Speaker 1 (00:02):
This podcast is for PR pros who are looking to discover the best strategies for landing their dream retainer clients and scoring them top tier media coverage. I'm your host, Jen Von. And I want you to have a fulfilling career in PR that totally likes you up without sacrificing your personal or family time or your sanity. Welcome to the pitching powerhouse podcast. I think you guys know by now that my absolute favorite part of this podcast is getting to do the PR pro spotlights and chat with incredible members of our community. And obviously today is no exception. I just had a great chat with Amanda Holsworth, who is the founder of Holdsworth communications and my God, is she impressive? Um, we have this kind of shared passion for, um, advanced degrees in continuing education. Uh, she may have me be actually, um, she has a PhD, which is incredibly impressive, but she has been, uh, working in PR for the last 22 years and specializes in education.
Speaker 1 (01:19):
Um, so she's been working in branding efforts, marketing PR and coms for public and private K through 12 schools, colleges, and universities. And now through her agency, she's able to take all of that expertise and, you know, be able to niche down. We definitely talk about that, um, and offer so much of value to her clients because she is a true, true expert in that space. Um, she earned both of her master of arts in strategic public relations and doctor of education in organizational change in leadership, both from USC, um, which is where I went to law school. So we had in common as well, and she's also accredited in P R. Um, and that's a very challenging accreditation to receive. And she's had a former assistant position, uh, assistant part of me, professor of PR. You might hear my little puppy whimpering over here.
Speaker 1 (02:21):
It's raining out right now and she is not able to run around outside. So she's got tons of puppy energy. Um, so Amanda is a former assistant professor in of PR and marketing in Canada and here in the us and her post research has been an organizational culture burnout. God can, we all relate to that and employee engagement. And that has been featured in multiple global publications and like me, she's the proud mom of two kids in, uh, grade school. And she loves to travel and explore and learn together as a family. Um, she's super fantastic. And I can't wait for you to hear how Amanda was able and why she was able to finally take the leap and start her own agency and how she went from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset and what impact that had on her business. So listen in, as I chat with Amanda, Holsworth Amanda, welcome to the pitching powerhouse show. How are
Speaker 2 (03:26):
You? I'm good things, Jen, how are you?
Speaker 1 (03:29):
I'm good. We were just having a funny conversation about dogs and how they eat the most disgusting things. I just tossed my little puppy, like a, I don't even know what this is. A, a turbo tendon basically looks like a petrified cow tendon she is so happy right now. I think that buys us about 20 or so minutes for a really good chat. Um, but thank you so much for jumping on our show. I'm so looking forward to hearing more about your agency and having you kind of share story with our audience. So can you tell us a bit about yourself, your PR agency, what you specialize in and kinda how you got here?
Speaker 2 (04:08):
Sure. So, um, I'm a CEO and founder of Holdsworth communications, really easy to remember, and we specialize in educational PR and storytelling. So we focus in K through 12, as well as in higher ed and maybe some ed tech, uh, agencies here and there, but primarily anything in the education space. So I've been doing this for my, almost my entire career. I actually, my very first job on a college campus was when I was a teenager, more than 25 years ago. So I've worked primarily in the education space, most of my, a few step outs here and there for six months or a year or something along those lines. But it's been really my focus for the entire time. I've been interested in communications and PR.
Speaker 1 (04:52):
Yeah. And I was gonna mention that you have a ton of experience in PR, but I know that it hasn't always been easy for you to feel really confident in yourself. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Speaker 2 (05:07):
You know, it's very interesting, Jen. So I interned at agencies, um, about 20 some years ago and it just wasn't my, my thing. And so I started going in house in, uh, I think 2003 was when I went in house at my first, uh, university. And one of the things that you learn in house is, you know, you're part of a team, you're a great effort. You get really into the mission, um, really into enrollment, that sort of component, but also one of the things you find when you're in house is that sometimes it's, it's sometimes no different honestly, than being a solopreneur. But you think to yourself, like, I can't be the only one that sees this or like, this is so obvious to me, like why isn't anybody else getting it? And, you know, I've had wonderful bosses and wonderful colleagues and I've moved around a lot.
