Jennifer Berson is the President & Founder of Jeneration PR, a Public Relations & Social Media Marketing firm specializing in promoting beauty, baby & lifestyle brands. Jen’s retainer clients range from small and mid-sized brands to multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies, and everything in between.
Jen is also the creator of the Agency Accelerator, where she teaches entrepreneurs how to launch, grow and scale a profitable PR and Marketing Agency. She also recently launched Press Success, a PR Master Class for entrepreneurs to learn the step-by-step framework for executing a PR strategy that converts into massive media placements for their businesses.
Prior to founding Jeneration PR in 2005, Jennifer was a lawyer and practiced civil litigation at a prestigious law firm. Then, she “saw the light” and left to start her own business and pursue more creative endeavors (and she’s never looked back!).
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Before starting my career in PR, I was a civil litigator. I realized a few years into my career that it wasn’t going to be my long-term path. I remember looking around at the other women in my office and feeling like none of my colleagues had the type of life I eventually wanted to build for myself.
I loved working, but I knew that I wanted more balance in my life than these women who lead amazing careers but never seemed to have time for anything else. I knew then that I wanted a life where I could be in charge of my own schedule and see my family as much as I wanted.
It wasn’t until 2005, that I realized what I wanted to do outside of law. While I was overseas on my Bar Trip back in 2001, I discovered an amazing beauty brand that was relatively unheard of in the U.S. Many years after my trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about ways to market their products to a U.S. audience.
On a whim in 2004, I decided to reach out to them to share my vision and ask if I could help pitch their products. They happily agreed and sent me a giant box of samples. I spend the next few months walking around L.A. telling every retailer and editor I could find about their products. It sounds crazy, but without any experience or contacts, I was able to get the brand into In Touch Weekly.
I knew I had only worked with one brand so far, but I kept thinking that if I loved marketing products THIS much when I was doing it for free, I would love it SO much more if I could make it career. When I was a litigator, I spend all day tearing companies down—I had never experienced the excitement of building a company up. It was like a drug, and I was hooked.
I had never felt the high of having a positive and immediate impact on businesses without spending money and exhausting resources, like litigation. So, I started to do all the work it takes to start your own company—looking at options, figuring out billing, etc.
In early 2005, Jeneration PR was born.
Tell us about your business.
There are two sides of my business: Jeneration PR and Jeneration Academy. Jeneration PR is a public relations and social media marketing agency where we specialize in promoting beauty, baby, and lifestyle/wellness brands. My amazing team and I have been running it for 14 years, and I absolutely love it because it gives me the opportunity to work with dream clients.
In the Jeneration Academy side of my business, I get to coach other agency owners and teach them how to launch, grow, and scale profitable PR agencies. Through that program, I’m able to guide entrepreneurs all over the world towards a solid path to profitability for their own agencies.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I am currently offering entrepreneurs some of my best resources in my business:
- Press Ready Checklist, that explains how a brand can position themselves to be ready for press exposure.
- How To Leverage Your Press Wins Checklist, that shows brands how to make the most out of press exposure once they get it.
- Graduated summa cum laude from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Communications
- Hold a JD from the University of Southern California Law School and was admitted to the Bar in California
- Been profiled about my transition from law to PR on several well-known digital platforms, including Forbes, Business Insider, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, Entrepreneur OnFire, and (pinch me because I still can’t believe it!) Apple.
Where is your business based?
We are based in Los Angeles, California, but our clients are all over the U.S.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I am the type of person that believes that sometimes less is more, so I run lean and mean. When I first started, I was running my business from home, and that’s where I have been ever since. I started by picking a company name, Jeneration PR.
My name has really served me well throughout the years not only because it sounds familiar, but also because it is personal to me. I then grabbed a domain, set up my business email, and hired a designer to create my logo and business cards.
The next step was to launch a very simple one-page website with my contact information. I then went out and bought myself an all-in-one printer, scanner, fax, and copier. And that was all I needed—I was off to the races. All in, I am really proud to say that I started my business with less than $1500.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Whether it’s launching a brand, introducing a new product, or generating sales for a brand that is already on the market, we always start with our clients’ objectives in mind.
Once we really grasp our clients’ needs, we focus on driving demand for our clients’ products and generating awareness of their brands by getting them serious exposure through a variety of traditional and new media outlets: spots on TV shows, digital outlets with a huge reach to drive people to their websites, and exposure via targeted influencers.
We love working with targeted influencers because they help align our customers’ brands with the ideal customer as well as drive genuine engagement with our customers’ products. This combination of the traditional media and the new media approaches generates interest and demand for our clients’ products and helps us accomplish their goals.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My two biggest challenges have to do with my team and my time. Meeting our clients’ needs is our #1 priority. So, because we’re so focused on our current retainer clients, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to devote to business development and growth.
