Episode 43

How to Bounce Back Stronger After Failure [Megan Colleen Johnson]

by | May 5, 2021 | Podcast

Where do you go after a failure? Do you shut down and give up? Perservere and try harder? As entrepreneurs, failure is inevitable, but it’s how you bounce back from that failure that matters. Today, Megan Colleen Johnson is here to share her failure story and how she was able to come back stronger and help others do the same.

Nick (00:01): This is the Nine-Five Podcast. And I'm your host, Nick Nalbach. Where we get into the minds of entrepreneurs and people just like you. So you can start, build and grow your own online business. All right, welcome back to the Nine-Five Podcast. This is the show where we bring on entrepreneurs and business owners to help you start and grow your own business. And today on the Nine-Five Podcast, I have Megan Colleen Johnson. Megan, welcome to the Nine-Five Podcast.

Megan (00:34): Hello, welcome. Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm excited to chat today and to get a chance to kind of connect and speak to your thoughts.

Nick (00:44): Yeah. I'm excited to have you here. We're going to be talking about something that has come up, but we haven't really spent a lot of time discussing that and that topic is failure, which as entrepreneurs. I mean, it's kind of what we do fail, rinse and repeat. So to get everything kicked off, why don't you give the audience a little bit of an idea of who you are and what it is you are actually doing right now? Yeah,

Megan (01:11): Definitely. So I am a life coach and creative consultant. So my background is in graphic design and marketing. That's kind of the first portion of my career was in graphic design and marketing. And then I pivoted after some big failures and learnings in, in graphic design and marketing that really led me to want to support folks also on the life aspect of things. So I transitioned into life coaching got a certification life coaching, and now I work up most often with creative folks and small business owners as they kind of reclaim their life and reclaim their business, running it from a sustainable perspective instead of kind of the hustle mentality that we often have put on our plates from culture. So that's a little bit about me anyways.

Nick (01:58): No, that's perfect. I think that's really interesting that you brought up hustle culture because that's, I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter and that's kind of where the bulk of my audience is. And hustle is like right at the top, like everyone's talking about hustle, hustle, hustle, and just from my experience, it can be very exhausting with that kind of mentality all the way throughout the kind of sounds like you had that mentality to start and kind of pull yourself out of it and now to your benefit and your gain, you've created this awesome business and you're able to help other people do that. So I think that's just awesome. Yeah. Yeah, totally. Now one thing I like to do with all of the guests that I bring on the show before we get into all the meat and the good stuff of this episode, I'd like to ask my guests what their superpower is. And for anybody who's new to the show, or if you haven't been asked this yet by super power. I mean like, what is that thing that you think that you just are a rockstar at over some people come to you, if they have questions in this area in life, or like, what do you think your superpower would be? Yeah, I, this question ahead of

Megan (03:00): Time and gosh, it's such a hard question to answer. Um, I feel like the easiest way to do it is to like mirror. What other folks have told me is my super power. So something that a number of my clients have called me as their secret weapon, because I do have like the, the marketing piece, the mindset piece, and then my own life experience. So like I was, I was told I'm a triple threat, which I personally think is great. I love that. So I'll claim that as my super power, I really love putting my hands into a lot of different things. Um, and I think that's probably why I fail a lot as well, but I think again, that's part of my super power is I'm willing to fail, learn, get back up, try something different. So that'll be my superpower.

Nick (03:43): I love that. I feel like I can very much relate to what you're saying right there. Cause that was kind of me, especially right at the beginning. I was like picking up everything like, Oh, SEO, I have to do that. Oh, social media. I have to do that. Ooh. Maybe I should start a podcast blogging, like, like everything that would someone would talk about and say like, this is what you got to do to grow a business. I was like, all right, let's do it. But then I just be scattered all over the place.

Megan (04:06): Yeah. Well, as business owners, we're, we're told that we have to have our hands in a lot of things and it is like kind of a juggling act where you find, well, what are the things I enjoy having my hands in? What are the things that are just draining for me and navigating that. But, um, I think when you're a creative, when you're a business owner, you're automatically creative, I think because you're bringing something into the world that wasn't there before. And that's kind of the beauty of it. Like you could, you are, you're already superhuman if you're running a small business.

Nick (04:35): Yeah. That's really great. We actually talked about that on a past episode. A lot of times that idea or that I guess the label of being a creator or a creative is often just like immediately tied to like, Oh, I can paint or, Oh, I'm good at drawing. And I think being a business owner, you are like you said, a creator, you're bringing something into the world that didn't otherwise exist. So I think that is that's, you're exactly right. We're all as a small business owners, entrepreneurs, whatever, we're all creators in some form or fashion, just a matter of how you categorize yourself or how you label yourself.

Megan (05:12): Totally. Yeah, absolutely.

Nick (05:14): So before you were doing this before you got into graphic design before you were doing the life coaching that you're doing now, what, what was going on? Did you have a nine to five job or are you in school? Like what did that look like before you got into business?

