Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:
Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:
“I work with a team across five countries, and it's really interesting to see the dynamic of the strength of us as women, because we are all women on staff. I really try very hard to make sure one, we're all speaking the same language. That's really important. It doesn't have to necessarily be fluent but that helps. We definitely love the idea of if work is there, then that's the magic for us coming into a digital marketing space, where design is our language."
Kathi Burns 0:04
Hi there, I'm board certified professional organizer Kathi Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you who want to take better control of your business and move forward with less stress and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. The Organized Energized podcast is produced for your enjoyment and show notes are found at ThePodcast@OrganizedandEnergized.com.. Come back often and feel free to add this podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter at organized energy and Facebook. All links are in the show notes. Now let's get into the show. Hi, everyone, I'm back. I am with Danielle Meadows. And we're here to talk about branding and fun stuff and all the stuff that us girl entrepreneurs want to know. So welcome to the show, Danielle.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 0:57
Thank you happy to be here.
Kathi Burns 0:59
Yeah, it's a pleasure. So tell me a little bit about the story of how you've gotten into this gig that you're doing right now and give me a little bit of background for the listeners out here.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 1:10
Sure. So again, I'm Danielle Meadows-Stinnett, I'm owner of Octane Design Studios. It's a 12 year old digital marketing and branding firm based in the heart of the bluegrass. I started this really from a place of need, I was then a pregnant mother of a toddler and a 500 square foot bedroom apartment.That's really where the start the story of humble beginnings began. Coming into the space or into the world as a third generation entrepreneur, watching my grandparents watching my parents watching my aunt's my uncle's, my cousins were large family. My dad's one of 13, my mom's one of nine. Being able to see my family kind of define their own destinies and their own path outside of societal, society's culture outside of society's standards for us was really kind of defining for me. I knew that I could do it because that representation was already there. That's really kind of what gave me this gusto to step out and create Octane.
Kathi Burns 2:15
That's fantastic. So how many I have to ask how many children were in your family? How many siblings do you have?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 2:21
Well, one of two, I have two older step sisters in the nest sister that live with me in my home. Then I went out and had three children, and adopted one more. So we're in the process of this the largest of the families on this side of the tree.
Kathi Burns 2:37
Yeah, I was gonna say you guys extremely downsize from 13.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 2:44
Think over the generations, just large families became less and less. Not I want to say acceptable, but just less and less well, well adapted to, women entering the workforce, the two generations before me. And so now for my generation to think about, you know, more than two kids is like, Whoa, that's a bubble almost.
Kathi Burns 3:04
I love to hear from entre to entrepreneurial background. That's really great. How did you what, how did it feel like when you landed your first client, first off, what do you do for your first client? And how did it feel when you landed that gig?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 3:18
Absolutely. I first started out seriously only searching for nonprofits. That was my niche, and the beginning. I was very proud to be able to serve churches, nonprofits in that areas, just giving them lots of extra graphics, whether it's for newsletters, or T shirts, or youth groups, things along those lines. I was just doing all of these extra strategic marketing pieces behind the scenes. I actually really got attached to the idea of kind of being that dark horse that unforseen. Well, we have graphics covered. We don't need an actual agency personnel, we have someone for that. Phrases along those lines kept building and building. And I really just fell in love with the idea of, you know, helping build up other people. They don't have to know my face. I don't have to know my name. But we're kind of that process and the unseen force that make stuff happen.
Kathi Burns 4:09
Ah, so tell me about your first client who was it wasn't a nonprofit?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 4:13
It was nonprofit. So the nonprofit specifically was a church. We were able to work on their logo established some church bulletin pieces, and it was really good to work in that atmosphere. But I knew that I was slowly kind of growing out of it. As other small businesses were also kind of coming along and telling me, hey, I really love the work that you did for this nonprofit. Would you be willing to work over here? We're not nonprofit, is that okay? Like, I would start taking a little bit of that and that helped grow my base.
