Natalie MacNeil is the Co-founder of Imaginarius, a boutique firm that produces award-winning digital media. She is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of She Takes on the World, a blog for women that has received accolades around the world including being recognized by Forbes as one of the Top Ten Career Sites for Women. I had the pleasure to interview her. She’s just a few years past collegiette age, which makes her totally relatable and so inspiring!
Her Campus: Tell us about She Takes on the World.
Natalie MacNeill: She Takes on the World is the blog I founded to inspire women to create their own careers. A team of about twenty contributors write articles on a variety of subjects related to entrepreneurship, career, and building a personal brand online. We also feature inspiring women who have created their dream careers in our In Her Heels interview series.
HC: What was your inspiration for creating She Takes on the World?
NM: I started my first business when I was in university and at the time I couldn’t find a lot of good resources for young women about business and career so that was my inspiration. I also wanted to be able to read about and connect with like-minded women who were on a similar career path.
HC: Why is it important to have a career resource like She Takes on the World just for women?
NM: Women definitely face unique business challenges and deal with career issues that men don’t have to deal with. The most important reason for having a resource like She Takes on the World though is for women to share their experiences and perspective on business. It’s important that we all learn from each other! There are some magical stories about the connections women have made through She Takes on the World and the opportunities those connections have led to. It’s rewarding to see the kind of support system that has developed.
HC: What do you suggest women study in college in order to become an entrepreneur? Besides business, what other areas of study are helpful?
NM: In college I really believe you have to just follow your passion. I think it’s important to spend your first year or so taking a variety of different courses to better understand what you are truly interested in. I did an honors B.A. in Political Science and Business. I did business because I felt like I needed it in the business world but to be honest, I don’t use most of what I learned in business to actually run my business. Political science, on the other hand, is something that really interests me and gave me the kind of well-rounded education I craved. You don’t need a certain area of study to become an entrepreneur. Study something you love and something that interests you! And get involved with clubs and groups that will help you build a good foundation for your future business or career. I was involved with an entrepreneurship group that really helped me advance my business.
HC: What is the most valuable lesson you learned about entrepreneurship?
NM: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to be very comfortable with change. To achieve big things you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Instead of fearing big changes, I have embraced change and the opportunities it brings.
HC: How can college women become entrepreneurs?
NM: It’s not easy to be in college full-time and run a business but for me it was well worth the challenge. The key is finding something that you enjoy doing and something that can work with your school schedule. Is there a demand or need you can fulfill on campus? I’ve mentored student entrepreneurs who do everything from intensive group tutoring sessions to on-campus laundry service (which can be quite profitable by the way!) If your business idea will require more time and dedication than you can balance with a full-time class schedule, it may be worth considering a part-time class schedule that allows you to focus more on the business. I considered doing that in my last year of university but instead decided to take extra courses and do a few semesters in a row to finish it up so I could focus on building a business. You have to make the right decision for YOU but keep in mind that you’re never too young to become an entrepreneur!
HC: You run a series of interviews on your site called “In Her Heels”. What is your favorite pair of heels and why?
NM: My go-to shoe for work and meetings is a classic, black patent stiletto by Steve Madden. For work I need my shoes to be somewhat comfortable but comfort gets thrown out the window the rest of the time. My favorite right now is a pair of gray Oxford booties. They are not the most comfortable pair of shoes but I love them!
HC: What’s your typical day like?
NM: I wake up pretty early, make myself a latté, and eat a good breakfast to give me energy for the day ahead. I take care of all my social media updates and schedule Twitter updates for my @nataliemacneil feed. Then I head to the office and discuss the plan of attack for the day with my wonderful business partner, Vincent Marcone. We work with our clients and make sure projects are running smoothly throughout the day. Each day is different and our days can be quite hectic! At the end of the day we always try to go to the gym to stay healthy. In the evening I spend time at home writing and working on She Takes on the World. Spending a day in my Steve Madden heels can be busy, exhilarating, exhausting, rewarding, demanding, or all of these rolled into one! But one thing is for sure: Nothing beats being your own boss and being able to do what you love.