Speaker 2 (05:51):
Anybody can go look me up on LinkedIn and I've, I've been around a lot and I've, I've had some wonderful experiences, but I think everything came to head with me about three years ago when I was working in a large school district. And, uh, it was just almost like arguing all the time and trying to prove like, Hey, I've been doing this for almost 20 years. Like, I know what we're talking about. Like, why do I have to prove myself to somebody that's not even in communications or PR marketing and what fine. I do a lot of mentoring now for other school communicators. And I feel that some of them are so talented and I recognize it. I recognize how I was, but when you're constantly kind of battling other people inside to get your point across or get approvals for things. Um, and I know it's like this in other industries as well.
Speaker 2 (06:35):
It's not just in education when, when you're in house, it can be kind of difficult in defeating, you know, where you can kind of think to yourself, like, you know, maybe I am wrong or, you know, maybe, maybe I just shouldn't be that bold or maybe I shouldn't just step out and maybe just keep my mouth shut and, and keep the peace. And , I'm not very good at keeping my mouth shut when I know there's some really great opportunities to be had. And I, in the country, when there are things that I know that are gonna damage, uh, reputation. So, uh, I think moving out was the, the absolute best thing I could have ever done for myself.
Speaker 1 (07:06):
Oh yeah. I mean, I obviously agree with that one, but I mean, in making that transition, um, and, and deciding, you know, being on your own was the best way for you to move your career forward and also to trust your instincts and provide the best service for your clients. Um, what were some of the challenges that you had when you were starting your own agency? Obviously you had to find that confidence to make the leap, and I would assume, or maybe you expand on taking the best aspects that you learned at an agency life and sort of leaving the, the ones that frustrated you in the dust. So let's hear a bit more about that. Well,
Speaker 2 (07:53):
I had been freelancing or consulting almost my entire career. I came outta my master's, which is actually in strategic PR back in 2002, right after nine 11. Oh. So I had started, you know, there weren't a lot of jobs to be had. And so I've always sort of, um, consulted or freelance or even done volunteer pro bono work or, um, a lot when I was first starting out in my career, I would do a lot of things for trade, you know, Ooh, bootcamp, free bootcamp classes for doing PR and extra age. And we even did like even barter part of our wedding because of my PR skills. But, um, I think for me, you know, I had been doing it on my own, but for me it was the, the biggest step out was my husband's also an entrepreneur. And for the longest time, you know, my jobs paid for our health insurance.
Speaker 2 (08:36):
And so that's a big thing, obviously, especially when you have kids and we have that had a heart defect. So that was part of it going, oh, you know, if I step out, then we're gonna have to pay like so much money each month in, in health insurance. And the other part was really just fear, right? Like mm-hmm, , it's nice knowing you have a steady paycheck and you have benefits and you have a great pushy title and, you know, things are going well, you're at a recognized, recognized institution. And so, um, it really took me a long time to make that move. And so when I transitioned, I didn't even transition completely full time. I, um, actually received my doctorate education a little over four years ago. And so that qualified me, I had been an adjunct faculty for over a decade. And so I got a full-time assistant professor position with, um, the promise that I could still consult as long as it wasn't for one of the university's competitors.
Speaker 2 (09:26):
And so that's how I kind of tiptoed into it. Um, but then at the end of that school year, the university cut many full-time positions, including, and so the choice was on me to go full-time and thankfully the day after that happened, I got a LinkedIn message from a superintendent say, Hey, I hear that you're consulting. Can you come consult for us? And then the rest is history. And so I've done some long-term. I did actually a, uh, um, uh, slight, it was like a, full-time kind of long term engagement for a little bit with financial education, um, firm that was doing that. And then I thought, you know, I actually like to be more, um, retainer. I like to have projects. I like to work with a variety of clients. So that's when I kind of went full force with the business.
Speaker 1 (10:11):
Yeah. You sort of, the choice was almost made for you. Yeah. You exactly right. Yeah. And so do you think that if you didn't lose your position as a professor, you would have made that decision or you might've come to that conclusion in a different way to move on?
