Nicole Rodrigues is not your typical CEO. She’s a powerhouse founder of two companies, NRPR Group and the Young Dreamers Foundation, as well as the host of the YouTube show, Beverly Hills Boss, and Author of Beverly Hills Boss the book. And yes, Nicole does all of this all while being a great mom.
She’s an award-winning, well-rounded public relations and marketing pro. Her extensive knowledge in bridging the gap between the technology and various consumer industries makes her extremely valuable to her team and clients. She has more than 20 years of experience in PR, social media and digital marketing. Clients that have benefited from her counsel and skill include Heal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Dialpad, Dolby, Yahoo!, MobiTV, Sony Playstation, Plantronics, Hulu, YouTube, M-GO, LA Comic Con, Demand Media (now Leaf Group), and other dominant companies.
Nicole is committed to mentoring junior staff, bringing efficiency to agency programs, and developing strategic PR and marketing communications plans that help clients reach their business goals through maximum exposure.
Nicole prides herself in leading multi-practice digital teams at Bender/Helper Impact, Miller PR, Demand Media, and Voce Communications, prior to starting her firm. Her career also includes managing an international PR team at MobiTV – one of the pioneer solutions for digital & mobile entertainment delivery in the US. She also had a 3+ year stint with the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders, managing player development campaigns and publicity projects for the team and cheering for the team as a Raiderette.
She’s the creator and personality behind “PRactical Guide to Publicity,” an award-winning video series aimed at helping CEOs, CMOs and others understand the true benefits of utilizing PR and digital marketing.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in Public Relations from San Jose State University and is an Executive MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson School of Management – class of 2022.
Where did the idea for NRPR Group come from?
Since college, I knew I wanted to start an agency but I never knew when it was going to happen. I wanted to grow in my profession and create the public relations agency of the future. To make this happen, I got a degree in PR, grew through the ranks, worked for great companies, including the Raiders, MOBITV and at agencies where I represented large brands like YouTube, Hulu, Sony Playstation and more, and implemented all the best practices I learned plus systems I personally created and tested into NRPR Group.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The first thing I do in the morning is try to create a sense of peace of mind. I do this by not looking at my emails the first 30 mins of being awake. I wake up before anyone in my house, so I have that time for myself to get ready for the day. This puts me in the right mental space to be productive throughout the day. I also have a to do list that I keep. I’m on calls from morning until night with clients. Once my calls are finished at night, I take this time to concentrate on editing, messaging and writing because it’s easier to focus once clients are offline for the night. A typical day for me now looks different than before the pandemic. Before the pandemic, I also traveled a lot. Whether it be traveling for client interviews or meetings, I was often out of the office to show support for clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through organization and structure. Everyone has ideas, but not everyone is realistic with time and organization, so they never happen. You have to have a plan, which is why I like to structure things out, so when a plan is being executed, everyone has clear steps to take. When bringing ideas to life, it’s also important to have the right people on board to help with execution. However, it all starts from having plans to help others execute an idea.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is the increased use of video. I love how things are happening around video conferencing and how that’ll impact events in the future. Especially with the pandemic, we’re seeing how important this is. Seeing how small businesses are coming back and using video calls in creative ways is a nice complement to what’s happening around the world. Pre-covid, no one used zoom video, but the pandemic has shown how technology is changing and adapting. I’m currently at UCLA getting my MBA and even though we aren’t allowed in the classroom, I can still see my classmates through Zoom. Seeing how things like this will continue to grow is exciting for me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me more productive is that I put everything that I need to do on a list. For the most part, unless it’s something small, I’ll always assign myself a deadline. Whether it be for work or personally, I always write it down and assign it a date to hold myself accountable. It can be a due date of a day from now or a month from now, but as long as it’s written down, I’ll get it done. Then, as I get things done, I’ll cross them off my to do list. This ensures I’m productive and don’t forget what needs to be done. It also helps me plan out how long I’ll need for something and when I should do it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
