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Breaking Free: A Journey to a Label-Free Life with Deanna Radulescu | Ep #120

February 6, 2024

Breaking Free: A Journey to a Label-Free Life with Deanna Radulescu | Ep #120 Have you experienced being labeled in different ways throughout your life? What about in your career? Shannon Russell welcomes Deanna Radulescu, host of the Label Free Podcast on Episode #120 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast.  Listen in for an […]

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Breaking Free: A Journey to a Label-Free Life with Deanna Radulescu | Ep #120

Have you experienced being labeled in different ways throughout your life? What about in your career? Shannon Russell welcomes Deanna Radulescu, host of the Label Free Podcast on Episode #120 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast.  Listen in for an inspiring conversation about overcoming labels and embracing new beginnings.

In this episode, Shannon and Deanna delve into Deanna’s multifaceted journey, from being a personal trainer and business owner to navigating the challenges of corporate life and the loss of her husband. They explore Deanna’s resilience and her pivot to the world of fashion, culminating in her empowering decision to launch the “Label Free Podcast.”

Deanna shares her insights on the power of stepping into one’s purpose and overcoming adversity, drawing from her own experiences of trauma and transformation. They discuss the importance of vulnerability, self-discovery, and the journey to living a label-free life in order to build a career and life you love.

Breaking Free: A Journey to a Label-Free Life with guest Deanna Radulescu - Ep #120

Breaking Free: A Journey to a Label-Free Life with guest Deanna Radulescu – Ep #120


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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - Remove the Labels and Build A Life You Love
Episode - #120
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Deanna Radulescu
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Deanna: Have faith in the process. Do your research dig your heels in and put everything you got into it. If it doesn't work, you always can start again.

[00:00:11] Shannon Russell: Have you been waiting for a career breakthrough? Join me for my free Breakthrough Bootcamp. It starts on February 19th. You can head over to to save your seat. It's a week long free bootcamp to help you get clarity around your career and envision what you want for your future.

Do you want to change careers? Are you thinking of launching a business? Or do you just need some direction about what you want out of your work? My Breakthrough Bootcamp is for you. We will have live coaching sessions, Q& A calls, workbooks, resources, plus a free giveaway. Reserve your seat at now and I'll see you on the inside.

[00:00:58] Shannon Russell: Welcome back to the show, my [00:01:00] friend. Today on the podcast, I am chatting with Deanna Radulescu. Deanna is the host of the Label Free Podcast, and her mission is to eliminate labels for all of us. She has had her own share of labels over the years.

She was a personal trainer, an events planner,

The vice president of key accounts and business operations at a manufacturing company. She was a business owner. She was a fashion designer and she's also been a survivor of human trafficking. She's also been a widow. She has gone through the ups and downs in her own life and now through her podcast,

Deanna shares stories of other people who have suffered with different labels throughout their lives and how they've gotten past it So I am so excited to have Deanna here to chat about her journey and what she is providing others through her podcast let's get into it.



[00:02:28] Shannon Russell: Hi, Deanna. Welcome to Second Act Success. I'm so excited to have you here. Thank you for having me, Shannon. It's a pleasure to be here. Yeah. So I was on your show not too long ago and it was so much fun that we realized, okay, we have to have you on here to talk about your journey and your story.

You have so many different, I want to say labels that you've had over the years and now you have. The label free podcast as well. So we're going to dive into all of it, but why don't you start by telling us about your first act, [00:03:00] wherever you want to start.

[00:03:01] Deanna Radulescu: Sure. So I started, right out of school, I became a personal trainer and then started a party planning business. and then from there I met my late husband and I closed my businesses down and then I got involved in his business, which was remanufacturing of transmissions. Actually in 2008, his original business.

The bank pulled the loan when the economy crashed. And so we restarted together and we had five businesses together, three real estate holding companies, one installation, and then our main one, which is re manufacturing of transmissions. and that was our main like main business. We did about 20 million in sales, 150 employees.

I was vice president of key accounts and business operations, and he did not start me there. So I actually had to earn that title. So I started out just like wanting to help him when they restarted, I'm like, just let me go to the first meeting. I was quiet. I listened. I just observed. I mean, as that business grew, I got more involved.

And then I [00:04:00] just kind of earned my title of vice president because I made a lot of the decisions. And, you know, I'm very I have a very savvy business mind just naturally. It's one of my gifts. You know, I'm blessed that way. and we grew the business together and before he passed, which he lost his battle with kidney disease, about eight years ago.

I had doubled the size of the business with one contract with the state of South Carolina. So the contract was 20 million and we actually had to fight for it because, you know, a lot of people were contesting it, cause it's a big contract, and I got a lot of contracts. I did a lot of contract work it was called ATR at the time.

