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Leveraging PR To Grow Your Business with Nicole Dunn

My guest is Nicole Dunn. I want to be completely transparent with you. Nicole was a relationship that I reached out to, to get a couple of guests that you're going to hear from or have heard from already on Get WealthFit.
I started thinking, “Why don't I have you on the show because I am learning how to connect with influencers? I am learning how you create solid relationships.” I said, “We've got to have you on the show.”

If you're just getting to know Nicole Dunn, she comes from Hollywood. She was a former senior level television producer and she had done a lot of shows, a lot of awards. She’s an incredible mover and shaker and found a niche in the health and wellness arena. We're not talking health and wellness now, per se. We're talking about how she has changed her mindset, how she has shifted her business, and how she connects with influencers.

For business owners and entrepreneurs or aspiring ones, how do you leverage PR to make a name for yourself? How do you leverage PR to grow your business? I'm personally interested, and I thought you would be interested as well as on how do you connect with influencers. How do you not completely get nervous? How do you get your foot in the door?

This can be applied in so many different areas of life and in business. In this particular episode, we talk about that PR, her tips, her best strategy, and storytelling. If you're looking for how to create a pitch, if you're looking to explain yourself succinctly, you're going to love this episode. If you remember The Man Show, she had her hand in working in The Man Show and being on The Man Show.

We also talked about an abundance coach, which is a new thing for me. I hadn't heard about it. Being from Florida, I chalked this up at first to, “This is a California thing?” because they are very open to these concepts. I appreciated that in the context of money and it was a fancy label, a marketing label, if you want to call it that. For a coach, for a mentor, for someone that challenges you to create more money in your life, and what we do here on the podcast and at WealthFit, it’s an interesting term. There's real insight there. Maybe you have heard of this and it was just new to me, but the abundance coach insight on how to create, shift your mindset to attract more into to your life, and to create more was a very fascinating and interesting piece.

Talking about influencers, how do we connect? What's the angle? What's the story? How do we be of service? How do we be of value is what we talk about? The one last thing that will get you excited is how Nicole has sold herself in life. This in an amazing confident way, meaning that having the faith that maybe you don't have the skill set. I know this isn't for everyone but if you have that belief that, “I'm a pretty smart guy. I'm a pretty smart girl, I can go Google this. I can go talk to somebody. I can figure this out,” having that belief in yourself and saying yes to that because people are looking for solutions at the end of the day, you're in business, you're an investment, people want yes.

I'm not saying lie. Don't get me wrong, we're not advocating that but the belief in yourself and you'll see this time and time again as a theme in this episode with Nicole and how that got her foot in the door. There are some valuable lessons to be gleaned for that. Pay extra close attention to this episode.

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Dustin
We are with Nicole Dunn. I’m super excited, Nicole. Thanks for being here. 
Nicole
Thanks for having me.
Dustin
I've heard you call your dog, Poncho, a pseudo child puppy. You've got to elaborate. 
Nicole
I married late. I met my husband when I was 35 and I wanted to have a child. Then years went by and I developed my business and the course of where I was going has changed. I married somebody who is 30 years older than I am. People say to me like, “30 years old, he must be in a wheelchair and a walker.” He's one of the most successful Grammy winning record producers out there. He is very active. He skis, he bikes and he hikes. He got me a dog and my friends teased me and said, “It's like your pseudo child because you guys never had children.” The dog is eight years old and he is like my kid. That's where that came from.
Dustin
Everyone loves a great love story. How did you meet your husband?
Nicole
I did a story for the New York Times called Love in the Air with myself and my husband. I submitted our story, which is going to be in the New York Times. I met him on an airplane coming back from a girl’s trip to Nashville. I had come off of working at Dr. Phil. I drank a lot of champagne that weekend. I was the last to board the plane. The woman looked at my ticket and said, “You don't have a seat assignment.” I said, “What are you talking about? I am not staying in Nashville. I want to be in my own bed.” She said, “There are no seats left on the plane.” I said, “Please go check and see what seats you have.” She came back and said, “I have one seat in the back of the plane,” which is my worst nightmare. I hate being in the back of the plane. She said, “It's in between two very handsome gentlemen.” I said, “Perfect, I'm single.”
I sat in between the two men, the one to my left and the one to my right. The one to my left was the older gentleman that I ended up marrying. The one to my right was a 22-year-old going to film school at USC. I talked to the one to the right for half the flight and I switched because he had asked me a question, “What were you doing in Nashville?” I told him and I said, “What were you doing?” He said, “I was producing an artist there.” He was like, “You can Google me.” I was like, “We're going there.” I said, “Who did you go with?” He leaned back and he said, “I went with my partner.” I automatically assumed that he had said partner because that was his partner, not a business partner because he didn’t say business partner. I looked and I saw another older gentleman and I said, “They are together.” I thought, “I can talk to this guy the whole flight. It's harmless.”
When we got off the flight, he said, “I'd like to take you to dinner,” and I said, “This is getting weird.” I should have known because he was reading golf magazine and he was into golf and music. You could be gay in reading. I ended up going and meeting him for coffee because he was in my neighborhood and I lived in Sherman Oaks. He said, “Why don't you meet me for coffee?” He shows up with the guy. I was thinking, “Maybe he is gay.” It turned out that he wasn't gay and I ended up marrying him. He's taught me a lot of things along the way. The biggest thing was to start my own business and be an entrepreneur. That's changed the trajectory of where I was headed.
