July 31, 2022
Sarah- You’re listening to the Entrespirit podcast, where everything we talk about is related to entrepreneurship. Yes. Entrepreneurship can be a crazy ride, but the good news is we are in this together. I’m Sarah law and here’s your host and my husband, Matt law.
Matt- Well, thank you, Sarah. And we wanna welcome everyone to another episode of the entree spirit podcast. One of the best ways to learn about entrepreneurship is by listening to and learning from other entrepreneurs. Today, I’m so excited to interview our new friends, Monica and Austin Mandelson. They’re another husband and wife duo, and the founders of A&M Digital Design. They’re experts when it comes to creating brands, developing websites, and helping companies grow. Today, they’re gonna share their story of entrepreneurship.
Stick around. We got a great episode.
All right, everyone. Welcome back. And I wanna say hello to our guests today. How are you guys doing?
Monica- So good. Thanks for having us on your podcast.
Matt- We are very happy to meet you guys, young entrepreneurs that are, uh, excited about your business that you’ve launched here a few years ago. And I’m excited to hear your story.
So let’s, let’s jump right into this. So why don’t you guys start off by telling us a little bit, uh, about yourself?
Monica- So I’m Monica. I grew up in Washington state and then I got a BA degree in International Studies in college and that’s where I met Austin.
Austin- We went to school together in the frozen tundra in Rexburg, Idaho. I grew up in California, close to Sacramento. I studied exercise physiology when I was there at college. Monica considers me a hobby dabbler. I like doing lots of different projects and learning lots of different things. I’ve kind of dabbled in woodworking a little bit and playing guitar and drawing.
Monica taught me how to cake decorate the other day. That’s some stuff that I really enjoy doing.
What kinds of things do you like to do Monica?
Monica- Yeah. I really like to travel. I’m a big foodie, so I really like to experience different foods and different cultures and just to get to know people a lot, kinda my thing.
Sarah- That’s great.
Matt- So, and you guys, we found out are newlyweds been married for what, did you say three years?
Austin-Yeah, three and a half years, almost three and a half years.
Matt- And are now business partners working together. So this is gonna be a fun ride for you guys. We’re excited to always meet another couple. So tell us a little bit about, uh, your company and what you guys do and, and kind of when you got started.
Austin- So, our business grew out of Monica and I, after graduating from BYU, Idaho, we were going in the Peace Corps. We actually had assignments to serve in Mozambique Africa. But then in April, they started pulling back all of the Peace Corps volunteers from different countries and kinda shut down the whole program for a bit because of COVID.
We didn’t have any idea how long it was gonna be before we were able to go. First, it was a month, and was two months, and then a year. And so while we were waiting for the Peace Corps to open back up and head back out, we got jobs in California.
Monica-The peace Corps shut down literally two weeks before we were supposed to leave. And it said two years stint that you do. So we had sold our housing contract. We had someone lined up to buy our car. We had sold most of our stuff, and then all of sudden we were left with literally nothing. We had turned down schooling, we had turned down jobs because this is what we were gonna do for the next few years. We were literally left high and dry and we had no idea what was gonna happen.
Austin- Well, yeah, that kinda throws for a loop yeah.
Matt- I, first of all, I, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who said ‘You know, let’s go to the Peace Corps.’
Sarah- I think that’s, that’s awesome.
Matt- It is. Yeah. That’s great. And it shows an adventurous spirit inside you for sure. Yeah. Wow. That’s a shocker. So that’s what kind of led you guys into your digital design company. So what was the background that you guys had in digital design?
Monica- I had taken a couple of classes in college and it was always something that interested me and I kinda dabbled in it. I learned all the Adobe programs and such. But I never, in a million years thought that we’d start a business involving digital design.
Matt- Yeah. Wow. And I’ve, I’ve looked at your guy’s design stuff and it’s high quality. The copywriting is good and it’s high quality. That’s super exciting that you guys were just kind of thrown, you know, into that.
So, so what happened? So peace Corps says, ‘sorry, we got a couple of years’. So what did you guys do, what happened to you guys? How did, how did it get started?
