Morgan Munkvold is the owner of Joule Adventures. Read our interview with Morgan about her experiences with Xcelerate business advising (Sales & Marketing).
What inspired you to start your own business?
I believe renewable energies, like solar power, are an incredible resource that can help mitigate the impacts of our climate crisis. I also believe that for individuals to step into the use of solar power, they need to have a positive experience using it. I wanted to create the opportunity for people to reliably harness the power of the sun to empower their dreams, adventures, and lifestyles.
What are some of your key goals that you worked with Xcelerate on this year?
My main goal was to bring all of my lofty ideas into actionable strategies so I could feel more confident and empowered to keep moving forward in growing my business. I really wanted to focus on identifying sales strategies, aligning my sales strategies with marketing efforts, and finding a brand voice/narrative that would create cohesion with my sales and marketing efforts.
How has your identity as a woman and any and all other intersectional identities impacted your business?
Personally, I ask myself the question 'Why me? Do I belong here?' often in the world of renewable energy. I feel like I have to hold a deeper sense of knowledge, not make any mistakes, and have the perfect words in order to be seen as a credible source in the world of solar power with both clients and business partnerships. There are not many women working in the field. I feel that I get questioned more on my credibility and knowledge than my male business partner.
What were some of the challenges you faced this year and how did working with Xcelerate help you to overcome these challenges?
My greatest challenge was balancing my personal life while still making time for Joule. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 was filled with supporting my mom, traveling for appointments, and managing my own mental overwhelm throughout her treatment. Through that time I struggle with knowing how to prioritize my time and my actions within my business. I felt emotionally and mentally drained. Working with Xcelerate allowed me to feel less alone in balancing care taking with business ownership.
My first coach, Amanda Wilson, gave me an analogy that allowed me to keep moving forward, even if it was slowly. She said, you are juggling a lot and some of those pieces you are juggling are glass and some are plastic. Your mom, that's a glass ball. She encouraged me to identify what other items I was juggling, to see which items were glass, and put down or pass off the plastic ones for now. She reminded me that I could ask for support with some of my 'plastic' tasks, or place them down and they would be there when I was ready. She gave me the permission slip to simplify and identify the most pressing tasks and focus there. Putting down some of the plastic balls gave me the chance to let go of the pressure I was putting on myself and build clarity around my actions while still creating space to care for my mom and my mental health. My mom had a clear cancer scan just last week! There are many plastic items I'm still picking up that I wish I could have completed earlier, and we are still moving forward!
Are there any wins or achievements you have celebrated this year while working with Xcelerate?
Our gross margin was 54% this year, which is 21% higher than we budgeted! I focused a lot on identifying high priority tasks which allowed me to identify areas where we could save. I also hired contractors for the first time. Passing off tasks that were taking up a large amount of my time (and mental load) to someone who could do it more smoothly and efficiently was a game changer. I am also currently in the final stages of launching three different product offerings with a more simplified installation process which will be released just in time for the holidays!
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your Xcelerate experience?
While I didn't hit my sales targets this year, I can reflect on a year in business that built my confidence. I have been able to step through the clouded analysis paralysis and take action on tasks that will actually impact the growth of Joule Adventures. I could not have done that without my Xcelerate coaches. I live rurally and my community of female identifying business owners is small. Having the support, encouragement, and knowledge sharing from the Xcelerate coaches allowed me to keep moving forward, one step at a time. Thank you to the whole team for believing in me and encouraging me.
Follow Joule Adventures on Instagram: @jouleadventures
Celebrate Women's History Month with us Freeland Spirits!
In honor of Women’s History Month, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is hosting a panel featuring female founders who will share about their entrepreneurship journeys.