Dustin
I definitely want to get into that, how you made that leap because part of the WealthFit nation, it's folks that are coming into their own. They're learning about money. They're learning about entrepreneurship and making that jump. I want to go there, but I'm always curious because you're an East Coast girl and I'm an East Coast guy and now I find myself in California. What's your story of moving and trekking across the country? 
Nicole
I met a guy and he had moved to California. He was the CEO or Vice President for Fatburger and he'd gotten a job from Applebee's to Fat Burger. He said, “Do you want to come out on a trip?” I said, “Sure.” In my head I always said, “I will never move to California. They have earthquakes there. I'd rather be in the blizzard.” The Blizzard of ‘78, I can remember as a kid. It was like mountains of snow. I said, “I'd never move to California.” When I came, he had the Jaguar and he had the stellar place. I thought, “I could live this life.” He was like, “Here's some money, go shopping.” At that time, I didn't know where I was going to head because I was in college. 
I decided after that that I'm moving to California. My parents were like, “No, you're not,” I said, “Yes, I am.” I had applied to a couple of schools and I applied to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. They said, “You are not going there. We're not paying for airfare.” That was their big thing, that old mindset about money. I picked Cal State, Los Angeles. I wanted to be in LA and part of it was I wanted to be in film and television. I picked somewhere that was close to Los Angeles and my parents said, “When you get there, you're going to be disappointed.” I said, “Why?” They said, “It's very multicultural.” Where I came from, it was a very white neighborhood, conservative, blue bloods. I got there, I woke up and it was like, “Wow,” but what I woke up to was I was introduced to a whole new world. I showed up with twelve boxes. I rode the bus from the airport to the college. My boxes were waiting there for me and I was like, “What did I get myself into?” I had no car. I had to go around LA on the bus. That's fun. 
Dustin
Talk to me about the big break. You're here in foreign territory, land of opportunity. What was your big break into doing what you did before PR?
Nicole
I was in a journalism program and I had a great mentor in the program, Dr. Charles Simmons. He said, “Nicole, you would be a great reporter.” I thought, “I'm going to be a reporter.” I had my heart set on being a news reporter. I did three internships. I did one at a news station, at a radio station and at a PR firm, which has come full circle because the person that I did the internship with the PR firm ended up becoming a mentor in the end years later. I've set out to be a newscaster and then quickly realized once I got out there how hard it was to get a job because the competition is fierce in Hollywood. I fell into getting a job in television. 
As soon as my schooling was done, I lived in Newport Beach. I was a waitress at Mutt Lynch's, which was a beer bar. We made excellent cash. It was such a great job, weekends only. I would walk away with a wad of cash every weekend. I worked there and then I said to my mother, “How come you never put me in acting? I'm such a great actress.” She said, “We wanted to but you didn't want to.” I did plays in the backyard in Massachusetts with my neighbor, Sarah Buckwalter. We would charge admission. We would have people come. We would make up these plays. She said, “We tried but you didn't want to do that. You did some modeling and that ended.” I ended up working for a guy. I said, “I'm going to take some comedy classes.” This gentleman owned a comedy club in Los Angeles. I was driving up from Orange County to Los Angeles to take comedy classes. What I found was I liked the community. I liked the people. It was something I didn't do before. I didn't think on my feet. I was learning about thinking on my feet. 
I wasn't great at comedy. I would sit there waiting for the right thing to say. That's the whole point of doing improv comedy is to let it out and you go with it and you have to pick a direction. I worked for him. He taught me about how he used to sell pencils and how he could sell anything. One day I got this genius idea. I said, “Your theater is dark during the day and you have all these people going through this acting/comedy improv school,” but they were not doing anything. “They are coming at night and paying you for classes, what if we created a way for them to earn money?” He said, “What would that be?” I said, “There are summer camps. We could get all of these summer camps to come. They spend money to go to places during the summer with the kids and the camp instructors. We can make money by doing improv comedy shows and you can pay the actors, charge $10 a camper.” Maybe you have 200 campers that will come, we make $2,000. You pay your people, maybe you pay him $500 total, gives them a job. That's how I started out and I worked for him.
Then one day, we were sitting around and he would ask me my opinion. He would say, “What do you think about this?” We would bounce things off each other and he said, “I have a meeting over at Dick Clark Productions.” I said, “Great.” He ended up getting a development deal at Dick Clark. I ended up meeting Dick Clark. We ended up doing these showcases where we had talent and we presented the talent through Dick Clark Productions to casting directors and other people in the industry. A couple of successful actors came out of that program. During the course of that I was dating somebody and then we broke up. Then I started to date the assistant to Dick Clark and Larry Klein. We had this love affair, which was a beautiful thing at the time. 
We got to the point where I said, “I don't know how much more I can take of this. I'm working out of the guy's house. I went to journalism school, I want to be on TV.” He said, “Come meet me for lunch at Dick Clark and I'll talk to you about it when you get there.” I showed up. He said, “I want you to walk across the street to NBC.” This woman, Sarah Jane Smolan, is casting people for The Weakest Link. I went, I interviewed and she said, “You've got the job.” I was like, “I got the job?” She was like, “Yes, you've got the job.” It paid almost $1,000 a week. At that time I was like, “I'm going to be making $1,000 a week.” Here I was making pennies, not to say that it was pennies, it was in a good way pennies. 
I had to nervously go to the comedy guy and he said, “Are you still dating Christian?” I said, “No, I'm dating somebody else. I've been dating this guy for a year.” He was like, “You haven't even told me about it.” He was upset because I hadn't told him that I was dating the assistant to Dick Clark. He got angry with me and I thought this was a good time to exit. I said, “It's probably time we part our ways.” We're still friends. He's an amazing person. That's how I got into television and my first job was working on The Weakest Link. 