Megan (05:27): Yeah, so this is like interesting because I, I actually started my first business when I was 15. So I was in high school and started to learn photography, started my own photography business. And really that's kind of what helped to take me through school. Like that's how I paid for school, where I did shot weddings, shot senior photos, things like that. Um, and really just that initial venture is what sparked my love of small business. So along that journey though, I definitely had part-time jobs. I took on freelance stuff across the board. I still take on freelance stuff because it's fun. And I like to do different things. I have had some different nine to five kind of contracts and different positions like that. I have learned from me and just for my, my body and the way that my body works, nine to five, just doesn't work for me when I try to do it.

Megan (06:22): Even for like shorter stints, I ended up getting burnt out so quickly. And I think a lot of folks feel that way, which is often why we try different things. So I learned that pretty quickly in college, shortly after college, when I tried to do some work for an agency and like did some different internships and things like that. And just wasn't, wasn't my thing. So I stuck to part-time as I was doing different business ventures and yeah, I've done a lot of just kind of dabbling hands in different things, started my own marketing agency. And that was really the main catalyst for my pivot then into life coaching.

Nick (07:00): I really think that that's interesting starting out so young, like that's super cool. So you kind of already had that entrepreneurial spirit. Was it, was it difficult for you to kind of put yourself out there like that, like once you decided like, okay, I'm going to focus on photography, getting those initial clients, especially at such a young age and having to, I mean, at that point, you're having to go out of your way to get those clients so that like people would be, I ended up coming to you right at the beginning. So was that a difficult thing for you to do is put yourself out there like that

Megan (07:26): I'm putting myself out there wasn't particularly difficult? Um, for some reason, again, I think there's just an innate spirit in me. That's a little bit okay. With failure. Um, I don't love it. Like I don't like it, but there's a willingness there, um, that I think have had for a good chunk of life, depending on what it is, but it was difficult to, especially at a young age to get folks to trust me. Um, and I think that that's, that's definitely valid to a certain degree because I was learning, I was young, all that kind of stuff, but there was just so much passion. I actually have like a post that I was just writing about this the other day, cause I was thinking about it. And I think that the interesting part of that season of my life was I was just so passionate.

Megan (08:12): I didn't have a knack for photography at first. Wasn't particularly good at it, but I had a passion for it. And I was like, Oh, this is interesting. I can capture things that spark life I can capture. You know, at that time, authenticity was a really big thing. And I loved like thinking about life through that lens. So I was passionate about that. And then I picked up the skills along the way, and I think there was just a willingness to stick to something, even though I wasn't good at it first sticking with something, even when there was a lot of struggling and stumbling and people, you know, maybe not thinking that I was old enough to do something like that or, um, you know, not trusting me and so on and just being like, well, I'm going to trying, so I really admire a little me for being willing to do that because now looking back, it was like a day that this is a little crazy to a certain degree. Um, but in all business owners, I think that's a really key part when we're finding our clients. We're finding our audience is like a willingness to show up for our passion.

Nick (09:18): Oh, that's a great answer. Um, I'm interested to know with that, that trust aspect, because that, I mean, yeah, as a young age, I can see that being a factor, but as a new business owner or a new entrepreneur, if you're just launching a new product or a new business, that trust factor is going to be an issue for them as well. So I'm interested to know, like, what was it just consistently just like throwing darts and seeing what sticks or was there some kind of rhyme or reason to how you started to build that trust and actually bring the clients in?

Megan (09:47): Yeah, I think it was, um, I feel like I'm, I'm leaning more so on more recent experiences now as well. Cause I don't remember entirely what that was. It was a lot of stumbling around. Um, but as far as, as trust with clients, just kind of in general, I've found that it's kind of a mix of holding strong to your passion or holding strong to the essence that you want to create for your business and also learning from your audience. Because if we, if we're just listening to the audience, we may stray from the passion. We may stray from the essence of what brings us life, which then results in the exact same, creating the nine to five job that we never wanted to be a part of or be in. And that's really what happened for me in the marketing agency. I created like that was a dream of mine, but I let go of my intuition. I let go of the passion and I didn't listen to my intuition. So I strayed from that and said yes to a lot of things I should never have said yes to. And so I think when we're building trust with our clients, it's also an act of building trust for ourselves, with ourselves, like where we listened to our clients, we discover what parts of this business do, serve them best. How can I build on that and how can I stick to the essence of what I'm trying to create?

Nick (11:02): Yeah. I really think that's interesting cause it really like, it goes back to having a goal for why you're doing what you're doing and being able to always come back to that goal. So it sounds like, and I kind of want to talk about that transition from graphic design to digital or from photography to the agency. But I think that a lot of times we start in on something with a goal in mind or like, this is why we're doing it. And like you said, kind of get caught up in the hustle culture. And so you start creating your own nine to five job out of everything that you're doing and forget why you started it in the first place for me. I know I wanted to get into entrepreneurship because I want the freedom or if I start doing everything that just completely eats up all my freedom, then what difference does it make if I stayed in a nine to five job or if I did something myself. So, I mean, I really love that, that you're saying that, but okay. Now from photography to a digital agency, why the pivot or why the transition there, was it like a newfound passion or was it just something new that you wanted to try or where did that interest kind of,

Megan (12:11): Yeah, that was, that was kind of like a natural progression for me. So I, the marketing agency, I had a business partner with and that played a part as well in kind of the dynamics, um, where there was distrust in my intuition and, and such there, but from photography. So I started photography in high school, learned that I did have a passion for branding and kind of brand messaging pieces like that decided to go to school for graphic design. Cause I felt like photography, I could teach myself to a certain degree. I had a teacher that taught me some things, but a lot of the pieces I felt like were just artistic and creative and I needed to develop those skills, but graphic design felt more technical. So I felt like I needed to actually go to school to learn that just based on myself and what I needed.

Megan (12:58): So got my degree in graphic design, who well in school of graphic design, I learned that oftentimes when we're working on a graphic design piece, there's just so many other pieces to it that I wanted to also understand and kind of picked up along the way, like when you're designing a website, there's all of these messaging pieces. And I found with clients and with position, sometimes people will be like, well, can you just give a stab at the copy? Can you just like try to do this other thing? And I was like, okay, cool. Yeah, I'll figure, I'll try. Um, so then starting the marketing agency in that I did mostly play the role of like creative director, but again, there were so much learnings and so much overlap in the creative direction process noticing, okay, how is the audience responding to this? How can we best communicate to them? Um, creating email funnels, you know, working on Facebook ads, all of those different pieces kind of building and compounding on one another. So that whole piece felt like a pretty natural, natural progression on my end.

Nick (14:02): Yeah. That makes sense. One's just kind of building on top of the next, as you're kind of gauging where your audience is at, where you doing it. So you had an agency. Does that mean you have people working for you within this agency or was it kind of like a one man band type of thing?

Megan (14:15): No. Yeah, it was, it was me, my business partner. And then we had some different freelancers and contractors that worked for us as well as, you know, some, some W2, um, after, after a while we had, we took out a W2 employees.

Nick (14:30): Yeah. Awesome. That, that had a, been a pretty exciting nerve wracking experience.

Megan (14:34): It was a wild ride. I will tell you that. And again, like it ended up just kind of, I think it just turned into such a whirlwind. We had a lot of success right from the get-go and at the time I was only 24 and you know, my husband and I had actually moved so that I could the agency and be close to my business partner. And I think when you're young and like not to say that young people can't have amazing, incredible businesses because obviously we see people doing that all the time. But for me in my position, it was such a whirlwind. And I was so excited that I did miss red flags put myself into, because this is where I think the life coaching piece comes into play. Where, um, if you look back at my childhood, there was trauma, there were manipulative relationships that I grew up with, you know, divorced at a young age in my family, things like that.

Megan (15:26): And so in this business partnership, a lot of things manifested within that. Um, that taught me a lot, but I wasn't really prepared to tackle those things at that time. So ultimately that, you know, it kind of came to a close, there was, there were lawyers involved, things of that store. Um, but again, that, that was such a beautiful experience. Now looking back, it's a beautiful experience in the midst of it. It wasn't, but looking back, it was an opportunity for me to kind of wake up to different things that I was still saying yes to people pleasing tendencies, that I was still engaged in codependency. Um, and just not calling out when I saw it, sorry, I don't know if I can cuss on this, but that kind of, that was a real big shift for me as a, as a woman, as well from being kind of like the nice girl that I had grown up being told that I should be. Um, and then kind of embodying instead like, Oh, actually I can be the leader of my own life. I can say yes to what I want to say yes to and no, to what I, what I am not for.

Nick (16:35): That's kind of leading into where I wanted to go next too, which is kind of starting to talk about the failures and how all that kind of came about. Was that was the business, is that the business fail itself or was it kinda more of like a, a relationship deal within the business or how did that kind of unfold?

Megan (16:52): Yeah, so I believe it was both and something that I find really interesting even now when I work with clients is oftentimes what we're experiencing or where we struggle in our personal lives actually mirrors some of the struggles that we have in our business. And I think that's really what happened in this marketing agency was there were dynamics that were unhealthy on a personal level and that just duplicated into the business resulting in the business failure. And so that's why I think I become so passionate about life coaching and in self-development because it's an opportunity to heal those personal spaces and then be able to have that thriving in your business as well. Yeah. I can go more into detail into the failure, but how does that kind of land?

Nick (17:42): Yeah, I was actually gonna ask you leading off of that. Was there something, while you were in the middle, I know you say looking on it, it seems a little bit more obvious, but was there anything that kind of stood out to you when you were in it that like came up as like red flags that like, okay, no, I need to get out.