Austin- Yeah. So the peace Corps said, keep waiting, keep waiting. And eventually, we got to the point where we decided, that we couldn’t keep waiting anymore. We needed to figure out something with our lives. In the meantime, we were working random jobs that we were able to get in California. I was working as a waiter at a restaurant. We were also both working as healthcare providers for seniors. We were going to people’s homes and helping them there. We did not love the work there and our schedules were pretty intense where we barely saw each other which was really hard.
Monica was really the initiator and then she decided that something needed to change. So she started researching virtual assisting and found a course that kinda taught people how to become a virtual assistants, and how to create a more flexible schedule with a job that you create.
She convinced me to jump into that. And so we started trying that out and we did that. We officially launched our business initially as a virtual assistant business in November of 2020.
We launched the business officially in February. After several months of that, we found there were some tasks that we loved doing. There were other tasks we didn’t love doing. And so we sat down together and we said, okay, we need to do something different that we enjoy more.
We liked running our business and we liked having our flexible schedule, but we needed something that we enjoyed doing more. And so we both wrote a list of things that we really loved doing as a virtual assistant. And then we compared our lists. And graphic design on both of our lists. So we took some courses and decided that web design was were we wanted to go. That’s when we made that shift.
Matt- Wow. So it’s a new launch, which is exciting. Where are you guys located now? And, and tell us the story with the housing and how that’s worked as you’ve set the business up.
Monica- Yeah. So I always joke that I kinda have a gypsy soul, so I really like to move. So we’ve lived in California for the longest period that we have lived in one place as a married couple. We were there for like nine months with COVID and then we ended up moving to Guatemala for several months. And then since being back, we’ve lived in California, Idaho, Washington, and Utah, and we’re going to Oregon next month.
Matt- Wow. And that’s one of the great things about being an entrepreneur. And having a virtual company or, or a consulting virtual company is because you can, you can work anywhere.
Sarah- As long as you have internet, flexibility is amazing.
Austin- Yeah. It sure is. Yeah. So how it makes taxes a little tricky but the rest of it is really nice.
Matt- Yeah. so let’s, let’s dig into the business a little bit more. I have a couple of questions. So how is it gone? Like starting a business, not knowing how it’s gonna work. Tell us about the journey over the last year and a half of how things have gone.
Monica- Yeah. I mean, I think like any business startup, it’s been a roller coaster we’ve. Really high moments where we are so sure that this is what we wanna do and we’re doing great and everything’s gonna work out. And then we’ve had really low moments where we’ve had really serious talks about if this is the life for us, you know?
Ultimately it’s been, I think there have been way more positives than there’s been negatives and it’s so fun to learn about each other and to learn to rely on each other. There’s so to learn when you start a business.
So it’s just so fun to really dive into the marketing classes everything that we’ve been learning so far.
Matt- well, learning business alone, taxes and all of that alone is one big side, you know, learning finance and, you know, balance sheets and figuring out, making sure you have enough cash flow to pay your bills and then take that, with learning and expanding into this new world for you guys, you guys are both really smart. Yeah. And learning, but you have, you had time to, to grow in that.
So that’s really awesome. Thank you guys for sharing that. So what made you decide that ‘Hey, let’s, let’s start a business instead of instead of just keeping a job’?. What was the thing that kind of pushed you guys over the edge? Just say,’ Hey, no let’s do our own thing.’
Monica- Yeah. I think we have really different motives. For me, I was feeling so stuck in the rat race of a job that we had. When I was working in senior care it was not unusual that I was working 12 to 15 hours a day and I was exhausted and so overworked and so underpaid. We never saw each other. I remember, oh, I always talk about this one day that our shifts overlapped for 20 minutes, we saw each other and it was like, God’s greatest gift to us. We were so excited to see each other because we just hadn’t seen each other in days. And so for me, I just felt so desperate to find something that was on me that I didn’t have to clock in and clock out. That we were able to be location independent so that we can travel. That we can just spend time together.
