Irish Women In Business: Tina Murphy Of Health Brands Run With Tina And Slim With Tina
For the latest in our series of editorials focusing on Irish Women in Business, we're talking to Tina Murphy of Run with Tina and Slim With Tina.
Starting out with Run with Tina, the Irish entrepreneur developed a new nutritional programme Slim with Tina, which aims to help women lead a sustainable and healthy lifestyle without being frustrated on a diet.
We spoke to Tina about starting out on her own, finding her inner confidence and getting used to that work-life balance...
What motivated you to start up the Run with Tina and the Slim with Tina brands?
Run with Tina started without any planning. It was a hobby that developed into a business. I was unemployed and wanted something to do so I started a small running group for women who wanted to start running. It was a way for me to meet people and feel useful. I didn’t even charge people for the first few months; I loved it so much I was just happy to be able to do it. Everyone loved the group so word got around and very soon I had a long waiting list of people wanting to do my class!
Slim with Tina only started very recently and it was really in response to the demand from the girls in my classes. Most people in our groups want to start running in order to lose weight and they are sick of diets and want something sustainable and healthy. Because I’ve spoken to hundreds of women and spent a few years listening to their frustration with their weight and diets, and I’ve had my own battles with food, I felt I know exactly what these women need and that’s really what motivated me to start Slim with Tina programmes.
What was your background before setting up Run with Tina?
My background is in marketing, that’s all I’d done until I started Run with Tina. I was always really into fitness and healthy living, particularly since I developed Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disorder that causes an underactive thyroid). However I was never an athlete or a gym bunny, especially in the years since my diagnoses I’d become a really serious yogi and was more interested in a holistic approach. I’d always toyed with the idea of going into fitness so I then naturally re-trained as a fitness instructor when I started my running courses.
How did you decide to grow your business?
I decided to start hiring instructors to help me when I had to turn people away because my classes were constantly full and I saw lots of people start similar courses when they’d seen that my classes were very popular.
What has been your biggest barrier in starting out in business?
I think the only real barrier I’ve had to overcome is learning to believe in myself and believe in my business. Because I’d been unemployed and for whatever other reasons, I really didn’t have much self-belief in the beginning. My business also was something completely new, no one offered similar courses anywhere so that made it even harder for me to convince myself that it’s actually something that could work as a business. It’s only in the last year that I’ve worked really hard to overcome that barrier and while it’s been hard work, it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done for myself or for my business.
What have you learned about yourself from starting out on your own?
I’ve learned that I’m very resilient. There have been times when I’ve wished I knew how to give up but I just don’t have it in me.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
The thing I enjoy the most is being able to do what I want, when I want. For a while I was in the office all day but then I realised that that’s exactly what I wanted to get away from so now I try to work smarter and be more flexible with my time. I might work late some nights or work a few hours on a Sunday but that’s so worth it when I know I can go shopping in Dundrum on a Monday morning or I can take an afternoon off I want to.
Have you had many mentors? What has been their greatest advice/words of guidance?
I’ve had couple of unofficial mentors, hugely successful business people who’ve been kind enough to give me advice when I needed it. I think the best advice I’ve been given is to follow your gut and not let anyone tell you what to do because no one else knows my business better than I do. I only wish I’d started following this advice years ago!
What's been your greatest moment since starting out in your company?
I regularly get emails from women saying my course changed their life, not just their fitness or body but we hear some amazing stories of women going from feeling down and bad about themselves to gaining confidence to completely transforming their lives as a result of my Running Made Easy course. To me, those moments are the greatest, I really cannot think of anything that would top that feeling of knowing that you’ve made such a huge difference in someone’s life.
Would you have changed anything you did in starting out on your own?
I can’t really think of anything I’d change. I’m sure I could have done things better or easier but I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve learned a lot so I really wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
How has your business plans changed since starting out on your own?
I never really had a business plan. I wasn’t looking for financing so I didn’t need one. So far, I’ve found it better to not have strict plans and just go with the flow and it’s worked really well. However, right now I’m at a point where I feel in order to take the business to the next level there needs to be a big change and for that reason I will probably have to create some sort of plan for the future….
What is the best part of your day?
It’s picking up my daughter from school. Sometimes I just drive her home and then have to go again but I just love being able to pick her up and hearing about her day so I always make sure I’m free at school pick up time.
What advice would you give to somebody else starting off?
I would say the most important thing is to do something you are passionate about, something you love and would do for free. That is the key to success.