In Conversation with Wendy Guarisco of The Guarisco Group

Wendy Guarisco_Blog Header

Describe The Guarisco Group in a few words?

We are a team of media insiders helping thought leaders, authors and subject matter experts raise their profile and grow their business with media strategy, placement and training.

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

In 2001, I was at a point in my life where I had a very young child and very old parents and being in an office/newsroom 10+ hours a day just wasn’t working any more. I looked at everything on my plate and literally the only thing I could cut was my day job. A friend suggested I could use the skills I’d gained as a producer to help people get on TV news.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I had worked in advertising for 10 years before making the switch to journalism. I was at CNN for 12 years before ultimately landing in PR. Even though it wasn’t on purpose, that combination of marketing communications experience has been invaluable.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

While I was at CNN, my husband had his own business as a painting contractor. I was always envious of his independence and ability to make more money when he wanted to and to step back when he needed to.

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?

In the beginning most of my clients were people who had been my guests on CNN and wanted help getting back on. It was also a time where many people were leaving CNN to start new projects and they needed my help getting the word out. Referrals were also a huge source. Many came from producers who referred their guests to me. Eventually it became a word of mouth funnel, people would see our clients doing well and ask who was behind it.

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?

My biggest mistake was thinking that knowing how to be a good publicist was enough. I had never taken a business course and knew virtually nothing about running a business. A serendipitous conversation with another parent at my daughter’s volleyball game changed all that. That parent was a business advisor and has been shepherding my business ever since. I don’t think we’d have been nearly as successful without his guidance and insight.

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

Surviving and thriving for 20 years!! I’ve seen many people leave media and turn to PR and most have failed pretty quickly. A few stumbled along for a while but eventually went back to working for someone else. I am proud and grateful to have been my own boss for longer than I worked for other people. And I survived cancer – twice! – along the way.

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

The first question is always “Are you comfortable in a virtual environment?”  Then I like to ask “What skills are you working with now that you could apply to working here”? Also, “What kind of work is fun to you and what do you dread doing?”

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

My company has been virtual since 2001 so we didn’t miss a beat on that score. What changed dramatically was the type of expert that media needed, so our client roster did a full 180. Suddenly there wasn’t much call for lawyers or Russia experts on TV any more, but the need for doctors, mental health experts, business analysts and social justice advocates went through the roof! We were fortunate to have one of the country’s top infectious disease specialists on board already. We quickly added more experts to fill the growing need to help the country navigate the pandemic.

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

More growth! 2020 was our best year yet and I want to keep that momentum going this year and beyond.

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

Never get comfortable where you are. Things could change drastically at any minute and you have to be ready to shift your focus at a moment’s notice.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Two things: first, I start each day with an hour of being unplugged. No TV, no phone. I had to break the cycle of being shot out of a cannon as soon as I opened my eyes. I also make sure to get outside every day, rain or shine.

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

That’s a hard one, and really depends on the season of life. For me, it’s easier now because my daughter is grown up and my parents are gone. But even so, it’s often a challenge not to work around the clock and ignore my husband and my own self. Every day feels like it needs an extra 10 hours in it to get it all done. List-making helps. In the morning, I make a list of what HAS to be done for work and family, what would be great to get done, and what could slide to the next day if it has to.

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

I’m an introvert. I love putting other people in the spotlight but for me, I like being the wizard behind the curtain. People never believe this but I am actually very shy.

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

  • Do the hardest thing on your list first.
  • Schedule rewards for yourself – when I finish X task, I can do X fun thing.
  • Picture yourself telling your client the BEST news ever, and use that feeling to get it done.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

For me it’s about having no limits. If you work for someone else you might be able to see yourself several positions ahead, but as your own boss, if you work hard enough, you can go anywhere you want.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Michele Henry of FACE FOUNDRIÉ on why she leans into her fears, and the importance of dreaming big

Describe FACE FOUNDRIÉ in a few words? Efficient and effective focused facial bar specializing in all things face, facials, lashes, brows, and skincare. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in my parents’ small inground pool business from age 13 all the way through college. Being an entrepreneur is…

Ashley Spriggs of Pivot Media on the power of genuine relationships

Describe your business in a few words? We are a media firm that gets your message the attention it deserves. We offer services in Public Relations and Podcast Management. What made you take the leap to start your own business? It was the right time! I was growing my client list as an independent contractor…

