Roxy Jacenko founded her career by trying something new, little did she know it would be that approach that would lead to a unique and sought after public relations company.
“I was working as the receptionist for clothing label Diesel.” Roxy, 35, said, “a position became available looking after the company’s PR…I honestly didn’t give it a second thought and jumped at the chance to learn something new.”
Without having a qualification, or any prior PR experience for that matter, Roxy was successfully gaining coverage for the brand which she puts down to doing things in her own unique way.
“After several months of continued success in the position, I realised how much I was enjoying it and that PR was a natural strength for me.”
“At just 24 I decided to launch my own PR agency – and once I committed there was no looking back!”
Sweaty Betty PR was launched in 2004 and has since become a household name in the media world with over 94 thousand followers on Instagram and each post attracting hundreds of ‘likes’.
Roxy puts it down to the dedication to hard work and being switched on 24/7 which has allowed her to create two thriving businesses including talent management company, The Ministry of Talent.
“Everyday brings new challenges, new people and new experiences.” Roxy said, “I thrive on the challenge of securing great press for our clients each and every day.”
“I’m naturally driven and a perfectionist, so in that sense I think I created my dream job!”
And although Roxy loves her job, she ensures PR isn’t for the faint hearted.
“As I always say, anyone getting into PR looking for a glamorous lifestyle ought to look elsewhere!”
“PR is hard work, there is no doubt about it…If you love your social life and enjoy knowing all your evenings and weekends are free, then PR isn’t the career for you.”
“Each day is different, but a ‘typical’ day could include client meetings, scouring local and international press for client coverage, researching new trends across industries from beauty to travel, preparing reports, planning events, preparing media press kits and of course emails emails and more emails!”
But Roxy believes that if you’re dedicated and driven with the ability to use initiative yet also follow directions and juggle multiple and competing priorities, then you’re someone she’d be happy to have at Sweaty Betty.
“If you want to succeed in this world, there is no other way but to have a passion and dedication that is unwavering.”
And although an industry-related degree wasn’t as common 12 years ago when Roxy began her career, with the competitiveness of the industry today she does think it helps to have a qualification to learn the essentials.
“While most of my staff are university graduates, I certainly wouldn’t not hire someone just because they didn’t have a degree.”
“It all comes down to experience, dedication and drive.”
“You could have a Communications graduate without any of those attributes, so a degree isn’t the be all and the end all but I think it helps.”
But before you make the commitment, Roxy says the best way to find out if the industry is for you is to intern whenever and where ever you can.
“I think an internship is a great way for a student to gain a real insight into the industry.”
“You learn from the ground up and gain an understanding of exactly how everything works…It’s the only way to truly know if it’s the right industry for you.”
When you were 10, what did you want to be?
Hmmm, I can’t even remember! I have always had a bit of a green thumb and I was a florist for a while, so I think something along those lines – working with flowers!
If you have one day to try any job in the world, what would you do?
Honestly with the number of different hats I get to wear in my role, I feel like I’ve experienced so much across so many different areas. I’ve never given it a second thought! I truly love what I do and can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
Let’s cut it down:
How does someone get into the industry? Public Relations is a lot of hard work behind the scenes, the best way is to try your hand at an internship or work experience first to see if it’s for you.
Do you need any formal qualifications? You don’t necessarily need a qualification but as the industry is becoming more and more competitive, Roxy does suggest to study Communications to teach you the basics.
Can this be my full-time job? Sure can! According to PayScale Australia the average wage for a degree-qualified public relations consultant is AU$52,381. As you build your way up, or open your own company that could grow significantly.
Does Roxy have any advice? “Certainly I would advise considering a university course in Communications or similar. It provides a good grounding and teaches you the essentials. At the same time I would strongly recommend securing work experience wherever and whenever you can. All experience is good experience, and in a super competitive industry like PR you’ve got to have some industry experience to get a foot in the door.
In terms of starting your own public relations company, I certainly wouldn’t recommend starting one until you have a few years of industry experience! The PR landscape has changed dramatically and is certainly a lot more competitive, so it would be wise to get a solid few years on the board before starting out on your own.”