Interview with Andrea Kirsch, Founder at MAKE Digital Group
The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Tell me about your education?
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies- Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Missouri- Kansas City.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
Growing up, I fell in love with reading and found myself visiting the library weekly, checking out all types of books. As a latch-key kid, I quickly found that by reading, I could wind up in wonderous places. I think it was 1990, when for the first time, First Lady Barbara Bush’s Literacy Foundation program launched. I stumbled upon her recommended reading list in a magazine, from American classics, to her favorite literature stories, I took that list and had to read each one. Stories like Little Women, Diary of Anne Frank, Story of Helen Keller and Huckleberry Finn, these stories stayed with me, characters with perseverance and heart. I still have that same love for storytelling. By the time the sun has come up, I’ve read tons of emails, blogs, articles, and books. To quote Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” Rings true in all aspects of life.
We all have entrepreneurs who we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
My husband and MAKE Digital Group business partner, Evan Kirsch. When he became a partner in the company, with his background in entrepreneurship and finance, paired with his passion for people and culture, he transformed the business into a company full of integrity and ingenuity. He inspires me because his nature is always future-focused and people-centric. He continuously grows those around him by listening, mentorship, and relentless positivity. The best part of working with him is that I know I have a trusted partner that truly wants the best for both me and the company. He’s also a former hockey guy, so he’s used to moving fast!
I am also inspired by renowned thought leaders like Seth Godin, for his persistence of permission-based opt-in marketing, and the power of the tribe to influence decisions. Arianna Huffington for her work as a media mogul turned wellness and sleep champion. Gary Vaynerchuk and his story of bootstrapping it until you make it. The leaders that have had the most influence on me and my professional life seem to be the ones that are the most authentic, selfless and emit a vulnerability that is relatable. I could definitely go on about the countless others that have paved the way for me in my career journey.
Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
MAKE Digital Group
Where is your company located?
Kansas City, Missouri
What services or products does your organization provide?
Digital Marketing + Experiential Web Development. Services include strategy planning, content development, animation videos, social and media plans, branding, product launches, search engine optimization, and advertising. Full list of services can be viewed here, https://makedigitalgroup.com/services/.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
We are in the problem-solving business. Many times clients come to us when they are out of time, or already spent a fortune, and have limited internal resources. It’s up to us to bolster on where needed and rise to the occasion. With the vast and fast-changing digital landscape, we help educate our clients on opportunities for conversions. We make over their brands, so they have a long-lasting legacy and competitive edge. We work to make a big difference on their bottom line, so they have more to invest in the future.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
Bottomless coffee…I kid, as a performance-based marketing group that views clients as partners, we see ourselves as an extension to their team, we act as if we wear their company t-shirt and sport their business pride. There’s much to accomplish, so we take activation steps to gain quick wins out of the gate. We like to prove our worth. If we don’t, we ask them to fire us. We are comprised of fearless, driven, creative people who have a real passion for doing really good work. Our culture of collaboration has given us the opportunity to work with some of the industry’s top businesses, brands, leaders, and influencers. Being in the middle of the map, Kansas City, is home to some of the country’s leading advertising, tech, and digital marketing firms. It’s a competitive industry, so we bring a Midwest flair paired with a bicoastal hustle mentality. We run towards the finish line with our clients and partners to get to the next milestone. MAKE is intrinsically motivated by our love of coffee, dogs, music, travel and the great outdoors.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
The group was formed in 2008, out of a market need. It was a less than stellar economy, that meant clients required an agile team to streamline and stretch budget dollars even farther than ever before. MAKE Digital Group was founded to be a driving force that uses a comprehensive omnichannel approach to provide results. Since then, we’ve grown hundreds of brands through proven tactics and strategic plans. It’s amazing how hard-working people can make all the difference.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Final question. We would like to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Every day we get to choose what we will do with our time. By providing value through passion you can establish yourself in your career. Majority of my success has come from just showing up, and being responsive. When we communicate, share our intentions, and perform ethically, you find yourself always in high demand.
STAND ON SHOULDERS OF GIANTS. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish when you inform others what it is that you seek in your career. I’ve been fortunate to work for and with some of the best brains in the business. From fortune 500 executives to local business owners, non-profit leaders, and university educators, we’re all working towards doing our best work. When I look back at my journey, it’s the relationships I’ve formed that stands out the most. It’s my favorite part of the job.
EDUCATION IS KEY. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of your craft. I think education, practice, and being both a generalist and an expert helps entrepreneurs get through the ebbs and flow of business. We are fortunate to live in an era where we can do and make business happen anywhere in the world, from the palm of our hands. By reading, writing, studying your craft, you can be sought after in any niche you desire. By being financially savvy and having the wherewithal to hire others that are smarter or better than you at any part of the business, will help keep you above water. I’ve learned that you don’t do business very long if you don’t do good business. Some of my very first clients are still clients today. Their businesses ventures may have evolved, but people will always choose those they trust with their investments and brand future.