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How Megan Gopp Is Charting a Path of Resilience and Innovation in Marketing

Megan Gopp's headshot

Original photo credit: Meagan Shuptar

Meet Megan Gopp, the Founder of The Adventure Agency, a boutique marketing firm specializing in amplifying their clients’ unique magic through strategic storytelling design. 

Megan’s entrepreneurial journey is one filled with resilience and dedication. She realized her path forward when she discovered her passion for graphic design as a teenager. After studying graphic design in college, she secured an internship in the rigorous world of advertising in Chicago. With just $20 to her name and borrowed couches to sleep on, her tenacity quickly emerged. Applying the lessons she learned during that time became the cornerstone for her entry into the world of entrepreneurship and her ultimate success. Once focused on financial milestones, Megan is now committed to embracing community building, truly enjoying entrepreneurship, and appreciating the satisfaction that stems from doing meaningful work. 

We asked Megan about the story behind The Adventure Agency’s founding, the most impactful lessons she’s learned since starting her company, and how she would describe the journey she’s been on thus far.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on The Adventure Agency? 

I have known that I wanted to be a graphic designer since I was 15. It’s what I studied in college and found myself doing professionally. After seven years of industry experience, I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. However, I didn’t want to do it for someone else. I wanted to choose my own clients, work on my own schedule, and design the way that I wanted to design. The excitement I felt when starting my business as a “side hustle” was electric. I wanted to chase that feeling forever, so I made it my full-time job! 

 5 women standing by statues in art museum

Photo credit: Meagan Shuptar

In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur? 

Upon graduating from Michigan State University in 2012, I was offered an unpaid internship at an advertising agency in downtown Chicago. It was my dream. So with $20 in my pocket, my now-husband and I moved to the city and slept on couches while I worked a retail stockroom from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., then at my unpaid internship from 12 p.m. until the work was done. It was a true test of resilience, which helped train me for the entrepreneurial life. As a business owner, you’re sometimes faced with adversity, hard decisions, and an unknown future. But the thing is, I’ve already survived that. Taking big steps and making hard decisions is not something that I fear thanks to my past experiences, which have brought me to where I am today.

Have you ever felt like you’re “different”? If yes, in what ways has this contributed to your journey as an entrepreneur? 

Absolutely! I have always felt like I tread the line between rational, data-focused thinking and creative artistry. I was the only junior in my high school to take calculus, but I felt like I was always trying to answer the problems from a creative perspective. In my art class, I wanted my pieces to be strategic and have purpose, rather than being art for art’s sake. I’ve been able to adapt these two trains of thought to entrepreneurship, specifically in owning a creative business. 

What were the most impactful lessons you’ve learned starting and running a company? 

Relationships are everything. We rarely market ourselves or find clients who do not already know our work through our network. Most clients have come through referrals, which I’m really proud of. If you go above and beyond and prove to your clients that you’re worth their time and investment, and they love the work you provide for them, they’re more than happy to share your name with their friends. Building, fostering, and maintaining relationships is more important than I ever realized.

A woman holds a bottle in her hand

Has your definition of success evolved throughout your journey as a founder? 

My definition of success has completely evolved throughout my entrepreneurial journey. When I first set off on this path, I had my sights set on financial goals. I thought, “Once I hit X amount in revenue, I will feel so fulfilled and successful.” Then I’d reach said goal and not feel any different. Now I set my sights on building community, helping others feel the freedom that entrepreneurship allows, and enjoying the work that I do. That is my new definition of success.

What people have contributed the most to your successes? 

First and foremost, my team. I could not do this without them. They are the backbone of The Adventure Agency. Second, when I first started out, I had a mentor, Sandy Marsico from Sandstorm Design in Chicago. She has built her agency in a way that I admire, allowing her the opportunity to travel and be a present mother while also leading a team and having pride in her work. She has helped show me that it’s possible to have all of the things you want in life. You don’t have to sacrifice being a business owner to be a mother and vice versa.  

I've always tread the line between rational, data-focused thinking and creative artistry, wanting my designs to be strategic and have purpose.

Have you discovered any misconceptions around leadership? 

We trust leadership to always know what direction we need to go in or the right thing to say to a client. At the end of the day, we’re all human. There are very strong leaders and there are some who really should not be leaders at all. Regardless, no one is perfect. It’s almost like when you grow up and realize the adults aren’t all perfect. People are people, and people make mistakes. Realizing that as a leader has really helped me when imposter syndrome rears its head!

What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again? 

It’s okay to take risks. Leaving a steady, salaried job with an office and a view is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. While I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, it was excruciating to step away from my colleagues and the comfort a 9-to-5 offers. 

Megan Gopp standing in a hallway surrounded by other people.

Photo credit: Meagan Shuptar

How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again? 

I would describe my journey as wild. Going from sleeping on a couch to owning my own business, leading a team, and becoming an adjunct professor teaching at my alma mater is incredible. I owe it all to the brave 21-year-old who moved to Chicago with no money and the brave 29-year-old who decided to quit her comfy day job and start a business. I owe everything to them and I would do it all over again if I had to. 

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