Adriana Najera | CEO + Founder of ACN PR
Q: Walk us through your story!
A: I think my journey really started 3 years ago when I decided to quit my 9-5 PR agency job to start my own gig. There was always something appealing about having something I could build from the ground up, and call MINE.
Choosing to resign, was not an easy decision, as I didn't' have a back up plan lined up. I really didn't even know how to run a PR Agency, but one thing for sure that I learned along the journey is how NOT to run an agency, and that is what fueled me. The risk of failing flooded my mind for months, but the thought of not taking the risk would have been more disappointing in the long run.
After leaving my full-time position at that fashion PR agency, I had to REALLY hustle day-in-day out. In order to stay afloat, I got a part-time job at Bloomingdales to pay bills, and I was barely even getting by then. ONLY those close to me knew about this small, but crucial chapter in my life. I was embarrassed, of what felt like I took a few steps backwards. I compared my life and journey to other people, and pretty much just self sabotaged. In between those two jobs, I worked on ACN PR on my downtime, most of the time till the wee hours of the morning and weekends. In addition, I would set aside a couple hours of the day to sit and browse Instagram for prospective clients. I soon became the queen of cold emails and taking client calls in the bathroom of Bloomingdales. My co-workers literally knew, if I was missing from the sales floor, they could always find me on the bathroom lounge couch working on ACN PR.
After three long months, I finally landed my first client, and that was just the beginning of it all.
Moral of the story, sometimes you have to sacrifice a bit of the fun and comfort, for the long term reward.
This July marks 3 years for ACN PR. Holding a significant roster of clients, servicing a variety of businesses, from Fashion/lifestyle brands to beauty, local businesses. As well as talent management.
Q: What do you do for inspiration? Do you ever hit creative roadblocks and how do you overcome them?
A: Whenever I'm feeling like I'm burning out or hitting a creative block, I take some time to disconnect and reconnect with friends and PR friendlies who inspire me, and/or spend some time in nature. No phone screens, or TV.
On a typical work day, a walk does wonders for clearing my mind. I also love to listen to business/entrepreneur podcasts while I'm working, it's honestly the best way to stay in the loop of our ever changing industry. Being that we are constantly faced with the challenge of pivoting and evolving with social media, in order to best service our clients.
Q: Who has been the most inspirational person in my life and at what stage?
A:I would say my brother. He is three years older, so I kind of have always looked up to him. He has always inspired me to always work hard, and have a plan. When I have my bad days, he brings me back down to earth. I swear, there have been some bad days (it's not all rainbows and butterflies), along the way that had me re-evaluating my whole life, and wanting to make a career switch, but he has always helped me snap out of it, and remind me of why I even started. <3
Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?
A: Work hard, but don't get taken advantage of.
Have a plan, but don't stress on the delays and detours.
Make networking a lifestyle.
Celebrate the small wins, just as much as the big wins.
Ask questions, be a sponge to the knowledge.
Enjoy the journey, and don't burn any bridges along the way, you'd be surprised how full circle this industry is.
Q: What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
A: Podcasts, Instagram, and panel talks. When I first started out in PR, I made it a goal to DM and ask at least 2 people to coffee a week, just to pick their brain and offer my help on any projects they needed assistance on, just so I could shadow them. I learned so much that way, and ultimately it aided in building meaningful rapport with the woman I looked up to. People really admire vulnerability. To be completely honest, some of my best relationships in the PR industry have stemmed from me being vulnerable and putting myself out there. My advice is to find a few people in the industry who you look up professionally, study their life, habits, and circle. Use that to cultivate a life you look forward to waking up to every morning.
Q: What are your top self care routines? A: Canceling plans to spend time with me :)
In order to not burn out in an industry that demands us to always be 'on', I like to take some time to just sit in silence, read a book, or go for a jog. Nature! I've realized more and more over the past couple years, that self care doesn't always look like a face mask and a bubble bath, but much rather simply just calling a best friend to catch up, or taking yourself out on a coffee date.
Q: What is the most challenging part about what you do?
A:Perfecting my work/life balance. I have gotten a lot better, but I am still trying to get better at being present. It's so hard for me to turn off, when I am with family and friends. On spreading myself thin – I used to think being a ‘yes girl’ was the way to succeed, but I have learned the hard way that it's indeed a double edge sword. I would find myself committing to things I really didn’t want to do, for the sole reason of not wanting to let people down. B a l a n c e is key.
"Find out what you want your business to be a vessel for. Build your business around your life, not the other way around, and you'll always be happy." - Adriana