Sara Spiegel and Allison Ullo are two Public Relations (PR) professionals who joined forces to provide their clients with services that spur networking and positive community building.
With Sara PR is a collaborative effort by these two wonderful ladies specializing in brand awareness for start-ups and small businesses in the art, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle industries. Together, they help brands boost their public image through product launches and meticulously planned strategic events.
In this article, Sara and Allison share what it entails to help brands get their stories to the target audiences. They also talk about the different lessons and solutions they’ve found in their business journey, including healthcare coverage options that work for them and their growing business.
Acknowledging hurdles & the importance of teamwork
Public Relations (PR) is a very collaborative profession. Sara even goes so far as to say that it’s impossible to do alone. You need to build strategies with a team and bounce ideas off each other before even sharing them with the client.
As entrepreneurs, Sara and Allison understand that you will always be faced with obstacles. Second-guessing becomes common, and one has to constantly remind themselves to follow their gut. They acknowledge that some of the hardest months and years are still ahead. In the beginning, you may need to fake it till you make it. It’s easier to jump in, see what works, what doesn’t and establish your boundaries and preferences from there.
According to Allison, before working at With Sara PR, she didn’t enjoy the nature of roles that are responsible for public relations. She believed that PR was all about being cool and in power versus the need to connect with clients on a deeper level. PR has also always been a rather female-dominated industry and she has seen her fair share of catty behavior and unhealthy competition.
Through pain points like this, Sara and Allison found common ground. They both had similar experiences at agencies and these issues allowed them to bond better and form a healthy working partnership. Strong communication built around kindness and encouragement is at the cornerstone of how they run their agency. They work very hard to make the most impact without overcharging clients and that is one of the reasons why they work remotely. It keeps overheads low and also allows the ladies to travel when they want, making it a win-win for everyone. Today, they have both mastered the art of how to stay productive in whatever environment they are in. Finding motivation is easier when you like your work environment, they believe.
When Allison and Sara started working together, that’s when Sara started to notice a shift in her confidence. She finally felt like she was good at what she does. And it wasn’t because she didn’t believe in herself before, but it’s lonely on an island of one! Working with someone in a team – regardless of how small – doesn’t just benefit the client, but a team environment is good for morale.
Now that their agency has grown to some degree, Sara believes that it may become harder to break the mold and explore other areas. Fortunately, their agency is recognized for its successes and they are approached by specific brands for certain projects. “As a small agency, I don’t think it will ever get easier to pull the trigger on big-ticket spends. I wish I had the mentality that told me to invest and have faith, but it’s a challenge and I think it will be forever,” says Sara.
A combination of many factors for a successful business
Want to know how to launch and grow a successful business? Sara thinks the key is in knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
Know when to ask for help. You can’t be good at everything and it’s okay to admit that you aren’t capable of doing something on your own. I think this goes from everything as it relates to a company’s back end like accounting, but also client relations, new business and even pitching. Kindness and honesty count. Allison shares that she has gotten many press opportunities for clients or landed a new client just because she was being genuinely nice and honest!
For example, if you are in a position to hire part-time help or contractors for a job, do it. Sara was doing the agency’s accounts herself for a few years before she finally accepted it wasn’t in her wheelhouse. She found a guy on Upwork and he’s been leading their accounting department for over two years! And if you can’t understand how to get healthcare coverage for your team, consult someone.
Don’t forget to network, too. 9 times out of 10 say yes to an event, a coffee or drink date. You never know what might come from a simple meeting. When Sara started her career in PR, she was very shy. Her job, however, forced her out of her comfort zone. She has met a diverse range of people and the feeling is so rewarding. Everyone has a story to tell and you can learn something from anyone and everyone. Although it’s work and sometimes you have to motivate yourself to go talk to strangers after a long day at work, Sara truly enjoys the social interactions. She has also made some lifelong friends through her work in PR.
Pro-tip from With Sara PR: For new companies who want to do a launch, if you have a big budget and network, go for it. Who doesn’t love a celebration!? But if you’re tiny and don’t have the funds for a full-blown launch party, simply email your network sharing your exciting news, ask for their support on social media and for them to keep you in mind for referrals, and then invest a little of your budget in google ads or social media marketing. You will be surprised at how many people will respond and try to help, especially if you were clear about your ask, kind in your demeanor and are creative in what you can offer in return today or even down the line.
Pay attention to branding, too. Be consistent with your website and company materials, i.e. presentation decks, case studies, proposals, business cards, social media. It doesn’t have to be complex but it should be consistent.
Lastly, networking is the key to all success. You can have a great website and social media, but if you don’t know the editors, you don’t have a PR angle. Take the time to create and cultivate a network of professionals around you that can help you achieve success.
Finding suitable health insurance options shouldn’t be that hard
“Healthcare should not be a privilege, it should be a right,” both Allison and Sara agree to this statement.
Healthcare in the US is very tricky and it can be really difficult to find solutions that are right for everyone. As someone who lived without health insurance for a long time due to not having funds, Allison knows first-hand how detrimental it can be.
Fortunately, both ladies have now found suitable healthcare insurance options that are aligned with their individual needs as small business owners.
Have you just transitioned from a W2 to a 1099 role as a small business owner?
Had no clients and then all of a sudden have more work than you can keep up with?
Don’t let health insurance be an afterthought. Thinking about it but not sure how much a healthcare plan will cost? Want to know the best health insurance plan for you?