Recently, our Founder sat down with Julia McLaughlin with the podcast, Her Agency Toolkit, to talk about her journey as an entrepreneur. Her Agency Toolkit is a podcast designed to encourage and inspire women entrepreneurs working in digital marketing.
There’s a lot of great info here – so feel free to listen to the podcast or check out the transcription below.
Megan’s background ranges from working in nonprofit to multi-million dollar organizations, doing everything from digital marketing, public relations, strategic communications, business development, and more. Her passion is helping people find solutions to problems, whether it’s mentoring students, guiding nonprofits, helping her kids maneuver life’s challenges, or working with clients to determine areas for growth and overall success. Also, Megan was recently recognized as the Catalyst Emerging Entrepreneur for 2021.
Q: So where did you grow up?
A: I am originally from Clearwater, Florida. I grew up on the beach, spent a lot of time there, and went to school in Orlando before I eventually made it up the coast a little bit more. Florida weather, nice and hot.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Honestly, what inspires me is my kids. They inspire me each and every day, with what they go through, what they struggle with, what they succeed in. It’s life’s little things that really excite me. I look forward to the future with them and everything that they’ve accomplished. They’re 8, 12, and 16; it’s been a lot of fun to watch them grow.
But honestly, I’m also inspired by following my passion, which sounds kind of silly, but I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve realized that trying to run down that corporate ladder, so to speak, isn’t as important as finding something that you really love to do and that you’re passionate about doing. What inspires me is making sure that each and every day, I thoroughly enjoy what I do, both professionally and personally.
Q: What is the best piece of business advice you have ever received?
A: I’ve heard this along the way, and I don’t know who it came from, but it was something along the lines of, “If it doesn’t scare you and make you want to vomit just a little bit, it’s probably too safe.” I’m a risk-taker by nature. I’m a very, very competitive person. If something is a piece of cake, super easy, it doesn’t really excite me as much as something that may be a little bit risky or something I’ve never done before.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
A: I never had any intention of owning my own business at all. To be honest, it just sort of unfolded with my life’s journey. The places that I have been really helped shape where I am today and I never once had that intention growing up or even early in my career that I wanted to have my own business. It just sort of happened!
Q: Could you take a few minutes and tell us a little more about Flourish and your journey from starting off as a single mom, post-divorce, to where you’ve gotten to today?
A: Flourish is a full-service strategic marketing and public relations firm. We’re based in Huntsville, Alabama, which is about 40 minutes south of the Tennessee border and an absolutely beautiful town, also known as the Rocket City. A lot of people don’t realize that we are home to so much space and rocket development support; it’s everywhere! I went down the path of this business a little over three years ago, and it really happened out of an accident. I’ve spent most of my career working in marketing roles; although, that is not what I studied when I was in school.
Growing up, I wanted to be the editor of Rolling Stone magazine because I love to write and I love music. I got accepted into the journalism program at the University of Central Florida and went into college and immediately realized that I did not like people critiquing my work because I’m very stubborn and hardheaded. Needless to say, somehow I was able to graduate in four years, but I changed my major multiple times and I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.
Long story short, I sort of fell into different roles and stumbled into a marketing role for the very first time, where I was given zero creative parameters to achieve a goal and market a product that, in essence, had no marketing. At the time I didn’t really know that that was marketing- I just thought that was more of a customer service sales kind of thing, so that quickly showed me that I loved helping people and I loved solving problems.
That was something that really fueled me in everything that I did. I loved it. It made me very, very happy. Then I worked in nonprofit for a couple of years, and after that, I worked for an ad agency out of New York called McCann Erickson, where they held the contract for the US Army account for about seven years.
Being in Huntsville, we’re home to Redstone Arsenal, which is a massive, massive military base. That means our community is fueled by military innovation and support. I was fortunate enough to be able to work on the US Army account, doing a lot of their public relations, marketing and advertising for the Eastern seaboard.
I then worked in tech for a while doing digital marketing. It was at that time that I was working for this tech firm who was recently acquired, and they were infused with capital and grew way too fast and had to scale down super quickly. Unfortunately, I was part of the third layoff since I’d been there.
At the time, I had recently gone through a divorce. I was a single mom of two young kids and had no job. And so I was sort of like, “Okay, what am I going to do now?” At the time I was 34 or 35 and so I was sort of dabbling in a couple of different things. Then, a girlfriend of mine at the time had a business idea that she really needed help getting off the ground, so I stepped in instantly and fell in love with what we were doing together.
