industry establiSHEd: Kim McGinley, VIBE SF

To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, we’ve launched our industry establiSHEd campaign. Throughout the week, we’ll be taking the time to get to know a different trailblazing woman from our industry.

First up is Kim McGinley, founder of VIBE Specialist Finance. Today she talks to us about mentors, the importance of going with your heart, and what advice she’d give to her younger self.

How and why did you start your business?

“I was at a point where I had two younger children and I’d always been working full time – my daughter was three months old when I went back to my job – so I was looking for that family life balance because I did miss school pickups and drop-offs and plays and things like that. I just wanted to be there for my children and to have a choice really. Also, I think hitting your 30s, there’s that now or never moment that to do something like this. It’s been full of highs and lows, but it’s been great, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

What did you do before starting your business?

“I fell into the industry in around 2007. I was previously a hairdresser and I’ve never really looked back! I went straight into working for a brokerage, then into working for a lender and then the credit crunch happened. I came away and had my family and when I was asked to go back in 2012 – as things got back to normal – I went back into lending. In 2017 I decided to set up my own brokerage and utilize my experience and launched VIBE.”

What challenges have you faced while setting up and running your own business?

“It’s a bit like becoming a parent for the first time! There’s no actual manual to follow that tells you what’s right, what’s wrong. I’ve always said it’s full of head and heart moments and there are times when you just have to go with your heart and just hope and pray that it works out. I don’t have a business partner or someone to share the load with and so it has been pretty lonely making those key decisions when you’re not quite sure. I’d say that’s probably one of the biggest challenges is just not really knowing sometimes what you’re doing.

“It’s kind of wearing so many hats and getting that work-life balance – I’m still trying to get that now! Also learning that you just can’t please everyone. That’s been a huge learning curve for me because I’m a massive people pleaser. I like to say yes! I think it’s actually taken me three and a half years to get to this point. It’s quite a difficult thing to master but now I’m ok with that.”

What other businesses do you like or admire?

“I’m a massive fan of social media, putting yourself out there and just being ballsy. LinkedIn has been my biggest thing since starting VIBE and just social media in general – but I love seeing businesses that are just consistent with branding. I guess what we’ve learned throughout this past couple of years is it’s [about] getting to know the people behind certain businesses. It’s not just chatting about the good times but sharing the bad as well and there are so many businesses on LinkedIn that – not only in our industry – are doing that at the minute and smashing it.

“I’m also a massive fan of female power, female-lead businesses. In our industry there’s not enough of us. There are some ladies that I know that have started their businesses throughout the pandemic and I’ve had very honest chats with them and it’s amazing to see them do so well. Anyone that ever thinks about or does start their [own] business just gets massive kudos from me because it’s not easy at all by any means.”

You’ve worked in finance since 2007, how has it changed much since then?

“When you’re talking of commission and the type of products that were out there then, it was a completely different world because we’ve learned from what happened in 2008 [with the global financial crisis]. There are also so many brokers out there now – I think competition’s a great thing – there’ll never be enough brokers. From a lending perspective, rates are at an all-time low at the minute, yes, they’re creeping up, but I think the type of products that we’ve now got, there’s innovation coming out and technology. It is very different to what was back then a very paper-based, kind of monotonous machine.”

Who were mentors that encouraged you?

“It’s actually one of my old CEOs who inspired me to do what I do and the main reason being was that pure belief in me. I went for certain roles and worked my way up in the industry and they were just a great advocate of that. I still speak to them to this day. I wouldn’t be where I am today had they not been doing their job, so I owe a lot to them.

“A lot of colleagues at other brokerages. When I first launched VIBE I thought ‘oh my God, everyone’s gonna hate me, I’m like the new kid on the block’ but it was the complete opposite. The amount of them that reached out to me to see if I was ok, to see if I needed any help with anything, it blew my mind.

“I’m close to quite a few prominent figures in the industry and that’s been amazing in itself as well. People that have been there and done it and just know the mistakes that I’m probably going to make and help me out really.

“Lastly, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without my family and that sounds really cheesy but it’s so true because they get to see the good and the bad. Their motivation and their belief in me has been absolutely awesome.”

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

“Not to worry what other people think. As you get older you get this sense of ‘do you know what, it’s okay if someone thinks a certain way’. Absolutely life is too short to sweat the small stuff, just believe in yourself. I can’t go back in time to speak to my younger self but I’m just trying to teach my kids these things that I would go back and tell myself.”

What fact would people be surprised to know about you?

“I used to sing, and I was in a band for a while when I was younger. I [still sing] in the shower and when I’m trying to beat my children on the karaoke. I get up and belt out a tune every now and then but that’s as far as it goes! I do like singing Zombie by The Cranberries but other than that I don’t really have a signature song.

“If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I would definitely have pursued a career in acting – that’s a different avenue I could have gone down.”

If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

“Alecia Moore, better known as the singer Pink. I absolutely love this woman, not only is she insane when I’ve seen her live, it’s the whole way she is – she’s not afraid to be different, she’s not afraid to speak her mind; she’s a great role model for her children. I absolutely love that about her. I think she’d be great fun at dinner.

“I’d say Michelle Obama as well. I’ve got a lot of respect for that lady, the way she carried herself through Barack’s presidency. She wasn’t a shrinking violet in the background. And for what she stands up for – the whole self-care, voice for change and things like that and being unapologetically yourself. Also, Marilyn Monroe, who a lot of people probably wouldn’t think of as being inspiring but she had a lot of challenges and highs and lows in her life. She just wasn’t afraid to be herself.”


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