Kathi Burns 4:43
That's funny. It's been a nonprofit theme for me today. I talked to other entrepreneurs and I think it's kind of funny that they said is it okay because we're because we're for profit, because there's always seems to be a big distinguishing difference between the two.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 5:01
You're absolutely right. I think what what really defined it for me was, am I still helping people in need? And I think that was the bottom line. So it didn't kind of matter at that point if it was for profit or not. It was, is there a need? And how can I help fulfill that need?
Kathi Burns 5:15
Yeah, absolutely. So if you were to do it all over again and reinvent, because you've been in business for quite some time, would you choose the same exact path? Or would you do things a little bit differently? And if so, what would you change?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 5:27
I think I intentionally grew slow on purpose. Like I scaled very, very slowly on purpose. Maybe I didn't want to like, put my gas on the pedal just a little bit more in the beginning, maybe I could have I saw a lot of my colleagues do that. Some of them are still around today, some of them are burnt out, and now working other jobs and moved on to greener pastures. But I think that's kind of been the magic of building my own business was, I can choose how fast I want to go, I can be in the driver's seat, or I can be in the passenger seat, or I can sit in the back and ride the trunk. It's one of those situations where I just had more comfortable purpose, I felt like a much more driven person when I was just in my purpose. So again, I've watched other people outside of in my same age and my same culture and subgroups, and watching them put gas on a lot of things, and then very quickly, either burnout or something else would happen. They would have to step back. I was always in a position where I was just a slow grow. It's a slow advancement, but it was a very profitable one.
Kathi Burns 6:32
Oh, that's fantastic. The word purpose is something that we all strive to get, right? Everybody wants to be on purpose. I agree with you, when you're on purpose, things can come more easily to you. Kudos for you for not going full tilt Boogie and not having to have everything perfect. Just going at your own slow pace, because I think it does help sustainability a lot. Probably your colleagues who put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, that they probably did get burnout, the ones that are still around probably did reach that breaking point where they're like, okay errrrt.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 7:12
Yes, you're absolutely right. Many of them would come to me and say, What did you do? How did you do it? How can I learn from you? It's so funny, because in the beginning, those tables were turned very quickly. What did you do? How did you do it? And so it's kind of funny to see that kind of reflective now later in life.
Kathi Burns 7:31
Yeah, that's pretty cool. So do you have a favorite hack that you that you would use whenever you're feeling a little bit stressed out, or burnout? What do you do to de stress and defrag?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 7:42
I used to joke all the time, but it's really not a joke, I take long meditative walks in between client meetings. I sound like I'm on a dating app. But really to goodness, that's really what it is. It's really taking that intentional break for yourself. I like the idea. Also, obviously, I work with a team. So a team across five countries, and it's really interesting to see the dynamic of the strength of us as women, because we are all women on staff. So it's very cool to to have that balance, right, you know that someone's having an off day. They're still purpose driven for work. But there's also this other purpose of I just want to help her out, I just want to be supportive to her. I think having that type of co working atmosphere is very conductive and very empowering. So that also helps me kind of de stress in a lot of areas too.
Kathi Burns 8:31
Sure everybody has permission to say, I'm getting a little bit burnt out here, gonna go check out for a minute or two or take a long walk as you do. I think we all have our own ways of doing it. I love having all women driven company to and it's cool, because yeah, we know how to communicate with each other, more so than men. You throw a man into the mix, nothing wrong with a man, but your dynamics change. How do you say, we're more open, more more open and less judgmental, and less on guard to say how we really feel and say, Hey, I need some help. I'm feeling stressed. I'm feeling burnt or whatever. So yeah, having women colleagues...
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 9:20
Yes, absolutely. There's just something unique, yet very, very, very similar between us, right? So it's very easy to have that platform and build on it because that just establishes more growth and more closeness between each other. And that relationship so that helps in a work conductive atmosphere.
