Megan Davis is a storyteller - Spendlove and Lamb
If I seem scarily enthusiastic during today's interview it's not just because Megan is awesome (because she is) and has worked with some of my favorite social enterprises (because she has), but for the familiar way in which her story and experiences are shared by a lot of young creatives like myself. People who are always asking more of themselves and their work, looking to navigate the path of defining who they are and what they can do with the power of that knowledge. To say that Megan has successfully done so would be an understatement, and meeting her gave me great optimism in the intuitive 'do it your own' way approach to finding work you love.
Describing herself as the 'lead storyteller' of Spendlove and Lamb, Megan's natural communications and networking skills lead her from a career in graphic design to find a niche in a new wave of social media communication, working with businesses to build strategy and harness the right tools for authentic social media relationships. Offering consulting, site training and digital strategy development, Spendlove and Lamb has recently launched Twitterversity, a Twitter specific workshop series that aims to teach business owners how to break down the barriers to audience engagement.
Prior to starting her own business, Megan quit her graphic design job and spent six months couch surfing relatives and friends in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, documenting her period of homelessness by photographing her bed each night and sharing it via The Bed Blog.
Acknowledging that you never really know someone until you've lived with them, Megan credits is this period of 'trying on other peoples lives' for the insights she gained that were ultimately part of the learning process of who she was and where she wanted to go next.
About halfway through her period of homelessness Megan became aware of the power of this process of elimination in defining her self, that by living with and experiencing other people’s lives she was able to define her own path. Like many, Megan had expected the external experience of travel to broaden her horizons, but found that it was this internal process, an experiment living in other people's shoes that taught the most valuable lessons.
With new focus, Megan returned to Australia to find more about where these new experiences and interests would lead her. Advocating an intuitive discovery process, Spendlove and Lamb now offers a training and personal coaching service to help others along this path to self-discovery.
One of Spendlove and Lamb’s first success stories was working with the School of Life pop up in Melbourne, managing their communications and taking their Instagram following from 1 to 1000 during the short pop up period(!). Other former clients include Veronica Grow’s Old School New School for Typography and Design, Pop Union and the Projection Room. All are examples of Spendlove and Lamb's ideal clients, working to make the world a little bit better everyday.
I visited Megan at her part time homebase, Nest Coworking space in Thornbury, a cosy cross disciplinary space that lives up it its name, offering independent workers shared resources, space and community support.
Owner: Megan Davis
Location: Melbourne, and online
Who are you and what do you do?
A little over three years ago I was working as graphic designer. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I knew I had to walk away and completely burn my life to the ground to start over. I quit my job, moved out of my share house and travelled the world. I visited friends and family for 3 months, in the US, Europe and Asia. I came back to Australia with $20 in my pocket and couch surfed for a further 3 months. I had no job, no home and was looking for direction. I was completely reliant on my friends for my survival and I learned the true importance of community. If someone had not come forward to take care of me, I would have not survived. I now teach people and businesses the value of a strong community either as a trainer with my Twittterversity courses or as a social media consultant. I decided to stop running from my fears and start embracing them, I had always wanted to run my own business and I knew it was now or never. I had already survived homelessness and joblessness. I knew I had the courage to completely direct my own life as a business owner.
Accepting complete ownership of my life is challenging, but one that I am ready to accept. I understand that in order for me to grow as a person I have to have the freedom to pursue anything that interests me. Following my instinct has never steered me wrong. When I follow what truly resonates with me, the path is never straight, but ultimately it will lead me where I need to go. It is a process that I have learned to have faith in. I just have to keep moving!
It wasn’t easy to make 'the leap', but once you do, you just can’t really look back. There are days where I think, yeah maybe I could just get a job, but then, I think about it on a realistic level and I realise I just can’t do it. I really can’t imagine working for someone else ever again. I think I was unhappy before because it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing (graphic design) and now that I’ve recognised and accepted that as part of who I am, you can really only look forward. I’m not an employee.
Transitioning from an established profession such as graphic design, to social media consulting, a very new and undefined industry was surprisingly really very easy.
