Heather Logrippo founded Expose Yourself PR in Boston, MA in 2009.
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Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
At ExposeYourself Public Relations, we are providing Public Relations and Social Media Management for businesses.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
This is not my first business. I also own a Luxury Real Estate Magazine. Before that, I ran the Northeast Sales Force for the 7th most profitable website in the world (behind gambling and porn).
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Give first, get later. What I mean is, a lot of entrepreneurs get an idea in their head and then think people will either, a) come out of the woodwork to buy their product/service or b) they can just go out and sell it and "make lots of money." The key to success in this business is showing your potential clients what you can do for them before asking for a dime.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I was the host of a charity event (remember - give first get later) at my home. The celebrity speaker and I started talking about some opportunities to grow his speaking engagement business. I spent some time digging into ideas for him, to which he responded that he would like me to help him get the business up and running. I replied that what he really needed was a PR firm. He told me that he thought I could do it and so I gave it a shot.
I started doing PR for him and for my "real" company - Distinctive Homes Magazine. Within 3 weeks we had booked him for a speaking engagement and gotten him interviews with reporters. Distinctive Homes meanwhile was getting media exposure in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Boston Business Journal and more! We started using social media to get the word out and at one month were on a roll. People were seeing me, hearing what I was doing and coming to me asking for more information about how I could help them. I was also giving media opportunities to people that I had networked with, to help their business. Pro Bono. (remember - give first, get later) Through the process, I ended up with 10 clients in less than 3 months.
Did you have a partner when you started your business? How did you select a partner?
Yes. Because I have another company, I needed someone to help with the "new" business, so I started with a partner that brought to the table skills that I didn't necessarily have. My partner is great with process and operations and I am strong in sales and vision. Together we are able to serve the clients and grow the business.
Have you hired additional staff? What is your greatest human resources challenge?
We have budgeted for the addition of staff at the end of the 2nd quarter. My partner is great with details so she will handle getting payroll set up, the employee handbook, managing the employee etc.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
I don't believe that there are any advantages or disadvantages to being a woman entrepreneur. I will say this however, many women especially go into business with friends. They say it's a bad idea, but from my own personal experience, I can tell you it's a TERRIBLE idea. Don't do it. I don't care if you're "like sisters" - inevitably one of you is going to do a better job, put in more time, be more creative, and feel like you're smarter than the other and that is going to be the end of your friendship, and might be the end of your businesses. If you have an idea you are passionate about, do whatever you can to get the money and support independently of going into business with your friend.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
It has! I was able to get the word out quickly about the new company through social media. I was also able to offer social media management as one of the services our PR company offers. Because I had a track record of using social media for the magazine, it was a natural step to offer it to our PR clients. They saw what we did with Distinctive Homes and were able to see what we could do for them. Advice for new entrepreneurs is this: use social media as a way to establish and build relationships with people, help them and connect with them as a person. The business will follow.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
It's been more fun that I thought it would be! I love the pride I feel when I get a customer published. I love growing my clients business and seeing them succeed and reach their goals through our efforts. Nothing has been more satisfying!
Thanks for the excellent business tips, Heather. We will remember to Give First, Get Later!