I quickly became bit by the entrepreneur bug. Even though I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life and made the least amount of money I’ve ever achieved in my career, I was addicted to the simple fact of coming up with an idea, creating something amazing, and then seeing it come to fruition. I was hooked on this process; I am a very creative person, I love to think outside the box and even though it scared me a little bit to take that risk, I loved it. It’s something that honestly really, really makes me happy, for lack of a better term.
While I was working on this side business with her, I went down this path only to do a little bit of consulting on the side. At the time I kind of had to figure out if I was going to continue to work alongside my friend on this business, or if I was going to pursue my newfound passion for consulting. To me, consulting and marketing was my way of helping people, and I loved doing it.
Believe it or not, it was my 11-year-old daughter (at the time) who saw this spark in me and said, “Mom, you just love doing marketing and you love doing public relations. Why don’t you just start your own business?” Back then I just thought, “Pshhh, yeah right. I have no clue what I’m doing.” Honestly, it was her who really saw something in me that I didn’t see for myself.
I think like most entrepreneurs, and, like most women who start off for the first time, they feel as though they have to have everything buttoned up and perfect before they take that leap; my impression was that I had to have my business plan in order and I had to have this and that and this and that- I didn’t have any of that.
I was literally Googling “how to start a business.” To be completely frank, I felt as though I didn’t really have much left to lose because I was going through this really rough time in my life with the divorce and being laid off and everything. Part of me thinks that that could’ve been a good thing for my entrepreneurial spirit. My plan then was to just take a leap and keep my mind and eyes open to the world and opportunities around me. Prior to this point in my life, I was on the fast track to being a VP by the time I was 35- that was my goal, and I wasn’t really paying attention to the different opportunities around me because my mindset was clouded with things I thought I wanted – vs what I really needed. When I really loosened the reins a little bit on my ability to maintain an open mind and have an open perspective to different things, that’s when great things started happening for me. Then, I decided to step away from the side business that I got brought into by my colleague and put a hundred percent of my focus into my marketing and consulting business.
Again, it was my daughter who helped me realize this incredible opportunity right in front of me and make it into my reality. I’ll never forget, she was 11 and we were sitting on our couch, having these discussions about what we should name this business. My thing at the time was that I really wanted to help businesses thrive and help other people grow- that’s how we came up with the name Flourish, and she was the one who helped me come up with the logo, helped me come up with the colors, she helped me build the website, etc. Kids, I swear. I was never doing that when I was her age. It was pretty awesome. In the very beginning, it was just me doing this business from my dining room, with her in my ear providing encouragement.I think my first client paid me $600 a month and it was the best $600 a month I’d ever made- I was so excited about it. It all just sort of blossomed from there! And you hear this- it’s a little cliche- you start with one client and you learn what to do, what not to do, how to refine processes, what works, what doesn’t and you ask a lot of questions: “What can I do better?”- all of these things.
Before I knew it, things just sort of expanded on their own. It was so exciting to me because at that time in my life, every single thing I did was the first time I had done that. That definitely helped me to be very open-minded and humbled in realizing that I didn’t know what I was doing. And that’s okay – I was okay with that! Again, I think as women, we feel like we’ve got to have this stuff figured out and we absolutely don’t. Realizing that was what really helped propel me in the direction that I needed to go.
Fast forward, Flourish is a little over three years old, we’ve moved offices four times because of our extensive growth, and we have seven people on our team, which is amazing. We’re just thriving. What made me “flourish” as a businesswoman was recognizing that as long as I followed my passion and really followed something that fueled that fire inside of me, the success would follow. Oftentimes we get lost because we think we should follow other variables as opposed to really what creates that passion inside of you, but once you shift your focus to what really matters to you, things just sort of fall into place.
Also, I think as humans, we’re wired not to want to fail, and outside opinions influence that. . Again, especially for women, we’re our own worst critics and we have a fear of judgment and failure. You want to be a great mom. You want to be a great partner. You want to be able to do it all, get dinner on the table, have a clean house, run a business, all of these things. But the reality is that you have to have some humility and grace with yourself and understand that it’s not all going to be perfect. You have to adjust what perfect means to you – because it’s different for everyone. It’s when we measure up to someone else’s perfect that we feel as though we’ve failed.
When I was able to really settle with that mindset, things totally transformed in the way that I handled situations and reacted to certain things; my stress level was much lower. Thank God, you know, cause we’re not getting any younger. So realizing that when we make mistakes, either as a parent or as a business owner, that is such a great opportunity to learn. I actually encourage it- I don’t encourage failure, but I encourage our team not to get frustrated by things like that because every single time that we either make a mistake or we fail is an opportunity for us to learn.