Austin- Yeah. On my side of things. It’s really interesting. I think it’s interesting because I had never even considered starting a business or being my own boss until it was basically happening. Growing up in high school and college it was just never really something that crossed my mind. Ever since we were dating and engaged Monica was talking to me about wanting to start a business.
Whenever Monica talked to me about starting a VA business, she was very convincing on those points about we would actually see each other and we could do things that we enjoy more. There’s also for me, a huge part of this is something Monica’s wanted to do for a long time. If there’s ever a time to do it, now’s probably the time.
That’s got initially what go us going. I’ve since discovered, and am still discovering my enterpuernural spirit. I feel like it’s been harder for me because I’ve had to discover what I love about entrepreneurship as I’m starting it, which has been interesting. But I have fallen in love with it. I just think it’s really fascinating our two different motives and how we’ve now come together in that.
Matt- Mm that’s really awesome.
Is it’s crazy. I was just thinking, as you were sharing that, it’s addicting. You know, being an entrepreneur is very addicting, especially after you’re sharing your stories about those long hours and not being able to see each other. So there was a season after about oh, I guess almost 18 years of being entrepreneurs and seeing each other every day and working together, Sarah was our CFO at our companies, and we had a schedule together. And then there was a season there where we both took jobs at different times. And I tell you, after the freedom and the flexibility and having your time and being able to set your own schedule, it’s really, really hard to go back to being, an employee.
Sarah- We couldn’t wait to be entrepreneurs again.
Austin – Yeah. I feel like it’s something that I’ve always needed or wanted, but had no idea until I had it.
Sarah- This is nice. Yeah. Yeah.
Matt- Yeah. Especially as your business grows and it provides financial security and financial success, and then you have your time and the freedom. There’s so many values of it, but that’s really awesome. So, give us a defining moment on your journey. You said something Monica, that was great. There’s moments that are really, really hard and there are moments that you’re on top of the world. When you’re a new entrepreneur, like you, you may have felt like if you’re listening to the podcast, are you bipolar? Because one moment you’re up so high. You’re gonna get the deal. The next moment they didn’t call. I mean, I remember feeling at times, so up and so down. So give us some defining moments on your guys’ journey, that just encouraged you to go on or, or almost made you quit.
Austin- I really like that you asked this question, cause I think it’s important to hear other people’s experiences and think about their own, to figure out ‘what’s making me keep going?’. I think for both of us, actually, there is this moment, not too long ago… Several years ago, we worked as river rafting guides on the Provo River. We enjoyed the job. We just worked it for a summer. But we built a connection with the owner of that company there. Just several months ago we were in contact with him again and he offered us management positions at the company and he told us that he would set us up at the rafting place. And it would pay really well. After talking about it, we decided that we were gonna not to take the job so that we can focus our time and our efforts, and attention on growing our business.
Looking back, that was for me a defining moment for our business collectively when we decided that we’re gonna keep fighting for this business. We’re gonna keep making this our priority as opposed to getting that job and then potentially getting sucked into that and giving up on this business that we created. So that was the turning point where we decided, you know what, this is what we’re gonna do, and we’re gonna give it everything it takes to make it work.
Matt- That happens. I think to every entrepreneur as they go, like, there’s an opportunity to sell like Sarah and I have had multiple times have had opportunities to sell. And sometimes we look back like, well, if we would’ve taken that, things may have turned out differently in, in some of the businesses. But I think about that there’s, always those times and those moments or a job. I remember when I was new to consulting, I got a couple of really great job offers. And then I thought about going to the office and how it would change our lives and what we’d have to give up. And I said… ‘you know, let’s go all in’.
I know Sarah and I look at each other, when you guys say you were river rafting guides, we’ve, we’ve been whitewater rafting and we’re adventurous as well, but it’s so funny that you guys would say that because it’s this adventurous spirit that’s in you that I see. I know Sarah sees it too. We see it. I’d encourage you guys just as our guests, there are opportunities, always in life. There are so many opportunities and you guys are feeling those. You’re gifted and talented and educated and, young and, full of zeal, but there’s gonna be so many opportunities that will come to your life. Hey, you wanna do this? People will pull on you to say that. And then to, to say yes to it, sometimes it’s super tempting because it’s easier. It’s secure. But one, when you have that wild spirit, what we call the Entrespirit. It becomes a job, becomes almost like a bird cage to cage you in versus doing your own thing and creating your own destiny in your own future.
