Our readers want to get to know you first, tell us about YOU what is your story?
Hi! My name is Charlotte Shaff and I am a WAHM (I work at home) and run my own PR and Social Media business. I am a mom to the cutest boys ever, Jake, age 10 (going on 11 in September) and Eric, age 9. I am married to John, a Physician Assistant, who I met while attending an Arizona Cardinals games. In fact, his season ticket seat was right next to mine. Crazy, right? I absolutely love working in PR and use my skills to help our school’s PTO with communications, along with supporting nonproﬁts and others when I am able to ﬁt it in. I am also a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in 2018 and while the scars are healing, the mental elements of going through the disease will stick with me forever.
Now lets talk business, what do you do? Have you always wanted to have your own business- what inspired you to go down this journey?
I am the owner of The Media Push, LLC. I started the business in August 2005 after many years working in TV news/promotion as a producer and writer and then stints in community relations for a government agency, an advertising agency and media relations for Fiesta Bowl events. I believe I was destined to work for myself. I was raised on a farm and tree nursery business that my parents ran and owned. I always knew I wanted to be in something that helped promote others. Growing up in the 80s, I felt empowered by women wearing power suits and going after their dreams to be an executive or owner of a business. For example, Angela from “Who’s The Boss.” I was attracted to working in TV and went to Central Michigan University with a Broadcasting major and Advertising minor. I still wasn’t sure exactly what I would do for a living though. That is until I found my first internship. It was in the Promotion department of a TV station. Wow! Promotion. That is what I want to do! It is the perfect mix of advertising and TV. I loved being behind the scenes and using my creativity and skills to get viewers to watch the station. After I graduated CMU I discovered it was not easy to find a job in TV and all the jobs paid really poorly. I’m talking $12-15k a year. But I did not want to give up.I worked in many restaurants/bars and started working at a TV station in Grand Rapids, MI. I was hungry and knew the right job would happen eventually. And it did. I spent about a year at WZZM as promotion producer and writer. But I was sick of the cold in Michigan. So I sent my resume tapes to all the warm weather TV stations who were hiring for a promotion producer. I found a job in Phoenix, Arizona and I’ve never looked back. While I loved the energy of working in TV news after a couple years I felt disgruntled with some elements of what I was doing. I focused a lot of work on news topicals and what do you see when you see a tease for the 10pm news? Fear and Sensationalism. I couldn’t do it anymore. So I decided to leave and that is when I was able to hone my other skills in media relations, community relations and advertising as I shared above. But I was not satisfied. I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to help people who needed exposure in the media who couldn’t afford a hefty agency retainer but had great info and services to share. I quit the ad agency job, took a 10 day trip to Europe with pretty much all the money had and came back refreshed and inspired. Istarted slowly by helping a few businesses and nonprofits. I was doing everything, marketing, event planning and PR. But I quickly learned I really liked the media relations element of what I did. I loved to pitch. I knew what a journalist needed because I was on that other end in TV. What makes a great story? What advice can a client share to complete a bigger story or trend? Luckily in the PR world here in Phoenix there are many solo PR practitioners who focus on specific elements in the industry. We started to network and get to know each other, help each other and it was so helpful. If I was approached by someone with a tech company, I knew that wasn’t my cup of tea, but I knew another person who would love it. I created a niche of helping local small businesses in the Phoenix area. I have clients in many different fields and the majority are “evergreen” with topics and expertise or services/products. For example, I promote a group of auto repair shops that are local/family-owned and they are all very committed to helping their communities. We not only share advice to keep drivers safe, but support local single moms who are working to get an education to better their lives. I also love to work with restaurants because that industry will always hold a special place in my heart. I have been inspired for the past 15 years in PR because I can align with other PR pros and agencies to help other businesses/nonprofits get exposure in the media. It is cheesy, but we are all in this together! Especially when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So many people came to me with inspiration and support. My clients were amazing. The other survivors before me inspired me to not let a stupid disease identify me. Instead, it has just given me more of a drive to help others and love others.
What advice do you have for moms who want to start a business?
Life is full of lessons, what has this quarantine taught you?
It has taught me that I am not a mom who can do it all. None of us can be spread so thin that we have to wear all these hats as an educator, a business owner, a housekeeper, etc and a wife and mom. BUT, we can get through it. Every morning you wake up is a new day to ﬁnd appreciation in something. Be grateful. Find positivity. Get inspired! Also, if I can get through breast cancer, I can get through COVID! We are survivors!