Megan Prejzner, CEO of Hackett Brand Consulting, and Founder of MegPrez.com
Meg is CEO and founder of Hackett Brand Consulting, an award winning brand consulting firm, Hackett Local - a small business marketing agency, and MegPrez.com, where my mission is to help people find peace and clarity in their life everyday by empowering them to understand their true purpose (it's way easier than they think) and to feel confident choosing their own path in life.
She's led marketing for Fortune 50 enterprises, international organizations, national franchise brands, and small businesses - resulting in multi-million-dollar, revenue-driving marketing campaigns, nationally-recognized social programs, trending influencer events, and award-winning brand redesigns.
What's your industry?
Brand & Marketing
For people who don't know you, can you tell us how you ended up sitting where you are today?
I started my business after bungee jumping in New Zealand. But as it goes with any good story (and with most of us), the story never starts there.
I got my degree in Public Relations when my college didn't have a marketing & advertising degree, so I flipped a coin (literally) between the next closest options and it landed on PR. So I went down that track, graduate, go to grad school, move to a big city and work for a top PR firm before working your way up the corporate ladder for a major brand all by time I was 25. Something was nagging at me telling me I wasn't happy - in fact, I knew that I was always going to start my own business, I just didn't know the how.
Fast forward a few years, raises, executive position and a nagging uneasiness that I was on a path that was not meant for me, and I found myself on a vacation in New Zealand that would change my path. On that trip, I went bungee jumping and in a cliche-yet-profound moment of taking the leap, I knew when I got back I was going to shake everything up.
And that is exactly what I did. I started Hackett Brand Consulting, inspired by AJ Hackett - the founder of bungee jumping, and have done some incredible work in branding & marketing since. Yet on the horizon, I am on the path of reinvention, as I aim to help others create and pursue their own path through my personal work beyond marketing & branding.
What does your daily routine look like?
I thrive on routine because it helps me prioritize my physical and mental health alongside running a business, raising a toddler, and everything else life throws at you.
During the week, I wake up between 5:30-6 a.m. everyday and workout for an hour. Then, I spend some time meditating before my toddler and husband wake up. We spend some time as a family together drinking coffee, eating breakfast, playing, etc. before on to work.
Day-to-day is always a bit different, but I prioritize business admin and development work every day before diving into client work. Then, normally client meetings, building brand & marketing strategies, and growing brands!
I save the evenings for my family/getting extra work done after my daughter goes to sleep and repeat. For me, this routine helps me stay centered, focus on priority work and know what to prep for the day ahead.
What excites you most about what you do?
I love helping people improve and grow their mindset, alongside their work/business. As a consultant, I get the privilege of not just executing marketing tactics but helping people really shift their mindset to focus on the right next steps, align their vision with their goals and gain clarity in what is that they want to do AND how they're going to get there.
For me, everything is bigger than just tactical pieces. I really love helping people feel like they can accomplish anything and then giving them the practical tools to actually do so!
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
This not advice, but rather two ideas that have stuck with me for nearly 20 years. The first was from a high school teacher who simply stated, "Always be kind to people, because you never know what they're going through." This just resonated with me, because so many people are going through things you don't know, or maybe they're just having a bad moment, and this idea has helped me show up patiently and empathetically for others.
The second idea came from an old boss and mentor who was hiring me for an internship, when he mentioned that he hires for fit because you can teach someone how to do a job but you can't teach someone a personality. And while a little rough, it taught me that how you show up in the world (kindly being a big one for me), is often more important that what you do. And this is an idea I think when hiring myself.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
I've been paving my own road my entire life. For me, there has never been a roadmap, or clear direction, or mentors there to show me the way.
When I was 15 I decided I was going to go college, the first in my immediate family to do so. This was not an idea from parents, or school, but rather the way that I saw would get me out of an adverse childhood situation and on the right path for a future different than what I had been shown.
So I wrote a check for my own ACT test, every college application, and so on. From choosing my major to looking for jobs, every step was one I forged myself by creating my own path.
Choosing to start my own business and then grow it, has been very similar. I didn't know where to start, what I was going to do, or how I was going to do it - just that I was going to do it. It's a bit of a powerful play because I am trusting that I will figure it out as I need to, but at the same time, it's the hardest part because there's never been a clear course for me.
