We had the good fortune of connecting with Madison Cleo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Madison, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I first got the idea to start MadCleo I was working in the Tech Startup world on a Marketing Team that was great, and a team I learned a lot from. I was moonlighting on the side doing some social media for smaller companies and influencers here and there to earn some extra money when I witnessed the CEO of the company I was working for at the time fire someone very violently, right in front of me. I turned in my two weeks notice that day and got to work on finding some clients. I filed for an LLC about a month later. I realized I didn’t want to work on a male-dominated team in that sort of bro-culture environment. I wanted to work with businesses who genuinely need help, who were trying to give the world a small piece of themselves. I’m a huge advocate for self-starters and creatives who want to get out there but don’t know how to get started. In some ways, I was lucky to witness what I did, or else I may have never had the courage to start my own business.
What should our readers know about your business?
MadCleo is all about helping small businesses succeed, more. Whether you’re making earrings in your basement or borrowing 20k to start a t-shirt line on Instagram, I want my business to encourage people to do their best and not to give up. There are so many classes and courses online that will sell you how to launch your brand, or get 10k instagram followers in 30 days. MadCleo can’t help you with that. What we can help you with is digging into your personal journey to figure out where you want to take your little business and give you some tools and help to get there. This comes in a variety of ways, from Instagram crash courses to total social media strategy and execution. Of course, social media is nothing without a good website and email strategy–they all work together. So we do our best to help small businesses realize their full potential by starting with the basics like goals and personas and working through the strategy for the whole of the business. I got where I am today by never saying no to a client who was a good fit, no matter what their budget was. If you have no budget, I’ll send you articles to read and things to try. If your budget is small, I’ll give you the crash course in social media so at least you have the power to do it yourself. However I can help, that’s what I want to do. There is a lesson in literally every movement of every day when you’re a business owner, from saving receipts to developing strategies for companies with 500k advertising budgets. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are: you can’t do everything yourself, always ask for help whether you need it or not, and social media isn’t real.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If someone had never experienced Denver before, and everything was open for business, I would definitely start with Lucille’s breakfast. Next, we’d have to take a nap, ’cause of the ‘itis. After recovering, maybe head to Cheeseman Park for some beers and tunes with friends. I love to take people on a walk of South Broadway, there are so many killer shops like Mutiny Information Cafe, LaLovely Vintage, Awakening Boutique, and Decade has the most fun small gifts. Plus, there are vintage shops to comb through. The best chicken tenders in Denver also happen to be on South Broadway at The Irish Rover, and if you’re a corn dog lover like me, there’s no place in the world with better hot dogs than Sputnik (their vegetarian menu is out of sight as well). For night moves, I love to take people to Hi-Dive. It’s a small, smelly, dark bar with rad people and incredible bands. Go there, tip your bartenders. For the crowd who’s looking for more than an Extra Gold or shot of Pappy’s whiskey, I like to take them to The Block Distilling Co., a local distillery in RiNo. The owners of The Block take spirits very seriously without being pretentious dickheads, and that’s hard to come by. Stop by and have literally any cocktail on the menu, I swear it will blow you away.
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?
There have been so many people who have helped me along the way, it’s hard to condense it into a short statement. There are some pretty kick ass female entrepreneurs in the Denver area who have really helped me figure out who I am as a person and what MadCleo really means to me as a business over the last few years. You know who you are.