Three Important Questions You Need To Ask with Meg Mothershed

In this weeks episode, we speak to Meg Mothershed of Mothershed Design. There are three big questions every business needs to ask themselves. Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter? We discuss in detail in this week’s episode.

Meg’s websites:

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Meg mother shed maid is a graphic designer, brand specialist and partner at Mother shed design company. Together with her husband, Josiah. They work with small businesses to support their goals through strategic branding and one design make focuses on the management of the company while bringing her love for details to specialize in brand strategy and identity design with a background and Fine Arts illustration make brings a highly visual perspective along with a strong organizational skills to every project. She is a precise manager strategy grew and problem solving bundle of energy design and entrepreneurship or makes passion in life. And combining them allows her to work directly with clients to help their businesses succeed. Meg, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Yeah,

Meg Mothershed 1:09

thank you so much for having me. Super excited to be here.

Katie Brinkley 1:11

Great. Well, let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what your life was like growing up?

Meg Mothershed 1:16

Sure. So I actually am not a native to Colorado. But my husband is. So I always say that’s where I get my street cred from. Yeah, so I actually grew up on the East Coast in Northern Virginia, and spent my whole childhood there. I went to VCU for fine arts illustration, actually, then ended up kind of on a whim moving to Denver, my parents had moved out here not too long before that, and I was just needed to change and Denver seemed like the right place to be so moved to Denver and switched my major to graphic design, which was definitely the right choice.

Katie Brinkley 1:53

Awesome. So yeah, take us a little bit through your career journey and professional journey.

Meg Mothershed 2:00

Yeah, so like I said, I started off as a fine arts major and illustration. And I at the time, being very young thought, oh, you know, computer, you know, art, creating computers is not real art. Like that’s boring. That’s That’s nothing. But then pretty quickly realized that I was going to graduate being able to draw really, really well. And that was about it. And that wasn’t just not enough for me, I didn’t really consider myself to be an artist. And I honestly really still don’t I think of myself as more of a problem solver, whereas I think an artist just has something that they need to say to the world. And I’m more like, you know, give me parameters. And I’m gonna figure out how to do this in a visual way. So yeah, so I ended up moving to Denver and just kind of as a result, I ended up choosing graphic design purely because they did not have an illustration major at the school. I ended up going to Which school did you go to?

Katie Brinkley 2:47

I went to Metro State. Okay, Denver, right.

Meg Mothershed 2:51

Great school. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it was a perfect fit. I have a really great communication design program there. And yeah, as soon as I started getting into it, I was like, Okay, this is definitely what I meant to be doing. Again, that problem solving aspect of things just definitely the right fit for me and kind of the way my brain works. So yeah, so I graduated from school and I got a job literally immediately out of school. Kind of funny, I actually, while I was walking in line to graduate got the phone call that I got my first like real job. So awesome. Yeah, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. So I worked as an in house graphic designer for a nonprofit for a few years out of school. But around that same time, right after I got married and had started this new job, my husband quit his full time job. He’s a graphic designer as well and started the business. So he was doing that I was still in house, but the business just really started to take off. And he was having way too much fun by himself. So I decided to quit my full time job and join him as well. So that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.

Katie Brinkley 3:49

Wow, that’s awesome. So I mean, that kind of was a one stop agency life to small business owner. What do you like about being your own business as opposed to being part of an agency? Well, pretty

Meg Mothershed 4:01

much everything I owe and I actually, weirdly enough, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to have my own business. And I don’t really know why no one in my family had their own business or anything like that. So I was just always very entrepreneurial. I like to say that my first my first business in quotes, here was my pet advice business where if you paid me 50 cents, I tell you that you should get Yeah, so it was consulting before I knew what the consultant was. But yeah, so I love it. And I’ve always wanted to kind of do that and have my own business in general. And now that I have I always tell people like it’s totally spoils you and I can never go back to having a quote unquote real job. I think the biggest thing that really hit home for me is when I was getting ready to quit my job and kind of one of the biggest motivating factors was that you know, you just have complete freedom over your time and you’re not building someone else’s dream. You are building your dream and just to realize to just how much time of course you spend working You know, most of your time and your of your week spent working in so I just wanted to, I want to have control over that versus not. And so I think that’s definitely one of the things I love the most. I think that a lot

Katie Brinkley 5:09

of small business owners and entrepreneurs do have a hard time with time, though, you know, not working too much. And because it’s just you and you want your business to succeed, what advice would you have to a starting business owner or entrepreneur on managing their time and creating those boundaries?