Dustin
What was Dick Clark like?
Nicole
From what I remember, because it was years ago, very driven. He's got a tremendous career and was creative in all ways. People had their difficult moments of working with him, but he had a lot on his plate, he had many shows. That one job turned into helping to work with my then boyfriend on other shows like American Bandstand, 50th Reunion and some other shows that Dick Clark did. I'd say driven and he was very passionate about the music industry and what he was doing in shows. He had a good company. 
Dustin
I want to spend a little more time here in the TV and I definitely want to get into PR because I know people are looking to grow their business, or they're looking to get their product to the world or their idea to the world. I’ve read somewhere that somehow you were involved in The Man Show. You’ve got to tell me.
Nicole
I was freelance, so I would go from show to show and I was looking for a job. I worked on Bridezillas, which wasn't a shining moment for me. Before Bridezillas, I wanted a job. I was looking for something after The Weakest Link and someone had said, “I know a guy named Mark Kaiser. He's hiring for a show. It's with Comedy Central and it's over at Hollywood Center Studios.” I said, “I'm there, get me an interview.” I showed up and this guy, the executive producer said, “I need an assistant.” I said, “I'm your woman.” He said, “How do you know that you're my woman?” I said, “You don't need to hire anybody else, you're going to hire me.” I had convinced him because I wanted the job so bad and I was willing to do just about anything. I got the job and I was his right-hand person. I worked on the show when it was Doug Stanhope and Joe Rogan. I got to know Joe and Doug. Joe has a very successful podcast and people want to be on that podcast.
At that time, it was more of the comedy duo and it was very interesting. I can't say that one day I'd never had fun on that show because every day was fun. Every second of the show was fun. Doug Stanhope was very funny, he actually lived in one of the offices and the guy who ran the studios was like, “Doug, we have to have a conversation.” I had to be there because the executive producer was my boss. I was taking notes about what was being said in this room that he apparently didn't live in, but he did it. 
Dustin
Was it awkward?
Nicole
It was awkward. He was like, “See that marijuana over there? That's not marijuana. It's a prop. We use this for the show as a prop. See that a porta potty right there? I don't poop in that. I have it as a prop. That bed over there? It's not a bed, it's where we do our meetings. See the poster of Bridget, the midget? That's a prop too.” He had it dialed in, so he would drive around in this car around the lot and have a megaphone, “Come on, Nicole, jump in.” You’d get in the car and he'd have his megaphone and he would drive around a lot and do silly things. It was a good show. It took me out of my shell. Let's put it that way, from jaggy girl to drinking beer on set. 
Dustin
That’s what you needed at that point in your life to make you who you are. 
Nicole
People always ask like, “You worked on The Man Show?” I'm like, “Yes, I did.” I got to meet a lot of interesting people that came on the show and saw the antics behind the scenes. I got to work with a lot of people that worked on Mad TV and that worked on Saturday Night Live. It was an interesting dynamic between the writers and the comics and seeing how a show is run and I loved it. 
Dustin
I got to ask because it translates to every area, but we don't necessarily explore a lot with comedians yet in this realm. What I mean to ask is, of the ones that were the funniest or would go on to be incredibly successful household names, what insights or intel did you pick up there in dealing with them on every day? Were there patterns? Could you pick out who the people we're going to be?
Nicole
I did the US Comedy Arts Festival for HBO and we went to Aspen. I got to work with John Goodman and I worked with a lot of successful people. They were all determined and they weren't afraid or shy to share their material. Times have changed completely now where people are more reserved because of the time that we're living in right now that people are very sensitive. Most of them were pretty driven. They didn't care. It was like they give care less about what they were saying. That was the time then. The acting business and anything out there in entertainment has dramatically changed from then until now.
Dustin
You were a TV producer, you're working with all this incredible talent, you're having fun in The Man Show. At some point, you realized and determined that you're going to go out and you're going to start your own business. Talk to me a little bit about that. What steps along the way helped you make that leap?
Nicole
I had no idea what I was doing. I had the knowledge to talk to mentors and people that were smarter than I am. I surrounded myself with smarter people, but my first thing was I couldn't find a job. I had gotten to a place where I was directly under the executive producer and I wanted to be the executive producer. Me thinking that way, the jobs are very limited at the top and there are not that many shows. If you think about every show has a hierarchy and the supervising producer and co-EP are directly right under the EP. Every job that I interviewed, people told me, “You're too overqualified. If I hire you, you're going to take my job.” I got down and out. I almost hit rock bottom and I had just met my husband around that time.
I was coming off of Dr. Phil and I did a spin off for them and thought, “This is going to be my career.” I met Val and he suggested I join a mastermind group. That's when I started to come out of working for somebody else and start thinking about working for myself. We met once a month. It was an all-female mastermind group. Twelve ladies, all of them pretty much were successful and we would meet on the first Friday of every month. I had a coach as well and she said, “You should take your skills from television and start a business.” I said, “What am I going to do?” She said, “You could do PR.” I was like, “Why would I do PR? Are you nuts?” At the same time, my husband, he was my boyfriend at the time, he was also saying, “You should start a business. You can start it upstairs in my office.” I was like, “Yes, but what am I going to do?” I did an event with the coach and she said, “I want you to talk about television.” I was on a panel with the editor of the LA Times and prestigious outlets. 
