so - what do you do?

Four of the most terrifying words in the English language.
Your pulse quickens, your tongue is suddenly made of sandpaper, and your ability to speak coherently is out the window.

Cuz what do you say?

Core Catalyst Academy | Megan Dowd

Perhaps it all started with ‘follow your bliss AND get paid!’

You loved taking photographs since high school, it was a natural progression to go to college for photography and then open a photography business post-graduation, but problem is—all of the photography classes were about the art of photography and not the business of photography. Now you’re so disenchanted with even the act of taking photos, you don’t know what to do. And with messaging that’s all over the place just to get handfuls of potential clients through the door, you’re missing out on sales, and raw talent will only take you so far.

Core Catalyst Academy | Megan Dowd

Or what about the disgruntled Life Coaches out there?

Through those coaching hours for your training you got a feel for who you love working with, but now that you’re out in the real world, you’re attempting to offer every package under the sun to stay competitive with your classmates, and even started a program that might be best geared toward those you don’t even want to serve! There’s confusion and chaos in your marketing as you avoid making any decisions that might box you in, and you feel forced to accept EVERY client inquiry for fear of losing money. Oh sweet sister, we need to curb that Keeping Up With The Joneses mentality and root you in the work you WANT to do.

Core Catalyst Academy | Megan Dowd

Or maybe you’re perpetually in desperation mode.

You post your original art prints to IG inconsistently, you’re always fiddling with Google Analytics, making a note to “SEO your site” (whatever that means) to properly tag your pieces, and trying to DIY some half-assed FB ads in an effort to entice new customers. As a last ditch effort, you always end up shifting your prices for custom artwork upon inquiry and offering print combos without ever really knowing how or why you’re offering these things. You know that custom work can be an amazing way to increase your revenue but you have no idea how to do this consistently, and often think that folks are just lazy and don’t get the importance of beautiful, professional art. I hate to break it to you, but—another DIY course on selling your art on Instagram won’t make up for a complete lack of foundation and purpose.

Life is hard for everyone involved, not just the CEO and the big cheese, when you’re a solo entrepreneur.

And when the solopreneur is burnt-out? The tension builds and the health of the relationship suffers. Your friends, your family, your partner - they all want to be supportive, but unless they also run their own business (and frankly, even if they do) they don’t get the ins and outs of what it means to run a biz solo and why just making money isn’t enough. And from personal experience, if I hear one more well-intentioned “if you have bills to pay you just need to figure out how to pay them and DO IT” I may well vomit. This just feeds the internal spiral, and lord knows we don’t need any other external pressures to succeed - we’ve already got the pressure cooker turned up as far as the dial goes.

Enter STage Right:

Core Catalyst Academy | Megan Dowd

Using my Core Catalyst Framework, you’ll break everything down to build it back up from a place of strength and resiliency that’s aligned with YOU and YOUR VALUES: remember, #humansfirstbizsecond.

This framework allows us to do some serious digging and values work on not just why you do the work you do but how you got here and how that past has informed your present. You’ll clarify that Big Idea you’ve had brewing, prioritize how it’s going to live within the scope of your work, and wrap it all up with an actual, practical plan to put your Core Values back at the center of your biz.

Side note: remember, you can let your past inform your present without it dictating who you are.
Exploring this balance is an essential part of the framework.

Ashley Beaudin | Testimonial
Megan is an empowering presence. She was a key part of taking me from burn-out to intentionality in my business. She has this vibrant and strategic energy to her that simultaneously makes you feel truly supported while getting you to move forward in a way that doesn’t lead you to more hustle, but to more purpose.
— Ashely Beaudin, The Imperfect Boss

The modules for the Academy follow the Core Catalyst Framework:

Look to the past in order to understand the present.

Understand action and motivation as an indication of Core Values.

A cascade of restructuring in alignment with Core Values.

Create a plan for full Core Value realignment.

Dr. Andrea Moore | Testimonial Pic
Megan makes you dig deep down and think and reflect. She gets you to know yourself and your story better than you’ve ever known it - almost like meeting a part of yourself you didn’t even realize existed.
— Dr. Andrea Moore

Core Catalyst Academy | Megan Dowd

what’s in it for me?


Starting July 1st, we’re in for an intense 12 weeks, mapped out with the Core Catalyst Framework, and designed to bust through your bullsh*t. Of course if you’d like a sneak peek of the calendar, click HERE, no judgement - but trust me when I say this has been carefully planned and crafted, tried and tested, to make sure you’ve got enough time to breathe while also keeping a fire lit under your butt. Procrastination is an option but forfeiting the work isn’t.

