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Patty Malowney of Badass Web Goddess: “You need a support system”

You need a support system. It takes a lot of emotional energy to be an entrepreneur. You have to put your game-face on all the time. I once read an article about the psychological toll of being an entrepreneur. A CEO was talking about the way entrepreneurs really feel when they are “faking it till […]

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You need a support system. It takes a lot of emotional energy to be an entrepreneur. You have to put your game-face on all the time. I once read an article about the psychological toll of being an entrepreneur. A CEO was talking about the way entrepreneurs really feel when they are “faking it till they make it”. He said something along the lines of, “everyone looks at you like you’re brave riding a lion, but inside you feel like you’re about to be eaten by the lion.” I relate with this.

Being an entrepreneur takes a lot out of you and you need a support system. I have a handful of people in my life that I can always turn to. Everyone needs a tribe. I have a small circle of amazing friends that I can lean on when I get depressed or discouraged. These friends are my support system and encourage me to keep going.


Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Patty Malowney. She is the Co-Founder of the parenting website, JustMommies.com, and Founder of BadassWebGoddess.com, an Albuquerque digital marketing company that helps small businesses grow their online presence and increase their sales. She started her first company at the age of 28 and sold it a few years later to the dating company eHarmony.com She runs an internet marketing blog where she gives advice and tips to local businesses on how they can rank better in search engines.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before wet to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I got the entrepreneur bug from my father. He used to drag me to see motivational speakers when I was a kid. I started my first business when I was 24. I was a Mary Kay rep. During my time with Mary Kay, I learned the art of “faking it till you make it.” I recruited a team of 12 women by daily prospecting at the grocery store, the mall, and restaurants. I went on target to win my car twice and made a decent part-time income. I eventually quit Mary Kay, but I learned everything I needed to know about building a business from my time with Mary Kay.

I started my second business, JustMommies.com in 2004. When I started the business, I didn’t have a lot to invest. I created the website with a 40 dollars garage sale computer and 10 dollars dial-up internet services. The first couple of years we didn’t make any money, but I knew in time we would make a profit. I started reading everything I could on search engine optimization, and by the end of the third year JustMommies was bringing in around 200,000 dollars in revenue. That’s when I was approached by eHarmony to purchase the website. In 2008, I sold JustMommies to eHarmony.com. The day I sold JustMommies was the most exciting day of my life. I was living the American dream and I thought it would last forever.

However, in 2014, my 12-year-old daughter attempted suicide and my entire life was flipped upside. Over the course of two years, my marriage fell apart. I had to sell my house, used up all of my savings, and had to start my life over with all my belongings packed in 2 plastic bags.

I never gave up on my dreams though. After a couple of years on my own, I decided to launch my new business. A very good friend who had heard my story inspired me to try again. He told me a story about Jim Rohn and how he had lost his entire fortune. He said, “Patty, you know how to do something other people don’t. You know how to make a million dollars.” This good friend was my very first client for my new business.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

I have always helped my friends with advice on how to start a website or market their business. People would ask me all the time how I did it and if I could teach them how to do it. One day I realized I was really good at internet marketing. I started contacting business owners I knew. I approached my first client with an offer he couldn’t refuse. I asked him if he would let me manage his social media account for 25 dollars a month. He became my first client for my new digital marketing business.

What I learned from my first business was that growing a business was all about developing relationships. If you do a great job for someone, they will want to help you. With his encouragement, I decided to go for it. I launched Badass Web Goddess in 2019 as a small digital marketing company. Since then, I have grown my business and now run a successful digital marketing agency in Albuquerque.

In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?

My dad has always told me I am a natural, but I don’t think being an entrepreneur came naturally to me. I have severe anxiety. When I left my marriage, I struggled to do anything by myself. Talking on the phone and setting up sales calls was very stressful for me. I remember vomiting before talking to clients. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has always been difficult. I often wonder if that part ever gets easier.

Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?

I have two people in my life that inspire me, my father and my first client. They are the two most supportive people in my life. My father inspired me to start my first business and my client has pushed me to do it again.

I met my first client on social media. I was running for office in Michigan. I shared my story, my personal life, and what motivated me to run for office. He heard my story and we became friends. When I met with him the first time, I offered him a small contract to manage his social media accounts. That was the beginning of our friendship. He inspires me, keeps me focused, and has been my lifeline every time I have wanted to give up. We talk on the phone every week. Not only do I manage his marketing, but he is my accountability partner, mentor, and good friend.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

One of the things that stand out about my company is its name. When I came up with the name for my business, Badass Web Goddess, I thought maybe I should use something a little more professional. I was really nervous about it, but it suited my personality.

