1. Tell us a little about your background and what lead you to become an entrepreneur.
I began performing at a young age which led me to show coordination and event planning backstage to magazine editing which led me to Public Relations. My background was one big resume for my career. I became an entrepreneur because my dream job didn’t exist in my city. I couldn’t imagine living my life without aspiration. I take pride in having my own dreams and plans and having complete control of my future.
2. Why did you start Pretty Living PR?
My life’s purpose is helping and guiding others. I was fortunate enough to start a creative career that allows me to do this – while taking part in all aspects I love about my industry. I love to make people happy and bring out the best in them – and this is precisely what I do for businesses. I highlight the good in brands, just as I do for people. I wanted to use my life experiences that I’ve acquired while working in fashion, beauty and entertainment to guide professionals and brands I work with. I also want to act as a representation for female entrepreneurs.
3. Who is your favorite female entrepreneur and why?
I have so many favorite! 90% of my clientele are female entrepreneurs, I work within a constant stream of inspiration. Naturally I idolize Oprah, Martha Stewart and Lauren Conrad, but my real heroes are the women I represent. They are my sole motivators every day. I think what is really inspiring is that we are all entrepreneurs, and when I have my bad days, as we all do, I know that I’m not alone. We’ve become a network of female hustlers, always lifting each other up and rooting for the other’s success.
4. If you had the chance to start Pretty Living PR all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t necessarily make any changes because I do believe growth comes from trial and error. Everything I know now has come from a decision that taught me a lesson. If I could send myself a few red flags back in time, I certainly would. I would advise myself that my ideas are more valuable than I thought they were at the time and I would be more secure with my creativity.
Furthermore, I would have stressed less! The first year in business was a struggle. I would have loved to be able to tell myself that it was all going to work out and I didn’t have to build Rome overnight. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are easily overwhelmed their first year in business because there is so much to do! But you should really enjoy the moment, have fun with the start-up phase and take your time through each process. Don’t rush to the top. Climbing to the top can be the best part.
5. What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
1.) Visualize. Create your dream life in your mind, your dream job and your business vision, each and every day make efforts towards this. First acquire the vision, the rest will fall into line. 2.) Before even starting a business, learn to manage stress – because it will come! Make sure to acquire a healthy work-life balance because your health and sanity need to come before your work ethic. The boss needs to be healthy! 3.) Never go anywhere without a Confidentiality Agreement and always add a Noncompete Clause.
6. What are your future plans for Pretty Living PR?
Very very very big plans! The best is yet to come!
For more info about Pretty Living PR and Charissa:
My graphic design studio specializes in PDF ebook design, social media design, and small business branding. My design shop sells bookmarks, prints, and other lifestyle products. As for my blog, I plan to write about the worlds of business, design, and ecommerce.
What inspired you to start your business?
This March, my mother told me that I had to get a job, whether it was freelance, fast food, or retail. I've always loved graphic design and already planned to study it when I go to college next fall, so I decided to take the plunge and do freelance. In July 2014, I opened my design shop to showcase the designs that I create on the side. And here I am!
What was your family & friends' response to your business venture?
They were all very supportive of me. They always are, no matter what I do.
What motivates you?
My main motivator is the passion that I have for helping other small businesses and creative entrepreneurs achieve their goals through graphic design.
What do you do when you are not working?
When I'm not working, I like to read and write young adult fiction novels, walk around the neighborhood, play with my adorable kitten, Bronx, and learn piano.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most? Why?
Hmm, that's a tough one! I look up to so many entrepreneurs/businesses! I'll go with Buffer, because A) their service is amazing; B) their transparency policy is fascinating; and C) they really know what they're doing when it comes to social media.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself still running 13 Elm Streets, only instead of just me working, I would love to have a team of 3-5 behind me, including a web designer/developer or two.
Any tips for an aspiring entrepreneur?
Do not give up. Before 13 Elm Streets, I owned two businesses that didn't work out. Instead of giving up on entrepreneurship, I lasered-in on my talents and created 13 Elm Streets. If I hadn't failed, who knows where I'd be today?
For more info on 13 Elm Street: