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Image / Agenda / Business

My Career: Co-founder of Flowstate and PT Adrienne Murphy


By Adrienne Murphy
04th Jan 2024
My Career: Co-founder of Flowstate and PT Adrienne Murphy

Adrienne Murphy is an online fitness coach and co-founder of Irish lifestyle brand Flowstate.

Leaving her corporate job behind in pursuit of something she was truly passionate about, Adrienne found that it gave her the space to think creatively and tap into more of what she actually enjoyed doing. She now lives in Portugal with her husband, John, their daughter Indie-Rose and their two dogs, where she works remotely, spending her time coaching clients online through her online fitness programs and running her business.

Did you always want to own your own business?  
When I was in my mid-20s, I knew that I wasn’t in the right line of work, but I was confident that what was for me, would not pass me. I knew I wanted to create something of my own, I just hadn’t landed on it yet. When I think back to the things I loved then and still do – events, experiences, my love for wellbeing and fitness, creativity – essentially all of these passions are at the backbone of the work I do today.  

In college, I studied advertising and marketing. While I had an interest in this area, I really had no clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. So much of this decision-making was down to the pressures of filling out the CAO. I often wonder if I had gone to college with more life experience how this would have impacted my decision making. After completing my degree, I’ve since gone back to study digital marketing and also personal training. I’m currently studying pre and post-natal coaching online too. 

My most formative work experience was we are going way back now! When I was 17, I started modelling. I get such a laugh out of the jobs I did but really when I think back I value the experiences I had. I was constantly meeting new people and working with new clients. This definitely instilled an element of confidence in me, it gave me a thick skin from a young age which I am very grateful for. 

My first real job was a role in advertising and marketing. I remember so clearly feeling that I needed a ‘real’ job; something that provided security, routine and a consistent paycheck. While it ticked each of these boxes, ultimately I sacrificed my happiness and my energy by working in an area that didn’t align with my core values. I’m glad I experienced this though, it was important for me to work in a career like this as it really highlighted what I didn’t want and helped me figure out what career success meant to me. 

The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was to celebrate the wins, no matter how small they are. It’s so easy to swiftly move past a goal once it has been achieved without stopping to celebrate. There are days that will be tough, you might feel like you’re not getting anywhere or even going backwards, so on the days that you do succeed, celebrate it! 

A common misconception about what I do is… that personal trainers just stand there and count. Wow, this couldn’t be further from the truth and one of the biggest misconceptions I have come across. No.17 PT (where I did my internship) takes a holistic and individualised approach with each client, I have seen first-hand the direct benefit on individuals’ wellbeing and their life overall when working with the right coach. I feel very grateful to be surrounded by such knowledgeable coaches. 

My main responsibility in work… between online training and running Flowstate,  I wear multiple different hats. Flowstate is a small business and I cover many different areas. It has been important for me to recognise my strengths and weaknesses and decide on the areas where I should focus my energy and the areas where I need to outsource and bring in the relevant expertise. 

The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… when I left my job in advertising, this felt like a huge risk at the time. I was walking away from something I was qualified in, a career in which I was starting the climb the ladder, and at that time, I was surrounded by some friends who couldn’t wrap their head around why I would want to walk away from my career. Today, this doesn’t feel like as big a risk. I think life is about trying new things, new experiences; it’s about the journey. When I hear someone is leaving a job that they don’t like and starting a business, going back to study or changing career for something they know they’ll love, I feel so excited for them. Take the leap and trust your gut. 

I wake… at 7 – 7:30am. 

The first thing I do every morning is… have my morning coffee. This is 100% a morning ritual, even down to how I make it. 

My morning routine involves… waking up slowly. I had years of jumping out of bed stressed and in a panic – grabbing coffee and breakfast on the go. Even if I have an early Zoom call, I make a point of setting my alarm earlier so I can still have a relaxed morning. As I drink my morning coffee I generally look over my to-do list for that day, I try and stay off emails unless there is something urgent I need to send. Every morning starts with a long walk with my dogs. This is the best way to start my day, clearing my head before any busyness starts.