So that’s, that’s a great point. You guys brought, is there anything else that was a defining moment?
Monica- Yeah. I mean that one, that Austin shared. When Austin was talking, it almost made me emotional because that was a really serious talk that we had going over whether or not we were gonna take those jobs because I mean, our relationship is more important than anything for us. I have the stronger personality and I tend to steamroll a little bit when I get excited, you know? Taking a step back and realizing that our relationship was more important and figuring out that we were united in this business, was a huge moment for me.
But beyond that, another moment that we had, was when we were practicing websites, we reached out to Austin’s mom who has always had this dream of building a bed and breakfast, but never really the drive to actually go ahead and do it. And so we reached out to her and we said, you know what? We want bring a vision to your dream, bed, and breakfast.
So we put together her branding, her color, palettes her fonts and built her website and, watching her look over her website and seeing her dream almost the reality and seeing it all come together… Was so cool! And I was like, I wanna do this all the time. I wanna help everybody’s dreams come together. I wanna help them able to see it online.
Austin- And that was really tangible, To see something they’ve always wanted to do something they’re really passionate about and, to be a part of the step that gets them from dreaming to reality.
Sarah- Yeah. Awesome. I love that.
Matt-I love that. I love entrepreneurs in entrepreneurship, and Sarah and I both do, and we’d love just being around and encouraging, but I can only imagine what that did for your mom to see someone have a dream in their heart and just not know how to materialize it and get it there. But you guys to do that’s remarkable.
That’s special and it makes it more than just about the money. because as you have success in business, the money will come. You know, it, people that are doing good money will follow, but it has to be, it has to be connected to your heart too, to say. We love it.
You know? And that’s, that’s a, that’s a, a really great story. So let’s talk a little bit about working together. You guys had mentioned your relationship was super important, the most important thing. So, can you give some tips for working together with your spouse or, or share a little bit about that?
Monica- Yeah. I’m sure you guys could give much better tips than we can, but, one of the biggest things that has helped us in our business, is making sure we separate work and life. So we might have design conflicts. We both have different eye and different points of view. We might have different ideas about how to do marketing and stuff, but we try to make sure that those conflicts number one, stay constructive and number two don’t enter our personal life. So we might have a discussion for a long time about what color we should actually use for this brand. But then we walk away, we’re joking and we’re having a good time while we have lunch, because that is a work conflict and we don’t let it be a personal conflict and that’s hard. I’m a really emotional person. So it’s hard not to take it personally if he doesn’t like the color I picked. There are moments when we say, okay, ‘obviously we’re not gonna agree on this. We need to walk away and then reconnect as husband and wife first and foremost, and then come back as business partners and continue to work through things.’
Sarah- That’s really good wisdom.
Matt- Really good wisdom. We would agree a hundred percent and yeah, it’s funny, it’s it? You’re right. It will travel over. So there are blurred lines like cuz sometimes we’ll sit out on our back deck and talk about business. And it’s not a business hour and sometimes we’ll talk about family and personal things. So it’s easy when your partners in entrepreneurship to talk about it, but to really consider each other first, I think that’s a big, a big win for you guys to separate those. That’s great advice.
Yes, definitely. So let’s, let’s talk about growing and getting better every day.So, how do you guys keep growing as new entrepreneurs? I remember the whirlwind it’s so exciting, but I was about 23, 24 when I was really said ’this is a desire in my heart’, it’s something that’s always been there. You don’t really realize it. And it starts to come out even before you have a company, but then as you have a company, you feel like you’re swimming.I always felt like, and I still do sometimes, I’m swimming in the deep end. So how do you guys keep growing and learning as new entrepreneurs?
