How 10 years of experience in corporate PR helped Lexie Smith create THEPRBAR inc. and help entrepreneurs authentically connect to their audiences

Lexie Smith_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

THEPRBAR inc. is an online coaching brand and education platform that teaches motivated entrepreneurs how to increase their influence, impact and revenue through PR.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

Having had an accelerated career path at an early age (Sr. Account Director by the age of 22, In-house PR & Marketing Director for an entire Hospitality Group by the age of 23, and a VP of PR & Marketing of an Inc. 5000 8-figure company by 26) my health quite dramatically caught up with me in March of 2019. My body could no longer physically sustain the demanding career-centered lifestyle I was leading (I quite literally landed in the hospital). So, while I had known that I would one day transition into full-time entrepreneurship, this was my less-than-obvious “wake up” call. My health triggered me to begin to explore various business models – the goal, build a company that would sustain a happy and healthy lifestyle. Quite a bit of market research and soul-searching later, and THEPRBAR inc. was born.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I have been working in the world of PR and marketing for more than 10 years now. My first job was secured in undergrad for a bi-coastal tech PR firm. I then moved from Oregon (where I’m originally from) to Los Angeles thanks to the show Shark Tank (shout out) to work in a lifestyle-based agency. I eventually was recruited to become the PR and Marketing Director for a hospitality group in Los Angeles. My final position prior to launching my own business was serving as the VP of PR and Marketing for a high 8-figure Inc. 5000 telecommunications company. Quite a few niche pivots until I landed on the fact that I’m largely “industry agnostic” when it comes to PR and rather just love working with entrepreneurs, period!

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

No actually! In 5th grade, according to my yearbook, I wanted to be an “an Oscar award-winning actress in Hollywood”. By college that had transitioned into becoming the next “Erin Andrews” of sports broadcasting. I fell into PR by happenstance really, and unexpectedly fell in love. It wasn’t until I graduated college that I started to realize my true ultimate end game – entrepreneurship!

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I practiced exactly what I preach to clients today – I tapped into organic marketing and PR opportunities. Something I teach my students is a concept called the “6 Relations of PR” – this essentially refers to how a brand interacts with the public (relation 1), customers (relation 2), community, industry, media, and investors (if applicable) in pursuit of a specific revenue goal. For me, I started by focusing on developing an audience (the public) through social channels and partnerships, and tapping into various female-based networking communities for targeted introductions. I paired that with very intentionally offering free strategy sessions in exchange for reviews to start building social proof under my new brand name.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

When I first entered the online coaching space, I consumed far too much of other people’s content. I was easily roped into “all the webinars” and “all the ‘proven-strategies'” of others in pursuit of “the right way” to grow. By doing so, I was attempting to initially mimic THEIR growth tactics and ultimately ignored my own intuition and skill-set that I had developed over the course of my own career. This was a mistake! Thankfully, I realized this pretty early on and learned that there is no such thing as “THE one right way to grow”. This is a lesson I now pass along to all my students.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I think officially launching and going full-time with THEPRBAR inc. is something that I’m pretty dang proud of. Aside from that, there is no better feeling than seeing a client of mine succeed. 

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

“Tell me your understanding of my business and business model.” This is VERY telling of how much energy and research they put in before coming to the interview. I’ve seen this translate directly into future work-ethic too. 

Aside from that, one tip I’ll offer if you’re a founder that is hiring, don’t let a piece of paper (a resume) deter you from listening to your gut. 

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We saw a lot of companies panic and cut their marketing and PR budgets first. This further divided the already pretty large variation and gap of pricing in the market. New “cheaper” pr-in-a-box solutions came to market, pay-for-plays ramped up, and overall pitching became harder as newsrooms too had to cut back staff. PR campaigns had to be incredibly thoughtful and in-sync with public and cultural sentiment, and almost everything had to pivot to digital. Business owners also became more open to the concept of “DIY-ing” PR, and thus I’ve seen an uptick in new players entering the coaching world as well.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

THEPRBAR inc. will continue to evolve just as the market is continuing to evolve. My offerings will level up and adapt to teaching entrepreneurs what they need to know NOW rather than 5-years ago. In the near future you’ll also see some pretty new and exciting partnerships being announced 😉

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

2020 was my first year of full-time entrepreneurship, so not only did I learn a lot in my business, I learned a lot about LIFE. Culturally and socially speaking, I am still learning, unlearning, and will be forever more. However, amongst the numerous takeaways I had, one that was deeply reaffirmed was the concept that “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” You have NOTHING in life without your health – both physically and mentally. You can’t learn, you can’t do, you can’t show up, you can’t make more money, you can’t give back, you can’t support others, you can’t do ANYTHING if you’re not well. Thus, health needs to always come #1. See here for more business takeaways!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

You can’t please everyone. I think I “knew” the concept, but I hadn’t truly accepted it yet.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Community! Community with other professional women networking groups – shoutout to the BRA Network, Six Degrees Society, and Digital Squad – and shoutout to my personal community and support system outside of work (family and friends.)

