IAM1743 – Founder Empowers Entrepreneurs to be Public Relations Pros

Podcast Interview with Lexie Smith

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: In this episode of the CEO Podcasts, host Gresham Harkless interviews Lexie Smith, founder of THEPRBAR Inc., a public relations agency that empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners to build their own empires.
Lexie has nearly 10 years of PR and marketing experience and has helped companies and entrepreneurs gain accelerated success through the world of public relations. During the interview, Lexie talked about PR and helped define what it is and why it's important.  She shared her CEO hacks, which include using CRM tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Pipedrive for sales management, Slack for program communication, and payment processing tools like Paypal and SamCart.
She also discusses the pros and cons of hiring a PR agency (which is also relevant for any hiring and investing), highlighting the time-saving benefits of such a decision but also acknowledging the high cost and the fact that media contacts are attached to the PR firm.
Overall, the podcast provides insights into the world of public relations and offers valuable advice for entrepreneurs looking to build their own empires through effective communication and marketing strategies. She also shared a term that we also borrow from here “DWY – Done with you.”
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Lexie Smith Teaser 00:00

Business model in general is an agency alternative. So that right there is one difference. Past that, when you then look into the online coaching space, what makes me different there, the end goal of my program is to have you confident to DIY do it yourself. But during the program, I haven't coined it personally, I've heard a term and now I use it called DWY, which means done with you.

Intro 00:27

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs, without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, You've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:53

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you were listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories or topics or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on our greatest asset- talent management and hiring. Think from great resignation to the great renovation. And if you disagree with me, maybe these episodes might be especially for you. Life and especially business has changed. It has forced those that are within organizations to look differently at talent, and how it's being managed.

When we talk about change, think about it, we have to realize that business as usual is no longer here. That's evident in attracting and retaining clients, but also in setting up people within organizations to succeed. Think onboarding, think DEI- diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. How it is working from home and even going back into the office.

Things are different in this month. We are going to explore these topics by featuring CEO hacks and CEO nuggets, but also interviews that focus on these changes and how organizations can make sure they care for and attract the most valuable asset- their people. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Lexie Smith of THEPRBAR, Inc. Lexie, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Lexie Smith 02:25

Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

Gresham Harkless 02:28

No problem. Super excited to have you on, and before we jumped in, I wanted to read a little bit more about Lexie so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

From winning Shark Tank brands to some Inc. Magazine's fastest-growing companies in America, Lexie Smith founded THEPRBAR Inc. that has helped countless companies and entrepreneurs gain accelerated success through the world of PR.

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With nearly 10 years of experience in public relations and marketing, serving most recently as a VP of a high eight-figure industry disruptor, Smith has been recognized as a top “20 in her 20s” and a “Brilliant PR expert under 30”. Her clients have earned accolades such as Entrepreneur of the Year in the most entrepreneurial companies in America, and have been featured in outlets such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine. Inc., CNN, LA Times, Eater, USA Today, FabFitFun, the Huffington Post, Thrillist, ABC, CBS, Wired and many, many more.

In 2019, Lexie founded THEPRBAR Inc. to establish a fun and inspired brand that empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners to build their very own empires.

Lexie, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Lexie Smith 03:32

Yes, I'm ready.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:33

Awesome. Let's do it. So I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit back to probably 2019 to hear a little bit more about your entrepreneurial journey, how you guys started with your business, and your CEO story.

Lexie Smith 03:43

Yeah. First off, thank you for that introduction. I can't help but blush a little over here, I get uncomfortable when the spotlight's turned on me. I'm usually the PR girl, so I'm behind the scenes. But actually, it's a great segue way.

So what led me to the PR Bar Inc was my past. So as you heard, I've worked with a ton of different companies over the last 10 years. It's a little over 10 years now and throughout that, I noticed a few things. First, I noticed that personally, I love working with entrepreneurs. I love working with entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. I realized I didn't just have one love for one industry. I liked in Eclectic Mix.

Two, I noticed throughout all my various positions within these companies' contexts, I've worked in agencies and I've worked in-house, and now I've worked in leadership and as a coach. Naturally, throughout all of those positions, I did find myself teaching, whether that was teaching the entrepreneurs I worked for or those on my staff and what have you. So I found out that was my passion. Then I just needed to figure out a market need to mesh with that passion. That's what I did and that's how the PR Bar was born. 2019, I started it as a side hustle and I took it full-time just this year, 2020. So, It's my thing now.

