That Girl Charlie: Her Story
Named a Top SmartCeo by Brava, Top CEO Under 40, and known as a major business influencer for entrepreneurs in her region, Charlie Fusco provides business coaching and advice to her growing followers on ThatGirCharlie.com, her social media channels, and her CEO Powercast Radio Show.
“I became an entrepreneur by accidental choice…”
Charlie’s entrepreneurial plans were hatched while she was working as the marketing director for a national agency based out of Portland, Maine. She was rubbing the bump on her head from hitting the glass ceiling in the company she helped make millions. Her request to climb further up the ladder fell on deaf ears. Secretly pregnant with her first child, unclear as to her next steps, and pissed off that she was being denied a promotion after her accomplishments clearly warranted one, she politely handed in her resignation. In 2001, Charlie made the decision that changed her life forever. “I decided that I would never allow someone else to dictate my financial worth again. Whether I made $500 a week or $50K a week it would be because I controlled the situation. I didn’t consciously make the choice to become a CEO or Entrepreneur. I just chose to work for myself from that day forward.”
Without a mentor or a business plan to guide her, Charlie jumped in belly first and immersed herself in running her own version of a production company with a 4 month old on her lap. Using a breast pump, ear piece, and clever nap-time scheduling, she discovered how to run a business from her home while raising a baby at the same time. It appealed to her because she felt in charge of her destiny, in control as a mother, and she could make her own schedule and command her own rates.
Screwing-Up Led Her to Fail-Up
With a traditional job in the rear-view mirror, this was a difficult period for the clueless entrepreneur. She spent 90% of her time servicing clients which left little time to market her business or plan for growth. She woke up one day to $8.07 in her bank account and realized she had to start running the company like a CEO and not just servicing her clients like an employee.
“I remember being at a business dinner in Las Vegas with other vendors and a potential client. The table decided to play credit card roulette to choose who paid the $2100 tab. I put my credit card in the pile because I didn’t know what else to do. But I was petrified because I had maxed out all my credit cards and if I was chosen it would not clear. I had $102.17 in my bank account. I was flat broke and trying to land a new client surrounded by more successful companies. I had been putting all I had into my little start-up business.”
Charlie’s credit card wasn’t chosen that night and she made it back to her New Jersey office with just under $75 left in her account. The thought of giving up her independence and putting her son into daycare was simply not an option in her mind, and her perseverance today illustrates how to design your own success. “I learned to trust my own intelligence and gamble on myself. I knew I wanted to stay on my own path. I screwed up a lot of things in those initial years and then one day when I was tired of failing as a CEO I figured out how to turn my fails into successes.” And that’s when her business started to become fun again.
Charlie’s proficiency at marketing her client’s products and services through television, radio, print and online have made her an industry expert with various awards and testimonials to her unique ability to turn ideas into profit. She built-up her company from $2M, to $5M, to over $17M in under five years and today she is reaching for her $30M revenue goal and beyond.
Stepping in Front of the Curtain…
With almost two decades of building winning marketing campaigns for other brands behind the scenes, Charlie has made the active decision to step forward and offer guidance to business owners in a more public way. Her business successes have been featured and celebrated in the Philadelphia Journal, ExecutiveLeadersRadio.com, Response Magazine, Electronic Retail Association, Monday Morning Radio, the Creative Success Show, SmartCEO and more.
She’s hosted three podcasts, is a regular LinkedIn contributor, worked as a TV host, and has authored four books including her latest Brains, Boobs, & Balls: Life Lessons Any Female Entrepreneur Can Follow. Today, her expert staff helps her expand her own business while she spends more time consulting with businesses one on one on how to grow big on small budgets.
From Nowhere…to Self-Made Women…to Entrepreneur Mentor
There was a moment Charlie realized her risks would pay off if she just stayed the course. Leading her company through massive ups and downs while helping other companies execute complex marketing campaigns taught her how to survive massive obstacles in business. Other women, and many men too, asked her about how she was able to succeed in such complex business situations while raising a large family with questions like, “How do you raise capital? How do you get clients? How do you juggle work and family? How do you stay positive?”
Charlie’s following of budding entrepreneurs and business people increased, and her expertise grew well past running TV infomercials and running a call center. She became an expert at common problems that face all business owners like managing cash flow, financing expansion, increasing profit margins and weathering difficult growth situations. As an industry expert on commercial production and media she gave talks all over the country; more and more the audience questions at the end of the talks focused on “how do you do it all in business while still being in a happy marriage and raising a family? Her offerings organically expanded into courses, programs, seminars, events, and mentoring. She became inspired, driven, and committed to helping other women business owners take their business to scale while juggling a satisfying personal life too.
Narrowing Her Line of Site to Focus on Helping Women Entrepreneurs
Over the last 10 years, Charlie has advised and helped nurture many businesses by playing the part of CMO and Creative Director. She has helped her clients increase revenues from the tens of thousands of dollars into the millions, birthed new brands, monetized messaging, created lucrative customer loyalty programs, repositioned products to sell for a premium, and has become an industry connector.
Although Charlie’s career has been full of many outstanding triumphs, she shares what fills her with the most pride is the achievements of her clients:
“When I see small to mid-sized businesses take off as a result of the big business strategies I help them implement I get a sense of entrepreneurial pride. When I see women especially excel in a business they believed was doomed and be passionate about their personal life at the same time; I’m inspired. That’s why I do what I do.”
Charlie is regularly invited to speak on stage, delivering messages and practical action steps to groups ranging from entrepreneurs to corporate professionals to nonprofits and women’s groups.
A Commitment to Creating Opportunity
Using TGC Worldwide as a ‘training ground” Charlie actively seeks to create new opportunities for youth and members of her community to get ahead financially and spark entrepreneurial drive. Job creation, internships, mentoring, and creating unique events as a commonplace of connection is integrated into her corporate culture.
Building Business, Family, and Personal Satisfaction Simultaneously
Her message to women in business is simple: build the business of the future while compromising nothing in your personal life in the present.