About SusanvilleUP

Hi, my name is Susan.  I  registered Susanville.com for fun in the last '90s, since my name is Susan and my father was born and raised in Susanville.   
Initially, I hosted the Susanville.com website from a Unix server connected to a DSL in my San Jose, California home where I published my favorite recipes, created the first California Alliance For the Mentally Ill website and was an affiliate for Amazon recommending my favorite books.
After one of the startup companies I worked for folded, I decided to consider pursuing my passions of helping nonprofits raise money using my technical experience.   I signed up for the weekend hackathon TechRaising and out of convenience used my Susanville.com domain to prototype the website for the weekend.  The local Santa Cruz newspaper featured Susanville in their article that weekend.  I then applied and was accepted into the National Science I-Corp Lean Startup program.  The program encouraged me to share my personal story to explain to people why I was passionate about the mission of Susanville.   Although I was comfortable discussing technology and business in front of people, I found it extremely challenging for me to share personal reasons why I wanted to help others.  It was extremely difficult for me to share about my years growing up in a family impacted by my father's alcoholism without breaking down into tears.   A few years later, I joined Toastmasters to help me develop the skills to be able to share my story and in 2020 achieved the recognition of Distinguished Toastmaster. 
Another outcome of having participated in the lean startup program was the emphasis on testing out a business idea before investing a significant amount of money behind it.  I used social media as a means to experiment with marketing techniques and ideas that could grow the market I was interested in pursuing.  I registered an LLC for Susanville in California.  
One of my struggles with marketing was the fact that my name, Susan, was in the name of the business.  This fact put even more pressure on me to talk about myself.  At some point, I came across the book, "Building a Story Brand" by Donald Miller and became more comfortable sharing small personal experiences on social media to experiment with growing a grass roots audience for Susanville. 
In 2019, I had 3000 followers on Instagram following @susanvilleup.  The following year, COVID arrived on the global stage.   I redirected much of my effort to helping my local church shift to a virtual medium using Zoom for worship, rebuilding our website, setting up an email list, uploading sermons to YouTube and enabling online donations to our church.  
Then in August 2020, my community in the Santa Cruz mountains was devastated by the CZU lighting fires.  All of my efforts were refocused to helping my community recover.   When I was evacuated by this fire, I began the process of registering Feel The Joy as a nonprofit because people who were donating to help with fire recovery wanted to donate to an official 501.3c 
At the end of 2021,  I closed the Susanville LLC  to shift my efforts to the nonprofit Feel The Joy (http://www.feelthejoy.org).
The Susanville.com points to this blog now and is a place for me to share stories of my life journey.   The stories are no longer directly connected to opportunities to "doing good".
Susan Cannon


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