Los Angeles based Lauren McGoodwin is the Founder of Career Contessa, a website that is the holy grail of all websites for job seekers and a platform to idiolize our girl crushes through reading her Contessa profiles. The site offer tips on everything from personal branding to being able to hire a mentor, a mentor you can handpick and hire to help you achieve your goals. Read on to better understand the inspiration that took McGoodwin from a recruiter to a Career Contessa.
1. I wish Career Contessa had been around when I was job searching. What inspired you to create a platform to help people with their recruiting questions and needs? How much was inspired by your job as a recruiter?
It was 50/50 between my experience as a recruiter and my experience as a job seeker. My first job out of college wasn’t my favorite (not even close!) and I personally experienced a few years of soul searching—trying to figure out what I wanted to do, then figuring out how to actually land that job, etc. It was hard and the best tool that helped me was hearing other women’s career stories. It took me 9 months to have 30 informational interviews and hearing plenty of “no, I don’t have time to chat with you” before I was able to learn enough about recruiting to start applying for jobs and I knew there could be an online resource that helped women reach career fulfillment faster.
2. Like Six Degrees Society it sounds like Career Contessa blossomed out of a “side hustle”. Can you tell me a bit about that “aha” moment when you realized you were ready to take Career Contessa full time?
I worked on Career Contessa as a side hustle for almost two years before I left to pursue it full time and I think it was really giving myself enough time to get comfortable with the business— and see people react positively to it— that helped me know I was ready. There wasn’t really one moment but more like a series of moments that helped me have the courage to walk away.
3. As a business owner, what has been your biggest success story to date? What was one of the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
One of my biggest successes is developing our new one-on-one career counseling services, Hire a Mentor. The career coaching market is totally fragmented and getting access to expert advice is usually based on who you know. I also know how much of a difference it can make to talk to women who’ve been there—and successfully done that so, I’m really proud to now offer a quick, affordable, and trusted way for women to get personalized career and business advice.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome is the day-to-day stuff that piles up. Running a business is so much more than products, social media, and email newsletters. You can drown in the day-to-day if you don’t develop systems.
4. I love the online portal you launched to help find mentors, where do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?
Thank you! Hire a Mentor is definitely a labor of love and a service I think is vital to helping women grow their careers. Over the next 5 years, I hope to grow the Hire a Mentor service and expand to offer other professional development resources like online courses, networking events, and an enterprise solution for talent retention.
5. Looking back at the 21 year old version of yourself, what advice would you want to impart? And did you ever envision yourself as an entrepreneur?
Oh boy. I’d tell my 21-year-old self to ignore all the “rules” I thought existed about job searching. Job searching isn’t about applying to as many jobs as possible or the highest salary. It’s about career fulfillment, find a job that helps you make an impact, and being purposeful about your career.
I never thought I would be an entrepreneur but when the resource you really need doesn’t exist, you have no choice but to create it and help other people.