Megan (17:59): Yeah. Uh, so there were, I never got to the point where I actually said that I want to get out and I wish that I had, um, so for me there were red flags, but it was, it was just the, are you familiar with like gaslighting? Yeah. Yep.

Nick (18:16): Can you for the listeners, anybody who might not know what that means? Can you actually go over a little bit of what gaslighting actually is?

Megan (18:22): Totally. So gaslighting is, it's just a form of manipulation and quite honestly, it's very prominent in our culture. I think a lot of us gaslit one another very easily, but it's just this mode of invalidating another person's experience. It's kind of speaking over their experience. So if someone comes to you and they say, um, Hey, this doesn't feel good for me. Like this situation happened. And you're like, Oh, that, that you must've misunderstood. That's a form of gaslighting. And again, in our culture, it's actually very prominent to assume that someone misunderstood something or to assume that you might know better than someone else it's, you know, we see hierarchical structures, very prominently in our society and yeah, that's kind of gaslighting. It's just kind of invalidating another person's experience. Yeah. So there were just tendencies of gaslighting where I would mention something and it would be kind of tossed back on me.

Megan (19:17): And those were kind of the biggest red flags, but at the time where I was at and kind of my mindset was I made myself wrong. I believed the gaslighting. I believed, Oh, I'm crazy. Oh, I must have to be better. Oh, how can I please, these people, how can I show up differently? So really that's ultimately what led me to hiring a life coach in the midst of that. Cause I was like, I broke in, something's wrong with me and I need some help. So looking back on that, it's like, Ugh, like there's just so much compassion for that version of me. But then with the life coach kind of coming alongside me, she was able to mirror to me. Well, like it sounds like there's some other dynamics at play here. Like how can we look at this differently? What if you trusted yourself? Like how can we develop yourself trust? What if, instead of saying, I'm sorry all the time, you said thank you for, for sharing your opinion. And just kind of helped me to develop that. Um, a huge part of it was self-trust giving myself a little bit more credit instead of always making myself.

Nick (20:22): Wow. So are there other things that we can kind of be on the lookout for, um, as you kind of saw this unfolded, is there anything that as entrepreneurs, as we're, maybe we have business partners or starting our own business, some, some things like that that we can recognize and say like, okay, this is a red flag. Like I have to pay attention to this and not let it evolve into something bigger.

Megan (20:45): I think that really goes back what we had talked about earlier with kind of that essence piece, really trusting yourself, really honing in like, what do I want and what am I trying to create here when we hold true to that, it really gives us permission to say, no, this isn't what I want. Yes. This is what I want. And, and starting to navigate that because if I had done that, it would have given me so much more clarity, like very quickly on, Oh, this actually isn't going to work. So I think just that really noticing what your essence is and some questions of that. Like, as you're thinking about your business essence and what, what is for you and what isn't for you. I love like this is kind of, I don't know. It may seem like a silly question, but I think it's really beautiful.

Megan (21:29): So if you're, if you're sitting down to think of like, well, what is the essence of my business? What is the texture of your business? What is the color of your business? Like what emotions are tied to your business, what will help you cultivate those things so that other people experience that for your business and like outside of, you know, our why and all of those pieces, which I think people talk about, you can, you can search on YouTube and find all kinds of information coming to that core. Like what is the energy of your business? And what's going to help cultivate that really makes those decisions easier because you can notice, Oh, this there's something, something doesn't mesh here. And I feel like it's also giving yourself permission. If you feel that something isn't a fit, that's perfect. That's all you need. Sometimes we think we have to have a list of all the reasons why, but we don't, if it doesn't feel quite right, that's good enough. And giving yourself permission as you're making decisions for your business to be okay with that.

Nick (22:27): Um, I'm curious to know then, because that's really interesting. I've not heard that. What is the texture of your business? What is the color? What, what is your, what does the texture of your business? What does it color of your business?

Megan (22:37): Oh gosh, I think it, that's a, that's a really good question to throw back at me

Nick (22:43): On the spot. Yeah.

Megan (22:45): I think I just, for the texture of my business, it's, it's almost like a swirling of a few different things. Like it's a warmness, it's a freeness. It has, um, a layer of expansion. I think like if I had to put a specific texture on it, it would be perhaps like leaves like green luscious leaves that growth. Um, like if you're, if you're walking through the forest and leaves kind of brush up against you, something along those lines where it feels kind of expansive and like possibility, at least that's what it leaves kind of if Mo if, uh, for me, um, and colors would be kind of warmer, burnt oranges, like reds, kind of just that enveloping kind of warm energy, but it's also kind of this green. So think there's a few different pieces there, but

Nick (23:35): I like that. I want to challenge everyone listening. Yeah, it is. I, you got me thinking a little bit nuts. I would probably, I want to go back and give that more thought that only going to listeners, if anybody's listening and you hear that, I want you to think about that. If you're thinking about starting a business or you already have a business, what is the texture of that business? Like when, what do you feel with that business? What is the color of your business? I think that's such a fun exercise. And if anybody listening, if you go do this exercise, tag myself on Instagram, in the story and share what your texture and what your color of your businesses and Megan, if you want to, do you have Instagram as well?

