love some nice alliteration. But when it starts to get to marketing, and you start to lose sight of the actual authentic truth of why you created this company, I think that's when you start to see that the vision isn't naturally necessarily matching up. I think you know not to put any companies on blast, because I'm a diehard glossier fan of their product. But I think that's what we've seen with glossier as a brand is that the brand has lost some of its original authenticity. And I think consumers really pick up on that really fast, unfortunately, or fortunately, nowadays. So I think authenticity, and really just practicing what you preach, I think that a story is great, but it's only really a story that that people respond to if you're actually consistently driving towards it. So if you tell people, This is Our Story, and then you never pick back up those threads again, and the rest of your content doesn't come back to that initial story, that then you're doing yourself and your business a disservice. But you're also doing consumers a disservice because that is what they're there for. So I think that it's it's trusting your intuition, and it's trusting your audience that they're going to be with you on this journey. So and to me, you know, this is it's not, I think everyone looks really closely at engagement and numbers and follower count. And I don't want to discredit those metrics. Of course, metrics are always going to be important in marketing. But I also think that going with your gut and having authentic conversations and pulling in other voices outside of your own to make sure that you are hitting on things that resonate with other people, I would say that's almost an even more important metric to be paying attention of when you're thinking through the storytelling aspect of a brand.

Alessia Citro 18:34
That's really good advice. And okay, so sidebar on the sidebar. Is that a thing? We're going to make it a thing, sidebars on sidebars, let's do it. One thing I am consistently a bit surprised about is how difficult of a time people have owning their own narrative and story. And I don't know if that's because people are afraid to like pull back the curtain and show the stuff that they're not like, super proud of or what but like, what tips would you give to the individual person who's trying to build a personal brand and is just having a hell of a time owning that story?

Dana Farber 19:12
It's a really great question. And I will say that I've been guilty of this also, ever since I started Moonstone. I'm way more in my head about what I post and I am so like a do what I say not what I do person because if you were to look at Moonstone, you'd be like, you should probably be posting a little bit more and maybe even being a little more raw and authentic. What I would say is think about your brand as your best friend, what would you say to your best friend, if they're feeling insecure? If they're feeling a lack of confidence? If they're feeling that things just aren't clicking for that in that same advice? I would take that to your brand and think what would you tell your best friend who is saying that? You know, I don't I can't put myself out there you would say just try start with a little bit of first do with what you're comfortable. So those are all the same things that I would apply to your business? I would say one authenticity is me. means different things to different people. And just because authenticity is important does not mean that you need to be responsible for putting every single single thing about yourself out there on the internet, some things can still shouldn't be private. And that is completely at an owner's discretion, I think we're vulnerability comes into play. And where I think it's, it starts to get a little easier, it's just lifting the curtain a little bit. You don't need to lift the curtain necessarily into your mind or your soul, you can lift the curtain into your business and say, Hey, come with me on a day, this is what I do, and starting to figure out what are moments in your day, that actually wouldn't be interesting content. And starting to build out a content strategy that dips you in a little bit, if you're not ready to necessarily be the face and focal point of your entire brand. Great, there's a lot of other content pillars you can pull in, that are personalized without being something that's hyper personal. For instance, on Moonstone, I just started doing playlists. And that's feels like something very personal to me, because music is a huge part of my life. I am always listening to music when I'm working on my clients. So I figured great, I'm going to make playlists of the music I'm listening to. And it's a way for me to give people a little peek behind the curtain without necessarily giving them the whole shebang. So I think there's ways and levels of comfort. If you're not 100%, ready to put it all out there.

