Lindsay McFarlane is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Working Girl Inc. She recruits the best interns and entry-level candidates for corporations worldwide.
What is the first thing you did to turn your current business from an idea into a reality?
Honestly, I had to realize that success doesn’t come from being comfortable. I truly had to step outside my comfort zone. Get uncomfortable. I figured out that the more I risk, the more payoff I get. The first steps I took to turn my idea into this business was meet with mentors around Chicago who have launched their businesses to see where to start, what worked, what didn’t, etc. They gave me the boost of confidence to first launch my website and gain my first couple of clients.
What is the scariest part of being a young entrepreneur and how can others overcome this fear?
The scariest part, easily, is failure. As a young entrepreneur, I am constantly in fear that someone else will snatch up my idea or come up with a greater position in the marketplace. I have to tell myself that I have a unique service and that I am a unique individual who is running this niche business. I also conquer my fears every single time I sit down with a student who doesn’t know where to turn for their first real-world job and tell me how much better they feel by the end of the meeting. This makes my fears disappear. Any satisfied client, on either the candidate or corporation side, is always worth it.
Were you ever told not to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Who told you that, what did they say and why did you ignore them?
Yes, by my own mother (who now is truly loving the business and watching it grow). She told me that I was taking on way too much and I already had my dream job in retail. I absolutely loved my dream job in corporate retail public relations but once I stopped learning and the job became cyclical, I needed another stimulus. I also have always wanted to be my own boss and leave my stamp on the world. I ignored my mother because her doubt gave me the fuel to prove her wrong.
What is the No. 1 thing you wish you’d known starting out and how did you learn it?
Balance. I didn’t know how to balance my full-time job, my husband, dog, family, friends and life in general. When I hit a successful stride, I would spiral full-speed into Working Girl Inc. and let everything fall to the sidelines. I had to learn to balance all aspects so I wasn’t letting certain, very important parts of my life become second to my business.
What do you recommend all new founders do for their business — or their personal lives — that will help them the most?
I would recommend staying focused but also make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to focus on yourself and your life. In order to be successful, you need to be your best self. When you become burned out, you don’t produce your best work. We all need to be the best versions of ourselves in order to be the most successful.
How do you end each day and why?
I end each day at the gym or yoga recentering myself. I also make sure I spend time each and every night with some my husband and puppy. Family is still the most important thing.
What is your best PR/marketing tip for business just starting up?
When you first start, budgets are low but on the opposite end of the spectrum you need to get the word out. Try to do as much as possible with as little as possible. Use every resource you can without outsourcing for help until you have the means to do so.
What is your ultimate goal? What will you do if/when you get there?
Ultimate goal: become THE destination for college students and graduates to come to find their dream internships and jobs. I also want corporations worldwide to use Working Girl Inc. as their primary resource to fill their open internship positions and entry-level positions. I want to be the asset and trusted partner who everyone turns to for their career and candidate needs. Once I get there, I won’t stop working hard. I would want to continue to grow but also enjoy the success. I want a larger brand such as a Career Builder or Monster to add Working Girl Inc. on as a brand in their portfolio so we have more leverage to have a broader reach within this niche market.