Lauren McGoodwin knows her way around a stellar career and her blog, Career Contessa is the living proof. A mash-up of business savvy advice, tid bits for achieving that all mighty work-life balance, and career profiles on truly inspiring women. And now we’re flipping the screen around and talking shop with Ms. Career Contessa herself and learning how a passion project became a full on dream job with a side of fun office space.
SMP: Tell us a little about your business.
LM: Career Contessa is an online platform facilitating honest conversations about work & life by real women— to help you achieve fulfillment and balance in both.
Every single thing we do is created by and for real women, but our biggest differentiator are our career profiles. We feature successful women across a variety of industries, levels, and companies to spread information and inspiration around career paths and opportunities.
SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
LM: I start my day at 5am and do a first check of emails with coffee.
7am: Walk (I listen to podcasts!) or exercise class
8am: breakfast, shower, get mentally prepared for my day and start my to-do list. I focus on more creative projects and writing in the morning (like this interview!)
12:00pm: Ideally I’m eating lunch but sometimes this doesn’t happen till 1pm
1:00pm: I like to take calls and meetings in the afternoon since this is my least productive working time.
6:00pm: dinner, relax time.
7:30pm: back at the computer to answer emails, check posts for the next day, finish any lingering projects.
10:00ish: bed. I always make sure I get lots of sleep!
SMP: Some words you live by?
LM: Everything happens for a reason.
SMP: Any guilty pleasures?
LM: My sweet tooth is out of control and I’m guilty of splurging on coconut water from Whole Foods.
SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
LM: In college I was going to be a teacher and then switch because I wanted to be a sports marketing super star. Things have changed quite a bit.
SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
LM: Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. The point is that you don’t create or make things happen by thinking really hard about it. You have to build, test, talk to people, etc. Get out there and do!
SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
LM: I would of started sooner. Career Contessa was a passion project for a long time and I was terrified of who I would be without my safety net of a 9-5 job at a well-known company. I realized now that most of my regrets come from times in my life when I was making decisions out of fear.
SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?
LM: My nespresso! Favorite and most necessary.
SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
LM: Change your perspective! It’s not about 50/50 balance and that’s ok. Make time for yourself everyday but don’t worry about a perfect balance. There is no such thing and honestly, I don’t think I would want it that anyway.
SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like it was going to thrive?
LM: Every email, comment and in-person connection with a reader confirms that Career Contessa is a business and we are making an impact in people’s lives. Of course, having POPSUGAR, Refinery 29 and other big brands ask to work with us didn’t hurt either!
SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?
LM: Focusing on the wrong things. When I first left Hulu to focus on Career Contessa full-time, I jumped around from idea to idea without a lot of focus. By chasing the wrong things, I wasted time and wasn’t a great leader to my team.
SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
LM: Mojito (made with real mint!) every day, all day.
SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?
LM: Travel! I love to travel and would spend all my time seeing and experiencing new places if I could.
SMP: Three things every office should have?
LM: A whiteboard (or something for easy brainstorming), a comfortable chair and music.
SMP: Your most prized possession?
LM: Does my engagement ring count? I’m getting married in January so I imagine this answer might change to my wedding dress after that!
SMP: One thing you can’t live without?
LM: My friends and family. But my less-sentimental answer is my fit-bit.
SMP: Your secret to success?
LM: The Career Contessa team! We have such a talented group of women helping to build CC and it could absolutely not happen without them.
SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?
LM: It’s impossible to only mention one! I recently went to Petra in Jordan and it was breathtaking. It’s so amazing to see the art that human hands built!
SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
LM: Launching Career Contessa
SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
LM: Don’t overthink it. It will all work out.
SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?
LM: For health, @NutritionStripped. For fashion, @JulieEngel. For a daily pick-me-up, @DogsofInstagram
SMP: Your go-to recipe?
LM: Corn souffle. So easy and inexpensive.
SMP: What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
LM: Stick with those Zumba classes. I’m terrible but I love it!
SMP: Your most memorable moment?
LM: When my fiance proposed in Santa Barbara last November.
SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?
LM: Go to a yoga retreat. I really want to be a yogi- even if it’s just for a weekend.
SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?
LM: Don’t compare yourself to others.
SMP: What was the first job you ever landed?
LM: Retail at Old Navy in high-school, working at a sports non-profit after college.
SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would
your message be?
LM: To stick with it and focus. I think persistence and patience are really key ingredients to any type of success- business, career, relationships, etc. We all want immediate results but staying focused and persistent on your goals is everything.
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SMP: Do you have any secret talents?
LM: I can make a cauliflower pizza that people will actually eat!
SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
LM: Another impossible question! I have to reach for the stars and say Oprah because why the hell not!
SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
LM: I hope Career Contessa has become the go-to resource for women’s career advice and we’ve expanded to offer products and services that continue to help women achieve professional fulfillment! I also hope to have a dog! #WannabePupMom
SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?
LM: I think Career Contessa has done well because we strike an important yet emotional cord with women. Every woman has asked, “what should I do with my life?” and we’re helping them answer it. We saw a problem and we’re delivering the answer in a manageable, relatable and fun way!
All Photos: Joe + Kathrina | Company: Career Contessa | Office Space: The Unique Space