[00:04:38] Shannon Russell: And then you know he shortly thereafter he passed away and So you like what you see in the movies of a man who has remarried in the family because he had four daughters from previous marriage and it was just ugly.

[00:04:49] Deanna Radulescu: So I lost pretty much everything and had to restart after that. So you couldn't continue with the business. It went to his family. That's [00:05:00] pretty ugly. It was ugly for quite a while after that. So then you had to really start a second act from there. You had to start something new. What did you decide to pivot to?

[00:05:12] Shannon Russell: And now you're all by yourself having to do this.

[00:05:15] Deanna Radulescu: I hadn't worked for anybody since I was like 16. And so I got into corporate. So my first job was in retail, which was at a furniture store, which is no longer around called art van. That served me well, because I'd always wanted to get into fashion.

And so like the stories kind of overlap, I was fighting the family in court for over a year, and I finally got a settlement. wasn't much compared to what I had grown, but I had, I finally got a settlement from them. And so I continued to work in jobs after I got my settlement and pursued my dream in fashion.

And so I did the fashion thing in conjunction with working for corporate. company. So from art van, I went to stare cycle, stare cycle dealt with, you know, OSHA [00:06:00] regulations, medical waste. And I really loved it, but I ended up like I was there for a year and a half and I did like 210 percent to goal.

So I was a top, top salesperson, top closer in the company, but I left there to put a hundred percent into my fashion business. And I had some deals going on with China. That fell through after I left Sari cycle. So for a couple of months, I struggled like trying to keep building my fashion business.

Fashion is a very. Tricky industry, there's just a lot that goes into that process to make one piece of clothing.

I had to source everything locally because the company I had been working with in New York, which is basically a consulting firm helped me with the whole process. They gave me my, pricing. And so while I was working at Stericycle, I ran a Kickstarter and I raised over 5, 000.

To help me do my first production run. And so when I submitted my order, To the [00:07:00] consulting company, all of a sudden the pricing completely changed and went way up. So I had to cancel my contract with them, get a refund and source everything locally to fill those orders. I know a lot of people that invest in Kickstarters don't, get their products.

I made everyone whole. I was like, there's no way I can take people's money and not like fulfill their order because they supported. You know what I mean? So,you know, come to present day in 2019, I did my last collection. I told myself I was going to do three collections, for my fashion. And if it didn't take off, then I was done in 2019.

I did a big show, big fashion show in Chicagoland area with six other local designers. And it was against human trafficking. Cause I'm a survivor of human trafficking myself. And it was like, that was it. That was my last hurrah. No more in the fashion. And so after that show, probably about a month later, I got an email on how to start a podcast and I started a podcast in 2019 and I've grown it to [00:08:00] today.

I've got almost 450 episodes, 455 star reviews. We got 10, 000 subscribers on YouTube. over a million downloads. We are in the top 0. 5 percent globally. I work for myself. Now, I, all I do is podcasting and there's a lot of different acts in there, I guess.

[00:08:16] Shannon Russell: There's a lot of acts. Oh my God. But let's talk. about the fashions, you did the three collections. What kind of fashion was it? It was Deanna Marie was your fashion label. Deanna Marie label. Yeah. Deanna Marie label.

[00:08:27] Deanna Radulescu: And it was very like high end classic pieces like leather, high end silks, high end cottons. they're veryclassic. kind of molded my business model after Chanel. Like, you know, pieces that you're going to want to wear, forever.

I did like three different collections and I loved it. It's just, you have to have very deep pockets. I did not. I was like, I'm not going to keep on good money after bad one. I don't where my next big check is going to come from, you know, especially if you're doing high end, it's not going to be as profitable.

[00:08:59] Shannon Russell: I assume [00:09:00] because you're not reaching the masses, you're reaching a certain kind of client. Yeah. I was really good at building my brand. And that, I mean, that was something that I've kind of built off of.

[00:09:10] Deanna Radulescu: You know, going into the podcasting thing you have to have a good brand. You have to know your own personal brand and it has to be strong. And whatever you're doing, it has to be, you have to have a good memorable brand. Very true. Well, and it's great that you set out to do what you wanted to do.

[00:09:25] Shannon Russell: You did it. And then you ended on a really good note doing the fashion show. That's something really special to you and meaningful. Yeah. Were you able to raise a good amount of money for human trafficking?

[00:09:35] Deanna Radulescu: We raised 30, 000. We had over about 300 people. So it was, it was a big production. It's huge. I had so many sponsors.

people raved about it for years, and I had never done an event like this. I gotta give myself pat on the back. It took like eight months to, to plan this and it was in the Stan mansion in Chicago, which is an absolutely beautiful venue.

It's literally a mansion and it's gorgeous on the inside. Wow.

