Boundaries, Mental Health, and Manifestations with Melinda Jackson

When Melinda Jackson graduated from college, it was time to move to Los Angeles to get out of North Carolina and onto a bigger stage. But she knew no one, had no job, and had to pay someone $500 to share a room (where she slept on the floor).  But she hustled, had three jobs at once, and eventually worked her way up to a full-time position in PR – working with some of the biggest names in entertainment. After hustling for 7 years, it was time to come back home – and start her own firm with a different approach to public relations.

Melinda Jackson PR


Melinda: People want to know who’s behind the brand and people want to know, like, they want to be able to connect with you. They want to know that like you’re a mom or that you had cancer that this, that, and the other, like, they want to know that so they can connect to your brand and buy your product or, you know, go to your establishment.

Dana: Welcome everyone to Hustle and Gather, a podcast by inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Dana 

Courtney: and I’m Courtney. 

Dana: And we are two sisters who love business. On this show, we talk about the ups and downs to the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey. 

Courtney: And we know all the challenges that come with starting a business. Between operating our wedding venue, doing speaking and consulting, and starting our luxury wedding planning company, we wake up and hustle every day 

Dana: But we love what we do. And today we’re talking with Melinda Jackson, owner of Melinda Jackson Public Relations. With over 10 years of experience, Melinda takes an untraditional approach to public relations, branding and influencer marketing. Having worked on Grammy and PRSA award-winning campaigns, Melinda has a proven track record of helping clients grow their businesses and careers. Melinda, welcome to Hustle and Gather.

Melinda: Hi guys, thanks for having me. 

Dana: Thanks for coming. Already enjoyed the pre-conversation. I’m loving the level of swearing that feels matches hydrolyze to people 

Courtney: that we had on here didn’t suffer at all. And they said like, gosh, and heck. And 

Dana: so then you have to like temper yourself. Thinking more clearly about what I’m saying.

Well, so thanks for, thanks for sharing. 

Melinda: Open it up ladies. Thanks. We’ll be in a bad-ass bed. 

Courtney: All right. So untraditional approach to public relations. Let’s talk about that journey and how you got started. 

Melinda: Yeah. I was born and raised in North Carolina. I grew up in a very small town called Erwin. No one ever knows where that is. Literally the Dunn line runs through my backyard. but my dad says, you know, we are not from Dunn, we’re from Erwin anyway, so grew up in Erwin 4,000 people went to Campbell, which is equally as small. I was a cheerleader there which was pretty cool.

But, for me going to Campbell, like there were people I went to kindergarten with that I graduated college with because it was right there. It was 10 minutes away. So, when I graduated, I was like, fuck this, moving to California. So I immediately moved to LA new, no one had no jobs, anything like that.

Um, I graduated in 2009, so it was during the recession, nothing was available. So I literally paid this girl $500 to share a room in her apartment with her. I slept on the floor. I don’t even have a bed. and I literally hustled like the definition of hustled. I had three internships at once. Worked at Forever 21, was a cheerleading coach in the valley.

 Babysat did everything I could, tray pass, worked events, anything I could just to get money to survive, to be able to work these unpaid internships and get enough experience and my name out there enough to get a full-time job. So it took me about a year and then I finally got a full-time job, and worked my way up from there.

So, it was awesome working in entertainment. I worked at my firm. We also worked with other firms that didn’t have LA offices. So I got to handle a lot of, you know, bigger New York clients, in LA. So take them to award shows and things like that or just handle their media day. And I also helped out with other friends that also worked at PR firms or event firms.

And through that, I got to, you know, work a lot of huge parties and events. And I’m not going to say his name on here because I don’t want to get sued, but I’m a certain producer that is currently in jail for a lot of really sketchy stuff, worked all of his Oscar parties and things like that. And so, yeah.

So, I mean, it was just as amazing as you would think it was, but got paid very little. Yeah, was burning a candle at both ends at all times. And then just got super burned out after like seven years. And so then I moved back to North Carolina five years ago and worked at an advertising agency for a while was a PR and social media director, and then realized like, I can do so much more for my clients by myself. You don’t have red tape; you don’t have other people that are telling you. Okay. What you can and can’t do so. 

