boss lady

Fierce Lady Bosses: How They Built Their PR Companies

Entrepreneurship

A lady boss is someone who is in a position of power. Being a lady boss is something to commend and strive to be. A lady boss is a fearless and fierce femme fatal. She is someone who rose through the ranks. She is someone who creates empires out of nothing.

These PR companies, built by fierce lady bosses, are well-known. Here are the stories of how these fierce lady bosses built their PR companies from the ground up.

These stories are about women who learned the ropes and then used that knowledge to create an empire. These are the inspirational stories that everyone should hear.

Alli Rodriguez, Founder of Alli Rodriguez Public Relations

Alli Rodriguez has been a publicist for over 10 years. She started her company, Alli RodriguezPublic Relations, LLC in 2011 and it quickly grew to service over 40 clients in one year. Her expertise is in media outreach-connecting her clients to major and local media, event management, and securing brand endorsements. Her clients have been featured on Fox, CNN, CBS, Life & Style, Ok!, and more

Alli Rodriguez

What prompted you to start your PR company?

I started my PR Company because I wanted to bridge a gap in the industry and service clients at my own pace, in my own way. I also have always been passionate about PR, and it made sense to make it into a career.

How did you crack your first client?

The first client I found on LinkedIn. They liked my energy. I understood their vision, and it just worked. I am a firm believer that whatever is meant for you will always find you. When I first launched my company, it was a very basic website, and I was still navigating my way through the PR world. I have a good work ethic, and I am not afraid of the word no, and clients just flocked to me and trusted me to get a buzz out about their brand.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

The hardest thing about being your own boss is just that…being the boss. Everyone looks to you for answers, and it can become very overwhelming and draining. As your own boss, we tend to always be on.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Understand the social platform that is gaining the most attention to you and your brand, and start pushing yourself on that one. Be organic and engage with your following. Create videos that are engaging, and be sure to comment and interact. Having some press will be a good push for you as well because people will start seeing and hearing more about you.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

You need to block outbreaks for yourself. I am a workaholic by nature, and I realized as my company expanded and my demand grew that I realized that I had to map out more me time because I was working so much and not taking care of myself. I would get sick and drained, and I realized that the most important thing you can do as an Entrepreneur is work like you were working for a company; otherwise, you lose yourself and just burn the candles at both ends and cannot be as effective in the role you are playing for your clients.

Kami Evans, Founder of Kami’s Kloud

Kami Naraghi Evans has worked been involved with Educating and Engaging communities through her PR Firm since 2016. She recently launched Kameleon Publicity in Westport CT supporting national businesses locally such as Organic Krush and Choice Pet. 

Kami Evans

What prompted you to start your PR company?

Well, I was a mom at 42 again, and it was very difficult to learn the lay of the land. So I started a few Facebook groups, and it turned into a following of 622k people across all platforms.

How did you crack your first client?

Since I had such a great understanding of my local area and trends from my social platforms, people would ask me for advice, and my first client was the local Downtown Association. I would interview and film small businesses, which turned into a great engagement opportunity for everyone. Well, I quickly realized you need to be true to how you feel about the people you represent. You don’t have to accept every client opportunity. It needs to be a mutually beneficial engagement.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

Being my own boss is great. When you have kids, you pretty much develop leadership and organizational skills – now, I was able to bill for local engagement and placements.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Be true to your voice. And always be of service. In PR, you need to find a way to share the story and why the client is the best solution for others.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

You deserve every dollar you make. Don’t reduce your value, or you will reduce your results.

Debra Caruso, President and Owner of DJC Communications

Debra Caruso, president and owner of DJC Communications has more than 30 years of experience in the media field and has developed numerous working relationships with a wide range of contacts in the press corps throughout the U.S. She has directed campaigns for corporate entities, large non-profit organizations, unions, trade organizations, and leading universities.

Debra Caruso

What prompted you to start your PR company?

