BASED IN: PHILADELPHIA
Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations offers communications services to clients who contribute to a sustainable world and positive change. It is the first certified B Corporation public relations company in the Philadelphia area, meeting comprehensive and transparent social and environmental standards. I began my public relations business in 2002 when I was only 23. As I grew both personally and professionally, I was able to transition my business about 10 years ago to work exclusively with clients who shared my passion for sustainability, health, and general do-good-ness!
I’ve also diversified my business as an author (Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt), blogger, “green living expert,” writer, and social media influencer. Writing is my first passion so it’s been incredibly fulfilling to find outlets for all the stuff in my head!
Do you think you want to start other businesses in the future or do you want to keep growing this one as long as possible? What is the dream?
Public relations is not easy. And it’s not even recognizable from what it was when I started more than 15 years ago. To be in this industry you HAVE to be willing to change and adapt. So I’m always open to new ways to diversify my business and have my hand in different things. I have inventions in my mind and several unwritten books and even some crazy political aspirations – but I’ll be happy as long as I can continue to go for long runs and write about my kids and make enough money to fix things when they break. I can’t imagine ever retiring – just taking a lot of those Viking River Cruises advertised before episodes of Downton Abbey.
Is it important to set goals or is it better to just “go with the flow”? What is your strategy?
I’m pretty go-with-the-flow when it comes to my business, but that’s because of the personal goals I have set for myself. I never wanted my business to grow beyond myself and maybe an assistant, as it’s extremely important to my work/life balance to be able to work from home and have a flexible schedule. My general business goal is to be able to sustain my current lifestyle without compromising my values and integrity. For me, that generally looks like 4-6 solid, like-minded clients at any given time. I need to have time to workout (I’m a fitness freak!), write, and spend with my family. If I ever feel like I have too much or not enough work, I reassess where I am and what I’d need to change to be in a better position. Having my book published was a huge goal fulfilled. Ideally I’d like to be doing more writing than anything else, but helping to spread the word about awesome businesses is pretty sweet too!
What part of your personality helped you the most with your entrepreneurial journey?
I’m probably known best for my honesty. I have no problem making my opinion known. If someone is looking for a PR person who will simply “Yes” them and go along with silly or time-wasting ideas, they probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me. But I think my clients appreciate that I don’t “bullshit” – I want them to succeed and believe I’ve been in this industry enough to know what I am talking about. That said, I will always admit what I don’t know and not try to convince anyone that I’m an expert in, say, car mechanics.
What does success mean to you? What does it mean to “be successful”? Can it ever be fully achieved or is it something that comes and goes?
I think it’s hard for most people to ever fully feel “successful.” For many women it’s a juggling act – in addition to being entrepreneurs we are often parenting, trying to stay fit, keeping up a home, trying to maintain marriages and friendships and some semblance of a social life. I read recently that it’s virtually impossible to be successful without sacrificing some combination of sleep, children, fitness, and/or a social life. I’m not sure that is entirely true – but I can’t tell you the last time I stayed out past 10 p.m. I also read somewhere that success can be measured by how much you are willing to pay for a half pint of organic blueberries at any given time. That is probably most true for me.
Why do you think that female owned businesses are a very small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?
I’ve never needed to look for actual business funding as I’m fortunate to be in a low-overhead business – I literally work from my kitchen table these days. However, it was an extremely long journey to find a publisher to back my book. I don’t think the time it took had much to do with being female, it was just a matter of building my platform and finding the right fit at the right time.
I think part of the problem women have getting funded has to do with ingrained perceptions that keep us from asking for what we want. We have been taught that being strong and opinionated makes us a “bitch.” I’ve certainly been guilty of working for less than I believe I am worth. But we have to go after what we want and demand to be taken seriously – because we do have some of the best ideas!