You will struggle, but it all will work out. At the end of the day, starting a business has its good days and bad days. There will be times where you struggle and want to give up, and there will be times that you enjoy in your work immensely and feel proud of how far you’ve come. Take it day by day, moment by moment, and remember that you started on this path for a reason. It will all work out eventually!
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewingCat Nilsson.
Cat Nilsson is the Co-founder + Director of PR and Branding at onePRgroup, specializing in media relations and brand management. She is adept at implementing personalized PR strategies that will help her clients find their brand voice, pinpoint their key media messages, as well as capture the unique essence of their brand. Cat received her Bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of San Diego, before proceeding to receive her Master’s in International Marketing and Brand Management from Lund University in Sweden.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Of course, thank you for your consideration! Growing up, I traveled and lived in multiple different countries, including Austria, Germany, England, Switzerland and the U.S. With my international experiences under my belt, I always knew I wanted to do something that would help others from multiple different backgrounds and circumstances in my future career. I have always enjoyed interacting with people who are unique and bring something innovative and special to the table, so pursuing PR and branding as a career path made sense in terms of helping others tell their own stories of how they got to where they are and why they decided to create a brand and bring it into fruition.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is short and sweet: “life is short, make it sweet.” It’s actually from a country song, as I’m a country music lover, and I think it’s relevant not only for me but for so many other entrepreneurs out there that struggle and focus only on the negatives/the tough times. It’s so vital to remain focused and optimistic even when every sort of obstacle is thrown at you, because well, life truly is short. You have to make every moment count, even if it’s not the best of times, and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel (just yet).
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Yes, the Skinny Confidential Him & Her podcast is one of the best podcasts out there for literally anyone who is a business owner, entrepreneur or just is a hustler. They bring on so many influential individuals from multiple different backgrounds & areas of expertise, and dig down into the nitty gritty of both mainstream, as well as more taboo, topics. It has resonated with me so much because they give you tangible tips and insight into the lives of professionals from all walks of life, making it truly inspirational — it really motivates you to pursue your dreams.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
My career experience wasn’t a traditional one before the pandemic. Before the pandemic hit, I was working at a PR agency in Los Angeles, which I begun working at after securing my Master’s in International Marketing and Brand Management at Lund University in Sweden. Due to COVID-19, I ended up being laid off from that previous position, and found myself jobless. However, my time at that agency gave me the tools and skills in order to pursue my own passion and led me to where I am today.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
As a result of the pandemic, I ended up taking my destiny into my own hands and decided to start consulting for my friend, Irina’s, company called eSEOspace. I did this to initially help her build out the PR side of her business, but realized that I wanted to pursue a bigger challenge. Thus, onePRgroup, our sister agency, was born and now I am the co-founder and Director of PR + Branding at the agency.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
The “Aha moment” basically was that I knew I always had wanted to create my own career path and start my own company, so the pandemic really just gave me the push that I needed to make that dream a reality. There was not one thing that told me in particular that it needed to happen; it was more a feeling once I had begun consulting for Irina and realized that this could work on its own.
How are things going with this new initiative?
As with all new companies, it has taken a while to grow and create awareness for our services, especially since we launched during a pandemic. All things considered, I do think that we have been successful in the short-term, and will continue to build up our clientele and secure more reviews to create more awareness about our business in the meantime.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, my friend Irina has been immensely helpful and without her, onePRgroup would not have become a reality. She started her own company a little over a year ago now, eSEOspace, and as sister companies, we help each other with different projects and share resources so that we both can be truly successful. Her previous knowledge and expertise in launching her own company has also been instrumental in getting onePRgroup’s feet off the ground, so to speak, and for that, I’m truly grateful!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, nothing super interesting has really happened to me besides starting this new venture and taking this great leap of faith. Honestly, the most interesting aspect of creating this company is that it has allowed me to broaden my horizons and meet some really cool and unique people, from my colleagues to my clients. I never would have met them and learned about their amazing brands and missions without starting this, and that to me is truly special.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
There are much more than just five things I wish I knew before starting my own organization, but here are the top five below:
- Be prepared for long days & nights. I think this one goes without saying, but I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take to get the business up and running and the amount of effort you need to put in to make it become a reality.
- Make a concrete business plan at the beginning. I believe that many people take this for granted, but knowing how you are going to run your business and make a profit is probably one of the most important things to figure out before taking on clients. You can be amazing at your job, but you can’t successfully run a business without a concrete plan in place beforehand.
- Follow your gut, but seek help when needed. Many entrepreneurs have that gut instinct and usually follow it to get things done, but also they may not feel the need to ask others for help when they are dealing with a bigger issue. As an entrepreneur, I feel this almost daily, particularly since you face obstacles that you don’t necessarily know how to fix on your own. It’s okay to ask for help and reach out to your fellow colleagues or peers when you need it most.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. When you first start your business, you want to be sure that everything goes according to plan and that you are organized and on top of everything all the time. However, once you accept that not everything will be perfect, then you will be able to focus on the overarching goal, rather than trying to micromanage your growth constantly.
- You will struggle, but it all will work out. At the end of the day, starting a business has its good days and bad days. There will be times where you struggle and want to give up, and there will be times that you enjoy in your work immensely and feel proud of how far you’ve come. Take it day by day, moment by moment, and remember that you started on this path for a reason. It will all work out eventually!
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
Yes, I think it is so important to take breaks from the media and re-focus our minds on positivity. In order to de-stress and optimize my wellness, I take long walks/hikes with my dog, practice yoga or engage in another physical activity, read engaging books and/or listen to soothing music. Overall, just disconnecting from the TV or the Internet frequently and always ensuring that I’m stepping away from screens multiple times a day to re-center and calm myself.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I believe there are so many different ways to do good in this world, but one of my ultimate passions is climate change. I think that working to stop the destruction that is already occurring here on our Earth will help the most amount of help and bring about the most good since we will literally be saving future generations from a dying planet. This movement is already in motion, but there is so much more that we can do in regards to using renewable energies, decreasing our overall consumption (food, clothing, etc.), decreasing our global footprint (flying, driving, etc.) and overall just reducing, reusing and recycling. We use and consume way too many things that are filling up our landfills — we have to start realizing this is a global epidemic that must be actively stopped before it’s too late.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Yes, there are so many people I would love to have lunch with! But I think the number one person I’d love to have lunch with is Lauryn Evarts Bosstick from the Skinny Confidential because I feel like we could talk about every topic imaginable, from entrepreneurship to health & wellness to living life on your own terms. Overall, the conversation would be diverse, intriguing and poignant — and would have to take place at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow onePRgroup at the following locations:
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!