Hello, I'm Stephanie Riel 👋🏼

Aug 31, 2023
Meet Stephanie Riel

Hello, it’s nice to re-meet you. I am Stephanie Riel.

I created the RielDeal®️ brand first in 2008/2009, grabbing the Twitter Handle in 2009 (before I could legally drink and certainly before Instagram was a thing!)

I’ve been known online as the RielDeal® for 15 years at the time of writing this post. I was 21 at the time I started my “personal” brand. Even though RielDeal® became connected to my businesses (more on that later), it’s also extremely personal. Looking back on the past 15 years, I recognize it’s been a beautiful journey to self-identity…

I started my personal brand before I started my first business.

I started my personal brand before becoming a dog mom.

I started my personal brand before losing my dad to cancer.

I started my personal brand before the business accolades started rolling in.

I started my personal brand before starting my second business.

I started my personal brand before mentoring female entrepreneurs.

I started my personal brand before investing in other businesses.

I started my personal brand before therapy and self-development.

I started my personal brand before getting married…and divorced.

I started my personal brand before healing and coming back to myself.

While this is a testament to my branding skills, looking back on the last 15 years, I created the RielDeal® brand before I really knew myself. And that’s okay.

As you may imagine, at 22 years old when I started my first business there was a lot I didn’t know about entrepreneurship (it wasn’t even cool back then! 😉) I didn’t have an end goal for my business or what I wanted for my life. So to put it simply, I lived as authentically as I could but had no guiding principle to discern the action of building a business. I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect on my journey to date and I’d like to share some of it with you here in this blog post because maybe it will spark something for you, too.

I grew my first business as a side-hustle from 2010 - 2019. And when I finally left the security of my full-time job in 2019 I was very much in hustle mode.

From 2019 - 2022, I learned a lot. I learned about business, I learned about authenticity and brand building, about building businesses and mostly, I learned about myself.

2020 and 2021 were two of the most successful years in business. We helped clients pivot and succeed during the pandemic and hit their goals. We also hit goals of our own…. surpassing revenue goals (.my business grew 35% year over year), I was growing a team ( of 6 that eventually grew to a team of 8), we serviced 30+ clients annually. I was recognized as Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneur, a 2020 and 2021 Woman to Know in Phoenix, a Titan100 among other notable accolades. I was quoted and featured in major media publications all around the globe, including Thrive Global, Huffington Post, LA Times, Arizona Republic, and many others. I also received dozens of other dopamine hits from the recognition I received for building a successful business in a competitive industry..

The reality is, it may have looked amazing from the outside…. Don’t get me wrong, many of the aspects of the success were amazing AND it can also be true that behind the scenes things were crumbling. To be specific, my personal relationships, my health and well-being were crumbling. I was miserable inside and my nervous system and body paid for it. I started to realize the effects of building a life and business out of alignment and without intention.

I have realized after a great deal of processing that I was creating someone else’s dream instead of listening to my inner voice. My inner voice was shouting to make necessary changes and I was ignoring it to push forward and achieve more. I look back now and see this wasn’t the first time I was living for someone else but the first time I started to be present to it. (Perhaps a topic for another time)

The Universe has a wild way of giving us lessons over and over again until we get it. Our bodies and their divine intelligence whisper to us all along. When we don’t listen, our bodies start to scream. I lived out of alignment, forcing everything and making shit happen for nearly a decade! The achievements and accolades were massive and my body and health was paying the price. After years of whispering and mostly being ignored…my body started to scream. I’ll explain.

I intuitively knew 6 months before I was told I had the symptoms of adrenal fatigue that I had it and what did I do? I launched 6 things across two businesses in a period of 4-weeks. This isn’t including client launches or other client work at the time. If you’ve ever experienced a launch, you know that’s crazy town.

Following that wild stretch of being at my limit and pushing far far past it to my own detriment… there was a 2-month period in 2022 my body physically couldn’t work anymore. I had injured my ulnar nerve on my left side from 16 - 18 hour work days at the computer. I had been running that schedule for about 6 months at the time… pushing through exhaustion to keep the business thriving at the cost of my health and well being. My body spoke out…. My arm was on pins and needles all day, in pain and I couldn’t write or type without severe cramping… talk about scary….. even scarier, It took 8 weeks of physical therapy to get my hand function back again.

I started to see the severity of my burnout and nervous system exhaustion, and knew I had to make a change for my health and happiness. But the challenge was - I was my business. I had literally and figuratively tied my identity to my business…. to achievement. Not to mention the company was tied to my personal brand…(big no-no). I struggled to let go.

Note: I would not recommend to a client to tie their personal brand to their business that’s what I did….for over a decade.

So when it came time to close that chapter and my first business in 2022, it was really painful. In some ways I felt like I was losing myself, yet I quickly began to realize I had everything to gain. And so the chapter of my first business, RielDeal® Marketing - a business I took from $100 of my own money to multiple 6-figures came to a close in 2022.

While it was a painful season, I am full of gratitude for it. It prepared me for so much that came soon after.

I won’t go into all the personal details or health issues publicly (maybe at a different time) yet I know now that moment was a moment that forever changed my life. I let go of a life and business that wasn’t aligned. While yes, RielDeal® & Co. still lives on for brand consulting under the RielDeal® Brands umbrella, it’s a different vibe.

I don’t personally thrive in environments I need to have a filter, or mask my thoughts on something. It’s been a blessing and curse since childhood. I just so happened to make a business and brand out of being authentic before we’ve started to hear people talking about the power of authenticity in marketing.

It’s with all the highs and lows, the shifts and transformation that I’m ready to step into what’s next. RielDeal® is part of that, but while I am the RielDeal® I am not RielDeal®. Instead, I am Stephanie Riel and RielDeal® is one of the brands and businesses I’ve created in the last 14 years.

When I look back now, RielDeal® is a brand. One of my businesses holds that name, and that’s aligned. RielDeal® reminds me of my businesses, hustle mode and keeping it real and honest - which I’ll always do regardless of my online name…. And in that same token, I’m ready to step out of the shadow of RielDeal® - to step into the light fully as me - Stephanie Riel. So while the brand and business RielDeal® Brands and RielDeal® & Co. will still exist, it’s time I get to be me.

So hello everyone. I’m Stephanie Riel and this new chapter is the one I’m most excited for yet….Hope you’ll stick around for the journey.

Follow @iamstephanieriel on Instagram (if you don’t already)!

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