Alessia Citro 21:19
Oh, I love that. Okay, I'm gonna have to get a playlist from you for the next power hour that we do with the athlete. I'm curious your thoughts on this too. And then we'll move on to the rest of the interviewer. But when I initially launched the corporate dropout podcast, and when I was in the building stages of theater, while I still am, but like in the early early building stages, one of the things that was sort of holding me back, actually not sort of that was holding me back. There were periods in my life where I was, you know, unhappy with myself self loathing. And that often was reflected in not being so nice to other people, whether to their face or behind their back. That was one of the things that I really came out and own of like, you know, what, I've had points in my life where I have not been the nicest person and where someone might be shocked to find out I'm doing like a women's empowerment podcasting company. But like, I owned that, because I felt like that was sort of disarming it and getting it out of the way so that I could move forward. If people have like skeletons in the closet, so to speak. What do you think about them kind of airing that in a way that, you know, makes sense and is productive? Do you think that that's a good move or not so much?

Dana Farber 22:30
Absolutely. And I think especially when you're starting a business, I mean, I think starting a business is as much of a commitment as getting married, you know, or choosing to have a child like it is something that is now a living, breathing thing that lives kind of alongside of you. So I think that you have to be 100%, again, back to the authentic part, you know, you have to be 100% authentic to yourself. And if you're feeling that there's something holding you back, or there's work that you need to do with yourself, I that's something that I would highly recommend doing alongside that journey of starting a business. And it was definitely something that, you know, for me with my mental health on and you know, things that we'll get into that happen, right? When I started the business, I really did kind of have to take a hard look at myself and figure out you know, another thing for me is knowing the kind of worker that I am, I tend to be very, I guess my bosses would probably use the word passive aggressive in terms of I would take everything on and then I'd sit there and be really mad at them for giving me all the work even though I was the martyr took it on. And that was a big thing that I told myself, when I start this business, you cannot do that you cannot you're now the person who's deciding these things. So you can't blame other people. And you can't sit there in a bad mood on Zoom because things didn't go your way. So it is a time to look at yourself and think you know, this is what kind of version of myself do I want to bring into this business? And who would I want? If I'm my business partner, basically, because it's a business of one what I want to partner with myself, and if there's even a hesitancy then maybe those are some things to work out before you sign the dotted line and that LLC,

Alessia Citro 24:06
man. Yeah, that's such good advice. Like, it's, it's wild. To me. I honestly feel like becoming an entrepreneur. The biggest lift is the personal development piece. I'm like, I'm going through some of that right now. I was just telling So Chase, my producer who's on he's like, Hey, like he's reminded me probably 20 times can you send over the ad scripts for Theia and I keep delaying and I finally just like came clean. I'm gonna do a live about this, actually. But I sent him a voicemail and like, you know what, like, part of me is like, scared like, what if this fails? Like, it's almost easier to just like, not go there. Right? Because when you put this out into the world, if no one wants it, that's hard. It's almost easier to sabotage yourself. So yeah, you got to do a lot of inner work if you're gonna become a dropout and go your own way. That's for sure.

Dana Farber 24:51
Okay, definitely not that. Yeah, and it definitely doesn't it's not like all of a sudden you start your business and guess what I'm fix. You know, it's an ongoing journey, but I think you need to be aware Have your strengths and weaknesses, and not just the ones that you tell in a job interview, but your actual strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the way that you work or the way that you view work in your work life balance and come to terms with those things as you're building that business.

Alessia Citro 25:14
Yeah, and for anyone listening, if you're still interviewing for jobs, when they say what your weaknesses, don't say something like, Oh, I'm a perfectionist, they hear that and come up with something better.

Dana Farber 25:24
throwing that out there. Like I can't stop looking at myself in zoom, because that's 100% My weakness if I'm gonna call my face is going straight to my own picture.

Alessia Citro 25:33
I saw a really funny reel about that. I'm gonna have to find it and send it to you. I was like wanting to recreate it. I laughed so hard, but yes, that yes, that's a common true. Yeah, yeah. And if you say that you don't, you're lying. Okay. All right. So after you leave barcode, you became the Chief Marketing Officer for exponential for one of their brands. And for those of you that don't know, exponential is a huge company. They own club Pilates, pure bar, some other brand yoga six, I think. And you were the chief marketing officer for stride, correct?

