We had the good fortune of connecting with Mel Judson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mel, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Before starting my business I worked for 10 years as a Creative Director in the Entertainment Industry in Los Angeles. I worked very long 12-15 hour days, for many years with little pay and lots of stress. When I was 29, I finally worked my way up to my dream job with the fancy title, salary and all the perks. I thought that I had “made it” but when I started the new position, I was miserable. It was even more stressful than before, I quickly spent my entire salary increase on paying people to do things for me like cook and clean just so that I could work more. As I was approaching 30 I couldn’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life.
It didn’t help that the entertainment industry was full of sexism and Boy’s Club culture. I was constantly not being taken seriously and having to prove myself, amongst other things. I started dreaming about a way that I could help more women be in a position of power and decision making. I also knew I wanted more freedom in my life to work less and travel more.
After a few months of research, I was very privileged to be able to take a leap of faith and invest my entire life savings in a Business Coach. She helped me create the idea to start my own creative agency based on my career experience. I was really lit up by the idea of creating as many women CEOs as possible by helping them launch their business with an amazing brand and website. We worked together for 6 months architecting the business idea, offers and marketing plan. Because I invested so much energy up front, I was able to launch the business and very quickly replace my corporate income so that I could go full-time in my business.
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am the founder of a Creative Agency that creates luxury brands and websites for women with online businesses. We offer an elite, high-touch experience and create branding that sets our clients apart and positions them as the go-to expert in their industry.
The secret sauce that sets my business apart is that I deliver highly intuitive designs that make my clients feel like I have read their mind. Most of my clients are high-performing, successful entrepreneurs and they have an idea in their heads of what they want. I have developed a system to ask the right questions and read between the lines to deliver the perfect solution. My clients affectionately refer to this as the “Mel Sparkles Pass.”
I am most proud of the fact that my business helps women quit their jobs and become CEOs. Women building wealth and having access to resources is incredibly powerful and a crucial step in creating equality. Having a beautifully designed digital home creates confidence in my clients and makes them feel seen and heard. It makes them more excited to market and helps them grow their business and I am honored to have personally supported over 200 women in their entrepreneurial journey.
When I first launched my business 4 years ago after 6 months preparation, I replaced my corporate income within a week and quit my job to go full-time in my business. I thought that I had cracked the entrepreneurship code and “made it” without having to struggle. How wrong I was!
After quitting my job, I sold all of my belongings, leased my apartment and moved to Bali to be a full-time traveler and live the digital nomad life. I was getting more and more clients, and having a harder and harder time serving them.
Because my business was new, I did not have any systems in place. I ended up working even more than in my old corporate job. 14-16 hour days were the norm for me. I would stay at my coworking space in Bali until 2am trying to finish client work. And sometimes even later if I got caught in one of the infamous monsoon rainstorms.
I couldn’t spend any time enjoying my new life and was even more stressed out than in my corporate job. During this time, I continued taking on new clients, even ones who weren’t a great fit, because I had a fear of leaving money on the table. Even though my business was doing well, I didn’t know if the clients would keep coming so I was afraid to spend any of my money building out systems or hiring a team.
Finally, I hit a breaking point when I developed a chronic health condition from stress and my business coach worked with me to hire a team and develop systems in my business. Implementing systems and hiring a team made all the difference in the business and I was able to go back to serving clients at the highest level and increase my revenue while working less.
Because of my systems and automations, I am now able to travel the world while running my business. I have been able to fulfill dreams like swimming with Great White Sharks in New Zealand, visiting Machu Picchu with my sister, taking my mom on her dream vacation to Switzerland and celebrating my 10 year friendiversary with my best friend in Greece. In addition to coming from a place of privilege where I was able to take this risk, this is all from taking the leap of faith to change my career at age 30, investing in the right support and having the courage to create systems and hire a team when it felt scary.
Now, as I coach new business owners, I always have them lay the foundation for systems and automation from the beginning so that the business is set up to scale so that they can create freedom in their business from the beginning.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I call the whole world home since I’m a digital nomad and I travel full-time, typically staying about 3 months in a country before moving on to the next. Things have changed a bit with the pandemic though. I am currently calling New Zealand home and have been staying here for the past 8 months, moving around to a different part of the country every month or so. I’m writing this right now from my favorite cafe in Queenstown, NZ called Yonder which I love because they have food for all dietary needs/preferences (vegan, gluten-free etc.) and outlets at almost every table for working!
I would also take a friend here snowboarding at Remarkables with a view of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and for a walk around Lake Wakatipu.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shout out my sister, Danielle Judson. She supported me in every possible way when I started my business. She listened to my fears when I first invested in my business and coach and helped me navigate quitting my job. She was in the apartment we shared cooking food for me while I worked until 2am each night to get my website launched. She has since gone on to start her own vegan baking business and blog www.daniellejudson.com