Inspirational Woman: Jennifer Hodgson | Founder, MODA PR

Jennifer Hodgson

I’m Jen & I’m the Founder of MODA PR. Based in Chester, we represent a range of incredible clients from the beauty, lifestyle & showbiz sector.

We started back in 2020, just before the first lockdown – I know, ideal timing right?! I guess that proves just how determined I was to go it alone, or just how crazy I was to believe I had the audacity to make a business work during a global crisis.

MODA PR started a a little idea I had during my final year of uni and after being miserable in a stop gap job, I realised I could really make this work.

I was in Vegas in march 2020 with my best friend, had far too many wines and told my partner I was going to quit my job to go it alone in the world of PR. He politely told me to just return home where we could decide together. But my mind was already made up. Vino or no Vino I had decided I was going to quit. I retuned home, quit my job & setup that night. Two days later I had my first client and I had nothing but a laptop, dodgy printer and not a clue what would happen next.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not. Without sounding totally cheesy and stealing the phrase from Diane Von Furstenburg; I alway knew the type of woman I wanted to be, I just didn’t necessarily know how I was going to get there. I always had a vision of being my own boss, but really I had no grand plan or no vision of how this was going to look until I started doing it. And believe me, that has changed a million times and probably will change a million times more – but isn’t that the fun of it?

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Absolutely, so many! And I still face challenges every single day. Challenges come in so many different forms too; from initially never knowing how to raise an invoice properly to know understanding employment law, contracts & VAT returns.

Challenges can also be hugely psychological too; burnout, imposter syndrome, feeling overwhelmed  Having the responsibility over other peoples livelihoods too is a huge challenge; knowing that you have people that rely on you to simply pay their bills and survive. Knowing there is no other choice than having to make it work. Starting a business during pandemic can certainly make you resilient though – so thats a positive!

Being a business owner is single handedly one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done but one of the most rewarding.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I’d say making our second hire; besides me & Ash! Going into year three, we knew we needed the support so we could focus more on business development and actually working ON the business as opposed to IN the business.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

To be honest, I think it comes down to having an incredible team all with the same mindset; we’re all doing something we really really love; and even when it’s a bad day, we know it’s just temporary.

The fact we’re a northern agency and operate in a completely non corporate way is a huge selling point for us. We don’t waste time on unnecessary meetings, we’re honest with our clients and each other and we take huge pride in our work.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I’m a huge fan of mentoring; but not in a way that wraps you up in cotton wool. Mentoring for me is about being honest – especially in our industry. PR is full of challenges, set backs and 1000 people that will tell you no at some point or another. So, it’s incredibly important to be honest with anyone that we work with that about the landscape of it.

My mentor was tough on me, she told me when I was wrong & wasn’t afraid to make me realise when I’d f***ed up! But did I ever make the same mistake again? No And I have more respect for her than many others.

For me mentoring has to be a two way street. I will dedicate anytime and resources I have to help teach, educate and mentor those who want to learn and invest in themselves. However, I wont do that if they’re not taking it seriously or their heart just isn’t 100% in int – it’s a waste of time for both of us and realistically takes time away from those who really do want to learn.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Don’t worry about time or be too hard on yourself – you’ve got loads of time ad you will make mistakes. But who cares? Who doesn’t make mistakes? Embrace the chaos and feel every bit of pain you experience. I promise it’ll all be worth it when you really find something special – whether that’s professionally or personally.

Its always better to wait a lifetime to do something & do it right than find yourself miserable in a career or life that isn’t yours.

However, after attempting university three times (third time nailing it), staying in relationships for far longer than I should have, I can firmly say I don’t regret a thing. Working in jobs you hate makes you realise what you want professionally, and being in relationships or friendships that test you emotionally make you realise what you need to be happy.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Our next challenge will be growing the business into year 3 & beyond. We really do want to be the go to PR agency in the North West as well as in the UK. But that takes time and honestly, growing at a steady pace is all I’ve ever wanted to do. My priority is making sure my staff are well looked after, happy in their jobs and we have a healthy sum of cash in the bank.

It might not be sexy to say that, it’s not aspirational or instagram worthy; but you know whats not sexy? Not being able to pay your bills or your staff.

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