Lexie Smith, Founder of THEPRBAR inc. and Co-Founder of Ready Set Coach, is on a mission to help companies and entrepreneurs gain accelerated success through the world of relationship-driven marketing and public relations.
Her first company, THEPRBAR inc. was born as a result of Lexie’s personal need to upgrade up her lifestyle for the better after experiencing a severe case of burnout. So she decided to strike it out on her own and hone in on her “zone of genius” in PR, marketing, and business development. Her ultimate goal? To create a career path that also supports a happy lifestyle. Today, Lexie is doing just that. She now coaches entrepreneurs and business leaders on how to authentically engage with their audiences and teaches individuals what it takes to build a thriving coaching business—all in a balanced manner that aligns with their ideal lifestyle.
We asked Lexie about what sets her companies apart from others, how she navigates the struggles of self-doubt as an entrepreneur, and the ways her definition of success has evolved throughout her journey.
Q: Tell us the founding story of your companies. How and why did you start working on THEPRBAR inc. and Ready Set Coach?
A: When I was 26, and a VP for an eight-figure Inc. 5000 company at the time, I had to be carried out of my office to the hospital on a make-shift stretcher because my body collapsed from burnout. This was a massive wake-up call telling me that my career and lifestyle needed to change. While recovering, I began to seriously evaluate my long-awaited transition into entrepreneurship. I knew I wanted to stick to my “zone of genius”—PR, marketing, and business development—but I also was glaringly aware that I needed to select a business model that would support a healthy lifestyle. Fast forward, and after much market research, testing, and soul-searching, my first company THEPRBAR inc. was born.
My second company, Ready Set Coach, which I co-founded with my friend and colleague Emily Merrell, was similarly created with the concept “work to live” at the crux. We felt inspired to teach others how to build sustainable and profitable coaching businesses that supported their lifestyle.
Q: What makes your services different from others?
A: I did quite a bit of sampling and testing of the existing market offerings in the PR space prior to launching THEPRBAR. I quickly realized a large gap between done-for-you services, hands-off online courses, and group programs. Thus, instead of trying to fit into a pre-existing mold that I didn’t feel was cutting it, I decided to create my version of “option C”—a done-with-you approach to PR. Sprinkle in a whole lot of fun and puns and at its core, THEPRBAR inc. aims to be an approachable brand that empowers entrepreneurs and startups to get seen, be heard, and grow organically through PR.
For Ready Set Coach, unlike other generic group courses that focus on “how to grow your business” without accounting for a specific industry, we created an intimate hybrid group/one-on-one program and community that teaches coaches how to specifically build profitable coaching businesses that support their lifestyle.
Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
A: No! If you open my fifth grade yearbook, it says I want to be an “Oscar Award-winning Actress in Hollywood.” By college my dream initially evolved to wanting to be “the next Erin Andrews.” It wasn’t until my post-grad career that I decided one day I would do something of my own. I will say, however, that I hosted quite a few lemonade stands back in the day and I loved to invent and attempt to sell new products. This, perhaps, could have been the first indication of what would someday become my career!
Q: What’s been the hardest and most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey?
A: The hardest part of my journey has been working through and overcoming a myriad of mindset issues. Prior to launching my own companies, I had made a career promoting and growing other people’s brands and personas. Having to turn the spotlight on myself as an entrepreneur continues to be far from easy. However, seeing the impact I have been able to have on so many other’s lives and businesses keeps me going and keeps me grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do.
Q: Have you struggled with self doubt as an entrepreneur? How do you navigate this?
A: Consistently! Whether it be thanks to a “no” sales call, a deep social media scroll session, or a weak income month, there are countless moments where I experience self doubt as an entrepreneur.
There are three primary ways I navigate these moments. First, I make sure I am taking care of my health physically. Second, I surround myself with tangible reminders of my “why” and my authority. Finally, I turn to communities of other founders—just like Dreamers & Doers—where I know I can find support and connect with others who get what I’m going through.
Q: Has your definition of success evolved throughout your journey as a founder?
A: Yes and no. No in the sense that my entire goal of becoming an entrepreneur in the first place was to achieve short and long-term health and happiness—to me that’s my ultimate end game. Yes in the sense that what I consider a “good sales month” or a “positive client outcome” has evolved. Those number goals and expectations have risen substantially. However, I routinely check myself by asking if the new benchmarks align back with my primary definition of success—to be happy.
Q: What resources or people have contributed the most to your successes?
A: First, I have to shout out some of my favorite communities—Dreamers & Doers, The BRA Network, Six Degrees Society, and Forward Female. All of these female-founded communities have been instrumental in both my personal and professional development. Beyond communities, I owe a huge thank you to my family, husband, and friends for their unwavering support. And finally, there is no way I would be where I’m at today without the incredible entrepreneurs and companies that have allowed me the honor to work with and support them at all stages of my career.
Q: How do you celebrate successes along the way?
A: Celebration is a huge brand pillar at both THEPRBAR inc. and Ready Set Coach. Routine and regular celebration activities and reminders exist in both curriculums. Personally, I enjoy celebrating with a great glass of wine, a quick getaway with my family, or another check off the bucket list. Again, I’m team “Work to Live” not “Live to Work”—so I celebrate proudly and often!
Q: What’s next for you and your companies?
A: Both companies have podcasts—Pitchin’ and Sippin’ Podcast and the Ready Set Coach Podcast—and new seasons will be dropping soon. For THEPRBAR, I am perhaps most excited about selling out my newest offering—The Mixologist—a half-day thought-leadership Intensive, as it will allow me to help amplify other’s voices and stories that deserve to be seen and heard. And for Ready Set Coach, we are enrolling for an upcoming cohort. Outside of work, I am a new mom and “what’s next” looks like doing everything in my power to raise a happy, healthy, confident, open-minded, and kind daughter.
Lexie is a member of Dreamers & Doers, a private collective that amplifies the entrepreneurial pursuits of extraordinary women through thought leadership opportunities, authentic connection, and access. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to their monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.