March 23, 2023

Megan Dowd - Stepping Onto Your Spicy Soapbox

Megan Dowd is a brand therapist, business strategist, storyteller, and certified equity-centered coach who helps business owners create a better human connection with themselves and their clients by drawing from who they are ...

Megan Dowd is a brand therapist, business strategist, storyteller, and certified equity-centered coach who helps business owners create a better human connection with themselves and their clients by drawing from who they are and what they stand for.

In this episode, Megan shares how she translated her acting chops into business-building skills, the value in finding your internal language to make your external impact, and her approach to creating more human connection in business.

Megan reveals that her theater skills were directly applicable to business, how she helped people for free before realizing she should charge, and her approach to helping clients with their messaging.  

Megan describes how her business came into being, the 3 types of stories she sees many entrepreneurs using, why it’s important to develop your internal language before creating your external marketing strategies, and how she helps clients create an internal guidebook so they can develop effective external strategies. 

Finally, Megan lets us in on the strategy she uses to attract clients, the types of clients she works with, using the scientific method to experiment with marketing strategies to see what works, and what she says is real vs. what we hear in the online business world.

I think you’ll enjoy Megan’s spicy take on marketing and online business, so listen to our delightful conversation filled with great insights and a few laughs!

Skip to Topic:

3:44 - Translating theatrical skills into business
10:59 - Developing your internal language to build effective external marketing
11:23 - Building an internal language guidebook to get past “language canyons”
16:19 - Using experimentation to test marketing strategies
25:02 - Working as a certified equity-centered coach
32:03 - Fiding clients through Instagram and referrals
34:03 - Working with clients who want something more than blanket marketing advice
36:05 - Uncovering hidden baggage we carry around language that may be holding us back
38:42 - Getting spicy about what Megan thinks is real vs. what we hear in the online business world