Speaker 2 (10:31):
I, I would've made that decision. Um, but it's really hard, you know, it's, I'm, I'm a big fan of transparency and trust and customer service, and it, would've been very hard for me to secure the type of retainer clients that I have now, if I knew in my heart and my gut that I couldn't give them, you know, all my efforts mm-hmm and, you know, people don't realize about being a full-time professor. I remember my husband saying to me, he said, wait a second, you're working 60 to 70 hours the week. And you're making half of what you made before. How is this supposed to be able to be a step in the direction of starting your own thing? And he was right, cuz it's a lot of lesson planning, a lot of mentoring, a lot of after hours, you know, you grading papers. Yeah. It's actually a ton of work. And, and even though I had been an adjunct for about 10 years, the full-time role was, um, almost unexpected, the amount a time that it, it took up because I'm a perfectionist and mm-hmm , I didn't like teaching, I didn't like teaching, you know, PR curriculum from six or seven years before, so I'd go in and rewrite it for, for modern day. And so, um, it would've, it would've happened eventually, but probably not for another year or two.
Speaker 1 (11:34):
Mm mm-hmm um, and you've also talked about having a scarcity mindset kind of in the beginning. Yeah. And you have had to shift to having a confident mindset and, you know, talk about that a little bit. And where do you think that scarcity mindset came from and how were you able to shift more to a confident mindset and how, you know, focused on abundance and opportunity and knowing that there's so much out there for you and how has that impacted your business?
Speaker 2 (12:06):
Well, I think the scarcity mindset is going back to almost like, I mean, we work in the branding industry, right? It's like you think to yourself, I don't wanna leave a really great high power position and go on my own and be seen as, you know, just somebody that's kind of totaling along and not really being successful. So I had seen so much success in house. Um, mm-hmm that I was almost scared, like, is, can I replicate this on my own without budgets and without, you know, a whole big team behind me. Um, and I think with the scarcity, it was kind of at first like, okay, well I'm done this project, you know, for a three month branding project or something, I've done this project what's next. And always just being concerned that maybe the well will dry up because, you know, as you first started and maybe you don't win the bigger clients at first.
Speaker 2 (12:50):
Right. And you've gotta get your name out. And I didn't think I, I like sales and now business development is probably one of my favorite aspects of it because I'm just so excited to talk to new people. So I think the scarcity mindset was really, I mean, failure, you know, mm-hmm um, until I lost my job as an assistant professor, I'd never had a bad, you know, a poor, um, employee review never was scolded. Like it was, you know, straight a, like there was never really, you know, like that whole sense of that, the perfectionism paralysis that we often call it and, and research and what we do, I think it was just like, well, if I can't be the best at what I'm doing, then, then, you know, how can I function? You know, how can I function without like a client for a month or two? And thankfully that knock on wood has not happened, but it was still, still a big part of the mindset.
Speaker 1 (13:37):
Yeah. So then how did you shift to a confident mindset and one that's focused on abundance and knowing that there are opportunities for you out there, or, you know, you haven't really had to sort of get through a, a dry spell with clients. And why is that, you know, where have you gotten that confidence?
Speaker 2 (13:57):
Well, I have to say a lot of it was with agency accelerator and knowing your story, um, you know, how you started in law and we're just, Hey, I'm gonna go into PR and I'm gonna do this thing. And I just remember thinking to myself, well, I've been doing educational communications and PR my entire career. I've been very strategic in the of moves. I made, you know, I started at private university. Then I went to private K through 12 S then I went back to another private university. Then I went to a public major public research university. Then I, when I was leaving there, I thought, okay, well, all I have left now to do is a public school district to be able to round out. And I have my doctorate education. I've been very strategic and focused. And I think a lot with agency accelerator.
