Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for 20 years and runs Cyber PR, a dynamic social media and content strategy company based in New York City. She has spoken in 12 countries and is the author of four books on social media, two of which have hit number one on Amazon. Her newest book Crowdstart: The Ultimate Guide to a Powerful and Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign comes out on October 25th and is available on Amazon. I recently caught up with Ariel to get her perspective on her own entrepreneurial journey…
Your career has spanned more than 20 years from a publicity director at a live music venue in Colorado to founding Cyber PR and specializing in working with creative entrepreneurs. Please tell us how this evolution came about in getting to where you are now?
My career evolution has deeply aligned with my passion and my interest in growth. I am a creative entrepreneur at heart and I feel closely connected with other creatives. When I first started my agency as a traditional PR firm, I served the music industry and musicians exclusively because I had an obsession with music and I couldn’t imagine spending my time in any other field. As the years went by and both the music industry and the media landscape started radically shifting it forced me to look for viable solutions so that I could keep producing results for my clients. Out of necessity and a deep desire to be as helpful to my clients I became an early adopter in the social media marketing space and my first book Music Success in 9 Weeks raised my profile as an educator and speaker. As time passed, I realized I had garnered a lot of knowledge that could help fellow founders and entrepreneurs across the board, not just from the music industry. As a second-generation female business owner, I feel a deep sense of pride and a responsibility to share what helped me get here with other women. After being in a male dominated industry for so long, I began to network and join communities that were female oriented and my client base shifted again. Today my agency, Cyber PR, serves half musicians and music industry related clients and half female entrepreneurs.
How has the public relations (PR) business evolved over that time?
The PR world has changed radically from when I started as a PR intern back in 1989. The death of newspapers and magazines and rise of blogs and social media have been major catalysts. Another disruptor is the sheer number of publicists to journalists — according to the US department of labor, there are now 4.6 publicists to every one journalist. This completely unbalanced reality inevitable creates disappointments on both sides. This has forced the publicity industry to adapt and focus on providing other services that are not straight up “PR” as defined historically — which is a good thing as social media, branding, and other important things need to be added to the mix.
Your new book, Crowdstart is a guide to executing powerful crowdfunding campaigns. How viable is the crowdfunding channel for entrepreneurs seeking capital and what is the single most important thing they need to consider before pursuing this avenue of fund raising?
I believe crowdfunding is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and your community because you are inviting people along to join you on your journey. All entrepreneurs should consider crowdfunding to launch their next dream.
The single most important thing is this: No crowd, no crowdfunding. It takes effort to build and maintain an online presence, and you can’t neglect your crowd once you have taken the time and trouble to gather them. Your emotional connection with your crowd is essential way before you launch your crowdfunding campaign and you need to have consistently published owned content before you pursue any type of crowdfunding campaign.
If you could go back to when you started Cyber PR, what would you do differently knowing what you know now?
This lesson took me 15 years to learn. When I had a wrong-fit client I’d suffer trying to satisfy them. I would try to do anything to make these clients happy. But, it turns out there are some people who will complain in heaven, so it didn’t matter how hard I tried, how many extra hours I put in, or how often I would try to prove myself. I learned that sometimes you just have to fire yourself. Sometimes you get into a relationship and it’s not ideal for whatever reason — they are unhappy or you are unhappy. If this is happening get out. Do this with grace: send the money back, and take responsibility. Once you do, you will be able to replace this unhappy client with a much better one.
What is the single most important piece of advice you received along your entrepreneurial journey?
This came from one of my mentors, expert business coach Julie Flanders, and this advice is an exercise you can try if you feel like your enthusiasm has waned or you want a fresh perspective.
Think of the best things that ever happened to you in your career and ask yourself: what is the essence that you were feeling when those things happened — why exactly was that time so good for you? Don’t focus on accomplishments or achievements, those are great, but not necessary for this advice to be powerful. Focus only on the essence – joy, satisfaction, happiness, fun, etc.
Next think about how you can bring that back to your current daily life and make it so! That was the best piece of advice because now at any given moment I can ask myself a simple question: does this bring me joy? And if the answer is no, I know what needs to be done to shift back to a place where work feels better immediately.
At Biz zealot, we have what we call The Takeaway. Ie., It is the best piece of takeaway advice you would have for an aspiring entrepreneur. What is your takeaway advice?
Be adaptable! Adaptable entrepreneurs are successful entrepreneurs. Adaptability requires patience and it’s all a journey: growing a business is a journey. Becoming known online and offline is a journey, identifying your brand, your story and your niche is a journey and to stay on the journey adaptability is the best roadmap you can have.
Download a complimentary chapter of Crowdstart at: ArielHyatt.com
Follow Ariel on Twitter @CyberPR