We’ve all heard this before, but if we continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result, we’re not going to get it. It’s when we’re able to learn from those mistakes that we made and apply those to future decisions that we’re going to be better, bolder, and stronger because of it.
Q: What have been some of the key learning experiences, besides failure, that you have taken away from your journey as an entrepreneur so far?
A: Definitely checking my ego at the door and recognizing what my weaknesses are and owning up to that; being able to say, “Guess what? I’m not great at these five things.” Then I’ll need to surround myself with people who are great at those five things. I never want to hire somebody that’s just like me- I want to hire somebody who’s better at me in areas where I am weak, that way I can create a team around me that is fueled with the skills that we need to be able to succeed.
Once I owned up to the fact that I knew what I was good at, just as much as I knew what I wasn’t good at, that opened the door for me to surround myself with the people that I needed to, to make that next step. In addition, I started to lean on local area resources within our community that help entrepreneurs. This is one thing where a lot of people don’t realize how many resources are available to you if you’re trying to start a business.
Where we are in Huntsville, our economy here is absolutely thriving and it has been for quite some time. One in four people here hold a PhD. We’re surrounded by literal rocket scientists everywhere you go. So with that being said, there’s been a very dedicated focus to help fuel innovation down to the elementary school level, believe it or not, to help with entrepreneurship. Once my mindset shifted from being a professional in the corporate world to doing my own thing, I had to really let go of any preconceived notions I had around what that path looked like and opened myself to what those opportunities were.
I took advantage of those opportunities like crazy. No joke, I would Google how to start a business, how to do this, how to do that. There was a lot of self-teaching that went on, but also there was a lot of tapping into resources and a community that was already out there. Going back to my previous point, I think it’s really important to, again, check your ego at the door and ask questions that you don’t know answers to. We can’t sit here and pretend like we know it all and go down this path with that mindset because the reality is, number one, you don’t. And number two, if you can ask those questions, you’re only going to continuously learn how to be better, stronger, more and more flexible at what you do.
One of the things that is probably the most important for me as a business owner is creating a culture where my team can thrive. Regardless of what their hard skills are, if they’re not in an environment that is setting them up to succeed, and they’re not in an environment where they know they have 150% of my support in order to help them be successful, then I’m doing something wrong. Hard skills can be taught all day long, but those soft skills of having gumption and motivation are so important, but when you fuel those into your environment and a culture every single day, the possibilities are endless.
It took a lot of reflection to look back at my past career and recognize how toxic a lot of the environments were that I was in, and I never realized it until I got out. I was turned down for a position that I was more than qualified for because I’d just had a baby. I just had a baby and returned from maternity leave and I had my boss tell me he didn’t think I was going to be able to do what he needed me to do for this job due to my new addition. At the time I actually thought that maybe he was right and maybe I wasn’t cut out for this job. Ridiculous! Looking back, it’s shocking. But again, a great learning experience.
Anyways, looking back at the toxic nature of how a bad culture can impact your performance and your personal life, there were a lot of variables that contributed to the journey that I took and I don’t regret them. I’m very thankful for them, but if anything, I’ve taken those learnings and I’ve applied them to my current position and the business that we run now. And I make sure that I don’t repeat any of that. It’s not because of those regrets, instead, I’ve learned that while it’s important to learn how to do something, it’s also just as important to learn how not to do it. So making sure that I carry that into the business right now is something that’s extremely important.
Q: What were the biggest obstacles of running a business as a single mom you encountered, and what advice would you give to others in the same situation?
A: I think some of the obstacles were that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That sounds a little silly, but I would oftentimes be taken aback by things that frankly I didn’t know even existed. I know this is a little bit silly, but when I went through this path of starting a business, I was Googling how to file for a business license because I just didn’t know what I was doing. That led me to lean on some resources that I probably shouldn’t have leaned on. And again, I didn’t know the questions to ask, so I didn’t know that going to Legal Zoom and filing for a business license as an LLC was not the best decision for me based on my business structure at the time.
So again, I didn’t know that. You have to be really humble when you’re an entrepreneur and be able to keep that open mind and lean on those who know what they’re actually talking about. Had I not gone down the path to re-file my business the way that I did, I would have spent a ton of money on things that I never would have realized I could have saved money on.
The accounting and legal component was one that is an entirely different language for me. I’m a creative person- I am not a numbers person at all. My daughter will sit down at the kitchen table to do her advanced math homework, and she talks to me about it, and my brain starts to hurt- that’s just not how I’m wired.