Yeah, I started my company three years ago and here we are. It’s just awesome. And, and I’m not like a typical publicist. I don’t have the typical, like corporate PR background, send a press release, hope it works. Like I’m just like, let’s figure out what the fuck we want to do and what we want to say. And let’s just try it, you know? Cause it, it doesn’t hurt to try and let’s go from there.

Dana: So I first off love your story about the hustle, because I think, you meet people that really have that genuine ability and drive to hustle. And then there’s some people that just expect it to be, well, I went to school, therefore, I should just be given this job.

You know, that just makes sense, so I’ve been told. It’s like that myth of college education in general, but was there like a break? Was there like a pivot point, a turning point. Other than obviously busting your ass to get where you’re going, but was there someone that kind of helped lift you up to that next level?

Melinda: Honestly, no, like, and I say that because I try to be that person for other people. It was nothing. Besides like, you know, the first full-time job giving me a chance, right, there was no one. That was the extent. Like I had to teach myself everything. I, I knew no one when I moved to LA and I’m just one of those people I say, I collect people everywhere I go. Like I just make friends and yeah, whatever I talk to everybody 

Courtney: sounds like a full-time job for you too, attaining these friends. 

Melinda: I know, I know I have so many people everywhere, but I just like collect people everywhere I go, and it was just one of those things. Like I’m very woo-woo, and I just, I know that like intuitively I’m like, this is what I need to do.

And my parents did not want me to go. They said, if you go, we’re cutting you off. And I was like, bye. I left. I had no money. I drove, I packed my shit and I drove across… 

Courtney: Were you paying for your own cell phone?

Melinda: Oh yeah. 

Courtney: That’s truly cut off. 

Melinda: Literally cut off like everything. So, I mean, I’ve been paying for my cell phone until I was 16, because they said, that was when you had to pay for texts. So I racked up the bill, so I had to pay for it since then. But anyway, there was no one, like literally no one. And so, I think back through the years and like, yeah, people have helped me out small here and there, but like, it’s always been just me trusting that gut and knowing like, I don’t care what my parents say.

I don’t care what my boss says, whoever else, like this is like truly trusting yourself and knowing like intuitively, like, this is what I have to do. And, I mean, moving to LA, it was like that. And I think about like all those big decisions in my life, and I tell my parents, every big decision in my life, you guys have told me to do one thing and I’ve done the complete opposite and every single time, it’s what I actually needed to do. And I’m like, it’s no fault of you guys, but it’s just trusting myself and knowing like what I’m supposed to do. So I’m sorry. That was not the right answer. 

Dana: No, no, it’s not. It’s there, isn’t a wrong answer to it. I think it’s, I, I feel like when I love the honesty of it, cause I think that there is sometimes this myth for people like I work hard, but there’ll be this big break. There’ll be this, this thing that’ll save me, that’ll get me to that next level. And I think it’s really true and authentic. They were like, no dude, like I just had to hustle really hard for a really long time and probably work a job you didn’t really love, even though it wasn’t, I don’t. And maybe you can speak to that was that full-time job you got. Was that exactly what you wanted? Or was that just, 

Melinda: No, I mean, it was and it wasn’t, I mean, it wasn’t my dream firm or anything like that. Like I had my sights set on my dream firm. Then it was also one of those things where I worked there for like six years and I should have left two years in, but I stayed with the sinking ship thinking like, you know, loyalty.

And you know, my parents are probably like your parents and saying like, you know, you work somewhere until the day you die. And like, you stay loyal to those people cause they gave you a chance. But when they’re not paying you enough, you’re not necessarily aligned with the clients, especially in PR like you have to believe in who you have.

And when you, your values, maybe don’t align. And like I’m not speaking ill on them. Like, I’m very thankful for my time there, and I learned a lot and I got to do a lot, but I should have left a lot sooner. And, and then when I finally did leave, I got a job at my dream firm and I was like, oh my God, all my dreams are going to come true. Like this is it. 

I was so burned out and I settled for a job at my dream firm in a division that I hated that I shouldn’t have been in. And it was a very toxic situation, they had a very high turnover rate. And my life was miserable for six months until my body literally shut down. And I was like, I have to fucking move back to North Carolina. I can’t do this anymore. Right. Like I can’t do it. 

Dana: Right, yeah. And I think that’s fair. I think it’s fair to look at a circumstance or a situation and say this has, the time has fulfilled. Like it I’ve, I’ve hit the end of the road for this. And a lot of us do continue on that like dirt path or where we should have stopped at when the pavement stops, right. And do you feel like if you would have left that job sooner that that dream job would have been different or we would have had a different position? 

