In this age of rapid innovation, the likelihood that you’ll end up in the very same job you envisioned for yourself as a child may be slimmer than ever. We can’t even fathom what types of industries will exist in 20 years, let alone the types of jobs that will be created as a result of new technologies. With the rise of the Internet came the growth of a new digital economy, including millions of new jobs in digital advertising, influencer marketing, website design, analytics, customer service, and back-end tech services; the list goes on. If Jeff Bezos was dead-set on selling books out of a brick-and-mortar store, where would Amazon be today? The key to success in the modern age is being open to new opportunities. That way, though we can’t predict the future, we’ll be ready when it’s here — and that day may be sooner than we think.
For a little perspective, I looked up a US Census report on the trajectory of home computer ownership and internet use. In the year 1998 an estimated 42.1 percent of US households had a personal computer, and just 26.2% had internet access. In 1998 I was ten years old, and I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I used to convince my dad to take me to the end of the street where I could set up shop selling old barbie dolls and trolls to passerbys. In high school, I created a business plan for a shoe store that doubled as a spa where customers could get pedicures. Pretty good idea for a high schooler, but if I had stuck with either my reselling toys idea or pursued the shoe-store-pedicure-spa business plan, I would certainly be in a different place than I am today.
I started college at the University of Southern California with the aim of graduating with a BA in business, but along the way I stumbled into a communications course and fell in love with PR. The communications courses I took at USC opened my eyes to this entirely new realm of professionals who connect journalists to fascinating products, brands, and projects. I thought, I can see myself doing this!
After graduating from college I was fortunate to work with smart PR professionals at agencies that employed industry best practices to land press for their clients. Within a couple years I was handling PR for a few small brands as a freelancer. By the time I turned 24, I had started my own business, Melrose PR.
In the early years I focused on businesses I was familiar with — consumer products and lifestyle brands. I worked with a number of restaurants and brands in the LA area and was featured in the LA Business Journal’s Top 20 in their 20s.
After five years, I had a couple employees and had expanded beyond restaurants and consumer products to include a few LA-based tech companies. The year was 2016 and Silicon Beach was starting to be “a thing.” In the spring of that year, I met with a startup called Gem that was developing a healthcare and supply chain solutions protocol using an emerging technology called blockchain.
Blockchain is the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, and it also powers decentralized platforms that aim to improve our existing systems of data exchange with increased transparency, security, and efficiency. I didn’t realize the potential impact that blockchain would have on the world let alone my own life during that first meeting, but I took the project on as our very first blockchain client.
Melrose PR is now entirely focused on communications for blockchain and crypto-based projects. Since Gem, we’ve been working with startups that are developing solutions for digital media, finance, voting, e-commerce, mobile connectivity, gaming, real estate, AI networks, and more. I’m the first to admit that when I sat down in that initial meeting with Gem, and their team explained blockchain technology, I was intimidated. But even though I didn’t understand every aspect of the technology, I knew it was an opportunity for my business and an avenue through which could challenge myself and and learn something new. We took the leap, and when the summer of 2017 rolled around and blockchain projects exploded into every vertical and the price of Bitcoin rose to $20,000, we were one of the only PR agencies with any experience working in the blockchain sphere.
Some people may say we were in the right place at the right time, but when you think about it, being in the right place is really about stepping up to the plate when an opportunity arises. Even if you’re scared or intimidated, someone’s going to do it, so why not you?