Molly Benjamin is on a mission to empower women to take control of their financial future. Founder of Ladies Finance Club (Australia and UK), Molly graduated from QUT in 2010 with a Bachelor of Mass Communications (Public Relations and Media Studies). As part of our entrepreneurial alumni profile series, Molly shared some insights from her Ladies Finance Club journey.
1. In 10 words or less, describe your business: We empower women to take control of their financial future (without the boring bits!).
2. How is it different from competitors? We are completely independent (i.e. not connected to a financial institution) and are all about education and making money fun! The world of finance can be very male, pale and stale - so we are here to change it up! We run events, workshops and courses with the best industry experts to breakdown and demystify a range of topics from investing, superannuation, debt, budgeting and more.
3. How would you describe your target market? We started off focusing on corporate millennial women - although we now get a range of women (from 19-55 years old). When it comes to financial literacy, many of us have never been taught the basics!
4. What are your biggest challenges? I am very passionate about what I do, but there’s a lot of hustling. I am constantly learning new skills (although during my degree I learnt how to write a press release which has definitely come in handy!). I think one of the biggest challenges is staying focused on one task. Like many entrepreneurs, I have an ‘idea a day’ so it’s about staying focused and keeping your eye on the prize.
5. What is the best advice you have ever received? My uncle, who ran a successful company, told me that you just have to stay in the game and not give up; that others will come and go. If you are going to fail, then fail fast, learn, and then implement what you learned so that you can make your business better.
6. What is the most difficult lesson you have learned? I learned about intellectual property (IP) and trademarking the hard way. Just because you have the business name, URL etc - doesn't mean it is yours. You have to register with IP Australia - and if your brand is going global, make sure you register it in other countries you are expanding to.
7. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs? Make sure you are solving a problem and that you have an audience. Test your product/service with a minimal viable product (MVP). Do not invest a lot of money in getting the business set up unless you know that there is an audience who are willing to pay. In addition, you don't need to leave full-time or part-time work to start a business. Ideally, you want to be making almost the same salary before you quit your day job to avoid financial stress.
8. What is your greatest achievement? Launching the Ladies Finance Club membership in Australia and the UK was a big goal for me (QUT Alumni in London were really supportive!), but I get a huge kick every time a woman reaches out to me who has been to a course, workshop or event and shares their story. Whether it is investing for the first time, or being able to retire with a pension because of what they learned, or someone who has freed themselves from debt - this impact is what I am most proud of.
9. What motivates you? Being a young(ish) female entrepreneur, I am inspired by other women in business who have made it: Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx who still owns 100% of her business; Emma Issacs, who is a mum of five and founder Business Chicks; Reese Witherspoon, who has her own production company; Janine Ellis, founder of Boost Juice. I love hearing women's stories and how they have created brands that align with their values.
10. What is one piece of advice that you would share with aspiring entrepreneurs? There are many - but the number one is to just start. Your product doesn't have to be perfect. Test it, make sure there is an audience who wants it. Have confidence in yourself and believe that you will succeed. Not everyone is going to clap for you, so you have to be your own biggest cheerleader.