Kiara McKinney of Boost Public Relations on building and scaling a nationwide agency
Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
I am a multi-hyphenate creative: a publicist, media strategist, business owner, blogger and podcaster. I am the founder and CEO of Dallas-based Boost Public Relations, which provides PR, branding and creative services to minority and women-owned brands from coast-to-coast.
I founded my agency during a global pandemic at the age of 26 and within four months secured 8 retainer clients nationwide. I have since grown the agency to be a fierce contender in Dallas’ competitive PR market, becoming one of the go-to experts for executing grand openings and other special events.
In its first year in business, Boost serviced more than 15 local and national clients, earning mentions and features in Parents Magazine, HuffPost, Bustle, Byrdie, POPSUGAR, Modern Luxury and more in addition to appearances on broadcast segments such as Texas Today and Good Morning Texas. Boost offers media relations, influencer marketing, branding and social media services. Prior to starting my business, I climbed the ranks at other agencies in various digital marketing, social media and public relations roles.
I am a passionate writer and spend my free time blogging and writing poetry. I also enjoy gabbing about my pop culture opinions on my entertainment podcast, The Spin Cycle.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I’m excited to connect with more like minded business women from all over the country. While I’m involved with local networking groups, I’m looking forward to expanding my network nationwide.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I felt a shift in the world during the pandemic that I felt my employer and others in their generation were not adapting to. I felt that the traditional PR agency model desperately needed a facelift and I was determined to be the one to do it.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I worked for several digital marketing and public relations agencies before starting my own. I was always a productive worker, but I was more of a big picture idea kind of girl as opposed to a detail-oriented worker bee, therefore I didn’t always receive the recognition I felt I deserved.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No! My mom was an entrepreneur and it always seemed so complicated. I didn’t want to deal with taxes and payroll and all the administrative items, but in this day and age, there are so many platforms and softwares that make it easier.
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 dove into social media content. At the time, it was my top priority. As my following grew, I began boosting posts that showcased my knowledge and experience and soon had a full client roster.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
I am still struggling with my biggest challenge, which is accepting that I can’t be everything to everyone. I desperately want every person who interacts with my business to walk away thinking, “wow, they know what they’re doing,” but that isn’t always realistic. I’m learning to be more compassionate with myself and not internalize every negative interaction.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I’m most proud of the team I’ve assembled at Boost. Both my full time and part time employees bring exceptional value to the team and help me deliver the best service I can. They see my vision and work toward a common goal and I believe I established such a great atmosphere because I truly care about them as much as I care about my business.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely – I’m a millennial! I have a few non-negotiables in my life. I see a personal trainer at 11AM Monday, Wednesday & Friday. During that one hour, three days a week, I am unreachable, period. I’m also a huge advocate of flexible hours. If you need to go to the grocery store on Wednesday at 3:00, do it. If you need to get a haircut before a wedding and you only have time on Thursday at lunch, fine! As long as deadlines are being met, I don’t care at all about butts in seats.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
I wish I’d known how personal work becomes when it’s your name on the door. I wish someone had told me that even though I would gain flexibility and freedom, I’d lose my ability to “clock out.”
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
My agency was recently named a Top 15 PR Agency in Dallas by UpCity as well as the Bulldog PR Awards’ Best New Agency (bronze) and Best Small Agency (silver)!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I plan to add more services to my already robust menu, specifically more creative capabilities. I also intend to grow my full time squad by at least one person!