Remember when your concerns were with those flat-mate what’s-app groups? …with daily reminders from sassy Sarah asking you to ‘wipe the sides down after you’ve finished’?
It’s now your boss at the other end — If you’re lucky!
If you’re working through this overwhelming time, I’m pretty sure your inbox is about to explode but you’re more occupied by the dirty window in front of you that you keep looking out of wishfully at the sun; true story.
What’s app voice notes, Skype and Zoom calls.. Oh how I miss good old fashioned chin-wag interviews in a quaint little London side street, clutching a hot mug of tea.
Well being’s as though we are saving lives here, Katie The founder of Katie Braden PR is finding isolation business as usual “I would usually spend a lot of time at home anyway!” — so with her cat-child and English brekkie by her side, she is here and ready to give you a little insight in to business during covid-19 times, tips and tricks in PR and maintaining a healthy and happy routine.. “set those future goals!”
And with major client contracts with established brands under her belt, Katie is a one-piece power-woman so get comfy on the sofa and let me introduce you!
Katie darling! The joy of social media is that you can see what your friends are up too! (I’ve known Katie for around a year now by the way)Very productive I see! But for those who don’t know, tell us a little about your journey?
Oh gosh let me think.. I’ve been in PR for 6–7 years now, and have been out on my own for almost 5! I had a real ‘old school’ experience, like super intense days of interning and working your way up through the ranks; coffee runs, knowing which brand and size of water bottle to get your boss, the lot. People say, ‘oh like Devil Wears Prada’, and I say, ‘yes, exactly that’.
Yes, I find new media to be very different! But now life has completely turned on it’s head and I can imagine it to be a lot harder for those, particularly if you have just left uni or made the decision to go freelance! But before we dive in to covid-19 territory and it’s affects *sad face* lets talk about some of your highlights since having your own business?
The main highlight is doing what I want, when I want and how I want, and I don’t mean taking a nap or going for lunch, I mean I get to create my clients campaign and strategy ideas, and execute them start to finish. I have a lot of control, which makes ‘creating’ super rewarding when it pays off. When you work for someone else you’re always a slave to the person above you, no matter how good your work is it’s never fully your own, if that makes sense?
Your time is never your own either. I don’t miss sitting in meetings about meetings. Anyone who works in an office will know what I mean! Another HUGE highlight for me is I get to choose my clients. When you work in an agency your clients land on your desk and off you go; make it happen. Since I started my business I promised myself that I would never work with any brand or person I didn’t like or believe in; and I’ve stayed true to that. I’m super passionate and connected to all my clients which makes my job SO much easier.
Yes! That’s what definitely sets you aside from other PR’S, you have a great relationship with influencers and the brands you work with! At event’s you’re always great at networking! I bet it has been hard right now as networking is such a major part of PR. What are you missing most about ‘normal life’ — How would you say you’re struggling right now?
It’s that typical thing of, when someone tells you you can’t do something you want to do it more! In ‘normal life’ I’m very precious about where I spend my energy so during the working week I would usually spend a lot of time at home anyway. But I miss the small things; being able to go out for dinner, grabbing a drink at a bar, going to visit my family. Things you take for granted. I also love going on holiday! Although I have found a way around this by creating a list of the places I want to visit within the UK. It’ll do for now!
I have been doing the same! It’s crucial for your mental health to be looking forward and planning a head. I’m dying to know about your day in the life in quarantine?
I truly believe that routine plays such a key part in a good mindset. If we were constantly doing things based on how we feel, we’d never get anything done. I like do establish my routine and allow it to guide me, so even when I’m not feeling it, I’m still on track. I’m still running a busy business during quarantine, so I still have to get everything done.. maybe it would be different if I wasn’t working. I’ll talk you through it.. I usually get up at around 7–7:30am and make my bed straight away. If it’s left un-made it looks like you’re getting back in it.. I then head straight to the bathroom where I do my morning skincare and brush my teeth. This is where it’s made official.. I’m awake. Then it’s time for coffee; black, always. I sit and spend some time checking emails and checking on all my social platforms in case there’s anything that needs urgent attention. I also check my diary for the day.. so I know what I’m doing. After that I workout, shower and ‘get ready’ for my day. I almost always do hair, make-up and outfit, even if I’m not going anywhere. It makes me feel better, so I do it. Then I sit down and get going with work for the day. I plan everything for my week the Friday before and then at the end of each day so I’ll always have a plan for my day. I’ll break for lunch, then crack on with work all afternoon.
I usually finish working around 5/6pm, which is when I put my laptop away and I try not to touch it until the next morning. Then it’s my time. I’ll go for a walk with my boyfriend at 5:30pm, come home, cook dinner, we eat together and then sit down and watch a film.
