Paxton Mittleman, PRSSA-UD’s VP of External Affairs, took a risk and opened up her very own social media marketing business. This Inter[n]view is for anyone who has ever been “crazy enough” to dream big, and do bigger!
PRSSA-UD: Paxton, at twenty years old, you’ve already taken the leap to open up your own social media marketing firm. What inspired you to launch The H Factor Media?!
PM: At the end of the 2015 winter session, my internship boss approached me about starting my own business. The idea wasn’t totally far off; I networked with a ton of small business owners across Long Island that winter, and many of them wanted to establish better presences on social media, but didn’t have time. I realized I could use my social media marketing experience to help these people leverage their businesses. I thought to myself, “Why not?” and set about planning The H Factor Media!
PRSSA-UD: What exactly is “the H Factor”?
PM: The “H” in H Factor stands for Human. I wholeheartedly believe the key to social media success is taking your content and humanizing it. People don’t want to see just company updates on social media- they want to see what happens behind the scenes, what is the company culture like, what are people’s quirks, where is the sense of community- what makes you a human and not just another corporate machine?
PRSSA-UD: That is a fantastic perspective. What has been the biggest challenge in running your own social media marketing firm?
PM: The best and the worst part about running your own social media marketing firm is being your own boss. While you get a certain flexibility not allowed by typical internships, it’s tough when there’s no one telling you whether or not your work is on the right track. I had to develop the confidence that no matter what, I was producing work to the best of my ability, and that’s all my clients could ask for. The most rewarding aspect by far has been watching clients’ social media channels grow and evolve thanks to my efforts. I love social media marketing because I feel when its done right, I have the ability to truly help businesses reach their potential.
PRSSA-UD: It sounds like The H Factor is off to a fantastic start! Have you thought about future plans for your business?
PM: School and organizations (like PRSSA-UD!) will come first, but I’m hopeful The H Factor will continue to grow. Ultimately, I would love to expand The H Factor to a team of students who believe in the values I founded my firm upon, and it would be great to serve some local businesses here in the Newark area. But I’m excited for the unpredictability of the fall semester and what affect this will have on The H Factor as well.
PRSSA-UD: We are excited for you as well! What is your favorite social media platform and why?
PM: Twitter- I think everyone should be on Twitter! Twitter is the perfect place to kick start your personal brand because any content you put out there reflects your mission, your values, and your thoughts on the industry! Twitter’s also the perfect place to reach out to professionals and start a conversation based on their content the best part about social media is that everyone is on the same playing field, so no celebrity, company, or professional is too big or intimidating. My conversations with professional digital marketers on Twitter have led to countless informational interviews, lasting connections with mentors, and great references when searching for new H Factor clients.
PRSSA-UD: Maybe you can host a workshop for PRSSA-UD members to help expand their Twitter skills! Speaking of helping hands, who are your mentors?
PM: I am lucky enough to have so many people I can turn to as mentors, but I’ll try to name a few here. First and foremost, my father, Bob Mittleman, who is a huge inspiration to me as a successful small business owner. All of my current clients are small business owners and have offered me invaluable advice on what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Adam Dince, the director of Earned Media at Deluxe Corporation, inspires me every day to aim higher. And of course, I cannot mention mentors without thanking Holly, Ashley, and Meredith at the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Heather Tansley at the Career Services Center, and the amazing PRSSA-UD alums Natalie Hines and Keri Betters for giving me the courage to never stop pursuing my dreams.
PRSSA-UD: You do have many mentors! It goes to show that every person we meet can be important in our lives. What quotes do you have hung in your office space to motivate you?
PM: It’s funny you ask that, because I’m a huge fan of inspirational quotes! I like to cut out my favorites and keep them close by as a reminder of why I do what I do. For my birthday this year, I actually asked for a sign with a quote from Apple founder Steve Jobs to hang on my wall. “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
PRSSA-UD: Paxton, we’re glad you’ve been crazy enough. In what ways have your professional goals changed since opening up your own business?
PM: Like many students, I entered college with one goal in mind- to get the best job possible once I go out. But as I approach my junior year, and especially after this summer, I realize success is measured by how much your character and values shine through your work. As I steadfastly build my career in social media marketing, my main goal is to achieve success without ever losing sight of who I am and what I stand for. When you hold onto your morals and let them translate in everything you do, you become unstoppable.
PRSSA-UD: That is some powerful stuff! Everybody would do well to figure out their morals and hold true to them. How do you enhance your personal brand? And what advice do you have to pre-professionals who are molding their personal brand?
PM: Once I defined my values and principles to create my own personal brand- Always Passionate, Always Personable, and Always Paxton- it became easy to continuously seek out new spaces to insert my voice into the social media conversation. In order to enhance your personal brand, you first need to figure out exactly it is what you unique. Then put yourself out there on the social media platforms that best fit your brand’s message- maybe it’s a WordPress blog, an Instagram account, a Twitter handle, or all three!
Your personal brand is your H Factor. Take it and run with it!
Paxton Mittleman is junior at the University of Delaware majoring in Mass Communications and English with an Advertising minor. When she’s not serving as the PRSSA-UD VP of External Affairs, she can be found interning at the university’s Career Services Center, tweeting from her Social Media Ambassador account @BlueHenPaxton, or serving with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma. To learn more about Paxton and The H Factor Media, visit www.thehfactormedia.com or feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn!