Publicist Rockstars: “Make an agreement/contract for all of your deals. No verbal deals.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Elvira Guzman. For over a decade Elvira Guzman has owned one of the top Publicity & Branding companies in Hollywood, CA. Fox, Univision, Success Magazine, Inc. Magazine and Black Enterprise Magazine have recognized Ms. Guzman for her contribution in the entertainment industry. She has also been featured in Latina Magazine and is considered one of “The Future 15 Latino Entrepreneurs”. Prior to her independent success with Elvie G PR, Ms. Guzman worked for Steve Harvey for 9 years and helped him write, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man”. From her life experiences, Ms. Guzman has written “Your Blueprint”, “Purpose Awaken & Succeed” and “How To Awaken & Stay Awake”. She has been a part of hundreds of seminars to empower others both in the US and abroad.
Thank you so much for your time. I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was working for Steve Harvey and he fired his publicist. I was his right hand person at the time and I helped him with his shows, products and investments. When he let that publicist go, I naturally took over what needed to be done in order to make his brand flourish. I loved it and one year later I decided to start my publicity company while still helping Steve with his brand full time.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
During the best time in business for me when I had a beautiful office on Sunset with the view of the Hollywood sign and the entire city, I became ill. I decided to shut down my office to focus on my health and I decided not to tell anyone in fear they wouldn’t want me to represent them and I needed the money for my hefty medical bills. That obstacle taught me to never be scared to tell your clients what you are going through because they will be there for you. Eventually a few found out and gave me support. Now I thank that unique experience because it taught me that our clients really do care for us like we care for them.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
Geez there are so many to choose from! One that is embarrassing but… whatever I’ll share. I was representing Musiq Soulchild at the time and we went to New York to have a big meeting with BET. Although I had represented him for a while, I had never been alone with him before. I was a HUGE fan of his and after our big meeting that went great he wanted to go shopping for sunglasses and when we were in the store he asked me “congrats on your book…what’s the subtitle?,” and I blanked out because I was so in shock he was talking to me and that he cared about my book. I said “ummm omg I can’t remember” and he just laughed. Since then that moment has haunted me and I think. How can I be so smart sometimes and then other times I’m a 7 year old little girl again that can’t get her words out lol
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Being shy is ok and celebrities understand meeting them for the first time is scary for us. Especially if we have been fans for a long time.
How did you scale your business to profitability? How long did it take? Please share the steps you took.
I knew that there was something missing in the industry and I simply provided the service that was needed. When I started my publicity company, all publicity companies were charging an arm and a leg for services. Only the top people could afford those type of retainer and all I did was create a company with more affordable prices and the next thing I knew I had a full roster. I never had to promote my company at the beginning like most companies have to. Celebrities started telling each other about my company and I quickly had to expand and hire more team members to help me with the high demand. Within one year I was making double what I was making working for Steve Harvey full time and I could do it from anywhere like a pool, spa or home office.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m working on an international 3 day event tour to highlight philanthropists all over the world while providing an entertaining atmosphere so affluent singles can meet.
I also just released my 3rd book “How To Awaken & Stay Awake” and I’m excited to begin the web series.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
Work for a radio station or a T.V. station first so that you can build your contacts. Also go to as many networking events as possible and meet at least 5 people before you leave. If you want to be a successful publicist you will need to know people.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Always have a smile on your face. Look good. Smell nice. Say kind things and compliment others. Look approachable. Don’t be on your phone. Walk up to people you think you want to network with and introduce yourself.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale are all great when you are starting out. They give you the tools you need to succeed from the start.
Because of the role you play, 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?
I would inspire the movement for everyone to fully connect back to God through meditation, stillness, and prayer or however you feel is easiest for you. Having that connection you can get the guidance you need to be successful. I learned that from one of my mentors. After work he would sit in stillness looking out of the window for hours while I wrapped up the day and gave him the final notes for the day. I once asked him what he was doing and why he didn’t watch TV and he said he was talking to God to get guidance for the next day. That’s one of the greatest lessons I learned from Steve Harvey.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
You don’t have to take on every client that wants you to represent them.
Have a nice car, purse and shoes or others will talk about you. (sad but true).
Never hire your unqualified friends.
Don’t tell your plans to others because they may steal them.
Make an agreement/contract for all of your deals. No verbal deals.