Afterward, I was twiddling my thumbs and I was sitting at this table and my back was to the line, so I couldn't see who was going to come around and stop at the table. I saw the coach in the corner and she was high-fiving me like, “Look at you go.” I was like, “She is totally nuts.” Little did I know I had a line of 200 people that wanted to talk to me. That was an event that I did not want to do. I had a flu and I was sweating. I didn't feel good and she convinced me, “Get in the car, you are doing this event.” I was like, “Okay.” She was brilliant. I decided after that I'm going to try it out. I went to the mastermind group and they said, “You're going to try it out,” and I did. I got a doctor and a lawyer on CNN and I was like, “Wow.” 
Dustin
I want to talk about that because for a lot of people, it's that first step, that first client or the first sale, whatever the first is for them. Talk to me about getting your first client.
Nicole
Convincing somebody that you know what you're doing when you're winging it and you're like, “I'm going to try this thing out and test it out and see how I do.” 
Dustin
Was this somebody that you knew or how did you go about?
Nicole
I was out pitching television shows and I was doing that on the side as well as trying to figure out how to earn money for myself. At one point in time, when I was pitching the shows like three years into it, I was making more money doing the PR and my husband was like, “When are you going to see that the money is coming from this source and not that source?” My dream was to create a television series and get it on the air like everyone in Hollywood. She came to me because she had an awesome story. She was this drug addicted prostitute who turned her life around and went to Georgetown. She graduated law school with John F. Kennedy Jr. It gives me goose bumps every time I talk about it. She was of service to women that were underprivileged women. She was this black woman that persevered and she's very successful. 
I was trying to take her story and create a television show around her. We had some pretty big hits like we went into Own, which was the Oprah Winfrey Network. From that she said, “Why don't you try and get me on TV?” She paid me a fee and I can't even remember what it was. I did it. I got her on Jane Velez-Mitchell, which was the show on CNN for a while. It was a crime show or something. I got a chiropractor on and then I went back to the mastermind group and I said, “I did it.” I got two segments and there was a girl named is Melissa Costello and she's an amazing chef, an extraordinary coach. She does so much with food and vegetarian cooking and so she said, “I have the perfect client for you.” I said, “Okay.” She said, “His name is Tony Horton.” I went, “Tony Horton does nothing for me. I don't know who you're talking about.” She said, “He's got a VHS workout that he does. It's called P90x.” I said, “It still doesn't ring any bells.” She said, “He worked with a company called Beach Body and I'd like to introduce you to him because he needs a publicist.” I was like, “A publicist.” That's when it started to come together and I ended up meeting with him. 
He was from New England and I was from New England and so we hit it off. I had designed in my head three tiers of what I would offer people. I thought, “I'm going to have a gold, platinum and silver.” I had these three tiers.” He said, “Why should I hire you?” I said, “Why not? You don't have anything else going on.” He looked at me and he was like, “Don't have anything else going on.” He might have been visible in the infomercial world, but he was not visible on television. I got the job and it was like the silver tear or whatever it was. 
Dustin
Your tenacity, is this something that naturally comes to you? You asked for the sale when you sold yourself on being the assistant. You were aggressive. Is that who you are as a person? Is that something that you've learned or taught yourself? 
Nicole
I think so. My parents enrolled me in all kinds of activities and so I did a lot when I was a kid, from figure skating to cheerleading to soccer to volleyball to whatever it was. I've always been determined. When I put my mind to something and I know I'm going to do it, I go for it. There are a lot of people who talk about what they're going to do, and they can talk about it for years and you're like, “You've been talking about that for eight years. When are you going to implement and do it?” I just go for it. I might not know how to do it, but I figure it out. 
Dustin
Do you see yourself as an introvert or extrovert? 
Nicole
I'm extroverted in a way when I'm around people. I'm a people person, but there are times when I revert and I'm like, “I could spend the whole weekend alone with my cuddly dog and my husband.” 
Dustin
Can you be successful owning a PR agency if you’re not extroverted? What's your view on that?
Nicole
I don't know. I haven't met anybody that is in PR. They like attention. I always liked attention and I may not have gone out to get it the way everyone should get it, but they want to be in the spotlight too in some small insignificant way.
Dustin
I could ask you so many questions about your life journey and I want to make sure that people walk away with something tangible. Everything's a learning lesson. Everything that you share, one story, one little nugget that you share will inspire somebody to go out and start a business, go out and do it. Don't get me wrong on that. What I want to share is, if I'm a business owner right now and I want to start using PR, it seems maybe a little intimidating. You've said names like Tony Horton, it’s intimidating and I'm from Macon, Georgia. Give me some tangible steps for breaking in and leveraging PR for my business.
Nicole
The number one thing for PR for people is it's a way to reach an audience you might not have reached. The biggest thing is like people always say, “Television is dead.” I'm like, “It's not dead,” because you'll go on a show and then you can use that credibility or that marker on your website to say like, “As seen on Dr. Oz. As seen in mindbodygreen or Well+Good.” It's another way to build credibility for who you are. People instantly are like, “You are on Dr. Oz?” We put someone on TV. This gentleman, his name is Dr. Josh Axe, the first booking was Dr. Oz. We booked him probably that one time they asked him back fifteen or sixteen times or something crazy like that. 
Dustin
Has he done PR before? 
Nicole
No, and it was like, “Where do you go from there? I booked someone on Dr. Oz right out of the gates.” What he's been able to do is use that as a way to grow his business. Now he's partnered with Ancient Nutrition and he's got all the whole line of collagens and supplements, which is a big deal right now. He's got 300 employees. He went from hiring me, having a book, got him on Dr. Oz, then he went on the show with the book, Eat Dirt. He was a chiropractor. He was a fitness guy and we took that and made a bigger message out there. He started talking about everything from fragrance to gut health to brain health and it put him in a different light. 