I had always wanted to start my own business. Fortunately, I was given the perfect opportunity when I was fairly young. I was working for a firm in New York City that had a great reputation and well-known clients, but the partnership among three people had broken up. Unfortunately, what was left of the businesses was not as financially viable as the previous version. It was clear that I was going to have to look for another position or do something on my own.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

I think the most difficult part is knowing that I’m responsible for the entire operation and that I’ll take the fall if something goes wrong. Whether it’s a decrease in businesses or an error that’s made, I’m responsible. It’s incredibly important for someone in my position to keep an eye on everything produced by the organization to make sure nothing is issued that might hurt a client in any way.

Ms. Caruso is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Press Club and represents the organization as its public relations consultant. A known expert on the media, she has been quoted in The New York Times, Medium, Marketwatch, ABC News Radio, WNYC, E-Commerce Times, Arizona Republic, Forbes, AOL WalletPop, Christian Science Monitor, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. Her writing on public relations has been featured in The Hill, HuffPost, BullDog Reporter, Ragan, O’Dwyer’s PR Magazine, and CommPro.biz.

How did you crack your first client?

A client with whom I worked almost exclusively knew the situation I was in and was very encouraging. He said, if I wanted to start my own business, he would make sure his organization hired my new firm to do their pr. It was the opportunity and push I needed. It gave me an income right away. (I still have that client, more than 30 years later.) I was also able to rent an office at another pr firm where the owner promised to refer businesses his organization was not able to tackle.

That worked out perfectly. I had a place to work, so I didn’t have to work from home (which I still dislike), and I had a couple of clients right from the start. For someone who was young and single, that was all I needed to get the business off the ground.

As with most start-ups, I was very fortunate to have mentors and others who encouraged me and helped me get clients.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Find ways to make the news or to get in on issues of the day. If you’re an expert in some area, keep an eye on the news and let reporters know that you may have something to contribute in the way of thought leadership.
Of course, social media is the perfect vehicle for growing an audience. There is nothing better. Make sure your social media accounts keep churning information that will keep you in the public eye and useful. Once you’re out there, customers will flock to you.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

I guess I’ve learned how to be independent while also knowing that you can’t be completely on your own. It’s necessary for almost all aspects of life – and especially businesses – to create relationships and to maintain them. I’m lucky that I like people. I like keeping in touch with old friends and acquaintances, and that has proved to be rewarding, both personally and professionally. I learned as a reporter at the beginning of my career never to lose a phone number because you never know when you’ll need to get back to someone. That’s a lesson I maintain to this day. We may not use the phone as much, but we certainly do keep in touch via the myriad of ways to do so. That has become invaluable.

Jenelle Hamilton, CEO of Jenelle Hamilton PR

Jenelle Hamilton handles global publicity for many lifestyle brands, which includes; Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Bob Mackie, Black Opal Beauty, Mason Dixie Foods, and Whipped-Urban Dessert Lab. She has over two decades of PR experience under her belt, and prior to starting her​ PR agency 11 years ago, she consulted with Tom Ford at Estee Lauder for the launch of his first fragrance, Black Orchid. 

What prompted you to start your PR company?

I had hit a glass ceiling at a PR Agency I was working at, and I am not a big fan of corporate life. I am a creative person and like to express myself and not follow “rules.” I initially started out with a plan to consult for a few months, but I achieved amazing results for my first client, that people kept finding me and wanted to work together. It just snowballed from there, and my company continued to grow; now, 11 years later, I have this incredible agency and roster of clients. 

Jenelle Hamilton, CEO

How did you crack your first client?

My first small client was actually a referral from a former colleague. The first REAL client I landed on my own was actually legendary costume designer Bob Mackie. I didn’t actually pitch for that account; what happened was that I read an Op-Ed article in the NY Times about why public relations isn’t worth the money. I shared my thoughts in the comments section of the article online, and the COO of Bob Mackie’s company loved what I wrote and made his assistant track me down on the internet. That’s how I landed my first major client through online engagement. A little bit of luck and fate and using my voice to share my thoughts and connect with people online, got me where I am today. 

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

Trying to balance work and your personal life is still an issue for me. Now I have a team, I am stepping back a little more, but it’s still hard to switch off completely. This company is my baby as I worked on growing it for 11 years. It’s very personal to me, and I see all my clients as friends and family. I have a specific vision for my clients and how I see my agency growing, so I am very passionate about what I do. I still have work to do when it comes to turning the phone OFF at the end of a workday (and weekends!)

