Today, we’re catching up with Meghan Chayka. She does the unusual combination of working in a startup while also modeling on a regular basis. I asked her some questions on what it is like to juggle the two.
Sarah: What is your startup and what do you do there?
Meghan: My startup is Stathletes Inc. which seeks to quantify player performance in continuous flow sports. I have a background in economics so I help with some quantitative measures. As well, I take on a lot of the detailed projects, from legal issues to investor presentations.
Sarah: You’ve won a couple of business competitions. Can you tell us about how that helps what you are working on (aside from the cash infusion, of course)?
Meghan: The business competitions help in refining our pitch and presentation. We had to do anything from a 30 minute interrupted presentation to a 1 minute pitch filmed while literally riding an elevator. I think it’s great practice talking to investors, professors and MBA students that have no idea about your business. It gives you a perfect forum to sell your idea in a short period of time.
The network from these international gatherings is also a huge benefit. I’ve sat beside authors of staple entrepreneurship textbooks to ones that taught founders of Groupon. You really never know what angel or VC you bump into. There are always interesting conversations, and I try to learn a little bit from everyone I meet.
Sarah: Have you always want to work in a startup?
Meghan: I haven’t really set out to work in a startup. I won an award for a business plan exactly a decade ago and really haven’t looked back. I competed in a few other business plan competitions in my undergrad and then started this company. I have had a couple corporate/ public sector jobs in economics and finance but that type of work never fulfilled me. So, I feel much more comfortable in startup environments.
Sarah: Currently, you divide your focus between startup life and modeling. What’s the biggest challenge of splitting your time?
Meghan: The biggest challenge is dealing with the different mindsets in each sector. There is very little overlap between fashion and entrepreneurship. The expectations are so opposite, one physical and the other cerebral, that it is a challenge going from one to another.
Sarah: The follow up question to that is obviously what do you love most about doing the two?
Meghan: I love the creative aspects of fashion. It’s always inspiring to see artists at work, whether they are designers, makeup artists or photographers. Startups are more about the challenge of stretch goals and meeting milestones. It’s really fulfilling to see a product add value to the intended consumer. I love the never ending workload and busy time line, even if it gets a tiny bit crazy.
Sarah: What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Meghan: I think you have to do what you love and always strive to create more. It’s great to get a decent education but then focus on challenging yourself in your field. I think another important piece of advice is to not compare yourself to other people in the corporate world. Sometimes it takes longer to succeed as an entrepreneur and that’s okay.
Thanks for answering all of my questions, Meghan! If you’d like to keep up to date on what Meghan is up to, you can follow her on Twitter.