Austin- So the first thought that came into me, I’m sure you guys, and a lot of the people who are listening to your podcast can relate to really having this desire, to learn and to gain greater skills and to improve the skill they have and just learn as much as they possibly can.
But the first thought that came to me was that there’s so much to learn that I think it’s really important to have, a clear vision of where you want to go both personally and in your business. What do you want to learn? What kind of person do you wanna be? What skills do you wanna gain? And then that will help you focus your learning because you can drown in all the information and there are so many places to learn from and everyone wants to teach you something. And so I think you gotta get clarity on what you wanna learn.
That was my first thought, but other things that we think are important when it comes to growing as an entrepreneur are connecting with other people who are maybe in a similar situation. So other business owners, other entrepreneurs, people that you personally align with and building that connection, cause it’s gonna be much easier to grow when you have a support group. When you have people you can share stories with and they can teach you what they know and you can teach them what you know.
Matt- Hmm. That’s great advice. I love what you said about having a clear vision for what you wanna learn, because we were just talking about you wanna become.
That’s cuz there’s so much information out there. I mean like even on design or WordPress or just on YouTube, on what to do, on marketing and that’s why I think business owners are drowning in what to do cuz there’s so many ideas and solutions. As business owners, as entrepreneurs, we can’t learn everything.
And that’s why partnering, with, and hiring people to help us along that way. But even learning as entrepreneurs, there’s so much information out there. And so knowing what you want to focus on and who you wanna become.
Sarah- I think sometimes the temptation is to become an expert in every area of what entrepreneurship entails, but that’s really not necessary. So I agree if you just learn to be choosy about what you need to learn and what you wanna become and utilize others who might know more in an area.
Austin- Especially when you’re starting out. When you start a business, you’re wearing so many different hats. So many things that you need to learn. It can get kinda tricky there.
Sarah- Yeah. And you can just completely shut down mentally. It feel very overwhelming.
Matt- It’s overwhelming. Yeah.
And so that’s why we always, when we would train our consultants, will tell them ‘Hey, find a great CPA. You don’t need to learn taxes. Find people to partner with That will help you on the journey.’
And I love what you said. It’s like the community. When, when we started our training community years ago, we would get around people that were entrepreneurs. And even though we were teaching them something, what they didn’t realize is they were teaching us as well. They would be encouraging us or sharing information. Having a peer group of fellow entrepreneurs and people that do the same thing is super important to people’s long-term success.
Matt- I love that. That’s great advice. Really, really great advice. Do you guys have a favorite book or, blog or podcast or anything related to entrepreneurship that you would share with our listeners?
Monica- Yeah, we had to kinda laugh at this question because we are podcast collectors so we have a really big list, but a couple of our favorite ones, we won’t share our whole list, but a couple of our favorite ones. Elizabeth McCravy’s Breakthrough Brand Podcast, as well as, Art of Online Business by Rick Mulready.
Matt- I was just gonna say podcasts are a great way to learn. Anyone who has a commute, they’re listening, while they’re on the road, so it’s a great time to learn instead of just listening music.
Austin- Elizabeth Elizabeth McCravy’s podcast: She’s a designer and she has a lot of design podcasts, but she’s also a business strategist. So she has a lot of really good tips for really any industry. There are a lot of good tips in that one. And then, the Art of Online Business, he’s a Marketing Specialist.
Matt- It’s neat. I remember like you, everyone who’s listening, when I was younger and trying to learn, I would listen to podcasts like crazy and audiobooks. There are har Harvard business reviews, obviously, I had never been to Harvard, but you could read their review books on finance and just learn from audio, while you’re driving, that is the great thing about podcasting.Those are great tips. Great for business owners to learn about marketing.
Matt- So let’s go in and let’s talk about customer service and things like that. So, any what’s your best tip for dealing with clients and your customers? So you guys obviously have clients, you’re building websites for, doing marketing for, and different things like that. Give us a tip for dealing with them for our listeners that have customers and clients.
Austin- Yeah. I would say my biggest tip for clients and customer relationships would be to always try and go above and beyond in your interactions with your clients, always try and go the extra mile.