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Welcome to the Real People Real Business Show. My name is Stephanie Hayes, and I'm a business strategist who helps mature entrepreneurs design their wealthy exits. Whether that means building an asset-based business model for an eventual sale, or simply taking yourself out of your business while enjoying its continued growth. I love to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories and the gritty details of how they've navigated their own way through. On this show, you won't hear about the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online. You won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks. Instead, you can expect to hear real, vulnerable and inspiring stories you can relate to that have helped create the foundation for each of our guests businesses. Today I am so excited to welcome Megan Dowd. Megan is a brands therapist. Also a neurodiverse entrepreneur, business strategist, coach, and storyteller. With her Human First Biz Second approach, she's helping new and seasoned business owners build a better human connection with themselves and their clients. Leaning into what, who they are and what they stand for After nearly a decade as a professional actress and a Jill of all trades in that industry, Megan decided to go into business for herself there. She learned that the skills she acquired in acting reciprocated into business. She started MD & CO in 2018 and celebrates leveraging her client's strengths, transparency, values, and building a connection. She also built Hello, CEO in 2020, and to help support near diverse entrepreneurs build where they can thrive in a business world that isn't one size fits all. Megan's also the founder of the original Spicy Soapbox. Where she candidly discusses an array of topics when she's not helping entrepreneurs run their businesses seamlessly. You will find her drinking cold brew, cuddling, fluffy cats, and eating plenty of snacks. Welcome to the show, Megan, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story today. Thanks so much for having me. I'm even just before we hit record, I'm really excited about getting spicy about some stuff. . Well, I can't wait. We need a little spice today. It's so freaking cold. Yeah. No, it's, it's nice and rainy here in Portland, Oregon and the states. And I have all the spice about inflated origin stories. Okay. , which is really like what your podcast is, the antithesis of which I love, love so much. Well, and okay, so let's, let's make your origin story spicy. So start from the beginning. Tell me. I was born, no . It's, it really started when I went back to school, went to Pilates school. I had been an act, I had been an actress for almost a decade at that point, and was like, I am real burnt out on a lot of toxic. Ish in the, in the industry, which I won't get into, but it's bad. I mean, it is real bad. . I think we can all infer that and was like, although this is what I love to do, like that is my passion. Heavy air quotes, I don't, I don't wanna put myself in these positions. So I went to Pilates school. While I was in Pilates school. Right before that, I'd also been a paraprofessional, which is an assistant to teachers for kids with developmental or physical disabilities. I was like, I, I need, I need to do something different. I need, I love doing body work. I love that from theater. I love helping folks. I love, there's so much emotional stuff that's carried in our bodies. I was like, I, let's dig into that. And right after I graduated from Pilate school and like had my certification did. Big ass test. That is, to this day, one of the most stressful things I've ever done in my life. My husband and I up and moved to Ohio for a job opportunity for him and all of the Pilates studios in the area were like, I moved so great that you have this certification, but also you need to take our certification. And I was like, I got an internationally recognized cert for a reason. No So at my husband's encouragement, I attempted to bring it online to be Megan Dow Pilates. It's not that that failed necessarily, it's that I never tried because in my first branding business course, like Dip into Online Entrepreneur, the online business industrial complex, I. Very quickly realized like, oh my gosh, all my theater skills are, can be utilized here cuz it's, I mean, in so many ways, it's like marketing your business is a theatrical production And instead of actually working on my own business, I just kept helping my friends because it came so easily to me and like these are skills and strengths that I've had and honed for so long. So like I should share them freely and we won't get into the toxic American evangelism Christianity of it all. But that played a heavy hand too, of like, if you have the skills you should give of them freely. And once again at our inflection point we come to my dear suite husband Burrito, who sat me down after about a year of that and was like, look, I really like, I want you to have a career you. And like we're stable. Like we're good financially right now. So it doesn't matter that like you're not making the same as me or like, but also you realize what you're doing for free. People pay money for right cue the next existential crisis of like, but I don't have a degree in online business entrepreneurship. Well Turns out you can't wait because that's a degree that you can get Exactly, exactly. . And so you get a degree story. Yeah. So then , that is so really, like that's the short version of the long and winding origin story. It really, like, I started my business because I was stuck in. Can I curse on this podcast? You can absolutely curse on this podcast. Great. Cuz I was stuck in Bumfuck, Ohio. Like, like to, wait, wait. I'm just looking that up on the map. . It looks like a hole. It's my, my deepest apologies to any listeners that are in the state of Ohio. I don't like it there. . My ex-husband was born in Ohio. No, I don't think he wants to go back there. No one does. Listen, I'm sure there are nice parts of Ohio, but, but Ohio was not where you wanted to stay? No, and it was, it was a weird work situation with Rito where we were kind of required to be there for three years. So going in, we knew that like, this is what's gonna happen. And he like, things just kind of got worse with his job. He was working. 