In Conversation with Megan Driscoll of EvolveMKD

Megan Driscoll_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

EvolveMKD is a tight-knit collection of storytellers, brand builders and caretakers, data crunchers, media hounds, digital strategists, and collaborators. At EvolveMKD, our culture fosters creativity and curiosity, rewards passion with perks, and inspires new ways of thinking. Ultimately, we’re a creative crew who aren’t afraid to laugh in the office or lift each other up through hard times.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

At my last job before starting EvolveMKD, it became clear it wasn’t going to work out long-term. I was faced with a tough decision: look for a job at another public relations agency and possibly face the same issues or venture out and open an agency of my own. I decided to follow my gut and start my own business, EvolveMKD.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

At the University of Chicago, I studied Public Policy and was ready to tackle the world of finance until fate intervened. The economy fell precipitously during my senior year and those big banks were not handing out jobs to every U of C graduate, as they had seemed to do in the past. A boss from one of my former internships told me that I might have better luck in PR. I found an internship at the healthcare division of a major public relations firm and that was almost twenty years ago. Before founding EvolveMKD, I served as the President of Behrman Communications, managing agency operations, staff, and advising dozens of clients. I also held senior positions at Emanate, Lippe Taylor, Fleishman Hillard and Euro RSCG Life PR.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I never really dreamt about being an entrepreneur or starting my own company. When people used to ask me what I wanted to do when I graduated from college, my answer was “work with nice people.” I realize now that should have been a sign, as the only way to ensure you are working with nice people, is to create the company for them to work at.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

When I first launched my business, I didn’t really market it. I was so focused on delivering work for my clients and setting up the business infrastructure, that marketing took a backseat. I did start marketing the business through public relations, social media and thought leadership activities. We’ve ramped that up nicely over the last few years.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

The most challenging time in the business was when we decided to walk away from our largest client a few years ago. While it was the right values decision, it was challenging from a financial perspective. I had to make some tough choices, including cutting my own pay and several non-essential expenses. In the long-term, we ended up gaining a client that we couldn’t have taken and ended up being more lucrative financially. This taught me that when you make decisions that align with your values, it works out.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am most proud of the jobs I’ve created through starting EvolveMKD, and the money we’ve been able to donate to charity, which totals $617,583 to date.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

My go-to interview question is “do you love to win or hate to lose”.  I love hearing from candidates how they work through that question and what sticks with them more – the winning or the losing.  It helps me to see what drives them to be their best.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We’ve seen how important communications are during Covid-19, whether they be via social media, virtually or in person. That has meant that our role has been even more critical in our client’s work. We’ve also had to pivot how we handle certain executions (like events) and really think through new and creative ways to touch our client’s stakeholders.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

What’s next is world domination 😊  You can expect to see EvolveMKD continuing to grow and (excuse the pun), evolve in terms of what we can offer and do for our clients.  What won’t change is how much we care about each other, our clients and our communities.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

I learned to believe in myself more. 2020 was really the year I settled into being a CEO and a leader – having to manage a business and a team through a global pandemic taught me to trust in my decisions.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

There are so many things I wish I knew but I’d say for your business to grow, you have to keep growing, personally. Owning a business definitely pushes you to continue to evolve and grow personally, and I’ve seen that in order for your business to continue to grow and expand, you have to embrace that process and everything that comes with it.

I’d also say, don’t sacrifice your vacations, even in year 1 of your business. Seriously, your brain, heart and soul need a break from the intensity and pressure. Stepping back also gives you clarity and distance to “work on your business and not in it”.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I’ve taken up journaling and meditation, plus I’ve continued to prioritize my exercise.  And, a glass of wine helps too. 😊 

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

  • I do believe in work/life presence for yourself and your employees, no matter what the level of intensity is in your business at the moment, life is still happening around you. It’s important not to miss it and it’s important to give those moments in life their fair due. You also have to lead by example. Set the tone for all employees to follow, showing that you support them doing what they need to do to stay engaged with their families and friends, as well as take care of themselves. I like to ensure that everyone, including myself, understands they have the opportunity to celebrate or mourn life moments fully, and work will not collapse without them.
  • Exercise, beyond the physical benefits, provides space away from the work and an opportunity to gain mental clarity. I make sure exercise happens by doing “appointment exercise” – I schedule all of my exercise for the month ahead and put it on my calendar. This way, I plan around my exercise and prioritize it.
  • Seeking professional advice can be a game-changer. When we make our personal well-being our first priority, we can perform at our best mentally and physically. That fitness carries over into our ability to lead and provide for those who need us. I’ve seen firsthand that this investment in oneself leads to more financial and business success as well.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve been every hair color in the book – black, brown, red and blonde.  My favorite is my current strawberry blonde.  I love changing up my looks and experimenting with new things.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Take charge of your time. To be efficient, you got to know how to prioritize your time. I start my day by reviewing my calendar each morning and canceling my attendance in meetings where my presence isn’t mandatory. This leaves me with more focused time to think and work
  • Self Care. Good physical and mental health contribute to a productive life. I now give my personal appointments the same priority as my business appointments. I schedule exercise, acupuncture, mentoring, meditation, and any other self-help activities the same way I would time for a new client.
  • Organize by impact. I look daily at what’s going to have the most impact on our clients and position those items first. I also try to organize my day by when my energy tends to be best.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I would say being an Entreprenista means being a part of this amazing network of powerful women that support each other during the tough times, help build each other up and most importantly celebrate all the good times!

