How This Introverted Mom Scored a 6-Figure Retainer from a Cold Email Pitch — PR Pro Spotlight ft. Kelli Bloomquist

pr pro spotlight Oct 19, 2021

With a large family of 7 children, I needed a lifestyle that would allow me to be at home and have more flexibility — PR gives me just that!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live a life you love running a PR agency and working with your dream clients? Our PR Pro Spotlight Series interviews our students and community members who have made the leap into PR and found huge success! 

We’ll be covering all the juicy insider details, from their biggest challenges and favorite parts of the job to their best advice for aspiring PR pros.  

Today, we’re sitting down with the amazing Kelli Bloomquist, Founder of Kelli Bloomquist Media! Kelli is a mother of 7 kids who also works as a PR freelancer. She’s an advocate and educator in journalism, PR, and digital media.

Tell us a little about your business and niche! 

Well, I haven't niched down totally yet...but what I’m doing really is working for me! 

For over a year, I worked on multiple freelance PR and news writing projects for regional agencies. When the pandemic hit, I was called upon by a large public health department to help with messaging, news releases, media coordination, and PIO tasks. 

It was during this time that I found Jen's programs by way of a Facebook ad. I was loving the tasks that I was completing for my public health client and wanted to find a way to continue working with clients after my COVID-based contract ended. 

I currently have clients in public health, entertainment, broadband utilities, non-profit, and national events! I love getting to work with a wide variety of clients. 

With a large family of 7 children and my husband being a busy music professor, I needed a lifestyle that would allow me to be at home and have more flexibility—PR gives me just that!

What were you doing before you became a PR pro? 

I actually got my first job in radio when I was just 15 years old. I was totally enamored with the news! 

Where I grew up in Northwest Iowa, we had this amazing radio station that always had an award-winning news staff, and I loved to listen and study how they put it all together. I actually spent 21 years as a radio news and newspaper editor. 

Then, during the downsizing of newspapers, I made the move to higher education. I started teaching journalism and PR at Iowa Central Community College and Iowa State University and ended up doing that for 5 years.

During that time in my life, I actually wrote a PR curriculum (called Dealing With The Media) for first responders. That curriculum was picked up and now is taught nationally by FEMA. I got to travel the country teaching response agencies how to write news releases, host press conferences, and work in conjunction with the media.

Wow, that’s incredible! But I know there have probably been some bumps in the road. Can you share some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a PR pro? 

My biggest challenge has been Imposter Syndrome—honestly, this issue hits me hard almost weekly.

When I started reaching out to clients and putting myself out there, Imposter Syndrome definitely showed up. But the more that I’ve learned, the more I’ve interacted with other women within the Profitable PR Pros community, and the more that I’ve been able to successfully see my clients in print and on TV, I’ve slowly become more confident and learned to overcome Imposter Syndrome. 

How did you find the Profitable PR Pros Community, and how long have you been a member? 

As we got through the thick of the pandemic, I realized that I loved being a PR freelancer so much and I knew that I wanted to do this as a business. But I had no idea how to actually do that — I don’t have an MBA and I’ve never run a business before. Not to mention that my brain is all over the place with 7 kids! 

But one day this Facebook ad popped  up and I thought “this sounds really cool.” The ad talked about how you can be a mom and have it all, so I clicked on it, put in my email address, and thought “what do I have to lose?”

And it ended up being the best decision I ever made! Because you broke the whole process down and I just thought “If Jen can take the leap, why can’t I?” So all of a sudden, I went from being a freelancer to being a business owner who is able to help support my family. 

Now, I am a member of a number of Jen’s programs, including: 

What’s your favorite part about being a member of the Profitable PR Pros community? 

I love, love, LOVE being able to interact with the other members of the Profitable PR Pros community because we all have the same dream. This community really is amazing! We’re all at different levels, with different timelines, and in different spaces, but everybody cheers everybody else on, which is so amazing to me.  

If someone has a question, someone else is always willing to answer or help however they can. I know that recently we’ve had some new folks join the programs, which is fantastic, and they’ve asked questions—and those of us who have been in The Pitch Lab or The Agency Accelerator for a longer period of time always chime in with questions, suggestions, solutions, and support. Someone’s always there to ask what would happen if you changed something (or to offer to help shape up your pitch). 