14, 18 hour days, including weekends. It got real bad, real fast. We'll just put it that way. So a lot of it was like me trying to fill my time while also keeping him alive. Cuz that kind of turned into my, like my day job was like just making sure both of us are alive and that we get through this experience with as much Intact. Intact. Yeah. , I, I mean, I always like to joke that like, We came out of it and we still love each other. Awesome. But we still like each other and that felt like the big win. So that's like the long and convoluted origin story of it started as Megan has good words, morphed into MD and co. You can find me on all the socials. And my web handle is with Megan Doud. And it, it really came from all of those theatrical skills that I had honed and being. Oh, this is like, those are, those are skills that I honed. This isn't something that comes naturally to everyone. Not everyone knows how to like take their anecdotes and turn them into marketing fodder or not. Everyone knows, understands how, like these visual visuals are going to impact how other people receive X, Y, and Z and yeah. Today has been a day of interviews and I think the theme of the day is the intersection of creativity and like artistic work with entrepreneurship. And I think that, you know, the, the, the skills you develop as an artist, what I don't care what, what your medium is. And I was, you know, I got all my scholarships in theater and writing and I think that there are. You know, there are things that we take away from those more very artistic skills that translate over into business easily. Oh. So, and I think it, in my opinion, one of the, one of the most consistent among whatever your artistic practice is, is a sense of resourcefulness. Yes. That like, well, I'll figure it out. Yes. Well, you'll have to inter, you'll have to listen to the interview I, I did earlier today. It'll be a few episodes back. But it's the same kind of thing. Like I like, you know, you could either stay, you know, at the mercy of someone else who's managing your career, or you can decide you're basically gonna be an entrepreneur and be an, you know, an independent artist that runs a. Yeah. Right. Which I mean in many ways is kind of an indictment of where we hold artists within our culture, but that's an entirely other spicy soapbox. That's another episode, another podcast for another day. . Ok. So spicy to say. So tell me how you're working with your clients right now. I just finished, officially finished my coaching certification. So I can now say officially I am a certified Equity centered coach through the Institute for Equity Centered. Which I'm ecstatic about. I had dragged my feet on getting any kind of coaching certification for years because I had a real beef with the coaching industry at large. And also, and within that, how frequently coaching programs weren't taking into account systemic inequalities. And like, I love, I love me some mindset work. Let's talk manifestation and also, There's certain things that, that's just not that, that, that can't touch. And even beyond like systemic inequalities, like I, I'm very honest that I have clinical depression. I have a D H d, I have anxiety. Like the, there's not amount, there's no amount of mindset that's gonna be like, and suddenly I don't have those. No afraid. No, I know it works. Yeah. Being an, being a fellow, A D H D diagnosed neurodivergent. Mm-hmm. entrepreneur. Yeah. I mean, I, I think you, we, we develop around it, but it's, you know, nobody's going to just think your way out of having an, an, you know, a different way, a different brain. Right. Yeah. That's, That the, it is so unrealistic and so such a narrow view, especially when the breadth of, of solo businesses is just so wide and vast and there are so many people doing such cool things that to then think that like, but, and then we must teach business in this very rote manner. Like, no, it's, no, no. So, no. Thank you for that tangent I work with folks generally one-on-one. Kind of with what, whatever heavier quotes, whatever they're struggling with, it tends to be like categorically in a very, very big way. They're messaging, it's, that's, that gets really, really into like my theater roots and like really digging into the language and all of that for me starts with core values and understanding. And building an internal language guidebook so that folks understand it for themselves. So often I see folks starting with the marketing language, the external language, which makes sense because they wanna sell the thing they need to make a living. Of course, that it's not illogical, but they don't actually have the language for themselves yet, and that's when we fall into. If you'll, if you'll buy into the metaphor with me, these kinda language canyons that lead us into the, like, you just need to be authentic, be genuine on your Instagram. Such a girl boss, I wanna help empower other people to da, da da da da. And it's this language that in and of itself is incredibly powerful language, but we've heard it so many times that it means nothing anymore. And so it's, it's, it's, my work is helping folks get past some of those language canyons, some of those language black holes that you kind of get sucked into and really develop their own language. And sometimes it is the same language, but. Frequently it's not. It's just that was the closest they could