Meg Mothershed 5:26

Yeah, that is a huge thing for sure. For everyone, the kind of the thing we have found is that you just kind of have to buckle down and do it. And we have even more recently kind of moved into, I will, I’m the master of scheduling, I really just enjoy it in general, like I like project management. And having my own business has allowed me to really do that, which I like. But I have a schedule for like each day, like what is due each day who I need to follow up with each day. But now we’ve even moved on more recently, just as a part of one of the things we’re doing for ourselves this year, whereas I’ll say, okay, my husband, just I like using this time to this time I’m blocking out for you to work on this project. I know I’m going to be doing this. And so literally having like a blocked off schedule, like a daily schedule is something we’ve recently started doing. And it’s definitely helped even more just manage your time because yeah, you are only one person or in our case, we’re two people. But yeah, you are very, you have to be extremely on top of it for sure.

Katie Brinkley 6:20

Absolutely. Have you found a software? Or do you just mostly use I have a fold fashion planner book that is basically my Bible, and it helps me so much with my time management, do you guys have a software? Or do you use good old pen and paper,

Meg Mothershed 6:34

you know, I’ve tried a couple of different software platforms out there in terms of scheduling and that sort of thing. And I never found anything that quite gave me everything I was looking for. And since we are just such a small business with two people, I didn’t need some big crazy platform, you know, we don’t have any other employees or anything like that. So I ended up just doing a lot of Google Docs, which I’m a believer in if it works for you. And it’s you know, it’s working, it’s effective, then stick to it. And so I’m like you like I have my notebook, I got it right here in front of me. That’s kind of my like little to do list or like I need to write things down. But then yeah, I have a Google Doc that has all the the daily and weekly schedules in it for sure.

Katie Brinkley 7:10

I think that having something like that really just helps you with your time management and keeping on task and everything. If someone is listening right now, who is an aspiring or new business owner? What is the single biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her as the journey starts?

Meg Mothershed 7:25

Sure. Well, I mean, I know plenty of other people who are either just started or starting their businesses, and now can be a good time to do that, too. And I think one of the biggest things that we’ve seen for ourselves, and that we’ve also seen, like some of our friends and colleagues going through is just being specific. And by that I mean, really knowing the answer to the kind of the three big questions of who are you? What do you do? And why does it matter? Those sound like simple questions, but they’re really not. And they’re, they’re difficult to really come to concrete answers to sometimes, especially when you’re first starting out. So I think really being specific about those three things are gonna take you really far. Yeah, that’s gonna be difficult to figure out and kind of nail down. But once you do, I think you’ll have such a more clear path of how to actually move forward and starting your business.

Katie Brinkley 8:12

If you could go back and do anything differently in your journey to where you are now, what, if anything, would you change? Hmm, it’s

Meg Mothershed 8:18

a good question. I think one thing I know, I certainly go through. And I think a lot of other people do, too, is just not being so hard on yourself or kind of going back to imposter syndrome, which is talked about a lot. And there’s a reason for that, which is because so many people go through that. So I think just not being so hard on myself and feeling allowing myself to feel more confident. Or one thing that my husband and business partner we do is we all do, what’s your daily win for the day. So that way, it kind of really forces you to think about like, Hey, what did I actually accomplish? Even if it’s a little thing, what could be really big thing, I’ve been working on this project for weeks and weeks and finally got approved or whatever it might be. So I think just yet not being so hard on yourself and celebrating the little wins throughout your journey. And I think that what

Katie Brinkley 9:01

you guys have is very tricky, very tricky tightrope to walk a husband and wife business and living together and working from home together. And that’s a lot. How do you kind of make it all work?

