We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Hodgkiss, JD, PhD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Megan, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I hadn’t planned on starting my own consulting business. But it’s turned out to be one of the best decisions — personally and professionally — that I’ve made. I’ve always had a passion for the communication industry. Prior to starting my own company, I worked in print journalism, magazine feature writing, television news, and radio promotions. I’ve also earned graduate degrees in communication theory and public communication. After I graduated from law school, I fully intended on becoming a First Amendment attorney. But the economy had other plans for me. My graduation coincided with the recession, and law firms weren’t hiring entry-level attorneys. While I searched for a job, my friends who had started their own firms offered some small communication projects. One reached out and said “Hey, I know that you write really well, want to work on my newsletter?” Then, a second called and asked, “I saw that you’re doing her newsletter; will you work on mine and also my blog?” It just snowballed from there. I quickly realized that there was a need — attorneys who wanted marketing and communication for their firm, but didn’t have the time to do it themselves. So, I decided to launch Hodgkiss Consulting LLC. I love having my own business! The work incorporates my interests of communication and law, and I am constantly learning about new areas of the legal industry. While I started out with solo or small law firms in the Atlanta area, I’ve now branched out to larger organizations across the country. Hodgkiss Consulting offers strategic communication and custom content for community groups, law firms, and businesses.
What should our readers know about your business?
MORE ABOUT HODGKISS CONSULTING: At Hodgkiss Consulting, we offer custom content (web content, newsletters, blogs, articles, professional bios, press releases, award submissions, research papers), social media management (planning, creating, posting, analysis), as well as copyrighting and editing. We have package pricing, plus add-ons or a la carte items. Hodgkiss Consulting works with law firms and businesses across the country, as well as non-profit organizations and community groups. We’re dedicated to our client’s growth and success, and are most excited about the projects that boost their authority and online presence.
WHAT SETS ME APART FROM OTHERS:
While I work with law firms, businesses, and community groups, I would say that most of my long-term clients are lawyers. One thing that sets me apart is my background – I’m a licensed attorney. When you’re dealing with legal language, you have to be so careful with the terminology and jurisdiction. I think that attorneys are more comfortable working with me (over a non-lawyer) because of my legal training and attention to detail. They know that they won’t be spending their time making corrections and edits because the marketer is unfamiliar with the content. Overall, I would say my experience and education set me apart from other marketing or communication companies. I have the legal background, a Ph.D. in communication, more than 20 years in the communication field, and I’m regularly taking classes and workshops to stay current on marketing technology and techniques.
LESSONS I’VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY:
When I first started my business, I was figuring out things as needed. At first, it was how to create a division between my personal life and my business projects. Creating a separate email address and phone number helped a lot! Yes, the information still goes to the same computer or same phone, but having those two separate funnels helped me set my To-Do lists and work schedule. It’s also easier to stick to your chosen schedule when the work emails and phone calls are separate from your personal accounts.
Another challenge was figuring out how to spot a quality client versus a bad client. When you first start a company and are trying to make enough money to cover your bills, it’s so tempting to just take any client who comes in the door. But, in the long run, a bad client is bad for your business. It can also be a drain on your energy and mental health. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at spotting the red flags and have politely turned away clients or projects that aren’t right for me. (Ex: clients who don’t respect you or your work schedules, clients who do not value your work, clients who are not communicative and create schedule bottlenecks, etc.).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When it comes to Atlanta, there’s no shortage of places for visiting, relaxing, or enjoying a fantastic meal — no matter your interests or time frame. I love learning about Georgia history, so some of my favorite places in the city are the Atlanta History Center, Michael Carlos Museum (on Emory University’s campus), Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Historic Oakland Cemetery. Atlanta also has some wonderful greenspaces, like the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Park, Grant Park, and Arabia Mountain. For food, I will always say “yes” to grabbing lunch or dinner at Doc Chey’s Noodle House or Manuel’s Tavern; when I’m feeling fancy, I’ll visit Southern Belle in Poncey Highland. If I had a friend in town, I’d love to take them on one of the neighborhood walking tours that the Atlanta Preservation Center offers. Also, I can’t wait for the Atlanta Roller Derby to re-open; that’s such a fun event, and some of the best people watching in the city.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without the encouragement of my friends and the support of Atlanta’s legal and journalism community, Hodgkiss Consulting LLC would not be where it is today. I also owe a huge “thank you” to Jen Sincero (author of the You Are A Badass series) for inspiring me to level-up my professional game and to business coach Briar Dougherty for helping get me there.
Image Credit: Rupa Kapoor Woman Redesigned
Other: Portfolio: https://www.hodgkissconsulting.com/portfolio