What I discovered is that my clients love it! I found my second client because of my name. I handed him my business card after I had dinner at his restaurant. The next day I got a phone call. He told me my name caught his attention and he wanted to know if I’d be interested in helping him with his social media. I get emails all the time telling me I have the best email address ever! It’s really worked for me.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

If I had to pick three character traits that make me successful I would say perseverance, drive, and faith. A lot of people will tell you success is all about how hard you work, but I think faith is the biggest factor for success. It’s hard to jump in the deep end and trust that you are not going to end up drowning. Running a successful business takes a lot of faith. Entrepreneurs take risks that other people don’t. I look at people like Elon Musk, and how he believed in his company so much that he invested all of his money into it, even though he had no guarantees it was going to work out. To me, what makes an entrepreneur successful.

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?

I have had countless people tell me to charge more for my services. Their advice was to ask for what I am worth. I initially started my business trying to charge people for expensive packages. What I discovered from this, was that it created a lot of pressure for me and I had a hard time finding clients.

I like working with small business owners. I started my own business with a tiny budget. I get the small business owner better than most people. When you start a relationship with a client, you need to establish trust and over-deliver on their expectations. By starting my clients off with a small package, I am able to develop a positive relationship right from the start. They love how I treat them and that I am not trying to take advantage of them. As you deliver great service, clients will invest more money in you. I have grown my business by working with small clients and helping them grow their business. It’s led to great testimonials and referrals I wouldn’t have gotten if I had charged them a lot on the get-go.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?

I recently read the book, The One Thing by Gary Keller. In it, he talked about the myth of work-life balance. He said a balanced life is a myth. I got a lot out of that. In life, you’re going to have pressures, and everything is not always going to be in balance. Focus on what’s most important, what’s going to bring you closer to your goal, whether it be a financial or personal goal, and stop worrying about trying to balance everything.

What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?

In my opinion, building a business is all about developing relationships. I try to make a great first impression by starting with a small project and exceeding the client’s expectations. Entrepreneurs tend to be overachievers. We often commit to more than what we can realistically do. I have been guilty of this myself. It always ends up backfiring. Don’t overcommit to what you can do. Establishing trust and credibility means delivering way more than what was expected. In the beginning, you may end up undercharging for your services, but the rewards will come later through word of mouth, referrals, and testimonials.

Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?

Too many companies undervalue their customers. I have gained several clients because of their experience with other businesses. When you go above and beyond for a client, it makes an impression. Before you know it, you have grown a loyal customer base and clients who will send more business your way.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

The biggest issue I have seen with small businesses is not being prepared to ride out the initial storms and scale their business. With my first online business, our operating costs started growing before we had the resources to pay for them. During the first two years, I made no profits and all of my revenue was reinvested into the company. I have seen so many businesses go under because they weren’t prepared to pay for the initial costs of getting their business off the ground. You have to be smart when you scale a business. You also have to reinvest in your business and not take all the profits right away.

Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?

I don’t think you can be an entrepreneur without a little drama. It takes a lot of inertia and energy to build a business. I don’t relate with people who are satisfied by a “regular job”. Entrepreneurs are just a different breed of people. They take risks. They dare to do things when other people are afraid to try. They do things without a backup plan. The excitement you get from watching a business grow is like nothing you could ever experience at a job. On the other hand, the lack of security can cause serious anxiety and depression at times. You have to love being an entrepreneur to be successful at it, and you have to be able to handle all the highs and lows.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

I have always been one of those people that jump into something even if I don’t know how to do it. I learned how to fake confidence from doing Mary Kay. I remember my first big SEO client. She emailed me for a quote for SEO services. I had never actually done an SEO audit or created an SEO plan for anyone, but she didn’t know that. I remember feeling physically ill for 3 days trying to figure out how I was going to pull it off. When I took the job, I was so worried I was going to disappoint her. I researched and created a plan to help her rank better in Google. When the job was completed, she was thrilled with my results. It may seem like a small little feat, but when you start a business, you don’t have a guide or training on how to do it. You just have to figure it out as you go along. This was my first big contract. The relief from actually pulling it off, made me feel empowered.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is not knowing when the next check is coming. Some months go well and other months you don’t know if you are going to be able to pay any of your bills. When I was growing JustMommies, my house went into foreclosure. The cost of running the server started getting really expensive, and the income wasn’t there yet. I had to make the decision to pay the mortgage or pay for the server. It was extremely stressful. I knew I had a great business because our traffic was growing so fast, but I didn’t have enough money to keep the business afloat in the beginning. Eventually, the money started coming in, but it was really stressful riding through this growth period.

Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?

I have always meditated and prayed. I use meditation to relieve stress and to get me through difficult times. I meditate to get direction when I need it. When I am worried, I go to a sanctuary in my mind, where I feel safe. I imagine my future, where I want to be and not where I am presently. Being able to see the big picture, and knowing that eventually, I will be on the other side of whatever storm I am dealing with, helps me to keep going.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.

#1 You need a vision

If you don’t have a vision for your business, where you want to be and what you want your business to look like, you’ll never be able to create it. When I started my business, I had a vision of creating the best digital marketing agency in Albuquerque. I understood it was going to take time to grow my business, but I knew what I wanted and where I was going.

