Several years ago, we decided that we needed to “up our game” when it comes to Public Relations (PR). But how? As the PR/Marketing Manager, I started doing a little research online and came across a PR expert named Sabina Hitchen. Out of all the possible people to connect with, there was just something about her that seemed to fit -- without even talking to her. When we did connect, I knew immediately I was right! Even personally – Sabina is a Michigan native living in New Jersey and I am a New Jersey native living in Michigan! We’ve become colleagues and friends.
But it is her PR expertise and the way that she works with her clients that makes her extraordinary to work with. Sabina is a true believer in the proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Under Sabina’s guidance we have been able to secure local PR opportunities such as “Mom’s a Genius”, “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” and of course, helped us leverage national opportunities such as “Oprah’s Favorite Things” and “Good Morning America Deals and Steals.” Is it any wonder why we named one of our bags after her?
We wanted to share with you more about Sabina, so we asked her to answer a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about your business, Press for Success? What does your company do?
I’d love to! Press for Success is a business solution I created as an answer to the struggle so many business owners have when it comes to figuring out how to get publicity and visibility for their businesses.
Let’s be real you can be a fantastic cupcake maker, yoga teacher, life coach handbag designer, computer programmer - you name it - but if no one knows your businesses exist, you’re going to struggle. That’s where we come in...
Press for Success a.k.a. Press for Success PR Prep School is an online “school” / membership community that offers online education, tools, inspiring content, and live training to small business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds who want to learn how to get publicity and visibility for their businesses.
What was the inspiration for the business?
Fun fact: I’m a former teacher! Like a real, in-the-classroom teacher, so I’ve always loved serving people through education, and I have a natural knack for it. But id didn’t want to teach high school history forever.…
So I ended up leaving the midwest where I was a teacher (first in Ann Arbor, then in Chicago) and came to New York City, where I ended up accidentally getting a job in public relations.
Long story short, as I worked in the industry while eventually also growing my own PR agency, I saw that publicity was a necessary tool in any business owners tool belt, but it was also something they had no access to without hiring a PR agency or agent (super expensive and not always doable for them) or struggling on their own to do it without any training.
After teaching them in networking events, coffee shops, my apartment, you name it; I started building an online space to teach them. Eventually, that work evolved into where we are today at Press for Sucess, and I LOVE IT!
I can’t tell you how much it lights me up when I hear about how the entrepreneurs i work with have grown and are not only surviving but thriving because of the work we do and the online tools we offer!
How difficult was it for you to get the business started? How did you take that leap?
It was more of a mental leap than anything else. Because I was a service that didn’t require much overhead beyond a computer ane phone, it was easy-ish to scale and grow, but as anything is at the beginning, the toughest part of any business I’ve started has been the fighting through the “Can I do this? Should I do this?” questions.
I began my first business in my twenties, my public relations agency, and I still remember saying to my parents, “what if this goes wrong” to which they replied, “But what if it goes really RIGHT, and if it doesn’t, you have a great story to tell your friends about an amazing adventure you took on” - and I haven’t looked back since!
What has been the most exciting or most rewarding moment of your business so far?
100% I can say that just by being in business and putting in the work and doing what I need to do to grow, connect, stay sane, etc., I’ve met some of the most incredible people and created lifelong friendships and relationships. To me, that’s the biggest reward.
Not only have I met people who have genuinely changed my life and who I am as a person in my industry, but I’ve also even formed incredible connections with students at Press for Success.
It’s such an important reminder that as cliched as it sounds, it’s not just about the milestones you’re hitting as a business owner, but also about the people you meet and the experiences you have. I’ve had some incredible experiences, and if I never took this risk, I would have missed out on them. Those things are the most rewarding part of this ride!
This bag was named after you because of all the excellent PR advice and counsel you've given us. What have you enjoyed about working with K. Carroll Accessories?
It’s funny because when I was answering the question above, one of the people I think about who I’ve grown to admire and consider a true friend throughout my business journey has been Dianne Boyer of the K Carroll team! I’ve learned about and worked with this brand so much because of our Press for Success connection that I even feel like Kelly is an honorary friend!
What I love about this brand is the community it has built around it and within it. I’ve been thrilled to have been able to watch your growth, watch as you get your Oprah Magazine moments and your Good Morning America segments. I’ve felt the energy as you pack your large orders after significant press moments. I’ve seen your evolution from the beginnings to today as Kelly becomes a leading face of entrepreneurship in Detroit and beyond. What a gift it is to watch you take what we have created for just this purpose and JUST DO IT!
Dianne and Sabina meeting for the first time in person!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs just starting out?
I have a few little golden nuggets for you:
First and foremost - Find a community! Find a couple! Be sure you’re connected (these days virtually) to other business owners both inside and outside of your niche. They will prove invaluable in so many ways - from mental support to networking and advice.
Second: Be sure from day one that you’re making an effort to learn the backend of your business - even if you need someone to help you or walk you through it - because you cannot disconnect from understanding where your money is going and how you’re growing.
Know that publicizing and marketing yourself is part of your job as a business owner. You need people to be able to find you and what you have to offer. To do that, you need to get strategic about your visibility. Don’t ever farm that out to anyone else before you understand it at the most basic level first.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
I suppose I’d love to tell your readers that no matter where they are in their professional journey - no matter what age - know that there is always an opportunity to do what you are meant to do - what really lights you up and excites you! There is still a chance to make a change and to start again!
I know this because I see the thousands of students we have done that always, and also because I have also learned to trust my gut, pivot, and evolve on my own professional journey! If you told the 24-year-old high school teacher Sabina that she was going to be teaching entrepreneurs from around the world and doing national television segments talking about fresh small business discoveries she would have given you the side-eye!
Times are challenging, and things are changing rapidly around us. Despite all of that uncertainty there is massive possibility and opportunity around all of us! I promise!