Dustin
I want to unpack that a little bit. He didn't have a book right when you got him on the show. It is true that you don't have to have a book to get on national media or even local media. You don't have to have it. 
Nicole
We booked at a guy, Chris DiVecchio, on KTLA, which is the number two market in Los Angeles. He has a paperback version of a book. It's called The 5x2 Method. It’s a self-published book. We got him on TV with it. He talked about the five senses and how to use your senses to alleviate your stress. 
Dustin
I'm curious then, what is the angle? How does one not show up as Mr. and Mrs. Pitchman, “Let's talk about my business on the media?” How do you package or what are some tips or advice you have for packaging your business that is media worthy?
Nicole
You have to create a conversation around something that the media might be talking about or create something that is centered around their audience because you can't go on TV just to talk about your business. Oprah could, but if you're a regular everyday person, it's a lot harder. It's easier in a smaller market. If you're in a smaller market in Dallas or Florida, you could probably get on TV a lot easier, but you want to have something, and you create something that is you're going to offer advice to their audience. You're going to give a nugget of information about a statistic that's warped into something that you might talk about and then lead it back to yourself, lead it back to your Instagram or lead it back to your website. You want to be able to give them stuff for their audience. You do not want to go into it thinking that you're going to be an instant celebrity and you're going to talk about what you want to talk about. There are talking points that you talk about. You pitch the producer beforehand. You have to create something that they want. 
Dustin
Something of value that makes them look good and the person selecting you because at the end of the day, it's about the audience and ratings.
Nicole
We had an author, Dr. Becky Campbell, who wrote a book about thyroid. She’s a first-time author and she had done a few podcasts. She hadn't done any TV, but we booked her in the number two market in Los Angeles and we centered it around thyroid. The pitch that I created for her was I used a statistic and I said twenty million Americans are walking around with a thyroid condition and they don't even know it. I was one of them. I have Hashimoto's. That was my opener and it was an easy sell at that point. We relayed it back to a statistic, something that's like, “I could be walking around with something and I don't even know,” to their audience.
Dustin
I want to underscore that statistic. Number one, do your research. Number two, a little bit of fear, but not in a bad way, a curiosity fear like, “Am I one of those? Am I that statistic?” That's pretty powerful.
Nicole
We put another woman on, Dr. Trevor Cates. She has her own line of skincare and stuff and she hadn't done big television. She had done smaller market in Utah where she lives and we got her on The Doctors. It was like, “Do you know the toxins lurking in your skincare? It was fragrance formaldehyde.” The pitch was a little bit of fear, but it was also giving them information like, “I didn't know that fragrance was bad for me. I'm putting it and it's sinking into my skin.” That was a great example of someone who got a national TV segment, which helped elevate who she is. She ended up getting a book deal after that. 
Dustin
Any interesting or what you may have perceived as crazy at the time or maybe even borderline outlandish in terms of a pitch to get someone on show?
Nicole
The toxin skincare one was out there but at the same time, we do want it because we're in a time right now that's like a booming billion-dollar industry of health and wellness. Nontoxic and natural and all these things are being talked about in the media. It fit in nicely. We pull at her butt sometimes and it's like, “Let's see if it works.” Sometimes you have to craft a few different versions of something. What we do is we push it out. We'll create a pitch, we'll create the headline, the tagline and push it out there and we see who picked. If I get two responses and I send maybe ten or fifteen emails out and I get two, that's good. If I get none then I know I am not onto something that's outlandish, but you have to look at media trends and look to see what people are writing about, what are they talking about? Is it, “I tried this for 30 days and here's what happened?” Is it the five things that successful people do that you're probably not doing now that you need to do?
Dustin
You've given us a lot of great pitch ideas in terms of how to strengthen it. How do we find out who the gatekeeper is? Who's the person? What are their titles? Having a network helps, but if Joe America and I have a plumbing business and I figured out the pitch and I have some things to see, what do I do?
Nicole
I always tell people if you're a bigger fish in a small pond, so you're in a smaller market and you've created your pitch, you've got it all ready to go. I want you to go out now and I want you to look at your local news. I want you to look and see who's producing or who's packaging up segments for your local network. Look at the type of content they're doing because you're going to eventually pitch that person. If you're a fitness person and you've got this booming fitness business. You've got a program that you're launching for fitness, I would find that person who covers health and wellness and then I would figure out how to get to that person. I use a program called Decision and it's a very expensive program, but it's a tool that we use in our business to be able to reach anybody. 
Oftentimes, I pitch people I don't even know, and I still get the story because I've got a good story and my back story that I'm trying to sell to them with information for their audience. When I was first starting out, I did not have $7,500 for a program to use. I did what I did best and I went online. I started investigating and I started typing in. I would type in things like on LinkedIn, I'd go to LinkedIn. At that time, LinkedIn was just launching. You type in KTLA health reporter, and then you'd pull up a name and it would give you the name. Then you could call the station and you could try that way. It is harder to get through to the gatekeeper. We called The Today Show and they were like, “What do you want to talk to them about? Did they talk to you already? What is it about again?” You have to go through this whole thing and you're like sometimes, “I'll tell a little small white lie. I talked to them yesterday,” just so that I can get my pitch out and then they tell their, “Did you talk to this person?” and who knows? Hustle it.
Dustin
How has PR changed since you started getting in and even back to when you were working with your first gig? What have you seen change? What do you think is coming for the future?
