The Touching Story Behind Talent Promo Site Sunshine Marie Network SMN
The Sunshine Marie Network is a site dedicated to providing a platform to expose and promote business owners, artists, athletes and talent of all type. In our interview with CEO, Tammy Johnson, she shared the inspiration behind the network, what she would do with $500,000, and why you don’t have to be a superstar to showcase your talents.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the Sunshine Marie Network
SMN began at Taggleme. Taggleme was created and named in the memory of my father, Thomas Anthony Gregory (T.A.G). My father of whom I hold very close to my heart for so many reasons was a talented Jazz artist and local business owner in St. Louis. He worked hard all of his life, loved, and died so unexpectedly and tragically. I held his hand until the last few moments of his death.
New Year’s eve 2011 I started thinking about the talent he shared with me and wondered how more successful his business would have been if he had another platform to open up the door to more customers beyond the St. Louis area. Since that night, the vision of Taggleme has grown into a network that I know would have made him proud.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
I do things a little differently by going into each one of my sites to make sure everything is functioning properly, jotting down any malfunction, and then I check my email. If there are any emails that need response I answer them and then immediately go and fix malfunction(s) (if any).
The websites are our host 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The audience is our customers and the ones who log on to enjoy the features of SMN. Our customers are not fairly represented if our system is not working properly.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
The early days were like the first day of school for me, personally, in a new grade and so many hours had to dedicated to learning and embracing something new with no fear.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
- First, I embrace a little stretching or yoga that can be done simply sitting at your desk or standing.
- Second, I love inspirational quotes and I look at ones that I have posted or favored on twitter or facebook. Some would be surprised at what reading an inspirational quote can do for the spirit, especially if its related to the source of the frustration,
- Third, I always go back and think about what I have been through, how far I’ve come, and how quick I could ruin it all by making hasty decisions in frustration.
What’s your office environment like?
The beauty of having your own space is you can tailor it to staff and personal preferences. I’m all about fun in respectable functionality. We are always singing and laughing around here. Life is so short. I embrace all that I can in joy.
How do you picture SMN in 5 years?
In five years I see SMN in a place that genuinely is bringing smiles and joy to faces, stimulating jobs for individuals to take care of themselves and families, and opening up doors for people across the world in the community, business, the arts, and sports. Stay tuned.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by God, my children, family, and Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was an intelligent man who had a vision that he didn’t just think about or talk about, he brought action to his vision and he literally changed the world. I love his quote:
“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
In addition I have to admit–in a quiet moment–f I have a piece of my favorite desert, cheesecake, my mind starts thinking of even more possibilities.
There are no limitations except the ones we impose upon ourselves.
How’d you fund this venture?
Funding to start SMN came from me solely starting New Years eve 2011. Aware that I had limited funds to start with, I cut costs by teaching myself how to build websites, graphics, etc in my spare time after work. Learning from working for the legal system for 13 years and embracing my business savvy also helped in cutting costs.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Never be afraid to try something new and step out of the box. Of course be wise and use caution, as in, don’t involve yourself in anything illegal. You will be able to do much more on the outside verses pepping out from behind those metal bars!
But outside of that, get up, get out, and do everything you can for your vision–it’s yours! Take hold of it, and if anyone tells you can’t do it or does not support your vision…smile and make it one of your goals to be that doubted trend-setter.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I would start as many homeless shelters as I could and create programs within those shelters to help get people in those situations into better situations.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now?
I consider myself a successful entrepreneur due to the fact that I turned one vision into reality solely and executed my plan relentlessly.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
The first website I created, Taggleme, as without Taggleme the dynamics of SMN would not be what it is today. It also holds a special place in my heart because of whom the name stems from.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
I’m a Pandora App lover simply because…I love music of all kinds and so many songs from my pre-adult hood have been my therapy through different stages in my life. Therefore, I love being able to go back and revisit those songs and memories on any given day I choose to.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs (small ones) I’m only 5ft tall, so I like little ones like me that are active like me.
iOS or Android?
Andriod. Love the minds that continue to make greater ones!
What’s the greatest thing about Sunshine Marie Network?
The greatest thing about SMN is that it is for everyday people like you and I. You don’t have to be a superstar on your favorite channel or a tragedy on the news to have your business or craft be heard, seen, and noticed globally.
Where can our readers reach out to you?
Readers can find me on:
Thanks Tammy! Great positive energy and an inspiring story. Be on the lookout for Taggle My Athlete that is projected to be finished by September 1, 2012.