Gresham Harkless 05:00

Congratulations. I appreciate you for rewinding that clock and going through those things because I think so many times you've done so many awesome things that sometimes people hear or think that you just woke up yesterday, and then all that stuff was accomplished.

But there definitely was a process and a lot of experience and rolling up the sleeves it sounds like, to get to where you are now and everything you're doing.

Lexie Smith 05:18

Definitely. And it wasn't always smooth sailing.

Gresham Harkless 05:22

It never truly is. So, I know I touched on it a little bit when I read your bio You did as well. Could you take us through exactly what you're doing for your clients and how exactly that process works?

Lexie Smith 05:32

With my clients now with PR Bar?

Gresham Harkless 05:34

Yes, absolutely.

Lexie Smith 05:34

Yeah. So the PR Bar was really created as an agency alternative. I found a need in the market for usually earlier-stage business owners who wanted PR but couldn't realistically afford or didn't want to outsource. So the PR Bar, I essentially high level, I'm a coach, but I teach people how to increase their influence, impact and revenue with PR, you can shorten that down to make more money with PR.

The main way I do that is I have a signature program called Pop Fizz Clink, Quick Pause, the PR Bar Context. If you go and look at my website or any of my social media channels, you'll see that it's a very intentional cheeky brand, for lack of a better word. All of my services are called the Bar Menu, for example.

So it's all in that theme. It's fun. I like to have fun with it. But my signature program is called Pop Fizz Clink, and it's a 90-day program where by the end of it, I essentially teach you how to rock the world, appear like a pro, and make money with PR.

Gresham Harkless 06:37

Yeah, the goal is really to empower and enlighten and inform the people that are looking for ways to do that and maybe not even sure what PR is and what way to kind of even turn to get.

Lexie Smith 06:48

Exactly. And what I have learned in the past year, is how much of an education deficit there is on what truly is PR. So that's a big mission of mine, is to really educate entrepreneurs on what the heck it is and why it is important for your business.

Because it is so much more than just getting on TV shows, which is the most common answer that I hear.

Gresham Harkless 07:11

Absolutely. I don't know if you find that a lot of people, sometimes you have those entrepreneurs that are extremely humble and sometimes they don't either think they have a story, even want to tell their story, and they probably have to work through that, I imagine as well too.

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Lexie Smith 07:24

Oh, that's huge. Yes. First off, not feeling that they're newsworthy. Then once they get past that, having the confidence to step out into the spotlight, whether that be speaking on a podcast or eventually migrating to an on-camera per set, that takes a lot of mindset work. In addition to the background work of PR.

Gresham Harkless 07:46

You might have already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. It could be for yourself or your business, but what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Lexie Smith 07:54

Yeah, that's a great question. I'll give you a couple of bullet-point answers. First, like I said, my business model in general is an agency alternative. So that right there is one difference. Past that when you then look into the online coaching space, what makes me different there, the end goal of my program is to have you confident to DIY, do it yourself. But during the program, I haven't coined it personally, I've heard a term now I use I called DWY, which means done with you.

I'm highly collaborative. I'm a teammate to all my clients. I work really one-on-one, and I work with them to get them to a point where they are confident and operate solo. So that's a little different.

Finally, when it comes to PR in general, I have a philosophy that there are really two types of PR. There's PR that's fluff and for your ego, and then there's PR that converts, right? That's focusing on an ROI and I focus on that kind of PR. Now, is there some ego and fluff that plays into that? Absolutely. But that's something that makes me different is, I really like to tie PR into a tangible, money-driven result.

Gresham Harkless 09:06

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And as you said, in the beginning, helping to drive that revenue and increase that kind of bottom line. I had not heard of DWI so I'm gonna give you full credit for that because I don't know who else I can give credit for. So feel free to take it.

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Lexie Smith 09:31

Is it okay if I fire off a few?

Gresham Harkless 09:33

Yeah, absolutely. Go for it.

Lexie Smith 09:34

Because I know that some people will know some, but I'm hoping by giving a few, there'll be a new one in there. First off, I'm huge into systems. So CRM-wise, when I worked for a larger company, I always use Salesforce and HubSpot, but Pipedrive is a newer one that I'm finding is great for small businesses and it's more affordable. So that's a CRM.

I use Slack for all my program communication.

