April 15, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Amanda Lacey, PR and Communications consultant/founder of POPCOM

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I’m originally from the country, and when I finished school I wanted to do PR. I had no idea what it actually was, at my school you really only went to uni if you were going to be a doctor, nurse or a teacher. Embarrassingly I actually used some ancient form of google to look up PR agencies in Sydney and ask to speak to the ‘boss’ and ask them what I needed to study at uni to get into PR (whoever it was that I spoke to at Text100, thank you!).

After a few twists and turns, I ended up in investment banking, working towards a career as an equities analyst, in private equity firm owned by a very successful entrepreneur. I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and helping people put their best foot forward and my boss was supportive of this and given his profile, I had some good exposure to the media industry.

The GFC hit, and it became very apparent banking was not where I wanted to be. Spreadsheets are a boring, I am too much of a social creature. I did feel very comfortable in the storm though, and that is where I felt my skills where best suited; keeping everyone calm, establishing clear and concise communications and managing fall out. I became fascinated in the response of big and small business alike.

I left the private equity firm and moved into an internal communications role at a large, university where I was able to develop my skills and gain great experience in a big team.

During maternity leave with my first child in 2012, I was doing some small consulting jobs developing marketing and communications plans, starting with my husbands law firm. My second child came pretty quickly after the first, and I really needed the flexibility of having my own consultancy. I officially started POPCOM in 2014.

POPCOM provides clients with both the strategic vision and tactical execution required to raise their profile. Now a team of three full time (and growing), a great tried and tested network of designers, videographers and advertising specialist, we deliver outstanding results. Our POPCOM team is known for initiative; we are motivated, diligent and passionate about getting our clients the attention they deserve.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The business process was fairly straightforward, having worked in and around professional service firms I knew what I needed to do in a corporate sense, and most importantly to be successful you need a good accountant and a lawyer. What I did struggle with was IT!

I pulled together a Squarespace website myself, and nutted out a plan on getting my own name out there.

My first press release was for myself was “Generation Start Up: Why Gen Y is leaving the traditional workplace” which landed me a regular spot in the CEO Magazine.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Clients are attracted to us because of my reputation; we have a tenacious attitude to getting results. They stay with us I think because we care. We truely do care about their business and we take practical steps to ensure we are getting the best bang for buck. We treat our clients business’ as if they were our own in a lot of ways. I’m also well connected and an excellent problem solver, as are the members of the POPCOM team.

Understanding how business’ work, and the steps they need to make to get the best out of the internal and external environment is what I am really good at.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

POPCOM’s ability to adapt has been our biggest strength. We offer full-service traditional PR and digital media services, internal communications, social media strategy and execution for brands. Social media has become a larger part of what we do. We don’t take a typical management approach, we really do consider it digital PR and a powerful tool to grow and nurture an organisations community.

Today, we are in a strong position. Digital media has never been hungrier for new content, and organisations want to be featured – we bridge that gap and we do it in a professional and strategic way. I am very enthusiastic for the future.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I have learnt a lot. A lot. I can not stress enough how important it is to have a good lawyer and accountant, who are willing to teach you and work with you as you grow. You need proper employment contracts, client retainers and you also need to know your profit margins if you want to grow.

I used to try to do everything, until I realised all that would get me was exhaustion. Stick to what you are good at and invest in good people to work with you, that will get you the level of quality needed to blow expectations.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I’ve tried a lot, the ones that have made the test of time are Microsoft365 and teams, google drive, Squarespace, Canva and Grammarly.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Books: On writing well, Becoming Michelle Obama. Podcasts: What the flux. Audio Book: Tools of titans, No Filter.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Back yourself and do it.

Where can we go to learn more?