Having recently established himself as full-time Solo PR Pro, Narciso Tovar of Big Noise Communications has more than 13 years of public relations expertise with a remarkable track record. He considers himself both a teacher and student in external communications and social media, serving both as a mentor and sponge as new ideas are developed. From strategic planning to establishing awareness for various clients, he has earned distinction for his savvy media relations tactics and leadership positioning campaigns.
How and why did you “go out on your own”?
About three years ago, I was heading up the PR efforts for one of the largest homebuilder associations in the country – leading up public awareness campaigns, leadership positioning and crisis management for a variety of personalities and companies. I began Big Noise out of a real desire to handle ‘non industry' clients, taking on a few freelance gigs here and there and actually helping out with the local media relations efforts for Johnette Napolitano as she was touring in support of her solo effort, Scarred. So, when the opportunity to handle the public relations for a NASCAR team based in Dallas – the only one based in Texas and a relatively small outfit – came up, I was intrigued. The owner of the team was a bit of a paradox: a card-carrying Republican that was covered in tattoos and had a mouth like a sailor. There mere fact that he was this little ‘David' in the ‘Goliath' world of NASCAR intrigued me, so I took him on as a client. Big Noise Communications was then made ‘official' out of sheer necessity to have an ‘offsite entity' to serve as this team's agency.
How do you find most of your clients?
Most of my clients have come about through word of mouth and recommendations. Leaving a strong impression on current clients and colleagues has paid in dividends for me in this way. It's like having good karma in business – it's all gravy when you handle yourself with integrity and moxie.
What are some examples of interesting projects you've been able to work on as an independent?
Some of the most interesting projects I'm finding myself involved with are still developing. While I can't say too much just yet, what I can tell you is that I'm in the process of working on a variety of things with folks like Todd Defren, Mary McKnight, David Mullen, Matt Batt and Arik Hanson. Additionally, from being able to work with Big Noise Communications full-time, I've been able to promote the ‘Narciso Tovar' brand a bit more. As such, I've been asked to teach a couple of classes on Social Media and Public Relations to working professionals in the Fall.
What benefits of being independent have you experienced?
Going at it full-time with Big Noise Communications has been a great for a variety of reasons:
- More freedom – Since I'm the one who heads up the company, I'm the one that ultimately calls the shots, establishes methodologies and sets the tone for the brand.
- Greater focus – I'm no longer feeling the pressure to cross-sell services that I'm not as savvy on, nor am I feeling the need to ‘share the love' with different practices in-house. Even though Big Noise Communications handles social media engagements and ALOT of things that fall under the ‘PR umbrella,' that's just it. If we were to be approached with the prospect of doing some email marketing campaigns, print advertising, etc., I can simply pass along the opportunity to a company I can vouch for and trust. The ability to do this is both invigorating and freeing.
- Increased flexibility – If I need to take in a movie in the middle of the day to unwind, I'll do it. If I just want to have a 15-minute ‘just shut up and dance' time in the middle of the afternoon, I make it happen. Moreover, I can be as mobile as I want/need to be.
What do you find to be the biggest challenges?
Going at it full time with Big Noise is still very exciting for me. Being able to contain this excitement and energy in a ‘normal' 9-5 day has been more difficult for me than ever before. Granted, there really are no true 9-5 hours in PR (or, at least, none that I know of); but since I have more than just our clients to consider (I have a company to think about, after all), it's kinda' hard to just turn it off.
What's your favorite “guilty pleasure” that being solo allows you to do?
I can crank up my music to 11 without having to worry about bothering ‘the man' – essentially giving me the ability to ‘Fight the Power' with a lot more ease.
What are some important things to keep in mind to succeed as an independent consultant?
Whether you're working as an independent or starting up your own practice,
you have to always remember three big things:
- Don't take yourself too seriously – the moment you start rolling your eyes, thinking something is beneath you is the moment you've turned into a suit. If people want to work with a suit, they'd go with the big dogs. More than likely, you're not the kind of person that falls into this category. Get your hands dirty and never hold yourself up to being the kind of person that has to be ‘handled' in a certain way.
- Always be in sponge mode – there are so many things that are changing, improving, developing, etc. in communications that you need to always do your best to be reading and learning. I know time is tight, but it will never let up. You've got to make the time.
- Hold on loosely to your passion – to borrow the phrase from .38 Special (loved that song): “If you cling too tightly, you're gonna lose control.” The best kind of passion is one that is free flowing like water – kind of like Bruce Lee. This dude never let his fighting/self defense style get in the way of any one form. He once said that “water can flow or it can crash.” This is why tapping into your passions is so important because it will always be flowing and always ready to crash with ideas, excitement, energy and a desire to share.