Published on November 19th, 2019 | by Marilyn Reles0
The Journey to My Female Entrepreneurship
Hi! My name is Marilyn Reles and I founded a successful public relations firm called Present PR. I’m here to tell you what being a female entrepreneur means to me.
Being a female entrepreneur means early mornings. Late nights. Work on the weekends. Lots of coffee. And complete, irreplaceable freedom. But I can only speak from my experience. I would never speak on behalf of another female experience because every woman is on her own path. The best that I can offer you is what entrepreneurship means to me and why I think it’s the best thing since sliced gluten free bread.
Taking the time to celebrate women in business, specifically their own business, is incredibly important. Society has made so much progress; this in mind, we still have a long way to go. I wasn’t raised to be an entrepreneur. Classes on “How to start your own business” were not offered to me. The thought to launch a firm had never even crossed my mind. The catalyst to my entrepreneurial mindset happened in my early 20’s when I made the decision to become a recording artist. I didn’t realize it at the time but, I was actually launching a business. And that business was me. Did I have great instincts? Yes. Did I know what I was doing? Absolutely not. Was I going to do it anyways? 100% yes. And did I make mistakes? Oh yeah. And at its very core, this wasn’t far off from my internal dialogue prior to launching Present PR. The only difference was, I definitely knew what I was doing this time.
See, the thing about being an entrepreneur is, the journey doesn’t just start as soon as you establish an LLC or create a Facebook business page. I’ve been on this journey my entire life. And I firmly believe that this applies to all entrepreneurs. Every single applicable skill, heartbreak, passed class and failed class manifests itself into everything from your mission statement right down to the name of your business.
I can talk about what it means to me to be an entrepreneur all day long. But if you want me to talk about what it means to be a female entrepreneur? Well, that’s an entirely different conversation. When women prove an ability to think independently of societal constructs, they encounter a multitude of doubt from society. It’s also important to remember that women of color have it even harder.
Working for myself is the result of 10+ years of juggling waitress jobs with acting gigs and self-booked tours. On top of this I took on internships to learn more about the business, managed artists, booked shows, and worked PR for myself as well as other artists. I took a PR gig in LA followed by another one in NYC. And finally, launched my firm – Present PR – in June of 2019.
The life experience leading up to this point was riddled with harassment, ridiculing, mansplaining (oh yes, I said it), being ripped off and taken advantage of by “music industry experts”, being talked over in board rooms, being told that how I ‘feel’ was irrelevant, asking if I was the secretary or assistant, being brought on as a ‘partner’ when in actuality, it was assumed I’d fall into an assistants role, etc. I have applied for job after job at record labels, management companies…the list goes on and on. I failed. A lot. I also had massive wins. But the crap that I’ve had to put up with for being a disciplined, driven woman who often out shined her male counterparts, is countless. I won’t sit here and say that it was all bad. Trust me, I met and worked with a lot of wonderful people who treated me with respect. That said, the female-specific adversity I faced is talked about way less than all of the positive aspects of my journey. As women, we’re conditioned to smile – not to talk about the bad. But I think that women should speak up more, talk about money more…you know, all of the things society discourages.
It’s important I note that, when I launched my firm, I was lucky. I had a support group of bad ass women around me telling me that “It’s about time!” and “You’re going to be great at this!”. Had I not had that, I would have started my business anyways. But having that was incredibly nice and made the entire process much less daunting! I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have a support group of strong women and/or female-identifying friends around you.
At the end of this year I will hit the 6 month mark since launching my PR firm. I specialize in music PR for Hip Hop, Pop, Indie Rock, and EDM artists. I’m also working with an incredibly innovative TV series right now! I make my own hours and I stick to them. I enjoy getting up in the morning. I enjoy working from home! I enjoy working late. I enjoy working weekends (most of the time). But most of all, there is joy. And I didn’t truly have prior to starting my business. I outgrew every company I worked for and received a lot of push back for it. Had I known that it was because I was meant to be my own boss this entire time, the journey would have been much easier for me.
Being the CEO of my own company is the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the best gift I ever could have given myself. It’s my baby. I’m 31 years old and I have no kids, and I’m fine with that. I think that the energy I would channel into a baby is instead being channeled into a small PR firm full of incredibly talented clients whom I absolutely adore.
What does it mean to be a female entrepreneur? For me it’s joy. It’s freedom. It’s safety (I’m not going to fire myself!). It’s an opportunity for me to let my work shine without somebody taking the credit. It means being heard in board rooms. It means paying myself! It means self-love.
My only real regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.
To learn more about Present PR, visit my website at: https://www.presentpr.biz/ and follow me on IG @presentmediapr