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Helen Brown

Female Founder Spotlight: Helen Brown

4 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

IWD International Female Founders Spotlight: Helen Brown
IWD International Female Founders Spotlight: Helen Brown

Helen Brown is Co-Founder of Seeblue Marketing, mum, wife and best friend. Trained in Political Science, Helen has always been fascinated by people and women’s rights – so even though her early career path took her away from politics and into Marketing for tech giant Vodafone, she was never very far away from the cause, putting herself forward to be Chair of the Group Women’s Network there. Following an instinct to create a brand from scratch, where she could be herself and create the balance that she wanted in her life – she co-founded Seeblue. 

Helen, along with Co-Founder and awesome lady Orla Murphy now have the opportunity to build not only a company culture that supports women to achieve their own work-life balance, but they also seek to support the wider community through sponsorship of the Women In Tech forum. 

What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?

When little girls grow up, they are still surrounded by stories about Princes that win a Princess’ hand in a fight, Fathers who give the Princess away to the richest suitor and women who do the chores. I know this because I regularly find my 4-year-old asking to read them and I edit them mid-sentence!! Our world is changing but not fast enough, or radically enough. By taking control and starting your own business, you are not only talking about change but demonstrating to your daughters and sons that with hard work and passion you CAN achieve your dreams. No one else achieves them for you. You are inspiring by doing. And you can’t put a price on that!

What are your top tips 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?

I think one of the biggest things I have learnt is that no matter how great you are at what you do, you have to accept that when you start a new business you are taking on the roles of about 20 people too.
You will become the people you turned to in corporate life – the HR expert, the accountant, the administrator. And that is a journey you need to be mentally prepared for. You have to start the day with an ‘I will succeed attitude’, scrutinise how you spend your time and be prepared to learn fast. In fact, if you don’t have a love of learning and being pushed out of your comfort zone then I’d say running a business is definitely not for you.

Put a price on time. That’s helped me appreciate that you must value your own time as the Founder/CEO. You need to identify the things that make sense for you to do yourself and what should be outsourced to someone else.  
Your to-do list is ultimately the work that will enable the business to grow, such as strategic planning, developing partnerships and winning business, and delegate the work that can be done by specialists. We now use a combination of employees and freelancers to help us serve clients, and run the business, and I am certain we would not be growing at the rate we are without this flexible skill.

Build an operational model that doesn’t need you. This is a really hard one to get your head around but in order to build an asset (one you might even sell), you need to build a business that can operate without you. To do that, even in the very early days, you need to put in place the systems, processes and resource that are repeatable and scalable. When you get it right, you cut out so much time-wasting and can turn things on, off, up and down as needed without thinking about it. This is something we are working really hard on at the moment. 

Learn constantly and read widely – from everyone, everywhere. You will always learn something about how to motivate different people, how to influence outcomes and more than anything, about yourself.

Be you, and appreciate the empowerment it brings when building a team – when I worked in a Corporate environment I always felt like I left the ‘real’ Helen at home and put on my game face. In my business, I am completely empowered to be myself. When I feel vulnerable, I’ll own that to my team. When I need support I ask for it and when we’ve won a deal we celebrate! As we build out our team now, I am working to distil what that me (and my business partner Orla’s) ‘me-ness’ is and translate that into an awesome company culture.

Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?

Emmelene Pankhurst – for leading the movement that achieved equality in voting rights for women. Such dedication to her cause, at all costs, is mind-blowing. 

Rosemary Martin, Group Legal Council – for being the most impactful introvert leader I know, who stays true to who she is

My mum, Carol Summers, whose can-do attitude to life has inspired me to believe I can just do it – whether that’s starting a business, starting a new hobby or going travelling to far-flung places. 

Chez Tattersall – a friend, who has gone through chemo for breast cancer and divorce at 30, remains one of the most positive happy and smiley people I know. 

Gretta Thunberg – for having the courage to stand out and care more about the outcome than what people think of her in the process. 

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

I have lived my life by this quote “the enemy of the best is often the good”. It inspires me to aim high, to believe I can achieve the things I want to, not to settle for ‘good enough’. Sometimes this makes things challenging too – because the easy route is to stay put, to make do. If you want to achieve exceptional things, then this is one to live by. I check in with it regularly.

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