For payment processing, I use PayPal, but I also use something called SamCart samcart.com, which is a really easy fluid single-page checkout. So if you're someone who's a service-based entrepreneur, look into that.

Gresham Harkless 10:13

Awesome. I love all those hacks. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you were to hop in a time machine, you might even tell your younger business self.

Lexie Smith 10:26

So, one thing I thought might be helpful for your audience is some pros and cons that help them decide if they wanna outsource or DIY because there are pros and cons to both. I'm just gonna go over a couple of them.

So pros to hiring an agency. First off, it's gonna be a huge time saver, right? Because they're doing it for you. Another pro is it's going to fast-track all of your media connections because you should be hiring a firm that has those connections in place. On the flip side two cons. One, they're really expensive. I don't think people really understand how much of a financial commitment a PR firm can be. Second, if that doesn't work out, the second they're no longer your firm, those media contacts go with them. So you're left back at square one.

Which goes to the flip side of one of the big pros of doing it yourself is you own those contacts, those become personal assets. So that's a huge pro DIY. It's also far more affordable for businesses, especially in early growth mode. Con, it's going to take more time because you're the one that's physically doing the pitching and physically building those relationships. So there's more on both sides, but those are just a few to let people think about. In best case scenario, I always say, you would start doing it yourself, then when you have enough capital, bring someone on in-house.

Then your final stage is to have someone in-house and a firm. So it's the three-tier progression. So that's my PR advice. One of them. Little Lexie advice or past Lexie? Okay. I know that personally I've had struggles over the years in understanding or where to invest, and I would say the best place to invest first is somehow in bettering yourself. It could be as simple as it's gonna look different for everyone. Investing in yourself when it comes to mental health, or it could be professionally investing in yourself by hiring a coach. I say every coach has a coach. I have a coach. But anytime I've invested in myself or bettered myself, then it eventually comes back twofold and helps everyone around me, right?

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Because if I'm a better me, I can help others. If I'm a better professional, then I can make more capital and then help others. So investing in yourself is a good one for me.

Gresham Harkless 12:48

Nice. Awesome. Awesome, awesome. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on the show.

So Lexie, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Lexie Smith 12:59

Okay, so I found a quote last week and I'm gonna read it so I don't butcher it. But it reminded me of this question. The quote is by Marian Anderson, and she said Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.

So basically, to me this means that as a CEO or a founder, you should always have a firm understanding that you are first and foremost a leader. So, you are the guiding example. You are the primary individual who is responsible for those that you employ. I know that I've always looked up to CEOs who, during times of financial distress, have taken a personal pay cut before they ever let it touch or affect an employee, which is tough.

But I think the job of CEO or founder, while it's the toughest, it's also the most rewarding because you have the power to affect people's lives. Within that position, I think you should lead accordingly. So that's a high level, but that's how it resonates with me.

Gresham Harkless 14:06

I love that. And I think that sometimes, I'll say we forget of why we're doing everything we're doing and in order to make the impact to see those things and obviously the people that purchase our products and services.

But I think, even as you talked about, and given that example of even the people that are around us, our teams, and the people that we can support, we often forget the way that we can make an impact. Especially during difficult times where, there's a lot of frustration, fear, so many things that are happening sometimes by just doing those, quote and quote small acts, it makes a huge impact.

It basically gets back to why we're doing what we're doing. I love that perspective and that definition.

Lexie Smith 14:43

Yeah. Me too, but it's because I said it.

Gresham Harkless 14:46

There you go. I hope you would love it. But I definitely appreciate that definition. Like I said, appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course how best we can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome programs and services and products you have as well too.

Lexie Smith 15:06

Yeah. I would say, if anyone has any questions about anything that I brought up, I could speak forever. So I'm gonna cut myself off. My website is theprbarinc.com. You can follow me on social at thePRbar_inc. I'm always open to chatting and collaboration.

At the end of the day, I don't think there's ever one right way to do something. That's why I like to give people, both sides of the spectrum. Just because I'm not an agency, that doesn't mean I'm anti-agency. I've worked in agencies. I just think there are solutions that best-fit entrepreneurs at certain types or times in their business.

So, yeah, to learn more about me and what I do, again, that's theprbarinc.com, or you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Awesome. Thank you so much again, Lexie. We will have the links and information in the show notes and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Lexie Smith 15:58

Thank you. You too. Thanks for having me.

Outro 16:00

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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