Megan (24:13): Yeah, absolutely. I'd love to be tired. So it's just at Meg's Colleen. So Meg S C O L L E N. And you can do that for yourself as well. I've learned that within a coaching experience with my coach, Madison Morgan, and it's just one of those things you could also utilize for yourself as well. Like, what is the texture of your essence? What are the colors of your essence and coming home to yourself? Because I think that's important sometimes to do that for yourself first and then your business, because it gives you a grounding space. But I do like to think of our businesses as a separate entity. It's its own essence, it's its own kind of piece. Sometimes when we, um, as business owners, we can attach really closely to our business. And I think that's often when failure becomes really heartbreaking too, when we're so closely attached to developing a codependent relationship with our business. But when we can kind of have autonomy from that and recognize, this is my essence, this is my business's essence. I help play a part in the expansion of my business by being the CEO of it and kind of like looking at it and thinking about it in that way. I think that's really helpful too. And just gives, gives us a little bit more freedom to be ourselves. Yeah,

Nick (25:21): No, that's a great answer and a really great point. Uh, you don't want to become too attached where yeah. When a failure does come now, I mean, it's going to crush your world and you're not going to be able to pivot or make the necessary decisions to further progress your business or your personal life In a, a quarrel haven't used that word no way between yourself and your business. And yeah, no, I, I just think that's a really good point. So what kind of lessons learned from your failures now? Like looking back on it, are there any like major things that stood out to you that you're like, this is not going to happen again, or I'm going to avoid this kind of problem?

Megan (26:05): A big one for me is calling out manipulation in narcissistic abuse and tendencies. Um, because again, it's so prominent in our culture and I think giving ourselves permission to notice those things is actually really beneficial in not like necessarily having to always do it publicly. But for me, it's been just really important to also just notice the nuances of that because it's, it's threaded so much throughout the world and the problems that we're seeing in our world today, including racism, including, um, you know, the health of the planet, it's integrated into all of that. So giving ourselves permission on a small scale to call it out also helps them to notice it on those larger scales. So that was something I really learned throughout that process. Another piece is that self-trust, self-trust like developing that inner stability for yourself so that you can run your business from a place of groundedness so that you can make those decisions from a place of inner peace and inner confidence. And then when you're actually going out and speaking up for your business, you're doing that again from a place of groundedness, from a place of emotional intelligence. So developing that self trust,

Nick (27:16): I'd like to add, like, not being afraid to say no, because that's something that you think you mentioned it right at the beginning of the episode here, it can be really easy to say yes to every opportunity because you're like, I'm trying to grow this thing. Like take everything on, like give it to me. And we have to remember, like, this is our business. Like, this is something that we're developing. We can shape it, however we want it to be. And it's okay to say no to opportunities that don't align with our goals. If what you're trying to do ends up not aligning with the reason you got into it in the first place. So you know, that those are going to be another opportunity coming down the road that you can say yes to

Megan (27:49): Totally. Yeah. And kind of adding onto that piece too. I know it is it's especially as young businesses, like it's so encouraged to say yes to everything and there's something to be said about that and noticing when something really is, it's going to cross your boundaries. If it's going to make you uncomfortable as if it's going to make you feel a little wobbly, like that's a no, it's just a no. So it kind of a simple example for this as well is, um, just for me getting on podcasts, I've been sending out podcast requests, you know, w you said, when you're sending out requests for anything, you send it out to lots of people. And then what I've learned for myself is in that container, I have boundaries established. So if I'm in a podcast conversation, I know what my yeses are and what my nose are.

Megan (28:35): So if there's a question asked of me and it's a no, I feel okay saying actually I'm not super comfortable answering that question. Can we move on to a different one? People edit podcasts. It's okay. Like, that's great. And you're owning your energy. You're still saying yes to lots of opportunities, but then you have a container that you've created for yourself that you can thrive within. So I think that's another way to look at it when we're needing to say yes to a lot of opportunities when we're out networking, when we're, you know, sending out pitches, whatever it might be, send out those pitches and then notice within your container. What are you still a yes. For what questions are you okay answering? What are you not okay. Answering? So I feel like that's just another piece to add to that, that I've found really beneficial because it is important to say yes to a lot of things as a small business owner as well, but we can create that space for us to thrive within.

