You don’t need expensive tools to be successful: When I was first starting, I thought I had to invest in a bunch of shiny new software to make sure my business was “professional” from the beginning but in reality, you don’t need all of that stuff. Not to start at least. I was very scrappy in my first two years of business because I had basically no budget to spend on a bunch of tools or marketing. It was me, myself, and I. As long as you get your name out there and provide a great service or product, you can start getting traction.
As a part of my series about the things you need to know to excel in the modern PR industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brittney Lynn.
Brittney Lynn is the owner and founder of the Human Connection Agency, which is a full service PR agency serving online entrepreneurs worldwide. Our agency has combined 25 years of PR experience. We have a passion for helping others grow their reach, revenue, and impact through strategic PR.
Brittney is also the host of the Human Connection podcast where we dive deep into the topic of how entrepreneurs and small business owners can be better at building real, authentic relationships with their audience.
Brittney and her team have landed clients in prominent podcasts, tv interviews, and publications such as Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, US News & World Report, and Washington Post to name a few.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I graduated college with a PR degree from Purdue University, I had no ambitions of starting my own PR agency or business. I had no idea what that even entailed so I did what most college graduates do and I applied for any corporate job I felt I was eligible for.
Graduating in 2010 was not the best time to be graduating and looking for a job. We were still coming off of the recession and I applied to hundreds of jobs.
I worked for a variety of companies: a cable channel devoted to hunting and fishing (I did neither of those), a recruitment company, a college university, a vacation rental company to name a few.
After 5 years in corporate America, I realized that what I really wanted to do was start my own company, which led me to run the PR agency that I run today!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
When the pandemic hit in 2020, we as a PR agency had to immediately pause and pivot all of the stories we were pitching on behalf of clients.
The media, rightfully so, was only reporting on stories that were pandemic-related as it was the top topic of everyone’s mind.
Everything changed literally overnight and we had to figure out how to tactfully still represent our clients to the media and have them talk about topics related to what people were going through.
It was interesting because my team and I were really pushed in terms of our creativity in thinking about how to approach the media and make sure our clients were represented in an authentic and appropriate way.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first starting my business my husband and I had moved to a new city as his job had transferred him to a new location.
For years I had dreamed of starting my own business but I had never thought about what I would actually do.
I never thought of what services or products I would sell. I didn’t even have a website!
So when we arrived in our new city and me having just quit my job to start a business I literally had no place to start, ha!
This is definitely an example of do as I say, not as I do. Before leaving your job maybe think about what the heck you want to offer as a paid service/product first!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
At the moment I am growing my team as well as building a new done with you program called the Amplified Expert Academy where we help online business owners go from unknown entrepreneur to a go-to expert the media is begging to interview.
Our agency is also serving authors who have books coming out later this year and into 2022 which is very exciting!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Trust your gut: People definitely told me this but sometimes I didn’t listen. Trusting your intuition on decision-making as a business owner is so crucial to success. I can’t tell you how many times when I didn’t trust my gut and I regretted it down the road. I took on clients that I knew weren’t a fit. I said yes to projects and work that I should have said no to. At the end of the day, listen to your gut — it’s usually right.
- Slow progress = sustainable business growth: It’s so easy to look at others around you and want to reach “success” super quickly but to truly grow a sustainable business slow progress can actually be a better, more strategic way to grow. If I had the amount of clients our agency has now right in the beginning I would not have been able to handle the workload and my reputation in my industry probably would have suffered. I try not to get sucked into the comparison game because we’re all growing at the speed that we need to!
- Visibility and vulnerability is hard, but necessary: As a publicist, I’m obviously biased as I think all business owners and entrepreneurs should have a visibility plan. But being visible, whether it’s showing up on social media for your audience, going onto podcast interviews, or sharing regular content on your website, is so important and necessary to reach the people you need to reach. Showing up as you are as a human, being vulnerable and transparent with your audience will go a long way in business. People purchase from other people, not necessarily businesses. The more you can show up as your authentic self online, the better your business will be.
- You don’t need expensive tools to be successful: When I was first starting, I thought I had to invest in a bunch of shiny new software to make sure my business was “professional” from the beginning but in reality, you don’t need all of that stuff. Not to start at least. I was very scrappy in my first two years of business because I had basically no budget to spend on a bunch of tools or marketing. It was me, myself, and I. As long as you get your name out there and provide a great service or product, you can start getting traction.
- Running a business will be one of the most challenging things you do in life, and also one of the most rewarding: There were so many nights over the past 5 years in business that I laid awake with the anxiety of what the next day would bring. “Am I doing enough for my clients? Are they satisfied with my work? Where will I get my next client? Should I hire a new team member?” Many parts of business ownership is hard but many parts are also super rewarding. When I think about how I started this business literally from scratch with no contacts, no website, nothing I’m in awe of how far I’ve come in just 5 short years.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
It sounds so simple and isn’t the most thrilling piece of advice but it is incredibly useful and so many people don’t apply it to networking.
I think the term “networking” can be off-putting to some. People assume they aren’t good at networking because they think of boring meet and greet happy hours where everyone is just standing there awkwardly not saying anything. You don’t need to be an extrovert to be good at networking.
The times when I am just myself and am interested in the person I’m talking with have led to the most fruitful friendships and connections.
Everyone is human. We all have fears, doubts, and insecurities. Being your quirky, fun self is what will draw more people to you.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
In the service-based business industry, doing good work will do you wonders. Happy clients = more work for you. Happy clients = more referrals sent your way.
Now as service providers it isn’t necessarily our job to make our clients happy but it is our job to do good work.
Communicating well, being timely, investing your time and energy into clients are all tips that I would recommend that will lead more qualified leads your way.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
The very first podcast I found back in 2012 was the Smart Passive Income podcast. I had no prior knowledge of what an online business was or how to start one.
This podcast led me down a rabbit hole and opened my eyes to an entirely new world and I was eager to learn.
Pat, the host of the podcast, was very personable and approachable. I had dreamed of the day of potentially getting to work with him in some sort of capacity (and spoiler alert: he worked with me and my team April-October in 2020!). It was truly a full-circle moment and one I am so proud to have accomplished.
Because of the role you play, 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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to encourage everyone that your story matters. Whatever life has thrown your way, the good, the bad, the ugly…it’s important to share your experiences with others.
The truth is, we are all much more alike than we imagine. We have all experienced pain. We have all experienced suffering. We have all had amazing moments in life.
What brings us together as humans is connecting through our stories and experiences.
Now more than ever consumers and buyers want to know what a business stands for and the people behind the business. Be yourself, connect with others through your stories, and watch how your business blossoms.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.