Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Valentine.
Megan Valentine is the founder of Blissful Life Marketing. With nearly a decade of experience across a variety of digital marketing categories, Megan leads the development of forward-thinking marketing and engagement strategies optimized for both business objectives and consumer trust. She also helps brands prepare for the new era of digital marketing by educating marketing professionals and teams on the latest industry updates, trends, and best practices
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Megan Valentine: Sure! After graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, I got my first job as a research assistant and content writer for a law firm. I expanded that role into a Digital Content Manager position driving the firm’s social media efforts, corporate partnerships, and other elements of the larger digital marketing strategy. After a brief detour into media relations, I decided to pursue my dream of starting my own business. Launching Blissful Life Marketing brought me back to my digital roots at the perfect time to use my experience to help brands navigate the new era of online marketing.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Megan Valentine: I’ve always been drawn to entrepreneurship, but for years I let my insecurities get the best of me. I would take initial steps to launch a business but stop short when I began feeling like there was more I needed to learn. I was finally able to kick my imposter syndrome when I recognized I had more hands-on experience with certain marketing strategies and tactics than others who had been in the industry for decades. On top of that, I was encountering entrepreneurs with significantly less experience succeeding in the category I was looking to enter. These realizations were the confidence boosters I needed to finally take the leap. Once I was committed, a marketing micro agency was the natural fit for my first entrepreneurial pursuit. My business model and niche approach developed through extensive research on the new and upcoming changes across the digital marketing landscape.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
Megan Valentine: As I mentioned, I’ve always felt a natural pull to become an entrepreneur, but I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. In my previous efforts to start my own venture, I kept falling into the trap of thinking I just needed one more course, certification, or skill, and that every aspect of my business needed to be flawless before I could reveal it to the world. I was constantly learning, creating, and brainstorming, but never taking concrete action. It was a vicious cycle.
Over the past year or so, it finally dawned on me that these behaviors were the only thing holding me back. I did a lot of mindset work to eliminate those subconscious blocks and made peace with the fact that I would never feel 100% ready. After those pieces clicked into place, there was no turning back. Through the ups and downs, I’ve maintained a sense of security in knowing this is what I’m meant to do and any setbacks are simply opportunities to learn and grow.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
Megan Valentine: One of my first internship supervisors has remained a mentor throughout my career. Earlier this year, he invited me to present a guest lecture for the college course he’s teaching. At this point, I had decided to launch a marketing firm but was still working out the specifics of my business model and offerings. This opportunity to engage with the students and witness the impact I could create with just a small investment of my time activated my passion for educating others. This experience ultimately spurred my decision to found Blissful Life Marketing as a consulting and education company instead of taking the typical agency approach.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Megan Valentine: Blissful Life Marketing’s focus on education is what sets us apart from others in the space. My initial intent was to launch as a standard micro agency. Then, in my prospecting research, I realized many businesses weren’t even doing the bare minimum to prepare themselves for the major changes taking place across the digital marketing industry. By pivoting to also focus on educating marketers and internal teams and helping them navigate these changes, we’re maximizing our ability to move the industry forward and creating a better online environment for both businesses and consumers.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Megan Valentine: My curiosity and passion for learning have always been guiding forces behind my success. Too many marketing leaders feel their years of experience in the industry excuse them from staying on top of new trends and tactics. This does a disservice to their business and clients and creates stagnant environments where teams avoid new ideas and tactics out of fear. I dedicate at least one day per week to professional development to avoid this trap.
My openness to new ideas and ability to quickly pivot help me translate the things I learn into action. I’m always coming across new tactics and ideas through my research and professional development. I make a conscious effort to evaluate them with an open mind and test them in my business so I can be in a better position to help others implement them.