Kathi Burns 9:41
Yeah. If you have a so I know everybody's thinking this and I'm so I have to ask a question. You have staff across five continents or five countries, right. How do you handle that? How does that work? Time wise and implementation wise?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 9:55
Yes. Time wise definitely we have people when we have staff meetings three times a week, there's women that are on here that are coming in at nine o'clock at night for them. Whereas we're having a 930 in the morning, our time and we try to I try to make it as simple as possible, keep them short, as much as I can usually no more than an hour. I really try very hard to make sure one, obviously, we're all speaking the same language. That's really important. That's one. Yes, exactly. It doesn't have to necessarily be fluent but that helps. We definitely love the idea of if work is there, then that's the magic for us coming as a into a digital marketing space, where design is our language, right? We say English is great, if you work it great, but really our love languages is design. So that gift is there, then we can still talk to each other regardless. So we love being able to use that as a communication base. So we have staff meetings three days a week, we have bonus incentives for people who want to bring in some extra things to Octane. We also really include game strategy is a huge part of our Octane pillar, the strategy of play is what we use a lot in the office. So we do you have off days or we have play days, we have online playdates, we'll we'll play a virtual game, we'll play Scrabble Words with Friends, or just something where all of us can still interact with each other, but with less of an expectation of work.
Kathi Burns 11:25
So love that and you can get to know each other too much easier, over the game.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 11:30
There are so many more things that really connect us more so than divide us. So it's really cool to see that come to play when you go to work every day.
Kathi Burns 11:31
What a good treat for those other for the people that are around the world that might not have ever had access to someone else in a different country, or you're really stretching expanding all your staff. So wow, that's really cool.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 11:52
It's really cool. It really is. And it gives you such a deeper appreciation for just being a woman of deeper appreciation and the strength that you have as an individual and how much more strength you have as a team collectively. It's really amazing to have Kenya, Argentina, India, we're all over. I mean, I think it's really cool to be able to have that type of backing, knowing that you're not the only one.
Kathi Burns 12:16
Yeah, absolutely. So what's the one lesson that your business has taught you that you think others should learn?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 12:23
Oh, my goodness, go at your own pace. I think that's really the heart of it. I chose to slow grow. It definitely had its ups and downs. It's tumbles, it's falls. But I think at the end of it, I can say that it was mine, I could say that it was it was my step in my journey. I have so many other amazing experiences that create the wealth of what I have. So a lot of people they think about wealth in terms of like money, in terms of monetary things. And really, the wealth of my journey is nothing in comparison to the monetary value. It's really amount of the relationships that we've been able to build the businesses, we've been able to launch the relationships we've made with women and men from across the world. So that's really the gifts and the greater coins that we receive in this journey.
Kathi Burns 13:15
Sounds like you're a really good leader. It really does. I'm quite impressed by that. That's pretty cool. What's the best piece of advice that anybody's ever given you? As far as being an entrepreneur or actually even life?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 13:29
I was gonna think this one's life. The personal one that I get when I speak to like kids, and like middle school kids, when we mentor them is, life is less like Mario and more like Tetris. We tell people all the time, if you're really into gaming, you're totally gonna get this analogy, because in Mario, you have to rushed and race as fast as you can to get to that goal to get to that Princess Peach in the castle. In Tetris, it's really about the strategic moves you make to turn and build your blocks to get to the next level. That's really what life was all about. It's strategically moving the box and strategically placing them in certain places of your life so that you can level up, essentially. So I really encourage that. Then a very practical piece of advice that my dear family friend told me was to never settle. I didn't quite understand that when it was first said to me, I did but I didn't like you know, you hear it and you're like, Okay, I got it. But then when certain things happen in your life, you go back to those simple phrases and it just has a whole new meaning and a whole new perspective. So those are the two pieces that I would gladly give to anyone out there.
Kathi Burns 14:39
I love that so what is don't settle mean to you now?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 14:42
Now it means to don't settle on myself. So at first it was don't settle relationship wise where it was originally given to me. Now it's don't settle on your dreams. Don't settle on the goals that you have for yourself. Don't settle on people that may be in and around your life that are encouraging you to go a different path than what your heart says to do. Just don't settle in those ways. And I think that's, that's really what's been challenging in wrestling with me the past three or five years.