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Your social media accounts and online presence basically acts as your resume these days. Everyone is a “brand,” whether they know it or not. You really need to work on figuring out who you are, how you want people to perceive you, and what you want “out there” on the web. You can manage that by the content you put out into the universe and how you communicate with people online. I would suggest definitely have some form of a strategy on social media when it comes to what you are posting. You think people aren’t watching, but they really are. Also, engagement is key. As I mentioned, I landed an A-List client from commenting on a story. So connection virtually or IRL is super important.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

Have a plan from the beginning and figure out how you will scale your business. I had a job rather than a business for many years. I have to figure out how to scale and hand the reigns over to other members of my team. 

Funding a business is also so important, especially for entrepreneurs of color who have a harder time getting funding. Crunch the numbers and figure out ways to ensure your company survives. So many people’s businesses fail because they run out of capital. So either has a good savings buffer to self-fund your business, pitch VC firms or do friends and family fundraise. Just make sure you have enough to meet your business goals and keep it afloat.

Arlene Howard, Founder of Arlene Howard Public Relations

Arlene Howard landed her first job at the age of 17 as a “gofer” for a well-known and controversial New York radio personality. 

She launched her PR agency in her house after a two-year tenure and acquired many clients, all of whom were in the medical industry. Again, age discrimination was the driving force behind my decision to create her firm. She went into offices shortly after that and hired personnel, and the rest is history.

What prompted you to start your PR company?

I was aging myself out of the business.  After being VP of PR at MGM for a few years I went on my own because PR agencies were looking for younger and more academically credentialed people rather than roll up your sleeves experience in the work environment

How did you crack your first client?

Went knocking on doors in the Beverly Hills area presenting myself and impressing the medical community with my abilities and media relationships.  Got my first clients immediately (that same day) because the timing was right and I choose a particular heath/beauty niche not yet exploited.

Arlene Howard

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Join PR groups as PR people like to help each other.  Generate your own publicity when opportune.  Use your own website and post your media hits so when potential clients check they see obvious positive results that reflect on your success and abilities  It definitely indicates third-party endorsements from media for your clients.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

Working harder and smarter to be a role model. That means 7 days per week and at all hours.  Also about hiring the right people who not only have ability and talent but have amiable personalities and are enthusiastic about their career.  Enthusiasm is the benchmark

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

Size up your potential client and assess their media value and their realistic expectations. Often clients really are not PR worthy and impossible to sell to the media. Don’t accept all clients without them reaching your set criteria. Strengthen your media relationships.  The best tool you have is a sense of humor and an inviting personality to captivate their interest and their willingness to connect and interface with you. Enthusiasm is contagious and that is your best selling point aside from providing a crisp to the point pitch with no typos or bad grammar because you want media to want to engage and read your pitches.  Most importantly is persistence and tenacity or find another career path.

Lauren Hopkins, Founder of LBH & Co.

A champion of emerging brands and businesses with big stories, Lauren is more than a publicist—she’s a partner with her clients. She founded LBH & Co. to provide an intentional group of clients with individualized attention and unmatched passion for their services and crafts.

LBH PR Co. is a dedicated lifestyle PR agency specializing in the products, stories, and talents of noteworthy lifestyle brands and entrepreneurs rooted in the South.

Lauren Hopkins

What prompted you to start your PR company?

My PR career began with a boutique agency where I managed high-level accounts for six years. After the birth of our first child, I realized that I was still passionate about PR and wanted to continue working in the field. However, rather than working for large-retainer, primarily corporate and trade-based clients, I wanted to use my publicity skills and contacts to benefit small businesses that otherwise might not have access to a public relations firm. I also recognized an opening in the marketplace for a lifestyle agency based in the Southeast that would cater to brands rooted in the South looking for nationwide exposure. 

How did you crack your first client?

