Elvira Guzman used to work the daily corporate grind — until she decided to set herself free by starting her own public relations and branding agency. Venturing out on her own in the entertainment business wasn’t easy, but she remained determined to turn her dreams into a reality. As our “Bauce of the Month”, Elvira Guzman shares what it takes to make it in the wild wild world of entertainment and why it is essential that women follow their purpose in life.
Bauce: What inspired you to want to get into public relations? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Elvira Guzman: No. I originally wanted to become a judge. I went to USC and studied pre-law but realized my heart was in entertainment.
In 2005, I was living in New York helping Steve Harvey start the Steve Harvey Radio Network and he sent me on two meetings: one with a PR agency and one with a branding agency. I fell in love with the business models and I decided to start a PR/Branding company. I told Steve I was resigning (at age 23!) and I moved back to Los Angeles to start my company.
Bauce: Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? How did you make the leap of faith?
Guzman: Yes! My parents are immigrants so I had the same work ethnic and mentality. I always knew that I couldn’t work for any one else for too long. My ideas couldn’t be neglected. I had to take the leap because I felt like I was dying every day that I wasn’t following my purpose in life. I felt like life was pointless. Once I started my company, the fire was back in my gut and the smile was back on my face.
Bauce: How did you make the jump from producing shows to launching your own boutique agency?
Guzman: During my tenure with Steve Harvey, other celebrities were always trying to get me to work with them but I was very loyal to Steve. Once I decided to start my company, I just called them back and offered my basic package and they ALL said yes. I panicked because it was just me at the time. I quickly had to hire four employees and the rest is history. The KEY was that I saw there was an extreme need for urban publicists to represent urban clients. Non-urban publicists just didn’t get the artists/celebrities and had no clue of the urban media outlets that really pulled in the numbers (record sales, book sales, etc) for the celebs. My timing was perfect.
Bauce: What are the perks and challenges to working in PR and the entertainment industry?
Guzman: There are many perks! I’ve traveled all over the world and haven’t had to pay for any of it. Jamaica, Bermuda, Puerto Rico — you name it. We get “entertainment gifts” from clients and we get to attend the fanciest parties and award shows.
The disadvantage is that your work becomes your life because everything is SO important at that moment. Spouses, kids, family, God becomes 2nd and 3rd to work when you are in this industry and that’s the sad part. That’s why you hear people say that they “sell their souls” to be a part of it and it’s true. Desperation brings that out of people.
Bauce: What are your three biggest tips for young women who are looking to move to L.A. and make it in the PR/entertainment industry?
Guzman: Here’s my advice.
- It’s important to know who you are before working in entertainment or you can get very lost.
- Have a job before relocating (once you are here you get swallowed in).
- NETWORK!!! Every single night you should be at some event collecting business cards and emailing them the next morning.
Bauce: You recently wrote an e-book called Your Blueprint: An Interactive Guide To Remembering Your True Purpose In Life. Why did you decide to write it?
Guzman: The book came through me — it wasn’t a choice. I was in the Dominican Republic editing another book and when I went to the beach that day with my laptop God had a different plan for me and asked that I open a new document and that I type what I felt in my heart. I did and “Your Blueprint” came out in 2 days. 70 pages on day one and 54 pages on day two. It was truly a magical experience and I’m excited to hear it’s healing the readers’ hearts just as it healed mine.
Bauce: What lesson do you believe is most resonant in the book?
Guzman: That there is NOTHING more important than your relationship with God and your purpose on this earth. To be kind to everyone you encounter including yourself because we are all children of God and deserve compassion and love.
Bauce: You mentioned in your book that Steve Harvey was a key mentor for you. What was the biggest piece of advice that Steve Harvey gave you?
Guzman: Simple. To follow my dreams.
Guzman: It is key for our human evolution. How can we do better if we don’t know better. We must keep reaching higher and higher for mentors of status (knowledge) to share what they know. In turn we are to share what we know to young girls.
Bauce: Often times, as women pursue their careers, they may experience personal or major setbacks. What would be your advice to young women who are thinking about “giving up”?
Guzman: Don’t be the 99% that gives up. Giving up is normal and probably everyone around her has given up and that is her only example. I would challenge her to do what she hasn’t seen and persist!!!
Bauce: Lastly, we define a “BAUCE” as a woman who is fly, fierce, and determined to succeed. How would you define a “BAUCE”?
Guzman: I love your play on words…I once was going to write a book called BOSS and explain the stigma of when a woman is direct she’s a Bitch but if a man is direct he’s a boss. So my definition is Sassy, Seductive, Overachieving, Bitch.