At the start of quarantine we decided to watch every Marvel film in order.. so that’s what we’re doing right now. Then we’ll get into bed and read for a little bit. Then its lights out at about 11:30pm.
And that’s it. Sounds super boring, but it’s keeping me sane! Commit and keep motivated, even if you don’t want too!
Routine is what is helping me! I find myself getting occupied but I talk to myself to get moving again! Can you tell us a little about how you are maintaining a good mental health?
A large part of what I do to look after my mental health is to choose where my energy goes and what I deeply care about. I feel anxiety and stress comes from placing care in the wrong things.. at least for me anyway. I regularly reflect on where I’m placing my time/energy and that usually narrows it down so my focus stays in the right places.
Most people who work in my industry would describe it as extremely stressful, as it’s a results based job, sometimes you can feel the stress of your job being constantly on the line.
I truly live by, ‘it is what it is’. You can only deal with what’s in front of you. Stress caused by things out of your control is a waste of energy. Deal with what’s in front of you with the energy and skills you have and that’s all you can do. Be kind to yourself.
I also rely a lot on exercise to keep my mental health in check. I believe that you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind and visa versa. My workout is my time to myself everyday to focus internally and not be governed by my phone or to-do lists. If your focus is outward all of the time, you eventually forget about the inward; this is when burnout happens because you’re not re-fuelling.
So routine, hard work, looking after your self. Try to keep things as normal as possible even as the lockdown may ease, We just have to get on with it with the aftermath too! Can you give us any tips to anyone wanting to go in to PR?
My own personal idea on how to do things, and you can get into it in a million and one ways now a days but don’t give up hope!
. 1) Establish who you want to work with. This can mean people, brands, agencies etc. This way you have some kind of path and goal for yourself as you move into your career
. 2) Double think that communication degree. Personally, I don’t think you need a degree in communication to work in PR. I would skip the debt and get stuck in. Lead with experience first, not with what someone tells you on a course.. And bear in mind, our industry moves so quickly, what you learn in first year won’t necessarily be relevant what you leave
. 3) The world of PR is easier when you know how to navigate it and the people who work in it. Start researching who’s who; I’m talking influencers, press, top PR’s. Fill yourself with ‘people knowledge’, it’ll save you when your boss says, ‘oh you know, *insert name here’.
. 4) If you are going to do any kind of education before getting into it, I would focus on all things digital; graphic design, photoshop, illustrator. Try and think of skills that your colleagues won’t necessarily have, but can benefit from. This is how you’ll get noticed and will speed up your progress.. especially as an intern
. 5) Be prepared to work your way up the ladder. You are going to have to intern. You are not too good to intern. We have all done it. It’s an essential, and if you can throw yourself into it and leave your ego at the door, you’ll learn a hell of a lot.
. 6) Listen and keep your eyes open. When you do get into working, you’ll be working alongside people who’re super experienced. Listen to their conversations, how they navigate, how they interact. Being around these people will teach you a lot just by being there, and paying attention. So be vigilant.
You’re very disciplined and motivated, I suppose you have to be when you get to that point! How do you cope with the work load?
When you work in an agency, you work at capacity. And you have to fit in targets, meetings, time sheets, excel spreadsheets about other excel spreadsheets. Now I work for myself, it’s just me, so it eliminates a lot of the additional work that would suck up my time in an office; so that helps.
I’m also really disciplined with my time and what I know I can and can’t do. My friends and clients all know that I say no to a lot.. not because I’m lazy but because if it’s not necessary I know my time can be spent better elsewhere. That may sound rude but it’s really not, it’s just being honest. The sooner you’re honest about your time constraints, the more focus you’ll have in your working day.
In terms of my own Instagram content and making my PR account relatable and personal, I put a lot of myself into it and that’s purely based off the fact that pictures of me get more interaction than posting coverage or cups of coffee. I noticed that, and figured it would be an important stepping stone in growing my own platform because let’s face it, whether we like it or not, that’s how people judge success these days, right?! At least in the first instance.
My job success is also based on the strong relationships I have with influencers, press and people in the industry, so my Instagram is just another way for me to do that.
So let’s wrap it up with a promising ‘Where do I see myself in 5 years time?’ question..
Right now my goal is to own at least one property.. as we all know getting on the property ladder is damn hard. I will definitely have moved out of London. I always had the vision that my business would grow to around a similar scale that it is now, I have no interest in expanding it further than myself. Having staff and turning it into an agency would take the magic away from what I do so that’s not on the cards.
Instead I’m expanding my investment portfolio, I’ve always wanted to invest in beauty brands so I’m keeping an eye out for those opportunities. I think investing in a company you can then help grow would be super rewarding. And most importantly, I’ll have continued to grow and expand my knowledge as a human. Growth never stops, so that’s a task in itself.
Thank you Katie! Check out Katie’s work at www.katiebraden.co