Melinda: Well, I was always getting sent jobs from people at bigger firms or like at record labels and things like that. I think had I left, I would probably, I mean, my life obviously will look very different right now. I would probably be running a PR division at a record label or at a bigger firm or something like that right now. I would definitely still be in LA or in New York or somewhere, you know, working a very higher-level job than I am.

But I mean, it all obviously works out the way it should because right now I’m able to work one-on-one with my clients and help them grow their businesses and help them, help impact their lives so much more than I would be able to if I was at a huge label where, you know, you have 30 to 40 artists that you’re trying to work with, and everybody just gets a little bit of your time.

Dana: Right, you would have just been delaying the inevitable because there, there is something I think about an entrepreneur that it’s just, it’s deep inside your bones and there would have been a point when you were like, even if it was a dream job, if it was a great, successful, like head of a, of a department, like saying like, hey, this is still isn’t feeding what I need.

Melinda: Exactly. And it’s funny that you say that because you know, my parents are entrepreneurs and, I kind of always knew I wanted to work for myself. And so going into those initial interviews in LA, they always ask, you know, where do you see yourself in 10 years? And I would always say, I want to have my own company.

And then literally like 10 years to the day I had my own company. And I was like, holy shit. Like I quit my job I was like this is a thing. Like I manifested this, like I am not even thought about it. You know. 

Dana: Speaking Courtney’s woo-woo over there.

Melinda: Oh, I’m all about manifestation. We can, we can deep dive into that honey, I will do it.

Courtney: I don’t know. We’re about to this is total side note, teach a class next, fall out our Alma mater. We both just have bachelor’s degrees and nothing even related to what we are going to be teaching. And we’re working in this spring to get our adjunct professorship established, to be able to teach this class.

And it’s something that I manifested like five or six years ago. I was like, could be so cool to be back in academia and teach a class or whatever. But I had no idea like what it would be about or what it would be on. But then it happened one day they asked us to, and I was like, whoa, 

Melinda: you put it out there and you hold onto it.

And like, that’s the thing about manifestation? Like. If we were really into it, some people are specific manifestors, some people are not specific manifestors. I don’t know what your human design is, but I am a specific manifester. So I have to list out every single thing, and I have to truly envision what is going to look like. What’s going to feel like, all that stuff. And then that’s how I can like call it in. 

Courtney: No I’m like a little bit more this is where the river’s taking me. 

Melinda: Yeah, exactly. 

Courtney: Paddle this way. Yeah, that looks good, I ended up here. I had no idea how that was going to happen, but it happened. 

Melinda: But you trust and like you hold on to that vision. And that’s so important. 

Courtney: I feel like one of the things that I really connect with you, it’s I’m a very intuitive person. So like I trust my gut above all else. Sometimes it’s led me wrong, but most of the time it’s led me right, and I think that being a really intuitive person, I think is an important part of entrepreneurship. I think, being able to trust your gut. 

Dana: Yeah. But I think I, I would like to counter that the, the times when you feel like you are wrong, I don’t think it’s because you trusted your gut. I think it’s because she second guessed it, and you thought that was actually saying something. When you can go back to the moment and that initial decision-making, you’re like, 

Courtney: well, that was just indigestion.

Melinda: Okay. Anyway, all that to say, what I kind of find is, and I’ll check in with myself and I’m like, okay, this is what I’m feeling. Is this my anxiety brain? Or is this my intuition? Am I, is this a scarcity mindset? Or do I really know? And like, you can tell, you can tell like if your nervous system is just like, oh shit, fight or flight, or if its nope, hard pass. Like we got to walk away from this and sometimes they come together, you know? but that’s definitely something I try to do is like back up a second and I’m like, okay, let’s think about this. 

Dana: Well, yeah. And it’s reminding yourself, of core truths again, like we’ll get into these things and we’ll start, we’re starting to make some decisions and we fight a lot. Like we bicker a lot and we’ll get back to the root of it.

I said, let’s get back to the core truth of why we’re having this conversation and what we’re trying to decide, because you, I feel like once you start thinking about a problem, you can start thinking about all the other problems around it. And you’re really trying to make this instinctual decision based on this one thing.