Meg Mothershed 9:14

Yeah. So I think the biggest thing is, has definitely been defining our roles. When we first started, we were both kind of doing both doing everything. And then we’re like, Okay, well, this isn’t working, this isn’t time effective. Okay, so you’re going to do this, and I’m going to do this, but it was almost became a little too siloed are too black and white. And so then through kind of a trial and error process. realize, too, that nothing is black and white, and everything is more gray. And so I’m really good at doing you know, XY and Z things. But you’re also you’re better doing this part of this other thing. And so basically just working through a lot of trial and error to kind of figure out what those roles are. And now we have them pretty well defined, which I think really helps being like Hey, I know it’s fine to ask you to do these things. And I’m going to work on this. So I’m definitely defining your roles and I think I mean, certainly when it’s your your spouse, but whether you just have a business partner who’s a colleague or for whatever it might be, I think that even becomes more important that kind of setup those boundaries. So roles were definitely the biggest thing for sure.

Katie Brinkley 10:14

What do you think the biggest mistake that business owners make when they’re trying to grow and sustain a businesses? Hmm, when

Meg Mothershed 10:19

you’re trying to grow and sustain? I think you can overstretch yourself too thin, really, really easily. And so I think one of the things and this sounds a little strong, but I think it always helps me think things through and someone else told me this, which is that no, do the thing that’s going to make you money first, in terms of like, how to prioritize things. So if I need to, you know, send out a proposal, schedule a call, and, you know, do a bunch of bookkeeping or something like that, which of those three things are gonna, you know, make me money, the soonest. And it’s getting that proposal out, you know, and so, I think, you know, bottom line, you’re, you’re in a business to make money. And so I think helping, that always helps me think of, you know, what should I be doing when and what is most important, and not that money is everything, but I think it does help you prioritize your task list for sure.

Katie Brinkley 11:04

What does your model look like for finding and engaging and selling your ideal prospects and clients these days?

Meg Mothershed 11:10

Yeah, well, surprisingly, social selling has become really huge for us. And if you’d asked me a few years ago that I’d be getting most majority of our work through like Facebook, I would have been shocked. But that has really taken off for us even in what we do being, you know, branding, a web design studio, but yeah, so I for us, I’m the one who kind of goes out and finds the leads, and does our initial sales calls and that sort of thing. And then it becomes a team effort in terms of actually doing the work. So I’ll catch the fish. And then my husband, you know, helps reel them in sort of,

Katie Brinkley 11:40

yeah, I think a lot of businesses don’t really realize the effects of social media and how easy it is to target the exact people that might need your services. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you find your ideal prospects?

Meg Mothershed 11:54

Yeah, for us, Facebook groups has really been a key part of that. Yeah. And again, never would have guessed, I wasn’t a part of a ton of groups a few years ago, but now I am. And I’ve kind of found the ones that I like, and there’s tons of local groups and Colorado based groups, which is great. And plus, you just get to build, you know, relationships with other people and connect with other business owners. So I have really, truly like, enjoyed it as well, it’s gotten quite a lot of business through it. So Facebook groups are really been key for us.

Katie Brinkley 12:22

Yeah. And I think that a lot of business owners don’t even ever even think about Facebook groups, it’s such a great place to really, again, bring the social back into social media and a way of networking, a way of getting new business there, you know, learning things, I know that I’m a part of a couple of social media groups, and I’m like, I’ll find out news before Facebook, you know, Mark Zuckerberg really even releases it, you know, and it’s like, oh, this is awesome. I already know how to do all this. And it’s already, you know, just being released in these Facebook groups are untapped resource for businesses to really take advantage of, how have you found a good Facebook groups to be a part of ones that have made sense for you? Yeah, I’ve

Meg Mothershed 13:05

kind of tried a lot of different kinds of groups. And at least for us, I have found a lot of the ones that are for women are tend to be really great and really productive. And I think it’s just because as a generalization, women tend to really go after what they want and, and communicate about it. So for me, that’s definitely been it. That’s just my favorite ones to be in to just personally, I enjoy that and helping other women owned businesses. I really, really like that. That’s a big one. And then otherwise, finding local groups has been awesome as well. There’s one specific to Denver, there’s ones for Colorado, you know, different cities within Colorado. So yeah, I think, you know, going after getting more specific, whether it’s women based on women based businesses, or location based has kind of been key for us.