Dana Farber 26:05
Yes. So it was their newest vertical at the time that I got recruited. So they just they bought two more since then. So yes, so exponential was always kind of the, you know, white whale in fitness, franchising, it was definitely the one that we look to. Because they started, the CEO started absorbing different brands. pinbar was one of them. And obviously, they were our biggest competitor at the barcode. So we always paid attention to what they were doing. But I'm a big fan of, you know, you can play nice in the sandbox. So I don't look at I try not to look at other businesses, just direct competitors, because I think there's a lot of room out there for a lot of different voices. But in fitness, of course, there is competitors, and they were definitely the big fish in the pond. So I got a call, you know, for from a recruiter that basically didn't change my life, and went through a very quick process, it was about a month from beginning to end with interviewing, I flew out to California for this interview. So the company was based in Orange County in Southern California, and I am in Chicago, born and raised. So I'm a Midwestern girl through and through, and we'll get back to that later. So I was recruited, moved out to California, you know, my salary went through a massive increase everything, you know, quality of life really changed. For me, I got a car for the first time since high school, and, you know, just a lot of things felt like they were moving in the right direction, I just turned 30. So it felt like a really good time for me to make that leap professionally. So it's very difficult to leave my friends and family, you know, move across the country for this new job. But I was so excited. And I think it's one of those things where, you know, with the whole way the story will go, I think it'd be easy for me to regret this move, but I don't for a second, you know, I know that it was what I needed to do. I know that it was the right time, I always thought and talked about moving to California. And so it was great that I got to experience that. But I did get there and I you know want to caveat that I absolutely adored my team that I worked with and I adored the other the best part about exponential is I got to work alongside other CMOS that were you know, that was incredible, because I got a really robust marketing education there because again, I'm fully self taught, I only know what I know. And at barcode, I was doing as much as I could, but I wasn't necessarily seeing how all the pieces fit together. And I get to exponential and my, my career just kind of doubled. It felt like my education, my knowledge, and then COVID hit and a lot change. You know, and I know that it affected a lot of people, but it affected me a lot in particular, because of you know, mental health. It's definitely anxiety, something I've struggled with for a long time, including OCD and germophobia. So COVID was pretty much my worst nightmare. And I was across the country from my whole family. So it was just a really kind of scary time. So my reaction was to throw myself into work. So I dedicated myself to my franchisees, I dedicated myself to my team and we made some, you know, no pun intended, really great strides that year, we grew from a you know, one location studio that have just opened our second location, February 2022 A full brand throughout COVID So you know, talk about having things working against you. It was a truly a time where we had to come together and figure out what was the best for the brand and, you know, made a lot of sacrifices, but did what we needed to do and of course, couldn't have done any of it without exponential behind us. But it was a lot and that was the moment in my career where I realized that money and success these are not the things that drives me. Unfortunately, it's you know, I wish maybe I do wish that I was someone that was a little more like financially motivated. And that's not to say I'm not but the things that really do drive me are in beside their emotional tethers, there are things that speak to my soul. And unfortunately just was not getting that at that job, I was kind of very burnt out with franchising, the culture of the office just didn't really light up my soul. So you know, that was when the the mindset for me around making that leap to be my own boss, that was when that really started to become a lot clearer for me, because I was kind of home all the time to with, you know, working remote, and it just gives you a lot of time to think. And then, you know, the great resignation started happening, you started seeing all these articles come out about why people should quit their jobs. And you know what he was talking about the right PR messaging at the right timing, it was like this lightbulb moment that was, you know, really did make me feel like it was possible. And I again, never could have gotten there in my career without the incredible education that I got at my last job. And the fact that also, you know, I think from an ego standpoint, there was no role I was going to grow to past cmo other than CEO. And so that was, in my mind, kind of the natural next progression of my career, I've kind of you know, maybe it's the OCD talking, but I've loved in my career that I've gone, you know, a really nice through on, it went from a manager to a director to VP to a CMO. And so I was interviewing for jobs that were VP level or director level. And I don't know, they again, just weren't really firing me up, I felt like I was at at once over and under qualified for certain jobs. And the whole process of interviewing just really wasn't going anywhere for me. And then my mother, my lovely mother was like, you know, real talk, I don't think that you're gonna get another job. And I was like, Okay, well, where does that leave me? You know, where do I go from here? And she's like, you've been thinking about this for a long time. I think it's time you you think about starting your own business. And luckily, my dad, he's a he's a CPAs and accountants. So I was like, Great that you think this let's see what Dan has to say, because he's much more logical and financially minded. And, you know, with where I was at, and I was able to make that leap financially. And he, you know, having a CPA in the family made that a lot easier, because he was like, well walk you through what he walked me through the whole process of getting my LLC. But yeah, so long story short, I was at Expo for two and a half years, mostly during COVID. And then started the corporate drop out, made that leap in July. So officially July 2021.

