About the episode
In episode of the Mom Owned and Operated podcast, Rita Suzanne and Megan Nilsen discuss raising a family, running a business and remembering yourself.
Megan is a mother of four teenagers rapidly morphing into young adults who lives in Colorado Springs. She has been married to her college sweetheart for 25 years. Her career history is long and complicated.
Over the years she has bounced from retail to school counseling to stay at home mom to non-profit work, but nothing has fulfilled her as deeply as her most recent pivot to Spiritual Discernment + Life Coach. Her greatest joy is to intentionally walk alongside women and help them untangle their thoughts and emotions in order to gain clarity, confidence, purpose, and peace.
This episode is sponsored by The $29 Website.
Listen to the episode
Rita Suzanne 00:01
Welcome to the Mom Owned and Operated Podcast, the podcast about moms and for moms, where we have candid conversations about running a business, raising a family, and remembering ourselves. I’m your host, Rita Suzanne, a single mom of four, digital strategist and provider of no nonsense business strategies and tactics. Hi, this is Rita Suzanne. And this is mom owned and operated today I have my friend Megan with me. Megan, please tell us all about you, your business, your family, all of the things.
Megan Nilsen 00:41
I don’t think you have enough time. But um, yes, my name is Megan Nelson. I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. So a very beautiful place highly recommend if you guys want to come visit. Um, let’s see. I’ve been married for 26 years to my college sweetheart, we we were like an anomaly, went to school and got married right afterwards. And most people are like, What the heck are you doing? So I’m thankful that we grew up together in the in a positive direction. We’re still married. Uh huh. And we have four kids. We have two kids in college, that are biological children of ours, a boy and a girl. And then 10 years ago, we adopted two kids from Ethiopia.
Megan Nilsen 01:23
And they are in high school. So it’s been it’s been great. It’s been a wild ride. And two years ago, I started my own business as a life coach. So I’m specifically in the faith based space, helping people kind of listen to the voice of God in their life and figure out what he’s saying why he might be by inviting them into and then make a concrete plan to really live out their faith in action. So that’s been my Yeah, that’s been my super fun business building experience over the past couple years.
Rita Suzanne 01:59
So what prompted you to start your business? Was it just like having this mission to order?
Megan Nilsen 02:07
Yeah, no, that’s a great. That’s a great question. I mean, I, a years ago, I was a school counselor. So I’ve always kind of enjoyed connecting with people helping guiding all that kind of stuff. But when we brought our kids some 10 years ago, it became very clear to me that it was time for me to mostly be at home. I mean, you have a blended family, yourself, Suzanne, Suzanne, Rita Suzanne, the lady with two first names, like what is her first name.
Megan Nilsen 02:36
And so it was it was complicated and hard. And so I was home with the kids for a long time. And then kind of did little odd jobs here and there working for nonprofits doing admin work kind of figuring fitting in little bits of work in my life. But motherhood was mostly my main, you know, two main gig, the main event, we were trying to keep everybody afloat. And then, um, my kids started getting a little bit older. I wrote a book in there, I love to write and speak and teach, I’ve taught Bible says at church for a long time. And I really had this, like, I’m gonna call it a come to Jesus moment, a couple years ago, where I was working part time for a nonprofit that I absolutely love. I love the mission, the whole thing about it. But quite frankly, I was pretty bored doing admin work. And I felt like I was, yeah, just sending emails and doing things that didn’t feel really congruent with how I feel like I was made and what message I feel like I want to get out in the world. And I’m a person who really values like impact. So it’s less about the income for me and way more about how do I feel, I feel like I’m making an impact, I’m making a difference. And so a couple years ago, at the end of 2019, I was just like, You know what, I’m not getting any younger. And I have all these like ideas of things that I would love to do. And I don’t I don’t know what to do with that, like, here, I am a stay at home mom, kind of working part time doing this and that. And I really want to be speaking or writing or whatever. And so
Megan Nilsen 04:15
I decided to hire a business coach. I mean, I had a girlfriend who was kind of in the she actually used to be my hairdresser. And she pivoted into this business coaching space. And so we had talked, you know, in the hair chair all these years, and she said to me, have you ever thought about like starting your own business? And I was like, knew? Absolutely not. I’m not an entrepreneur. No. But then she kind of, she kind of tickled something in me like she kind of planted a seed that I was thinking about and I couldn’t let it go and I’m like, I don’t know, could I do my own thing? So um, I kind of cobbled together some money. I had had my own little bank account from, you know, the money that I was making. And I thought, Well, gosh, could I hire a business coach?
