Sharon Bolt of Get Free Publicity Today: “You can’t do everything on your own ”

You can’t do everything on your own — Ask for help and look for ways to outsource, you can hire very talented people at affordable prices. Learn to love technology — Like most people I started out dreading technology, feeling anxious and not having a clue what to do. I realized that viewing technology this way wasn’t helping me, […]

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You can’t do everything on your own — Ask for help and look for ways to outsource, you can hire very talented people at affordable prices. Learn to love technology — Like most people I started out dreading technology, feeling anxious and not having a clue what to do. I realized that viewing technology this way wasn’t helping me, so I decided to change my mindset and embrace technology instead. I signed up for courses so I could learn more and it wasn’t long before my confidence grew. Since then I’ve created online courses, private membership platforms and have built 7 websites!


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 Sharon Bolt.

Sharon the founder of Get Free Publicity Today. She helps business owners and entrepreneurs to get ongoing publicity, so they get in front of thousands or even millions of their dream clients, as the go-to authority in their niche. She also focuses on helping them change their limiting beliefs, sabotaging behaviours and negative expectations, so that they attract the best media opportunities, feel confident and reach their full potential.

Sharon has been a business owner and Entrepreneur for over 20 years. Her businesses have included Complementary Therapies, Dog Training and PR, and during the last 14 years she has contributed to more than 50 different local and national newspapers, magazines, TV and radio shows and has received over £1.5 million ($2 million) in free publicity and free advertising.

Sharon is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur.com, has written for the HuffPost and has been interviewed on some of the top podcast shows from all around the world, she is also the co-author of 2 highly acclaimed books called ‘Successful Women in Business’ and ‘Every Entrepreneurs Guide: Running Your Own Business.’

Sharon has been featured on BBC and Channel 5 TV Shows and has had a regular slot on BBC Radio since 2008 where she answers the listeners’ questions.


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?

Yes sure, people are often shocked when I tell them about my story as my first media appearance was on BBC Radio 2 (a national radio station in the UK), with millions of listeners, when I had no website… no subscriber list… and no dog training business, which was the topic I was being interviewed on!

That was back in 2007 and at the time I had a successful complementary therapy business but I was passionate about dog training, after getting 2 parson terrier puppies a few years previously, and was wanting to transition into a brand-new career.

I had recently returned from a 3-week spiritual pilgrimage across India, I had done some soul searching during that time and I came home wanting to follow my dreams and make an impact in the world. When I heard the radio host say he was going to get a dog training expert on the show the following week I believed I could help the listeners, so I pitched the show (3 times!) and was finally invited on!

That one interview launched my new career overnight, got me A-list celebrity clients and made my transition into my new Good Dogs! business easy and effortless.

It was also the start of my publicity journey and several years later Get Free Publicity Today was also born.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

I’m going to go back to my first media experience for this, because it’s made such a difference to where I am now…

When I heard I was going to be interviewed on BBC Radio 2, I only told a few people in advance.

Why?

Because people reflect back to you what it would feel like for THEM if they were in YOUR situation. I didn’t want other people’s fears, doubts and ‘What if it goes dreadfully wrong’ scenarios projected at me. I didn’t want to be influenced by others. I believed it was going to be fun, people were going to be lovely to me and it would have a really good outcome… and THAT was my experience.

I suggest that when you have an unusual idea, feel inspired to do something a bit different or would like to make a big change in your life, such as starting a new business, to be initially selective of who you share the information with. This is often a ‘fragile’ stage where you could easily be influenced or swayed by other people’s fears and doubts, so my suggestion is to ‘handle it with care’ and be choosy of who you tell.

Mindset is crucial to your success, the famous quote by Henry Ford sums it up nicely;

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

My advice is, when something feels right, when you ‘know’ don’t look for approval or validation from other people or even second guess yourself, go for it!

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?

I’m not sure how funny this is, probably more of a revelation, but when I first started getting publicity, I mistakenly thought that journalists were different from me and that editors were scary people, producers where frightening and reporters didn’t want to hear from me. It makes me smile when I reflect back knowing what I now know.

Sure, journalists are busy people, they have deadlines to meet and don’t like people wasting their time. However, they are normal people just like you and I, they are constantly looking for experts to comment on the current news and are delighted when you pitch them story ideas that are interesting to them. What does annoy them is getting pitches that are irrelevant to them, which is why you need to do your research first and not just send a pitch to a load of journalists without first knowing what angles and topics they cover.

Something I’ve also learned along the way is to not take it personally when you don’t hear back from journalists, even the ones who’ve featured you before and you have a relationship with!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Getting interviewed in the media is so powerful it can change your business overnight (just like what happened to me). For that reason, I’ve created different ways for business owners and entrepreneurs to start getting publicity as soon as possible, regardless of where they are in their business journey and their budget.

On my website you’ll always find something that’s free. Now don’t be put off because it’s free as it’ll always be full of great content and value. Currently you can sign up for a free Masterclass called ‘5 Steps That Gets You In Front Of THOUSANDS (Or Even MILLIONS) Of Your Dream Clients & Positions You As The Go-to Expert In Your Niche… FAST!’ (WITHOUT blogging, using Facebook ads, or Tech!).

If you’re already selling online courses, high ticket, membership or group coaching programs and you’d like more customers then my ‘How to Master the Media & Get Ongoing Publicity’ 8 Week Program is very likely going to be for you. You’ll learn how to become the celebrity in your field that everyone wants to work with plus you’ll get direct access to me.

