Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Olivia Hanlon, Founder and CEO of Girls in Marketing, located in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Girls in Marketing is a digital learning platform and marketing community for driven and like-minded women working within the marketing industry. Girls in Marketing’s mission is to bridge the digital skills gap and equalise gender seniority in marketing.

With an online community of over 250,000 marketers, Girls in Marketing is helping countless women to progress in their careers through its membership, resources, and community events and programmes.

We’re for women in marketing at any stage of their careers, whether they’re students at university hoping to find a job in marketing or marketing managers who support their team’s development by enrolling them in the Girls in Marketing membership. Girls in Marketing has something for everyone, and we’re always delighted to welcome new marketers!

Tell us about yourself

I founded Girls in Marketing as a community initiative during the summer of 2019 whilst working full-time in an in-house SEO role. I set up an Instagram page to create a space for girls like me to meet others, make friends and share marketing experiences.

I freelanced throughout my time at university and continued to work with freelance clients while working full-time after graduating. When I entered the working world, I found that I didn’t enjoy the typical formal networking events, and I wanted to create something more casual and accessible.

In May 2020, I left my full-time job and took on a few new freelance clients to give me the time to concentrate on building a successful business strategy to grow and scale Girls in Marketing. I’m so proud to say that Girls in Marketing has now become a 6-figure thriving female-led start-up.

I’m motivated every day to grow Girls in Marketing and empower, support, and guide women in the marketing industry. I love to get hands-on with everything that we do, continually learning and improving as we go.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In all honesty, every time we’re able to help women in the industry grow in confidence and progress in their careers, it reminds me why we do what we do. In terms of projects, the stand-out experience for me was our first-ever in-person event in Manchester with Adobe Express. We spent months planning and dreaming of the day, and when it came around, it was beyond our wildest expectations! When I started Girls in Marketing, I envisioned small local meet-ups, and doing an event for nearly 100 women in the industry was absolutely surreal.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

As you can probably imagine, you get very used to doing pretty much everything yourself in the early days. So, when you start to hire a team to help you build your vision, it can be tricky to let go of the reins and delegate tasks that you are used to doing yourself.

THEN once you’ve hired your team, it’s so important to actually be able to trust them to do the work as well as you would! Trust me, when you've got the right people, delegation is a blessing as a business owner.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

This is a tricky one, and I’m sure I could probably fill a book with all the lessons I’ve learnt along the way! But three things I’d recommend are:

  1. Make sure you're passionate about what you want to grow. If you're not passionate about your business, then you won't put in the work, and it won’t succeed.
  2. Surround yourself with people who allow you to thrive. This really does make such a huge difference, whether it’s in a professional or personal setting.
  3. Focus on getting started! It can be really easy to put off getting started because things ‘aren’t quite right yet,’ but if you look at it that way, you’ll probably never do it!

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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