Inside these groups, I’m literally always able to learn from others...and it’s awesome. 

What inspired you to join our programs? 

Throughout my career, I had a dream of being able to own my own business and work in PR...but I was convinced that I wouldn't ever be able to do so because of my very rural geographic location (which I believed would hinder the ability to find clients). 

I also believed I didn't know what I was doing, even with all of my industry experience. I know, I know — that’s definitely Imposter Syndrome — but I had no idea at the time!

Then, I discovered Jen’s programs, and I was able to instantly see the possibilities that were out there. And I took the leap and believed in myself enough to join. 

I watched Jen's first lesson inside of The Agency Accelerator, and she jumped right into the idea that I could accomplish what I’d been dreaming of. She also made it super clear right from the start that Imposter Syndrome is totally a thing...and started sharing tips and insights that helped move me to a place of confidence. 

Have our programs helped you experience positive transformations?

My confidence has grown so much, but I would also say that signing contracts with my dream clients was amazing — a total personal high. 

One of the things I remember in The Agency Accelerator is learning that I really needed to increase my rates and start bringing in bigger retainers. So I started looking around and I wanted to find a client that was totally different than anyone else I’d ever worked with — something fun and exciting!

And I found one! But my Imposter Syndrome kicked in big-time. I wrote them a cold email and just thought “There is no way that these people are even going to read my email, let alone hire me.” I hovered over the “send” button for probably 5 minutes, but I finally clicked it. And within 48 hours, I got a reply and within a week I’d signed a 6-figure retainer! 

I was completely floored. At first, I was in shock, but then I told my husband and my kids and we danced all around the house. And then I thought: “Oh my gosh, I have to tell Jen!”

I never imagined that a national franchise would want (or trust!) me to do their PR. Or that a large governmental agency would trust me with their messaging for not one, but all of their programs. It's incredible and I'm loving every minute of it.

(P.S. If you want to grab Kelli's EXACT cold email she used to score this client, you can check it out here!)

What do you love MOST about the work you do and the clients you work with? 

I have to say...the best part is the moment that you get to call or text a client to say “GUESS WHAT! YOU'RE GOING TO BE ON/IN XYZ MEDIA OUTLET!” and hearing their excitement...I love that feeling.

I also love being able to be home with my kids while working, like babywearing my (now) 1-year-old while taking calls. That has been a tremendous gift to me and to my sanity during the past year.

Back when I was working in previous jobs, I worked 10-12 hour days and was so overwhelmed. If my employer said: “Jump!” I said “How high?” But I don’t do that anymore. One thing that I have really learned from this community is setting boundaries and creating a business that supports the type of lifestyle I want to have. Now, I’m able to have family time and it’s wonderful.

Before starting my business, I had almost 3 decades’ worth of experience in communications, but I still felt like just a stem of a flower. I was just hanging out in life — it was good, but I wasn’t super confident and I wasn’t very happy. 

Then, I joined The Agency Accelerator and now I feel lit up with passion. I’m finally a flower in bloom! I wake up every morning and think “I am so lucky that I get to do this work.” I’ve never had that before and it’s so, so amazing. 

What are some outlets you’ve secured features in for yourself and your clients? 

I’ve been able to secure some amazing features, including ABC, FOX, Washington Post, KTLA, Money Inc., The New York Times, and more. We have a TON of print media features coming up, and I couldn’t be more excited! 

What advice would you give to aspiring PR pros? 

Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen, because it is absolutely possible. The old adage says: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." So you have to go for it! 

Pre-pandemic, I never would have said that. I would have said that I was destined to live the way I was for the rest of my life. Yet here I am, living my dream! 

Put in the work and find support, as I did inside Profitable PR Pros and Jen’s other programs...It is absolutely worth it! Whatever your dream is, know that it’s 100% possible for you.

We’re so grateful that Kelli decided to share her story with us! We can all learn a lot from her passion, motivation, and willingness to support others. 

Check out Kelli’s Instagram page, and be sure to join the Profitable PR Pros community over on Facebook so that you can take advantage of all that this amazing community has to offer, just like Kelli!