I was fortunate to launch LBH with four incredible clients, one of whom was Libbie Summers. At my previous agency, Libbie and I worked together on a number of projects. I contracted with her for recipe development, food styling, and content creation on behalf of my existing clientele. I also had the good fortune of promoting her first cookbook launch, The Whole Hog Cookbook. At the time I was starting LBH, Libbie was releasing her second cookbook (Sweet and Vicious, Baking with Attitude), which I was honored to help her promote. Libbie remained a client for seven years, and I’m thankful to still call her an inspiration and a dear friend. 

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

Being your own boss sounds like a wonderful (and oftentimes easier) idea in theory. On the contrary, it can be quite challenging. Though it has its rewards, it takes time to learn to separate the business from personal. I heard someone say recently that those who are bosses and leaders thrive by learning to “discipline disappointment,” and the words rang true. When placements fall through, a client makes a disappointing decision, or an account ends— these are all things that are a part of business and inevitable. Disappointment is a guarantee— but it is learning how to discipline that disappointment— moving forward and not taking things “personally”— that develop strength, learning, and growth. 

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Be authentic and maintain integrity. Authenticity and integrity go a very long way in this fast-paced, often disconnected world. Every day I am to be my authentic self— when responding to journalists, during in-person meetings with editors, chatting via email with influencers, or working alongside clients. Authenticity removes barriers, allowing personal relationships to develop. Integrity is what maintains those relationships. As time progresses, people gravitate to those characteristics, and a like-minded audience will emerge. 

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

When I first started LBH, I was thrilled when any potential client came knocking. Eight years later, we are fortunate to have a full client roster, so we often turn down business. Through that process, I’ve learned how to determine if a client is a good fit for LBH (and vice versa). PR is a very personal marketing tactic, and it is imperative that we bring clients onboard who embody what we believe in— professionalism, kindness, a strong work ethic, and more. Sometimes turning down business is the better choice for everyone.

Noreen Heron, Founder of Heron Agency

In 2000, Noreen founded and built the award-winning Heron Agency into one of the nation’s leading lifestyle communications agencies. As a pioneer of new communication and digital technologies, Noreen ensures that Heron Agency is always on the advanced media industry and trends. Her entrepreneurial mindset has garnered her over a dozen prestigious industry awards. Her reputation of consistently delivering fully integrated marketing campaigns that improve a client’s bottom line and profitability is well known. Noreen calls her Heron team “family,” and she considers her most outstanding work achievements the wonderful group of talent that she has assembled.

What prompted you to start your PR company?
Noreen Heron

How did you crack your first client?

I sent the stirrers out in cardboard tubes that I felt people would have to open and pay attention to, and wow, did they ever! Two of the recipients were the VP of Marketing and the VP of PR at Hyatt Hotels. I had served as the Public Relations Director for five years at Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hyatt’s largest property and the city’s largest hotel. They called and asked, “How would you feel about representing the Eastern and Central divisions of Hyatt?” That was half of the company’s domestic portfolio at the time. I jumped at the chance, and Hyatt was a great anchor client to have. However, they put me on a non-compete contract, so I wouldn’t start repping other hotel brands until nine years later. They lifted the terms based on Hyatt going public and the new management structure. Since that time, Heron Agency has represented well over 40 hotel brands.

I had taken a position with a small start-up company that I could see immediately was not going to make it. I decided I would freelance for a while. I think I must have intuitively known that I wanted to start my own company because I saw drink stirrers on clearance at Crate and Barrel and thought I would purchase them and send them with a note saying, “Wanting to stir things up? Call Noreen Heron.” I say I must have instinctively known because I bought 200 drink stirrers! A lot of business flowed in right away and continued from there. Heron Agency has now been in business for 21 years.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

Sometimes the most clichéd answers are the correct ones. So I would say without hesitation, the fact that you can’t ever really leave work is the most challenging. Even on the weekend, after 5 pm, or traveling, as the owner, you just can’t get away from it or turn your brain off on what is needed, especially in the field of public relations.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Figure out what makes you unique, what your narrative or “storytelling” element is, and hire a PR firm to expand your reach!

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

You constantly need to be learning, growing, taking risks, and being innovative. What you start with isn’t what you finish with, and it would be boring if you did. Most businesses that don’t make it, I think are lacking good management and the ability to see what was coming next in terms of what their customers needed or wanted. You have to be at the forefront to be considered the leader in your industry.

