#BeenThereLearnedThat: Jessica Pipkins, "There Is No Substitute for Hard Work"
By Kia Robinson
“Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart,” Jessica L.A. Pipkins told The Life Currency during our conversation. “Anyone that tells you it’s all peaches and cream is insane.” Pipkins took on the challenge of entrepreneurship at the young age of 23 and hasn’t looked back since.
Jessica Pipkins is the founder of Pipkins Communications. Building the bridge between brands and the public, Pipkins Communications is a full service public relations firm offering Media Relations, Engagement Marketing, Strategic Planning & Partnerships, Red Carpet Management, Image Architecture and Content Management services. Pipkins is a graduate of Wayne State University where she entered as a theater major and later changed to public relations. She was never one to shy away from hard work. In fact, during her sophomore year in college, Pipkins took a semester off to intern with two companies in New York City: Condé Nast where she worked in the corporate communications department, and Uptown Magazine where she was the publication’s first intern. It was these experiences that helped solidify Pipkins’ love for public relations and from there she shaped her own future.
Upon graduation, Pipkins landed a full-time role in production for a TV show. And while the pay was pretty good, she just knew it wasn’t for her. Pipkins explained that something in her told her to start her own business. She didn’t know how and she didn’t really know why but she did. “That’s when I stepped out on faith and quit,” she said. “It was truly a faith move. Everyone thought I was crazy.” At the age of 23, it does seem crazy but she knew deep inside she was called to be her own boss.
And so Pipkins Communications was born. It required a lot of late nights, and early mornings for Pipkins to get into the swing of things. She explained that there were times where she would feel discouraged but was quickly reminded of the life she didn’t want. She didn’t want a nine to five and if that meant hard work, then hard work it was. Her hard work eventually paid off as clients starting rolling in and she began making a profit. “One of my clients was actually my former employer,” said Pipkins, “I was able to turn my former employer into my client.” That doesn’t just happen by chance. That is a result of true dedication and commitment.
Pipkins made sure to explain that the journey to having her own business was far from easy. “There were times when I struggled. I remember at one point I went from sitting on top of the world, making all of this money and being successful and then it all shattered,” she explained. “And even today there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not like, ‘What am I doing?’” In true entrepreneurial spirit, she uses those setbacks to propel her to her next great feat or task that’s presented to her.
In addition to her thriving business, Pipkins often guest lectures at Santa Monica College and Pepperdine University and also serves as the President of the Black Public Relations Society - Los Angeles chapter. In both roles, Pipkins is able to support others on their individual career journeys.
As for advice she’d give others?
“Don’t be afraid to work hard but know when to say ‘no,’” advised Pipkins. “Also, get yourself a mentor. Get someone who will guide you and provide assistance and help you along the way. Most importantly, always remain humble and grateful for every opportunity that’s presented to you. And always work hard.”
Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.