Alessia Citro 32:28
Alright, so I have a couple of follow up questions. So the first is was there like a light bulb? Aha moment of I have to go my own way. Was it the conversation with your mom? Or was there like, is there anything that you could pinpoint that happened where it was like, It's time I'm doing this?

Dana Farber 32:44
Yeah. And so I mean, obviously, I hate to get too political with things. But June of 2020, was a very, you know, it was a very controversial time in this country. And I think marketers tend to be very empathetic, because we see everything online. And you know, that if you make statements or don't make statements, that's making a statement. And you know, when everything was going on, when the George Floyd posts were going on, I was restricted from making a post about it. I was restricted from making a post about the ahmaud, arbery shooting, and we had a running brand. And it just those were things that I just felt like, I wasn't speaking my authentic truth. I felt like you know, whether or not politics have a place in brands, you know, that's up for debate. Absolutely. But I felt like where we were in the moment, what was going on the fact that we are consumer driven brands to not say something, and to be hemming and hawing about it for days and days, really did not sit right with me. So it was about a year that I sat on that feeling and that energy of knowing that, you know, and I wasn't alone in thinking that it just really did. Unfortunately, make me realize that there are if you want to be speaking your authentic truth, you do kind of need to be owning your own company, you know, unless you have an incredible boss or mentor or leader that is willing to you know, let you have that voice. I realized that it was time for me to start to honor that truth that I do think things are important. And I do think there are different morals and pillars that should drive businesses. And I think again, with consumers getting more and more savvy, this is something you see a lot in marketing. People want companies that put their money or put their money where their mouths are. So I think that that really spoke to me as something that I could change and have an actual effect on things moving forward.

Alessia Citro 34:38
Yeah. Oh, this is such okay. So we're gonna sidebar on this too. It's crazy to me. I mean, and I know, I know that it's true. But like, it's crazy to me that it's political, like posting about just the value of everyone's life. You know what I mean? Like, and I never share, like where I'm at on the spectrum because it doesn't matter and we're in such a polarized I do have a question for you, though, do you feel like I don't know the best way to articulate this? I feel like a lot of times when people are posting or brands or posting, it comes off as just like virtue signaling. And like that actually irritates me more than if they had said nothing at all. What's your thought on that?

