Today we are chatting with the creator of bSmart Guide, Meagan Hooper. This woman is the epitome of everything inspiring for twenty-somethings. She has had a powerhouse career, a magnificent passion project, and a prince charming – but that is just scratching the surface. The first time we spoke with Meagan we were struck by her magnetism, she has the unique ability to draw you into her stories, and drop you off at the other end feeling energized and inspired. She has made it all happen on her own, and if she can do it she wants you to be able to as well.
You had an incredibly successful career by your mid-twenties- tell us about that journey.
By my mid-twenties, I was the Chief Operating Officer of a hedge fund in New York, married to a wonderful man, and meeting my personal and financial goals. What makes my story so unusual is that when I moved to New York, I didn’t have any money, connections, or even the right education to work in finance. I was a theater major living in a not-so-trendy part of Brooklyn who ran out of cash and had to wash my clothes in the sink and dry them in the oven because I couldn’t afford the laundry mat. What I’ve learned over the last 10 years since graduating college is that if I can accomplish my goals and beyond, then anyone can accomplish their goals. It’s a matter of having the right strategy, being consistent, and not a matter of luck.
What prompted the birth of bSmart Guide & what is its goal?
In my mid-twenties, I started to write down everything I had learned (and wished someone had told me) about how to be successful with my career, finances, relationships and even fashion, health, and beauty. I started to put together a post-college guide interviewing my successful millennial friends about their best post-grad advice. This resulted in creating an online platform for women to learn from each other, connect and build a network, and to also promote their brand, blog or business at the same time.
What are your tips for career success & going after what you want?
I have so many career tips depending on the specific topic! Lately I’ve been speaking to women’s organizations on what I call ‘Acting for Success,’ which illustrates how being a theater major helped me run the operations of a hedge fund at age 27. Acting is about truth and choices and the same principles apply in business.
My first lesson I share is to ‘Choose your character’ in the workplace. A common acting technique (and a principle taught at several business schools) is to choose your character’s status in a scene by choosing the value of a playing card. If I draw a ‘2 card’ and the other person draws a ‘king card,’ then I play the scene acting shy and demure while the other person plays the scene with authority and strength. The next step is to play the scene again with the same text, but to switch the status roles. This exercise shows how your voice, mind, and body express your status as a choice. As a 22 year-old woman, I simply chose to play the king – to be assertive, confident, and in charge (even when I was scared, confused, and unsure).
Another aspect of choosing your character is to have a vision for your role within the play. Similarly in the workplace, you need a vision of the role you eventually want within your company (or life!) and then live up to that role regardless of how you’re treated. Often I hear one of two complaints from new graduates: 1) My boss expects too much of me and is too hard on me or 2) My boss doesn’t think I’m capable or give me any responsibility. Both scenarios can be frustrating – but ultimately your success depends on your vision of your role in the company (even if you’re the receptionist dreaming of being the CEO one day!).
What is something you wish you would have been told in your early twenties?
I wish someone had told me that my goals were completely achievable and that if I worked hard enough (harder than I’ve ever worked before) I would accomplish my goals. I spent a lot of wasted time wondering if I deserved to have more and if I was qualified to do more. A post-grad challenge is that you work very hard without knowing if your efforts will amount to anything (unlike getting an A or class rank). At times I acted a little passive or was even tempted to give up without the guarantee of success. If I had known I would accomplish my goals, I wouldn’t have spent so much time feeling bad about the times I failed or felt exhausted. Rather, I would have just kept pushing (and given myself an occasional break!).
What is your daily routine?
After working in finance for 10 years, I left my job to run bSmartGuide.com full-time and I absolutely love it. I spend the morning working on marketing and social media and then I take a break to take care of my pug Stella. I spend the afternoon reviewing blog post submissions and plotting the editorial calendar for upcoming weeks and then I take a break to fix dinner for my husband. I spend time after dinner editing images and video for special bSmart feature and then collapse. 🙂 If I’m not working from home, I’m doing a video or photo shoot or having business meetings over coffee. You wear many hats as an entrepreneur and while all of them are fun – all of them put together in the same day can be exhausting.
What do you never leave the house without?
Living in New York City I’m often popping in and out of my apartment with only my cell phone, keys, and credit card. I travel by foot, so I travel light.
What word defines the twenty-something years in your mind?
For me it was confusion. I’m an A-type personality and life had been laid out with immense structure and guidance as an undergraduate. The sharp contrast of adult-life with endless options (and ways to accomplish those options) is not only overwhelming, it’s not even manageable without some sort of guidance from an expert who’s been there before you. That’s what I hope to offer with bSmart Guide – guidance from experts with the right advice about how to accomplish your goals, as well as the opportunity to build a strong network and promote your brand. I hope all women can learn, connect, and promote on bSmartGuide.com.
When faced with a difficult or frustrating situation, what is your go-to process?
I experience a difficult or frustrating situation almost every day to some degree (I think this is true for almost every entrepreneur) and I love my go-to process. The first step is to write down in my journal (or Notes app) anything and everything I can think of that’s bothering me about the situation no matter how big or small. Often times I list silly things that aren’t even consequential until I get to the bottom of the big challenges and what needs to happen to appropriately pivot. I call it self-venting. Often times I don’t even realize what was truly bothering me, or that a solution is much easier than I first thought until I vent in this manner. By venting, I’m able to express my emotions and then problem solve a bit more logically without being weighed down by the feeling of the situation.
What is your biggest dream for bSmart Guide?
My dream for bSmartGuide.com is to be a platform where all women can learn from each other, connect in meaningful ways, and promote their brands within a supportive community and eventually a marketplace. I would love to one day have cool facilities where all members can meet in-person to conduct business, expand their network, and promote their brand, blog or business.
What has been your proudest moment for bSmart Guide thus far?
Every time someone joins the bSmartGuide.com community, submits a blog post, or shares their business or expertise, I’m proud of the platform we created and want to do everything I can to make it the best possible experience for our members. I’ve had a few crazy opportunities like being interviewed on TV as a millennial expert or speaking at large women’s conferences about how to be successful in the corporate world, but it’s the every day actions on bSmartGuide.com that make me proud and inspired by how our members are changing the world.