How Does One Start an Independent Agency?

USE THIS ONE_andreaAnswers to this headlining question will, of course, vary by agency.

For one executive’s perspective, we recently spoke to Andrea Werbel, founder and general manager of Manhattan hospitality-focused agency Parasol, to learn more about what she does–and how she got there.

Some key quotes:

What inspired you to go independent and start your own business?

My company found me in a sense. A former boss had been teaching at the Cornell PR School and invited me to talk to his class about hotel PR before encouraging me to explore opening up my own company. I’ve always been adventurous, so I thought: if it fails, I could just get a job somewhere else.

What is your day-to-day like, and have your responsibilities changed in the digital age?

I’m old school: I like to pick up the phone and talk to people, and I like handwritten notes and good manners. I value relationships. Some agency bosses just tell employees to ‘Sit at your desk and work,’ while I say we need to score one-to-one meetings with journalists whenever possible.

What advice do you have for prospective employees or young people trying to break into the communications field like you did?

Our business is dissecting media, and I can’t stress the importance of consuming that media enough. Being savvy at media relations requires years spent reading about the industry in which you work. It also develops your ‘nose for news.’ It’s something I value very much.

Check out the full interview here (no subscription required).