Speaker 2 (14:36):
Um, you know, because when you get advice from people in different industries or friends who are business owners, or my husband's a business owner, mm-hmm , and he, he worked very hard, but he was able to scale very quickly. And at first, you know, it was, oh, you've gotta scale. You've gotta, you know, get your employees on. I'm like, but that's not how I wanna run my business at first. I need to figure out how it is I wanna do. And, you know, from a lot of the trainings and agency accelerator, plus with the group, seeing that other people have been successful and then actually realizing when you start to crunch the numbers, like what you could actually somewhat live on, if you needed to, it's like, you know, that's not that, that bad. Like yeah. You know, I, when I first started out, I lived on a lot less with, with, you know, more bills. So
Speaker 1 (15:15):
Yeah, it's very, it's very doable. And we are always trying to get people to a certain foundation just knowing that there is a solid foundation of revenue, consistent, predictive, recurring retainer revenue that just sort of sits at the foundation of your business and then always trying to build on that. And, um, you know, it sounds like you've been really fortunate and have kind of honed your business development skills and love sort of talking to different clients and hearing their experience and what they're looking for and how you can solve their problems. And it has allowed you to build on top of the existing clients you have. So you know, that, you know, you can have an abundance mindset when, you know, you have a process for bringing in new business, leveraging what you have. And like you mentioned, all of that experience, like what a gift for your clients to be able to work with you and get access to you in this way, given your, you know, your career history, your educational history and all of the, um, experience you have, and now that's there for them.
Speaker 1 (16:31):
And you're able to express that on calls and make them feel extremely smart for finding you and picking you and, you know, and, and they're not gonna ever find anybody that can do what you do or has the background or track record of success that you do. So obviously thank you. Yeah, no, I mean, I it's, it's so impressive. And, um, you just, you show up and you put in the work and you are very strategic in how you've grown your business and, you know, you're, you're, you're also a mom it's like hard to do all of those things. Um, and not be intentional because every hour matters have so much time. Absolutely. Especially
Speaker 2 (17:15):
The last two years. .
Speaker 1 (17:17):
Yeah. How so, tell how old are your kids kids?
Speaker 2 (17:20):
Um, 10 and six.
Speaker 1 (17:22):
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And, and homeschooling that's right. We've talked about this too. So the last two years have been really a struggle with balancing work and homeschooling, and you you've that you were able to do that and do a good job at both. Did your business grow at all during the pandemic? Uh, huge.
Speaker 2 (17:41):
Yeah. Huge. Yeah. And so, um, and, and not because I was purposefully seeking more so because I was at the beginning of the pandemic when I was actually still on a, on a, full-time like a, a solo contract with a financial education firm, but I was just going out there telling schools, like, you need to be telling your story, you need to be showing the picture of the teacher around her table, you know, with her three kids at home. So that, that the whole, um, volatile conversations that were happening around schools and why are they doing this? Can help show, you know, a little bit of reality in, in humanity. And, and I think that, um, just kind of beating that drum, um, got so many people to me, which was, which was great. Wasn't very intentional. And then just from there, you know, it's, as you, as you mentioned, so it's been a lot of trial and error with the, with the industry, know when first started out a few years ago, um, Brandon campaigns were really big and because I do have the background in marketing and I do have, um, a couple of contract designers and a photographer and videographer I've worked with for more than a decade.
Speaker 2 (18:41):
And I've headed up rebranding campaigns at eight major institutions. That seem to be the way that I was gonna take the business. But what I've realized is over the last two years, that PR, which was my baby for so long, uh, you know, going back more than 20 years, um, that was what I was wanted for. And as stressful as PR is it's changed so much. And especially in the last decade, um, especially in education, it's a lot more difficult, however, a lot I has come out of it. And I think that there are few people that can really do what my team is doing because I, I hire only people that work in education have worked in education background and preferably in house. So they know not only how to do the PR, but they understand internal politics. They understand budgets, they understand that, okay, they might not get back to you right away because the teacher's in the classroom or professors gotta get clearance from their co you know, their co-presenter to promote something. So they understand without me having to train them what it's like to work with these educational partners.
Speaker 1 (19:47):
Yeah. That is such a unique value proposition. They're able to offer your clients and, and you, and I did talk about this at the beginning of the pandemic. It was kind of this, um, almost a mass Exodus from public school to private school parents thinking that the private schools could do it better or differently. And so your services were so needed to kind of help control that narrative and position their, you know, their districts in a favorable light and show what they were doing to educate the children in their district and also keep them safe. And I think that was a really clever solution to, um, recommending that your clients, you know, a lot of the teachers are also parents and they're teaching and educating your children while they're also trying to manage and homeschool their own children. And, um, we had some of that with my son's teachers and it just gave us that feeling of like, cut everyone, some slack everyone's doing the best they can. Um, everyone's figuring that the out as they go and, uh, you know, for you to put like a human face and a human story behind that was really clever to help position your clients favorably.