Instead of thinking that I had to be the expert in this thing that I knew little to nothing about, I decided to acknowledge that I can’t do everything, and I should put my efforts towards what I know I’m good at and what I love to do or else I’d be sucked dry every single day with the logistics of this business. So, I quickly reached out to some people I knew in the community and I got myself a business coach and I found an accountant who I hired three years ago (and she still works for me today). She’s helped me both in the legal and accounting perspective and I trust her completely- she’s here for me, she’s going to take care of me, and she knows my goals as a business owner. I am so grateful for her skills because if I would try to focus on that, as opposed to focusing on the business, I wouldn’t make it. Knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know was something that I, along with so many other entrepreneurs, struggled with when I first started off.
Believe it or not, it really wasn’t until this past probably six or eight months that we actually started marketing Flourish as a company. Of course, we do it for our clients, but we never did it for ourselves. Our mindset was always to focus on the clients because that’s what generates income. Did you know we weren’t really focusing inward to establish processes and figure out all of the HR components that we needed? I never thought that we would get to this point. I filed for my business license purely to keep myself out of jail when I got that first paycheck because I didn’t want it to come back and bite me from an accounting perspective, not ever really thinking that the business would amount to where it is today. I think I was very naive at the time, honestly, and in the back of my mind, I thought that this was just a side hustle and it would never grow to what it has grown to be today. Only when I could fully give myself to this business that I realized that holy crap, this thing is a thing!
We have people who apply to work for our company every single day. We’re reaching a large audience and sometimes that’s hard to see because I’m so focused on the business, and it’s not until I go to an event or get nominated or win some award until I realize just how much of an impact this company has made on our community. It’s crazy, and I’m insanely grateful for all of it. But – it’s because of our team – not me.
People tell me that our business is doing amazing things. It’s very reassuring to me, but still, I didn’t know that all of this was going to happen. I didn’t really think about if I expanded my team, should I have a 401k program, health insurance benefits, and so many other things. I don’t have a background in HR, so a huge obstacle that I have faced is all of those components to running a business that you may not think about when you go down this path. I love marketing and PR and I can geek out about that all day long, but when it comes to HR and operations and all of these things, I’m having to wear these hats with no experience at all.
That’s been a challenge for me, honestly, because the larger we get, the farther away I become from what I truly love to do just for the sake of running the business. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s just something that one can be a bit naive to what running a business entails when you actually start a business.
Recently I’ve been doing a lot of business coaching and mentoring right now, one of which is for a MadisonCEO mentoring program with local area high schools. It’s great because I love talking with these young students and to hear about their great ideas, but they think that becoming an entrepreneur is this fun, sexy, trendy thing. Like, do you know how hard it is to become an entrepreneur? I feel like these students see the side of owning your own business where you can work when you want to work and have a ping pong table in your office and things like that. I don’t want to deflate any of those dreams, don’t get me wrong, but the reality of what it is and what it takes to run a business is very, very different from what I think a lot of people have a perceived mindset around. Those are some of the things that I think, just like a lot of entrepreneurs, I just wasn’t prepared for, but at the same time, I’m an internal optimist and I think it’s a blessing because it’s taught me so many things and every single day I learn something new.
I’m not going to lie – there was a point in my life where I thought I knew it all, that I didn’t really need to continue growing because I was good. And at the time, I thought I had reached this point where I’ve done all these things and whatever, and boy was I wrong. Really recognizing how wrong I was was something that was very transformative for me and I hate that I had to get to what I would consider to be a very low point in my personal life to really recognize that. Now I try to talk to other women about not waiting to get to that point before starting to think in that way because it shouldn’t have to be a devastating life event that changes and transforms your mindset on what you can and cannot achieve and who you are as an individual. We should all push ourselves and do things that we never would think we’d enjoy doing and surround ourselves with people we love.
Quick topic change here – Chris Kelso is an author here in the south. He lives in Nashville, and he’s a very successful entrepreneur and he has a book called “Overcoming the Imposter.” Imposter syndrome is something that we all run into, like, who put me in charge, I used to ask that all the time. I was like, why am I sitting here? I don’t know what I’m talking about. You know? I just have to giggle sometimes because I’m like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just honest about that, and I think a lot of people appreciate that because you don’t act like you know everything and that sort of thing.