But all these other factors are starting to play into that decision making. You’re like, no, no, what are we deciding right now? We’re deciding this. We’re not deciding all these other things around it. And let’s get back to like the core truth of what we’re trying to do, because we get bogged down in the emotions of it more than anything. We can make very clear business decisions, but sometimes those decisions hurt people, not like in a malicious way, but maybe it’s cause we have to let somebody go or because we’ve realized that there’s just not a great fit and it’s really hard to not be emotionally attached to this person that you care about, you know, but at the end of the day, they’re just not the best fit. 

Melinda: Yeah. But that’s where boundaries come into play. And that’s been the fucking theme of my life this year. I’m just like, I’m so good about boundaries in my family. I’m so bad about boundaries with my friends or like people that I love or whatever.

And it’s like, okay, I have to set a boundary and I have to, this is going to be better for both of us. And right now it really fucking sucks. In two or three days, you’re going to feel so much better, and I’ve had that in my life recently where like I set a hard boundary and it was so hard to do, but I was like, oh my God, I haven’t had anxiety in like a couple of days.

And like, whoa, like my appetite’s back. And like, I’m not in fight or flight anymore. It’s like I said, this boundary and we both feel okay about it. And like, we don’t hate each other. We can still talk. You have the boundary and now you know, and like when things start to get a little fishy again, you’re like, let’s go back to the boundary, right?

Dana: Yeah. Do you feel like you have good boundaries in your work life? 

Melinda: Absolutely not, no, oh God no. And that’s because like PR is such a 24, 7 job and I have an intern, but like I work alone. I live alone. I’m always alone, and so it’s so easy just to sit there on my computer and be like, well, I can find this other person reach out to, or maybe if I do this, maybe I’ll do this.

And I just keep working, keep working. And then at the end of the day, I’ve worked all day long, and like, what has it gotten me? And I could have done this yesterday, you know, instead I just, yeah, I have to get better about it. And I’m really bad about admittedly, like not following up on invoices and like, I have so many outstanding invoices right now and I’m like, they’ll get it to me whenever they want. No, fuck that. Like, I need to pay my rent. I need to pay my taxes. Like I got to do this. 

Dana: You got to do those things, yeah. I feel like I, whenever I’ve been in any kind of session with like, a therapist are like, oh, this work-life balance and, and these boundaries and your job. And it’s like, well, obviously you’re not speaking to entrepreneurs because boundaries are the hardest thing to draw because it’s not it’s, it feels like you’re, you’re creating a boundary with yourself. It’s not a boundary with your employees or your clients, it’s with you. 

Melinda: And that’s why you have to do that. 

Dana: I know, but it’s really hard to look at yourself and say, you’re being a pain in my ass, don’t cross this boundary. 

Melinda: Yeah. And when it comes to that, I think me and my therapist, she like, because she gets it because she’s like, I’m an entrepreneur too. So she’s really good about understanding that thankfully, but, you know, then we figured out, okay, when I start to feel that way, like how can I step away? What’s something I can do for myself. And like, realizing that, you know, I don’t have a nine to five anymore. my day can literally be like, I worked three hours sending emails. Well then, I’m depending on everybody else to get back to me, because there’s only so much, I can do, right. So I have to release so much control, which is a whole fucking thing. It’s so it’s so hard for me. I have to release so much control and just trust that it’s going to work.

And then I can’t just sit there and spiral about it. I need to go on a walk. I need to go and figure out some self-care, and self-care for me is not taking a fucking bubble bath. I hate that shit. I don’t want to sit there in water. I don’t want to do that. Like I need to get out. I need to go do something; you know. 

Courtney: You need to move your body.

Dana: Exactly. Yes. It’s so funny, cause my self-care is doing absolutely nothing. It is sitting in a bath, reading a book or vegging out in front of the TV, which my husband thinks is the craziest thing. It’s like, why don’t you get them to take a walk? I’m like, that’s not what I want to do.

Melinda: I get stir crazy; I can’t do it.

Courtney: So did you have an oh shit moment, we like to ask this, when you were starting Melinda Jackson, PR like, was there a moment where you’re like this isn’t going to work and you like regretted the decision or thought it’s all falling apart?

