Meet the Founder of Quixotic Design Co., Meredith Cancilla
Meredith is the CEO + Creative Director of Quixotic Design Co., and a brand and web design expert.
She went from 9–5 corporate designer working with high-profile brands to a broke freelance designer, working from her studio apartment, to thriving CEO of her own design agency* (*see also: tripling her 9–5 income and working on her own terms) in just a few years.
Her focus is on intelligent design, brand strategy, and helping women-owned businesses to scale and succeed. Meredith believes that design is more than just a facade — it can truly maximize a brand’s potential, audience connection, and revenue.
Meredith has helped hundreds of women-owned businesses become the go-to in their industry with Quixotic’s signature, results-driven branding process.
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Meredith, to know a bit more about her journey as an entrepreneur.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Meredith: I knew from the minute I stepped foot into a corporate office that the 9–5 life wasn’t for me. While I loved the structure that I experienced working for agencies, I wanted more room to experiment and develop as a creative. I wanted more freedom than just 2 weeks out of the year and knew I wouldn’t find that in a 9–5. It was when I started my own business that I was able to explore design without the limitations of the corporate world and create a workplace that allowed me to live the lifestyle I had been dreaming of.
Q. How did you get started?
Meredith: I left my last agency position to have some time to process after losing someone very close to me. During that time, I toyed with the idea of never going back to an office. Taking a break from the repetition of everyday agency life allowed me to take my business from an idea to a real-life studio. I picked a name (which was honestly the hardest part), designed my brand and website, and started posting my work to Instagram. Within a few months, I had enough clients to keep me afloat.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Meredith: The biggest challenge I faced was my own fear of the unknown. When I first started my business, I was so afraid to fail (especially when I had unsolicited opinions warning me about the instability of entrepreneurship at every turn). Hearing advice like “say goodbye to your steady paycheck” and “you won’t have benefits if you leave your job” made me question my decision to start my own business. I had never been a risk-taker, in fact, I was more of a rule follower for most of my life. But in taking a chance and branching out on my own, I was able to create a career that fulfills me in every way, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Meredith: Opening up my business to mentorship! In formulating a design process that has proven effective across hundreds of clients, I’ve been able to help tons of designers start and scale their businesses as well. In my signature course, Dream Big Designer, I provide designers with the tools and support they need to build an agency that allows them to work less (and travel more), become booked out with dream clients, and reach new heights in revenue with passive income streams. I created this course because I wish someone had taken me under their wing a few years ago and shown me a real formula for building a business. Now, I’m able to mentor designers of all walks of life, no matter where they are in their design journey.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Meredith: Building a Story Brand. This book is absolutely critical in understanding your ideal client and positioning your business directly in front of them.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
Pinterest — an incredible social platform for designers that acts more like a search engine. It’s a great way to recycle content, attract a new audience, and boost website visits.
Dubsado — the all-encompassing CRM system that has completely streamlined my business. This app has saved SO much time with canned emails, auto-populating forms, and accounting software built into one platform.
Asana — my favorite app for managing client projects from start to finish. Asana allows me to create templates for all of our project processes, and keep client projects organized.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Meredith: I want to help other entrepreneurs take the leap, and feel empowered to start their own businesses. The joy that my clients and students have experienced in leaving their corporate jobs to start their own gigs is what keeps me excited to go to work every day. Giving new entrepreneurs the tools, community, and support they need to succeed is my top priority. Watching them step into their role as CEO and thrive is the icing on the cake.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Meredith: Take risks, measure results, and be ready to adjust your sails.
To keep up to date with Meredith and her journey, connect with her on Instagram.