Welcome to The Anxious Chiropractor’s blog series that highlights “Cat Moms” and their businesses called Cat Lady Entrepreneurs.
In this blog series, my goal is to highlight local women in business and their cats! Yes, I know not everyone is a cat person, however you have to admit, whatever furry creature we have for a pet has somehow helped us in this adventure we call life.
Today, Annie Giudicessi who owns HeyGiud Communications is sharing a little bit about herself as a small business owner and entrepreneur. But also, you will be hearing from Annie’s two cats, George and Gracie.
Read on to learn about how George and Gracie brighten Annie’s day by keeping her on task and organized, and force her to take breaks throughout her day.
Who are you, what is your business, and what do you do?
I own HeyGiud Communications which is a social media marketing agency. I work to help small businesses and nonprofits develop their social media strategy, train business owners or employees on everything from the basics of how to actually use social media to best practices on reaching your audience. I offer a variety of packages that include consulting, management, special event coverage, and a variety of other services through customizable packages. HeyGiud is a play on words mixing my last name Giudicessi with Hey Jude by The Beatles as music is the most important force in my life and frankly my last name is hard to pronounce. My Dad was the original one to come up with the moniker and I’m lucky enough he loaned it to me to name my business.
What are the names of your cats?
George (7) and Gracie (1.5)
Please ask your cat(s) to describe what it is that their human does for a living.
George: Mom spends a lot of time on her laptop, like A LOT of time. I’m okay with it though because I have a bed under her desk and my favorite chair faces her desk. Plus she hides treats in her desk.. Honestly I can’t tell if she’s working or just playing on that Facebook thing she posts pictures of me on. She tells me that she doesn’t play on Facebook. She likes to tell me I have my own social presence, whatever that is, because I have an Instagram and Twitter that I share with my little sister. It used to be just mine. I miss when it was just mine. Ever since she got the tiny cat she doesn’t updated enough to my liking. I do have a bio on her website though and a job title! I am the Meownager at HeyGiud!
Gracie: Mom sits in the basement...a lot. She’s got a lot of big screens she looks at that make noise and play videos and stuff. I’m not 100% what she does because I don’t sit still long enough to notice and usually am too busy following the dog around the house to see what he’s doing or eating, usually eating. Oh and when I nap I’m usually in the chair in front of the window because it’s warm. I have a title too, I am the Assistant to the Meownager. Mom is a fan of The Office if you couldn’t tell. It’s one of her favorite shows to watch for background noise while she works. I think it’s kinda funny.
What’s the story of how you met your cats?
A close friend of mine shared one of the Animal Rescue League’s Facebook posts and like a sucker I clicked the “find a cat” button. There with big ears and the most perfect little tuxedo cat face was a cat named Georgio. I sent the photo to my Mom and brother as it looked like a cat my brother had for 18 years who had been put to sleep within the prior year. My Mom fell in love as quickly as I did, picked me up from my apartment when we got off work and we were off to the ARL to meet, fall in love with, and bring home my first baby. I’d had cats growing up but this was the first cat that was 100% mine. I changed his name to Giorgio so it was the traditional Italian spelling to match my last name but honestly this guy doesn’t know his name is anything but George or Georgie. He’s named after my favorite Beatle George Harrison.
I am on the board for FuseDSM, the Chamber of Commerce that represents the North, East, and South sides of Des Moines. The Animal Rescue League was hosting a ribbon cutting for their Clowder House. My love of the ARL and personal relationship with several staff members I was presenting them with the plaque and speaking at the ceremony where I of course spoke of my love of Georgie and how special the ARL was to me. The group at the ribbon cutting was allowed to tour the Clowder House which is not something every day visitors get to do. While walking through the rows of kennels I found her. Tiny, soft, and the cutest little gray tuxedo cat I’ve ever seen. They allowed me to put a hold on her so when she had her spay surgery and was ready for adoption I would be the first person with the opportunity to adopt her. I got a call later that night from a good friend of mine who told me that she wasn’t just waiting for her spay surgery, she had come in that week as a stray at 6 weeks old and had two broken back legs. They were concerned that to allow her to heal they would need to amputate one and told me if I was still interested she was all mine but if I wasn’t they completely understood. Without hesitation I signed up to take on the challenge! It was three long months of waiting and finally the phone call came on the anniversary of George’s gotcha day that she was ready to come home. When I arrived they went to get her and my friend who had called me that first night came out to see me and said “I have a surprise.” My little girl was strong enough that she’d completely healed and had all four of her legs. Her name when she arrived at ARL was Grazie which is a common Italian misspelling for thank you. A quick change to Grazia and she had her new name. Just like her brother she doesn’t know her actual Italian name as I call her Gracie. It was a special name for me, the one as a little girl I claimed for a future daughter. My great-grandmother who was an Italian immigrant and came to America on a boat when she was a teenager was named Grazia, I also have 2 other great grandmothers named Grace so that had always been my name. As I have decided to have cats not kids this little girl was given that special name.