Melinda: Oh yeah. So I think COVID for me was opposite of everybody else. So like, when I initially quit my job, I did the, okay, so back, back up. So talking about manifestation and all that stuff, I, I follow the, to be magnetic like program, which is Lacey Phillips. She has a podcast she’s really great. She has a whole, like, for lack of a better word, program on manifestation and all this shit. So anyway, I do all of her work and it’s really cool 

Courtney: How to be productively woo-woo?

Melinda: Yes, exactly. So essentially, it’s workshops but it’s all based in like science as well. So like, it’s like you can do it alongside having therapy and it’s like, you’re unpacking a lot of stuff.

So anyway, all this to say, she always tells people, you know, when they’re jumping off the cliff to quit their job and go to something else. You’re supposed to have a fuck you fund, which is you have to have your money, you know, all your money saved up as like in case you’re like, fuck you to your job. You have to have this money.

So I didn’t have anything. I was just like, I can’t work at this job anymore. Again, for me, it’s all very physical. When I get in those situations, like my body goes into fight or flight and it shuts down and that’s what’s happening again. And so I was like, now I know I have to leave. Like the universe is forcing me out of this. God whoever’s forcing me out. 

Yeah, I had taken like one or two freelance clients. And I knew that one freelance client could pay my rent and I was like, I’m good. As long as I can pay my rent, I can figure the rest out. So I jumped off that cliff did not have a fuck you fund. And I was just like, okay, it’s fine.

So then it all just started rolling in. And like the second people knew I was working for myself. It all started rolling in and like, you know, I was taking $500 here, $700 here, whatever people could pay, I was doing just to kind of grow my business. And then COVID hit. And, during COVID all these businesses started pivoting and they were coming to me and they’re like, okay, we need exposure during COVID, here’s our money. And I would work with people on their budgets and figure it out. And then, you know, paid off all my debt, paid off all my bills, all my credit cards for the first time in my adult life, I had all my taxes paid, got my Louis Vuitton bag. I was like, yes, fuck yeah, it’s like, I’m doing this, whatever. 

October of last year everybody starts running out of money because they had been in COVID for almost a year. At this point, all my clients run out of money. All my clients go on hiatus, which a lot of people go on hiatus November to December anyway, right, because the holidays and this end of the year, nobody has money. So I was like, okay, whatever. Nothing picked back up until like April. So I was literally in the negative.

I was like racking up all my credit cards again, just like figuring out what I could do. And I still had clients coming in, but I literally had the opposite of everybody for COVID and now it was just like, fuck me. Like, what do I do? And I trusted, I knew it was going to come back in, but I was like, this is some bullshit.

And like, I had stuff going on in my personal life where I realized like, oh, I’m focusing on other people and not my work. And I think now I’ve kind of gotten better about it again, setting boundaries and figuring out my stuff, and now things are picking up. And so I’m good. And honestly, I’m swamped right now, but that was kind of my oh shit moment.

Why the fuck did I do that? And you know, my mom was like, well, do you need to go get a regular job? I’m like, this is a regular job. Are you kidding me? Like, this is just how business works. But again, that was my moment too, of like, oh yeah, I’ve been really lucky up until now. Like this sucks. 

Dana: Yeah. So what lesson did you learn from that? Like how, like, if you were to go back in time, what would you have changed so that you maybe didn’t have that oh shit moment? 

Melinda: Yeah. Definitely like having the boundaries with my personal life and realize like, oh, because I’m a very codependent person, it doesn’t matter who I am, who is around me, friends, dating, whatever.

It’s like, I want to take care of every single person in my life. And I don’t want to, I want to put all their problems first and like, you can’t do that. And you know, when you’re putting three- or four-people’s problems before yours, and you’re not focusing on your business and your livelihood, like that’s fucked. So I like, I should put myself first, which I’m better about it now, but that, yeah, that’s definitely my thing, yeah. 

Courtney: So is there like a particular, like special or like great moment that got you through all of that, like that you believe it like super influential, like on the other side of it. In the middle, that’s like all doom and gloom it, was there like a pivot point for you? 

Melinda: I mean, I just had a bunch of little wins along the way that I just had to keep holding on to, and just being like, okay, it’s going to work. It’s going to work. Like, you know, getting a small client here and there. You know, getting client referrals and I’m very lucky.

Like I’ve never, I’ve only pitched one client potential client in my whole life, and I got them. Everybody else has been referrals. Everyone else has come to me. So yeah, I’m very, very lucky. But, yeah, I don’t, I don’t ever want to feel like that again. I’m like, no, we got sign some like six-month contracts with people and like, hold on, hold them to it. 

