We had the good fortune of connecting with JoDee Turner and Cara Christenson, sisters and co-CEOs of Elevate5 Web, Strategy & Design based out of southern Colorado. We’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi JoDee & Cara, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
There were a few reasons to start our website design business, but the concept began with rather humble intentions. First, both my sister and myself wanted more time with children. Specifically, I wanted to put my children on the bus each morning! Such a simple desire sparked so much good. Working and commuting was not only pulling us both away from our children throughout the day, it was pulling us away in the early morning and after school hours where so much of their living and growing was taking place in their little lives.

At the same time, we both greatly wanted to excel at our craft in a meaningful way. At the time we began working together, I was wrapping up a graduate degree and teaching in the digital communications space and my business partner was self-teaching WordPress and CSS and growing her previous business in a major way. We had often talked and dreamt about combining our extensive design backgrounds and complimentary skillsets, but life just kept happening and we kept stalling our launch. In fact, we were both deep into our then professional roles when we literally had our first client find us and it just, well, fit. That was nearly ten years ago when we first launched!

Finally, we both wanted to authentically be ourselves and serve others in the deeper way in which we truly felt called. We had been getting the nudge for a time, and finally had to listen as the business found us. In fact, the name of our business is Elevate5. This is not only based off of our desire to elevate other businesses, it also stems from Matthew 5, which speaks about letting your light shine before others. This is something we naturally do for our clients in so many different ways, by helping them define and own their story, their worth, their brand, their website and their outreach.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Absolutely. Elevate5 is a website, branding, and authentic messaging company. We have a small, but mighty team spread between Colorado, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. As a group we are geekily passionate about helping small business owners, specifically women, find ways to use the online world to authentically grow their businesses! We are proud that our websites and brands create real, powerful and authentic connections, bringing to digital life the goodness of a business that is often in the mind of the entrepreneur, but often not well-explained on a website.

We deeply enjoy helping our clients experience success in the online arena. Elevate5 thrives on making what is often overwhelming and out-of-reach for the small business owner, both understandable and exciting! We create beautiful, strategic brands and websites for entrepreneurs that allow them to show up confidently, charge what they are worth, work with clients they love and genuinely enjoy what they do.

If we couldn’t encourage small business owners to do one thing, it would be to invest in themselves. Invest in the area that will most propel your business forward. If you need a coach, find and hire the right coach. If you need administrative support to invoice efficiently, find and hire that support. Those seem fairly obvious, right? Yet, in the same token, so often business owners experience growth and then overlook the crucial nature of their brand and online presence. It is key for small businesses that aim to thrive in this more-than-ever digital world, that they have a professional brand, message and website… with this investment your site can become a great resource that works hard around the clock to generate and engage qualified leads! 2021 is the year of the small business website upgrade!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Cara and myself are blessed to live in the mountains near the small town of Rye, Colorado. When friends or clients visit we enjoy hosting them in our beautiful little area of the Rocky Mountains. A sure stop for friends is Cara and her husband’s family’s ranch, where you can enjoy a great company and maybe even a ride into the canyon to take in the beautiful vistas of the Greenhorn Mountain and the plains below. Another must-see is Lake Isabel just up the Highway 165. This lake is a beautiful blue, full of fish to catch, and surrounded by towering pines. Another family favorite is to stop into our local hangout for brunch, Three Sisters’ Restaurant in Colorado City.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Being small business owners, creatives, and work-from-home mothers was fully inspired by our mother. My sister and myself were raised by a hard-working woman who was the ultimate maker, long before that was trendy. She created pottery, painted, made furniture — you name it, she did it, and well. In the late 80’s she started her glass engraving business and to this day she is still crafting and creating. And, of course, she did this while raising us girls. Early on we were trained on helping customers who called or visited her shop at our home. There were so many entrepreneurial lessons packed in that life season and we must have drank our fill! Our mother worked very hard, built up her business, and yet was still there to get us on the bus in the morning obviously making a big impression on us both. Although it’s never easy nor even smooth, we learned early on that family was key, and working hard in your business helped keep that family together.

We’ve also been bless to be surrounded by a number of inspiring women who have fed into and mentored us in growing Elevate5. Sandra Yancey of eWomen Network has been such a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. We’ve trained with her over the past two years and seen great growth anytime we’ve come alongside her or her organization to learn and grow ourselves, our team or our business. We’d highly recommend the eWomen Network chapters in Colorado Springs or Denver to any female entrepreneur looking to shine her light brighter in 2021!

Website: Elevate5.com

Instagram: Instagram.com/elevate5

Facebook: Facebook.com/elevate5

Other: Clubhouse: @elevate5

Image Credits
Photo Credit for professional images: Malissa Ahlin

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.