Lastly, I’m always striving to create the most good for the greatest number of people. For years, I struggled to find meaning in my work because many of the popular and successful marketing tactics didn’t sit well with me. The new and upcoming changes across the industry are a step in the right direction, and solutions like zero-party data give me hope that we can return power to consumers without sacrificing bottom lines. I’m excited to serve as a guiding force behind this positive change by timing my launch of Blissful Life Marketing to coincide with the world’s transition into the new digital marketing era.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Megan Valentine: I don’t have regrets, because I believe you can find a lesson in any mistake, failure, or negative experience, but I do wish I had questioned conventional career “wisdom” sooner. Even with my entrepreneurial drive, it was easy to absorb society’s message that the corporate ladder is the only path to success and starting a business is too risky. For many people, that advice rings true. For me, though, I realized it was riskier to not follow my dreams because I didn’t see the type of life I want modeled by anyone adhering to the traditional guidance.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Megan Valentine: As a leader, and especially as an entrepreneur, it’s your job to model the culture and boundaries you want to promote throughout your ranks. So many companies preach work-life balance and encourage employees to use their PTO, while simultaneously expecting immediate answers to after-hours requests and praising team members for working on vacation. Leaders at those organizations set a very clear yet unspoken standard of what it takes to be successful, and employees recognize that.
Americans have such a toxic relationship with work, and change needs to come from the top. Make your teams feel comfortable setting boundaries and caring for their mental health by doing that yourself. Question your resistance to shorter workweeks, remote work, and flexible scheduling. Then, explore the ways those types of policies could improve the mental health of your team. If you can’t trust your employees to work when and where they feel most productive, you’re hiring the wrong people.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Megan Valentine: My biggest tip for building trust, credibility, and authority in any industry is to approach everything you do from a place of service. Whether you’re crafting a social post or participating in a networking event, always be looking for ways you can create value for those interacting with you or your brand. It’s incredibly easy to spot leaders who have ulterior motives for their actions or who operate from a selfish place. Being genuine and taking joy in helping others goes a long way for professionals at any level.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Megan Valentine: With the rise of social media, we’ve been forced to confront the fact that not everything is as it seems. From friends presenting idealized versions of their lives to more sinister and intentional methods of deception, it’s easy to question the credibility of the things you see online. By building your platform on a foundation of serving others, you can overcome this barrier to stand out from the crowd and establish yourself as a trusted authority in any space.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Megan Valentine: One of the biggest mistakes any CEO or founder can make is holding yourself and your business to an impossible standard of perfection. Waiting to launch a new business, offering, or project until you feel 100% ready is a recipe for failure and inaction. Done beats perfect every time because you can always find room for improvement. Keep moving forward and take the next best step with the resources, skills, and knowledge you have at this moment.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
Megan Valentine: Many “regular jobs” come with a false sense of security. As long as you show up and do what you’re told, you can generally expect the direct deposit in your bank account every few weeks and a promotion or small pay bump every few years. For those who choose this path, the predictable routine and emotional state are preferable to the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, even if it means settling for a life you don’t particularly like. That’s not to say you can’t be happy and fulfilled in a traditional career path, but it’s a dead end for those who have even the tiniest entrepreneurial drive.
As an entrepreneur, your reduced “security” and increased responsibility lead to more pronounced highs and lows, no matter how successful you become. You make the conscious decision to accept this tradeoff in exchange for more autonomy and control over your life. Personally, the idea of sitting behind a desk for the next 40 years filled me with significantly more fear than any potential negative outcome of launching my business.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Megan Valentine: My most memorable business “high” so far was my first day officially working for myself after resigning from my job. I woke up feeling so confident in my decision, excited for my new journey, and proud of myself for overcoming years of self-doubt. No matter how things turned out, I knew I would never again have to worry about looking back and wondering what could have happened if I tried.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Megan Valentine: When I first built out my business plan, I envisioned a micro agency focused primarily on social media and digital advertising. As I neared my launch, I started seeing more and more chatter about the impact of new and upcoming restrictions on targeting, remarketing, and measurement. I was filled with doubt that my original model would be successful in this new environment and began to question whether I was making the right decision.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
Megan Valentine: I decided to monitor the situation and proposed solutions for a while before making any drastic changes to my plan. In my research, I came across a solution called zero-party data, which was strikingly similar to tactics I had employed to build a large social media following in my first job. This gave me the spark of confidence to continue down my original path, with a new emphasis on educating others on the changes as they roll out. The marketing industry is constantly evolving, so I used this scenario as an opportunity to renew my trust in my ability to adapt and help my clients do the same.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
Megan Valentine: A greater sense of purpose: If you’re on the entrepreneurial journey to chase fame or wealth, you’re always going to fall short. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting more money or recognition, there will always be someone more successful than you by those measures. Motivate yourself with a greater purpose – helping others, for example – to make the emotional lows on your journey worth pushing through.
