Nina Macarie of One Lucky Star: Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life
Confidence comes from clarity, and clarity comes from action. While it’s important to experiment and allow yourself to explore your passions and talents, you ultimately want a clear vision of what your long-term goals are and create a clear path from there.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their lives. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nina Macarie.
Nina Macarie (founder of One Lucky Star) is a visibility expert helping female entrepreneurs get more visibility and connect with dream clients through podcast interviews. She is the creator of the P.I.T.C.H. podcasts framework, helping clients pitch themselves to the right podcasts with ease and confidence in an authentic way.
After sending hundreds and hundreds of podcast pitches and also seeing what kind of pitches are put out in the world, Nina knows exactly what elements to include in a successful pitch. Not only did she get amazing feedback from her successfully booked clients but she also impressed the podcast hosts that she pitched to. Today, Nina’s mission is to help female online entrepreneurs, coaches, course creators, consultants, and podcasters get an amazing first impression as they start spreading their messages on other people’s platforms.
Nina lives in Romania with her husband, two kids, and three cats.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
From Fearful to Thriving- How resilience played a vital role in turning my life around and running a successful international business.
Making an impact and living a purposeful life has always been my goal, but it was never that easy. As I support other moms to grow their impact and business and I have to pinch myself, how far I have come from a little girl living in a small town growing up with very little opportunities and a big dream to make a life worth living. I wanted a degree in European Studies, and to ultimately land a job within the European Union. I had also envisioned myself with a wonderful husband and two children (this was the pattern that I’ve seen in my house growing up with my parents and grandparents from my mother’s side). Little did I know, that was already on its way to me, and this is where my story begins.
As a little girl growing up in Romania, a Communist country, I always dreamed big. However, it was tough going, we weren’t allowed to travel abroad, which meant my imagination and hunger grew more and more each day, to see what was beyond our country’s borders. I lived in a home with my parents and grandparents and as you can imagine, it was cramped, we didn’t always have much and as a family, we lived from paycheck to paycheck.
Hope was restored when I turned 10 years old, Romania experienced a revolution that brought about changes and new possibilities for its citizens. Oh, how it brought so much joy and actually the possibility of someday being able to see what kind of world it was beyond Romania. Every time I look after the pivotal moment my stomach churns, I still feel the bubbles in my tummy. Everyone was elated.
A few years later, one of my cousins married a French man, which meant that some of my relatives were able to travel to France. My desperation to see the world was made even more impossible with financial and logistical obstacles in the way, it was at this very point that I made a promise to myself that I would also travel and my determination never faded, so while other kids my age spent their summer breaks dating and going out for fun, I spent my time sitting alone in my backyard; dreaming of what I wanted my future to look like.
I wanted a degree in European Studies, and to ultimately land a job within the European Union. I had also envisioned myself with a wonderful husband and two children. It didn’t matter that I was a simple girl from a small town in Romania, with no connections or professional role models to ask for guidance; I believed that I would get to live a life where I achieved both my personal and professional goals. I began studying Spanish and knew that as soon as I had enough money to cover my own travel expenses, I would be on my way! My Spanish teacher saw something in me and it gave me the courage to go after everything I wanted. This reliance has led me to where I am today.
Growing up my mom was a pre-k teacher, and she really wanted her children to be some sort of role model for her students, because of this I kept quiet most of the time and was seeking her approval. I didn’t want to disappoint her. I often thought I wasn’t good enough and it still plays on my mind today. It’s a constant battle as a business owner of having that feeling of not being good enough; and at first, I would shy away from putting myself forward. I am sure many can relate to shying themselves away. That’s why now I make it my mission to support my clients to shine a light on their business and to speak up for what they believe in. As an entrepreneur I have learned you need to make the first move, you need to create your own opportunities.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” -Rumi
This quote really connects with me deep inside I resonate with the way that early desire in life helped me to pave my own way. I believe that once you make a decision and begin taking steps to pursue it, you will see things that you hadn’t seen before and come across opportunities that you might not have known existed.
For example, in December of 2020, I was part of a five-day challenge with the CEO of the Female Entrepreneur Association, Carrie Green. As a naturally introverted person, this challenge inspired me to try and become a braver and more courageous business owner in 2021. I felt more inspired and I knew deep down I wanted to create more impact. It was time to step outside myself and take bolder steps. That resilience kicked in again and like magic, once I focused on creating opportunities, they started to come in thick and fast.
People’s awareness and interest in my business grew, and I was receiving invitations for interviews, guest speaking, and social media engagements. Ultimately, I was even given a small feature in a friend’s online article, which led to a new collaboration. You see if you allow yourself to be open and push outside your comfort zone, it’s there in those moments that you may want to quit; if you keep going, everything starts to fall into place; and just like that, your goals become more reachable.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
I think first of all being really clear in knowing what I want has been a key component to my success. My Ambition and perseverance have led me to where I am today.
