Feature Friday: Avodah Studio

“Every client is different and every business is different and it’s so important for them to feel like they matter… because they do!”

Marie Hickerson is a passionate woman with strong faith and a warm smile that lights the room. She started her business after feeling a strong pull to start her own web design company after earning degrees in graphic design and falling in love with creating visual appeal and helping businesses grow their presence. A lover of the outdoors and a frequent flyer of the local favorite, Live Oak Coffeehouse, Hickerson often enjoys spending time working in the community and making genuine connections — an important key to running her successful business.

Marie shared with me recently that her entrepreneurial journey really began after she held a position in healthcare as a forms designer. She knew she loved design work, but didn’t have the self-confidence to pursue her own business in that area until encouragement came from her husband and several other supporters, who validated her great talent and eye for design. In this week’s feature, Marie shares more with us about her journey to business, how she gained confidence, and how she strives to provide a personal touch in serving each one of her clients.

What products or services do you provide? 

Marie: Website Design and Development, SEO (search engine optimization), Website Managed Hosting, as well as digital marketing with a focus on Facebook and Google Ads. 

What motivated you to start a business in Web design?

Marie: “Ever since I started taking classes to earn my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, I had this pull to one day own my own business. I think the more experienced I gained the more confidence I had in myself and my ability to go on my own. That and along with my strong faith and belief that God would be by my side every step of the way.”

Did you have a mentor or someone who encouraged you to start your own business?

Marie: “First I have to say I am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many positive people in my life who are very supportive and encouraged me on my adventure to start my own business. My all-time number one support system is my amazing husband. He is always behind me 100% and continues to encourage me every step of the way. Then, my sister-in-law who started her own business before me, River Valley Laser Engraving, encouraged me and was such an inspiration as another woman who had faith to take a chance and start her own business. And last but not least, is this super awesome guy, Daniel [Terhune], that I worked with and who now, among many other things, manages at one of my favorite coffeehouses (Live Oak). He was and still is an amazing mentor.”

How have you positively impacted your community with your services? 

Marie: “Well, that is a very humbling question because I strive to do more in the community and am seeking new ways to help and be more involved. I love to help other businesses in the community with their online presence and truly get a lot of joy when I receive positive feedback from clients saying how much they appreciate all I have done for their business.”

What is your favorite part about what you do? 

Marie: “Honestly, my favorite part about running my business, besides getting to work from home or my favorite coffeehouse, is the time I get to take with my clients. I am not on anyone else’s clock so I can slow down and get to know my clients and what they need for their business. Every client is different and every business is different and it’s so important for them to feel like they matter…because they do! #doingbusinessmyway”

What is a recent challenge you have encountered and how did you overcome it? 

Marie: “I think there have been several challenges I have had to overcome. So I will focus on my most recent one, which is feeling a lack of connection at times. While it is awesome to work from my home office and not have to drive on snowy roads to get to work, I also do not have the comradery you get with coworkers when working for a business. That is one of the reasons you can find me working from Live Oak Coffeehouse somedays. It’s good to get out and join the community.”

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Marie: Three simple words….”You Are Enough.”

What encouragement would you offer to a woman who is pursuing a dream of hers?

Marie: “Don’t get in the way of yourself. I think sometimes we can be our own worst critic… worrying and stressing that we can not accomplish our goals and dreams. Follow the advice you would give to another woman in your situation and know that you are enough.”

Do you have a favorite inspirational or motivational quote that speaks to you?

Marie: “I have a love for inspirational quotes…so I have many favorites. But this particular quote is my favorite from a business aspect…”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs


Avodah Studio is based in Midland, Michigan, and was established in September 2016. You can find Avodah on Facebook and Instagram @avodahstudio and on the web at https://avodah.studio. To contact Marie for business inquiries, you can reach her via phone at 989-486-8394.

Thank you Marie, for sharing your story and expertise with us! We are so grateful to have you and your talent in our community!

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