Sparq-ing Entrepreneurs: Meet Austin Moody, Amplifier of Small Business

8 minute read

Austin Moody has built a business on helping small businesses, a passion that grew from roots early in his childhood. Small business is in his blood; it’s in his family. His grandfather started the Mayflower Seafood Restaurant on Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem, which his uncles later ran after his grandfather died. 

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If you don’t know Sparq, it’s a startup and small business launch pad located in the heart of Innovation Quarter at Bailey Power Plant, providing space and amenities to help companies that are getting their start. This series explores the diverse endeavors that get a “spark” from this iQ resource.

“Growing up, I saw how hard small businesses had to work to stay afloat. They have to work 10 times as hard as the bigger guys do,” Moody says.  

That might dissuade some people from wanting to start their own business, but not Moody. For two years, Moody worked for a mid-sized marketing agency and during that time he approached the CEO about taking on more small businesses as clients, but received a flat refusal. It was after that interaction that he decided to strike out on his own.  

He had plenty of people—including family—tell him that he was crazy to start his own business and plenty of things that could have counted against him, but Moody launched his business anyway. The journey wasn’t easy, but he says he loved every minute of it. Finally, when the pandemic hit and so many businesses struggled, Moody’s marketing company Mach One found its feet and really took off.  

“At that time, a lot of business owners were feeling the pressure of people not coming out to restaurants or people not using services or products. There were just so many reasons why people needed marketing,” Moody says. 

Meet Austin Moody, Amplifier of Small Business

Mach One Marketing offers online marketing, focusing on social media marketing for small to midsize businesses.  

“No matter how big Mach One gets, I always want to help the small business,” Moody says.  

Along the way, Moody got entrenched in the entrepreneurial community and he is quick to give credit to the many people and resources that got him on his way. But his initial idea for a career was of a very different flavor. 

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be a Navy SEAL. When I was young, my dad and I were best friends. He used to watch documentaries, and one that stuck out to me was about the training of Navy SEALs. After I saw the documentary, I remember telling my dad, “That’s what I want to do.” And for years, I thought that’s what I was going to do when I got older, because I loved the challenge, how very few became SEALs. 

Q: What changed your mind and got you interested in marketing?  

A: Growing up, my older sister was the director of marketing for a company, and when she first started that job, she was still living at home. I was around 14 years old at the time, and she would bring all her work stuff home. I was always fascinated with it. Sometimes, she would even take me to marketing events and put me in a mascot uniform, which was a lot of fun. I realized there were so many types of marketing and started pursuing that career.  

Q: Why name your marketing company Mach One? 

A: Before Mach One, I owned a different marketing company that I started in 2016, and I ran it for four years. I learned a lot of lessons with that company, and when I named Mach One, I asked myself what I wanted in a marketing agency. From my experiences, I knew I wanted to be a company that was aggressive, but fast and smooth. I’m a big fan of jets and people say that, when you break that sound barrier, you’re flying at Mach One speed. We break the sound barrier for your company and accelerate your business so that you can be heard.  

austin moody portrait
Q: As a marketer, what problem are you trying to solve? 

A: Many business owners find themselves having to spend all of their time on finding their clients or their audience and not enough time on doing what they love to do. We really work well with people who either don’t have the time to do their own marketing or don’t have the desire or the know-how to do their own marketing. By assisting these kinds of companies, we can put them in a better position, which strengthens the economy. 

Along the way of becoming a successful entrepreneur, Moody took deep advantage of the resources that the iQ’s entrepreneurial ecosystem offered–he was involved in the networking events, built his business out of the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center, and sought out local mentorship. Some of those connections are what brought Moody to Sparq.   

Q: How did you get connected to Sparq? 

A: HUSTLE Winston-Salem, a nonprofit here at Sparq. Previously, I had another office for the company in a coworking space, but the walls were white, and the doors were always closed. There was no human interaction, and I wanted something more. Sparq was definitely the perfect fit for Mach One Marketing. 

There are so many different types of people who work out of Sparq. You have everything from startups to multimillion dollar companies here, and you get to lean on so many different people. Jessica Aveyard, the membership and operations manager, is incredible. She’s always been super-helpful anytime we’ve ever needed anything upfront. Also, the space is gorgeous. Every time I’ve brought a client here, they’re just in awe of the space. They think this is something out of a much larger city like New York or L.A. and I get to say, ‘No, this is Winston-Salem.’ 

Q: What is your favorite spot or activity in the iQ? 

A: I’m a big fan of the restaurants here. Barcelona is my favorite restaurant, and I also love that Cugino Forno is downstairs so that I don’t even have to go outside to get a piece of pizza. I enjoy Alma Mexicana next door, too. 

When it comes to working, occasionally I’ll go to Biotech Place. I’ll just sit in the atrium and work there because it’s a nice change of scenery. 

Since Moody has been around the block a few times when it comes to entrepreneurship, we asked him about the lessons that he’s learned along the way.  

Q: What is your favorite bit of advice that you give someone who is thinking about entrepreneurship? 

A: Entrepreneurship is exciting and it’s fun, and you’re going to love every minute of it, but you’re also going to drive yourself insane if you don’t do something that you love. You have to find your “why,” your motivation for what you do. You also need to understand that one of the best traits of an entrepreneur is patience. Your success is not going to happen overnight. I know so many entrepreneurs who don’t make it in the first six months and then they quit. It takes time. Be ready for a marathon, not a sprint. 

Moody wasn’t done yet. He had a lot of lessons he wanted to share with any aspiring entrepreneurs.  

Meet Austin Moody, Amplifier of Small Business

Take the negatives. I’ve enjoyed this process. There’s been so many stressors, late nights, and time away from my kids and my family, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love what I do. But when I first started my own company, I was told by so many that I wasn’t going to make it, that there are way smarter people who fail at business. Those comments were actually nice to have for the moments I wanted to quit. Those words drove me to never give up. So take the negatives. Take the negatives and use them as building blocks. 

Q: If a headline was written about your company or your experience, what would it say?  

A: I think it would read, “Mach One Marketing Finally Has Its Dream Team.” 

Right now we’re going through a lot of growth, so that’s what I’d want to focus on. We’ve just actually brought on some new people, and, honestly, I think right now–in the seven years of owning the business–I have the best team I’ve ever had. I love my team.  

To learn more about Austin Moody, you can visit the Mach One Marketing website for more information.   

You can also check out Sparq and its amenities online, and stay tuned for more conversations with Sparq entrepreneurs.