Dana Farber 35:17
No, I 100% agree with you. I think that it's, it's such a fine line. Because again, I think it goes back to that storytelling aspect. And it goes back to defining your brand. And something that I do early on with clients is not only define their, you know, yes, your mission, your vision, but also really defining your brand values, these are the things that are going to guide your brand ongoing. So in my mind, you know, I always think about this with pride month, you see companies come out of the woodwork with rainbow colored things. And you're like, right, where are you the other 11 months of the year. So in my mind, if inclusivity is a part of your brand, and that should be a part of your brand, 365 days a year, and that does not mean that you need to change your logo to rainbow in a summer month, you know, but on the other hand, I do think that brands whether or not they want to there is a responsibility to their consumer, and there's a responsibility to in some times, make statements, you know, and whether or not it's truly how you feel and whether or not it is just virtue signaling, which I 100% know is true. I do sometimes think that volume, you know, silence speaks volumes also. But so I don't know, it's, it's a really tricky conversation. And by no means do I think, you know, it's a black and white, there's a right answer and a wrong answer. But I just knew in that moment that I wanted the ability to choose, I wanted the ability for ultimately that decision to rest on my shoulders, because I am the I was the one and am the one the most in touch with the brand. You know, I'm the one who lives that lives in the brand all day long. So the fact that these decisions were being made up the chain from people who were less emotionally tied to the brand, I think that's what hurt me more than even just not saying something is more just, I would have liked to be able to make that decision. Because truthfully, it was my job to make that decision, the CMO who was the one who makes that decision? So I think it was in that moment when I thought to myself, you know, great, where am I, I have this my dream job. I have my dream title, I'm sea level, but I don't actually have the decision making skills, or abilities that I should have at this level. And so I was like, You know what the chains need to be like broken off of my barriers, because I do have things to say and whether or not I think that everyone should be saying things about everything. I just think that you need to relinquish that control to marketing teams. And this is something like I will like I hope this is like on my gravestone. But literally, like give marketers more power like that is the biggest advice whether you guys are staying in your corporate job or becoming a corporate dropout, like pay attention to the marketing teams, pay attention to your own intuition when it comes to marketing, because it really does matter. And I think that it's important to let the people who are closest to the brand, have a say and have a voice.

Alessia Citro 38:11
Yeah. And there's really no better way to do that than being your own boss. Okay, so. So you drop out? And then tell us like, how did you found Moonstone. I also, whenever it feels aligned, I want you to share what happened when you move back to Chicago as well. But like, tell us that whole story.

Dana Farber 38:32
So I filed my LLC in July I very luckily, you know, spoke to my boss and he was very supportive. He knew that, you know, he knew I hadn't been happy there for a while again, didn't shut didn't have a great poker face about it. And you know, was very honest about how I was feeling. So I was able to have a nice little slow exit and still hold on to my corporate salary for a couple of extra months, which really helped I hadn't got my first client in August, when I had no business because I had truly no company. But there's still a client to this day of our Degas cocktail club. They're incredible cocktail subscription service and I loved them so much. And that was really exciting because I knew I didn't want to stay in franchising it didn't one state and fitness so what's the kind of the opposite of that grant me to go work with a cocktail company so it was exciting to me because really what I the second I found my LLC I knew it had to be something with moons. I have always loved the moon since I was a little girl I love that. You know the moon controls the tides controls astrology controls our monthly cycles, like there's so much cool. I know you're into this stuff too. So there's so much like the moon is just the coolest most feminine power and energy source you know in the universe. So I just thought that's going to be a part of the business. I've always loved that the phases of the moon do really kind of control where our personalities and where our moods are at on a monthly basis. So I was like there's got to be a link there. So when I created Moonstone it was with the mindset of having in different phases for different businesses. So that's still how the model is I have a new moon, a half moon and a full moon program. And I, it really, you know, again, the company just kind of popped into my head, like, it just created itself basically, like it poured out of me, it was the most natural evolution, I never felt this brand was just exactly what I wanted it to be. I got a friend of mine who's an absolute incredible photographer, she works with celebrities all over the place, she was able to do my photos, I worked with our girl, Melissa on brandings. Also at the collective mentor, shout out there.

Alessia Citro 40:37
To Melissa, your branding is on point.