One piece of advice I’d give my younger self is to sleep as much as you can, when you can. When you’re older, it’s harder to get the sleep that you need. For me, when I was younger, I was so eager to grow and move up in my career quickly because I was a mom and wanted to do big things. However, I pushed myself early on and none of my bosses stopped me, which in a way was good, but I also overdid it at times. Now, I keep wishing I had slept a little more, so my body had more rest. I have to say that I gave myself good advice. I have no regrets for the way I went through my career because I was always focused and every step I took led me to where I am now. I could have slept more, but it all worked out in the end.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One thing I believe in is that self discipline for junior team members is imperative. There needs to be a certain level of structure and understanding that is important. People should know that there are consequences for bad mistakes. I’m transparent with my team and if something goes wrong, I let my team know. When it comes to self discipline, it comes down to helping team members out, and showing up every day is necessary to have discipline, be productive and healthy. I see how important this is because I’ve taught my daughter these tools growing up. It wasn’t always fun, but now as a college student, she’s thankful for it. She knows how to balance life and work. It may not be fun in the moment, but it definitely pays off. This is the same for the professional world. If you have a boss who doesn’t lead you and gives you leeway to do things any way without instruction, you won’t learn. You’ll have questions and can’t build confidence when you aren’t being given structure, especially in the very beginning. Some people will find this “micromanaging,” but this structure is so important.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Similarly to how I create a list to be productive, I recommend other entrepreneurs do the same. Even if your to-do lists for the day need to be moved around, it’s important that it’s written down and you won’t forget that you need to do it. Even if it takes a while, you make sure you do it. These lists remind me that something needs to be done and hasn’t gotten done. If I’m behind, it’s a reminder for me to tell people that it’s on my list and I’ll still do it. It’s a great way to keep your integrity and promises that you made. If you’re late, communicate with whoever you owe that task to and let them know that you haven’t forgotten.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that’s helping me a lot is having a playbook and clear operations to show members of my team. This has helped my business grow a lot. We have a way of doing things that can be taught. Making weekly reports, and putting together notes is very important in the way that my business works. We’ve created a system around things that makes it easy for team members to know what’s expected of them and help new members get into the system of how the company works. If there’s many ways to get one thing done, then you’re wasting time trying to figure out which way is right. This is why having a playbook helps not only teach new colleagues how things work, but also saves time.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A big failure I’ve had is being too trusting with new clients and giving them too much leeway on paying their retainer fee. My company has lost about $100,000 because of this. No matter what, I know that I have to pay my team, vendors, contractors, and rent on time. This is what being a CEO is about. No matter what, I know that I have to pay everyone. I’ve had to take out personal loans when clients don’t pay. I’d recommend having someone in charge of AR right away and have them chase people for money. It’s unfortunate, but this is something that I wish I had known in the beginning. Now, my company has decent systems in place to ensure we won’t lose more money. Being a business owner means taking risks. If something fails, it’s not only on me, but also my entire life savings. I can’t ask my team to forfeit their salaries if this happens. You have to ask yourself if you’re prepared to do work and not be paid. This has to be a risk you’re willing to take as an entrepreneur.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business that I wish existed was a notetaking company. My team spends a lot of time taking notes and making agendas for clients. If there’s a company that can assign someone to take all notes and create agendas for us, that’d be a huge administrative burden off our shoulders. I would personally subscribe to this and save my colleagues time.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was at the farmer’s market. This is also my Sunday morning activity. I’ll grab $100 cash, which is my way of giving back to local businesses. I go to the market with my daughter and it’s a great way to spend at least an hour together. Every week, this is the best $100 I spend. It helps keep small business owners going and I feel that I’m giving back to the community while also eating healthy.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My team recently started using Monday.com. It helps us track action items and deliverables and the process of the task. If there’s a task that you want someone to do, you can put it into Monday.com and assign it to someone specific. Then, they can track progress about whether it’s in progress, hasn’t been started, whether they need help and more. We use this for the team and it’s been great to help keep track of progress that’s being made.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One of my favorite books that inspired me was “Purpose Driven Life.” Identifying and finding my own purpose motivated me to make sure my daughter did the same. I wanted to ensure that she knew that she’s here for a reason and on a mission. One that only she will know about.
What is your favorite quote?
“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward” – Rocky Balboa
Life is meant to knock you down and test you, but moving forward and pivoting is how you keep going in life.
- Be organized.
- Implement infrastructure if you want to be an entrepreneur.
- Know that no matter how much you plan, there will always be something you’ll have to navigate around. The more best practices you put in place, the more you learn, the more you mitigate those risks and navigate them better.