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Melanie Rivera of Breaker28 on making an impact while finding joy in everyday life hiccups and surprises

Describe Breaker28 in a few words? We develop leaders with H.E.A.R.T. – Healthy, Equitable, Antiracist, Real and Trust-Centered. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been planning my business for four years – perfecting content, testing out approaches, and I feel that I have a message and a model…

Bex Gold of Brite Hair on combining ethics and fashion to drive innovation into the haircare space

Describe your business in a few words? Brite Hair makes quality ethical, vegan, cruelty free hair color & hair care products that are accessible and fun! What made you take the leap to start your own business? I founded a hair color brand after a long-term relationship ended – I was in my 30s and…

Sonya Tkacs of Recruitlynk on why marketing and selling your business as an owner never stops

Describe your business in a few words? The Recruitlynk mission is to recruit and source top executive and management talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We strive to help sustain and nurture inclusive cultures where differences drive innovative solutions and uphold diversity in the workplace. Our goal is to effectively hire leaders who care about…

Isabelle Tierney of The Feel Good Life on helping people lead more fulfilling lives with her ground-breaking methodology

Describe your business in a few words? I help individuals, as well as businesses, relieve stress and choose well-being. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had a highly successful private practice for more than 20 years as a marriage and family therapist, but my personal life was anything but…

Brittany Whitlock of Big Mood Digital on why the thing you are afraid of is the thing you have to do!

Describe Big Mood Digital in a few words? I train business owners, marketers and teams on how to conquer digital marketing confidently making it approachable and manageable through private sessions and courses. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I love working with passionate people who get excited to learn something…

Courtlyn Jones of The Design Database on being a creative entrepreneur, and how she is helping freelancers create the career of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? The Design Database is an online platform and community designed to be a support system for Creatives, helping them find jobs. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was hired as a graphic designer at my “dream company,” 10 years after I set…

Erin Pohan of Upkeeping on overcoming fear, and her three best tips for staying productive

Describe your business in a few words? My goal with UpKeeping is to continually evolve to meet the financial accounting needs of entrepreneurs. We currently offer full-service bookkeeping services, accounting clean-ups and QuickBooks training. What made you take the leap to start your own business? For most of my life, I sat back and watched…

Danielle Elias Las of Bump’n Clothing on growing a business while giving back to the IVF community

Describe Bump’n Clothing in a few words? The ultimate in maternity and postpartum apparel. What made you take the leap to start your own business? The desire to create the perfect maternity pant while giving back to the IVF community. What was your background prior to starting your own business? Attorney; In House Counsel for…

Miriam Airington-Fisher of Airington Law on combining law and entrepreneurship and how she is making an impact

Describe your business in a few words? Airington Law is a women-lead law firm specializing in defending against wrongful convictions and litigating civil rights issues What made you take the leap to start your own business? I initially started my law practice out of necessity. I went through a divorce and became a single mom…

Michele Henry of FACE FOUNDRIÉ on why she leans into her fears, and the importance of dreaming big

Describe FACE FOUNDRIÉ in a few words? Efficient and effective focused facial bar specializing in all things face, facials, lashes, brows, and skincare. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in my parents’ small inground pool business from age 13 all the way through college. Being an entrepreneur is…

Ashley Spriggs of Pivot Media on the power of genuine relationships

Describe your business in a few words? We are a media firm that gets your message the attention it deserves. We offer services in Public Relations and Podcast Management. What made you take the leap to start your own business? It was the right time! I was growing my client list as an independent contractor…

Mary Allard of The Third Place podcast on inviting listeners to explore uncomfortable conversations in a safe space

Describe your business in a few words? The Third Place podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners into the hard conversations that we have a tendency to avoid. It is a podcast that “goes there,” within a safe place where curiosity is encouraged, differences are welcomed, and empathy is embraced through healthy dialogue. What…

Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Describe your business in a few words? East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to…

Tiffany Roman of Small Biz Highlight on creating a platform to help small businesses thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Small Biz Highlight is a web show, created to help introduce the people behind a small/local business, their products and services, and discuss how COVID affected them. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Back in April 2020, COVID shutdowns were in full effect…

11 Mamaprenistas share their best productivity tips to manage a business and a family

1) Tierney Larkin, Founder at Larkin Living Spaces: “Be sure to have a designated space to work that is just for you and your business. It can be a makeshift office in the corner of a room, or even a traveling cart that you can take around with you to store all of your supplies…