Freda Yuin, Director of Communications at WhiteLabel PR

CEO and Director of Communications at WhiteLabel PR Pte. Ltd. I take pride in the work my team, and I have accomplished for clients such as BHG Singapore, CapitaLand Malls, Decathlon Singapore, Foodpanda Singapore, and HUGO. At the same time, I harbour a deep-rooted passion for creating awareness and support for new-to-market brands and innovations through the media. I have recently also established NoLabels Collective, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to help individuals, businesses, and organisations create meaningful, inclusive, and respectful conversations. When I’m not tapping away on the keyboard, I am working hard at creating unforgettable memories with my 4-year-old son.

Freda Yuin, CEO, WhiteLabel

What prompted you to start your PR company?

It was all rather serendipitous really. After my stints at both a local sought-after boutique agency and a networked agency, I felt I needed a break from the grueling agency grind. But I still enjoyed PR and wanted to work, just not at breakneck speeds. So I tagged along with some friends who founded their own social media agency and offered freelance PR support to their clients. I enjoyed my three-work-days week and relished the autonomy. However, with the immense support I received from media friends and former clients who started recommending me to their friends and family, the amount of work I took on soon required me to hire my first intern. It was at this point, six months after I’d started freelancing, I realised that I wasn’t freelancing anymore, and so very naturally, WhiteLabel PR Pte. Ltd. was born. 

How did you crack your first client?

The first retainer I secured not as a freelancer but as a PR firm boss was with a local Singaporean jeweller called Carrie K. By that time, I had already created a name for myself as the go-to PR person for under the radar local Singaporean brands. This, coupled with the close relationships I maintained with the local media, convinced the designer to have a crack at working with me. What started as a couple of months project became a two-year-long partnership. I’m ever so thankful for the opportunity that Carrie gave me. Our partnership undoubtedly opened up many more doors for me that paved the way for what WhiteLabel PR has become today. 

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

Being a boss sometimes burdens me with the stress of having to be a know-it-all, and by extension, having no one else to seek feedback from. The industry is always changing; with new technology, social media platforms, and ever-changing consumer trends, there’s always something new out there to learn. I try to keep up with trends, but I find myself still hungry for new knowledge and fresh perspectives. Unfortunately, the highly competitive industry seldom presents opportunities for me to learn from other people’s best practices.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Distill your messaging. Quite often, we have clients who are keen to share so much of what they do, including their brand’s offerings, their visions, and their aspirations. More often than not, you find yourself with too much content, which may clutter your key messaging. Find a way to streamline your thought processes and identify that one thing or cause you to want to be remembered for or associated with. That will be your key messaging – build on that.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

Never (ever) burn bridges. This is a piece of wisdom that I hold fast to. Because I was careful not to burn bridges, till today, I still share a wonderful working relationship with my ex-boss at the boutique PR firm I used to work at. I am also proud to say that ex-staff who have since gone on to other agencies and media publishing houses are still wonderful friends who have helped recommend new clients to us. I really wouldn’t be able to achieve what I have in just five years without the help of these people. And for that, I’m immensely grateful. 

Marla Russo, Founder & Owner of Bella PR

In the last fourteen plus years, Ms. Russo has grown the business from a single-person shop to a caliber of professional, creative publicists that cater to clients in a variety of industries including beauty, fashion, retail, lifestyle, and entertainment. To Marla, it’s about developing long-lasting relationships between clients and key media.  She helps make the connections that deliver results.

Marla-Russo

What prompted you to start your PR company?

I come from a very entrepreneurial family, and I was always taught that I could have my own business one day. I knew if I didn’t try, I would always regret it.

How did you crack your first client?

I made sure the first client didn’t know they were the first client. I pitched the previous work that I generated to new business potentials.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss? 

Wearing MANY hats and always needing a solution to every problem.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them? 

Patience…it takes time when doing it right. PR is an investment, and you have to be willing to be part of the game for the long haul.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business? 

That I don’t always have the right answers, and having a solid team behind me is what makes a business successful. I don’t take my team for granted. I’m always open to suggestions/new ideas in growing my company.