I can’t go to work without… my AirPods. I work in a co-working space so earphones are a necessity. 

I travel to work by… car. It’s a very cushy 3km drive from my house. I think back to the days I would sit in traffic for up to one hour each way! Now swapping this for a five-minute drive has given me so much valuable time back. 

On an average workday, I… could be doing anything – recording back-to-back workouts with my husband, John, for our fitness programs, doing Zoom meetings, putting my energy into Flowstate. We are at a really exciting time within the company, researching and developing new sustainable products.

I start my working day at…  this completely varies and is one of the big bonuses of working for yourself I suppose – I no longer have to race to the office for 9am. Some days I’ll have Zooms from 8am, and other days, I’ll go to the office slightly later. I usually plan my week out on a Sunday evening knowing that each day starts a little differently. 

The first thing I do at work is… check my emails and read my to-do list, deciding what gets ticked off first.

I usually spend the first portion of the day… doing the things I don’t enjoy as much. It’s easy to procrastinate and I have found in the past that if I leave the things I don’t enjoy to the end of the day when I am tired, I will simply push it out and carry it over to the following day. Tackling the more tedious work while I’m fresh in the morning means it will get done. 

I break for lunch at… usually I’ll take my lunch break around 12 or 1pm, but it really does depend. I eat when I’m hungry rather than taking a set lunch break every day.  

The most useful business tool I use every day isI use my Google calendar a lot, without it there is no way I would remain on track for the day. I also love Canva – whether it’s for editing videos, creating mood boards or tiles for social. I’m not the techiest person but it’s very user-friendly.  

I save time by… I tend to keep my phone on silent, if I know there are no work calls scheduled I keep it out of eyesight otherwise I know a simple WhatsApp message will distract me and bring me off into an entirely different route. 

I rarely get through my working day without snacking! I work beside Lahanna – a gorgeous coffee shop, that also makes the best healthy treats. It’s my favourite spot for coffee in the Algarve. 

The best part of my day I have so many! My morning coffee, seeing my dogs first thing in the morning, catching up with my husband after a busy day and when I’m training. Every day involves some form of movement, whether it’s a gym session, a long walk, yoga etc. I really love this me time. 

The most challenging part of my day isas I work for myself, there is always something to do, a new area to explore, something to learn or research. Allowing myself to fully switch off can be challenging. 

I know it’s been a good daywhen nothing interferes with my non-negotiables. When my day has work/life balance. Prioritising my health and fitness, spending quality time with my family and being in nature at some point every day is just as important to me as getting through my work to-dos.   

I usually end my day at… this changes day to day. As we are living in Portugal, naturally the weather is that bit better, so I’ll often make a point of getting away from my desk during the day to take advantage of the sunshine; go for quick sea swim or walk on the beach. If that’s the case, I’ll log back on later that afternoon and finish what I was working on then. 

Before I go to bed, I… put my phone on aeroplane mode a few hours before bed so I really start to switch off. Some evenings I’ll wind down with an easy yoga flow and most nights I read a couple of chapters of my book. 

I often prepare for tomorrow by writing another to-do list. Getting everything out of my head so I can sleep with a clear mind. If you saw my notebook, it’s pages and pages of lists. 

After a long work week, I destress by… a walk or a hike, catching up with a pal, a swim, going for a surf or simply downtime at home. 

The accomplishment I’m most proud of iscompleting my degree with first-class honours. College isn’t the be-all and end-all – I think there are so many other ways to get to where you want to in life – but for me, this is something I am proud of, mainly because of the challenges I faced during school. I’m dyslexic and I struggled a lot during school and college. When I got this result it felt like a personal achievement and a major boost in confidence – knowing that if I set my mind to something and work hard, I can achieve it. 

If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… my line of work is varied but ultimately I’m doing things that I have interest in, that I love and that I am passionate about. I think that is a really good starting point. Explore what you enjoy. I truly believe if you do what you are passionate about, things will flow in a positive direction. 

Imagery courtesy Adrienne Murphy. This article was originally published in January 2023.