Fatima Alvarenga is a Fourth year, Communications and Media Studies student at Carleton University in Canada. She is also the founder and Editor in Chief of City in 3. An online magazine that showcases life in Ottawa and around the globe.
In this edition of cocktails with: Fatima discusses City in 3, her plans for the future and advice for other women looking to create their own lane in the media industry.
What inspired you to start City in 3?
I started writing for various online publications back in February however, I sometimes found that I was too constrained into one particular topic or focus. By starting my own website, I could allow myself to be as transparent and as open as possible so, that readers could get to know my personality. I wanted something that was true to who I was as a person, be representative of view points of all my writers and be 100% canadian
What has been the most significant moment in your life so far? And what did you learn from it?
There are two significant moments that come to mind. The first was in my second year of university when I realized that I did not like my school or my program. I took a really big risk completely switching programs and schools especially because I had so many people around me questioning what I was doing. Jumping into everything with both feet forward was a huge risk and I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever forget.
The second significant moment was starting the website and starting from scratch. I woke up one day and realized that it was something I really wanted to do. Running a website like City in 3 means that i had to make a decision to invest in it and put my money into it. It also meant that I had to set my pride and ego aside and just do it.
These two moments taught me that it’s risky to take risks but they can definitely pay of in the end.
What does a typical day working on City in 3 look like for you?
The first thing I’ll do is check the blog. This is where my writers will submit articles to review and I’ll edit for formatting and layout. I update all the sections of the webiste such as our man crush monday section and make sure everything thing is accurate and up to date. I’ll also review writer or editor applications and schedule all of our facebook posts. Personally if I have an article to write that day, I’ll usually carve out a chunk of time to get it all down.
What are some challenges that you’ve faced starting your own magazine?
One of the biggest challenges is being taken seriously. I don’t want people to look at my website and think of it as amateur website run by a university student, I want it to be taken seriously and I want it to grow but, it’s really hard to get that support. Obviously I have my friends and my family who support me, but getting other people who don’t know me to do the same can be hard.
Another obstacle is finding the motivation to sit down and work on the website, especially having to balance that with school, work and everything thing else I have going on. I want to maintain my personal relationships and have a social life and this can be stressful sometimes. There are times where I question if it’s worth it to keep doing this but out of all the jobs I have and everything I do city in 3 gives me the most joy, I have a passion for it and it’s that passion keeps me going. Working on the website is such a big part of my routine and if I were to stop doing it, it would honestly feel like something was missing from my life
Where would you see city in 3 in 5 years?
I definitely want to expand into other cities, as much as I love Ottawa, I’m looking at expanding into cities like Toronto and Montreal. I want City in 3 to be a publication where people see content that is relevant to their region but also have some exposure to what’s happening in different parts of Canada and the world. In addition, I’m working on implementing a video series into the site to help me capture the aspects of people or cities that cannot be written down.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I could say I want the cookie cutter life but ultimately my goal is to be employed full time as the editor in chief of city in 3. I want city in 3 to be my job and I would love to turn it into a media company someday.
What advice would you give to other young women in their twenties or in university who would like to start their own business?
Just do it, it sounds cheesy but even if you think you can’t do it, just go for it and do what you can. If you need the help ask for it, put your pride aside, put your ego aside and just do it. You don’t want to be working a job that you hate for 20/30 years when you could’ve started in your twenties and do something that you are passionate about. If you think about it, most people retire in their sixties, 40 years is a long time to commit yourself to something you hate when you are you can be doing something you love.
Get in touch with Fatima and Check out City in 3