What lights you up? Is what Amber LaFrance would suggest you ask yourself if you find you are struggling to determine what’s next in your journey. She would then ask, what makes you unique to remind you that there is only one you? She would encourage you to use these answers to help you navigate to the career of your dreams. Amber would also tell you, don’t become discouraged if you need a day to job to pay your bills, but to follow your passion on the side because someday that passion may turn into a profitable business. After all, this is exactly what happened to Amber! Amber’s commitment to her passion in fashion, art, and music led to her and her family owning Longhorn Ballroom, a historic music venue in Dallas, acquiring DFW Style Daily, an online fashion and lifestyle publication, and owning CultureHype, a creative Marketing and PR firm.
Photo credit: Mr. Cabus/Larry Gayao
Amber did not intend to embark on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur nor did she ever think she would own THREE businesses. She admits it’s a bit unreal, but her unwavering faith in what she and her team do on a daily, in addition to the value they’re bringing to the world makes the obstacles that come with entrepreneurship worthwhile. “Entrepreneurship is not an easy life path. Often, I compare it to a roller coaster,” she says.
Amber believes if you decide to become an entrepreneur, it is best that you choose to do something you cannot see yourself living without because you’ll need that fire burning inside of you to get through your career’s ups and downs. She also recognizes that self-funding her dream has not always been easy without an investor or back-up plan, but she cannot imagine herself doing anything outside of her three businesses. She invests most of her income into her businesses so that they can thrive and grow. Outside of dealing with the obstacles that are associated with entrepreneurship, she also deals with the challenges of working in the public relations industry. Her hardest challenge as a publicist is that her clients do not fully understand what being a publicist entails. Amber says sometimes her clients think publicist can sprinkle magic fairy dust and *poof* you are famous! Although Amber knows that she and her team work tirelessly behind the scenes on each campaign, people will not always appreciate or understand their efforts. Press attention depends on numerous factors, not just her and her team’s effort. During these times, Amber takes a step back and acknowledges that some people do not fully understand the PR industry, dust herself off, and tries again. She is also appreciative of her team, her mentors, and her boyfriend who help her keep it together when things fall apart. “With a healthy client load, and busy schedule, I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself when things go wrong. I try to acknowledge the pitfalls as learning experiences and move on”. Amber acknowledges that it is important to give yourself time to process emotions, but not so long that you curl up under the covers for a week. ShuEsq could not agree anymore, acknowledge your failures and process your emotions, but do not bask in the emotions to where you hinder yourself from moving forward.
We could not help but ask Amber what laid the foundation for her to #DreamMoreThanOneDream? And simply put, she says it was her stubbornness! Amber reflects on her experience as an Artist and Recycling Promotions Coordinator volunteer at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. While volunteering, she managed to talk her way backstage because she befriended the stage hands while literally collecting their trash. She did not have her “a-ha moment” until she was backstage at The Flaming Lips show. As she stood there looking out at tens of thousands, she knew she would not be happy doing anything else. Amber was fortunate to meet The Flaming Lips, and even though she has met them a few times, she cannot walk away without shedding a few tears because she is reminded of this pivotal moment in her life. And, Amber’s “a-ha moment” led to several amazing opportunities: 1) An internship at Texas Music Office; 2) joining the Grammy U; 3) interning and learning how to be a publicist under Heather Wagner Reed at Juice Consulting; and 4) ultimately starting her own music-centric agency focused on creatives.
These opportunities did not come without risk. Amber lied to her parents for one year about being paid for her internship in Austin, when in fact, she delivered food at night for Austin’s version of Uber eats. She was determined to get her foot in the door and she would do whatever it took. “After years of following my gut, I’m in awe of what I have created for myself, my team, and my clients. “
Amber reminds us that if we are comfortable, we are not growing. She encourages us to lean into our fears, and not to be afraid of our own power. Amber confesses she spent years terrified of her own power, but now she knows the brighter she shines and the more authentically she lives her life, the more she inspires others to do the same. Amber says, “Be authentically you and follow your gut. There’s only one you, so essentially there’s no competition.”