When you reach a point in your business that you need to outsource some work or hire an employee, it’s really crucial that you learn to delegate and not micromanage every task.
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 Dawn Jones. Dawn is the founder of Pressed PR, a public relations firm exclusively for independent creatives. Dawn first launched PRESSED PR as a young entrepreneur (21 years old) as a passion project that would empower other independent artists to succeed. As a musician herself with experience performing, recording, and writing music, Dawn learned that intentional and personal public relations take you far in the music industry.
She wanted to develop a modern company that embodied the essence of intentional, personal, and innovative marketing with a team that displayed the strongest work ethic for their artists… thus Pressed PR was born. Since its inception, Pressed PR has evolved to cater to clients in a variety of creative industries including music, film, and more. Dawn and her team have worked on a variety of campaigns ranging from independent artists just starting out to celebrity artists with millions of fans. Pressed PR’s music clientele has landed in the pages of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, HYPE Magazine, the cover of LA Weekly, and many others and Pressed PR was recently named as one of “The 10 Best Indie Music Promotion Services That Are Worth It” by Two Story Melody.
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?
I began my journey in PR as an intern in college while majoring in Music Business and exploring different career paths in that field. Public Relations stood out to me because I loved the communication aspect of it. I’ve always been someone who enjoys writing and telling stories, so for me PR was a natural extension of that. I interned for a band that toured pretty heavily throughout the year and I ended up doing a lot of PR work for them — reaching out to each city they were performing in, sharing their story with reporters, and getting press placements about their upcoming shows. That was my first hands-on experience with PR and from there I knew I wanted to pursue a career in it. Immediately after college I started my business, Pressed PR, and began working with a variety of different artists and musicians to share their new releases, tour dates, and build their fanbase. It’s an amazing feeling when you get to be a key team member in building an artist’s brand and platform from the ground up and helping them establish that credibility in the industry. It’s so fun to see them succeed and makes me excited to go to work every day. Since then we’ve added a Film PR division to the company and have dabbled in various projects outside of entertainment….. it’s a great feeling to help someone reach their goals and be noticed for what they are doing in the world.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Back in December, we worked on a major campaign for a huge K-Pop star that was releasing her first English language single. I had never worked in the K-Pop genre before and we barely had any lead time for the campaign, so I was more than a little nervous. However, the campaign went great! We landed a placement in Billboard, among several others, and I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better. It was definitely a “hustle hard” moment but it totally paid off and gave me more confidence for the next time we do something like that. Plus, it was a really fun thing to work on!
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?
Oh, there were so many mistakes in the beginning and yet, somehow, I keep finding new ones to make every day. One that particularly stands out to me was when I was first learning how to email media and manage more than one client at the same time. It was the first time I had 2 clients running campaigns at the exact same time and I was so stressed out that I mixed up the pitches. I sent the wrong pitch to the wrong media list. It was a nightmare! Once I realized what I had done I quickly emailed the few outlets I had contacted (luckily I was contacting outlets personally and had only done one or two for each) and explained the mistake, told them I was new at this, and apologized for the inconvenience. Guess what? They ALL emailed me back with encouraging words and told me that mistakes happen, don’t sweat it. I learned a couple of things from this:
1) Journalists are human too and if you’re honest and kind to them, they will be honest and kind to you.
2) DOUBLE CHECK your work — especially when it is a media pitch. Now, I always read through each pitch at least once to make SURE that I’m sending the right email to the right person.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am currently working with some really talented up-and-coming artists in the indie-folk and the pop genres for their new releases. I’ve also been working with an entertainment company that has a TV show that serves as a national talent showcase for young people (kind of like America’s Got Talent). It’s been a neat experience to dive into that side of the entertainment field a little bit more. I’m also working with an athlete who is competing at the Olympic trials, which has been a really different kind of campaign for me to run and has opened my eyes to a whole new world in PR.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1) Not all money is good money. It’s okay to say no if the client isn’t a good fit for you or if the client is hard to work with. I once held on to a client for too long because I thought I needed the money…. But it turns out that all of the stress that the client was causing was actually taking me away from other projects and I was LOSING money. Don’t take opportunities unless you know they will align with your vision and goals for your company.
2) It’s okay to say No. This kind of goes along with the first one and can definitely apply to clients, but it also applies to other things in business. There was a point where I was saying “yes” to every opportunity that walked through my door. I thought I was doing big things, but in reality, I was stretching myself so thin that I wasn’t able to give 100% to each project. Learn to say no when you have to and keep the door open for opportunities that you really want to come through.
