Schnelle Acevedo remembers the day she decided to quit her “cushy, high-paying” job as an account manager in the financial tech industry.
It was six months ago and Acevedo, 33, who goes by Nellie, had requested a day off for her youngest son’s pre-school graduation. The company told her, “We’ll see.”
“They made me wait five days to approve the day off and I realized that I couldn’t do this anymore,” she said. “I can’t accept a ‘We’ll see’ answer when it comes to taking off for a big day in my kid’s life.”
So she launched her own business, a social media strategy company called BAM Digital Media, named after her popular fitness and parenting blog, BrooklynActiveMama.com.
After spending five years running the blog and building its social media presence (Twitter: 23.8K followers, Instagram: 7.7K followers), Acevedo decided to use her skills to help small businesses and startups.
She spent a year developing a business plan and saving up for the move. It was a way for her to get more flexibility when it came to her children, which she says she needed “desperately.”
Acevedo is running the business on her own but hopes to hire staffers in the coming months.
She offers three main packages that range from $300 to $1,000 and are based on how many posts and customer interactions the customer wants on a weekly basis. So far, Acevedo is working with one client that’s a clothing company, based in Canarsie, that’s about to launch this year.
Acevedo, who was born in Canarsie and still lives there today, runs her company from her kitchen table, though she might need to get a desk elsewhere soon, if only for the rest of the summer.
“My kids are home now for the summer and it’s nearly impossible, sometimes, working from home,” she said. “Honestly, it’s all about managing their appetite and their boredom.”
Usually, she said, her two boys, ages four and seven, are next to her watching TV or playing with toys, but as long as they keep each other busy, she’s able to focus on her work.
For a midday escape, Acevedo will head over to Canarsie Park and go for a run or just sit on a bench in the morning.
She hopes her business can help mom-and-pop stores thrive in the borough, where she’s lived all her life and watched as more and more big brand stores, like Target and Whole Foods, open up.
“With a good strategy, the mom-and-pop shops can survive here,” she said.
Acevedo got her entrepreneurial spark when she became pregnant with her second son and found it hard to exercise. She took that experience and began writing about it on a public blog, offering fitness, wellness and parenting advice to women all over the world. She’s spent the last five years broadcasting her personal life on the internet and doesn’t mind one bit.
“I feel like others can learn from my mistakes and my wins on my blog,” she said. “The only thing I keep private is my marriage. When it comes to parenting and fitness, I am an open book.”
She makes money through advertising campaigns offered to her by brands like Duane Reade and Old Navy. She currently makes enough of an income through her blog that she’s able to build BAM Digital Media without worrying about money right now.
"It’s going to take a lot of me being uncomfortable to grow this business."
After speaking with Acevedo on the phone, I was so impressed by how she balanced her own business, motherhood and her blogging side hustle, that I had to ask her if she felt like she was a modern-day superwoman. She was humble yet not shy about identifying as such.
“There are a lot of modern-day superwomen out there,” she said, “and I’m just one of them.”
She added: “A lot of people do just as much as I do and don’t get recognition for it.”
School will start again soon and the kitchen table she works from will soon have just one seat filled. So I wondered, what’s next for BAM Digital Media?
Acevedo hopes to get more customers by executing a marketing strategy. Right now, she’s doing a lot of cold calls and in-person meetings to see what she can do for people and their businesses.
“It’s going to take a lot of me being uncomfortable to grow this business,” she said. “But I just need to put my head down and work hard to bring brand awareness and be the best I can be while maintaining a balance.” -30-