Title: Director of HPPR
Instagram: @hayleyparkerpr / @hayleyparker__
What has your journey looked like leading up to the present and establishing Hayley Parker PR?
My career has been quite colourful in the sense that I have worked in many different industries such as the modelling industry, oil + gas, personal branding, public relations, marketing and even pharmaceutical but as I experimented with these roles I could see my passion and interest lied in public relations + marketing, in particular aesthetics. I loved the aspect of telling one’s story and the impact in doing so had on their audience and overall business success. I felt that this career path was much more aligned with my purpose.
Prior to launching HPPR, I became a mother to a beautiful little boy who gave me incredible drive to start my own business and was a big catalyst for change as I was unable to return to a 9-5 role. I started to carve out a business that would allow me the flexibility of being a mother and yet still fulfill my creative expression and ambitious nature.
It has certainly been a wild adventure to say the least, the ebbs and flows are definitely a lot more intense whilst running a business and it forces you to become extremely self aware. Fortunately, I invested in a mentor early on which has been incredible for my growth personally and professionally.
Have you always been interested in starting your own business?
No, I actually fell into business after following what I like to call a “pull from the universe”. I have no business background and am mostly self taught so it wasn’t something I’d planned on!
Who has been your biggest influence in business?
I can’t say I have one specific person that has influenced me, its been an array of influential women in business especially those that are also juggling motherhood at the same time as building a brand that have impacted me the most. Women like Elle Macpherson and my mentor Jen Berson are stand outs for me.
You’ve worked with an impressive array of brands including Elle Macpherson’s Welleco, what do you think is key in securing such successful brands or relationships in business?
I launched HPPR with a vision to create a strong position in the market. The launch was strategically planned and designed with all touch points and physical senses being taken into consideration. My brief to the vendors involved was “something that hasn’t been done, lets start a trend or make an impact”. This event set the tone for future collaborations and partnerships that aligned and I was able to leverage and grow my relationships from there.
Also, the brands that I work with and are attracted to all have similar audiences that complement each other.
I think the key is to know your brand position, what value you will bring to the table and most importantly the confidence to reach out and connect.
As an expert in PR, what do you think makes a successful brand in 2018?
As the digital landscape has grown and continues to grow exponentially, we are inundated with information on a daily basis so it’s imperative to break through the noise and position your brand strategically. I believe, how you do this is by understanding who you serve (your ideal client), your brand values, and your point of difference.
When a brand speaks directly to their ideal client using strategic visuals and copy writing, they are speaking directly to the customers wants, dreams, fears and aspirations which in turn creates successful marketing, sales and brand loyalty. If you are speaking to everybody, you are in actual fact speaking to nobody.
By understanding your ideal client, you will know exactly where to reach them. You will know what platforms they read, where they hang out online, the types of articles they are interested in, the types of visuals they love and how they make their purchasing decisions.
I think a successful brand is one that stays consistent with their brand messaging but also keeps moving and evolving.
Success to me is measured by more than just sales. I believe you need to hold your brands true purpose at the core of everything you do. Tell your brand story and have a mission that consumers can connect with on a deeper level.
What processes or strategies do you think have been key to the success of Hayley Parker PR?
First and foremost I believe you should build a brand and not just a business. I believe in consistency at each touch point even down to how you present your personal brand online. I believe in quality over quantity and I believe in staying true to the brands values and mission by working with those that align. I believe these strategies have been the key to our growth and established position.
My motto is always under promise and over deliver!
What was some of the best advice you received early on in business?
Progress over perfection, which I still have to remind myself of on a daily basis as I am actually a perfectionist!
Know who your ideal client is including their habitus so you have first hand their wants, dreams, fears and aspirations and build your brand with them at top of mind.
Know the markets needs and desires.
Specialise and find your niche.
You have created some seriously Instagram-worthy events. What is your secret to creating such beautiful events?
