Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Megan Kalbach and Jacquelynne Hess, Owners of MJ Squad, located in Mountville, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
MJ Squad is a small business support services that covers a wide range of small business needs, from website design to social media posting on the digital side and graphic design to print work and promotional items on the physical side. Our clients are business owners who are tired of wasting time shopping around and creating a piecemeal marketing plan. Often, MJ Squad clients find that there is no time left at the end of the day for social media or to create those new promotional materials, and they love that a call or an email can get those tasks completed.
Tell us about yourself
There are two parts to MJ Squad, the M and the J. J is for Jacquelynne Hess, a certified elementary school teacher who spent her childhood working at her family restaurant in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, and Megan Kalbach, a certified architect who spent her youth watching her parents run Kauffman Gas and a consignment store in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. The experience garnered over the years in the family businesses was a big part in the founding of MJ Squad for both women.
Over Covid, Megan and Jacque noticed that their business owner friends were having trouble getting online at a reasonable cost. After helping each friend create a website, they realized that the market was wide open for quality and affordability in the digital marketing sector and that they could, together, make a big impact on small businesses. The idea of MJ Squad was born.
The vision was to stand in the gap for small businesses. Owners often find that the list is longer at the end of the day, and Megan and Jacque had a unique skill set to get that list complete. Watching businesses make progress and gain clients while getting back to what they love doing most is a huge motivator. Another big motivator is the excitement of coming up with the perfect strategy for a company, implementing it, and watching it work. Small business is foundational to our country, and being a part of making people's dreams come true will never get old.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment is growing a team of 10 over the last three years while keeping our business built around our families. As moms, we want to be present. As professionals, we thrive on growth and development. Creating our own agency has allowed us to have success in both of these areas and to provide a work experience for our team that allows them the same luxury.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It's funny how closely tied accomplishments and the hardest things about being a business owner are. One of the hardest things that we do is protect our boundaries. We are like any other small business- we work odd hours, we grew our business from nothing, we don't track every minute of our job- but we work every day to be present during homework time, to not pick up that "important" phone at a baseball game, to be at the ballet recital, and to be in church on Sunday morning. It's easy to work all the time, and it's hard to be intentional with the people closest. Over time, we have had to part ways with clients who were unable to respect our mission. While it is hard at the moment, in the long run, we serve our families and our clients best when we are intentionally present with each.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Love what you do. If you love it, you will show up for it on the good days, the bad days, and every day in between. Part of loving what you do is working on your strength. We would encourage any and everyone to take the Clifton Strengths Finders Assessment and run the list against what you do every day. You naturally love things you are good at, and understanding the why behind the what will set you up for success.
- Take time to turn it off. Running 24/7 drains the tank to empty. Taking time to work on a puzzle, get creative, work out, play a sport, and spend genuine time with the people you love allows your brain to reset. You may have heard it called time blocking to increase productivity. Some of my best strategies, ideas, and seasons of growth in the company have come after taking intentional time off.
- Find community. This can be a solid support structure in friends and family or a business network that duels as networking and support. Bad days come, and having a place to put that energy and fill back up with someone that has been there and done that is so valuable.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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