I am so pleased to welcome Sarah from Indigo Soul PR onto The Visibility Edit today. Sarah and I have followed each other for a while, but it was lockdown one that bought us together, and I am so pleased it did.
Not only is Sarah a brilliant PR, but she’s also a kind, thoughtful soul who approaches PR with creativity and care, something I did when I was working with clients.
PR doesn’t need to be aggressive and pushy and I think that Sarah’s interview shows that perfectly.
Over to you, Sarah.
Tell me about you and your business.
Hey, I’m Sarah Lloyd, I’ve been in the media and PR business for 24 years now!
I quit my high-flying global corporate role for a major technology company back in 2017, most people thought I was mad to essentially leave to set up on my own, but I took the leap of faith in a bid to be a master of my own and to regain a better sense of balance in my life.
My mental health took a huge knock after both children were born, so taking voluntary redundancy came at exactly the right time. I set up my own PR Consultancy – IndigoSoulPR in 2017 – and haven’t looked back.
In a bid to try and manage my high functioning anxiety, something that had manifested in my corporate job, I turned to holistic methods to help me manage better. As a result, I trained as a Reiki Energy Master, thinking that would open a different door to a different career. What I found is combining the energy work with my publicity work is a unique blend of business approach that heart centered business owners seem to enjoy.
I now work with a variety of authors, entrepreneurs and business owners mainly in the health, wellbeing and spiritual space.
What is your morning routine before you get to your desk?
Recently I have been getting up earlier to carve out some space for myself, so my morning routine usually consists of 15 minutes of meditation and a 15-minute yoga flow; then it’s time for a leisurely
This time gives me the space I need, so I am ready for the onslaught when the children wake up usually an hour later. Then it’s all manner of Mum things – breakfast, chores etc.
When they are at school its then we walk to School run around 8.15 and I return to my desk around 9am.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk?
First thing I do is pull an oracle card! Then I check my emails, social media feeds and diary for the day. I am lucky enough to have a VA who works alongside so often we’ll check to see what both our priorities are that week.
Tongue in cheek question, what does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different! One thing I do try to do is ensure there is time for me to clear my head, that’s been increasingly difficult lately with lockdowns, but I try to do another meditation or go for a walk in the middle of the day to reset myself.
I love every other Monday though, it’s my busiest but most nourishing day, as my membership group meets at either 9.30am or 7.30pm; I have such lovely clients within the membership and we talk around issues, topics, opportunities and anything that is holding them back from sharing. We all of us come away from those sessions feeling energised and I love seeing the magic that is shared in social media feeds or in pitches.
Some days I’ll jump on calls in the evening, some days I’ll finish at 2… I like to try and ensure I am not burning the candle at both ends where possible. And I am not afraid to advise clients when I can’t hit deadlines, or if I need to move diary dates for mental health reasons.
How have you kept your business on track over the past year and dealt with the impact of COVID?
I have definitely had moments where I have thought about throwing the towel in. These seem to happen just before something amazing drops in. So, I am starting to recognise the pattern. The biggest lesson was learning to be flexible in every area, not accepting work because I needed the money, and still try to maintain a balance in all every area of life.
In March 2020, I released my first PR book, and spoke at the Mindful Living Show – it felt quite pivotal but not in the way I had anticipated. I was approached at the Mindful Living Show by Wellbeing Radio to talk about how I approach PR. So, recording that every week really kept me focused, and whilst my big corporate job stopped around the same time, I took the opportunity to use the time to spend with my kids and focus on their needs whilst maintain a few of my smaller clients. I knew there was a need to pivot, and so I created my membership and it’s been growing slowly and steadily since July last year.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for PR at the moment?
I see several challenges:
- Maintaining relationships with media contacts and creating new ones – these have always been challenging quite frankly, but
nowmany journalists are not in offices, are juggling life/commitments, and after feeling burnout on social media this is becoming increasingly difficult. So, we find ourselves often reliant on one-way email communication, which can be soul-destroying for anyone starting out.
- Fear-based agenda – unfortunately I see very unbalanced reporting in the media, in fact, I turned on the BBC news this morning, something I don’t often do, and every story was about death. There was not one positive story shared at all. Which you could argue isn’t news, but there is a worldwide mental health epidemic bubbling under the surface, and filtering more positive stories to the media could go some way to helping to change that narrative in the mainstream media.
- PR always gets a bad rep – I hear from many businesses who have had bad experiences with other PR’s so helping educate business owners on how PR works and the value it can bring is so important right now.
- Inclusivity and diversity – unfortunately, our industry is not very diverse or inclusive and I would love to see more initiatives to address this. My colleagues at PR Fest have added this to their agenda which is a great first step.
What are the non-negotiables for you in your business?
This became rules to live by when I left corporate. I knew exactly what I didn’t want to do.
So now I only work with clients I feel passionate about, work with clients I like, work with clients who understand I am not a ‘pushy’ PR.
And who understand I have two small clients at home who will always come first.
We know working in PR can be stressful, how do you look after yourself, as well as your clients?
It used to be wine- but I have realised that just made me worse.
So, now its lots of walking, tea, meditation and catching up with likeminded souls!
I also try to get away from it all for a weekend every couple of months to truly reset.
What plans do you have for 2021?
Well, I just contributed to another book – an inspiring compilation of stories from 20 women on their perception of the year that was 2020. It’s called #2020Vision and it is such an honour to appear alongside such a diverse and inspiring collective of women. I am planning a ‘Connecting the Dots’ retreat with my membership and other businesses who feel called to come along in June (all being well) and I continue with my ‘Connecting the Dots’ radio show on Wellbeing Radio.
I have another book idea bubbling, and I will continue to nurture my Connecting the Dots membership. I became features editor for a new emerging spiritual and wellness title called UnTamed Soul so I am excited to see where that could lead. In addition, I am one of 12 mentors in the PR Fest programme so I love that I get to help others in the industry.
What advice would you have for someone looking to start a PR career?
Take care of yourself first and foremost.
Good connections are the secret to everything in PR.
If a pitch isn’t working – don’t flog a dead horse. Give it 3 tries and if it doesn’t stick step back and focus your energy on something else.
Work WITH other PR’s, ask for help, we all understand how hard it can be, so stop competing with each other and instead help each other out.
Finally, there is nothing wrong with owning an area of expertise, but know it is not impossible to jump from industry to industry (I managed it).
What motto do you live and work by?
Have courage and be kind.
Have a great week, everyone, and if you would like to be part of this series, get in touch!