Kathi Burns 15:15
Yeah, I love the fact that you that you take entrepreneurialship as a tetris game, of course, being a professional organizer and loving Tetris. I think you're so right, because you always have to keep moving and block after block after block. But for you, and for all of us, it doesn't have to be the same block in the same place facing the same direction. It's all different. There's no wrong way. Right. So if maybe there's a misstep, and maybe you should tag you should have I should have put that block there doesn't even matter. Because all just getting to where you are, and getting to a point where you have that job satisfaction, and you're loving what you're doing. I think for us women is to camaraderie is like what you've built, having a team of people that you can all relate to that you can share wins, share not so good stuff and move forward with it as a team, that's fine. I know you probably have something that you want to offer the readers or readers, listeners, viewers, whatever you happen to be out there, because you can do all three here. What is it that you'd like to offer the guests, Danielle?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 16:28
Absolutely. So we're really wrapping up our Q1 Essentials, online courses, which is literally our whole month full of courses that you can take over the course technically of six months, it ends this month, on the 31st, I believe. And it really is, again, about 12 mini courses total, covering everything from digital marketing, in terms of learning the basics of Canva, or learning WordPress, or understanding how to strategically work with maybe podcasting or Google ads, things along those lines. So we really just choose to use this platform to just kind of educate as many people as possible who just wanting to level up in whatever way they can, without forking an arm and a leg for it. So we're really excited about participating in wrapping that up very soon. Then right after that, actually, we do this really cool experience called Canva critiques workshop, where we literally tell people send us your Canva links, and we will actually dissect it as a class and put it back together again, and you get a free practically a free graphic out of it. It's really fun. We do it in a fun way and you leave with this amazing infographic of how you can build and play on your own terms at your own pace.
Kathi Burns 17:41
Wow, that's fantastic. Okay, so the link will be below so. So the classes are available now as what you're saying.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 17:48
They are, they're available now through the end of this month through the 31st. And they're at q1 essentials.com. That's why we call it q1 for quarter, one first quarter of the year. So we're really excited again, just to wrap that up over the next couple of weeks. And then moving straight into our Canva critiques, which we do quarterly all year long. So every quarter, there's an opportunity for you to participate in Canva critiques.
Kathi Burns 18:12
Excellent, excellent. So I don't know if this will with this will launch prior to the end of q1. But if not, you'll probably have a replay on that sometime. Yes, we sure will, sometime later this year. So if you miss q1, the wrap up with all the courses, you can surely just keep in touch with Danielle, sign up for her Canva I love the Canva thing everybody needs to get a little bit of critique on what they're doing there. Learn how to use Canva anyhow, right?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 18:41
We teach all the shortcuts so you can work smarter, not harder.
Kathi Burns 18:45
Love that. That's very generous, especially as a graphic design agency, people who do that do the marketing and branding. I find that some designers are just real protective of not Canva or whatever.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 19:01
Yeah, sometimes Canva can be curse word. You're absolutely right. Yeah, it's, it's what
Kathi Burns 19:06
Yeah, it's what was out. I don't know, right?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 19:13
That's absolutely right. But we're here to make that job so much easier for people who are just novices. We have this phrase that we say you walk in a novice, you come out a pro, when you kind of step into these places, and so it's really fun. It's highly energetic. It's really entertaining, because people want to see a designer just very quickly put things together. How did you do that? Can you break that down for me? So we're happy to provide that service. And it is a cost but it's very, very low minimal the cost of a pizza is what you could do to learn this skill. We do that because we just humbly want to give back to people who are truly trying to level up their own business on their own pace.