approximate. And then once we have that internal guidebook, essentially we can develop the external strategy. But until you have that internal language, it's so hard to develop effective external strategy because you're fumbling with your own language yourself. And what happens when we get it right? I mean, when you get it, in my opinion, when you get it right is when you hit. off fabled. If your product is good enough, you're not gonna have to market it. Is is bullshit regardless. , I mean, Sure. , there's, there's something to be said for, you know, if the right person finds it at the right time and they tell their friends, and I tell two friends and they tell two friends. Sure, certainly. And the, you know, the chances of. Occurring. I think you still gotta PO talk about it at first. You do. And that's the thing is that it's, I'm not talking like big ass Facebook ads here. It's just, you still gotta talk about it. And that's in, in my opinion, like when you've got that internal language that works with the external strategy, that's when you get those moments of somebody hits it and then they talk to their friends about it, and then their friends tell 'em about it, and then it suddenly seems like, well, I didn't have to market it at all. Well, no, you did. But it was with an ease for both you and your customer, for both you and your audience. There was an ease present that didn't feel like marketing with a capital M. It felt more like an offering, an invitation that like, Hey, I have this, I have this really awesome product. I have this really. Cool service. This is what we do. This is how it helps folks, and it hits the right person. And they're like, that's all the things that I haven't been able to articulate myself, but the minute they hear that language, it's like, Ooh, I can feel it through their body. And they're like, yes, that's the one done. Yeah. And all those objections stop happening and I do think that this is something that evolves, right? I think we can get to the, get as close as possible, but you have to speak, this is what I love about podcasting is like you go out on a, you go out on a, on an interview and you're talking. Every time you talk about your stuff, whatever your stuff is, it becomes clearer and you hear yourself say it and you see the reactions and you see how people, I own a software company and I swear it took us eight. to finally get the message right? Yeah. When, you know, when I would go in and I would have sales conversations with these clients, and they're all the same because they're all like a very similar industry, right? Mm-hmm. , and it's like always the exact same organization and they, you know, I could talk about all the features and I could talk about, you know, all of the, the ways that we work with the client and blah, blah, blah, but they would always get stuck on the. And I on the the cost. And when I finally figured out the explanation as to why the cost is where it is, cuz it's not where they expect it to be, then they would always just go, oh yeah, that makes sense. And they would see why that's better for them. But it took a long time, it took a lot of sales calls, it took a lot of demos, it took a lot of hearing myself say it and talking it through with people and, and that sort of thing. So I think you're, you're spot on with your, you know, the internal words are as important as the external words. Yeah. Well, and I, can we take a moment to emphasize that? You just mentioned it took like around eight years. Anyone saying that? Like, you're gonna nail it first, like, you're gonna work with me and then you're gonna nail it in. I mean, in the words of the princess, pride is selling you something . Yeah. Yeah. But it's, it, it, it's one of the things that I really like to do with my clients is one, like in our work together is set up an experi. when we're done, like the way we wrap our work is generally setting up the experiment. And of course I, both my parents are food scientists, so like, let's get nerdy, we're gonna use the scientific method, . We set up a hypothesis, we set up the process, we set up the variables. And really by set up, I mean just identify and then. My, my, my challenge to them, my, my encouragement to them is now you're gonna stick with it for 90 days because it's an experiment. And truly for as fast as things change online, especially on social media, to actually try to like gain any traction to see if anything's working. 90 days is kind of your like minimum. Minimum. Your minimum minimum, yeah. You're just getting started. Exactly. And. So that's like, you're gonna do it for 90 days and then you can reevaluate like again, scientific method. Then we can reevaluate the experiment. What do we need to change the process? Do you, did you just hate the process entirely? You gave it a try for 90 days and you're like, oh, that's never gonna work. Even if it would work if I continued, I can't keep it up. Great. That's valuable data. But it's this combination of like, okay, set up the experiment with very clear per. Make it clear to yourself like, that's all I'm going to do. I'm not gonna add on stuff and keep, like just trying to make it better. No, this is your experiment for 90 days. And then having a postmortem of sorts of like, okay, let's actually review how that went. Did I add on a bunch of stuff for myself? Yes, I did. That is a hundred percent why I hate what I'm doing right now. Okay, well then maybe we need to go back to the original experiment and try for another 90 days. And, and it, it's, I mean, it's true for social media calendars, content calendars for sales narratives, for general messaging. It is the give this, give this the good old college try give this a shot at working and trust yourself that you've put in the work to actually go through with the experi. Yeah, I mean, I wish more people knew that that was. Right, that we