En Route to a “Pinch Me” Life

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In the lead up to International Womens Day, we hear from a number of successful business women from across the UK. In this weeks guest blog, we hear from Founder of Girls in Marketing - Olivia Hanlon.

As a young woman with scouse heritage, I feel it’s been ingrained within me to always try my best and work hard. While my journey so far hasn’t been easy, I’m determined to continue working towards every goal that I set for myself. Over the last year and a half, things have become somewhat insane for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m living a life I could never have imagined a few years ago and I’m en route to a “pinch me” life.

I chose to study Psychology at University because I’d always had an interest in people. People fascinated me, and they still very much fascinate me. Every time I meet someone new, I’m bewildered by their story and experience. Studying at University was a bumpy journey, I failed a few modules in my first year before realising that I had to actually DO the reading and extra work. Fast forward to the end of my first year in 2017 and I started freelance writing. I’d been writing a personal blog since I was 15 and loved the aspect of writing and telling stories.

After graduating from University and landing a grad role straight away, I started my 9 to 5 with pride. Every morning I’d be happy to wake up and go to a marketing job, but there was always something missing. I’m one of those people who loves to have something else to do, whether it’s a side passion project or an extra income. I was working in marketing, but I didn’t feel like I was working in marketing. There was a lack of passion with my fellow colleagues for the marketing industry and I wanted to find other people who felt as passionate about marketing as I did (mainly so I didn’t seem strange in the office!).

I remember sitting with my partner in Starbucks, doing some brainstorming around ideas back in summer of 2019, and with an iced coffee in hand, Girls in Marketing was born – a community of ambitious, passionate womxn in the marketing space. A website and blog for them to refer to but mainly a space focused on community and being passionate about such a wide and growing (and amazing) industry.

Over the next few months, I spent time (alongside my full-time role) posting content, building a Facebook group and supporting other womxn on the Instagram page. Followers of the page and community members were growing at a steady and impressive rate. I loved running it. But then lockdown 1 hit the UK and I got sent home to work remotely in my home office. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I wouldn’t return to my full-time job back at the start of March 2020. Yet, I sit here now, writing this from my very OWN office (Girls in Marketing HQ) with my OWN team member sitting opposite me (COVID compliant, obviously) approximately 1 year later.

Lockdown allowed the Girls in Marketing community to flourish into a beautifully international platform as people stayed at home, they looked for connections online. Our community is now over 100K people strong over our main platforms – Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook Groups and TikTok and we have a wonderful Members Society.

As restrictions begin to ease, we’re hoping to take our empowering and educational talks, workshops and courses in person. That is the ultimate goal for me. A community that supports and empowers womxn virtually but equally provides that face-to-face community too.

And throughout everything, I’ve started to realise the value of belief, in yourself and others around you. Support from loved ones, and surrounding yourself with the most inspiring people is definitely a key factor for me. Half of the Girls in Marketing success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the team and if I hadn’t taken the risk in the first place to leave my full-time job during a global pandemic to pursue my dreams, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now.

If you take one thing from my story, it should be that sometimes things are going to scare you, frighten you even. But that’s the beauty of life. Taking risks even when the odds are against you pays off, and it could make you that one step closer to a “pinch me” life.

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