Speaker 2 (21:04):
Thanks. Yeah. And it's, and you know, there's been so many good stories to tell. I obviously love education. I'm obviously addicted to education. Yes. You are four degrees. And I never stopped taking classes and stopped my husband's like, do you ever read anything other than marketing or PR books? I'm like, maybe. So I've got like 10 on my shelf that are waiting for me at one point. But to me, I, I really enjoy it. And, you know, and I have to say when I was in house and just seeing some of the agencies that served clients and seeing what they charged for the quality of work, I was just really offended, like thinking, you know, just because you're in-house school communicator or you're superintendent or you're head of school, or you're a Dean at a college does not mean you're not bright, you know, does mean you, that your services should be something basic.
Speaker 2 (21:50):
Like this is a press release. This is what we do with a press release. And that's what I was seeing for such astronomical fees for what was, what was being provided. And just like, it was just very offensive to me, you know, like education, um, is a great niche to be in the stories never, ever, ever, ever, ever, or stop mm-hmm . If I had one school client, I could probably come up with 50 different story angles for the entire year, because you have teachers, you have alumni, you have parents, you have students, you have staff, you have administrators, you have donors, you have community partners. The stories can go on and on, on. And I get such joy out of telling those stories. And in fact, I had one teacher say to me a couple years ago, he said, and he said, God, you're almost like Barbara Walters or Oprah.
Speaker 2 (22:35):
Like, do you like ever leave a campus and not make somebody cry? You know? Cause I was interviewing him for a story and, and some content creation and, um, you know, about what teaching meant. And so when you know that you can help shine a light on people who really don't get, especially now during COVID and the pandemic that are not getting great attention that are just under fire all the time. Um, I think that there's really no better feeling because I, you know, I I'm getting, I'm getting paid. However, more of it comes from absolute passion because there's not been one day ever that I've been running my business that I've ever woken up, go, Ugh, I don't wanna go to work today. In fact, it's the opposite to where it's like, oh, I've got a new idea. And then, you know, I'll be with my kids or something and then remind myself, okay, just jot it down and you can get to it on Monday. So, um, so I think that's a really real big blessing.
Speaker 1 (23:23):
Yeah. I love that. And that's my goal with supporting members of our programs is just helping them find a business that serves the kind of life they wanna have. So you're able to be with your children still, uh, come up with creative ideas and implement them when maybe they're in school or it's kind of after hours or however you want your business to fit with your life. And then hopefully it's something you wake up every day and you're excited to sit down and, and get to work. And I've been doing this almost 17 years and I still feel that way about my business, so I know it's possible. Um, and you know, so I'm so glad to hear that that's how you've set up your business and it's serving you in that way. I'd love to hear about, you mentioned that you are a member of the agency accelerator program mm-hmm um, and you're, you're also getting value from our communities. Mm-hmm can you kind of tell us a bit about, you know, what you really enjoy about the programs, the communities, what are your favorite parts? What kind of ins inspired you to join our programs? Share a little bit about
Speaker 2 (24:27):
That. Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, my undergrad degree was business, um, communications management. So as a business degree, but you know, that was a gazillion years ago. And so obviously I know about budgets. I know about timelines. I know about approvals. I know about hiring that sort of component. Um, but like I said, when you have people that are been success, when other industries around you, it's, it's very hard to tune them out when they're like, oh, you need to do this. Oh, don't forget to do this. You should do this. And it's like, but that's not really how I wanna run my business. Not right now, you know, maybe later on, but right now I wanna do this. And I think with the agency accelerator, just kinda walking through step by step and I find so much value, like am getting ready to, um, hire a part-time person.
Speaker 2 (25:08):
I'm like, huh, what do I have an agency accelerator? I know I'm gonna have a template for something. And I go in there sure enough, like you're updating it all the time, which is absolutely wonderful, um, to be able to get that. And so I think with agency accelerator and, you know, anytime I have a question, just, Hey, Hey Jen, do you have anything on this? You know, it's either you or Miranda, take a look through and like, Hey, no, but we'll put that down for a topic for the future. I think it's just such a great asset to have that because although when I was in education, we had no problem kind of sharing a little bit with competitors. Like, you know, when I worked in private schools, we'd all get together locally and somewhat share. And, and, but you know, when you get into the PR world, it's hard to almost like, I don't wanna, I think when we talk about going back to scarcity, it was, I was not staying in my lane.