3) Prioritize yourself. Being an entrepreneur can be really challenging at times. There is too much to accomplish in a day, your to-do list is never done, you have people pulling you in every direction, there is a ton of pressure to be successful…. The list goes on and on. Make time for yourself each and every day to unplug from work and do the things you love. It’s important for your mental health and to prevent you from experiencing burnout.
4) Learn how to let go. Honestly, this is one that I still struggle with. When you reach a point in your business that you need to outsource some work or hire an employee, it’s really crucial that you learn to delegate and not micromanage every task. For me personally, it’s really hard for me to let go of individual tasks that I am so used to doing every day. I often find myself in the mindset “I can do this faster and better than anyone that I hire to do it” but that is SO far from the truth it’s not even funny. Other people can do the work I’m doing and I’ve been extremely blessed to find a team that does their work really well. It’s hard to let go when you feel like everything is riding on your shoulders, but when you do allow that weight to be lifted it frees up time for you to focus on getting your business to the next level.
5) Find the middle ground and learn to love it. Entrepreneurship is going to be a roller coaster — learn to ride it. I wish I knew this in the beginning, but it’s one of those things that nobody can really prepare you for. As an entrepreneur, every single day is different. Some days I’m on a high — loving my job, feeling successful, feeling like everything is going well, hopeful for the future. Other days I’m in the lowest of lows — wondering if I’m making a difference, feeling like everything is going wrong, thinking that I’m not at the level I should be, full of despair. It’s a major roller coaster of emotions that can interfere with my mental health and sanity if I’m not careful. The key for me has been learning to appreciate the middle ground. Most of life is made up of the middle stuff — the stuff that’s not extremely exciting nor desperately boring. The mundane, normal, “everyday” type of moments. I try to find total contentment in that so that when the good days come I don’t let my ego take control, and when the bad days come I am reminded that it’s not always like this. It helps me keep a healthy outlook on things and gives me hope for the next day.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
I think great networking all boils down to being genuine and making personal connections that will last. Be human — not a salesperson for yourself! When I go into a networking event, I always remind myself to make friends rather than make colleagues. If you can allow someone else to feel valued in your presence and can establish a personal relationship with them that goes farther than “I need you to help me with X work project…” then you will make a connection that LASTS and that is truly valuable. Always be personable and genuinely show interest and care in who you are talking to. Honestly, that’s a good tip for life…. Not just networking. Be genuine.
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?
Thus far in my business, I have relied mostly on word of mouth to generate new leads. My focus has been to provide my current clients with exceptional service and to go above and beyond for them. I want them to know that I’m on their team and will do my absolute best. I think that goes a long way when someone is trusting you with their money and time. For me, that has been the key to attracting new clients — showing that I’m dedicated to my work rather than telling. I also try to utilize this concept on social media which has been another huge lead generator for clients. Creating content that shows what our company does and how we do it has built a lot of trust within the people that follow me and has resulted in some pretty awesome client relationships. At the end of the day, it’s all about trusting each other… so I try to make it easy for my clients (and potential clients) to put their trust in me.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
So MANY! I am always listening to business podcasts, reading business books, and learning from other people how to get to the next step in my career. Currently, I’m really obsessed with a newer podcast called The Heart & Hustle Podcast. It’s hosted by two photographers who have built amazing businesses. They interview lots of entrepreneurs and share their stories of how they built their businesses. They also have some really valuable insight into important topics like burnout, knowing when to outsource, and other things of that nature. Another podcast I listen to regularly is Skimm’d From the Couch. Basically, I just love hearing other entrepreneur’s stories and learning from their experiences.
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. 🙂
Wow, what a question. I think I would inspire a movement of greater understanding. It doesn’t make sense to me that some people get so judgmental and downright angry when someone has a different perspective on things than they do. They think differently than you…. So what?? I love a good philosophical conversation or debate, but when people start to judge and be mean because you have a different opinion I immediately lose interest. The older I get the more I realize that the world is more interesting and beautiful when we all have different ideas to bring to the table. So if I could start a movement that creates more understanding and patience with other’s ideas (you don’t have to agree…. Just don’t judge or be mean), then I think that would inspire a lot more peace in the world — especially on the internet.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you for having me!