Hearing different perspectives and learning from experts helps shape the decisions I make in my business, in my personal life, in my health and ultimately, how I choose to live my life and create space for things that bring me joy- and that’s the name of the game. Change your thinking, change your life.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Holland, Public Relations entrepreneur, CEO and thought leader. Over the last 14 years, Andrea has managed PR teams for the biggest brands in consumer technology including Intuit, PayPal and Visa. In 2014, she left her six-figure job in San Francisco to support the emerging tech startup scene on the central coast of California and founded DialedPR, a B2C tech consultancy that serves startups anywhere in the world. She’s a published author and instructor for the leading online education site LinkedIn Learning, where she writes curriculum and delivers PR courses for entrepreneurs and universities worldwide. Andrea is also the chief job connector at RemotePRJobs.com, the leading remote job site for PR and Communications professionals.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Andrea! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My entrepreneurial spirit made its first cameo when I was 24 years old, trying to solve one of my own personal problems. I was obsessed with the show “Gossip Girl,” and wanted all the headbands that Blair Waldorf wore. However, for a 24 year old, they were expensive. Not wanting to pay $60 for a headband at Nordstrom, I set out to Michaels Arts & Crafts to create my own. After making my first sale while at the baggage claim at the Oakland Airport, I knew I was on to something. It felt good to be creative, solve a problem and bring others joy. This little venture sparked my interest in becoming an entrepreneur and finding solutions for businesses big and small. In college, I was further exposed to aspects of running a business and PR by joining a PanHellenic organization. Within my chapter, I was in charge of public relations and also recruitment for nearly 200 women. These roles taught me some of the most important components in running a business: building relationships, navigating interpersonal dynamics, fundraising and managing a national brand.
My career in PR officially began after I graduated. I was trained at some of the best PR firms in the world: Fleishman Hillard, Access Communications (Ketchum), and the Horn Group (Finn Partners). I spent nearly a decade learning, getting my chops and being guided and counseled by some of the best minds in the industry. This was crucial to breaking off and starting my own ventures, which I have been doing for the last seven years.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I’ll speak to my latest venture, RemotePRJobs.com. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I was looking to solve my own problem. When I began freelance PR consulting after nearly a decade in Corporate America, I was blessed that nearly all of my work was found through my personal network and word of mouth. However, when opportunities weren’t so abundant, I looked online to job sites. To my surprise, they weren’t so fruitful. I would search remote and freelance PR jobs, but it was a mess. To find a decent handful of leads, I would have to search through 10+ websites, but many roles available weren’t relevant or vetted properly. I decided to set out and solve the problem that PR professionals were facing, such as finding our dealflow. PR is not marketing. PR is not advertising. However, none of the existing jobs sites (especially the remote-first ones), could identify the difference. I decided to create RemotePRJobs.com. It started out with 10 opportunities emailed every week and has now evolved into a full membership site that provides over 120 PR, comms, social, and content opportunities (full-time, part-time and projects) across a variety of industries, every month.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Over the years, I’ve had various types of mentors — therapists, life coaches, old bosses, clients, and colleagues. However, in my experience, some of my best lessons have come from unintentional teachers:
When I was a supervisor at a global PR firm in San Francisco in 2013, I had a boss who was unpredictable — in a good way. He would always put me in situations where ultimately, I had to learn to trust myself, because I couldn’t count on him. One case in particular, he and I were preparing for my first new business pitch. As the lead on the project, I spent weeks organizing the team, preparing for the meeting, and growing more nervous by the day. This was the first time I would potentially be bringing on a piece of business. We were ready, but I knew my boss would also be in the room to help “close the deal” or fill in any gaps I overlooked in the preparation. The day of the pitch arrived. About an hour before the meeting, my boss wasn’t in the office. When thirty minutes before the meeting, he still wasn’t in the office. I called him, he told me he was on his way. Five minutes before the meeting, my heart dropped — he called to say he wasn’t coming. He wished me the best of luck, telling me he had all the confidence in the world that I could handle it. I panicked for about 30 seconds, and then realized that him pulling off the bandaid was necessary for my growth. He taught me one of the greatest lessons that I still carry with me today: that my confidence has to come from within, and I had to believe for myself.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Be Honest. Have Grit. Find Passion.
Honest: If we’re being honest, PR professionals are not always known for being honest. I’ve found it interesting over the years that when I am candid and honest with a reporter or client, even when I’ve screwed something up, that they are surprised. As simple as it is, this is something that has gotten me far in my journey. Nearly all of working in communications is working with humans — clients, media, business partners. If you can’t admit you are wrong, or show empathy towards other humans, you will lose your connection. Your connections are your network and your network is your net worth. Being honest goes a long way, even if it stings in the moment.
