Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elaine Kapogines, Founder & Host of Pitch Class™, located in Cambridge, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Pitch Class is a digital platform that trains entrepreneurs and authors on how to land their own media coverage and leverage a strong PR and media relations strategy to grow their businesses and/or sell more books. Our customers are typically female entrepreneurs and self-published authors.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated from journalism school in 2006 and spent the next 10 years working for various print publications in senior editorial and management roles, specializing in business and law. I first started dabbling in entrepreneurship in 2008 when I launched my first independent magazine. After the birth of my first daughter, I left corporate publishing for good and started my own company, Wiltshire Media, where I launched my second independent publication called The Holistic Parent. Over the next 5 years, I grew the brand to include a successful print magazine, curated blog, monthly in-person networking events, a vendor market, and a podcast. In 2019, I made the decision to close the magazine and focus my energy on B2B support through PR and media services and digital content marketing. Since then, I have been working full-time as a PR strategist, media educator, and speaker. I am now the owner of Wiltshire Media, an award-winning boutique PR agency based in Ontario, Canada, and Pitch Class, a digital training platform for self-published authors and entrepreneurs. What motivates me is being able to serve a truly amazing group of unique voices who are changing the media landscape. Many of the clients I work with are underrepresented voices in our communities, and I am passionate about educating and empowering a diverse pool of individuals to lend their voices to broader conversations in the media.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, I've had a lot of amazing accomplishments over the last decade as a business owner, but probably the one I'm most proud of was launching my first digital course in 2021. It was in the middle of the pandemic; both my kids were home full-time doing virtual school, and I was running my agency at full capacity. But I knew that having an additional source of revenue with high earning potential was critical for my long-term business success, so I worked incredibly hard to create Pitch Class Digital, a fully self-paced online course for entrepreneurs to learn how to get themselves interviewed by the media. I'm so proud of the traction the course has generated over the last year and the incredible women I've met because of the course! Graduates of my program have gone on to get themselves interviewed in some incredible, top-tier media outlets in Canada, the US, and overseas, having been seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide! And the fact that they learned how to do that because of me is just the best feeling I could ask for!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I don't know a single business owner who doesn't struggle with work-life balance — and I'm no exception. I've always been the primary caregiver to my two children, so "balance" is just not a concept that I am overly familiar with. And then add the fun of navigating their well-being during the last two+ years of a pandemic while growing my business has been unbelievably challenging. This year has really been about stepping back, checking my ego, and putting systems in place that make the business more efficient, as well as giving me the flexibility to be the mom I want to be. It's definitely an ongoing process that I'm still working on!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a good foundation in place. This includes back-end systems and processes that will set you up for growth in the long term. There's nothing worse than feeling like you're always playing catch up. Taking some time to really think about how you want the business to run and how you'll put these pieces into motion will make things more efficient right from the get-go.
- You don't have to do everything, but the things you do should be done well! This mindset specifically applies to your marketing strategy. There's a lot of pressure for business owners to be on all the social media networks and use all the marketing tools available (podcasts, YouTube, email marketing, webinars, lead magnets, etc.). Honestly, it's just too much. Unless you have a huge support team, it's unrealistic to expect that you'll be able to do all of this effectively and run your business! Strategically selecting a few channels that make sense for you, your business, and the ideal clients that you can execute very well, in my opinion, is a better use of your time than throwing everything at a wall and hoping something sticks.
- Just do it! There are always a million reasons not to start (or grow) your business. Nothing will ever be perfect, but at some point, you just have to jump in and go for it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm currently working on creating a new course specifically for self-published authors entitled PR for Publishing. This course will teach authors how to use the media to sell more books. If you'd like to learn more about self-publishing or this new course, please check out www.prforpublishing.com or our free Facebook Group, PR for Publishing.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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