I had applied for a few jobs where I saw people wanted to hire people to manage their content in house, and I got interviews, but I didn’t get the job. As part of that process I had to really look at myself, and I realised that the reason I didn’t get those jobs was because I didn’t really want them. And they can tell, you can definitely read that in a person.
I thought I wanted that, but I didn’t really. I realised I wanted to this work for myself. It just so happened that my managing director at my former job gave me a chance in a new position, which evolved quickly to designing websites and then supplying content for those websites. I realised that this was pretty much what I would do if I was working in social media, so I went to him with a pitch to modernise their marketing as a consultant, and they became my first client. And I got the second one only two weeks later. At around three months, the business became not only sustainable, but I was actually making money.
Spendlove and Lamb is freedom, it means what you need it to mean! It is your personal definition of life, success, love and business. It is the tools you need to get where you want to be. Interpret the name as you will!
What sort of plan did you have in place before taking 'the leap' into your own business?
I did the NEIS (New Enterprise Incentives Scheme) program, which really gives you great insight into what a good business plan looks like, as well as a great support networks.
I think of the people I met there, half are still operating a year later, which I think is a pretty good success rate in small business start ups. You really had to commit yourself to the program for the program's sake, rather than try and make it just about you. You have to be able to fulfill a need for other people in order to make money.
You have recently launched Twitterversity - what inspired you to diversify your business in this way?
The Internet is an open playing field if you know how to leverage it. There are people out there getting attention because they know how to make a lot of noise. On the other hand there are people doing amazing things, but not telling enough people about it. I want to give those people the tools to achieve their goals. Not by making noise, but by finding the right people to talk to spread their valuable work and ideas into the great big wide world!
See if you can spot Megan in the video above, speaking on 'Transformation' at the April Pecha Kucha event held at Nest. Video by the very talented Natalie Erika James! Awesome camera work by Benjamin Morgan
What are you most proud of in your work?
I love giving people tools to achieve their goals. I have various programs which I have created to help people facilitate a major life change or find the path they want to be on. I also work with businesses to achieve their goals.
I find both types of work extremely satisfying for different reasons. In the personal development realm, if I can totally rearrange my life into something that works for me, anyone can do it. As a consultant, I love working with businesses that align with my values. I want help spread positive vibes into the world.
It’s Spendlove and Lamb’s business to help other businesses negotiate online media - what is the one piece of advice you would give a new business with relation to their online communication?
It is important to be authentic. People can smell a sales pitch from a mile away. Yes, as a business owner you are there to sell a product or service. However, you will turn people off if all you try to do is sell. Talk about things that are important to you. Share information that you think people should know about. Of course, educate your followers about what you do. But leave the sales talk to another time. Social media is about having a conversation. Be fun, friendly and genuine and people will want to hear from you.
Tell us more about the Nest Coworking space?
I love working from the Nest. I used to work out of a studio in Fitzroy, and decided to move into coworking because of the opportunities that it gave me to collaborate with like-minded people. The support and feedback from the community at Nest has lead to me meeting some really wonderful clients, as well as professional and personal relationships. I can definitely say as a business owner coworking works for me.
Tea or coffee:Wine!
Listening to: The Civil Wars
Guilty pleasure: Vampire novels
Savvy, Sass or Study? You need all three of these things to get ahead. If you need to know about something, learn about it. You also have to be smart and protect yourself and your ideas. And don’t forget ‘Chutzpah’. Say yes to opportunity and then figure out how to do it with your sass and savvy
Want - learning or opportunity? I need learning and opportunity. Being open to learning creates opportunities. They feed into each other!
Need - apprentice or expert?Again both. You need people to support you in so many ways. The problem is you never know where this support will come from. The trick is to be smart enough to identify the opportunity and go for it when it presents itself. The ability to see talent is a talent in itself. All good business leaders hone this ability.
Superpower? Boundless energy!I wish I didn’t have to rest and could go on exploring and experiencing nonstop. But alas, it cannot be so. I need to take time off and rest and sleep.
Friends of Spendlove and Lamb
Nest Coworking, Thornbury
How can I contact you?
Tweet me @SpendloveLamb
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website here – www.spendloveandlamb.com
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