Katie Brinkley 13:47

Yeah, it’s, I’m so happy to hear that you’re taking advantage of being a part of groups, because I think that so many small businesses, really, you know, if you’re mechanic, there’s all sorts of different, you know, car groups that you can join, and you know, especially even localized, it’s a great way to get to know the people in your community and potentially get new customers and clients. Definitely, I guess, kind of going off of that. What what do you like about having your business and your life here? I know, you said, you know, you focus a lot on Denver and Colorado groups. Why do you have so much focus on your business and life here in Colorado?

Meg Mothershed 14:20

Yeah, well, it’s interesting. At the beginning of this year, I kind of crunched some numbers to really see, okay, who are our clients, because you can have this idea in your head, but if you don’t have the, you need to know your numbers in terms of who that population mix up. And I it was funny, it was literally like 97% of our clients are based in Colorado. And out of that, like it was literally like 97% in Denver. So it was really interesting, because we do have clients and other throughout the United States and in other countries as well. And so I think it’s easy to think that way, but actually, almost everybody’s here in Colorado, which is great. I think there’s a benefit to focusing on local people too, because you just have that in common and have that as a connection. But yeah, we love Denver. We love coffee. Rado. And like I said, I’m not a native from here, but I am not going anywhere I am married, and all of our families are here. So it’s awesome. But yeah, the Denver and I’m sure Colorado business community as well just has been really supportive and just really, truly a bunch of really kind people who really like helping one another and connecting with one another. And you know, I have friends who are in other states who are small business owners, and they’re like, Oh, I’m so I’m so jealous, because you actually have that sense of community, whereas everybody else is, maybe they’re really spread out or just not coming together and doing a lot. Whereas I feel like particularly in Denver, there’s just like, maybe not right now. But in general, there’s always so much going on in terms of networking or learning opportunities. So it’s just been a really supportive community experience in terms of business.

Katie Brinkley 15:42

Awesome. One passion that so many business owners and entrepreneurs have is to build a business around their lifestyle, not the other way around. How has that played out in your story and approach to running your business?

Meg Mothershed 15:53

Yeah, you know, I one thing I always worried about when I just had a, you know, a regular full time job was like, How are we ever going to have kids and pay for daycare, or, you know, or like, Oh, my dogs home alone, again, all day and that sort of thing. And so for us, just being able to be home, like we just work from home, in general anyway, has just been such a blessing and something we’re really thankful for and want to always do, it’s just to be here with my husband here with my our dogs, and, you know, be with our own little family unit, but be able to talk to people all over the place online has been wonderful. And so yeah, just having that flexibility in that ownership of your time, and where you choose to spend your time has been really important to us. And so yeah,

Katie Brinkley 16:34

what is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? And how has that impacted your business? Or your life?

Meg Mothershed 16:40

Sure, that’s a good question. Well, I think one thing, and this is gonna sound totally cliche, but it really is true. And I think important, which is just be authentic, be yourself, I think too many, you know, again, this an imposter syndrome, we’re feeling like, Oh, you have to be a certain way, or nobody wants to be liked. And if you’re, you know, on a sales call, you’re like, Oh, I hope you you know, you like me and want to work with me, you know, because the bottom line is people work with people that they actually like, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned too, is just basically forget all that and just truly be yourself. And because people are going to see that, and those are the people who you’ll want to work with anyway. So yeah, I would say just be your authentic self. And don’t be afraid to actually do that and feel comfortable with them.

Katie Brinkley 17:20

Now, before we finish up, is there anything that I didn’t ask you during today’s discussion that you think is important to share?

Meg Mothershed 17:26

I think especially just given light with everything going on, I would say just hang in there and continue to go, you know, I think you can be easy to just want to throw in the towel sometimes, especially when you have your own small business or whether you’re just starting but the key to really doing anything is just to keep doing it in order to thrive and to grow and learn. So yeah, I would say just keep going.

Katie Brinkley 17:46

Well make this has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?

Meg Mothershed 17:51

Yeah, you can visit us at our website, which is mothership design, calm, and we’re also on Facebook and Instagram as well.

Katie Brinkley 17:57

Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for coming on the show today. Yeah, thank you. And if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level for your small business, head over to my website and check out my free video training the three biggest mistakes small businesses make with social media and how to avoid them. Discover how to make your social media marketing stand out from the crowd online. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.