Anyways, one of the things that Chris Kelso says in that book, which I love and I’ve heard it before, is if you’re in this repetition, you’re in this cadence, you’re in this job forever doing the same thing day in and day out, it becomes very monotonous. You’re not really pushed to your limits, nor do you really recognize how limited your capabilities become because you’re just not forced to think outside the box and be innovative and stuff. Something he says in his book, which I love so much, is that if you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
I love it. It’s so true because I think it’s so comfortable for us to resonate with other people when we’re very, very like-minded and you have that little bit of a superior kind of mindset because it’s a comfortable confidence-boosting kind of thing. At least it was for me. I really found that I would think like that.
There are organizations here that have very admirable women who have these accolades of awards and career achievements and you put them up on a pedestal mentally in your mind and you’re like, oh one day, one day, I want to be like that.
But why not today? So I just reached out to a lot of these women and said, “Hey, I want to learn more about you, let’s go grab coffee.” I didn’t say that verbatim, but I immediately started surrounding myself with people who had way more to offer in my mind from a professional perspective and had a lot more experience than I had had. When I started doing that, number one, what I loved so much is that most of these women were just like me. They had the same fears, the same struggles, the same challenges.
I’ll never forget we were on a zoom call with someone who I admired greatly, and she was this moderator and we were kind of chatting on the side during this call. Long story short, she’s like, “Girl, you should see what the back of my head looks like. I haven’t styled the back because I’m just camera ready.” I thought it was so funny because it’s so true, but nobody else knows, you know what I mean? Nobody sees that side and I love the fact that that barrier for me has totally broken down because now I don’t necessarily “lookup” to other women. Of course, I admire them, but it’s not as though you can’t be on that same level. It’s just a matter of asking questions and surrounding yourself with those types of people. Anyways, I love that fact because if you’re always what you consider to be the smartest person in the room, you’re absolutely in the wrong room. And if you’re in a room with people where you feel like a total outcast and you don’t feel like you belong there, that’s probably the right place for you to be, which I think really ties back to that.
You know, if it doesn’t make you want to vomit a little bit, it’s probably too safe. It’s kind of in that same vein. That’s a really important thing for us to keep in mind because it’s when we surround ourselves with an environment that’s constantly challenging where you can learn new things and learn new things about yourself, that’s when we really start to make that traction and that progression that otherwise may not happen. And when you’re around those people that you sort of aspire to be more like, I think you just, you grow so much quicker and you just kind of up-level, it just forces you to up your game.
Q: That’s so awesome. Looking back on the early days, what advice would you have told yourself?
A: I would have told myself to believe in myself a little bit more. Just do it, rip the bandaid off. There was a lot of hesitation in things that I did because again, I had that whole imposter syndrome. I would think, Why me? I can’t do that. Someone else can do that, but I can’t do that. And so I would tell myself to just have greater faith and belief in my ability. I was also very concerned about what other people thought about me. As a quick example, I worked in an engineering firm where it’s probably 85% men with an engineering background. But then there’s me, a young woman, who’s doing marketing, coming in and people were thinking, “Oh, she’s the marketing girl, she doesn’t know anything.” No one believed that I can have the technical acumen relative to a lot of these individuals who worked at the company, which they’re right. I don’t have their training. I don’t have their skill sets, but you better believe I had a lot to offer that they didn’t have. And if we can figure out how to bridge those two, the business and marketing acumen, coupled with the technical acumen- that’s a powerhouse right there.
In that environment though, I was so intimidated. I judged myself a lot about what I thought they’d think of me, which caused me to be less of a powerhouse of a woman than I could have been because I was so focused on that. Looking back, it’s very stupid and it’s very shallow but it was something that I was very intimidated by with being in that environment. Instead of me just saying, “Guess what? I don’t know these things and I’m okay with that, but I’m here to learn,” I would try to compete and try to gain that knowledge, only honestly for that not to work in my favor, in some instances.
I think there’s something to be said about humility. You know, a man can speak up in a meeting and voice his opinions and his concerns and challenges, or whatever else might be the status quo for the company, and he gains respect and he is promoted and he’s, you know, rallied around. But then a woman does the same thing and she’s looked at as a bitch, or she’s looked at as someone who doesn’t really need to be part of those conversations anymore and potentially too emotional. I’ve had that happen to me multiple times, and it’s a double standard that drives me nuts, but anyways, [going back to the question] I think it would be just to really have that belief in yourself and confidence in yourself and take risks.
I would tell myself to be way more open-minded. I really did feel as though I operated with these blinders on for so long and I didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I was forced to lean on other people and ask for help when I needed help. Vulnerability is really, really hard for a lot of people, but it’s also something that can be so powerful as well because it allows you to show your true colors and admit what you’re good at, which is not your fault- all these different things.
