Ellie Red Cloud wants to leave a mark on her community by helping social impact companies generate millions of dollars that will, in turn, allow them to help others.
“For my business, I have a really lofty goal,” Red Cloud said. “In the next 10 years I want to help 100 social impact companies reach $1 million or more in revenue. So I want to help put $100 million into social impact enterprise organizations.”
Red Cloud owns Red Cloud Strategic Business Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that provides digital marketing strategies and solutions for small businesses.
Red Cloud grew up in Arkansas and attended college in Louisiana, where she met her husband who serves in the Army. An active duty military spouse, Red Cloud said there are employment challenges for military spouses. Because military families move frequently, spouses must find new employment each place they go. Red Cloud did that until her husband got stationed in Germany.
“In Germany, if I couldn’t find a job on base, then it wasn’t an option,” she said.
So she started freelancing, with clients referring other people to her. The freelancing grew to the point that she decided to turn it into a full-time career with Red Cloud Strategic Business Consulting. As small businesses told her the impact her work was having on them — like being able to afford a new house — Red Cloud decided she wanted to make even more of an impact on society.
“I decided to take what I’m doing and put that toward focusing on businesses that are making a social impact on society,” she said. “The return I bring them may mean that 100 extra kids get sponsored to go to camp or that 100 more people get health care assistance, or it may mean something for the LGBTQ community.
“Whatever these businesses are focused on, I want to serve them by raising awareness of them and spreading their message.”
At Red Cloud Strategic Business Consulting, she helps social impact businesses with their digital marketing, social media, search engine optimization, content marketing and a variety of other services. A team of contractors work with her, though she’s hoping to eventually create full-time positions at her company.
“The goal is to increase awareness of the business and what they’re doing to help them generate more revenue, so they can maximize their opportunities to give back and do what they do in their communities,” she said.
Red Cloud likes creating strategies for businesses, and seeing the social return on investment from her work.
“If I can help someone make $10,000 extra, it may mean they can sponsor 30 additional students for camp or health care that they weren’t able to help before,” she said. “It’s extremely rewarding for me to be in the background of these efforts.”
Owning her own business has allowed Red Cloud the opportunity to have a better work-life balance being a wife and mother to five children. When she’s not working or spending time with her family, Red Cloud is focused on community involvement.
She’s part of the Colorado Springs Black Business Network, where she has led training this year to help businesses pivot and create new strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s also part of My Black Colorado, serving as a resident business consultant. Red Cloud is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Her advice to fellow female business leaders is to “tune out” the expectations that society places on women.
“You don’t have to choose to be a mom or a business owner,” she said. “You don’t have to make a work-life balance that looks like everybody else’s. As long as your balance works for you, it doesn’t have to fit into society’s mold of what women are supposed to be. You don’t have to give up anything and you can still go after anything you want. Be bold.”