Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in public relations but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Parsons, Founder of Sarah Parsons Media, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sarah Parsons Media is a full-service, bespoke public relations and media firm for individuals and companies in the arts, entertainment, and entrepreneurial space – particularly changemakers looking to make their corner of the world a better and more beautiful place.
Tell us about yourself
My path to founding Sarah Parsons Media was a circuitous one; however, I wouldn't change it for the world. Growing up, my dream was to be an actor. It felt like a unique and powerful way to be a part of meaningful stories that impact people. I continued to pursue acting and was even accepted into the prestigious CALARTS acting program and moved to Los Angeles to follow that dream.
However, around my mid-twenties, I felt deeply unfulfilled with how I was contributing to the world and with the restraints on how I could be a part of meaningful stories. It was around this time I began trying out different careers, everything from being a yoga teacher to a business manager. Eventually, I ended up being promoted to Chief Operating Officer at two Los Angeles start-ups.
During this time, I started noticing how powerful the stories of those around me were as a way to connect, inspire, and lead. This eventually gave me the courage to strike out on my own with SPM (Sarah Parsons Media), and it's been a whirlwind journey since the moment it began.
When I think about what motivates me on a daily basis, it’s the same as it's always been: the power of storytelling. It's definitely become more nuanced as I've aged, but when it comes down to it, public relations — good public relations — is the power of building a meaningful legacy that connects with folks around the world in a way that is inspiring, personal, and unforgettable.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
To date, I would say winning the Webby Award this year (2022) for 'Night, Mother' as an Associate Producer and Publicist ranks pretty high up there. I'm still beside myself that in less than a year after founding SPM, we were at the Webby's alongside incredible, generous, innovative creators. To be part of a production that was selected as one of the best creations on the internet in the previous year was an incredible honor. Still pinching myself about that one.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Staying flexible and open to change. In the beginning, it’s easy to stay flexible because it’s usually a necessity for survival. However, often as we experience more success, we tend to become cautious and stick with what has worked in the past. While it may be tempting to do so, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur, business owner, or founder is about carving a new path and maintaining the integrity of that path without exception as your business grows.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make Sure You Love It: This may seem like a simple thing, but in my book, its importance can’t be emphasized enough. If you are not in love with what you’re doing, it will be hard to truly reach a place where you feel your business is a success. On a more practical note, you’ll be spending a significant amount of time in and on your business, so it only makes sense that you’re passionate about what your business is about.
- It's a Marathon, Not A Sprint: Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to naturally be a marathoner to experience success as a business owner or entrepreneur (serial sprinter here!). However, it does mean that you have to consider the overall health and success of your business from a marathon-like perspective; with any luck the work of your business will never be done, hence the marathon analogy. For me, it’s helpful to see new launches, initiatives, and onboarding clients in a sprint-like manner, while still acknowledging it’s a small part of the overall marathon that is my business as a whole.
- Listen To Your Gut: In my experience, listening to your gut feelings in decision-making is paramount. While I’m not saying to only listen to your gut, factoring it into your decision-making process can be a game changer. It’s vitally important to trust yourself as a business owner, for me, that means honoring my gut feelings and giving them an equal amount of importance as other factors in the process.
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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