Some examples could be if they hire you, like in our business as designers, if they hire us to build a website, we give them a website but also send them a couple of social media graphics they can use to promote their launch just as a free little bonus or I was hired a little bit ago to make some icons so I built out a few variations and extra icons more than what we had agreed on as a little bonus.
I think that does a few things. The first thing it is for Monica and I are both really big givers. It’s hard when we started our business and finances are a little bit tighter and our budget’s a little bit smaller, it’s kind of hard to find ways to, to give as freely or as much as we would want. But that’s a really easy way for us to give back to people, tacking on a little bit extra to a project you’re already doing.
And then I think the other thing it does is it makes them really happy. It builds a really good rapport with them. As our clients, they had a great experience. As a customer, more likely to either come back to us for more services when they need them or to recommend us to clients. It’s kind of a two-way street. It helps us and it helps them.
Matt- Yeah. Cuz it gives you guys a chance to give, but then they’re receiving value plus one. So they are feeling above and you’ve gone above and beyond their expectations. That’s great. How about, your biggest sales and marketing tip? To win more clients, get more customers. Give us your biggest tip sales and market.
Monica- Yeah. So, I mean, this one’s maybe a little bit biased, but I definitely see the value and there is so much value in building a personal brand. Gone are the days when we’re looking to the big companies, we’re now looking to connect with people before we buy. And so being able to put your story out there and be authentically you and show up and then stay consistent in your branding is really what’s gonna draw people to you and make your marketing so much easier because people are going to be attracted to who you are and who your business is, and you can really show them your values in everything you do. I think that it is so game-changing. For people and their marketing.
Austin- That, I think kinda the same idea, a huge part of business is your relationships and interactions with other people. So building a personal brand is a really strong way to do to connect with other people who are discovering your business.
Matt- Yeah,I agree. A hundred percent. It’s interesting because in the early days of the internet, it was the big companies, the websites, and there was no person behind it, but social media has really become mainstream. People connect with people and so having a story and authenticity, that’s great wisdom.
Matt-So let’s talk a little bit about the business and let’s start off with how you balance your family, your marriage, and your health in starting a new business because there’s a lot of work when you’re getting started. So how do you guys, how do you guys balance that? What are some tips you may have for balancing everything?
Austin- Yeah. Like you were saying I will sit on your back porch and go have a conversation. It’ll kinda be a blend of some business stuff. And then you talk about some family stuff in the same conversation, that happens to us quite often. It can be tricky to separate that and create a balance between making sure you’re giving the right amount of time to the right things in your life. Some things that we’ve done is really try and prioritize, not working on the weekends.
Matt- That’s great.
Austin- It’s gonna be really easy for business just to bleed over into everything. And it always feels like the most important, but when we set aside time on weekends to go on a date or to spend time with family, go on a hike or something and do something that’s intentionally not business-related, then it gives us that time to focus on other things, not business in our life that are equally important.
Matt- Yeah. Mm, that’s really good. So is there one of you that is more, tends to be the more workaholic than the other?
Austin and Monica Yes.
Austin- Yes. uh, that would be me.
Matt- Okay. So, is she pulling you? Monica, are you pulling him away saying, okay, trying to build the balance. Is that, is that how it works for you guys? Usually? Yeah.
Monica-A lot of times it’s, it’s me saying, ‘okay what can I help you with?’ And let’s work on this for another half an hour, and then we need to walk away for a little bit. And then we walk away, you know? At first, it was really frustrating for me. I was like, ‘I didn’t start this business so we could work 24/7.’ That kinda thing. But I realized really quickly that he couldn’t enjoy his time away from the business if we didn’t wrap up certain tasks, so I always come to him and we make a plan to finish those tasks so we can enjoy our time away.
Austin- I really appreciate that Monica will come to me. When she recognizes that I’m maybe more flustered or focused on a project and she needs a break, she’ll come to me first and she’ll say, ‘what can I do for you? How can I take something off your plate so that we can wrap up this project and then take a break together?’ So that’s something I really appreciate about how Monica works.