Kathi Burns 19:48
I love that. Okay, back to the pace thing. I like you slow and steady Danielle is what we're gonna call you. Hey, it's the way to go. And like one foot in front of the other and make sure your foot is on solid ground before you make that move is one way to go about it for sure. It's actually a tried and true method. So what do you what what should we talked about what have we not covered here in this conversation that you would like to present to the listeners?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 20:23
Well, in case you are not able to actually find us or see these extra services that we're talking about, you're more than welcome to follow our podcast, which is the more than graphics podcast. So that is also a great place for women is for women, creatives and women in tech. It's kind of like our virtual safe space for women. We talk about so many different topics from rest, to self care, to also the technicality of things, everything that's happening in and around our world, and how that affects us in our nine to five. So I originally created that podcast for women who are kind of introverts, if you will, like myself, believe it or not. We also have spaces for women who are just, you know, both in a corporate setting, or entrepreneur setting, who really believe they can be more than just whatever their name badge says, and really believe that they are in a place where they can be more than just a nine to five. So that is, what we do when we're not designing is for podcasting.
Kathi Burns 21:21
Definitely check out the podcast, and I'll put the link below on my podcast page to your podcast. Absolutely. Hey, there's more than enough out here. Just sharing what we all do, I think is the Win Win Win of being a women entrepreneurs, for sure. So do you have an organizing hack, I didn't forget to ask you that is there a hack that you use to keep yourself organized with all the things you're doing and all your staff all around the US or all around the world?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 21:49
I have quite a few, Slack. I don't know what I would do without Slack. It's our internal communication program that we choose to use for keeping us all together in one spot. Whether we're laughing at each other's gifts, or commenting on social media schedules for a client, you know, all of our communication practically is there. Obviously, using things like Stream Yard is wonderful tools to schedule and create videos on the fly, that we can also use for internal purposes and for teaching purposes, where q1 Essentials is really kind of happening. We also do our podcasting on the same platform. Then also Trello, what will we do without Trello? Trello is where our heart resides, and a lot of areas for project management. So I have a project manager who who consistently tells me all the time, like I don't know where we'd be without Trello. But it's one of those amazing magical organizational tools. There's other ones out there like notion things along those lines, and they're very helpful. But just Trello is a great organic way to build the things you want to build how you want to build it without being too technical. So yeah, I really love Trello.
Kathi Burns 22:55
I love Trello too. Slack is perfect for people that around the world. It's actually I been in Slack groups a lot throughout the course of my journey, but yeah, I love Trello. I agree it's it's for visual creatives. It's brilliant for us, because we can like move things around and see everything we want to see. And who got to love Trello it's not that complicated.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 23:19
Yeah, absolutely. And any type of scheduling that you could find a scheduler. I have really done a really deep dive into jotforms recently because they really come up a level the past two years. Yes, J O T forms, jotforms. Yeah that was something that I don't really, when I first started graphic design, like way back when 14 years ago when I was you know, whatever age. It was one of those things where I was like, jotforms is great. It's just a soft, it's a soft form. But they've really evolved over the years now they're doing a lot more with payment portals, custom coding options. So just being able to use that also is a cool level up for people who don't want to code all the things, but are still wanting those things on their website.
Kathi Burns 24:00
Okay, that's really good. Yeah, I haven't checked them out for a long time. They were limited last time I saw them. So I'll definitely check that as to jotforms.com. I believe it is, right?
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 24:10
Yes, that's right.
Kathi Burns 24:11
Cool. Well, thank you for all those tips. I love your organizing hacks that we all can share. Check out all the resources and again, there's no one way to do anything. And it's really about you and how you want to run your business. Slow, fast, medium, tech, non tech, get support, don't get support. Whatever you do, though, get support from other women entrepreneurs, because we've all been there having the same issues and similar crises and similar winds and similar things, and we're the ones to help each other. Really, that's what it's all about. Oh, I thank you so much, Danielle. I'm so impressed with your company and I'm definitely want everybody to check you out. So check it out. If you can't get into that first part because I don't think you're gonna be out in q1 based on my schedule. You can definitely do the Canva thing and take the Canva challenge and submit something that you've created to Danielle and get a really good expert view of what you're up to.
Danielle Meadows-Stinnett 25:11
Yes. Each one teach one but yes, absolutely.
Kathi Burns 25:15
Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. And thank you guys for listening in.
Hey, thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you want to hear more, feel free to subscribe on the platform of your choice. Also, if you feel so inclined, I would truly appreciate a good rating from you, to me have a stellar day.