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From Entrepreneurship to Overcoming Adversity – Exclusive Interview With Deanna Radulescu

Born and raised in Chicagoland, Deanna Radulescu is a seasoned entrepreneur with a background in Business and Accounting. As the former VP of Key Accounts & Business Operations for a $20 million transmission remanufacturing facility, Deanna navigated complex contracts, doubling business size and earning stellar recommendations from major clients. After a life-changing event, Deanna pursued her passion for fashion, founding Deanna Marie Label and successfully launching three collections, including a Kickstarter campaign raising over $5k. A skincare line and a charity event against Human Trafficking rounded out her fashion journey. In 2019, Deanna ventured into podcasting with Label Free.

photo of Deanna Radulescu

Deanna Radulescu, Founder & Host of Label Free Podcast

Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better. (Feel free to share your hobbies, your passions, your family life, your pets and anything that makes you unique.)

Deanna's story is one of abuse, hardship, loss and overcoming. Deanna is the oldest of 5 born in Elk Grove Village, IL. Although she was raised with strong family values she experienced much abuse from her father at an early age. With 3 younger siblings, Deanna called the police on her father at 15 because she didn't want to see them experience the same abuse. From that point her and her sister ended up in foster homes for a short time. Her father then disappeared and has been a dead beat since. While finishing high school and her mother was pregnant with her youngest brother, Deanna worked 2 jobs to help support her mother. She visited food pantries at 16 to get food for the family. When Deanna graduated from high school she found herself in another abusive relationship being exposed to sex trafficking. She spent the next several years doing drugs and being abused, and the last straw was being abducted and beaten up by her then-boyfriend. She then decided it was time to turn her life around. She went to college, got counseling and started healing herself. In her early 20’s she met a larger than life, wealthy, older man that pursued her for over 6 months. This man saw her at the gym and knew a friend of hers. He was extremely successful. This man later became her husband, and she spent 17 years of her life with him. They had 5 businesses together, of which Deanna was an integral part of their automotive manufacturing business as the VP of Key Accounts & Business Operations. Deanna closed many multi-million dollar contracts that helped build and expand the success of their businesses. During the last several years of their life together her husband was fighting kidney disease. Deanna administered dialysis for the last 2 ½ years of his life. During which time her husband did not stop injecting steroids. He lost his battle with his life in January 2016. That was the beginning of having to fight and start her life all over again. Although Deanna had some ownership in some of the businesses, her husband specifically disinherited her in his will, and she had a pre-nup. She spent the next year and a half in court fighting the family with 3 attorneys finally to walk away with a small settlement. That was when she started her fashion label. She told herself she would create 3 collections and if the brand didn't take off she would stop. She designed very high-end classic pieces, was on the runway in Rhode Island for StyleWeek, and also featured on the local news there. She was a finalist for the Cadillac design challenge for Style Chicago. With very little success of investing in her label; for her last collection she designed more avant garde pieces showcased in her event against Human Trafficking. Deanna spent 8 months planning a huge event in the Chicagoland area with 6 other Chicago-based designers. It was a huge success but that was her goodbye to being a designer. Shortly after the event Label Free Podcast was born.

Deanna, along with her husband, a Chicago Police officer, calls Chicago home, where they share their space with two adorable dogs, Teddy and Athena. Despite their busy lives, Deanna and her husband frequently travel to Florida to spend time with their in-laws. Balancing her roles, Deanna continues to dedicate time to her passion for training as a former bodybuilder competitor, all while nurturing the growth of the Label Free Podcast.

 What inspired you to start the Label Free Podcast, and what vision do you have for its future?

Having explored the realm of fashion design, I found myself pondering the next chapter of my journey. A serendipitous encounter with an article on podcast creation sparked a series of discussions with my family and best friend. Eventually, I arrived at the concept for Label Free: the "To Live your best life, live label free" Podcast—a message deeply resonant with my personal journey. Having navigated a lifetime of overcoming trauma and abuse, I grew weary of carrying detrimental labels about myself. It was at that point I resolved to let go of these constraining beliefs and embrace a life free from limiting definitions.

The future vision for Label Free revolves around the ongoing expansion of the show, amplifying relatable stories from individuals across the globe. The consistent influx of people reaching out to me on a weekly basis reaffirms that the mission and purpose of this podcast are far from complete.

How do you go about selecting guests for your podcast? Are there specific criteria or themes you look for in potential interviewees?

As highlighted earlier, I am fortunate to have an abundance of potential guests. My search criteria are centered around individuals with compelling narratives—stories of resistance, success, or purpose. I specifically seek out guests who are willing to be vulnerable and authentic, emphasizing a sincere connection with their experiences. I'm not seeking someone who aims to preach; rather, both the guest and I must approach the podcast with a shared commitment to serving and aiding those tuning in.

Can you share some of the challenges you've faced in running the Label Free Podcast, as well as the most rewarding aspects of the journey so far?

I've encountered various challenges in navigating the monetization of the show. Moments of hopelessness and the temptation to quit have been part of this journey, even amidst moments of success. Regardless of my achievements, there are times when doubts about the podcast's trajectory creep in during tough periods. In moments of feeling down and defeated, I find it crucial to take a day or two for myself, allowing a reset of my intentions and a reconnection with the fundamental message of the show.

The gratifying elements of the show are truly invaluable. Receiving messages of gratitude for the impact and assistance in helping people lead better lives is beyond measure. I hold the belief that each of us has a higher purpose and experiences an awakening at some point in our lives, albeit at different times for each individual. In a world marked by challenges, my focus is on promoting acceptance, diversity, and love—sometimes, even unconditional love. These ideals represent the most precious gifts of all.

In terms of business sustainability, what strategies have you employed for monetizing the Label Free Podcast, and how do you balance this with providing valuable content to your listeners?

The podcast has demonstrated a remarkable ability to sustain itself with minimal effort on my part. While the monetization aspect has posed some challenges, it's proven to be not impossible. Successful sponsorship contracts have been a significant contributor to our income. However, a substantial portion of our revenue is derived from the strategic setup of promotional efforts for my guests.

I'm aware that the issue of charging for promotional services is a contentious topic in the podcasting world. Nevertheless, I hold the belief that for individuals who, like me, aren't on the scale of Joe Rogan but have diligently built their platforms, there should be an opportunity to charge for promotional services. With over 500 episodes, 460 5-star reviews, and a substantial following of over 17k on Instagram, 15k subscribers on YouTube, among other achievements, I feel I've earned the right to implement a charging model. Fortunately, a majority of my guests support the show and appreciate the business model I've developed.

What exciting plans or innovations do you have in store for the Label Free Podcast in the coming months or years?

I'm currently working on developing a course aimed at assisting individuals in overcoming limiting beliefs and achieving genuine label-free living. Additionally, discussions are underway regarding the potential transformation of the show into a reality TV Docu-Series, reflecting the numerous opportunities that have emerged from the show's success. Alongside these ventures, I'm harboring aspirations to pen a book in the future.

What I truly cherish about my work is the profound love I have for it. The ability to connect with people from all corners of the globe is a source of immense joy. It's fascinating to realize that we indeed inhabit a small world, interconnected in ways we may not always perceive. I'm enthusiastic about the many exciting prospects that lie ahead!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and visit my website for more info!



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