By Carly Viegut, Entrepreneur Fund
Like many business owners, Kelly Shaggy’s path to entrepreneurship wasn’t a linear one. With a background in education, she was always an early adopter of new technology to innovate how she taught her students. Now she owns a marketing business that emphasizes helping fellow business owners to become self-reliant.
A Move Across the Country
Originally from New Mexico and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, Kelly worked with schools for over a decade. From teaching to contracting on education research, she was always finding ways to integrate her creative side and new technology into her educational endeavors.
In 2020, Kelly relocated to Ashland to be close to family. She is also a Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa descendent. Upon arrival, Kelly began looking for teaching opportunities. After trying a few different teaching positions, she ended up taking a position as a digital multi-media specialist that allowed remote work and flexible scheduling.
Kelly has a one-year-old at home, and access to quality childcare in the greater Ashland area became a significant challenge for her and her family. So, when the expectations shifted around her remote work set-up, she decided she needed to reevaluate her options.
Ready, Set, Build a Business!
After taking some time, she decided to combine her teaching and digital media background to form her own business. Today, she owns EduTechTrek LLC, a marketing business that focuses on empowering small business owners to learn digital marketing skills and leverage technology to manage and grow their business.
“My teaching background has brought me to where I’m at,” Kelly said. “I know that all my experiences have pushed me to get creative with technology. And now I’m doing what I was meant to do.”
Part of her motivation to pursue entrepreneurship is the flexibility it affords her to care for her sons and step-daughter. As she took the leap and got the ball rolling, she began to connect with local resource partners.
First, she connected with Vocational Rehabilitation for Native Americans (VRNA) program. Later, she connected with the Ashland Area Development Corporation (AADC), and the Small Business Development Center at UW-Superior. When working capital was identified as a need for Kelly to grow her business, she was referred to the Entrepreneur Fund.
As a new business owner, it can feel intimidating and even vulnerable to share your plans and goals.
“It’s easy to get imposter syndrome when you don’t see a lot of minority-owned businesses operating in the same industry,” Kelly shared. “Working with EFund and their partners was not only helpful but extremely validating. I felt like I was being taken seriously and their excitement got me excited about what I’m doing. Being a Native woman, I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”
A Bright and Flexible Future
When asked about the future, Kelly said she can’t imagine doing anything else. She loves the work she can produce for and alongside her clients. She also enjoys opportunities to present workshops on digital marketing strategies to area businesses. EFund has added EduTechTrek LLC to its Expert Network, a trusted network of small business service providers.
“Kelly is a remarkably talented women who takes the time to understand her client’s needs and their industry before beginning her work. If you are in need of expert assistance with digital marketing, e-commerce, or client lead gen through social, Kelly is an outstanding choice,” said Michael Lattery, Director of Business Finance.
Eventually, she would love to be a mentor for youth in the area who are interested in learning more about the industry. Most of all, she wants to continue blending her passion for teaching and technology through entrepreneurship and maintain the flexibility to prioritize her family.