So the [00:10:00] fashion, you decide to close it down and did you get immediately into podcasting?

[00:10:05] Shannon Russell: it was just an email that you got and just kind of intrigued you? Yeah. So I got it and I was just like, I didn't know what it was. I hadn't heard of podcasting. And I remember reaching out to my best friend and I was just like, you know what? I want to talk about.

Just because all the labels that I had struggled with me myself, my father was an abusive father. abandoned us, he left us. you know, I got an abusive relationship with boyfriends, I'm a human trafficking survivor that I was, I was in a very wealthy position in my life and I lost that title.

And then. My husband passed away. So I was a widow. And then all the other things that come along with that, you know, like all those different things that happen to you carry a lot of heaviness. Right. And so I was just telling my, best friend, like, you know what, I'm sick and tired of these labels that I have on me.

and I was trying to date then I remember, I told someone. That was trying to date that I was a widow. It was like sign of the cross, like, Oh my God, you're the black widow.[00:11:00] I wasn't prepared and no one tells you like what that looks like. I had strange men that we had done business with coming forward and wanting to like, take care of me, which was very weird because obviously there was an underlying motive there, you know, and then just trying to date.

on my own. It's just starting my life over. I really applaud women that go through something like I've gone through and they start over because everybody doesn't want you to start over.

[00:11:25] Deanna: And you were, a victim in a sense, just dealing with all of the legal issues with his family.

So there was just a lot going on and you're just trying to survive and rebuild. So there's just a lot. Oh yeah. Yeah. But you were able to make a fashion label, a new label there, there, and, and yeah, I love the idea of label free.

You know, you want to talk to people about removing labels and living label free. And how was that venture of just getting into this new medium that you were learning about yourself?

obviously I'm sure like yourself, it's evolved [00:12:00] drastically over the course of time. during COVID, I just recorded all day long, recorded all day long, started releasing three times a week, you know, and just building my audience and up the show and just evolving it, you know, first to start out as audio only, then I jumped onto video before they even started talking about doing video.

I'm just like, if I'm recording through zoom, I might as well just be releasing the video as well and build up that YouTube presence. Now it's a thing to actually have a video. Podcast. And so I've been doing it since before they started talking about that.

and then I had an opportunity to, I know I told you about this, which is unfortunate, what happened, but I became the head coach and founding partner of the female podcasters network. I'm always researching, trying to look into ways to improve the show. Girl, the show, like what resources are out there.

I think that if you're going to be in any industry, you should always be doing your research on how you can improve in that industry, grow your business, whatever that looks like for you. and so I had found the female podcasters network. They were looking for a partner. [00:13:00] I sent them a message. They picked me.

And I had grown it, you know, I think they had a thousand members when I joined them and I grew it to 2000 over the course of six months to a year. I had got several clients, you know, we were starting to do podcast audits, so I have that skillset. I go get married. I come back from my wedding and she shut everything down with no communication, nothing.

It was so unprofessional. If you want it just to get out, let's talk about what that looks like. Let the ladies know, because they were all so involved in the group. I just thought that that was just so unreal that you would do something like that.

Now what brings me to today, now I'm launching my own network and I'm launching a channel on Apple TV, so I will be offering more than what we did with that, you know, what I was wanting to do with that network. Now I'm going to do it with my network and just grow it from there.

things happen for a reason. And so now here we are [00:14:00] today. you are resilient if nothing else, like seriously, you're like, all right, what's next? I love that. So what is your network going to look like? We'll have a channel on Apple TV, and then we're going to expand it to Roku, to Fire, to all the things, we're building it in the background. and it's just going to be, you know, other podcasts that have the like minded, energy as our show does, and just really those independent voices and spreading those good messages because, you know, I think that it's just so necessary.

[00:14:30] Deanna: to help others be inspired and live their better life and grow their own podcast. Like you're trying to help people in such a positive way , and what is it like when you talk to people and you have your guests on your show and you really get to what label free means to them and what are you noticing like a theme between your different guests and really what they have in common?

It's really about people stepping into their purpose. And overcoming things like myself. And those are the stories that [00:15:00] really, I had a gentleman on, you know, I'm sure if you don't remember correctly, I have how I make my money for my business. I have different levels of promotion for my guests.

And so I offer a free audio recording to everyone, but if they want to hit my social media, I want to hit my YouTube, all that stuff, I do offer upgrades for them to pick. So the one gentleman picked one of my higher, higher. Packages. And, so he's my VIP guest and he shared his story and he's a doctor,

And, he found himself becoming addicted to pills, to psychiatric pills and medications and end up going to rehab after his father passed away. Kind of dug digging up what he had, you know, kind of stuff down his father used to actually abuse him and then like just abuse him in general, like sexual abuse on top of abuse.

