Megan Preston Meyer awoke to another day in corporate drudgery. Except… her job wasn’t the dream it used to be. Now she was analyzing data more and presenting the stories behind the data less. Stories are what’s exciting. Her super power was in taking complex data and presenting it in such a relatable and clear way that even a kiddo could understand it at bedtime.
It was time for a change. But, she had a family to support and only a kernel of an idea for what she wanted to do next. Still, she had to make a change…
After building her savings and creating enough financial runway that she could safely venture out on her own, Megan left her 9-5 and hung her own shingle. She created her characters, she started writing her books, and she got her website.
Despite the nagging feeling she had that something was missing, she still felt the rush of getting out on her own and starting her own business. She was her own boss now. She finally had control of her time and her destiny! THIS was the entrepreneurial dream that she’d been after!
Except… There was no revenue. Megan was burning through cash and focused on the creative side of the business, writing her books. She was going to need help as this was too much for one person to do on their own.
After finding some freelancer team members online to help with tasks like illustration and formatting, Megan was able to turn her attention back to creating product and building her business.
And people loved them! Every time an order came in, she’d get the shipping notification and have to forward it to her shipper who’d dutifully package up the books and mail them on out.
Now her role was starting to shift from being merely a writer, to being a hiring manager, a team lead, and more. She was managing illustrators, designers, shippers, customers, and more.
When hiring, Megan was intentional about setting clear expectations, defining timelines and SLAs, and setting up contracts as projects – not just forever hires. She got agreement on clear starting points and end points. And by hiring self-starters with their own clearly defined projects, she was able to avoid daily check-ins and meetings for the sake of meetings. Her team has clearly defined workstreams and they get it done.
The more she was able to offload, the more she could focus on the work that was more fulfilling for her, and… the more she was able to step away from the business for short bursts.
At first, it was afternoons with the family, then a quick morning hike here and there. Then a bit more travel. And it grew from there.
Now Megan can be offline enjoying the mountain air of Switzerland and not have to worry about each individual order or timeline or deadline. The team knows the work they need to do. Customers are able to buy and receive their orders. And she’s able to spend time with her family and do the work that she loves most.
And she did this not by hustling more and burning the midnight oil. But by working smarter. And hiring for the roles in the business that she shouldn’t be doing. She setup her business to support her lifestyle and generate passive income whether she’s there or off in the Alps.
Coincidentally – or not – most of her best ideas come not from sitting in front of the computer but from being away from the office in nature and creating intentional time to reflect.
She freed herself from the quick dopamine hits of “Did I sell another book?” and “Did I get another follower” and “Did I publish another blog post?” when she realized two important things.
First, those vanity metrics and KPIs don’t move the needle. They don’t grow the business.
And second… she’s not in the business of saving the world with the next blockchain based crypto dog food drone delivery service unicorn. She’s writing kids books. And filling a need in the marketplace. And it doesn’t have to change the world and impact 8 billion lives to matter, provide for her financial future, and create the freedom she deserves as an entrepreneur.
So what’s next for Megan? Well, they shipped a special Christmas book just in time for the holidays. There’s a whole line of merch built around the characters. She’s working on creating workbooks and school curriculum for both home schoolers and elementary schools. And so much more. The books… well, they’re just the beginning!
Key Takeaways from Megan’s Interview
- Decouple your sense of self worth from your income or the value you’re adding and redefine value in non-monetary terms. Forget about your competitors who are bigger or have more funding or have higher value. Money is such a stark clear black/white tool of comparison. Take yourself OUT of the comparison game.
- 90% of any business is relationships. You think you know how to connect with people, but you can likely do it so much better. (Re)Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” even if you think you know it all already.
- Be authentic and get to know people. Conversely, never be manipulative or smarmy. This is a huge competitive advantage especially when everyone is SO into networking and keeping track of who’s doing what and who you’re seeing where and collecting business cards like people used to collect baseball cards.
- Take time to reflect. Make the time to not be working.
- Tighten your feedback loops. The shorter you can make it from identifying a situation to getting yourself out or through it the better. This isn’t something you can skip, but you can speed it up.
- Be humble. As much as you might want to be (why?) you are not the center of the universe. Chill. You’re not that big a deal outside of your niche and that’s okay. Nothing ends when you’re not on.
Connect with Megan Preston Meyer:
- Fifo Saves the Day on Amazon
- Supply Jane Clears the Way on Amazon
- Megan Preston Meyer on LinkedIn