All failures are lessons. When I was a student, the only way to get into a university was to pass a specific exam. Much to my discouragement, I failed this exam not once, but twice. After I failed the second time, I considered traveling abroad as an Au Pair. I had such a deep desire to travel, that I figured doing it as an international babysitter might not be a bad way to start. But something about that route just didn’t feel right; I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of pursuing higher education. With the encouragement of my parents, I decided to take the exam a third time, and I passed! I was finally on my way to earning a degree in European Studies, just as I had always wanted.
At the end of my second year in university, I met an incredible man, who is now my husband. During our final year, with his support and encouragement, I applied for a scholarship that would allow me to study in Spain. Unfortunately, my application was unsuccessful, so I moved back home and found temporary work until one day during the summer I saw an advert in the newspaper; our government was looking for graduates to apply for a two-year study program that would prepare them for the future work in government positions. My heart stopped a beat, not only did the program offer to pay participants’ taxes and provide a spending allowance but one of the years in the program would be spent abroad. This was a sign that I had been waiting for, I applied and was accepted and on my way to Madrid to study for a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Pursing my goals, I returned home from Marid to my boyfriend proposed to me, after we were married, spent a year living in different cities because I had to earn my diploma and after working for the government in my country for a few years, I landed an internship with the European Union in Brussels. I had the most fantastic mentor and colleagues and after I moved back home once it ended because my husband was not interested in living abroad and we felt it was the right time to become parents.
We were blessed with a boy and a girl, and I was able to be a Stay-at-Home Mom with them for more than five years.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
When the kids started getting older and going into day-care, all of a sudden, I felt lost, like I didn’t know who I was anymore, I had all this time on my hands, and I was lonely. My spark inside had gone, and I felt I was a shadow of my former self. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I began working with a coach, in the hope she would help me (re) discover my passion. I began volunteering for an NGO and then started working for a German Consultant. After that, I started helping my friend promote her off-line jewellery store in the online space. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I was happy to be working again and exploring opportunities that would hopefully bring me closer to an ultimate calling.
In the midst of my self-discovery journey, my husband very suddenly lost his job. Fortunately, he accepted a new job not long after, but it was in a different city, we both felt that it would be better for our kids if we all moved together.
Still searching for my professional purpose, I took a job as a French-speaking Customer Service Representative for an international company. This experience proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated, but not because of the work itself. I was hired at the same time as a group of students who had little experience. We had to wait for feedback before we were allowed to make any decisions or take any actions with our customers, and we had to ask permission to use the toilet during work hours. There I was- a highly educated, well-travelled woman- who had to raise my hand for permission whenever I needed to go to the bathroom or I had a question to ask or needed feedback. I felt demoralized and inadequate. The day I quit that job, I went home and began searching online for jobs that I could do at home. This is what led me to the idea of becoming a Social Media Manager; a job that would allow me the freedom and flexibility that I was looking for.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I started working as a Social Media Manager but soon realized that this isn’t for me, so I pivoted to working as a Virtual Assistant, and having an Administration background was really helpful with that role. It was tough going trying to stand out online and that niggle inside me struck me again, I needed to be more impactful and help people. Going from a general VA to working as a Visibility Expert was a long journey, but I wouldn’t change it and I found my calling.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I was at a point, where I was buying all the courses and workshops searching for that ‘magic sauce’ that was going to lead me to my calling. Just like I had experienced most of my life, magic was about to happen. I stumbled across a webinar that was offering a course on how to pitch podcasts. But this time the course was different from the ones I had taken in the past; in that, it was aimed at both the VA and the client. I knew I had to have it, so I asked participants of the masterclass Facebook group if there was someone interested in buying the course, but who might need help implementing the course in the context of their own lives. I felt that I could offer my assistance there, and luckily, someone amazing said yes.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
When I quit my job, all I knew was that I wanted to help other moms who, like me, who were eager to be present for their kids but they also do something that is meaningful and fulfilling to them. I was so caught up in the “how am I going to do this,” that I wasn’t very clear on what my actual steps should be. I knew that for me, there no other option but to make this work. I did not want to go back to a 9–5 job with a strict schedule, so I started putting myself out there, posting in Facebook groups, offering help. I focused my energy and intention on serving and helping others. Doing my own work on my fears of being judged; however, something inside of me knew I was just one step away from calling in a new long-term client that would propel me and my business to the next level. Once you truly start believing you are good enough, the universe always shows up for you.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
When I started my business, I was afraid to be visible and scared of what others might think of me, however, I have learnt to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I still invest in myself and I’m always learning and growing and I’m honing my craft.
Some of the clients that I started helping with podcast pitching were also podcasters, themselves. Since I started working with them, they’ve asked if I could help with a specific project that they were working on, or with their own podcast. This is so valuable because it gives much more insight into the podcast world, in general. I’m able to see what kinds of pitches are out there, and what kinds of things people are interested in hearing about.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I remember thinking ‘I just need one client to prove to them I am capable of supporting them to reach their goals’ I’m forever grateful to Marta Spirk, who was my first podcast pitching client. Not only did she believe in me, but she referred me to a friend of hers, which really helped me to get the ball rolling. Marta and I still have an amazing relationship to this day.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Being interviewed by multi seven-figure business owner, Lisa Johnson, for her own podcast.