Megan Nilsen 04:59
Could I actually like just throw all the chips in and see what happens. And that’s how it felt it felt like super scary. I had no idea what I was doing, you know, I decided to invest, you know, $5,000 in a business coach, of which I had no idea how it ended up. And we started working together at the top of 2020. And we started, she was asking me all the questions, what do you like to do? And what do you know? How do you you know, all that’s all the things that a good coach would do, trying to figure out what your gifts and talents are, what your zone of genius and, and how could that work out. And then a few months into working together, she said, You know what, I really want you to be like my spiritual life coach, and I want to hire you. And we’re going to meet every week, and this is what I’m going to pay you. And all of a sudden, I was like, Huh, well, what is that? So we started working together just weekly, meeting weekly having these really deep in depth conversations about life and faith, and, you know, kind of how that informed her life. And it was so enjoyable, like, I loved it so much. And she seemed to be getting a lot of value out of it, I thought, I mean, if she would hire me to do this, and pay me what other people pay me to do this. And so that’s how it started. And I feel like in some ways, it just kind of dropped in my lap. And then in other ways is kind of like the coming together of everything I’ve ever done and kind of who I am. So I’ve just been building that since then for the past couple years. So no longer were
Rita Suzanne 06:26
Yeah, kind of what you were meant to do. And you know, hiring that coach, and you probably because how else does someone decide like, oh, I want to be a life coach, like most people don’t really realize that they can be a life coach. Right?
Megan Nilsen 06:40
Yeah, I mean, I would highly recommend hiring a coach, if anybody feels like they have an inkling of a thing that they’ve always wanted to do write a book, or start a podcast or start a business like anything that you feel like I have always dreamed of doing this, but I for the life of me have no idea how I would go actually about actually implementing the steps to do it. Like a coach. For me, it was a no brainer, even though it felt like a massive financial commitment. I I just know myself, like I have these ideas in these dreams. And I’m like creative by nature. But then the implementing of the thing has always been kind of my Achilles heel,
Rita Suzanne 07:23
I think it creates some some accountability, in addition to like getting the steps that you need in order to get there. And I think that that’s the most important part. I remember, when I started my business, I met a coach and, and she, you know, we were talking kind of partnering up on a couple of projects, and she, we became friends. And she’s just telling me like, you need to work on your mindset. And coming from corporate, I had really no idea what that even meant. And, you know, had I probably not met her, then I don’t know, if I would have, I would be here like if I would have been able to get through all of the blocks that I had coming from a corporate world to a entrepreneur mindset, because it’s completely different. And I don’t think that you realize that until you actually start your business, and you have someone else kind of leading you through the process and kind of helping you and then you know, when you have these problems, bouncing the issues off of them and saying like, Well, what do I do about this, I still give her full credit for all of the help that she gave me. Like she was so instrumental in just changing my mindset over all these years. And it’s been amazing. So I definitely agree, like you should hire a coach, hire a mentor, get help join a group thing, a mastermind, I, I got into a mastermind as well, when I first started and that was that was also very helpful as well.
Megan Nilsen 09:06
I mean, two things come to mind, especially the first thing in that mindset space is I remember in the very beginning when we were just talking about it, and she kind of she kind of mapped out her offers, right? Like, you could meet with me for four hours, and it’s $250 you could meet with me for, I don’t know, a month and it’s this amount, you know, $1,000 Or you could be all in six months for $5,000. And at that point, I was like, what I will never choose that one like, No, I so I should I was like, Well, I think I like the $250 Maybe like $1,000 and she was already before I even committed she was like pushing me and she was like, Why do you want that? I’m like, well, cuz it’s just an easy kind of safe place to start. And so she really got me thinking and she was like, you know, what would it mean to you to be all in for six months at $5,000 and I said I mean, honestly, she kind of took my breath away. And I got a little bit teary. And I was like, I guess it would mean that I believe in myself.
