© MarkZarr.com 2019-2020
Professor of Real Life
Exploring the realities of life & business in the 21st century
Just in case you were curious.
I am honored that you have taken the time to visit and I do hope that we get the opportunity to meet soon. I love chatting with other business owners and hearing their stories while learning about their businesses. If you don’t mind, I’ll start our conversation by telling you a little about my story.
I was born in Omaha, Nebraska but by the time I was three years old, my parents moved to Rochester, New York. At that point, I decided to move with them; figuring it was the best option for me at that stage in life. OH, sorry! I guess we don’t have to go that far back into my past. But, in all seriousness, as a child we did move every few years for my dad’s career, plus we got to do a lot of traveling. I think that this, in part, is what fostered a sense of wonder and creativity deep inside of me. It is this sense of wonder and desire to build and create that makes me who I am today.
Fast forward through a couple of decades…I found myself with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication from Montana State University and an MBA from Liberty University. My post-college career started right out of the gates as an entrepreneur. I am still debating if my decision was a good one, but I went into business with my dad. I mean what go wrong with starting a family business, right? This was an amazing time in my life (mostly). We purchased a small coffee and smoothie shop called Junga Juice and quickly grew the business from one store in Missoula, Montana to 12 stores in four different states. It was a blast! I got to put my creativity to work designing new stores, creating marketing and advertisements, and building training programs for store managers and franchisees.
In 2011, I left the family business to take a job with a new startup in Boise, Idaho. I liked the challenges of working with startups and figured that it would be a great opportunity. Plus, the company was a marketing and design firm so I would get to put all my attention into my creative work. Fortunately, the startup did not last and I was quickly saved from the life of an employee, which turned out was not really for me anyway. Startups are not as much fun when you have a boss making all the wrong decisions. I would much rather make my own wrong decisions. So, just a few months after starting my new job, I found myself ready for another new stage of life. Realizing that I loved graphic and website design, I decided to start my own firm and that bring us to where we are today.
I wanted my marketing and graphic design firm to be different from all the rest. For me, design is not just about creating websites and marketing assets. Design is a form of communication. It is a tool to share your story and a way to tell others about your values and commitment to excellence. Ultimately, design should increase awareness about your business, help to grow your sales, and brand your organization with clear, consistent, and simple messaging. Great design should break down the complexities of business into actionable points that both you and your customers can latch onto. That is why I focus on creating designs that help enhance the sales cycle. Good design looks great, but great design goes one step further to actually lead to more sales and stronger business growth.
On top of helping organizations of all shapes and sizes communicate through great design, I found another passion back in 2012. I started teaching business and marketing courses at the College of Western Idaho and now for Boise State University. I love working with students and am inspired by their eagerness for learning and their excitement for the unknown world ahead of them. It gives me great pride to be given the opportunity to share with them my knowledge and to help prepare them for real world careers.
I currently live in Colorado with my wife and two children. Since moving to Colorado, I have started teaching online for Boise State and work with clients from all over the US. Living in Colorado is great, as it provides close access to the mountains where you may find me with my camera taking wildlife and scenery photography or hiking with my family. The outdoors is my way of rejuvenating my soul and fueling my creativity. But my greatest passion and honor is getting to work with businesses by coming alongside their hopes and dreams and getting to be (at least a small) part of their success stories.