Dana Farber 40:40
Thank you, she really you know, she she would tell you, I was very particular I had a very intense interest board. But it came out, you know, really just beyond my wildest dreams. So my company was starting in September, August, September, but I didn't want him now I wanted to announce it on Halloween because it felt just very fitting to what the brand was. And Halloween is my absolute favorite day of the year. So I launched it officially on Halloween. And so if you're thinking Great October 2021, that's also an important, Memorable Date for me, because my move back to from California to Chicago. So I did leave California and come back to Chicago, I decided that when I was starting my business, I needed roots down somewhere. And unfortunately, I just didn't have those roots in California, my my brother loved, they're wonderful friends out there. But I didn't want to be close to my parents, I wanted to be a little closer just to what I knew. And also knowing the direction I want to go and working with bars and restaurants and different local businesses. I know how many of those are are in Chicago, and I was really excited to support my city. So I moved back and October 6, got a call from my moving company that there had been a fire in my moving truck and everything I owned, was gone. And it was so completely surreal. It was you know, I had been saying for weeks leading up to this move, I would have been very nervous about this move. I use the same company, I use my original cross country move, and I was really nervous about it. But I kept saying, you know, I really want a fresh start, I really want a fresh start. And like, the universe was like, here you go, girl. I'm like, That's not 100% what I meant. So it was really terrifying. Because my actual first month where I didn't have my corporate salary, I was on my own for the first time, I had three clients at the time, and I had to call them all and kind of explain what happened because I knew I wasn't gonna be myself for the next, you know, couple of weeks. But I really, you know, as awful as that was, and I will say it was 100% You know, a trauma like I'm 100% dealing with PTSD from it. It was just awful, you know, losing everything, losing my record collection, my you know, yearbooks, all the articles I'd never written, you know, had been saved. And so it's more things like that all my clothes, which was neither here or there just very depressing. So you know, it's very irreplaceable things like love vintage, as I said. So a lot of it's just completely one of a kind. So that was it was so hard. But at the same time, I kind of thought of it as if I can get through this, I can really get through everything. Because my clients officially started October 4, it was a Monday, I lost my stuff on October 6, and it was like, this is a business and you are responsible for it. And I didn't have time to take weeks off dealing with it. So I did what I needed to do. I threw myself into work. My clients were like, are you okay? Do you want to be on this call? And I'm like, I'm good. So I drew myself back into work. And I made it through I mean, I it's it's still surreal, honestly, like when I think about it, it's just crazy that it happened to me. And I think when we're talking about doing that, that personal work with yourself, you know, that was a big thing that I really wanted to, you know, I need to dive into and I needed to dive into and spend time with but at the same time, you know, I kind of put my business first and I don't regret doing that. And luckily, you know, anecdotally the marketer in me knew how to handle it. I know how consumer driven brands work because I've worked with them. So I reached out to every single brand that I had an item that was lost and basically told them the story and was like, Hey, can I get like a promo code I got so many gift cards I got so credits I got so much free stuff. So thank you to all these helped me it was not a scam, I promise. But people were really nice about it. You know, everyone felt awful. And again, it just kind of showed me that if I can get through this I can get through anything and it does prove to you that your business comes first you know in a lot of aspects and you do have to sacrifice other things for the business but if you're willing to do that, I'm 100% proof that it your hard work does pay off like it I am where I'm at I hit my revenue goals I wanted to my first six months. And I wouldn't have done that if I wasn't 100% committed to this to this company to the point that I was like, I might not have anything else in my apartment. But I've got my LLC. So, you know,

Alessia Citro 45:17
I just had a thought, Do you feel like part of why you went so hard? And were able to achieve those revenue goals so quickly is because like, you had no other option?