Speaker 2 (25:53):
I was worried about what everybody else was doing and what clients they were getting and how many people they had on their team. And then after agency accelerated, it's like, no, I'm just focusing on this. And since I've had just like my head on what I'm doing, I have like attracted the dream clients I know out to look for ones that might be red flags. Mm-hmm I think, you know, when we would talk about the community, as I mentioned, I come from old school PR backgrounds, like mm-hmm I started PR in the nineties, like this was back when, you know, you never, you never treated a reporter to lunch. You never, you know, did this, like every PR marketing's completely different. You never explored. And obviously through in-house roles, I had to expand into, I learned a lot about marketing and advertising, that sort of thing in the mid two thousands, when I was working in higher ed in Boston, which is one of the most competitive educational landscapes in the world, I learned a lot about it, but I still held true to my PR still like old school.
Speaker 2 (26:45):
Like I'm gonna build this relationship. And if it takes me like 18 calls and you know, like sourcing to get it, like the challenge was there. And I think what's unique about the community is that there are people in different industries. And I don't wanna say necessarily younger than me because some are some are older, but people who have dabbled in influencer marketing and getting product placements, and I'm obviously not doing products. However, I do think it's only a matter of time. And some schools have been talking about this, like, how do we appropriately do influencer marketing without it being fake or phony? Or like, how do we find these people within our community? So not necess Sara say Instagram paid ads more. So, which is actually a twist on some of the training I've been doing for a long time with school brain ambassadors.
Speaker 2 (27:32):
Mm-hmm I do a lot of brain ambassador training, and now we're looking at it as I look at what people in the community are doing and what they're recommending. It's very interesting to me because it's something I don't have of experience in. It's something I never thought I even wanted experience in. But I recognize that, you know, doesn't mean that 2, 5, 10, 15 years from now that education might not be dipping their toes into it and the better where I am of it and the kind of pitfalls that people have come across, the better I can advise my clients saying yes or no, or not yet. Or let's take a look at this later.
Speaker 1 (28:08):
Yeah. Um, yeah, there's just such a variety of experience, levels, niches skill sets. It's just such a great community to tap into. And you kind of hinted at it a little bit just to kind of bring that point around. Um, typically PR world is very close to the vest. They don't typically share what's working or what, um, you know, resources or relationships they have or contact information. Um, and other industries are like what the private schools, a lot of them, I would imagine are getting aligned because they need to know what everybody else is doing. So that it's pretty, you know, competitive in terms of rates and, and other. And you recognize
Speaker 2 (28:49):
A long time ago, it's not the, they don't have the, the same ICA. You know, they recognize that like what, even if we're two private schools within the same neighborhood, and this happened to me, very prestigious, nationally ranked private schools, serving the same students within like 10 miles apart it's to different ICA mm-hmm and they recognize that very easily. Whereas I think in PR it's kind of like, oh, you do school PR well, I'm not gonna, like, I've actually had other agencies that specialize in niches, like maybe social media marketing as well that have blocked me from attending like webinars and things that I have. Actually, I had one that blocked me at one time. I said, I'm actually sitting here with my daughter's principal so that we could watch this because I don't have expertise in this. And it was like, well, you know, sorry, but I can't share, you know, agency secrets. And I'm thinking like, if, if I work really well with somebody, I have no problem with referrals. No problem. I've done it many times. And so I'm thinking to myself, like I'm literally sitting here with a client that I, I don't know this. So I wanna go to the expert in this and you're not allowing me to even do this. So, um, so it's, it's very, it's very odd.
Speaker 1 (30:02):
Yeah, it is. And I just wanted to create a community where, you know, that's how I always felt was like, there there's so much opportunity. And even if somebody does the same niches that I do, they're not me. I'm not them. It could be very collaborative if I can't do something, cuz it's a conflict, I'd love to be a referral source. Um, and just, you know, share, share opportunities. And it's shocking to me that, um, it hasn't always been that way. Um, you know, I do think that sort of the more abundant mindset you have, the more opportunity that you obviously open yourself up to. Um, so that's why I opened this community up and hoped that I would attract people that felt the way I did and wanted to just make all of us better. And um, it's also a little bit challenging for me.
