Inbound Marketing Expert Mandy McEwen shares her journey that started with a simple Google search. Over the last 10 years, Mandy McEwen has helped countless technology and healthcare companies dominate page one of search. But it does not stop there, she openly shares her Mod Girl Marketing agency scaling secrets with her courses, Facebook Groups and loads of free resources to replicate and duplicate her entrepreneurial success.
I caught up with Mandy in between her Facebook Lives, master classes, coffee breaks, and inbound marketing prowess. Here’s the scoop:
Founder, Mod Girl Marketing
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
If there’s one thing that entrepreneurs have in common, it’s that we don’t usually follow the “typical” education or career trajectory. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college. Walt Disney dropped out of high school and became an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. Barbara Corcoran studied education in college and was a teacher for a year.
I’m no different.
My path to where I am today has been a curving road. And I definitely didn’t have a map.
Pictured here is my very first “Promotional Banner” for Mod Girl®.
It was back in 2011, and I was invited to have a booth and do a very brief speaking gig at a Kansas City networking event. I had just started Mod Girl and was hardly making ends meet. So, while I was all over the opportunity to attend the networking event and speak, I certainly didn’t have the funds to create a sleek, professional banner. So, I did what any crafty 25-year-old would do; I made it myself!
I correctly remember a businesswoman coming up to me and telling me how “cute” it was and that I was going to “remember this” when I made it big. She told me to hang on to it — and I still have it! I met my friend Richard Clifton and his brother, Rob, at this event, and they became a client shortly after. My shoestring budget and inexperience as an entrepreneur didn’t stop me from getting out there.
You see, I didn’t even know about digital marketing when I was a student. I graduated from high school a semester early, dead-set on attending the University of Kansas (I was a Jayhawks’ fan for as long as I can remember!) At 17, I arrived on KU’s campus, pursuing a B.A. in Spanish and Psychology. My goal at the time was to work as a bilingual school psychologist. However, when I graduated at just 20 years old, I realized graduate school wasn’t for me.
I ended up working full-time, and after just six months of punching a clock and having a boss tell me what to do, I was fed up! I turned to Google to figure out a way that I could start my own business.
That’s when I discovered SEO. It was 2007.
I began building websites and blogged as often as I could, learning about this new digital marketing world from Google, online courses, books, and all the experts’ blogs. However, I wasn’t making money doing any of this, so I was still stuck working as a Sales Consultant for a home improvement company during the day. Ironically enough, it turns out that day job I was trying so hard to quit was the key to my founding Mod Girl! As a Sales Consultant, I often met with business owners. I overheard several of them complaining about how marketing companies had failed to deliver on promises, and how their websites weren’t even close to the first page of Google. I realized I might have a solution for these frustrated customers. But if they were so jaded by these agencies that failed to deliver, why would they trust me, who had no experience beyond my own blogging?
I decided to offer my services for free. I would optimize their content, build links, and manage all of their local SEO, and then, once they reached the first page of Google, they would pay me $500. Pretty good guarantee for them! A handful of clients agreed to try it out, and they saw results. They referred new clients to me, who in turn referred even more, and along the way, Mod Girl was born.
Now, almost exactly ten years after graduating from KU with Spanish and Psychology degrees, I can’t imagine ending up anywhere else.
When did the entrepreneur light bulb go off?
About six months after my first “real job” out of college.
What advice would you give other women wanting to start a biz?
Know in your heart you have what it takes and fight harder than anyone else to get what you want in life.
How do you bring goodness to the world?
By using my skills to help other purposeful entrepreneurs and businesses make a bigger impact.
None of us are able to achieve success without some adversity along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
In the second year of starting Mod Girl, I met the owner of an SEO Reseller company. At the time I was looking for white label SEO services. I hired the company and the owner quickly became a mentor of mine — showing me the “ropes” so to speak.
He helped me devise pricing structures, proposals, showed me how he closes clients — and basically gave me an inside look into his company. …That’s when I realized that having a mentor who is where I want to be, is the fastest way to scale my business. Of course, this individual helped pave the way for Mod Girl, especially in the “white label” arena. In addition, it also instilled a “giving back” mantra in me.
That valuable mentorship inspired me to be a mentor to marketing entrepreneurs and startup agencies.
Five Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience?
The world’s most successful people all have one thing in common: confidence.
1. Confidence alone can go a long way. People like, respect, believe, and trust those who are self-confident.
2. You have to be persistent and relentless in your efforts to accomplish your goals. You absolutely without a doubt have to be 100% determined to put in the effort and truly pursue your dreams.
3. Beginning with the ‘end in mind’ is a great approach to managing a team. Ensure that each team member knows what the company’s goals are and they know what role they play in helping the company achieve those goals.
4. Keep everyone working towards the same goals cohesively. It makes it easier for everyone to be on the same page and feel like they are a valuable contribution to the team. The road to thought leadership is a long jog, not a sprint.
5. Take little steps every single day that will position you one step closer to becoming an industry influencer. Leverage other influencers to help skyrocket your own thought leadership faster than you could on your own.
Favorite “Life Lesson Quote” ✒️
One of my favorite quotes is from John F Kennedy:
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
This perfectly reflects what I believe are the keys to being super successful. Translation: Confidence, a solid roadmap, and the willingness to put in one hundred percent of your effort and focus on achieving your goals.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Oprah — I mean, she’s Oprah — do I really need to explain why? What she’s accomplished and all of the amazingness she’s brought to the world is one of the many reasons.
I can whip up some delicious meals and love to cook. Not to be confused with BAKING (not so much great at that) 😉
Well, it should be your book. It’s on my list. Yours and “the art of client services” is next!
Where will social media in five years ⏰
Good question — I see a lot more gamification, virtual reality, live/real-time everything
Favorite Drink Order? ☕️
Um, that totally depends on my mood — As I work from home, 90% of my coffee is consumed in my amazing Technivorm MoccaMaster — Best. Coffee. Machine. Ever.
My morning coffee looks like this: Major Dickason’s Dark Roast Blend — Half and Half — Raw Organic Honey.
Favorite Way to Decompress?
Lay in my hammock in my beautiful backyard
Women You Admire?
Oprah, Michelle Obama, Ellen
Mandy’s LinkedIn Profile?
View Mandy McEwen’s profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional community. Mandy’s education is listed on…www.linkedin.com
What are you most excited about for 2019?
All of my awesome new collaborations and partnerships — like the upcoming Facebook Live Training with Larry Kim! If you’re a marketing entrepreneur looking to share ideas and help each other grow, I encourage you to join my Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/modagencyinsiders/
If you are looking for Mandy, you are sure to find her on page one of Google.
This post by Lisa Buyer originally published on Medium’s Authority Magazine, a publication by Yitzi Weiner.