Monica: From media to experiential activations, your PR firm continues to do fantastic work in catapulting wellness brands to the forefront who are doing good in this world. How did it all first start for you, Sara?
Sara: My life-long dream from a young age was to be a talk show host. As a little girl, I watched Oprah every day with mom at 4 pm and thought to myself how interesting it would be to talk to people all day – for a job! – sharing their stories with others.
Being blissfully naive about how challenging it would actually be to become a talk show host, I pursued it head-on. From anchoring the “news” on my college’s TV channel to casting for MTV to eventually working in development at E! Entertainment, these experiences cemented my love for working with people but also solidified the challenge that was becoming the next Oprah. I realized that a job in PR was the next best thing, so I moved to NYC (at that time, the media and PR capital), and got to work!
Monica: I love how you pursued your childhood dream head-on and allowed opportunities to fall into place! What was the fuel that continued to propel you forward into the unknown?
Sara: My approach has always been to say yes to an amazing opportunity and learn how to do it along the way, which is a rather unusual position for someone who suffers from anxiety to take!
As a woman, and one with no “traditional” business training, it certainly wasn’t obvious that my path would be starting my own company. In fact, for the first few months of having Covet PR, I was terrified of telling anyone I was even doing it because I thought once I made it public, if I failed, it would be for the whole world to see.
5+ years later and having worked with over 100 leading brands, I still have my days where it is easy to fall back into the self-doubting mindset (in other words, imposter syndrome), wondering if I have what it takes to lead a growing and successful company. Nearly every week I still face new challenges, many times questioning how I am going to get through to the other side.
Monica: I so appreciate your self-awareness of the internal and external forces at play when it comes to the challenges of being a woman entrepreneur. How have you built your support system, and how does it keep you moving forward?
Sara: I have a number of people who hold me accountable and help guide me through the challenging times, including my husband, team, and various mentors I have collected over the years.
I also am part of an incredible organization, called EO, and my forum (the same small group of entrepreneurs I have met with monthly for years) always push me to ask reflective questions, encouraging me to look back at history as “proof” that there were darker, tougher times that I was able to get through. Humankind has a funny way of “forgetting” the wins and lamenting on the losses, making it easy to doubt yourself.
I think back to the young 20-something who had no idea how challenging certain moments in my career would be, and how there were times that I was completely positive I would fail, but I didn’t. So today, as I get ready to pitch a big client or work through a tough employee issue, I remember that saying – so far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days – making the odds in my favor that I will persevere.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know had no formal business background, no business plan and no clear idea of how they were going to get from point A to B. For me, it comes down to resilience, grit, blind optimism and continual self-work.
Monica: That’s such a powerfully effective mindset to get through the inevitable challenges of life! How does this impact your own perspective of health and wellbeing?
Sara: As an entrepreneur, working with other entrepreneurs, I have an added-sense of empathy knowing how real the struggle can be and the sacrifices we have to make in our attempts to succeed. But success is a funny word, and the definition is ever-evolving, and as a result, I am too.
If you asked me 2.5 years ago, before I had my two children, I would give a very different answer. I think that is the beauty of life – just when we think we have figured it out, NOPE, a course correction is needed.
As an entrepreneur, you have to be all in – emotionally and physically – and it is easy to lose sight of basic priorities like your health. But oftentimes, it is my clients that I turn to when I need help resetting my diet, mindset or routine.
The contents of my fridge, beauty cabinet, and nightstand are genuinely stocked with the brands we represent at Covet. Since I opened the agency, I have been insanely lucky that we have had a waiting list of clients wanting to work with us, allowing us to handpick category leaders who beyond selling something good, are doing good too, helping to make this world a healthier and happier place. So I am in a unique position where just doing my job often lends to a calmer mind and a healthier lifestyle – something I never take for granted.
Monica: If there’s one thing that you’d share with other entrepreneurs that will help them find their own path and thrive, what would that be?
Sara: The one thing is there is no one thing. Everyone finds success in their own way. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Candidly, what I am striving for is always changing, and that keeps it interesting for me. I can say the expected answers – a wonderful community, a healthy family, a thriving company – all things that are true and that I am lucky enough to have but ask me tomorrow, and my purpose may change.
That said, one way in which I have always tried to help others, especially entrepreneurs starting out, is to take off the rose-colored glasses and be totally transparent about how hard and lonely it can be to build a company. There’s a reason most start-ups fail…IT IS HARD!
Ask stupid questions, take risks, say yes, find the white space, work harder than your competitor. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Learn more about Sara and Covet PR at: covetpr.com