Matt- Yeah, that’s great. Having collaboration on objectives as a team, that’s great for teams working together, but you know, Sarah and I share a calendar on our to-do list. And so today she came in and she checked a bunch of things off our to-do list that I hadn’t even gotten to yet.
So it’s a way that we can help and work together and get more done. So I like what you said, Monica, it’s like sometimes when you have something in your mind that you want to get done, it’s hard to relax or really rest if it’s outstanding, especially if you’ve given a commitment to get it done. So you want to have that done and then you can relax. So those were great tips.
Matt- So what about your biggest mistake as an entrepreneur? You guys are, are fairly new, but has there been something that man you were like, wow, this was the worst. You barely recovered. Anything like that?
Monica- Yeah. A couple of things actually one of them was being so desperate to get clients that we took on clients that didn’t align with us or resonate with us, which made the whole experience really stressful, and yeah not a happy experience.
Austin-There are some definite red flags that we ignored and we learned a lot about who we wanna work with and why we can and shouldn be selective when taking on clients.
Sarah- Right. That’s a big one,
Monica- Another really big one that we almost didn’t even realize was happening, is in all of our accumulation of knowledge and podcasts and everything, we started trying to make our business look like everyone else’s which wasn’t a good fit for us in our lifestyle.
It’s so easy to like, ‘just look at someone like, wow, they have it all. So obviously, I need to do exactly what they’re doing’ and it just, it didn’t fit into who we are and it wasn’t natural for us. And we had a moment where we were like, oh, shoot, this is not at all what we were trying to achieve and we need to backtrack a little bit and rewrite the script.
Matt- So that’s good. Great advice. I think when you’re a new entrepreneur you’re so usually desperate to get customers, and clients. And you take on someone that is not the right customer or client. You’ll spend your whole time working with that person or that customer trying to make them happy and you never can.
Great wisdom for that. You want to have the right customers and I think you attract the right customers by being authentic and like you guys are very authentic in your approach to building a story and a personal brand for somebody and just your copy on your website it feels natural.
Of course, there’s some big, multi-million dollar agency out there, but is that who you wanna be? Is that the story or the life you wanna live? And so by being authentic and being selective. There’s a vacuum to how much time you have. And so when you, when you say no to maybe something that’s good, it opens up the vacuum for something that’s even better. Sarah and I always say success sometimes isn’t about what you say yes to, but it’s about what you say no to so that even better opportunities can flow in.
So really great, great advice.
Monica- So, yeah, I really wish we had talked to you guys like a year ago.
Sarah- Aw. Well, I know you guys are gonna do great.
Matt- There’s something to learning from mistakes. You know, I mean, no one wants you wanna learn from everyone else’s mistakes. That’s the best way, obviously, but there’s something too about learning from your own experience because you know, it sinks deeper in your heart where somebody can say, Hey, watch out for this. But you know, now what you’re looking for and it becomes a value for you guys. It’s not a waste your time.
Sarah- it makes you stronger, it makes you better. And it’s, it’s all part of the journey.
Matt- It is sure is, so what’s your biggest tip for encouraging an entrepreneur who might be struggling with their business or with their progress?
Austin- Um, we have two, one from each of us.
Monica- A big one to me is lean into your passion. So just remembering why I started a business and what the big picture is. I have a board with pictures to remind me why this is important, and why I am going to be able to succeed. And that has really gotten me through some hard times.
Sarah- Hmm. I love that.
Matt- Start with a why that’s a that’s a great thing.
Monica- Yeah. And then go back to it often.
AustinImportant to write it down and remember it, or at least write it down so that when you forget it, you can look.
Matt- Yeah. Mm That’s great.
Austin- For me, the biggest, the biggest help for me in running this business has been Monica by far. I mean, it wouldn’t have started without her and I would not have kept going without her. And so my tip would be as Monica called it a ride or die business partner, someone who it doesn’t have to be like an official business partner, but someone who’s going wholeheartedly support you, someone who you can turn to when you’re having bad days or a terrible client experience. And you’re reminded you of your, why or just empathize with you and, and be sorry with you for a little bit, and then help you get back on your feet. Someone who’s gonna understand what you’re experiencing and help you get back on the horse, so to speak. So I think it’s really important to have someone who’s going to support you in your business and be basically you for the hard things.
