For Busy Career Contessa Founder Lauren McGoodwin, Balance Isn't The Answer
Stagnant job search got ya down? Fielding an overflow of NSFW texts during office hours?
Call on the Career Contessa, otherwise known as Lauren McGoodwin, founder of the site that's all for "honest conversations about work and life."
Here at Career Contessa we believe in sharing inspiration, of course, but we also advocate sharing authentic information and actionable direction for the real woman. Not the woman whose life seems to be perfectly Pinterest-curated (does that woman really exist, honestly?), but the woman like you—and the woman like us. The woman who’s consistently striving—in work and in life—to be the best version of herself.
Yasss, girl. Excuse me for a moment while I cow tow to the Chief Contessa for creating such an IMPORTANT resource for us that has come alive with a robust community of contributors and creatives (and today turns 2!). This is everything you could ever want to know about life and work and work-life.
I needed to know more from the OG Contessa herself, like how this dream of an advice destination became manifest, the why behind this working Wonderwoman, how she gets it all done in her day, and of course, what's it like behind-the-scenes at CC. Hey, if you wanna know how greatness is made, you go straight to the source. Here's what I learned.
You've said you couldn't find the direction and inspiration you were looking for after college. What specifically was missing and how did you go about creating that in Career Contessa?
What was missing was a resource that made careers personal and allowed me to connect with a person. Career Contessa features real women. We also provide answers around what a job is and exactly how she got there. Many career sites inspire you, but then they leave you hanging about next steps. By using real women’s stories, we’re able to provide the career inspiration and direction needed.
You have a team of 5 working with you now. How have you been able to maintain a consistent CC vision and mission while growing your team?
It’s something we are always communicating about! Also, we have written out our vision and mission statements on large posters that we hang in our office. This helps a lot and we’ll often turn to them when we’re conflicted about a direction.
So, how does everything get done? What's a typical day-in-the-life look like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day! There are 3 full-time employees and 3 part-time employees, which gives us enough “womanpower” to divide and conquer the day's’ tasks.
I have my hands in a lot of different projects, but the day-to-day responsibilities of a specific project are usually managed by someone else on the team. Examples include editorial, social media and community management, creative like photography and graphic design, and a big one: marketing and product development.
You have an awesomely inspirational Instagram feed. Why is this platform important when it comes to reaching your audience?
Our primary audience are women ages 19-29 and guess what, they are ALL on Instagram! We made this platform a priority because that’s where our audience is and it’s a daily way to communicate with them.
We choose to post inspiration quotes because it aligned with our brand and we make sure to brand each quote so others will start to recognize Career Contessa.
How have you been able to create your great community of CC contributors?
We started small with just Contessa features and then expanded to more content when our readers started reaching out and wanting to share their own story. We started with a “CC Daily” blog so we’d have a place for this other content and it grew from there.
Since then, we relaunched the site to really integrate the two pieces of content and set up a more formal way to recruit and manage writers. Getting organized really allowed us to grow our team because we can work with more writers and also promote them more. That’s a winning formula for growing your contributor network.
What's your definition of balance?
I don’t really believe in balance and I certainly don’t strive for a 50/50 balance. I make sure I get the things done in my life that make me feel fulfilled. Sometimes that is taking an afternoon off to run errands at a leisurely pace, and other days it’s getting to the office at 7am so I can get a head start on a project.
Best piece of advice you've ever given? Received?
Given: Clarity comes from engagement. Get off the couch and try new things, talk to strangers, attend events. You won’t figure out what you want to do next by sitting on the couch and thinking really hard about the answer.
Received: Stay focused. I’m full of ideas and I have to remind myself to stay focused and be patient for the results.
Reveling in a relationship, single and loving it, or Tindering?
What can you never leave home without?
My first answer is my iPhone, but my more fun answer is my Fitbit.