can, I mean, if you haven't done a spicy soapbox on the hustle, things have to be done. And I know, I'm sure you have, but , oh, I'm gonna have another one later. . Okay. . But that's, I mean, it's, it's not just untrue, it's damaging, right? And you get all these entrepreneurs that are making like knee jerk decisions about investing in things that just aren't right for them. Because they have this, they still carry this idea that they. To do things and, and like finish things in six weeks or whatever it might be. And it just drives me crazy. And I mean, and lest it looked like I'm screwing stones in glass houses, I will be the first to admit my first few years of business as I was figuring out like, whoa, I can do this as a business. I absolutely fell into those trap. I absolutely, and by and by traps I truly mean a combination of, in my opinion, unethical marketing, but also with my own, like yeah, they know how to, they, they know how to find that bruise real quick. It's not that they necessarily created it. I already had that discomfort. I already had that insecurity. Did they prey on it? Yes. And that's again, another spicy soapbox on another podcast for another time. But like, it's not like, it, it's, it's something I try to emphasize to both potential clients and or audience alike that like, I'm not above this. I am, I am. I'm very critical of it because I think that it has so much potential and can be better, which is why I want to critique it. It's not just because. And I mean, yeah, it's sometimes fun just to tear something down because it's just so poorly put together. It's why I love bad movies. My husband Burrito and I love a bad movie because I mean, between my theatrical background and his film background, we just go to town on like, oh my God, the script. Can you look at how they're lighting this? Oh, these poor actors, they're doing their best and, and. So like, yeah, sometimes it's just fun to tear down bad shit. But for me, so much of this, so much of this spice and the critique is that like, it, it could be so much better and we're not, but I think like it goes to the point where it's damaging, right? Like it, it actually causes, causes these, you know, poorer entrepreneurs to constantly judge themselves and make decisions based on what they think should be happening that really isn't realistic. Yeah. Which I mean comes full circle to again, why I love your podcast. Like it's the, it's the overinflated origin story. It's the glitz up, polished. anecdote. Something I, I, I talk a lot of times with clients about, especially as we're developing the core values and then into the core messaging is a, a concept in Tim O'Brien's, the things they Carried. It's a meta memoir about his time as a, as a soldier deployed in Vietnam during the Vietnam. and he early in a chapter, he recounts a rather horrific event, and then chapters later he goes, Hey, remember back in chapter four when we talked about this thing, that wasn't actually what happened. That was story truth, that wasn't happening. Truth, if I were to tell you what actually happened, this is the strict list of facts of what happened, but that wouldn. Convey the emotions that I felt that wouldn't communicate to you, my experience of it. And so I, I frequently will talk with my clients about it's okay to not change your story. But to when there's details missing that you felt but aren't necessarily the factual thing, it's okay to fill in, fill in the blanks to a certain extent. Fill it in so that somebody can emotionally resonate with your experience. And don't you think people are like, that's a difficult thing for them to do is to get to the heart of I I think that like. , I'm a writer and I, I like writing, but I can't write my own copy because I, it's like a, it's like an, an like an overwhelming thing in my brain because there's so much, I know I have the curse of the expert, so I, I need someone else to sort of distill that. But it's really interesting going through an exercise like that. One of my best friends is a, is an amazing type copywriter, and she'll pull this stuff out of me, and when she pulls it out, . I was like, oh, that's, that's the emotion. That's the heart punch that I wouldn't have been able to articulate on my own. No. Cuz we, we have, when it's for ourselves, we have all the information all at once. Yeah. And especially if you're neuro divergent, especially if you have a D h D, it truly is like everything all at once. How could I possibly choose? I can write for someone. Absolutely. But I can't write for me . No. And I think that folks tend to think, especially again like with with core messaging, with values that like if it's that important to me, I should be able to come up with that language on my own. And it's like, I mean, it's okay that you can't , it's really okay that you can't, none of us can for ourselves. No. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer or a bad designer or whatever it is. No. Or that you don't have the passion that will number, but like, But it's, you know, it's, it's more that it's, it's very important to have the help to distill what you believe and, and what, like, what's your viewpoint? That's hard. Yeah. Well, and reflect, reflect back. Sorry. Yeah. And I'm imagining that's the work that you do with your clients, right? That's what you're here for. Yeah. It's, it's reflecting back in, I mean, in my experience, a lot of my work is reflecting back some of the language that, for them is just a drive by. I was like, wait a hold up. You just said something real juicy right there. Can we go back to that? And they're like, yeah. What'd I say? , you. Did we record this? Let's make sure we record this . Yeah. Because it doesn't even necessarily occur to them because it's just so natural. Yeah. It's supposed to be bigger. It's supposed to feel bigger. It doesn't. Tell me about the equity-based