Olivia Pearson: Behind Her Brand with the Social Publicist

Meet Olivia Pearson, The Social Publicist. Pearson works with innovators looking to launch new ideas, services, and products. She uses social media and media placements to build credibility, trust, and awareness for new CEOs, creative entrepreneurs, and hometown heroes.

Big or small, Pearson positions her clients to show up in the world the way they want to be seen. After working at corporations like Ford Motor Company, DTE Energy, and FCA Chrysler, she identified what makes people buy into brands, trust authority figures, and position executives for power.

Olivia Pearson

How did you get started in your industry?

I began working at an energy company (DTE Energy) fresh out of college. I helped with communications and media relations during the pre-production and grand opening of a new public park (Beacon Park) in Detroit’s Southwest corridor.

Growing up, did you imagine being an entrepreneur?

Always. People called me bossy all the time, but I knew I just wanted to do things a certain way… and that didn’t include working for someone else or playing by the “traditional” set of rules.

In the beginning stages of developing your brand/business, what was your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?

My biggest struggle was navigating the PR landscape and garnering clients. People want to see what you’ve done before they choose to work with you, and only time can do that. I was new on the scene searching for someone brave enough to bet on me.

Do you feel like you are pursuing purpose? If so, how did you know this was your purpose?

Olivia Pearson, The Social Publicist
Photo: Olivia Pearson

My purpose is to help people fulfill their dreams. When people ask me what I do, I jokingly say that I make dreams come true. I’m an executor who knows a little bit of everyone. I have a natural skill set that makes me great at what I do, but if I weren’t helping people in this way, I’d, sure enough, be doing it another way. My line of work naturally aligns with how my brain works. All of my internal curiosities are wrapped up in the strategies I develop for my clients. And together, we produce the answers.

Please tell us about The Social Publicist?

The Social Publicist was developed out of my need for a job/internship opportunity while in college and has grown to be an agency where I can bring my full self to the table. It is a boutique PR agency that serves public figures with a purpose, hometown heroes making an impact, and small businesses ready to scale.

What is the best part of The Social Publicist? What keeps you motivated to keep going?

The best part of The Social Publicist is the relationships and diverse work I get to do. In Michigan, many companies get roped into the automotive industry and sort of stay there because of our economy. But this year alone, I’ve been able to work with budding entrepreneurs, a few production companies starting a streaming service, Olympic Champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Airbnb, Visa, and even work on set for a NIKE commercial. The endless possibilities of life-changing experiences keep me excited to grow and develop my company.

As an entrepreneur myself, I understand that sometimes personal life can get in the way of business. Have you encountered any personal hurdles that could have or did result in a business pivot?

It’s always hard to juggle the two – I often sacrifice personal relationships, time spent on vacation, and other family events because my industry does not sleep. Being a service-based business, I have learned to set firm boundaries with the people I serve and others in my life. Being strict and precise about where I dedicate my time is crucial.

During these times, we’ve all had to adjust. How was this adjustment been for you and your brand?

I’ve adjusted to operating more intentionally. The systems I’ve set up this year help me prepare for the year ahead and narrow down what type of jobs I’m accepting and what that means for my team and me. How are we bringing in new clients, retaining our favorites, meeting new income goals, and leaving room to grow?

How did starting your brand affect your mental health?

I used to work a ton of corporate jobs. I cried at almost all of them – in the bathroom, on my lunch, and at my desk. Either, I was always the only Black person, millennial, or woman in my workspace where I felt attacked, alienated, and unwelcome. My business has allowed me to choose a team that not only champions teamwork and diversity but cuts out the nasty psychological corporate politics.

What’s the difference between the woman (you) before starting the brand and the woman (you) right now?

The woman I was before The Social Publicist was foolishly cocky and all about income. Now, the woman I am has more grace for people and understands the value of environment, integrity, grace, and discipline. As a result, I work out of a less selfish place internally. I’m more relaxed and confident. I move with ease and am genuinely interested in knowing how I can be a better me for others.

What are some tips for Business/Brand Owners to avoid feeling burnt out and taking care of their mental health?

Set boundaries!! Take stock of how you want to live your life. It’s not that you’re doing too much; it’s that you’re not doing enough of the things that make you happy. You’re doing too much of the things that you genuinely don’t enjoy doing. Translate that into your work. Stop taking demanding clients, stop stressing over things you can’t control. Spend money on experiences instead of goods. Don’t fold for anyone. You’ve sacrificed enough as is.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?

Believe in yourself and ask for help. Sometimes our ego stops us from doing these things. Know you’re good enough and you can make it happen. If you’ve thought of something, that means you can execute that vision. It wasn’t given to you for no reason. Understand it will take time and that you will need to be consistent.

Lastly, what keeps you strutting?

Knowing that I’m building a workplace where communicators of color have a chance to learn and feel accepted is what keeps me struttin’. The Social Publicist is bigger than me – it’s the smiles on my clients’ faces, the pride in my employees’ work, and the impact we make on peoples’ lives that keeps me struttin. It feels good to add more love into the world where people are valued over what they can offer you.

Connect with Olivia Pearson

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