Speaker 1 (30:54):
I mean, I put my entire business, everything I've ever, it's like my life's work. everything I've ever done in my business. Like my contracts, my proposals, like all the templates that we put in the program are real templates. We have used that have gotten the desired outcome. And I'm like, here you go, internet world. You know, hopefully you guys are good people and you're not gonna steal my stuff, but you hope for the us. And it's been, um, the like Des like the shock, the good positive shock of my lifetime, how amazing this community has been the quality. And I'm pointing to Amanda on the screen, the quality and caliber of the people that come and, um, just how we all make each other better. So, um, I'm so, so glad to hear that you have noticed that found that and, um, are really getting value out of the material and also the community. So that's
Speaker 2 (31:55):
Just, yeah, I love it. And I actually found my intern last summer in the community, which was great. And you know, as I get ready to, um, look for somebody now in more parts of time, long term basis, you know, of course my first stop will be the community mm-hmm , you know, because you just don't know who's out there. Who knows who. And I think that's, that's a really nice part of it. And I like to think that I lend a little bit of different angle. Um, you know, especially when, when conversations come around, I know there's always a heated conversation around RFPs and mm-hmm, , um, different things like that. But you know, when I work in, when you work with government and public entities, guess what that's gonna be part of your world and you better get, get with the program or not, you know, you don't doesn't mean you had to share all your secrets. I never share all of our secrets, but it's more so like a sales tool.
Speaker 1 (32:38):
Yeah. And actually we did a, a whole comprehensive masterclass on RFPs inside the program. I just did it about a month and a half ago, but you know, it was like we had to give this information and let people decide they wanna throw their hat in and for your industry, it's a necessity. So, um, well
Speaker 2 (32:57):
I'd love to wrap up and have you share some advice or, you know, what would you give, um, or what would you tell aspiring PR pros? What advice would you share? What kind of lessons would you impart on them wanting to start their own businesses? You know, it's so funny and I ignore this advice for so many years, but it was niche down. Um, yes. And, you know, I used to think when I first started and people would say, well, you just want something just in education. Like that's really narrow. Like you could do small business or you could do this, or you could do that. Like you have great PR skills and, and, uh, that's great. But when, when you're niche in one area, it also really helps when you're pitching clients, because you can say, well, listen, I've got at four clients that could speak to this.
Speaker 2 (33:41):
Here are some examples, or I've got one client that could speak to this. Um, but I can find you a Roundup of another six by tomorrow. And so it just makes it really easy when you, when you have that niche, um, you're not constantly like switching your brain to different, different models or different. That's why you narrow, we don't do much branding work anymore. It's, it's mostly mostly PR and enrollment marketing and find what it is that you, that you're really good at that you can hone. And I don't think anything's too small. Like when I first started, I, I didn't know if PR was dying off or not, you know, and the thought of, um, you know, education, beat reporters, 10 years ago, we had multiple, we had papers where there was education. Somebody just dedicated to education. We had multiple publications and national publications and that's not necessarily the case anymore.
Speaker 2 (34:28):
However, there's no really greater need than to tell the stories and to do it without spending money on marketing and advertising, which we know can go in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars yeah. For, for schools. So, um, and the way that I look at it too, is I have a little post on my computer screen that says, I only choose projects that light me up. And so, you know, if there's a client that comes to us or a potential client that comes to us or a project we're not a great fit for, um, I've tried to talk some out in the past and say, oh, I, you know, this is great. However, I'm trying, not the best fit. You should take a look at one of these three agencies. And sometimes if they're insistent, but I just know that there's something in my gut that there's, you know, I'm not gonna be the best for this.
