Think You Don't Have Time for Your Business? She'll Show You That You Do!
It's pretty common to hear people say that they wish they could find the time to pursue something. That something may be a hobby, a side hustle or a dream career. We don't judge around here, there are some very legitimate reasons for keeping your plans at bay. But every once in a while it's great to check in with the wonder women and men who manage to do it all. Celine Mactaggart is one of them. After giving birth to 3 children in 4 years, the California mom wanted to turn her creative passions into a full time career. And so came her online lifestyle platform, 24 East, a site dedicated to showcasing the vibrance of Oakland, CA. We chatted with her to discuss how to deal with time management and sliding into the role of CEO.
Who is Celine Mactaggart?
1. Assemble a team
2. Take care of yourself
3. Let go of control
I’m a fourth-generation East Bay resident, Oakland native, and mother of three. My family has lived here since 1895. My name is Celine Mactaggart, and 24 East is named for the highway that always brought me home. I champion the East Bay, One Bay Area, and beyond. I grew up going to Dave’s Coffee Shop on Broadway for Sunday breakfast, had a favorite counter seat at Giant Burger on Grand, and spent countless hours driving around local neighborhoods with my dad. Routines haven’t changed much, though hotspots definitely have.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE YOUR CURRENT CAREER PATH?
It all began with a newspaper in my driveway. I had three kids in under four years, and I have been a stay-at-home mom ever since. For years I have wanted a creative outlet yet never knew what it would be or how to start. My time to be creative and work takes a hard stop from 2:15-7:30p to be with my family, so I needed an outlet that was flexible. I picked up that paper and intuitively looked for features that focused on the local community (the East Bay plus greater Bay Area and California) new businesses, the restaurant scene, style makers, and women who were taking risks to start their own businesses. I didn’t see a lot. Also, as a mother with young kids, I struggle with finding time to read for pleasure. I thought: wow, where is there a source for local features that are short, in interview and list formats, and heavy on photography? That’s when I started to think about starting a blog. I am an Oakland native and my family has been in the East Bay since 1895, so this area is very special to me. I wanted to have a platform to share the stories of creative people in business, charities, the arts, and design. That is when I started to think about a blog.
HOW DID YOU GO FROM IDEA TO EXECUTION?
For months I pored over blog templates, gathered a huge content list and sought to learn more about blogs that inspired and resonated with me. I kept being drawn to magazine-style layouts with overlapping features, sites that were photo rich, and content that delivered information in a concise manner. My background is in a totally different field, I have a master’s degree in nonprofit administration and was a professional fundraiser for medical centers. So I knew very early on that I need guidance. I went to the Blogcademy Workshop in San Francisco, put on by three talented, tenacious and somewhat crazy (in a good way!) bloggers and women who owned their own businesses: Shauna Haider of We are Branch, Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride, and Gala Darling. They highlighted the amazing work of a blogger and designer, Bre of Rowan Made, who also ran I’m Breanna Rose. I was done! Bre’s sophisticated yet minimal and clean look was what I wanted. I had to work with her! I reached out to her and she did the branding and web design for 24 East.
DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR?
My mentor is my husband, Alastair. We met when I was doing fundraising at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He was friends with my boss and she set us up, which was a little awkward at the time, but this year is our 10 year anniversary. Alastair impacts my career daily as an inspiration to me and champion for me. He is always striving for a better way to do a task, to make himself better, and put things aside to help others. In business, he is firm yet gracious, and he doesn’t like to hear “no” as an answer, which sets a very high standard for creative thinking and an open mind for collaborating with others. Those attributes impact my work daily.
HOW DOES THE CITY YOU LIVE IN INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVITY?
Oakland and the East Bay have a history of open-mindedness, continually evolving, and people that are extremely loyal. All three of those things impact my work. The diversity of people, ideas, creativity and collaborations here inspire what I write about, who I like to learn more about, and who I hope to be.
HAS REJECTION EVER AFFECTED YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Yes! I get rejections and they always sting, but if I can look myself in the mirror and say I tried my hardest, then I am eventually ok. Sometimes it takes longer to get there. The worst rejections seem to come from me, when waves of self-doubt crash upon me. But if I am very quiet, I can usually find my compass again.
NAME 3 LESSONS YOU'VE LEARNED FROM BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS:
Assemble a team: There is strength in numbers and it is ok to not have all the answers. Ask for help with an open mind, and be prepared for answers you may not like. Surround yourself with people you trust, both on a professional and personal level.
Schedule You First: Many of us struggle with work-life balance, and starting a venture and maintaining it tips this scale in the wrong direction. The business will always need more attention. I was working on 24 East at 5am to jump on it before my kids woke up, then I’d go all day without doing something important to take care of me. I love getting up early and now I don’t work right after I get out of bed. I have a quiet cup of coffee and exercise, then I feel like my whole day has been set up happily.
Let go of control: I am often a slow starter because I seek roadmaps and systems first before I do anything. It makes me feel more organized and gives me a sense of control. But then I overthink, doubt that is the correct path, and I freeze. One of many things that I have learned as a mother is that you have very little control. You can plan something down to the smallest detail, then at the last minute, everything changes. The only thing you can control is your reaction.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTED TO PURSUE THE SAME CAREER AS YOU?
Don’t be afraid to share yourself. For months, I didn’t tell anyone about 24 East, only my husband, parents and sister knew. I was so scared to fail and not be able to put it together. I’d be out with friends for dinner and wanted to share what I was working on, then get a flash of “oh this is a terrible idea” or “why am I spending so much time on this.” Followed by the mom-guilt of this taking me away from time with my children. I wish I had reached out to my friends earlier about 24 East to brainstorm, but mostly, to share my passion. I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough. One of the best things about the blog is that it has brought me closer to some special people, and I’ve made some inspirational new friends. I think this is where instinct comes in too: share with people you trust and admire.
TOP RESOURCES FOR CREATIVES AND WHY, CAN BE PODCAST, BOOK, WEBSITE, APP ETC.
Design Sponge: This site has it all. Such a great resource for interiors, food + drink, travel, etc. She really covers it all and her aesthetic is beautiful.
Smart Creative Women: Host Monica Lee interviews women from various backgrounds and industries to talk about creativity, personal style, and how to explore their passions.
CreativeLive: CreativeLive has classes on how to shoot videos, work on personal branding, social media bootcamp, and more. You can watch it on demand, and the topics covered are almost endless.
FINISH THIS SENTENCE:
I want people to remember me as:
I want people to remember me as someone who wasn’t afraid to laugh loudly, even when you weren’t supposed to, and I want my kids to dance because of me.
If I only had 24 more hours to live:
It would be a busy day. I would make sure my family knows that they were the very best husband, children, parents, and sister for me. When I am tucking my kids into bed, every night I tell them, “In a room full of baby boys or girls, I’d pick you every time.” I’d pick them all every time. After that, I’d relive my honeymoon with my husband (we went to Eastern Europe, Turkey and Italy), eat a lot of fries with my family, dance with my kids, and listen to 90’s hip hop with my friends from childhood.
If I had to choose a theme song to represent me it would be:
Free Your Mind by En Vogue (yes they are from Oakland). It is an important message of letting go of our judgments, and in that, I include judgements of our selves. Plus, I still want to be in that video!
For more on Celine and 24 East, please visit her site: 24east.com
Photos courtesy of: Jen Kay