We are so excited to introduce to you Amira de Vera in this week’s Filipino Founder Feature. She is the proud founder/owner of Project Four Public Relations. They represent some of the country’s top talents in the film, television, sports, music, and lifestyle industries. Their specialties include personal publicity and management services which include media relations, brand endorsements, charitable partnerships, red carpet attendance, and digital strategies.
Recently, they celebrated four years of business. Keep reading to hear about what Amira’s journey has looked like thus far and a peek into what’s coming up next.
Here’s how it all began…
I had been working in the PR Industry for about seven years, specifically within the entertainment industry. After a not-so-pleasant experience at a mid-sized company, I made the decision to walk out of the job. After leaving, I felt lost, scared and I basically had no plan for my next steps.
As I went back to job hunting, past clients from my old firm started reaching back out to me and asking me to help them with their PR projects. One client turned into two clients which turned into four which turned into 10 at one point. At that point, my mom brought up the idea of possibly starting my own company. I remember thinking “I couldn’t be an entrepreneur. I’m a great employee but I don’t know if I could be my own boss”. She continued to encourage me and as my freelance client roster grew, I was finally convinced.
On February 4, 2017, Project Four Public Relations was born and it’s been thriving since.
1. What obstacles did you encounter when you first started your business? How did you overcome them?
One of the first challenges I encountered was actually an obstacle I had with myself. I found it hard to charge the right and fair amount for my services. Since my company was so new, I was afraid to ask for what I truly deserved. I resorted to lowering my fees and giving discounts consistently. Luckily, I had great people to talk to in the business world who helped me overcome these insecurities. They helped me see that people are paying for my years of knowledge, expertise, and network.
2. What do you like most about running your own business?
One of the best things about running my own business is being able to dictate who I work with. When you work for someone else, you don’t necessarily get to choose the type of clients you work with. Working with clients who are aligned with my goals, values, and respect my work is incredibly important to me. I am very fortunate that I work with amazing people who are just that. I like to say my clients and I have the luxury to choose one another, which are the best kind of business relationships.
In fact, my clients are my biggest motivation. There is nothing more rewarding to me than seeing the success of my clients so they push me every day to do better for them.
3. How has your business changed due to the pandemic?
I am quite fortunate that the entertainment industry has continued to move forward despite the pandemic. If anything, there has been an increase in the demand for content during COVID-19. My clients and I have been very busy. The big change now is that everything is now virtual. Pre-COVID, I would accompany my clients to media interviews as well as red carpet and industry events in person. I also used to travel quite a lot and that has been halted for now. I am very excited about when things return back to the “new normal.”
4. For those who are following a similar path, what advice would you give them about your industry? and being your own boss?
Open as many doors for yourself as possible. This means taking the internships, volunteering and not being afraid to reach out to people and creating a network for yourself. I thrived in this industry because I seized the opportunities to intern for people and really learn about the business. I consistently networked and formed long-term relationships that have served me to this day. This industry is really all about who you know. Your network is your net worth in PR. That being said, make sure that the relationships you do form are authentic. Those are the ones that hold the most value.
If you are looking to start a business and be your own boss, try to work in your industry for as long as you can and really know it inside and out. The reason my business is so successful is that I have been in the industry for eight years prior to starting it. I already had the contacts, knowledge, and expertise. I still learn every single day but I had a great base and more to start with.
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