Magda's story is the latest in our ChangeMakeHer Career Stories, where we interview incredible women creating powerful change in their respective fields about their stories and share their advice on how you can do the same. One of the biggest factors as to why girls tend to shy away from fields such as STEM, tech, entrepreneurship and leadership roles is quite simply that there is often not enough representation. After all, it’s a lot harder to become something you can’t see. So, here at ChangeMakeHer, one of the ways we’re working to change that by interviewing amazing women out there, and showing that you’re just as capable of doing things like them!
So, without further ado, let us introduce to you: Magda Baciu!
1. Tell us about your story and what you do day-to- day!
I was born and raised in a family of solo-entrepreneurs and I have always had this skill to build things and solve issues. I think it became more obvious during high-school when I led various NGOs, ran different educational projects and found different ways to bring value to others and make some spare money, like providing math courses for my classmates, reselling clothes ordered from China and working in sales.
During my second year at university, I raised my first investment to build a laundromat & hub for students as I was inspired by this business model during the time I was studying in Belgium. However, one year later, I exited the business and let my partner take over, as I had seized a big opportunity in developing online projects. Working online is much higher impact, you have access to human resources all over the world, is more flexible and it’s a bigger challenge.
All my efforts were targeted towards learning how the online world works and studying statistics (my first love). I had worked in multiple startups and so I was able to identify issues that are common in the industry and that I could solve with my entrepreneurial skills.
Last year, I took the leap and founded House Of Progress, a growth marketing agency, as I had observed that there were not enough marketers that have a good understanding of web analytics, as it’s pretty challenging to bring a data driven mindset into the marketing world. So, we help businesses grow through advertising, conversion rate optimization, and funnel building: services based on a thorough understanding of quantitative and qualitative data.
As a result of working with dozens of clients to help them improve their online marketing strategy, we saw how time consuming a data analysis process is, so we started building software that is going to automate the process of turning web analytics data into actionable insights. We believe that marketers should focus on creative tasks rather than spending time on repetitive tasks that can be done by a robot.
Being an entrepreneur is about wearing multiple hats, challenging yourself everyday, continuously learning, and doing everything at a fast pace. This is why I love it and I’m extremely grateful for everything that is happening.
2. What impacted your professional journey the most?
The people I have surrounded myself with have had the greatest impact on me. I don’t only mean the people that I admire the most, but I'm also motivated and inspired by meeting people whom I don't enjoy.
I believe you should take the time and choose your career and your life partner wisely.
These are the two pillars of living a fulfilled life. I strongly believe you should set your standards and values, understand yourself and be patient. It’s going to take some time but you’ll get there.
Another extremely important factor for me was understanding how the brain works: how to move through tough moments, how to build mental strength and manage pressure, and how to do all these things without having them negatively affect your personal life and relationships.
3. What advice would you give to young girls looking to get into your field of work?
Theory helps to bring some structure and understand the big picture but the only way you’ll find out if you truly like a certain profession is by doing it, and by being patient with yourself during the learning process.
There are a lot of internships, NGOs and projects you can get involved in. Alternatively, if you like a certain business, just contact them and tell them you would like to offer them some help in exchange for the learning opportunity. Most startups are open to it as long as you show that you want to add value to their business.
Anybody can complete a list of tasks, but just a few are willing to go further, take a stand and come up with new ideas, help their colleagues and have a learning plan outside of office hours. It’s just so easy to be a winner and differentiate yourself from the majority. Do that now and you’ll thank yourself later.
Online marketing is such a dynamic field, so it’s important you keep up with what’s happening so you can be more efficient and be able to come up with innovative solutions.
Become a t-shaped marketer. By that I mean learn more general things about online marketing, and then choose one or two areas to specialize in.
4. Why do you think women are under-represented in your field and the broader workplace?
I believe that it’s the fault of history and the way society used to think about women. It wasn’t too long ago that all women used to be housewives, and it takes more than one or two generations to change that.
Another issue is that there are few role-models, there is less interest in this field and and women also suffer with self-esteem issues.
I think this issue will be solved, but this is going to take some more generations and parents who raise and educate their daughters to be brave and strong, just as boys are taught to be.
5. Have you experienced any push-back for being a woman in your field? If so, how do you deal with that?
Unfortunately, this happens.
Being a young woman in business is not the easiest thing, but the only thing you can do is to go ahead and prove the naysayers wrong.
At the beginning it used to be disheartening, but I learnt how to speak firmly, make my point and prove that action follows my words.
6. Who are your biggest inspirational GirlBosses?
Some of the business women I admire are Arianna Huffington - co-founder @The Huffington Post, Sheryl Sandberg - COO@ Facebook and Alice Bentinck - co-founder@Entrepreneur First