Jordan Hora founded JH Collaborative in 2007. Though she works fulltime for Bishop T.D. Jakes, a global spiritual leader, Hora wanted to assist other people and organizations in spreading positive messages to audiences that need to hear them. JH Collaborative focuses on creative services such as public relations, writing, strategy, and photography. Hora says her goal is to “help solidify and articulate messages in a unique way.”
Why did you start the company?
I got my start right before college. I was fortunate to work for The White House for a six-month internship. Even though that was in The Office of Faith-based Initiatives, it was really a communications office. During that time, I was also interning for a boutique PR agency founded by my mentor. I was in school to get a business degree, but my real-world experience was in communications. After completing my degree, I entered into the industry doing PR for companies like Church’s Chicken, Taco Bueno, and ethnic hair care brands. Then, I did PR for McDonald’s. I started seeing the importance of having a strategic comm plan. Alongside of that, I’m a person of faith and have always wanted to put a spotlight on things that motivate and inspire. So, I started freelancing with small projects. I like to focus on things that build bridges between people. I work with people who need to say something to a group of people who need to hear it.
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What’s the biggest mistake you made when you were starting out?
My mentor told me that if I wait for everything to be perfect, I will have waited too long. Case in point, there was one company I really wanted to go after. By the time I got everything together to make the pitch to them, they had gone in a different direction because they hadn’t heard from me. I’ve learned to always be prepared. If you’re always prepared, you never have to get ready.
Another thing is that when I first started out, I felt like I had to say the things other communications agencies said and look the way other communications agencies looked. Many times, I’ve been the only black person in the room or the only woman in the room or the only millennial in the room or the only Christian in the room. Because of that track record, I’ve found comfort in being the outside voice and the rebel. Because of that, I’m comfortable with not thinking like all the other PR ladies do. I used to try to hide that. I’m not like everybody else.
What’s the smartest thing you did when you were starting out?
We’ve always been distinctive and different. And we operate ethically and creatively.
How do you finance the business?
I believe in not expending yourself too far financially. My motto is that “I don’t want to feel it.” That means I want to have enough savings in the bank or enough revenue so that when I look back over my statements, I don’t want to pull my hair out. I started out small and I’ve been slowly growing for my comfort. I never wanted to sign a client and then not be able to complete the project because I didn’t have enough money for the necessary services. I dipped into my personal savings when I started. I’ve also had angel investments from my family and others who believed in what I was doing.
Managing the Business
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the business?
When clients say, “Oh my gosh! That’s exactly it!” When they’ve been chewing on something and have not been able to articulate it, and we come into the room and a light bulb goes off. That is rewarding to me, because, at the end of the day, all of us want to be understood. I love being able to help somebody who’s trying to put light and positivity into the world. I want to be an active participant in shaping positive public opinion, and that is rewarding day in and day out.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the business?
The hardest thing is time. Sometimes, it’s just me manning the wheel. Having the time to impart our vision and grow a little bit faster is difficult. I believe in self-care and refuse to be burned out at 40, so balance is tough. Turning down potential clients is pretty difficult as well.
How do you manage cash flow?
I don’t spend what I don’t have. I manage a separate account for my business. The way I accept new clients is a little bit different – I don’t go after the money, but look for work that I believe is meaningful.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Work on your craft. Don’t fluff your resume. Really represent yourself. Make sure that at the end of the day, if everything else is stripped away, you can stand on the talent that you bring and your qualifications.
What’s next for JH Collaborative?
I’m meeting with a potential new client that is going to be really notable. Look for us to bring home a few awards in the next year or two. Look for us to be behind the scenes on some groundbreaking movements related to people of faith and people of color.
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