Megan Nilsen 10:08
So I had to have that moment of, why am I doing this, I’m really doing this for me. And for the possible impact on down the road. But for me to start my own business, I had to have that moment with myself of like, do I really want this? And if I do, how much am I willing to commit to it, you know, and then I just needed a high level of accountability. Because I feel like in isolation, especially as whatever a mom, a business owner, you name it, like, if we live our life kind of isolated in our own private worlds, there’s really no accountability, we can kind of have ideas, and we can have things that we want to change. But when we say it out loud to someone else, even if it’s just a friend, or a child, or you, it’s one thing to have it in your mind, kind of just percolating privately. And it kind of is sort of true, but the minute you say it out loud to someone else, and you’re like, you know, what, I actually want to start a business or I actually want to work on this relationship, there’s like this moment of accountability. And so I think that’s the other thing that a coach provides is just someone, like you’re saying it out loud to someone, and it means a that it’s true, and be that you want to do something to get there. And you kind of kind of put your feet to the fire a little bit.
Rita Suzanne 11:20
It pushes you get there and put you in your, you know, and push you out of your comfort zone, which I think is what a lot of us are, you know, used to we’re so used to staying in our comfort zone. And so hiring a coach, it really helps us and just think, you know, everybody says this all the time, but you know, athletes need coaches, like every person needs, you know, something, I think, and a lot of times when people don’t hire coaches, they just I think, cannot always but sometimes can stay stagnant and where they are, you know,
Megan Nilsen 11:57
well, and somebody else can see your blind spots. Like, I can think that I’m doing all the right things, especially if you think of athletics, you can think you’re doing all the right things to shoot that basket or whatever. And so a coach will look at and be like, your hips are completely out of line, you know, like, your business. Your messaging is completely nobody understands what you’re saying, Oh, I thought everybody understood what I’m saying. But they don’t. Okay, good to know, I need to work on that.
Rita Suzanne 12:20
So that’s true. Because my in the gym, my trainer is always like, Wait a minute.
Megan Nilsen 12:26
You’re completely leaning forward, you’re like,
Rita Suzanne 12:29
I’m like, wait a minute, I thought my form was good. And he’s like, no, like, you’re leaning to one side. And I’m like, Ah, I didn’t even know, you know. So I think that that’s completely true. So what would be like some of the best lessons that you’ve learned that you can actually share with us?
Megan Nilsen 12:49
Oh, my gosh, the best lessons, shoot girl that is, that’s a good one. I think in business, a lot of it is really about for me personally, I’ve really had to work on my confidence. And that it’s not about me. So one of the blocks, I think I had in the very beginning was I, I had really a lot of trouble selling to people. Because I was making it all about me, they’re gonna get annoyed, they’re gonna think I am trying to make money, you know. And so when I make this business, or this messaging all about me, I’m gonna feel I feel very self conscious, I feel timid, I feel like I’m not I don’t want to make that phone call, I don’t want to reach out because they’re gonna, you know, I tried, and I’m going to be annoying, etc. But one of the biggest lessons I feel, like I’ve learned over the past couple of years is if you can switch that mindset, and you really kind of reframe it and go, actually, the product of the service that I’m offering is actually not about me, I believe that it can help you now you get to decide if you think it can help you. And if you want to say yes to that. So that’s your, that’s your decision. But when I so when I started, you know, realizing it’s not about me, I actually feel really passionately about the service that I provide. And I believe that I can help you that I’m more confident I’m going to mention it a lot. So I had to do a lot of reframing and mindset work on just talking about my business and and making that feel very, you know, normal in conversation rather than, Oh, I have business I don’t know, you probably wouldn’t be interested rather than oh my gosh, I do this thing. Would you be interested in if you’re not Do you know someone who would be so the sales mindset has been a huge learning curve for me. Still is,
Rita Suzanne 14:46
but that’s been a lot of women struggle with sales and confidence. You know, the two things go hand in hand, right? If you’re not confident in your offers, then it’s going to be a hard sell. Right, the value that you’re bringing with what you’re offering. I think that’s what people focus too hard on the benefits and, you know, listing out these, you know, X amount of hours, this and that versus the value, you know, or the feeling that they the person walks away with, right?