Right. And so he shared with me in the audience, like him overcoming. such traumatic things. He wrote a book about it. Good for him for being so vulnerable and trying to get his story out like he obviously [00:16:00] really wanted his story to be heard by your audience, right?

And I think for a man to talk about that kind of abuse, he's married and he's got kids, right? So to talk about that kind of abuse, there's got to be so many conflicting things that go on on the inside. In just those labels that we put on men and how we expect them to be when you go through something like that at such an early age, just the trauma and the things that you carry with you and you internalize as a man have to be so incredibly deep.

Especially the way we're programmed in this kind of society, it was an incredible conversation. I applaud him for his vulnerability and I applaud him for getting the help that he needed to get over that and to where he is today with writing that book, like, it's just amazing to me. Wow, that is so emotional.

I think for you to probably have those in-depth conversations with people and really, oh yeah. Pull that label off and have them be vulnerable with you and know that you have your own background [00:17:00] and you can relate to some of this, and just that you're a safe place for them. Yeah, that's, yeah, like I like to think so

And it's, so interesting too, 'cause there are so many different kinds of labels. It means something different to everyone, but the underlying message is the same, , if you're going through your life and you're just do to do to do everything's great. And then something happens to you and you feel labeled and that Prevents you from stepping into your full voice, stepping into your full power, stepping into your full purpose.

That is something that you want to address, something you want to explore. Like, why am I carrying this with me? Why am I allowing this to hold me back? I mean, you could go your whole life, not feeling like you're labeled until one thing happens to you. And you're like, this is affecting me for the rest of my life.

Just like this man that he had going on. He didn't realize it. She was abused by painkillers because he had this trauma he never dealt with. And his father passed away, which triggered the addiction because he never got to address that with his father. And to highlight those stories. So people [00:18:00] don't realize that there are so many different things that can happen to us that can prevent us from really stepping into our true power.

So do you think that's your mission with the podcast is just to kind of serve others and let them allow a space for them to get their, journeys across their stories out there. Serve. Yeah. For the greater good. Not only just to get their stories out there, but to help others that might be struggling to, you know, to hear a story of victory from defeat is, can be incredibly impactful.

It's making you realize that you're not so alone and that if someone else can do it, you can do it and you can get over it.

And that's so much what your show is doing. And now your network. And the fact that you have had so many. Labels quote unquote and you're able to take all of that experience that you've had and bring it to be such an incredible host And producing this podcast. Do you feel like where you are now is where you're meant to be?

I do. It's a struggle sometimes, because, it's a very different business [00:19:00] model. I've gotten complimented on it, you know, for many people, but I've yet to find my stride in getting the financial gain that we deserve, like me and my team, because my team does a lot of work for free.

but do feel this is where I'm supposed to be. we'll see how long for, but for now it's not slowing down. Like I have hundreds of people a week that reach out, which I'm sure like yourself too. And just the messages of, Oh my God, thank you for what you do.

Your message is so great. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, all the things. So it just as a reignites the passion and the fire.

I still have to tell myself, you remember your why, you know, remember your why. And I think that's why we've been able to be so successful And I say that to my team too. We have to always remember our why we cannot get so numb from all the conversations or just putting in this work that we forget why we're here and what we're doing.

[00:19:57] Deanna: The first question is, name one thing that these [00:20:00] different chapters in your life have taught you. You're always going to get through it. No matter what. Hey, you didn't die, so you're going to be fine. Would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?

Yes. If they just do it. Life is too short. Life is way too short. I even like now, I just feel like time is just flying by so fast and I'm just like, what have I not done that I need to do? So absolutely. Yes. So what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is starting a second act today? Have faith in the process. Do your research and just dig your heels in and put everything you got into it. If it doesn't work, you always can start again.

What does your next act look like? Getting this network off the ground. It's been really challenging and because I wanted to look completely different than other things I've seen out there. And I want to serve in a way that's going to really kind of I mean, I have a very big idea in my head and [00:21:00] God knows if I'm going to have, have the capacity to do it, but I'm going to try.

You know, I don't believe in the imposter syndrome, but like that, that self doubt, like, can I really get it to where I want to get it to? But mine is like really focusing on and growing that and serving podcasters specifically and giving them a platform where they can get themselves more out there in front of people.

So where can my audience connect with you? where are the best places to find you? All the things, Shannon. Okay. I'm on Instagram, I'm on YouTube. You just Google search Label Free Podcdast. I'm going to come up a million times. And then obviously my name Deanna Radulescu, you know, I am always available.

Shoot me a message anywhere, go follow, watch, subscribe to the show. I can guarantee you, you will be moved by at least one story. So yeah, just go ahead and find me on all the places.

Thank you so much for being here. This was so lovely. Thank you, Shannon. It was great to be here.



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