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

100%. I believe in the concept you should work to live, not live to work. I can’t say I’ve mastered this fully, however. One tip I do have is to set clear boundaries, and always take at least one if not two (the weekend) days off per week. Again to my lesson affirmed above, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I can juggle – in fact, I juggled on live tv for Good Day LA once (to help out a client, long story. haha) Also, big time fan of #SSDGM (if you know, you know.)

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Calendar block. Create to-do lists. Verbalize deadlines to someone other than yourself (so a client, a team member etc.) to ensure you are held accountable.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It’s more than just a job title, it’s a mindset and a way of doing and being. An Entreprenista is relentless in her pursuit to make her dreams a reality.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





8 Inspiring Latinx Entreprenistas that have launched groundbreaking companies

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve put together a list of 8 incredible Latinx women founders that have launched groundbreaking companies. Check it out: Jessica Alba: The Honest Company Founded in 2011, The Honest Company makes sustainable, well-designed products that work – built on transparency, trust, and a deep sense of purpose. In…

Susan Sarit of Operations-Made Easy on achieving your goals by getting organized

Describe your business in a few words: I am a mom, daughter, sister, business owner, and more! I started my business for both financial freedom and to be a work-at-home mom. I created Operations-Made Easy to help diverse women with the Operations of their business. Deliberative, disciplined, and detail-oriented are just a few words we…

Lisa Nutt of Make Every Minute Count on personal and professional growth

Describe your business in a few words? The Make Every Minute Count ecosystem encourages us to go (do that thing), grow (personally and professionally) and give (through a membership based family to family giving circle). What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a serial entrepreneur. This is the third time…

Connection Coach Kristjana Hillberg on trusting your intuition and having an open mind

Describe your business in a few words: I’m a Connection Coach who helps women unearth their deepest desires, move from auto pilot to intentional action and prioritize their wellbeing. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m a multipotentialite – meaning, I have tried multiple things and tested multiple careers ranging from…

Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon: Finally Back to Delicious Meals For Everyone

Cuisine varies by culture, but no matter how societies segment and define themselves, certain foods show up in households across the globe — only differing in their forms. Some of a culture’s time-honored meals are created by its culinary icons.  Among America’s culinary icons, Martha Stewart is, without question, its most trusted. In 2014, Martha…

7 Entreprenista League Members share the biggest business challenge they overcame and what it taught them

Brand Photographer Brittney Guy-Atakpo of Brittney Jean Photography The biggest business challenge I have faced is sticking to a schedule that made me feel productive and good about my work ethic. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong schedule or routine that produces success. I have been more grateful for…

Courtney Spritzer of WorkRobe on her “secret sauce” for a successful product launch

Describe WorkRobe in a few words? WorkRobes are designed to have you looking your best during any video meeting, so you can go from bedroom to boardroom in seconds and in comfort. My mission is to reimagine what you wear to work (from home).  Can you pinpoint the moment you knew you wanted to create…

Brand Photographer Brittney Jean Guy-Atakpo on helping women show up confidently on camera

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Brittney with Brittney Jean Photography & Company. I help women show up confidently in photos and on social media to grow their brand and business. I’m a Brand Photographer and Strategist. I have over 5 years working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing and over…

Lorena Tapiero of Conscious Consulting on the power of networking

Describe your business in a few words? Conscious Consulting is a Latina-owned, bilingual marketing and public relations agency with 20 years of experience in the hospitality, sports and wellness sectors. Our thoughtful, comprehensive approach helps brands establish clear communication priorities and a long-range vision for meaningful press coverage, value-added partnerships and sustainable influencer relationships. As…

Lindsay Applebaum Stuart of Mamalux on the beginning stage of business

Describe your business in a few words? Mamalux is a first-of-its-kind leakproof sleep solution for breastfeeding moms. Our Kickstarter launches on 10/19! What was your background prior to starting your own business? I spent the first 10 years of my career as a sports journalist for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated! So this has…

Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work

Describe your business in a few words? Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales. Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could…

Jennifer Gligoric of EntrePods on the importance of mindset

Describe EntrePods in a few words? Cutting-edge entrepreneur and investor network answering the question “So Now What?” for business owners powered by fractional consultants and coaches with decades worth of experience. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had no choice.  My mother owned a staffing company for 54 years…

Certified Financial Planner Maggie Gomez on investing and building wealth

Describe your business in a few words? An accessible place where anyone can learn to invest and build wealth, regardless of their net worth. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I realized that it was only those who were already wealthy that had access to quality financial guidance. I got…

Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry

Describe your business in a few words? Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple…

Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Life Coach Chelsea Austin on taking care of yourself first

Describe your business in a few words? I advocate for others to find their own self-worth and acceptance through self-care, love, respect, and storytelling. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When I started writing my book and my blog, I don’t think I ever realized it would become a business.…