Megan Nilsen 15:21
Well, the word sales or the concept of sales has just been kind of, you know, like, it’s kind of a counterfeit. It’s just been abused, or some sleazy. Yes, exactly. So when you say, Oh, I’m in sales, it feels yucky. But when you really realize that sales is serving someone, you go, Oh, what I like to serve people. I like to help people. I mean, what we do where we’re Hey, your mom, we have people all the time. Yeah. So we’re in sales. Yeah, if you’re a mom, you actually know sales way better than you probably realize you’ve got some innate skills about getting them to eat their peas, and brush their teeth. Like you’ve been working at this for a while, you just didn’t realize it.
Rita Suzanne 16:03
Hi, it’s Rita, I want to interrupt this episode and talk about the sponsor. And today I want to talk about one of my favorite resources on how to get online without creating a website. A lot of times people want to start selling their products and services, but they don’t want to invest in a website just yet. And book like a boss is my favorite scheduling, calendaring system. And I just love it. You can do all of these things with it, like schedule, calls, appointments, you can sell products, you can sell services. And you can do all of these things, linking everything to your calendar, so that you can provide a service for your clients right out of the gate, you can showcase some of your work. And you can show off some testimonials as well as talk a little bit about yourself. I’ve also created a free training, if you want to go check this out. It’s at ritasuzanne.com/29-website/. And now we’re going to get back into the episode with Megan, another mom was interested in starting her own business, what would be your advice to her?
Megan Nilsen 17:25
Well, I mean, I think one of the questions I would ask would be on a scale of one to 10. How, how badly do you want it? How interested? Are you in this thing, this product, the service? Like, I don’t think I would do well starting my own business doing something I wasn’t completely sold out for myself. So part of it is well, what’s your passion? What’s your energy level? Because it’s going to take work. And it’s going to take a lot of hours of you kind of doing the thing, even if nobody’s asking you for it. So what’s your energy and your passion level? And what season of life are you in? Like? How realistic is it for you? In your given season of life with your circumstances? Are you like, for example, if you’re married, okay, I, I would think and if your husband’s making a decent amount of income, and you’re like, you know what, I actually can take a step back and play around with building a business and getting an income because we have another source of income over here. That gives you a lot more cushion, to have, you know, to take your time and figure this out. If you’re in a season, where you’re like, oh my gosh, I need to put food on the table tomorrow.
Megan Nilsen 18:47
There is no other option, then maybe it is sort of like I’m gonna have a job, a job job where I have a fixed income and Oh, start my business on the side. So I feel like there’s a lot of nuance and complexity to the season of life. The you know, the circumstances of your actual family situation. Are you single Are you married? So I feel like it just depends. And I feel like a mom really needs to get pretty honest and clear about what the actual state of life is inside her home. And then decide can can this fit does this reasonably fit into my life? Or is it something that is maybe for a season down the road? You know what I mean? Is it a now or not yet? I would never tell her to give up on her dream. Like if she wants to start our business. That’s fantastic. Like yes, but how would you read how to break away? Yes, right? How would say to honor your relationships to honor like your emotional and mental well being in this season of life is a biggie in my opinion.
Rita Suzanne 19:48
Oh my gosh, it’s almost like what we were talking about with me like trying to put all the things on the plate and realizing you know, not everything can fit on the plate right now. So you have to take some stuff off of the plate and Figuring out what it is that needs to come off I think is is crucial. Like, for me, it’s just trying to do the things that I enjoy and that I love. And, you know, luckily, I’m at a place where I can do that. But had I started my business just now. I mean, I just don’t think that it would have been the right time, you know, because there’s just too many things going on. So I think that that’s wonderful advice.
