Samantha Frontera is a lifestyle expert/CEO/Founder of Exclusive Public Relations (EPR). She is an expert in all things video, press, and media related and has been in the industry for several years. She is also a contributor on local Chicago outlets including WCIU & Fox Morning Show. For more information you can go to www.exclusive-pr.com. Read our interview with the lovely Samantha below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I have worked in a lot of start-up PR cultures and small television markets and one of the agencies I was actually working for closed their doors. This was about three weeks before Christmas a few years ago. Luckily, I was about to sign a client and the client asked me if they could still sign with me. I was a little surprised but I thought why not… it was one of those months were everything seemed to be going wrong. I had been in a terrible car accident, lost my job, and lost one of my dear pets all within four short weeks. They say bad things happen in threes. This is when I thought I will launch a company – this will be a positive and three good things will happen. It did.
Tell us about your business?
Exclusive Public Relations is my baby – literally. I build stories and introduce brands to the world. I work with all sorts of clients ranging from authors, tech retailers, fashion boutiques, liquor brands, magazines, and also conduct personal branding.
Where is Exclusive Public Relations headquarters located?
Chicago, IL (Lakeview/LP office).
What were the first few steps you took to get your business, up and running?
I landed a few new clients, hired a junior publicist, and opened a business bank account, and legally created a business by the state of Illinois. Then I made a million business mistakes, but hey, that’s how you learn. I am finally getting the hang of it.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Word of mouth and other women business owners – they have been so supportive mentioning me to other clients. The network in Chicago is fantastic.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
A lot of clients that I want to work with actually don’t have the funds for PR so it’s usually a tough call. The funny thing is that the ones with zero budget usually have the best stories to tell. So the goal is to give good prices to clients without giving away all the goods all at once. It’s a tough act, but I usually follow my instincts. I also do my best to stay clear from people with wrong intentions for my business or myself.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I use my gut to decide if I can work within their budget and also whether I can specifically work with a client’s personality and if their brand is strong enough to promote. If you can’t promote their brand, then you should not take on the client.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I think about where I want to be in my life in five years and I keep hustling. Work, work, work, work!
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My clients have become my family/friends. I also have better rates than most agencies so that seems to help when people are making business decisions. I know that once they try my services they won’t want to go to anybody else.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“To just keep doing what you’re doing”, my dad told me that and it meant a lot coming from him.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If your dream job isn’t out there, then build it. Don’t ever let somebody tell you no and if they do then show them the light. Don’t barter with other business owners as it never goes well. Real friends will pay full price for your services. Treat everybody with kindness because they could be your future boss one day. Never look back and wish you could have done something but you didn’t try, you will regret it and sadly there is no time machine in life.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I love Buzzstream – it is the best way to mass pitch something out to the media or a way to utilize for sales.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am looking for clients who are willing to pay standard prices.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal is to continue to work with passionate brands and foster relationships with my clients.