We are so lucky to have the opportunity to service the needs of our current clients, but it’s sometimes challenging to be proactive about business development when day-to-day you’re focused on meeting your current clients’ needs.
I’m also very particular about the people on my team, so finding great people that I trust to support me has been one of the most challenging parts of building my business. I want to grow my team in order to meet my clients’ needs, but I also want to make sure I’m only bringing on A+ players.
How did you overcome these challenges?
In order to most effectively manage my time and stay on top of my business development, I commit myself to regularly reaching out to my network and keeping my contacts top of mind. It doesn’t have to be big sweeping efforts or huge time commitments.
It’s just about keeping your relationships fresh with little things, like quick check-ins, Facebook messages, texts that let them know you’re thinking about them or checking in with them about something they have been working on. These little check-ins don’t take a lot of time, but they have a big impact.
When it comes to my team, I am always intentional about who I bring on and making them feel valued, so they want to stay. I give credit where credit is due and compensate them according to the value they provide. Treating people really well ensures that I have a team of A+ players that care about their jobs and want to stay with my company.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I have been running my business for a long time (14 years). Even when we lose a client or have a challenge, like a press feature gets printed with the wrong information, I have learned to let it go. I used to let the hurdles really get to me, but I’ve realized that my business will go on even on rough days.
I have also had to learn to detach myself from my business and not see my company’s struggles as reflections of my own character. So, when I lose a client, it doesn’t tell me anything about myself or impact me personally.
What’s really helped with this is keeping my kids top of mind. They are a huge source of motivation for me, and whenever I’m present with them it makes me feel good. When I need a break with something that feels bad at work, we’ll pull out Connect 4 or Monopoly and just spend time together.
You can’t be sad when you’re eye-level with your kids who bring you the greatest joy. I try to always remind myself that what I’ll remember most is not those hiccups in business but the time spent creating lasting memories with my children.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t like thinking of other agencies as competitors—they are my colleagues. I don’t have a scarcity mindset; I truly believe there is enough business to go around. That’s why I created my Agency Accelerator program.
I love helping other people do what I learned how to do on my own. I don’t try to compete with agencies because I let our work, our client relationships, our case studies, and our client testimonials speak for themselves.
I do think, however, that one thing that sets us apart is our client loyalty. In PR, it’s commonplace for brands to bounce around, but our clients stay with us—one brand has even been with us for 11 years.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
My two favorite pieces of advice are;
- Nobody is coming to save you, you are in charge of making your own path.
- You already have everything you need to be successful, now go do it.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t compare somebody’s “middle” or where they’re at today to your beginning. It’s really hard in social media to see other people doing what you’re doing but being much father along in their businesses than you. It can immediately make you feel behind or not as talented in comparison.
But, try to remember that you’re just where you need to be. There’s no race to the finish line. If someone is furtherer ahead than you, it just proves that there’s need in the marketplace for your business, and you’re on the right path. You can look at other people’s success and feel motivated by it, but don’t let it make you feel less than or intimidated.
I would also say, it’s so important to be consistent. You don’t have to do everything, but the things that you DO choose to do (whether it’s a Facebook group or a Podcast), you have to show up fully. Results will only start to come and momentum will only start to build when you actually demonstrate consistency in your business.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I absolutely love Canva. I really love to use it to create beautiful press clips for our clients that I then turn into custom press books every month. I also use it to craft gorgeous proposal templates that help us stand out and look professional.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Right now, I am really enjoying the “How I Built This” Podcast with Guy Raz. Getting insights into how different entrepreneurs created their companies, the obstacles they overcame, and how they were able to hone in on their ideas to create successful businesses makes me feel so motivated and inspired. As an entrepreneur, it’s total ear candy. I could sit all day and listen to their stories.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently learning how to scale the digital side of my business—the Jeneration Academy program—so that I can help more people build their companies, share my experience with the world, and attract more people that need my help.
I am always looking for ways to scale that business, and I love learning about different digital marketing tactics to do so. I feel like I’ve been in consumption mode for a long time now, learning as much as I can about how to build this side of my company, and now I’m finally ready to execute my vision.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I want to enroll more clients in my Agency Accelerator program and continue to serve that community with my whole heart by teaching my students how to grow successful and profitable business.
I also want to turn my focus to building out some of the elements that will help me grow that program. My Jeneration PR Agency has been and always will be my baby, and I want to continue to support my customers.
I just on-boarded my third billion-dollar client and still can’t believe I get to do a job I love so much. It has been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/jenerationinsiders
Hashtags #jenerationpr #jenerationentrepreneur