Rita Suzanne 20:30
So as usual, I’d love to talk about self care, probably because I need tips as you need it. discuss that? Yeah. I mean, I need to know, like, what are you doing so that maybe I can actually implement it in my life for self care?
Megan Nilsen 20:46
What am I doing? Oh, my gosh, oh, girl. Um, it’s so funny. I feel like there’s big things and little things like the little thing that I do is make myself drink a big huge thing of water before I have coffee in the morning. So I realized I was actually really dehydrated. So that seems small. But I don’t know a little while ago, I just started saying I can’t have my coffee until I have like 22 ounces of water. So that was just a way for me to get started at the beginning of the day. In self care. I am, I really love to move and to exercise. So for me, I have to kind of figure out generally a non negotiable as to how I’m going to move my body, I like to do the gym. Um, and I try to organize my day and my business around it. So that other things don’t creep in. I mean, you know, if it’s a snow day, or vacation or whatever, fine, but like on the general normal weeks, I really do try to move my body, whether that’s going for a 30 minute walk, or going to the gym and taking a class. It’s just the only way I can really stay sane. Because I yeah,
Rita Suzanne 22:03
I agree. I think that that’s what’s fallen to the wayside for me was not going to the gym, I was so busy with all these things that something kept on creeping up. Like, I can’t go to the gym, I you know, but during the summer and fall and spring, I’m really good at like getting out and riding my bike and like going and just for no reason. I’m like, I need a break. And I’ll go but you know, here in Ohio, some, you know, the weather is so sporadic. You know, that part, I really miss California because of the hiking that I used to get to do regularly, like daily. But I mean, I think that one thing that my coach taught me from the beginning was, you know, you need to exercise every day, it’s non negotiable. Like every day, you need to do something, whether you said like it’s a walk, or it’s, you know, stretching or doing something. And I think that when you have kids and you have other responsibilities, it’s so easy to put yourself to the back and not do the things because something else is always so important. You know?
Megan Nilsen 23:16
Yeah. And I think the mantra that kind of helped me years ago was somethings better than nothing. So, you know, I think my original idea was, well, if I can’t go to the gym for an hour, then forget it’s not happening, right? Then you realize, oh, if I can do something for 10 minutes, I could do squats and push ups for 10 minutes or something, it’s going to elevate your mood, it’s going to elevate your heart rate. And honestly, ever since I’ve been doing more like CrossFit stuff and like shoot it 15 minutes, yeah, 10 minutes, that’s pretty effective and efficient. So I don’t know where we get the idea that it has to be a certain amount of time. Or it’s not worth it
Rita Suzanne 23:50
like from those all those classes and tapes and all that other. once I started doing like bond stuff, and you know, like and more intense weightlifting. And I mean, I love to live weight. So I’ll be in the gym, lifting weights for over an hour on the weekends, but during the week, it’s just really hard to break away, but I will go in there. You know, I’m getting back. I’d rather say that getting back in there at least doing something because but if I can’t I have so much workout stuff here that I’ve just make time to do. At minimum the stretching because stretching is so important. And I don’t think that people realize how important it is what it is.
Megan Nilsen 24:36
I hurt my back this year. And yeah, you start to realize it’s important, right? Like the last thing I try to do is leave it like a novel by the side of my bed a fiction book because I realized I’m so I’ve been in the state of nonfiction and like self improvement. And so everything I’ve been doing listening to podcasts that the data is all you know like that. self-improvement. Yeah, I love to read novels. What happened? So I’m trying to leave a fiction book by the side of my bed and I only maybe get to two pages before I like fall asleep. Hey, you know, better than nothing? Yeah.