Dana Farber 45:27
Absolutely. Yeah. And but I also think that we, we have people and women in particular aren't capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for it. I think that like, if, as you know, and through months of therapy, what the conclusion I've come to with everything is that women rise to challenges in a way that I find so inspiring. And it's why I will always use Moonstone as a platform to raise up other women, I love working with female clients, I love working with female team members, other female consultants and outside vendors, because women just don't back away from a challenge. And I do feel like it was such a challenge from the universe, but I took it, you know, as well as I could and came out on the other side. And there's nothing I feel like prouder about than the fact that that shitty thing happened. But it also does not at all define anything in my business. You know, it truly does live outside of it. Because my business has been this thing that's been all positive and like pure good energy, because I know I'm doing it for all the right reasons like not to put Batchelor but basically, like I'm in it, I'm here for the right reasons. And so my company, like fills the gaps that of course, like losing everything I own, like I do have gaps now, but my business is kind of filled in those gaps, because I've made my business into something that I really respect and love. And like, I'm so proud of it. And at the end of the day, that's truly all the matters. And that's all you can ask for and all the followers and all the engagement and all the great stuff in the world can't, can't take over if you don't feel bad for your business, and you have to throw yourself 100% into it. You have to know your why you have to be authentically true to yourself. And once those things, you feel that click, and you're like, This is 100% What I meant to do, even if the worst thing happens to me.

Alessia Citro 47:21
Yeah, you know, I was at a leadership training this past weekend, and there was someone who did a training on stage. She Her story is honestly one of the most inspiring I've ever heard. She's had a lot of crazy hard things happen to her, including her home burning down. And she was talking about but she bounced right back. They were in a new home the next day. One of the thing she talked about was this guy Jocko willing who I haven't listened to, but I'm gonna start he was on a bunch of different Navy SEAL teams. And anytime something really bad or hard happens his response is good. Because this this and this is gonna happen as a result of it. Like I'm gonna level up looking back at this now that you're What about six months removed? Do you feel like you can say, Good that you're moving van blew up?

Dana Farber 48:09
Yes and no, like, Yes, I tried to there are some times where like, something that I owned, will I'll remember it and I'll be like it it will like hit me with like a wave. But I will say that it did give me an opportunity that I took as the silver linings, I was like, You know what, I'm gonna level up some stuff like I bought myself, an adult cookware set and all these things that I probably wouldn't have made that investment in and like a very nice desk and work setup. So these are things that I probably needed to make investments in for my own happiness and fulfillment. So the biggest takeaway I think that I had is that thing stuff is just stuff and you know it that's I'm am you know, a materialistic person by nature who really isn't and I think that it for someone who is materialistic, it you know, it really did prove like, Okay, if I stuffs just stuff now and it's kind of nice, because I have this very, like removed attachment to the things I own now, which has made me a lot healthier. Yeah, so and it also taught me a very valuable life lesson that do not just let things sit in your closet, beautiful things, wear them, take them out in the towel because I had all this beautiful stuff that was like I hadn't worn in years. And that's like the biggest thing I regret is I'm like the unlived lives of my beautiful 99 Nice Chanel pencil skirt, like the unlived lives that that it could have had. So I'm in my mind, like the biggest takeaway I can have is that stuff is just stuff and that's okay. And enjoy the stuff that you do have. Yeah, stay with it.

Alessia Citro 49:47
So in theia collective at time of recording, we're, we have a book club and we're reading think like a monk and the chapter that we're on this week. It's talking about that non attachment and he gives an example of a Um, you know, if you own something amazing, you shouldn't be like, like worried about losing it, you should act as if like he gives the example of if you rented a luxury vehicle, you wouldn't be sad that it wasn't yours, you would really enjoy the rental period. And you would drive that convertible up and down pch, like relishing in it and like what a concept if we treat everything like that, right, like, so yeah, I think that that's beautiful. But I mean, also easier said than done.

Dana Farber 50:27
But you know what, it really does prove that the things that do matter, matter. And the things that matter to me is I have my family and my friends and my business. Yeah. And those are the things I still have. And those are the things that you know, hopefully you can't burn down.

Alessia Citro 50:42
Yeah, exactly. Alright, so final interview question. One of the things that really drew me to you was just your embrace of like, the feminine and, like the witchy stuff that we're into, right? Like just, you know, unapologetically owning that, what I guess what advice would you give for the female, want to be entrepreneur or founder that really wants to embrace that like, kind of witchy woowoo out there side, but is afraid that that's gonna make people think she's a weirdo or unprofessional? Like, what would you say to that that woman listening?