coaching. Help me out. Give me a place to start. Cause I'm like, I got, you got got cert, you got certified. Mm-hmm. , because I got certified because I wanted to. Be very mindful about any coaching practice that I developed. I, for years have been very clear that like, please don't call me. I don't call myself a business coach. If that's the language that works for you, you're welcome to use it. But I've always been very clear that like, I'm a guide, I'm a mentor, , I'm a facilitator. I'm not a coach because I'm not certified. And I don't necessarily think that you. Have to be certified, but that's like the exception, not the rule. I think by and large folks should have some form of training to help them acknowledge their own biases and that was what I was looking for in a coaching program, was something that would teach me to, cuz you don't know what you don't know, that would teach me how to interrogate my own biases that. That would guide me in understanding the, the immensely complex intersectionality of every client that would give me a basis in trauma-informed coaching that would. Introduced me to the various methods of coaching cuz there's so many schools of thought, like of like the process of how to lead a coaching session. And truly one of my favorite things, and the reason I signed up for this certification was they were like, we're not gonna teach you one of 'em. We're gonna introduce you to all of them, and then we're also going to break down why they're a good fit for a certain client or not. Like, why would you wanna use it with this client versus this client? And, and being able to have that contextual discernment is something that I just love as a human and has always been important to me. So the fact that that was baked into a coaching certification was like, well, I'm like, I'm done. I'm so glad I've held off for the past four years. But it's a done deal. Where do I sign, take my credit card, . And I think that's so important. And I I, I really struggled with calling myself a coach too, and I don't anymore because I, I really see my work as something different. But I think that, You know, when you're coaching, mentoring, whatever language you use mm-hmm. it's it's incredibly important not to, well, it, it's incredibly ineffective to try and fit everybody into one framework. Yes. And I, I think that having lots of tools in your chest makes you a diverse and, More valuable mentor, coach, whatever, because no two people are gonna come to you and be the same. Right? Yeah. And they don't need the same thing. So if you know all of the different ways that people are motivated, if you know all the different ways that people like to communicate, if you know how they get accountability, like keep all of those tools in your chest and then pull out whichever one makes sense. But when we get into these religious battles about. Which framework and which approach is the right one then we're we've lost the battle. Yeah. It's, especially with coaching, like it's not about that. I thought it was about work, like helping people. I thought it was about being in service to others. I don't need to get dogmatic about the process, do we? Yeah. But no, and I think that, you know, a good coach, a truly a good coach, and I think this is a topic, I mean, I'm gonna get on my spicy soapbox. It's a topic that's bandi about, or a, like a terminology that's bandi about, and I see people who are like, who would probably don't even understand the top, the, the phrase, but you know, who are. email marketing experts, and they call themselves business coaches. And I'm like, there's, therein lies is the problem, right? Mm-hmm. , I remember watching a, a presentation from a very like celebrity entrepreneur. Mm-hmm. online business guy, and he's just like, all of you in the room should be calling yourself business coaches. And I'm like, Ugh. Oh, herein lies is the problem, right? Yeah. Looks like great. Yeah. Then you know, We sign up. No. Nobody knows what they're getting and nobody knows well how to distinguish and differentiate. And now the industry has gotten just a really bad rap. So anyway, I'm glad that you have taken the steps to fill yourself out with all of those tools. And how do you think that that changes or influences the way that you work with your clients? It has. This entire interview is gonna be about the importance of language in so many ways. It's given me the language for things that I have always had a, a, an impulse for that I've felt in my gut, but I haven't always known how to express or how to hold space for. And so it's, it's really helped me be able to. Not just like better questions in the sense of coaching, but be able to ask more directly what folks need. What can I offer you? How can I support you? And, and really like it's for some folks I know that it's going to, the best thing that we can do is at the beginning of a coaching session, we're gonna get grounded. We're gonna get into our bodies, we're gonna get a little woo. Other folks, not at all. We need to chat about your. So that you can word vomit your day and then get past us so we can get to the good stuff. And it's that discernment, finding that language and finding that discernment to be able to meet each client where they're at, not where I'm at, because it's not about me, it's not about my process, it's not about my preferred coaching style necessarily. How can I serve you? How can I help you? How can I support you? How can we make some really good shit happen together in the next 60, 90 minutes? Well, and I will say that, you know, for those who don't believe me having been one of those until I learned. Introducing the idea of, you know, somatic processing and being able to recognize what's happening in your body because it's a direct reflection of what you're feeling and, and, and like, you know, what you want and how you're processing