Name: Danielle Stevens
Title/Company or main life pursuit: Owner, StevensLabs
What is your word and why did you chose it? Called: My name is Danielle Stevens, I own a website development business with my husband in Marion County. My word, Called, is how I describe the why behind what we do.
I grew up as the only child of a single mom who had her own IT business. Today it may not seem so strange to have a woman in your IT department, but back in 1992, it was extremely difficult to be taken seriously in the industry. My mother worked very hard. I call to mind a memory of staying overnight at a marketing firm so my mom could work without interrupting the customer. Six-year-old me was very bored. My mom let me go online, but in 1992 there was nothing even there! I found the internet extremely boring, so I started crafting with the extra copy paper that I was allowed to have.
Crafting almost felt like a call of duty for me: “Make mom’s customers smile!” is how I felt, especially when she couldn’t finish her work and the customer had to come in to a broken computer.
As I grew up, I wanted to heed the call into the work force. I did NOT want to own my own business like my mom. It was simply too hard. But every job I worked in I excelled at and always felt like I could do better.
I met my husband in 2011 when he worked as my mom’s employee. One of their services was website and website hosting. Whenever I saw a new site my husband made, I was completely blown away by his work.
When my third son was born, it was time to call it quits working a “job.” I was being called to stay home with my kids and raise my family, but if you know me, I can’t sit still and am always volunteering. I volunteered at the Dunnellon Business Association when they were launching DiscoverDunnellon.com, a website that showcased all Dunnellon has to offer. But when I saw the site, it had absolutely no function to entice people to come to town.
That’s when I made the call to the executive director, not just to complain, but also to offer the website service for free. We loved our small town of Dunnellon and wanted everyone to see everything it has to offer.
My main reason for using the word ‘Called’ is because I feel called to my position by God. From the nights I spend with my mom as a girl, crafting to make her customers smile — it’s exactly what I do for my customers today — to my husband and I understanding each other’s tech lingo, but also being able to teach it to the customers, I do what I do because I’m called to do it.
What aspirations do you have for yourself in the next 40 years?
In the next 40 years I would like to move my business beyond just me and my husband. I want to create a team that works well together with the same goal in mind; creating a reflection of the businesses we work for.
Favorite way to give back to the community?
I love to teach people. We do many free and discounted websites for nonprofits such as the Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association as well as the Family Hope Resource & Pregnancy Center.
What do you love and/or hate about the Ocala area?
I love the big city with a small town feel. Ocala is much bigger than Dunnellon, so we call it “The City.” But as I get to know business owners here, I realize just how small this city really is. People are so friendly and willing to help each other any way they can. That’s the kind of place I want my kids to grow up in.
A few albums and movies you’d bring to a deserted island?
My favorite album is Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
My favorite movie is 1986’s “Valley Girl” starring Nicholas Cage in one of his firsts.
You never leave home without:
Water! The Florida Sun, especially while you’re driving, will dehydrate you. I always carry water.
If you could tell your 16-year-old self one thing:
All of this craziness is for a reason.
Anything else you’re super passionate about that you’d like to tout:
I am extremely passionate about Business Network International. I joined an Ocala chapter in 2016, six months after opening our business in Dunnellon. Dunnellon is not a good place to start a tech business. Joining BNI has given us the opportunity to get to know the business community in Ocala and show off our development skills.