The ability to anchor yourself in the present: Whether you tend to dwell on mistakes in your past or get lost in anxiety about the future, developing the ability to recenter yourself in the present moment can help eliminate ups and downs and create a steadier emotional state. The only way to overcome challenges is to move through them, so focus on the task at hand and take the next best step.
Healthy boundaries: Many people pursue their entrepreneurship journey to escape the rat race, only to find themselves suffering under the lack of boundaries in their own business. Even if you can’t “leave work at work,” you can always set limits on email, meetings, phone calls, and other aspects of your business to give yourself the time and space you need to recharge.
A solid support system: Even the most independent entrepreneur needs someone to lean on. Whether it’s a significant other, parent, friend, therapist, or business partner, having someone to stand by you through the highs and lows will make them so much easier to navigate.
Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is typically defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions. Entrepreneurs who possess this trait are better equipped to recognize impending emotional lows and self-regulate their way through them. Developing emotional intelligence will not only help you slow the emotional rollercoaster, but it will also improve your ability to connect with others.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Megan Valentine: I define resilience as the ability to trust the bigger picture and see the lesson in every setback. Resilient people know there’s a solution to be found for every problem, even if it’s not the one they originally had in mind. They understand you’re not growing if you’re not feeling challenged. Whether they place their trust in themselves or a higher power, resilient people maintain an unwavering belief that they can emerge stronger from any situation – no matter how difficult. By opening themselves up to the idea that light always follows darkness, they clear the path for the solution or peace they need to move forward.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Megan Valentine: I was extremely fortunate to have a wonderful, healthy childhood, so my resilience was shaped by my parents who worked to instill those traits in us from a young age.
If I had to offer up a specific scenario that solidified my resilient mindset, it would be my college internship experiences. In the marketing field, internships set the tone for your career. Each spring, when the offers started rolling in, my classmates celebrated their new positions at top-tier agencies and businesses in my dream locations. I’m originally from a small Midwest town, and it didn’t make financial sense to swing a second rent for an unpaid internship, so my options were a bit more limited.
At the time, I felt like I was falling behind my peers and that I’d never be able to measure up to their experiences. I worked tirelessly to identify the best possible opportunities within my circumstances and, in return, was blessed with the most incredible internships – from managing social media accounts for music festivals to a paid position promoting local tourism. I walked away from every role with skills, experiences, and connections that fed perfectly into my next opportunity.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without each one of those internships, so maintaining my resilience through that challenging time played a big role in helping me learn to trust the process.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
Megan Valentine: Everyone has their moments, but I’m generally able to keep a positive outlook through difficult times. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I ground myself by remembering I have the power to change, eliminate, or let go of anything that no longer serves my goals and purpose. I also try to view mistakes and setbacks as opportunities to learn or grow instead of as failures. As Marie Forleo preaches, everything is “figureoutable.”
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Megan Valentine: Leaders significantly underestimate the impact their attitude has on both team members and clients. I’ve had the experience of working with both types of leaders. When I sensed their negativity, I was less likely to share new ideas or get excited about my work. Positive and supportive leaders, on the other hand, inspired me to take ownership and produce results that made them proud. In both scenarios, the leader’s outlook directly shaped the quality of work I produced for the business and/or clients. Attitudes are infectious, and they trickle down from the top. No matter what’s going on in your personal or professional life, strive to frame every interaction with your team in a positive light.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
Megan Valentine: “As long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else’s.”
I came across this quote in The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone during an especially difficult period in my professional life, prior to launching my business. These words articulated what I knew deep down: I wasn’t meant to spend my life building someone else’s dreams when I was capable of so much more. The quote sparked the mindset shift that now serves as a foundation for my purpose and motivation as a business owner.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Megan Valentine: I’m always sharing my latest tips, updates, and educational resources on Blissful Life Marketing’s Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts (@blissfullifemarketing on all). Our social profiles are still relatively new, so we would love for your audience to join our community!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!