everything is, is incredibly important. And it, you know, I am not a woo person necessarily, but I have seen the light that everything's connected and we have to believe that. So it's try keep trying . Yeah, keep trying with the ones who don't want it. So let's shift, let's shift the conversation a little bit. So how are you finding these clients? Like what's working for you in terms of growth? I buy and lar, I find clients because they're lurkers. I , I tend to find clients through through ins, through Instagram or referral. And even on Instagram it's usually like, so-and-so sent me your. , which I love. And it's really a lot of, of kind of personal connection and growth and the number of times I've gotten. I mean, I don't, I don't know what, I don't think I've left the impression that I have like a huge email list, but the number of times I've gotten, cuz I reply to everyone who replies to me. Let's start a dialogue. I, when I say I wanna hear from you, I actually do. I wanna, like, I love chatting with folks via email or dms, but the number of times I've gotten someone being like, oh, oh my gosh, thank you so much for applying. I didn't know if you would. It's, I mean, one. It's not, do you think that I have like a hundred thousand people on my email list? Cuz I don't. And two, why would I asked. I wanna hear from you. And so it's it for me that my growth tends to come from really building relationships over time and, and even if it's not working directly with someone. They've gotten to know me and I know that, and I, and I've seen it. They then refer me to someone when somebody, when they have a friend who's like, I'm really struggling. Like, I cannot get my messaging, or I cannot figure out why this offer isn't working, why this service isn't selling. I know someone who does that. Yeah. Have you talked to Megan Doud yet? . Yeah. And what's so critical there, back to your messaging and your right language, is even your refers, it's critical that they have the right language to describe what you do. So this, you know, this core of the message and the language is so important in, in so much more than just selling and marketing. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And who's that ideal client for you? I love working with folks who are kind of sick of the industry. , my ideal client tends to be someone who is both very over, like over the online business industrial complex, but also, Sees the potential and is like, but I don't wanna leave. I'm just over some of these celebrity entrepreneurs. I'm really over some of this blanket advice of like how I should be growing, how I should structure an offer, the best type of offer. Is it v i P days? Is it retainer services? Is it one off? And they're kind of over all of it. Over all of it in the sense that like, They're over and they can see past that. Like you said before, like that quick six weeks will change your life and also know that they need help, know that they can't do it on their own, and this tends to come from either. Someone who's an expert in their industry but is perhaps new to starting their business or someone who's been in business for a while. Either way, it's someone who is established in their thoughts, in their process, in their method, in their product, in their whatever. That's, we might do some development around it for sure. We can do some tweaks to get it better, but there isn't a, I am ready to start my online business. How do I. Throw an email list or, you know, make a freebie, do some flogging. Yeah, I that there's a lot of, in so many ways, I, I tend to tell folks like, by and large you can pretty much learn even for the stuff that I do. If you wanna put the time and effort into it, you can learn pretty much anything for free on the internet. It's gonna take you a while, and there. Yeah. That's why people pay for support, right? Yeah. And there is always something to having somebody giving you direct feedback and direct perspective, but like on just a purely educational learning, you can learn pretty much anything on your own if you really want to. And the stuff that you can't learn on your own is, is digging into the nitty gritty, is having somebody reflect back to you. That drive by language is having somebody. Even sometimes just to be a sounding board. And to reassure you, one of my favorite things, one of my favorite client experiences is someone who, we were working on their core values years ago, and they were very upfront with me. They were like, I'm ready to pack it in. You're my last ditch effort. I was like, awesome. No pressure . Thank you. And one of the, I, I noticed one of the values that kept coming up for them was ambition, but they would never say it. . And so in one of our coaching sessions I was like, Hey let me know if this is incorrect. But is this is the value you're trying to get at ambition because it, it feels like you're just da beating around the bush. Like, we're dancing around this word, but don't dare say it. And we ended up having this incredible, beautiful conversation about all of the baggage that that word carried for them and whether or not it was okay to be an ambitious, an ambitious. Which for like all of the reddick we have of like being a girl boss, some of this shit we still carry so deeply. And that was where like there was this huge shift in like, you don't, we ambition is your core value. Do you ever have to use that word externally in your strategy up to you? We'll get to that That's a, that's a like in, in a month problem in two months problem. And as soon as that, that word dropped in. It night and day. They were like, this is the entire thing. I've been avoiding this my entire business, but this is the thing that drives me. I am incredibly ambitious. I was like, yes, words mean a lot. I remember going through a branding exercise and The phrase that kept coming up was no nonsense, and