How to Build a Million-Dollar Influencer Marketing Agency
- Cora Delaney is the founder of EYC, a management agency that focuses on influencer talent.
- Last year, EYC booked more than $1 million in revenue.
- This is part of Insider’s entrepreneur series “Star, Rising,” which highlights early entrepreneurs.
Name: Cora Delaney
Business: A creative management agency that focuses on influencer talent.
Backstory: Cora Delaney always wanted to work in digital marketing, but the “male-dominated and hierarchical” industry wasn’t entirely welcoming to her as a woman, she said. “The systems in place were what was limiting me,” Delaney told Insider. “I wanted to break this, not only for me but for others in the industry.”
So Delaney did her research, sketched a business model, and networked to launch her own agency, EYC, in 2019. Today, her business offers talent management, event planning, creative direction, and consultancy services to brands and clients seeking to connect with online audiences.
Internally, the office is a safe space for women looking to rise in the sector as Delaney did, she said. Externally, the company wants to create nurturing environments and foster a rising crop of young social-media talent. The digital-marketing and
is projected to reach $786 billion by 2026, said a 2021 report from market researcher Global Industry Analysts. There’s also the rise of the metaverse and NFTs, and TikTok stars are now outearning some top CEOs. Last year, influencer Charli D’Amelio made $17.5 million, while Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson took home $14.7 million, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal reported.
Growth: In 2021, the company netted more than $1 million in revenue, showed documents that Insider verified. What’s more, Delaney aims to double that number this year. Last year, the company opened a record label to sign artists, and it plans to open a media-focused division called EYC NXT to foster TikTok talent.
Clients included Apple, Warner Music Group, and the luxury fashion brands Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. The company also works with high-profile influencers, such as streetwear model Leo Mandella, reality TV stars the Clermont twins, and social-media personality Joanna Kuchta. It has also planned parties for YouTube, Bumble, and RCA Records.
Before EYC: Delaney studied fashion at the University of Westminster before leaving to work as an editorial assistant for the online retailer ASOS from 2013 to 2015. She left ASOS to build EYC.
Challenges: Delaney faced pressure from industry peers to quickly develop an expertise in consulting. Instead, she took a “multidimensional approach” toward building the company, mapping out numerous divisions at once and giving the company multiple sources of income, she said.
Business advice: “Running a successful business is and will always be nonlinear, and that isn’t a negative thing,” she said. “You can’t prepare for everything that will happen along the way, but you can control how you respond and react.”
Business mentor: Delaney said she’s never had a mentor. She added that her ideas were often met with hesitance and resistance. “I had to learn to not ask for help and do the legwork myself,” she said.
Why now is the best time to start a business: The sooner you start on an idea, the better, especially as the appetite for digital content increases, she said.
“Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are full of people wanting to create, share, and build brands and identities,” she continued. “The framework of success has changed as much as people’s access to it.”
On hiring: EYC has 13 full-time employees, and Delaney plans to expand the company globally this year.
On managing burnout: Delaney always finds time to go back to her hometown of Herne Bay, in South East England. She said family helps to rejuvenate her and reminds her of her humble beginnings. She added, “Going home and having a cup of tea with your dad, far from the city, is just what you need to resist burning out.”