Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kate Elliot, Founder of Up Public Relations, located in Bedford, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Up Public Relations is a full-service public relations firm, matching east coast approachability with our boutique agency feel. We take an innovative, authentic, and individual approach to every project, helping our clients elevate their organizations through distinctive branding and unforgettable storytelling.
We love helping our clients achieve effective, measurable communications goals while establishing trusted and valuable relationships. From solopreneurs to small businesses, not-for-profits, to corporate clients, we strive to bring a thoughtful, unique approach to each and every project we work on. We're a small team that loves working on big projects, and we can't wait to #upyourpr.
Tell us about yourself
I've always thought of myself as a born storyteller. From a young age, I was constantly writing and journaling, and I have always been in awe in the power that words hold. After graduating from university with a major in English, I worked at a small mom-and-pop shop, helping them with their website, social media, events, and marketing, and found so much joy in this... not knowing I could actually make a career of something so great. Enter: public relations.
Not only does PR allow me to combine all of my professional passions, but it connects me to so many incredible people, companies, and organizations. This is how the concept of Up was born. Less than one year after graduating from public relations school, I founded Up as a way to showcase the many incredible people and organizations found here on the east coast. There is honestly nothing I love more than helping a not-for-profit organization or a small local shop take their business to the next level by helping their stories shine.
When it comes to personal motivations, I'd have to say my team is a constant motivator for me. They are all so incredibly talented, generous, and collaborative. I've always believed that two (or three, or five!) brains are better than one, and I truly feel our best work to date has come from a place of collaboration. When we all bring our best selves to our clients, everyone wins.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a team of like-minded individuals has truly been such an accomplishment. It's also been an honour that these incredible people have not only understood the company's vision but also believe in it so much that they have made it their mission to contribute to it. I honestly think that is so cool!
Professionally speaking, I was also named Woman of the Year in 2020 by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada -- which meant so much to me because I care so deeply about that organization.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I don't know if this is a "business owner" thing or just par for the course when it comes to being creative, but I find it challenging not to work 24/7. I'm so passionate about the work we do for our clients and could probably work 12-15 hours a day. That said, I know how important having a work/life balance is (whatever that looks like for you!), and I really try to find that more days than not.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Effortless is a myth. I am now seven years into the business, and I work just as hard (if not harder) than the day I decided to take a chance on myself and Up. I often see or read things online that downgrades the importance of hard work -- as if it has somehow become shameful if something doesn't come easily or fall into place. For me personally, I've never been one of those naturally smart people who don't need to study or try hard. But I have a strong work ethic, and I think that's made all the difference when it comes to achieving my goals.
- Keep your vision goggles on. Especially as you move through business, your interests and audiences will evolve. Your services and offerings will ebb and flow based on the season. That's all normal! But what won't change is your vision. Keeping your vision in the back of your mind at all times will help guide you with each and every decision you need to make. And if at the end of the day, you feel like you've stayed the course on your big picture, to me, that's true success.
- Make space for grace. There is not one person on this earth that knows every single thing there is to know (we're not robots!) We're people, and we're meant to continue to grow and learn at every opportunity. Having the grace to know that you don't know everything and that you can learn from everyone will carry you far.
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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