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Q&A with Niamh Tallon – Founder of Her Sport

Tell us about your background and what led you to your current role:

It didn’t take me long to combine sport and business as a career. I started Her Sport when I was 24, while still completing my masters in Digital Marketing. From 16 years old I was working, in a variety of organisations, which exposed me to how businesses operate, and taught me some valuable lessons. Initially, I juggled Her Sport and working as a Director of Marketing in New York business, before taking the plunge and committing to Her Sport full time at the start of 2020. I saw the disparity within sport, and felt I had the skill set to impact change, while also developing a sustainable business.

What made you interested in going into this type of work (when you first started out in your career)? 

I didn’t think I would ever end up in a publishing company! Nor did I think I would have a career in sport. I have always had an entrepreneurial streak and, when the concept came to me and because the costs were low with launching a digital business, I thought I would try it out – nothing to lose! When I say I didn’t think I would have a career in sport – that is exactly why I started the business. I’ve always been involved in and loved sport – so why didn’t I see myself in that industry? I created something so that others could and would see the opportunities for women in sport. 

 What have been the highlights so far:

The past year has seen so much development and progression in the business. We partnered with leading Irish sports retailer Life Style Sports, who truly believe in and support what we do at Her Sport. We launched our partnership with the Business Post as we brought the Her Sport magazine to print – having recently published our second edition. We also celebrated the Her Sport Awards in person for the first time, showcasing the incredible athletes and discussing the landscape of women’s sport – which was also broadcast on TG4 – Her Sport’s first television production! I know the next 12 months have even more in store as we continue to build on these foundations and seek more for women in sport. 

What do you find are the down sides to the job (travel/long hours / missing family events/etc)? 

I wouldn’t really say there are any downsides – I love what I do! Don’t get me wrong – I don’t love every single task, but it’s all about the bigger picture. Business admin takes time and isn’t always exciting. It can be tough as a new business to handle everything with limited resources, so although you may be the head of the business, at this point you have to be willing to get stuck in to whatever is required. It can be hard to take time off, too. These are minor things and simply what it takes to get a business up and running. I have faith it won’t always be that way, and a few years of hard work will pay off and get us to where we want to be.

What advice would you give women wanting to do what you do?  

As an entrepreneur, my advice would be, if it makes business sense – go for it! Have the confidence in yourself, surround yourself with the right team and start. Otherwise, you will always wonder “what if”. Women can be less confident in themselves, in business, when they are more than capable. Taking the first few steps can be the hardest, and after that it becomes easier. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; seek advice from a range of people; learn as much as you can. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. I have found people to be hugely generous of their time and willing to share their advice – it’s so helpful. 

What advice would you like to give the 25-year-old you?  

When I was 25, Her Sport was still in its infancy and, at this time, I didn’t actually put my name or face to the brand. While I wanted the brand to stand on its own two feet, as a brand and as a business, I didn’t love the idea of putting myself out there – it’s something I should have done sooner. There’s huge benefit in putting yourself as a person out there for your brand, and it definitely increases opportunities. People want to work with people, and it shows the humanity of the business. Your own network is also greatly supportive, and if your network knows what you’re doing, opportunities you never expected can land in your lap.  

What hopes do you have for the women working in the sport business industry in the future? 

Things are improving all the time, but there is still some way to go. The whole point of Her Sport is to level the playing field and create equal opportunity for women in sport – whether an athlete, broadcaster, coach, or manager. Women want to be acknowledged, taken seriously, and given opportunities they deserve. Currently, women have to jump more hurdles than men to get to the same place – we want to see this change across the board and break down some of these barriers. 

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