Samantha Frontera, Founder of Exclusive PR

Samantha Frontera, Exclusive PR’s founder and CEO is a media expert with several years in broadcast journalism and public relations. She has traveled the Midwest working as a local television reporter, anchor and producer at ABC-TV and FOX-TV in Missouri and Indiana markets. She has also worked closely with local television stations in Chicago as a lifestyle contributor on WCIU-TV and FOX-TV in Chicago. She’s owned and operated the agency for the last five years. 

Samantha Frontera

What prompted you to start your PR company?

I was prompted to start my own public relations agency when the company I was doing PR for went bankrupt. I was initially signed on to a new client and had to call them to let them know that I could no longer assist them and that I myself was out of a job. They encouraged me to start my own company and offered to be my first client.

How did you crack your first client?

My first client was a spinal company that manufactures the rods that are used as a device during spinal surgeries. When I was 19 I had spine surgery, and it saved my life. My journey connected to what he was doing, and I was able to land the client. I think it is important to just be yourself and put your energy out there. Many people will either love you for it or hate you for it, but it is more fun to be yourself than anybody else. Typically having common ground–helps you land the client.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

I think making sure that you are doing a good job. When you work for somebody, you typically know that you are doing a good job, but when you work for yourself, you have no idea. It is important to celebrate the wins, and I am still trying to remember to do that myself, along with patting yourself on the back every once in a while.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Of course, I would tell them to use PR. However, if they don’t have a budget for PR, then make sure to utilize referral systems and social media platforms.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

The important lesson I have learned is that when somebody is doing a bad job, whether you like them or not if it is hurting your business, you need to cut ties and let them go. Don’t wait until chance number 10 before you let somebody go. It costs time and money and isn’t fair for anybody involved.

Samantha Downey, Founder of Fearless PR

Samantha Downey is the owner of Fearless PR. She has 13 years of experience working within film, personalities, music, and more. 

Samantha Downey

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

The hardest thing for me about being my own boss is managing the business side of things on top of the regular work. When you start your own company, you are suddenly in charge of making sure there are clients, managing the social media, making sure yearly taxes and business fees are taken care of, etc. 

What prompted you to start your PR company?

The pandemic was a huge factor for me in starting my own PR company. I searched for new opportunities but, with the uncertainty of what was happening in the world, most companies were not looking for new team members. I gave it some thought but finally decided to go out on my own. 

How did you crack your first client? 

It took a little bit of time, and I constantly reached out and networked with people and companies I wanted to work with. I connected with a client that I really believed in and loved what they were doing so much that I offered to work the campaign for free. I did ask that if they liked what I did, to recommend me. Since then, they have recommended me to other potential clients, and we still keep in touch about upcoming projects.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Treat everyone with respect. I’ve seen it happen so many times where people get ignored or talked down to because they “can’t do anything for you.” You never know who someone is going to be in the future. An intern now could be a head decision-maker in a year or close to someone who is. This goes for everyone, from other publicists to potential clients to the press. Relationships are so important in publicity, and you do not want to miss the chance to tell a story or land a dream opportunity because you were rude to one person a few years ago. 

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

An important lesson I’ve learned is to trust myself and trust the process. It is very easy to fall into a rabbit hole of searching for what has worked for others. People will tell you they think you should do it, but you ultimately have to trust yourself and what you think is right for your company and your clients. Everything will happen when it is supposed to. 

Lindsay Feldman, Founder of BrandBomb Marketing

With over 10 years of experience, Lindsay Feldman has proven herself to be a powerful force in the public relations industry. The owner and creative force behind BrandBomb Marketing, a leading boutique public relations agency, Lindsay continues to use a combination of traditional public relations initiatives alongside innovative marketing techniques to place her clients at the forefront of their industries. Throughout her notable 10+ year career, Lindsay, who was the PR manager for Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for several years, has also represented clients across several different industries, including Sugar Factory, Crazy Horse 3, Beauty Lounge, Pussycat Dolls Lounge, Gallery Nightclub, COLOR inside Caesars Palace, Beauty Kitchen, Center for Aesthetic Medicine, Hottie Hair and many more.

