Small Business Interview: Lauren McGoodwin, Career Contessa
Introducing Lauren McGoodwin! She is the founder of Career Contessa, an online career resource for women. Lauren has a background in technical recruiting, so she knows what it takes to not only get a job, but get a job you will love for a long time, and wanted to dedicate her entire career to helping other women do the job they want to do, on their own terms. Her masters thesis on Millennial Women and Career Resources helped her to understand women and how they look for jobs, and it made her extremely passionate about building the best career resource for women. As a business owner, Lauren has faced a lot of challenges but has also had a lot of success which she shares in this interview! I hope you enjoy Lauren's amazing insights and very valuable business advice!
"I was inspired to start Career Contessa because of challenges I faced when trying to figure out what I wanted to do—and then again on how to apply for those jobs. As a recruiter, I was given more insight into the hiring process and wanted to share that information with other women."
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services / products do you offer?
My name is Lauren McGoodwin and I'm the founder of Career Contessa, an online career resource for women. We offer expert career advice, job postings, one-on-one career counseling, and interviews with successful career women.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
I transitioned from being a recruiter at a tech company to running Career Contessa. Before I was a recruiter, I was a job-seeker in a job that left me miserable. I was inspired to start Career Contessa because of challenges I faced when trying to figure out what I wanted to do—and then again on how to apply for those jobs. As a recruiter, I was given more insight into the hiring process and wanted to share that information with other women.
Do you have any special training?
I wrote my master's thesis on Millennial Women and Career Resources, which helped me really hone my skills around what type of career resource would be beneficial to the largest population of U.S. workers. And again, being a recruiter at a startup gave me lots of access to hiring, employer branding, and talent management.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is building a great team and product. I'm super proud to be working side-by-side such smart and ambitious women.
Each day we do our best to build the best career resource with information you can't find elsewhere and communicate it in a way that's easy and fun. Thinking about your career shouldn't suck.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
I didn't see any profits until I left my recruiting job and started working on Career Contessa full-time. It made a huge difference to be fully invested in my work.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
Pricing my services and the services we offer at Career Contessa involves a lot of research (hi, Google!) and talking to other women who've been there and already done that. They're able to offer a perspective that's invaluable.
What mistake(s), if any, have you made with your business? What have some of your biggest challenges been?
Mistakes happen all the time when you're first building/launching a company. It's important to not live in fear of making mistakes, but rather to focus on how you reacted when you do make mistakes. We're all about testing out new things quickly and if they work, we do more of that. If not, we move on.
One of our biggest challenges it growing our audience. There is so much noise on the Internet—and social media—and we're constantly thinking of creative ways to get in front of new audiences.
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?
The people you work with and your ability to be patient. Success doesn't happen overnight so you have to think strategically, hire smart people, and hopefully keep them motivated in the process.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Just start already. It will never be perfect and the hardest part is getting started.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
Hire a real accountant. Don't mess around with any of that.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
I'll be honest that I don't balance this very well right now; however, I do try to disconnect and not schedule meetings on the weekends.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still running Career Contessa with more robust services and products that are helping more women build happy and successful careers.
Please share a fun fact about yourself
I've been to 30+ weddings. I love "love!"
How can readers find you?
@CareerContessa on every social media channel you can think of. :)
Thank you so much Lauren for your time. We learned a lot about how important it is for women to be prepared for their job hunt. We can't wait to hear more about all of the amazing things Career Contessa will do!