Dana: Yeah, I wouldn’t even say you were lucky. I really think that when you talk about your story and how hard you worked and how much you put yourself out there, that I don’t think it was luck that got you these clients, these referrals. It’s the fact that you’d like really good at what you do. 

Melinda: Yeah, I know. I should say that. I’m bad at doing my own PR. But yeah, no, I mean, I know I’m good at what I do. And like, I maybe am not always very confident in a lot of things in my life, but I’m like, I know I’m really fucking good at my job. And like, I’m again, like I’m not a typical publicist, a typical publicist writes a press release and sends it out and hopes it works.

You know, they BCC everybody and they mass into it. I don’t do that shit. I’ll do it if I have to. But for the most part, I’m like let’s individually pitch people. Let’s come up with really unique angles that work. And like, let’s tell your actual story. People want to know who’s behind the brand and people want to know, like, they want to be able to connect with you.

They want to know that like you’re a mom or that you had cancer that this, that, and the other, like, they want to know that so they can connect to your brand and buy your product or, you know, go to your establishment or whatever. 

Dana: Right. Yeah, I love that. I think that’s very true too. It’s so weird. I think when you’re in a, a public facing industry that people and you always, people would ask the questions all the time.

Like they want to hear like, how’d you get started. And then you said, so you say the same story over and over again. I’m like, why do people even care? Why do they care? People really want to feel connected to what they’re buying, what they’re purchasing and what they’re spending their money on. 

Melinda: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I always use this example that I had a client who was like a jazz saxophone player and we couldn’t get him shit. Like we couldn’t get him anything. Well, then we found out that he goes on like long distance bike rides when he’s on tour. So we got him a bunch of cycling press, you know, because they want to know, you know, so it’s things like that, I. Always try to think about. 

Courtney: That’s interesting when people like care about or invested in, we were walking in the mall one day and someone stopped and it was like, are you Courtney and Dana? It’s like, yes. 

Melinda: Celeb sighting

Dana: We we’re wearing masks too.

Courtney: And then they’re like, do you, you own the Bradford? We’re like, yes, we do. And she started talking about it. So bizarre, so, so weird because you don’t think about that at all. Like you’re just doing your thing head down. 

Dana: Yeah. 

Courtney: We’re not even like super the face of the Bradford any longer, cause we have a lot of people that work there. We don’t even interact with clients or on the thing. So it was very, very weird, but yeah, it’s amazing what people like latch onto or find important. 

Melinda: And that’s one reason why, like on like on my personal social media, I’ll always try to talk about mental health and I’m like, hey, my anxiety is bad. My depression is bad. This is what a panic attack feels like. This is what helps me, you know, things like that. And so that’s something that so many people don’t want to talk about and that they experience, but they want to know like what can help. And so I’m like, I don’t give a fuck. Like, I’ll go on there having a full-blown panic attack and be like, this is what it looks like.

This is what’s happening, and people connect with that so much. And I get messages all the time from people that are like, thank you. Cause like my husband was going through that and I didn’t know how to help him, but like yeah, you saying that, maybe I don’t need to just hound him. I need to leave him alone for a few minutes, you know?

Dana: Yeah. Well, I think, I think there is something different about like where, because you’re similar in age, like you graduated in 2009, I graduated 2006 from school. So, and you’re in 2001, the old one here, but it’s fine. 

But there’s So much stigma around mental health. And I know that I really applaud the millennial gen Z. I think we’re technically millennials, but whatever, for really trying to change that narrative and really try to say like this isn’t something we should be ashamed of, but there still is that stigma that when you say like, I have, I have anxiety or I feel I’m getting in a depressive cycle, right? Like, cause I definitely go into like these, these waves and my waves my they’re normally short, but they, they, sometimes they come quicker and sometimes they’re longer in between and it’s always related to my world around me and it being an upheaval. I don’t like change. I don’t like any of that mess. 

Melinda: No weak links. I’m like no weak links. There cannot be any weak links. Cause if there is, I’m going to spiral the fuck out. 

Dana: Yeah. That’s exactly, yeah. That’s exactly the truth. So, 

Courtney: But that sounds exhausting though. You can’t have any weak links. 

Dana: I know, welcome to our lives. It’s like a control thing. 

