February is a month of love and Five Question Series brings you stories brimming with the light of lives that illuminate that true love is one that a person must have for themselves—love for one’s existence, passions, and decisions.
I like control, specifically control over every life decision. You move from Point A to B, no point exploring the Z. Having graduated in Journalism, it’s been a realization followed by pride—most of my peers opted out of the said after graduation—that my career has always been linear. Even though I also wanted to be a flight stewardess, I never pursued it because… that would mean deviation, which thank you very much was never my cup of tea.
Which also means I don’t give up easily. Whether it’s career choices or toxic relationships; I wait till the absolute end before jumping off the sinking boat. Is it good for me? Not always. Lately, I have come to realize how imperative it sometimes is to go off the book and take a chance, respect and accept that tiny little voice doing its best to make itself heard.
Lately, I’ve been learning to give up.
“Sometimes, to become successful and get closer to the person you can become, you don’t need to add more things — you need to give some of them up.” And no one symbolizes this better than Amira De Vera.
Founder of Toronto-based Project Four Public Relations, Amira was a political science student, who wanted to work at UN, before she switched tracks with an internship at an Entertainment and Lifestyle publicity firm in Toronto, in 2009. With an opportunity to work with country’s top talents and Hollywood’s biggest film production, she soon realized where her true calling lay—bringing wonderful Canadian stories to the limelight.
February 4, 2018, marked one year anniversary of Project Four Public Relations, a Sports and Entertainment Public Relations and Management Firm. With over eight years of experience in the industry, Amira is a perfect example of how it always pays to take a leap of faith… on oneself.
Q1. What are your five mantras when it comes to keeping yourself centered while managing your business?
In my line of work, content is everything. I am in the business of personal branding so not only do I need to make time to help generate content for my clients but also for myself. After all, I need to talk the talk and walk the walk!
Like anything in life, you have to set aside some dedicated time for content creation. I usually pick Sundays because then you are able to have an eagle’s eye view of the week and generate your content around that. The easiest way to do it is to set aside an hour on the day of the week that is best suited for you, layout your calendar and come up with an overall plan of what type of content you want to create around your days.
Live in the Moment: This is something that took me a long time to learn. I was always thinking about the next thing rather than just living in the moment. Now I’ve learned to be present and take it one day at a time.
Don’t Attach Yourself to the Outcome: Similar to my mantra of living in the moment, I have learned not to attach myself to the outcome of my goals. We are so fixated on the results that when things don’t turn out the way we visualized, we tend to look at it as a failure. By learning to let go of this control, you actually end up with the result that, in the end, always works out for the best.
Never Stop Learning: I have been in this industry for almost a decade, yet I find myself learning so many new things on a daily basis. The willingness to keep growing will only make you better.
Learn to Move On: We are all going to fail and make mistakes. I used to beat myself up over every little mistake I made but I’ve learned that without mistakes, there is no growth.
Everything is Temporary: In moments when I feel stressed or I am facing an extremely difficult situation, I remind myself that this is here to teach me a lesson and that eventually, I can move on from it.
Q2. How did you decide on the name Project Four?
I love answering this question because it has a such a significant meaning to me! My lucky number is 4. My whole life, everything has happened to me in fours. I was born on the 4th of June. All significant milestones in my life have happened within spans of four years and I actually see the number four everywhere I go! I am a big believer in receiving signs from the Universe and the day I actually thought about starting my business, I asked for a sign from the Universe and not even within 10 minutes, a car drives by with the license plate “444” on it.
As for the name “Project Four,” it comes from the concept of collaborative work. A project is defined as an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim. As for the number four, almost from prehistoric times, the number four was employed to signify what was solid. Its relationship to the cross (four points) made it an outstanding symbol of wholeness and universality.
Q3. How challenging was it to establish your brand?
I am quite lucky in a sense where my business was started after I had already been in the industry for more than five years. This really gave me enough time to establish my brand and people already knew me as one of the few entertainment publicists in Canada. The challenging part is, of course, maintaining this branding and taking it to the next level. But what I have always told all my clients, when it comes to personal branding be authentic and you will attract the right people and the right type of business. At the end of the day, I am not trying to be someone I am not and I’m not trying to sell a business that doesn’t appear to be what it is.
Q4. As a successful woman in business, what are some of the tips you would give aspiring women entrepreneurs?
My tips for aspiring women entrepreneurs are probably very similar to my mantras but here are some of the things that I live by.
Be Authentic: If you are faking doing something you don’t even like or you have the wrong purpose as your goal, you will fail. Find what sets your soul on fire because you will be relentless in pursuing that goal.
Do Not Be Afraid: Do things not only when they feel right but also when they scare you a little. It probably means in your gut, you know you’re doing the right thing. Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t chase after your dreams.
Keep Learning: When I first started in this industry, I took every volunteer and internship opportunities (paid and unpaid) I could get my hands on and tried to pick as many brains as I could. And I still have that hunger to learn.
Q5. What were the professional and personal highlights of 2017? And if you were to pick a word to live by in 2018, what would it be for you?
Honestly, the professional highlight of 2017 for me was actually starting this company. I took a leap of faith on February 4, 2017, to make it official and I haven’t looked back since! It has been the best decision of my life. I was also able to get my clients in a few major American media outlets, and that was big for me.
As for personal highlights, I would say I am pretty proud of myself for actually taking the time to take care of myself. In my 20s, I was always the “go go go” type of person and would never stop to actually put time into myself. It was only recently where I really put an emphasis on work-life balance and it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Now, part of my scheduling includes setting aside time for workouts, preparing healthy meals and I have allocated one day of the week where I absolutely do not do anything work-related and yes that includes not checking e-mails!
My words to live by for 2018 would be “Go for it. No matter how it ends, it was an experience.” I have never been the type of person to shy away from saying yes to things, but I want to do it, even more, this year. As you get older, you realize how life experiences are so important and whether it’s in my professional or personal life, I want to look back one day and say wow, I am so glad I said yes to that.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.