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Meet Sarah Shabbar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Shabbar.

Sarah, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my business while I was still in college studying journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and minor in Communication Studies. I was 19 at the time and wanted to get some real-world experience. I was eager to take what I had learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world scenarios. I had no idea how to run a business or how to charge prices, so what I did was create a list of my strengths and used that to my advantage. My strengths were always in writing and communicating. I have a natural charisma in working with people and watching them excel, so I started pitching myself as someone that could help enhance someone’s brand and became completely adaptable to what business owners actually needed. I strayed from traditional means of PR and became more of an overall brand manager, utilizing my strengths in writing and communicating to the public.

After I had graduated, I landed a brief stint in a Public Relations Agency where I worked with some big brands but found myself dealing with health issues that made me reassess my whole career goals. After quitting the PR Agency, I told myself that I would take some time off to just take care of my health and explore my next steps, however, after one day of quitting my job, I got a phone call from a small business owner that said they needed my help. The spark lit again, I thought to myself, “I think I could really do this” and so I did. It wasn’t always an easy path, I had to stay extremely disciplined and find ways to make money when I was short with the rent or paying bills. Even now, I still struggle, but I liked the concept of creative flexibility and being challenged to adapt to different business owner’s styles. After quitting my PR job, I worked on my business part-time and allowed myself to explore my talents.

I worked part-time at different places, mostly sales and customer services to learn how to better organize my time, see what customers were seeing and become more disciplined with creating a workflow with my business. My business has evolved over time. At first, I was doing a lot of campaigns for different business owners on social media, helping them create content and whatnot. Now, I serve as mostly a consultant for a business, providing them with the best advice possible on how they can employ unique tactics for their business alone. What I mostly like about having my business is being able to utilize my various talents. While I am mostly working on my business, I am currently in graduate school, studying journalism and focusing my thesis work on homeless women. Moreover, I am also a writing teacher. However, everything I do revolves around my two loves, which are communicating and writing. That is the cool thing about being a business owner, I don’t feel the need to reduce myself to one speciality and can provide myself in multiple avenues when opportunities arise.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all, I still struggle. One of the cool things about having a business is the flexibility, but you have to be extremely disciplined and sometimes, if there is too much on my plate at once, I can make silly mistakes and not organize my time wisely. There is no one to blame for any faults, but me. When I make a mistake, it directly affects me, and I have had to be extremely self-aware of my weaknesses and work on them. When I first started my business, I used to be really bad at keeping track of my time, I still somewhat struggle with this. I also had a really hard time managing my finances, so I had to get real about the things I was weak in and find ways to work on it.

I became radically honest about my weaknesses and had to learn to become very vulnerable. I found that while my business could do great in some months, going to grad school would put me behind in some aspects, so I had to take up other jobs as well and not be ashamed because my vision of what I want to do for myself is always greater. So in short terms, learning to be vulnerable and real with myself was one of the struggles I had to overcome. Another struggle I had to overcome was learning to better communicate. I thrive myself as a communication queen, yet, I would take so many things as personal from my clients. I had to learn how to be better at communicating and not taking things so personally.

That was really hard for me because when I would take things personally, it was always a fear to my overall wellbeing. As a freelancer, you rely on your income from each client, if something happens and you can’t see eye to eye, that could be your rent for the month, so I not only had to be better about communicating from the very beginning but setting strict boundaries for myself and seeing what my clients were seeing when we had different perspectives.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
I serve as a manager for my clients. I provide overall brand management to my clientele with an emphasis on communication and writing. Anything that is on the front end typically gets managed by me. I see their vision through and make sure they are aligned with the right customers/clients at all times. I specialize in helping my clients with brand partnerships, management, and more day to day tasks where they need to communicate with their customers. I also specialize in helping boost their overall PR and Branding. I have done projects where I have gone in and just trained clients’ employees on how to better utilize their LinkedIn or going through a clients’ business plan and seeing where they can improve their communication efforts.

For me, it’s all about putting the best foot forward from a visual and written perspective. When my clients hire me, they hire someone adaptable, and that is what I am most proud of. You will always get someone who is radically honest about the direction your business needs to take and I will not waste any time, just because I may be able to bill some hours. I once had a client urge me that he needed to boost ads on Instagram, but after learning his customer, they weren’t on Instagram, so I created a more adaptable approach and found that his customers landed on his site. I then went on to create blog posts for him, create a better website approach, etc. For me, it’s all about listening to my clients and pushing them to go with what is best for their business.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Showing up to everything in my life has provided good luck. I am so open and adaptable, so I am always open to other possibilities and ideas. That is how I choose to live my life. There have been times where I have gone somewhere to just learn something new and ended up walking out with a completely different perspective that I hadn’t thought about before. Being openly minded has to lead me to reach more success than I ever thought I would achieve and things are just getting better.

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Image Credit:
Angelica Marie Photography, David Blumenkrantz

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