Rita Suzanne 25:16
I mean, I think for probably five years, I was so into podcasts and listening to all of the audio books and all of these things that I wasn’t listening to like any music and I love music. So now when I get in the car, I don’t even turn on a podcast or an audiobook unless I’m on a long trip, because I just want to just, like really, you know, escape and just seeing and be crazy. And yeah,
Megan Nilsen 25:46
who what kind of music do you listen to? To the car? What are you? What are you doing?
Rita Suzanne 25:49
Oh, my, it’s my range of things that I like, are so so.
Megan Nilsen 25:58
Okay, she’s not gonna tell us.
Rita Suzanne 26:00
It’s ridiculous amounts of stuff. Like I like, you know, all that, you know, cliche like 90s rap stuff,
Megan Nilsen 26:08
the like the Super Bowl Halftime Show,
Rita Suzanne 26:10
of course, and I didn’t watch it, because I’m not into sports. But I would have.
Megan Nilsen 26:15
I do realize it was thinking. Now,
Rita Suzanne 26:19
I because I heard that, you know, and, you know, I heard Mary J was really good. And, you know, like, I just love like, all types of like, their stuff from I think every genre that I can, that I can get into if I listen to a song and I like it, then I just love it. You know, but there’s I been listening to like, these positive songs lately. Like, there’s this guy, I wish I could, I wish I could remember her name. But she created this playlist and shared it with everybody. And it’s a lot of a lot of just really inspirational songs. And it’s not like religious based or anything like that. It’s really like, you know, I am and you know, a lot of mantras, and yeah, in in song form. And I’m like, this is actually really cool, you know.
Megan Nilsen 27:12
So, I do love what you’re saying, though. Like, you’re you’re thinking, Wait a minute, I like music. It makes me feel happy. Why don’t I listen to music? I think that’s actually a really good thing for moms to do. Because it’s like, I think we forget. All right, wait, what what actually just brings me joy? Is it getting in the bathtub? Is it like reading a fiction? Is it like going for a walk or bike ride or listening to music? Right? And so part of self care is just remembering. It doesn’t have to be about everybody else, your business and your kids and your husband, if you’re married, like it’s, oh, actually, me what I like you and I like and then when you are filling yourself with what you like, even if it’s just little bits here. And there, you will be a more fun person to be around for your husband, right business for your kids like, right. It’s funny how that works out. Yeah.
Rita Suzanne 28:02
And but you know, I was so obsessed with just trying to make my business work that I was just diving into that. And I think that sometimes the problem with all that, too much education is that people start to go down this slippery slope of following like six different mentors at one time and trying to do all the things that each person is recommending that they do Oh, this one’s saying, I need to start a podcast. This one’s saying I need to start have a webinar or what about this funnel? What about this and then you get really, I just think inundated with all of the options and things that you can be doing. So I think sometimes it’s the best advice is really just to put on those blinders focus on what you want to focus on and just stick to what it is that you want your business to look like. Not what everybody else says that should look like. Yeah, that’s huge. Yeah, I think that’s the hardest lesson though, for people to to actually learn. But um, all right, Megan, so tell us where we can find you. How can people connect with you online?
Megan Nilsen 29:11
Where can you find me? Well, let’s see. I hang out on Facebook a lot. So my personal profiles is Megan Bradley Nilsen and I have a Facebook group called beautiful exchange community group. So that’s for anybody that might be kind of in that faith based space that wants to grow and be encouraged and I’m on Instagram sort of too. Might be a little old for Instagram but Megan underscore Nelson is where you can find me on Instagram and I just joined LinkedIn that is my 2020 to write it out is beyond LinkedIn. So you could find me there too. If you’re like, cool and professional and LinkedIn, and your website. Oh yeah. Me GA N B as in boy. NoNLSC en.com Yes, thank you so much for joining us today. Megan, I appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you.
Rita Suzanne 29:12
And there you have it, I want to encourage you to remember that being a mom who runs her own business is not easy. We all struggle but just keep moving forward. And don’t forget to make time for yourself as moms we are usually the first thing to go to the bottom of the list. If your business is overwhelming you and you need real solutions, not just some sugar coated suggestions apply to work with me at ritasuzanne.com/apply