We'd love to help Escape the City members. Anyone looking to write more and dip their toe in the non-corporate world, we encourage you to get involved and join our team of writers. If you have a particularly interesting experience or company, you can also contact our editor about an interview or feature. Moreover, The Daily Muse has a number of resources for people looking to find their passions,
Kathryn Minshew and Alex Cavoulacos escaped management consulting to start a media company focused on professional women. They're not in the Bahamas, unfortunately, but they did escape Manhattan and are now located in Brooklyn.
We'd love to help Escape the City members. Anyone looking to write more and dip their toe in the non-corporate world, we encourage you to get involved and join our team of writers. If you have a particularly interesting experience or company, you can also contact our editor about an interview or feature.
Moreover, The Daily Muse has a number of resources for people looking to find their passions, break into other industries like non-profits or entertainment and start their own company. Check us out at thedailymuse.com
Alex and Kathryn are currently building a media empire.
Alex and Kathryn met each other (and their third co-founder Melissa) while working as management consultants in McKinsey's New York office. Alex spent three years there in total, doing mostly growth strategy for financial services firms.
Kathryn left in June 2010 to run the introduction of the HPV vaccine in Rwanda.
Returning home in fall 2010, she joined forces with Alex and Melissa to take on a gap in the media market for women.
Kathryn: I've always loved to start things but I used to think more about starting non-profits than businesses. That changed when I started working on my first company, a predecessor to The Daily Muse, and realized what an incredible opportunity it was to build something that was desperately needed and had never been done before.
When you have one job but you spend every waking moment thinking about another, you know what you need to do...
Alex: I was working on The Daily Muse on nights and weekends while still at the consulting firm when my moment of truth came. Not only did I love the challenge of building something from scratch, I also realized that not giving 100% of my time could be risking our company's failure since there was so much we needed to do to get it off the ground. I switched to full-time two weeks later, and never looked back.
Kathryn: I always knew when I left consulting that my next job would be non-traditional and I didn't want my career decision to be dictated by the salary offered so I saved up from Day 1.
It's easier to turn down that second cocktail or an unnecessary splurge when you focus on what else that money can buy you. My consulting friends can tell you that I was a total cheapskate at the time, but it definitely paid off in the end.
Alex: For almost a year I worked part-time on a start-up, so I knew I'd need the savings and had been putting money aside for a while. When I went full-time, I knew I had enough to cover my rent until the end of my lease and then some. As a hyper-practical person, I needed to feel that sense of security when making the jump.
That's a great question... starting a company really is full of amazing highs and low, soul-crushing lows, often in rapid frequency. That's why it's so critical to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs (who 'get' the rollercoaster) as well as friends outside of start-ups (who help balance you).
One of the biggest challenges has been the responsibility that comes when there's no one else to catch your errors. I worked with lawyers on our incorporation and had to make big decisions with long-term import. If payroll isn't set up correctly, it's because of me. Learning and being responsible for those business processes is tough!
On the other hand, how can I list all the amazing things? Hearing from strangers the world over how much The Daily Muse has impacted them. Speaking at our launch party and seeing so many incredible women (and men) brimming with excitement over what we're building.
The risks of entrepreneurship can feel overwhelming at times, but the rewards are just as massive.
The best advice I have ever received was to be open and talk to people about our idea and our company. Many first-time entrepreneurs worry about others stealing their idea and even ask for NDAs. But success really is 10% idea, 90% execution.
Being able to talk through our idea, product, business model and pitch with peers, investors and advisors has helped us refine our focus and improve our company.
Our advice to you: be open, ask, listen and learn. But also trust your instincts and stay true to your vision because you'll get advice pulling you in different directions.
We've found individual people to be most helpful in navigating the start-up world and building our company. From Rachel Sklar at Change the Ratio to Amanda Steinberg at DailyWorth and Alexis Tryon and Scott Carlton at Artsicle, we've been lucky to learn from some amazing people.
Whatever field you're looking to escape to, make sure to do your research and read up on industry news. We read earlystager.com, Quora and TechCrunch, just to name a few.