Welcome To The CóLab!
We’re Megan and Andres, co-founders and owners of The CoLab, and a few other small businesses we will begin to share with you. We are so honored and excited to have you here.
We created this website in 2020 with the purpose of helping you create the life you want by building a business that supports you instead of building a business that you have to support.
For years, it was us who supported the business instead of it supporting us and giving us the freedom both financially and personally that we wanted.
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Who Is The Colab And What Do We Do?
The CoLab focuses on providing valuable insight and ideas to help you reach your wildest dreams through five main areas:
- Entrepreneurship: Creating a new business or growing your existing business.
- Work-Life Balance: You want a business, but you also want a life. Is there a way to have both?
- Financial Freedom: Real estate, affiliate income, and all things that lead to financial freedom.
- Personal Development: You cannot have any of the things above until you start investing in yourself! It is how we started to grow from a five-figure business to a seven-figure one.
- Business Growth: Take your business to a new level by building the right team with the right strategy to achieve success.
Meet Megan Marsh & Andres Munar
Hello, I'm Megan. Let’s begin when I was 24 and had just moved to western Pennsylvania and married the love of my life. At the same time, I began investing in real estate and discovered how much I loved it and was excited to find ways to build a career in it. My husband and I have four kids, although most days it feels like 15. I am constantly pulled in a million directions and oftentimes feel out of sorts and like I can’t get a grasp on being a good parent with a solid routine. I am a complete and total overachiever. I am completely and utterly obsessed with anything I decide I want to accomplish and can tune out everything else in my life to achieve the goals I set for myself. It’s not fair to my husband or kids, but I practice working on balance every day. My Dad used to have me read articles about “balance” growing up and Lord knows that didn’t work! It’s an area of my personal life that I strive to improve upon at least 1% every day. Aside from being a compulsive worker, I am very compassionate. Some might say I can be too compassionate. I tend to lead with my heart instead of my head, and I have been hurt deeply a number of times because of it. I expect people to be just like me and put others first. As you may or may not know, most people are focused solely on themselves. It’s difficult for me to understand when you are someone who finds satisfaction in helping others achieve their dreams. I’m scared of spiders. I literally scream like a toddler when a spider crosses my path. Just thought you should know.
“Life was pretty normal and routine for me up until the year I turned 32! Here are a few key highlights to get you up to speed!”
If I am being totally honest, I feel it’s only fair that I share with you that I did not have the goal of becoming a small business owner when I sat down and planned out my life 18 years ago. However, I always knew I was an entrepreneur at heart. I also knew I was a woman who couldn’t be forced inside a box or trapped beneath ceilings. There is no limit to my potential.
But I never imagined that having these desires would lead me, truth be told, force me into running my own business and getting tangled up in three lawsuits (that story is for another day).
When I first moved to my now hometown of Erie, PA, it was against the advice of everyone I held dear in my life. I had secured the job of a lifetime at Ernst & Young in NYC and was welcomed into the best circles. The only problem was that I was 300 miles away from my soon to be husband, Laban, and 150 miles away from my family in upstate New York.
We ultimately decided to follow the one piece of advice my fiance’s first boss gave to him a year earlier:
“Buy a multi-unit and live in it for at least a year. Then move and buy another solid rental home that you live in for a year or two. Real estate will be your path to financial freedom.”
I never imagined this decision would result in me being cornered in the laundry room of my parents’ home, by my Mom, aunt, cousin and grandmother (all of who stand no taller than 5 feet) with their fingers pointing in my face, harsh words whispering and spitting out of their lips as they warned me of the impending doom I was choosing to head into.
I also never thought the Ernst & Young partner would tell me that moving to Pennsylvania was the wrong move. His exact words were, “You are making the biggest mistake of your life. You will regret it and can come back and talk to me anytime.”
I am fortunate that one of the gifts the Lord gave me at a very young age, was a confidence and belief in myself and my own decisions.
I didn’t listen to any of them.
These conversations were pivotal moments for me. Moments that made me realize for the first time, that people are not going to always support and cheer you on like they did while we were growing up. Once you understand that sometimes you have to support and believe in yourself despite others is when you can truly start to grow.
I also learned that not only will some not cheer you on, but if you are brave and bold enough, some people will throw stones at you and try to tear you down. And although this is not OK, you will be OK!
The reason I share these conversations with you is because I want to be brutally honest with you about making big, outside the box decisions that a majority of the public will never make. If you are the only member of your family starting a business or making a pivot in your life, that is most likely the norm.
No matter what decision you are trying to make or what new idea you are pondering, there are always going to be people telling you “NO” or “You can’t do that!” The sad truth is that they don’t want to see you do it! They are scared for you doing it! They are scared of you actually doing it!
It takes courage to step out into the world on your own without the support of others and weighed down with your own decisions. Know that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is taking action and moving forward in the face of fear. Courage is making the decision to own your choices no matter the outcome.