Nicole
There are a lot of experts out there. There are a lot of people that are doing something similar to what you're doing. The competition is fierce. You have to figure out a way to get around the competition. There's a bunch of usual suspects that go on a lot of these shows. They're very popular, but they've worked hard at their PR. They've worked years. I can give you an example, Dr. David Perlmutter. He wrote Grain Brain and he was one of our clients and he worked at his PR. It wasn't something that happened overnight. I'd say the game has completely changed because just about anybody can pitch anybody. 
The thing that is there are people that want it done for them and there are people who will do what they need to do to get it to a place where then they can hire somebody like us. I would say a lot more competition of experts in businesses and brands and startups. It could go crazy thinking about how many things are out there in the marketplace. How do you get around that? You want to tap into your why. It’s like, “Why are you doing this? What's your motivation? What are you bringing to the table that someone else that is doing the same isn’t?”
Dustin
I want to pick your brain in terms of connecting with influencers. Part of what you do is you get influencer clients but also do your influencing and you're trying to make connections and generate buzz for your clients. In terms of getting access to an influencer, whether it would be a celebrity, whether it would be a sports star at the national level or even down to the local level, someone that may be a little more attainable, like a Triple-A baseball player that a business could attach themselves to. What are your strategies or what's your advice around connecting with someone of influence? 
Nicole
I can tell you a story about when I first started my business, I'd set my sights. I saw this program about Jose Canseco and I didn't know Jose Canseco at all. I've heard his story on countless books and I said, “That would make a great TV show.” I was determined to figure out how to get to him and I did. I knew somebody who knew somebody and I said, “Can you introduce me to him because I have got a TV show idea and I want to talk to him?” I ended up making a deal with him. I went to his house and he at the time had a girlfriend and there was a big party going on. We went out and pitched. What I realized in the process was, it takes somebody to know somebody and to know somebody. Most of the time if somebody wants to reach out to a bigger celebrity, they're going to have to know somebody to get to that person or be in the right place at the right time. 
I know people and they're like, “I'd like to send Ellen DeGeneres something.” I'm like, “Stand in line because she's somebody that you're definitely not going to get to unless by chance you might know somebody who knows somebody.” I happen to know Yogi Cameron. Yogi Cameron was Ellen and Portia’s yoga teacher. He was living in their guest house and he was teaching them yoga. He went on to be this big yogi. He studied in India and everything. He was somebody that I know if I wanted to get to Ellen I could throw my relationships. The key is if you want a big influencer like that, what relationships do you have? I'm sure if you have tons of money and you want to offer that person money, it's a surefire bet that you're going to get in touch with somebody on their team. 
You’d say, “I’ve got $12,000. I want to pay for one post.” I'm sure somebody would be like, “Let's see or I'm going to pay you every month to post one picture. I'm going to pay you $5,000, a flat fee.” Unless it doesn't align with your brand then I could see them saying no, but it's all about relationships and I stress that a lot. It's who do you know that you could get to? It's the same thing with, “How do I go out and how do I get in touch with that person at KTLA? Who do you know that might know somebody that's been on the show that is handling it with golden gloves because you don't want to screw up their relationship and be that person that goes on in your horrible guest?” That person's like, “You screwed it up for me. They won't ever have me back.”
Dustin
You said something there that I want to underscore. You set it in between the lines and it's like you could reach out, if you wanted to. You have this connection, but you haven't yet. The question I have is why haven't you reached out to Yogi to reach out to Ellen? 
Nicole
I was on the Ellen DeGeneres show for the Christmas giveaway and that was fun for me. That's how close I got to Ellen. I didn't shake her hand or anything, but I haven't had anything that I would dare go to her. It has to be something so fantastic and huge because I feel like that's a big get and you have to work hard to get to that place. She loves pets. She loves adoption and her wife is vegetarian and vegan. It's something in those areas, but it has to be something that aligns with them, their brands. I haven't had anything that big to say, “Let's do this.” 
Dustin
That's a big distinction because some people in life have no filter and they'll just ask. It doesn't hurt. You understand that's a big ask and you want to bring something. Back to value as it seems to be a theme. At the end of the day, bringing value to Ellen or to him to bring to Ellen.
Nicole
The other thing too is when people are starting out with PR, they're like, “I'm going to be on TV.” It's like, “You're not because your expectations for PR are outlandish.” I still get people to this day, I ask them, “Tell me what your vision is? Where do you see yourself?” “I'm going to go on Oprah.” “Oprah doesn't even have a show.” You have to be realistic about where you want ahead. Along the way, it will help you get to that place where you eventually want to end up. I've seen stranger things happen where someone ends up on a show. 
Dustin
I know you to have a great elevator pitch and like you, I've got introvert in me. I know people may find that crazy. Going to a networking thing, I know how to play the game. I do it and I've trained myself to do it. I think about the introvert in me, and I think about somebody that's maybe a little shy, but they have this dream and this vision. Networking events are tricky or when you enter a new space for them. I understand you have a great elevator pitch that you use. Can you share it with us? 
Nicole
Mine is I've crafted it over the course of my career in health and wellness and helping people in the health and wellness space. It's to help people live happier, healthier lives through media that we produce for the clients. I always tell clients, “You must have this elevator pitch crafted.” It's three sentences, it rolls off your tongue. If you get in front of a person and you can't roll something off your tongue that sounds interesting and they're like, “Oh,” I feel like you’ve got to go back to the drawing board and you have to practice because that's your intro into relationships and so much more. 
