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Lemons to lemonade feature #8: Hope Katz Gibbs

Saturday, November 22, 2008
Hope Katz Gibbs, a freelance writer and journalist since 1993, recently left her job as a PR director for a futurist research firm to start Inkandescent Public Relations. She had decided to make this move long before the financial world came crashing down.

She admits that the downturn has impacted her clients who currently include seven entrepreneurs who work in a variety of industries. But this mother of two is staying positive and moving ahead with an upbeat attitude and fresh ideas. Here is her story...

How has this economy affected you, your business and your family?
I picked a great time to start a business, didn’t I? Fortunately, my PR firm focuses on small businesses, mostly women-owned, and at this moment we are all feeling slightly recession proof (knock on wood).

The reason, we stick to our knitting, so to speak, and because we all are sole proprietors — or have only a few employees — we aren’t suffering the way bigger businesses are struggling to get credit or meet payroll. I believe my clients are pretty savvy, and they realize that to keep their businesses growing they need to keep moving forward with their visibility efforts.

How are you making lemonade from lemons?
I am taking my own advice and staying visible, launching my official website this month. In 2009, I plan to roll out a publishing company. And I’m trying to stay very positive.

In high school they called me “Happy Hope”, so my reputation has been that I have a good attitude. It has kept me going through the ups and downs of life. You never know what is around the next bend, so keep moving forward – with a smile, a good laugh, great friends, and a full glass of good chardonnay.

Some of the outreach efforts I am doing on my client's behalf include:

  1. Improving their websites.
  2. Reaching out to reporters with excellent story ideas.
  3. Helping them develop new products (such as books) that build credibility and can eventually get them on the speaker circuit.

Any encouraging words you would like to offer mom entrepreneurs?
Having been a reporter for 25 years, I know from the hundreds of articles that I’ve written that nothing ever stays the same — for any person or any company. (The recent fall of the banking / financial industry painfully proves that point.)

At 44, I look back and think of hours I wasted pouting and worrying. The hard times, I realize now, were truly stepping stones that moved me along my path. Even though some of those times were truly the pits (like getting left at the alter in 1991), they made me stronger and showed me that I could count on myself. That has been the most precious gift.

Now, instead of fretting, I choose to work hard, surround myself only with people that I truly like, and simply enjoy the ride. Money is great, but like my dad always said, “Money is round, it rolls away and it rolls back.” Knowing that perennial truth makes it easier to deal with the stinky times.

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