Matt– I like that. Yeah. We’ve leaned on each other, but so many entrepreneurs don’t have someone in their corner, and having someone in your corner, whether it’s a parent or a friend… there are moments in every entrepreneur’s journey, you would look at very successful founders, there were times that they wanted to quit, every fortune 500 founders, there were moments on their journey. We’ve met a lot of successful entrepreneurs and underneath in the back of their story, there were days that they wanted to give up and as they say, entrepreneurship isn’t easy if it was everyone would do it. Having someone with you is super helpful. So as we kind of wrap up our show, if someone is interested in connecting with you guys, working with you guys on their personal brand or, their marketing, what can they do to kind of connect with you guys and, and get in touch?
Monica- Yeah, a great place to connect with our website it’s https://austinandmonica.com/, or we’re always on Instagram. We love hanging out with people on Instagram. Our handle is @aandm.digitaldesign.
Matt- Awesome. Awesome. Thank you, guys. Well I wanna thank you guys for hanging out. I enjoyed our talk a ton. I can see a passion in you guys. A zeal for life from the Peace Corps to whitewater rafting. And I can’t even imagine what else, the traveling in Guatemala, taking on entrepreneurship and just saying, we’re gonna do this. I love it. And you can’t teach that, you can’t say, ‘Hey. Be adventurous’, but, I think what I’ve learned from you guys is to be more daring or to be more open about thinking about the world in a different light, there’s so much opportunity out there. I love that you guys are, are doing that. And there’s no doubt in my mind. You’re gonna be super successful as entrepreneurs.
Sarah- Yes, I agree.
Austin- Well, thank you so much. You guys, that meant a lot. It was really great also on our side to be in this interview. You guys are awesome. Thanks for putting together this whole podcast. It’s really great to have a place to share these stories with people. So thanks.
Matt- Yeah. We’re having fun too. When we started our podcast, we were like, ‘oh, we’ll try this. And then we’re like, oh, this is a lot of fun.’ Yeah. And then meeting other entrepreneurs has been a lot of fun through this as well.
Matt- Good. Well, thank you guys again. We appreciate it. So as we close out our podcast today, we just want to share with everyone. We have our new book that has been released to the Entrespirit, the DNA of Self-Starters and People Who Get Things Done. It’s based on our 20 years of entrepreneurship and training other entrepreneurs.
And we wanna share it with you for free. So we’ve purchased 700 redemption codes from from Amazon. And we are going to give those away and we have 300 paperback books that we just had printed. And we’re giving those away for free to get your Kindle redemption code. You just gotta go to our website and fill out a quick form and it will be automatically emailed to you. And then you can have it added to your Kindle library for free. We’re also gonna ship you a copy of our paperback book. All you have to do is pay for the postage and the envelope that we ship it in. So this is a full-size novel that outlines what we’ve learned over the last 20 years what’s inside self-starters and people who get things done. It’s also available on audible and on iTunes if you wanna listen to the audio version, but if you’re interested in getting a copy of our free book, just go to entrespirit.com/free that’s entrespirit.com/free. Just a reminder that this offer is only valid in the USA unfortunately, due to Amazon’s policies. They won’t allow us to give away these redemption codes outside of the USA. And also we can’t ship outside of the USA due to the high costs of shipping.
In closing, I wanna remind you that Theodore Roosevelt once said, “far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits that neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
The entrepreneur’s life is uncertain. It’s pages to be written as time moves forward. There’ll be moments on your journey when you’ll enjoy great success. You’ll bet on yourself, defy the odds and win as Roosevelt suggested. There will also be setbacks along the way, and your wins will be checkered by failure. Don’t give up our friends, never give up. Remember, you’re not one of those poor spirits that live in the gray Twilight you’re an entrepreneur have a great day. everyone.