It took me a full month to pluck up the courage to get back to her assistant to do the interview. That’s how scared I was to have this conversation. I suffer from nerves but once I realized, all I am doing is having a conversation from one human being to another; it switched my perspective.
Sometimes we get stuck so much on what our new strategy should be, or showing up on social media more, or this or that and we actually overlook our mission and these types of conversations ground you and remind you of why you do what you do. And this is one of the things that I love most about having conversations with other business owners all over the world (during coffee chats or other networking events), is that you get the opportunity to generate new ideas, come up with fresh perspectives, refine your message and it’s all happens when we’re able to connect heart to heart cause in the end, we all want the same thing: to be seen/heard and loved and appreciated for who we are.
P.S. This episode was not aired yet, and I don’t know if she will decide to air or not. To me, this experience was far more important than the outcome (am I the only one whose brain needs past evidence?). The fact that I was there, in that zoom room, having a conversation with a multi-millionaire gave me the confidence that I could have conversations with anyone else, no matter who they are or how much money they make.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
I have to constantly work on my own confidence from being a Stay-at-Home-Mom for so long, I definitely struggled to find myself again in the working world. But at the end of the day, I knew that I wanted to make this life and this business work for my children. I wanted the flexible schedule that would allow me to be there for them whenever they needed me, while also fulfilling another purpose.
The limiting belief might surprise you; I sometimes struggle to post content on my social media from fear I give too much value away that clients won’t want to work with me; however, consuming free valuable content is so important as it shows just how knowledgeable you are and how you can help your clients. To help me; I continue to invest because I thrive on the accountability, and I know a mentor will get me to get to where I want to be faster.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
Asking for help is kind of a big deal, when I started this entrepreneurial journey, I thought that I needed to do it on my own cause only this way I could prove to myself that I’m a real business owner. But I learned that you can’t grow as quickly without mentors or peers that understand your dreams and goals and support you all the way. This year was the year where I massively invested in learning and getting the right support in my business but also in getting help from people that are doing things better than I could do them. Also, huge shoutout to Katy-Marie, Tamsyn, Kirsten, Adi and Alice, my weekly accountability buddies that show up for me and support me, and are there for me no matter what (so thankful for you, guys!).
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
As a natural introvert, my old story was, I will be fine hiding behind the scenes. I soon realized I needed to be visible (huge comfort zone breach) to reach more people and create more impact. People crave real connection, now more than ever. I’ve been taking baby steps to show others what can happen when you put yourself out there and showing your vulnerable side; is actually a good thing. Magic happens on the other side of your comfort zone. My first podcast interview and having a guest spot on a FB live were two of those huge milestones for me. Growth comes out of being uncomfortable and saying yes when you want to say no.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
The 5 things that I wish someone told me before I started are:
1. Confidence comes from clarity, and clarity comes from action. While it’s important to experiment and allow yourself to explore your passions and talents, you ultimately want a clear vision of what your long-term goals are and create a clear path from there.
2. Be in the moment. As soon as I realized that my energy needs to be focused on the exact moment that I am in, things became a lot easier for me. For example, during sales calls, I would try to anticipate my potential client’s next move or question, rather than what they were communicating to me in the present moment. Once I learned how to be present with them and truly understand what their needs were, I was then able to respond accordingly.
3. You are not your business. Your needs as a business owner are different from the other needs that you have as a multi-faceted human being. You may also be a mother, wife, friend, sister, neighbour, and you should treat yourself accordingly in each of those roles.
4. Start with serving one client. All it takes to get your business moving forward is one client. If you are fortunate enough to find a client who is engaged, enthusiastic and pleased with your work, then they may refer to you to other people who seek your services. Sometimes as business owners, we tend to compare ourselves to others who are also in business for themselves. However, it’s important to remember that all businesses started with just one client.
5. Focus on your people. It’s ok if we can’t please everyone. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I came to realize that so much of what makes a business successful is working with people who share your vision and appreciate what your content offers. If you are confident in your work ethic and your skill set, the right people will find you.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would love to create a movement that will help other moms get support so that they can network together and start collaborations and grow their businesses. Speaking from experience, I know how difficult it can be for moms to try and do all the things, and actually to accept that we need help. I would like to offer them a place and the opportunity to support each other, to encourage each other, to get to know each other and share their struggles and wins, their stories and lessons of how you can be a good mother and a great business owner.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)
One of the people that I would love to have lunch with is Jasmine Star. I love her energy and I’ve briefly met her on a zoom call (I was one of the students who were selected to ask her a question and then those Q&A‘s were turned into a podcast episode that was recently aired) and I was impressed by her way of showing up and spreading joy and tough love at the same time. I really love her story and the fact that she’s an introvert, but still having massive success. I would love for her to tell me more about how she has been able to achieve so much as an introverted person, like myself and it would be a real treat to be able to meet her in person.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I’d love to connect with you on Instagram @nina_macarie
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!