HELENA MURPHY STORY

I’m Helena. I’m an investment and growth expert working with entrepreneurs from all over the world to grow sustainable and profitable businesses. With over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur, I’m now also on the other side of the table as an active investor.

I love start-ups, building something from nothing, watching it grow and making a difference. I like to collaborate, share knowledge, meet new people and add value. Most of all, I am passionate about working with other entrepreneurs and helping them make a big impact with innovative and investable businesses.

On a personal note, I love to travel, experience new things, embrace and overcome fear (I’m thinking about the time I learnt to scuba dive and was absolutely terrified to begin with but loved every minute). I also love Sundays, spaniels, good food, good wine and good company.

helena murphy

I have always been an entrepreneur and very hard working. I’m not motivated by money and material things, but I am motivated by the desire to help others, to share my knowledge and the independence that money brings.

I got my first job the day after my 13th birthday, which is the day you are legally allowed to begin working in the United Kingdom. I worked in a kitchen in a local cafe collecting and washing dishes, and although I hated working in a smoke-filled cafe (back when you could still smoke indoors), I loved the independence of having my own money. If I wanted to go to the cinema at the weekend, or buy the new Steps CD, or go on holiday with my friend’s family in the summer, I could. And I could do it on my own terms.

Since then I have always worked hard and been entrepreneurially minded. I started working in All Saints at 16 and quickly learnt the ropes of retail and the lesson of supply and demand. A new line of products would be designed, be featured in magazines, celebrities would wear them and all of a sudden we would sell out on a Saturday.

I applied this knowledge to my first side hustle, selling things on eBay. I would keep an eye on markets, trends and customers and I quickly developed an eye for what would and wouldn’t sell. My best sales would come when a celebrity wore something or a well-known designer did a high street collaboration, I would buy everything I could afford at the retail price and then sell for a profit online when the products sold out. This paid for a summer travelling around Spain.

After graduating from the University of St Andrews with an MA in Sustainable Development (I still maintain that one day I will save the world), I didn’t follow the conventional route of getting a graduate job, instead I took my side business to the next level and launched my first e-commerce website selling sustainable fashion brands – combining my love for selling with my academic knowledge.

Although in the early-days I saw a lot of success and raised some initial seed capital, ultimately, I took my eye off the ball financially and under-estimated how much money I would need to drive traffic to a website that wasn’t eBay (this was pre social media days!). I didn’t take action soon enough to get myself and my business in shape to raise investment and I ran out of money. I also fell through that trap door many entrepreneurs do of working on my business 24/7, becoming a slave to my inbox and taking no time out for myself. It was only when my hair started to fall out from stress-related alopecia that I knew something had to change.

In order to learn from my mistake, I first had to face it and really get to the bottom of why my business hadn’t gone to plan. This is what I learnt:

I didn’t seek the advice and help I needed to achieve my dreams of running a multi-million pound business

I thought I was an island and I could do it all myself

I was obsessed with not spending money on my business, with “bootstrapping” and “being lean”, I was scared to invest too much money into anything and in my own personal development unsure if it would pay off

There is a difference between “being lean” and being Scrooge and not spending enough

You need to speculate to accumulate

No one was going to invest in me if I didn't invest in myself

I cared too much about what other people thought of me and my business

I took my eye off my financials (mainly because I was scared of them and didn’t understand them!)

I didn’t raise funding soon enough or make myself and my business investable

And finally I didn’t have a clear end-game, growth plan or goal I was working towards

In the end, I lost it all and went from running what was initially a successful business to moving back in with my mum shouldering crippling debt.

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently – Henry Ford
helena Murphy the guide to growth

Like I said, I’ve always been an entrepreneur; I went back to my business in it’s original state and was selling on eBay in a matter of weeks to repay my business debt.

I knew I wanted to run my own business full-time again but I needed a fresh start so I began working in marketing for a shoe designer, after all I knew a thing or two about selling and retail! By the time I left the business a year later we had bought a competitor, launched a new website and new products, grown the social media following by 300% and raised £250,000 in investment… I don’t like to sit around…

I then pursued a new challenge to head up the marketing department for a luxury children’s brand who were also looking to raise investment. This deal closed for £700,000 and was hugely over-subscribed.

By now, I had really cut my teeth in the investment world and I became aware of the lack of support and resource for founders that clearly articulated the steps they needed to take to become investable and to grow their businesses in a way that didn’t involve them selling their soul and losing their hair.

Every time I searched for anything on investment on the internet, a sea of videos, articles and spreadsheets popped up that were over-complicated and overwhelming and everything was peppered with buzzwords which didn’t actually help or mean anything.

There was a distinct lack of clear and concise information available that was also engaging and provided entrepreneurs with real advice and actionable steps to take.

I surrounded myself with investors and networked like crazy with successful entrepreneurs, absorbing their pearls of wisdom, tips and tricks like a sponge. I learnt what investors were really looking for and combined this with my knowledge from my previous fundraising experiences.

Before I knew it, word had gotten out that not only did I know how to sell and market a product and brand, but I also knew about the fundamentals of raising investment and what traits investors are looking for.

I began coaching other businesses through the process, helping them build the momentum they needed and setting out a road-map that would make them more investable.

I’d done a whole lot of learning from all of my experiences and from my first business so when I took the leap and started The Guide To Growth and Helena & Co, I invested heavily in myself as an entrepreneur and my personal development.

I hired in my first coach, overcame my limiting beliefs, got crystal clear on my values, my end goal, my motivation and my why. Although it was a terrifying step to take, especially as I had just managed to repay all of my original business debt, it has paid off beyond my wildest dreams and was worth its weight in gold.

I now work with business owners from all over the world as a 1:1 coach and business strategist helping them navigate their own entrepreneurial journey, grow and raise investment.

I’ve raised millions of pounds in investment to date from a huge range of sources and sat on both sides of the table as an entrepreneur and now as an investor in my own right.

I have worked with businesses to launch new websites, increase sales, move into new markets, rebrand, launch new products and gain the momentum and traction they need to attract investors.

If you are an entrepreneur who has never run or grown a business or raised investment, your first steps into this world can be pretty intimidating. But they needn’t be.

 

Growing a business, although a lot of hard work, doesn’t have to be scary, arduous and drawn out process. It can be easy, hugely transformative, life-changing, empowering, fun and not to mention rewarding.

 

If you are ready to start growing the business of your dreams, become the investable and successful entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be, please see the details of my 1:1 coaching and consulting by clicking below.

I firmly believe that anyone can sit at the table and grow a wildly successful business and brand – all you need are the tools, determination and grit to get there.

There will never be a “perfect” time to start your journey, now is your time.

Remember – do one thing every day that scares you. I can’t wait to celebrate your success with you.