Nick (29:25): Yeah, no, I definitely agree. I think there's, it's a, I dunno, kind of a difficult situation and some of that, because I find that a lot of times, those uncomfortable situations, and I think you're more speaking of from like a personal, um, like your moral standpoint and you're at as a person. Um, whereas I guess I'm thinking about it from like a business opportunity standpoint. Like if something seems uncomfortable, like when you started reaching out to get on podcasts, I'm sure that was something that was nerve wracking and uncomfortable having to push beyond that boundary and get yourself out there so that now you can share your message with more people and take on that opportunity. I think there's a, I, I think, I think they're kind of two different things, but something I want to touch on too is like uncomfortable. It's not always bad, but if it's something that's going to be detrimental to you as a person, then uncomfortable might be leaning more towards the negative side.

Megan (30:18): Yeah. That's a really good point because it's really, it's that idea of like whomever comfort zone. And then there's endless possibility beyond that comfort zone. And there's going to be fear and an uncomfortableness when we stretch outside of our comfort zone. And that's actually a good fear that we can push past, but then there's also the fear of like safety or this is inappropriate or, um, I deserve something better than this. Like I, this is not okay. So there's those two different pieces of it where we can notice, is this my feeling fear or uncomfortable because I'm stretching beyond my comfort zone and into endless possibility, or is it because this is genuinely not okay for me? And it feels sensitive.

Nick (31:01): Yes. I love that. I'm glad you stepped in and said that, cause that kinda tied it all together here.

Megan (31:08): That's really good. So

Nick (31:09): Perfect. Continuing the discussion on failure. It can often be very easy to if we're married to this idea of our business and we kind of meshed the two together and we experienced a downfall or a failure to completely shut down and be like, well, that's it. I tried it. I failed that's over. How do we, or I guess, how have you taken on that failure and then said, okay, that's fine. I'm going to keep pushing forward.

Megan (31:34): Hmm. That's a good question. The biggest part for me was allowing myself space to first aggrieve what wasn't working. So in my situation, it was like a pretty big failure, like a business that was paying my salary no longer working, you know, people in my life, no longer being present in my life. There's, you know, there's other smaller failures. So if you have a, a launch or an intake or something that doesn't work, that kind of fails, but no matter what, I think it's important to cultivate space for ourselves to experience the emotions around that. So again, we can then enter from a place of groundedness and notice, okay, now that I've experienced the grief or now that I've let myself just witnessed the failure. Now that I've had, I've done that, what do I want next? Do I want to try again, do I actually need a break? And maybe I need to find a contract job or a part-time job. There's nothing wrong with that. And that made us give you the space that you need to then make the next aligned action. But I think it's important to create, feel those feelings. I feel like that sounds really cheesy, but it's so true. Like creating the space to experience that experience the waves of emotion, then coming at it from a grounded place of what do I want next?

Nick (32:52): No, that, that definitely makes sense. I'm interested to know then, uh, after the digital marketing agency. Yeah. So after you've taken that time to say, okay, this did not go the way that it was planned. It came to an abrupt end. What made you decide to then pivot to becoming like a life coach, as opposed to say, okay, well that failed. I'm just going to start another digital marketing agency and fix what was wrong in the last one.

Megan (33:18): Yeah. So the first thing is my life coach was so, so helpful for me and just like her support changed my life. Like truly it did. I was so unaware of so many of the patterns I was within and she just opened my eyes to a lot of things and has sent support to me. She's still, I still use the same life coach at this stage. She's just incredible and is so skilled at what she does. So that opened my eyes because prior to that, I really was not aware of life coaching in general. Like I I've been to counseling. I'd been to, you know, other things, but life coaching just hadn't entered my sphere of existence. And I realized the art that life coaching truly is. And so that was something that I was holding and just being like, Oh, this is interesting. And then alongside that, I have this other skillset of, of design and marketing.

Megan (34:09): I, when I first started my life coaching business, I didn't integrate a lot of the business aspect. Now. I actually merged the two quite a bit more. Um, but I, I needed a break. I did. So I did run after the life coaching piece. And for me, what led me to make that decision as well was kind of noticing the through line of my passion for running a business. It wasn't particularly a passion for graphic design specifically. It wasn't particularly a passion for marketing. I think marketing has a lot of, a lot of crap in it, but my passion was helping small business owners. My passion was helping other people be able to see their life from a different perspective. Starting even in the photography, there was a passion for yes, running my own business and helping people see themselves through a different lens and helping people catapult their business when it felt a little bit impossible. So with that in mind is the life coaching felt like a, it felt like a natural step, even though it was a pretty big pivot. Um, but it felt like a natural step. And now I'm kind of taking the two and merging them. Or I have kind of done that where I merge the two together because I already have this other skillset and I'm pretty good at it. I like to think anyways, so it's sent to, to bring both of those together.

Nick (35:27): Okay. That's perfect because I wanted to talk about life coaching and mentors. So that's obviously had a very positive impact on your life. Do you think that a life coach or a mentor or some sort is important for every aspiring entrepreneur, entrepreneur or business owner to have? Yeah.

