ll archives: SAK Public Relations' Sara Ann Kelly
No-nonsense public relations entrepreneur Sara Ann Kelly is the truth. Like most of we mid-80's baby ladypreneurs, Kelly graduated college during the recession and found herself swimming in a job market that well . . . wasn't hiring. After a small stint at her first and last corporate gig, Kelly decided to ditch the maybe/mostly not job search and invest in herself. SAK PR was born in 2007 and Kelly and hasn't looked back since.
Name: Sara Ann Kelly
Current location: South Philadelphia
Where are you from? Cape May Court House, NJ
Education: LaSalle University, BA in Political Science and Communications
Business & Formal Title: SAK Public Relations, Founder & CEO
Tell us about SAK Public Relations. How did it come to be? I graduated into the recession in '07 and kept my first and last corporate job for exactly six months. (Last one hired, first one fired. Ugh.) I had helped friends and school clubs with promotions, writing press releases and creating marketing material all throughout college and decided it was time to start doing it WHILE getting paid.
I started in '07 and haven’t worked for another company since.
What is your company slogan? Slightly Obsessed With Success
What did you do before and at what point did you realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur instead? College student/Executive Assistant to a Senior Partner at Dilworth Paxon/hustler/entrepreneur. I’ve always been the type of person to offer advice, suggestions, and to take things over. I discovered that I could be paid for those skills shortly after graduating college. The recession was bleak. It made so much more sense to invest in myself with my time, energy and attention, rather than in an unstable job market.
What did you think you’d be doing now at age 10? Astronaut. Was 100% sold on living life in space by 30. LOL.
What was the biggest thing that you overcame launching SAK Public Relations? LACK OF FUNDING. I bootstrapped my company with $320. Just enough to get business cards, by a domain name with an email address (couldn’t afford to design it though) and a PRSA membership. Hundreds of hours of my sweat equity was $free.99. I took pro-bono and barter jobs of brands and companies that I believed in and wanted to utilize to build my portfolio and brand presence. It was a struggle to start charging what I was worth with these original clients, as well as start charging new clients what I was worth. ALWAYS CHARGE WHAT YOU ARE WORTH.
Would you describe SAK Public Relations as your “dream job”? Why or why not? What constitutes a dream job for you? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY. I wouldn’t trade working myself for much. (Maybe a life of all expense paid travel from Expedia.) I can make my own schedule and not feel guilty about taking a breakfast break by myself, or going for a longer run in the morning and getting to the office around 10 instead of 8:30. The ability to choose who/what/where/when/why I do things at SAK PR is an amazing blessing and truly allows me to create the life and experiences I want to live.
Entrepreneurs breathe their businesses. How do you balance work and life? Do you think that’s even possible? I’m really thankful for flexible and understanding friends and family. One of my favorite quotes about entrepreneurship is “living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” I have missed out on countless family get togethers, weddings, birthday parties, late week night whiskey fests, vacations, events – you name it. But I make up for it by being mindful and present when I DO have downtime with those I love. I’m also very serious about giving in to the “lazy” life when it is really calling my name. Burnout is death to an entrepreneur, and I’ve got even less time for a burnout than I do for a two hour hike. Make time for yourself, even if you have to schedule it.
What does your daily routine consist of? My fat cat wakes me up at 5:30 to eat. After that, I usually check emails, personal social media accounts, client social media accounts and my usual news sites. I like to sweat before my day gets started, so I typically run or get a good stretch in. VH1 jam session while I get ready for the day, followed by a few train rides to my office, located at The Hive. (My work bae Melissa Alam and I started/run The Hive, an all-female coworking space located in Old City.) Once I get to The Hive, I open the office for our members, check my email, have some iced coffee and get down to business. Im sure to have client calls, strategy meetings and event walkthroughs or press meetings throughout a typical day as well. LOVE IT. I usually wind down my day at the office around 6:30, head home, eat some dinner/feed my fat cat and watch Jeopardy and whatever other random crap I fall upon via ON DEMAND. Typically answering emails or working on an easier project until 10pm or so. Then lights OUT.
You have to do it and you hate it – what is your least favorite task to do at SAK Public Relations? Excel is a constant in my life, and I HATE IT. If it were a person, I’d drop kick it in the teeth and NOT apologize later for it. With all the technological advances in this world we can’t get a new cell program????????!!!!!!!!!
How do you unwind from “business-lady-breakdowns”? You know, the days whenever you’re questioning ever becoming an entrepreneur in the first place. Uhhhhh, I might have to plead the Fifth on this one . . . lol. JK. I really pay attention to my energy and anxiety levels. When my stress-kettle starts whistling, I usually cancel my day and jump right in to some meditation, cuddle time with my fat cat, and a pep talk with my Twinnie (Carrie Y.T. Kholi, she’s integral to me keeping my shit straight, as are a few other important people in my life.)
Find things that comfort you, make you laugh, make you breathe deep and slow. Know you are enough and you are doing your very best and that the problem won’t be a problem for very long. You’ll make it, love.
Tell us 3 of your cannot-live-without ladypreneur apps. Instagram - building your personal brand is serious business. NO ASS SHOTS UNLESS IT'S 90° and you are covered in powdery white sand, ladies. Paypal - the deposit alert is one of my favorite things to hear. Stellar - I LOVE this app. It makes chic and gorgeous flyers a SNAP on the go. A must have for me.
Top 5 favorite cities? Cape May, NJ District of Columbia South Beach Santa Monica Denver, Colorado (Haven’t been, but I can tell that it’s love.)
Red, White, Sparkling or stronger? Whiskey. Always whiskey. Well, sometimes champagne . . . WITH whiskey.
Tell us the best place to eat in Philly. If it’s your kitchen, share your best recipe. HARDENA!!! Best Indonesian food EVER. And it’s basically cooked in THEIR actual home kitchen.
Words to live by: Pay as you go and you’ll never owe.
In 5 years you’ll be: Jumping up and down because I finally paid off my school debt. FUCK YOU SALLIE MAE. For real.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs interested in starting a PR firm? Your relationships and associations are worth more $cash than ANYTHING ELSE. Start networking ASAP and never stop. There is always someone new to meet, people to connect, businesses to see.
Anything else to add? Spill it: Be kind to yourself and others. Don’t take things personally. Learn from your mistakes. Like, REALLY learn from your mistakes, especially when it hurts. The truth hurts whether you have to hear it or say it. Stay true to your crew, and those that have been there from the beginning.