Lindsay Feldman

What prompted you to start your PR company?

My PR company started out as a long-term side hustle I had been doing for seven years alongside my corporate PR job. Fast forward to 2020, when the pandemic hit, I became furloughed from my fancy title, high-paying position, and decided to formally launch my PR company. I then turned the company I worked in-house for into one of my first BrandBomb Marketing clients. It was a weird time to start a company, but it was also at a time when businesses needed more marketing and PR help than ever before. I’ve been busy ever since. I can truly say there’s no better feeling than becoming an entrepreneur.

How did you crack your first client?

My very first client came to me through word-of-mouth from a friend who had a mutual friend who was launching a skincare line. We set up a meeting, instantly hit it off, and to this day, I still proudly work beside this client, eight years later. Every client I’ve ever worked with has always been based on word of mouth. I’ve actually never done any kind of advertising, ever. When you run an honest business and produce powerful results, clients come. A recommendation and referral is the best compliment you can give a business owner!

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

For me, the hardest part of being my own boss was learning how to delegate. By nature, I tend to be a little controlling and try to do everything myself, just because I know it will get done the right way but what I’ve learned is when you are trying to scale a business, it is imperative to invest in solid team members who can do what they do best so you as the business owner can focus on growing the business and not so much on the day to day time-consuming things.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Have a clear vision of what you/your brand is so that you can pinpoint exactly who your target audience is. Produce content directed to them that is entertaining, evokes emotion, educates, and engages. Also, networking is key in business. I’m also a firm believer in seeking out a mentor, whether it’s through an internship, an industry organization, or even a seasoned executive that you may be working under. Ask questions, learn, get better, stay driven.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business? Invest in a good contract lawyer and accountant. This will save you a lot of money and headaches down the road!

Kathleen Gonzales, founder and CEO of Elevated Public Relations

Kathleen started her career with ESPN/BRB productions in Los Angeles, where she was a production coordinator working on the Summer and Winter X Games and the ESPY awards. She then moved to Colorado to work for Denver Broncos ThunderVision as a content producer and host for Gameday Entertainment. During the offseason, she was a freelance publicist representing various clients, from authors to artists.

Kathleen Gonzales

“I created Elevated Public Relations to bridge the gap between the mainstream media and cannabis, and in the process, I found my passion for all plant-based medicine, and organic, natural, sustainable brands and businesses with a mission to create change in our world. My PR strategy is driven by passion and a true desire to make a change by working with conscious companies, thought leaders, brands, and events.”

What prompted you to start your PR company?

It was January 16th, 2020, and I had been contemplating a Partner position/ opportunity with a big agency in NYC where I would be signing three of my long-term clients with me. It was at that moment that I thought, “Wait, so you are going to uproot your life in California, and sign three clients to a news agency, and help someone build their business???…” then the light bulb went off in my head – I have 3 clients, I need to start my own agency, so I did. It was the first time in my life I felt no fear and just jumped! I knew that PR was something that came second nature to me, and I just knew that I could do this.

How did you crack your first client?

I was fortunate enough to have started my agency with three clients, and I met them from a previous agency where I offered my services pro bono to run PR for various trade shows. That is where I made a lot of connections and a name for myself! The idea was I sign clients and do free PR for trade shows. It was a brilliant way to build relationships, and at the time, I didn’t realize how much it would help me eventually launch my own business.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?

The hardest thing is balancing my time and doing the tedious tasks like invoicing taxes and health insurance. I do sometimes miss the days that I didn’t have to think about any of that, the days when I could come home and unplug. Now, I cannot. I always have to tend to my business 24/7. Sometimes I am working until 11 pm on a Saturday, but it is worth it!

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them? Always learn and stay humble. I see a lot of Publicists advise about PR as if they are the experts, but I think it’s better to show results, talk about strategy, and acknowledge those that have helped you along the way. The best way to show you are an expert is to show your results. Don’t talk about it. Be about it, Inspire those around you and share valuable content. That is how you will grow an audience.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

Keep your emotions out of it! Business is business; clients will come and go, you will be triggered, you will be challenged, etc. The most important thing is to flow with the ups and downs and don’t take anything personally.