Melinda: Oh, 100%. It’s when you feel out of control and it’s really interesting. So, totally not even what I was talking about, but on that same note, one of the things I feel like I can control and I’ve learned is I can control my health. Like I can control how I feel. 

And when I find myself getting into a place where like I felt, I felt very out of control in the past week and a half. So I was like, I’m going to focus on what I’m putting in my body. I’m going to focus on my breakfast. I’m going to focus on my lunch. I’m going to focus on how much water I’m drinking, because I feel like I can control that.

Melinda: It physically helps the chemical imbalance in your body. So when your body is fueled and it has all of that stuff, you’re going to get out of fight or flight. Like, it’s just, if you think about it and like in terms of chemistry and like biology, you’re like, okay, this makes sense. And it makes you not feel crazy.

Dana: Yeah. and I told them my husband was like, I can almost understand even the psychology behind eating disorders, right, because I can see how, when they say, like, I just wanted to control this one point of my life, cause everything so out of control.

Melinda: 100% and, and that’s something like, and, oh, I’ll always talk about like, I have a history of disordered eating and for a while I thought it was okay.

Then, you know, the past year when things, my business was, you know, kind of out of control, not really out of control, but it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I realized like, oh, I’m like not hungry anymore. And everyone’s like, oh, like, you look so good. You’re losing all this weight. And I did lose all this weight, but it’s because I’m like, oh my God, I’m like never eating. And I feel like death all the time. And I’m like, oh, okay. This all makes sense. I’m trying to control what I put in my body.

I’m trying to, you know, control every single thing in my life because I don’t feel like I have any control. And so it’s easy to step back into that. And like now, thankfully I recognize it and I’m like, okay, what can we do? And let’s figure this out and let’s do better, and right, whatever, but you also have to give yourself grace.

Dana: Yeah. Well, and I think, I think to your point that as much as you’re the everyone’s business felt out of control because of there was something so out of our control, like I couldn’t control what the governor was going to say. 

Melinda: I mean, we can’t even control people wearing their masks or getting a vaccine, so how can we control anything else? You know, because people are just going to do whatever they want to do anyway, no matter what the laws are. So it’s just it’s shit all around. Please just stop. Make it stop.

Dana: Yeah. So I think that I understand how entrepreneurs have almost that a higher instance of mental health issues. Like whether that’s anxiety or whether that’s depression or something like that. Because I feel like so much of entrepreneurship there is you do have a lot of control, but you also can feel very out of control very quickly.

Melinda: My job, I have no control. There’s a lot of stuff I have no control over. I have control over my client’s message, but I have no control what anybody does with it, or if they’re going to cover it or. Yeah, once it leaves, I can only do so much. And then, then I have to figure out, okay, if it goes wrong, then I have to figure out how to control it. So it’s, it’s all a mess. 

Dana: So what are some pieces of advice you’d give to entrepreneurs, people that are just trying to get themselves out there, like from like, I guess, I guess a PR perspective. 

Melinda: Yeah. something I always tell people is like, really just make sure your message is consistent across the board.

Make sure, you know, like if you’re posting on social, make sure it’s all consistent, not like something really crazy on Facebook and something very different on Instagram. Like you want, you want to, like that brand recognition is so important, so you want to make sure everything’s consistent. So nobody has any questions and like, if they hear your name, they know what you’re synonymous with and they know what you’re about.

And then also just figure out easy ways to cross-promote with other businesses and collaborate and, and do things that make sense, because a lot of people will try a lot of things and it doesn’t make sense and it gets even more confusing. So if you’re going to do some kind of cross promotion or collaboration, make sure it works.

So like obviously you guys are a venue, so you probably do a lot of stage weddings and, you know, have, you know, the wedding magazines come in and take pictures and your collaborating with the florist, the models and the wedding dress maker and all these people. So like that’s a very normal, typical thing to do.

And at the end of the day, it’s all being photographed at your venue. It’s all, your venue name is going to be in all the publications. So that’s something normal, you know? So try to find things like that, that, that are easy, like aren’t going to be like time consuming or cost a lot of money that you can really try, cause a lot of people don’t have money for PR or marketing. 

So yeah, those are like the two things I really always tell people, figure it, make sure everything’s consistent, but then figure out like little things with like some other entrepreneurs that kind of help everybody, because you’re going to cross promote and you’re going to all reach each other’s audiences.