Mary Allard of The Third Place podcast on inviting listeners to explore uncomfortable conversations in a safe space

Describe your business in a few words? The Third Place podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners into the hard conversations that we have a tendency to avoid. It is a podcast that “goes there,” within a safe place where curiosity is encouraged, differences are welcomed, and empathy is embraced through healthy dialogue. What…

Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Describe your business in a few words? East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to…

Tiffany Roman of Small Biz Highlight on creating a platform to help small businesses thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Small Biz Highlight is a web show, created to help introduce the people behind a small/local business, their products and services, and discuss how COVID affected them. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Back in April 2020, COVID shutdowns were in full effect…

11 Mamaprenistas share their best productivity tips to manage a business and a family

1) Tierney Larkin, Founder at Larkin Living Spaces: “Be sure to have a designated space to work that is just for you and your business. It can be a makeshift office in the corner of a room, or even a traveling cart that you can take around with you to store all of your supplies…

How Two Entreprenistas Launched & Scaled Their Business on Shopify in 30 Days

Within 9 years, Stephanie Cartin and Courtney Spritzer have bolstered the presence of over 300 women-owned companies — all through social media strategy, platform management, influencer marketing, paid media and creative service. Given their success with Socialfly, Steph and Courtney recently decided to create a podcast called Entreprenistas, which provides a community to celebrate and…

Sarah Kallile of Lunnie on building the first community-led brand for modern mothers

Describe Lunnie in a few words? Community-led brand for modern mothers. We’re reinventing the nursing bra. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a mom of two young girls. While breastfeeding my second daughter, I was frustrated with my clunky nursing bra and how it made me feel frumpy. I…

Ramy Sharp on launching Ramy Brook to fill a void in the marketplace, and what inspired her to take the leap

Describe Ramy Brook in a few words? Happy, Sexy and Strong! Ramy Brook is female owned and operated, stemming from one woman’s dream to uplift, empower and celebrate women. The apparel, accessories and swimwear collections transcend generational dressing, offering something for anyone looking for a vibrant and celebrational style. My vision is for women who…

Charlotte Michailidis of Parenthood Ventures on fueling the next wave of innovation for early stage ParentTech

Describe your business in a few words? Parenthood Ventures is the founder ecosystem for early stage ParentTech – i.e., startups serving parents, from fertility to teens.  Companies in our community span sub-sectors like caregiving, employee benefits, food, physical goods, digital health, retail, clothing, education, media/entertainment and fintech.  The objective is to fuel the next wave…

Vanessa Coppes of BELLA Media + Co on how determining who her customer was changed her business

Describe BELLA Media + Co in a few words? Lifestyle media company sharing content and resources for living a beautiful life. What made you take the leap to start your own business? My mental health. Launching my business literally saved my life. I was suffering from postpartum depression and needed a creative outlet. I launched…

Ingrid He of the Sjogren’s Tracker app on using her creativity to help people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms

Describe your business in a few words? Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) Tracker is an app that helps people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms and flares. We aim to help our users better understand their conditions and identify triggers to their flares. Our mission is to create innovative solutions to improve the lives of users and facilitate…

Bari Koral of Yogapalooza on pioneering kids yoga with Yogapalooza!

Describe your business in a few words? Bari Koral is a Kids Yoga Pioneer and recording artist. Bari inspires thousands of parents, teachers and young children every day with her kids yoga, music and mindfulness activities and popular YouTube channel. What made you take the leap to start your own business? After burning out on…

Angelica Hanley of ACouplePuns on growing her business while staying 100% true to herself, and the biggest lessons she has learned over the years

Describe your business in a few words? ACouplePuns specializes in sparking joy through laughter and delivers the punniest content and high-quality paper goodies for every special occasion and moment in-between. Whether your bestie loves her house plants, binge-watching Friends, or drinking coffee, ACouplePuns has a punny card for that!   What made you take the leap…

Kelly DuFord Williams of Slate Law Group on disrupting the traditional law firm space and building a business where employees can thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Slate Law Group is a forward-thinking, accessible San Diego-based boutique law firm that provides legal, tax and HR services for small to medium sized businesses and corporations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was inspired to start my own business because I…