Grit: Climbing the corporate ladder can be easy. You know where the next wrung is. You can see the top. You likely have a predecessor. Those aren’t bad things — but entrepreneurship is none of those things. I learned quickly once I left Corporate America that If I didn’t have “Grit,” as Angela Duckworth calls it, I would be eaten alive. You have to be able to take the hits, whether it is losing all your clients in one day (which has absolutely happened to me).
Passion: When you are working so hard for something, whether it is building a consultancy, writing coursework and teaching, speaking to thousands of students and/or entrepreneurs, if you’re not into it — people can tell. When you’re on your own, you’re the only thing that can drive you — so if the passion for what you’re doing fades, beware of losing momentum fast. I realized early on about aspects I was not a fan of in running a PR firm. I kept them up because I was good at them, but on my own, I just didn’t have the desire. I pivoted into content, into speaking and into coaching, and built from there. I also pivoted into building an online business that helped PR professionals, which brought me so much more joy. Listening to your gut is huge.
How are you going to shake things up next?
Right now, with the growth of RemotePRJobs, I’m focused on hiring a rockstar sourcing team focusing on the growth of PR resources. Especially as the pandemic continues through the year and remote jobs are in high demand during this time, it is my goal to provide as much opportunity as possible to the growing community of remote PR and communications professionals.
In addition, my PR and Communications work is closely tied with my interest to inspire and support the growth of others in their career and personal goals. I’d like to combine my life coaching credential and psychology passion with communications to write a book to help guide PR consultants, as well as continue speaking and writing. These are a few things I’ve been brainstorming to move the PR industry further and to support those in need of opportunities, whether individuals or teams.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I’ll start with a personal story. In 2015, I gave a TEDx type talk to nearly 1,000 college students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I shared a lot of my vulnerabilities. I talked about my life in Corporate America, and how I quit. How I desired more and didn’t know how to get it. How I failed, how I found love and lost love. How I combatted a lot of internal fear through travel, but also the beautiful upsides that came from all of my stumbling along. It was the story of my life pivot, and one that took a lot of strength to share. Though this talk was for the students, my reflection held the deep impact of cultivating a personal understanding of how far I’ve come since graduating from my alma mater. After speaking with students about my journey, I felt humbled to reconnect with my roots as a previous student on the campus — always looking for another way to build community, gain independence, and hone my skills as a person. I choose to live with a growth mindset, so though I was scared to be vulnerable in front of so many, I saw this as an opportunity for growth and ran head-on into facing my fear.
This aligns with the way I choose to consume information. I’m very particular about what I consume and where it’s from. I’m a huge podcast listener. Whenever I’m in the car, going on a walk or even hanging out in my house, there’s always learning going on. My current go-to podcast is: Better Together with Maria Menounos. Maria brings together the world’s leading healers, experts, influential celebrities & game-changers to share tips to getting better in all areas of life, including physical health, emotional wellness, spirituality, finances, relationships & more. I love these conversations and believe everything is connected. Hearing different perspectives and learning from experts helps shape the decisions I make in my business, in my personal life, in my health and ultimately, how I choose to live my life and create space for things that bring me joy- and that’s the name of the game. Change your thinking, change your life.
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. :-)
The most important gift we can give to ourselves is having personal conviction and empowerment in who we are and what we’re capable of. Having our own personal power is what leads to a meaningful and fulfilling life. Too many people, especially women, doubt their own capabilities and influence. If there is one movement that I would like to inspire as a force of good that I care deeply about, it would be helping people, especially women, find or reclaim their personal power in whatever form it manifests for them.
After decades of operating from a space of limiting beliefs, I have many stories and experiences to share that symbolize me re-claiming my own personal power. Whether it was my journey getting off of Xanax after a 15 year dependency, or preserving my fertility and publicly sharing my experience with “taboo topic,” it is my personal commitment to continue sharing my experiences of raw vulnerability but also great empowerment. I’d love to create a movement, a dialogue or a community where everyone can learn from each other in this process of growth and empowerment.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If it’s not this, it’s something better.”
This quote is on a corkboard in my home and I look at it every single day. For me, it’s a constant reminder to keep moving forward, regardless of what is happening. When I lose a client, end a relationship, or run into a frustrating health issue, it’s easy to stop and dwell on what is not going well. By remembering and having faith in the fact that something better is going to happen or come along, it helps keep you in a growth mindset.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
DialedPR Website: DialedPR.com
RemotePR Jobs Website: RemotePRJobs.com
RemotePR Jobs Twitter: @remoteprjobs
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!