Megan (35:45): I've been asked this question before and I've answered it differently, but the more that I grow in my business and the more that I expand in what I believe is possible for myself, the more, I really do believe that as growing business owners and as entrepreneurs, we really should have a coach of some kind or a mentor of some kind. If you look at the most successful people on the planet, they have coaches, they have people that are walking alongside them that are asking them the hard and the good questions because maybe other people aren't willing to ask those questions. So I personally, yeah, I do believe that that's really important because for me personally, it's challenged me so much to think beyond my lens. And I think that's the biggest piece is like we have all of our beliefs, we have all of our kind of subconscious programming. And when someone outside of that, I can come and ask questions and it just like, Oh, I didn't know that was possible over here. Oh, I didn't see things from that way. And it allows us to expand, grow our businesses, grow our, um, our impact on the world. Really.

Nick (36:48): That's funny, as you were saying, looking at it through another lens, I was writing down, looking at it through another lens. I think that is super important because exactly like you said, we kind of get caught in our own world and it can be hard to take an outside look, it's easy to point out what other people are doing and say, well, I wouldn't do that. And then someone could point out this stuff on you. And you're like, Holy cow, I didn't even realize that. Or they can kind of be that motivation and give you that extra push to step outside of that comfort zone. Or maybe just motivate you to stay on track and stay on course. I mean, that's, I've been involved with quite a few different mastermind groups and haven't really taken on a full mentor to this point, but just being in those mastery groups and having the accountability, accountability to keep you on the right path and keep you moving in the right direction, especially for myself, or like shiny object syndrome is like, I get attracted to every single like tool and trick and strategy and everything. So like having that extra support and guidance is definitely important. Yeah. So then, okay. How do we actually, do you have any tips for finding the right coach? Like what did you do to find the right life coach? Because obviously you found the right one. You've been with them for how long now, so that you've obviously got some kind of way to find that. So where do, where do we actually go? How do we find the right life coach?

Megan (38:08): That's a great question. I think so funny. So when I found my coach, it was actually through an Instagram hashtag and I just resonated with what she was saying and how she edited her pictures and reached out and it ended up being a great fit. So I think there's a level of kind of trusting the, it sounds woo. And I I'm all about the whoop, but like trusting the energy that you have with someone. Um, but the reality is, is you can, oftentimes you're searching for a coach, whether it's through an Instagram hashtag whether it's on Google, whether it's a referral from a friend, because I think that that's life coaching is becoming more prominent or just coaching in general. So asking friends like, Hey, have you hired a coach before? Were they helpful? What were their strengths? What are they good at when you find some people you can book free consultations and notice, like, what is the energy with this person?

Megan (38:59): Do we have a, you know, do I feel safe here? Do I feel like I'll be able to have, you know, forward movement with this person? What are their mess? Like, what is their messaging? Do I resonate with that? But yeah, a really big part for me really was just the energy of it. And then hearing my own coach's story because her story mirrored, a lot of things in my own story, which told me she made it from here to here. I trust that she can also help support me in that. Yeah. I hope that's helpful because it's really like, again, I found my coach so randomly because I have no idea at the time how to find a coach. And so much of it is just noticing the energy and finding that person,

Nick (39:38): Finding someone that kind of has the same goals as you. Yeah.

Megan (39:40): And you don't have to stick with the same coach either. I feel like, just because like, for me, I've been with my coach for a number of years, but it's also really beautiful because coaches have different specialties. And so it can be really beautiful to find a coach for a season who's perfect for one area. And then another coach. Cause I, I work with this coach kind of just on everything, but then I've also hired other coaches to help me specialize in some different things.

Nick (40:04): I was actually just going to touch on that or like on the same wavelength right now you can eventually find different coaches for different aspects of your life. I think that's, I mean, like you said, specializing in one area, like I need a coach for this specific portion of my life or where I'm at in my business and then saying, okay, either I continue working with that coach and bring on another coach that can help me with this aspect of my business. There's nothing wrong with that. Or switching gears as your goals and where you're heading kind of changes. John Lee Dumas has a new book called the common path to uncommon success and he talks about mentors and how important mentors are in that entrepreneurial journey in getting your business, going to keep you motivated exactly what you're saying here. And one thing that he said that really kind of stuck with me in that book was that you want to find a mentor that's where you want to be a year from now. If you shoot for someone who's like light years ahead, like as an entrepreneur, like, Oh, I want Tony Robbins as my mentor. Well, are you going to be a billionaire multimillionaire? And the next year, like, look at where people have recently been and you know, that they know the struggles that you're going to go through and how to get to that point because they just did it that I've read that. And I was like, Holy cow, like that makes so much sense. Yeah.

Megan (41:23): Yeah. That's really interesting. Yeah. I think I would, I would shoot for like one to five years, but I really love that. That's a really good point because it can be difficult if we shoot far ahead. Also, it can be difficult for our brains to like jump that far. Like if we have those subconscious beliefs and such, we might feel more stuck because we're unable to expand to that level like so quickly. Yeah. Which is basically what you were just saying. Yeah.