I've always created it, often in the dark and by myself, but it's given me a sense of resilience that I otherwise wouldn't have.
This is why I want to help others get unstuck, and take steps creating their own path by showing the way! If I can help be a guide and make a few steps along the journey easy for someone else, well, I am going to do just that. The rising tide lifts all boats idea.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
I have a few go-to books that really have shaped my journey. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Four Agreements and Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz are two that I swear by.
I love listening to Gabby Bernstein, Mel Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Have you ever used a business or executive coach?
I have worked with coaches in group settings but not one-on-one, though this something I plan to expand into in the near future. I see the undeniable importance of coaches, but more importantly, the need for the right coach for you.
It seems like there are a lot of people offering business coaching these days. In your opinion, is that a good thing?
I do believe this is a good thing. People are not a one-size-fits-all mold and having new coaches enter the arena and join forces to support others means more representation, more of an opportunity to find a like-minded coach, and more people helping. I like that the field is opening up and people can find more options that the stale leadership models of the past.
With so many coaches, I do recommend people look for a coach that is a fit for them, is qualified to be a coach and has experience in the area(s) that you want to grow into. This may shift and adjust over time too. I have seen some people act as coaches when they should be more of a strategist or consultant, which is not a bad thing, but be sure to look for what best fits your business needs.
People can sometimes confuse a coach with a mentor. Can you help us clarify the difference?
Yes! Absolutely. I also think people confuse a coach with a consultant or strategist. Each play an important role in business, but have different outcomes. A mentor is someone you look as aspiration and inspiration, and can ask advice about that you trust. This differs from a coach because a coach should work with you hand-in-hand to not only provide advice and insights that stick but also give you the tools, framework and mindset support to act on that insight. It goes a step further. And when it comes to business, a coach should also be looking at the numbers - how can you grow, improve, etc. with tangible results.
For any entrepreneurs or executives looking to work with a coach, where are the best places to find a great one?
Looking within your network for referrals of a trusted source and turning to Google, Podcasts and other marketing channels to do your research is a good place to start. Ultimately, I would interview different coaches and find the right fit for you before committing - as you would do a person you hire, a therapist, or even dating a partner.
What 3 qualities would you say separate a great business coach from a bad one?
I hesitate to call someone a good or bad coach, because I believe there is someone from everyone but I do believe there are few characteristics that everyone should look for in a coach.
Fit for You. We all operate by a sense of values and you should make sure the values of your coach align with the values of you and your organization.
Go by the numbers. It's important to work with someone who understands the ins and outs of your business, including the numbers, and can think like a CEO. Can they evaluate what's working not just on a interpersonal, mental level but within the confines of your business? Can they evaluate risks and make recommendations for how to approach risk? Can they help you better understand your numbers so you can grow.
Actionable. This ones a big one, but it's a piece that falls short when people are talking about strategy, consulting, coaching and the likes. Often times people come in and sit at a high-level but don't show you how to implement the necessary steps to move the needle. Make sure you work with someone who will not only show you the path, but help guide you.
Do you think someone can be a great business coach without having many years of experience?
I do. Experience is important, but to experience, you also need to get experience. I have worked with people who have multiple decades of experience be less impactful than people who have one decade of experience. Years of experience can definitely be instrumental to improving your business, but it's not the only factor. Some people can have the years of experience, but lack the implementation, or understanding of your business, or understanding of true growth. It's about balance.
What do you think the world of business coaching will look like in 20 years' time?
There will be more coaches with heart-centered approach to business coaching that aligns both values with outcomes. Consumers are demanding more from businesses and people, and business coaches will align their approach (they already are!).
You'll see business coaching become more accessible the way we're seeing access to everything else become more accessible. You'll have more flexible apps, websites, etc. that will give you access to more coaches, at more prices, etc. and the old way of top-down, assertive business coaching will be less and less.
We'll also see a shift in who gets business coaches. I believe people will begin to work with personal branding, career and business coaches earlier on in their career journey and it won't be solely reserved for entrepreneurs, executives and high-ticket arenas.