And my latest project that I’ve just released is my Elite Program.

I’m really excited about doing this as I’ve been asked numerous times if I would personally handle people’s PR, but I’ve always said no as I’ve had my hands full running my businesses.

However, I’ve been able to put systems in place, which has freed me up to dedicate time to create an Elite program for a very select handful of high earners who want to be the #1 Brand in their space, the Elite Go-To Expert in their niche and a Celebrity in their field, so that they can massively impact the world and grow their sales.

I love this program because I exclusively get to work with business owners — I personally handle their PR and media campaigns plus media train them in a way that turns media interviews into sales. I’ve had over 14 years of holding interviews and I hold nothing back!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

You can’t do everything on your own — Ask for help and look for ways to outsource, you can hire very talented people at affordable prices on Upwork and Fiverr.com — I definitely wish I’d known about these sites when I first started running a business.

Learn to love technology — Like most people I started out dreading technology, feeling anxious and not having a clue what to do. I realized that viewing technology this way wasn’t helping me, so I decided to change my mindset and embrace technology instead. I signed up for courses so I could learn more and it wasn’t long before my confidence grew. Since then I’ve created online courses, private membership platforms and have built 7 websites!

Now, I’m not saying you have to do this all yourself (as per #1 above!) but feeling confident around technology is a learning curve well worth conquering. Nowadays I have great appreciation for technology and how it gives me both personal and business opportunities.

With 7.8 billion people on earth it’s just not possible for everyone to like you, in fact there will be haters! — Everyone has an opinion (even you!) and yes it hurts when people write nasty comments about you, but don’t let that hold you back! When I did my first interview on BBC radio (the one I told you about earlier) the radio station was really pleased with the interview, but not everyone agreed! And I had to learn early on how to deal with the ‘haters’ who are not happy for you when you dare to put yourself out there.

It did knock my confidence, but after doing some soul searching, I made a strong decision NOT to let people I’d never met before hold me back, so I picked myself up, dusted myself off and have never looked back — I’m so pleased I did as I would have missed out on so much otherwise.

My moto is: “Never take criticism from someone you’d never go to for advice. That rules out all the people you don’t know, all the people who are not living and doing what you want to live and do and all the people you don’t regard as an expert on your topic.”

As Steve Jobs said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Not everyone is your customer, even the ones that are in your target market — The people who don’t like you and the ones that don’t resonate with you are not your people or your customers. You don’t need to try and convince them to like you, you don’t need to try and win them over or change their minds, let them go and instead focus on the people that you are a good match with and who you can help.

Recognize and celebrate the small wins — It’s easy to get caught up with where you want to be and that it’s not happening fast enough, that you brush aside the small wins that you’re frequently having along the way. Interestingly, by focusing on, and being grateful for, the small wins you’ll find that you’ll get to where you want to go faster as success breeds success.

You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?

Yes sure, being a master networker is about building relationships with both customers and likeminded people who you could collaborate with. It’s about listening to people, offering help and advice if you can or recommending someone else who has a better solution if appropriate. You can also be a master networker with journalists by building relationships with them. My #1 tip is to always think ‘What can I do for them rather than what can they do for me?” when pitching the media.

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?

Publicity is by far the best way to generate good, qualified leads. Getting regularly featured in the media gets you in front of thousands, or even millions, of your niche market. I’m talking about visibility at it’s highest degree — this isn’t about posting on Instagram, doing Facebook Lives and running Ads. This is a totally different level of visibility and credibility, one that positions you as the #1 Brand, Go-To Authority and Celebrity in your niche… so that you attract exactly the right people who are a perfect match to what you offer.

Here is one of my quick 3-step processes for coming up with story ideas that get media attention…

Step 1: Study the publication you want to be featured in, or listen to your ideal radio station, or watch your perfect TV show, to see what story angles they like to feature.

Step 2: Know your target market — What questions do your potential customers ask you, what do they want to know about in your niche?

Step 3: What are the story angles that overlap in step 1 and step 2 that have not been covered recently? These will be good story ideas to pitch to the media.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

There are so many wonderful podcast shows to listen to but one of my favorites is ‘Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast’ with Amy Porterfield. Amy covers topics that are really helpful to business owners wherever they are in their business journey, as well as mindset techniques and personal stories that are inspiring to the listeners.

There are so many amazing books too, one of my favorites is ‘Ask and it is given’ by Esther Hicks. I totally resonate with the law of attraction and have aligned with this way of thinking for years, it has given me many miraculous, joyful and exhilarating 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. 🙂

This would be the ‘Mindset Movement’ — What you think about and how you feel has a direct effect in all areas of your life. I’m talking about health, prosperity, business success, relationships and more…

That’s why I always include mindset training in all my advanced publicity courses and why I’m known as the mindset media expert.

You see… I can give you ALL the strategies that gets amazing success, I can even set up amazing opportunities for you but if you’re mindset is blocking, if you have limiting beliefs playing out, self-sabotaging behaviors or you suffer from imposter syndrome — where you fear that you’re not quite good enough, that you’re a fraud and someone is going to find out — then even though you say you want BIG success, on a deeper level you’ll block this success.

That’s why when I work personally with business owners I help them to get clarity, to obliterate fears and insecurities and replace them with feelings of empowerment, invincibility and confidence instead.

And that’s the movement I would like to be a part of.

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.

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