Girl Talk with RheaElisia (@rheaelisia)
I got a chance to speak to one of the best publicist I know RheaElisia who started her Public Relations Agency at 17 and is now a Momtreprenuer. During this interview this Harlem Native brought professionalism, sass, and a whole lot of realness as she took us through her journey from a high school student with a dream to a full time mom and a full time boss. We see through her success how to get through unsure days, and how to understand that what’s for you is for you! Keep reading to learn more about Rhea and how she became such a #girlboss!
What drove you to the entrepreneur lifestyle?
I started this business in 2007 but I always knew I wanted to be in PR and brand development more so because of the ideation aspect of it and seeing I have a passion of seeing things come to fruition. From the smallest inception to the largest, my real fulfillment comes from taking something from nothing to something and that’s in all aspects of my life. What helped me was understanding your passion early on, understanding your purpose early on. Not everybody is meant to be the superstar celebrity, or have the personality but even those people have people that they need.
What are some of the challenges you faced at the beginning of starting your business?
One, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to call the business. However, it was just me so I operated under the Rhea Elisia Co. which is my full first name. I also knew that no one would wake up and file that name because it was my name. So finding a name and licensing ended up being one of the last things I did.
At what moment were your skills and abilities put to the test?
For me, it was always about pulling people together and having the biggest and best events. Eleven or Twelve years ago my mom and I were supposed to go on vacation for my birthday. Literally two days before, my mom gets a call and has to stand in for a professor at the school she taught at. We happened to be on the highway and we drove past a boat and I told her “Well if we can’t go on vacation, I want to have a party on a boat.” She thought I was joking. “What 16-year-old needs a boat party and how the hell do you think you are going to pay me back for this boat party” she said. I think this was her way of testing my capabilities. I kept saying to her, even if you put the money up, I’m going to give you your money back. I kid you not my birthday was June 14th, June 11th is the day we planned this party. We tapped into everyone we knew. Had the craziest $50 tickets, and 15 and 16 year olds were buying these tickets. When I tell you not only did I give my mom back her money plus some, I had another party the following month for the people who couldn’t fit on the first boat.
How did you prepare your mindset to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been ahead of my time, not in a boasting sense, but in larger vision sense. For me everything bigger is better. Even prior to Instagram coming out, I’ve always been big on visuals. People don’t know, in spare time when my friend who works with Netflix, when they need a spare props designer they call me. I like nice things, I like pretty things. People take pictures of food and table settings for Instagram because it’s a thing, but I really set my table every night beautifully for me and my family to sit down. I believe in if you do small things great, you’ll do big things great. If you skip out on small things it becomes a habit and then you skip on everything. I operate how I know I learn and do everything top notch. My mindset just operates on everything needs to represent who I am and what I believe in no matter how big or how small.
How do you get through the rough days?
I think as entrepreneurs we feel the rough days more because we don’t have that backing or that support that corporations have spent years creating. People have this mindset that in order to be an entrepreneur you can never have a job. NOT TRUE. Whenever there was a struggle period, I made sure that any job I did go get, benefitted me and my entrepreneurship journey. Whether it was within the industry, whether it was something I liked about the moral of the overall company and I wanted to know something about it or it was a little espionage going on with a place that I admired throughout the years. I also made the promise with myself to never get so caught up in a job that I no longer had time to chase my passion. Having an end goal, getting to that goal and moving on is very important. Being uncomfortable is how you grow.
How do you wrap your mind around the changes or having to improving your business through re-branding?
For me it came with becoming a mom. I was so caught up in my clients and my business, the only time I had to look from the outside in was when I became a mom. I worked until I was ready to pop. My expectations were very unrealistic when it came to what a mom meant for my life. I thought I would be down for a coupe weeks and be able to get right back into work because I’m the best at what I do. Life said oh no baby girl it doesn’t work like that! There are always new projects, new publicist and there is a constant question of how to stay afloat and how to stay competitive but once you have a baby those things are no longer first priority. Do what you need to do for you and your family, and ease back into the business with a new lens. So post re-branding I move different. I have boundaries and I don’t allow the business to take over my life anymore.
How would you describe the perfect client?
There is no perfect client. Your relationship with your client is no different from a relationship with a spouse, friend or family. There will always be different views, they went one route, you got here another route. But the key is the willingness to listen and learn, and acknowledge what it means for you to make the decision to hire me because you don’t know everything. Its also important when a client understands that I am human and I have a family, and I get sick. I operate from the things you give and as long as the relationship is give and take and not take and take everything can go well.
What kind of self-care do you implement as a woman and girl-boss?
My mani, pedi, hair, walking around in TJMaxx or Homegoods. Anything that keeps me from having to work in that moment. I have a child under 2. I want to be with him most of the time. We just relocated, we are learning the area. Sometimes I just want to be with my family. Its important to set boundaries. Self-care for me is announcing a couple weeks ago that I will no longer be working on Saturdays and Sunday and not taking calls after 7pm. Those days belong to me and my family, and after 7pm me and my family are eating dinner and winding down. That’s my self-care.
What are some of your business goals before the year ends?
Within the agency itself, during the rebrand we added a business development aspect. So just promoting that service to help clients with ideation, cultivation, and public relations. Now that we can take a business from beginning to end has really been helping clients. We are also adding a beauty industry service where we assist them in getting work in a way different than traditional unions. We want to be a small business outlet who supports all businesses. The goal is to offer many services under one umbrella without boxing in our capabilities.