When I pitch people, if I'm crafting a little elevator pitch for the client, I talked about the twenty million Americans walking around with thyroid disease and they don't even know it. I craft that, write that out, I get the piece of paper in front of me and I still do it. I make my phone calls to producers, “It's Nicole Dunn. I work for Dunn Pellier Media and I'm calling because this is something you guys need to be aware of. Twenty million Americans are walking around with a thyroid condition and they don't even know it and one of them is probably you. One of them was me.” It leads you into this place where you can then wrap it out fast. If you get a voicemail and you're not going to leave a long voicemail, but you want to craft it. Even in person when you're meeting someone that they're like, “That's pretty interesting.” People no longer ask, “What do you do?”
Dustin
That's one of your clients essentially, but that was great how that came up.
Nicole
We come up with those little elevator pitches for each client because if you're going to sit down and you only have 30 minutes with a journalist and you're taking them to coffee and you're like, “These are my clients and you go through it,” they're like, “What?” You want to be effective and you want to also sell them, so you're selling yourself or I’m selling my clients but you want to sell them. 
Dustin
There's a lot of goal for sure in how you've crafted. I did my research on you, understanding the influence game. I did research ahead of time and I came to find out about you having an abundance coach or having one at one point. You say that this abundance coach has helped you triple your business by changing the way you think or relate to money. You’ve got to share. 
Nicole
The story goes. I was listening to this abundance podcast by a woman named Karen Luniw. It was Attract More Now Podcast. She had the number one attraction podcast on iTunes. As I was listening to her, she sounded like she was reading off of a paper and you heard the paper turning. I emailed her and I said, “I bet I can help you with media if you help me with my situation.” She said yes. My situation was I was brought up with old thinking. I say old thinking like money doesn't grow on trees and the rich get richer and we get poorer. I remember my dad saying things like this, so money and abundance was not a conversation that was ever had in our household.
I started coaching with her and along the way to my husband who had had 150 Gold and Platinum Records and Grammy's. He was like, “Why are you saying things like that?” I never had anyone point it out to me. I started working with her. This was around Tony Horton, so I was making $1,000 a month and working with her, we started making $50,000 a month. It was using techniques to change the pattern of thinking like that. I don't think anymore, even if I have a bad month and it's like, “Are we going to make payroll?” We're going to make a payroll. We're going to do all the things that we need to do, and we just have an abundance of money flowing all the time. I have to remember. I slip back into my old patterns sometimes of the mindset. I have to remember that I control that, I can change that destiny by changing my mindset and changing my thinking pattern.
It took me six years of real intensive coaching to change that mindset and those patterns. I tell people to go find Karen Luniw. People don't necessarily want to do something unless they want to do something. For me, I knew inside that I could never save money. I would make $5,000 a week and I wouldn't have any money. What happened? Where did it go? Nothing was ever saved. When I met my husband, he was like, “You don't have a 401(k)?” “I don't have any of that.” I feel like I'm in the best place that I could possibly be right now. I have to love the part of me that thought like that because I only knew one way and that was from my parents. That was listening to them and the tools that they had and their upbringing. They didn't think like I think.
Dustin
I was the same way and now I work with a coach as well. One of the lines that he gave me was, “Money tackles me.” I've been saying that to say that and it's true and money's coming from crazy places that I'm not even thinking. I know for those out there especially we're in California and the joke the California woo-woo. It sounds woo-woo and maybe to a degree it is, but you'll hear from a lot of folks on the show that have the science to back it up including one of the ones you introduced me to. If you feel like it's a little out in left field, I challenge you to go see those or listen to those shows and own it. Even if it feels weird, say it because you do have to own who you were in the past. If you do want to grow and transform yourself, you have to adopt new ways of thinking, new patterns. It may feel weird. It felt weird for me. I can just share the benefit. 
Nicole
One thing she said,and Tony Horton said this to me also, you have to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you because you're going to learn things that you didn't necessarily learn. Reading books, that's a big thing. It’s like even if you read five minutes a day, you're going to be in a better place because you've read something that you didn't necessarily know before. The whole thinking about changing your mindset is a big deal because I remember the day that it happened and once it clicks, you're like, “I didn't even think about the fact and look at this pile of money I just made.” Every single morning, I meditate and then I go on a walk with my dog. It’s not I'm praying but I'm talking to myself about my abundance and how amazing it is. I've got money coming out of my ear and it's like giving money away to people. I'm like, “Here's $100. Here's $1,000 bill.” I'm thinking like that. At the same time, I'm practical and thinking about the caps on my business of like, what I can charge people and where I can go? The next thing I'm thinking about is, “What's next for me?” In PR, I don't necessarily want to do PR forever. I feel like there's something bigger for me. I have an invention idea that I want to do and there are some courses I want to do, but what's the next thing?”
Dustin
That's a good thing to be thinking to keep your journey go. If you're into growth and growing yourself and challenge yourself, that's a great mindset. 
Nicole
I do mind mapping, I do masterminds. People are always like, “What's a mastermind?” “It's like you're with a room full of people who are smart.” You talk a lot about self-development and I'm always developing myself. 
Dustin
What’s your most worthwhile investment and your walk of life up to this point? 
Nicole
I started my business with nothing. I had nothing. My most worthwhile investment was probably from the business standpoint was experimentation. The money I made, I kept putting it back into the business until it got to a point where I could experiment. That's been the place where I've had the self-discoveries of like, “I can go to this convention now and I can do this thing now.” Making more money has enabled me to build myself up and build my skills up.
Dustin
It was more your most worthwhile investment. You kept reinvesting in the business, which is yourself, which is going to events. 