Vulnerability really allows somebody to see who you are for who you are, not the person that you’re trying to be. I would really encourage myself to be a bit more vulnerable, both professionally and personally. You know the saying, no good marriage ends in divorce. That trickles over into my personal life too, where I wasn’t putting myself in enough vulnerable positions in order to have those hard conversations and be honest about things that were really troublesome, between my ex-husband and I, and had we done, that perhaps today would be a different day.
I don’t have any regrets about that though, but I think being able to be vulnerable and put yourself in positions that are very uncomfortable are going to have a greater result. Long-term, absolutely.
Q: So where do you see Flourish in five years?
A: Ha! Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t have that all figured out, to be completely honest. Again, three years ago, I never thought we would be in the position that we’re at right now. It’s interesting because there’s a part of me where I am very goal-oriented and I think, I’m going to start this thing and achieve it and I’m going to be really happy about it, and then we’re gonna move on. As far as the future goes, I’m just going to let our passion to do what we love to do take us down that path, wherever that path may be.
I say today that I don’t want to have an agency where we’ve got offices in three different cities and over a thousand people; I don’t necessarily want that, but what I do want is to create an environment where our team thrives and we can do what we love to do and we get to work with clients that we just adore and that adore us. We are constantly pushing the envelope to try new things and be innovative, and we’re going to let the business take us wherever that may be.
I’ve been very focused on this, and I love the fact that I have the ability to do this. I think a lot of people have the ability to do this – more so than maybe what they realized. We don’t necessarily work backward with the end game in mind, from an agency perspective. What I mean by that is that I don’t have five positions to be filled that I’m focused on to grow the business. Instead, I identify and meet amazing people, and I figure out how to build our business around their skill set and what they can bring to the table. That really allows us to be very innovative in our approach. If I find someone who is just amazing at storytelling and video production, for example or all of these different things, that’s value we can bring to our clients – and perhaps value I didn’t know we needed until that person came into our lives.
I’ve been very strict in that regard, but because I think it’s the people that are going to help us get to the point where we need to be and whatever that looks like. I don’t really know, but I know for sure this business isn’t going anywhere. It’s just a matter of what direction we decide to take it. I also am very mindful about not letting things grow too fast. Culture is extremely important to me and I feel like that’s something that can easily get lost if it’s not paid attention to if you scale too quickly.
Q: So what’s a book you’ve read that’s made an impact on you?
A: Definitely Overcoming the Imposter by Chris Kelso.
Q: What does your morning routine look like?
A: It’s usually putting out fires. I’m getting up at 5:30, waking my three kids up for school who are in elementary, middle and high school. So three completely different schools, making sure that they have their breakfast, they’ve got their lunches packed, they’re ready for school and every morning I drive my son. The two older kids take the bus. We sit in the car line every morning and go through that process, which I love. However, I also get to be on this journey with the most amazing person in the world – which is my husband – so he tackles the fires with me.
I’m very much an early bird. I’m always in the office a good hour and a half before anybody else. it just allows me to have my own time, which I love. Also, I’m very much a regimented kind of person in that regard, because it just helps to just create the day and just makes things flow a little bit smoother. It starts it off on a good note.
Q: Is there a CEO that you follow or study?
A: Funny enough, I am just in love with and admire from afar, one of my biggest competitors. She’s also a very dear friend of mine. Her name is Ellen and she runs a company here called Red Sage. They’re a marketing communications firm not that far from us, and I’ve always admired her – I always have. She’s local here and she’s just a really awesome person.
Q: What is your favorite online tool?
A: I’m a very visual person and I love project management-based things. We recently started working with Asana – I love it so much. It’s a project management tool; I love its lists, I love calendar views. I love to be able to move things over and just get a bird’s eye view of all the things.
Every Monday morning our team sits down together and we have a two-hour meeting where we go through every single client, you know, and just talk about the week’s priorities and what’s going on. I live and die by my to-do list. I really do. And I know that there’s some science behind the pros and cons to that, but to me, the physical nature of crossing something out is very, very rewarding. Using tools that help me be more efficient in that regard and give me that glance.
Q: What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
A: Basically just to have more faith in yourself, I think is what I already mentioned. Be okay with failure, failure is not the end of the world. It’s okay to fail and just to own it and to lean into it because when you can do that, you lose that uncomfortable feeling and embrace that fear- that’s something that totally changes the outcome.