Female entrepreneur: Victoria McGinley
She started her business after her blog, vmac+cheese, became so successful!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business…
My name is Victoria and I live in San Francisco, California. I write a daily lifestyle blog named vmac+cheese, and just recently, launched a lifestyle services business, Vivaleur (pronounced vive-allure). Vivaleur works with clients on things such as private and group cooking classes, e-recipe consultation (when you’re in a jam and don’t know what to bring to that dinner party!), custom invitations, casual handlettering services, and blog/social media consultation. Vivaleur was launched after I found success in what I wrote about on my blog, and realized there were women out there who could benefit from my skills in the kitchen, with entertaining, with graphics, and with blogging. But I should also add: I’m a VERY new entrepreneur! The Vivaleur website is still being built out, so you can learn more about the company from this blog post!
What was your main motivation behind starting your business?
I think I’ve always known deep down that I wanted to work for myself. I’ve worked in so many different types of jobs — at large marketing ad agencies, in public relations, in journalism, in education, in retail — but the recurring theme throughout the years is that I wanted to be doing something creative, I wanted full ownership of my work, and I wanted to inspire and empower other women. This line of work does exactly that. I can be creative, write every day about the things I am passionate about, and connect with women.
What’s a day in the life of you like?
To be honest, the full-time transition to working for myself is fairly recent. Up until earlier last month, I was still working a full time job while balancing my blog and preparing to launch Vivaleur — yes, I was nuts, and yes, Vivaleur is THAT new! Part of the problem in focusing on three things is that I wasn’t really focused at all. I would rise very early in the morning, get in an hour or two of work on my blog or Vivaleur, then head to my day job. I’d continue to work on the former two several nights a week, and all day on Sunday. It was difficult in that it took away time from my significant other, and most importantly, time for me. Forget being able to go to the gym or have a leisurely get together with friends! Deciding to leave my full-time job was scary, but in the end, it’s given me more time to truly focus on these new endeavours that are important to me, and help me achieve more balance. Plus, this career path is what I want in the long rung!
What challenges have you faced?
I need 36 hours in a day. Seriously. I never thought I would be one of those people who felt that stretched for time, because I’m very organized. However, at some point, launching a business means your To-Do list is a mile long, and you can’t get it all done in a day. I’ve had to learn to be extra vigilant in prioritizing, managing my schedule, trying not to get too stressed about it all, and at the end of the day, turning my brain off. That last one is much easier said than done, but I’m working on it.
How have you overcome the challenges?
I think having my fiance around to keep me accountable has been a godsend. I don’t want to disappoint him, so I try my best to stick to a schedule and do what I say I’m going to do. It’s not always easy — and thankfully he can be forgiving. In all honesty, the challenges are so new, that I’m still working on how to manage them.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
I would say growing my blog readership exponentially in the past 6-9 months. I have been blogging for almost 4 years, and like so many bloggers say, when I first started out, I never thought I would see enough success from my blog to parlay it into a career.
How do you balance work with relaxation?
Ha! That’s a good one. My problem is that when I’m excited by my work, my brain goes into overdrive with new ideas and things to remember. It’s both a blessing and a curse. My fiance calls it my ‘hamster wheel.’ The hamster is on there, just going, going, going, and doesn’t ever want to get off. The thing that helps me the most is getting out of the house SANS TECHNOLOGY. If I leave my phone in the car or at home, I have no way to access things, and it’s a good reminder that I need to shut my work off mentally, too.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
We all go through periods where we’re feeling uncreative or unmotivated. Know that what’s happening is completely normal. Have lunch with a friend or a mentor, talk to your spouse about it, watch a movie, go on vacation, take pictures, go for a walk — do anything to let your mind wander and help get you back to that place where you’re feeling creative and are excited by what you do everyday.
Also, I’ve had enough desk jobs that were (quite frankly) awful, that I always remind myself that whatever is frustrating me at the moment, it’s not nearly as bad as it could be!
Who inspires you?
My fiance for his wit, rationale, and brilliance; my fellow bloggers who get up everyday and put together unbelievable content that never ceases to amaze, inspire, and teach; and other female small business owners who get out there and make things happen for themselves.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If you believe in yourself and think you have talent or something to offer, never, ever, ever give up on yourself. Have faith in yourself and in the future. Don’t let the fire inside you burn out. It can dwindle, maybe it even dies down to a spark (trust me, I’ve been there), but if you never lose faith, it’ll never go out. That’s so new age-y, but it’s true.
What’s your favourite quote?
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” — Diane vonFurstenberg
Do you have a business philosophy?
Pay it forward! This applies to many things. As women, I think we’re constantly fighting this battle of having to compete and compare ourselves with others. Everyone is susceptible to it. It’s vital that you remember that the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Help one another, serve as a resource, connect people where you can, and it’ll all come back to you.
What’s your goal for the next year?
My goal for 2012 is to successfully get my businesses off the ground to the point where I can make a sustainable living off of them, and to find balance again. 2011 was such a transitional year and in a way, 2012 will be too, but I know the best is yet to come!
Get in touch…