Hello, Working Girl: Lauren McGoodwin of Career Contessa
Meet Lauren McGoodwin, the founder of one of our favorite career sites – Career Contessa! Below, Lauren shares her story of transitioning from a corporate role to running Career Contessa full-time, as well as what it takes to successfully manage a women's website.
Q: Prior to launching Career Contessa you worked as a recruiter with Hulu – what lessons and experiences in your career drew you toward the path of digital entrepreneurship and ultimately launching your own online community for women?
A: Career Contessa launched as a passion project while I was at Hulu based on my personal journey to landing a job at Hulu (you can read more about that here). While at Hulu, I was reviewing hundreds of resumes, traveling to career fairs, and constantly giving career advice. I really enjoyed giving advice and realized that having been both the interviewee and the interviewer I offered a unique perspective that was valuable to others. That’s when I started to really think about Career Contessa as a business.
Q: Where do you look to for inspiration when brainstorming content ideas for the site, as well as maintaining Career Contessa's overall brand?
A: A lot of the ideas for Contessas and Conversations come from readers and their questions. I also ask my friends what challenges they are having and often turn those into a post. I also have an amazing editorial team that brainstorms together each month. As for brand, we are a woman’s career site and we make sure every piece of our brand communicates that— especially with the content we create.
Q: Over time Career Contessa has evolved from publishing career profiles on successful women to publishing great content regarding career advice, lifestyle features and well-being features. How do you think diversifying your content has helped in growing the site?
A: We naturally evolved our content over time but it really boiled down to what readers wanted. Women who love their job still have career challenges and are still trying to balance life with a job. We didn’t want to provide a one-part resource so we expanded and it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve made.
Q: Walk us through what a day in the life is like at Career Contessa HQ – lots of coffee, meetings and content strategy?
A: Yes to all of the above! Everyday we think about "How can we be a better resource today? How can we reach more readers? What content is resonating, and what’s not sticking?" We’re currently experimenting with webinars and an ambassador program and those ideas came out of brainstorming sessions!
Q: For other women looking to launch their own online communities, what would you best piece of advice be before taking the leap?
A: Don’t give up and find a support system! It’s a rollercoaster to build and launch something new, plus there is no manual that shows you step-by-step how to do it. Get comfortable with the unknown, teaching yourself via Google searches, and know when to step back so you can recharge. Building anything takes time.