We had the good fortune of connecting with Vivien Treacy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vivien, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always knew I wanted to start my own business.
My Entrepreneurial career began at age 10 during a family yard sale. I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies, set up a little table on the sidewalk, and sell them for $.25 each.
Within a half-hour, I had made $10, which was a fortune in my mind. I immediately asked for a ride to the store to pick up more chocolate chips, so that I could whip a second batch and keep the profits rolling.
I learned that I could do something I enjoyed and earn money at the same time. A true Win/Win. Thus began my lifelong love of Entrepreneurship.
After 10 years in the San Diego Healthcare Recruiting field, I had the opportunity to partner with an investor and start my own business. It was exciting, and terrifying. The best part was being able to create a company from the ground up, built around the philosophies of positivity, self-awareness and efficiency. 7 years later, I cannot imagine doing anything else!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I founded Career Sparks in 2014 with the goal of creating a Boutique medical recruiting and consulting firm. In short, we match spectacular health care professionals with our clients. I also wanted to create a new type of work atmosphere where employees were encouraged to develop a healthy work/life balance. To foster this environment, I take employees on fun outings like yoga classes and spa days and even allow my staff to bring their dogs to work!
Since its founding, Career Sparks has evolved. We have honed the business to focus on recruiting in the fields of Ambulatory Surgery, Plastics, and other Outpatient practices. Why? Anybody who’s ever navigated our healthcare system knows how complicated it is. I want to be an expert at what I do and specializing enabled me to learn the ins and outs of Outpatient Surgery from what makes an exceptional Operating Room Nurse to what certifications are required to become a Radiology Tech. Experts project 6-7% growth per year, making Ambulatory Surgery one of the fastest-growing fields in healthcare. We want to grow with it and are currently in the process of rebuilding post-Covid. I’m excited to hire and train a team that is just as passionate about this industry as I am!
I’m proud to be where I am today but it certainly wasn’t easy. Building my business required years of hard work, navigating male-dominated spaces, and tons of research. All this experience has given me a few insights which can be applied to anyone looking to make it in the world of business:
Take risks (but don’t be reckless)- I started Career Sparks with a small loan, a list of leads, and a whole lot of ambition. About 20% of new businesses fail in their first year so taking the leap and investing my time and money was inherently risky. Throughout the years I’ve had to make other tough choices, some of which didn’t work out. But that’s what it takes to be successful- if you never put yourself out there, you’ll never reap the rewards.
Confidence is key- Especially in the beginning, I adopted a “fake it till you make it” attitude. I called clients and secured deals worth tens of thousands of dollars all by myself in my kitchen but had the confidence of someone who already had an office full of the best recruiters in the business behind me, and eventually, I did!
Be persistent- I think this is especially hard for us women who are socialized to avoid aggression at all costs. But in the world of business, acceptance and passivity will get you nowhere. It’s not uncommon for me to call a client five times before securing their business, a practice I would have balked at before I entered the field of recruiting. Now, I don’t think twice about sending that follow-up email or negotiating a higher salary for a candidate and my persistence has certainly paid off.
Accept rejection with grace and move on- Nobody likes to be shot down but this will happen ALL the time, especially during your first few years as a new business owner. Even now, whether it’s a great candidate who takes a different offer or a client who suddenly decides they no longer need our services, my work life is full of rejection. But instead of moping, I use these instances to motivate me to work harder and this strategy pays off. It’s not easy, but learn to view rejection as a challenge, not an obstacle.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Only a week? Ok, here it is …
First Day we would settle in and have Mike’s Taco Club in Ocean Beach for lunch. They have the BEST fresh seafood tacos, burritos & tortas with shrimp, fresh catch & octopus. Yum!
Rest up and then walk the Sunset Cliffs in the early evening, followed by a drink and a bite with a view at South Beach.
Day 2 we would hit the beach! Head over to Mission Beach and rent bikes or walk the boardwalk for some exercise, then enjoy the sun and surf. In the evening, shower up and head to C Level for incredible Ahi Towers, Lobster BLT, Cocktails and an incredible view of the San Diego Harbor.
Day 3 Up early for a hike at Mission Trails, most likely one of the Fortuna loops. Probably pretty tired from there, so relax at the beach and BBQ in the evening.
Day 4 Head to La Jolla to see the seals! Play tourist and take lots of photos, and enjoy a late lunch at George’s at the Cove on their roof deck.
Day 5 San Diego Zoo! This deserves a full day for sure.
Day 6 Back to La Jolla for a stroll at Torrey Pines, relax on the beach and then grab a drink at the Torrey Pines Lodge if we’re feeling fancy.
Day 7 Last day! Explore Coronado Island on foot, swim in the ocean and grab a drink or an ice cream at the famous Hotel Del Coronado. Stop by Miguel’s Mexican Cantina for dinner, including their incredible queso sauce with tortilla chips.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to my former managers at Aya Healthcare and RCM Healthcare, for being patient with my “entrepreneurial spirit” during the early years of my recruiting career.
Now that I’m a business owner and manager, I see clearly how supportive and understanding they were in letting me do things “my way.” I appreciate their mentorship, friendship and leadership.