Please ask your cats what they remember this as well:
George: Mom and Grammy came out later one night to the first place I lived. They didn’t even look at the other cats in the kennels near me, they came right to me and asked if they could play with me. We went into a Cuddle Room and I was so happy to have freedom to roam. I had to wait overnight for Mom’s landlord to say it was okay for her to have me and she hurried out as soon as she got the okay and took me home. I feel so lucky that Mom and Grammy picked me. There were a lot of cool cats there when I was and I was the one that got a forever home!
Gracie: Mom and her friend Taylor were walking around and babytalking to all of the cats in the kennels near me. Taylor started yelling for Mom to come over to see me. I found out when I got home and met my brother that Mom loves tuxedo cats and gray cats so I was the perfect combination. Mom started talking lots of pictures of me and looked sad to have to leave. It was a long wait before I got to come home but my best friend Noah made sure I knew I had a family to go home to. He said Mom was his friend and I’d be really happy when I got to go home. He was right! I came home to an awesome house with Mom, Grammy, my big brother George, and Grammy’s dog and cat.
Do your cats help you when you’re feeling stressed out or feeling challenged in small business? How so?
YES!! Not only do I own a small business that is still in it’s toddler years (HeyGiud turns 3 this June) but I have a few medical issues that my furbabies help me take care of. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety issues most of my life. When I adopted George I was in the midst of a battle with agoraphobia. He was the best caretaker I could’ve asked for. I also suffer from chronic migraines and have for nearly 20 years. Being stuck in a dark room under blankets when I’m trying to take care of myself in between building content calendars, planning posts and meeting with clients isn’t always fun. But George and Gracie are always ready to snuggle up and do their best to take care of their Mom. When I’m working long days preparing content calendars for clients they are often found in an empty spot on my desk, the cat bed underneath my desk or the comfy chair in my office so they are close by for a midday break to pet them or give them treats.
Please ask your cat(s) how they have supported you, and continue to support you in what you do as an entrepreneur:
George: I’ll have to speak for Gracie and I both, she ran off to go play with her favorite catnip toys. We are both really great at supporting Mom. I oversee her content calendars, I keep her notes warm, I talk her through things she needs help with and I make sure that the office is always organized. If something is out of place she can guarantee I’ll push it off. Gracie usually just provides the comic relief in the day. She will run into the office and chase toys for a while before taking a drink from the water fountain and heading out again. Sometimes when Mom is “late to work” I’ll sit at the desk and stare her down until she decides it time to sit. Frankly, this place wouldn’t run without me.
What do you think is your strength in small business?
I think that outside of the decade of experience in managing social media for business my strength is my ability to connect people and connect with people. If I can’t help someone with what they need I try to get them in touch with someone who does. Each of my clients is drastically different. I work with Non-Profits, Member Organizations, and traditional Small Businesses. Each of them is not only different in what they do but each other is different and each brand is different. I work to connect with my clients and help tell their story online in a manner that hopefully their audience wouldn’t know that it’s me running them all.
Please ask your cat(s) to describe their favorite thing about you:
George: My favorite thing about Mom is her heart. I’ve had health problems throughout my life, some of which are the most common reasons cats end up in shelters but she has done everything she can to help find the answer to the problems so I feel my best and don’t ever have to go back to the shelter. She told me when I was really young that she’d love me for the rest of her life and I knew she meant it. She also is a really great snuggler and gives me treats because I love them. She’s the best Mom I could’ve asked for.
Gracie: She feeds me! I wait at the top of the stairs for her every morning when she wakes up and lead her straight to my food bowl where she feeds me and gives me a few pets. I’m too squirmy to sit with her most of the time and when I nap she’s usually working so I sit with Grammy but sometimes she’ll pick me up and walk me around the house so I can see everything from a new vantage point while she sings to me. I love that!
To follow Annie on her journeys in small business, check out her instagram at @heygiuddsm!
Tune in next Friday on the blog, where we will highlight our next Cat Lady Entrepreneur! Are you a cat lady? Are you an entrepreneur? Would you be interested in being featured? Reach out here for more information!