I have tried more than one pathway to success. I have had people try to steer me or recruit me into their business, with their plan or their vision for me. But, if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, you won’t be successful at it. When I feel discouraged, I look back at my first successful business and remember how difficult it was in the beginning. I was just an ordinary mom at the time, but I had this dream, a vision for my business. I remember being laughed at when I told people my goals. The satisfaction came later when I proved all my naysayers wrong. Having a vision is what drives me to be successful at every business I’ve gone into and helps me get through the difficult times.

#2 You need a plan

I will admit I am not the most organized person, but if you want to have a successful business you have to have a plan. I am big on list writing. I keep it simple and write out my goals in baby steps. When I make ambitious goals, it overwhelms me. So, I try to work through 90 days at a time. Every three months I write out a new 12-week plan for my business and break my goals down into very small steps. I write weekly and daily goals for myself using my plan as a guide. I’ve been using this method for years and it works for me.

#3 You have to have tunnel vision

When I started my digital marketing business, I didn’t approach it as I did in my first two businesses. I didn’t have tunnel vision. I was all over the place with my strategy, trying to make money from a bunch of different avenues. After a while, I realized why my first business was successful. It was because I had tunnel vision. I was completely and incredibly focused on my business. It was my only priority. I put it first. I didn’t have a ton of other goals distracting me. I put all of my energy into one thing, growing my business. Once I realized that I decided to stop working on side projects and other goals, and put my entire focus into my business. That’s when I started seeing results. You can’t do well at everything. If you are trying to do too many things you won’t be successful at any of them.

#4 You need a support system

It takes a lot of emotional energy to be an entrepreneur. You have to put your game-face on all the time. I once read an article about the psychological toll of being an entrepreneur. A CEO was talking about the way entrepreneurs really feel when they are “faking it till they make it”. He said something along the lines of, “everyone looks at you like you’re brave riding a lion, but inside you feel like you’re about to be eaten by the lion.” I relate with this.

Being an entrepreneur takes a lot out of you and you need a support system. I have a handful of people in my life that I can always turn to. Everyone needs a tribe. I have a small circle of amazing friends that I can lean on when I get depressed or discouraged. These friends are my support system and encourage me to keep going.

#5 You need tools to handle stress and depression’

I have several tools I use to manage stress. Meditation, exercise, and journaling are my three best tools for handling stress. I make time every day to meditate for at least 15 minutes. That time allows me to decompress. Exercise is my go-to antidepressant. Sometimes it’s hard for me to make it a priority. You get really focused on your goals, and don’t want to make the time. But, for me, it’s a must-have for my mental health. I also journal regularly. It helps me to get out my feelings and relieves stress.

We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

My son tells me I am the strongest woman he’s ever known. I didn’t have an easy childhood or have a great start in life. When you meet someone who is successful, you often think they must have had it easier. What I have found is that the most successful people I have met didn’t have it easy. What sets them apart is they don’t let obstacles stop them. Resilient people are persistent. They don’t let failures and setbacks stop them. Each time you fail at something you learn from it. Resilient people are capable of learning from their mistakes, riding out hard times, adapting, and getting back up when they have been knocked down. They don’t let failures stop them from trying again.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?

I didn’t have an easy childhood. As a teenager, I lived with relatives. Shortly after my 18th birthday, I was told, “I don’t care if you sleep on a park bench you’re not coming home.” I remember living in a one-bedroom apartment with 5 dresses to my name. I didn’t realize till I was older, how much more difficult my childhood was than others. However, I am grateful for my experiences. They have made me a stronger, more compassionate, more resilient person. I have done things with my life that I would have never thought possible and I credit a lot of it to my childhood. There are things you learn from your struggles.

In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?

I truly believe you get back the energy you put out. I do my best to be positive and have a good attitude. Nobody’s perfect, but I think my positive attitude and authenticity are why I am able to handle difficult situations and why I have so many amazing friends.

Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.

There is more to having a successful company than making money. If you’re miserable and have clients you hate working with, you won’t be happy or enjoy your business. When you love what you do, you’re more motivated, more passionate, and more successful.

I try to surround myself with positive people. I find my enthusiasm and positivity attract people to me. One thing I have learned from my business is to be true to myself and authentic. When I first started my business, I tried to put on a front and act like what I thought my clients wanted. I ended up with clients that I didn’t mesh well with. Now I am picky about my clients. If their energy doesn’t match mine, or if they give me a bad vibe, I don’t work with them. I would rather pass on a toxic client, and work with like-minded positive people.

Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?

One of my favorite quotes is by Sarah Blakely. She said, “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” This quote spoke to me when I first started my business. I remember thinking I have no idea what I am doing or how I am supposed to do this. Every time I get discouraged, I read it and remember it. I think there is a lot of truth to this. I don’t want my business to be a copy-cat of someone else’s. I like what I do and have discovered my strengths by figuring it out for myself.

How can our readers further follow you online?

You can follow my internet marketing blog at https://badasswebgoddess.com/blog-home/

Or follow me on social media.

https://www.facebook.com/badasswebgoddess
https://www.linkedin.com/company/badass-web-goddess/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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