Thank you! I absolutely love bringing creative people together and celebrating, I think it’s definitely part of my purpose. In any event, I want to create the ultimate experience for guests that leaves a lasting impression so securing the right vendors to help bring it all together is vital.
I take my clients ‘ideal client’ into thorough consideration and create a setting that reflects her values, wants, dreams and aspirations. I want to shift from stale advertising to something that conveys the brands message and the ideal clients lifestyle (from florals to beverages and more) which I believe allows the audience to connect at a much deeper level whilst allowing the brand to stand out from a noisy market-place.
I look outside the country for inspiration but ultimately my biggest goal is to create an immersive experience that reflects my clients audience. We narrow in so closely on the kind of consumer we are trying to target and build the event strategy from this.
What has been the biggest learning curve since starting Hayley Parker PR?
There has been so many! From learning how to manage cash flow, to listening to your intuition, to legal aspects but overall the biggest challenge early on was understanding who was the right fit for HPPR both team member and client.
You have a beautiful Instagram feed. What are your tips for communicating your brand effectively on social media?
I think the key to communicating your brand effectively on social media is to really invest time in thoroughly understanding and identifying your brand values, ideal customer, brand visuals, brand messaging, brand voice and overall brand essence so you can build your social media presence and create a strong position in the consumers mind. Once you have your brand strategy in place, stay consistent at every touch point moving forward.
The major objective in your strategy should be to understand who your ideal customer is and their persona so you can create compelling content and connect at a deeper level but also to communicate consistent messaging.
Knowing what you do now, what would you do differently (if anything) in your business?
Knowing what I know now, I think I would specialise and find a niche from the very start. Especially when you are starting out and potentially a one women band, if you spread yourself too thin, it can leave you deflated and potentially defeated.
I would certainly be a lot more gentle on myself. Twists and turns will happen, changes will occur and you need to know that they are not “failures” they are a chance to learn something and leverage from that learning. I was extremely hard on myself in the beginning and as time goes on, I’ve learnt to let go of the need to be perfect all the time. It’s ok to pivot and its ok to eliminate a service that no longer serves you. It’s actually smart business to do so!
Another major lesson for me would be to not take on a project just for the monetary value, it will leave you unfulfilled in the long run.
I think I would also value my time a lot more, I understand now that time is a non-renewable resource and its best to delegate jobs that someone else is a pro at, like bookkeeping!
How do you ride the highs and lows of entrepreneurship? What helps you stick it out when things get tough?
I won’t lie, it’s definitely tough sometimes and fear can paralyse you and cause a downward spiral very quickly if you let it. I think having a good support system in place, whether that’s being apart of a like minded community, investing in a mentor and surrounding yourself with uplifting, supportive and successful people is imperative. You cannot do it alone and you don’t need to!
Im learning to listen to the narrative that I tell myself on a daily basis and try to make sure its a positive one. The way we communicate to ourselves is the key to our success.
Whenever I am feeling deflated, I will always listen to a podcast or read an article about other successful women in business as it always so refreshing to hear that you are not alone and the issues you are facing are not exclusive to you, everyone at some point has gone through those motions in one way or another and survived to tell the tale.
Also, I remind myself that I won’t be here on this earth forever and in the scheme of things, most things aren’t that big of a deal! I remind myself daily of this truth to gain perspective.
What qualities and traits have you found have really helped to build your dream team? What do look for when hiring someone?
My team members share the same values as I do which is extremely important to me. I look for honesty and integrity, but also someone that will treat my business as if it was their own. I love it when a team member takes initiative and ownership of a project and goes above and beyond to fulfill the clients needs. I also love it when they provide creative input and provide open communication. I want them to feel like their input is highly appreciated and valued as I learn from them!
How do you balance between work/home life or me time?
I am extremely conscious of who and where I spend my time but I definitely have to force myself sometimes to separate work with family life. Especially with my son, I want to be present when I am with him so I try to stick to a certain time frame of work and make a point to be 100% present once he is home. Of course I am far from perfect and can get caught up with what is happening on social media but I am trying to be more self aware.
