The Wixii™ Project: Megan Zacher
“Travel is an expensive hobby and we’ve purposefully kept our lives simple because we love adventuring around the world. Chris and I opted for only one child, we live in a relatively small house, and we buy used cars….[We] avoid over-spending for birthdays or holidays. Instead, I make a fabulous photo album documenting our adventures since memories are more valuable than stuff.”
Meet our featured Wixii™, Megan Zacher. She is in her late 30s and mother to a 5 year-old son. She received her B.A. in Architectural Studies and Anthropology from Brown University and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is a graphic designer for print and web, and she and her husband run their own consulting firm, Zebra Incorporated. She has summited over 30 of Colorado’s beautiful Fourteeners, many of them several times.
MEGAN’S CAREER PATH:
Growing up in Denver, I enjoyed drawing and painting as a child, but always considered art just a hobby. Deterred by the prevailing “starving artist” stereotype, teachers and family members encouraged me to consider architecture instead (a more respectable profession at the time). So, I headed east to study architecture at Brown University. But after graduation, I gravitated towards graphic design, happy to discover I could make a living creating art after all. After four years in Rhode Island and another four years working for architecture and technology firms in New York City, I moved home in 2001. From 2001 to 2005, I worked as Art and Marketing Director for several Denver-area firms including The Integer Group, where I designed for the Proctor & Gamble and Dex Media accounts. Finding the work void of creativity (and agency life inefficient and unsatisfying), I left my “day job” in October 2006 to found Zebra Incorporated, an award-winning design and consulting firm specializing in nonprofits and small businesses.
MEGAN’S WORK-LIFE MIX:
My husband Chris and I comprise Zebra Incorporated. We’ve built our lives around three priorities: our family, our community, and travel. I met Chris in 2004 while working for the same architecture firm, and we immediately bonded over our love of travel. We married in 2006 and set out to create a work-life mix that enables us to travel for several months a year because two weeks vacation is simply not enough. To justify yearly visits to Central Italy, Chris and I co-author a blog about the region (http://www.borgodimontemigiano.com). Our son Zander was born in 2008 and already an avid and enthusiastic traveler – we celebrated his 5th birthday in Italy and he can’t wait to return next year.
The Denver community is a major priority for us. We specialize in small businesses and nonprofits often ignored by other firms due to their limited budgets, providing high quality consulting services at a 40% discounted rate. We help create strategic marketing and fundraising plans, recommending low-cost printing and web solutions in order to make the most of limited marketing dollars. Chris joined Zebra full-time in 2008, and he provides accounting and human resource support for nonprofits. We share many clients and enjoy collaborating on community projects. Chris has served on the board of City Park Jazz since 2007 and he’s been President since 2010. Together, we rebranded the popular concert series, redesigning their marketing materials and creating a new and improved website: http://www.CityParkJazz.org. Zebra is a proud benefactor sponsor of the series, volunteering all design and marketing services since 2009. Our latest community endeavor is Levitt Pavilion Denver. We are working to fund the project, a $4 million amphitheater in Denver’s under-utilized Ruby Hill Park. Zebra has contributed all of the marketing materials for the project, and Chris volunteers over half of his time raising funds and support for the public/private project. When it opens in 2016, Levitt Pavilion Denver will provide 50 free concerts a year: www.levittdenver.org.
What specific actions, choices, steps and/or decisions have you made (or would you like to make) to better manage your work-life mix?
Zebra’s business model keeps costs competitive because our overhead expenses are minimal. I run the design firm out of my home “office,” a former broom closet in my mudroom. My husband, Chris, joined the firm full-time in 2008, and we are Zebra’s only full time employees. I contract with programmers and copywriters on a project-by-project basis, only as needed. This model allowed Zebra to grow 170% from 2008 to 2013, despite economic ups and downs.
Please share specific tips for effectively managing your time and schedule.
Travel is an expensive hobby and we’ve purposefully kept our lives simple because we love adventuring around the world. Chris and I opted for only one child, we live in a relatively small house, and we buy used cars. We never buy anything at full price and most of our furniture is second-hand. We search the internet for deals, buy our appliances “dent and ding,” and avoid over-spending for birthdays or holidays. Instead, I make a fabulous photo album documenting our adventures since memories are more valuable than stuff.
Please share your favorite efficiencies and timesavers.
Online coupons are my favorite – every time I shop online I search the internet for coupon codes and regularly save 30% and free shipping. I also avoid the over-spending triggered by malls and stores, especially around the holidays.