I like, it really resonated with me until somebody told me that was a brand of drugstore pantyhose, so then I had to let it go. , there are so many good words and phrases that have been co-oped. Yeah, can't use that. we're coming up on time. I have a question that I ask everybody who's on the. And I can't wait to hear cuz I know you'll have an answer for this. What's the difference between what we hear out in the online business world and what's real about being a business owner? I mean, choose one. it, the di The difference is that the difference is that people. Aren't sharing neither their happening truth nor their story truth. They're sharing their polished truth. Uhhuh , which, yeah, it's not my place to say that, that's not the truth for you. Like, we'll get into that philosophical discussion later. But they, the what we see and what's, and what's real, what's true. There's a, there's a heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy handed layer of Vene. , and sometimes that polish is so, so thick that even the entrepreneur themselves can't quite remember where, like where did we start before we started lacing on all the layers. And without that emotional resonance, without that emotional resonance, we're just playing on. And can you put so many layers of shellac? I might be really stretching this metaphor, but can we put so many layers on Chanel of shellac on the business that we know Lan recognizes ourselves? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And I think it's, I see this especially with folks that are based in the states, we have. In the States, we have such a culture of rugged individualism of the American dream, of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, so that if you can, if you lacquer it on so that you can get to that apocryphal story, it's almost like you don't it, you care deeply and you don't understand why you're dissatisfied because I did the thing that we're supposed to do that like why this country is great. . But it's what we're taught from such a young age of like, this is the potential you hold and you lack it on to try to get, to try to fit that potential, to try to fit that mold that we've been told we're supposed to do. If we're going to be an entrepreneur, you know, if we're going to be a trends center, an entrepreneur, an inventor, or whatever and frequently you lose sight of like, where, where did I actually start before I start layering it on? Yeah. You lose that, you lose the heart punch, right? You become so, so vanilla that no, you know, nothing resonates. Right? Yeah. It you, yeah. Again, you lose that emotional core and once you lose that emotional core, it's, it's a really hot topic right now to talk about unethical marketing. And personally to a lot of it comes back to, in my opinion, losing that emotional core. Because you're just playing on fears. Yeah. Yes. In order to get the sale. And when you are only playing on fears, when you're only pressing on that bruise, when you're only pouring salt in the wound, you're just trying to, there is no, the only end game for you is the sale. And that, and the sale, the sale will go into someone else that isn't exactly who you want. Exactly. Yeah. Just, just a bummer. , we could probably talk for another two hours. We're coming up on time. I'm glad you're watching the time, . I have to, could you tell our listeners how they can find you? Yes, you can find me at, with Megan. Do. On all the things, social. And that is my website. So I'm mostly on Instagram. If you're like, Ooh, this chick sounds like I wanna get spicy about some things that she brought up, please do Slide into my dms. I love, I love a good discussion. I think we should get spicy together on Instagram. Oh, it's gonna, we're gonna make this happen. We're gonna make this happen. , we're gonna make this happen. Yes, please. It's too bad I have no opinions about anything. . Yeah. What will we talk about? I think I'll have to come up with a list. It'll be really hard. . Okay. I'll, I'll wait for your script, . Okay. It's been such a pleasure. We're gonna wrap it up. I'm so happy that we had the opportunity to chat with Megan today to hear more about how her business came to be, her experiences along the way and what the future of her business entails. And thank you for tuning into this episode of The Real People Real Business Show, where we get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to the show notes, resources, and links from this episode are available on my website and social media platforms. And if you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review. Platform you're on to help us share these genuine stories with an even bicker audience. Until next time, keep building, keep dreaming and keep being real.

Megan Dowd Profile Photo

Megan Dowd

Brand therapist, Megan Dowd is a neurodiverse entrepreneur, business strategist, coach, and storyteller. With her Human First, Biz Second® approach, she is helping new and seasoned business owners build a better human connection with themselves and their clients—leaning into who they are and what they stand for.

After nearly a decade as a professional actress and a Jill of all trades in that industry, Megan decided to go into business for herself. There she learned that the skills she acquired in acting reciprocated into business. She started MD&Co in 2018 and celebrates leveraging her client's strengths, transparency, values, and building a connection. She also built Hello, CEO in 2020 to help support neurodiverse entrepreneurs build where they can thrive in a business world that isn’t one size fits all.

Megan is also the founder of the original Spicy Soapbox™, where she candidly discusses an array of topics. When she’s not helping entrepreneurs run their businesses seamlessly, you will find her drinking cold brew, cuddling fluffy cats, and eating plenty of snacks!