Balancing the Grind with Rosie McKay, Founder & Creative Director of My Virtual Stylist

Rosie McKay is the founder and creative director of My Virtual Stylist, a virtual and in-person personal styling and branding service for women and men.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I worked in magazine publishing full-time from 2003 – 201 when I decided to start my own freelance business Rosie McKay Creative.

As part of my business offerings I still continue work within the publishing industry in various capacities – styling, creative direction, project management, sub-editing, writing and copywriting, but I will go into that more later.

I began my career in magazines at 19. I was so eager to start working that after completing my HSC I opted to attend Macleay College instead of spending 4 years at Uni. Patience is not my best skill!

I took the advice from a college professor and at 19, accepted a role as an Advertising Coordinator on Handmade, a niche craft title at Express Publications. It was a move to get my foot in the door of a publishing house.

Not long after I then moved over to be the Editorial Assistant on the same title. After that there was no stopping me. I went onto work for titles including Fresh magazine, Fitness First, WHO and OK! magazine.

Along the journey I moved my way up from Editorial Assistant to Fashion Editor, To Fashion & Lifestyle Director and then Lifestyle & Celebrity Specials Editor at OK! magazine.

I honed my skills as an editorial stylist, writer and editor including sub-editing, which meant that when I started my business in 2011, I had a lot of diverse skills I could utilize and remain booked.

I think the hardest part of freelance life is consistency, so when I started my freelance business I made sure that I had a portion of work locked in and balanced freelance styling with a permanent part-time position at Bride To Be as Fashion Director / Associate Editor.

I remained there until 2015. In between having two children in 2017 I diversified my offering once again and launched My Virtual Stylist, a virtual and in-person personal styling and branding service for women and men.

It allows me to draw on my diverse skill set and also help everyday men and women realise their potential and elevate not only their personal brand but their mindset and life too. The client transformations in and out spur me on to keep going everyday.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My work days really do vary so much depending on what hat I am wearing and whether I am working with a commercial client, another magazine or a personal styling and branding client!

Everyday starts with a workout – I believe that moving your body is so beneficial for the mind, body and soul. It helps to keep my mental health in a really good place.

Of late most of my work has been in the virtual and in-person personal styling realm, so after the gym it is back home to shower and get dressed for my day, organise breakfast and pack of lunches before I take my children to school and daycare.

On the way home I grab a coffee and once home I jump onto Zoom calls with virtual styling clients, design personalised style guides, build personalised shopping edits or create content for my blog and social media.

If I am working on an editorial or branding shoot or with a personal styling client face-to-face I will head to the nominated location and the day will unfold accordingly.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes thankfully! Which is such a blessing with a young family. I do a lot of my work on-the-go on my phone or my laptop from the car or a cafe!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I don’t really believe in balance as I think it is very hard to achieve! I believe in work-life blend, so creating a life and schedule that accommodates family and business. In doing so, I accept that both will require more or less of me at different times.

In saying that I can find it very hard to switch off work-mode at times, so getting good at prioritising what must get done VS what I want to get done is something I have been working on to stop from burning out.

There is always work that can be done when you work for yourself and manage all aspects of the business.

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5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I have recently switched from HIIT training 5-7 days a week to strength based training, walking and pilates.

I go a million miles an hour most of the time, so swapping from high-energy workouts to strength and stretching based training has allowed me to also get better at remaining focused and being ok with slowing down.

I believe that often physical breakthroughs can help initiate mindset breakthroughs almost in parallel. I have also been walking at lunch time with my husband who has been working from home since March. It is something we have never been able to do before as we have always worked in very different locations!

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I listen to a lot of podcasts! Some of my fave at the moment are Unlocking Us by Brene Brown, The School Of Greatness, On Purpose By Jay Shetty, and Expanded By Lacy Phillips

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My Samsung S10. I literally do everything with it. Take pics, film video content, edit video content, social media – basically run my business!

I also love my Fitbit to keep me accountable for my step target each day, but also for tracking sleep and more. In terms of apps I love InShot for video editing and Canva for most of the design work I do for my socials.

Fitness and staying healthy is really important to me, so I can’t live without My Fitness Pal to keep me on track with my fitness goals.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Spanx Founder Sara Blakely – a mum-of-4 plus running an empire!

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

The only certain thing in life is uncertainty.

I heard this quote recently during Brene Brown’s interview with Alicia Keys on the Unlocking Us podcast. I think we can spend so much time planning and setting goals that often we forget that all we have is the moment we live in.

The next one may never come or it could change the world forever – which 2020 has definitely showed us! For me, now more than ever I am getting really intentional about what makes me happy now in all areas of life and business.

I’ve learned that plans might make us feel secure, but they can also make us resistant to change and unexpected opportunities. Setting intentions but leaving space for the unknown might just be where the magic will happen.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.