New Yorker, Fernanda Guichon serves as a full service PR and social media freelance professional. She will be graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a B.A. in Advertising and Marketing Communications spring of 2018. She has maintained a full working schedule while attending school part time, and has over two years of professional experience in the public relations industry. Fernanda migrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina at the young age of 9 and settled in New York City with a completely new language and culture. The adaptation at such a young age was a great challenge, but it motivated her to work hard and strive for perfection. Growing up in New York City has inspired her world perspective and open minded creativity. She offers clients a unique approach, thanks to the diverse influences she has been exposed to over the course of her 25 year journey.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I began my career as an independent PR Professional after finding out I was expecting my first child. One of my first thoughts upon finding out I was pregnant was “Am I going to have to give up my career!?” I was just getting started and it was already over, or so I thought. I quickly realized I could have my cake and eat it too – that I could be home working from my laptop and raising my daughter at the same time. I am certainly not a pioneer, seeing women do this before me was a great inspiration. I always dreamed of starting my own PR agency, and I feel like this pregnancy triggered something inside of me to stop dreaming, and start doing. Every path is unique, and I am extremely excited to see this through.
Tell us about your business.
I serve as a PR Professional and Social Media Specialist to organizations, companies and personal brands. I market brands to the world through the art of storytelling by developing social media campaigns, positive media coverage and creating marketing promotions plans.
Where is your business based?
Physically, I am based out of New York City. But with the help of technology I believe I can reach all corners of the country in due time.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first step I took was speaking to other professionals in my industry and asking for advice on where to start. I did a lot of online research, read books, but I believe talking to people who live it and breathe it every day was the best way to get acclimated. That preparation was a great compliment to my pre-existing knowledge of the PR industry. Next, I created my website and began to pitch my services to local businesses. Eventually, after many emails someone trusted me enough to hire me. I was able to get up and running right away, and have no plans of slowing down anytime soon!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social Media. Having an active profile that produces quality content allows for prospective clients to learn more about who you are and trust that you are able and capable of attaining their goals.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge I have encountered so far has been establishing myself as a serious freelancer. As a newcomer, and a one-woman team I must prove myself. In comparison to larger agencies, and other established freelancers I am a relatively unknown commodity. So, my goal has been to prove to each prospective client that I am serious and have a vision, and a plan to execute that vision.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I kept reassuring myself that my expertise and what I offer is of great value. Having that confidence in myself helps me portray confidence to the rest of the world. From a technical standpoint, it was about attention to detail, making sure everything I present in my pitches and in my actual work was in line with what needs to be executed. Setting a plan and executing it sounds easy but not everyone has the discipline to stick to their agenda. There will be times where you need to deviate, but most of the time being meticulous about the little details will allow your long terms goals to be fulfilled.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I have high expectations for myself. I was born in Argentina and I moved here when I was barely 9 and didn’t speaking a word of English. I remind myself daily of the struggles my parents had to endure moving to this country to provide a better future for me. Honestly, that is all the motivation I need to get ahead. My parents left behind their whole lives so I could make something of myself. I am determined to succeed because they were determined to give me that opportunity and I refuse to let them down.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I aim to offer my clients a level of comfort you can only receive from a small group, or in my case, an individual. With my focus on less than a handful of clients, I can provide more intimate feedback and guidance with my services. I want the connection to feel like more than a business connection, a connection where there is a great level of trust. With the amount of social media and telecommunication there can be a superficial feeling. Regardless if it is a large corporate competitor or a freelancer, you’re at risk for giving off that vibe. My goal is to alleviate that vibe.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Less is more. Do not risk diluting your message with unnecessary information. Keep it simple and concise.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Just do it. Don’t question it. Don’t ponder. Just do it! Nothing in this world is handed to us, we must put in the work. Things may not be perfect at first, but they are all learning experiences that will help you to achieve your ultimate goals.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Social media. It’s SO important to be where your target audience is for more effective marketing methods. Use it as a research tool and a tool to stay connected. Also, make sure you’re on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is your best friend for networking!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Girl Code” by Cara Alwill Leyba. (Must read!)
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am learning a lot about personal branding. Before, I had the back up of an agency, now it’s all me. How is a client going to trust that I can do their branding and PR if I can’t do it for myself? I look at myself as a brand now.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Growth. I mean this in many ways. I would like to grow by adding 2 new clients by the end of the year. But I also want to grow within myself and the industry. I need to be a sponge and absorb everything I can through workshops, meetings, and networking.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.