You’ll get access to a new workbook at the start of each module, plus homework check-ins by yours truly to ensure you’re setting a solid pace for yourself - which may look different for everyone!
It may be a group program, but that doesn’t mean group pacing.



There is no way you can do this work in a vacuum. That’s why you’ll have your own cohort of 4 other womxn and non-binary entrepreneurs who are ready to work just as hard as you are. Your regular group calls will be with this cohort to better support one another and delight in the growth you’ll all see. Add in 1:1 voxer and email support from yours truly, and you’ll never feel left high and dry as you might if you were trying to DIY your way out of burnout.



Of course all the clarity in the world doesn’t do sh*t if you don’t actually have strategy and systems to back them up. Good news - I LOVE SYSTEMS. And more importantly, you’ll learn how to implement the systems that will be best for YOU and YOUR BUSINESS rather than a broad stroke of suggestions.

Plus, you’ll have lifetime access to the resource library, including all current and future guest expert mini-workshops and live Q&As. Though we may have only 12 active weeks together, the systems and support are here for the long-haul with you. No membership required.



Not every group call or voxer message is worthy of it’s own #spicysoapbox, but make no mistake:
I will not let you bullsh*t any of us, especially yourself. We don’t have time for that.

On the flip side: this is a safe space for any and all manner of venting! Being a solopreneur is HARD WORK and within these (metaphorical) walls you are safe from retribution for blowing off a little steam about that one client that’s driving you up the wall.

AllieTrumpowe | Testimonial
I call this business-soul-work — hard things to tackle, but it feels like chains are lifted when you see that breakthrough. And Megan busted through my bullshit and excuses. Now, I don’t see things as black and white as I did before. And finding out more about myself and my values has opened me up to a lot more of ideas of what I can do, products I can create and promote, and how I can really build something around who I actually am, rather than who I think people/customers want.
— Allie Trumpower, AllieScraps

Applications are open!

Bonuses | Core Catalyst Academy

Cart Closes Monday, June 24th.

Julie Rose Alexander | testimonial
It was an absolute pleasure working with Megan. She is a thoughtful listener and excellent at connecting and re-envisioning what you want. I definitely have a clearer vision of what I want my business to be. I also am being kinder to myself and being less of a perfectionist when it comes to making plans for my business.
— Julie Alexander, Do More Than Makeup

who the heck is this chick?

©2019 Alicia Leigh Photography

Hey There! I’m megan.

Core Values Enthusiast and Compassionate Hardass.

This Core Catalyst Framework all started shortly after Megan Has Good Words became my official business. The husburrito had a short Come-To-Jesus talk with me about the word and brand strategy work I was doing for folks, not to mention going into the backend of their websites to clean up the user experience a bit and it became a full-fledged real business. As my first few brand, copy, and web design clients came in, I quickly realized that many folks thought they needed one thing but in reality needed something else entirely: they longed for a deeper connection with their work and community, and while a new logo or bio might assist that, what we really needed was to dig deep into some Core Values and find what meant the most to them and their people as HUMANS FIRST. At the same time I was clarifying my own Core Values and finding the thread through every part-time and full-time endeavor I’ve ever had.

Full disclosure: everything is connected, and I have no doubt in my mind that every one of those 30-odd-part-time-jobs have been an integral part of leading me to where I am today and what I do. I’ve always been very frank about this with clients, and I find that by discussing this interconnectedness and encouraging clients to have a new perspective on their past experiences as indicators of Core Values, they are able to pull themselves out of burnout and start creating work that is fulfilling and full of ease.
Side note: I will never say this work is EASY but it can be done with ease and that there is a crucial difference.

Stephanie Cleary | Testimonial.png
When I started with Megan I was doing VA work as a side hustle until I was able to bring in enough with my primary business. I had done some core value work in the past with other programs, so I was a little “oh jeez, do I have to do this again?” Megan really challenged me to drill down and get VERY specific with my values. This wasn’t some namby pampy “let’s feel good about ourselves” work. It was really specific, personal, and useful. When your work lines up with your values, work can be easy. Well, maybe not easy, but... easeful. (You know what I mean.) It can delightful, and you attract the bestest clients. Basically, by working with Megan and through the CCF, I’m all “I LOVE MY JOB!” About 4 months after working with Megan I was confident enough to let go of my last VA client. It felt SO GOOD. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m now only doing bookkeeping, the thing that feels good, is easeful, and I don’t need any side hustles to augment my income.
— Stephanie Cleary, With Stephanie Cleary

get out of your own way.

You may be thinking to yourself “Can’t I just do this on my own?” and the honest to goodness answer is YES! You could.

