Our Founder's Friday spotlights on Out of Office NY Network. Here is our interview with their founders!
1. How did you get started?
We actually first got the idea to start a blog over soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown. Our conversation once again turned to our obsession with New York City and the never-ending opportunities it offers. We realized how much we enjoyed looking for different restaurants, bars, entertainment, etc. and thought, why not start an NYC lifestyle blog where we can suggest ideas to people living or vacationing in the city? With backgrounds in PR and Advertising, we already knew a little bit about blogging, but we were about to learn A LOT more!
After almost six months of growing our blog, we started looking for a community in NYC where we could connect with other lifestyle bloggers like us, but we couldn’t find one! We found that most blogger networks are purely virtual, and we were really hoping to meet bloggers in person and make some friends along the way.
Since we were unable to find a network to join, we went ahead and created our own! That’s how the Out Of Office NY Network was born. Our goal was to build a group where lifestyle bloggers in NYC could have fun together while getting ideas and learning from one another. We also wanted to throw amazing networking events, bring in guest speakers for blogging educational sessions and work with brands to provide paid opportunities for our bloggers.
We now have close to 100 NYC-based lifestyle bloggers in our network and are growing each day!
2. What motivates you?
Our network bloggers are a huge motivation for us. We now have personal friendships with these girls, and we enjoy working hard to bring them the best possible opportunities. We also find motivation in looking to the future and setting goals on what success looks like for us. We might be having a hard day, but when we think about how far we’ve come and what’s ahead, it definitely gives us a boost.
We also motivate each other on a daily basis – that is what’s so great about going into business with your best friend – we pump each other up all the time! Other people probably think we’re crazy because we literally jump up and down like children when we set up a meeting with a potential client or receive an email from one of our network bloggers. We definitely have a lot of passion for our company.
3. What has been your biggest challenge in starting a business?
The biggest challenge has definitely been time. We both work full time jobs on top of managing Out Of Office NY, the network and our newly created team. There’s a lot of late nights and weekend marathons, but it’s completely worth it.
Another challenge has been dealing with the technical issues that nobody warned us about. We’ve watched hours of YouTube videos on coding, Google Analytics, hosting platforms and tax filing. We’re both big picture people, so a lot of the more tactical (yet very important) tasks have been challenging – things like filing an LLC and working with a lawyer and accountant to make sure we’re running a proper business. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work when you start a company.
4. Who is your biggest hero/inspiring figure?
Our families! Out Of Office NY has been a family affair from day one. Both of our families have played a huge role in encouraging and supporting us along the way, and we couldn’t have done it without them. Our moms are the first to “like” and share our posts on social media (and the first to honestly tell us when something looks “off”), our younger siblings give us some amazing, really helpful ideas and Steph’s dad is one of our trusted sources for business advice.
5. What tips would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
1) Be tenacious and consistent: There are a lot of people out there who might have the same idea as you, but if you actually do it and stay consistent, you immediately have the upper hand. It sounds so simple, but it’s true. It’s the whole less talk, more action phrase.
2) Be flexible: When you’re starting a business, you’re constantly learning new things, so don’t be afraid to go in a different direction than you originally anticipated. Your business plan doesn’t have to be etched in stone – that’s the good part about being an entrepreneur – you can change anything you want!
3) Educate yourself: Have an understanding of where your business fits in the marketplace. Do research and ask questions. Learn everything you possibly can!
6. What's next for Out of Office NY?
Our immediate next steps are to continue growing our network of bloggers and client base. We’re also in the process of planning a big ‘Winter Wonderland’ cocktail party for our network in late January 2016.
7. What's the best piece of advice that you ever received?
The best piece of advice has been “just go for it!” When you’re starting a business, there are a lot of people who don’t really understand what you’re doing or think it’s a bad idea (and that’s fine), but you have to trust yourself and go for what you want.
8. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about?
If you are an NYC-based lifestyle blogger, we’d love to have you join our Network! Visit http://www.outofofficeny.com/ooo-ny-network/ for more details.
The Out Of Office NY Network will always remain free, meaning we’ll never charge our bloggers for anything. The network is designed as a place for female lifestyle bloggers to learn more about their passion – blogging!