Nick (41:50): So I guess to kinda wrap things up here a little bit, what would be any final tips or advice for anybody who might be experiencing this failure and they're kind of feeling stuck where they're at and they're needing that extra push to kind of either make a pivot or kind of keep pushing forward.

Megan (42:09): Yeah. The first thing I would say is just really, if it's possible for you to give yourself permission, to just take a little time off, to step away from the failure before you try to take action on it. And when we're in the midst of something often the answer is just so close. We can't even see it. So when we take, go get in nature, go do something fun, do something that lights up your spirit. So then you can see new possibilities and new answers that maybe you didn't see before. Um, maybe that's also bringing in a mentor. Um, but yeah, in the midst of failure, step away from it a little bit and then, then kind of come at it and remember it's I feel like this, this can be so frustrating amidst in the middle of a failure. Um, but it's just a season like there's so much that's possible for you. There's so many people that can come alongside you. Even if you do feel alone in your failure, there have been so many people, we all fail. We all fail. You're not alone in the failure and it's just a season and yeah, drop me a message. I'm here. I can hear your failures if you need somebody to listen.

Nick (43:20): Amazing. That's awesome. So with that said, where can people find you online? Whether they, I know we touched on your Instagram, which is there's an @MegsColleen on Instagram and then where else, if they want to get in touch with you possibly bring you on as a life coach or find your website. I know you have a blog as well. I was checking that out the other day as well. And you've got some awesome content there. Where do you want people to go to get in contact or find you?

Megan (43:49): Yeah, so my website is megscolleen.com. That's M E G S C O L L E N. And like I'd mentioned before. So at max, Colleen is Instagram pretty much across social media. I'm at Meg's Colleen. Um, relatively easy to find and yeah, if you want to connect with me, you can hop on my Instagram, leave me a voice memo. If that's your thing or just shoot me a message. Um, on my website, I also have the space where you can actually book in a free call with me. So that's the best way to connect.

Nick (44:20): Awesome. Now, everybody listening, like all the other episodes, I will be putting out a show notes page for this episode. So if you want any of those links to get in contact with Megan social media or any of that, they will be in the show notes. So make sure you go check that out and say hi to Megan. She's obviously a great person to talk to and has a wealth of knowledge. So I just want to thank you for coming on. This was such a fun interview. It was nice getting to meet you and kind of share your experience with the entire audience here. I had a blast talking with you.

Megan (44:52): Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This. This has been really fun. So a bright spot in my rainy afternoon.

Nick (44:58): Awesome. Well, thank you.

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Hosts & Guests

Host – Nick Nalbach

Guest – Megan Colleen Johnson

Links & Resources

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Connect with Megan

Additional Resources and Links Mentioned

If you haven’t done this already, go leave a review of the Nine-Five Podcast over on iTunes!


Show Notes

Megan Colleen Johnson is a certified life coach and creative consultant with a background in photography, graphic design, and marketing. From a young age, Megan had the entrepreneurial spirit which drove her to start her first business at age 15.

From there, Megan went on to create her own digital marketing agency.

After going through some personal struggles, Megan carried some of that into her agency which led to shortcomings and failure to recognize red flags within the business which ultimately led her to leave that business behind.

But not all is lost, because through those failures, Megan learned a lot about herself and how to navigate through life and business. Since then, Megan started learning about life coaching, got a coach for herself, and is now helping to coach others.


Key Takeaways and Topics from the Interview

We unpack a lot in this episode, and Megan was kind enough to share a lot of her personal story and the failures she encountered throughout her entrepreneurial journey.

 Here are a few of the highlights from the episode:

  • Stay true to yourself – early on, Megan failed to recognize some red flags in her business and much of that came from not trusting her gut and staying true to herself. Staying true to your core values is something we should all think about.
  • Be on the look out for red flags – don’t be afraid to call B.S. when you see it. If something doesn’t look or feel right, chances are it’s not. Trust your gut and stick strong to it.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no – when one door closes another opens. Just because you say no to something now, doesn’t mean you need to think about closing up shop.
  • Understand the “essence” of your business – This was a fun exercise that Megan shares with us in the episode: think about what texture and color your personal life and business is.

Megan is a beautiful example that failure doesn’t have to stop you from succeeding. Like we mentioned in the episode, we all fail. It’s in our nature.

Being able to reconnect with ourselves and learn from our failures is what allows us to push beyond barriers and achieve a much happier personal and business life.

I Want to Know…

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Nine-Five Podcast. Thank you so much for listening!


What is something that you’ve failed at recently?

1. Did you shut down and give up?

2. Did you bounce back stronger?

Leave a comment below and let me know!



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"The value you provide to others directly correlates to your success. The more value you provide, the more successful you become. Focus on the value!"

- Nick Nalbach

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I am an entrepreneur and adventure enthusiast, looking to break free from the Nine-Five grind. I'll show you what has worked and is currently working for me, as well as what hasn't worked so well.

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