Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Douglas.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sarah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I launched my PR firm, Sarah Douglas Communications, in January of 2007 after several years working as executive director of the Atlanta Press Club. When I got the job at the press club, I considered it my dream job. And to a large extent it was. But I had many evening events to attend and was missing out on a lot of time with my husband. I was also ready to start a family and knew I wanted to slow down my pace a bit. Starting my own PR consulting business gave me the flexibility I had been seeking.
I realize this is counter to what many new businesses face, but I was lucky in that had great contacts in the business who brought me in on projects of theirs. For the first several years – I ended up having a daughter during that first year of working on my own – I was able to take only the projects that were fun, for the number of hours I wanted, and alongside the people with whom I truly wanted to work. And they were almost exclusively brought to me by other PR consultants and firms.
As my daughter got older and started preschool then grade-school, I was able to steadily increase the number of hours I worked. I began seeking and taking on projects and retainer clients of my own.
Now, fully 10 years later, I realize how truly fortunate I was to start my business when I did. Without even knowing it, I weathered the economic downturn – in large part because I wasn’t ready to work a full-time schedule anyway. By the time the economy turned around and companies were once again ready to invest in their PR and media relations, I was ready to take on their business. And I’ve been growing ever since.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are always challenges in running your own business. For one, as an independent consultant, I run all aspects of the business. I handle all roles: IT department, accounting department, sales & marketing, HR, client administration, etc. Some of those roles I’ve embraced, some are skills I’ve acquired over the years and some I’ve happily outsourced. I’ve had some wonderful mentors along the way — other PR professionals I could turn to for advice. I think having men and women I trust and can confide in has been a major factor in overcoming obstacles. Sometimes just being told that you have what it takes to make the right decision helps you to make it. I’m also a working mom which, as any parent will tell you, comes with challenges and opportunities.
Please tell us about Sarah Douglas Communications.
Sarah Douglas Communications is independent PR and media relations firm helping clients with media relations, issue management, crisis communications, branding and event planning by delivering innovative projects, with detailed and consistent service. I am a senior-level PR professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry and I am personally involved in work for each and every client. My goal is to help clients reach their goals through communication to their constituents, whoever they may be. Much of my work centers around B2B clients, legislative initiatives in Georgia, schools/education organizations, professional services, and non-profits. I’m also very interested in travel/tourism and economic development.
There is a strong network of independent PR consultants in Atlanta and we have a fantastic history of coming together to create ad-hoc agencies specifically for the benefit of our clients. In this model, we all get to play to our strengths, and the client gets top-notch, senior-level PR talent with the personal attention of an independent consultant.
I tell all my clients that when you hire me, you get me. I am always available to clients and always working to help them gain greater exposure whether that be through earned media placements, strategic introductions or events.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would place more emphasis on getting the help I needed to grow my business. As an independent consultant, I would rather spend my time actually working for my clients than working on the administration side of my business. Having experts help in accounting, billing, IT, etc. is a tremendous asset.
I also now have a business coach that is helping me to trust my instincts, see the big picture and outline exactly where I want to be in the future and how to get there.
- Website: sarahdouglascommunications.com
- Email: email@example.com
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