Women in the workplace

Olivia Hanlon: Founder & CEO of Girls in Marketing

Name: Olivia Hanlon

Job title: Founder & CEO if Girls in Marketing

Career path: Before setting up Girls in Marketing as an e-learning platform and community, I was working as an SEO marketer for a property company. Whilst it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I truly loved SEO and I was determined to find other marketers with the same passion for this industry as I did. 

That’s when Girls in Marketing was born! In the beginning, it was a side project alongside my full-time role. Eventually, our growth meant I could quit my nine-to-five and run Girls in Marketing whole-heartedly – with the help of a few freelance SEO clients I had on the side. 

Having weekly and monthly focusses is really important as a business owner so that you can stay on track. I have autonomy over my working week; something I never had working for someone else. I love being able to provide other people with opportunities and helping to train new marketing talent too. 

I wasn’t expecting my career path to land here; I just rolled with the punches! Sometimes the best things happen when you just go with the flow. To anyone out there worrying about where their career is headed or what they want to do, try to have faith and know it will all work itself out.

Ideas & Planning: There are so many complex productivity models out there that several business owners swear by. I recently read Grace Beverley’s Working Hard or Hardly Working, which is packed full of helpful methods to successfully plan any task or business concept. But the truth is, my process of planning ideas doesn’t use anything new – I just do what works for me and tailor my workload accordingly. 

When coming up with a new business concept, I schedule a meeting with my team almost as soon as the thought enters my mind. It really helps to air out the strengths and weaknesses of a larger project like this in order to move forward. I really value other people’s opinions, so sharing my ideas is the first step when it comes to planning. 

I will then put together a flowchart of how I envisage the project to run and what the overall process looks like (basically the bigger picture.) After that, I will go into further detail using a Google Doc before entering everything into a monday.com board. This helps the team to collaboratively see what tasks need doing and the due dates for each item. 

If I’m working on a small project or task, my best advice is to act quickly. Don’t let yourself overthink the plans too much. Instead, just take that initial step to getting it done and you’ll see your ideas come into fruition much quicker.

Finance: At Girls in Marketing, we carried out vital research around salary insights in the marketing industry as so many companies protect what they financially offer their employees. There is also a huge issue around the gender pay gap, as well as the gender seniority gap, something that Girls inMarketing aims to tackle through accessible marketing education and resources. Far more men maintain senior roles in marketing and are the decision-makers, despite the fact it is a largely female-dominated industry. 

Our research showed that over half of the women who participle feel as though their monthly paycheck doesn’t reflect their experience level or responsibilities. Typical marketing salaries completely vary depending on your position within the company, and the size of that company, but according to Glassdoor, the average marketing salary is around £33,0000 with a starting salary of £21,000+. As a small business owner, there are other financial factors to consider. From marketing tools and hosting platforms to equipment expenses, tax and other businesses fees, things can get extremely expensive. It’s important to be calculated with what you’re spending, and pay an account or accounting software to help you with your bookkeeping. Girls in Marketing offers a membership, which means we have hundreds of monthly transactions so it’s incredibly important things are kept in order, and we find paying a professional to do this is much more efficient.

Networking: Personally, I joined a programme for business owners and leaders located in the Liverpool region in 2021. The Shift programme by Gather was fully-funded and gave me a chance to network with other business owners in the area. I found it incredibly inspiring to hear other people’s stories and talking to others made me reflect on our services and offering, which is a crucial part of development and growth for us. 

I don’t schedule networking sessions on a weekly or monthly basis, and the Girls in Marketing community allows me to regularly communicate with marketers and freelancers but I always jump at the chance to attend an event if I can. It’s the best way to get creative ideas for other people and propel your business into success!

Work Environment: When I worked in my nine-to-five role, the office culture wasn’t inspiring or uplifting. As I started to build my small team and find an office of my own, I knew I wanted to create an environment for people that I had dreamed of. 

We have a very relaxed, creative space for people to work and we always carve out time for discussions about new projects.


I’m so thankful to have built a community of 170,000+ marketers across social media and be running the business of my dreams. If you want to join us, take a look at our website or follow us on Instagram.

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