Liselle DeGrave loved her career in public relations, but also wanted to be home with her children. So she did what so many entrepreneurs have done–she left her job to start her own business as a freelancer. Liselle shares some of the lessons she’s learned about running her business, DeGrave Communications, and being her own boss.
What are the primary service(s) or product(s) that your business provides?
The emphasis of the services that I provide to my clients is public relations support. This includes media relations (press materials, media pitching, securing media placements), writing (copywriting, fact sheets, news releases, web content), video production, social media management and event management. The goal in all of my work projects is to build and maintain strong and favorable relationships between the organizations that I represent and their stakeholders.
Who’s your perfect customer? Do you work with other business (B2B), or consumers (B2C), or both?
The majority of my clients are government related: water districts, city governments, joint powers authorities and elected officials. My perfect client is one that allows me the freedom to take a creative approach in reaching target audiences.
When did you start your company? Share a little about your professional history leading up to starting your company.
My career in the field of public relations started over 13 years ago. As a graduate of San Diego State University, majoring in public relations, I have always worked in a public relations capacity. My experience varies from corporate to tech industry, from working for a full service international agency to local government. Now, running my own business, I have done a little bit of everything. Regardless of the organization, the goal is always the same–to build relationships.
I started my own business in 2006, stemming from a desire to be actively present in the lives of my children, while balancing a career. After the birth of my daughter, I took the relationships that I had built throughout my career and decided to open DeGrave Communications. At the time, I was working for a local water agency, serving as the public affairs/legislative specialist. I loved what I was doing, but knew a traditional work schedule wasn’t what I wanted for my family. I had wanted to stay where I was, but the organization wasn’t flexible with offering creative schedules to employees. I took a leap of faith and have never looked back.
What are one or two things that you’ve learned the hard way?
My strong-willed nature has lead me to learn things the hard way from time-to-time. One area that I am constantly improving upon is looking for ways to operate my business efficiently. There are times when I feel as though I can do everything on my own, but this doesn’t mean that I should. Network and build relationships with people in your industry and related industries. Handing off projects, even ones that you can handle on your own, can increase your efficiency and decrease your stress level.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about your business or industry that you wish they did?
One thing I would like people to know about my business is that even though I present myself as a freelancer, I don’t always work alone. I have a network of team members that I frequently collaborate with to conduct business. I also have large agencies that I partner with for clients that might need a full service agency for their public relations needs.
Where’s the best place for people to learn more about your company?
The best way for people to find out about my business would be through my website: www.DeGravePR.com, or by calling me. I love meeting new people and hearing about their business needs. I enjoy partnering and seeing how we can work together to grow our businesses together. I don’t ever take a client that I don’t feel that I can’t help. Calling me is a great way to see if we are a good match.