Nicole
I kept reinvesting in the business so that I built it up so that I could have a staff to be able to do the PR. I'm focused on sales and bringing in the sales and I'm overseeing everything, but I would like to get it to a place where I can have someone come in and buy the business and maybe that's somebody smarter than I am that comes in. 
Dustin
I understand you to be philanthropic and one of the things that I discovered about you is you like to give back and that's a big part of what you do. One of the things I came across was the Armed Forces Entertainment. Tell us more about that. 
Nicole
When we started working with Tony Horton, his dad was in the military. I got approached by a guy who was in the South Pacific and he said, “I'd love to have Tony Horton come to Japan.” I was like, “What would that entail?” He said, “There's a thing called Armed Forces Entertainment where we have celebrities and we have people that are in the whatever industry they're in, come and donate their time to our men and women who are serving for our country.” Tony was a military brat. When I mentioned it to him, he was like, “Yes.” We started doing these military tours where we would travel across the world. One trip started out turned into the world travel. 
We haven't done them for two years. Tony was sick, so we didn't get a chance to do that. I've done it with other clients as well. It's a way for us to give back two weeks of our life to bringing fitness to them. A lot of our men and women, they're not fit to fight. They aren't in a war scenario unless they're in Iraq or they’re in a war-torn country. Their fitness goes to the wayside and so it was our way of being able to give back. As a tour manager, I would arrange the whole tour. I’ll handle all the money and I would book all in conjunction with Armed Forces Entertainment. We would do two workouts a day. We would travel from Italy to Japan to Korea. We went to Guam. We were talking in the middle of nowhere, the most beautiful place ever. We were able to connect with people who are serving our country.
Dustin
You've worked with personalities on TV and what you're doing in the PR world, I’ve got to imagine you've had your share of healthy egos to deal with. How do you deal with extremely big egos or difficult people, if you want to say it that way, and yet still advance your agenda but not in a bad way, but get the most out of them or get them to do what's required of the task yet maybe they're fighting it? 
Nicole
You adapt. You certainly learn right away because you're thrown into a situation where you might be somewhere. Then something happens you're like, “Now I know that this person likes to be asked beforehand for permission for everything.” You would go to this person, “Excuse me, I'm going to pitch you to this outlet and they want an interview. Would you like to do it?” They want to be asked or whatever it is, or they might have some quirky thing that they do. You're just thrown into the situation and you learn and you adapt along the way. 
There are other times where you're like, “This is how it is. Here's your mark. This is what you're doing.” If you're direct and you know what you're talking about, like, “These are your beats. This is what we pitch the producer. You stay to these beats,” you coach and guide that person so that they can be the best at doing what they do best and getting their message out because I'm a big megaphone for you to build your legacy, but you're screaming into the megaphone, I've given you that megaphone and the media is just putting it out there. 
Dustin
I want to take us back. It's your younger self in Massachusetts. You've dealt with what you've dealt with. You've had an amazing career journey and now you're back. You're communicating to yourself about all the life lessons, business lessons. What would you tell your younger self to empower her to live the life that she's destined to live? 
Nicole
I would say the biggest thing is I did not have confidence in myself. My parents were lovely parents, but I feel like I was encouraged but I wasn't encouraged in a way like, “You are good at that. You are wonderful.” That wasn't it and I did not have any confidence. I dated the wrong person, like in high school who was not a nice person who could be a nice person nowadays. It started there where I didn't have the confidence and I was doing things that I probably shouldn't have been doing. I was acting out. As a teenager, you act out. Looking back at that is be solid with your choices and pick a direction. I think about me doing the PR stuff. I was led to that place because of something that happened to me with Tony Horton. I didn't even know I wanted to do health and wellness PR. 
I had the confidence and in that moment, when that divine moment happened, us out on the street in Washington DC, a woman came up and she said, “You're Tony Horton.” He was like, “I am.” She said, “I lost 100 pounds on your workout.” He said, “That's fantastic.” She said, “Now I'm getting all of my family and everyone do the diet too. They're trying to do P90X and it's my birthday.” He was like, “Happy birthday.” She was carrying this box. We were randomly walking back from the press club in Washington DC. We were doing a workout for journalism and we were walking back to our hotel. She had this box and she goes, “You're not going to believe this.” He said, “You told me it was your birthday. You lost 100 pounds.” She said, “No.” She opens this box and inside was a cake and on the cake was his face. That's the moment that I had that I was like, “I'm doing this health and wellness thing. I'm going this route. I'm picking this direction.” I was confident in picking the direction.” 
It's something that I did not do in my old, younger self. I didn't believe in me. I didn't have the courage to believe in me. My husband was probably the first person who said, “I believe in you and I'm not picking you apart. I'm helping you to be a better person and just giving you the constructive criticism so that you can grow in a way that you'll be this amazing person. You're so amazing. You come home after working all day and you cook. You’re lively. You're always happy, you're happy every day.” I'm happy in every moment. I'm happy that I had the past life that I had and then I wasn't confident because it's made me confident now. Picking a direction and being confident is believing in you. No matter what, if you don't believe in you, who's going to believe in you?
Dustin
Nicole, you are amazing. It's so easy to talk to you. I want folks to be able to continue the conversation with you. Where can people find out more about what you're up to, the PR that you're doing?
Nicole
We're on Instagram, Dunn Pellier TV, and DunnPellierMedia.com, that's pretty much it. You can find us there. We're always on the hunt for the next big disruptor in the marketplace place of health and wellness. Might that be you?
Dustin
If that's you, then you better reach out on that Instagram. Nicole, thanks big time for being on the show. It was truly a pleasure.
Nicole
Thanks for having me.
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