There is not a single decision a person makes in life that is assured to be the right decision. Look at how many people get divorced!
Hi Guys, I'm Andres, but you can call me Dre.
I am Megan’s business partner and cohost of The Colab Podcast.
If I had to choose three words that embody who I am, they would be: compassionate, loyal, and fiercely hard-working.
Five years ago I decided to attend a mortgage mastermind retreat in Tampa, FL, and ever since that meeting, my life and my business have never been the same.
One of my personality traits is that I like to be on time and sit in the front row. That day was no different and I made sure I had a seat directly in the front. Shortly after the presentation began a very pregnant woman arrived 15 minutes late and took a seat in the back of the room. She was all disheveled and looked a bit wired, but she was easy to talk with and we quickly began talking about our businesses and figured out that we were direct competitors with a lot in common. It’s here our journey together was about to begin.
But before all that, you should know a bit about me. Early life wasn’t always the easiest. When I was 4 years old, my parents packed up our life and made the trek from Colombia, across South America to the United States. Uncertainty and turbulence was just part of the program for my family.
We moved to a town in Pennsylvania that had a racetrack. My dad loves horses and made an excellent jockey because of his small size. He made the best living he could for our family but instead of living in a house or apartment like the other kids, we lived in a trailer. I didn’t realize how much this alienated me until the year I turned 10. As a kid of illegal immigrants, you are always trying to lay low and fly under the radar. I decided to do something that year that was the complete opposite of under the radar.
I decided to try out for the play A Christmas Carol, and I got the lead part! This was the first time in my life that I was choosing to be in the spotlight! It was the best thing that had ever happened to me in my 10years of life. It was the first time that I felt welcomed and part of something. It was something that I wanted and yearned for ever since being ____ 20 years ago.
Still today, one thing remains the same: I am still not a U.S. citizen. I am a DACA recipient and this fact embarrassed me for years. I never told my friends, business acquaintances, and even kept it a secret from Megan for a very long time. I can relate to any of you who have secret pasts and stories you don’t feel like you can share.
The best gift I have ever received was when I was granted access to travel to Colombia with my parents in 2018. You may not know this, but DACA recipients are not allowed to leave the country except for a very few specific reasons and even then re-entry back into the states isn’t guaranteed. Although our nation is vast, it can still feel very small and confining. I want to spread my wings and fly all over the world! So in 2019, I made the decision to pack my bags and live out a dream I have had for years: live in Puerto Rico.
We all have dreams and desires that sit simmering on the back burner of our minds. You continually wait for the perfect time to pursue those dreams, but they almost never come. Puerto Rico was one of the dreams I’ve had on hold for many years. I got to a point where I was sick of wishing for it and took action to make it happen.
“My experiences have taught me that compassion for others and their circumstances is as important a personal characteristic as anything else. “
Megan and I had transitioned our team completely virtual by 2019, before Covid hit, and that allowed me to work every day alongside everyone. To many, this might seem like business suicide, but after closing out our best year in company history, I can stand here and tell you that anything is possible and dreams do come true! But, you need the right attitude, work ethic, and capability to think big.
Here’s another secret. I am also not like everyone else. I am gay. It took me a long time to be able to tell you that and to be comfortable in my own skin. I have come a long way and grown immensely since being that little boy who finally stepped into the spotlight to play Ebenezer Scrooge.
- People want love and acceptance more than anything in their life.
- We all want to feel part of something that is bigger than ourselves.
- We want to feel accepted and acknowledged.
It is the reason that when Megan came to me with the idea of starting a podcast to help others learn from our experiences that I couldn’t say “No” to. Life is about “Yes!” I want to be a part of something special. Something that all of us can be made to feel “part of” and everyone, including you, can be accepted for who you are and for the value you bring into this world.
One final thought I wanted to share about my life is about the person I admire the most—my mother. No matter the circumstance our family encountered during the years living in our little trailer, she was always there to hold it all together. No matter what my father did or what I told her about how different I was, she was the rock. She always put other people before herself and she taught me how to serve others from a very young age. I have carried the lessons she taught into my career and into all the difficult times throughout my life. Anytime I hit a rough patch, I think: “What would my Mom do?” “How would my Mom act?” I always know that she would find a way.
That is what I am looking forward to most, as we grow The CoLab. Megan and I want to find a way to help all of you on your journey to build a business and discover success. It is not an easy journey, but only through hard work and the right people will you succeed. I want to help you do it. I want to share with you all the ways that we dodged bullets, made the right hires, found opportunities, made tough decisions, chose the right marketing strategies, and more. I want to give you one of the greatest gifts that I was given, service to your needs and mission.
I can’t wait to meet you! I can’t wait to hear your story! I can’t wait to see you succeed and live your best life!
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