Dana: Yeah. So one really good question that I have is talking to like a small business, someone who maybe has, you know, tight budgets or whatnot, like when is that PR crucial, do you think, for their business? 

Melinda: So a lot of times, I mean, it, it really is situational based and some people will come to me and I’m like, you don’t need it, like you don’t have the budget and you don’t need it. It’s going to be a waste of my time to do it. I can tell you what to do and just go do it.

And I don’t care. Like, I’m happy to tell you. But I think once things start to feel like they’re kind of too big for you or, and like, it’s kind of out of your control or like, you just absolutely do not have time and energy, and you just can’t come up with the ideas anymore, that’s kind of when you should pull somebody in. 

Dana: Yeah. Well, that’s great advice. And I love that you didn’t say it was for, or you should always have PR.

Melinda: No, no. I mean, and I’m, I’m very like realistic with that kind of stuff. People come to me all the time. I’m like, you don’t need PR like I’ll honestly have a client right now, and I’m just like, they don’t need PR they, they don’t need PR in six months.

They don’t need it right now. So like, I’m not even going to invoice them. There’s no point. I’ll just kind of tell them stuff to do right now. 

Dana: So, what do you think has been the biggest reward after like stepping away and going out on your own? Like what’s the payoff? The biggest payoff for you?

Melinda: Being my own boss is just the best. Like I don’t have anybody to answer to, except for my clients. Being able to travel and do whatever I want. Like this week, my friend is in town and we went to the beach for a day and like, as long as I got my emails done, it was fine. We just got back from Asheville yesterday, as long as I’ve got my email. So it’s fine. I went on like a week hiking trip and Zion and the Grand Canyon in August.

And like, again, as long as I got my emails done, as long as I had like an hour or two and my friend was driving. So as long as I was, you know, on my phone doing my emails, like we’re good. so. Just being able to like go and do that and be able, I have two nephews, you know, being able to come and go as I please and hang out with them or like have sleepovers or whatever.

Like that’s been really fun. So just being able to have a real life, I think has been the best thing for me. 

Courtney: It sounds like it’s been great work-life integration. 

Melinda: I probably should have said helping my clients grow their businesses, but like, that’s, that’s a token that’s going to be there anyway. I need to focus on myself so that I can do good work for them. 

Courtney: You got to stay inspired in that industry. You’d have to constantly be feeding that creative side to create for other people. 

Melinda: Like I said, I collect people everywhere I go. So like, if I’m in Zion, you know, hiking Angel’s landing, like who knows who I’m going to meet and talk to and, you know, become friends with.

Dana: Yeah, nice. So anything exciting coming up, any like great projects you’re working on or anything that has you super excited?

Melinda: Oh my gosh right now., I just recently started working with Damon Dash. He’s really awesome. He helped found Rockefeller Records back in the day, and now he has like his own studio, that’s like film and TV studio Dame Dash Studios. And so we’re working with Fox right now and they’re doing his programming on Fox Soul every Saturday.

And that’s really cool. So, you know, getting back into like real entertainment stuff has been really fun. Cause I don’t really get a lot of those clients here in North Carolina. So yeah, so doing that, it’s really fun. And I have a couple of clients that I just signed this week. So it’ll be like really good stuff. So I’m excited to get going again. Cause when I’m busy, I’m always at my best, so yeah.

Courtney: Yeah. Me too. Well, thanks so much for coming in.

Melinda: Yeah. We’ll come back and do another manifestation 

Courtney: Specifically about manifestations and how to listen to your gut. Yep, there we go. 

Dana: Thanks everyone for gathering us today to talk about the hustle. For our episode with Melinda, we picked a whiskey ginger, specifically make it with the Jameson. We hope we get the chance to make it this week and cheers to not being a pain in the ass to yourself. To learn more about Melinda and her business, visit or follow her on Instagram at melindajacksonpr and at melindagale. 

Courtney: And to learn more about our hustles visit,, and or follow us on Instagram at canddevents, at thebradfordnc, and at hustleandgather. If you liked the show, be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and a review. This product is a production of Earfluence. I’m Courtney.

Dana: And I’m Dana.

Courtney: And we’ll talk with you next time on Hustle + Gather.

Dana: we’ll talk to you next time on hustle and gather.

Full Episode Transcript

Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence.  Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.

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