Dana Farber 51:18
I would say that we are in the renaissance of the weirdo. That's what I absolutely love about this. This time that we're in right now is I do feel like this is, you know, aside from witchy things now being trendy, I feel like there was the I have a very love and hate relationship with social media, because it's not always the best for people's mental health with the comparisons. But what is nice is people are able to really find the niches that speak to them, and they're able to find the content that resonates with them. So my advice to you is that if it's important to you, if it means something to you, if it sparks something in you, there are other people who share that passion. There are other people who will recognize that spark in themselves too. And anyone who doesn't, you don't want to work with them. Anyway, if anyone wants to say, I really want to work with you, but I'm just not into the moon stuff. Sorry, move along. This is my whole vibe, I'm in it to give my I've done enough jobs where I've given half of myself or hidden parts of myself, because I thought that that was going to help me be more successful or help people like me better. The best thing after I lost everything else, I also lost that which is awesome. I lost I have zero fear or insecurity that people aren't going to like me for the stuff I put out there because I know that if people don't like me, there will be other people that do like me for it. And those are the people I want to work with. There are people who find me and say, I love what you're doing. I love the vibe, I feel it through the social media screen and that's what I want. You know, if my you know, little Tarot stuff speaks to someone and that's the way they want to think about marketing then great that is the person that I am here for so just know you'll find your tribe. And live your high vibe.

Alessia Citro 53:05
Yes, I love it so so much and you know, every yes is a no to something else. So if you're just giving yeses to people that don't feel aligned to work with your, your closing, what is it? It's like, you can't I forget the phrase but it's like back in the day when people would go to dances you'd have like a dance card or something and it's like dance party is full with like people you don't want to be dancing with like the people you do want to like they can't get in, you know?

Dana Farber 53:31
Absolutely, yeah. If you're feeling the need to compromise your own values, or the things that are important to you to fit for someone else. That's not a good fit. Yeah. And that goes to corporate and really all aspects of of your life. So that's live your authentic truth and your tribe will 100% find you.

Alessia Citro 53:50
Yes. Amen to that. All right. So you're doing a business tip mini episode for us after this on how to set smart marketing goals. So be sure everyone to come back for that. Before we sign off. Dana, where can people find you connect with you work with you plug anything you want. We are here for the plugs.

Dana Farber 54:08
Fantastic. So yes, I own a small marketing and social media agency is a vision lead agency for intuitive founders. So it is called Moonstone marketing. You can find me online it's Moonstone MKT G calm and that's also my handle. So on Instagram, you can follow me on Spotify, you can find me on LinkedIn, it's Moonstone marketing. And I would love to work with you I work with businesses, small and independent businesses that are really looking to glow and thrive.

Alessia Citro 54:39
And you can help with anything from like a launch and promotional calendar strategy up to like on retainer every month, like doing a number of things. So you know, listen to sighs like talk to Dana if you feel connection with her and figure out a way to work together.

Dana Farber 54:54
She's absolutely. Thank you.

Alessia Citro 54:57
Well, thanks for coming on. I'm excited for the next episode, and we'll see you all back here tomorrow. This episode was brought to you by Theia collective the learning community I found it for entrepreneurs text biz, that's BIZ to 949-577-8709 or head to Thea dash collective.com. That's THEIA dash collective.com to learn more. Thanks for listening to the show. If you enjoyed today's episode, please help me get the word out about the corporate drop out by screenshotting and sharing this on social I would appreciate it so much if you would subscribe and leave a five star rating and review as well. And I do this show for you and I want to hear from you. So tell me what is it that you want more of text me at 949-541-0951 or slide into the DMS at corporate drop out official or Alesia Citro with two underscores until next time