Honestly, we could all figure out most of business by ourselves with enough testing, tweaking, pivoting, and failing. But that’s the long road and that’s not what we’re here for. Burnout sucks and you’re ready to get past it NOW, not maybe kinda sorta in a few months or even a year. Really, what this comes down to is:

Do you want to make shifts and start seeing results now?
Or start on this journey next year?
Where could you be if you started today with someone in your corner showing you the path of least resistance?

You know how you can spend months analyzing a problem but a friend looks at it for 5 seconds and instantly tells you what's wrong or what needs to be fixed and it all falls together in a snap? This is like that.

need a syllabus-style breakdown?

Excavate Icon | Megan Dowd

Module 1: Excavate

This is 1-part I firmly believe understanding your past can help you better shape your future and 1-part the language you use in telling these past stories will help you understand so much more than just your history. In this phase of the framework you’ll breakdown your work history, skills history, and take a catalogue of peak life experiences (moments when you felt totally in flow and in sync with all things), and create a preliminary inventory of your top 3-5 Core Values.

You’ll have two group calls with your cohort and regular homework check-ins with me (plus some creative homework custom to YOU) to ensure you’re asking the hard questions and not just phoning in what you want to be and think you should be - this is digging deep in the human you are right now.



Module 2: Clarify

While you broke everything down and disassembled every piece in EXCAVATE, in Clarify you need to use those disassembled pieces to lay a new foundation. Sometimes this looks SO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from your original foundation you don’t even recognize the pieces. Sometimes it’s very similar, but with a new order here and there. Most importantly, keep your mind open and free from what it USED to be. If you need to, take the time to grieve what was before - even if it’s not working for you and you need to let it go, it’s still hard to say goodbye to pieces of ourselves. With one group call and unlimited voxer support and homework follow-up from me, you’ll be afforded the grace and time needed to process your deep excavation.


Prioritize Icon | Megan Dowd

Module 3: Prioritize

Now that you’ve clarified those pesky Core Values for your business AND for you as a human, it’s time to sort this shiz out. You’ll need a list or workflow of the shiz that needs to get done on a daily basis, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly (dont worry - there’s a worksheet for that!). Truly - it’s up to you how far you want to break it down, and overview would do just fine. There are absolutely going to be things that leap out as YUP THAT’S A PRIORITY and NOPE NOT AT ALL, and start with those easy distinctions first. You’ll also have a group call to check-in with each other and remind each other that priorities will look different for everyone.

This is where you’ll specifically get your ‘research’ assignments from the Guest Expert resource library - but don’t worry, you’ll have lifetime access to the library, so no need to try to watch every presentation whether or not it applies to you! Remember: prioritize.



Module 4: Strategize

Fresh off your assigned ‘research’ and with clear priorities in order, time make things HAPPEN. Once your priorities are straightened out, it’s time to figure out what systems and softwares and apps (or lack thereof!) can best support you as you move out of burnout and into ease. Specifically for businesses this means taking the priorities as you’ve assessed them and making a plan to make this shiz happen. You’ll have 2 group calls throughout the 4 weeks to wrap up the Academy and propel you into a future where your biz is aligned with your Core Values and working for you (rather than against you).

Strategize Icon | Megan Dowd

Got a few questions on your mind?
I probably have an answer.


+ Are payment plans available?
For those that dare to ask, always.
Seriously - shoot me an email and let’s make this happen. I aim to be as financially accessible as possible.

+ How will I get all the workbooks and such?
You’ll get access to all course materials through Teachery and we’ll have regular group chats and hard questions in the Facebook group.

+ How long to I have access to the lessons?
FOR-EV-ER. Forever and ever and ever. Plus, you’ll be invited to work alongside future rounds should you need a refresh, and though you won’t have your cohort per se, you’ve still got an incredible support system built-in.

+ What’s this ‘resource library?’
I’m so glad you asked! Here you’ll find presentations from some incredible experts covering everything from How to Not Hate Instagram to The 5 Legal Things Every Biz Needs (and so much more!). While you’ll be assigned specific expert presentations to watch and learn from, you’ll also have lifetime access to the content AND all Expert Live Q&As.

+ Is this the only round?
Oh heck no! We’ll be back Q4, so if now isn’t the right time, stay tuned…

+ Have you really had 30+ odd jobs?
Blergh. Ehhhh. YUP.


Last call, folks.

You don’t have to quit your biz, but you can’t stay where you are, trying to use the same old tricks to stave off burnout rather than heal it.
This is the sign you’ve been looking for. Invest in your SELF as well as your business.

Remember: #humanfirstbizsecond.