As part of my entrepreneurial and wellness interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing wellness junkie, publicist, and entrepreneur, Kristin Marquet. Kristin has been a publicist and business owner for more than 14 years. As the owner and creative director of Marquet Media, LLC, Kristin oversees the daily operations of the business while executing client campaigns. Throughout her career as a publicist, she has developed partnerships with leading brands and entrepreneurs such as well-known divorce coach, Jen Lawrence; celebrity chef, Melissa Eboli; psychotherapist and entrepreneur, Angela Ficken; and many more. She and her clients have been featured in Inc.com, Forbes.com, Fortune.com, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur.com, and so many more. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the business publication, FemFounder.co and collaborating on ThePublicityPlace.com with Michelle Lewis.
With an academic background and advanced studies in data science, business, and public relations, Kristin has attended Boston University, New York University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and obtained degrees in English Literature, Public Relations + Digital Marketing, and Data Science. Kristin is also a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council.
Thank you for sharing your story. What is your professional background?
Thank you so much for having me. Shortly after I graduated from college, I had worked as a PR and marketing manager for a law firm for a year because I was considering applying to law school. Yet after a year, I realized that I didn’t enjoy it, so I started in management consulting for four years. But during the financial crisis, my office in the Northeast shut down and I was laid off from my position. At that point, I had to make a tough decision: “Do I look for a job in this down economy, or Do I start a business?” After a few days of weighing the pros and cons of getting a job or starting a business, I decided to take the risk and launch my first business—a PR firm that works with female entrepreneurs and fashion brands. I never looked back after that. And in my early thirties, I returned to school and obtained a graduate degree from New York University.
What has been an interesting experience you had in your career?
Throughout the last 14 years, I’ve worked with many high-profile personalities and brands. But the most exciting story of my career was when I was planning a large-scale fashion show for one of today’s well-known fashion designers. Although I had been involved with smaller NYFW presentations, this event was different because of the scale — 600+ media, influencers, and celebrities. It was truly a career-changing event. I met so many celebrities and influencers who I would not have met ordinarily.
Are you working on any interesting projects now? If so, what are they?
My team and I continue to work on building the FemFounder.co brand which is exciting. Recently, we added a new section that focuses on wellness, health, and fitness, and we will continue to grow that side of the brand.
I’m also getting ready to release my third book From Nameless to Notable: How to Gain Influence, Establish Authority, and Reach Expert Status in Your Niche or Industry–The Ultimate Guide to Generating Media Coverage for Your Startup and Leveraging It to Increase Website Traffic, Email Subscribers, and Sales in the spring. It’s a condensed version of my online course, From Nameless to Notable. And I am also working on the ultimate PR resource with Michelle Lewis ThePublicityPlace.com.
You’ve worked hard as an entrepreneur. What are you most proud of as a business owner?
There have been difficult times—there’s no doubt about that. But I’ve weathered those chaotic and turbulent times by leaning on my team. Without having the right team in place, I would not have been able to grow either business the way I could. They’re a crucial part of my companies’ brand foundation.
Being an entrepreneur is stressful. What are the ways you decompress?
Yes, being an entrepreneur can be extremely stressful at times. But I’ve learned taking time for myself is the key to staying sane. Every morning, I wake up in the 5 am hour and make it a point to run for an hour. Exercising helps calm and clear my mind for the day. And on Sunday mornings, I do endurance runs to help me prepare for the week ahead. So, finding time to de-stress and rest after work keeps me balanced.
Where do you find your motivation to keep going when things get tough?
Despite the bumps that come with entrepreneurship, I love what I do and I’m passionate about launching and growing all sorts of brands. However, I have hit burnout in the past. When I do get burnt out, I take time for myself to rest and relax.
Based on your professional experience, what advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
Make sure you test your idea before launching your first iteration. And ensure there’s a market for your offering. These are the first two steps anyone should take if they want to start a business.
What are your best tips for an entrepreneur who is headed to burnout?
Unfortunately, it’s inevitable but all entrepreneurs will experience some type of burnout. But my best tips to prevent it or get it through intact are: 1) take time for yourself to decompress; 2) ask for help when you need it; 3) make time for exercise; and 4) be selfish—do things for yourself so you have things to look forward to throughout the week.
You’re a successful networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Yes, show up to all events on time, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others, ask questions, and don’t pitch right yourself right out of the gate. Focus on building relationships before pitching anything because no one likes to be sold.
What skills do you think are most important to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
There are a lot, but the most critical ones are–you need to know how to manage risk and deal with uncertainty—because that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. You also need to be able to plan effectively without getting bogged down in unimportant details. Seeing the forest through the clouds will also serve you well.
What did you wish you knew before starting your business?
I have several but here are my top items:
1). Effective Business Planning — I wish I would have put together a short business plan because it would have kept me focused and on track during the growth times.
2). Serving in Several Roles — I wish I would have listened when someone told me that I could not run every aspect of my efficiently. I spent the first two years running every aspect when I should have outsourced. This would have allowed me to focus on growing the business.
3). Lack of Clarity — Not knowing what industry I wanted to serve cost me a lot of time and money. One week I would want to do professional services, the next I would want to focus on medical and health, and then the next I would want to focus on fashion. I finally figured out where my best contacts were, and my strongest skill set and commitment to wellness/fashion/lifestyle/female entrepreneurship.
4). Lack of Brand Identity — The first two years, I didn’t develop a brand identity and it cost in the long run. I tried catering to everyone but ended up not catering to anyone. If I had a specific brand identity then (like now), then I would’ve scaled my business more efficiently.
5). Discounting Prices — About 14 years ago, I thought I had to discount my prices to compete, but quickly learned that perception is reality, meaning that you get what you pay for.
When I started out, I quoted a potential client a low monthly fee but was asked why my prices were so cheap in contrast to the competition. That company hired a different firm because I was considered “too cheap” and so I doubled my prices and never had a problem selling them since then.
6). Wellness – Take care of yourself because if you don’t, your work will suffer and so will everyone else around you. Make yourself a priority so you can take care of those who rely on you—at work and at home.