Alecia Hancock chats with Lorraine Murphy from The Remarkables Group about failure, success and the power of backing yourself.
Looking at Lorraine Murphy’s impressive CV, it almost seems easier to list the awards she hasn’t won, than those she has. The Irish powerhouse behind Australia’s first blogging talent agency, The Remarkables Group, has been named B&T magazine’s 30 Under 30, BRW’s Five Young Entrepreneurs to Watch and one of Dynamic Business’ Young Guns.
Her agency also snagged The Australian Start-Up Awards Start-Up of the Year, B&T Awards Emerging Agency of the Year, as well as getting a seat at the finalists’ table for the Telstra NSW Business awards this year. Her secret to winning awards is simple, “You have to enter them,” she laughs.
Before launching her blogging agency in 2012, Lorraine had an eight-year career in public relations and communication strategy.
“I spent two years in Ireland and three years in London before taking on a PR role in Sydney at Naked Communications. I was doing a bit of work there in the blogger space when I realised there were bloggers building really big audiences, but didn’t know how to pick up the phone to a brand like Nestle, Woolworths or Schwarzkopf,” she explains. “At the same time, I was spending time with brands and they didn’t know the first thing about contacting a blogger.”
The Remarkables Group turned over more than $1 million in its first year, with a large proportion of that success attributable to Lorraine’s laser-like focus. “What I am doing now is exactly what I wanted to do when I started the business two years ago,” she says. “I did have some offers early on from people wanting help with PR, but I decided it was a distraction from the main business and I was only going to have one crack at this. That was a painful choice because I had no money at the start.”
Too many people think the path to success is a steady incline, when it really is a dip, a scribble, go back and go forwards.
Lorraine admits she had zero business experience when she decided to launch The Remarkables Group. “I was confident about what the bloggers could offer brands, and I am still so passionate about that,” she says. “I look back now though and the day before I started the business there was a lot of blind faith. I had no idea of the financial side of things and I had absolutely no business experience.”
While she admits she definitely made mistakes, Lorraine says finding the right people to fill in her business weaknesses has been vital. “Spending time doing something you don’t enjoy and aren’t good at, just doesn’t make sense,” she says. “For me, I’ve had to be very aware of what I didn’t know and ask a lot of questions.”
There have been mistakes made along the way, Lorraine is happy to admit. “I try not to think of it as a mistake anymore, but there was a hire I made last year,” she says. “It was a sales role and her KPI was to bring in new business. She was with us three months and didn’t have any runs on the board. She was a great team fit and I really liked her, but the results weren’t there and I procrastinated too long in making a decision, which caused stress for me and wasn’t fair for her either.”
Now in her third year of business, Lorraine hopes to use her own success to inspire other women. “My mission overall, beyond The Remarkables Group, is to inspire other women to start their businesses. It’s about being the change that you want to see in the world, and I want to show other women they can do it to. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Lorraine says the key to being successful is realising the path to success isn’t smooth. “I think women need to expect a rollercoaster. Too many people think the path to success is a steady incline, when it really is a dip, a scribble, go back and go forwards. If you go in with your eyes open and you expect that, when things go wrong it’s not a surprise.”
Women also need to back themselves more, Lorraine says. “Women don’t back themselves half as much as men do,” she says. “If you don’t back yourself, who will back you?”
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First published September 2014.