Speaker 2 (35:12):
And it's actually gonna take me 10 times as much work to get up to speed on it or to take this on. Or I don't have time right now. I no longer feel the need to have to say, just because, oh, this would be a great container for the next six months. Mm-hmm, , it's more so like, I'd love to work with you, but this is what we specialize in. And just being confident in that and, um, getting rid of that scarcity mindset, you know, something else will, will come along and every single time, maybe I've lost out on something literally within a day mm-hmm, another, another client has come along. That's like, oh my gosh, you're my dream client. Every time I find I'm like, oh my gosh, this is great. And now we work with schools and universities all over the world. We've got clients and four different continents and it's just a really, really, really fun experience. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (35:57):
That same stuff happens to me too. Honestly. It's like so hard to say no, but when you're very clear on who you serve, how you serve them and also what you want your business to look like, it's all stepping stones towards the bigger vision for your company, um, what your company values are and how you want your business to feel those decisions become easy, no brainer decisions. I love that you have it on a post-it to remind yourself, and it makes that no so much easier. And that new opportunity comes along. That is the ideal fit. I can't explain it. It just happens that way. It happens that way for me too. Um, and you also mentioned just nicheing down in terms of, um, you know, your brain bandwidth and capacity, but one thing I also wanted to mention and get your like stamp of approval is nicheing down probably allows you to charge more for your services because you are an authority in that space. Would you agree with
Speaker 2 (36:56):
That? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and I think that, um, you know, what we charge probably, probably still undercharging, but I sleep very well at night mm-hmm um, and I have a phenomenal team that I can afford to hire, so I don't stress and go, well, I'm so amazing that I should be charging three times as much. It's not the case. And so I think, but what, what it does bring is more to, because obviously the more clients I get in national press and international press, then that helps. Right. And so if I'm nicheing down and I mean, for example, I had three clients and one issue of good housekeeping magazine, you know, so like one, the one time. And so that makes it just really easy when you can, you can do that and, and not so narrow to say, I only work with private schools or I only work with public school districts or only work with higher ed.
Speaker 2 (37:45):
I've worked in house in all those places. And I enjoy them all. And part of my jumping around earlier on in my career was because I was done with something. I was like, oh, that was a lot of fun. I did that rebrand. I'm all done. I got the national press. Next, next challenge. And so for me, I'm not so narrow that when something does come my way that I can go, no, that that's not, you know, I'm only in this type of school. Mm-hmm, , it's, it's still within an industry, but it's very specific. Like we don't do a lot of ed tech. Um, for example, I, I wanna talk to the teachers, I wanna talk to the local administrators. I wanna talk to the parents and I wanna talk the, the, uh, students and teachers. So that's what I enjoy
Speaker 1 (38:23):
About it. Yeah. I can tell you love that human aspect and the storytelling. It just definitely comes through in your enthusiasm when you talk about it. So well, Amanda, thank you so much for spending time with me today and sharing your story. Um, if people would like to connect with you, where is the best way for them to find you say hi, stay connected.
Speaker 2 (38:44):
Um, definitely check out our website, Holdsworth communications.com. And from there you can get connected on the various social channels on Facebook and Instagram. And, uh, if anybody needs any help or recommendations, I'm very happy to chat at any time. I, I absolutely love working education. It makes me very sad to see the narrative, um, in so many instances of what's happening now. So I think that the, the more people are interested in telling the great stories the better.
Speaker 1 (39:12):
Yeah. I love that. See open and sharing, ready to help. That's just one example of how our community comes together. So Amanda, thank you so much. I can't wait for people to hear our interview and be inspired by your career path and your decision to go on your own and all of the success that you found going from scarcity to an abundance mindset. So thank
Speaker 2 (39:36):
You. Thank you so much, Jenna. Thanks for all that you do too.
Speaker 1 (39:39):
Ah, I love it. it's my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the pitching powerhouse podcast. If you're ready to start, grow and scale a profitable agency, all on your own terms should consider joining the agency accelerator, check out the link in the episode, description to learn more, to achieve your big, scary goals and truly live the type of lifestyle you've always wanted. It's time to join the agency accelerator in inside this incredible program. You'll learn exactly how to structure PR agency to fill your pipeline with high paying clients and establish a consistent revenue stream. So you can run a business that lights you up and that doesn't run you. This program is built around the exact steps that I took to grow a seven figure PR agency, generat PR, and now hundreds of other PR professionals around the world have implemented these techniques and strategies to scale their own agencies too. So this stuff works. You guys check out the link in this episode's description to learn more and as always be sure to tune in next week for another incredible episode, packed with the insights you need to become a pitching powerhouse.