Happy Flourish Friday!
If you’re new to How I Flourish in Des Moines, this blog series shares the stories of local women in business. Get ready to learn more about these passionate women, how they started businesses in the Des Moines area, and advice they have to share.
Introducing Megan Bannister and Olio in Iowa
Today Megan is sharing insight into her role as a blogger for her travel-focused blog, Olio in Iowa. Her Midwest focus reminds us all that there is a lot more to do and see in Iowa (and around the heart of the U.S.) than we realize!
Megan has profiled a bunch of cities and stops in Iowa and neighboring states, taking some of the the planning out of your next semi-local trip.
Learn more about Megan below.
1. What is your business, and what do you do?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and editing, and all of my current projects and side hustles reflect that love. My blog, Olio in Iowa, focuses on offbeat destinations and hidden gems around the Midwest and beyond. Over the last few months, I’ve started to explore the ways I can share my love for and knowledge of the Midwest with others as they plan vacations of their own. I’m excited to expand my business and start offering trip planning services and pre-made itineraries very soon!
When I’m not seeking out roadside attractions or tracking down “world’s largest” things, I also do some freelance work as a journalist and copywriter for a variety of businesses both large and small.
2. How long have you been in business?
I’ve officially been freelancing since 2013, but I started my first travel blog in 2011.
3. What sparked your interest in becoming a small business owner?
Small business ownership really sort of snuck up on me. I’ve always loved the idea of working for myself, but sort of fell into it by accident when I started freelancing. It actually took me longer than I’d like to admit to start referring to myself as a small business owner instead of “just a freelancer.” Getting to know so many other fantastic female small business owners is really what got me to start taking myself and my business more seriously.
4. What gap does your business fill?
I cringe every time I hear someone say that there’s nothing to do in Iowa or that the Midwest is just flyover country. My business helps show people that there are places to explore in their own backyard, and that taking a vacation doesn’t have to mean saving thousands of dollars for an international flight. My blog has been a great way to spotlight the hidden gems and often overlooked stories the Midwest has to offer, but I’m excited to expand that resource into a service that can be tailored to someone’s specific interests and desired destination through personalized trip planning.
5. What do you enjoy most about operating a business in the Des Moines metro?
One of the things I’ve always loved about Des Moines is how easy it is to get involved and make an impact here. Des Moines has many of the elements and amenities that draw me to bigger cities while still feeling like a relatively small town. When it comes to building a business here, the network I’ve built and the referrals that have come my way because of it have been absolutely invaluable.
6. What is the best business-related advice you’ve received?
“You have to ask for what you want.” It may seem obvious, but I know I still struggle with this one on what feels like a daily basis. I’ve learned the hard way that if you aren’t bold and brave enough to ask for whatever it is you want—in your business, in your personal life, or anywhere in between—that it’s going to be awfully hard for it to come true. The shared wisdom that we each need to have the courage and conviction in ourselves and our businesses to own our desires and ambitions has truly been one of the most impactful things I’ve kept in mind as I grow what my day-to-day work looks like.
7. What tip do you have for other women in business?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! As someone who can be a truly paralyzing perfectionist, I sometimes struggle with reaching out to my network for support, or seeking out help when I don’t know where to turn. Even if I’m not 100% sure what it is exactly I need, the habit of confiding in someone else that I’m struggling has been one of the most liberating and empowering things to happen to my business. It’s important to remember that the people who believe in you want to help you succeed—you just have to let them!