I also try my best to stick to a routine during the week for both myself and my family so that I am not constantly reactive. I try to schedule me time in advance so its locked in otherwise it can definitely be pushed to the back burner. I have to remind myself that I can’t do my best work or be the best version of me unless my cup is full!
Night time is my favourite and I love settling into a good book and a chamomile tea before I head to sleep.
I also love to meditate, walk along the river or attend a dance fitness class!
Tell us about your workspace, what inspires you and what do you like to surround yourself with?
My workspace is very minimal with photographs of my son and I (he is my biggest inspiration), luxury coffee table books such as Vogue, crystals upon my desk top with the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine decor. I am always playing music varying from Jazz to house/lounge
whilst I work. I absolutely love candles, florals or a beautiful room mist to add the sensory experience and set the mood.
Your biggest career highlight so far?
I would say the HPPR launch as it was the beginning of this crazy beautiful journey and it was incredible to see how far it spread across the digital sphere plus it was the biggest risk I have ever taken on myself.
How has your life changed since launching your business?
I am much more structured than I used to be. I am a pretty easy going person but I really had to create structure so I could juggle it all. I have learnt more in the past 3 years than I ever have in my entire life. I continue to learn and educate myself on a daily basis and have come to absolutely love learning and investing in my personal development.
Business has taught me to be much more aware of my habits, emotions and limitations which is a good thing! I now understand that your business and ultimately your life is a direct reflection of your inside world so always invest in yourself so you can grow and expand.
Lastly, the biggest change I faced, was that I really had to go within and identify my authentic self and what made me feel passionate. I had to really make myself a priority, not only physically but most importantly mentally. I have to make sure my cup is full so I can be the best version of me for my family and my clients.
What’s next? What do you still want to achieve or what’s in the pipeline?
As my journey continues, I have the desire to contribute to women who are starting out in their business journey and provide the much needed guidance and strategy.
I would love to start speaking at events and impacting a wider audience plus build more of a community that supports women in business. I would love to host more intimate events where we discuss the correlation of spirituality and business as I believe they go hand in hand and I would love to be an advocate for the younger female generation looking to start a business and build a life they love. I want them to know they have options and they too can become an impact for change. Mostly, I want to help women find their voices and own their story.
What resources would you recommend to other women in business?
I absolutely love podcasts such as The Goal Digger Podcast or Marie Forleo, Super Soul Sunday by Oprah and listen to them daily on my commutes, I love attending women in business events, I use platforms like Asana, Slack or Planoly for social media scheduling. For my mindset I try to use the app Calm to meditate or help me sleep!
I am also a huge fan of The Super Elixir both protein powder and the alkalising greens, I literally take these daily for energy and vitality.
And finally, what advice would you give other women wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Find your niche and own it! Start small and build up. Also don’t be afraid to inject your personality into your business as people connect with people and love to know the person behind the brand.
Lastly, if you can invest in a mentor that has walked the steps already, it will save you years!
Finish these sentences..
When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is… Snuggle with son and we express gratitude together.
Three things I can’t live without are… Calendula cream, chocolate and my iPhone.
Five words to describe myself are… Visionary, Ambitious, Inquisitive, Compassionate, Authentic
My favourite quote of all time is… ‘I am imperfect, I’m afraid, I’m vulnerable but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m also brave, and worthy of love, belonging and joy’ ~ Brene’ Brown
The most important thing to remember in business is… You absolutely need to love what you do and do what you love! Follow your passion over pride.
Images: @teneilkable / Jeremy Choh / Defleur Creative.
Aylen is the Founder & Editor of IT'S THE NOW. Hailing from a background in fashion and lifestyle PR and marketing, she has transitioned to the entrepreneur arena, setting her sights on growing IT'S THE NOW - an online destination to inspire, educate and connect ambitious women. Aylen has been featured in The Huffington Post, Holistchic and Ofkin.
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