Nicole is the CEO and founder of NRPR Group. She’s a seasoned publicist and social media marketing pro with 16 years of experience under her belt. She’s developed and executed strategic campaigns for some of the biggest names in business such as Yahoo!, Dolby, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony PlayStation and Hulu. She takes great pride in being a former NFL cheerleader, spending many years cheering for the famed Oakland Raiders. She continues to cheer on her “new team” at NRPR and is a graduate from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations.
NRPR was destined to happen. I’ve always had the entrepreneur bug. I consider myself a born leader. I knew when I was in college I would eventually start my own PR firm, I just wanted to be sure I did it with the right amount of knowledge to truly be successful. I mastered every level in PR so I knew I could eventually teach those skills and build a solid team. Without a team, there is no business!
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
The greatest challenge is self-discipline. That goes with any profession though, not just being an entrepreneur. I realise, I am the core of my business. If that core isn’t strong and doesn’t do the necessary things it takes to keep the company running strong, everything else is affected by that. I have clients and employees to answer to everyday. They may not be my “boss” but their happiness certainly dictates my actions and decisions. I care about my team and my clients. Therefore, I remain dedicated to working hard to keep both groups happy.
The greatest reward is watching my amazing team grow and really flourish. As they learn and become really good at what we do, it feels amazing to have the honor of guiding them and watching our company grow because of it. We’re all doing this together. Without my team, I don’t have a company. It’s very cool to see everyone grow and work together. We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time and it’s just getting better.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?
Failures are a given. They’re supposed to happen, and they will, for you to learn from them. Don’t waste time dwelling on them when they happen. Assess the situation quickly. Figure out why the failure happened, course correct, put a policy in place so it doesn’t happen again and move on! That’s how winners stay in the game!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a business owner?
Self-doubt. When I started NRPR it was just me. There were days I’d show up to the Montage in Beverly Hills, because we didn’t have an office, and I’d think to myself, ‘am I doing the right thing? Am I even good enough to start a company? Will I ever have an office and employees or am I doing this all wrong?’ It’s a terrible feeling but it’s what makes us all human. The main thing is shutting that self-doubt up with action and a lot of hard work. Because of that, I now have an amazing team, TWO offices, great clients, and I continue to turn on the positivity when self-doubt pops back in, so I know I remind myself I have what it takes to keep going.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
Mentoring and coaching are what I love most about this stage in my career. I’ve worked hard and paid attention at every job, in every level and at every stage I was. To be able to give back, especially to the amazing employees I have, it makes all the difference in the world. I get to give them what other great mentors gave me: HOPE on days I doubted myself, GUIDANCE, when I didn’t know the answer and OPPORTUNITY, to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s awesome. I really feel like I’m in the middle of raising the best practitioners in this field. That will eventually benefit the whole industry! The more great ones out there, the more they can teach as well. Coaching is my way of giving to the PR industry as a whole. It’s like paying it forward.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
I say it over and over again: “Your network is your net-worth.” You can’t build a business behind your phone or computer. You need to get out there and meet people. The social connections create more trust and deeper relationships. Online networking is great too, but the more you can socialize in person, with the right influence groups, the better the word-of-mouth marketing is going to be for your company. If I never went to a networking event or didn’t share information about my company on social media, my network as a whole would be weak and so would my company. Get out there and network! Especially if you’re a business owner. You are your #1 marketing tool.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
Not all money is good money and not all money comes at the right time. I don’t take on every single client that I’m introduced to. In fact, if the chemistry wasn’t good or if the team wasn’t ready to take on new work, I wouldn’t take it on. I’m not in the business to “make money.” I’m in this business to live my dream everyday and grow a thriving business. You can’t do that if you’re taking everything on and stretching your team too thin. You need to know your employees and their limits. You also need to know what kind of energy you want to invite in, from a client and employee perspective, because the wrong client can bring a whole team down – even if the client has money. Scale with positivity and the right timing and your company will naturally grow. My company is the poster child for that.
What does the future hold for you?
Success! As Eminem said: “Success is the only mother &*&% option, failure’s not.” No joke, those words are some of the strongest words I live by. NRPR will continue to prosper, grow at a healthy pace, and bring on more new clients and employees while setting a positive example for all PR agencies. I look forward to our future and I am beyond thankful for where we are now. It feels good to be living my dream and my purpose. I’m glad to have the team and clients I do. They are all a part of something very special to me.